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gja102

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It’ll be interesting to see how POPS work in Imperator. I don’t get the sense that they’ve been designed as a block on blobbing, necessarily, but if nothing else they should be easy to mod and will make the demographic side of things easier to engage with.

Slightly off-topic, but since we are talking about the hows and whys of making conquest harder…

From a gameplay perspective, putting anything in the way of the standard video game snowballing means that players will see stagnation and setbacks, even if they are doing well. This is extremely difficult to implement without sparking frustration. If you are adding systems that do this, the emphasis needs to be on making interesting choices, rather than a stark success / failure binary… essentially offering at least *some* rewards to a player to make losing fun (or at least tolerable).

For example, conquering the hill tribes: I guess the reward is painting the map, but the negative is that they will become a resource sink for centuries if they aren’t kept loyal. If you fail to conquer them and keep them at arms length… well, you have to pay them off occasionally, or get raided, but you also get access to hassle-free mercenary troops. And if you actually end up losing to them in a great invasion… well, they’ll probably take up residence in your capital, so you can have an interesting game with a new government type that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

In short - making winning a lot harder is a good idea, but only if you offer consolation prizes for not winning. Realistically that means adding depth to systems (e.g. POPS) so that the games go beyond being 'just' map painters.
 

Avian Overlord

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I wonder if the "civilization rating" in Imperator could be used to model some of this.
 

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Does anybody here play the M2TW mod: SSHIP?

Just do something similar and make shithole provinces a resource sink. There's a chance you can develop them to be profitable if you're willing to put in the effort and time to manage them.
 

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Stellaris has admin cap, EU4 max number of states/state maintenance, CK2 demesne/vassal limits. These things limit the desirability to grab poor land.
The remaining issue from the OP is basically about inflation - rich countries pay more than poor countries. And that tends to cause problems - since it is a tax on success.
You could increase the income difference between the rich and poor states at start, and start the rich with a certain level of inflation (in EU4 - not sure how this would work in other games), but I doubt it would achive much...
 

BeyondExpectation

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Stellaris has admin cap, EU4 max number of states/state maintenance, CK2 demesne/vassal limits. These things limit the desirability to grab poor land.
Despite the ham-fisted way they tend to be part of the game, I'm actually a comparatively big fan of all these features. Nonetheless, CK2's demesne limit is (much like, say, overextention in EU4) very annoying when it stops a bunch of scenarios which actually occurred from happening. Philip II of France, for instance, had a royal domain several times larger than the maximum possible in-game. That the games need additional anti-blobbing mechanics, many of which I actively dislike, is a problem.

The remaining issue from the OP is basically about inflation - rich countries pay more than poor countries. And that tends to cause problems - since it is a tax on success.
games), but I doubt it would achive much...
What problems would it cause, besides making things like world conquest as hard as they should be?
 
Last edited:

Avian Overlord

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What problems would it cause, besides making things like world conquest as hard as they should be?
One of the problems with "taxes on success" in games like Paradox's, is that since players know about them, they can metagame and plan around them. Like not conquering any land until you can core it in EU4. And given that time is a plentiful commodity in Paradox games, players can often do the exact same ridiculous imperialism as before, just a lot more slowly.
 

Mr Nobody

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One of the problems with "taxes on success" in games like Paradox's, is that since players know about them, they can metagame and plan around them. Like not conquering any land until you can core it in EU4. And given that time is a plentiful commodity in Paradox games, players can often do the exact same ridiculous imperialism as before, just a lot more slowly.
I don't see how that contradicts OP's point.
 

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One of the problems with "taxes on success" in games like Paradox's, is that since players know about them, they can metagame and plan around them. Like not conquering any land until you can core it in EU4. And given that time is a plentiful commodity in Paradox games, players can often do the exact same ridiculous imperialism as before, just a lot more slowly.
This does sound like an issue; the way I see it working is players in poor areas massively blobbing over other poor areas until they're strong enough to take the rich areas. Nonetheless, it still prevents large rich empires from being unstoppable juggernauts, preventing the game from being boring in player hands and ensuring realism in AI ones.
 

Avian Overlord

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This does sound like an issue; the way I see it working is players in poor areas massively blobbing over other poor areas until they're strong enough to take the rich areas. Nonetheless, it still prevents large rich empires from being unstoppable juggernauts, preventing the game from being boring in player hands and ensuring realism in AI ones.
I was more worrying about Persia conquering Afghanistan in a pattern of take one province, consolidate for 10 years, repeat.
 

gja102

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Yes, I agree that the anti-blobbing mechanics are a problem if they just slow things down and prevent real-world conquests from actually happening.

An ideal system would allow for occasional periods of rapid expansion, or rapid collapse, but that were still underpinned by predictable systems that weren't unfair to the player.

I think that modelling POPS and demographic challenges in taking new diverse lands is only part of the solution. Nearly all empire-building games depict the warring countries as being driven by pure, pragmatic imperialism, conquering anything they can, by virtue of 'might makes right'. There's some truth in that, but its not the whole story.

