<< Portico: New Paradox Expansion

6/07/2006

New Paradox Expansion

Victoria is the ugly stepsister of the Europa Universalis games. It's good, but fatally flawed in a number of ways. Even the much vaunted regular patch reputation of Paradox couldn't fix the problems associated with a Byzantine economic engine, the population management system and armies that swelled to incredible sizes.

It looks like they have finally straightened out the kinks to their own satisfaction. Victoria: Revolutions will be available later this summer. It extends the calendar into the interwar period (making a converter for Hearts of Iron II a no-brainer) and revises many of the troublesome areas of the game.

Colonization will be slowed by requiring states to reach tech levels consonant with living in the severe climates of tropical Africa. Certain government policies will restrict the amassing of a large mobilization pool or the construction of factories. The election system will be reworked, hopefully to the point where the player won't be able to manipulate it so easily.

Victoria was my first print review and it was a modest recommendation. I haven't played it much in the last year or so. Crusader Kings - a much better game - followed closely on its heels and the patching team at Paradox seemed to be at a loss when it came to fixing their sad little 19th century strategy game.

Part of the problem is that Victoria tried to set Europa Universalis in an era that was ill-fitted to that model. Hearts of Iron has the war already pre-ordained, so the diplomacy and domestic policy it sets for the twentieth century can be shallow. The entire point of the game is to win a war. But Victoria has to have domestic policy to reflect the shift from monarchies to democracies, the rise of nationalism, the effect of railroads on industry and mobility, the migration of hundreds of thousands of people for a better life...all the things that make the 19th century the 19th century.

So they threw out the simple economic and military models of EU - too abstracted to capture the radical changes in post-Napoleonic Europe - and tried to capture every major trend in what was a pivotal hundred years in human development. The result was confusing at best. You could tax your lowest class at 100% with no negative effects. Historic events were few and far between, and those that were there never fired right. Immigration was hard-coded to certain geographic regions, frustrating those who thought Australia could be a land of opportunity. Great innovations like the domestic politics model seemed to be only partially implemented.

I am glad that they are taking another crack at it though. Victoria has been cast aside for too long and it has too many interesting ideas to not get another chance.

4 Comments:

Anonymous oldciver said...

just curious - whats the latest version youve played. Ive played 1.03 through once (i got vickie via the strat 6 pack) and I THINK overtaxing the poor had an impact, and pretty sure that even by then theyd improved the immigration model. I havent played 1.04, but its supposed to fix some things.

I see the problems, and it doesnt hang together as well as EU2, but it does seem fun, and seems like a good base to build on, though i havent really played it enough to go into detail.

6/16/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Troy Goodfellow said...

1.03 was an improvement on some of the underlying mechanics, including money for your classes and the immigration model. They also tried to restrain colonial expansion, IIRC.

There were still serious problems with the POP management and distributing the luxuries that each class demanded. I haven't had time for 1.04.

"It doesn't hang together" is actually a very good summary of Vicky. It has so much going on, almost kluged together. Not that EU2 is some grand holistic vision. But it has fewer disparate elements.

It has, I think, the most interesting domestic political model of any strategy game, but eventually all the government parties feel the same. There isn't a lot of difference in the feel of different government types, either.

It has so much unrealized promise. And I will admit to being drawn away from it shortly after 1.02. My time with 1.03 was cut by a bunch of deadlines. But the released version had so many obvious problems that it never got the head-of-steam that I think it should have had.

6/16/2006 03:33:00 PM  
Anonymous oldciver said...

ah, well I think EU2 actually does hang together pretty well, and has some pretty deep interactions among different strategic factors (take a look at the debates on different DP slider settings in the paradox forums. for ex)

I really like the new economic model for Vickie R - (IF youre laissez faire, the capitalist build factories and RRs, if youre interventionist you get to build RRs but not factories, and if youre to the "left" you can (and must) build factories yourself.

It will both be more realistic, and make the parties more important.

6/20/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Troy Goodfellow said...

I think you misunderstand me. EU2 holds together very well, in spite of its combination of very disparate elements. It is absolutely, positively, irreplaceably my favorite strategy game ever.

We'll see with Vickie. I'll certainly put more time into it with the new patch/expansion

6/20/2006 05:14:00 PM  

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