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News & Updates

2023-11-14

Millennia | Community Q&A

Hello everyone, unfortunately there isn’t a Developer Diary this week. Our next one will be Economy Part One on the 28th of November. But we do have something to share with you today!

We recently asked you over on our discord server for your questions and you didn’t disappoint. Here’s our answers and if you have any questions head on over to the Millennia Discord where we’ll be asking for more questions soon.

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Question: Will we see real issues such as climate change being depicted throughout the ages? How would this work?

Answer: We take inspiration from real-world things, so you should be playing with “real issues.”  A strength of that is that it helps guide toward intuitive mechanics where you can understand relationships and think about options without having to consider things through a lens of more abstract rules.

We have some content in a number of Ages (Utopia and Dystopia come to mind), that touch on themes like climate change and we have some powers that allow types of “terraforming.” 

That said, I’d argue that we aren’t really using climate change (not the way I think you might be asking about it, anyway).  We are designed to add things like this in as we expand, a full climate change mechanic just wasn’t on our list for the initial release.   

Question: Will there be more Ages added in later dlc?

Answer: Yes.

Question: Which is your favourite Age and any particular reasons for that?

Answer: It’s hard for me to pick favourites.  I like Visitors – I think it’s a fun idea and a good example of how the Age model allows Millennia to provide a unique, fun experience.

Question: Are there any plans for any magic based ages?

Answer: Not really.  Millennia is a historical game.   The vision for the alternate history Ages is to base things on historical “what if” scenarios.  That’s not an irrefutable definition – I could easily argue that our “what ifs” in things like Alchemy or Aether are “magic” if I wanted to.  

So, there’s some intangible “feel” involved.  I’d say that a lot of how we look at it is to think about the perception of the Age from a historical standpoint.

In the case of Aether, if you look at material about what the future was going to be like done by people in the late 1800s, early 1900s, you’ll find a lot of sketches of world capitals with flying cars, flying ships, and flying buildings filling the sky.  That’s what they thought it would be.  So, it feels like a “historical” fit for us because it has that kind of “by the 1950s, we’ll take rockets to work at our office on the moon” tone – it didn’t happen that way, but here’s an Age that explores what it might have been like if it had.

Question: I have no idea what the ”Age of Archangel” could you please explain?

Answer: It is Archangels now … this is what we named a space-based weapon that is a centerpiece of the Age.  This is a Victory Age and involves winning by having the majority population on the planet, something you can do by out-growing the other Nations … or, you know, by using the aforementioned Archangel array.  We just liked Age of Archangels more than “Age of Space Lasers.”  

Question: If a variant ages happens. How much of an impact will that have during later ages? 

E.g. If we go through the Age of Aether, will subsequent ages still unlock new Aether themed units? Will things that have been built stay Aether-y but no new aether related things unlock, or does everything get turned to "normal" after the age?

Answer: It depends on the specific Variant.  In general, the design approach for the Ages was to identify things that were different during the Age itself, things that were different because of the Variant for a time after the Age, and things that had long-term impact.

Other than Age-specific rules, things do not suddenly “change back” when a Variant or Crisis Age ends.  Upgrade lines can provide options to replace some of these things as a game progresses -- things you can build in a Variant Age can be great for that Age but can be surpassed by later Age options and you might end up replacing the Variant content with new stuff (still, the use of what the Variant Age provided changed the overall course of the game by giving you more, less, or different “stuff” relative to the other possibilities).

Other options from Variant Ages can persist through the game.  Air Taxis from Age of Aether are a good source of Luxury – you might have them around for the rest of the game.  Aether is a good source of Power – you might gather it for the rest of the game. 

Question: Will the terrain change with ages? Like finding new ores in civ. And are they influenced by the kind of age? Like the age of plague making fresh water more important.

Answer: There are Goods that are revealed as the game progresses or when certain Ages are entered into (or certain National Spirits are selected).  

Question: Are some age combinations impossible? Like is it impossible for me to go from the Age of Ecology to the Age of Floods because by definition I’m doing such a good job taking care of the environment by being in this age.

Answer: What is being described here is basically conditions and since all Ages have some kind of requirements, those could make anything “impossible.”  Plague, for example, is based on not dealing with Sanitation, so if you deal with Sanitation, you make it “impossible” to go from Iron to Plague.

