It’s grand strat-a-day: Crusader Kings II and EU IV both expand today


With this week’s release of Star Wars: Battlecrate 2 marking the end of big, noisy shooter silly season, there’s a whole lot more breathing space for a wider variety of games. Case in point, a double-whammy of DLC for Paradox’s grand strategy heaviest-hitters, Crusader Kings II and Europa Universalis IV.

Big add-ons for both have landed today, with CK2: Jade Dragon putting China front’n’centre, and EUIV: Cradle of Civilization looking at the state of the Middle East and Asia during the early modern era.

Crusader Kings II: Jade Dragon Steam is superficially the more colourful offering, as it’s heavily focused on the Chinese empire specifically, including making you worry about the inevitably capricious whims of its Emperor. However, one thing Jade Dragon does not do is actually make China part of the playable map. Instead, they are an external force to manage. I.e. mostly it’s new menus, which is a bit of a shame. Then again, depth rather than flash is forever the lure of CK2.

However, one thing that is happening is making Tibet a playable region – and that’s true for every CK2 owner, whether they stump up for Jade Dragon or not. Today’s 2.8.0 update adds all sorts of new and changed features to the base game, as detailed here.

Here’s yon trailer:

That’s out now, for “>£10.99/14,99€/$14.99.

Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization is also out now, but costing a little more at “>£14.99/19,99€/$19.99. It does seem to a be broader and larger add-on than Jade Dragon, folding all sorts of Middle Eastern and Asian elements into the game, including new types of government, policies and schools.

Even better news is that it’s also accompanied by a no-pennies patch for the base game, which includes a new map with a few extra nations along with a glut of tweaks. Full details on the 1.23 ‘Persia Update’ are here.

Arguably less better news is that there is DLC for the DLC for this one, with just over a fiver buying you assorted new cosmetic bits and bobs for Cradle of Civilization.

Anyway, trailer time:

Again, both of those are out now. If this is your first time on the Paradox grand strategy merry-go-round and you want to go big or go home, the ‘dox also sell a bundle containing both base games and both new expansions, for roughly 10% less than buying them individually.


  1. Zealuu says:

    My favourite change from the Persia changelog is this: – “Increased YOLO factor for declaring independence and religious league wars”

    For what it’s worth I think the EU expansion does more and better things with the game, helped by a meaty patch that completely reworks trade goods, and makes the Levant a whole lot more “dense” by adding a lot of provinces. I’ve grown somewhat weary of CK2, it’s started to feel – dare I say it – a bit bloated? Compared to vanilla and the first run of expansions, it’s now just wave after wave of events that usually leaves your character dead. I start new campaigns in EU, HoI and even Stellaris more often than in CK these days.

    • doodler says:

      I agree with you somewhat, the effects of each expansion are starting to feel a little watered down. I revisit them all with each expansion despite this but I tend to only do 2-3 games before moving on. This allows me to do a variety of starts from small to large empires(or in stellaris tall or wide, and whatever race changes they introduce like robots recently) and focus on the areas of the map most affected by the expansions. I feel like doing a European start with Jade Dragon will barely be any different than from the last expansion…I still get 20-30 hours out of it and thats worth $13 for me…

    • Someoldguy says:

      I may be declared a heretic for it, but as far as I’m concerned the last thing EU IV needs is any more provinces.

    • splorghley says:

      It’s so interesting to hear you say that. I have such a different experience of the same games. At release, I put in an embarrassing amount of hours into EU4 (following an equally embarrassing amount of hours spent on EU3), but in the years since, I’ve totally lost interest on account of both the insane bloat and the questionable creative direction. It feels as though they’ve made every region feel like a different game, packed to the rafters with different kinds of mechanics and different types of sliders and mana, while blocking all styles of play that aren’t optimised for intra-office multiplayer, often by just aggressively greying out buttons they don’t want you to use. I’ve honestly never run into more walls in a game, and every patch seems to add new ones. The game I originally enjoyed simply isn’t there anymore. Conversely, every patch or DLC for CK2 fills out another aspect of a cohesive whole – every new mechanic makes sense across the entire game world. Should you really not like something, CK2 tries to make it easy for you to turn off or work around. It’s basically the opposite of the EU4 philosophy – CK2 expansions enable my play, while EU4 expansions actively get in my way (and then Paradox tries to sell me paid DLCs like “Common Sense”, designed to mitigate the soul-crushing tedium introduced to the game by previous patches).

  2. rochrist says:

    You might make note that all the other DLC is on sale at 50% off.

  3. Vilos Cohaagen says:

    cool, but i think I’ve played enough ck2 and eu4 for a lifetime now.

  4. jeremyalexander says:

    Right, let’s move on from the horrible policies of EA and turn our attention to the company with the worst, most vile DLC policies in the gaming industry, Paradox. Want the complete EU4, CK2, and Steallaris game experiences and they’re not on sale? Well then you have a choice between that and your next gaming PC because that’s what they will cost. Just EU4 and CK2 alone hit almost 700 dollars. Anyone that gives that a pass and complains about loot crates in shooters is a hypocrite beyond belief.

    • The Lambton Worm says:

      If I had had a World of Warcraft subscription since EUIV came out, I’d have spend well over £500 on the subscription fee alone, not counting any expansions I bought as well. Do you also think that that’s an unacceptable pricing model? (n.b. I’m genuinely interested, not just asking a retorical question.)

      In any case, I have a combined 1281 hours logged on those two games. So I feel okay about how much money I’ve given them. I tend to think of buying Paradox DLCs as being more like ongoing patronage of a studio I want to keep producing content than like buying a product which I expect to be complete, and I don’t really see why that’s a toxic thing.

    • wislander says:

      DLC can only be said to be vile if:

      1. Content that would otherwise be included in the base game is sold separately
      2. It gives an advantage in multiplayer over non-buyers
      3. It’s psychologically exploitative, as we see with loot crates or Activision’s matchmaking patent

      Paradox passes all three of those tests in their games. They develop and release full games, without withholding parts of the game upon launch. Unlike most other developers/publishers, they then fund development of said full release for *years* after release adding free features to the game in response to player feedback.

      There’s simply no comparison between Paradox and EA or Activision. The games are complete upon release and continually developed without needing to purchase anything. With a game like Battlefront, we can reasonably expect that all the content would still be in the game if DLC didn’t exist. With a game like CK2, we just wouldn’t have the content. Merely putting a product on the marketplace is not vile. It’s the crippling of the main product to sell add-ons, or exploitative marketing, that is vile, and those are not behaviors Paradox engages in.

    • Mezelf says:

      How are they even remotely similar?

      One is a non-competitive singleplayer (focussed) game in an extremely niche market that appeals to adults, the other is a mainstream multiplayer colossus STAR WARS™ game that appeals to ‘all ages’ (mostly kids).
      One released as a COMPLETE, feature-rich $40 game in 2012 and has been supporting itself since then through periodic DLC and expansion packs, the other is a multi-tiered $60-$80 game selling a season pass at launch and microtransactions so egregious it’s currently the biggest controversy in gaming.

      In the hobbyist world, low demand requires high prices. Video games, even niche ones, are expensive to make. This cost is reflected to the costumers, and for the most part, the costumer has a choice if they want to expand their game or not (in the case of CK2).
      Paradox do not engage in predatory tactics, they do not throw gambling and RNG into their games, and they certainly don’t try to exploit their costumers with P2W mechanics.

      If you feel that you have no choice but to buy every single CK2/EU4 expansion in single purchase, instead of spread out over 5 years, you’ve fallen into some bad advice, my friend.

      • modzero says:

        Uh, I mean, I play Paradox games mainly in SP myself, but they’re definitely not single-player focused. *But* expansion content is available to everyone in a game, AFAIK (never tried, tbh).

        This is not to bash them, though – while it’s not my preferred pricing model(I think the only honest long-term scheme is straight-up upgrade pricing – and the thing sold in the store at “full price” should always be the “fresh” one, and maaaybe cosmetics/vanity separately), but calling it the worst in the world full of loot boxes is going a bit far. You can’t just add all the prices and declare the one with the highest sum the worst.

        • Rituro says:

          To the best of my knowledge, DLC is available to all players in multiplayer based on what the host has. So, if the host has all the shiny bits and bobs, all players joining in will, too. If the host has just the base game, then that’s what everyone plays with.

        • TillEulenspiegel says:

          I seriously had no idea they even supported multiplayer, and I’ve played a bunch of CK2 and HoI4 and Stellaris. In the absence of any hard data (and judging based on the general online conversation and popular YouTube series), my impression is that the vast majority of players don’t bother with it.

          • Rituro says:

            Considering this latest free patch to EU4 went out of its way to address known multiplayer issues and added hotjoining (finally!), multi isn’t as dead as you may think. Indeed, the devs themselves do amazing multiplayer sessions on their Twitch stream that make the whole thing look very enjoyable in a hilarious, greed-begets-disaster-begets-backstabbery kind of way.

            I’ve played a couple matches myself, one with historical nations and one with custom nations surrounded by total randomness. The latter is truly a sight to behold.

    • rochrist says:

      There’s nothing whatsoever wrong with their DLC policy. If they didn’t have that policy, none of those features would be in the game.

    • ThePuzzler says:

      Sure you’re not double-counting the prices for things you can buy in content packs and separately?

      It’s about £100 at the moment to get all the same EU4 content I’ve got (the expansions that add actual gameplay).
      Given the amount I’ve played, that’s about 7p per hour of entertainment.

      It’s only a problem if the thought of not owning every possible bit of game content bothers you.

      • ramshackabooba says:

        Indeed, the problem is not with the DLC system, but with people who feel if they don’t have everything then they’re playing an ‘incomplete’ game. Except for Common Sense DLC for EU4 (and it was hammered in the Steam reviews because of it), all DLCs are totally optional. I enjoyed both EU4 and CK2 for hundreds of hours before I bought the first DLC. Sometimes I do EU4 and CK2 tutorials in Twitch and I do them ‘vanilla’ (without any DLCs), and the games play perfectly fine. sure I may miss having some DLC-exclusive option now and then but it’s still perfectly playable and enjoyable without them.

        And then there’s the plus side of their DLC system, even if you bought the games at release and never bought any DLCs, they are constantly updated for free with tons of features, with every DLC the base game gets free additions (paid for by the DLC sales even if you don’t buy them). To me that’s much better than buying a game that a company stops supporting 6 months after release.