Here we are again. I'm owing several comments and messages that I should read/reply, and several changes I should outline to make more public. Here I will try to show a few of them - and talk about them a little bit - and catch up on the people who took their time to comment or suggest something.
One of the reasons we don't have a 1816 start date yet is because of the map. Every release I try to work on the map a little bit to get us closer there, but I don't see a point of starting working in the 1816 start date without a complete map. The vanilla map is missing a lot of things (or those are grossly underrepresented) - like the Zagros, the Carpathians. Some important geographical features are outright absent and to better represent them, work needs to be done not only on the terrain but also on the provinces. Both are connected and that's the reason I don't use some of the excellent work already done in PDM, for example (the other reason being I use a different terrain system).
This time around the focus is on the middle east, Iran and Afghanistan. The middle east - like Egypt - is full of straight, post-colonial state lines and borders (Khiva also has one that I'm not entirely happy with, but I will do something about it in the future). We really can't get rid of those, but we can make them less jarring by making the game not start with them. That is not the only reason, of course. Ottoman control over the nomadic and semi-nomadic peoples inhabiting these desert/semi-desert environments varied from tenuous to almost non-existent. So to represent that, these lands start unoccupied but differing from Africa, they are colonized by a decision that becomes available once you research certain techs, once the Berlin Conference starts or once someone else took it. So if a neighbor takes a part of the desert, you can claim yours. Cores are spread according to cores that exist in neighboring provinces.
On the terrain side, the Zagros extended and enlarged, and both Iran and Afghanistan are mountainous and hilly (with the exception of a few provinces). These are dry hills, and there has been a few province/state reshapes to accommodate the new terrain. The changes here were made to better reflect geographical and climatic conditions, and make invading these territories more troublesome. Iraq lost 2 lakes as both were artificial lakes created in the 20th century - so they shouldn't really exist in 1836. In the Levant and the fertile crescent, land was converted to their arid variations, with hills going to dry hills, some lands turning to semi-arid or steppes and an increase in the hills between Israel, Lebanon and coastal Syria. In Iraq and Syria provinces were reshaped for the Syrian desert and the new political starting situation.
New Events and System
One of the things that always bothered me is how similar governments are in Victoria 2. With exception of what parties are allowed, and in the case of authoritarian governments, what reforms could be enacted or rolled back, every government played the same. Republics were a poor cousin to Constitutional Governments - since in the latter you can change your ruling part at will, with a minor militancy impact that could be used to pass a good reform like healthcare or education. One of the long term goals of HPM is to change that, and make governments a bit more diverse in what they can and cannot do. This version has the first step in that direction: constitutional crisis.
When you start being a semi-constitutional monarchy, the people of your country will expect some rights, and they expect those rights to be upheld. One of them is participation in the government. The monarch, of course, still has his rights to meddle in politics but as the government gives more and more rights to the people, the role of the monarch in the government diminishes.
A constitutional crisis will fire in HPM when the monarch interferes - that is, he changes the ruling party. This is not applicable after the election but every time a country changes their party through non-democratic means, the event fires. It will give militancy and consciousness to pops that don't support the new ruling party ideology, remove for the ones that do, and remove prestige and plurality of a country. The latter is important as a mechanism to have more reactionary rebels, but it will be even more in the future as plurality will be used for other government-related authoritarian actions.
The effects are halved for semi-constitutional monarchies - where the monarch still has a lot of power, but still, people expect the result of their votes to count for something. To get the party you want in power you can use Party Loyalty national focuses on states to swing the election in favour of the party you favour. The option to appoint a party would be an emergency measure and the player has more incentives to try and keep absolute power if they want to use absolute power. Another change that comes with this is the fact that changing parties as an absolute monarchy will no longer give militancy, as the people in general won't expect a saying in the matters of an absolute monarch.
Keeping on the theme of "systems", the new dismantlement system guarantees India will not become a patchwork of small colonies, but it will pass on to a great power (or become independent). The problem was, the Indian vassals would always remain independent. Another problem was that a rising Indian power needed several CBs to unpuppet then conquer these Indian minors, making warfare there a pain. That changes a bit with this update as a new system designed to address both of these problems was made.
When a GP borders an Indian minor that is a vassal, but shares no border with their overlord, then the above event can fire where they can choose how to proceed in the shift of power that happened in the continent. The first option will make them the puppets of the new GP in the region, the second will mean they will break free and remain independent, the third means they will be absorbed by a neighbour and the third keeps the status quo. What a country will choose is fundamentally random, but a lot of factors play into that decision (such as relation to potential new overlord). The same system fires when the overlord of India is dismantled and the same system exists for the Boer minors - so a Natalia vassal to a Britan that doesn't own the cape can choose to go free, to align themselves to the new GP or to become a part of Transvaal. Do keep in mind that the Boers are much more independent-spirited than other countries and that the former overlords will get a chance to say something about this whole situation.
