People's opinions lack context

I’ve noticed that which voter groups do or don’t like me has nothing to do with context or recent change. Everyone’s opinions are formed by current status and nothing else. This mean, if I play as France for example, any ministers from my starting random draw who are sympathetic to capitalists will become unproductive and leave my cabinet, even if every decision I make favors capitalists. The same will hold true come election time. Nobody will judge me for what I have changed, only for the current status when they cast their votes.

This makes elections unbalanced in two ways. First, that the first attempt at re-election is only remotely manageable about 25% of the time, and only if the random events favor popularity, not really because of player decisions. Second, if I get lucky and win re-election once, every subsequent re-election is a breeze. By my third re-election I’m usually getting 100% of the vote, and if not then I’m getting 98% or 99%.

People’s opinions related to topics need to fade over time, unless some event flares the issue back up. An example from my own country, Canada, would be the topic of gay marriage. This was a divisive issue in 2005, but is no longer in 2020. By now, no Canadian politician could win any credibility with liberal voters by expressing support for marriage equality because it’s a given. Conversely, anyone voicing opposition to the matter would be seen as far right fringe, and would be met by strong efforts from the core right wing to shut them up before they flare this issue up again.

Where I’m going with this for in game mechanics is that decisions should have much stronger impacts on opinions when they are made, and the strength of the opinion modifier should shrink over time. So fast even, that decisions made early in a term may no longer impact opinion by election time. This would motivate the player to play like a real politician, and deliberately not enact some of their policy plans early, instead saving them for “election candy” in the final year. Additionally, any policies decisions that were settled years before whenever game start is supposed to be in Democracy 4 should have minimal impact on opinions, unless the player touches them.

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That sounds like a very interesting way to shake things up from the old Democracy formula. I’ve felt as well that the game focuses far too much on the current status of the country. I think that polarizes the game in that it’s difficult to win your first election, but only the first. After that you have stacked enough advantages that it’s going to require effort to lose any election instead. That formula needs to change if the game is to have challenges remaining instead of becoming a sandbox after a certain point.

It will of course need a lot of new balancing effort. I hope the new balance is not going to be just you being able to cancel a very popular policy at the start of your term and then reimplementing it at the end. What I’ve been advocating for is that the other parties would have a more important role, being able to sway the population’s opinions (affecting memberships and happiness from policies you lack or they’d change), and also themselves changing with the times so that they’ll start advocating more liberal policies if the population becomes more liberal, for instance. So, “electioneering for the AIs”, and the electioneering itself being overhauled into a pregame so that the player won’t start with about 0% popularity (and the methods from it being able to be utilized by the AIs just as well as the player).

There’s some overlap with these ideas that “what is now new becomes the norm over time” but you add short-term impacts that mine lacks, and I add more sway to the public’s opinions that’s to a degree beyond your control. So I don’t think these exclude each other.

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So all happiness from existing policies could settle to lower absolute value over time.
Alternatively complacency should be MUCH stronger and act in both ways.
Currently game is very flat.

This game doesn’t have accumulators (except debt), conditionals (except in achievements) and blowback.
This is why some people said this game is same as earlier democracies.
Now mostly people review it as incremental improvement over Democracy 3

Accumulators would allow for more realistic simulation of population, gdp and average temperature.
Accumulated values then could act as triggers for events.

Conditionals would allow for if-else policies, like no homosexual marriage if you ban homosexuality.
Or no private education/healthcare boosters, if you have policies banning them.

Blowback is temporarily increased happiness reaction - like you changed happiness by -0.1, then it will be changed by -0.2 temporarily (delta happiness multiplier).
Cancelling policy is equivalent of setting from any happiness level to zero happiness.

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I wonder if implementing those would finally shut down all negative reviews of people, who think, that Democracy 4 is too similar to Democracy 3.

Other than that reviews are very positive.
This game doesn’t have much of competition, when it comes to country ruler (no map painting) games anyway.


This idea is interesting.