Victoria 2: How To Deal With Infamy

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In Victoria 2, infamy is the threat perceived by other nations because of your country’s aggressive diplomacy and expansion. It is represented by a number next to a red flag.

Except for some events, infamy is generated by being randomly discovered while justifying wars.

A country with too much infamy (twenty-five points is the threshold) will draw the ire of all the other nations and find itself targeted by a large coalition in a war of containment.

Infamy can mostly be reduced through:

  1. The passage of time
  2. By releasing puppet nations

But there are some events and decisions that can hasten the process.


How Infamy is Born

War justification / Victoria 2
War justification. Note the timer in orange and the maximum infamy in red.

Before we delve into tips and tricks to generating less infamy, it’s important to understand how it’s accrued in the first place.

When justifying a war, a country has a 1.5% chance of being discovered. And if it happens it will gain a portion of the infamy associated with the fabricated casus belli.

The later the discovery happens, the fewer infamy points will be generated. So a day one discovery – the worst possible scenario – will result in full infamy.

1.5% may not look like a lot.

But it means that a conquest casus belli, worth 22 infamy points and with a justification time of 400 days, only has a 0.2% chance of not being discovered at all.

When adding a war goal to an ongoing conflict, on the other hand, the full infamy value is added to your current score, as if the justification process was discovered on day one. That is bad, so think carefully about whether the extra territory is worth the extra infamy.


Keeping Infamy Under Twenty-Five

The primary source of infamy is also the main source of casus belli throughout the game, and this means that accruing some infamy is inevitable.

The ways of reducing one’s infamy are limited, so one of the most important balancing acts during a Victoria 2 game is knowing when to risk infamy and when to avoid it.

However, there are several ways to reduce the overall amount of infamy during the campaign, and this can in turn allow for far more expansion, especially during the early game.


Method 1: Natural Decay

Infamy decaying / Victoria 2
Infamy decaying.

Infamy decays naturally over time, especially if you cease your warmongering for a while:

  • If at peace, it will decrease by 0.10 every month
  • If at war, it will instead decrease by 0.033 monthly
  • It will further decay by 0.10 if you are disarmed

Even under the best possible circumstances, being both at peace and disarmed (as far as being disarmed can be defined a good circumstance, that is), we’re only looking at 2.40 points of yearly decay.

That’s not enough.

That’s not even a demand concession casus belli every two years.

So you should look at the natural decay of infamy as a small bonus, but not your primary way of reducing it short term.


Method 2: Releasing Nations

This here is the winning option: your infamy is reduced by five full points whenever you release a puppet nation.

Five full points are more than two years at peace while disarmed, or more than four years at peace

Acquiring land strategically to grab as many releasable tags as possible is one of the top strategies to reduce your infamy, and releasing puppets from your own core territory is a powerful panic button, should a war justification go awry at the wrong time.


Method 3: Let Them Feel Threatened

This isn’t quite a method of reducing Infamy, but more of an approach on how to deal with Infamy.

Because Victoria 2 will not usually let the balance of power between the greatest nations vanish.

Nonetheless, should you eclipse the other military powers in the world with your terrifying forces, you would not have to worry much about infamy.

If their combined armies cannot stand up to yours there’s not much they can do about your expansionism and warmongering, right?


Infamy Tips & Tricks

Having covered the basics, let’s get to some tips and tricks that can be useful during any playthrough:

  • The infamy cost of all casus belli is reduced to 33% during Great Wars. Try to use this to your advantage as much as you can, because it’s really powerful against fellow great powers.
  • When declaring war on a country against which you have an automatic casus belli, use a fabricated casus belli first: adding it as a war goal later will always cost more, while the automatic one is always free and does not require jingoism to be added.
  • Use casus belli from events to annex new territory, even if you’re not that interested in it, to get more releasable puppets for no infamy.

1. The Panama Canal

Colombia controls Panama at the start of the game / Victoria 2
Colombia controls Panama at the start of the game.

As a great power, you can sphere Colombia to build the Panama Canal and gain some prestige, provided that your technology is advanced enough.

What makes this good infamy-wise is that Panama can be released as a tiny puppet, and just like any other puppet, it will detract five points of infamy.


2. Releasing Your Kin

Sweden can easily annex Norway right after releasing it by forming Scandinavia / Victoria 2
Sweden can easily annex Norway right after releasing it by forming Scandinavia.

Formable unions such as Scandinavia, the North German Federation, Germany, and Italy can all remove a lot of infamy by releasing puppets just before forming the union.

Of course, this will not incur the usual loss of cores: if you are playing, say, Sardinia-Piedmont and release Lucca as a puppet before forming Italy, the game will try and remove the Piedmontese core from Lucca, but not the Italian one.

Prussia can do this twice: once when forming the North German Federation and once when forming Germany.


3. Freedom Through War

Zanzibar, owned by Oman, is the ideal target for a declaration of war aimed at reducing your infamy / Victoria 2
Zanzibar, owned by Oman, is the ideal target for a declaration of war aimed at reducing your infamy.

As the demand concessions casus belli costs only five points infamy, using it against non-industrialized nations to gain a state that can be liberated will usually net some negative infamy after releasing one puppet.

But it is not a reliable strategy when at high infamy, as the war must be actually won before releasing the puppet, and it’s not infamy-free.

The establish protectorate casus belli can be used in the same way against a few targets after researching Nationalism and Imperialism.

With these few tools, you should be able to expand to your heart’s content.

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Andrea Liuzzi

Andrea Liuzzi is an Italian nerd passionate about history and storytelling. His first favorite game was Pokémon Sapphire, and he started playing Paradox titles in the last days of EU3. Always looking for one more Pathfinder campaign to join.