Sorry for not writing here assiduously, I was never good at it and I frankly prefer to mod. Nevertheless it's kinda necessary so that's what I will do.
Last few months the focus has been on the economy. The way I see it, there are four main problems with the game economy: Early game underproduction, late game overproduction, AI negligence towards a few goods and wrong focus.
Early Game Underproduction
It's more of a problem with one country, China (or rather, Qing). They don't produce enough basic goods like Grain, Fish, Cattle and Fruits and since they are the biggest unciv, they get on front of everyone else. Their higher rank allows them to buy all these goods first and since the world market supply isn't enough to fill them, they consume all basic goods. Countries like Imperial Japan, that don't have access to basic goods or even those that have but not enough starve because of that. That's a problem also how the world market works. If it was left to me, I'd rather have China starve as it was commonly the case in the era.
To fix this, I made Qing consume less of these basic goods through a series of changes and a outright flat reduction for them. The modifier lasts until the Taiping Rebellion and it's overall a shoddy way of fixing it, but that will have to do for now. Another change is making serfs buy less of these goods. The overall result is that Qing stops being a black hole of basic goods, they trickle down to more uncvis. Not for everyone, mind you, but I don't mind a few uncivs starving here and there. I'd prefer if I could represent subsistence farming though. Previous changes were also made to try and fix this (slaves being more productive than free workers until modifiers like tractors come around).
Late Game Overproduction
This ties in with the previous topic. Late game, the aforementioned basic goods are being overproduced, which usually leads to massive unemployment in a few areas which in turn commonly leads to massive communist rebellions. This problem was made worse in patch 3.04 with the technology spread modifiers (tractors, electricity, local distribution channels), which previously spread per state and rarely spread to colonies and became a flat bonus in the patch, even for colonies. That was dealt with in a previous patch, at least.
While I don't mind unemployment in the field, which admittedly was a pretty common occurence in the Victorian era, colonies are a big problem. Colonial pops can't just go to the city to work in factories (in game, change to craftsmen) and they can barely move outside the colony. The end result are massive rebellions which in turn end up with the AI losing a big part of Africa or Asia. I deal with this in this version through a series of decisions in a few colonial areas that change their production to historical commodities production (coffee, tea and tobacco). That and a few changes to demand that hopefully make pops have more money.
AI Neglecting Industrial Goods
This is somewhat more delicate. As far as I can gather, and I can be wrong mind you, the AI decides what factories to build based on the "value" value in production_types.txt combined with the Good "common" profitability (that is, profitability if all necessary goods have the starting value) defined in the same file. Since the AI doesn't try to be more dynamic (as in building stuff according to supply and demand, though I noticed the capitalists AI usually tries to build stuff your country lacks) it commonly overproduces a few goods while relegating others to the player. So for example, it usually builds enough clothing and furniture factories but it doesn't build liquor distilleries, leaving the player with a always-build-this scenario. So I fixed this and made the AI more likely to go for the factories it usually neglected. There's really nothing big to add here, I just observed the AI and changed the values accordingly so it can try to compete with the player more.
I mean the economy has a "wrong focus". Historically the main drive of industrialization (goods wise, not socioeconomic or shit like that) was heavy industry. Coal, iron, steel, metals and foundries - that made the industrial revolution and gave small countries such as Belgium an advantage. Goods in Victoria 2 are also an abstraction. Instead of having a good for gold, one for silver and one for diamonds there's a single good - precious metal - that represents all these things (as evidenced in the "Diamonds in $PROVINCE$" events). Iron too represents more than just iron, it covers other metals that were important int he industrial revolution, such as copper. I debated with the idea of renaming a few goods to represent this better but I digress.
The factors that drove these strategic goods to be so prominent during the industrial revolution are largely missing from the game. Railroads don't require any maintenance. The civil construction sector doesn't exist. Furniture is all made of wood and utensils, tools and other stuff that was commonly used and made of processed iron or steel are missing. Pickaxes, hoes, tractors and tractor parts, wrought iron for gates, balconies, windows (and the glass it use), they are missing from the game. So to represent these goods, the maintenance of buildings and the use of cheap steel and rising use of metals in everyday life these goods were introduced to pops. Poor pops try to buy small quantities of cement and steel for housing and goods (luxury needs, usually) though for everyday housing needs they just buy lumber. Farmers and Labourers will try to buy machine parts for their tractors and steam engines, pops try to buy glass for their windows and glassware.
