Europa Universalis 3: The Reckoning!

I got my Collector’s Edition in the mail yesterday. While I can’t say with a straight face that the CE is good value for the money, especially since the soundtrack leaves me unimpressed, the strategy guide booklet that comes with it reminds me of the game documentation that came with games back in the antiquity of cardboard boxes. Combined with the actual manual you actually have a pretty good source of information and gameplay advice at hand. Reminds me a the old Microprose manuals actually. This is true for the next month or so anyway. There was a release day patch and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of game rebalancing in the coming six months as is Paradox’s tradition.

So what about the game? Well, if you’ve played the demo it is essentially the same. The only obvious change was that freed from the time constraints of the demo I could choose a start date when Sweden was free from the stifling personal union with Denmark. It made it a lot easier to immediatly declare war on those foul-smelling Danes.

While the game has some glaring design oversights (the message window being blocked by the province information window comes to mind) and a few bugs this is a quarter to three game for me, just like the earlier incarnations. It’s more of the same, with a 3d map (fugly!) and some new features and that is enough to make me consider taking a sick day. I’m obsessed, and probably should be smacked over the head with something hard for my own good.

I’m already planning my next moves. Should I bribe the Holy Roman Emperor so that he might make me part of the HRE? That could eventually mean a Swedish Emperor! Should I try to Annex Norway and Denmark? I have to untangle them from their alliances first. Or I could focus on taking Danzig from the Polacks. But how am I going to get Russia to back me up? So much to do.

my dear kalle, please give us a report over the ai as soon as you are able to… in the last games i bought from paradox the “ai” sucked royally even if the games itself are good…

I don’t think you need to be part of the HRE to be Emperor (no real historical basis if you do).

And yeah, that map is asstastic. It really is just so hideously ugly it blows the mind. It also adds just about zero functionality over EU2, as far as I can tell, especially since you can’t zoom out as far. However, since they added a buttload of new provinces, that might be part of it too.

It really feels like a date with a hot body and an ugly face: I just wanna put a bag over the map and have fun with the rest.

Yeah, the 3d map seems like a big step backwards to me as well, especially considering how the 2d map was the best single thing about their old games IMO.

Crossed fingers for my CE to arrive today…

I posted my first impressions on my blog this morning.

Cliff notes version: Map is fugly, I’m not wild about the new event model, but I’m not totally ready to write this one off yet. Maybe modders can save it if it’s broken.

Given that the map was actually the single best thing about EU and EU II, these reports don’t fill me with the urge to run out and buy it.

Ouch. That’s sad Lum, you seem to be confirming my worst expectations. My main problem with the game is new event model. I 'haven’t played the game yet but from what I’ve read on the EU3 forum I was far from sure that it is a good one. It seem to me that the change would make the game much less historical, and more like “civilization-style sandbox”, as I wrote few weeks ago in another EU3 thread on this forum. Is it true?

I really enjoyed the demo, but I had no idea that there weren’t historical events this time around. I had thought that they just were disabled for the demo or something.

I’m sure the AGC-EEP guys will eventually work something up. Until then, it’s a real shame, because the interface was SO much easier to use than EU2.

History is formed of decisions made in the past. How is a game MORE historical if events happen regardless of your decisions?

Hawkeye Fierce: Nope, you didn’t miss anything. There’s no “hard coded” events that I could see, just “cause and effect” events like in CK.

Quitch: It’s possible to have events gated on previous decisions/possibilities. There are some HOI2 mods which handle this very well, such as dividing up postwar Europe based on the actual battle lines and not the historical fallout, branching events based on if Germany tries to subjugate Russia or liberate its minorities, etc. But it’s not possible for a computer to write its own version of history and have it be as deep as what a human would, either factually or counter-factually.

The historical events in all previous paradox games were seriously open to meta-gaming since you could predict with exactitude when they would occur and you could know their effects as well.

Removing them improves the quality of the game as a game, although fun-factor, chrome, and simulation are somewhat lost.

I’ll hold judgement until I get a chance to play it a little more thoroughly, preferably multiplayer which is where I think the game has especial potential.

Well, I’ll probably get it anyway, since I am definitely a fan of Paradox games, but I’ll eagerly await a mod that adds in a truckload of history.

Anyone know how moddable the game is? They were aiming for major improvements in that area, weren’t they?

According to the manual (which I haven’t finished yet) there are historical events that are triggered by player actions, meaning that if you don’t do the actions, the event won’t happen. What that means from a player’s standpoint, I don’t know, but there are supposed to be historical events.

Lorini

If you guys are planning on playing multiplayer games I’ll grab it. I enjoyed the couple of times we tried to get HoI2 games going.

I went ahead and looked at the event files. There’s… uh… almost nothing there. Lots of CK-style randomness, some stuff to try to provoke the Reformation and the American Revolution, some national formations (UK, Russia, Spain, etc), and… uh… that’s it. There’s the founding of the East India Trading Company as a seperate event, which almost looks like a demo file for modders to add actual events.

So, modders might have fun with it. But as is, nations play as Generic Country X.

Perfect…exactly how I was hoping it would be.

While I’m sure it removed a lot of the complexity for Paradox, it makes me much less interested in the game. I think I’ll hold off until they get a couple of patches in and the modding community gets to work.

Damn. That pretty much turns EU3 into general civ-style sandbox game, rather than historical simulator that were EU1/2. WTH Paradox was thinking when they made this terrible design choice?

Yes, Soapyfrog is absolutely right about possibility of metagaming with historical events. But IMHO it is much better than wiping out all these historical events, which were the heart of EU1/2.

My enthusiasm for EU3 just took a huge hit. I am big fan of Paradox games, EU2 in particular is one of my favorite games of all times, but at this point I am thinking of skipping EU3 completely.

Bad Paradox, very bad.

I think you could make an arguement both ways.

Would the French revolution have happened if the monarchy of France had spent 100 years enfranchising the people? Would Sweden have dominated the north as a “Swedish Reich” if Poltava hadn’t happened? Would the Ottoman Empire have continued to expand past the 16th century if they had developed a more Western oriented culture and society?

None of these are possible with fixed historical events.

Not really, all you have described could still happen with EU2 model of historical events.

“Fixed” doesn’t mean set in stone, a huge number of historical events in EU2 actually had preconditions, some of them were quite elaborate, tying events to combination of sliders, stability, religion, previous historical events, other countries, et cetera, et cetera.

Events in Eu2 were pretty much written in a script language, that allowed you to describe any type of “cause and effect” you want. In addition to it EU2 also had tons of of semi-random general events, many (but not all) were also partly tied to the condition of your empire.

I think that model worked great. It genty nudged countries toward more or less historical path, while allowing a lot of flexibiliy to the player, so he could choose to walk away from historical path at any point. And it seems to me much more fun system than playing generic civilization without much historical flavor.