Update 0.4.5 is just around the corner and, as I'm trying to do, I'm writing the main highlights of it. The theme today are Absolute Monarchies.
Dissolving the Upper House
One of the problem in representing different governments is that they are all bound by the same rules - some government, however, might be able to bend those rules. Continuing the changes to differentiate governments, Absolute Monarchies can now dissolve the upper house and assemble one more suited to their needs.
An absolute monarch has the option of dissolving the upper house and appointing anyone he wants, at the cost of prestige. This will essentially make the upper house go over 50% for one of the 3 options (Liberal, reactionary or socialist), until the end of the year. This will have consequences in removing prestige, plurality and angering the rich - but in exchange, one can use the upper house at will - to pass any reform they might want.
There's also a few other change in that regard: monarchies can no longer move the Upper House to "party appointed" (that is reserved for ideological, one-party regimes) and communists will not vote to roll back political reforms unless they are in power (previously they would vote with the reactionaries to roll back reforms).
The decision costs prestige (so a monarchy without any will simply not be able to do this) and can't be enacted again for 3 years (until the national confusion modifier wears out).
This decision (which you can find under the "Government decisions") is meant to remedy an awkward situation: an absolute monarchy has as much control over their reforms as a constitutional one. In Victoria 2 you play as the "power behind the throne" - you don't play as the monarch itself, but your decisions sometimes overlaps with the power the monarch has. Despite that, however, an absolute monarch didn't rule alone. He had several government bodies to advise him and several institutions to do governmental work that he delegated. Much of the aristocracy took functions similar to the ones bureaucrats have (and needing a certain percentage of aristocracy in the country is something the Victoria 2 manual mentions, and something I want to make a requirement in the future) - and they came to expect this. An absolute monarch can, if he has enough prestige, dismiss these institutions and fill it with sycophants - but this will cause some government disruption and lower the government standing. So the decision to trample over the aristocracy and exercise your absolute power is possible - but it has its costs.
The player being the "power behind the throne" is also the reason you don't lose the game once a monarch dies (or the reason monarchs are not even represented at all, as the bureaucratic machine gained more and more importance as the will of the people began to be enforced). That's also the reason for the existence of a vanilla mechanic: adding wargoals needs jingoism. This, I assume, was Paradox way of representing the will of the cabinet and the government of continuing and extending a war. The problem with that, however, is that it can be frustrating to the player - and balancing it around the will of the pops and the will of the player is the challenge here. This was one of the reasons why I diminished the jingoism requirement from the vanilla 7% to 5% - but that made it almost inconsequential. On the 0.4.5 version I reverted that so you need the 7% jingoism to add wargoals again - but now the player has a way to influence this.
Propaganda is one of the government decisions and it's unlocked with Associationism, though it's always unlocked for ideological dictatorships. Any government can take it, but governments where the people can vote can only take it during wars.
Propaganda requires - and removes - pluralism and it also requires a minimum literacy level, as well as money. Without pluralism, there's simply no diversity of ideas to run an effective propaganda campaign (and people also need to have an open mind, as constant propaganda would lose its effect).
When the decision is used, you get an event to choose what should be the focus of the propaganda - either war or government.
The former (effects to the right), drums up jingoism. The latter (effects to the left) boosts the ruling party support both in the upper house as well as the population.
Effects will vary according to certain things - and propaganda isn't always successful. Its effects will likely be felt more in primary and accepted pops.
Having a state press, a one-party government or the invention mass_advertising will give a "base" effect for propaganda - even if the "random" chance fails, these modifiers will guarantee some results. In non-democratic governments, having mass_advertising will also unlock stronger effects for jingoism propaganda - meaning the chances that the propaganda will have a bigger impact are higher.
These decisions are not meant to be an end-all scenario. A population with very low support for Jingoism will likely not go over the 7% - but the you can nudge support in that direction, and that's the true intention of this decision. On the government side, you can reduce militancy and increase support for the ruling party in the Upper House - bridging gaps necessary to pass a reform. This concludes the "government differentiation" part of the update.
This part is about a vanilla bug - ghost units (for an example of what I'm talking about, see the picture below).
Ghost units happen when a mobilizing country is absorbed by another country. They end up with exiled units - like ships or soldiers - belonging to countries that do not exist. They mess with pops (since there's a permanently mobilized pop) and visibility for the player - as well as a few event triggers. It's a problem that's not easy to solve as it's mostly related to vanilla mechanics, but I came up with a way of solving it. Bear with me for a second.
The system is entirely automated and only the AI uses it. As soon as the AI detects the ghost units (and they need a core of the country with the ghost units) it spawns the country with ghost units in a small, coral island in the middle of the pacific. It waits for the country to demobilize (which usually takes 10 days) and then absorbs the country back - and secedes the islands to the former owner. This usually happens less than 10 times per game and it will be basically invisible for the player, but it is an important fix to a very old vanilla problem.
Other Changes and Fixes
These are the highlights for this version - but they are not the exhaustive list of changes. I encourage people to read the changelog (which should come out together and in the same place where you can download the new version) but among other changes to pay attention to are:
- To build clipper (frigates, clipper transports) ships you now need a level 1 naval base. Before, any country with a port could do it. This is so countries with no naval ports (likely african countries) that couldn't build sea-worthy ships will no longer be able to do it.
- The old decision to represent the mass killings that happened in a generic way was completely revamped. It's now a decision called "Directive No 1".
- IMMIGRATION_SCALE and PROMOTION_SCALE were greatly reduced, to levels closer to vanilla. This change was more experimental and it proved a failure, with the AI unable to deal with the mass of unemployed it created.
- 13 New Inventions for the Metallurgy tree, which will try and check for unemployment to try and stop making it worse and should mean there's more coal and iron in the market.
- A solution for a tea crisis happening in the 1840's and 1850's.
- Fixes for how the Syrian Desert and the Sahara Desert were being split that caused severe bordergore.
- Fixes to AI logic with the Olympic games events.
- Reduced/changed effectiveness of election events (since they were made into country events with version 3.04 to reduce spam, the effects were changed which meant an election could be decided because of a single event that moved an issues nationally up to 30%).
That should cover all of it. The new version is coming soon™ and it should be the last one for a good, long while, as I focus more on my wok and less on my hobbies. Thanks for reading and have a nice day!