Hearts of Iron 4 announced


It’s definitely getting better slowly. The AI still does absurd things like suicide millions of troops into the english channel undefended because they have no fleet, though. And unless you are playing as Axis, you need to turn Germany, Italy and Japan up to +4 or they will lose even if you pick America and sit on your hands doing nothing, 9 times out of 10.

Truth be told I’m actually not salty about it, I got a lot of fun hours out of the game until I figured it out enough that it became too easy to play. Hopefully in six months or so I’ll have some good reasons to come back and check it out again.


The Expert AI can definitely make for a tough experience. Currently I am playing a USSR game, with Germany set to +2 ticks and the +50% boost from Expert AI. Things went a bit ahistorical when Austria and rump Czechoslovakia rejoined Hungary and Poland allied Romania. That seemed to actually speed the German up though, as they didn’t take a bunch of focuses, finished France, Poland and Romania by October 1939, reeled in Lithuania, didn’t give me Eastern Poland and ended up declaring on me in March 1940.

The boosts the AI gets from the mods are really quite substantial. I wasn’t close to being ready, but I managed to pull back to the river lines and hold there. I was helped along when Austria-Hungary joined Commintern(!) and declared war on the Germans. Of course they were just sacrificial lambs but they bought time. I pushed Republican Spain into the war in a similar role.

It’s been pretty fun trying to hold the line and hold up the Japanese and Turks as well. My infantry isn’t quite good enough to hold everywhere and now and then the Germans cross the river and I need to counter-attack with heavy tanks, which end up running up and down the line fighting fires. The pressure is increasing. I’m not sure how I can actually beat the Germans back until they run out of manpower, which will be quite a while yet, since they get a manpower boost as well.


I mean, if your only concern is victory, build a line of level 5+ forts. The AI doesn’t know how to handle it, and will batter themselves to death within a year or two. It’s cheesy and will ruin the game, but you’ll win. I do sort of wish I could build forts without feeling bad, but I just pretend the option doesn’t exist.


I think building that many fort along the entire east-front would take a while, and I’d rather have the military factories to go on the attack. I’ve built some forts at the land-bridge and at Kiev,but the river line basically has a similar effect, though they’ve broken though now near Sevastopol. Still, I’ve actually lost the landbridge forts and had to recover them. You get a dozen infantry and a half-dozen high-tech tank divisions attacking and they can wear down the fort (especially as there is a glitch now and then that causes me to lose supply on that section of the front).

I’m not sure how soon wearing them down is going to happen. They’ve lost 2.2 million so far (about 1 year in), and have 5 million manpower available, then can go to scrapping the barrel. They’ve lost an incredible 12,000 medium tanks in combat, but their production is about 16,000 per year. I guess with attrition they might be in deficit, but they also have strong attrition reduction modifiers. So they haven’t really hit the tipping point due to the massive bonuses.

I’m hoping that once I start getting the 1943 heavies out, I’ll have enough firepower to do some localized offensives. It would be sad if I can’t do offensive operations until they’ve attrited themselves down.


Small 1.4.2 patch incoming. Looks like they are attempting to address the “Axis sending their armies to watery graves” issue.


The great summer hiatus is over and podcat has started talking about the [next update for HOI4. To paraphrase the Uruk-hai, it looks like OOB is back on the menu, boys.

Perhaps I’m reading way too much into it, but could there be a glimmer of hope that this might mean less frontline wrangling?


I’ve actually found the issue of expanding overlap of frontlines to not be as bad lately. I don’t know if there is an underlying change or if I am doing things differently. I don’t find I have to adjust the boundaries of adjacent armies as often, but when it does happen it seems to be because both of those armies “have a claim” on the province due to overlapping offensive plans. Also, the lines always get messed up the instant a pocket is created.

Also, the tactical AI would be about 75% better if it could learn when to worry about moving to cover the whole existing front and when simple moving forward will solve the front coverage problem.


National Unity is going away. Say hello to Stability and War Support!

I like the dynamics the way they describe them. I especially like that manpower from new laws isn’t an instant thing anymore, but flows in according to mobilization speed.


