Near: Europa Universalis III Chronicles

By Jim Rossignol on March 10th, 2011 at 12:42 pm.

NOW THAT IS A MAP
Grand strategy Europa Universalis III is now swollen to the point of popping with four (count ‘em) expansions, and these are all to be bundled in a single thing called Europa Universalis III Chronicles. The new bundle will be out on the 22nd of March. Quite why RPS hasn’t spent more time focusing on this multifarious historical strategy, which allows you to control any nation in Europe between the end of the 14th century and the start of the 19th century, is a bit beyond me, so maybe now’s the time for that to happen.

Aaaaand there’s a trailer below.

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57 Comments »

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  1. Oak says:

    Honestly, I’m hoping this still won’t stop them from putting out another expansion.

    • Meneth says:

      They’ve made two expansions so far after releasing (the badly named) Europa Universalis 3: Complete, so I’m pretty sure they’ll keep going for a while longer.
      Also, according to what I’ve heard they’ve still got several expansion-sized ideas they want to implement.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      Yeah, they talked about their expansion plans a bit on one of the most recent Three Moves Ahead podcasts.

    • RegisteredUser says:

      Maybe one that fixes the inredibly boring and mal-timed clickfest that the spheres of incluence subgame crapshoot is.

  2. MrMud says:

    It lets you control any nation in the world.
    The latest expansion in particular focuses on China and Japan.

    That said EU has always been Euro centric so it makes more sense to play a european nation.

  3. alh_p says:

    Consider yourselves strategy gamers? You bloody arent if you’ve not played EU. For all its oddities (Paradox learning curve, Europe/Western-skewed gameplay, ping-pong warfare), this is the closest I’ve personaly come to satisfying my urge for grand strategy.

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      Fede says:

      Don’t worry, Quinns surely played EU3 and posted an article here, some months ago :)

  4. Vadermath says:

    I’ve been playing the latest, not-officially-released-yet beta patch, and I must say they’ve come very, very near to perfecting the game. The lag I had with previous versions and expansions is now completely gone, and they’ve fixed a shitload of bugs. I’ll probably buy this, just so I can have a neat retail package of the complete game. This might be the last EUIII edition, seeing as I’ve heard rumours that a new engine is in the works in the deepest, most secretive bowels of Paradox.

  5. Teronfel says:

    I want Europa Universalis 4

  6. frenz0rz says:

    I’ve played the Total War series for most of my gaming life – yet, having been studying history first at A-level and then 3 years at degree level, I’ve grown to find them a bit too simplistic for my liking and I’ve toyed with the idea of trying EU3. However, I’ve never really found a good Steam deal or anything to really convince me to take that leap of faith and slap down £30 of my hard loaned cash. Perhaps this compilation will finally give me an excuse to try it?

    Also, for any EU fanatics out there, how does EU3 differ from the myriad of other turn based historical strategy games out there? How does it compare to, say, Total War?

    • Vadermath says:

      Probably by the fact it isn’t turn-based :D

    • MrMud says:

      It resembles total war in that total war has a map and so does EU but thats pretty much where it ends.
      EU is a much more abstracted experience, not just because it doesnt have real time battles like TW but in how the game plays.
      The counter point is that EU feels like history in a way that TW never ever comes even remotely close to. The attention to historical detail is remarkable and the things that happen in the game feel like they could have happened in history.

      You say that you like strategy games and that you like history. To me just one of those two should be enough to buy it and if you like both then you are probably missing out on one of the best gaming experiences of your life.

    • Moth Bones says:

      EU3 ‘Complete’ for £4.49 here – http://www.gamersgate.co.uk/DD-EU3COM/europa-universalis-3-complete.

      That doesn’t include the Heir to the Throne or Divine Wind expansions.

      I’ve only just started playing, but I guess the immediate difference from TW games is that you don’t run the actual battles; you set your armies up, send ‘em off and hope you’ve done it right. It’s not turn-based either, it’s continuous (though much pausing is advisable).

