Small Changes, Big Impact

I mentioned that one of my favorite games was having a big upgrade recently in the form of a free patch and paid dlc. One of the free features in particular attracted some deserved attention. However, I think the developers intentionally designed this fix to change another aspect of the game and correct an irritating design flaw.

Before we go on, let share the background of how the game works. I’ll keep it simple. The game has several forms of resources. Money is money, of course. But over time your nation also builds other resources: administrative, diplomatic, and military energy. These are then expended to develop your nation in a variety of ways – mostly technology and new infrastructure, but also territorial expansion. And there’s the rub: Ironically, the military resource is actually hard to spend, to the point where the worst-off AI is rarely running behind. Players outright state that it’s considered a fairly meaningless resource, and several attempts to tweak its usefulness didn’t move their opinion.

The new system changes how and when you’ll be spending those points, in indirectly makes them much more useful. While on the surface you’re making the same choices, one small change has a real impact on gameplay. Instead of building specific structures with your points, you’re contributing to an overall “Development” score for each province. You can then turn that into other opportunities with new, improved structures.

This creates an great new dynamic, where you should never feel as though you’re just burning through or wasting points on things you can’t really use or don’t need. It’s also an example of how small tweaks can help fix problems. Sure, there’s a big change overall, but it’s actually only the small side element of “development” which promises to make the military resource far more useful. We’ll see how or if it pans out in the process, but for right now I feel confident this will change the nature of the game in a very good way.

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