Hearts of Iron 4 celebrates first birthday with free DLC

It seems unconventional to celebrate what is essentially World War 2 kicking off but hey, Hearts of Iron IV [official site] launched a year ago today and Paradox are marking it with the gift of free DLC. The small ‘Anniversary Pack’ freebie brings Polish voices for Polish troops, twenty new portraits for leaders and generals, and twenty new icons for divisions. Not huge, but nice to have.

Paradox have also crunched some numbers from the past year of play, noting that the active playerbase is still growing, and sharing stats such as: 60% players use mods.

HoI 4 game director Dan ‘podcat’ Lind shared the numbers in today’s dev blog post:

“60% of players use some kind of mod (although the most common stuff is things like colored buttons, or extra names for equipment), but what really makes me happy is how popular the big mods are: Millennium Dawn, The Great War, Kaiserreich and Road to ’56 are all very popular and have daily playing numbers between 8-20%.”

That’s impressive, that.

He also broke out some graphs (wait, they’re not as bad as graphs usually are) showing that yup, the number of active players per month is still going up. As Lind notes, “A ‘normal’ game would just have that first spike and then head straight down, but our aim is to keep people playing with patches, dlc releases and mod support and grow amount of active players more and more over time (looking at graph we broke active player record several times since release numbers).”

As Paradox recently chatted about with our Adam, the Paradox way is to keep expanding and updating games until they essentially become their own sequels, keeping players for years.

As for the Anniversary Pack, players should automatically have it now. Apparently those Polish voices are provided by a player. Lind says:

“We also got a cool surprise when a member of the community contacted us about helping out with Polish troop voice overs (our resident team pole is on parental leave which was our original plan!). They sound super nice and its always cool to have members of community to come buy the office for stuff like this :) On release we also gave out the free DLC ‘United and Ready’ that was focused on Poland to everyone, so we felt this was a fitting followup.”

Paradox are expanding HoI 4 again on June 14th with the Death or Dishonor expansion.

Hearts of Iron IV seemed to get off to a rocky start, though Paradox have added a fair bit in free updates, not to mention several small-ish expansions. How has the first year been for you, warheads?


  1. wombat191 says:

    free stuff is always nice. thank you paradox. that said the country packs are starting to annoy me. i want some meaty expansions

  2. beardedcap says:

    World War 2 did not “kick off” on D-day. The person that wrote this needs to have a history lesson.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      But Hearts of Iron 4, a game about World War 2 kicking off, did come out on June 6th.

      • yonderTheGreat says:

        And you’re right, and the title is appropriate.

        However, the opening clause is “It seems unconventional to celebrate what is essentially World War 2 kicking off but hey” implying that they think that WW2 kicked off on June 6, which it most certainly did not.

        Edit-add: You do acknowledge the point in later replies, so no need to reply to my comment. Also… kudos for not only replying but acknowledging that the phraseology was poor.

        And… other than the opening clause… great article for a great game made by a great developer.

  3. zytos says:

    That’s not what the first sentence implies, though. And not even close.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      Yeah, on reflection it’s pretty poorly written.

      • Chairman_Meow says:

        I dunno. I got your intention, Alice. But, having said that, I guess I can see where the commenters are coming from. But I’m a huge Alice O’Connor fanboy, so my bias is a given.

      • Someoldguy says:

        For what it’s worth, your meaning was crystal clear to me.

      • brucethemoose says:

        That was my initial thought as well. Many of the nastiest battles of WWII (and in all of history, for that matter) happened way before D-day, on the Eastern Front.

        Which reminds me, HOI 4 is high on my backlog list.

  4. teije says:

    The first year has been good overall – 150 hours played. The AI still makes some crazy decisions and the UI has some inconsistencies that make playing it more difficult than it has to be, but much improved since release. Upcoming improvements to air war will help considerably I think.

  5. Cropduster says:

    So I haven’t played much since after the initial release binge, is the AI any better than it was?

    HoI is like Paradox’s white whale at this point. After all the progress they’ve made in releasing reletively playable and bug free games over the years, the moment WW2 breaks out in 1939 all bets are off, just like it’s always been.

    • battles_atlas says:

      Well when it came out there basically wasn’t AI, more a few placeholders. It is now in a state where, by and large, you can play a campaign through without AI fails ruining it, for example by leaving the US army stuck in the middle of the Atlantic, or the Nazi’s sending everything to the Sahara, or losing all their industry to partisans because the AI couldn’t suppress resistence. Its yet to be impressive though, and there are still some idiocies like the UK constantly attempting half-arsed mini-D Days. Its definitely getting there though, and more AI work is planned.

      • sp0t1fu says:

        I do agree on some points that you make, but they have a long way to go before can all there ai deacent. and the game mechanics, oh dont even get me started on those. the uk and france is guaranteeing latvia at 25% world tension, when i am the facking soviet union. in (1937) tha fudge.

  6. kentonio says:

    Any word on when they’re planning to improve the air stuff? Had some good times with the game, but air power was pretty poorly implemented and it kind of set the game back.

  7. sp0t1fu says:

    Look, this is great but it is not a dlc it is an update. what is it with paradox, instead of updaiting the game they “bless” us with downloadable content which in my opinion should already be in the game.

    • Someoldguy says:

      It seems to be the way Paradox has chosen to go. They’ll work to get more stuff into the game to give themselves revenue while also working to stomp bugs, improve systems and fix glaring holes in the AI in parallel. Then the two ship on the same day so you get a patch and maybe some of the new stuff released free and it nudges you to take a look at what’s in the paid element.

      Arguably it makes sense because it’s making them plenty of cash and they can let the gaming media inform the world of their new DLC content and people looking for fixes can easily check if it solves whichever issue stops them from playing – or wanting to play – currently. I can’t say I’m a huge fan of it, especially when the base games can look pretty bland with the units being rather generic on initial release, but eventually you do end up with a game with far more unit styles than you’d ever get free.