Summer, 2016, I went to war as Mussolini, booted him out and turned Italy democratic, formed the Novus Imperium Romanum, and conquered Stalingrad. Yes, I am talking about Hearts of Iron IV which will soon be expanding once more with Waking The Tiger this March. Paradox are concentrating this expansion of the Far East, with many changes to Japan and the different actors in the Chinese civil war. National focus trees are being revamped and expanded, but there is so much more to come in this expansion.
I’ll briefly touch on three things from some recent developer diaries that have caught my eye, but if you are in any way interested in what is going on with Hearts of Iron IV, I heartily recommend checking out some of the dev diaries, the provide a fascinating insight into the development choices Paradox make when working on expansions for the game.
One of the most fundamental changes coming is with the way wars are handled and managed by the game itself. In the base game, it was nigh on impossible to get a three-way war going, and working properly. While playing as Italy in my first game, due to my Faction, I was stuck going to war against firstly the Axis, then the Commintern, I couldn’t join it all together into one big war. Most of the changes are to the war UI, allowing you to flick between wars you are involved with, and more accurately identify nations you can call into your war, and track general war progress. The prospect of a proper Axis vs Comintern vs Allies war is enticing.
Another change that might have an impact on your war choices is the inclusion of Formable Nations. While these will likely repulse the historical enthusiasts, for players like me who love the alt-history aspect of Hearts of Iron, this will be a welcome addition. You will have the chance to follow your own self-contained quest to form a greater nation. No longer relying on factions or puppet states, but combining other nations into one mighty power is an enticing prospect. A more plausible example of a Formable Nation is the Baltic Federation; as one of the Baltic states, control all of the lands of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and you can bring your shared strength together. More outlandish prospects include a new Roman Empire, or even Byzantium. Even better, the new nations will come complete with new flags! To put you at ease, if you do play in historical mode, the AI won’t ever attempt this nation forming.
The other big change that has caught my attention it to difficulty modes. Paradox research shows that nearly 40% of players are using the easier Recruit difficulty level, the majority use the Regular mode, but there is space in the market for more. Soon you will be able to choose from the presumably brual Elite mode, or turn things down a notch to Civilian. As podcat explains in the dev diary:
My design philosophy is to try and stay away from direct combat bonuses and such that will make you learn the game in the wrong way. I prefer buffing things that allows a player to play more sub-optimal, so faster research (or slower so you must make more optimal choices), smaller losses on efficiency when changing production lines or less impact of lack of resource and such. It’s also important to only affect the player as you don’t really know which of the nations will end up on their side or as enemies. For example, in HOI3 depending on country it could actually be easier at harder settings, since certain nations were advantaged by that in an allied role.
With the new alt-history options opening up, I think I might dabble in Civilian mode and see what crazy new countries I can make.
With Waking The Tiger just around the corner, how many of you are still playing Hearts of Iron IV, and what new nation are you planning to create?