Ituk of Ili, Emperor of India: Part 20: 852: The End and post-campaign notes

I thought about it a bit, and I think it's time to stop this campaign, even thought the big plan to get to India failed miserably, and I'm not even bordering India (I'd need one more holy war for one remaining duchy in Afghanistan to even border de jure Punjab).

I wanted to do two things in one campaign - tribal/feudalization stuff and India/Buddhist/Jain stuff, and it seemed totally doable. Tribal/feudalization part went pretty well - new mechanics to explore, new kinds of problems to overcome and so on. Loads of fun to be had.

Unfortunately between non-Norse tribals being ridiculously weak, Abbasids next to me being ridiculously OP, Indians having access to holy orders stronger than all tribal armies of the steppes combined (sensible design decision to avoid them getting curbstomped by Abbassids, but sucks if you're not Abbassids), and 2/3 of my time being spent fighting civil wars and rebellions (there weren't even that many, travel time was just so ridiculously long), India kept getting delayed and delayed.

I finally reached the point where I can invade India - but I'd be doing it as feudal Muslim ruler with zero special CBs (I misread the files and thought I'd keep them as non-Pagan, oh well), totally generic and pretty much the opposite of what I wanted.

And so India will have to wait for another campaign. I keep returning to Paradox games, so it will happen sooner or later. For that matter I played as EU3 Vijayanagar, EU3 Orissa, EU4 Dai Viet, and EU4 Timurids (into Mughals into Byzantium), where India played very prominent role, as well as quite a few campaign where it was secondary theater of operations.

I wrote what I think about new mechanics already, and I don't have that much to add. The game is just ridiculously unbalanced - it feels like it might be the least balanced patch so far, but then I'm contrasting the most OP option (Abbasids) with the most nerfed option (non-Norse tribals with no nearby settled people to raid, and very high travel time - they're nearly as bad as Africans), if you're playing Catholic or Norse game it might be just fine-ish.

Once upon a time the feudal system of the game made sense - city vassals provided taxes, feudal vassals provided levies (based on how much they liked you), temple vassals something in between. After levy nerfs, feudal vassals are nearly pointless - kingdom's worth of feudal vassals provides less levy than your demesne, even if they totally love you.

I mean literally, 134-holding kingdom of Lombardy, 5th largest country on the map - controlling Italy, half of Sicily, and big parts of Bavaria, gets 4.2k levy from vassals, 2.4k levy from own 5-holding demesne (of 7 max), as well as 1.3k retinue. The nerfs have gone way too far.

And so the game cut max demesne size, prevented you from having large demesne by harsher penalties with each patch, prevented you from having more temple/city vassals by arbitrary 10%-of-your-realm limit, nerfed mercs and now also retinues you could use to work around that, banned you from giving titles to your successor in case you wanted smooth succession, and is generally being an asshole. It started with "HRE too strong, please nerf" and step by step it descended into current mess that's far worse than the original design, and contains just so many dumb penalties and arbitrary limitations.

The biggest derail along the way were probably temporary revolt titles. That managed to somehow nerf revolts, so people are afraid of random adventurers and rebels instead of unhappy vassals and claimant brothers these days.

Anyway, I'm not even entirely sure how I'd fix it with simple tweaks. Some obvious ideas:

* Reduce wrong holding type penalties from ridiculously high 75% on both tax and levy to something reasonable, at least for tribal/feudal.
* If decadence can't be fixed, just remove decadence bonuses/penalties completely.
* Give tribal troop upkeep discounts, as they're too poor for even own levies.

But they honestly just won't do enough. The whole pile of arbitrary nerfs and limitations the game got over time needs dismantling.

It doesn't mean the game is unplayable - plenty of people enjoy it as an RPG / dating simulator, and seriously unbalanced strategy games can be perfectly enjoyable. I just feel I'm done with it for now. Maybe I'll play some mods instead.

Anyway, here's a small bonus, some exploits.

How to farm infinite gold/prestige:

* Own county as part of your demesne, with city inside. (it doesn't have to be city, but you get a lot less money per iteration otherwise)
* Grant city to infidel - just make sure not the same one as last time.
* Grant independence to that infidel.
* Attack with county claim, with your levies/retinues/event troops/etc. sitting on the province.
* First time it will take a while to siege that down, that's totally fine.
* Once you win the war, enforce demands, repeat - this time since garrison has 0 troops (it got conquered today), it will take just 1 day to win the war.
* Every time you sack it you get loot money (sadly only 30% due to new administration modifier, so about 14 gold a day from mid-wealthy city), and 50 prestige from winning a war.
* It's a lot of clicking. I find it too tedious. Easier versions used to be possible, but they closed them. (I don't even mind that)
* And don't accidentally give the title to same infidel, as you'll have truce timer. You don't want that.

How to get a ton of rebellions (not infinite, just opportunistic):

* You need to be at medium crown authority or medium tribal organization, so you have infidel revocations free
* If you happen to conquer territory with infidel rulers, do this:
* Revoke all counties so they're your demesne
* Once that's done, revoke all baronies, same day, they'll definitely all say yes
* Give all counties to someone
* Barons will notice you're not their direct liege, so they'll automatically refuse your offer, and rebel against you
* You get ten-years +25 opinion with all your vassals per revolting baron. One duchy worth of them is basically +100 opinion realmwide no matter what you do. Sadly this all expires in 10 years and any new vassals won't have it.
* This trick can be farmed - give titles to infidels, wait 1 year so you can revoke them, do everything, but usually you'll find yourself with infidel counties anyway in normal gameplay, and you might as well do this opportunistically.
* This works if you get infidel territory by claim / invasion. Holy war automatically kicks them out and gives their holdings to you.
* It's easy to accidentally do this (that's how I discovered it) - barons will always accept revocations, but they wait different time, so you might accidentally give county away before getting all barons to accept revocations.

How to change crown authority by multiple levels is one day:

* Be Muslim, so you don't need to bother with vassal votes.
* You need 2 kingdoms worth of land
* If not Muslim, get your vassals happy (see previous exploit)
* Change crown authority from 0 to 1
* Create second kingdom titles - it will start with higher level but no timer
* Change crown authority from 1 to 2 in new kingdom
* Change your primary to kingdom with highest authority, repeat until happy
* If you run out of kingdoms, destroy some and recreate them
* If you want to create empire, do that last
* That will leave you with some kingdoms at lower authority than your primary, you can leave it for your successors, or destroy and recreate those titles
* You can't destroy titles as gavelkind or elective gavelkind, but you can still go 2 levels up right away by just creating a new one.

That's all exploits I'm aware of. If you know any more, I'm always interested.
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