      The game is much more historically-based than any other I’ve played. Your nation’s concerns will, by and large, be as they were in history. So if you take control of Scotland your main initial aim will be simply to fend off the English. If you take Portugal you’ll want to keep Castile sweet and probably try and get colonising ahead of the other sea-going western Europeans. If you want to throw your weight around you’ll need a good reason (casus belli) or you’ll quickly find yourself with a very bad reputation and roundly despised throughout the world. You can’t simply think “Ooh, I fancy that province.” So it’s more about jockeying for advantageous alliances, long term planning, waiting for the right moment to take advantage of neighbours’ weaknesses and so on.

    • Meneth says:

      Unlike most turn-based games, you don’t really notice much that it is turn-based, as it automatically goes from turn to turn. At the highest speed, each turn only lasts a fraction of a second. One day = 1 turn.
      It’s also much more in-depth than most strategy games. For example, while the Total War games only have a pretty basic economy with very little interaction between regions, in EU3 the economy is affected by a high number of factions and provinces affect each other (for example, a weapons manufactory will increase the demand for iron and copper, large navies will increase demand for naval supplies, and markets will increase demand for spices and similar)
      It’s also very large-scale. There’s several hundred nations in the game, and thousands of provinces (as compared to Medieval 2: Total War’s 31 faction limit, and 200 region limit).
      The replayability is also high due to the vast number of factions, and being able to start on any day from the 14th of October, 1399 to the 1st of January 1821.
      It’s also a lot more challenging than most strategy games. The AI is pretty good, and won’t get easily crushed if you’re roughly equally powerful unless it’s distracted by something else at the same time.

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      Sunjumper says:

      Well the most obvious difference is combat. The battles in EU3 happen on the map and are closer to what happens in the older Civ games.
      The focus is very much on leading your country from far above, you set the course that you state is going to take and watch what happens.

      The game is also not turn based. Instead time passes according to your settings slowly or fast or if things get really hairy can be paused completely. It hasn’t got the pace of an RTS though. At the slowest setting one day will pass every four seconds or so, in a game that spans 400 years.
      I was very sceptical of this at first as I usually do not enjoy ‘real time’ games but it works really well. You can pause and fuss over details as long as you want and when everything is running along nicely but nothing interesting happens you just set the time compression to maximum and watch the time rocket past.
      It looks like your CPU limits how fast time passes at the max settings. Playing this on my lap-top results in a more slow paced game (which always ends with me getting into trouble) while on my desktop the times of peace just rush past.
      A word of warning not having turns makes the ‘ONe more turn’ effect worse as now you constantly have things that demand your attention.

      Another thing is the learning curve. It is a bit steep and that the tutorials may or may not work does not help at all. When starting a new game you should play the tutorials first as far as you can get just to get a feeling for the U.I. and how the game works in general. And then have the E.U. wiki near for easy reference. Also reading AARs etc… will help you to get to grips with the game.
      What I like to stress is that despite the games many many facets you will normally not be overwhelmed by them as usually only one or two things will be of importance at any time.

      Choose your starting country for your first game with a bit of care. This will provide you with a motivation to play, like turning your home region to the most powerful nation of the world (The game also provides you with little missions to keep you busy and motivated). You should also try and choose a country that isn’t a huge you will have enough to do just wrapping your head around the games systems.

    • frenz0rz says:

      Wow, this game sounds incredible. However, it also sounds like one which will consume vast swathes of my free time, so I will perhaps buy it and wait until my exams are over. Although I suppose it would be a little ironic if the last month of my history degree was ruined by a historical strategy game.

    • Oak says:

      It’s a comparison that does a disservice to both series’ strengths, really.

    • Meneth says:

      Yeah, it takes large amounts of time.
      The game lasts 420 years.
      For me, 1 month at max speed takes 3 to 4 seconds, when fully zoomed out (it’s rendered in more detail when zoomed in, and it therefore goes more slowly)
      That’s 4 to 5.5 hours if one never pauses and always runs on full speed, with a powerful CPU (for comparison, mine is a quad-core overclocked to 3.867 GHz)
      Since one will often have to pause or slow down, at least 8 hours and probably more to finish a game is more likely.

    • MrMud says:

      8 hours to finish a game? O.o

      My first game (granted it was my first so perhaps took a bit longer than usual) was spent from 1399 to 1650ish and took about 100 hours…

    • Meneth says:

      Okay, maybe not as little as 8 hours. 8 hours is assuming one’s playing at max speed most of the time, and has a pretty good computer, and almost never get into wars :P

      I’d say 100 hours is too much, though.
      100 hours = 6000 minutes. That’s about 24 minutes per year, or two minutes a month.

