Non-Military progression in PDS titles and absence of it in Imperator:Rome

Non-Military progression in PDS titles and absence of it in Imperator:Rome

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Trexeth

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Hello everyone, I hope you are having a great day!

Today i want to speak about the fundamental importance of the non-military progression system for the games of grand strategy genre. These are the "peacetime" systems that encourage goals other than "map-painting".

Each Paradox title has it's own distinct non-military progression system that makes the gameplay feel unique and challening to a varying degree.
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For Crusader Kings 2 - it's dynasty, family and character gameplay mechanics, while in CK3 more emphasize will be on ruler's lifestyle, which is a welcoming addition as it adds more variability. (Dynasty)

Europa Universalis IV - has been weak from a gameplay perspective until it fleshed out it's non-military mechanics such as development & reforms. (State)

Loved by many Victoria 2 - had the non-military progression as probably the most important gameplay mechanic - thanks to a deep economic management system. Warfare was just one of the tools, rather than the main gameplay element. (Economy)

HOI4 - being the most military centric titles among all, has Infrastructure building, technology research and idea development, which make the gameplay so interesting. (Military Industry)

Stellaris - many many things, such as space exploration, science, pop management etc. (Civilisation)
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The question is, does Imperator have one? And is the absence of a distinct and well developed one is the main reason of initial Imperator's failure? Many people will agree that there aren't many things to do except map-painting and current non-military features feel very lacklustre and generic compared to other titles.

So my suggestion is to continue fledging out non-military gameplay in Imperator (military gameplay was solid at launch), but via unique mechanics, the ones that make it a distinct title. (Not borrowing from other games a short version as it does now).

And the mechanic which I believe that fits the setting the most is (Culture). The Imperator Era features nations that are heavily based on the culture of the people that make it up (Each nation is a separate culture). As well this era is historically an era of a cultural melting pot, where lot's of new cultures have emerged as the result of progression and development.

So what i suggest to create a dynamic culture melting pot system, which will allow every nation to further deviate it's culture and shape it to be unique. The experience should be something similiar to a "nation builder" in EU4 where you pick up the national ideas you want, but obviously be much more fledged out and gradual, so you build your cultural traits through gameplay progression.
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The way i see it is like acquiring and upgrade of perks that are obtainable through gameplay.
The optimal implementation for me would be like choosing from a preset of missions, and then you are required to complee all the objectives to add this perk to ur culture forever, and then you can further upgrade it by further completing objectives. And the selection of different objectives is unlocked based on the type of resources your nation posses, the terrain it's located, probably some religion and culture group influence etc. (As well i believe it should feature dynamic renaming of the culture based on certain factors, there could be some fixed requirement to get unqiues names such as Franks, Goths, Rus and etc.)


An example would be for a nation that contains a steppe horse resource, to build 50 units of steppe archers in order to get a permanent +10% steppe archers combate bonus. Generic one could be like building 50 "Market" buildings to get a permanant nationwide commerce bonus.

The perk slots should obviously be limited, maybe up to 8, and have around 4 tiers of progression for each. Let's say additional 2 are available from the start and represent current culture group bonuses. Moreover, culture group would show the list of avaiable unique cultural names available, upon reaching certain conditions. If you are scandinavian, there could be a few, among them "Goths", if you meet historical Goths conditions. (Settling in certain region etc.)


This will unlock an infinite possibility of unique playthroughs, as players will be trying to figure out the best combination of cultural perks for themselves. They start with the vision of what their people will be good at and are given the tools to make it a reality and to relate to their people better.

Feel free to share your thoughts!
 
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EricMN93

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Many people say that imperator rome is just a "map painter" and may have been at the beginning but not anymore. What can you do in peacetime?

1- Specialize a city through buildings and population
a) Military city. (forts, foundries, barracks ..)
b) economic city (tax office, market ..)
c) cultural city (theater, academy ...)
d) technological city (academies, library ...)

You can focus on building the city you like best, improving this or that.

2- Specialize province. (apart from the cities)
a) mining province
b) agricultural province
c) military province
d) slave province etc

3- Colonize

4-Prepare the next war.
a) Create supplies.
b) customize our armies.
c) prepare boats.
d) prepare strategic defenses.

5- Internal stability.
a) in a republic you can do things to make the political parties you want gain power
b) in a monarchy you can manage the loyalty of your vassals.
c) Going to sedentary lifestyle or being a nomad in a tribe.
d) decide where to emigrate and all that entails (in a tribe).

6- Do missions. They bring a story to many things.

7- Population management. We can attract and bring population to a specific territory to obtain more of that resource.

There are many things to do in Imperator, another thing is that you do not like microgestion. I have played high games without expanding and enjoyed them a lot.
 

Trexeth

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Many people say that imperator rome is just a "map painter" and may have been at the beginning but not anymore. What can you do in peacetime?

