Community Announcements - BjornB


Hi everyone!

It’s time to spill the beans on some actual content in the upcoming expansion Monks and Mystics, which we announced last Friday at our Fan Gathering (I hope all the good folks who showed up had a fun time - I sure did!)

The genesis for this expansion came about a long time ago, when I started thinking about secret societies and conspiracies and wrote it down as one of several outlines for a couple of “mini-expansions”. Now, for various reasons we never went ahead with that expansion model and most of the ideas have, by now, been used in bigger expansions. However, the concept of fraternities stuck and the time is now auspicious!

The core feature of Monks and Mystics is something we simply call “Societies”. Societies are groups of like-minded characters who are working together for personal and mutual profit. Some Societies are perfectly legit (that’s the “Monks” part in Monks and Mystics); others are perhaps viewed with some suspicion (e.g. Alchemists) but are hardly criminal. Finally, there is the subversive kind, of which the Demon Worshippers are certainly the worst. (Such shadowy and outright evil cults can be actively combated through a new job that can be given to the Court Chaplain.)

The basic loop goes like this; you put out word that you’d like to join a specific Society. After a while (immediately, for open Societies), you will be approached and offered membership as a novice. At this lowest rank, you usually don’t get many new abilities (but if the Society is secret you can now at least see the leader and the other members.) Now and then, you will be given missions that will further the goals of the Society. If you complete them, it will give you more power within the Society, which should eventually allow you to “level up” in Rank. The new Rank will give you access to at least one new special ability. Using these abilities (they are basically just a special type of Decision) can also increase your power within the Society, and so it goes, all the way up to being the leader of the whole Society.



Of course, members of the same Society tend to like each other, and will sometimes (depending on the nature of the Society) even be obedient towards members of higher rank; or at least not hostile. This creates a whole new way of discouraging factions and pave the way for loyal vassals (or even a loyal Pope!)

That’s all for now. In a later dev diary I will go through the actual Societies and talk about their particular powers and abilities...

Be sure to check out the funny teaser trailer for Monks and Mystics, and remember the Livestreams later today, where Emil and Steven’s quest for the best German cookie continues, followed by the Norman adventures of Chris, David and yours truly (Henrik "Doomdark" Fåhraeus, not BjornB)!



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Community Announcements - BjornB

Let’s Talk About Sects. Monks and Mystics Coming to CK2
Newest Expansion to Crusader Kings Increases Your Faith

STOCKHOLM – 2 December 2016 – The bells of the abbey summon monks to prayer while, a continent away, the faithful are summoned by a muezzin’s call. Religious practice imposes a schedule on the chaos of medieval life, and the routine adds harmony to a divided realm.

Routine and harmony. We can’t have that, can we?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XWEMq0JiB0Y

Monks and Mystics is the latest expansion to Crusader Kings II, the hit medieval grand strategy role-playing game from Paradox Development Studio. In Monks and Mystics, the religious aspect of the game is further explored with new mechanics and character associations that can tie a faith closer together or render it asunder.

The major feature of Monks and Mystics is the addition of Societies – secret and otherwise. Characters can join monastic orders, secret cults and Gnostic heresies. As the society gains members, it gains power and prestige for its leaders. Societies open new actions for characters and can lead to new event paths.

Monks and Mystics includes:
Monastic Orders: With lay offices available to non-clerical characters, monastic orders will increase your character’s piety - but they have expectations.
Cults: Gnostic heresies may flourish and its is rumored that the worship of Satan continues in the darkened fringes of the world
Climb the Ranks: Characters work their way up the ladder of Societies, unlocking new abilities and triggering new event chains
Hunt for Heretics: Send your chaplain out to find secret societies that undermine the holy church and your realm. But what if the hunter is guilty himself?
Other New Councillor Actions: Your councillors have a fourth action that will make them more powerful and integral to sound rulership
And much more: Assassins, archaeological expeditions, holy relics, great treasures and more

Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics is coming soon to major digital retailers, including the Paradox Store.
Community Announcements - BjornB


Good afternoon. I’m Magne Skjæran, and you might remember me from my modding and optimization dev diary at the end of summer. My last day at Paradox was a few days after that, but since I had a great time working there this summer, I returned to the CK2 team about a month ago to work on the game part-time.
Today I will be covering a topic that’s been briefly mentioned earlier in the Easing Executions dev diary: quality of life changes in regards to the intrigue screen and plotting.

