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Grand Strategy Victoria 3

Fedora Master

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Paradox bussiness strategy:
1. have a great, but old game that remained popular for over a decade, one that their customer dearly wants a sequel to
2. proceed to make a sequel, but have it be nothing like its predecessor, the few mechanics they have in common getting raped to death
3. ban dissenters from their forums and release dogshit DLCs that feel more like an insult than playable content
4. ???
5. Profit?
6. Why are you complaining?!
7. Quietly drop the game
 

OttoQuitmarck

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Paradox bussiness strategy:
1. have a great, but old game that remained popular for over a decade, one that their customer dearly wants a sequel to
2. proceed to make a sequel, but have it be nothing like its predecessor, the few mechanics they have in common getting raped to death
3. ban dissenters from their forums and release dogshit DLCs that feel more like an insult than playable content
4. ???
5. Profit?
I wish it wasn't so, but that is pretty much what they have been doing.
 

Sinilevä

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It seems like they lost some key people responsible for their better games and kept replacing staff with pink haired morons to virtue signal and to satisfy diversity quotas. Of corse the end result of all this is absolute shit tier games, that get progressively worse. :M
 

OttoQuitmarck

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It seems like they lost some key people responsible for their better games and kept replacing staff with pink haired morons to virtue signal and to satisfy diversity quotas. Of corse the end result of all this is absolute shit tier games, that get progressively worse. :M
Honestly their games were never that good.
 

Agame

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Yet somehow the rabid PDX lickspittles swore up and down the game would be fixed eventually.

Told you this was another Imperator. Worse, even, because Imperator is at least good for one or two playthroughs.

The problem is if this game is abandoned like Imp then PDX will likely take away the lesson that it is a waste of time to try and innovate beyond their 'stable' evergreen games, and all they will ever release hereafter is CK3 style versions of EU, HOI etc. More streamlined systems for normies, more 3D incest and animal sex because youtube lols.

Which to be fair is probably the direction they are going regardless, given that Vic3 is on release a progressive shit lib fantasy game, and will likely just get worse as they release more DLC.
 

Axioms

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Johan just posted yesterday in his 10 year EU4 retrospective that half the fun of pdox games was moving little armies around. Surprised he is allowed to say that lmao. Also EU4 has now been around almost as long as the first 3 EUs combined.
 

Axioms

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It seems like they lost some key people responsible for their better games and kept replacing staff with pink haired morons to virtue signal and to satisfy diversity quotas. Of corse the end result of all this is absolute shit tier games, that get progressively worse. :M
Honestly their games were never that good.
The older Paradox games were more complete but they had the same issue of unrealized potential. A proper CK2 sequel could be a GOTY if they actually cared about making an amazing game, and if you did it right the new audience would still buy it.
 

Agame

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Johan just posted yesterday in his 10 year EU4 retrospective that half the fun of pdox games was moving little armies around. Surprised he is allowed to say that lmao. Also EU4 has now been around almost as long as the first 3 EUs combined.

I have begun to think PDX made good games in spite of this guy being there, he seems genuinely retarded. The worst thing about EU4 is the awful wack-a-mole combat.
 

OttoQuitmarck

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Johan just posted yesterday in his 10 year EU4 retrospective that half the fun of pdox games was moving little armies around. Surprised he is allowed to say that lmao. Also EU4 has now been around almost as long as the first 3 EUs combined.

I have begun to think PDX made good games in spite of this guy being there, he seems genuinely retarded. The worst thing about EU4 is the awful wack-a-mole combat.
Yea what good stuff has he even made? He made the release version of imperator: rome for pete's sake lmao.
 

thesecret1

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Paradox genuinely doesn't understand what made their games fun. That's why rather than moving towards simulation, they're moving towards abstraction, and trying to plug the holes with reddit-tier writing.

Johan genuinely thinks that mana is the best shit ever, which is why you saw Imperator infested with them on release. After the uproar, they scaled down on it in V3, but also abstracted the market and war away to make up for it. If left to their own devices, Paradox will eventually iterate long enough to turn their games into RISK clones, as that's where their design philosophy ultimately leads.
 
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I think Johan got the hint after Imperator. My guess is that he's just genuinely clueless about what people like and didn't notice that 95% of people's thoughts in EU4 were "great game but mana is dumb and really shouldn't be in EU5, or at least toned down significantly". Johan just saw endless successful EU4 DLCs and took it to mean that people wanted more mana.

Vic3 is an entirely different game with a different director and different focus. I don't think anything about imperator/EU4 significantly affected Victoria 3 development, it's just shit because they had uniquely shit ideas and simplifications to put in play.
 

thesecret1

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The only reason to play EU4 are mods, and the good ones overhaul the vanilla mechanics anyway.
 

Agame

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Also EU4 has now been around almost as long as the first 3 EUs combined.

How much longer must I wait until I can finally purchase the complete version of EU4 to finally give it a try?
If you buy it now all you'll get in a nearly impenetrable heap of barely coherent features

Yea, you missed the boat on EU4, it 'peaked' a while ago, now it is just a frankenstiens monster of systems they are bolting onto it, as clearly the engine is to old and they need to make EU5 if they really want to push the game forwards.
 

Hace El Oso

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Yea, you missed the boat on EU4, it 'peaked' a while ago, now it is just a frankenstiens monster of systems they are bolting onto it, as clearly the engine is to old and they need to make EU5 if they really want to push the game forwards.

This is what happened to both entries in the last wave of decent games they made, CK2 and EU4. They had a window of time where they were solid and getting better. Then they completely nosedived in focus, gameplay quality and stability. Even the M&T mod for EU4 inherited this bloated, tumorous nature.

If there is ever an EU5, though, it'll just be another odious failure like CK3/Victoria 3.
 

Agame

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If there is ever an EU5, though, it'll just be another odious failure like CK3/Victoria 3.

Agreed, I was just thinking about this, a highlight feature of EU5 will be 3D models of your ruler, and the options to choose multiple different penis sizes (shoutout to BG3 :)).

Its sad that the best game left for PDX will be Stellaris: still happily supporting slavery and genocide.
 

JamesDixon

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Yea, you missed the boat on EU4, it 'peaked' a while ago, now it is just a frankenstiens monster of systems they are bolting onto it, as clearly the engine is to old and they need to make EU5 if they really want to push the game forwards.

This is what happened to both entries in the last wave of decent games they made, CK2 and EU4. They had a window of time where they were solid and getting better. Then they completely nosedived in focus, gameplay quality and stability. Even the M&T mod for EU4 inherited this bloated, tumorous nature.

If there is ever an EU5, though, it'll just be another odious failure like CK3/Victoria 3.

Add to it that the UI was designed by a retarded 5 year old that obscures 2/3rds of your screen to make the game practically unplayable.
 

Space Satan

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They still try to fix this piece of mobile shit with automatic wars and no units control on the map. Like, a year of efforts put to garbage can because incompetent developers tried to save their retarded warfare mechanics.

Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #93 - Military Improvements in Open Beta​

16_9.jpg

Happy Thursday to you all! This is a particularly exciting dev diary for me to write, because I finally get to reveal details on what we've been working on since before the summer months - and strap in, because it's a lot!

I want to start out by talking a bit about the Open Beta and expectation setting. As we discussed in Dev Diary #91, we will be running an extended Open Beta from Aug 28th (alongside the launch of the 1.4 update) until our final release of 1.5 in late autumn. During this time we anticipate releasing at least 2 additional updates to the Open Beta branch, coinciding with our 3-week sprint schedule.

Expectations for the first update
Launch date: Aug 28. In the initial release, new features will be in a rudimentary state, with plenty of placeholder interfaces, graphics, and missing mechanical details. Many features will be exploitable and buggy, and absolutely not balanced. Some features will be unused or underused by the AI. Core components of the game that we have not touched should continue to work, so playing a game focused on economy and politics should not be heavily affected by these changes, but be aware that military campaigns may feel unsatisfying or cumbersome. If you wish to partake in testing this update, focus on feedbacking on what additions or balance changes would make the new features fun, not on whether they feel great right now.

Expectations for the second update
Tentative launch: mid September. By this time the new features should feel a lot more mature, with bugs and missing information / graphics filled in, additional mechanical details closing exploits and providing new optimization challenges, and in general more bells and whistles available to you. While beta testing this update, in addition to the aforementioned considerations, focus on balance and UX improvements.

Expectations for the third update
Tentative launch: mid October. If all goes as planned, at this point we should be fully feature-complete for the 1.5 release. This doesn't mean everything is wrapped up and ready to go! We will spend the time between this update and the final release fixing bugs, doing balance updates, and reacting to your feedback. While testing this update you should be able to focus on how fun the game is to play with the new features.

But first a short message from our Community Manager Pelly on how the Open Beta will be run!



Hello! For those that don’t recognise me, I am the Community Manager for Victoria 3 and helped run the Open Beta for 1.2 last time.

Open Betas are a very involved process, not just from the developers, but also on the community team end too!

When the Open Beta for 1.5 starts, the old 1.2 channels will be reopened for usage by the community! Any user can access these, to make it as easy as possible to provide feedback and chat about the Beta update!

As soon as the Open Beta is live, you can access the Beta Steam branch by following these instructions:
  • Right click Victoria 3 in your steam Library, select properties.
  • Click on ‘Betas’, then in the ‘Beta Participation drop down box select the 1.5 Open Beta option, when it is live, it will appear there similar to these options:
DD93_1.png

Now a bit about the Discord Channel structure:
  • Open-beta-news - where news about the open beta is posted, e.g. when Beta updates are announced.
  • Open-beta-changes-and-bugfixes - where changelogs for the Beta updates are posted so you know what has been changed or fixed between versions.
  • Open-beta-pelly-post - this is where I go through all the feedback and bug reports for the day. Then I list them here, with any dev responses or mark if they are duplicates. This helps everyone know that their items have been looked at and seen by the devs! This is updated every day for the previous day's issues, normally closer to 16:00 CEST!
  • Open-beta-chat - the area to chat generally about the beta updates, I still know people who really enjoyed talking here and became part of the ‘open-beta-chat’ gang!
  • Open-beta-feedback - The place to post any feedback about the updates, tags are used to distinguish the topic and if it has been looked at by devs/! Developers will be around to talk in these threads, however don’t expect an answer for every single thread!
  • Open-beta-bug-reports - We don’t normally have bug reporting on discord, as the bug reporting forums are the place to post these issues. However, during the Open Beta period it is easier if we have both feedback and bug reports on the same platform for ease of communication.
That is all from me, I hope you will enjoy the Open Beta when it starts and I see people around!

