DLC double bill for Europa Universalis 4 & Hearts of Iron 4 on June 14th

Paradox have announced a historical grand strategy expansion blowout-o-rama for June 14th, when they’ll launch the Third Rome ‘immersion pack’ for Europa Universalis IV [official site] and the Death or Dishonor ‘country pack’ for Hearts of Iron IV. Yup, both on the very same day. Paradox had a similar plan in April, releasing Europa Universalis and Stellaris expansions on the same day, so I guess they’re confident a grand strategy double-header is not as odd an idea as it might seem. For players who do want both of ’em, Paradox will offer a small discount. It’s a war-o-rama.

First, Death or Dishonor. Though it does introduce a few new features, it’s not a full-size expansion, instead one of the class of add-ons focused on making specific countries more unique. Paradox explain:

“Death or Dishonor introduces new National Focus trees and gameplay options for the countries caught between the Nazi and Soviet war machines – Hungary, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia. In addition, Death or Dishonor adds new diplomatic and puppet interactions, new music and gameplay art, and additional national interactions to change the course of history.”

Here, check out this recent Paradox livestream showing them paying as Yugoslavia under DoD:

As for Third Rome, it’s the first “immersion pack” for EU4, which is a similar-ish idea of focusing on specific areas of the world. Your blurb:

“Third Rome expands the governmental, military, and diplomatic opportunities for the Russian empire. The pack includes new ranks of Russian governments that give Tsars the power to claim states, powerful streltsy mercenary units that excel in combat at the cost of the empire’s stability, and new interactions with the Orthodox Patriarchate. These changes give Russian players more ways to maintain control over their sprawling territory using a mix of military might, political touch, and religious conviction.”

And your developer livestream:

The expansions will cost £7.99/$9.99 apiece or Paradox will sell them together with a 10% discount for £14.38. June 14th is the big day.

17 Comments

  1. Laurentius says:

    This is something I don’t understand. I mean, is really nobody in PC gaming press even a bit of critical of Pradox way of releasing their games kind of bare bones and then charging arms and legs for their stream of DLCs? I fell for Stellaris and even after all ridiculous priced Utopia DLC and batch of updates, game is still stretch very thin nad in many aspect broken. I get that majority is “nah, it’s all right, games are fine as they are and dev costs are high so it’s ok to charge so much for neverending streams of DLCs” but not even one dissenting opinion?

    • mariandavid says:

      Its annoying – but at the same time it does mean that one can be pretty sure that Paradox games are supported, improved and stabilised for many, many years after their initial release. Which alas is nowadays far too rare in this industry. My compromise is to only buy one game’s sequence of DLC’s at full price (in my case EU4) and wait for sales for the others.

    • Sakkura says:

      EU4 was much more solid at release.

      And it’s worth pointing out that a lot of the changes that improve their games are given away for free in patches.

      It’s only a problem IMO when some new game mechanic is added in a free patch, but you end up somewhat gimped if you play without the paid expansion that enables that mechanic. And usually they don’t do it that way.

    • Porkolt says:

      While I agree on your assessment for Stellaris, and I can’t speak to HoI4 which I haven’t played, I definitely don’t think that CKII and EUIV were released ‘barebones’ in vanilla.

      While CKII’s expansions certainly seem to have focused on expanding into play areas that have always been present in the game (Muslims, republics, nomads), it is a huge stretch to say that the base game was barebones. First of all, the game is called Crusader Kings, and it allowed you to play a crusader king. Most of the mechanics have been fleshed out since day one and offered a pretty deep simulation; several DLCs have focused on replacing certain game systems and additional content in the form of timeline expansions rather than filling in the blanks in the base game.

      As for EUIV, basically the same thing goes. Everything EUIV does now it’s always done, except that some systems got replaced with new ones that are more visible and intuitive. The basic game is pretty much still the same.

      Don’t forget either that Stellaris is a completely different game from CKII and EUIV. Stellaris is a 4X game, while CKII and EUIV are historical simulations which allow you to do any of the four Xes, but strangely enough feel a lot more open-ended and less rigid in their structure than Stellaris does.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        This. Stellaris was pretty poor at launch, and HOI4 has issues (AI bugs and all), but I would never call a PDS game “barebones”. I feel that’s a pretty harsh label to slap on games that provide hundreds of hours of entertainment.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      They’re quite substantial games for $40 or whatever, plus they release big free patches alongside the DLC. Personally I’m fine with the mini-expansion DLC (I don’t buy all of them), but all the art and music packs are really annoying.

      I agree that Stellaris has problems, but so does every space 4X game. There was a really interesting discussion about this on the latest episode of 3MA, how everyone’s more or less remaking Master of Orion 2 when you could do radically different things with the genre.

    • Brinx says:

      While I understand your general sentiment, I don’t necessarily think this is valid criticism of their business model.
      Take CK2 for example. It was released in early 2012. Now it’s 2017. Paradox have constantly developed this game for the last five years (and obviously a considerable time before that) and still are. Thing is, developing a game for ten years and then releasing a “complete” version (although I agree with the posters above that the basegames are barely bare bones) is simply not a viable business model. Especially for a (compared to the giants in the business) relatively small company like Paradox.