    • rivalin says:

      @frenz0rz

      Ha! In the same boat I’m afraid, hmm dissertation or game? Probably game.

    • Zwebbie says:

      frenz0rz: I used to swear by Total War games, but greatly disliked Empire and ended up picking up Victoria II and Europa Universalis III. There’s no way I’ll ever be able to play a Total War game again, I’m afraid; they’re just too shallow in comparison.
      EUIII isn’t quite historically accurate, though. I had just written an essay on an episode of Brabantian history and was confronted with the game that stating Brabant was a kingdom with its capital in ‘s-Hertogenbosch… that’s still painful, but it also shows how much detail the game does have; it allows you from the start to play as one of 62 lordships in the Holy Roman Empire, quite a difference from MTW’s unified state.
      I’d also like to stress that there’s a great difference between playing different countries. In a Total War game, every country is roughly the same size and you can make anything into a world conquering super power. Unless you’re really good, that’s not the case in EU, and there’s a great difference in sizes and powers, and the gameplay that comes along with that. There are also unique features spread across the game, like papal influence for Catholics, Westernising for uncivilised countries, gaining influence in the HRE for a major German power, and maintaining colonies for the Western European powers. (it’s a bit of a shame that a lot of AAR players are so good that they can change any state into a superpower, something most of us mortals have trouble with).
      Definitely worth a try if you like Total War game but think they’re a bit too simplistic – I was like that a year ago :) .

  7. Creeping Death says:

    I seem to vaguely recall attempting the demo and being seriously DAUNTED.

    • Moth Bones says:

      I don’t blame you. The wiki, forums and AARs that folk write are all your friends; sadly, the in-game tutorials are inadequate and sometimes broken. I finally got the nerve to dive in after getting into Crusader Kings, an earlier and broadly comparable Paradox game that is considerably simpler and possesses a massive amount of charm – there’s a thread about it in the forum.

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      Sunjumper says:

      Did you play Dwarf Fortress?
      Compared to that EU3 looks like an attempt by PopCap to break into strategy games.

    • Creeping Death says:

      Glad to hear that Crusader Kings is easier. I picked it up not long ago thanks to the glowing praise it recieved from that forum thread and plan to jump in to it this weekend. Reckon I should get used to it before jumping in to EU3 then?

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      The trick with EU3 (and many Paradox games for that matter) is to start out with a small nation, preferably one with a clearly defined historical path that you can try to follow. Portgual is ideal as a) if you keep up good relations with Spain you can basically ignore the land combat side of things in Europe, and b) it’s relatively easy to prosper if you go heavy on trade and colonisation (subject to various caveats that I don’t really want to spoil because it’s much more fun to discover them yourself). This will let you get a handle for the basic mechanics and the interface without overwhelming you with options. Then on your second game you can try out a larger or more complicated nation.

    • Zwebbie says:

      Creeping Death: I was rather daunted too with EUIII’s demo, and uninstalled it. It was only when I played Victoria II’s demo, which has a much friendlier tutorial, that I got into a Paradox game. And after having learned the ins and outs of Vicky II, Europa Universalis III wasn’t that big a step and I’ve ranked up 117 hours since December. Tutorial making is something that Paradox needs to work on, but they’ve gotten better.

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    Crimsoneer says:

    Hearts of Iron is awesome as well, in the same vein

  9. Vexing Vision says:

    I am still in love with EU2. The Compilation will be a good cause to start EU3.

    • MrThingy says:

      I always really liked the way the map looked in EU2. Always felt that Paradox went with a 3D map because they were ‘in’. Missed the nice antique feel of the EU2 one… but looks better in Divine Wind. In fact, so much added in HTTT and DW that it’s a good time to start EU3!

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      “I always really liked the way the map looked in EU2. Always felt that Paradox went with a 3D map because they were ‘in’.”