I will be there most of the time and happy to chat to y’all if you have any questions.



Now let's jump into the juicy stuff! For these features we are looking to improve the military gameplay in three broad areas: Agency, Depth, and Visuals.

By Agency we mean the degree of control the player feels they have over their military campaigns. Equally important to granting more agency is ensuring the player doesn't experience a lack of agency, for example by having more fronts to manage than Generals; uncontrollable, unpredictable front splitting; or armies that suddenly return home because their General decided an active front was an opportune place to die of old age.

Depth refers to both detail and realism. More military attributes and configuration options, armies and fleets that are composed and behave more like you'd expect from history, and more interesting decision-making during warfare.

Visuals require little introduction: it's about what we have come to affectionately refer to internally as "little dudes on the map". Seeing your armed forces in action, in transit, and being able to put a concrete location on everything (which also helps with agency).

Shared Fronts​

One issue that can rear its ugly head from time to time in the current version of Victoria 3 is the very large number of fronts you may be dealing with at any given moment. Many of you have pointed out that this leads to mandatory micromanagement of the war effort, which defeats the design goal that led us to create a more hands-off system for Victoria 3 in the first place. Reducing the number of fronts, especially in wars involving several countries on either side, to a more manageable number is a big priority for us.

The first in a one-two-punch effort to solve this problem is to make fronts adjacent between two or more allied countries into a single unified front. This can drastically reduce the number of fronts active at the start of a war.

There isn't that much more to say about shared fronts, which is a good thing. While quite complex in implementation (and we still have a few edge cases to sort out), they do what it says on the tin and are very intuitive in play. Here's an example of a single front between Bavaria and Württemburg on one side, and Hesse, Frankfurt, and Baden on the other. In the current live version this would be 4 unique fronts!
DD93_2.png

State-based Front Movement​

The second strike in our fight against too numerous and unpredictable fronts is state-based front movement. While merging adjacent fronts is a method of controlling the initial number of fronts between known participants, the bigger problem for most players is the unpredictable front splitting and merging that happens during the course of war, as battles are won and small pocket theaters are created. This feature eliminates the uncertainty of what might happen once a battle concludes, and drastically reduces the number of "temporary" fronts that emerge (which then causes you to lose the war because you don't have another General to staff it with so your enemy stomps all over you).

It works like this: battles will be fought in a province like before, but when you win you capture a fraction of the state that province is in, not a number of provinces. Only one state can be captured at a time, and only once the whole thing has been captured will the front actually move.

As part of this we have also permitted battles to be disconnected from frontlines, so you won't be attacking only the border provinces repeatedly until you have won the entire state. In our current build the province is chosen randomly from provinces in the state, but during Open Beta we will enhance this to select from provinces deeper and deeper into the state depending on occupation already earned.
DD93_3.png

As a battle concludes, the winning side earns a victory score - currently just a flat value, but this will eventually be changed to be conditional on the size of the victory. This victory score is allocated towards gaining or clearing occupation in states adjacent to the front, depending on the winning side; defenders will only clear occupation while attackers will clear some from their own states (if any) and gain some in the state they attacked.

In the current version of Victoria 3, the number of provinces gained on winning a battle are dependent on the size of the win, the stats of the advancing General, and some randomness within a min-max range. With 1.5, the amount of occupation gained in a state from a battle is dependent instead on a comparison between the victory score and the "occupation cost" of the state(s) in question. The occupation cost is determined by a number of factors:
  • State population
  • Amount of provinces with difficult terrain
  • Number of mobilized battalions left standing in the defender's theater compared to the size of the theater
Both victory score and occupation cost are broken down in the UI and fully scriptable/moddable. We intend on tweaking both during the Open Beta phase heavily in response to your feedback, to make sure states that are supposed to be hard to take are actually more challenging to conquer (without it becoming a slog) while depopulated savannahs are easier to march across.

What we have found in testing this feature is that in addition to controlling the sudden appearance of new fronts, this new behavior also makes it very easy to determine whether you're in control of a particular wargoal. In the future we hope to add new mechanics tied into this feature, such as economic exploitation of states occupied during war.

An example of the new outcome of battle and the occupation cost breakdown. In this case Piratini should have gotten to plant their flags across 87% of the state, but some advanced math (a.k.a. bug) as described by this screenshot only granted 10% - guess it's back to the code mines for me!
DD93_4.png


Speaking of flags! While it won't be in the initial Open Beta build, this is one way we plan on visualizing partial state occupation despite the frontline itself not moving, in addition to shading the terrain itself.
DD93_5.png

While state-based front movement is primarily a way to control and predict the number of fronts that emerge during a war, this feature is also something we're looking to expand on in the future by tying state occupation tighter into other game mechanics, like economics and military supply.

I'll close this section out by saying that while multiple simultaneous battles per front won't be in the initial beta release (should be coming in the 1st or 2nd update), the way we plan to implement and balance them is to only allow 1 battle / front / state at a time. This means you would only potentially benefit from having more Generals than your enemy on particularly long fronts, and even then only if you outnumber their defending troops. This is however an area we are actively going to solicit feedback on, and you'll hear more about it in future dev diaries.

Military Formations​

This feature has a number of sub-features that I'll go into in some detail, but first a bit of background to what this is and why we're doing it.

Having Generals and Admirals as the leaders of your armed forces is great both for flavor and for the knock-on effects it can have on the political system, but in retrospect characters are simultaneously too static and too ephemeral to serve as good containers of military units for a player to control. Commanders are meant to have names, traits, and faces so you can remember them, and if you have too many of them you can't tell them apart. But limiting the number of them you can maintain simultaneously restricts your ability to fine-tune your military and control who goes where, which can be frustrating (especially when you have to assign Generals to an indeterminate number of fronts!)

But, let's say we put gameplay over narrative concerns about identity uniqueness and removed the cap. Then we run into the issue of having to give every one of them a unique order every time we want them to go somewhere or do something different. This is very annoying when you just want everyone to go defend your single frontline.

To make things worse, if one of them kicks the bucket due to old age or gets suddenly ripped away due to some special event, your entire military campaign might be irrevocably disrupted in an instant! While we made an initial pass to address this issue in 1.3 with Field Promotion of new commanders, having a non-character container for your armed forces removes this problem altogether - your units will remain in place, and you can assign or recruit a new commander to lead them as you wish.

Another issue with the current system is that Buildings act as your only main vector for customizing your military. While this makes sense to model the economic and population impact your armed forces have, it can be a cumbersome and unintuitive way of constructing a diverse and capable military.

Military Formations tackles the issue of commanders being simultaneously too static and too ephemeral by providing a container for both commanders (generals or admirals, depending on formation type) as well as combat units (battalions / flotillas). You can create as many Formations as you want - with or without commanders, each with as many commanders as you like, and you can move both units and commanders between formations at will.

The design intent here is to provide you with a kind of entity - that's programmer-speak for thingamajig - that is more customizable to your own needs for agency than commanders are. These needs may vary a lot depending on what kind of country you're playing, where in the world you are, and what kinds of wars you happen to get yourself into. It also gives us a better platform for customization - adding depth - than commanders and buildings are, which we will see below. And finally, facets we're including with formations such as concrete movement and unit types give us a lot more opportunities to visually represent your military on the map and in the UI. So let's get into some more details!

Combat Unit Types​

In addition to recruiting commanders into Military Formations (which works similarly to how it currently does in the live version) you can also recruit specific unit types and mix and match to your heart's desire. If you're playing a single-state country and want to recruit 5 Skirmish and 10 Line Infantry, you cannot do so in the current version of the game since unit type is governed by Production Method and all levels of a building must have the same methods. But in 1.5 you can do just that in a Formation, and the Barracks that get constructed "around" those units as a result will maintain the mix.

This works by creating the units inside the scope of the Military Formation itself, not by expanding buildings directly. That follows our UX design vision for this feature: rather than configuring and maintaining your military through an awkward mix of interactions with buildings and characters, all interactions with your military are done through formations first and foremost, with characters and buildings appearing around the formations as supporting entities to ensure existing game mechanics continue to function.

In addition to the different types of infantry units, we are also adding additional groups of units with different properties: infantry, artillery, and cavalry on the army side; as well as light ships, capital ships, and support ships for the navy. For the final release, most or all of these will have unique illustrations/icons; right now they all have the same placeholder icon.
DD93_6.png

Units constructed in this way will be upgradeable between types (though not for the first Open Beta release) but only in certain cases: you will be able to upgrade your Ship-of-the-Line to Ironclads, as was often done historically, but you cannot upgrade your Ironclads to a different ship class like Battleships.

We're very interested in hearing your feedback on the specific units we're adding into the Open Beta, how they're grouped and balanced, and how managing them in the UI feels!

Mobilization Options​

I've always been happier with the current mobilization mechanics in theory than in practice. I like the increased demand on my industry during wartime and how that changes my economy (and my pops' economy). I also appreciate that I can't cheese the game by cranking down my consumption of military goods to zero in peacetime and turn it up to max when I'm at war, and that increased consumption is handled automatically as I mobilize a General into activity. I enjoy the tough decisions I sometimes have to make about whether I can truly afford to mobilize another General, or if my currently mobilized forces should be able to mop up the opposition in time.

What I don't like about it is how hard it is to balance, both as a designer and player, since it only increases the quantity of goods they're already consuming and therefore can only do so in a quantity that doesn't cause immediate shortages in your economy. Having to maintain mandatory unprofitable import trade routes for guns & ammo with potential elasticity to ensure I can prosecute my future wars sounds cool but can feel a bit much in practice sometimes.

Mobilization Options permit you to customize what goods you want to give your battalions when they're out active soldiering, with powerful effects providing trade-offs for the increased costs. Sometimes those goods are military hardware, other times they're just better rations or fancier uniforms. Adding consumer goods as a possible cost to mobilization also means a stronger impact on the civilian population during the war effort, which is both realistic and a great game dynamic.

