Five Improvements I Want To See In Crusader Kings 3
Crusader Kings 2 is without a doubt a game with a steep learning curve and nothing I suggest in this article will detract from that learning curve or suggest that the game be simplified to attract a wider audience. For the game already has a very endearing charm that I find sullied by a few weaker areas. It is here that I want to tackle to improve the experience of Crusader Kings 3.
1: Dynasty management
One of the key features of Crusader Kings is that you do not play an immortal King, Prince, or Ruler. Instead of the usual omnipotent god figure you are very much mortal and in game and you do die, whereupon you pick up as one of your children (depending on inheritance laws). A problem that would commonly arise is that my child would be extremely unliked by his vassals and court. When you have a larger nation and this happens you can quickly watch your nation dissolve into bickering states and the hard work of the last 3 hours of conquest, negotiations, intermarriages is gone in an instance.
This is a good idea though, but where it lacks is in there is no remediation to prevent it. In a real dynasty a ruler would never leave his child to become hated in such a manner. A simple solution would be some parental controls, have your child meet with different lords, coach and prepare them to take your place, much as they would in real life. Now those that ignore this take the risk of losing everything on the passing of the torch and they must pay for their own negligence.
Another aspect that needs some improving is to be able to track your family better. In game you have a family tree and a dynasty try, merge these two and be able to double click your way where they are currently at.
2: Domain Management
If there is one feature I feel that is truly lacking in Crusader Kings 2 is domain management. There is little you can do with your land and if there is an unruly vassal then that can greatly impede your war effort. Creating a good reason to get your house in order before a major campaign, something that should be readily doable. Instead if you have vassals running towns, castles, or churches you have to dig through menus to find who is ruling what and then your options are limited in how you can approach the situation. You can attempt to make them like you with a title or gift of gold, yet if they really don’t like you this will not solve your problem and while you can remove them from their position. Not the idea situation to find yourself in when having a war with your neighbors coming closer and now a threat of a rebel army arising is on your door step.
This problem can be solved with more options and better domain controls over politics, local spies, popularity among the civilians (raising an army might be difficult to do if your citizens don’t love their King), public works, and so on. All things that a real king would have to manage themselves or hand off to a capable steward, positions that can you can assign to nobles to garner their support for their areas while only stroking their egos without giving them access to rebel armies. What your mayor’s are doing with your cities is definitely something that should be of your concern and the populas should be able to voice their opinion of how their ruler is doing.
A few other tweaks that I would like to see is an end to the limit on domains the person is able to have. Instead it would be nicer to see it replaced by a more detailed domain management system where you have access to your vassals and can see who is under their control without absurd limitations. Each domain should be able to have unique set of laws as well.
Conquest is not far from great in the game and frankly only needs minor tweaking. Most of the core problems with conquest revolve around needing a claim to invade anything. These are achieved ether through bringing a strong candidate for inheritance or weak or fabricating a claim on the land. Why is this a problem? Because have you ever seen a King go “damn if only I could invade X, but sadly I don’t have a piece of paper showing I own the land”. No you don’t because those underneath you aren’t going to care who you invade without extenuating circumstances and you’re army is pretty stoked to have work, food, shelter, and purpose.
Instead conquest should be based on a lot of factors from diplomacy (will local lords invite you in or will they resist), army moral, technology, and local popular rebellion rate. Holding provinces should involve more than just lord ownerships, a player should have to contend with the citizens, have unique laws in each province as people very much like things to remain the same as pointed out in The Prince by Machiavelli.
This would make the game way more exciting as you can watch a mighty empire crumble because of poor management of its conquered realms, its army sown to thin and exhausted from too many battles with rebels that you may or may not have antagonized through supporting a local lord to take the province and to later merge into yours. Then your armies can swoop in for the easy pickings and conquering locations made the easier since the citizens would welcome anyone not currently ruling them, but be warned for the shoe can change feet easily.
One feature that I feel was way, way, way to under developed was spying. Spying should definitely be as critical and flushed out as domain management or conquest and yet it’s just under developed and under utilized.
First thing to change is there needs to be spy networks and you should have ether direct access to the perks or should be able to command your spy master to make things happen. These networks should supply your empire with state secrets, technology, and even recruit lords to your banner in secret. These are the people that will help “convince” local lords that your assassination plot is a good idea.
A game involving a ton of strategy should have easy to use menus. When I click on a province I should be able to easily see who runs what, and what options I have for it. Title management should be simple in form, complex in execution. When selecting a marriage candidate it would be nice to know what region each person rules, could rule, or hales from and not just what dynasty they’re from. Simple things like better access to information without having to tediously look for the appropriate menu.