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  1. #1

    The Kingdom Is A Millstone

    I apologize for tone ahead of time. This is a compilation of things written largely while in a bad mood. I did a once-over to get rid of the worst of it, but it might still be more hostile and confrontational than I'd like.

    The kingdom management. I consider it one of the great tragedies of this game that what should easily be the funnest and most engaging part for me, someone who delights in these kinds of strategic minigames, is easily the most frustrating part and the source of many, many episodes of desk-punching and wall-banging. Reading the forums as much as I do I can see I'm not alone in this position, either. It could have been a lot of fun, but it's just, well, not. There are three things missing that keep the system from living up to its potential - Documentation, resources, and time.

    The first problem is, quite simply, documentation. Despite the kingdom being a major part of the game the Encyclopedia doesn't have a single article about running a kingdom when it should really have an entire section. The most basic of questions, such as how to unlock secondary advisors or how to earn BP, should have a ready reference ingame so people don't see them once in a tutorial, forget, and then have to ask on the forums or look on a wiki. It might also help people understand things like why their barony is worried/troubled/rioting and how to fix it (I still don't know how to get rid of Worried), or how to get the never-seen Serene barony, or the difference between success, triumph, failure, and disaster. Little things like this would go a long way to making things saner.

    Now let's talk about the second problem, resources. Put simply, the kingdom is far too reliant on you spending your personal gold stash to build it up. BP comes in at such a slow trickle that I often can't afford to do what I need to get done. I have a decently-built kingdom, I feel, but BP comes in at a glacial pace - 45 BP a week post-Brevoy. Improving a rank gains me a whole 1 BP (more for Economics) and trade agreements get me between 3 and 5 BP. Most projects I'm sitting on cost 150-200 BP, or a month's worth of stuff - Which, looking ahead to the next point, takes time I don't have to accumulate. That's on top of some problems or opportunities having hidden BP costs that you won't know about until after they're spent. And that's assuming I don't build anything in cities, which seems to be a waste of BP most of the time anyway since stat gains can be achieved far cheaper by solving the regular deluge of events, buildings don't appear to generate any BP on their own, and I need those BP for projects. This leads to bizarre situations like having so many projects outstanding that the game lags when I mouse over the list because I neither have the time nor BP nor advisors to do all of them, or where fully building up a thriving city from scratch has no impact on my income. I feel that if I'm running a decent kingdom I shouldn't have to be spending cartfuls of my own money in order to make any progress. Maybe in the beginning, sure, but by Act 5?

    Finally the real killer, time. I remember reading a review of XCom Enemy Unknown a while ago that said the game's tempo was more stressful than fun - There was always something that had to be done and just not enough time to get it all done. That's how I sum up the kingdom building in this game - Running as fast as you can just to stay in the same place. There is so much that has to be done, so many problems to stamp out, so many projects to undertake, cities to build, deals to make, and then you have to go out and adventure on top of it all. With adventures to some parts of the map easily taking two weeks for a round trip (Tors) and events taking place whenever they feel like it, sometimes with little to no warning or opportunity to respond (I permanently missed Valerie's companion quest on two different playthroughs because I was improving a kingdom stat at just the right time) and only being able to deal with so many things at once, the net result is that it can be impossible to assign advisors to everything that needs to be done or impractical to spend time improving their skills since they're always needed. This causes a stagnation in the growth of kingdom stats which makes future events even harder to resolve as the DC keeps going up while your advisor's skills do not, tilting the unstable equilibrium against you regardless of how well you play. Even my best advisor was sitting at a 50% failure rate for some events at the start of Act 4 and his skills were as high as the game allowed at that point. Add to this the fact that not dealing with certain events causes more numerous and more damaging events to start to pile up and you can quickly and easily find yourself in a situation where 'focus on adventuring and hope the kingdom doesn't fall apart while you're gone' is often the best strategy, all the more so because the penalty for ignoring a problem is not as harsh as the penalty for addressing it and failing.

    I really, really want to like the kingdom management aspect of the game. Really, I do. It's the sort of thing in games that I enjoy doing, and I've dedicated hours to teasing apart the mechanics as best I can. But as it is right now I'm thinking the only way I can reasonably enjoy it is with the help of Cheat Engine, since otherwise the secret to developing a healthy, happy kingdom is hidden behind three impenetrable layers - Lack of information, lack of resources, and lack of time. Am I missing something here, some counter-intuitive feature I haven't found? Am I just bad? I'm willing to accept advice, but as it stands now it really looks like the kingdom management part of the game isn't a game you play so much as a millstone around your neck. It's not a companion, it's a time limit.
    Last edited by BobTheBard; 10-12-2018 at 04:30 PM.

  2. #2
    You know you can set it to auto management, right? I don't disagree with many of your points, but you dont have to let it ruin your game if it's proving too cumbersome for you.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by BobTheBard View Post
    because the penalty for ignoring a problem is not as harsh as the penalty for addressing it and failing.
    wow. this is probably the worst.

    overall, I just started Act 2 a few days ago. My biggest gripe so far is complete lack of documentation. Tutorials are inadequate. I have no idea about stats or buildings.

    For example, the simplest question: why should I build any buildings? And if I should, which ones? Do stats matter? Which stats matter? What does "+1 relations" on a building mean - once, every week, every month? How much is a good amount in a single stat - 0, 10, 100?
    There is so much to do right away - I can build 20 different buildings on day 1, but no clue which I should build. While any other management game limits your choice in the beginning - just 1 or 2 buildings are available on day 1, and it's clear what they give.

    And yes, it's super broken and stupid that if there is an event that takes your main protagonist 14 days (like claim a region), you will miss a bunch of events during those days without having any chance to respond.


