The Nilfgaardian Empire is an aggressive state. No one doubts this. The government is explicitly imperial and conquers weaker states merely by virtue of having a stronger economy and army, rather than upon any claim of legitimacy. Unless one happens to be a Nilgaardian and is directly benefiting from its aggression, everyone is in agreement Nilfgaard’s expansion is unjust. The empire’s expedition into Temeria and eventually Redania in The Witcher 3 is just the latest example of this.
However, based on the evidence we see in the game, there is a good case to be made that living under the Nilfgaard Emperor is better than living under any of the other government in the known world. Nilfgaard has a strong culture of law and order, which has apparently ensured the foundation of a thriving economy based on an efficient judicial system and the respect of property rights. Non-humans and magic dabblers aren’t exactly accepted with open arms in Nilfgaard, but they are tolerated by imperial degree. Even witches are allowed to live and practice their craft in Nilfgaard as long as they accept oversight from the government.
The states which Nilfgaard attempts to conquer seem backward in comparison. Their economies are rooted in traditional medieval structures, as opposed to Nilfgaard’s manufacturing focus. Novigrad is still a bustling trade hub, but its economic influence has weakened since its dive into radical religion. Temeria and Novigrad are both under the influence of the Church of the Eternal Flame, which preaches persecution against anyone connected to magic, and non-humans. This eventually leads to oppressed citizens literally being burned at the stake in Novigrad. Likewise, witches are all officially outlaws and are ruthlessly hunted by church and government agents, to be executed or tortured indefinitely. Meanwhile, the Skelligan Jarls have been devoted throughout all known history to a lifestyle based on raiding, raping, and plundering, overlaid with an absurd honor code which demands ritualistic self-sacrifice.
It was blatantly apparent to me fairly early on in the game that the Nilfgaardian Empire was the more just regime internally, but… was the destruction wrought by their conquests worth the gains accrued by its citizens relative to peace under a worse government?…”
Read the rest of the article at Gaming Rebellion: