Plagues and Fires and Famines Oh My!


MM Prime Minister in Exile
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Wiz is sick. Post idears.

A lot has been said about Development, primarily with complaints that its constant upwards trend leads to unrealistic development levels which throw off the game's balance. Paradox has tried to address this, but as with everything they haven't actually restrained anything they've just slowed it all down. It's still just a purely upwards trend.

So here's an idea on how Development could Fall naturally, and be intelligently restrained, allowing for an interesting system with Risks and Potential Rewards, while keeping Development Levels sensible, and even letting Warfare get involved without allowing total destruction of a country's populace and allowing countries to recover if well played.

How do we do that? Well here's the good news; The system is actually already present in game!

It just only applies to Gold.

All three Development Types should have a Soft Cap like Gold in All Provinces
Yes I'm referring to the fact that any Production Development over 10 in a Gold Province adds a chance for the Mine to be 'tapped out', instantly losing half its production development. I would suggest a similar system be extended to Base Tax, Production, and Manpower in all provinces.

Each Development Category will have a "Stability Point", which will vary between provinces and even the different development types in a province, and which will be displayed in the province window along with the actual development, listed as 'X/Y'. This would also help make sure players realize that increasing their Gold Production over 10 may have negative affects, information which, to my knowledge, is currently hidden in a tooltip.

Determining the Stability Point
However capping all of them at 10 is a bad idea. It would mean every province would eventually wind up with 10 in everything and that's boring. Instead, the Soft Cap should be based on a number of different factors that affect the province.

First, Each Province will have a base Cap of Development it can sustain, determined entirely by its Climate. In this case, we can remove the Development Cost Penalties or Bonuses from certain climates, there's no need to double dip after all. Whether or not the Development Cost Reduction from some Ideas should be removed should probably depend on the ideas. The Dutch Idea for instance should probably just up their cap, allowing them to fit more development into their tiny tiny provinces, while the Economic Idea would still reduce development cost.

Back to Climate, we can have a very wide range of possible values. Farmland for instance might be able to support Developments of 14, while Grassland can support 10, and Deserts can support 2. Other Terrain Factors can influence this further, and can influence specific Development Types independently. Having a River run through or beside a Province would provide a bonus to all three developments, but give a larger bonus to the Production Development the province can support, as would having a Natural Harbor. On the other hand, having Grain in the Province would provide a boost to Peak Manpower.

Note that there's nothing that says this has to entirely replace all of the Development Cost mods from terrains. Forests in particular, I think should have a Cap of 10 like Grassland, but increase the cost of development, signaling that you can still fit as many people into the province as with grassland, it just takes more effort because you need to clear out the land.

Moving on, and here's one of the biggest factors the system should have, the Stability Point should gradually increase by percentage, with Technology. Gradually, Sanitation improves, economic systems grow more sophisticated, Food Production increases, etc. As Technology Increases, so too will your ability to Develop your Lands.

This resolves a minor issue currently existing that teching up in most cases actually detracts from your ability to develop your lands because you're using the same currency for both. It also provides a way for Europe to begin roughly even with the rest of the world in terms of wealth, but increase as time goes on until they are far richer than other parts of the world, a Development which is sorely lacking representation in EUIV at this time.

So what happens when you go over (and under) the Stability Point
Increasing Development Over that Stability Point will not only raise the Development Cost for that Type exponentially, but will risk you running into some major trouble, specifically, running into one of the three things listed in the Title of this Thread.

For Base Tax, you are packing more people into your cities than you can safely support, risking a horrible plague.
For Production, you wind up with too much industry in close quarters, risking a disastrous fire.
For Manpower, you have too many peasants for your crops to feed, risking a terrible Famine.

Currently, there are random events for things like Plagues, which come largely out of nowhere, and all they do is drop a Province Modifier which eventually goes away while giving you a choice between losing money or getting autonomy in the province. With this system, Plagues can actually be meaningful. Not only will they potentially have a much larger affect, but they will be something you can understand the causes of, plan around, and try to counter, rather than being arbitrary one-off events that just happen out of nowhere and which you have no ability to predict unless you deliberately look up the code in the files, which should not be necessary to gain this sort of information. For instance, did you know the random Plague event can only affect provinces with the Grain trade good? I didn't.