Structurally, Ages are limited by their space on the timeline – it’s impossible to move from Renaissance (6) to Stone (1), for example.  Branching Ages also collapse back (most of the time) to the next standard Age, which makes progression from Variant or Crisis to another Variant or Crisis impossible.

Question: Is there an Age of Chivalry?

Answer: Maybe?  There is no Age (now) called “Chivalry” but there is an Age I think fits the bill – Age of Kings in 4. 

Question: What National Spirits are in the Stone Age?

Answer: None (now).  The first National Spirit choice is in the second Age.

Question: How detailed is the industrial era and industrialization and as well as factories on Millennia?

Answer: There are mechanics and content (and an Age) that represent this.  New Goods, Factories, Power becomes a Need as you industrialize…  Depends on what you mean by “detailed”?

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Question: Will techs become completely obsolete, or will their effects still be visible many ages later?

Answer: In general, Technologies do not become obsolete from a game mechanical perspective.  There are Techs that aren’t of the same value when researched in Age 8 compared to having them in Age 2.

Question: How many techs are shared between variant ages? The latest short shows that Smelting is shared between Heroes and Blood, while Construction is shared between Iron and Heroes. Is it something like half the techs? I can certainly imagine Smelting, Horses, and Construction being shared between all three of the Age 3 variants

Answer: I have a sense for it but not in a way that I could swear “20.9% “or anything.  I just asked Game Designer Ben and he said about two per Age.  I was looking at some of the Age 9s before I wrote this and there were two in there, so those tracks.

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Question: Is there an Alien Civilization/Nation?

Answer: Not a playable one (now).

Question: Will there be civics/policies/laws that will distinguish your government from other nations with the same government type?

Answer: Yes?  There aren’t things that are entirely unique to two Nations that both adopt the same Government, but Governments have Ideals and can vary in applicability.  You and I could have the same Government, but you could fully unlock yours and play to its strengths while I do other things – we’d have the same Government but you’d be pretty different.  In the late game, Factions also come into play with Governments. 

Question: Will there be a separate ethnic map and can it influence your empire if there are many nationalities in it?

Answer: No. This is not modeled as of now. 

Question: If you occupy an area from another, will the inhabitants of the nation try to revolt

Answer: When you occupy an area, it becomes a Vassal.  Vassals have to achieve a level of Integration before they can become full Regions.  Vassals that are taken via conquest require substantially more Integration than Vassals established via something like Settlers.

Question: Will it be possible to assimilate nationalities?

Answer: No, not at launch, not in the way I imagine you are thinking about it.

Question: Will there be a migration effect?

Answer: The Needs system represents migration effects.  When Needs aren’t met, people leave, when Needs are met, people flow in.  

Question: How will a peace negotiation work? Will it be possible for other nations to be created?

Answer: “Splinter” Nations can be formed if a Region revolts after Unrest gets to very high levels.

Diplomacy is still a little early at this point, but it can be used to end hostilities. 

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Question: Are there "wonders" like in other 4x games i.e. big projects or buildings requiring large investments of resources for a large return, typically embodying some historical wonder like the Colossus of Rhodes or the Library of Alexandria?

Answer: Wonders exists, but in a different way than in other 4X games. A wonder potentially comes from  the empire Innovation system, that grants them (the Colossus of Rhodes is one of these).  We also have “megaprojects” which are more involved multi-stage constructions – the Space Race is a megaproject, for example.    

Question: Are there monuments specific to ages? As in whichever ages you go into, specific monuments/wonders can be locked away.

E.g: In the Age of Heroes there is the Knossos Labyrinth, etc.

Answer: Yes, some are exclusive.  A lot of Innovation (and Chaos) events are Age-specific.

Question: Are there wonders of the world available to build (ie Pyramids, Stonehenge, Easter Island statues, etc)?

Answer: Yes, but, as above, generally not with the same mechanics.  (Pyramids are part of the God-King Dynasty National Spirit.)

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Question: Will we be able to access other instances of the map or regions? Like the sky, seafloor, underground, space…

Answer: No, not in the way I read this question.  Sea, air, and space are involved in the game and there are some things that show specific information about these, but there isn’t (now) a button you press to see and interact with a “space layer” or the like.

Question: Will there be new world/colonization mechanics?

