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Hearts of Iron 3

  1. General Discussions Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #1
    Oppressive Forces of Titty n0z3k1ll3r's Avatar
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    Hearts of Iron 3

    Having grabbed this at its release over a week ago and played it pretty solidly since then, I figured I'd take the time out to post a thread here about it.

    Hearts of Iron 3, for those not in the know, is the latest Grand Strategy game from Paradox Interactive, makers of Europa Universalis, Victoria and... well Hearts of Iron 1 and 2. Note that when I say Grand Strategy I really do mean it. If you thought Supreme Commander was an RTS on a strategic scale, prepare for a rude awakening because it's got nothing on Hearts of Iron.

    The game is, despite what you might think from screen shots, real time and not turn based, and covers the years from 1936-1948, covering WW2 and three years either side. Before the "yarboosucks WW2" crowd jump on the bandwagon with their list of timeframes that are less overdone, please note that Paradox's games put together cover the time period from 1066-1968, as well as a few hundred years of the Roman Empire period. So whatever you suggest odds are they've already done that as well. An interesting aspect of the game (and indeed most Paradox games) is that you can play any country. And I mean ANY country. Obviously the big players are in like the USA, Germany, USSR etc, but if you want to wield the awesome military might of Uruguay or Bhutan, go for it. You might not be able to ACHIEVE much but the game won't stop you trying.

    First, to get a few things out of the way:

    1) The game is buggy as all hell. This is pretty standard for a Paradox release though and it's not actually unplayable (except for multiplayer where it desynchs like nobodies business) just a bit ridiculous in parts, like when Britain starts producing 12,000 Crude Oil per day (many times the rest of the world put together) for no discernable reason, or the French AI stubbornly refusing to budge from the Maginot Line whilst italy invades and conquers their country from the south. Going from experience though, whilst their releases are notoriously buggy Paradox do actually fix their games, so it'll be fixed some point.

    2) No tactical battles. If you're looking for tactical battles, look elsewhere. That's what your commanders are for. You just run the country. You can still fight a war of manouvre and so on but just be aware you're doing it at a world map level not a tactical map ala Medieval.

    That said, onto the good.

    The tech system has been overhauled from HoI2, with the few big upgrades model replaced with many smaller ones, offering a much higher degree of customisation and variety in researches. There's also a lot more overlap between tech paths, for example upgrading infantry weapons now upgrades the weapons of your marines, paratroops, etc. Which kind of makes sense.

    The army structure has been overhauled too, now resembling something more like a real command structure. Your basic combat unit is the division, made up of 2 to 4 brigades of various types. You then have corps, armies, army groups and finally Theatres, each going increasingly up. Each tier has different benefits provided by the commanders to units under their command.

    What's most interesting perhaps is that every level above division can be set under AI control, attempting to complete objectives placed on it by the player. As the game has about four times the province count of it's predecessor this is probably necessary to stop you going insane. Insofar as how well this works, the general consensus on Paradox' forums is that the AI is actually quite good at Corps and Army level, with a few players noting that it made moves that were better than anything they would have thought of, but that it's poor at Army Group level and woefully bad at Theatre level.

    Conquest has been redone a bit too. Instead of having to capture every victory point to annex a country, you now have to capture a percentage of them equal to their national unity. The trick is that you can lower national unity by other means too, such as strategic bombing, destroying supply convoys, or certain intelligence missions. So now the giant empires with the odd far flung victory point aren't unassailable. The flipside of the coin however is that a country that's defeated can opt to become a Government in Exile. Doing so stops them from being annexed (the attacker still controls the country and can still extract resources, manpower and industrial output, but only at lower levels) as well as allowing the player to continue playing after a fashion, controlling partisan uprisings and so on. If their allies reconquer the territory it goes back immediately under their control.

