What are old CK2 veterans' opinion of CK3?

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DanielPrates

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Well.... what the title says.

Took a decade or so to perfect CK2, but it paid off: it is now one of the most complex and interesting games ever. It was a long process though. Buy every year or so a new fantastic improvement would come. It was a real joy to follow it.

When CK3 was announced I thought "well, as long as they keep and build upon what already exists, instead of just doing a makeover of the vanilla features and start ALL OVER AGAIN with vikings one year, judaism the next year, india the next year... " It seems that it is happening just like that though, so that put me off. I bought it, fiddled a bit but could not reaaly force myself to go past the sueface. My plan is (or was) to wait for a few years' dlcs to let it grow more, otherwise it feels it does not compete with fully developed ck2.

But maybe I am being too hard? I was about to start another run with CK2 and decided to first stop by and ask: ARE YE FELLOW OLDTIMERS OF CK2 ENJOYNG CK3?
 
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Cymsdale

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I think you are forgetting how barren CK2 was when it first came out. CK3 is not nearly in the same state. I mean, what exactly is missing from a India playthrough in the current version of CK3 that you would have got when Rajas of India came out? A mostly useless caste system? That's about all I can think of.
 
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DanielPrates

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I think you are forgetting how barren CK2 was when it first came out.

No I am not. I am humbly asking, if anyone is kind enought to answer in a friendly way, if they are finding it rewarding to play CK3 in its infancy, compared to fully developed CK2, and if so why.
 
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WJS

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Yes!

If we compare basic CK3 to basic (no DLC) CK2, the game is much, much better. Yes, the depth of the content in CK3 is less than the depth in fully-decked-out CK2, but there have still been many improvements to things like the interface and understanding one's standing with respect to neighbors that you couldn't really patch CK2 to emulate.

And they did, in large part, keep what already existed. You've still got all the religions and cultures. You've still got the whole area--even more of Africa and India, even! It's important to remember that these things did not exist at all in the base game. They did keep and expand on it.

A number of the features we don't have in CK3 were always problematic at best in CK2: Nomadic overpower, the spam of marriage proposals from the steppes, the finicky nature of merchant republics. Some items like secret societies had devolved less from extra flavor into things you game for extra power. We don't need extra things to game for extra power. Bloodlines have been improved upon with the Renown system. We even have cadet branches now.

I, for one, am satisfied and looking forward to continuing to grow with the game.
 
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A. Blackthorn

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Well, I'm very happy with a a lot of things that CK3 has in contrast with CK2, just as cool dynasty shields or a dynamic house branches generator. As the other companions pointed above, is true that CK2 in his late stages was a very enjoyable game with a lot of unique features, but CK3 is simply awesome only being "vanilla". I can't imagine how could be this game with DLCs and flavour packs embellising and enhancing roleplaying, medieval aesthetics, religions & cultures.
 
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MatthewP

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It’s very shallow by comparison, there’s just not as much to do without all the dlc content. If you’re not bored if ck2 I think it’s still a better game with all the dlc.

But there is potential, and I’m enjoying playing on the new patch more. Warfare was broken on release (teleporting invincible men at arms) but that has been improved, now I’m not sure it’s any worse than ck2 in that regard. I think the combat system is actually more interesting and fun than ck2 when it’s somewhere close to balanced.

Skill trees are fun at first, but IMO the replayability is worse since there’s no randomness or interaction with the game determining what you get.

vassals are not important enough. There are a ton of tools to interact with them, which is cool, but the only reason to care is rebellions. Loyal vassals will give you tiny amounts of money and levies, which are useless in the new combat system. I think this will be fleshed out at some point with a conclave-like expansion and then all the new tools will be really neat.

tl:dr it’s not a bad game. There’s a bunch of stuff that’s fun to do once or a couple of times even as a ck2 veteran. And it seems to have a solid foundation and be making positive changes. It’s worth a try, but it also wouldn’t be crazy to wait for a couple more updates.
 
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sreckom92

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I've played CK2 from the release day. I suppose that makes me a veteran. :D
CK3 is rather barebones. It lacks flavour, as well as many features from the previous game.
It does however have many gameplay systems that are a huge upgrade. Game is much more accessible and it's performance is far better.

Right now, I'd rather open up CK2 than CK3.
That doesn't mean I'm disappointed with the new game. I eagerly await new content, which will (hopefully) prop up CK3 far above CK2.
 
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Murray Rothbard

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I enjoy the new dynasty mechanics. I don't enjoy the bugs and the general gaminess of it. It feels like a game designed for consoles. The flashy and uninformative UI, the general streamlining (simplification) of many features, the absurd ahistorical content like Vikings being supergods in battle... it just feels silly. If you don't take it too seriously it can be fun.
 
