Hearts of Iron 3 Preliminary Preview #2

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The article should be done by the end of the week, so expect a couple more of these posts and then the article itself in all its glory.

Today I’d like to talk about the lessons Paradox seems to have learned from other games in its catalog, and how some of this knowledge has been applied to HOI3. 

One thing Paradox has been moving away from in their more recent games has been event-chains. EU2 was probably the high water-mark for this style of design- there were hundreds, probably thousands of events players could trigger, either historical events or generic ones that could apply to any country. EU3, by contrast, sought to move some of the functionality provided by robust event-making into other things like the mission and decision systems (and to flesh-out game systems like trade and technology to more accurately mimic historical processes the events were supposed to simulate). Of course it’s not really the same, but the point is that henceforth not everything will happen out of dialog boxes with a couple of options attached. You’ll have to look for some of that ‘flavor’ and some of those opportunities to make decisions elsewhere. It was true in EU3 and it’s true here as well. 

What this all means, practically, for HOI3 is rather interesting. Take the Winter War as an example. It doesn’t appear one day as a dialog box that prompts the Soviet player to make demands, it lies dormant as a decision (think EU3 In Nomine) on the diplomacy screen, waiting for certain preconditions to be met and for the Soviet player to decide that fighting Finland is worth the effort. Germany has to be at war, the ‘mutual threat’ (I’ll explain in the preview) between the Soviet Union and Finland has to be high, etc etc. Only then can the Soviet player decide to press Finland for some territory. Other events (like the Spanish Civil War and its attendant intervention events abroad) are still handled in the classic style, but the new way is interesting too. This way players are observing a situation and being presented with their options up-front, instead of being bushwacked by a dialog box without any kind of context. In the Finnish example, the player can see what he has to do in order to fight the war. He has to make his spies work overtime in Finland to fabricate a reason to go to war, and he has to somehow get Germany involved in a war, preferably without fighting Germany himself just yet. The Molotov-Ribbentrop event, when it fires later on, gives the player this opportunity. 

I apologize if this update was a bit too abstract, but for someone who spends as much time on these games as I do, every little tidbit sets the gears in motion. That’s probably a good thing in and of itself, because it means HOI3 has the Paradox-magic we’re all after. 


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Hearts of Iron III Boxart


  • Developer: Paradox Interactive
  • Publisher: Paradox Interactive
  • Genre: Strategy
  • Release Date: January 28, 2015
  • Link: The Official Site
  • ESRB Rating:
Rating Pending

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