Victoria 3 is a political simulation game that plays like accounting software. And currently, apparently even the game’s numbers agree with the so-called radical left that communism is the most economically efficient government system. Victoria 3 players have taken to the internet to complain that there aren’t any other ways of playing that are better than Marxism. Victoria 3’s just a simulation game, but it kind of makes me wonder if overpowered communism has any basis in real life or not.
One Redditor summarized their take with the title “Current Communist meta is overpowered.” Capitalist playstyles, they suggest, are too inefficient. The bosses at the top of Victoria 3 capitalist societies get high pay, while workers get very low pay. But in a Victoria 3 communist economy, worker cooperatives ensure that all capitalist wealth is turned over to the workers. As a result, their high purchasing power allows them to spend more money in the economy, which increases economic demand. This leads to higher living standards, which attracts more immigration, another big boost. “It’s just so easy,” the player concludes.
Some players suggested that one reason such in-game tactics are so effective is that developments like worker cooperatives and multiculturalism are unrealistically easy to implement. They weren’t opposed to these phenomena being OP, but thought that it was unrealistic to achieve them with “one click of a button.”
Read More: Victoria 3: The Kotaku Review
“I am thoroughly enjoying the pretty even split between posts complaining that communism is overpowered and posts complaining that communism is completely unplayable,” said one onlooker.
Apparently leftists, whether they’re simulation gamers or Marxist-Leninist book clubs, will argue no matter the medium or platform.
Some modders are taking things into their own hands. There are Victoria 3 mods on Steam that will improve the viability of ethnostate playstyles or give “strategic depth” to subsistence farming. This is all incredibly funny to me, because not all economic systems are equally productive in real life. There’s simply no way to make subsistence farming somehow more productive than capitalism or even feudalism. If capitalists didn’t have to pay to house workers in one place or pay for immigration visas, then they wouldn’t. But they do these things because it’s more profitable to run companies a certain way.
Even so, aspects of Victoria 3’s balancing feel unrealistic to both the players and the developers. Some players are apparently perturbed that their citizens are remaining happy despite their best attempts at crushing their spirits under miserable dictatorships. One root cause seems to be the game’s assumption that as buildings increase in profitability, the workers inside will get raises, too.
According to game director Martin “Wizzington” Anward, this strange phenomenon will soon come to an end. In the official forums, he wrote:
There are changes to this coming in [patch] 1.1—buildings will only raise wages to prevent major worker radicalization or when trying to compete for labor rather than just going ‘we made a bigger profit, everyone gets a raise!’
Well, that’s a win for realism at least. But maybe it’s time to accept that there are certain inherent advantages to not giving all your economy’s money to people who will stick it in an offshore account instead of spending it. In the meantime, leftist nerds can feel vindication when they play Victoria 3.