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Playing my first Paradox game (EU3) - need guide for future games

Discussion in 'Strategy and Simulation' started by Think big!, Jun 10, 2020.

  1. Think big! Smoking Dicks

    Think big!
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    So, I've had Europa Universalis 3 and Crusader Kings 2 in my Steam library for some time now. I'd heard about Paradox games from the Codex. I've previously played a lot of Total War games, and have played all their "historical" games up through Rome 2. Looking up on Paradox games I suspected I would enjoy them, but wasn't sure because of a) the lack of real-time battles, and b) the real-time-with-pause mechanic. I'll admit that second one took some getting used to, but after playing EU3 a good amount now I see how it keeps it engaging. (Sometimes too much! During a war I feel like I can't stop until the war is resolved - this is causing problems for my productivity. I need to figure out a way to distance myself somewhat.)

    Anyway, I still haven't gotten that far in EU3, but I've played it enough to know I'm enjoying it, and am interested in their other games. But they have a huge catalog, so some guidance would be appreciated.

    Looking into Paradox I see that they have four "main" series (Europa Universalis, Crusader Kings, Victoria, and Hearts of Iron) with multiple entries each, as well as several one-off games. Which leads to my first question: for these main games, is the latest entry in each the "best?" I don't think I have it in me to play EVERY game in those four series. If it's not the latest, which one, and why?

    Second specific question: the DLC. I know their later games have a lot of DLC. Are vanilla versions of the games fine for an initial playthrough, or do some have "must-have" DLC? The EU3 version I have, by the way, is listed as "EU3 Complete," which I believe has DLC through In Nomine, but not the last two DLC.
     
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  2. Sinilevä Novice

    Sinilevä
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    The best game in HoI series is The Darkest Hour, which is built upon HoI2, which in turn improved everything HoI1 had. And you don't need any dlcs to play it simply, because it has none. It has some nice mods too such as Kaiserreich(alternative history where Germans win WW1) and just general gameplay improvement mods like World in Flames or Edge of Darkness.
    HoI 3 is worth a try, but it is a micromanagement hell when it comes to army management and OOB. Still a decent game if you are into WW2 history. It has 2 dlcs, which are quite usefull, but they are pretty cheap.
    HoI 4 is just garbage. Everything got simplified and the entire gameplay is focused on MP. Not to mention all the dlc whoring.
     
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  3. Fedora Master Arcane Patron

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    CK2 ist the last Actually Good PDX game. The Hoi series has devolved into pure meme material ("Communist Japan fighting the restored HRE so funneh xD"). EUIV is an ugly bloated mess.

    Stick with EUIII, Vicky and CK2 if you want the "real" Paradox experience. Pirate all DLC.
     
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  4. Life of the Party Arcane

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    :greatjob:
     
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  5. Space Satan Arcane

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    HoIIV is the most popular. Stellaris is a mess right now, with devs in crisis. EUIV is...okay.
     
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  6. Think big! Smoking Dicks

    Think big!
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    I'm disappointed in the lack of responses to this thread.
     
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  7. dehimos Augur

    dehimos
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    I think CK2 with the free DLCs and Legacy of Rome is enough.

    Over the years, I have lost interest with other Paradox games.
     
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  8. Xamenos Scholar Patron

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    Why? You got your answer. Do you want a dozen posts of people saying "I agree with the above"?
     
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  9. Lady Error █▓▒░ ░▒▓█ Patron

    Lady Error
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    I tried CK2 before and it didn't really click with me. Now playing EUIV and really enjoying it. Nothing really bloated about it.
     
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  10. Tigranes Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    EU3 is fine, no huge need to go to 4 if you are enjoying it. At a very broad brush, early EU was much more about leaving plenty of historical events and other nudges so that you could very easily reenact historical trajectory of a nation or even specific major wars and incidents: for that EU2 with AGCEEP is the apex. After EU3 paradox has steadily move away from this towards a more modular/generic/open "the starting point is historical but after that anything could happen", which gives you more variety of outcomes at the expense of historical flavour. You will see that more and more in their later games.

