Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Grand strategy and Paradox don't compute

Discussion in 'Strategy Gaming' started by SymbolicFrank, May 28, 2016.

  1. SymbolicFrankgender: ⚧ Liturgist

    SymbolicFrank
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    Well, I have this urge: Sometimes I want to rule the world. Virtually. So, I start the Steam client, and ... pick something from Paradox for lack of anything better.

    And, after a few hours, my frustration cancels my curiosity, and I quit the game.


    Why is that? Paradox is considered the Grand Master of strategy games. So, I'm definitely a small minority.

    For starters, they want everything to be as much historically accurate as possible. They invented the concept of "Du jure", which means: how it has to be in the future. Because, that's how it happened in our past.

    Right there, I call bullshit: They don't want the player to have any impact. No choices and consequences allowed! Things HAVE to happen like they did in our past. No discrepancies allowed!


    So, that just threw the whole game concept out of the window. Are there any redeeming qualities?

    Certainly: even with all the ugly warts, it's still the best and deepest simulation.

    Unfortunately, it isn't a simulation, but a game, with strict rules.


    In real life, if you were King, you didn't care about all the small stuff. You would care about the few big things you would want to accomplish. You would use all the time and power you have to accomplish the few things you deem Important. Because everything else is just fluff.


    But, that's all you can do in Paradox games: handle the (totally uninteresting) fluff. Because you're not allowed to make the few big decisions and channel all your resources into making them happen. Because that would be unfair competition against the other, AI players.


    Moronic.
     
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  2. krisgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    This is a very confused post. Mostly because it doesn't specify which game you talk about.

    I am guessing EU4, for what you want i would suggest an earlier version of EU. From what I gather, many want an EU that is MORE historic than it really is and think it is a bad game when unhistorical nations do well.
     
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  3. mondblutgender: ⚧ Prestigious Gentleman Arcane

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    I dunno, it never prevented me from painting the entire world my color.
     
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  4. Serious_Businessgender: ⚧ Best Poster on the Codex

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    Isshh. Bad post.

    Their games since EU3 have had no intention in forcing upon the player a historically coherent developments. You can end up with pretty much nonsensical results, depending on arbitrary power plays and calculations. That should actually satisfy you. No events to limit you, force alliances, civil wars, religion switchs, rulers going mad, inheritances, and so on. It seems as if you're saying that the historical framework itself doesn't lend itself to strategy - in that case, Paradox is not for you... why not play Civ or something. You're probably just bad at this, I mean, any player can do anything they want with any country, with a little know-how and experience. This is actually what makes the game weak in the long run, the freedom and power means that every game plays the damn same.
     
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  5. SymbolicFrankgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    Would you allow me to target the above to all the Paradox games I know and played?

    I didn't mention a single game because it isn't about a single game.
     
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  6. SymbolicFrankgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    So, it works as a game, but not as a simulation? Just have patience, and your urges might come true, a few generations down the line.
     
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  7. SymbolicFrankgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    I think I might have too much experience with running large-scale projects.
     
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  8. darkpatriotgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    So your complaints appear to be that Paradox games have 1.) too much historical determinism and 2.) too many limitations on what the player can do.

    For point 1, I agree with you but it really depends on the game and this isn't any nearly as much of an issue in most of the more recent Paradox titles. Some paradox games, like EU2 or the HOI series, are extremely heavy on the historical determinism and this hurts the gameplay IMO, but for their other games this complaint doesn't really hold a lot of water.

    Point 2 is actually what I like about Paradox games. I like that you can't just attack a huge enemy country and take them over completely in one war; You can only achieve limited war goals, although limited war goals against a small country can still be pretty devastating. I like how you mostly only have indirect ways of dealing with populations and culture in most Paradox games.

    The most valid complaint against Paradox games is their eternal DLC production business model.
     
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  9. SymbolicFrankgender: ⚧ Liturgist

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    I don't want to be able to do it all, but I do want to be able to do the few things I think are the most important. Because that's also what those rulers did in real life.

    And Paradox games allow me to do it all, bit by bit, year after year, but refuse the important things.

    I feel more like a The Sims player than a ruler, as I don't have any say in what I am allowed to do. I certainly don't have much power over anything.
     