    All in all Hearts of Iron 3 has a lot of long term promise if you can overlook the short term bugginess, and frankly it's damn fun even with them. I'm currently playing a game as Hungary trying to reclaim the territory of the Austro Hungarian Empire in the buildup years before the war starts and I'm having an absolute blast. Hope to see some strategically minded dolts playing this multiplayer in a few months when they get it fixed.
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  2. Child's Play Donor  #2
    Col. (Ret.) Tempe's Avatar
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    I've had the game since release too, it's decent and having played Hearts of iron 2, it's definately an improvement. I've noticed that the begining of the war can mess up though as certain events aren't completed (in one game Germany was allied with Japan and so at war before they could do the event to invade Poland, meaning they never did). The new tech trees are good though, it's a pity they released DLC at launch. That just strikes me as a clear moneymaking scheme rather than something the team wanted to do after the game was finished. I'm playing as the United Kingdom right now, and have just gone to war with Germany. Poland are holding out better than expected but the french aren't doing anything useful...
    'All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled with sober senses, his real conditions in life, and his relations with his kind.'

  3. #3
    A Big Pile of Insanity Pocktio's Avatar
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    I'm going to dedicate myself to figuring this behemoth out. I played the tutorial but it doesn't really do anything to prepare for the hundreds and hundreds of menus and varying options, it's truly bewildering. However the depth and scope seems well worth it so I will keep soldiering on despite being sooooo confused. I like the new division structuring however, research still baffles me (too many options) and supply and demand I have no real clue as to how to balance to what I want.

    However I am content to try and build interceptors to patrol the channel coasts....ummm well if I can, that's my first objective as Britain.
    Knife King of Doltland

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  4. General Discussions Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #4
    Oppressive Forces of Titty n0z3k1ll3r's Avatar
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    Temp: French AI at the moment is a bit screwed up. It won't budge from the Maginot Line regardless of what happens. Which admittedly is pretty on the money relative to what they actually did in the war but it's taken to an extreme here as per my Italy example.

    Also as an addition, for anyone new to the game I highly recommend Germany to begin with. It's not actually that big size wise so theres less area to worry about (to begin with anyway) but it's got a lot of industry, resources, and research capability so it's exceptionally powerful (as would be expected). The Allied nations are definately harder because they've generally got the massive world spanning empires you have to worry about.

  5. #5
    Got this on pre-order, as I love Paradox games in general.

    Shelved it until it's fixed, though. I do find it unplayable right now, with all the bugs and the weird AI and the stunning ahistoricity of it.

  6. Child's Play Donor  #6
    Col. (Ret.) Tempe's Avatar
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    Well my army production now is heavily focused on motorised and Armoured divisions. With Churchill (heavy tank) and Cromwell (medium) tanks being produced. I'm also trying to get Jet Fighter engines before the battle of britain gets into full swing, it should give me a decent advantage and the shortened range won't be a problem over home soil.

  7. #7
    im a fan of Europa Universalis, how do the Hearts of iron games compair to them in terms of complexity?

    also how are the diplomacy a.i/options?

    thanks for any help

  8. General Discussions Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #8
    Oppressive Forces of Titty n0z3k1ll3r's Avatar
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    Paradox tend to focus their games on different areas. Europa Universalis is exploration and colonisation, Victoria is industrialisation and political turmoil. With Hearts of Iron it's all about the war. From a military standpoint it's far and away the most complex and detailed, but other areas have been simplified a bit by comparison. I hope that helps.

    Diplomacy is a bit wierd at the moment, countries gravitate into the big three factions (Allies Axis and Comintern) way too fast, and there's some wierd alliances like Nationalist China joining the Axis or Finland the Allies (neither of which are actually that wierd really but they both happen far too often).

    In other news I've Annexed Yugoslavia after a lightning campaign and more than quadrupled Hungary's landmass. Bulgaria is next on the list, and from there I'll strike upwards towards Bucharest.

  9. #9
    Member drChengele's Avatar
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    I will also wait for this to get fixed before buying it, but would not miss it for the world. Given Paradox's track record, it shouldn't take more than a few patches before it works properly. Hopefully, by then the game will also be balanced a bit more.

