So, like I promised, I wanted to expand upon these.
What I like about HoI3:
- style of the counters.
- control over armies/navies/air forces
- chain of command
- technology (sorta)
- logistics (sorta)
- politics (again, sorta)
So, we start with a bit of a graphical enjoyment. I've never been a super big fan of sprites because 1) they certainly don't convey as much information as I'd like and 2) dudes marching on a map is the absolute antithesis of what a grognard like myself wants to do. I want to command the militaries, and so the symbology of doing that to me is important. That said, I do wish sometimes that the counters were a bit... bigger? I've already edited a few of them myself, but I'd want a more reactive set. Getting back to the feeling of command, I enjoy the granularity of how I can command my forces: I like picking the air missions, the naval missions, and where the armies move, where, and the strategic questions they answer. This also gets into the chain of command. I don't mind that HoI4's isn't on the map, but I also like the ability to be able to consider the envelopment of whole armies and army groups (and their associated structures) relatively speaking as it was during the course of the war... brings a bit of the "reality from the ground" home to me. This further feeds me into the logistics: it is one of the major reasons for the failure of all of the Axis powers that they had poor logistics throughout the course of the war, and so while this wasn't implemented in the most obvious or even best way, certainly it's better than how HoI4 portrays it.
Technology and Leadership in HoI3 is another great focus. Paradox was certainly onto something with their options system, but they didn't take it to the appropriate place. This is where the mods like BICE and HPP are great for me: the base ones don't really provide the level of smartness to things. Of course I'm going to research the next level of tank gun, infantry, etc. There's no real decision there, but at least it's better than HoI4's system which is tantamount to oversimplified blegh. The Leadership system is also something I enjoy: budgeting for officer training, diplomacy, intelligence, research... it's awesome. I do wish that it had been taken a step further in that completely ignoring certain bits would result in penalties (ie, gaming the system), such that the funding level had to be within a certain threshold, but, it's better than HoI2 and 4's styles.
Finally, politics. This is one of those things that was fine for the execution of the time: everyone's the same, which causes some wonkiness (there's no armaments minister in the United States... it would have been under the Secretaries of War and the Navy at the time), but I like that there's at least a cabinet, and that you hire and fire people roughly at the pleasure of the head of government (ie, the player), unlike HoI4 where I have to fill out a cabinet at game start?
Absolutely what led to that decision?
What I find taxing about HoI3:
- intelligence (...sorta)
- the convoy war
- foreign relations
- how technology is implemented in the game
- events/decisions/strategic effects
Intelligence... ah one of the silliest implemented ideas in the game. It should have been: select a focus for the nation you're spying on, and as time goes on it will fund certain outcomes (like tech espionage, or covert operations, or political espionage), rather than just list all the options and a level of effort... whatever. I haven't played with LaR in HoI4, so I can't properly compare this, but going off of the Dev Diaries about this, there seems to me like they're bringing quite a bit of the RPG flavors of CK into HoI, which is fine, but not what I'm looking for in a game (this is also the case with the generals and admirals as well).
THE CONVOY WAR. Poorly executed in both games, honestly. There's no feeling like one is in the Battle of the Atlantic. Massive convoys forming up in Boston, New York, Halifax and sailing across the Atlantic, wolf packs hunting, or anything. This ties into the trade functionality (which operates on a daily exchange of resources rather than a discrete amount, but that's for another time), but it doesn't feel... right
Foreign relations are a bit of a bone of contention, because I never played the game before Semper Fi came out, but I feel like this implementation is sorta out of bounds as well. They probably needed to do a better think about how things should play out, but they were working from within their engine's parameters. Technology implementation is described above, but a quick refresher: I shouldn't have to research AA guns for CV,BB,BC,CA,CL,DD,SS etc. The guns were basically all the same for the various levels that were available (ie, the .50cal, 20mm, 40mm, 76mm, 90mm, etc), it was just a matter of how many they could mount and where. Maybe that's what it's supposed to represent, but that doesn't make any sense to me, as nations were literally constantly effing with their air defense systems aboard ships (seriously, read how often US vessels changed their AA arrangements. Basically almost every time they came into port). Or that ship engines are different for every vessel. Or that ONE engine tech affects all aircraft.
Production in HoI3 also bothers me. I much prefer the system as it is in HoI4 where production is broken down into the various streams necessary to build things. I honestly kinda wish that it was likewise for ships (but only slightly, as in building the guns and ancillary equipment to get that sort of decision of things like "Do you build the Scharnhorsts
with the 11" guns you have a production line for now or do you wait for the 15" guns?).
Lastly, the system of events, decisions and strategic effects are just a steaming pile of blegh. They're really rigid in their application (for instance, the Soviet Union wasn't able to trigger the Winter War in my AAR because the war didn't start until 1942... it was out of the bounds of the system to adjust to actions of the player. I don't like that some of the decisions and strategic effects are basically power boosts that aren't necessary, or only encourage massive expansion.
What I like about HoI4:
- production system and unit granularity
- division builder (sorta)
- manpower granularity
- xp relating to doctrine and combat
- expeditionary system/lend-lease
- military exercise system
- political system
I've discussed the production system a bit above, so I won't rehash it. The granularity of ground and air unit construction is great... I actually recommended something similar Waaaaay back in the day (I want to say before HoI4 was actually a thing yet). To the point that I was eyeing how Paradox implemented it and I was giving them a stink eye for it. These all tie into the division builder and manpower and how they made it seem like the player is actually having to recruit millions of men into the military rather than "Oh, my manpower is at 400." (which, what does that even mean?). I like that HoI4 brought in experience not only for the units, but also for the military as a whole. I like that said experience can be used to cheapen doctrinal research (though I feel like it should be a scaling system more so than a flat bonus). I like that it takes said experience to create TO&Es for divisions (though I feel like there could be improvements made in how those come into play). I enjoy that sending kit and men to various conflicts helps the nations that do so to gain said experience, and that there is a military exercise system in place which can raise preparations for the military.
Turning away from that, I like that there's now a representation of the US Congress in HoI4 (and hope that they can bring it forward to the various Parliamentary systems worldwide). Sometimes I feel like they missed the mark in how much freedom some of the leaders have over things in the nation in HoI3, but that the sub-game of trying to ensure that policy decisions are carried out with the will of the holders of the purse strings.
What I don't like about HoI4:
- AI control over the battlefield
- focus trees/decisions system
- government implementation
- logistics being simplified
- chain of command system
The most major downfall for me is the planning system for HoI4 and how the AI is expected to run things. I don't like that the AI shuffles units all over the front. Moving a unit across the entire battlespace happened, I get that, but it certainly didn't happen all that often, and it definitely was more of the case with units that were needed for their operational flexibility (ie, armor, mechanized and motorized divisions, especially on the Eastern Front).
Focus trees... decisions... I get a bit overwhelmed with them to be honest. I also feel like the focus system is kinda "Meh." Turning to trade, I like that it provides an efficiency factor for construction again, but I don't like that its a flat ratio regardless of type. Moving to the government, as I said above, why am I forced to spend time waiting for power to develop in order just to fill out my cabinet? I would understand if it was a matter of having the authority and political power to boot someone or exchange them but the whole companies/government/laws system seems jacked.
The two final points of the logistics system and the chain of command and how they simplified both is... bothersome. I don't feel like I'm in charge of the military the way I do in HoI3. I could go into detail, but it's been done ad nauseam
and so I will stop my rant for now.