Sunset Invasion is the only expansion I don't use in my regular Crusader Kings II campaigns. It's not that I object to a spot of alternate history - that's what the game generates - but the Aztec assault never felt comfortable, partly because it's a triggered event rather than emergent possibility. It was with a degree of trepidation that I read the press release about Europa Universalis IV's first expansion, with its suggestive title, Conquest of Paradise. I needn't have worried - this is a form of alternate history but it sounds fantastic. In short, to make exploration more unpredictable and exciting, EU IV will gain the ability to randomly generate a New World rather than having players discover the same old Americas time and time again.
Paradox have a great deal of experience when it comes to simulating worlds but it'll be interesting to see how broad and accomplished their world generation tools are. Could we find an icy archipelago, an immense desert continent, a unified empire?
...in Conquest of Paradise, you as a player will have the option of completely randomizing the new world. We wanted you to have the option to really explore a brand new continent. So for the first time ever in a Paradox Development Studio game, you can now choose to discover a completely randomized American continent. Therefore, when Columbus sets sails across the ocean, he might just find some nice islands that he can use as a stopover on his route to India or something completely different…
Of course, it wouldn't be right if the infinity of new worlds were only of interest to those who were discovering them for the first time. There'll be much more to do as a resident of those lands when the expansion lands.
Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise will have some interesting new options for America’s original inhabitants. Another aspect of having the design focus on the game in the old world is the fact that the pacing of the game is optimized for the old world powers. The downside of this is that while it can be a lot of fun and a big challenge to play the Native Americans, you might find that it takes a very long time between those satisfying clicks to get a new technology, a new idea or even to create buildings.
To address this, we are adding lots of new and interesting things for the Native Americans to do in this expansion. We want to make the gameplay between the tribes more exciting and to help you maneuver yourself into a better position, should the pale barbarians come across the sea.
The expansion makes it possible for you to play as a Native American nation and create an empire in early America. If you take on the role of a Native American tribe in Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise, you will have some interesting new tools in the expanded Native American gameplay mechanics, new tribes, a chance to form federations with your peers, new events, ideas and buildings.
On paper (or on screen, to be exact) this sounds like a heftier expansion than any of the CK II DLCs, Old Gods aside perhaps. Randomly generated worlds are an enormous change for Paradox grand strategy, an entirely new set of machinery bolted on to the existing engines. I didn't expect this one at all.
Release is December 11th.