Empires are built on ideas, too. Whether based on a certain government type, a region, a nationality or language, or a particular religion, some things are integral to their identity and what they can do... but should also dictate what they cannot do. England can invade neighboring Wales on security grounds, or even a shared Britishness... but if England invades, say, Denmark, it is going to have a much harder time justifying it. I know there is already a requirement in Paradox games to justify wars, but there should also be a requirement to justify why you are holding a particular province at any given time. If you can't justify why you are holding a province, you should seriously risk losing it.

CK2 already does this to some extent, with the game rule that removes distant holdings on ruler death if you have no reason to have blobbed there in the first place. I wonder if something similar could be exported to other titles - kind of a replacement for the coring system, but based on a battle of ideas.

This would stop the tedious creep of Persia into Afghanistan one province at a time. Persia could either claim some Afghan border provinces in the interests of having a buffer... or they could save up the idea points and spend them in a glorious declaration of imperial overlordship, and claim the entire region in one go. This would make empire-building similar to a house of cards, though... if another power like Russia moved in, or a local Afghan rebellion proved that Perisa wasn't the rightful ruler, then the influence in that region could collapse overnight. The bigger you get, the more you have to compromise or water down your founding ideals to justify holding larger and larger areas of the globe. I think this would help the AI assess and manage threats, too, similar to the rivals system.
 

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Maybe not, but on the other hand it could make a Crusader Kings world conquest an actual achievement in game mastery rather than an exercise in patience.
The #1 WC player complaint about "anti-blobbing mechanics" as they stand right now is precisely that the only thing they really challenge is patience.

If blobbing is leaving the game, gameplay to replace it must follow. EU 4 has consistently failed to do that, and it seesaws on how easy blobbing is (trending towards easier over time overall). EU 4 is presently egregious with its mandated waiting around though.

If we're to have some kind of economy management contingent on land quality it would need depth far beyond what most of the post-common-sense mechanics have introduced.
 

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If blobbing is leaving the game, gameplay to replace it must follow.
I agree with your whole post; I just want to add that Crusader Kings 2 has a bunch of realm/family management gameplay that can and should be expanded on in the sequel to make blobbing even less necessary for fun.
 

Stratagyfan101

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Despite the ham-fisted way they tend to be part of the game, I'm actually a comparatively big fan of all these features. Nonetheless, CK2's demesne limit is (much like, say, overextention in EU4) very annoying when it stops a bunch of scenarios which actually occurred from happening. Philip II of France, for instance, had a royal domain several times larger than the maximum possible in-game. That the games need additional anti-blobbing mechanics, many of which I actively dislike, is a problem.
It's been a while since I really played CKII, so forgive my ignorance, but isn't the demense a soft cap? That is going over hurts relations with vassals.
 

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It's been a while since I really played CKII, so forgive my ignorance, but isn't the demense a soft cap? That is going over hurts relations with vassals.
It is a soft cap, but it does things other than hurt relations with vassals (you get less money, and I think there are other effects as well) and the effects are strong enough that Philip II's demesnes size is a huge handicap and he would have been a moron not to give a large majority of it away.
 

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It's why China and the Roman Empire payed attackers to avoid them rather than paying their own people to fight them off; the barbarians will be satisfied with a little money (which for them is a lot) while paying your own subjects enough to make being part of the army a satisfying prospect is very expensive. This is further enhanced by the fact that, as the rich country is (or at least seems) a nicer place to live than the poor one, much of the poor country's population will be part of its army with the expectation of settling in the rich one, giving the mongols and goths vast armies compared to China and the Roman Empire.
What theories are you basing this analysis on? Just personal opinion? If you know some schoalrship on this topic I would love to take a look at it.
 

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People should stop talking about WC players.
You should know most achievements are blob here as X nation.

So you should say "achievement/wc-players", but then add most Ironman players too.
So just say "offline players"

When you complain about blobbing you are complaining about offline players achieving things that were impossible in history.

You are not complaining about how easy the game is, otherwise you wouldn't be referring to "wcplayers" as "them", you don't say "hey, I want a challenge" you are pointing "hey, I want this guys to stop posting WCs"

That's why there's so much discussion, because there's an "us vs them" mentality regarding WCs.

It just seems as if bad players are complaining.
 

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Empire stability.
For CK2 it is mostly alrightish, but Muslims covert too much and as a result become too stable. And you can't reconquer a converted land.
In EU4 there are mercenaries... and a lack of internal politics. It is especially noticeable with PLC which is too stable and centralized.
Victoria 2 is about economic blobbing - and there are flaws with limited resources, markets being too shared and of course migration. Still it is the best game out of all them, sadly just not too popular. If I were to make Victoria 3, I would also allow player to pursue steampank and alternative history (resources, techs and such including). Add to this random Africa... All to attract noons scared of pop mechanic!