As pointed out already, you don't need the patches for the vanilla game to install the expansions, since they're included in the expansions, but you'll want to download the latest patches for the last expansion.
Until you buy the expansions, I'd at least highly recommend d/l'ing the v1.4 patch. Without at least 1.3, the game is all but unplayable; with 1.3 or 1.4 it's "playable but buggy", and it at least makes for half of a great game in most cases, until/unless it goes off into "fantasyland".
If it's any indication, look at the DH AAR section. You'll find next to now DH WWI AARs, very few DH WWII AARs but lots of DH AARs with Kaiserreich mod.
Look at HOI3 on the other hand, there is WWI Mod subforum but I am pretty sure nothing will come out of there. In HOI3, you will never be able to play WWI mod because HOI3 failed in terms of mods. But there are many people that are working to improve DH 1914 scenario. DH Devs also said that 1914 scenario is being heavily reworked for 1.3 patch.
How long is HOI2 out? ... And AoD/IC/DH modders could "update" somehow, while with the clausewitz engine you have to do things just different and learn much anew.
There're of course features in AoD that I would kike to have in HOI3 etc. but after all, honestly, after playing HOI3 with FTM and Mods, I can't go back to the Europa Engine based games..
Even if they have such features as the Eisbrecher-Mod for AoD/IC..
So I also prefer maybe a HOI3 with lesser or even "buggy" but still entertaining scenarios with the clausewitz engine..
Game Developer East vs. West: - Lua AI / Political -
AHOI-Mod - A Hearts of Iron 3 "Treasure Chest": Soon: Play WW-I up to the Cold War
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HOI3 couldn't be compared to HOI2-DH in terms of mods. In the past, the argument against it was that "hey wait, the game is quite new and mods will flourish soon" but nothing flourished out of HOI3, and it became three years now.
I like old and great HOI2 mods so much, and especially hate one-country based DLCs. Just one more reason to stick with HOI2 and to wait for HOI4.
FTM 3.05 may be bug free, DH Vanilla for WWII is also quite bug-free but the main issue is not being bug-free. It is the number of good mods, gameplay experience, amount of micromanagement, historical plausability, post-war events ( and Cold-War HOI3 mod ? , of course not ), and many other things. In HOI3, if you want to play with USSR, you have two choices : either spend hundreds of hours to manage your army or leave your army to stupid AI and watch your game like watching a TV.
maybe you should inform yourself first. most active mods are waiting for the 3.06 patch which will be released soon. also, the sub forum mods are only a very small portion of the available mods. the mod forum has even become more active over the last months again. sorry, but you have clearly no idea neither about the game nor the available mods...
come back when you have played the game and the major mods for a while.
It is like a child's dream to expect that mods will flourish suddenly after the release of 3.06 Anyway, I don't want to continue this debate. I will check mods section again after the release of 3.06. If I see "major" mods there, I will come here and apologize from you. I don't expect the same thing from you.
vorwärts panzers (together with dies irea), AHOI-Mod (never tried it but it is ftm compatible as far as i know), realistic unit progression mod, deo vindice, Waffen-SS for dies irea... and those are only the bigger mods you can find within seconds.
additionally countless smaller mods are available so you can apologize right away.
finest hour also looks very promising and the WW1 mod is not entirely dead apparently.
At one point, there was a lot of speculation going in in HPP (and probably in all of the other mod sub-forums) about a couple of features that might be included in the next patch, and work on the mod was being done with the expectation that a lot would change one way or the other, depending on this or that feature. It takes a LOT of dedication to do work that you suspect may be obsoleted in another few weeks, and some (like ICE) understandably decided to wait until the changes are made before putting all kinds of effort into it in the hopes that it will be compatible.
Are any further patches in the pipeline?
Three working mods for HoI3 FTM alone and DH has one or two. Awesome.
Anyway, as long as the one thing which makes DH different than other HoI versions doesn't work properly, it's not worth playing.
Have to say im surprised to see this question being asked in March 2012... YES, the game and the two expansions Semper Fi and For the Motherland is stable and "playable" of course!
HOI3 with the two expansions is a better game than HOI2 (with expansions) is. There is several reasons why HOI3 is a better game. A map with more provinces is one of the reasons. But also the diplomatic and spy system is better.
There are some great mods for HOI3 out there, just take a look AND TRY THEM!
The Random Scenario Generator Mod is a really great and fun mod. Try it!
Logistics is the ball and chain of armored warfare - Heinz Guderian
I've got Semper Fi and FtM now, and downloaded the latest patch, so should be good to go.
Any idea when the 3.06 patch is going to be released then? I don't want to start up a new campaign then find that 3.06 is out the next week, lol.