      It was worse than that — they went to a 3D map because they couldn’t get their games sold at retail without one. Their explanation at the time was that retailers had begun refusing to stock any games that weren’t 3D, so they had to move to a 3D engine whether they wanted to or not. If true, this would go a long way towards explaining the horror show that was the map in the original EU3; they had to make a 3D map, but had no experience doing so and didn’t really want to in the first place, so the result was bound to be atrocious.

    • Oak says:

      Like an ugly person, it can still look good under certain conditions. Specifically, mid-zoom in terrain mode centered around Munich is its dimly-lit bar after eight beers.

      They did do a far better job of it with Rome.

  10. Ginger Yellow says:

    “Also, for any EU fanatics out there, how does EU3 differ from the myriad of other turn based historical strategy games out there? How does it compare to, say, Total War?”

    Mainly in that it ebbs and flows. It’s not about constant expansion (well, not usually anyway) and conquest, and there are no victory conditions, although arguably finishing with the highest prestige in the world is one, if self-imposed. While there is military conquest in the game, the mechanics make it hard to steamroll across the map (colonial powers like Spain, Portugal and Britain have it a lot easier in that regard, but they have their own drawbacks). Instead most of the game is about coaxing your nation in the direction you want it to go, while fending off threats and unexpected calamities. There’s a constant tension between progress and stability which you have to manage carefully.

    Basically, EU3 is about having the freedom to play any nation as you want to play it, which may or may not work out well. It’s amazing.

    • Oak says:

      There’s a constant tension between progress and stability which you have to manage carefully.

      This. I can’t think of another (non-Paradox) game that captures this, and if there is one it probably doesn’t do it as well. There’s this incredible feeling of never being safe in your power, of even the tiniest decision being a risk, of ultimately being at the mercy of fortune, that is especially strong when first getting a handle on the game and it’s very seductive.

    • Ginger Yellow says:

      “There’s this incredible feeling of never being safe in your power, of even the tiniest decision being a risk, of ultimately being at the mercy of fortune, that is especially strong when first getting a handle on the game and it’s very seductive.”

      Indeed. They’ve made it even stronger in HttT, where if your king dies unexpectedly leaving an heir with a weak claim, you can easily be set back 50-100 years.

  11. cjlr says:

    Europa Universalis is AWESOME.

    That is all.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      Just a little bit too easy. But well, that goes for 99.9% of the strategy games out there

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    romanlevin says:

    Have been trying to actually play a Paradox game for a few years now, but only with Victoria 2 did I find one that I had the free time and attention span to learn. I don’t really know what veteran Paradoxians think of it compared to the other Paradox games, but so far it’s been a pleasure. The time-frame is 1835-1935, and you can play pretty much any nation that existed back then (or create your own by editing some text files).
    Currently playing as the Netherlands in the 1870s. Annexed Belgium, gave all my colonial populations (in SE Asia) a vote, beat Venezuela into becoming my bitch. Ranked as the 7th nation, but pretty far behind the other six. Can’t seem to get my industry going the way it should. Lessons: don’t fuck with Britain unless you can beat its Navy, and be careful when you go to war with the help of a more powerful ally – they’re going to become the war leader, which means they decide when to end the war.
    And now there’s a pretty huge revolt in France, to my south. I wonder if I should drop in for a visit.

    • Gaytard Fondue says:

      I enjoyed when it came out last year. For one, they did a lot of things better compared to Vicky I, and was the first Paradox release I found perfectly playable after the first patch. But I somehow lost interest after a world conquest with Chile.

    • rhizo says:

      I think that the only historic grand strategy series more complex and thrilling than EU would be the Victoria one (to be fair EU3 got a lot more interesting features with HttT). I was a HUGE fan of the first Victoria game after it got fixed and modded to near-perfection (with that engine anyway, gotta love the community around these games). Victoria 2 was actually a bit of a disappointment, as it took so much control away from the player (so I loved converting POPs, deal with it :)) in the name of “realism”.

      The attempt to model the irl economic system a bit too faithfully seems to be the downfall of the second game. The economic system is rather horribly broken still in 1.2. Sure you can play the game without the economic intricacies but it’s really not the same if you can’t stay afloat with a Laissez faire government. Looking at the forums the 1.3 beta patch doesn’t seem to be fairing that much better. Even the industrious modders in the community haven’t been able to fix things. Although I’d like to see another game where players are dissecting the game as meticulously on the forums as with Vicky 2. Hopefully the game will get there some day. I’d love to see VIP2 anyway.