    I know fixing the kingdom management can't be done in a 1-day hotfix. But I really hope that Owlcat will take it seriously and revamp the kingdom management in a big patch in November.

    I love this game and I spend all my free time playing since the day it was released. I have left a positive review on GOG. I'm telling all my friends to buy it. Mainly because of adventuring, which is implemented way better than kingdom management right now.
    Last edited by Mirrinor; 10-12-2018 at 04:46 PM.

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Noob View Post
    You know you can set it to auto management, right? I don't disagree with many of your points, but you dont have to let it ruin your game if it's proving too cumbersome for you.
    I could, but there are still more reported instances than I'm comfortable with where an auto-managed kingdom fails. It might be tedious and cumbersome, but I don't want to lose in Act 5 or Act 6 because the kingdom fell apart and I don't know why.

  5. #5
    If you set it to auto manage I believe it cannot fail no matter how badly it is going unless main plot happens to it.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Mirrinor View Post
    For example, the simplest question: why should I build any buildings? And if I should, which ones? Do stats matter? Which stats matter? What does "+1 relations" on a building mean - once, every week, every month?
    This one I can answer, since as I said I've been experimenting. It's a one-time only bonus. With that in mind I can't actually find a good reason to build buildings, but I'm still experimenting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mythantor View Post
    If you set it to auto manage I believe it cannot fail no matter how badly it is going unless main plot happens to it.
    That's how it's supposed to work, but I've seen one too many bug reports that say it still happens to fully entrust a long game to.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Noob View Post
    You know you can set it to auto management, right? I don't disagree with many of your points, but you dont have to let it ruin your game if it's proving too cumbersome for you.
    If the solution to a problem is "remove that issue from the game" that's not a solution. The OP clearly wants to play the management portion, and has clearly spent time to attempt to game it out. Putting the kingdom management on autorun is locking yourself out of game content, due to problems with the game.

    - - -

    As for the topic at hand, I fully agree. BP are intolerably slow, the rules for what does and doesn't occupy your time is arbitrary, and there's no way to know when the next disaster is going to rear its head.

    All these are interesting problems that could be managed -if the game provided you the option- but it doesn't. You work in the dark, basically on the whim of the game engine and with no way to creatively apply solutions. For me it's this last point that's most damning; if we could undertake projects to be more hands on in the Barony/Kingdom that would be one thing; but all this seems both tacked on and arbitrarily difficult. It's just not fun.

    I got hella frustrated after the the game let me go in debt on BP without telling me I could, or even how many I was spending. Real governments, no matter how primitave, have a budget for this reason, here we're just tossing darts in the dark. I'm sure if OC were making just a medeival kingdom managment they would have thought these things through. But they didn't, and we're stuck with this albatross system tied around our rpg experience.

    I turned on Cheat Engine and find the whole experience actualky enjoyable now. I recommend setting it up and not looking back.
    Last edited by halcyon8705@gmail.com; 10-12-2018 at 05:38 PM.

  8. #8
    Invincible Kingdom option: it's a mix of the cant-fail of auto and normal gameplay for it.
    And you can turn it on/off at will.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by halcyon8705@gmail.com View Post
    If the solution to a problem is "remove that issue from the game" that's not a solution. The OP clearly wants to play the management portion, and has clearly spent time to attempt to game it out. Putting the kingdom management on autorun is locking yourself out of game content, due to problems with the game.
    I didn't say it was, and I agree with some of the issues raised. But if there is an option to disable something that is making you not enjoy a game, why not take advantage of it until such a time as other issues might be able to be addressed? Right or not, the Kingdom management isnt going to be overhauled any time soon, but the option to auto manage it is there right now.

    It was only a suggestion, and didn't really require your overly obvious commentary.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Noob View Post
    It was only a suggestion, and didn't really require your overly obvious commentary.
    I completely agree with halcyon8705. Calling someone else's contribution to this thread "overly obvious commentary" doesn't make it that... it's just not a very nice way to try to knock someone out of the discussion. He gave a very reasonable and polite response, there's really no need to arrogantly dismiss him.

    OP raises some very valid points here, IMO. The documentation is pretty much non-existant, as is the feedback you get when your kingdom failed you and it's game over, btw. I literally got an empty 'report' the one time my kingdom failed in chapter 2 during the troll crisis. There is also little to no feedback at all when your kingdom starts going down the drain, apart from that status remark when you are at the kingdom management screen (the "stable", "worried", "crumbling" etc. in the top of your screen really is easy to overlook when you first play through the game). I think it would be nice if the citizens on your main square in the capital would get angry once your kingdom starts to deteriorate. Right now your kingdom may be crumbling but no one, from your citizens to your advisors, will even remark about it.

    OP is also right about you needing to spend your own gold to get anything done. Personally I don't really have a problem with this though. It's not unrealistic that building up a kingdom needs a huge investment of money and I don't have anything else to spend my gold on anyway. At least now there is a use for my cash, while usually in these RPGs I just accumulate more and more wealth without having anything to spend it on.

    Time seems to be the mayor issue here. I have just started chapter 5 (I think it is 5, not sure how to check) and I have to say that after finishing chapter 4 I finally got a decent amount of time to upgrade some of my advisor ranks, but still the DC checks of problems that pop up often have more than 75% failure rate. I have quite a few advisors at rank VI now, maybe you are supposed to ignore most and focus on upgrading only 2 or 3 of them? I don't know and it's very hard to figure out what you're supposed to do. But when your failure % for solving problems is far over 50% you do get the idea you should have done better, only I can't imagine how I should have created more time to improve my kingdom stats.

    Kingdom management is a large part of Pathfinder Kingmaker and as such it really deserves a lot more polish.

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