Mobilization Options (typically) impose a cost in goods per unit in a Formation, which is applied to that unit's building, in exchange for an effect on all units. Both cost and effect are applied only when mobilized, and Mobilization Options can be toggled on or off only while the Formation is demobilized.

This is the list of Mobilization Options we will launch with the initial Open Beta release (fully unlocked, of course), but it's neither finalized nor well-balanced. Some of the options may even end up as new unit types instead (or in addition to) for example. We will be actively seeking feedback on what other options you want to see, and rework the UI to allow us to fit more options. Icons are currently borrowed from other areas of the game and are particularly WIP.
DD93_7.png

Mobilization Options don't have to be just about goods, it can also just be toggles on how you want this Formation to behave. For example, Forced March causes the Formation to move faster but at a cost of increased morale loss (a penalty which could be countered by Luxurious Supplies, if desired). Rail Transport is mutually exclusive with Forced March, doesn't cause morale loss, but requires both the Railway tech and Transportation goods.

The way we see Mobilization Options used is as toggles that can be set prior to active warfare, taking properties like market conditions, commander traits, and combat unit mix into account. You could customize a small, fast formation of elite crack troops or a giant army of cheap irregulars forced to march on an empty stomach, depending on your strengths as a nation and who you're likely to be fighting against.

Early Demobilization​

While we initially added early demobilization with 1.3.6, it was a little bit hacky: it operated as a character interaction rather than a military command, and only applied a flat cost to a country in response to the goods cost prior to demobilization instead of incurring actual consumption.

We have now made it possible to demobilize armies during active warfare if desired. When this happens, the army will first have to travel home, and will then spend 4 months in demobilization (exact value very much subject to feedback) where mobilization supply cost will be gradually decreased over the duration. Unlike the current live implementation on Generals, these goods will be properly consumed in the interim so your industries and trade routes don't immediately collapse with nothing to gain for it.

Early demobilization can also be a little more relevant in the Open Beta due to Mobilization Options, in case those options you provided ended up a little too costly over the course of the war and you want to return home for reconfiguration.
DD93_8.png

DD93_9.png

Station at HQ​

Military Formations, both armies and fleets, are initially created in an HQ but do not need to stay there. You can re-station a Military Formation at an HQ - even a temporary one you have established during the course of the war on allied or occupied territory - if you're willing to pay the increased supply cost for doing so depending on where your combat units are actually from (once we get around to adding that increased supply cost that is - until then, re-station away!).

You can station a fleet in any coastal HQ. Later during the Open Beta we will require an active Naval Base to exist in order to station your fleet there.
DD93_10.png


This also means if you want to move an army to proactively defend against an impending naval invasion, you can do so (as long as you're quick about it!)
DD93_11.png

Concrete Location​

Another thing we have been dissatisfied with is the lack of a tangible location for your armed forces. In the current live version, Generals and Admirals are either at the HQ they're recruited into or on a mission somewhere, depending on their current order. But when a commander moves somewhere in response to their order changing, they are put into a kind of limbo while they are moving to a new location (typically a front, with naval movement being more abstracted as an "execution time") with the travel time only visualized as a countdown in the UI.

In the Open Beta, Formations will always have a concrete on-map location, so you can track their real-time movement between locations more easily. Generals and Admirals no longer have their own independent locations as this is inferred by their Formation, but Generals can autonomously spread out across fronts to visually indicate what state they are primarily defending and/or attacking.

For the first Open Beta release, movement will be tracked only in straight lines. Here we see an army moving first from the Maranhão Pará Front, then towards the Maranhão Rio Grande do Sul Front, and finally back towards its HQ in Rio de Janeiro when it's demobilized.
DD93_12.gif


For upcoming Open Beta releases, formations will pathfind across roads, railways, and sea lanes (or sea lanes only for fleets, for obvious reasons) and travel along those to their destination. Here we see the path taken by an army traveling from Örebro, Sweden to Tampa, Florida. The short skip over English territory visualized here is because the pathfinder currently does not take either military access or spline travel time into account but just travel length; once we've completed our work on the pathfinder it should still be possible for armies to disembark/traverse land/re-embark if the time savings makes it worth it, but it will generally be avoided.
DD93_13.png

Transferring Commanders and Units between Formations​

Of course there will be moments where you would like to split, merge, or transfer commanders and units between two formations of the same type. Even with shared fronts and state-based occupation, there may be instances where a new front is created in an area where you already have an army - for example, if you join a totally separate war while you already have another military engagement.

This can be easily done in the field if you have a single formation with multiple commanders. You can right-click one of those commanders and choose to "Split" it off into a new formation, which will cause them to quickly take a number of representative units in proportion to their own Command Limit and form a new formation with the same properties and in the same place.

You can tune this more precisely if you like by opening a Transfer popup, where you can select the exact commanders and units you want to move, select a target formation (which could be a brand new one), and execute the transfer. If the target formation is not in the same location as the origin, a temporary formation will be created that automatically travels to the destination where it will automatically merge with the target.

In-game mockups of what the Transfer popup will look like. We're hard at work trying to get this implemented for the first Open Beta release but it might not be fully functional until the second release, in September. We're also considering other potential enhancements to this, such as a double-sided panel where you can transfer Commanders and units back and forth between two formations.
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Name and Icon customization​

When a formation is first created it gets a name selected based on your primary culture, type, and how many other formations you have of that type. You can change that name to your liking, to help you remember what you've designed it for or just for flavor and immersion.

In subsequent releases of the Open Beta you will also be able to customize the symbol and color of the formation icon, making it even easier to identify which formation is traveling across the map or deploys across a front.

A very work-in-progress screenshot of the formation appearance customization popup. The "pattern" section will provide a list of possible unique icons while the "color" section will contain a palette suitable for the formation type.
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Revised Naval Invasions​

Naval Invasions have also been revised to accommodate the new state-based occupation mechanics and improve the UX in managing naval invasions. Naval Invasion can be initiated either from a formation or the Military Lens. Like in the current version of the game you target a state, but as a follow-up step you then get the option to add the formation(s) to be involved in the invasion. During the Open Beta we will enhance this panel with more information to help inform you on the likelihood of success, such as exposing information about landing penalties and the like.

In the initial Open Beta release, only one formation of each kind can be assigned to a naval invasion. In upcoming releases you will be able to assign multiple formations of each kind.
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As you confirm the naval invasion, the formations selected will travel to the sea node just off the coast of the targeted state. When they have both arrived, landing battles will commence. A proper front (with armies assigned to that front) will not be created until the state is fully occupied. When this happens the naval invasion has been concluded.

In the interim, the supporting fleet may be attacked by enemy fleets. If any of these naval battles are lost, the naval invasion will fail and both formations will return home. If a naval battle is won but heavy ship casualties are taken, landing battles will take higher penalties until the fleet can be reinforced. During the Open Beta we will also look into adding more formations to a naval invasion already in progress.

Aside from closing some exploits relating to war exhaustion, this revision will make naval invasions a much more serious affair that requires naval dominance. We will be actively seeking feedback during the Open Beta to ensure executing and defending against naval invasions is more fun and interesting than it is in the currently live version.

I don't know about you but I can't wait to see these little guys in action!
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Frontline Graphics​

While most of the graphical enhancements will be appearing across the Open Beta period's two updates, we already have a first iteration of frontline graphics functional in the current development build.

In this screenshot, the frontline graphics system is using the previous battle graphics and additional VFX as placeholder for the assets we are currently producing.
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You can even see it from space!
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Frontline graphics will represent the current formations at the front, with models being selected based on unit type, culture, tech, and mobilization options active. Specific formations, and even specific Generals, will have a distinct location on the frontline, with "their" units organized in their vicinity.

Concept art of our visual target for the final frontline graphics. One of these dioramas will be assembled dynamically based on formation composition and placed in each province along the front (possibly with some provinces omitted if the front is particularly long and the formations particularly small, to avoid miscommunication about the size of an army).
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We are currently experimenting with our approach to animation and applying VFX to these models. It would not be appropriate for all units along a front to be animated at all times, since they aren't necessarily engaged in active warfare, so we will likely trigger animations on and off at certain intervals. This approach would also help with graphics performance.

We have a lot more WIP eyecandy to show you, but I'll leave that for future dev diaries!

What we broke :(

As a result of a lot of revisions, a few features have been disconnected from the game to be reworked during the Open Beta period. If you intend on evaluating the Open Beta you should be aware of these omissions and how we intend on addressing them in the updates.

Conscription​

Conscripts no longer make sense as raised on a state-by-state basis, since that makes it hard to determine which army they should belong to. Since we also have distinct unit types not tied to Production Methods, we would also need to know the nature of the conscripts that need to be raised.

The way we intend to solve this is by allowing players to assign conscripts of particular types to their formation, much like you build regular units. This will result in Conscription Centers being built as usual in specific states, but will not automatically raise those conscripts - that will be a toggle on the formation itself. Once formations start raising conscripts, the Conscription Centers will start staffing up as usual, up to the conscription percentage limit imposed by the population of the state, your Laws, Technologies, etc.

Putting conscripts on formation level also means you will be able to demobilize conscripts early, using the same Early Demobilization mechanics as described above.

Naval Warfare (other than naval invasions)​

Naval Warfare is scheduled to be reworked to support the new mechanics around concrete locations. This means that all actions you perform with your fleets will be based around sea nodes, not more abstract concepts like HQs or trade routes. If you are raiding convoys in a sea node, you can only be intercepted by other nearby fleets; if you want to defend against a naval invasion, you have to sail your fleet over to that naval invasion.

To account for the issues that may arise from moving fleets around to intercept each other, we're considering a number of solutions including:
  • Fleet Range: the ability for a fleet to be active also in adjacent sea zones, possibly at a reduced interception effectiveness or at a variable range determined by tech or unit type
  • Limited Fog-of-War: obscuring your enemy's positions and actions and only revealing them under certain conditions (Battleship board game style)
  • UI alerts and other visual indicators
  • Some manner of fleet automation, like patrol routes
This is an area we expect to do a lot of work in during the Open Beta, and will probably require a dedicated dev diary later on.