1- Specialize a city through buildings and population
a) Military city. (forts, foundries, barracks ..)
b) economic city (tax office, market ..)
c) cultural city (theater, academy ...)
d) technological city (academies, library ...)

You can focus on building the city you like best, improving this or that.

2- Specialize province. (apart from the cities)
a) mining province
b) agricultural province
c) military province
d) slave province etc

3- Colonize

4-Prepare the next war.
a) Create supplies.
b) customize our armies.
c) prepare boats.
d) prepare strategic defenses.

5- Internal stability.
a) in a republic you can do things to make the political parties you want gain power
b) in a monarchy you can manage the loyalty of your vassals.
c) Going to sedentary lifestyle or being a nomad in a tribe.
d) decide where to emigrate and all that entails (in a tribe).

6- Do missions. They bring a story to many things.

7- Population management. We can attract and bring population to a specific territory to obtain more of that resource.

There are many things to do in Imperator, another thing is that you do not like microgestion. I have played high games without expanding and enjoyed them a lot.
I agree, but the real point is the "distinict" system, the one that makes Imperator a different title. The systems you have mentioned were scrapped and simplified from previous titiles.
What i would like to see is an unique system, which is a signficant upgrade to any similiar systems we have ever seen before.
Moreover, all the systems you have mentioned do not contribute to the unique playstyle, player ends up doing the same over and over again. Military city on the border, Economic city in the flat terrain with a specific resouce and etc.

Dynamic culture progression is similiar to the lifestyles in CK3, and i think it's an interesting path.
I think this will only make better, rather than worse.
 

EricMN93

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Moreover, all the systems you have mentioned do not contribute to the unique playstyle, player ends up doing the same over and over again.
I agree with this.

Many people have proposed ideas about what should be imperator, in the end the developers responded that imperator rome was a "builder of civilizations", something that should be unique and differentiated from CK2-3 and EU4.
I think it's a good point to take the game to and I think that each patch will improve this goal more and more.

In the imperator forum there are very good ideas of all kinds on how to improve the game, then I will propose general ideas adapted to each season to make each country unique.

Season 1 Religion (1.4)

1- Differences between having a syncretic religion or a "pure" religion (all the gods of the same religion).

2- Each religion must have unique events and decisions.

3- Be able to build wonders.

(What we know about patch 1.4 is really pleasing, I'm looking forward to the beta).

Season 2 Culture (1.5)

1-Each cultural group should be unique
a) unique elite units.
b) unique buildings
c) events and decisions adapted to the culture. I do not want to see Roman events if I am playing with an Irish tribe.
d) realistic laws to culture and religion
f) different interface depending on the culture. Marble is very good for the Romans but it is rare for other cultures

2- Differences between playing with a multicultural nation or playing with one that imposes its culture.

3- Different figures of the army.
I give an example: If there is more cavalry in an army than infantry, it should be reflected on the map.

Playing with Partia and seeing that your army looks like infantry becomes weird. I want to see horse archers represented. This is just an example.

I think these things would help each faction feel different. Apart from this, there are great suggestions to improve the game but that is another think

Is that what you asked, right?
 
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Iosue Yu

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Looking at the historical point of the game, it was the start of the Iron age. Yet Iron has such a strange role right now in the game, that it allows you to produce Heavy Infantries. This would be true for Rome since they learnt a few tricks from the Gauls about making Iron and sharper swords, while the Greeks were still using bronze sticking at the tip of a wooden stick as their main line of, also Heavy, infantries. The scary Macedonian Phalanx with the Sarissa pikes still didn't make good use of Iron, since the Sarissae were still made of wood and bronze. Yet the military tradition to give a bonus to Heavy Infantries (requiring Iron) is called the Sarissa, which ironically lacks iron in its manufacturing.

Anyway...

Let's review what defined a "civilisation" at the time.

It was at least the social strata and how to represent them in the Senate. There should be seats dedicated to different strata of people in all the states. The Plebaeians, the Patricians, they all had certain roles in the society and represented in politics by Senators.

Then, of course, the melding of different deities. The new "Holy Sites" mechanics may represent the "old" ways of life with reference to Classical Rome. The emergence of Rome means religions were actually changing in quicker paces. Alexander's conquest and the subsequent Diadochi also brought new culture to the Middle East, and religions also played some parts. Egypt was a unique country where the Egyptian gods were revered alongside the Hellenic ones, or some of them simply were changed names to get accepted by the Egyptians.

Next of course would be cultures and assimilations. Instead of just slabbing a text-only culture onto the Pops, how Pops lived, how they would prefer certain items would affect their happiness and ways of life.

And finally, Iron and military reforms. The older worlds belonged to the Greeks. The Roman used Greek infantries at first, but the Camillian Reforms took lessons from the Gauls and invented new tactics good against both Gauls, Greeks and Carthagenians, also due to the new toys called Iron, and longer and stronger short swords.