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I think the combat system is actually more interesting and fun than ck2 when it’s somewhere close to balanced.
This is definitely a big upgrade. Before, yes, there were all sorts of little details you could fuss over in order to get a balance of troops you wanted, but at the end of the day, you were far better off just thinking "more troops better" and ignoring the wealth of detail to get just the right tactic, which only had a percent chance of firing anyway.

Now, there may be fewer details, but they actually matter and you can more easily wrap your mind around them. You can look at your opponent's composition and decide whether it's good enough or you need something more.
 
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Tiax

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I would say that CK2 at launch was buggier than CK3, and that CK3 shows more potential - it has more extensible systems, more room for content, and a generally stronger base to build from. However, CK3 also has its own weaknesses. Many of the new systems are, frankly, terrible in their current state. Game balance is awful. AI is worse than it was in CK2. The result is a gameplay experience that is often frustrating, and that has a tendency to overshadow the bright spots of the new mechanics.

Many seemingly-cool new systems turn out to be mere facades when you've played with them a bit. Take fervor as an example. In the original Dev Diary, we were told:

While Fervor has a slow ticking increase over time, it is primarily influenced by the virtuousness or sinfulness of that Faith’s leaders. Virtuous priests can inspire a populace and rally the people behind themselves, while sinful ones (especially religious heads) can cause massive scandals that damage the faithful’s trust in their religious institutions.

However, the way it actually works is that fervor is not influenced at all by the virtuousness of sinfulness of your priests - the change is determined based on the faith's size, and then a random priest with the appropriate attributes is picked to fill in the event. When you first start playing, you see an event pop up saying that your court bishop is sinful and your faith lost fervor and you think, "Oh that's cool - I'll have to be more careful about who my court bishop is so that I can keep my religion's fervor higher!" But it's all smoke and mirrors - you actually can't influence any of it.

Or consider the new viking adventurer system. When you first start playing, you see a new viking realm pop up in Ireland, and then one in northern France, and you think "Oh that's cool - the Vikings are behaving much more realistically!" But then you realize it's hard coded to attack the same region over and over again until it succeeds, before moving on to the next one down the list. So if you're playing in Ireland, you'll be defending against a new viking invasion every 5 years for the entire viking era, while France never sees a single one.

My worry is that most of these systems are just going to be left how they are, and Paradox will continue to pile on more paper-thin new systems on top of them. The results will look nice when you first encounter them, but will quickly fall apart into frustrating garbage.
 
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Not really.

I have begun a whole lot of campaigns only to end them sometime between the 2nd and 5th generation because once you get over the visuals, which are stunning, the game starts feeling very repetitive and shallow. It simply lacks the soul its predecessor had and there are so many things that feels "off" about it, but the game certainly has potential.

I would wait at least another year if I were you, or at least until they're selling it at a discount.
 
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CK3 is a wide sandbox where most everywhere plays mostly the same. It sacrifices a lot of the roleplaying potential from CK2 in order to facilitate smoother conquests, and encourages expansion as the central mechanic that all other elements of gameplay support. It's an arcade warfare experience.
 
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Ezumiyr

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I think I qualify as a CK2 veterain since I played it almost since release, with close to 3000 hours played.

For me, CK2 really showed its weaknesses in the last years. The trait system didn't achieve to model character personalities, most cultures felt the same, most religions too. A lot of game mechanics were just about stacking the best modifiers (artifacts, secret societies). Managing your realm was very straightforward, and you just aimed for primo as soon as you could.

When CK3 was released it solved all those issues and I've never looked back.
Honestly I have trouble understanding how one would think CK2 is deeper than CK3. It objectively isn't. Just because there's more "stuff" doesn't make it deeper or more complex. CK3 does a much better job at portraying the diversity of the era. CK2 was not only just as repetitive, it was also more linear, easier and more ahistorical (let's just mention secret societies and especially secret religions).

I believe that this is just a case of nostalgia. Now of course there are a few things from CK2 we could use in CK3 (such as interactions with off-maps "actors" like China, or disease mechanics). But overall, CK3 is an upgrade with close to no downsides. Characters are better (better traits, lifestyles, decisions, stress system...). Realm management is better (more granular, dependent on cultural and technological advancement...). The combat system is at least clearer, and it doesn't boil down to using the best levy in the game. Yeah sure it's not realistic to be able to raise your army from any point of your big empire, and the ally AI isn't the best. But if you're playing CK for its combat system, maybe that's the issue... and it's not like CK2's system was better.

I would love to hear actual arguments from people who think CK2 is better than CK3, and not just a list of the features with shiny names that we had in CK2 but that no "veteran" in their right mind would consider missing. I think the worst thing I've read in this thread is how CK2 is supposed to be better for roleplay. It's like saying that Skyrim is better than D&D for roleplay... you can have fun with it, sure, but in the end it's just about stacking everything without having to make choices. Or maybe you're defining roleplaying precisely as the ability to play as an optimized character that can achieve whatever you want in every generation.
Personally, I never had to make choices based on the personality of my ruler in CK2 and I'm glad I can do it in CK3.