    Europa Universalis 2 will always be fondly remembered as the game that returned my faith in strategy computer gaming. Paradox manages to get so many things right in their games that, say, Civilization or Alpha Centauri never even tried. But the bugs... dear lord, the bugs...

    I've also seen people who complain the game is "unhistorical", but, erm, isn't that the point of the game? If they want 100% historical accuracy there would be no game at all, it would just play a demo while you watch.
    Swooping Hawk: Is there a secret underground cult of British faction haters?
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  10. #10
    Just like their other games, minor nations are playable, but pointless. Most of them can't even build what they have, that always annoyed me in games like theese.

    Which is a shame, some nations were in a position to do something, either against the allies or axis, but didn't, and it would be fun to really play all those "What if" scenarios out. I think the last one that it was possible in was "Storm Across Europe" by SSI, way back, early 90's i think.

    Here it's:
    "Oh, we have a harbour? Hmm, wonder how we built it, we certainly can't build any more.. Oh, is that a battleship? Wonder how that got produced, we need to research it... " :P

    The world map is off in alot of countries too, the AI will make choices that make no sense, but it is pretty fun still.

    I'm playing Germany now, gave up on trying minors, it's fun, but I can't attack Poland yet as they are not threatening enough, and my neutrality is too high.. that really makes no sense, but cave-at-emptor..

    I am just annoyed at the speed, not sure what it is, but after 1938 my games go turtle on me and it takes forever to pass time...

    Hopefully in a few patches this will be a gem!

  11. #11
    The multiplayer being completely borked has dampened my enthusiasm, but overall it's a great game. The new gameplay elements are interesting, although in some cases completely broken... By stacking threat on all members of the allies, and influencing USA I got them to enter the war on the Axis side, and invade the UK and France in 1940.

  12. #12
    Member drChengele's Avatar
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    Just like their other games, minor nations are playable, but pointless. Most of them can't even build what they have, that always annoyed me in games like theese
    Eheheh. I turned Serbia into a colonial superpower in Europa Universalis 2 on Hard. For reference, you start with one province, and a vassal to Turkey. Good times.

    Regarding multiplayer... how do people even consider that an option in Paradox games is beyond me. Is it really possible for n persons, n>1, to organize their time so that they get a campaign going? For me it rarely works even if n = 1.

  13. #13
    White Knight Police Black's Avatar
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    Oh, if you want some crazy Hearts of Iron games with the relic dolts, pop onto Teamspeak. The legends of our exploits and blunders will make you stand in awe of the potential hilarity of multiplayer WWII.

  14. #14
    Member Kamikazebob's Avatar
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    Heres the recent patch

    http://forum.dlh.net/thread;threadid__33528.html

    Its a pretty epic fix list. I just bought it today and I stand it complete mind blankness at the potential, as the closest thing I've played to a game like this is risk.

  15. #15
    Member Caesar's Avatar
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    I think my favorite story thus far is when the Mexican AI joins the Allies and the US gives them an army as an expeditionary force. The Mexicans then land their US loan units in Northern Germany and win WWII.

    The game's got some issues at the moment.

  16. #16
    This sums up my entire opinion of the game in the UK.

    YOU SAID IT WOULD BE RELEASED PARADOX, WHERE IS THE RELEASE?

    I really want to get it but it's still "pre-ordered and awaiting stock".

  17. #17
    I haven't had enough time to play it properly yet, but the changes they've made are slightly strange at the moment. I'm not sure, but I don't think you can get the AI to accept trade deals anymore without signing over your entire economy to AI control. I'll give it a few weeks but I was never this confused with HoI2 when I started.

  18. #18
    Paradox tend to focus their games on different areas. Europa Universalis is exploration and colonisation, Victoria is industrialisation and political turmoil. With Hearts of Iron it's all about the war. From a military standpoint it's far and away the most complex and detailed, but other areas have been simplified a bit by comparison. I hope that helps.
    yes that helps

    i'm going to have to add this game on the top of my list of games wanted.

    thank you n0z3k1ll3r

  19. #19
    My favourite HoI3 experience so far is Italy invading Finland in 1938, by itself. Then annexing it. Then invading Sweden. And annexing it.