While the image shown in that dev diary was a mockup, the planned changes have now been implemented. However, the actual art isn’t done yet, so most images in this dev diary are touched up based on mockups rather than showing my programmer art. There is after all a reason I work as a programmer rather than an artist.

So let’s go through all the changes we’ve made to the Intrigue screen in detail:

I’ve numbered the changed aspects.

First, at #1, we’ve got the new decisions menu. It now shows 6 decisions at once rather than the old 4, making it easier to find what you’re looking for.

At #2, you can see that each decision now has a button allowing you to mark it as important or not important, thus allowing you to control which decisions you get alerts for. Marking a decision as important will change the background to gold, enable alerts, and move it to the top of the list. The last bit only happens once you exit and return to the decisions screen, since decisions jumping around when you click on them would be rather annoying.

#3 is a button allowing you to reset the priority settings to default.
What decisions are important is saved across campaigns, so you won’t have to mark decisions as important or not important every single game.

Further, at #4, we have a new tab: My Plots. This mostly just moves the plot functionality out of the way to give more space to the decisions list, but it does have one new addition: you can now clearly see who the target of each backed plot is, shown at #5.

Next, let’s go to the Prisoners screen:

At #1, 2, and 3 you can see the new prisoner mass actions. These allow you to release, ransom, or execute all prisoners currently shown on the screen, except those that have been marked as locked using the button you see at #4.

Further, prisoners can now be filtered by the eight different criteria you see at and below #6. This can then of course be reset back to being unfiltered using the button at #5.
A minor change is that this tab now fits 6 prisoners at once rather than 5.

When using the mass actions you’ll be asked to confirm and told about the ramifications of your actions:

This ensures you’re never caught unawares by tyranny or similar.

Next up, Known Plots:

Here there’s two new additions. At #1, we’ve got a new button that lets you ask the plotter to end their plot, saving you a few clicks.

At #2 we’ve got a new feature: if you know about a plot and you’re in the group of people that’s possible to invite, you can ask to join. The AI will always accept this, while if you’re playing multiplayer the other player can refuse if they want to.

The “auto stop plots” button has also been moved to only show up within this tab.
As to the Threats tab there’s nothing new there except for six threats being shown at once rather than five.

That’s it for the Intrigue screen, but we still have a couple of tidbits related to plotting left.

When invited to a plot you’ll now be able to see who the target is, saving you from having to use the character or title finder in order to figure it out.

Finally, when a plotter tries and fails to kill your spymaster due to them discovering their plot, you now have the option to keep the plot a secret, which is ideal for cases where you would rather join the plot than expose it.

That sums up all the changes we’ve made to make the intrigue aspects of the game simpler to interact with, and providing you the information you need to make decisions. Hopefully you’ve found this dev diary as intriguing to read as it was to write!

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Crusader Kings II Development Diary Archive
Nov 21
Community Announcements - BjornB


Hello all! As some of you may know, Paradox spent the last 4 days in Malta and now we are back in Stockholm [S]exhausted[/s] refreshed and re-energised, and ready to get back to work! Speaking of work, the topic of this Diary is the new Council jobs we are adding in the upcoming <Mystery> expansion. These are not quite like earlier jobs the Council could do though, because (with one exception) these are “off-map” jobs - you do not need to place the Councilor in a specific province to perform them.

please excuse the lack of unique art for the new jobs, it will be there

Chancellor - Perform Statecraft. This job increases the speed at which your Threat decays, and can fire events which improve relations with random vassals, neighbours, or your liege if you have one. If you have a specific character you want better relations with, the Improve Diplomatic Relations job will be more useful, but for general improvements Statecraft should be your choice.