    CK2 is fantastic and is probably the next thing to try, unless you are a supernerd for a particular time period. You get to larp the characters and their medoeval lives a lot more, which can scratch a nice itch once EU feels too abstracted.

    Vicky 2 is extremely unique and awesome, not as do-everything-everywhete but with its own special gameplay loops around industrialisation and elections.

    I would say no need to fomo about getting all DLC. Each game tends to have a couple crucial ones.
     
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  11. Think big! Smoking Dicks

    Think big!
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    I expected a more robust discussion, since it was my understanding that most Codexers have played Paradox games. But maybe not?

    Anyway, not all my questions have been answered. Which Victoria? What about their one-off games - that new Pax Romana vs. EU Rome, that Japanese thing, March of the Eagles? Why is Darkest Hour better than the base HoI?

    What about DLC for EU3? The version I have is listed as "EU3 Complete," which looks like it has the first two DLC, but not the last two.
     
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  12. Lady Error █▓▒░ ░▒▓█ Patron

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    The EUIV thread has only 40 pages, despite being out for 6 years. BGIII has 600 pages.
     
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  13. Think big! Smoking Dicks

    Think big!
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    Yeah. And Total War threads get a lot more posts too.
     
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  14. Agame Arcane Patron

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    You know this site is called RPG Codex right?

    Not Grand Strategy Game Codex.

    Anyway I will repeat previous users:

    CK2 is great, but not my cup of tea so never really got into it heavily. EU4 is fine, but yea may as well stick with EU3 if you are enjoying it. Darkest Hour is arguably the best HOI, I like HOI3 as I enjoy hardcore hex style wargames which is what they were attempting to emulate. HOI4 is a giant pile of YouTube meme video garbage.

    And of course Viccy is pure :obviously:, though I find the wack-a-mole combat particularly tiresome.
     
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  15. AwesomeButton Personally falsified the US election results Patron

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    TBH, when I saw your thread's name I assumed it's some zoomer with retarded questions and skipped it for some days.

    I'll throw in my opinion on things, though I guess I'm in the minority here.

    I got hooked on Paradox games because they were "historical" enough to fuel my imagination and provide immersion while I was a student in my early years. So from my perspective, the more history-nerd the game is, the better. With time my requirements for historical pedanticism increased, but unfortunately Paradox' games' attention to historical accuracy was declining.

    My favorite Paradox game was EU2 with the MyMap mod +AGCEEP mod (they were made compatible). I don't think you can find this version of the game anymore even if you wanted. Instead it's been released under the name "For the Glory". It's a rather railroaded (from a current perspective) experience if you play with the majors like England, France, Turkey, Poland. For example you have the Religious wars in France occur through a scripted event. The flavor is provided through lots of scripted events, some of them are decisions, some are just informational, some are just informatonal + some gameplay effect you can't avoid.

    Nowadays Paradox has moved to a mindset of "let's start by giving the players a sandbox, and then through expansions and patches, we'll try to steer the AI to behave more and more historically plausible". Whether they succeed in that or not... I think I'd still rather play my history book with only minimal branching choices, but what they do is still fun enough if I try to behave historically myself.

    I view the "sandbox/meme/map-painting" camp with contempt, but that's what you have as today's gamers.

    CKII - I've played a couple of serious campaigns, it's been very fun and addictive, even as a sandbox game, and I recommend it. Since development there is over, you can easily wait for a sale and grab the DLC you need, or just pirate the whole thing.

