Victoria 3

Their UX has come such a long way that I agree it’s really impossible to go back to Vicky 2. I’m sure EU3 would feel the same if I were to try going back to that. Not to mention their early 3D games were not, uh, visually stunning.

Yeah I’ve always loved the idea of Victoria, but never actually spent as much time on it as other games. Probably spent more time reading/arguing about the simulation than actually playing. Hopefully this changes that.

I have a lot of faith in these designers. They’ve seemingly taken a lot of what makes modern Paradox games accessible and brought it into the Vicky format without dumbing down the simulation. In fact, they seem to have a deep understanding of what didn’t work with Vicky 2 and took some pretty major steps to rework those appropriately. On top of that they deepened the simulation in the places that matter most to what the Victoria franchise is.

Yeah, I have incredibly high expectations for this one, higher than I can remember having for a game in quite some time. But it’s clearly been a labor of love for the designers and Paradox doesn’t seem to be rushing it out the door.

How do we read this? Pre-order, release date announcements, and livestreams all coming on the 30th? Or livestreams start then and preorder / release date announcement will be sometime before then?

They clarified that that’s all on the 30th.

Thanks!

Revisions to trade:

Looks pretty cool overall. I’m glad they are continuing to address issues.

I may be getting super-nitpicky, but I think the detailed rules about profitability just bother me a bit. If you trade wood from A to B, so that you equalise the price in the two markets to say $10 per unit, then producers in A are getting paid $10 for the unit the export company buys, it gets shipped over the sea (consuming convoys) and then sold for $10 in the importing market, and exporting company can still pocket a significant profit.

I think this is necessitated by the way they calculate prices - to have a difference in price between A and B, you’d need to have unsold goods in A or unmet demand in B (or both). In real markets, the prices would adjust until supply met demand. They didn’t want that pricing mechanism because it makes things harder to understand or harder to predict I guess?

Trying to simulate a market economy is really hard. Hence, the tens of millions of people if not more who’s job consists of trying to forecast sales, for their company, broker, fund, or federal agency.

It’s still a day one purchase for me, but there are some many ways they can screw this up, and I’m lowering my expectations. Wars are generally fun to fight in a game, we will see how economic competition works out.

It’s really hard to make it stable. In games and in the real world, cough.

Yeah it’s clear the devs made some decisions about the “open” economy and price-setting to be able to guarantee some level of stability and ease of analysis. Which, considering it’s a game and how much trouble you can get into in an economic simulation, is probably the safer call.

However, it does lead to hacks like the profit equation in the trade routes as a necessary consequence. I guess my worry is that a few modelling decision that make little real-world sense lead to a cascade of others and eventually gets to the point where you can’t ignore it. We don’t want a floating price, so now we would need to force over-production in the exporting region for trade between markets to make sense. Let’s just add magic profit to make that work. Oh, now it makes more sense for two countries to just have a trade agreement and trade everything between them in order to maximise the magic profits, but if we actually join our markets that will go away.

Thanks for the clear and thoughtful example! Not to derail the thread, but is there a game that you’d like Vicky 3’s economy to resemble / be completely stolen from?

Offworld Trading Company! Just kidding, kind of. I am curious what he’s got in mind as an example.

I can’t think of a game I’d like the economy to be modelled after - I don’t have as much time to play and read about games these days, so maybe there is a perfect fit out there.This is fan-theorising - for all I know the developers tried the changes I’d like for months and it was totally unworkable. In fact that is pretty likely.

The biggest change I’d like to see is prices that adjust to balance supply and demand. Let’s keep it that every producers gets paid and every consumer gets their good, even when there is not a balance between producers and consumers. Chalk it up to off-screen supply depots as they do now. With the current pricing mechanism, that imbalance can last forever (infinite off-screen depots!). I’d like a pricing mechanism that adjusts until supply and demand is in balance.

Right now, price is set around a base price, and with a fixed adjustment based on the imbalance between supply and demand, and fixed min and max prices. If supply and demand are in balance, then the good sells at the base price. My preference would be that an oversupply would gradually drive the price down and a shortage would drive the price up. If oversupply, some combination of drawing in new customers (increase demand) or producers cutting back (supply reduction) would eventually let supply and demand meet and stabilise the price. For a good shortage, the opposite would happen.

I think the key thing would be choosing mechanics for price adjustment and for how consumers and producers react to price adjustments, that leads to reasonable stability if underlying factors are stable. That might mean other changes - maybe pops actually have savings to try to stabilise their standard of living and perhaps have a less rigid spending program to achieve a certain standard of living. Right now pops buy whatever is required to maintain their current standard of living until their SoL decays or increases. Same for production - maybe buildings don’t need to automatically burn through their cash reserves if they find themselves in an unprofitable situation.

The general idea would be to commit to a somewhat realistic pricing mechanism and then follow through on what else is required to make things work.

The benefit of the way they are currently doing it is that things are much more predictable and easier to interpret. You have an absolute measure for whether the price of any good is “high” or “low”. You can see what demand is for a good and don’t need to guess what demand would be if the price was lower. When the designers set up production processes, they can fine-tune what the profitability would be at base prices, rather than trying to guess what the equilibrium price would be in a particular market.

The downside is that the way they are setting prices now is fundamentally not at all how prices work in the real world. So there will be consequences and optimal strategies that are not at all optimal in the real world, and patching those consequences will have other consequences. In the real world, having a unified market and having an agreement with tariff-free trade routes in all goods is essentially the same thing. In the game, the second approach generates a lot more profit. There’s probably more stuff like this waiting in the wings.

You know however the economy works, Paradox is going to completely overhaul it within a year of release. None of this will be relevant to Victoria 3 as it will exist in 2024.

Well, you would still need further modeling for realism if you take into account that costs and risks aren’t linear, and overproduction, over-consumption, waste, and theft would still be missing - all models are simplifications.
Nice catch there, though. IRL, you have the middleman vaccuming rents either way, and I don’t think it would be a big change. OTOH, I’m not paying much attention to the details yet.

I agree that modeling supply and demand would produce outcomes that would feel more natural. I also agree with your lists of pros and cons that this kind of model would have. Let’s see what direction will the developers choose and how will they juggle multiple challenges a game of this scope has.

Thank you for taking time to reply with the nice write-up!

I know Wiz did this with Stellaris, but I think replacing the core mechanics like the price level stuff is less likely in Vic3. It was super painful to do in Stellaris and I think they took that lesson to heart and spent a lot of time on the core foundations in this game.

For sure. It’s always a question of how far down the rabbit hole you go. I guess I just want to say that while there are tricky consequences of having a more realistic price setting mechanism, there are also tricky consequences of having a less realistic mechanism.

Thanks!

It probably won’t be to the same extent as stellaris, but I think it’s inevitable that once the game is being played by thousands of players some fairly deep flaws would surface and need to be addressed. The systems they are trying to model are simply too complex to get right on v1.0, either in terms of verisimilitude or playabilty.

I think that’s true, but I think the problems will be addressed by things like the change to profit calculation for trade routes. They tried it one way, found a deep problem, and decided to work around the problem because that is about 100x less development and testing time than addressing the deep problem. Honestly if I were in charge I’d be wary of cracking everything open at the core as well, since there is no guarantee that deep surgery is going to work out versus something more narrowly targeted at the particular gameplay problem.