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Diplomacy balance

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Diplomacy balance - 12/9/2020 12:05:22 AM   


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Joined: 8/27/2012
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So I was experimenting around with diplomacy a bit and it seems a bit too strong, for either side if left uncontested, but a big advantage goes to the Entente even if both sides invest shrewdly.

Firstly diplomacy is extremely cheap. 50MPP is significant in 1914, but by mid 1915 the value of MPP has dropped and by 1916 even an unusually ferocious early game should still see both sides with ample surplus MPP for "luxuries" like diplomacy chits. The value of MPP in the game starts high and drops rapidly relative to other things like NM or HQ experience. Partly due to Industrial Tech, tech spending limits, unit limits, etc. This may be slightly less true with soft build limits (buy more Artillery) but the point still stands: At some point in 1915 or early 1916 at the latest, both sides should dump as much as they can into diplomacy because it's worth it. It's even a fair idea to spend 1-3 chits early game to try to swing Norway past 0% or simply force Germany to counter or lose MPP.

Which brings us to the second problem: Entente simply has way more available chits:
UK: 5
France: 5
Russia: 5
Italy: 3
Serbia: 1 (but I won't count this one cause Serbia often dies before it can spend on luxuries)

Germany: 5
A/H: 4
Turkey: 3

So if Serbia is dead in late 1915 the Entente gets 18 and the Centrals get 12. If there were a massive diplomacy war for one country (say Romania, I won't even mention Spain because it's so overpowered for the Entente and needs to be economically weakened) the Entente will have a 30% chance per turn of a 5-20% swing which is plenty enough push a country towards your side at a useful rate.

Another difficulty for Centrals is that diplomacy is stealthy. You can check the Research/Diplomacy chart in Reports to check to see how much your opponent spent on diplo, but have no way to know which country they are courting until their first success, by which time it is often too late. For example Norway hangs by a thread and losing the MPP early is bad for Germany. If Britain invests 100 MPP into diplomacy I don't know who they are courting. It could be Norway or Denmark or both. So I feel pressured to invest two chits into Norway to prevent an early swing, but don't know if this is the correct "defensive" diplomatic strategy. I don't think this is very historical, considering multiple examples when one side was completely aware of the diplomatic courting going on in neutral countries (England demanded Sofia and Istanbul both expel German officers there).

In summary, it seems to me that diplomacy as it stands in 1.03 is too inexpensive, unfairly balanced chit-wise, and too difficult to counter due to stealth. It's kind of a no-brainer at some point in the game, and the Entente has the upper hand.

Here is what I propose:

#1 Increase expense of multiple chits each side (the entire alliance) invests in a single country. This should reduce the appeal of massively focusing on one country alone and make "defense" more possible even with fewer chits because if the other side wants a large advantage they will have to spend increasingly more.
Realistically speaking, more diplomatic effort should lead to diminishing returns. Dumping 10+ chits into one country should either be less effective per chit, or more expensive per chit. And that would encourage spreading out diplomatic effort more (which was actually historically the case; it's not like 100% of Entente diplomats all flocked to Bucharest).
Perhaps the costs could increase for each successive chit one side invests per country:
Minors: 50 + 25 for each chit already invested so 50, 75, 100, 125...
Majors: 150 + 50 "" 150, 200, 250, 300 etc.
I especially like this idea because I think it leads to interesting dilemmas and nerfs the optimal strategy which in many cases was to focus massively on one country. Historically the Entente made diplomatic progress but it took years (Norway didn't stop trading with Germany until late 1916) and I think this would slow things down to a more historical level.

#2 Reduce chits for more balance (Entente still has an advantage):
France 5 -> 4
Russia 5 -> 3
Italy 3 -> 2

#3: Make it visible on the diplomacy window what chits your opponent has invested in which country

I could propose more changes (certain countries are better/cheaper at courting certain others) but I think this is enough for now.

Anyhow I would be interested to know what you guys think. Do you agree with me or do you find diplomacy to be underpowered/useless? Is a big Entente advantage historical or a good feature?

< Message edited by Chernobyl -- 12/9/2020 12:15:45 AM >
Post #: 1
RE: Diplomacy balance - 12/9/2020 3:21:57 AM   

Posts: 819
Joined: 7/2/2020
From: Republic of Cascadia
Status: offline
Very interesting points made here, but I personally feel it is fine as it is. I can summarize a few things about my opinion:

1) The Entente I feel should have a larger diplomatic gravitas simply because they have a larger footprint on the world. While that may sound simplistic, the fact is economic resources and monetary power is a foundation of diplomacy, not just smooth promises and big gunboats.

2) I don't feel increasing diplo chit expenses because all of them have been dumped in one country should be penalized. In fact, as you already perceived, spreading those chits out incrementally over time can have bigger returns and can fool your adversary (at least a human) into thinking your going in one direction than another.

Example a): Lets say the CP has 2 chits in Holland, 1 in Bulgaria, and has 2 not bought. Your opponent, (if he reads the reports that is) will see over time that 150 mmp has been spent..a few turns later, the German player gets lucky and that 5% chance chit pops on Bulgaria. Now the Entente player may think hes dumped it all in Bulgaria, and try to counter..instead, for the German, it doesn't matter..Bulgaria is already on the high road to joining the CP because the Serbs are being ground down into defeat, and Holland isn't bothered by the Entente spending money to influence The Hague.

Example b): The Entente player really needs Romania to join their side..and has has spent some modest mmp's into it for a year with some gain but not what is desired. So the Entente player, via Russia, knowing that the taking of Lemburg (which they took earlier and saw the message noting Romania's 'Interest'), then plans an offensive to take Przemysl and Crakow. The Russians understand that their own losses will be high, there won't be spare money for any diplomacy until these two objectives are taken. (which the Entente understands will trigger positive pro-Entente percentages). So, while the operation is in progress, other Entente members (and Russia if they can afford it) take a calculated risk and dump en masse mmp's into Romania, an expensive enterprise. Timing was important here, the desired result is achieved e.g. Cracow and Przemysl taken, Romania gets bumped pro-entente beacause of this..a few turns later or concurrently, the diplomatic chits start paying off, and Romania is at 92% pro-Entente and is going to join the slaughter.

3) Diplomacy chits are expensive enough and they compete with other necessary and critical needs that have meaningful and quantitatively known outcomes for the economy and the military. There are still some probabilities involved that can make the next threshold in a research line achieved not perfectly known, but its less squishy then diplomatic investments and outcomes are, especially when opponents maybe trying to monkey wrench your efforts in that space.

4) Deciding when to spend MMP's on Diplomacy shouldn't be taken lightly, and should be regarded as an adjunct of the wider strategic situation as it unfolds. I don't believe focusing massively diplomatically on one country should be 'nerfed' at all, as while that strategy may seem optimal, in fact, it could be a money dump that weakens the country(s) participating in such an unsophisticated manner. And sometimes, in my opinion anyway, in this cold hard world, money equals power and should be used as a blunt instrument when more subtle means aren't working.

Of course, these are just my opinions and this could be wholesale rubbish

(in reply to Chernobyl)
Post #: 2
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