On Tuesday the Republic DLC was released for Crusader Kings II. Not being able to play as one of the doges of the historic and influential merchant republics such as Venice, the Hansa, and Novgorod was one of the features that many CKII fans thought was a very disappointing omission from the core game, but if you think about it, it would require a fair amount of new systems to effectively implement a decent simulation of ruling a merchant republic - for one thing, the vanilla game doesn't even feature trade, all your income is from taxation. So like when Paradox released the DLC that allowed players to lead Muslim dynasties and developed new systems in order to make the experience meaningful, historical, and unique, they have done the same with the republics. I've experimented with a couple of games as part of a republic, first as a lower patrician and second as serene doge of Venice. It definitely creates a unique experience, and some of the systems seems really cool, but I can't help but wonder if it's actually a substantial enough addition to the game to justify the £8/$? price-point. Also there are some frustrating omissions; for example, the only republics that exist in the game are those that have already been founded i.e. the historical ones - although Novgorod's republic status has seemingly been revoked. Players cannot establish their own republics, which I think is a massive shame; I'd love to create an Islamic merchant republic in the Levant, for example. Will have to play some more before I have a more substantive opinion on the DLC, but for now I would advise caution. Has anyone spent time with the new DLC?
Also to coincide with the new DLC, Paradox has updated the game to version 1.09, with many minor and more substantial changes to the game. Probably the largest, and most controversial, change is that stewardship is now far less important a character stat, as max. demesne size has been reduced across the board, especially for dukes, and max. demesne size is now affected by 15% of stewardship skill, down from 25%. It generally seems that leaders will now have smaller max. demesne problems - although a nice new feature is that dukes who control multiple duchies now receive +1 to max. demesne. As someone who focused on stewardship as my #1 priority when raising children and picking wives, this is a pretty major development, but I need to spend more time with the game to determine how big of an impact it will have. It's possible that diplomacy might now be the stat most worth focusing on. Other changes include more mercenary bands for cultures that previously lacked them, two new forms of succession (ultimogeniture and tanistry), a new starting bookmark "1241 - the Mongols", and the prestige effects of a rank difference in marriage has been increased five-fold. Is anyone tempted to jump back in and see what's new, or have you already been playing - if so what do you think of the changes? I'm ever so slightly worried that they're going to tinker with the game when it didn't need fixing, and many on the Paradox forums are complaining that they haven't nerfed the Fatimid Egyptians or the Byzantine Empire. I'm also worried that whatever state the game is in when EUIV comes out is the condition it's going to be in forever, and the only way to change it will be through mods. It's still an amazing experience, but I'm just a little bit sceptical. Wondered if anyone else had thoughts about this.
Full patch notes courtesy of CKII Wiki click here.