Well people, what do you know? I needed a break from the Stellaris crunch, so here’s an unscheduled dev diary! All the hubbub about Defensive Pacts and Shattered Retreats got me thinking about an old ambition I’ve had to improve the game set-up screens in order to allow players to customize their experience without having to resort to modding. The idea is inspired by games like Civilization and the Second Wave DLC for XCOM: Enemy Unknown, which allow players to change various advanced options and settings for a different experience in the game. I really like such options and typically make good use of them myself.
Now, of course there is such a thing as “the way the game was meant to be played”. That is, how the designers made the game and like to play it themselves. However, variety is the spice of life, and after 11 Crusader Kings II expansions things are not as clear-cut anymore. It’s actually pretty funny that I’ve been using a small personal mod for CK2 for awhile myself. There are some downsides to modding and using mods though:
It requires awareness that it’s possible, and where to find existing mods. The modding scene is a jungle.
It takes a modicum of extra effort and skill.
It might not feel quite legitimate (it can feel a bit like cheating) and you might not get any Achievements.
Mods typically do not have the same level of support as the base game. Many become fossilized or are otherwise problematic.
For these reasons especially, I think that adding a bunch of Paradox-approved, fully supported in-game rule variations is a good idea. Thus, when you start a new game, you are now presented with several interesting options. Most of them are simple flavor variations, but some are more fundamental and will disable Achievements in Ironman mode. Here’s the list of options we are currently showing in the new screen (still a work in progress though):
Sandbox vs Ironman
Shattered Retreats: On/Off
Defensive Pacts: On/Off
Gender Equality: Default/Historical/AllPlayers
Sunset Invasion: 13th Century/Random/Off
Mongol Invasion: Historical/Random/Off
“Supernatural” Events: On/Off
Provincial Revolts: Normal/Rare/None
De Jure Drift: Default/Restricted/Off
Dynamic Kingdoms and Empires: On/Off
Diplomatic Range: On/Off
Our new rule system is itself fully moddable, so that modders can use the same system with pretty much any options they might want!
I look forward to your thoughts and comments. Are there any rule variations you think we’ve missed, or that you would really like to see?
We are still discussing how to proceed with the dev diaries for CK2 and what we can and cannot talk about before the next expansion is actually announced. So, we shall see what next week will bring… One thing I can talk about though, is something that has been a bone of contention since the release of the the previous expansion, Conclave. I’m thinking of the “Call to Arms” mechanic that we cut from the game. As you know, since the Conclave update, allies are automatically dragged into wars and given no option to refuse. Now, I have explained why we did it and what we hoped this would achieve in another post, but the fact of the matter is, it was a poor decision. That’s why we are going to add the old system back, though with some adjustments… Declining a Call now has very serious consequences:
The Alliance and the Non-Aggression Pact are broken.
You lose half your current Prestige, plus 200 (same as truce breaking.)
Adds an “Alliance Breaker” Character modifier lasting 15 years that lowers the opinions of all vassals by -10 and all foreign rulers by -25.
You get a -50 opinion penalty with the calling ruler and his or her close family (including the spouse that allowed the alliance in the first place.)
The AI will basically never dishonor an alliance, but we will see what we can do about it stupidly over-committing troops (which has always been a problem, really.)
On a somewhat related note, we will also add an action to break a Non-Aggression Pact. It has similar effects to breaking an alliance, but slightly less severe. It also adds a one-year truce.
That’s about that… Now then, as some of you might know, these days we actually have a dedicated Audio Director at Paradox; a fact I think you’re soon going to notice even in good old CK2. I’ll leave you with this sample of his depraved work.
We interrupt the regular program for this short broadcast from the Game Director. That is, me. I was planning to talk about something completely different (and admittedly of more substance), but we decided to hold on off on that for a bit. Instead, bear with me as I wax slightly philosophical and delve into the twin personalities of Crusader Kings. Now, that might sound like a diagnosis of mental illness, but it’s actually a beautiful thing that makes the game unique. I often think of Crusader Kings as a potted plant. The pot is the strategy game and the plant is the role-playing aspects, and every time you play the game, the plant grows differently, pruned by player actions… like a Bonsai Tree.
