Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

Has anyone taken the plunge on this latest standalone modded version of HoI2? I didn’t particularly enjoy what Arsenal of Democracy did to HoI2, but this seems like a pretty different take.

Any impressions? Worth it for $10?

There should be some talk about it over on the official boards. To be honest, while I understand why Paradox decided to allow these mod/expansions, I think it merely fragments the fanbase. HOI3 has two expansions in the works right now and I don’t know that its really helping to nail down the direction the game should go. Instead it seems like they are trying to satisfy divergent interests.

I’m pretty sure I know why they decide to allow these mod/expansions.

Yes, but it is counterproductive right now.

I have no idea what’s the difference between Arsenal of Democracy and DH (or AoD + Iron Cross). They added some features and removed others. There’s no distinct feature lists and in the end no idea which one is better.

Before I purchase something I have to evaluate what I’m getting (and then you have also to wait for months or years for patches to stabilize), and here I have no idea.

I’m sure there is a lot of talk about it on the official boards, I just think I’d get a better impression if anyone on these boards has played it. There is a lot to like about the Paradox boards, but the type of information I want isn’t one of them. They tend to make a huge deal out of relatively minor issues.

To be honest, I think Paradox did a decent enough job fragmenting the fanbase by themselves with HoI 3 :)

All these different retail mods don’t really serve to fragment the fanbase so much as pander to different parts of an already fragmented one. The only big risk is that the team releases a buggy mess and doesn’t bother to follow up with support (cough iron cross cough - and For The Glory to an extent). The thing about this is the releases are obviously for the enthusiast who at least pays attention to the paradox boards and so is kind of up to date with what’s going on. DH is from a relatively established mod team, the dev diaries leading up to release hinted at a bit more than just a few thousand more provinces, and they’re active in conversations about future patches. Plus they have support from other mod groups, notably the guys behind Kaiserreich.

I’m not really sure what you’re getting at by calling DH “AoD + Iron Cross”, HRose. Iron Cross was a steaming mistranslated turd with thousands of provinces in places they didn’t need to be and where they only served to slow down the game. DH, by contrast, has additional provinces in Europe and other places where they matter, and reportedly runs faster than AoD.

I don’t have time to dig into the game so I haven’t picked it up, but what I’ve heard has been positive. The WWI scenario is broken (the AI sits around and the war never starts), but at least that’s a known issue. The only big problem I’ve heard is the manpower values for some nations are incredibly low, limiting what you can do as, say, Sweden. If anyone has played it I’d love to hear more.

As I understand it, the manpower issues largely stem from people not understanding what the creators of DH were trying to do. They apparently have a mobilization model in place where you are supposed to build divisions as reserves (at a fraction of the normal strength) and then, when you’re ready for war, mobilize (which gives a huge manpower boost to stock the reserve divisions, as well as an economic penalty to reflect the demographic shift of people from laborers to soldiers). People who try to spam hundreds of infantry divisions like they can in vanilla HOI2 are just going to end up running themselves into the ground.

As for the actual quality of the game as compared with AoD, I can’t say. I bought both of them but haven’t spent anywhere near enough time with the latter and absolutely no time with the former, so I have no coherent or worthwhile opinion at present.

I actually liked the look of Iron Cross more, didn’t mind the convoluted tech tree, and speed was not an issue.

And that was already on top of AoD. Iron Cross can even be installed on DH, so the real question is how AoD and DH truly differ.

If it’s just the map then IC does that too.

I’ve been playing Arsenal of Democracy for a good bit of time, and it’s my understanding that the biggest difference between the two is in logistics and combat. AoD calculates effective supply efficiency for each individual province based on infrastructure between it and a supply center, and has a mechanic for describing concentration of force which is behind its stacking penalty (so armor isn’t just fast, it’s also a great unit for attacking, since it’s much more concentrated than infantry).

Yeah I wasn’t a big fan of AoD’s stacking penalty. If you have a large weak army, like Nat China does, you are at a huge disadvantage playing against small, quality armies like Japan because you simply can’t bring your numbers to bear.

Isn’t that, historically, part of the reason Japan was able to outmatch China?

I’ve played them all, so my take:

Iron Cross: avoid this like the black plague. The English translation is ridiculously bad to the point of making the game unplayable, the tech tree is so convoluted you actually need an external program just to figure out what the pre-reqs for techs are, and the map is simultaneously bloated to the point it makes the game slow to a crawl and missing so much detail that the additions are useless (the great majority of new provinces have no resources, population, or reason to exist). Plus the AI is broken, in case you ever get that far.

Arsenal of Democracy: This is effectively the latest version of HOI2. The gameplay additions are fairly minor (such as the ability to fund large number of tech teams if you can afford it) and almost all the AI quirks in previous versions of HOI2 are gone - the AI can successfully carry off amphibious invasions, and no longer ignore range restrictions so seizing naval bases to cut off the range of naval powers is finally a valid strategy. No real downside to buying this other than that it costs money for what really should have been a patch and that most of the HOI2 mods haven’t been ported to it due to many mod makers no longer updating their mods.

Darkest Hour: just came out last week and still has some bugs. However it is FAST - seriously the fastest HOI2 ever, even with a larger map (which unlike Iron Cross is also actually fully implemented, and far more attractive as well). It does have a lot of gameplay changes from base HOI2, such as units taking 4 times as long to build and resources being much rarer. Ideally someone will make a mod which uses the DH code and map but mods out some of the combat weirdness.

So, if you were going to buy one, I’d say get DH, since it’s stand-alone and only $10, and it’s a pretty safe bet that it’ll get patched up and be roughly equal to AoD. If you want a game that works NOW get AoD since DH’s AI isn’t currently up to AoD’s standards.

Ooh, fast, I should try Darkest Hour. That’s why I stopped playing AOD.

Thanks Lum, that’s exactly what I was looking for.

Oh wow, Darkest Hour with the new maps and properly rescaled interface looks fantastic at 1920x1200. It’s also blazing fast. What the hell did they do?

Screenshots thread. Developer diaries/what’s new thread.

Those diaries are very impressive; a lot of thinking went into this.

Their description of the speed fixes cracks me up as a programmer. The AI was spending a ton of time in per-unit slow distance calculations.

Vanilla HOI has a stacking penalty already that inhibits Nat China, but AOD introduces another stacking penalty that, stacks, I guess, on top of the original penalty making having more than a few units per province completely useless.

Anyone know how the hell to play Japan? A “best of AARs” for each nation would be really useful.

There are strategy sections on the various HOI wikis, but they aren’t going to specifically cover something like Darkest Hour. They might give you some general help, though. Your best bet is probably just to read in that section of the official boards.

It’s nice and playably fast now, but there’s still too much damn tedious pushing of units all over the map. Time to give up and move to HOI3 I guess.

When’s the next HOI3 expansion coming out?