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Dev Diary #67 - Patch 1.1 (part 3)

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Happy Thursday! Today we'll talk about some more changes we've introduced in patch 1.1, including how Morale works.

For starters, why rework morale? One piece of feedback we heard a lot of post-release was that it was frustrating to watch long, drawn-out battles that tied up the front while your battalions that weren't in that combat perished from attrition. Our goal with these changes is primarily to make battles snappier, ensuring that battles that are all but decided can come to a rapid conclusion so the front can start moving again. Some nice side effects are that your supply, morale recovery rates, and having reinforcements and reserves start to play a greater role than they used to.

In the new system, instead of the losers typically being the only side to take morale damage, units on both sides will take a certain amount of morale damage for each round of combat. That morale damage can be modified by various factors, such as technologies and production methods. In addition, the side that has taken the most casualties will suffer an additional multiplier to their loss of morale, ensuring that combat superiority is still what ultimately wins battles.

The basis for how much morale units lose each day is determined by the organization or ship class production method groups in Barracks / Conscription Centers and Naval Bases respectively. The more modern the method of warfare, the lower the loss of morale. Also, conscripts now differ from regular Battalions in that they suffer more morale damage.

These Ohioan conscripts have a relatively high base morale loss of 15 men per day, but this is reduced due to National Militia. Their morale losses increase somewhat from currently being in a battle where more casualties have been inflicted on them than they have on the enemy. When all remaining men in the unit have been lost to casualties or morale loss, the battalion will detach from the battle. Once fighting has concluded, their commanding General's Experienced Diplomat trait will increase the speed by which their morale recovers. Morale will also recover along with fresh reinforcements from the Conscription Center supporting them.

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Modifiers can affect how much morale your own troops lose, such as good modifiers from First Aid and Field Hospitals, or bad modifiers from battle conditions such as Broken Supply Lines or commander traits like Reckless. But the morale damage you take can also be modified by the enemy's forces, for example via production methods like Siege Artillery or Chemical Weapon Specialists, or character traits like Wrathful.

When battles start, units are now deprioritized to enter combat if they are injured or demoralized. What this means is that even if you end up with fewer than your full complement of battalions in a particular fight, the rest of them will make use of this short respite to recover for the next one.

Speaking of recovery, we have also made a few changes to the way Wage levels work. Higher military wages than usual now affect how quickly units recover morale when not in combat, letting flush governments push frontlines by gradually overcoming the enemy's fighting spirit - at least as long as you're able and willing to rack up an enormous body count in the process.

Recovering Morale faster than the enemy does could be well worth the expense in the long run. It will also give your Officers and Servicemen a better Standard of Living, building Loyalists in your Armed Forces over time. Their increased Wealth will provide them with more Clout to throw around in internal politics as well, of course, so take that into account.

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This isn't the extent of the changes to government and military wages in 1.1. These settings used to be a highly efficient way of directly and immediately altering your Interest Groups' Approval scores, which we have toned down a bit in 1.1 by making the Approval changes limited to -2 / -1 / 0 / +1 / +2 for the five different levels. Of course, the act of raising or lowering wages still has the usual knock-on effects on Approval by increasing or decreasing the purchasing power of the pops that tend to make up those groups, leading to changes in Standard of Living and therefore Radicals and Loyalists.

High or low military wages also affect your armed forces' Power Projection, leading to a Prestige impact also during peacetime. Low military wages also affect your buildings' training rate, i.e. how rapidly they can reinforce battalions and flotillas that have become underpowered due to casualties. To round it out, low government wages provide a direct impact on Prestige while higher levels now provide additional Authority.

As a final note, an update from our first Patch 1.1 update on Legitimacy levels. One oft-repeated concern with how Legitimacy works currently is that under most democratic systems, having two parties in a coalition government does not provide much of a penalty, even if those parties are vehemently opposed to each other. From one perspective this was working as intended, as it represents a trade-off between Legitimacy (in this case, popular representation) and ability to actually enact any new Laws (since the incoherence between the ideologies in government would make debate and stall outcomes very common). But on the other hand it felt wrong to have the two completely incompatible parties working together in a highly functional government - as long as they didn't try to make any changes, that is.

In response, we have changed the Legitimacy penalty from government size to one that actually represents ideological incoherence. Adding a party or Interest Group to government will now cause any conflicting ideologies (as measured by their stances on Laws) outside party boundaries to inflict a Legitimacy penalty. This encourages formation of government groups that are both strong and effective together. We're very interested in hearing how this change feels to you all, once patch 1.1 drops!

Despite representing the majority of Clout and Votes in Great Britain, an unholy alliance between Tories and Whigs is just too incoherent to form government together. You could still confirm such a government, but the penalties for doing so would be enormous and no legislation could be passed while Legitimacy is that poor.

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The changes we have discussed in this and the previous two dev diaries represent just a fraction of the changes you will see in the new update. These ones are maybe the most visible, but a number of under-the-hood improvements and bugfixes have been made as well. Next week we will go through the full changelog! Until then!

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