The pot and the soil cannot be neglected, for the roots of the plant - the “story engine” - need to be contained and nurtured by sound rules and balanced mechanics. Strategy games provide fertile soil indeed for captivating drama through their most defining features; freedom of action and conflict. Engaging conflict among a multitude of players and AI actors is really the key to the success of Crusader Kings II, for it causes such amusing stories to emerge and grow.
It should come as no surprise, though, that hybrid games like this tend to attract two rather different kinds of players; those who seek domination through mental acuity and those who are mostly in it for the ride (and everything in between, of course.) This poses an interesting challenge for us, the developers, because we have to expand on the game in ways that will suit both types. As you know, we have wavered back and forth between almost pure RPG expansions like Way of Life and strategic expansions, like Conclave, but we can never seem to please everyone (which is, of course, why we love mods and modders so much!)
Is there a point to all this? Not really, but perhaps you can guess what kind the next expansion will be…
That’s all for now! There should be some actual revelations next time, so stay tuned. :)
Hello all. I decided that my thoughts on phones last week didn’t really count as a DD, so we are still on #2.This week I’m going to talk about a new set of features we’ve made for the upcoming but as of yet unannounced DLC: Symptoms, diseases, and doctors.
Firstly, doctors, or more accurately, Court Physicians. Court Physician is a new minor title which you can give out to a well-learned person which makes them responsible for diagnosing and treating illnesses in your court.
Now, symptoms! No longer will you simply become “Ill” through an event, instead you will receive one of a variety of symptoms and over time you could become sicker, either you will gain more symptoms or they will evolve into a full blown disease, or perhaps you simply just had a cough and it will pass in time. When you first get a symptom if you have a Court Physician they will first attempt to diagnose what the cause is, and then administer a treatment - if their diagnosis was correct it’s more likely the treatment will be successful.
Here we can see the unfortunate Doge Orso becoming unwell:
The full list of symptoms is: Cough, Fever, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Headache, Chest Pain, Rash, Cramps, Abdominal pain, Fatigue, Malaise.
Depending on a number of factors your symptoms may well manifest into a disease. We’ve added some more diseases too: Flu, Dysentery, Gout, Food Poisoning (not a disease exactly), Rabies, and Cancer.
As we can see, Cassio was right, Orso did have Food Poisoning! I skipped over a few more symptoms appearing, and here they are removed and replaced with the Food Poisoning trait.
At this point your Court Physician will call on you again to offer further treatment. This part is a bit more involved, and depending on the skill and traits of your Court Physician they can offer you up to 4 choices of treatment method: Experimental, Mystic, Proven, or Cautious:
Experimental treatments tend to involve radical methods and/or surgery and very much depend on the skill of your Court Physician. Results will likely be very good or very bad depending on how it goes.
Mystical treatments are offered by Court Physicians with the Mystic trait and often involves an appeal to a higher power. Because of the capricious nature of spirits, or possibly due to the mind-altering substances used to contact them, Mystical treatments may result in strange outcomes, and can even result in a change of personality in the patient. The power of faith is strong though, and when Mystical treatment goes well it can go very well indeed.
Proven treatments represent the tried and true methods which are well-known to work (at least for a given value of “work”). They rarely go too badly wrong, but equally they do not have a huge effect when they go right.
Cautious treatments are very safe, but often do little more than make you more comfortable. They will almost always be successful, but have a fairly minor effect.
Here Orso has the choice of Experimental or Proven treatments, or of doing nothing. Since Food Poisoning isn't terribly serious, it would make sense to take the Proven treatment rather than risk the Experimental method, but Cassio is a pretty good Court Physician, so he might well succeed. So, which should I pick? [S]If anyone would like to vote on the matter, start your post with "Experimental", or "Proven" and in a short while I will count the votes and post what happens.[/s]
Well Experimental has won by a landslide, let's see how it goes:
Oh dear. Cassio's experimental surgery seems to have been a total success, but the anesthesia didn't fully take hold...