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  10. Declinatorgender: ⚧ Savant

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    There are a "few things" you want to do that you can't do. This applies to "all the Paradox games you know and have played"...

    This thread is strangely frustrating to read when getting specific information out of you is like pulling teeth. What exactly do you want to do that you can't? Difficult to discuss when it's a guessing game.

    Certainly some aspects of even the newer Paradox games seem pretty railroaded (such as heavy sanctions on going ahead on technologies in HoI3) but you can still go in a wildly different directions from real history if we are talking broader strokes.
     
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  11. Beastrogender: ⚧ Magister

    Beastro
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    Then edit it as you go. If I decide the borders of a duchy have shifted enough I move the counties around.

    WTF are you talking about, be specific. Poor kings didn't handle the details of ruling their kingdom, the smart ones did to scrape ever coin of money they could get out of it either to fatten their coffer and increase their rule but not doling it out to lessers or did so to maximize their ability to wage war.


    Problem with too many Paradox games is that everything is boring outside of war or what comes from war, like in CK2 but taking over a new land and sorting out which native vassels you want to work to kick out to support your pet dynasties or bring new ones into the fold. In their other games that lack that internal politicking it's worse, but at least in all games you can save, exit and start over in the same world as a underdog working to defeat the monster you've created.
     
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  12. Bustamontegender: ⚧ Unwanted Shitposter

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    EU 2 and 3 (before divine wind suckfest) are pretty good. Every other game they've ever made is pretty much crap.

    The biggest offender is that they mostly slow you down in conquest through some inane means instead of being limited due to actual reality. If you conquer a large area with a small kingdom it should wind up a very difficult to control mess and have a good chance to split up into multiple kingdoms or empires, and lead to lots of opportunist attacks by your neighbors. And big empires in general should be difficult to manage.

    Nope. The only thing to slow you down is your reputation points. After you hold a province x years it is completely free from troubles, except maybe some scripted ones regarding religion which are easy to avoid once you understand them.

    There's really not much game at all once you get past the opening time where things are challenging. But that time can be really fun, especially playing as countries like muscovy, poland, scotland, burgundy etc. that are in a position where they are in serious shit at the start but could easily become a big world power if they manage to pull through.

    That just covers EU. Every other game is just a larpfest basically. You larp you are the king, arrange royal marriages and so on. There is not any actual strategy at all.
     
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  13. Dicksmokergender: ⚧ Arcane

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    For a minute I thought he meant exactly that. I was like "wtf."
     
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  14. Destroidgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    No-one ever called Paradox the masters of strategy. Their games all have large helpings of simulation/roleplaying, as straight strategy games there are plenty of better things on offer.
     
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  15. MoLAoSgender: ⚧ Guest

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    They have a very, very limited amount of simulation. And their RPG aspects are like, Battlefield level depth.
     
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  16. DakaSha IIgender: ⚧ Prospernaut

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    lol the myth of european godkings
     
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  17. rezafgender: ⚧ Savant

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    I dunno, I find it hard to just throw all Paradox games into one bathtub there.

    Let's take the EU series as an example.

    The first two EU games I loved for their slightly more deterministic nature driven by historical events, you could actually learn a lot about history while playing them (especially EU2 with AGCEEP), which was a very unique and interesting touch to me. As straigth up games, I'm willing to admit later games are probably better, but they lost this unique flavour.

    EU3 was thus massively disappointing to me with it's much more generic approach - it was actually impossible now to recreate history in a manner close to EU2 even for modders as Paradox changed the scripting language in such ways. The game started the trend of Paradox titles becoming much better with expansions/DLC, but even so, it never really clicked with me the same way.

    EU4 was polished and pretty playable even vanilla, which was nice. However, it contains a lot of completely arbitary "invisible walls" which are supposed to stop the "paint the map your color" thing, and their implementation is very very ham-fisted. If you're a powergamer out to conquer the world, you'll overcome them by gaming the systems, if you're a normal player just trying to recreate, say a historical Ottoman Empire, they'll utterly spoil the game for you at some point.