Those all sound like great changes! I’m curious what the red telephone icon is.


You and everyone else. The red phone is associated in the popular imagination with the Washington-Moscow hotline, so maybe it is something to do with cross-alliance diplomacy?


Division name lists

Seems like a nice feature for immersion. “23. Infantry-division 5” can be a bit distracting.

I’ve been switching back and forth between Hearts of Iron and Stellaris (with a machine race). It really makes me appreciate how much thought they put into streamlining HoI4. The WW2 game just feels like it plays a lot faster and there is a lot less busywork than in Stellaris.

I’m enjoying my Stellaris game, but there is so much micro to building pops and buildings and mining stations everywhere, especially with machine empires where you need to construct the pops rather than having them grow organically. My main alternative is to just turn on automation by handing everything over to sectors. I really think the tile-and-building-based economy in Stellaris was a huge design mistake as it distracts from more interesting aspects of the game.

HoI3 had the same micro-heavy design, where the solution to micro was to turn on automation. I really like the way they’ve thought through the design of the economy in HoI4 so that wasn’t needed. The economic interface (despite a few clunky parts) is expressive enough and well-fitted to the problem that there doesn’t need to be an AI to implement the player’s decisions.

Unfortunately, the battleplan AI is not quite good enough to close the gap between player intentions and micro-actions on that side. If there was a way to formulate battle plans so it didn’t really need much of an AI, that would be pretty sweet. I think what happened is that they designed a new interface (battle lines, axis of advance, etc) but kept the legacy micro-layer (province map, stacking, etc) that doesn’t really fit the interface. On the economy side they wiped the slate clean and designed the basic mechanisms to work the way they wanted.


I hadn’t checked the Developers diary for a couple weeks. I really like replacing national unity with war support, and stability. I do wonder if the AI will be able to switch to new conscription laws properly.

Division name list are also pretty cool, a nice example of polish.


Synthetic Dawn

Instead of having synthetic techs allowing you to build more than one synthetic plant per state, you can start building up to 3 per state, synth plants produce less at start, and separate oil and rubber techs improve production. Countries that only need one of the two resources will be able to save research.

Also, resource production will get bonuses with infrastructure level now. So countries with lots of resources in low-infra states will be able to significantly boost their production. On the other hand, more developed regions have less future potential. Bonus is +10% production per level. The US has a lot of scope for resource growth since they start with a lot of resources in 5-infra states.


Excellent changes. Tying resource extraction to infrastructure is something I’ve been wanting for ages, it always felt weird to not be able to develop a region’s resources. Maybe you can actually produce oil in Saudi Arabia now!


Yes this is a very nice change. I do hope given all the new things we need to research that they boost research slightly, maybe reducing research times by 10% or so.

Also I hope they do something about 1/2 tracks. As both Germany and Russia I get 1941 (PZ IV) tanks by some time in 1939. I generally research the first 1/2 track tech to get the 10% bonus for motorized infantry. Frankly, I don’t understand the rationalization for the bonus are the trucks suddenly more bullet resistant?

But then, I almost never build 1/2 tracks. Partly because of the cost but mostly because they slow down my tanks.
This makes no sense to me because my understand is that for certainly both American and German 1/2 tracks they were faster than medium tanks, and far more mobile than trucks. If they didn’t slow down my division I might build them.


New developer diary.


The German focus tree is getting an extensive update, additional industrial buffs for everybody
and alternative history options for the DLC.

Allowing Germany to become a Democracy, or remain facist but become an ally with Britain against the commie Russians and France. Sounds very interesting.


I thought the “Kaiseriech” scenario had them as Unaligned: Wilhelm back in charge, authoritarian but not fascist. Maybe a distinction without a difference. Reforming the central powers sounds fun though.


I’m not sure. They mentioned a Democratic path at the end of the diary. It is sounds interesting.


This week’s dev diary is up and it looks like they weren’t finished with the Air system revamp in 1.4.

Additional info in the link.


Attaching air wings to armies is something many people were asking for back when the air system was announced pre-release, so I am glad they are going in that direction.