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When all of the expansions are in place, Crusader Kings II will be a completely inaccurate title. They’ll just have to change the name to ‘Medieval Chaps and Ladies (also infants)’ because everyone will be playable, even if they have no interested in Papal-dictated conquest or monarchical pursuits. Moving away from the previous alternate history DLC, The Republic is a meatier expansion that should alter the game significantly. Money, not blood, drives the engine of the merchant republics. Venice, Genoa, Pisa, the Hanseatic League and Gotland will all be playable, and Patrician families will have a greater emphasis on trade, cash and political corruption, the latter of which isn’t quite> the same as defenestrating your first born. Probably.
Aztec invasions of late 13th century Europe have no place in otherwise believable historical strategy games, particularly not when they threaten to shatter the united realms of slothful hunchback Cormac Whittlestump, ruler of the mighty Empire of Britannia. Crusader Kings II’s Sunset Invasion DLC insists> on the madness of an Aztec invasion – bringing armies, disease and human sacrifice – and it’s the first significant slab of content that I haven’t immediately installed. I’m not opposed to its existence but I doubt I’d spend much time with it. Any takers?
Here’s the inevitable pagan DLC for Crusader Kings II then. I’ll just take a quick look at the feature list: human sacrifice…Mesoamerican Menace? That second part doesn’t with my preconceived notions as to what this next expansion includes. “Brings the savage, blood drenched Aztec civilization to European shores, determined to wreak carnage on its inhabitants”? This might not be the pagan DLC I expected after all, but rather a fantastical alternate history upheaval of the sort never before seen in a Paradox grand strategy game. Set your eyes below the break for more info on what the Aztec invasion might mean for the ever-warring folks of the Old World.
This is my first week back from a holiday, during which time I barely looked at an internet, let alone wrote on one. I didn’t play any games either, unless you consider freezing to death on a remote Welsh hillside to be some sort of game. As is often the case, not doing something for five minutes has made me think about why I do it in the first place. Why, of all the wonderful and fascinating things that exist, do I spend so much time thinking and writing about games?
No, it was built over a much longer period of time than that. But hopefully Legacy of Rome will be worth the wait—some of the DLC for the excellent strategy game has been disappointing, and some has been quite good. And let's not forget that you can also mod CKII into the best Game of Thrones video game on the market.
The folks at Paradox seem to have cottoned to the similarties between their game and the world of George R.R. Martin, seeing as how they describe the expansion thusly:
The second expansion for the critically praised strategy/RPG Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome will focus on the Byzantine Empire - the Greek continuation of the Roman Empire - as well as on the Orthodox Church. Crusader Kings II explores one of the defining periods in world history in an experience crafted by Paradox Development Studio, the masters of Grand Strategy. Medieval Europe is brought to life in this epic game of knights, schemes, and thrones.
Oh, I see what you did there, Paradox. WELL PLAYED.
Here's what will be added in the expansion, which is slated for a release in "Q4 2012."
- Explore the intricate Faction System: Join a faction to put pressure on your liege, and keep track of factions in your own realm
- Raise standing armies: You will now be able to use retinues to have standing armies in your domain: the size is determined by technology
- Experience Factional Revolts: No more easily defeated rebellions. Disgruntled vassals will now band together in revolt against your rule through their faction
- Appoint Orthodox patriarchs: Orthodox kingdoms and empires can now control their own heads of religion and their powers, instead of being dependent on the patriarch of Constantinople
- Streamlined mobilization: You will always raise a single, larger levy from your direct vassals; no need to worry about the opinions of the lower vassals
- Leader Focus on Combat: Appoint your generals wisely, their traits& skills are now of vital importance on the field of battle. More commander traits are now added to increase the importance of your choice of military leaders
- Explore Byzantine Events &Decisions: Legacy of Rome includes many specific events & decisions to make the Byzantine Empire come alive
- Improve your ruler: You can now actively strive to improve your skills or traits through the new Self Improvement Ambitions
But will there be bathhouses and pornographic graffiti? Time will tell. Here, dig some more images:
The Sword of Islam burns bright and now the embers of Rome threaten to ignite. The second major expansion for Crusader Kings II, Legacy of Rome, adds new features that at first sight (a press release) appear to concentrate on being a big player, with much talk of the Byzantine Empire. Vassals forming factions, becoming smarter and presumably more interesting, generals with further features and more influence, and the possibility of appointing Orthodox patriarchs. Self-improvement ambitions will allow regents to grow as people rather than simply collecting vices and scars, and no doubt there’ll be more to discover before the Q4 2012 release.