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CK3 already has manpower, it's called levies. So why would we need a pop system, when it already has a measure of available manpower in a county? Those are the people living there. The total sum of all levies and the levies given to you by your vassals, that is your available manpower. Just that it's currently useless.

Instead, the game uses them as nameless levies, a unit type regenerating endlessly, losses don't matter. Literally. Lost 100k levies? Whatever. Despite them your available total manpower, the sum of all the people you can draft into your war based on your counties and vassals, they have no bearing on your economy, on your holdings, on your popular opinion, on your realm stability.
So, the first problem here is that the game just gives you X amount of levies from building and upgrading military buildings regardless of where you build them. Barracks give you a 100 levies, Hunting Grounds and Pastures give 75 each if I remember correctly. They are magically created out of thin air. Development increases the amount of levies you get from a county but as a small percentage of the total amount. For example, having 20 development in a county will only increase the amount of levies you have by 10% but development will never generate levies on its own.

Second problem, and I guess what I mean by "pop system," is a way to tie levies into the game's economy because they currently aren't. Again, they are generated out of thin air by buildings. Why should the loss of levies effect your economy when they are entirely disconnected from it? Paradox's GSGs are a balance between abstracted and detailed game mechanics based on what the games' overall focus is. CK3 is about rulers, the ruled, and their relationships on a personal level. Its why you have detailed characters with tons of, maybe even too many, traits and an more in-depth focus on cultures and religions but a highly abstracted economic system. Having your economy be worse off because of major loss in a war is a Vicky3 idea, not a CK3 one, because CK3 does not care about the connection between the economy and war. Should levies regenerate slower in CK3 and have more limitations? Sure. Should they effect the overall health of your economy? No, because that is not what CK3 is about.

They even have no bearing on your professional army, which should be made up by the people living in your land. I mean, if they're not mercs, they have to be trained from your population. But the game spawns them from thin air, made of money apparently. That disconnect between the manpower provided by the land you and your vassals own, and the army you use, that is a problem.
Again, this is a EU4/Vicky3 concern. CK3 does not care about these things outside of a really abstract sense. Being able to raise and equip troops like you want is a concern about state capacity, which fits perfectly with EU4 and Vicky3*, but has little barring on CK3's main concerns as a game. Again, Paradox games have to balance abstraction and detail based on what a particularly game cares about and how you equip and raise your troops is a perfectly reasonable thing for CK3 to abstract away because it little to with its core concerns as a game. Its why HoI4 basically has no economy because it is not something particularly relevant to the game's primary focus.**

The second issue is that what you do and don't do doesn't reflect on popular opinion, the measure of how much impact something has on the people actually living in a county. I don't need simulated pops, I need logic in what has an impact on how people see me. Fighting a war? Too bad, the game automatically assumes you fetched all farmers from their fields and shipped them off to a war. So they get unhappy. Despite you fighting the war using only a holy order and/or mercs.
Agree! It is really dumb that you lose opinion when fighting a war with nothing but MAAs, mercs, and holy orders! That can, and should, change and I love to see more push back from your vassals with a low opinion of you when you are at war.

People should get upset if they have to fight in the war, or if the enemy comes and raids/occupies their home. Not because the game makes some wrong assumptions about how I fight my war, only to penalize me in stupid ways for things I didn't do. What happens on the map, what happens in a war, has absolutely no bearing on the people living in my realm.
Again, agree but that doesn't mean the stuff you want added to the game needs to be added to the game for that to be represented.

*"The state makes war and war makes the state" and so on.

**Which is kind of ironic given that economic capacity is what gave the Allies a massive advantage in WW2.
 
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You literally ignored vassals. And by ignoring vassals, you created a military system that link with every other aspect of the game, excluding core mechanics. If we define paradox game by 'how do I produce single regiment of basic infantry', you just removed everything good from CK3 for the sake of making in weak clone of Imperator Rome.
Like it or not, but in CK3 the vassal obligations are fulfilled by giving you levies through the obligation level set in the contract. That manpower is yours to command directly, summonable as levies.

Except, levies are useless, as they're farmers with pitchforks, and only farmers with pitchforks. Not only that, but they're also disconnected from your retinue/MaA. Instead of making up the bulk of your army, you leave them at home and use professional soldiers created from money and thin air. What little feudalism CK3 had running up to this point, it dies with the uselessness of levies, and the existence of a retinue that doesn't require actual people to be recruited.

