• Crusader Kings III Available Now!

    The realm rejoices as Paradox Interactive announces the launch of Crusader Kings III, the latest entry in the publisher’s grand strategy role-playing game franchise. Advisors may now jockey for positions of influence and adversaries should save their schemes for another day, because on this day Crusader Kings III can be purchased on Steam, the Paradox Store, and other major online retailers.


    Real Strategy Requires Cunning
Part One: PTM's Inferno

TheButterflyComposer

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'Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye...'

'....Before me things create were
none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.'

-Dante Alighieri, Inferno


This is the story of a man named Ged.
This is the story of a family named Ned.
This is a story about the kingdom they led.

Tred lightly, dear listener. Dark times lurk ahead.
 
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Wraith11B

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Aaaaand... subbed.

Also, first! Can't wait.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Aaaaand... subbed.

Also, first! Can't wait.
I wrote this as the game downloaded so Ged is only just now being created to be destroyed.

Pity Ged.
 
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Bullfilter

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We‘ll see how this transpires.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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We‘ll see how this transpires.
Good to have you along.

You know you're off to a good start when everyone agrees the best description for your character is 'adequate'.
 
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Alright, I giggled :)
 
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El Pip

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You really do have no willpower on this sort of thing do you TBC?

Good luck finding, and surviving, the launch day bugs.
 
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Nikolai

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Such a fun introduction. :)
 

TheButterflyComposer

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Oh, this looks like it's going to be fun.

Following :)
Sadistic much?

Alright, I giggled :)
My readers are monsters. This should be of more concern than it is...

You really do have no willpower on this sort of thing do you TBC?

Good luck finding, and surviving, the launch day bugs.
Apparentky not. And who knows what we shall find?

Such a fun introduction. :)
It's all downhill from here.
 

TheButterflyComposer

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I do hope that every line
Is indeed going to be a rhyme
Though I suppose that would be pretty hard
So I guess im just gonna sub-ard.
I don't think it would be appreciated after two updates or so. Very few can get away with Dr Seus impressions aside from Dr Seuss. Thanks for dropping by though!

The madness should be begining tonight sometime, depending on internet speeds...
 
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nuclearslurpee

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Don't mind me, just subscribing while I can to see what happens when a dark lord of the S.I.T.H. meets a release-day Paradox game. :p
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Don't mind me, just subscribing while I can to see what happens when a dark lord of the S.I.T.H. meets a release-day Paradox game. :p
Reflect on the title, I suppose.

This really takes me back to my beginnings with Empire of Albion. I hope I haven't suceeded in making a great teaser only to fall flat on execution (the Poltergeist 2 problem, or for younger fans Dead Rising).
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Wow this is a strikingly cool teaser
I will follow
It turns out I wasn't wrong to premept CK3 being an existentialist nightmare. I have enough material for a few updates now so...stay tuned.

Seriously chaps, you will not believe how oddly, possibly unintentionally dark the tutorial is for this game.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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The Bad Beginning

Crusader Kings carries a…certain perception on the internet. It has Reddit rep, and 4chan cred, for being one of the greatest enablers of humanity’s darkest desires, matched in potential malice only by The Sims.

Paradox knows this. Paradox sees all, at least when it comes to marketing. So, whomever they got to write this tutorial worked to a fairly simple brief:
  • Introduce players to core game-play concepts (but not the ones we will add in later for money).
  • Walk the player through a typical start-up for a minor realm on noob Ireland (as dictated by Swedish law and forum custom).
  • Feed the nihilists a taste of the hunger that will never be sated.
In this, they exceeded expectations.


Your actions have damned Ged

This poor wretch is the tutorial character for the game, and thus doomed to an eternity of mistakes and ‘mistakes’ from stupid and sadistic new players. His name used to be Murchad mac Donnchad. But to truly encapsulate how fucked this guy is, I’m christening him Ged of House Ned. Not that you can customise characters or dynasties yet because heaven forbid Paradox transfer that in from the old game without three years development and thirty pounds of expansion.

So, we’ll all have to pretend. Now I understand some readers may think I am overstating the grimdark nature of Crusader Kings III. The Paradox Tutorial Maker (PTM) swiftly puts these thoughts to bed. After loading up the game and being treated to some truly beautiful watercolour paintings of knights and castles, backed by happy flutes and harp music, the game froze and screamed as soon as the map loaded, clearly and deliberately highlighting the eldritch horror I was about to unleash.

In fact, Paradox were so concerned to get this message across that it happened twice more before the map deigned to fully load and permit me entrance to the Nightmare. Such commitment to an overarching vision must be applauded.

Of course, I do dare imagine some of you might unworthily be suspecting this to be a bug not a feature. To these people, I present the first text you receive upon starting PTM’s vision:


The only way to win is not to play

This is marvellous stuff. PTM is very upfront about how your game world is screwed now you have begun, and it’s all your fault. ‘Victory’, however you personally define it, will ultimately prove meaningless and futile against the vast eons of spacetime.

“I am doomed!” announces PTM happily, “and so are you, pilgrim.”


Marvel at your command over the camera. Struggle as you try to frame the perfect screenshot.
Curse the bastard who decided to make the text boxes glow

Ged is also present, forced to watch frozen at the bottom of the screen as we learn to work the map movement functions (such earth-shattering concepts as WASD for movement and mouse scrolling for zooming). This may be disturbing, but it concerns another core aspect of the game world you are now minor deity of.


Gaze Upon Ye Mighty...