Conclusion​

As you can see, we've been quite busy! There's still a lot of work to be done, but we're all very happy to be addressing so many high-frequency community concerns in the context of a free update, and the new military mechanics already feel like a huge upgrade even in this immature state. With your direct input during the Open Beta period, on these as well as other features - like the new Companies and several other tweaks and improvements, which will be outlined in upcoming dev diaries - I have no doubt that the 1.5 update will bring Victoria 3 to new heights!

Next week we will hear more exciting stuff from our Art Director Max, this time about what to expect from the new Art Pack: Dawn of Wonder! After that we will move to a dev diary schedule of once every three weeks, to coincide with our sprint schedule and Open Beta update releases. This is to ensure that all members of the team are hyper-focused on the upcoming beta build itself and have time to communicate with you all on the Open Beta channel on the Discord server. See you there!
 

Sinilevä

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Strap Yourselves In
They still try to fix this piece of mobile shit with automatic wars and no units control on the map. Like, a year of efforts put to garbage can because incompetent developers tried to save their retarded warfare mechanics.

Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #93 - Military Improvements in Open Beta​

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Happy Thursday to you all! This is a particularly exciting dev diary for me to write, because I finally get to reveal details on what we've been working on since before the summer months - and strap in, because it's a lot!

I want to start out by talking a bit about the Open Beta and expectation setting. As we discussed in Dev Diary #91, we will be running an extended Open Beta from Aug 28th (alongside the launch of the 1.4 update) until our final release of 1.5 in late autumn. During this time we anticipate releasing at least 2 additional updates to the Open Beta branch, coinciding with our 3-week sprint schedule.

Expectations for the first update
Launch date: Aug 28. In the initial release, new features will be in a rudimentary state, with plenty of placeholder interfaces, graphics, and missing mechanical details. Many features will be exploitable and buggy, and absolutely not balanced. Some features will be unused or underused by the AI. Core components of the game that we have not touched should continue to work, so playing a game focused on economy and politics should not be heavily affected by these changes, but be aware that military campaigns may feel unsatisfying or cumbersome. If you wish to partake in testing this update, focus on feedbacking on what additions or balance changes would make the new features fun, not on whether they feel great right now.

Expectations for the second update
Tentative launch: mid September. By this time the new features should feel a lot more mature, with bugs and missing information / graphics filled in, additional mechanical details closing exploits and providing new optimization challenges, and in general more bells and whistles available to you. While beta testing this update, in addition to the aforementioned considerations, focus on balance and UX improvements.

Expectations for the third update
Tentative launch: mid October. If all goes as planned, at this point we should be fully feature-complete for the 1.5 release. This doesn't mean everything is wrapped up and ready to go! We will spend the time between this update and the final release fixing bugs, doing balance updates, and reacting to your feedback. While testing this update you should be able to focus on how fun the game is to play with the new features.

But first a short message from our Community Manager Pelly on how the Open Beta will be run!



Hello! For those that don’t recognise me, I am the Community Manager for Victoria 3 and helped run the Open Beta for 1.2 last time.

Open Betas are a very involved process, not just from the developers, but also on the community team end too!

When the Open Beta for 1.5 starts, the old 1.2 channels will be reopened for usage by the community! Any user can access these, to make it as easy as possible to provide feedback and chat about the Beta update!

As soon as the Open Beta is live, you can access the Beta Steam branch by following these instructions:
  • Right click Victoria 3 in your steam Library, select properties.
  • Click on ‘Betas’, then in the ‘Beta Participation drop down box select the 1.5 Open Beta option, when it is live, it will appear there similar to these options:
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Now a bit about the Discord Channel structure:
  • Open-beta-news - where news about the open beta is posted, e.g. when Beta updates are announced.
  • Open-beta-changes-and-bugfixes - where changelogs for the Beta updates are posted so you know what has been changed or fixed between versions.
  • Open-beta-pelly-post - this is where I go through all the feedback and bug reports for the day. Then I list them here, with any dev responses or mark if they are duplicates. This helps everyone know that their items have been looked at and seen by the devs! This is updated every day for the previous day's issues, normally closer to 16:00 CEST!
  • Open-beta-chat - the area to chat generally about the beta updates, I still know people who really enjoyed talking here and became part of the ‘open-beta-chat’ gang!
  • Open-beta-feedback - The place to post any feedback about the updates, tags are used to distinguish the topic and if it has been looked at by devs/! Developers will be around to talk in these threads, however don’t expect an answer for every single thread!
  • Open-beta-bug-reports - We don’t normally have bug reporting on discord, as the bug reporting forums are the place to post these issues. However, during the Open Beta period it is easier if we have both feedback and bug reports on the same platform for ease of communication.
That is all from me, I hope you will enjoy the Open Beta when it starts and I see people around!

I will be there most of the time and happy to chat to y’all if you have any questions.



Now let's jump into the juicy stuff! For these features we are looking to improve the military gameplay in three broad areas: Agency, Depth, and Visuals.

By Agency we mean the degree of control the player feels they have over their military campaigns. Equally important to granting more agency is ensuring the player doesn't experience a lack of agency, for example by having more fronts to manage than Generals; uncontrollable, unpredictable front splitting; or armies that suddenly return home because their General decided an active front was an opportune place to die of old age.

Depth refers to both detail and realism. More military attributes and configuration options, armies and fleets that are composed and behave more like you'd expect from history, and more interesting decision-making during warfare.

Visuals require little introduction: it's about what we have come to affectionately refer to internally as "little dudes on the map". Seeing your armed forces in action, in transit, and being able to put a concrete location on everything (which also helps with agency).

Shared Fronts​

One issue that can rear its ugly head from time to time in the current version of Victoria 3 is the very large number of fronts you may be dealing with at any given moment. Many of you have pointed out that this leads to mandatory micromanagement of the war effort, which defeats the design goal that led us to create a more hands-off system for Victoria 3 in the first place. Reducing the number of fronts, especially in wars involving several countries on either side, to a more manageable number is a big priority for us.

The first in a one-two-punch effort to solve this problem is to make fronts adjacent between two or more allied countries into a single unified front. This can drastically reduce the number of fronts active at the start of a war.

There isn't that much more to say about shared fronts, which is a good thing. While quite complex in implementation (and we still have a few edge cases to sort out), they do what it says on the tin and are very intuitive in play. Here's an example of a single front between Bavaria and Württemburg on one side, and Hesse, Frankfurt, and Baden on the other. In the current live version this would be 4 unique fronts!
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State-based Front Movement​

The second strike in our fight against too numerous and unpredictable fronts is state-based front movement. While merging adjacent fronts is a method of controlling the initial number of fronts between known participants, the bigger problem for most players is the unpredictable front splitting and merging that happens during the course of war, as battles are won and small pocket theaters are created. This feature eliminates the uncertainty of what might happen once a battle concludes, and drastically reduces the number of "temporary" fronts that emerge (which then causes you to lose the war because you don't have another General to staff it with so your enemy stomps all over you).

It works like this: battles will be fought in a province like before, but when you win you capture a fraction of the state that province is in, not a number of provinces. Only one state can be captured at a time, and only once the whole thing has been captured will the front actually move.

As part of this we have also permitted battles to be disconnected from frontlines, so you won't be attacking only the border provinces repeatedly until you have won the entire state. In our current build the province is chosen randomly from provinces in the state, but during Open Beta we will enhance this to select from provinces deeper and deeper into the state depending on occupation already earned.
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As a battle concludes, the winning side earns a victory score - currently just a flat value, but this will eventually be changed to be conditional on the size of the victory. This victory score is allocated towards gaining or clearing occupation in states adjacent to the front, depending on the winning side; defenders will only clear occupation while attackers will clear some from their own states (if any) and gain some in the state they attacked.

In the current version of Victoria 3, the number of provinces gained on winning a battle are dependent on the size of the win, the stats of the advancing General, and some randomness within a min-max range. With 1.5, the amount of occupation gained in a state from a battle is dependent instead on a comparison between the victory score and the "occupation cost" of the state(s) in question. The occupation cost is determined by a number of factors:
  • State population
  • Amount of provinces with difficult terrain
  • Number of mobilized battalions left standing in the defender's theater compared to the size of the theater
Both victory score and occupation cost are broken down in the UI and fully scriptable/moddable. We intend on tweaking both during the Open Beta phase heavily in response to your feedback, to make sure states that are supposed to be hard to take are actually more challenging to conquer (without it becoming a slog) while depopulated savannahs are easier to march across.

What we have found in testing this feature is that in addition to controlling the sudden appearance of new fronts, this new behavior also makes it very easy to determine whether you're in control of a particular wargoal. In the future we hope to add new mechanics tied into this feature, such as economic exploitation of states occupied during war.

An example of the new outcome of battle and the occupation cost breakdown. In this case Piratini should have gotten to plant their flags across 87% of the state, but some advanced math (a.k.a. bug) as described by this screenshot only granted 10% - guess it's back to the code mines for me!
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Speaking of flags! While it won't be in the initial Open Beta build, this is one way we plan on visualizing partial state occupation despite the frontline itself not moving, in addition to shading the terrain itself.
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While state-based front movement is primarily a way to control and predict the number of fronts that emerge during a war, this feature is also something we're looking to expand on in the future by tying state occupation tighter into other game mechanics, like economics and military supply.

I'll close this section out by saying that while multiple simultaneous battles per front won't be in the initial beta release (should be coming in the 1st or 2nd update), the way we plan to implement and balance them is to only allow 1 battle / front / state at a time. This means you would only potentially benefit from having more Generals than your enemy on particularly long fronts, and even then only if you outnumber their defending troops. This is however an area we are actively going to solicit feedback on, and you'll hear more about it in future dev diaries.

Military Formations​

This feature has a number of sub-features that I'll go into in some detail, but first a bit of background to what this is and why we're doing it.

Having Generals and Admirals as the leaders of your armed forces is great both for flavor and for the knock-on effects it can have on the political system, but in retrospect characters are simultaneously too static and too ephemeral to serve as good containers of military units for a player to control. Commanders are meant to have names, traits, and faces so you can remember them, and if you have too many of them you can't tell them apart. But limiting the number of them you can maintain simultaneously restricts your ability to fine-tune your military and control who goes where, which can be frustrating (especially when you have to assign Generals to an indeterminate number of fronts!)

