Rank and prestige are two interconnected mechanics that play a very central role in how diplomatic matters play out in the game.
Rank is a measure of how glorious and influential a country is in the eyes of the rest of the world. What rank a country has – be it a mighty great power or a largely irrelevant unrecognized power – is determined primarily by two factors: prestige and recognition.
There are seven ranks that a country can obtain, and a special eighth rank that only applies to decentralized (non-playable) nations. In order of ranking, these are:
|1.||Great power: These are the most powerful and glorious of nations and often have a global reach, getting involved in far-off conflicts. The most obvious example of a great power at the start of the game is Great Britain.|
|2.||Major power: These are regional powerhouses that often decide the course of conflicts in their home regions and may have a limited global presence. An example of a major power at the start of the game is the kingdom of the Two Sicilies.|
|3.||Unrecognized major power: These are unrecognized powers that are powerful and prestigious enough to throw their weight on a regional stage, try to resist the demands of the recognized powers and to be a potential candidate for recognition. An example of an unrecognized major power at the start of the game is the Qing Empire.|
|4.||Minor power: These are regional powers that may be important for determining how a local conflict in their home region turns out but are generally irrelevant on the world stage. An example of a minor power at the start of the game is Mexico.|
|5.||Unrecognized regional power: These are unrecognized powers that are powerful enough to influence their weaker neighbors and, possibly, resist stronger powers. An example of an unrecognized regional power at the start of the game is Sokoto.|
|6.||Insignificant power: These are nations that generally do not even have the ability to influence the outcome of local conflicts and can be safely ignored by anyone other than other insignificant powers in their immediate vicinity. An example of an insignificant power at the start of the game is the free city of Krakow.|
|7.||Unrecognized power: These are unrecognized powers that generally lack the power to go up against anyone other than the weakest of recognized powers, and will often find themselves at the mercy of great and major powers and having to play them against each other to survive. An example of an unrecognized power at the start of the game is the kingdom of Nepal.|
The order of the rankings is important for certain mechanics, such as subjects, who typically must be a lower rank than their suzerain. Similarly, treaty ports are active only if the owner's rank is greater than the adjacent market owner's rank.
The higher a country's rank the better the below benefits are:
- The more influence capacity it generates (allowing for a greater freedom in conducting diplomacy and signing diplomatic pacts)
- The more declared interests it can support (declared interests are also gained from Naval Bases)
- The more maneuvers it has in diplomatic plays.
Rank also plays a key role in many other systems such as subjects, infamy, diplomatic actions and more.
Prestige is the accumulation of all factors that makes a country more or less glorious. It determines the global pecking order. In order to become a certain rank, a country must meet the prestige threshold for that rank, which is based on how it compares either to the global average or percentage-wise to the most prestigious country.
This means two things:
- The number of great powers, major powers, and so on is not fixed to a specific number.
- The requirements to maintain and increase a country's rank change over the course of the game.
A country might start as a great power due to their starting prestige, but then begin quickly falling behind due to economic and military stagnation, eventually being reduced to a major power even though its actual prestige number never went down.
There are several sources of prestige, some fixed to a certain amount, some scaling by another metric.
- The tier of a country provides a small amount of prestige. This is inherent to a specific nation and can only be increased by forming a new, more glorious nation.
- Military power, both army and navy, increases prestige. The larger and more advanced a military, the more prestige is gained. 1 prestige is gained for every 0.2 points of army and navy power projection.
- The total GDP (and thus indirectly level of industrialization) of a country gives it prestige. Every £1M in GDP gives a country 3 prestige.
- Subjects contribute prestige to their suzerain based on their own military and economic might. These contributions are half the amounts generated by the country itself.
- Being a global leader (first, second, or third) in the production of a good gives a country prestige, with some goods being more prestigious than others.
- Successful undertaking of certain globally recognized projects, such as major expeditions to certain regions of the world or the construction of a canal can give a country a temporary, or even permanent, increase in its prestige.
- Certain monuments grant increased prestige if owned and funded.
Recognition is a measure of whether the reigning (mostly European) great powers, as a whole, see the country as a potential equal, i.e. whether the country could potentially be included as a decision-maker in said system if they grew strong enough.
Countries start the game either unrecognized or recognized, and unrecognized countries have to gain or force recognition in order to properly climb the rank ladder. Being an unrecognized country is purely a diplomatic status with diplomatic penalties – an unrecognized country does not inherently become worse at constructing factories or fighting wars, though many countries with unrecognized status do tend to also start out on the lower end of the technological and/or economic scale. Unrecognized major powers can start a diplomatic play against any great power in order to become recognized.
Normally, a country cannot lose recognition. However, the Ottoman Empire can lose their initial recognized status if they fail the Sick Man of Europe journal entry.
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- To update prestige source values see reference file