Overall I feel like some CK2 players are being extremely unfair with CK3, and I'm very surprised by the amoung of people who judge both games by their warfare system. IMO you don't play CK for warfare, you play it because it's a dynasty manager. And there's no way CK2 can be considered a better dynasty manager than CK3.
 
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Rubidium

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It feels shallower in a lot of ways, and I don't just mean lacking events. Pretty much every character feels exactly the same, with the only real differences being "are you a monogamous faith or not" (in which case you will have fewer wives/consorts) and are you tribal or not (with an edge case for folks who are feudal but unreformed, who get the best of both worlds).

You know how it was a complaint in CK2 that all the non-Norse pagans felt the same (especially pre-Holy Fury)? Now everyone gets that experience. Part of it is the difference between DLCs focused on flavor in various religions, but part of it is that the religion mechanic essentially pigeonholes all religions into the same system. For all their very real problems, decadence or the caste system made playing as a Muslim or as a Hindu involve different mechanics from each other, or from a Christian or a pagan. In CK3, you don't really have any of those specific mechanics; everyone plays more or less the same, with maybe a few quirks like "executions give piety instead of costing it." Because every religion is essentially a box of checkmarks (how incestuous can you get, how many folks can you marry, etc.), it's actually harder to make them feel unique, despite the much more elaborate religion system. It also doesn't help that they got rid of the "send/request missionary" feature from CK2, so there is now no peaceful way to spread your religion (which means 867 Scandinavia will remain Asatru for all time unless it is physically conquered, sending raiders out until 1453), but that's a broader issue of the game being surprisingly lacking in ways to interact with other characters besides sex or violence.

I'm not a fan of the map or map-mode decisions at all. The decision to make baronies be on the map seems like it should be a plus, but what it really means is that it can be hard to tell where the county boundaries are (and this matters, especially with the new attrition system) and where you still need to siege to occupy a county. And the lack of certain map-modes is frankly baffling. Don't get me started about the message or notification systems, or the general tendency of the UI to get in its own way.

While I appreciate the intent behind the new Men-at-arms system, and like parts of it, the way in which it renders vassals essentially meaningless is a significant problem. In CK2, outside of retinues, you army was a giant mix of whatever your vassals had available; that made them potentially useful and valuable (especially given that their contribution depended partially on opinion, so an unpopular ruler risked losing most of his military strength). On the other hand, vassal contributions are now tiny (even at high tax/obligation levels) and are strictly levies (which scale poorly once you get any level of size). This means that as long as your vassals aren't actively revolting, you mostly don't care about them, which is surprising given that the design of CK was intended to focus more on characters.

The whole feudal vs. tribal balance is completely out of whack (even before the new DLC there was essentially no reason to ever embrace a reformed religion), but that's a separate issue, and gets to bigger issues with the Norse, in particular, essentially getting everything handed to them for free without any of the drawbacks that CK2 used to try and balance that.

Now, I've focused on the bad so far, so I should probably spend some time on the good. I like the decision to move to a few, more important traits instead of the CK2 system where you stacked all the good traits even as you played a bloodthirsty conqueror. Traits actually matter now beyond a few minor stat boosts, and that's a good thing. The CK2 tactics system was an unholy mess, and I am glad that that is gone, even if I have some quibbles with the side-effects of the new Men-at-Arms/levy system. Also, I may be in the minority, but I've actually grown to like the 3D portraits.
 
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MatthewP

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I think I qualify as a CK2 veterain since I played it almost since release, with close to 3000 hours played.

For me, CK2 really showed its weaknesses in the last years. The trait system didn't achieve to model character personalities, most cultures felt the same, most religions too. A lot of game mechanics were just about stacking the best modifiers (artifacts, secret societies). Managing your realm was very straightforward, and you just aimed for primo as soon as you could.

When CK3 was released it solved all those issues and I've never looked back.
Honestly I have trouble understanding how one would think CK2 is deeper than CK3. It objectively isn't. Just because there's more "stuff" doesn't make it deeper or more complex. CK3 does a much better job at portraying the diversity of the era. CK2 was not only just as repetitive, it was also more linear, easier and more ahistorical (let's just mention secret societies and especially secret religions).

I believe that this is just a case of nostalgia. Now of course there are a few things from CK2 we could use in CK3 (such as interactions with off-maps "actors" like China, or disease mechanics). But overall, CK3 is an upgrade with close to no downsides. Characters are better (better traits, lifestyles, decisions, stress system...). Realm management is better (more granular, dependent on cultural and technological advancement...). The combat system is at least clearer, and it doesn't boil down to using the best levy in the game. Yeah sure it's not realistic to be able to raise your army from any point of your big empire, and the ally AI isn't the best. But if you're playing CK for its combat system, maybe that's the issue... and it's not like CK2's system was better.

