Imperator: Rome

Nice. 2.0 seems like a pretty big deal, I’m looking forward to diving in once it’s out.

I will try 2.0 since I already own the game, but I will be keeping my expectations near the floor; maybe in the basement. Hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised.

One thing I have been enjoying is the key art for this project and updates. Perhaps the highlight of this whole endeavor. This would make a kickass boardgame cover; something I would pickup on a whim in a game shop without researching.

What was the last update you spent time with?

To be honest, I really believe this is the best approach for every game. I had no expectations for Cyberpunk for instance and I feel like I had a much better experience than the people who were following the game closely as a result. I mean, I was seeing a lot of the same problems they were and even had similar complaints, but my expectations were different.

In any case, I’m planning on waiting for at least the first hotfix. You just can’t change this much in a complex game and not have issues. I’m looking forward to it, though.

Honestly, it has been a while. I was really hyped for Imperator before release. I played during the first month and then re-visited again during one of the bigger patches (cannot remember the number, but within the first year) then haven’t really been back.

I am mostly hoping that some personality and character has been added to Imperator to better surface the era it is modeling.

Is there a link for the big picture on what 2.0 is doing? I played 1.0 a bit but found it flat like most gamers. What are the big ideas for the 2.0 upgrade?

I’m really hoping this game can do better because I love the era.

Jeez, it’s a lot. I’m guessing they will put together a video dev diary where they kind of go over the bullet points but for now the best I can recommend is going to the wiki and looking at the dev diary topics. It’s a big overhaul.

If you haven’t played it since 1.0, keep in mind there’s been 9 other updates that all added something noteworthy.

I’m sort of wondering what the “big idea” of all of these patches is - they are obviously dramatically changing the game from 1.0 so in general terms, what are they trying to do?

The overarching changes from 1.0 to 2.0 have been to make the game less abstract. These two screenshots show some of the main UI changes.

Here is a screenshot from 1.0. Along the top are wealth, manpower, then the 4 types of monarch points. These worked similar to monarch points in EU4 - these are buckets of points that fill up, and when they reach a threshold, you spend them to do something.

The circles with pictures of gods in them below that were the tabs for different menus. Even Johan admitted he would forget which circle represented which menu.

Here is the updated UI. The monarch points are long gone, and this now shows things like stability which can be going up or going down. The menu circles have been replaced with the sidebar with icons that represent the actual content of the menu.

This also shows the change to the tech system with a new tech tree.

That’s basically what I was hoping for, to a point. I think excessive abstraction was part of why 1.0 felt so “flat”. However, hitting that “sweet spot” of abstraction is one of the Holy Grails of complex strategy game design; it’s possible to go too far into detail (I’m recalling Geryk’s seminal article on detail vs. realism in gaming from 20 years ago.)

I’ll probably give Imperator a second shake once 2.0 is out and the initial post-patch patches are in place.

Are they fixing trade? The system I saw where you dealt with each good per-province seemed cool in theory but also non-scalable.

They are adding more automation to trade in 2.0. I still hope they redo the system entirely in the future, but they know it’s a problem.

All of the pop stuff has gotten way more simulationy since 1.0. At release you just spent Mana to instantly change pops. Now in 2.0 you’ll levy pops to fight wars which takes them out of the economy during the war and gives you extra reason to take care with the lives of your troops. That’s going to be a really shift.

I’ve pointed it out before but I think they already redeemed the missteps of 1.0 a year ago and have continued to improve since. As far as current Paradox games, it’s only behind EU4 on my favorites list right now.

The thing was, a lot of the stuff was in 1.0 but was button clicking micro management rather than now where you nudge populations over time. They didn’t add too much additional detail, they just changed the nature of your interaction.

This is the diary talking about trade. Basically you can assign it to governors.

Finally they understood that those top buttons are bad. You can guess which of those mean technology and religion, but try to guess what do last 6 on the right mean.

For me they meant that I could ignore whatever mechanics were hidden behind those screens unless they became absolutely necessary enough for me to go through the hassle of clicking all of them to find the right one. Generally if it was that important the game would provide a notification that would shortcut me to the right screen. So yeah, really bad UX there.

I last gave Imperator a shot at 1.2. But, I’ll give 2.0 a shot. Especially if Old World is still in Early Access. (I’m done playing in Old World, in EA not because it’s bad, but because it so good I don’t want to burn out on it before its finally polished.)

To me the real cardinal sin of the Imperator, is that found myself falling asleep playing late at night. Now that happens to me a lot watching TV but it shouldn’t happen for games.

2.0 released today. I went ahead and bought the DLC and am downloading it, but I doubt I’ll play until the weekend at the earliest. Hopefully that’s enough time for them to hotfix anything egregious.