August 2009

Invading Poland Is, In Fact, Very Complex

No, I didn't forget about Poland.

No, I didn't forget about Poland.

Hearts of Iron 3 may well be the most infuriating game you’ll ever love.

  • It’s incredibly buggy (the 0-day patch included a bug that, um, prevented any major power from actually being able to run a military)
  • It’s wildly ahistorical (without a walkthrough from Brandon “GreenMarine” Reinhart on how to use some of the new diplomatic/intelligence systems, the entire world will gang up on whatever side you’re not on in short order)
  • It’s about as good an example of “holy god, no one will be able to play this game” scope explosion as you can imagine, with the entire global World War 2 modeled on the brigade/regiment scale, and research calling back to Hearts of Iron 1’s researching tank camshafts
  • You’ll worry a lot more about TOE, supply and logistics issues than is reasonably sane for a civilian

Oh, and before I forget:

  • The AI is really good (in my current game as Germany, the UK blasted through and invaded East Prussia shortly after the invasion of Poland)
  • The organization feature teaches you why armies have all those ranks and things (your armies won’t function effectively unless you organize them into corps, armies, and army corps)
  • Most crazy levels of detail can be safely offloaded to the AI and it won’t actually suck as badly as you’d think (a working, if not the most effective¬† strategy for invading Poland is putting everything on AI control, right clicking on Warsaw, and saying “Go”)
  • It looks creepily like the kind of wargame I owned in the 1980s with tens of thousands of counters. Note: I didn’t say “played”. No one “played” those monsters and remained sane.
  • Despite all of the above, it’s actually fairly playable. Go figure.

Should you buy it? If you haven’t already, probably best to wait for the inevitable blizzard of patches and expansions (Europa Universalis 3, for example, didn’t become a really good game until the 2nd expansion). However, given how much of the game logic is exposed to Lua scripting, the manic Hearts of Iron user community may well just make a damn expansion themselves. With sharks and lasers. Well, maybe with PzkpfwIVds.

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Life In Wartime

Jeremy Monken tells his story of savage weirdness and branded coffee mugs as a CSR for Warhammer Online to the Escapist.

At Christmas, the company provided a catered meal for the CSRs who had to monitor an in-game event and work through the holiday. I don’t know if our bosses just ordered what they usually did, but the surplus of food made it seem like our department’s slow decline had gone unnoticed. There was enough food for an army, but only a handful of us were left. For weeks afterward, the break room fridge overflowed with unopened trays of leftover corn. It felt like an offering left to appease the layoff god. Maybe this delicious corn would sate his mighty hunger.