February -21 brings more player requested features, as the recruitment system is upgraded with an option for faster creation of units, and policies are overhauled. Since January, the 1864 campaign was added along with performance improvements and a lot of other changes, big and small. Let’s take a look at the most important ones!
Quality of Life — Recruitment
Many in the community have requested speeding up the flow of recruitment. Especially when starting a new campaign, it takes time to get the recruitment going, getting weapons upgraded, and so on. To make life easier, we have added a speed recruitment option in the army management panel.
The functionality is quite simple. First you select the Headquarters you wish to add the new units to. Then in the quick recruitment options select the number of units per type to be recruited. You can also change the initial strength of the units, from 50% to 75% to full 100%. The smaller units will start growing in strength later with additional reinforcements. Once happy, click to recruit, and the units appear under the selected HQ. The recruitment state is chosen with fastest arrival time (recruitment delay & movement to join the army) in mind.
You can also upgrade weapons for the best types available by simply clicking on the Headquarters in question, and then upgrade.
Other recruitment related improvements are the availability of volunteers via militia, and other, acts. Also the recruitment delays are slightly increased. These combined mean that it will be slower to recruit large armies early on in the campaign.
Another requested feature has been the policies and how they work. We also thought that the policies are not well balanced enough, and that it was too easy to activate the maximum amount, as research took quite little time. Instead of minor changes here & there, the whole system, along with policy effects, was revised. This is part of the campaign balancing, which has been ongoing, and will continue till the game is released in full.
First change is in the pre-war policies, which are chosen when the campaign is started. These policies included many weak ones and a few overpowered ones, making the choice — for those who wish to change them from the historical ones — rather simple. Now the policy effects are more balanced, so the choice should be more interesting. As an example, some of the pre-war policies are required during the campaign to proceed past certain policies: pre-war industrialization is required for industrialization III-IV policies, and so on.
Also the policies <-> subsidies link is changed. Previously they made too little difference, as without any policies you could invest up to a million to each subsidy, and policies would eventually increase this by 50% at most. In the revised system, without a policy there are no subsidies available at all, and the subsequent policy levels increase the investment cap with increasing steps. The level IV policies for industrialization, agriculture and military will also include a bonus to nation’s morale, support or military experience.
With the changes in place, the policies and acts will become more powerful and interesting to use. The previous updates, which made the research speed depend on national support, and multiple simultaneously researched policies slower, adds to this. Now the player needs to think a few steps ahead.
The late war campaign, that was added in January, kicks off right before the Overland Campaign and Atlanta Campaigns commenced. Lt.Gen. Grant, now in command of the Union armies, has the task to end the war, preferably before the presidential elections of 1864 in November. Previous summer Lee was defeated at Gettysburg and Grant captured Vicksburg. But this does not mean the Confederacy is beaten. Already the Red River Campaign by Banks has failed to capture Shreveport.
The main forces in this campaign are those of Grant, Lee, Sherman, Johnston, Banks, Kirby Smith and Butler. And the fighting ahead would be the bloodiest during the war.
With the new campaign, we have also updated the campaign map and the number of commanders available within the game files has been bolstered to more than 1700!
Performance increase, with +10 FPS on average,
First steps with scalable UI,
Some UI improvements with very high resolution screens,
Fog of War calculation changed to instant when loading a campaign/battle,
Fix for the blurry screen after a fresh install, when using high refresh rates.
Battle type improvement, with defensive/offensive operations changing the initial deployment,
Rebalanced skirmishers’ effectiveness in general,
AI use of cavalry improved,
Rebalanced unit routing and army retreats, that should lead into less casualties per battle, especially early in the campaign when units are green.
Terrain now blocking combat and command radii of armies, mountain ranges now block arrival or reinforcements,
Rebalanced autoresolved battles, sieges,
Added rolling text information on the map informing about casualties from skirmishing, rear guard action, movement speed changes,
Changed raiding functionality so, that raiding armies no longer capture terrain, infrastructure is burned only within the combat radius of the unit, and raiding armies will skirmish with all enemies within their combat radii,
Improved AI defensive operations near capital city,
Before Military II -policy only early armies can be formed, and after the policy grand armies with multiple corps can be formed, grand armies made more flexible with rebalancing of command radii of armies,
Rebalanced intelligence gathering by armies, making scouting and use of cavalry much more effective in spotting enemy movement,
Added a large number of Grand Herald news from the Civil War, and around the world, for further immersion.
…and many more improvements and bug fixes, that can be found in the patch release notes.
The Next Steps.
The work continues to get the game ready. With recent feature updates, focus is back in fixing bugs reported by the community. In the background we are writing a proper game manual, creating more battle maps, preparing new tutorial videos and improving the game play experience with fixes to most requested topics, such as campaign & battle retreat routes, and melees & surrendering in battles.
Gen’l. Ilja Varha,