    Victoria - not much need to bother, stick to Victoria II. Victoria II is a pretty unique and ambitious (even by Paradox' standards) game. Again, only barely historically accurate, but quite addictive. I think most people enjoy it for the buildup to some version of the First World War, or for the ability to turn their country communist or nazi in the early 20th century. My favorite way of playing it is as a Russian Empire which tries to build up its industry and infrastructure in the Urals and Western Siberian region, turning to the real-world strategy favored by Sergey Witte, whom I consider one of the smartest people ever to be involved in the government of Russia. IMO, Victoria II is still far from providing the amount of historical flavor and plausible alternate history gameplay which the time period deserves, but it's still something.

    the HOI line of games - what the guys said above, just get Darkest Hour for a historical game, Hoi 4 is for goofing around and memeing Hitler, HoI 3 was held in high regard because of the detailed army composition options, but if you really enjoy this kind of wargame gameplay you have much better games like Gary Grigsby's War in the East or Gary Grigsby's War in the West.

    Imperator - has the potential to become a good "EUIV in Classical Antiquity" with at least one more year of patching, flavor and expansions. Right now, it's a bit of a risk.
     
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  16. Sinilevä Novice

    Sinilevä
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    Darkest Hour has better map, bigger tech tree, extended timeline, much more events and decisions, better optimized engine and better modability.
    The only games that are worth playing are CK2, Vicky 2, Darkest Hour and maybe HoI3 and EU3. Like people mentioned above the rest, especially HoI4, is just garbage meme factories. (Making France capitulate with one paratrooper regiment in 1936 olololo)
    Overall this company cucked out long time ago and it is highly unlikely it will produce anything of the value in the future.
     
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  17. Think big! Smoking Dicks

    Think big!
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    WHICH VIcky?
     
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  18. Xamenos Scholar Patron

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    Not much to discuss. Paradox hit their peak with EU3, Vic2, HoI2 and CK2. CK2 on release, and throughout the first couple years, was their best game. But its success broke them as a company. They found a new, much bigger, audience. An audience that didn't really care about historical accuracy or robust mechanics, but instead just wanted to meme about horse chancellors and sisterfucking. And above all, an audience that can be milked for sprite packs, music packs, and dlc that add "cool buttons" that break their game. It's all been decline ever since. Their mass of DLCs even managed to break CK2. Even if you refrain yourself from memery, you'll see an ugly middle-aged hunchback seducing all the women in your court, including your wife and daughters, or a satanist kidnap and sacrifice you for real, actual, magic powers.

    2

    They both suck. Imperator: Rome is better than EU: Rome and has gotten better after they removed the lead designer who insisted on everything being idiotic mana, but it's only a matter of time before it's buried by the weight of constant DLC that add new stuff.

    They were both essentially tech demos for CK2 and EU4 respectively. None but the most obsessed paradox fanboy could enjoy them.

    That is correct, as the steam description could tell you. You're missing Heir to the Throne and Divine Wind. I don't remember what exactly they added, and I can't be arsed to check, but I remember being very happy about them, especially compared to DLC for Paradox's more recent games.
     
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  19. AwesomeButton Personally falsified the US election results Patron

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    I remember people citing Divine Wind as a must. I don't remember why exactly though, you will have to read that in the EUIII wiki.

    I played very little EUIII, it got me seriously disappointed with how ugly its provinces looked and how slow it was running. I hate maps with angular blocky provinces. :)
     
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  20. thesecret1 Arcane

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    EU3 is better than EU4 in that it has better, tighter mechanics, massively better economy, and more aggressive AI. EU4 has better graphix (EU3 is kinda ugly, to be honest) and more content (of which most is content bloat, however...). Personally, if we're talking vanilla, I would go for EU3 without hesitation. With mods, however, EU4 can turn into a pretty enjoyable experience since the content bloat provides platform for modders to actually make something interesting. Do not waste your time with EU4's vanilla, however, it's pure decline and Ottoman fetishism.

    As for HoI, Darkest Hour is easily the best installment, a true marvel that I cannot recommend enough. HoI3 can be fun but the amount of micromanagement gets really taxing after a while. Still, a good game. HoI4 is utter garbage whose whole aim is to pander to redditors with shitty memes. I hesitate to even call it a wargame. Decline doesn't even begin to describe that abomination, avoid at all costs.