Marshal - Organize the Army. This job lowers the upkeep cost of your Retinue (Or Horde), and can fire events to train existing or find new commanders.

Steward - Administer Realm. This job increases the speed of Cultural conversion in your realm’s provinces, and can fire events adding economic bonuses to any province. If you own Reaper’s Due, Prosperity throughout the Realm will also increase faster.

Spymaster - Sabotage. This is the exception I mentioned earlier. For owners of the <Mystery> expansion, the existing Scheme job will become “off-map” (if you don’t own it, Scheme will remain unchanged) and a new Sabotage job will be available for use on specific provinces. These provinces will suffer damage, gain unrest, and may even be made easier to siege due to sabotage and bribery.

Court Chaplain - Hunt Heretics. This job enables the Court Chaplain to hunt for members of shadowy cabals who plot against God and man alike.

And while I’m here and talking about the Council, let me mention something we’ve added for the 2.7 patch. When trying to have my Council agree to a vote with Conclave, it always bugged me that I would need to check in the tooltip of the law who was for and against it, then switch to the Council screen to bribe and cajole people, then check the law screen again to see who I had forgotten about. Instead, now you can ask that the Council considers a vote before you actually vote on it, which allows it to be shown on the Council screen along with icons on each Councilor showing how they will vote.



While it’s not in yet, we hope to add a button right there to start the voting process so that you don’t need to switch back to the laws tab once you have your votes arranged.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

An entirely objective ranking of the 50 best PC strategy games ever made, now brought up to date with the riches of the last two years. From intricate wargames to soothing peacegames, the broad expanse of the genre contains something for everyone, and we’ve gathered the best of the best. The vast majority are available to buy digitally, a few are free to download and play forever. They’re all brilliant.

… [visit site to read more]

Nov 14
Community Announcements - BjornB


Greetings!

After showing Doomdark some of the subliminal messages in a few tracks by Judas Priest and delving into deeper studies of other groups and media, I decided that I needed a break and put my mind into something else for now. So... a perfect opportunity for me to write a new Dev Diary! I would love to talk about some of my findings so far but I need to do more research to be sure that what I have discovered is true.

For this entry I’ll talk about something both I and other people have wanted me to do with Crusader Kings II for a long time:

Mixing!

What kind of sorcery is this?

This is a process that you’re usually doing at the end of production which I was able to do for Stellaris & Hearts of Iron IV, but never got to do for Crusader Kings II for the simple reason that it was released before I started working at Paradox. :)

It means that I have gone through all current audio assets and adjusted the overall audio volume for them. Later on I mixed and adjusted all the different audio assets ingame, so for example all the ambient sound effects are lower in the background until you zoom in. Also, interface sound effects play at a pleasant volume and do not interrupt the music. I can also reveal that I have mixed all music in the game, including all the separate Music DLCs, which means that now you don’t have to worry about the Metal music exploding your speakers when you turn on the game.

So, in brief this means it will feel like a new experience for you once you start the game with the new mix. Perhaps you will start hearing audio you have never noticed before, and discover that the notification sound effects are a bit “softer”.

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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alex Wiltshire)

This is The Mechanic, where Alex Wiltshire invites developers to discuss the inner workings of their games. This time, Crusader Kings 2 [official site].

Meet Domnall, Earl of Osraige. He s a pretty affable guy. He s friends with his neighbouring rulers, and all seems peaceful. But he s also ambitious and a just little crazy, and he s about to make a big mess of the Emerald Isle.