I would love to hear actual arguments from people who think CK2 is better than CK3, and not just a list of the features with shiny names that we had in CK2 but that no "veteran" in their right mind would consider missing. I think the worst thing I've read in this thread is how CK2 is supposed to be better for roleplay. It's like saying that Skyrim is better than D&D for roleplay... you can have fun with it, sure, but in the end it's just about stacking everything without having to make choices. Or maybe you're defining roleplaying precisely as the ability to play as an optimized character that can achieve whatever you want in every generation.
Personally, I never had to make choices based on the personality of my ruler in CK2 and I'm glad I can do it in CK3.

Overall I feel like some CK2 players are being extremely unfair with CK3, and I'm very surprised by the amoung of people who judge both games by their warfare system. IMO you don't play CK for warfare, you play it because it's a dynasty manager. And there's no way CK2 can be considered a better dynasty manager than CK3.
I’m not gonna write something this long but I’ll give you some bullet points:

1) vassals matter a lot less because levies are worthless
2) no conclave system, so the only impact vassals ever have is rebelling.
3) speaking of stacking traits: personality traits have been improved, but heritable traits are absurdly easy to get. With minimal effort all your rulers will be geniuses.
4) personal claims are very easy to get and much cheaper to press so the claims game, so central in ck2, isn’t relevant until you’re claiming kingdoms - at which point you’ve already won.
5) societies (not so much cults) were fun and added depth to characters. Artifacts too.
6) the religious depth rubidium just mentioned.

there are definitely more, this is just top of mind. There are also certainly things ck3 does better, and I think in a couple years it will be the better game.
 
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cursorhiker

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A few mechanics stand out for me in CK3: having to play to your ruler's traits, better dynasty interactions, a reason to place your relatives on other thrones (technically this gave you starting prestige in CK2 but it was extremely small), legacies are a much better idea than bloodline stacking, knights are a good way of representing a lord's personal retinue and direct vassals. For me, these bode for a bright future for CK3, especially the first one.
On the downside, huge underpinnings of the game are lacking immensely. The religious system is one of my personal pet peeves, as has been already stated in this thread.
 
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Jaevelklein

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Ck 3 is good, but the gameplay is too similar to Ck 2. Every time I play it, I try to role play to at least some extent, but I always find myself painting the map just 100 years in, even at the more difficult starts. If I hadn't played CK 2 as much as I have, I'd have binge played Ck 3 without problems. But being too good at a game comes at a price. While I liked the first DLC (Northern Lords), and while I think the game is going in the right direction, there's still just not enough "difficulties" or "in-depth content" for me to play for a longer period of time. In that sense I really look forward to where this game is going to be a couple of years from now.
 
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Kumicho

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Played the hell out of CKII (~4k hours, I think?), and since CKIII I haven't opened CKII once. I'd put CKIII somewhere between CKII at launch and now, with *most* of the features from the DLC carried over. You have all (or most) of the features from: The Old Gods, Sword of Islam, Way of Life, Rajas of India and Legacy of Rome. There's also a smattering of features pulled from other DLC (borrowing from your Pope instead of Jews for instance), but notable omissions being Horse Lords and Republics (so no playing as Hordes or Republics).

So while I do have my complaints (say, about how armies are raised right now), and I do miss some of the DLC from CKII that wasn't carried over, overall it's better than CKII in my mind. The UI when dealing with characters is more immersive, and I love some of the new features (countdown for councilor tasks instead of being at the will of the RNG).

My main complaint is that while non-Christian religions were written specifically for CKII, in CKIII they seem sort of shoehorned in to set tenants of the game, and so they all feel somewhat similar. Even reforming your faith and choosing new aspects doesn't feel anywhere near as powerful as those of CKII. Hopefully they get more fleshed out as the game progresses, but overall I really can't complain about anything.
 
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Ck 3 is good, but the gameplay is too similar to Ck 2. Every time I play it, I try to role play to at least some extent, but I always find myself painting the map just 100 years in, even at the more difficult starts. If I hadn't played CK 2 as much as I have, I'd have binge played Ck 3 without problems. But being too good at a game comes at a price. While I liked the first DLC (Northern Lords), and while I think the game is going in the right direction, there's still just not enough "difficulties" or "in-depth content" for me to play for a longer period of time. In that sense I really look forward to where this game is going to be a couple of years from now.
More difficulty would really be nice. I think the game developers put their thumbs on the scale too much in the player's favor. It would be nice if the player could actually get murdered, or didn't always seem to live to a ripe old age. They even ban you from being a knight, so combat is not a danger. A lot of the CK2 fun came from how you suddenly would die out of nowhere without being ready for it and having to deal with the chaos. That's missing from CK3 in a big way.
 
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