Demand in Victoria 2 is drove through consumer goods. What poor pops consume is usually a profitable industry. While that's overall true, the game doesn't represent the growing needs for metals and other goods and consequentially heavy industry takes a backseat to industrialization. This will still change as I want to redo factories maintenance, construction goods and employee numbers but right now steel and coal are already one of the main drivers of industrialization in HPM. To do this stuff I also took a look at Victoria Revolutions needs and goods (coal, for example, increased with pop strata in Ricky while in V2 it stays largely the same).
Right now, I hope this holds true:
At that time, a country’s power was measured by its coal and steel production, so the economic and political power of the steelmakers was considerable. They produced girders for large factories and grand stores and opulent buildings such as those on the Boulevard Haussmann in Paris. Their steels were essential for the manufacture not only of cannons, ships, rails and locomotives but also of all the equipment that was transported throughout the colonial empire.
Steel was in such demand that the producers had control over how much and to whom they sold.
One of the main complaints of everyone playing the US is the event spam. I mean flavor is good but when you get the a barrage of events every week telling you the same thing, well, we have a problem. This happens with the US because these events setup the American Civil War (ACW). Paradox set it up in a way that there are certain conditions for the ACW and when the date gets nearer, the events start happening frequently to guarantee the civil war will happen soon.
While I can understand why they did that, it certainly leads to frustrating gameplay. To deal with that, I made all ACW events country-wide events that have a random chance of affecting other states. All events also give modifiers to stop the event from repeating if all states have the modifiers of if there's a country-wide version of the modifier. Province events that were kept (like Bleeding $STATE$) happen only once. The ONLY exception to this is the event that spreads CSA cores and that's the only event that can possibly spam now, but it has some reasonable limits so that isn't a problem.
I also made extensive testing to guarantee the I didn't fuck up the ACW and I'm satisfied with the results. I can't test like dozens to people can and stuff can slip past me but anyway, it was tested.
I'm also trying to fix low quality images that Vanilla had for some strange reason.
These two things are the main things I did. I also tried to make the Irish move out of Ireland more, according to the historical trend, and the Great Famine plays an important role in this. Russia also should end with a population closer to what they historically had. There's also a few more flavor events and decisions, as is customary, and a great deal of those went to Persia.
There's one more important change though: border policy.
A nation can choose between 3 border policies, though for most nations only 2 ever apply. In "Closed Borders" you actively try to stop people leaving from your country. The effectiveness is largely dependent on your crime fighting, so keep that administrative spending up. Going full North Korea on your population isn't something that gets you many friends inside and outside your country though, so that's the main problem of that policy.
Quota immigrants and open borders apply largely to new world countries, but it also influences if your country lets people emigrate. While Quota Immigration has the same effect as Open Borders for emigration, it affects who gets in. In this system, only pops with more than 60% literacy can enter your country. It is mainly for role-playing purposes, though I guess if you want to slow down immigration it also helps you. It also stops Canada from always becoming a GP as it starts with this policy and helps immigrants spread more instead of being limited to a USA-Canada Axis. Open Borders works as vanilla - no restrictions for people to get in or out.
Pops don't actively demand to close or open borders, mainly to avoid a performance impact for something that wasn't that important. Changes in the policy is made through decision and the AI only uses in special cases (when it's totalitarian, for example) while jacobins and becoming democratic open borders. You can't close borders as democratic governments and becoming democratic automatically opens it. At some point I want to do nativist sentiments and immigration tensions to get the player to interact more with these issues, but it will probably be through events. Right now the only countries that start with closed borders are Russia and the Ottoman Empire. The rest start with open borders, with the exception of Canada, New Zealand and Australia, that have quotas. Eventually Russia and the OT open borders while at some point in the future I will make the US have the possibility of implementing quota immigration late game.
Still on the terrain changes, I added the Karakum desert to Turkmenistan. There's still more changes to central asia and more deserts to go in though. A few provinces reshapes were made, a few more are pending and a few useless atolls that don't have potable water (Wake and Line) were merged with other provinces.
There's more stuff that I didn't add that were changed, from flavor to fixes. If fixed a vanilla bug in bureaucrats and artisans promotion that stopped them from promoting as fast as they should and I fixed pops not demanding good minimum wage (which in turn meant that the AI never gave Good Minimum Wage).
Well that's just the start of the economy balance. I tried my best to balance it but nothing guarantees it will work as intended, so I will be keeping an eye out to try and improve it whoever I can. Hopefully, the changes I made can bring a bit more realism in the game.