Is Imperator: Rome fixed by its 1.4 Archimedes update?

Imperator: Rome‘s 1.4 Archimedes update is out now, as well as the Magna Graecia content pack. With it comes a bunch of fixes, tweaks and improvements to the core game. Let’s have a little dive into them.

The 1.4 Archimedes update, was first properly detailed back in January over on the Paradox Forums. The update, previously called Cassander, was explained as having a core focus on Religion (with culture to follow in 1.5, Menander). There would also be updates to Loyalty, and a few other quality of life features.

If you’re interested in finding out about the Magna Graecia content pack, head over to our review.

Omens, State Pantheons & Holy Sites

Rather than the previous omen system, where you had eight available to you at all times, each nation can now build a State Pantheon consisting of four of deities. These each correspond to a category: Fertility, War, Culture or Economy.

You don’t need to belong to a religion in order to plug its gods into your pantheon — after all, historically there’s been hundreds of rulers who have ruled over people who believed different regions than them. People who have a religion represented in the pantheon get a happiness bonus under your rule — so there’s a degree of management required when it comes to the more expansionist nations.

Magna Graecia

Deities have a holy site, and if one of those comes under your domain then, regardless of the religion of you or your peoples, you can also feed them into your religious structure. On that note, you can have your ancestors declared as gods and fed into your pantheon. A nation that worships your grandfather as the god of war? Doable now.

There are only a few holy sites in place at the start of the game – things like the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. The rest of them are dynamic. You can build them, destroy them and – subsequently – relocate them. If you control them then you can stuff sacred treasures into them for bonuses too, but you risk having those treasures stolen if the holy site is raided.

Different Deities have different passive abilities as well as the active ‘Omen’ which you can activate. Finally, you can change out your pantheon but it locks out Omens and locks out further changes for three years.

Archimedes Update

Character Loyalty

Previously characters were in flux, with their loyalty either waxing or waning toward Full or Zero loyalty. Now loyalty flexes due to a variety of temporary and long-term influences; if your stability is diving then people will start to waive in their loyalty to the leader. If the leader happens to be a lunatic, with a bad reputation, who arrested their family leader, then it’ll dive for those reasons too.

What this means is that as you betray or neglect a family then you’ll have to redouble your efforts to patch up family relations.

Trade Changes

As of 1.4 you’ll be able to block trade requests at a national level. Imperator: Rome‘s certainly isn’t as impenetrable as in other strategy games, however, the trade system’s UI is a hover-fest where you need to hang over the dozens of trade goods in order to see the perks of them. There are benefits to holding onto surplus, and the pop-up messages don’t always make that clear.

Now you can just keep a hold of those excess olives, or ensure that you don’t ship out wood or other military resources to somebody who might intend to use those to build up an army or navy against you or your allies.

Territory changes

An understated change has been how holdings work. Each territory has only got one holding in it now, and so – naturally – the person who controls this holding has a lot of power. As a result of this there have been some interesting, collateral effects as when it changes hands, or when a civil war fires, there is much more risk now.

Other Tweaks

There’s now a continue button added, should you reach the end date, Cities and buildings adjust appearance based on the dominant local culture, and family trees can now contain historical characters. Oh and, finally, you can flag characters of interest… this last piece is massive for me, as it makes it easier to track minor characters. Technology also doesn’t start at the same point for each nation.

Archimedes Update

So, how do all of these updates change the game?

Well, the Archimedes update brings the Imperator: Rome closer to Crusader Kings. By paring holdings with individuals, and with the existing governer systems, there’s now quite a bit of reliability between everybody’s favourite feudal-times simulator and Imperator. Loyalty’s twists and tweaks ensure for a more character-led experience and considering that Imperator: Rome already encourages some play between characters and families, it’s a great combination.

That said, Imperator: Rome has you taking on the role of the spirit of the nation rather than CKII‘s ‘Spirit of a dynasty’ which is something that still helps it stand apart. Its combat remains easier to read and influence than Crusader Kings, although only being able to assign a single general to a group of troops remains a weakness. That said, combat is much more variable and flexible in Imperator: Rome, and combat outcomes only mostly come down to numbers on the field unlike in CKII when it is almost always a case of biggest army wins.

In conclusion, it depends on how you felt about the core game. If you felt that each character was hollow and extraneous characters were simply toppingly toward loyalty or disloyal then you’ll be pleasantly surprised. If your concerns were more the depth of each area then, well, much like the early expansions in other Paradox Games, you’re probably going to have to buy extra content in order to resolve that issue.

Imperator: Rome’s 1.4 Archimedes update is free to download from the 31st of March assuming you already have the game.

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