The Map is beautiful. The People are small.

CK3 spans generations. These characters are tools, playthings of your whims and fantasies. It’s the Map, the Realm that is important. It is the kingdom that will weather the centuries, not Ged. Certainly not Ged. If it comes down to it, throw Ged to the badgers for the good of the realm. So long as he has babies to assimilate and possess, of course.

PTM is, outside of competently demonstrating the Nightmare for the new player, a bit of a prick.


You did that. You! You!

This could of course be Paradox again demonstrating their unique perspective on their customer base as small, easily distracted and satisfied children. I don’t know. Then again, the fact I’m writing this thing indicates the strategy worked, so I can only bow to their superiority once again.

The theory that all this up to now was entirely for establishing the tone of existential dread and futility in a dark universe is seemingly confirmed by the next text box, happily exclaiming: “Now let’s talk about the game!”


It took 15 minutes for the tutorial to bring up the game

And by game, they mean the map again, because taking beautiful screenshots was most assuredly on the dev teams top ten list.


Bravo, Barrisimo! Look at the mythical sea-serpents trying to make the seas interesting.
Cos heaven forbid they put naval combat in

Down closer to the ground, the game map is terrain-focused and counties are now split into their constituent parts visually. You may be thinking that this, unless carefully defended against by excellent AI, will render most wars pathetically easy as Players can direct all their attention to just county capitals and ignore the rest of the holdings entirely now.


oops

…you would be right, but more on that in a later update.


Your value is in the blood, mostly. Born a talent-less hack, and by God, dying a talent-less husk.
He's also really good at fighting in the woods

We return finally to Ged, and his pathetically small realm of Munster. He has relatively few skills, and a bizarre combination of traits. He is apparently both impatient, wrathful and temperate (in what, the game leaves to our imagination).


Who knows which ones will be buffed three months from now?

To support and enhance his and other PC skills, you pick a lifestyle choice. Guess which one PTM wants you to pick, you budding sociopath, you?


wooh, despotism!

Finally, Ged gets some autonomy back. He gets to take his first wobbly steps under the new regime. This is a critical moment for him, that signifies the beginning, a re-birth of his life under our direct control. PTM of course, knows how to kick a man when he’s down.


You start off with 1000 gold. An absurd amount of dosh

It turns out Ged is unloved, and untalented. But he is rich, and thus can buy happiness and affection with money. PTM gives some guff in the same pitch about ‘some things being beyond what money can buy’ but this is why they are going to Hell for lying. For, as all CK2 veterans know, prestige and piety can easily be got through war and building. Guess what pays for both of those things?

It may be pre-capitalist feudalism, but capital is still the golden idol around which the game-play bows down and worships.

And now, so does Ged.


'Try...sending a bribe to your son?'
For no reason either, he's not landed or anything. You're just pissing this money away

Once a happy family man, PTM has taken that away so the Player can give it back with a nice big bag of fiscally indistinct coinage. Apparently, Ged’s son hates him enough to take his money, but is cheap enough that fifty quid makes it all better. I do hope nothing…terrible happens to him.


Take it then, you miserable sack of penguin excrement. No man who copies his own father's beard can be trusted

To complete the fall into the pool of woe, or rather, force Ged’s head under one more time, PTM chimes in again with a helpful bit of bleak cynicism on human inter-personal relations:


-by bribing your own offspring, you have temporarily made him hate you less!
Love might be corrupting, but it isn't cheap

So, what have we learnt thus far?

Well:
  • Ged is doomed, obviously.
  • Maps are pretty awesome. I mean, come on! Look at those maps!
  • Paradox knows their audience better than I know when to stop.
  • Death is certain.
Next Time, Ged enters the wonderful world of wedded life! Only to be told love is a lie, and happiness is cheap. Till then, venerable readers, goodnight, and sleep well.
 
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stnylan

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Personally I find it a bit ironic when they say there is no one way to play, but all there hints and tips seem to force you to play the game in a particular way :)
 
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Specialist290

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Well, no one's died just yet (unless we count the death of Ged's autonomy and dignity, dooming him to a meaningless existence as a puppet for the whims of his puppetmaster -- but he's still breathing, anyway). I guess that means we're off to a bit of a slow start, as far as Crusader Kings goes.
 
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TheButterflyComposer

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Personally I find it a bit ironic when they say there is no one way to play, but all there hints and tips seem to force you to play the game in a particular way :)
Well, no one's died just yet (unless we count the death of Ged's autonomy and dignity, dooming him to a meaningless existence as a puppet for the whims of his puppetmaster -- but he's still breathing, anyway). I guess that means we're off to a bit of a slow start, as far as Crusader Kings goes.
It is a tutorial, to answer both. The Paradox (heh) of walking someone through such a dense choice driven game is answered (sort of) by just taking away choice whenever it comes up, or heavily railroading it. So far I haven't seen much that would actually damage someone's time with ck (at least, CKII) aside from randomly bribing the useless unlanded heir for no reason and later on insisting that there's no reason to buy county improvements and buildings. Bribery could have been taught better, especially as there is a council system in the game and it's similar to the conclave expansion so bribing, hooking (favours and blackmail) and other stuff to influence voting and taxes could have been brought up there.

But yes, Ged is alive, sort of, and so far the word that thing that's happened to him I suspect finding out how shallow his son and heir is. But the road to Hell is long and treacherous. There's still the rest of PTM's gambit to run, then my own control of the Nightmare begins.

Such fun!
 
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