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Dev Diary #58 - Interest Revisions

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Hello and welcome to yet another Victoria 3 development diary. Today is going to be a fairly brief dev diary discussing some design changes in diplomacy that happened as a result of internal playtesting and feedback, specifically to the mechanics of Interests and their significance in the game.

Interests, as you may recall from Dev Diary #19, are essentially a country having a diplomatic presence in a particular Strategic Region, either as a result of owning territory there, having a subject that owns territory there, or through a Declared Interest. Back then, Interests merely limited where you start Diplomatic Plays and Establish Colonies, and acted as a guide for the AI in terms of which countries it needed to care about.

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With so many Great Powers maintaining Interests there, Europe is a perilous place to start a Diplomatic Play in.

So, what has changed between then and now? Well, basically, playtesting revealed two principal issues with Interests in the game. The first was that they simply didn’t feel significant enough, because they only tied directly into colonization and diplomatic plays. The second was that the number of declared Interests a country had available to them was based solely on rank, which meant that Austria with its miniscule navy was able to maintain almost as global a presence as the British with their, well, definitely not so miniscule navy.

To solve the first problem, we decided to do a little experiment - what if instead of just limiting colonization and diplomatic plays, Interests were required for all forms of diplomacy, up to and including trade? This was an idea we’d kicked around previously, but the concern was that it’d simply be too limiting, particularly where trade was concerned, because as mentioned, the only way to get more Interests was to increase your country rank, and once you were a Great Power, well that was it. No more trade partners, at least not of your own choosing.

The solution to the second problem, then, turned out to also be the key to the first one: tying the navy directly into declared Interests. The number of declared Interests from rank were reduced, and instead, Naval Bases now produce declared Interests, with one declared Interest provided per 10 flotillas that a country has. In other words, while Austria can now maintain a handful of declared Interests around Europe to look out for its national interests (pun intended), the size of Britain’s fleet allows it to poke its nose into the business of just about any corner of the world that it wants to.

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Spain’s navy may not be what it once was, but it’s still large enough to allow the Spanish a greater diplomatic reach than their Major Power rank would otherwise allow.

With this change made, our experiment truly came together, and allowed us to greatly expand the scope of the Interest mechanic. Instead of just being a requirement for taking over land, Interests now signify a formal diplomatic presence in a region without which you simply do not have the ability to interact with that region at all - no French diplomats in Southeast Asia means no French diplomacy in Southeast Asia.

In no particular order, here are all the mechanics that now tie into Interests:

  • Diplomatic Plays & Colonization:

As before, a country must have an Interest in a region to start a Diplomatic Play or begin colonizing there.

  • Diplomatic Actions:

To conduct diplomacy with a country, you must now have at least one overlapping Interest - meaning they must have an Interest in any strategic region where you also have an Interest. For example, Texas can conduct diplomacy with Britain if Britain maintains an Interest in the Dixie Region, even if Texas has no Interests outside the Dixie region.

  • Trade:

To establish a trade route between two markets, one of the two market owners has to have an Interest in any region where the other market is present. For example, if the USA maintains an Interest in La Plata where the Argentine market is present, then Argentina and the USA can trade with each other, even if Argentina doesn’t have an Interest anywhere in North America.

  • Notifications:

You will only be informed about diplomatic going-ons between countries with which you have an overlapping Interest, and in states where you have an Interest in the region.

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As much as the Sikh Empire might desire European allies against Britain, their landlocked position limits their options - without a coast they will have to wait for one of those powers to take an interest in North India

Ultimately, the result of these changes were threefold: It made Interests a far more central mechanic to the game, it increased the need for maintaining a large fleet-in-being for empires with global ambitions, and it increased immersion by having who you could and could not deal with simply make more sense. An isolated Bhutan in the Himalayas now truly feels isolated, rather than inexplicably being able to send embassies to Paraguay at a whim.

That’s it for today! I’ll be back next week with another Dev Diary on a hotly anticipated topic: The AI of Victoria 3.

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