But, let's say we put gameplay over narrative concerns about identity uniqueness and removed the cap. Then we run into the issue of having to give every one of them a unique order every time we want them to go somewhere or do something different. This is very annoying when you just want everyone to go defend your single frontline.

To make things worse, if one of them kicks the bucket due to old age or gets suddenly ripped away due to some special event, your entire military campaign might be irrevocably disrupted in an instant! While we made an initial pass to address this issue in 1.3 with Field Promotion of new commanders, having a non-character container for your armed forces removes this problem altogether - your units will remain in place, and you can assign or recruit a new commander to lead them as you wish.

Another issue with the current system is that Buildings act as your only main vector for customizing your military. While this makes sense to model the economic and population impact your armed forces have, it can be a cumbersome and unintuitive way of constructing a diverse and capable military.

Military Formations tackles the issue of commanders being simultaneously too static and too ephemeral by providing a container for both commanders (generals or admirals, depending on formation type) as well as combat units (battalions / flotillas). You can create as many Formations as you want - with or without commanders, each with as many commanders as you like, and you can move both units and commanders between formations at will.

The design intent here is to provide you with a kind of entity - that's programmer-speak for thingamajig - that is more customizable to your own needs for agency than commanders are. These needs may vary a lot depending on what kind of country you're playing, where in the world you are, and what kinds of wars you happen to get yourself into. It also gives us a better platform for customization - adding depth - than commanders and buildings are, which we will see below. And finally, facets we're including with formations such as concrete movement and unit types give us a lot more opportunities to visually represent your military on the map and in the UI. So let's get into some more details!

Combat Unit Types​

In addition to recruiting commanders into Military Formations (which works similarly to how it currently does in the live version) you can also recruit specific unit types and mix and match to your heart's desire. If you're playing a single-state country and want to recruit 5 Skirmish and 10 Line Infantry, you cannot do so in the current version of the game since unit type is governed by Production Method and all levels of a building must have the same methods. But in 1.5 you can do just that in a Formation, and the Barracks that get constructed "around" those units as a result will maintain the mix.

This works by creating the units inside the scope of the Military Formation itself, not by expanding buildings directly. That follows our UX design vision for this feature: rather than configuring and maintaining your military through an awkward mix of interactions with buildings and characters, all interactions with your military are done through formations first and foremost, with characters and buildings appearing around the formations as supporting entities to ensure existing game mechanics continue to function.

In addition to the different types of infantry units, we are also adding additional groups of units with different properties: infantry, artillery, and cavalry on the army side; as well as light ships, capital ships, and support ships for the navy. For the final release, most or all of these will have unique illustrations/icons; right now they all have the same placeholder icon.
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Units constructed in this way will be upgradeable between types (though not for the first Open Beta release) but only in certain cases: you will be able to upgrade your Ship-of-the-Line to Ironclads, as was often done historically, but you cannot upgrade your Ironclads to a different ship class like Battleships.

We're very interested in hearing your feedback on the specific units we're adding into the Open Beta, how they're grouped and balanced, and how managing them in the UI feels!

Mobilization Options​

I've always been happier with the current mobilization mechanics in theory than in practice. I like the increased demand on my industry during wartime and how that changes my economy (and my pops' economy). I also appreciate that I can't cheese the game by cranking down my consumption of military goods to zero in peacetime and turn it up to max when I'm at war, and that increased consumption is handled automatically as I mobilize a General into activity. I enjoy the tough decisions I sometimes have to make about whether I can truly afford to mobilize another General, or if my currently mobilized forces should be able to mop up the opposition in time.

What I don't like about it is how hard it is to balance, both as a designer and player, since it only increases the quantity of goods they're already consuming and therefore can only do so in a quantity that doesn't cause immediate shortages in your economy. Having to maintain mandatory unprofitable import trade routes for guns & ammo with potential elasticity to ensure I can prosecute my future wars sounds cool but can feel a bit much in practice sometimes.

Mobilization Options permit you to customize what goods you want to give your battalions when they're out active soldiering, with powerful effects providing trade-offs for the increased costs. Sometimes those goods are military hardware, other times they're just better rations or fancier uniforms. Adding consumer goods as a possible cost to mobilization also means a stronger impact on the civilian population during the war effort, which is both realistic and a great game dynamic.

Mobilization Options (typically) impose a cost in goods per unit in a Formation, which is applied to that unit's building, in exchange for an effect on all units. Both cost and effect are applied only when mobilized, and Mobilization Options can be toggled on or off only while the Formation is demobilized.

This is the list of Mobilization Options we will launch with the initial Open Beta release (fully unlocked, of course), but it's neither finalized nor well-balanced. Some of the options may even end up as new unit types instead (or in addition to) for example. We will be actively seeking feedback on what other options you want to see, and rework the UI to allow us to fit more options. Icons are currently borrowed from other areas of the game and are particularly WIP.
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Mobilization Options don't have to be just about goods, it can also just be toggles on how you want this Formation to behave. For example, Forced March causes the Formation to move faster but at a cost of increased morale loss (a penalty which could be countered by Luxurious Supplies, if desired). Rail Transport is mutually exclusive with Forced March, doesn't cause morale loss, but requires both the Railway tech and Transportation goods.

The way we see Mobilization Options used is as toggles that can be set prior to active warfare, taking properties like market conditions, commander traits, and combat unit mix into account. You could customize a small, fast formation of elite crack troops or a giant army of cheap irregulars forced to march on an empty stomach, depending on your strengths as a nation and who you're likely to be fighting against.

Early Demobilization​

While we initially added early demobilization with 1.3.6, it was a little bit hacky: it operated as a character interaction rather than a military command, and only applied a flat cost to a country in response to the goods cost prior to demobilization instead of incurring actual consumption.

We have now made it possible to demobilize armies during active warfare if desired. When this happens, the army will first have to travel home, and will then spend 4 months in demobilization (exact value very much subject to feedback) where mobilization supply cost will be gradually decreased over the duration. Unlike the current live implementation on Generals, these goods will be properly consumed in the interim so your industries and trade routes don't immediately collapse with nothing to gain for it.

Early demobilization can also be a little more relevant in the Open Beta due to Mobilization Options, in case those options you provided ended up a little too costly over the course of the war and you want to return home for reconfiguration.
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Station at HQ​

Military Formations, both armies and fleets, are initially created in an HQ but do not need to stay there. You can re-station a Military Formation at an HQ - even a temporary one you have established during the course of the war on allied or occupied territory - if you're willing to pay the increased supply cost for doing so depending on where your combat units are actually from (once we get around to adding that increased supply cost that is - until then, re-station away!).

You can station a fleet in any coastal HQ. Later during the Open Beta we will require an active Naval Base to exist in order to station your fleet there.
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This also means if you want to move an army to proactively defend against an impending naval invasion, you can do so (as long as you're quick about it!)
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Concrete Location​

Another thing we have been dissatisfied with is the lack of a tangible location for your armed forces. In the current live version, Generals and Admirals are either at the HQ they're recruited into or on a mission somewhere, depending on their current order. But when a commander moves somewhere in response to their order changing, they are put into a kind of limbo while they are moving to a new location (typically a front, with naval movement being more abstracted as an "execution time") with the travel time only visualized as a countdown in the UI.

In the Open Beta, Formations will always have a concrete on-map location, so you can track their real-time movement between locations more easily. Generals and Admirals no longer have their own independent locations as this is inferred by their Formation, but Generals can autonomously spread out across fronts to visually indicate what state they are primarily defending and/or attacking.

For the first Open Beta release, movement will be tracked only in straight lines. Here we see an army moving first from the Maranhão Pará Front, then towards the Maranhão Rio Grande do Sul Front, and finally back towards its HQ in Rio de Janeiro when it's demobilized.
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For upcoming Open Beta releases, formations will pathfind across roads, railways, and sea lanes (or sea lanes only for fleets, for obvious reasons) and travel along those to their destination. Here we see the path taken by an army traveling from Örebro, Sweden to Tampa, Florida. The short skip over English territory visualized here is because the pathfinder currently does not take either military access or spline travel time into account but just travel length; once we've completed our work on the pathfinder it should still be possible for armies to disembark/traverse land/re-embark if the time savings makes it worth it, but it will generally be avoided.
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Transferring Commanders and Units between Formations​

Of course there will be moments where you would like to split, merge, or transfer commanders and units between two formations of the same type. Even with shared fronts and state-based occupation, there may be instances where a new front is created in an area where you already have an army - for example, if you join a totally separate war while you already have another military engagement.

This can be easily done in the field if you have a single formation with multiple commanders. You can right-click one of those commanders and choose to "Split" it off into a new formation, which will cause them to quickly take a number of representative units in proportion to their own Command Limit and form a new formation with the same properties and in the same place.

You can tune this more precisely if you like by opening a Transfer popup, where you can select the exact commanders and units you want to move, select a target formation (which could be a brand new one), and execute the transfer. If the target formation is not in the same location as the origin, a temporary formation will be created that automatically travels to the destination where it will automatically merge with the target.

In-game mockups of what the Transfer popup will look like. We're hard at work trying to get this implemented for the first Open Beta release but it might not be fully functional until the second release, in September. We're also considering other potential enhancements to this, such as a double-sided panel where you can transfer Commanders and units back and forth between two formations.
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Name and Icon customization​

When a formation is first created it gets a name selected based on your primary culture, type, and how many other formations you have of that type. You can change that name to your liking, to help you remember what you've designed it for or just for flavor and immersion.

In subsequent releases of the Open Beta you will also be able to customize the symbol and color of the formation icon, making it even easier to identify which formation is traveling across the map or deploys across a front.

A very work-in-progress screenshot of the formation appearance customization popup. The "pattern" section will provide a list of possible unique icons while the "color" section will contain a palette suitable for the formation type.
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Revised Naval Invasions​

Naval Invasions have also been revised to accommodate the new state-based occupation mechanics and improve the UX in managing naval invasions. Naval Invasion can be initiated either from a formation or the Military Lens. Like in the current version of the game you target a state, but as a follow-up step you then get the option to add the formation(s) to be involved in the invasion. During the Open Beta we will enhance this panel with more information to help inform you on the likelihood of success, such as exposing information about landing penalties and the like.