If making levies actually mattered for building an army, if that removes "everything good from CK3", then... well, taste is subjective, they say. But I would see it as an improvement, if levy contributions made up the manpower from which your army was made.

It kinda is. First off, it makes a game even more sterile that it already is. Second, it collide with important part of feudal fantasy, that your soldiers are (mostly) never really yours. They are your vassals soldiers, and if that vassal rebel, he will take 'your' troops with him. Ironically, at the same time it also collide with more nation-stateistic fantasy that I try to push into everybody's throat, the one where army is a product of society, its culture and institutions enforced on it. Paraphrasing, they are 'EU' systems, not anything else systems.
And what part of a feudal fantasy is it that your vassals sit at home and don't defend their land, when the realm is attacked and their own domain is at stake? That they see their obligations fulfilled by sending you a few untrained farmers, which you end up never using in any war, while they sit at home with their knights and men-at-arms and refuse to help you defend them?

If your army actually consisted of manpower provided by your holdings as well as your vassals' holdings, then losing a vassal, even lowering their levy contribution, would have an impact on your army. But as it stands, having vassals or not having vassals doesn't have any impact on your military, at all. They don't fight for you, and what they provide - other than money - is useless in any war.

How is that an "important part of feudal fantasy", when everything that makes a feudal system isn't in the game?

And again, it's the way CK3 is designed that realms play/feel similar to a nation in EU. You can't call vassals/vassal allies into wars, so you as the head of the realm/state, with your private army (MaA), fight the entire war. Alone.

It would be more feudal if the manpower contribution had actually an effect on how big or small "your" army was, but even that is absent. No, "your" army is truly yours, spawned from money, love and the endless ether. They obey every command, are never disloyal, and teleport everywhere in the world.

And you think changing that would make the game more sterile?

So, the first problem here is that the game just gives you X amount of levies from building and upgrading military buildings regardless of where you build them. Barracks give you a 100 levies, Hunting Grounds and Pastures give 75 each if I remember correctly. They are magically created out of thin air.
I'll answer more broadly here, not just to this quote. I agree that CK3 has a character focus, and I see it as a major stong point going for the game. For me it's enough that barracks or hunting grounds or whatever provides levies. It's a measure of development, of people settling in a county, of a county growing over time, of its infrastructure, food security etc.

I don't care if the amount of levies can somehow realistically reflect the size of the population in any given county. All I care about is that a county currently provides a set number of levies, which depends on how well developed that county is. That is all I care about, as far as the county and its "population" goes. In technical terms, they're spawned from thin air, but that I don't mind. A county exists, it provides levies. Good enough for me.

CK3 has even a good system when it comes to tracking levy contributions. CK3 isn't exactly feudal, and probably won't be in the forseeable future. So my solution works with the fact that, as far as feudalism is represented, it happens through levy obligations, which you directly control. If that is too much like EU or Imperator, that's not on me. It is what it is.

Where the system drops the ball, for me at least, is how that levy manpower is actually used by the realm. By offering us the professional standing MaA army, levies lose what little use they might've had.

All I want is to remove the out-of-thin-air MaA and make levies a resource that can be converted into an army (or several armies). And having repercussions when actually drafting those people and sending them into a war. Right now your farms don't depend on weather, seasons or having people working the fields. I don't need a whole economic simulation, I want holding income to drop if a major part of the local population is fighting a war for years, I want people to get upset over it, I want some form of economic backlash for neglecting my people.

Doesn't have to be a complex market simulation, it's enough to impose realistic penalties. Not public opinion drops for fighting a war that doesn't concern that county, but for fighting a war that does actually concern a county and its people. And going back to my original point, using vassals' levies in my armies would also hit the economy of my vassals, negatively impact their own holdings, and by extension strain my relations with them. Isn't that what we want, that our actions have an impact on the world and the people living in it?

We won't change the fact that CK3 has no true feudalism, and that we can directly control the troops our vassals provide. It is what it is. If you think this is too much like EU/Vic3, be my guest and take it up with the devs. They made the CK3 levy system the way it is, in which feudalism = levy obligations under direct liege control. My suggestion only works within that frame previously set by the devs, that's all.

I appreciate your input btw!
 