      • gunny1993 says:

        It would be nice if they did ‘core packs’ that saved you some money of the major expansions, would be useful for people joining the game late, all the DLC on their store is a bit disorientating.

        • SaunteringLion says:

          That’s exactly what the Five Year Anniversary Edition is: you get the three most integral DLC pieces according to most fans — Way of Life, Legacy of Rome, and the Old Gods. As well as some other less crucial ones, and the base game.

          That being said, I bought the game 3+ years ago for like… $30? And it’s currently $51. So even though the package is good in execution, it’s horribly monetized right now.

    • SaunteringLion says:

      Stellaris was/is barebones. It’s a system without a hook.

      Crusader Kings II, EU IV and Hearts of Iron 4 weren’t/aren’t lacking in early release content. Playing HoI 4 with just the base game has given me about 100 hours of play.

      The only thing this adds is if I really want a unique play experience with Balkan countries, for instance, because the gameplay improving features will be patched in for free.

      Since I don’t particularly feel the need for a fresh Balkan experience, I don’t purchase the content, and I don’t lose anything. That’s how I figure it, anyway.

      • Imperialist says:

        I wouldnt say Stellaris is “barebones”. Sure, it may not have features to build every type of Empire you read about in bargain-bin sci-fi novels you got for free from an ebook subscription, but it still has hundreds of hours of potential playtime. Could it use more? Sure. But the game is more than functional as is.

        Barebones is a 5 hour COD campaign with no replayability.

    • LacSlyer says:

      I think the problem is the stigma toward DLC in general that gets placed upon all DLC regardless of how it’s provided to gamers. Day one DLC for instance, that takes real content out of the game is something I can understand being upset over. But the type of DLC that Paradox provides is probably the most consumer friendly by far compared to others. It may not be perfect, but I think the criticism of it comes too much from the generalities of DLC.

      The obvious upside to their form of DLC is that they continue to provide content for a game literally years beyond its release. And while major publishers are starting to catch on to this, Paradox was doing this 5 years ago when it wasn’t popular and continue to do so for games that are 5 years old.

      So as far as the argument of them releasing bare bones games that have depth added with DLC, I don’t think it’s all that valid. While I certainly understand where you’re coming from with it, I don’t think that’s exactly what’s going on here. You may be getting less overall features with the games initially at launch, but there’s obvious changes in Paradox games in the past few years that have progressed their strategy genre to not only become more popular, but more admired.

      Their games used to be notorious for being so buggy you’d wait until the DLC was released, that’s without question no longer the case. Their UI improvements across all their games are considerably better and much more user friendly to new players. And the core mechanics of the games are being fleshed out more I think, before release, because they look at the bigger picture of what they could possibly add down the line. This is likely why some features aren’t added until later and why it may feel lacking compared to previous titles. Let’s also not forget that a lot of their DLC releases with free features added to the base game as well. So you’re not even required to purchase the DLC to experience some of the content being added.

      With that, I still regularly buy their DLC day one the majority of the time unless I’m just burnt out on that series for the current month. Their games provide practically endless content and they keep providing updates and features that generally enhance their games for the better and keeps me playing for years. If you don’t like that it’s fine, but to ostracize them as though they’re doing some money grab when they’re simply trying to profit off providing more content to people who want it, well that’s a bit of a stretch in my opinion.

    • Rindan says:

      There is literally no alternative to Paradox games. None. Nothing even comes close. Part of what makes them able to make the kind of game that they make is that they spend literally a decade making it. CK2 has around a decade of work stuffed into it. No one can fund a game being in development for 10 years, nor even if you could would it make a better game because it would be developed for 10 years with no player feedback.

      The only way to make a game like this is to build the core, and the charge as you build out the edges, improve systems, and spend a decade building a game.

      It isn’t like anyone is being tricked. If you keep buying Paradox’s DLC, uh, who is to blame besides you? If you don’t like Paradox style games, don’t play them. If you do like them though, DLC is kind of part of the deal. That is how you get a game to be worked on for years and years.

    • paperdivision says:

      No, the press doesn’t care. It’s an open secret that Paradox is the worst DLC dealer of all publishers, which you can read every time a DLC comes out on Steam, often by Paradox vets like myself. Yet, RPS, IGN etc. pump the public every time with short ad articles on how great these DLC’s are — because money, or because they are biased, who knows. I honestly wonder for years why the press does not act.

  2. wombat191 says:

    im normally pretty fine with paradox dlc but this country dlc thing for hearts of iron 4 is starting to annoy me

    • Admiral Snackbar says:

      I’m also not super sold on selling the National Focus trees as DLC. In EU4 they added National Ideas in tons of patches for free, and worked on new features for DLCs.

      I’m usually defensive of Paradox’s DLC policies because they offer a lot of features in free patches as well, but the HOI4 dlc doesn’t seem great.

      • BobbyDylan says:

        Agreed. But the country foucs trees are for nations that… for most… are quite unlikely to play. Australia in WW2? …Mhe.
        I’m a lot more interested in the Air warfare update. It’s part of the free patch, but I’ll buy the pack to incentivize this kind of development.