    As for CK2, I haven't played the first, so I cannot really compare, but know that there is a true treasure trove of mods for CK2, one that can last you many, many playthroughs.

    By Vicky, everyone means Victoria 2. It is not a game without its issues (such as rebel popamole etc.) but its positives easily outweight the negatives, and is the least map-painty game of them all.

    The vanillas are fine for all save CK2 and EU4, where paradox started milking whales. You will really feel you are getting an extremely gutted experience without the DLCs. Just pirate them like everyone else, tbh.
     
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  21. what am i doing Prophet

    what am i doing
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    Victoria 2 is by far the best Paradox game. It does have some severe and aggravating issues that keep me from playing it more often (ie, the ability for individual brigades to rebel out of your armies, which your army then instantly crushes but you're forced to spend ages finding out which type of brigade and how many each army is missing, build them all, then manually search again and send each brigade to the army that needs it; or, the way that some pops are only allowed one per province, ie craftsmen, clerks, soldiers, so if your first one is a non-accepted culture then you'll have a non-accepted culture gradually grow in proportion as you industrialize, recruit soldiers, etc) but it's still really good, much better than anything else they make. Recommended to play with Historical Project Mod as it fixes a lot of balance and historical accuracy issues, without feeling very different from the base game.
     
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  22. octavius Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    Well, a BG game has almost unlimited butthurt potential on the Codex, so that's not surprising.
     
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  23. Think big! Smoking Dicks

    Think big!
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    Thanks for the info guys. It looks like I lucked out with my purchases of EU3 and CK2 as being the best representatives of those series. For the other two it looks like Darkest Hour and Victoria 2 are the ones to buy. Maybe I'll also check out Imperator: Rome or Stellaris if I'm feeling particularly adventurous. Still, this is a much more manageable list now.

    I admit, while doing some reading up on my own I was getting the impression that Paradox had started dumbing down their games in recent years; this thread helps confirm this.

    For instance, here was a video series I found comparing EU3 to EU4 while I was looking for guides on EU3.





     
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  24. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

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    I never understood the whole "Historical Events is better than Sandbox" thing.

    Well, I disagree. I think the whole Historical Events thing is part of an obsolete school of Alternate History where history is still pretty deterministic. Nowadays, its all about the Butterfly Effect. There was also always this big problem in which the games gets pretty meta because the player has no idea what to do if he wants to get something done. I remember how strategy in EU2 was often built around looking at the monarch list and seeing which kings would take charge when and then gear strategy around that.

    I liked AGCEEP too, but if you ask me, I think the whole historical events thing ultimately just paupers over lack of features with events. Mechanics >>> Events.

    I think the one guy who managed to bridge that gap between Sandbox and Events was Ubik of Magna Mundi fame, but Magna Mundi is pretty obsolete by modern standards now.

    Its why I think CKII is the ultimate Paradox game, because its all about a bunch of people doing random things and things happening as a result of that. It did get memey, but honestly the game can't properly replicate all it needs or can, sadly.
     
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  25. The Brazilian Slaughter Arcane

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    As for Pdox games, my two cents:

    EU2: Ignore this, get FTG. I recommend the Plvs Vltra Mod, which has the WATKABAOI map + AGCEEP events.

    HOI2: Ignore this, get Darkest Hour. Darkest Hour is great and runs pretty well on modern computers.

    EU3: I like it, althrough I think some aspects don't hold up as well. Like the horrible way trade works.

    CKII: Probably my favorite Paradox game. I love how the addition of the human element and the simulationist aspect make it such a rich experience.

    EUIV: I like it, but it seems kind of an overbloated game, like it grew away from the devs' plans. Lacks the glorious chaos factor of CKII, I feel.

    HOI IV: Barely played it.

    Stellaris: Has a bunch of cool stuff but is also sadly, an unoptimized, buggy mess.
     
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