Thursday, May 26, 2016

Crusader Kings II - Replay, 6 hours

Six hours into my reunion with Crusader Kings II and I'm finding that my biggest obstacle is ideology. Not simulated ideology inside the game, like you might encounter in Stellaris, but my actual, real-world ideology.

Since the installation of Conclave, my vassals have been demanding greater and greater say in the governance of my realm, which puts me in an awkward position, because I can't really justify denying them. However, the problem this poses is that the AI is stupid. Not just tactically, but on a fundamental level it simply can't understand the nature of the game.

For example, there's no reason you'd ever want the "status of women" law to ever be at less than maximum. It's literally nothing more than a tax on "historical accuracy" and there is no game advantage to disenfranchising your female subjects. Yet every damned time I try to raise the status of women, I have to bribe my council into it. Similarly with things like realm centralization. There's no advantage to anyone on the Council to vote against it, but they do, because they must like thwarting me.

I find myself yearning for the iron fist of dictatorship just so I can order my realm in a reasonable way.

How much should I credit this feeling? It probably doesn't matter if I impose upon my video game subjects a harsh virtual autocracy. It's not like they have free will. It's not like they know what they are missing.

But then, what exactly are my goals with this game? I want to survive to the year 1453, but I can't just keep my head down and fast-forward through the ages. If you're not moving forward, you're falling behind. Yet the more I push the boundaries of my realm, the slower my progress becomes. What I really want is a stable equilibrium.

And, in theory, I'd like that equilibrium to be such that the game labels it peaceful, free, and egalitarian, at least to the degree that such is possible in a game about medieval nobility. So that means putting up with my vassals' stupidity. I'll just have to figure out a way to advance their interests in spite of themselves.

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