And that’s basically it, we hope that people with <secret DLC> will enjoy the process of getting sick and horribly dying. Next week Doomdark will talk about some interesting details of the 2.6 patch.
I want to present our new team for the upcoming CK2 expansion. It changed quite a lot since the last expansion so it might be interesting for you to hear a bit about who are currently working on the project. You might recognize some people while others are completely new.
Anona: I am the project lead, which means I prioritize bugs, tasks, and other requests to us while keeping track of deadlines, following up budget and listening to various stakeholders in the project. I’m very excited for the upcoming expansion! If you want to hear me die, listen here ['http](thanks to our audio guy!).
Moah: I’m Tech Lead on CK2, and I joined the team as a programmer for the Conclave expansion. I’m in charge of adding new features, both directly to the game, and for Content Designers to use, and to make sure we don’t get crashes or other code-related bugs. Before joining Paradox, I’d been playing CK2 and EU4 for a while, so I’m really excited to be here.
Markuso: I am a Content Designer, I mainly create as many new events as possible when not busy fixing bugs or implementing some quality of life improvements through script.
IsakMiller: I’m one of the recent additions to the team, along with Virvatuli. I am a Content Designer, very happy to have joined the team, and eager to see our events in the expansion.
Virvatuli: I started working at Paradox last Tuesday as a Content Designer alongside IsakMiller. During our first week on the job we’ve done plenty of obscure research, written some witty events and tried to not get lost in the office.
Rageair, I work as embedded QA on the CK2 project and have done so since Horse Lords. I'm very passionate about the game and played it a lot even before I started at Paradox, though now I play it even more than I used to! My primary concern is to find, categorize and judge the severity of bugs, though I also help out with other things on the side. For example, I helped design the layout of the new Law Screen in Conclave.
Grimjotun: I’m the artist, responsible for the visual parts. I’m fairly new at Paradox but I’ve been in the game industry for a long time.
Servancour: I’m working as embedded QA on CK2. I’ve been working at Paradox for over two years and mainly been working on CK2 for that time. Which also happens to be my favorite game, so I know pretty much everything there is to know about all obscure mechanics in the game.
Darkrenown: I’m a Content Designer, and people may know me from HoI3 and V2 expansions, HoI4, or the wondrous creations of the Mothland and Secret bears. Now I’m working on CK2 for the first time (besides a very brief stint pre-release!) and am charged with making sure new stuff fits together well and is fun. You can also hear me die['http]. While I’m here I’m also going to repeat the changes 2.5.2 made to Defensive Pacts, because not everyone seems to have noticed how they have changed:
Defensive Pacts are now separated by religious groups, and at first other Pacts won’t care if one attacks the other and will only defend members of their own Pact. At higher levels of Threat (50%+), however, Pacts of other religious groups will band together when any one of them is attacked. At the highest levels even your co-religionists may feel the need to join forces with infidels against you.
Threat also affects both the size of Realms which can join a Pact against you, and the how far away from you they can be. At low levels of Threat only small and close neighbours will be worried enough to form a Pact, but as it rises larger and more distant realms will join. AI nations will never join a Defensive Pact against a Realm whom they have equal or greater troop strength than, though.
As the new name should suggest, Defensive Pacts are entirely defensive in nature, members of a Pact can never call each other into an offensive war against the target. If you find yourself the target of a Pact, it is not the end of the world. Non-Aggression Pacts will stop a realm from joining a Defensive pact against you, or cause them to drop out if they have already joined, and favors can be used to gain even cross-religion marriages (to form NAPs ). And remember, so long as you are below 50% Threat you only need to deal with a single religion group’s Pact, and below 75% your own religion group’s pact will not join with infidels’, so wise target selection will avoid fighting too many opponents unless you are at the highest levels of Threat.