Quality of Life and Casus Belli
When I first introduced the debt system a long time ago, it was meant to help the AI pay for things that it couldn't because they didn't save a lot of money unless they are dirt rich. If you are unaware about the debt system, here's how it works: once an event or decision requires you to pay something, instead of paying everything at once, you get "flagged" for the amount you should pay and the AI automatically takes the money as it becomes available. The debt system tries to take the money first, but if you don't own all of it, it gives up and flags the amount you need to pay. As you get money, the money is debited (effectively disappearing from your country) until that debt is paid. This system is necessary because of a bug. If a country goes below 0 money in the bank, it's ok, they accrue debt. But as soon as an event or decision takes 1£ below that and they go below zero through event, your country goes bankrupt. And the AI went bankrupt a lot because of this.
I extended the system to the player because it was fair. If the player was suddenly slapped with a cost he wasn't expecting (like the Alaska Purchase event), it could be frustrating choosing between bankruptcy and not getting it. The problem is, because of the way the system works, the player doesn't see how much money he will owe, meaning they took a debt, didn't see it and got confused when money started disappearing. A problem that, of course, didn't happen when only the AI used the debt system.
Enter one of the quality of life changes: now every event and decision that uses the debt system will inform the player of how much money it will cost - and if they don't own that amount, they will owe it in the debt system. The amount will be in red for visibility and will (hopefully) help the players understand that money disappears from your treasury when you contract a debt.
Another QoL change was the addition of an event to warn when the Imperialism CB becomes available. The Imperialism CB is a CB introduced to replace the NNM repeatable events that periodically gave specific countries CBs against other countries (France vs Algeria, Netherlands vs Algerian minors). These repeatable events weren't that needed and the AI didn't deal with the CBs well, often stalling (or not getting the event because of a truce) and they were replaced by a permanent CB that gives a random amount of infamy and a random amount of truce time.
The problem is, the player wasn't always aware when the CB became available (it requires state and government researched, by the way, and the Netherlands is not a valid region to use the CB). To change that, the player will get an event warning them that the CB is available to them. It's as simple as that, but it will hopefully cause less confusion.
Talking about confusion, here's a few things that caused some confusion: to use most CBs, you need at least 1 military score and brigades. Without an army, there's no point in declaring a war. That change is recent, but it flew under the radar of a lot of people simply because I didn't explain it. Some CBs, like the Treaty Port CB (Punitive Expedition) that you can use against China also requires a minimum amount of ships (10) to be used, as well as other requirements (at least 250,000 pops in the country and 10 military score). CBs in general changed a lot through time and I need to make a quick reference manual with all CBs and their requirements for people to read, as communication is key here. As always though, there's never enough time.
Other Random Stuff
- A few more things are worth a quick mention:
- A few scripted wars (so far only Mexican-American War, Oriental Crisis, France Humiliation of Korea) have a new system that restrict adding CBs during them. So if a GP chooses to intervene in Egypt in favor of the Ottoman Empire, they won't be able to conquer Sinai while they are at it. They have a specific goal and they should stick to it. This new restriction applied to both the AI and players, but it's mainly aimed at the AI. They used to, for example, not win the Mexican American war because they added some random states during the war and settled only for that.
- Bankruptcy will now affect a country's infrastructure. What this means is that by going bankrupt you risk losing railways/fort/naval base levels during the bankruptcy time. This is partially done so buildings become more dynamic, since they don't cost any goods as infrastructure, but also partially done to curb bankrupt colonizers rolling like nothing has happened. This will happen by event, by the way.
- Indochina is not exclusive to France. The events dealing with Indochina, the decision to "form Indochina" (which doens't exist as a tag) and the unequal treaties with Vietnam are now available to any country. France has a preference (they still get propelled in the region through events) but anyone can use the same tools as them to get in the region. I prefer to keep these kinds of events/decisions open rather than tied to a single country, to add some plausibility and dynamic to the game, so I change them from the NNM standards when I can. Keep in mind that the decision to form Indochina is vital in the region, as it unlocks access to further decisions to expand in Indochina and it unlocks access to the Imperialism CB in the region.
That will be all for today. This wall of text is already a, well, a wall. I recommend you read the changelog if you are curious - there's always more to know and this is a not an exhaustive list of what this version contains. Just the highlights and the things I think are the most important to know.
Have a nice day, sole guy who reads this!