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All I want is to remove the out-of-thin-air MaA and make levies a resource that can be converted into an army (or several armies). And having repercussions when actually drafting those people and sending them into a war.
I wouldn't mind a more direct connection between levies and MAAs but I feel like the early game would potentially have issues with that given how few buildings each county has at the start of the game. Needing a Barracks somewhere to be able recruit Heavy Infantry and Pikemen MAAs seems perfectly reasonable until you get to issue that most counties at game start only have one economic building and usually no military buildings. And then, if the devs decided to add some military buildings at game start, how do you determine which ones in a way that doesn't impede player choice?

I don't need a whole economic simulation, I want holding income to drop if a major part of the local population is fighting a war for years, I want people to get upset over it, I want some form of economic backlash for neglecting my people.
So my understanding, and this is me being a history nerd, is that people weren't really "drafted" in any real sense during the game's time period, outside of emergency measures during a siege, for example. There were people who were expected to fight for their lieges but those weren't usually commoners. In Byzantium and the Caliphate, soldiers where given plots of lands to sustain themselves and be able to afford their equipment but it was also expected that they would be away for long periods of time. Feudal rulers used a similar system and, again, it wasn't expected that the soldiers would also work the land they owned. Town militias in Europe where mostly defensive and only went on offensives war against other cities in their local area, from my understanding.

The closest example I think of calling up people for war for too long of a period and having blow back are nomads, who expected to return to their pastures after a given period of time. This was occasionally a problem for the Seljuks but I haven't really seen any examples of it with the Mongols, especially once they expanded outside on Mongolia.

Economy consequences mostly came from allowing foreign armies to maraud around your territory and destroy farms, kill people, take away valuables, sack towns, and so on. Another concern was excessive taxation due to long and costly wars but, from what I understand, commoners such as farmers and cities dwellers never made up any substantive part of any medieval army and therefore wouldn't be absent to cause economic consequences.

I appreciate your input btw!
Thanks, and like I said, I do like your system but it feels more EU5 than CK3 to me.
 
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I feel like the early game would potentially have issues with that given how few buildings each county has at the start of the game
So, give the capital of any ruler an extra 500-1000 levies, depending on rank? Those are small-time balance issues. I think it's easy to solve these.

So my understanding, and this is me being a history nerd, is that people weren't really "drafted" in any real sense during the game's time period, outside of emergency measures during a siege, for example.
For the sake of a clear argument, I used the word to describe the act of calling people from their normal job into a war. There were non-feudal realms, you had cities with their burghers, there are many ways how someone could end up in the military. So I used a more general term.

I also wanted to express that fetching a farmer from his field is kind of drafting. A feudal levy had rights and obligations, like having to own and maintain a set of equipment, and train with it. What the game currently knows as MaA, were mostly medieval levies. Even the dreaded Vikings were mostly fishers and farmers.

But a farmer without any equipment forced into an army, with no equipment? Getting those would be a sign of desperation, rare, and what else is it, if not forcefully drafting someone into military service, someone who has seemingly no feudal obligations?

The Pronoia system you described came later in the ERE. And they didn't own the land, it formally belonged to the emperor, while they "only" had the taxation rights. Since we're already at the ERE, the army wasn't feudal, it belonged to the emperor. The empire even sponsored the equipment for their army. They could still buy extra stuff from their own money, but the empire paid for the basic stuff.

I'd say the idea of a royal army controlled by the ruler is not as EU/Vic exclusive as you might think.
 
I'd say the idea of a royal army controlled by the ruler is not as EU/Vic exclusive as you might think.
No, those were always a thing but I think the way you want to recruit them feels more appropriate to the more centralized armies and methods of the EU time period. Kings would always have personal retinues that were loyal to them that were then supplemented by their vassals.

I also wanted to express that fetching a farmer from his field is kind of drafting. A feudal levy had rights and obligations, like having to own and maintain a set of equipment, and train with it. What the game currently knows as MaA, were mostly medieval levies. Even the dreaded Vikings were mostly fishers and farmers.
Yeah, societies like the Norse, Mongols, and Turks that that didn't have professional armies would use people who weren't primarily soldiers but I've never heard of, like, a farmer in France in the 1200s being expected to provide regular military service. The farmer would provide services to a knight or low level lord who could then support a small retinue of trained soldiers who could then be called up by their liege and on up the vassalage hierarchy. My understanding is that even burghers who were part-time soldiers sold their services to a local lord as part of their career or as part of an agree between the town and a lord so their absence would be expected.
 
