Victoria 3

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.

I’m delighted they are reversing the rule that you can only earn achievements on ironman mode. I have 2,000 hours on HOI IV and I have two achievements.

There are games I play ironman, like Kerbal. But I don’t play Paradox games in ironman for several reasons, First, the games are complex, I can have hundreds of hours and still not fully understand how a new system works. Second, they have bugs, on my occasion, I’ve been able to choose a different path to avoid a bug, and finally, I definitely like my scum saves.

Well, I am very disappointed by this decision. Looking at the percentage of players that have each achievement is something I often did with other paradox games to order the difficulty of them, and seeing the flowing border of a particularly hard achievement in my profile was fun for me. Achievement runs have been 90% of my paradox games since EU4.

Now none of that has any meaning. It isn’t just the lack of ironman requirement, it is the lack of a checksum requirement. Unlocking all the achievements is now a trivial exercise that can be done without even playing the game.

The reaction to this is inevitably “but you can earn the achievements exactly how you did before”, but psychologically it is fundamentally different. Achievements in steam are like grinding to unlock a top tier weapon in a classic mmo. They are one of the few ingame commodities in modern gaming that are legitimately rare and can’t be wrecked by microtransactions.

I understand how a team could make this decision, to help players like @Strollen who don’t want to play ironman. But there are winners and losers to these types of choices, and I am firmly in the latter.

I think this is a long overdue change. I have always hated that you have to choose between mods or achievements. Now you get to have both!

I prefer playing ironman cause it feels like a “fair” approach. Like without it my performance is defined only by my pacience, with savescumming I can achieve anything I want. It’s ok for curated linear experiences but in a dynamic game like this it’s like having a clairvoyance.

But it’s fine achievements are unlocked. People who would want to savescum won’t affect thes statistics a lot. There were ways to cheat achievements before too if you really wanted them. They still require vastly different effort to achieve.

I’d prefer achievements remain iron man only. I read one suggestion that an achievement without iron man have one icon, and with ironman have a highlighting border - that would be a decent compromise I think.

Or at least keep some of the achievements as “In Ironman…”.

Although for me the checksum thing is annoying if I ever want to check out some small mods but have to choose between that or achievements.

Paradox games are certainly one of the few places I care about achievements as they often provide a goal or two each game once I’ve put in enough time to need something new to try for. That said, I can’t imagine the number of people who will just cheat unlock all the achievements will be so high as to ruin all the percentages on Steam.

Yeah, it’s very annoying how CK3 mods that add new cosmetics or affect UI turn off achievements. Even if I don’t plan on getting any specific achievement I feel like I’m judged. I play on ironman anyway and I feel something lost from my soul when I realize that I’ve actually legitimately completed the achievement but I don’t get the icon because my rulers had modded fancy hats.

Oh, you are. Paradox devs watching modded games:

Pavlov and Skinner are no doubt doing the same thing from the grave. ;)

Or perhaps they’re smiling come to think about it.

If we can’t use achievements to sort good people (honest, capable, and hardworking, worthy of respect and even admiration) from bad people (cheaters and liars, losers in video games and in real life), what is even the point?

(I never play these games on ironman).

I don’t think modded games like this should get Achievements. If someone wants to save scrum, that’s a different beast in my book.

My truck sim, where the mods are just things like engine sounds, different trucks, it doesn’t really matter for achievements.

Never cared about them, what happens happens and the rest is a waste of time, especially at the cost of QoL. Thought about using hack tools to ruin the stats for the git gud crowd, but that would be caring, which I don’t, so I didn’t.
I just wish I could turn off the annoying pop-ups, which Ironman did for me. I do like the salt, especially the “why only 40% of players played the real game™”.

I wanted to get archievements in Paradox games, but i like to try some mods with it, especially in Stellaris. So i learned about hexediting the game .exe

And now i get achievements with mods. Best thing ever.