    And that's the main issue I have with late Paradox games right there - Johan has strong ideas about things that should be "impossible" (or at least strongly discouraged), but lacks the ability (mainly because it's a daunting task) to implement "proper" organic means to make these things hard to achieve. Instead, he arbitrarily comes up with complicated if-clauses that, once triggered, basically change the rules of the game to make (for example) everyone gang up on you.
    He also puts too much emphasis on multiplayer balancing when I'm willing to bet a vast, VAST majority of Paradox game hours are strictly singleplayer.
    With the release of Stellaris, Paradox also blurred the line a bit between releasing a game and later making it richer with DLC and releasing a barebones skeleton (at full price) but only add important gameplay systems later, at a premium, as DLC.
     
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  18. Make America Great Again Commissar Dracogender: ⚧ KKKodex WCDS Commissar Patron

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    Paradox was good for what it was strategy game developer before they gone full swedening and put aztec invasions, womyn rights and cultural librulism and benevolent Juice with of course no RL consequences of being overun by Mudslimes in three generations of such policies; still if you want real deal pick Imperialism and its sequel Colonialism. Much better simulations than both Vicy and EU and no Libruls BS... Crusader Kings I is still great game though.
     
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  19. Bustamontegender: ⚧ Unwanted Shitposter

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    :lol:

    Oh god, how did I forget about this?
     
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  20. Norfleetgender: ⚧ Moderator

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    Paradox games, historical determinism? Are we playing the same games? I have NEVER seen a Paradox game's timeline not go completely off the rails within 5 minutes of play, except for HOI, which remains on the rails until around the time the fighting starts, then it goes completely off the rails pretty much immediately.

    If anything, the rampant and often absurd derailments are often seen a detriment by much of the community.

    Meh, it's a Paradox game. No policies have ever managed to stop or prevent Mudslime overrunnage if I, the player, so wish it to be so (by not playing as Mudslimes), or to be so (by playing as the Mudslimes). Weak, mealy-mouthed policies have zero impact on who the player does or does not overrun. It is not as if I actually bother to look at my target's policies when determining which side will be next to be overrun by the Caliphate. Just pick the nearest convenient neighbor, declare Holy War, and get it on.
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2016
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  21. Mr. Pinkgender: ⚧ Travelling Gourmand, Crab Specialist

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    most pdox games do go off the rails, but it's in spite of the games mechanics rather than because of it.

    examples of mechanics that only exist to keep the historical nations relevant:
    "lucky nations"
    giving cores to nations that are expected to blob up
    routing trade routes in eu4 in a way that makes it difficult for the english to colonize central america, and gives portugal an arbitrary bonus for african colonization
    weird and inconsistent base tax on provinces
    leader stats hardcoded in the config file, (sweden getting 4 disgustingly good kings 5/5/5 in a row)
    coding the AI to relentlessly persue certain events, like castille+aragon union, even when it doesn't make much sense (in the situation where aragon becomes stronger than castille)
    crusades
     
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  22. Norfleetgender: ⚧ Moderator

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    I call much of those things "fair enough", really. If the game proceeded in a strictly mechanical manner, it would entirely fail to capture exceptional instances in historical behavior. Putting a few concessions to that appeases the people who would otherwise complain that X Historical Event can Never Happen in the game. It is not without its flaws: There's a strong focus on major historical players. Of course, that just makes it more satisfying to derail the train, and the game certainly does not lack for means to do this.

    The weakness of a game that lacks this is apparent in Stellaris. Without anything to hold the game on track, you end up in this empty void where nothing distinguishable happens...which, I guess, is sort of what the game deserves, being literally set in an empty void.
     
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  23. GarfunkeLgender: ⚧ Racism Expert

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    That hasn't been true since EU2, first Vicky and HoI2, and even then the historical accuracy was so-and-so. Either you're only playing the really old Paradox games, in which case I would suggest trying the more sandboxy-newer ones, or you're talking about the newer ones in which case you're a moron and talking out of your ass with no idea what you're sperging about.
     
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  24. Hoaxmetalgender: ⚧ Arcane

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    Only part of the post that makes sense.
     
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  25. Beastrogender: ⚧ Magister

    Beastro
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    Taint of Absolutism clouding hindsight and the difficulty said kings had in most places getting people to do what they wanted, be it through consensus or force.
     
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