Answer: It depends on what you mean / how you define this?  There are specific mechanics for founding new settlements and expansion, there are Nationals Spirits that focus more on “colonization”, and there are things that represent other people in the world, but there is not a specific old world / new world division or mechanic. 

Question: Will the landmarks be based on real world landmarks?

Answer: There are landmarks based on / named after real-world landmarks.

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Question: Will multiplayer be available at launch?

Answer: Local and online hotseat multiplayer will be available at launch.  Additional multiplayer support is planned.

Question: How long does one campaign usually take?

Answer: Depends on player and strategy, settings, map size, difficulty – I’d say 5-15 hours as an average with a lot of range in either direction depending on specifics.

Question: Is the game meant to be complex or casual?

Answer: Millennia is meant to be deep, not complex, but I wouldn’t call it a “casual game” either way. 

Question: Will there be game modes (tech shuffle, myth unit mode)?

Answer: We are focused on getting the core gameplay right before we start tweaking things like this.  Let’s get the engine running before we put on some cool rims.

Question: Is there any other way of winning besides out-ageing / beating your neighbours?

Answer: Every Victory Age has specific victory conditions.  Out-ageing other Nations can be an advantage for having access to techs or being able to set the Age, but tech costs (including Age-up costs) are reduced based on how far things have advanced and how many other Nations have a Technology, so you’re also making progress faster / cheaper for the Nations you leave behind.  (I am positive we are going to find some tech-focused strategies we need to better balance but we have a number of tools for this.)

Question: Is this going to be so hard to learn (like HOI4) or more playable for the gamer that only has 8 - 10 hours a week to play (like Civ 6)

Answer: Easy to play, hard to master. We generally introduce mechanics over time so players can learn as they go and we’ve been refining UI, tooltip format, Infopedia entries, and help messages based on player feedback for a while now.  It’s an intentionally deep game with a lot of things in it, so it is going to have some curve, but we keep approachability in mind as we develop.

Question: Will the game have an espionage system and/or intel system?

Answer: We have a few things you might generously call intel (like fog of war, and some National Spirit abilities / Culture Powers), but Millennia does not have what we would call an espionage system as of today.

Question: How many different goods types are there? As in like how many goods are food, utility, luxury, etc? I ask this question because you guys said in a video there are 100 unique goods in the game. And I just would like a deeper understanding of how many of these goods are truly unique? Or is it just dependent on what your region is for you to get certain goods? In example you live in a region with less wheat and more game so you sell mainly meat as a good over bread. 

Answer: 130ish Goods icons in the game right now.  Goods lines are intended to have some context around a number of factors – how much infrastructure does this Good take, what is the upper limit of what it can be refined into, how flexible is it, what National Spirits does it work well with, what does it do to other Needs, how many Improvements and workers does it take?  The intent of the lines is to produce different ways to achieve the same goals but with tradeoffs involved – I can build this line to get X sooner but I need to make that count by this point because after that I’ll be behind until I retool….

Question: Will there be religion like civ or other games alike? If yes, will they change/upgrade along with the ages? So going to the age of blood makes the religions more murderous while age of heroes makes them more quest based.

Answer: There is Religion and the various Ages, National Spirits, and Governments can change the tenor / importance of Religion. 

Question: What are late game factions based on? Like, are they based on values like stuff, for example Liberty-Equality being the 'anarcho-communist' faction, Progressive-Liberty-Equality being the 'anarcho-transhumanist' faction, Conservative-Authority-Hierarchy being the 'theocratic fascism' faction, etc?

Answer: Late game factions are associated with specific Governments.  These Governments have ideals that can help or hinder different strategies and Victory Age approaches.  The Faction aspect of this creates another dimension to think about before you pick, as all players with the same Government are in the same Faction (which doesn’t mean you are cooperating, but could mean that).

Question: Will we be able to build science buildings or is science and society bundled together? Aka is there a seperate science tree or is it just the ages culture unlocks

Answer: I don’t know exactly how to parse this question, sorry.  There are “science things.”  There are “society things.”  Some of these are distinct.  Some of these are bundled together.  Some of it comes from Governments, some from National Spirits, some from Techs.

Question: Would the game have controversial themes such as slavery, genocide, discrimination, terrorism, etc.?