Domnall is one of the hundreds of characters across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa that Crusader Kings 2 is simulating here in the year 1066. Whether the player is interacting with them or not, they ll be vying with each other, allying, marrying, dying, giving birth, and generally doing all of the things that your ruler can do. Crusader Kings 2 is a game all about people. It s about marriages and dependencies, accordances and kinship. And at the heart of how it models all these dense and messy human complexities is a single value that governs the way its little computer aristocrats behave:

THE MECHANIC: Opinions … [visit site to read more]

Nov 7
Community Announcements - BjornB


By the grace of God, I am finally back and able to pen another development diary, though my hands are still unsteady from the shocking things I saw while in hiding. I think it best to simply recount my harrowing experiences of the last few weeks. For those with eyes to see and ears to hear, there is much to be learned from my travails.

For many months, I had felt that something strange was going on at the office. In hindsight, the signs were all there; colleagues naming their daughters “Sophia”, hushed talk of “secret knowledge” and Dan “podcat” Lind suddenly breaking off his presentation of the next Hearts of Iron IV expansion in order to explain how the Creator is just an “evil emanation of the original Monad”. But it wasn’t until Björn “Metal King” Iversen took me aside to listen to the subliminal messages in various Judas Priest tracks that I finally realized the truth: the company had been infiltrated by Sethian Gnostics! I recognized some of the messages from the Second Treatise of the Great Seth and the Gospel of Judas...

I suddenly did not want to help Björn record any more death sounds. Who knows how many souls he has helped “liberate” from this earthly prison in his infernal studio? He eyed me with suspicion when I assured him that I had already achieved Gnosis. Beating a hasty retreat, I was forced to skulk in various unused meeting rooms for a full week until I could finally make my escape. While in hiding, I witnessed many disturbing sights; people wearing inverted pentagrams and muttering to themselves, a secret follower of Mahomet performing an odd prayer ritual, various outlandish and no doubt fraternal handshakes, and worst of all; a vile heathen festival in the lunchroom involving spiderwebs, skulls and a bloody brew spewing smoke.

The rot runs deep. There are worse things afoot than mere Gnostic heretics... I fear there are several other corrupt sects burrowing like ticks within our ranks. How could this happen? What malign stars have aligned in the skies above our afflicted nation? Dark heresiarchs are at work in the Realm, pulling strings from the shadows and inducting naïve game developers into their subversive cabals. Who can feel safe in these dark times?

I have written the Holy See with a plea for aid. My sole hope lies in the Holy Father, Pope Francis, though I wonder if he is made of stern enough stuff to unleash the Hounds of God, for I fear only the Dominicans can save us now, as they did in the times of Cardinal Torquemada, bless his soul...

May God send us a light, for the darkness surrounds us!



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Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Adam Smith)

The Witcher 3 [official site] is the longest game I’ve played for years, or at least the longest game that I’ve actually come close to completing. There was a time when I’d be thrilled to hear about a new fifty or sixty hour epic adventure, very much subscribing to the policy the more the better , but now I’m more likely to flinch away from the screen when a game’s sprawl is revealed.

I’ve realised that my aversion to enormous games has been growing for a while, but the announcement of Red Dead Redemption 2 brought it into sharp focus. Do I really want> yet another massive open world game? I’m not sure that I do.

… [visit site to read more]

Community Announcements - BjornB


It’s Monday again, and you know what that means: a Dev Diary! It’s time to start talking about new features in an upcoming DLC which I can’t name yet. For DDs we prefer to talk about things we’ve already implemented, but this <Mystery DLC> is still in the very early stages so you’re going to see some mockups which hopefully convey the idea of what we are going for without being an exact representation - don’t be surprised if the final result looks rather different though.

With that said, the basic idea is to give the Intrigue screen more room for Decisions and Prisoners. As well as that, a system of filters and a set of “do to all currently shown” buttons to Release/Ransom/Execute multiple characters at once:


Ideally we’ll also have a lock button on characters so they can be excluded from mass actions, and radio buttons would likely be better than our traditional dropdown lists.

That’s it for now, I did warn you I would make some short DDs sometimes!

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