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No, those were always a thing but I think the way you want to recruit them feels more appropriate to the more centralized armies and methods of the EU time period. Kings would always have personal retinues that were loyal to them that were then supplemented by their vassals.
Ok, then how would you translate that into a game mechanic in CK3, especially looking at the Byzantines?

I know you already mentioned that you like the Imperator levy system. But what about the upcoming ERE expansion, would you force them into the levy system, or would you give them their historically accurate ability to customize their armies more freely? I mean, they're the poster boy of a highly centralized administration, they certainly didn't rely on feudal levies the way Western European realms did.
 
The current rally version was intended to be the one with the least friction, so it hurts the AI the least, it's the least frustrating/tiresome for the player, but as ye say, it does just basically work like a cheat. If given the chance I think we probably would adjust it somehow.

What always felt cheaty to me and that would not require massive system remake is how mercs are allowed to teleport all over the maps. Sure makes them useful but very much feels like cheating when your realm is large enough or just has very remote and separate parts. You just disband them and move rally to instantly reform them on another side of the map in case of emergency like raiding or second war.

I also always disliked abstraction representing event troops. In my mind all of them should stand down on succession, not following your dynasty through ages like some mystical band of immortals. It is also too easy to exploit and abuse. From this point of view the most efficient way is to not use them at all and keep them to terrify AI with swollen army sizes which will be too scared to attack you. Or you can go do Mann, get 7.500 upkeep free event troops, do the feudal elective law and make sure you will lose the kingdom title on succession. Then as count you easily gain independence and walk around the map swearing allegiance to random kings and immediately starting dissolution factions and pressing demands blowing up realms for easy chain conquests. Most will be so outnumbered that they will concede to demands. Even if not, you can always just park event troops near the capital so they wouldn't suffer any unrecoverable losses and win with normal troops knowing full well AI will be too scared to approach capital.
 
Ok, then how would you translate that into a game mechanic in CK3, especially looking at the Byzantines?

I know you already mentioned that you like the Imperator levy system. But what about the upcoming ERE expansion, would you force them into the levy system, or would you give them their historically accurate ability to customize their armies more freely? I mean, they're the poster boy of a highly centralized administration, they certainly didn't rely on feudal levies the way Western European realms did.
The Byzantine shouldn't have levies and just make more MAA. They will got a different form of government so they can also have a different way of assembling an army.
An even better system would be to start with levies, and slowly assemble an MAA army (because it would be soo expensive that only the byzantine could start the game with it)
 
Ok, then how would you translate that into a game mechanic in CK3, especially looking at the Byzantines?

I know you already mentioned that you like the Imperator levy system. But what about the upcoming ERE expansion, would you force them into the levy system, or would you give them their historically accurate ability to customize their armies more freely? I mean, they're the poster boy of a highly centralized administration, they certainly didn't rely on feudal levies the way Western European realms did.
I mean, the problem with Byzantium is that they aren't really a medieval society, they're a classical society that survived until the end of the medieval period. I was shocked that the devs are doing the Byzantium DLC this early in the game's life cycle* and I'm very curious about how they will play in Roads to Power. Will dukes still be able to inherit other duchies and conquer internally? For example. Byzantium is always going to be the odd man out just given how different they operate from everyone else and I don't think it is worth the effort to give them their own kind of military system. I think the ERE Legacy tradition that reduces their levies and reduces the cost of MAAs is perfectly fine substitute for giving them their own unique military system.

My problems with the military system currently are. . .
1) The uselessness of levies after a decade or two.
2) Running away being a viable strategy to prolong a war.
3) The lack of defensive tactics generally.

I don't really have an issue with how you get levies and MAAs right now as those fall into the category of necessary abstraction for me. I would be fine if that changed to something more interesting but unlocking innovations that allows you to increase your MAAs is totally fine as an abstraction of having more men available to recruit as your personal retinue. The thing I really want from Imperator is levies basically being weaker MAAs and their composition being determined by culture.

*I figured they would be part of a China/Imperial DLC, not their own standalone DLC.
 
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That wasn't my point, but I can give you the short of my long post.