Answer: Any game dealing with history will (sadly) involve some of these themes, directly or indirectly.  I’d say Millennia is about average in this regard. 

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Question: How will armies and diplomacy be managed during wars? I don’t know, secret pacts about entering the war on someone’s side, for example, or various purchases of weapons for the army(how do the units be supplied in general, you showed that, for example, from the same wood you can make paper for books or cut it into boards for construction, then there should probably be the production of different weapons from different materials).

Answer: Goods are not “supply” but rather resources used to produce Units / Armies or to support their use (and diplomatic efforts, for that matter) via the Domains.  If you produce a type of “war supply”, for example, it resolves into Warfare Domain which means you can use Warfare Domain Powers more often – you’re creating the supplies needed to do this.

Question: How will larger scale combat occur when considering units like archers catapults spearmen cavalry and swordsmen - are there counters? Is it simultaneous or turn based? Will  individual units cause damage to other individual ones or just apply damage in general? Also what about area of effect weapons? Will they feature?

Answer: We did a Dev Diary on combat that covers a lot of this: pdxint.at/3tQfLB8

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Question: On the topic of National Spirits: there is a bonus for selecting a NS not yet selected by anyone else (scaling with how many have already been selected). There also seem to be 8 NS in each set. Does that mean the typical player limit is 8, or do the 9th and following players to transition to the new age just have tough luck?

Answer: There are a few moving parts here.

When we originally implemented National Spirits, the selection was exclusive – after someone selected a National Spirit, it was removed from the set of options for other players.  There is still some discussion about this mechanic from time to time, primarily based on the feeling that it’s just more special if you are the One And Only, but the frustration of having plans derailed by sniped National Spirit was substantial.

So, we moved to non-exclusive, but then felt like the choice lacked a little depth.  The bonus surfaced as a way to “fuzz” choices a little more – in games like Millennia, it’s common for players to fall into comfortable patterns from past play, so one thing the bonus does is tweak the choices a bit, possibly getting you to consider a National Spirit you weren’t planning on because it comes with the bonus.  

In support of the original implementation / vision of the National Spirits, the bonus is applied to the Spirits that have not been taken (or are the least taken), the intent there being to make it more worthwhile to take National Spirits that have not been claimed yet – trying to accomplish that One And Only feel via a means other than hard exclusivity.

Since they are not exclusive, the number of National Spirits doesn’t limit Millennia to any particular number of players.  Players who pick last don’t really suffer any particular penalty – depending on how the Nations before them went, picking last has the potential for the highest bonuses.

Question: Will the buildings change based on national spirits and location?

Answer: There are unique buildings (and Units) that are part of National Spirits, but all of the buildings in your Nation don’t change based on the National Spirit that you pick.

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Question: Can we create our own maps?

Answer: No, you cannot do this (now). 

Question: Will we be able to tailor religions and cultures to our liking?

Answer: Game-mechanical customization, for (now), is limited.  Religions, for example, do not inherently have any bonuses associated with them (what they provide is derived from how spread them and meet Religion Needs).  The surrounding themes -- names of Religions, names of Nations, icons, flags, names of Towns – are selectable.  You can custom-name Religions, Capital names, and the like.

Question: Modding API, plans, anything, etc...?

Answer: Modding support is not in at launch.  It will come post-launch, however.

Question: Can we add more techs to a single era, so you have 20 techs in it? Or increase the total amount of ages that you play through within a single campaign?

Answer: No, you cannot do this (now). 

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Question: Will there be Russian language support?

Answer: CM Katten here, yes there will be Russian language support at release!

Question: Any plans for creating a game franchise? Is support for next generation consoles going to happen? Would we be able to see a mobile version of the game or a spin off version like Tropico mobile?

Answer: We would like nothing more than to get to continue to build on what we’ve done so far.   

Question: Could you please also include Italian as language? I see there are lots of languages and is disappointing to me to see this language isn't considered, especially with AI shoudn't be much work. Thanks

Answer: CM Katten here, at release it is not planned, but that of course does not exclude it potentially from the future. 

Question: When will the game be released?

Answer: Paradox will announce a date soon, I wager.

Question: How are you doing?

Answer: We are doing great, thanks for asking -- we’ve had awesome response from players, good things go into the game every day, Paradox is helping us to make a better game … the coffee maker works again.  The team is in high spirits.  We’re excited.

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