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      romanlevin says:

      Hmm. While I definitely won’t be playing Vic1 after having played Vic2, I might try this new EU3 compilation or HoI2/3, after I finish a couple of Vic campaigns.

  13. Chunga says:

    EU III with four expansions? How do people get the time to play all this? Skip from work a few weeks at a time? No bathing?

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      Sunjumper says:

      By installing the expansion all into the same game and this playing them all at once!!! And you can also jump into the game and play for ten minutes and then leave again.

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      Colonel J says:

      Also a couple of those expansions are mostly features and bug-fixes that probably ought to have been in the base game to begin with. This is the way of Paradox strategy games, you learn to live with it….and to wait as long as possible after release before buying,

    • Jason Lefkowitz says:

      “And you can also jumo into the game and play for ten minutes and then leave again.”

      This would be a more attractive process if Paradox games didn’t load so slowly. It takes several loading screens and a couple of minutes to get from “launched the game” to actually playing, even if you’re loading from a save. I love EU3 and Paradox games in general to death, but they really need to find a way to get you into the game faster.

    • Oak says:

      Edit: If I had a ducat for every replyfail I’ve made this month…

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      Sunjumper says:

      Oh yes the loading times…

      When the situation is very tense in the game I have a tendency to play for 10 or 15 minutes in the morning before going to work. While not breaking any records it loads realatively fast on my desktop. (There is still enough time to get my coffe from the kitchen while it loads…)

      On my lap-top which is very much a work machine without great game potential the game takes a million years to fet to the start screen, then sort the save files and then load a saved game.
      This is very much dependent on the hardware. (I am now wondering how many people got an SSD to play Paradox games…)

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    Colonel J says:

    So hopefully this will drop the price of Divine Wind as a standalone expansion for those of us that don’t have it.. Would also be nice if they’d bundle the PC and Mac versions together in Chronicles but not optimistic as Paradox seem to like to charge for both versions.
    I bought EUIII (In)Complete + Heir To the Throne in the Xmas sale on Steam and they’ve been pretty slack on their handling of the expansions…no DW on Steam until months after the release on Gamersgate, no Mac version of Heir to Throne, no Mac version of DW even though the base game on Steam is for both platforms. I wish I’d waited and got a clean DRM-free version from Gamersgate instead.

    • Bonedwarf says:

      “Months after release”?

      It was less than two. Yes, poor show and all that, but “months” is inaccurate.

      I waited very patiently for it. There was claim the GamersGate version worked “Just Fine” with the Steam version. I doubted this, “acquired” the install file just to test it, as I wasn’t dropping $20 on the information from some random nob on the net… And just as well as it was broken and refused to see my install.

      So I waited. Sadly I’ve yet to play. I got into EU3 right before I got sick last year, got very very ill (as in multiple organ failure almost died levels of ill) and of course now have completely forgotten everything I learned about the game. Which given the complexity of Paradox games is bloody frustrating!

      AND I’ve added Hearts of Iron 3 to my “Must Play!” list now. GAH!!!!

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    sendmark says:

    EU3 is a lot easier than it looks at first. I recommend starting off with something like Crusader Kings, then EU3 will feel very familiar after that.

    The ping-pong warfare was a game-breaker for me, but heir to the throne fixed it.

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    Carra says:

    Bought these games last year during a steam deal.

    Had a lot of fun with Rome: Europa Universalis. Still haven’t spent much time with EU3. These games do take up a lot of your time :)

  17. Jake says:

    So this will have all the Expansions up to now in EU 3? I have played a bit of EU III but am really looking forward to this.

    • Om says:

      Yep, all of them to date. So that’s the base EUIII + Napoleon’s Ambition + In Nomine + Heir to the Throne + Divine Wind. The expansions add a huge amount to the base game and I really can’t recommend the completed product highly enough

  18. Tetragrammaton says:

    Im really hoping for an expansion that expands and deepens combat. – but it seems unlikely

  19. adamiani says:

    For the record, it’s not just every country in Europe, though that’s where most of the action is.