CK3 already has manpower, it's called levies. So why would we need a pop system, when it already has a measure of available manpower in a county? Those are the people living there. The total sum of all levies and the levies given to you by your vassals, that is your available manpower. Just that it's currently useless.

Instead, the game uses them as nameless levies, a unit type regenerating endlessly, losses don't matter. Literally. Lost 100k levies? Whatever. Despite them being your available total manpower, the sum of all the people you can draft into your war based on your counties and vassals, they have no bearing on your economy, on your holdings, on your popular opinion, on your realm stability.

They even have no bearing on your professional army, which should be made up by the people living in your land. I mean, if they're not mercs, they have to be trained from your population. But the game spawns them from thin air, made of money apparently. That disconnect between the manpower provided by the land you and your vassals own, and the army you use, that is a problem.

The second issue is that what you do and don't do doesn't reflect on popular opinion, the measure of how much impact something has on the people actually living in a county. I don't need simulated pops, I need logic in what has an impact on how people see me. Fighting a war? Too bad, the game automatically assumes you fetched all farmers from their fields and shipped them off to a war. So they get unhappy. Despite you fighting the war using only a holy order and/or mercs.

People should get upset if they have to fight in the war, or if the enemy comes and raids/occupies their home. Not because the game makes some wrong assumptions about how I fight my war, only to penalize me in stupid ways for things I didn't do. What happens on the map, what happens in a war, has absolutely no bearing on the people living in my realm.

I hope that clears it up.
I agree with your posts. Now that the RPG aspects are really ingrained into the game, they need to work on the "systems" that make up the world and its people and kingdoms. We need some kind of system that really works to simulate the economy and manpower aka the "peasants & merchants".

Sinews of War was really cool, shame that got abandoned.

War should mean something to the common folk of the realm and to the realm itself.

I feel like War is way to common and way to simple. If you are going to have war so common, give it some depth. War should have gameplay impact beyond just winning territory. It should cause damage to the supplies in a region. Reduce population sizes. Cause disease.

I don't view this as a EUIV or VIC3 issues and I think CK3 needs more nation building depth.
 
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No, those were always a thing but I think the way you want to recruit them feels more appropriate to the more centralized armies and methods of the EU time period. Kings would always have personal retinues that were loyal to them that were then supplemented by their vassals.


Yeah, societies like the Norse, Mongols, and Turks that that didn't have professional armies would use people who weren't primarily soldiers but I've never heard of, like, a farmer in France in the 1200s being expected to provide regular military service. The farmer would provide services to a knight or low level lord who could then support a small retinue of trained soldiers who could then be called up by their liege and on up the vassalage hierarchy. My understanding is that even burghers who were part-time soldiers sold their services to a local lord as part of their career or as part of an agree between the town and a lord so their absence would be expected.
so you mean medieval society relied on professional standing armies? How could an agrarian society afford having a bunch of people standing around doing nothing during peacetime? Even many modern countries nowadays relies on conscription instead.
 
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Needing a Barracks somewhere to be able recruit Heavy Infantry and Pikemen MAAs seems perfectly reasonable
Do it, though? Heavy infantrymen are not 'created out of thin air' in barracks. They are gathered from well-to-do landowners who are mobilized according to local military customs. Barracks are result of standing armies, not other way around, and they are not even immediate result - if you already have standing banners, you can as well garrison them in fortresses, after all.

How could an agrarian society afford having a bunch of people standing around doing nothing during peacetime?
First off, Roman Republic was agrarian society and it was in fact able to keep standing army (through not for long). Second, feudal society do have bunch of people basically doing nothing, they are called 'nobles', and it just so happens that they make big part of army.
so you mean medieval society relied on professional standing armies?
No. 'Feudal' army is not standing, it is mobilized to war. It is also not professional, as its armed men are not paid on regular basis. Feudal army is made of land-owning elite, well-to-do landowners and their armed servants, serving in a manner comparable to citizen militia.
I think Victoria 3 is good reference to - not get historically-correct info, mind you - to get grasp of such system. Standard unit of subsistence farming is made of 4750 peasants, 300 clerics and other service-givers, 15.150 of their families, 150 aristocrats and 600 of that aristocrats families.
150 aristocrats are the guys you would mobilize to feudal army. They will pay for their own equipment, btw.
Even many modern countries nowadays relies on conscription instead.
'Even'? ;) Mass conscription is attribute of modern centralized nation-states. You need massive bureaucracy to keep track of so many people and probably massive effort in nation-making to actually convince such amount of armed men to do what you want, instead of killing you and getting free. Roman Republic did used conscription on impressive scale before professionalization. And it became power number one in meditteranean, that's how minmaxed you have to be to have long-time conscription.
 
