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The biggest strategy map ever?

October 17th, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 7 Comments · Design, Paradox, Preview

Paradox is promising that their upcoming WW2 strategy sequel, Hearts of Iron 3, will have 10,000 provinces.

As a point of contrast, Hearts of Iron 2 had a little over 2600. So, almost a fourfold increase in territories. If my hometown Miramichi doesn’t get a separate territory, I will be a little sad.

Why so many? Andersson says:

This is something we really wanted, double the provinces means double the choices of where to attack and doubles the number of spots you have to think about defending. Giving players choices like this is always good; more choices like these means more strategic thought is required.

We also wanted to give combat a more blitzkrieg feeling. With more provinces there is more opportunities for you to carve out armoured breakthroughs and exploitation. Creating opportunities for encirclements or battles of manoeuvre were both sides. Mobile troops attack and counter attack. We are aiming to try and create a canvas were you can practice the operational art.

If you accept the dubious math that doubling provinces means doubling choices for the player, it’s worth remembering that this also means doubling the choices for multiple AI opponents in a series from a studio that is not exactly known for intelligent and effective computer controlled countries. Promoting encirclement and blitzing is great, only I fear that it will lead to lots of extended AI assault vectors that can be easily cut-off and surrounded by a smart player.


7 Comments so far ↓

  • Michael A.

    Hmm… dubious math indeed. I’d think that the decision complexity would increase exponentially, but it all depends on how the AI is built of course.

    What is certain is that additional opportunities for maneuver and encirclement will all work to the advantage of the player. I’ve yet to play a game AI that could do this effectively against any kind of skillful play and very few that could defend. They’re setting themselves a tough challenge.

  • James Allen

    Yeah, because Hearts of Iron wasn’t complex enough to begin with.

  • tatertot18

    On that note, I heard they are going from the research style of HOI2 to the HOI one. If you don’t remember it, the HOI model including researching little pieces like optical sights and different ammo instead of HOI2 where you picked regular, advanced, heavy tank and so forth.

  • JonathanStrange

    Well, if you can’t make a challenging AI or a game that’s bug-free and fun-to-play on release, you can always add tons of stuff the computer won’t really know how to employ! I’m all for ambitious games but I’d settle for one that did a bit less but did it well.

  • Dave

    Ditto all the complaints here. This is *insane*.

    Not only will the A.I. be unable to play it, but how will a human?

    In HOI 1 & 2, you had X number of provinces to defend, which require X number of units to create a continuous front, and X+Y number of units in order to create armies that you could use offensively & defensively.

    Well, guess what? Now I have to create X+Z number of units to keep that continuous front AND build armies strong enough to use as maneuver units.

    Voila, I now have twice as many units to micromanage.

    Oh, and not even that– I probably have twice as many units as were historical (i.e. the first two versions of HOI hewed close enough to the historical “division totals” for all sides).

    If anything, this situation may *reduce* the likelihood of blitzkriegs, as you won’t have an ability to produce enough units to create maneuver groups– and won’t have enough units to perform proper encirclements/pockets.

    Really, I don’t see this as being a good thing *at all*. Hope I’m wrong.

  • Troy

    I feel your pain, Dave. I suspect that the idea is to cram fewer units in a single “province” so you may still need only X units. But, yeah, you may need to be much more careful about which units are where.

    A part of me thinks that this is size for the sake of size. But since the map size is the first developer diary highlight, it’s not going to get smaller.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Provinces, blech! Maps based on provinces belong in a pre-20th century game, not WWII. That’s one of the things I hated about the previous games.