One of the major features of Crusader Kings 3's upcoming Royal Court expansion is its culture rework and today's developer diary 79 reveals that it just got bigger through the addition of an option to reform existing cultures.
The decision to introduce it came as a result of player feedback painting the culture rework's previous iteration as a bit too restrictive. In its previous form, players could only add new traditions to their culture if it had an empty slot to accommodate them. Any other change would have required creating a new culture altogether. Now, the rework gives players a freer hand to tweak existing cultures.
"The cultural head has gained the ability to change, or ‘reform’ if you will, their culture in order to change it without the need to create a new culture. The cultural head cannot replace everything mind you, but may change the ethos, the martial custom, and any tradition," dev diary 79 reads.
"If you want to change any of the remaining pillars you’ll have to create a new culture, either by diverging or forming a hybrid. Do note that you need to own the Royal Court expansion to reform your culture, similar to creating a culture. Even without the DLC, you can always add new traditions to fill out any empty slots."
Limiting Crusader Kings III: Royal Court's reform culture feature to only some elements is based on the fact that changing language and heritage on the fly felt "weird," but also the need to clearly separate it from diverging, which isn't subject to these limitations. Reforming your culture also differs in terms of cost.
"Replacing a pillar will cost you prestige. The ethos in particular includes a rather hefty prestige cost that should make it rather difficult to repeatedly change it over the course of a campaign. You are, however, free to pick any ethos, regardless of circumstances," the developer notes.
"Traditions will also be more expensive to replace. Instead of just a flat increase, replacing a tradition increases the prestige cost by 50%. The cost penalty will therefore be relative to how well your culture matches any given tradition, making the additional cost more harsh for already expensive (and less compatible) traditions."
These costs make it so that seeking to diverge from "a large and unified culture", like Greek when you're leading the Byzantine Empire, will be less viable and cheaper than reforming. If you're playing as a culture that's spread out across multiple realms, like Andalusian, diverging might be the better option.
Adding and replacing traditions as well as changing pillars have their own establishment rate, represented by an hourglass in-game, that determines how much time it takes for the changes to come into effect.
"The time required for a change to be fully adopted mainly depends on your culture’s size. Larger cultures will logically gravitate towards a slower establishment rate. The duration is also increased whenever you replace an existing tradition. As such, adding a completely new tradition to your culture is not only cheaper, but it will go faster as well."
Only one cultural change can be triggered at any given time, which is why diverging remains the better option if you're looking to change more things and have them take effect immediately. That being said, setting out into the world as a new culture comes with challenges of its own.
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