In the initial Open Beta release, only one formation of each kind can be assigned to a naval invasion. In upcoming releases you will be able to assign multiple formations of each kind.
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As you confirm the naval invasion, the formations selected will travel to the sea node just off the coast of the targeted state. When they have both arrived, landing battles will commence. A proper front (with armies assigned to that front) will not be created until the state is fully occupied. When this happens the naval invasion has been concluded.

In the interim, the supporting fleet may be attacked by enemy fleets. If any of these naval battles are lost, the naval invasion will fail and both formations will return home. If a naval battle is won but heavy ship casualties are taken, landing battles will take higher penalties until the fleet can be reinforced. During the Open Beta we will also look into adding more formations to a naval invasion already in progress.

Aside from closing some exploits relating to war exhaustion, this revision will make naval invasions a much more serious affair that requires naval dominance. We will be actively seeking feedback during the Open Beta to ensure executing and defending against naval invasions is more fun and interesting than it is in the currently live version.

I don't know about you but I can't wait to see these little guys in action!
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Frontline Graphics​

While most of the graphical enhancements will be appearing across the Open Beta period's two updates, we already have a first iteration of frontline graphics functional in the current development build.

In this screenshot, the frontline graphics system is using the previous battle graphics and additional VFX as placeholder for the assets we are currently producing.
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You can even see it from space!
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Frontline graphics will represent the current formations at the front, with models being selected based on unit type, culture, tech, and mobilization options active. Specific formations, and even specific Generals, will have a distinct location on the frontline, with "their" units organized in their vicinity.

Concept art of our visual target for the final frontline graphics. One of these dioramas will be assembled dynamically based on formation composition and placed in each province along the front (possibly with some provinces omitted if the front is particularly long and the formations particularly small, to avoid miscommunication about the size of an army).
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We are currently experimenting with our approach to animation and applying VFX to these models. It would not be appropriate for all units along a front to be animated at all times, since they aren't necessarily engaged in active warfare, so we will likely trigger animations on and off at certain intervals. This approach would also help with graphics performance.

We have a lot more WIP eyecandy to show you, but I'll leave that for future dev diaries!

What we broke :(

As a result of a lot of revisions, a few features have been disconnected from the game to be reworked during the Open Beta period. If you intend on evaluating the Open Beta you should be aware of these omissions and how we intend on addressing them in the updates.

Conscription​

Conscripts no longer make sense as raised on a state-by-state basis, since that makes it hard to determine which army they should belong to. Since we also have distinct unit types not tied to Production Methods, we would also need to know the nature of the conscripts that need to be raised.

The way we intend to solve this is by allowing players to assign conscripts of particular types to their formation, much like you build regular units. This will result in Conscription Centers being built as usual in specific states, but will not automatically raise those conscripts - that will be a toggle on the formation itself. Once formations start raising conscripts, the Conscription Centers will start staffing up as usual, up to the conscription percentage limit imposed by the population of the state, your Laws, Technologies, etc.

Putting conscripts on formation level also means you will be able to demobilize conscripts early, using the same Early Demobilization mechanics as described above.

Naval Warfare (other than naval invasions)​

Naval Warfare is scheduled to be reworked to support the new mechanics around concrete locations. This means that all actions you perform with your fleets will be based around sea nodes, not more abstract concepts like HQs or trade routes. If you are raiding convoys in a sea node, you can only be intercepted by other nearby fleets; if you want to defend against a naval invasion, you have to sail your fleet over to that naval invasion.

To account for the issues that may arise from moving fleets around to intercept each other, we're considering a number of solutions including:
  • Fleet Range: the ability for a fleet to be active also in adjacent sea zones, possibly at a reduced interception effectiveness or at a variable range determined by tech or unit type
  • Limited Fog-of-War: obscuring your enemy's positions and actions and only revealing them under certain conditions (Battleship board game style)
  • UI alerts and other visual indicators
  • Some manner of fleet automation, like patrol routes
This is an area we expect to do a lot of work in during the Open Beta, and will probably require a dedicated dev diary later on.

Conclusion​

As you can see, we've been quite busy! There's still a lot of work to be done, but we're all very happy to be addressing so many high-frequency community concerns in the context of a free update, and the new military mechanics already feel like a huge upgrade even in this immature state. With your direct input during the Open Beta period, on these as well as other features - like the new Companies and several other tweaks and improvements, which will be outlined in upcoming dev diaries - I have no doubt that the 1.5 update will bring Victoria 3 to new heights!

Next week we will hear more exciting stuff from our Art Director Max, this time about what to expect from the new Art Pack: Dawn of Wonder! After that we will move to a dev diary schedule of once every three weeks, to coincide with our sprint schedule and Open Beta update releases. This is to ensure that all members of the team are hyper-focused on the upcoming beta build itself and have time to communicate with you all on the Open Beta channel on the Discord server. See you there!
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Fedora Master

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They still try to fix this piece of mobile shit with automatic wars and no units control on the map. Like, a year of efforts put to garbage can because incompetent developers tried to save their retarded warfare mechanics.

Victoria 3 - Dev Diary #93 - Military Improvements in Open Beta​

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Happy Thursday to you all! This is a particularly exciting dev diary for me to write, because I finally get to reveal details on what we've been working on since before the summer months - and strap in, because it's a lot!

I want to start out by talking a bit about the Open Beta and expectation setting. As we discussed in Dev Diary #91, we will be running an extended Open Beta from Aug 28th (alongside the launch of the 1.4 update) until our final release of 1.5 in late autumn. During this time we anticipate releasing at least 2 additional updates to the Open Beta branch, coinciding with our 3-week sprint schedule.

Expectations for the first update
Launch date: Aug 28. In the initial release, new features will be in a rudimentary state, with plenty of placeholder interfaces, graphics, and missing mechanical details. Many features will be exploitable and buggy, and absolutely not balanced. Some features will be unused or underused by the AI. Core components of the game that we have not touched should continue to work, so playing a game focused on economy and politics should not be heavily affected by these changes, but be aware that military campaigns may feel unsatisfying or cumbersome. If you wish to partake in testing this update, focus on feedbacking on what additions or balance changes would make the new features fun, not on whether they feel great right now.

Expectations for the second update
Tentative launch: mid September. By this time the new features should feel a lot more mature, with bugs and missing information / graphics filled in, additional mechanical details closing exploits and providing new optimization challenges, and in general more bells and whistles available to you. While beta testing this update, in addition to the aforementioned considerations, focus on balance and UX improvements.

Expectations for the third update
Tentative launch: mid October. If all goes as planned, at this point we should be fully feature-complete for the 1.5 release. This doesn't mean everything is wrapped up and ready to go! We will spend the time between this update and the final release fixing bugs, doing balance updates, and reacting to your feedback. While testing this update you should be able to focus on how fun the game is to play with the new features.

But first a short message from our Community Manager Pelly on how the Open Beta will be run!



Hello! For those that don’t recognise me, I am the Community Manager for Victoria 3 and helped run the Open Beta for 1.2 last time.

Open Betas are a very involved process, not just from the developers, but also on the community team end too!

When the Open Beta for 1.5 starts, the old 1.2 channels will be reopened for usage by the community! Any user can access these, to make it as easy as possible to provide feedback and chat about the Beta update!

As soon as the Open Beta is live, you can access the Beta Steam branch by following these instructions:
  • Right click Victoria 3 in your steam Library, select properties.
  • Click on ‘Betas’, then in the ‘Beta Participation drop down box select the 1.5 Open Beta option, when it is live, it will appear there similar to these options:
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Now a bit about the Discord Channel structure:
  • Open-beta-news - where news about the open beta is posted, e.g. when Beta updates are announced.
  • Open-beta-changes-and-bugfixes - where changelogs for the Beta updates are posted so you know what has been changed or fixed between versions.
  • Open-beta-pelly-post - this is where I go through all the feedback and bug reports for the day. Then I list them here, with any dev responses or mark if they are duplicates. This helps everyone know that their items have been looked at and seen by the devs! This is updated every day for the previous day's issues, normally closer to 16:00 CEST!
  • Open-beta-chat - the area to chat generally about the beta updates, I still know people who really enjoyed talking here and became part of the ‘open-beta-chat’ gang!
  • Open-beta-feedback - The place to post any feedback about the updates, tags are used to distinguish the topic and if it has been looked at by devs/! Developers will be around to talk in these threads, however don’t expect an answer for every single thread!
  • Open-beta-bug-reports - We don’t normally have bug reporting on discord, as the bug reporting forums are the place to post these issues. However, during the Open Beta period it is easier if we have both feedback and bug reports on the same platform for ease of communication.
That is all from me, I hope you will enjoy the Open Beta when it starts and I see people around!

I will be there most of the time and happy to chat to y’all if you have any questions.



Now let's jump into the juicy stuff! For these features we are looking to improve the military gameplay in three broad areas: Agency, Depth, and Visuals.

By Agency we mean the degree of control the player feels they have over their military campaigns. Equally important to granting more agency is ensuring the player doesn't experience a lack of agency, for example by having more fronts to manage than Generals; uncontrollable, unpredictable front splitting; or armies that suddenly return home because their General decided an active front was an opportune place to die of old age.

Depth refers to both detail and realism. More military attributes and configuration options, armies and fleets that are composed and behave more like you'd expect from history, and more interesting decision-making during warfare.

Visuals require little introduction: it's about what we have come to affectionately refer to internally as "little dudes on the map". Seeing your armed forces in action, in transit, and being able to put a concrete location on everything (which also helps with agency).

Shared Fronts​

One issue that can rear its ugly head from time to time in the current version of Victoria 3 is the very large number of fronts you may be dealing with at any given moment. Many of you have pointed out that this leads to mandatory micromanagement of the war effort, which defeats the design goal that led us to create a more hands-off system for Victoria 3 in the first place. Reducing the number of fronts, especially in wars involving several countries on either side, to a more manageable number is a big priority for us.

The first in a one-two-punch effort to solve this problem is to make fronts adjacent between two or more allied countries into a single unified front. This can drastically reduce the number of fronts active at the start of a war.

