Paradox Interactive’s grand strategy games are known for their uncompromising scope and depth in recreating entire eras of history, but they’ve never attempted anything as dizzyingly complex as Victoria 3. , their hopes and desires, their joy and anger, and their feelings about the price of a new deckchair, the simulated world before them is astonishing. It’s not a heart or tech demo. Aside from a modest helping of release-day junk, it mostly works and serves as the foundation for a deeply engrossing socio-political strategy game.
It’s fair to warn clearly that Victoria 3 is dense, detailed, and full of mechanics that, by their very nature, require active research work to understand them. I personally love that sort of thing. But for newbies, figuring out how to avoid its quirks and pitfalls during the first few campaigns can be daunting. I had a hard time at first too.
There are dynamic tutorial scenarios you can play in any country, and while you can get the basics down, it doesn’t necessarily prepare you to master them. The best educational resource Victoria 3 offers is the nested tooltip system and the ability to choose “Tell Me How” and “Tell Me Why” for important game concepts. This is what I’d like to see in more strategy games. Because simply explaining what all the buttons do (Tell Me How) usually doesn’t give you a working idea of when to press them (Tell Me Why). Still, Victoria 3 ranks his one of the hardest Paradox games to master. It’s closer to Hearts of Iron than Crusader Kings.
The main balls you’ll always juggle in Victoria 3 are politics and economics, both of which are deliciously deep and sometimes terrifyingly interactive. Political power in your country is neatly organized under interest groups, from the evangelical churches in America to the educated literary men of China. Their power comes from a variety of sources, but mostly wealth and land ownership in the early stages, so the handful of nobles have greater influence than the millions of peasants over whom they reign. may have power.
For example, if you want to build a liberal and democratic society, this creates a charming little dance. Upsetting a powerful group like the Nobles can completely destabilize the country early on, so we need to find ways to erode their power without overtly checking them And because it’s all tied to simulations of real people and their material conditions, the way they do this is actually quite intuitive. and then build factories for them to work, your country will have fewer farmers, and the old world barons will begin to go bankrupt and lose their political relevance.
victoria 3 screenshots
However, it also creates a new world baron. Factory owners and industry captains who don’t want low tax rates and child labor laws. Wealth always confers political power, so even democracies where everyone votes need economic reform as much as political reform to truly put power in the hands of the people. .
Beneath all of this is a rich economic simulation, with a list of needs that everyone wants to meet, organized into groups called “pops” based on culture, religion, occupation and place of residence. The richer and more educated people want more, so the illiterate peasant of the 1840s was more likely than his great-grandchildren, who were part of the burgeoning urban middle class of the 1900s. You will be happy with less.
Demand and supply are modeled by an ingenious system of buy orders, which represent people wanting things, and sell orders, which represent the industries that make things, from grain and clothing to automobiles and electricity. Cheaper prices mean people can afford more things, but those industries are less profitable and the people making things aren’t getting paid as much. also means This economic model includes the fact that highs and lows are bounded at a certain point in time, and the strict availability of underlying commodities is not limited, even if there are more buy orders than sell orders. There’s a lot of give to the limit. their price.
But whatever the shenanigans going on behind the scenes, it creates a far more robust and authentic simulation than Victoria 2. Victoria 2 tried to be a little more “realistic” and inadvertently created a lot of problems for itself. It doesn’t really matter that they “cheated” in some places. Because what we got is a system that actually behaves like the real economy, which is great.
If you just want to shape your country internally and watch a rustic feudal society transform into a modern metropolis with radios and telephones, all this is fine. This is my preferred way to play. I like that the standard of living is a unique metric that allows me to measure my success apart from having the largest GDP or drawing a map. Competing interest groups in their own country give a lot of backlash and make compelling adversaries, even if they’ve never set foot outside their country’s borders. You will come across the realm of war and international relations.
The way the confrontation begins is rather interesting. Starting diplomatic play allows you to make demands such as taking land or forcing someone into the common market. While both sides have the option to back down for small concessions before it escalates into a full-blown war, the final choice of when to mobilize troops can give them the upper hand. , the tension also increases. The bigger problem is that war itself isn’t all that great.
I respect Victoria 3’s decision not to focus on war. But the fact remains that armed conflict can be very messy and confusing. Since generals are permanently attached to a specific regional headquarters, they are limited in where they can actually fight and cannot be reassigned. Interference combat systems can open up annoying little fronts in the heat of war that can completely ruin your strategy. Once the war starts, your influence is greatly relegated to making sure your troops are well supplied, as you can’t even order specific targets to be prioritized. I would like to avoid war altogether, but it is also generally the right choice where the well-being of my people is concerned.
Also, there’s still quite a bit of junk left in Victoria 3’s gorgeous map. Sometimes AI does things without any explanation or warning. Like, for example, when Britain had good relations with Australia and yet they kicked me out of the Commonwealth and ruined my entire developing Australian economy. I call North America the “Twilight Zone”. Because it always seems to produce strange results, like Mexico permanently owning part of southern Colorado and being surrounded on all sides by the US, or steady 100 states in the southern US. . Proportions racially segregated over time. These were not one-off events, but were consistent across all saves. hit me
This is nothing new for Paradox games at launch. It doesn’t spoil the experience, but it’s annoying. Feeling very polished from day one, he even gets Crusader Kings 3. This is like Stellaris, it was loveably broken and needed a lot of love after launch. It’s fun to play legally, but it’s still pretty unpolished.