Dev Diary #64 - Post-Release PlansRead full forum post
Hello and welcome to the first of many post-release Victoria 3 dev diaries! The game may now be out at last (weird, isn’t it?) but for us that just means a different phase of work has begun, the work of post-release support. We’ve been quite busy collecting feedback, fixing bugs and making balance changes, and are now working on the free patches that will be following the release, the first of which is a hotfix that should already be with you at the time you read this.
Our plans are naturally not limited to just hotfixes though, and so the topic of this dev diary is to outline what you can expect us to be focusing on in the first few larger free patches. We will not be focusing on our long-term ambitions for the game today; we certainly have no shortage of cool ideas for where we could take Victoria 3 in the years to come, but right now our focus is post-release support and patches, not expansion plans.
However, before I start, I want to share my own personal thoughts on the release. Overall, I consider the release a great success, and have been blown away by the sheer amount of people that have bought and are now playing Victoria 3. I’ve had a hand in this project since its earliest design inception, and have been Game Director of Victoria 3 since I left Stellaris in late 2018, and while it certainly hasn’t been the easiest game to work on at times, it is by far the most interesting and fulfilling project I’ve ever directed. The overarching vision of the game - a ‘society builder’ that puts internal development, economy and politics in the driving seat - may not have changed much since then, but the mechanics and systems have gone through innumerable iterations (a prominent internal joke in the team is ‘just one more Market Rework, please?’) to arrive where we are today, at what I consider to be a great game, one that lives up to our vision - but one that could do with improvement in a few key areas.
The first of these areas is military: The military system, being very different from the military systems of previous Grand Strategy Games, is one of those systems that has gone through a lot of iterations. While I believe that we have landed on a very solid core of how we want military gameplay in Victoria 3 to function and we have no intention of moving back towards a more tactical system, it is a system that suffers from some interface woes and which could do with selective deepening and increasing player control in specific areas. A few of the things we’re looking into improving and expanding on for the military system follow here, in no particular order:
Addressing some of the rough edges in how generals function at the moment, such as improving unit selection for battles and balancing the overall progression along fronts
Adding the ability for countries to set strategic objectives for their generals
Increasing the visibility of navies and making admirals easier to work with
Improving the ability of players to get an overview of their military situation and exposing more data, like the underlying numbers behind battle sizes
Finding solutions for the issue where theaters can split into multiple (sometimes even dozens) of tiny fronts as pockets are created
Experimenting with controlled front-splitting for longer fronts
The second area is historical immersion: While we have always been upfront with the fact that Victoria 3 is a historical sandbox rather than a strictly historical game, we still want players to feel as though the events unfolding forms a plausible alt-history, and right now there are some expected historical outcomes that are either not happening often enough, or happening in such a way that they become immersion-breaking. Again, in no particular order, some areas targeted for improvement in the short term:
Ensuring the American Civil War has a decent chance to happen, happens in a way that makes sense (slave states rising up to defend slavery, etc), and isn’t easily avoidable by the player.
Tweaking content such as the Meiji Restoration, Alaska purchase and so on in a way that they can more frequently be successfully performed by the AI, through a mix of AI improvements and content tweaks
Working to expose and improve content such as expeditions and journal entries that is currently too difficult for players to find or complete
Ensuring unifications such as Italy, Germany and Canada doesn’t constantly happen decades ahead of the historical schedule, and increasing the challenge of unifying Italy and Germany in particular
General AI tweaks to have AI countries play in a more believable, immersive way
We're balancing cultural/religious tolerance laws by having more restrictive laws increase the loyalty of accepted pops, so there is an actual trade-off involved.
The third area is diplomacy. While I think what we do have here is quite good and not in need of any significant redesign, this is an area that could do with even more deepening and there’s some options we want to add to diplomacy and diplomatic plays:
‘Reverse-swaying’, that is the ability to offer to join a side in a play in exchange for something
The ability to expand your primary demands in a diplomatic play beyond just one wargoal (though this has to be done in such a way that there’s still a reason for countries to actually back down)
More things to offer in diplomatic plays, like giving away your own land Trading (or at least giving away) states
Foreign investment and some form of construction in other countries, at least if they’re part of your market
Improving and expanding on interactions with and from subjects, such as being able to grant and ask for more autonomy through a diplomatic action
While those are the major areas targeted for improvement, there are other things that fall outside the scope of either warfare, historical immersion and diplomacy where we’ve also heard your feedback and want to make improvements, a few examples being:
Making it easier to get an overview of your Pops and Pop factors such as Needs, Standard of Living and Radicals/Loyalists
Experimenting with autonomous private-sector construction and increasing the differences in gameplay between different economic systems (though as I’ve said many times, we are never going to take construction entirely out of the hands of the player)
Ironing out some of the kinks with the late-game economy and the AI’s ability to develop key resources such as oil and rubber
Making it more interesting and ‘competitive’ but also more challenging to play in a more conservative and autocratic style
One of the first mechanics we're tweaking is Legitimacy, increasing its impact and making it so the share of votes in government matters far more, especially with more democratic laws.
The above is of course not even close to being an exhaustive list of everything we want to do, and I can’t promise that everything on the list is going to make it into the first few patches, or that our priorities won’t change as we continue to read and take in your feedback, only that as it stands these are our plans for the near future. I will also remind once again that everything mentioned above is something we want for our free post-release patches. At some point we will start talking about our plans for expansions, but that is definitely not anytime soon!
What I can promise you though, is that we’re going to strive to keep you informed and do our best to give you insight into the post-release development process with dev diaries, videos and streams, just like we did before the game was released. I’ll return next week as we start covering the details of the work we’re doing for our first post-release patch. See you then!