There isn't that much more to say about shared fronts, which is a good thing. While quite complex in implementation (and we still have a few edge cases to sort out), they do what it says on the tin and are very intuitive in play. Here's an example of a single front between Bavaria and Württemburg on one side, and Hesse, Frankfurt, and Baden on the other. In the current live version this would be 4 unique fronts!
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State-based Front Movement​

The second strike in our fight against too numerous and unpredictable fronts is state-based front movement. While merging adjacent fronts is a method of controlling the initial number of fronts between known participants, the bigger problem for most players is the unpredictable front splitting and merging that happens during the course of war, as battles are won and small pocket theaters are created. This feature eliminates the uncertainty of what might happen once a battle concludes, and drastically reduces the number of "temporary" fronts that emerge (which then causes you to lose the war because you don't have another General to staff it with so your enemy stomps all over you).

It works like this: battles will be fought in a province like before, but when you win you capture a fraction of the state that province is in, not a number of provinces. Only one state can be captured at a time, and only once the whole thing has been captured will the front actually move.

As part of this we have also permitted battles to be disconnected from frontlines, so you won't be attacking only the border provinces repeatedly until you have won the entire state. In our current build the province is chosen randomly from provinces in the state, but during Open Beta we will enhance this to select from provinces deeper and deeper into the state depending on occupation already earned.
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As a battle concludes, the winning side earns a victory score - currently just a flat value, but this will eventually be changed to be conditional on the size of the victory. This victory score is allocated towards gaining or clearing occupation in states adjacent to the front, depending on the winning side; defenders will only clear occupation while attackers will clear some from their own states (if any) and gain some in the state they attacked.

In the current version of Victoria 3, the number of provinces gained on winning a battle are dependent on the size of the win, the stats of the advancing General, and some randomness within a min-max range. With 1.5, the amount of occupation gained in a state from a battle is dependent instead on a comparison between the victory score and the "occupation cost" of the state(s) in question. The occupation cost is determined by a number of factors:
  • State population
  • Amount of provinces with difficult terrain
  • Number of mobilized battalions left standing in the defender's theater compared to the size of the theater
Both victory score and occupation cost are broken down in the UI and fully scriptable/moddable. We intend on tweaking both during the Open Beta phase heavily in response to your feedback, to make sure states that are supposed to be hard to take are actually more challenging to conquer (without it becoming a slog) while depopulated savannahs are easier to march across.

What we have found in testing this feature is that in addition to controlling the sudden appearance of new fronts, this new behavior also makes it very easy to determine whether you're in control of a particular wargoal. In the future we hope to add new mechanics tied into this feature, such as economic exploitation of states occupied during war.

An example of the new outcome of battle and the occupation cost breakdown. In this case Piratini should have gotten to plant their flags across 87% of the state, but some advanced math (a.k.a. bug) as described by this screenshot only granted 10% - guess it's back to the code mines for me!
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Speaking of flags! While it won't be in the initial Open Beta build, this is one way we plan on visualizing partial state occupation despite the frontline itself not moving, in addition to shading the terrain itself.
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While state-based front movement is primarily a way to control and predict the number of fronts that emerge during a war, this feature is also something we're looking to expand on in the future by tying state occupation tighter into other game mechanics, like economics and military supply.

I'll close this section out by saying that while multiple simultaneous battles per front won't be in the initial beta release (should be coming in the 1st or 2nd update), the way we plan to implement and balance them is to only allow 1 battle / front / state at a time. This means you would only potentially benefit from having more Generals than your enemy on particularly long fronts, and even then only if you outnumber their defending troops. This is however an area we are actively going to solicit feedback on, and you'll hear more about it in future dev diaries.

Military Formations​

This feature has a number of sub-features that I'll go into in some detail, but first a bit of background to what this is and why we're doing it.

Having Generals and Admirals as the leaders of your armed forces is great both for flavor and for the knock-on effects it can have on the political system, but in retrospect characters are simultaneously too static and too ephemeral to serve as good containers of military units for a player to control. Commanders are meant to have names, traits, and faces so you can remember them, and if you have too many of them you can't tell them apart. But limiting the number of them you can maintain simultaneously restricts your ability to fine-tune your military and control who goes where, which can be frustrating (especially when you have to assign Generals to an indeterminate number of fronts!)

But, let's say we put gameplay over narrative concerns about identity uniqueness and removed the cap. Then we run into the issue of having to give every one of them a unique order every time we want them to go somewhere or do something different. This is very annoying when you just want everyone to go defend your single frontline.

To make things worse, if one of them kicks the bucket due to old age or gets suddenly ripped away due to some special event, your entire military campaign might be irrevocably disrupted in an instant! While we made an initial pass to address this issue in 1.3 with Field Promotion of new commanders, having a non-character container for your armed forces removes this problem altogether - your units will remain in place, and you can assign or recruit a new commander to lead them as you wish.

Another issue with the current system is that Buildings act as your only main vector for customizing your military. While this makes sense to model the economic and population impact your armed forces have, it can be a cumbersome and unintuitive way of constructing a diverse and capable military.

Military Formations tackles the issue of commanders being simultaneously too static and too ephemeral by providing a container for both commanders (generals or admirals, depending on formation type) as well as combat units (battalions / flotillas). You can create as many Formations as you want - with or without commanders, each with as many commanders as you like, and you can move both units and commanders between formations at will.

The design intent here is to provide you with a kind of entity - that's programmer-speak for thingamajig - that is more customizable to your own needs for agency than commanders are. These needs may vary a lot depending on what kind of country you're playing, where in the world you are, and what kinds of wars you happen to get yourself into. It also gives us a better platform for customization - adding depth - than commanders and buildings are, which we will see below. And finally, facets we're including with formations such as concrete movement and unit types give us a lot more opportunities to visually represent your military on the map and in the UI. So let's get into some more details!

Combat Unit Types​

In addition to recruiting commanders into Military Formations (which works similarly to how it currently does in the live version) you can also recruit specific unit types and mix and match to your heart's desire. If you're playing a single-state country and want to recruit 5 Skirmish and 10 Line Infantry, you cannot do so in the current version of the game since unit type is governed by Production Method and all levels of a building must have the same methods. But in 1.5 you can do just that in a Formation, and the Barracks that get constructed "around" those units as a result will maintain the mix.

This works by creating the units inside the scope of the Military Formation itself, not by expanding buildings directly. That follows our UX design vision for this feature: rather than configuring and maintaining your military through an awkward mix of interactions with buildings and characters, all interactions with your military are done through formations first and foremost, with characters and buildings appearing around the formations as supporting entities to ensure existing game mechanics continue to function.

In addition to the different types of infantry units, we are also adding additional groups of units with different properties: infantry, artillery, and cavalry on the army side; as well as light ships, capital ships, and support ships for the navy. For the final release, most or all of these will have unique illustrations/icons; right now they all have the same placeholder icon.
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Units constructed in this way will be upgradeable between types (though not for the first Open Beta release) but only in certain cases: you will be able to upgrade your Ship-of-the-Line to Ironclads, as was often done historically, but you cannot upgrade your Ironclads to a different ship class like Battleships.

We're very interested in hearing your feedback on the specific units we're adding into the Open Beta, how they're grouped and balanced, and how managing them in the UI feels!

Mobilization Options​

I've always been happier with the current mobilization mechanics in theory than in practice. I like the increased demand on my industry during wartime and how that changes my economy (and my pops' economy). I also appreciate that I can't cheese the game by cranking down my consumption of military goods to zero in peacetime and turn it up to max when I'm at war, and that increased consumption is handled automatically as I mobilize a General into activity. I enjoy the tough decisions I sometimes have to make about whether I can truly afford to mobilize another General, or if my currently mobilized forces should be able to mop up the opposition in time.

What I don't like about it is how hard it is to balance, both as a designer and player, since it only increases the quantity of goods they're already consuming and therefore can only do so in a quantity that doesn't cause immediate shortages in your economy. Having to maintain mandatory unprofitable import trade routes for guns & ammo with potential elasticity to ensure I can prosecute my future wars sounds cool but can feel a bit much in practice sometimes.

Mobilization Options permit you to customize what goods you want to give your battalions when they're out active soldiering, with powerful effects providing trade-offs for the increased costs. Sometimes those goods are military hardware, other times they're just better rations or fancier uniforms. Adding consumer goods as a possible cost to mobilization also means a stronger impact on the civilian population during the war effort, which is both realistic and a great game dynamic.

Mobilization Options (typically) impose a cost in goods per unit in a Formation, which is applied to that unit's building, in exchange for an effect on all units. Both cost and effect are applied only when mobilized, and Mobilization Options can be toggled on or off only while the Formation is demobilized.

This is the list of Mobilization Options we will launch with the initial Open Beta release (fully unlocked, of course), but it's neither finalized nor well-balanced. Some of the options may even end up as new unit types instead (or in addition to) for example. We will be actively seeking feedback on what other options you want to see, and rework the UI to allow us to fit more options. Icons are currently borrowed from other areas of the game and are particularly WIP.
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Mobilization Options don't have to be just about goods, it can also just be toggles on how you want this Formation to behave. For example, Forced March causes the Formation to move faster but at a cost of increased morale loss (a penalty which could be countered by Luxurious Supplies, if desired). Rail Transport is mutually exclusive with Forced March, doesn't cause morale loss, but requires both the Railway tech and Transportation goods.

The way we see Mobilization Options used is as toggles that can be set prior to active warfare, taking properties like market conditions, commander traits, and combat unit mix into account. You could customize a small, fast formation of elite crack troops or a giant army of cheap irregulars forced to march on an empty stomach, depending on your strengths as a nation and who you're likely to be fighting against.

Early Demobilization​

While we initially added early demobilization with 1.3.6, it was a little bit hacky: it operated as a character interaction rather than a military command, and only applied a flat cost to a country in response to the goods cost prior to demobilization instead of incurring actual consumption.

We have now made it possible to demobilize armies during active warfare if desired. When this happens, the army will first have to travel home, and will then spend 4 months in demobilization (exact value very much subject to feedback) where mobilization supply cost will be gradually decreased over the duration. Unlike the current live implementation on Generals, these goods will be properly consumed in the interim so your industries and trade routes don't immediately collapse with nothing to gain for it.