Personally I'm not sure how useful it is to get lost in the weeds of what is/ is not entirely historically accurate. Ck3 is a historical based game and its good to stick to that where possible but:

I'd say the current system is neither historical nor fun. When trying to flesh out a mechanical change I would prefer both but if I had to choose one over the other I am ok with abstracting out historical plausibility for good game systems.
 
so you mean medieval society relied on professional standing armies? How could an agrarian society afford having a bunch of people standing around doing nothing during peacetime? Even many modern countries nowadays relies on conscription instead.
Knights didn't till the fields when they were not fighting for their lieges, that's why they had the serfs and why the given fiefs, so they would have a source of income and support so they could equip themselves, and a small retinue, without having to actually work. They were "full time" soldiers in the sense that everything they did was done so they could fight when needed. And they weren't doing "nothing," they did actively manage their estates, trained, administering local law, and so on but, again, knights exist to fight and systems were created so they could do just that.

More broadly though, any agrarian society produces enough surplus food that a small minority of people don't need to actually work and that's who the ruling class is, basically.

Also, while farmers and so on were busy all year, the two busiest parts of the agricultural year were planting and harvesting which, not coincidentally, generally mark the beginning and end of the yearly campaign season. So armies are generally fighting in between the two most busiest parts of the agricultural calendar.
 
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I think the crux of the issue is that someone must have been repeating, in paradox studio, words like "this new game is about X" as a way to discard EVERYTHING else, oversimplifying mechanics to the point it breaks the games.

I mean, no, it is absolutely not true CK3 is a game about characters, it's not an RPG, it's not even RPG adjacent, it's a grand strategy game (which many consider to be just a marketting title to make an 4x seem more unique than it really is), there are some RPG elements in CK3, more than most games of it's genre, but EU4 isn't an RPG either just because it has a king, with a name and his own stats, call of duty isn't an RPG just because it has leveling systems, skills and unlocks, on a scale of 1~100 EU4 might be 1% RPG while CK3 is 3%, that's it.

So, by refusing to pay attention to all of the aspects that form the core experience of 4x (grand strategy) games a great disservice was done to this title, CK3 is a game about characters, CK3 is a game about warfare, CK3 is a game about economy, CK3 is a game about diplomacy, CK3 is a game about choices, CK3 is a game about logistics, CK3 is a game about expansion, CK3 is a game about resources, etc...

If any of these areas is lacking, in any way, it should, and will often be considered a gret flaw in the eyes of players, they don't buy the excuses for having a flaw, all they care about is the flaw, one great example we're seeing here is the oversimplified warfare system, everything related to warfare is greatly lacking, the manpower, the equipment, the levy types, the lack of flanks, the lack of battlefield events, the lack of tactics being used, etc...

A new game can get away with a simpler system, and get a "meh" rating, but older players comparing the current game with it's more developed, more complex predecessor can't see the new game with the same eyes, they will often go beyond, comparing this game to other unrelated games from the same company, take Vic3 as an example, it's not just a game about of economy, it's a game about many things, economy is just one of it's focuses, so when people see a oversimplified version of the exact same system seen in one of their previous games, HoI4, they are left wondering why are we even wasting time playing this barebones version of the same thing they have made before? I mean, sure, you can click a few factory icons from time to time, that's great, but why aren't all the features they have already discovered, and developed, already in the game? Why is there no logistics? No railway systems? No units? No tactics? etc...

Ck3 doesn't need a few adjustments, it needs a major overhaul in the warfare front, it is one of, if not THE most important aspect of any game of it's genre, most conflicts, and most things a player can achieve in any of these games can, and often is preferably done through warfare, alternative ways of playing are fine and can enrich the game, but they function like seasoning, there's no point in adding any of it when the main plate is just lacking.
 
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everything related to warfare is greatly lacking, the manpower, the equipment, the levy types, the lack of flanks, the lack of battlefield events, the lack of tactics being used, etc...

