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  1. #1
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    Sword of the Stars

    Hey everyone,

    I'm looking into getting into one of these big Paradox strategy games. I got a small Paradox Pack quite a while ago that included SotS I and II as well as Crusader Kings 2. I'm looking to get into one of these games but I don't know which... I'm more interested in the SotS setting but I've heard bad things about the SotSII release. I mostly just want recommendations on these games. Which one should I try first? I would just try them myself but I feel like getting into any of these is a huge time investment.

    So is SotSII in shape enough to play at this point in time? Should I skip it and fall back to SotS I ? Or is CKII just all around a better experience?

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    CK2 and SotS are very different things. SotS is essentially Total war: Space and all that entails, season lightly with roguelike leave in a multiplayer oven for 2 hour sessions and serve!

    SotS2 just plain isn't done, or rather wasn't, talk that it's ready now is about. But I'm still waiting.

    SotS1 is still an excellent strategy game, best played with others but the "Progression Wars" scenario creates a asymmetrical relationship which vastly improves your range of interaction with the AI, essentially making you a visitor to the area temporarily before casting your selected few into a new galaxy. It's wars, extermination and diplomacy, all super concentrated.
    I'm failing to writing a blog, specifically about playing games the wrong way
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  3. #3
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    I feel I should clarify that SotS isn't really a Paradox strategy game. It's published by them, sure, but it isn't one of those deep and complicated affairs that people generally mean when they talk about Paradox strategy games. CK2 is developed by Paradox. It is complicated and it takes a while to learn, but it's beautiful. Quite possibly my favourite game.

    If you're in the mood for space strategy or anything-but-medieval, SotS is probably the way to go (I hear SotS2 is more or less fixed+free enhanced edition on the way). However, if you want to try out one of those "big Paradox strategy games", CK2 is the obvious choice.

  4. #4
    Lesser Hivemind Node Velko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanbuoy View Post
    I feel I should clarify that SotS isn't really a Paradox strategy game. It's published by them, sure, but it isn't one of those deep and complicated affairs that people generally mean when they talk about Paradox strategy games. CK2 is developed by Paradox. It is complicated and it takes a while to learn, but it's beautiful. Quite possibly my favourite game.

    If you're in the mood for space strategy or anything-but-medieval, SotS is probably the way to go (I hear SotS2 is more or less fixed+free enhanced edition on the way). However, if you want to try out one of those "big Paradox strategy games", CK2 is the obvious choice.
    Indeed: the "big Paradox Strategy games" are the Europa Universalis, Victoria, Hearts of Iron and Crusader Kings series plus Sengoku. Each has a bunch of sequels, and generally you're best off playing the most recent one with all possible expansions (cue a purist attack about EU2 being superior to EU3 and HoI2 being superior to HoI3).

  5. #5
    Lesser Hivemind Node DevinSmoth's Avatar
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    I would wait on SotS2 until the Enhanced Edition is out... and since you already own it, it should be a free upgrade for you! ;P

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velko View Post
    Indeed: the "big Paradox Strategy games" are the Europa Universalis, Victoria, Hearts of Iron and Crusader Kings series plus Sengoku. Each has a bunch of sequels, and generally you're best off playing the most recent one with all possible expansions (cue a purist attack about EU2 being superior to EU3 and HoI2 being superior to HoI3).
    I'll add two things here:
    1) What sets aside CK2 from the others is the role-playing possibilities. A major part of the fun I have in CK2 is deciding on which policies my family should pursue. Not just "kill all and grow", but whether the family and each of its heads be a loyal and dedicated subject to its liege/country or focus on personal glory. Also the means to achieve goals: by means of military power, economy or deception and assassination.
    2) CK2 doesn't really need all expansions, as they always provide the gameplay enhancements in patches. Expansions is either to unlock different factions (although I'm not sure about LoR, seeing as the Byzantines were already playable) or aesthetic improvements.

  7. #7
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    I confess I haven't had the time to go back and find out whether SOTS2 is a good game now that it works. SOTS1 is really very good, and I recommend spending some time getting to know it. Great racial diversity, and the way it blends the enormous tech tree into the way you design ships is a very well thought out piece of design indeed.

    CK2 is a different sort of beast altogther. Also brilliant. An unprecedented story generator.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velko View Post
    Indeed: the "big Paradox Strategy games" are the Europa Universalis, Victoria, Hearts of Iron and Crusader Kings series plus Sengoku. Each has a bunch of sequels, and generally you're best off playing the most recent one with all possible expansions (cue a purist attack about EU2 being superior to EU3 and HoI2 being superior to HoI3).
    EU2 is superior to EU3 (at least pre-expansions; I haven't played them) and HoI2 is probably superior to HoI3 (I haven't played 3, the demo didn't impress me).
    Irrelevant on further examination of the rest of the thread.

  9. #9
    Network Hub rsherhod's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    EU2 is superior to EU3 (at least pre-expansions; I haven't played them) and HoI2 is probably superior to HoI3 (I haven't played 3, the demo didn't impress me).
    Agreed on HoI. Where HoI2 was very deep and highly complex but still very playable, HoI3 (the demo anyway) was bloody impenetrable.

    Probably the most fun game of HoI2 I ever had was one in which WW2 didn't actually happen: Germany invaded Poland but no one did anything about it. I was playing the USA and just built up a massive economy and manipulated the world without actually doing any fighting.