And finally. The terrain and climates should make a civilisation different from any other. Yet another weak representation in the game.

In short... Civilisation, to me, is defined by Politics, Religions, Cultures, Technology, in particular Iron, and its Geographical location.
 

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After last night's sleep, here are a few more coming to mind.

A civilisation also has to focus on 2 things: bread and wine.

Look at Europe now, their biggest difference could easily be identified by what they eat and what drinks they have.

In different places, the food should be different, instead of the current "Your province doesn't produce food and you are doomed" system. Each territory should at least produce some food, and the food should give different cultures and traits to the people. Coastals should rely more on food, farmlands and riversides on farming, and mountaineous regions on wild games and wild berries. The current system of one place producing one trade good is an EU4 thing. But it wasn't this way in Hellenic and Roman times. Each settlement should at least supply its own and cities were usually founded near farmlands. Importing food was such a modern concept only the biggest cities in a large empire could do that in the Classical world.

And clearly, each settlement should have access to at least one food source since that's how it has always been before the place started being inhabited. That's essentially what distinguished between a barren place and a place suit for living instead of due to maintains. If you can't grow or find food at one place, your tribe won't survive a month living there.

And then also different drinks should be produced by different people. The Celtics would love Mead and fermented milk. The "civilised" would need to grow grapes to make wine, because water wasn't safe back then. Romans drank wine instead of water since fresh water could be tainted but wine should be safe to drink.

And on a side note about trade goods...

Athens should have a silver mine near it, and that's one of the sources of how it got rich before dominating the Delian League. In the game, Rare Metals don't worth extra. You export it, it still gives just that tiny same sum of commerce the same way you import grain. It is sad...
 

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While I'm inclined to agree with your description of the problem, I don't believe the answer is to center the game around cultural melting pots and the collecting of cultural perks.

It is true that the cultural aspect of the game is lacking, like most other aspects of the game actually, but the major issues with Imperator Rome are IMHO characters, trading, combat, and the economy as well as the overall game perspective. I'm afraid it will be the beginning of the end for the game if the devs are unable to fix the majority of these issues before the release of CK3 as its active player will plummet (considering how many people have been asking for I:R to be more like CK2).

To be completely honest, I believe that Imperator Rome needs to allow us to play as families (just a milder version of CK2 ) just to keep some of the CK2 players interested enough in the game to hang around once CK3 is released.
 

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What i would like to see is an unique system, which is a signficant upgrade to any similiar systems we have ever seen before.
Moreover, all the systems you have mentioned do not contribute to the unique playstyle, player ends up doing the same over and over again. Military city on the border, Economic city in the flat terrain with a specific resource and etc.
Yeah. Some systems in IR that i would like to see fleshed out and added to this end:

tangible lasting heritages of great families - family wealth will be represented in a more visible way, hopefully more meaningfully lasting ocer time - through the revamped holding system in 1.4.

1: patronized monuments and wonders - I think the tangible display of family wealth and power can favourably be taken further, with construction / maintenance / investment in regional monuments and wonders. These would create additional points of contention on several layers; intrigue among families for prestige, attribution to different gods and pantheons as well as control by different cultures and countries.

Tying this back to the topic of ” non-military progression” I think the idea of regional monuments and wonders patronised by great families can underscore how the story and civilization we build in play becomes more than the sum of its parts

Monuments and wonders would quite obviously have some effects on the economy and population mechanics, but to pull it all together it would be good with character & family interactions and event pools tied to different types of monuments/wonders, letting characters from patron families gain unique traits that affect their stats etc.

2: Population and economy

The dynamic population mechanics since patch 1.2 put IR in a pretty distinct place. However, the way the game plays out, the interactions with it from an informed player are not as nuanced and dynamic as one might hope or expect.

Obviously, this will depend on the players perspective and their goals, but generally, most considerations come down to one of two matters: how to manage the pops happiness (and province loyalty) and how to maximize their resource output.

I have pretty high hopes that patch 1.4 and 1.5 will flesh out religion and culture in ways that make this consideration a bit more dynamic and interesting.

... but the second consideration has a lot to do with population density and scaling when buildings are stacked in cities, (especially with high local production of certain trade goods like horses.)

Generally speaking, I rather like the level of abstraction at work concerning city-building, but given the exponential benefit of larger cities, the existing constraints on city size are not dynamic enough to keep things interesting - if you want your pops to be more productive, just figure out where you can stack the most of them while keeping them fed, done and done. Other approaches are vastly less efficient.

Thusly I once again proclaim that the game would benefit from some kind of Squalor mechanic to soft cap the exponential benefits of city size and let small cities closer in efficiency to larger cities - other than the ones managed well to stay low on squalor.

... in addition, it might be cool to add other effects / incentives to making big metropolises, like unique interactions with families and characters... (other than the present scaling economic benefits)
 
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