Now, getting one of these disasters will not immediately halve your Development in that category, that would be a bit extreme, even for me. Instead, an event, much like the current Plague Events, will fire and give you one or more options on how to deal with the disaster in question. If your country is stable, rich, and well led, you may be able to completely isolate and resolve the disaster quickly, which will reduce development, but contain the death toll and provide a modifier which reduces the development cost so you can recover. If not, then you'll lose some development, and get a province modifier which can cause further events to happen until the province Development is back under its stability Point or you improve the state of your country enough to actually devote resources to the issue.

Of course, one of the benefits of adding these Stability Points is that they can cut Both Ways. If you have a Province that is under the Stability Point, it can make it more likely that you will get Positive Events and reduce the cost of Development up to the Stability Point. You could get a Mass Immigration, or a Wave of Industrial Development, or a Population Boom. Meaning that while it is now possible to lose massive amounts of wealth, it is also possible for you to bounce back nicely if you have the resources.

Also, what would be really interesting is if these disasters can have other effects besides simply lowering their specific development category. Things like Plagues Spreading to other provinces, possibly outside of your borders, maybe along trade routes, threatening a Continent Wide Epidemic if Over-Population is Severe Enough. Or if Fires can destroy buildings. Large Continent Wide Events representing large scale weather patterns could make provinces more at risk of famine by lowering the Manpower Stability Point of all of them collectively. In times of Peace and Prosperity this might not be a big deal, crushed by a mountain of debt and a tyrannical government, it may be the spark of Revolution.

All of these are ways to deepen the connection between the countries of the world and the world itself, and each other, something which is again currently rather absent from EUIV.

What about War?
Warfare will be a part of this system. While I do think it should be possible for occupations to directly destroy Development, with this system we can have a way of indirectly doing that which limits the potential abuse inherent in such a system.

Now, if a province is Looted, the game will apply a penalty to the Stability Point, possibly up to -50%. Leaving your provinces occupied will take its toll, making you risk disastrous events.

This has the advantage that its not possible for you to lose everything. If your provinces are already underdeveloped, you won't actually have to deal with this, because even fully looted and occupied, if your Development is still beneath the Stability Point, you won't risk these events. Effectively, you can only be hurt so much.

In addition, this can again cut both ways. If a Province has been spared from warfare for a long time, it should get a gradually increasing bonus to its Stability Point, up to a maximum of 25%. Being a Small, Well Defended, Neutral State like Switzerland will provide you with the peace you need to develop your provinces.

This will reward properly defending your provinces, while punishing letting them fall under siege. As discussed in the previous thread, this rewards AI Tactics by letting them do significant damage to provinces that they inefficiently mark a large army in if the Player tries to ignore them. It also provides a way for players to benefit from not waging war, something which Common Sense tried to accomplish but largely failed to do.

And now for an oddly specific question. One of the major problems in EUIV's representation of the conquest of the Americas is the lack of plagues. This is part of what requires European Armies to be shipped over with far more soldiers than historically happened.

The general argument against adding the plagues has generally been "It wouldn't be fun for half your country to just die without you being able to do anything about it" which honestly I reject for certain reasons but whatever we don't need to get into the fundamental differences between my concept of designing historical strategy and Paradox's. With this system in place, The Plagues could be added in a way that would still allow you to try to counter and eventually recover from such massive Population Loss, something which, to be fair, wasn't possible in previous versions of EU due to the major fundamental flaws in its population systems.

So I would suggest having Disasters for the Native Americans caused by them coming into contact with Europeans, which trigger plagues even when you are below your stability and a whole host of other possible events which can lead to Conquistador Style Conquests. This not only gives us a good way of translating the risks to the player, but with the versatility of the Disaster System it also lets us have plenty of things the player can do to try to protect their country. Things like maintaining High Stability, Cultural Homogeneity, a Lack of Foreign Tags on your lands, being able to close off your borders. All of these present possible interesting gameplay functions.

And because of the way the Development Soft Cap works, once the disaster has passed, if you have survived, you will be able to rebuild your society, potentially very quickly, allowing you to then turn the tide, if you're good enough that is. This will be tough to survive, as it should be.

Th-th-th-th-th-that's All Folks
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I do like the sandbox development on having 100 development for a random province.

Having said that, It could work.
As long as it's:
Very soft cap
lots of room to grow in colonial regions.
ICOT areas higher cap.
higher caps over time.