  10. #10
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    I can just comment on SotS2 as I haven't played CK2.

    SotS2 isn't exactly a "Paradox Game", though it has some very deep and complex mechanics. The game is playable and is regularly receiving updates and patches.

    The first SotS is very good and as mentioned the progression scenario makes it stand out a lot compared to other strategy games. SotS2 doesn't have scenarios yet, so only "skirmish" and multiplayer exist. SotS2 incorporates more complexity on top of the existing mechanics of SotS1, so I'd recommend playing the first one first. The added complexity especially of the combat system will probably completely overwhelm anyone not familiar with the series. The way the tech tree behaves is unlike anything in the genre, so I'd definitely recommed trying either of the games for that alone.

  11. #11
    Lesser Hivemind Node Velko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    EU2 is superior to EU3 (at least pre-expansions; I haven't played them) and HoI2 is probably superior to HoI3 (I haven't played 3, the demo didn't impress me).
    Only a madman would play basic vanilla EU3 without any expansions, but other than that, you're wrong! However, discussing these things is an exercise in futility, so let's not go there at all.

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NathanH View Post
    EU2 is superior to EU3 (at least pre-expansions; I haven't played them)
    Let's be clear: vanilla EU3 isn't even the same game that EU3 after all the expansion became. Functionally, Heir to the Throne was EU3.5 and Divine Wind was almost EU4. To say the game improved dramatically would be a severe understatement. I still adore EU2, and it's still a very different game than EU3+expansions, but it's not been a clear cut case of 2 > 3 for a very long time.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Faldrath's Avatar
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    I still prefer EU2, if only because of the historical events that were ditched by EU3. No other game has taught me so much about something (in this case, history) than EU2. That being said, if you want that experience today, get For The Glory (which is kinda EU2 1/2).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faldrath View Post
    I still prefer EU2, if only because of the historical events that were ditched by EU3. No other game has taught me so much about something (in this case, history) than EU2. That being said, if you want that experience today, get For The Glory (which is kinda EU2 1/2).
    Agreed.

    EU3 lost my interest for two reasons:
    1) It was undeniably and unnecessarily ugly compared to EU2
    2) No historical flavour whatsoever.

    It had lots of neat little additions/fixes (like being able to tell exactly why you were winning/losing a battle), but overall I still vastly preferred EU - especially with AGCEEP.

  15. #15
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious View Post
    Agreed.

    EU3 lost my interest for two reasons:
    1) It was undeniably and unnecessarily ugly compared to EU2
    2) No historical flavour whatsoever.
    Both of which I'd argue were fixed in spades in the expansions.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    Both of which I'd argue were fixed in spades in the expansions.
    Meh.
    #1 is arguable, I personally still find it unnecessarily utilitarian and ugly.
    #2 You think EU3+ expansions has anywhere near the historical content/events/flavours as EU2?

    It's certainly much improved, but imho doesn't come close to EU2. In EU2, events helped define and individualize your country, in EU3 they were relatively generic and had feck all effect so I'm not sure where your argument is coming from tbh! With EU3(and including the expansions), Paradox went a new, more open and sandbox way and decided to ditch almost all the hardcoded historical events to try give players more freedom in playing their selected countries.

    Some like this, some don't, but it's a bit weird to argue that "well actually, they didn't" :o
    Last edited by Vicious; 19-11-2012 at 05:33 AM.

  17. #17
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus vinraith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vicious View Post
    Meh.
    #1 is arguable, I still find it unnecessary utilitarian.
    #2 You think EU3+ expansions has anywhere near the historical content/events/flavours as EU2?

    It's certainly much improved, but imho doesn't come close to EU2. In EU2, events helped define and individualize your country, in EU3 they were relatively generic and had feck all effect so I'm not sure where your argument is coming from.
    If you think events are synonymous with "content" and "flavor" then it's no surprise you prefer EU2 to EU3. EU3 is about creating historical feel and flavor without forcibly railroading the player (and the AI) through scripted events that seldom make sense in the context of the alternate history created outside them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I think there's a lot of value in the attempt, and I think things like the national idea system go a long ways towards creating a sense of national identity without scripting. Don't get me wrong, I adore EU2 and FtG and the event system, but it's a deeply limited design.

  18. #18
    Lesser Hivemind Node Velko's Avatar
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    Haha, the can of worms has been opened!

  19. #19
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    Hmm, when I slicked on the link I thought this was a Sword of the Stars thread. Maybe I accidentally clicked the wrong one...
    :-)

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by vinraith View Post
    If you think events are synonymous with "content" and "flavor" then it's no surprise you prefer EU2 to EU3. EU3 is about creating historical feel and flavor without forcibly railroading the player (and the AI) through scripted events that seldom make sense in the context of the alternate history created outside them. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, but I think there's a lot of value in the attempt, and I think things like the national idea system go a long ways towards creating a sense of national identity without scripting. Don't get me wrong, I adore EU2 and FtG and the event system, but it's a deeply limited design.
    Of course events are synonymous with flavour in EU2/3. Units are largely shared with other countries, buildings/infrastructure are shared with other countries, as are domestic sliders. It's events that give the historical flavour, because events are historical. Your post is a non sequitir tbh!

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