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Dev Diary #72 - Economic Law Changes in 1.2

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Hello and welcome to the second Victoria 3 dev diary for 2023! Today we’re going to continue talking about patch 1.2 for Victoria 3 (release date to be announced), on a topic that is closely related to last week’s dev diary, namely Economic Laws and how they have changed in 1.2. As we mentioned in Dev Diary #64, one of our post-release ambitions is to increase the differences in gameplay between different economic systems. What I mean by that is that there should be deeper mechanical differences between for example Laissez-Faire and Command Economy in terms of how they impact your country and the economic decisions you make. All of the existing Economic Laws have received changes in 1.2 and we’ve also added a new one, so I’m simply going to go through them one by one and explain how they work now.

Before I start however, I should mention a change that has happened since last week based on feedback we received on the Autonomous Investment dev diary. Several people pointed out that with a weighting system in place, there wasn’t really a need for hard restrictions on what the Investment Pool could fund under Autonomous Investment, and we agree! Thus, Autonomous Investment no longer has any restrictions on what profit-generating buildings can be built, just weighting based on who is investing and what they would want to invest in (as mentioned last week, if you’re running Agrarianism, expect a lot of farms). The restrictions still apply under Directly Controlled Investment however (and the tooltips will reflect this based on which setting you are using).

Traditionalism: Traditionalism in 1.2 is largely the same as before: A very backwards system that you should generally be trying to get out of. The main difference from 1.1 is that the Investment Pool isn’t disabled for Traditionalism, though you take a hefty penalty to investment efficiency (further reduced if you also have Serfdom) and the building types you can construct with the Investment Pool are highly curtailed if you are playing with Directly Controlled Investment.

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Interventionism: The ‘golden middle way’ of economic laws, Interventionism also isn’t extensively changed in 1.2: It provides no particular bonuses or penalties, but gives you the freedom to subsidize any and all building types as well as extensive options for the Investment Pool under Directly Controlled Investment, while providing a balanced allocation between Private and Government Construction Allocation under Autonomous Investment.

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Agrarianism: Agrarianism has received a fairly substantial boost in 1.2, with both the addition of Farmers as an investing Pop Type and a hefty bonus to the efficiency of all rural investments. Capitalists are now also not locked out of investing under Agrarianism, though they do so at a penalty and their building selection is quite limited if you’re playing with Directly Controlled Investment.

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Laissez-Faire: The invisible hand of the Free Market made manifest, Laissez-Faire in 1.2 is meant to be the go-to law for the player that wants to get the absolute most out of their Investment Pool when it comes to industrializing. It does come with some significant drawbacks though, as it is no longer possible to downsize non-government buildings under Laissez-Faire.

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Cooperative Ownership: A new Economic Law introduced in 1.2, Cooperative Ownership is now a fully fledged economic system instead of just being unlocked by becoming a Council Republic. Under Cooperative Ownership, all Pops working in a building receive an equal number of shares and Aristocrat/Capitalist jobs are eliminated. While this should lead to higher Standard of Living among the workforce, it also means far less money in the Investment Pool, as Farmers and Shopkeepers invest far less than their wealthier counterparts under other systems.

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Command Economy: Command Economy is the law that has received the largest (and most needed) overhaul under 1.2. Instead of being a frankly weird system where the Bureaucrats own the profits but you are required to subsidize them, Command Economy now makes use of a new system called Government Shares, which is used by the Government Run ownership production method. Just like how Pop Shares entitle Pops to a portion of a building’s dividends, Government Shares ensure that buildings pay some or all of their profits directly into the treasury - though in large economies this is subject to an efficiency modifier, with some of the money being wasted due to the inefficiencies inherent to large, heavily centralized systems. While this is not something we currently have a setup for in the base game, Government Shares can also freely be mixed with Pop Shares, so we’re looking forward to seeing what modders make with this!

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Another change you might have noticed when looking at the screenshots in this dev diary is that we have tied some economic laws more closely to a country’s Distribution of Power and Government Principles. For one, seizing the means of production is no longer a one-step reform into Council Republic, but rather a multi-step reform that involves first implementing a Council Republic, then Cooperative Ownership, and finally allows you to branch off into Anarchism if you so desire. Command Economy now also requires Autocracy or Oligarchy, as it’s difficult to pull off a fully centralized economy without the corresponding amount of centralized powers (and with the new Government Shares mechanic should provide more reasons to want to keep a grip on power in the late game).

So the question on everyone's mind is, when will you be able to play with these changes and all the other updates and fixes coming in 1.2? Some of these changes are pretty big and we don't want to rush this patch out too early, but at the same time we know you're anxious to get your hands on it. To find the right balance between these we've decided to launch patch 1.2 in open beta, which we will talk more about in next week's dev diary! In there we will also focus a bit more generally on patch 1.2, giving you more of a birds-eye view of what the patch will look like, along with giving you an expected release date.

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