While I think I agree with you in principle, here I have to protest. Flanks and tactics of CK2 were anti-feature. Idiot General Principle personified. The way for player to influence battle outcome by exploiting ill-designed math. I guess it was better gameplay-wise than not giving player any influence, but only slighty. CK3 strongly simplified tactical layer of warfare, and that, that was actually good decision.
 
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While I think I agree with you in principle, here I have to protest. Flanks and tactics of CK2 were anti-feature. Idiot General Principle personified. The way for player to influence battle outcome by exploiting ill-designed math. I guess it was better gameplay-wise than not giving player any influence, but only slighty. CK3 strongly simplified tactical layer of warfare, and that, that was actually good decision.
I disagree, I think the flanks were great features, and more games should follow the example.

I mean, I understand why you're saying this, as a player we can simply create the perfect proportion to trigger the exact tactics we want, using cultural retinues with increased stats, all in one flank to trample over the opposition and then take down the other 2 battlefields with that one extremely potent unit, isn't it?

I agree, that's an issue, but I don't think it's an issue with the system, it's an issue with the AI, and it's the same thing we see in CK3, and Stellaris, and many other games, Paradox isn't programing the AI to fully utilize, understand, or even recognize it's own games main features.

This is most evident in Stellaris, a player can use the ship builder to create ships and fleets with some reasoning in mind, for instance, they can use battle computers meant to kite enemy ships, while using as many missile turrets on their own cruisers to shoot at distant targets as they keep themselves away from combat, an entire fleet of missile cruisers is a very viable strategy, likewise, they can chose smaller ships with short range torpedos and short range ballistic weapons to try and ambush enemy fleets when they come out of hyperspace, standing right below their spawn point, a more niche, but still viable strategy.

Meanwhile the AI just builds what I like to call the "s***-salad template", all nations, all empires, all aliens with natural empires tend to simply throw in a balanced number of each ship size, with a bunch of random weapons without any care for synergy among their own weapons, or the other ships in the fleet, or the admiral bonuses, does that mean the ship builder and the fleet template were anti-features? No, it means, Paradox needs to fix the broken parts of the game.

Ck3 suffers from the same issues in different areas, the AI is unaware of how important high tier MAA stationed in a province with the corresponding building+a blacksmith are, a single full regiment of these tend to stackwipe every AI kingdom or empire on the map without effort, it's not minmaxing, it's just the single, and only obvious choice any player would make, but the AI fails to do the same, it also doesn't recognize or care about accolade bonuses, it doesn't try to build to counter it's neighbors, it doesn't try to switch commanders depending on the situation, the AI isn't really programed to do or engage with any of the features in the game, and the result is a boring game where it's impossible to be challenged from start to finish.

The Ck2 was the same, it was just a richer, more developed, more interesting system which worked for the most part, but the AI wasn't programed to understand or properly utilize it, they'd spread their forces randomly, instead of trying to trigger specific tactics balancing their flanks accordingly, it's the equivalent of imagining that in EU4 the we should remove the front/backline and combat width systems simply because the AI doesn't seem to understand how it works and keeps sending full stacks of 50k artillery without a proper frontline, it sounds ridiculous, but that's exactly how poorly the AI is "playing" the game in these paradox games, the fact that the AI can understand how to form proper armies and how to keep ahead of the military tech curve is what makes EU4 so much more challenging compared to pretty much every other Paradox game, that's what I'd like to see in CK3.

As a counter example there was this one game in which I was crushing everything with the tibetan retinues (light infantry+light cavalry, very powerful during the skirmish phase) when the mongols have spawned right next to me, as usual, I moved my big bad stack of retinues to a single flank, while I didn't really care about what the levies were doing on the other 2 flanks, as a result my 2 levy flanks were crushed by the mongols, and the resulting flanking damage also crushed my retinues, I lost that war, and it made me realize I should have tried to get some generals with proper defensive features like Narrow Flank to cover for my retinues, and possibly a stronger offensive general as even they weren't up to the task of meeting the mongols head on, it was a slaughter.

These are the kinds of worries a CK3 player will never have, the kind of depth the game just doesn't reach, and when we add the difficulty issue to this, we get scenarios like my last game in which I was playing with ObfusCKate to hide away enemy information, I raised the big varangian stack I had, and a bunch of siege MAA, plus my space marines (knights) and I fought a very big battle against their version of the mongols, the result? I'll post below. But yeah, even though the game thought there's no way I'd win my smaller army slaughtered them, levies did next to nothing, as usual, the "countered" varangians did better than their own "counters", and the space marines did their own space marine stuff as usual.