Early demobilization can also be a little more relevant in the Open Beta due to Mobilization Options, in case those options you provided ended up a little too costly over the course of the war and you want to return home for reconfiguration.
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Station at HQ​

Military Formations, both armies and fleets, are initially created in an HQ but do not need to stay there. You can re-station a Military Formation at an HQ - even a temporary one you have established during the course of the war on allied or occupied territory - if you're willing to pay the increased supply cost for doing so depending on where your combat units are actually from (once we get around to adding that increased supply cost that is - until then, re-station away!).

You can station a fleet in any coastal HQ. Later during the Open Beta we will require an active Naval Base to exist in order to station your fleet there.
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This also means if you want to move an army to proactively defend against an impending naval invasion, you can do so (as long as you're quick about it!)
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Concrete Location​

Another thing we have been dissatisfied with is the lack of a tangible location for your armed forces. In the current live version, Generals and Admirals are either at the HQ they're recruited into or on a mission somewhere, depending on their current order. But when a commander moves somewhere in response to their order changing, they are put into a kind of limbo while they are moving to a new location (typically a front, with naval movement being more abstracted as an "execution time") with the travel time only visualized as a countdown in the UI.

In the Open Beta, Formations will always have a concrete on-map location, so you can track their real-time movement between locations more easily. Generals and Admirals no longer have their own independent locations as this is inferred by their Formation, but Generals can autonomously spread out across fronts to visually indicate what state they are primarily defending and/or attacking.

For the first Open Beta release, movement will be tracked only in straight lines. Here we see an army moving first from the Maranhão Pará Front, then towards the Maranhão Rio Grande do Sul Front, and finally back towards its HQ in Rio de Janeiro when it's demobilized.
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For upcoming Open Beta releases, formations will pathfind across roads, railways, and sea lanes (or sea lanes only for fleets, for obvious reasons) and travel along those to their destination. Here we see the path taken by an army traveling from Örebro, Sweden to Tampa, Florida. The short skip over English territory visualized here is because the pathfinder currently does not take either military access or spline travel time into account but just travel length; once we've completed our work on the pathfinder it should still be possible for armies to disembark/traverse land/re-embark if the time savings makes it worth it, but it will generally be avoided.
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Transferring Commanders and Units between Formations​

Of course there will be moments where you would like to split, merge, or transfer commanders and units between two formations of the same type. Even with shared fronts and state-based occupation, there may be instances where a new front is created in an area where you already have an army - for example, if you join a totally separate war while you already have another military engagement.

This can be easily done in the field if you have a single formation with multiple commanders. You can right-click one of those commanders and choose to "Split" it off into a new formation, which will cause them to quickly take a number of representative units in proportion to their own Command Limit and form a new formation with the same properties and in the same place.

You can tune this more precisely if you like by opening a Transfer popup, where you can select the exact commanders and units you want to move, select a target formation (which could be a brand new one), and execute the transfer. If the target formation is not in the same location as the origin, a temporary formation will be created that automatically travels to the destination where it will automatically merge with the target.

In-game mockups of what the Transfer popup will look like. We're hard at work trying to get this implemented for the first Open Beta release but it might not be fully functional until the second release, in September. We're also considering other potential enhancements to this, such as a double-sided panel where you can transfer Commanders and units back and forth between two formations.
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Name and Icon customization​

When a formation is first created it gets a name selected based on your primary culture, type, and how many other formations you have of that type. You can change that name to your liking, to help you remember what you've designed it for or just for flavor and immersion.

In subsequent releases of the Open Beta you will also be able to customize the symbol and color of the formation icon, making it even easier to identify which formation is traveling across the map or deploys across a front.

A very work-in-progress screenshot of the formation appearance customization popup. The "pattern" section will provide a list of possible unique icons while the "color" section will contain a palette suitable for the formation type.
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Revised Naval Invasions​

Naval Invasions have also been revised to accommodate the new state-based occupation mechanics and improve the UX in managing naval invasions. Naval Invasion can be initiated either from a formation or the Military Lens. Like in the current version of the game you target a state, but as a follow-up step you then get the option to add the formation(s) to be involved in the invasion. During the Open Beta we will enhance this panel with more information to help inform you on the likelihood of success, such as exposing information about landing penalties and the like.

In the initial Open Beta release, only one formation of each kind can be assigned to a naval invasion. In upcoming releases you will be able to assign multiple formations of each kind.
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As you confirm the naval invasion, the formations selected will travel to the sea node just off the coast of the targeted state. When they have both arrived, landing battles will commence. A proper front (with armies assigned to that front) will not be created until the state is fully occupied. When this happens the naval invasion has been concluded.

In the interim, the supporting fleet may be attacked by enemy fleets. If any of these naval battles are lost, the naval invasion will fail and both formations will return home. If a naval battle is won but heavy ship casualties are taken, landing battles will take higher penalties until the fleet can be reinforced. During the Open Beta we will also look into adding more formations to a naval invasion already in progress.

Aside from closing some exploits relating to war exhaustion, this revision will make naval invasions a much more serious affair that requires naval dominance. We will be actively seeking feedback during the Open Beta to ensure executing and defending against naval invasions is more fun and interesting than it is in the currently live version.

I don't know about you but I can't wait to see these little guys in action!
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Frontline Graphics​

While most of the graphical enhancements will be appearing across the Open Beta period's two updates, we already have a first iteration of frontline graphics functional in the current development build.

In this screenshot, the frontline graphics system is using the previous battle graphics and additional VFX as placeholder for the assets we are currently producing.
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You can even see it from space!
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Frontline graphics will represent the current formations at the front, with models being selected based on unit type, culture, tech, and mobilization options active. Specific formations, and even specific Generals, will have a distinct location on the frontline, with "their" units organized in their vicinity.

Concept art of our visual target for the final frontline graphics. One of these dioramas will be assembled dynamically based on formation composition and placed in each province along the front (possibly with some provinces omitted if the front is particularly long and the formations particularly small, to avoid miscommunication about the size of an army).
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We are currently experimenting with our approach to animation and applying VFX to these models. It would not be appropriate for all units along a front to be animated at all times, since they aren't necessarily engaged in active warfare, so we will likely trigger animations on and off at certain intervals. This approach would also help with graphics performance.

We have a lot more WIP eyecandy to show you, but I'll leave that for future dev diaries!

What we broke :(

As a result of a lot of revisions, a few features have been disconnected from the game to be reworked during the Open Beta period. If you intend on evaluating the Open Beta you should be aware of these omissions and how we intend on addressing them in the updates.

Conscription​

Conscripts no longer make sense as raised on a state-by-state basis, since that makes it hard to determine which army they should belong to. Since we also have distinct unit types not tied to Production Methods, we would also need to know the nature of the conscripts that need to be raised.

The way we intend to solve this is by allowing players to assign conscripts of particular types to their formation, much like you build regular units. This will result in Conscription Centers being built as usual in specific states, but will not automatically raise those conscripts - that will be a toggle on the formation itself. Once formations start raising conscripts, the Conscription Centers will start staffing up as usual, up to the conscription percentage limit imposed by the population of the state, your Laws, Technologies, etc.

Putting conscripts on formation level also means you will be able to demobilize conscripts early, using the same Early Demobilization mechanics as described above.

Naval Warfare (other than naval invasions)​

Naval Warfare is scheduled to be reworked to support the new mechanics around concrete locations. This means that all actions you perform with your fleets will be based around sea nodes, not more abstract concepts like HQs or trade routes. If you are raiding convoys in a sea node, you can only be intercepted by other nearby fleets; if you want to defend against a naval invasion, you have to sail your fleet over to that naval invasion.

To account for the issues that may arise from moving fleets around to intercept each other, we're considering a number of solutions including:
  • Fleet Range: the ability for a fleet to be active also in adjacent sea zones, possibly at a reduced interception effectiveness or at a variable range determined by tech or unit type
  • Limited Fog-of-War: obscuring your enemy's positions and actions and only revealing them under certain conditions (Battleship board game style)
  • UI alerts and other visual indicators
  • Some manner of fleet automation, like patrol routes
This is an area we expect to do a lot of work in during the Open Beta, and will probably require a dedicated dev diary later on.

Conclusion​

As you can see, we've been quite busy! There's still a lot of work to be done, but we're all very happy to be addressing so many high-frequency community concerns in the context of a free update, and the new military mechanics already feel like a huge upgrade even in this immature state. With your direct input during the Open Beta period, on these as well as other features - like the new Companies and several other tweaks and improvements, which will be outlined in upcoming dev diaries - I have no doubt that the 1.5 update will bring Victoria 3 to new heights!

Next week we will hear more exciting stuff from our Art Director Max, this time about what to expect from the new Art Pack: Dawn of Wonder! After that we will move to a dev diary schedule of once every three weeks, to coincide with our sprint schedule and Open Beta update releases. This is to ensure that all members of the team are hyper-focused on the upcoming beta build itself and have time to communicate with you all on the Open Beta channel on the Discord server. See you there!
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thesecret1

Arcane
Joined
Jun 30, 2019
Messages
5,488
An open beta... for essentially bugfixing a core mechanic of a shipped and released game? Paradox basically admits its titles are early access when released, and only aren't branded as such because they wouldn't be able to sell you each update as a DLC
 

Zed Duke of Banville

Dungeon Master
Patron
Joined
Oct 3, 2015
Messages
11,638
Johan just posted yesterday in his 10 year EU4 retrospective that half the fun of pdox games was moving little armies around. Surprised he is allowed to say that lmao. Also EU4 has now been around almost as long as the first 3 EUs combined.

I have begun to think PDX made good games in spite of this guy being there, he seems genuinely retarded. The worst thing about EU4 is the awful wack-a-mole combat.
Yea what good stuff has he even made? He made the release version of imperator: rome for pete's sake lmao.
Johan was lead programmer and designer for Europa Universalis, EU II, Hearts of Iron, Victoria, Crusader Kings, and HoI II, continuing to be involved with EU III, HoI III, and Victoria II. However, he had declined fairly hard even by 2010, and seems to have achieved mediocrity in the following decade. :M
 

None

Scholar
Joined
Sep 5, 2019
Messages
1,383
Adulthood is realizing Johan was one of the good ones. Of course, this is all relative to the current devs and leads. I'm pretty sure the old Paradox magic we're all missing was a combination of Doomdark, Johan, Bjorn-whateverhisnamewas, and the 1 or 2 I'm forgetting.
 

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