  20. #20
    I'm very interested.

    How much for the game?

  21. #21
    Member Sinogrim's Avatar
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    I've tried HOI 2, but I was simply amazed cause I actually lost the tutorial in that game... twice.

    But, I'm sure as hell am willing to give this a go though .

  22. #22
    Ah ha some internet sleuthing of mine discovered the reason why my copy hasn't been delivered yet!

    Apparently the release date for boxed copies in the UK has been pushed back to the 21st. Normally I'd be annoyed but going by the forums and the stories of mexico invading germany, maybe getting my copy late isn't so bad.

  23. General Discussions Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #23
    Oppressive Forces of Titty n0z3k1ll3r's Avatar
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    Here it's:
    "Oh, we have a harbour? Hmm, wonder how we built it, we certainly can't build any more.. Oh, is that a battleship? Wonder how that got produced, we need to research it... " :P
    If you're thinking stuff like the Balkan minors that actually makes a fair bit of sense. Most of them managed to grab a fair bit after the Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed, but probably don't have the capability to build more of them, just maintain the ones they do have.

    Also some minors are definately playable. Hungary is a case in point, I've got nearly as much landmass as Germany now, and a lot of IC and resources to boot. There's just not a lot anyone can do to make Liberia a world power. Not that that's stopping people from trying.

  24. #24
    Member Caesar's Avatar
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    The Liberian AAR is hilarious.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Liberian AAR
    “I believe that the bump on the head that gave me amnesia has also given me an insight into the future, and I have had a vision of things to come. War is coming. It cannot be stopped. Though the world may not know this yet, I know it, Hitler knows it, and these AAR readers know it.”


    The servant looked confused. “AAR readers, sir?”


    “This is Liberia, Joseph. We can’t afford a fourth wall.”
    that guy is a genius.

  26. #26
    White Knight Police Black's Avatar
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    That is the greatest fourth wall joke I've ever heard. In fact, I don't think you can top it.

  27. #27
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    Some of the tech issues for the UK are hillarious, like it being unable to build infrastructure or factories. 2nd time through the campaign, WWII still has not started by 1940 because of the Germany Japan bug.

  28. #28
    Is watching TheDeadlyShoe's Avatar
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    I've had it since release. I like the gameplay but I'm increasingly annoyed with the bugs and some of the AI's bad habits.

    The worst part is the blatant holes in the interface... manually loading anything larger than a corps onto transports is hate-inducing.

    if you have doubts I would either shelve it or not buy it until patch 1.2 is released and confirmed as Good.

    I've also seen people who complain the game is "unhistorical", but, erm, isn't that the point of the game? If they want 100% historical accuracy there would be no game at all, it would just play a demo while you watch.
    personally I like how flexible the 'history' of it can be now.

    there are a few 'historical' problems with the game mechanics and setup though. for example, France usually folds fast because Italy kicks their ass in the Alps and pushes up enough to trigger Vichy France. The Germans just have to stare across the Maginot Line for a while. And Japan always conquers Shanxi then gets pushed off the mainland completely (incl. Korea) by Comm+Nat China. It's impossible to get Finland allied with Germany. Everyone from Nationalist Spain to the Swiss join the Allies because Japan is banging their sabers too loud. Et cetera.
    Remember: you're a blogger. Pretense is your co-pilot.

  29. #29
    Member Kamikazebob's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link. That is amazing.

  30. #30
    Member Ogra_Chief's Avatar
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    I'll go with the consensus and agree that it is currently buggy but as mentioned Paradox has a solid track record of fixing its games. I picked up at BestBuy and gave it a six hour go. Definitely some parts are missing though the interface is an improvement. There are some pesky bugs that do detract a little from the game. Overall I like the direction the game is headed. Game on.