Granted I was trying to go for a warrior culture, so I got a couple of bonuses like Only the Strong, etc... But this character didn't even touch the chivalry tree, and as I had obfusckate I couldn't even see the prowess of the people in other courts, they were just a bunch of random dudes from a warrior culture with average bonuses and no chivalry, the varangians just had a Tier 3 barracks and blacksmith at my capital county, that's nowhere near what a minmaxer could do.

I mean, fine, we can stick with the bland combat without tactics, maneuvers, events, duels, flanks, and everything that made battles interesting, but damn, at least make the AI understand what the game is about, I'm tired of fighting a bunch of mismatched MAA with zero bonuses, zero accolades as I'm stackwiping anything I touch without any concern for terrain, supplies or composition.
 

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I think the crux of the issue is that someone must have been repeating, in paradox studio, words like "this new game is about X" as a way to discard EVERYTHING else, oversimplifying mechanics to the point it breaks the games.

I mean, no, it is absolutely not true CK3 is a game about characters, it's not an RPG, it's not even RPG adjacent, it's a grand strategy game (which many consider to be just a marketting title to make an 4x seem more unique than it really is), there are some RPG elements in CK3, more than most games of it's genre, but EU4 isn't an RPG either just because it has a king, with a name and his own stats, call of duty isn't an RPG just because it has leveling systems, skills and unlocks, on a scale of 1~100 EU4 might be 1% RPG while CK3 is 3%, that's it.

So, by refusing to pay attention to all of the aspects that form the core experience of 4x (grand strategy) games a great disservice was done to this title, CK3 is a game about characters, CK3 is a game about warfare, CK3 is a game about economy, CK3 is a game about diplomacy, CK3 is a game about choices, CK3 is a game about logistics, CK3 is a game about expansion, CK3 is a game about resources, etc...

If any of these areas is lacking, in any way, it should, and will often be considered a gret flaw in the eyes of players, they don't buy the excuses for having a flaw, all they care about is the flaw, one great example we're seeing here is the oversimplified warfare system, everything related to warfare is greatly lacking, the manpower, the equipment, the levy types, the lack of flanks, the lack of battlefield events, the lack of tactics being used, etc...

A new game can get away with a simpler system, and get a "meh" rating, but older players comparing the current game with it's more developed, more complex predecessor can't see the new game with the same eyes, they will often go beyond, comparing this game to other unrelated games from the same company, take Vic3 as an example, it's not just a game about of economy, it's a game about many things, economy is just one of it's focuses, so when people see a oversimplified version of the exact same system seen in one of their previous games, HoI4, they are left wondering why are we even wasting time playing this barebones version of the same thing they have made before? I mean, sure, you can click a few factory icons from time to time, that's great, but why aren't all the features they have already discovered, and developed, already in the game? Why is there no logistics? No railway systems? No units? No tactics? etc...

Ck3 doesn't need a few adjustments, it needs a major overhaul in the warfare front, it is one of, if not THE most important aspect of any game of it's genre, most conflicts, and most things a player can achieve in any of these games can, and often is preferably done through warfare, alternative ways of playing are fine and can enrich the game, but they function like seasoning, there's no point in adding any of it when the main plate is just lacking.
people keep making memes in reddit => profit
changing game systems to please old fans => not profit

I don't think the warfare will change soon, not before they running out of idea for themed DLCs.
 
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Hey, I have an idea: how about tying MaAs to knights? When you call a vassal as knight to your army, you also get the same MaAs as his own, just weaker (effectiveness modifiers depend on vassal contracts). That would simulate the vassals bringing their own retinues to serve the feudal army.
 
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I mean, I understand why you're saying this, as a player we can simply create the perfect proportion to trigger the exact tactics we want, using cultural retinues with increased stats, all in one flank to trample over the opposition and then take down the other 2 battlefields with that one extremely potent unit, isn't it?
You make a small error in army comp, and suddenly a bad tactic is unlocked to be rolled.

Like, the platonic ideal of the system might have been marvellous, but the actual implementation was infuriating to deal with.
 
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