    I am conquering South America with those blood crazed Brazilians… The US has taken a dim view of my activities. I eagerly await an armed response.

    I might recommend Hearts of Iron II and its expansion if you’re just coming to the game.
    Fools! I am Herzog Zwei....

  31. General Discussions Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #31
    Oppressive Forces of Titty n0z3k1ll3r's Avatar
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    Well I've made some lovely progress so far.

    current extent of the mighty Hungarian empire



    Unfortunately I've upset the entire world in doing so via the huge succession of wars. Oh well. Germany should be able to upstage me easily before too much longer.

  32. Child's Play Donor  #32
    Col. (Ret.) Tempe's Avatar
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    Shoe, In my game Japan has annexed nationalist and communist china and is doing pretty well for themselves.

  33. #33
    Is watching TheDeadlyShoe's Avatar
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    How did you declare so many wars? Does Hungary start with really low neutrality?

    @Colonel: Truely you are unique then. I've done 1936-1939 like 4 or 5 times and AI japan always get stomped.

    I've read a few theories as to why... like they concentrate on building armor over everything else, and they assign the majority of their troops to the Russian border (sorta the same way the French keep getting stomped by the Italians.)

    Oh! That reminds me of another awesome bug. The UK AI is obsessed with building transports, and will build 50+ transport ships and transport planes. This doesn't work out well int he long run, especially given the enormous IC requirements of transport planes. Hell if the UK built 50 strat bombers they could stomp Germany flat in a month.
    Last edited by TheDeadlyShoe; 19th Aug 09 at 4:03 AM.

  34. #34
    A Big Pile of Insanity Pocktio's Avatar
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    I just tried to destroy Poland as Germany. My one panzer unit is doing well but there's 20,000 Polish soldiers up North routing my HQ units.

    I tried building Panzer 1939 divisions but I click start and well...where do they appear? Where do I get them from and how? I need panzers to kick Polish arse

  35. Child's Play Donor  #35
    Col. (Ret.) Tempe's Avatar
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    Once they've finished being produced an icon appears on the top left of the screen, clicking on it lets you choose the unit and deploy it.

  36. #36
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    Does the regional command deployment thing work for you? I would have though that interface would build then send the units to the relvant international provinces automatically.

  37. #37
    I don't like the theatres. It seems completely unnecessary. If it went down to front or army group level I'd be much happier. Having the AI decide what's best is insanity too.

  38. #38
    Member Ermac's Avatar
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    As a longtime fan of the series im am a bit disappointed by the bugs but i shall wait before i install the game again till paradox releases the first update.

  39. #39
    I wish my name was Peter.
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    As a newcomer to the hoi series, is it a good idea regulate military on a general level? like giving my entire eastern German army the objective of capturing warsaw? Or should i manage it on a divisional level with smaller objectives?

  40. #40
    Member Ogra_Chief's Avatar
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    It's pretty decent at running a front. Give it an overall objective and make corrections as needed. You'll do better on the divisional (and below) level. You'll catch the little things it won't. Be warned, AI still needs a little vetting (my buzzword of the day).

    Caution: If you give it some insane impossible objective... expect insane choices.

  41. General Discussions Senior Member Dawn of War Senior Member  #41
    Oppressive Forces of Titty n0z3k1ll3r's Avatar
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    How did you declare so many wars? Does Hungary start with really low neutrality?
    Having claims on a country decreases the neutrality requirement, as does joining the Axis. Between the two I was able to move against Yugoslavia in early 1937. Beyond that the Axis countries can use their own threat level in place of the other countries (basically "I'm badass, I can totally take them") so it was a huge domino effect. The drawback of this is that everyone else in the world has now joined the Allies. Oh well.

    Caak: Any AI command above about Army level is highly questionable. Theatres and Army Groups really don't seem to know what they're doing yet.

  42. #42
    Member Kamikazebob's Avatar
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    Caution: If you give it some insane impossible objective... expect insane choices.
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