So after playing M2 for a bit I decided to come back to Empire. Man these games are night and day, but I think I'm adjusting well. I chose Prussia, and boy is it difficult. I would make a ton of money with trades and such the first couple of turns, but as soon as I start taking over states, I start losing all of that. So the hard part is being able to defend myself once I start expanding while having no money to recruit new units.
I started by attacking Saxony, which drew me in with Poland. Now... 7 or 8 turns in... Poland only has one more territory left for me to conquer and they are gone (furthest one south). The key to this is also to try and get Great Britain as an ally. Doing this means it's harder for Austria to go to war with you, and essentially it removes one of your fronts from crucial attention, and allows focus elsewhere. I was ONLY able to accomplish this after researching 2 military techs, and offering those along with the alliance.
Next step when I get home today will be to take that one last Polish state and Courland at the same time. Courland's only diplomatic attachment is as a protectorate under Poland. Removing them both at the same time removes any opportunity for Courland to re-align itself with another nation.
Yeah, definitely can be difficult as Prussia. All those small states are difficult to take because they always have a bit guy allied with them. And if you get into war with Austria and Pol/Lith at the same time things can become very hairy very fast.
Also, when you go to war make sure nobody is pirating your trade lanes, that is always my biggest issue and mostly why I have a navy at all. Also, make sure Great Britain is always your friend and trade partner, no matter what you have to do.
- New strategy map balance
Growing settlements is now a lot harder for both the player and the AI!
Although it's easy to get minor cities and fortresses, getting your settlements higher will be a struggle - and you won't be able to capture a lot of godly developed cities since the AI will be experiencing the same issue!
Citadels and Huge Cities are VERY rare now.
The whole system stands on a base of 50 auto-games which went above turn 200!
- Faith wars
Rebalanced the usage of priests for the AI. Now, the AI factions will work more on spreading their faith outside their borders.
BEWARE! as heretics and witches got seriously buffed in both their piety and spawn chance, both the player and the AI will have to work in order to stop heresy at their lands.
Religious unrest is more severe, so maintaining high faith levels is something a lot more important now.
Better get assassins for heretics labelled as prophet's....
- New and rebalanced Faction Leader traits
Faction Leader traits are now a lot more important!
- New buildings & rebalancements
Public Gallows, Bakehouse, Stonemasons hut, Logging camps and the third level of caravan stops these are the new buildings.
Their unique abilities will help you develop your cities nicely!
- The Antipope
With the excommunication of HRE or France, their faction gets an Antipope - a priest who made a claim to be the Pope and is supported by a large faction in the church.
The Antipope is a godly buffed priest, who helps mostly in battling the inquisitors.
Station your Antipope(or any priest with piety more then 7) next to an inquisitor, and the next turn his piety will drop.
This will help your generals survive and inquisitor onslaught!
- Economic script updates
The economy script which tried to make the AI spend their money reasonably has gotten upgraded.
The AI will surely field a lot less troops if he cannot afford such!
- Guild System Overhaul
Guilds have been completely reworked.
Both the bonuses of the guilds were changed, as well as the points accumulation system.
Be sure to check what every guild can offer!
Chapter houses have been dropped from the guilds system - they can now be built in only specific locations on the campaign map, but these Templars or Hospitallers can really pack a punch!
- New Setup
The setup for SS has been completely reworked.
It allows for a lot more freedom for any modder, as well as supports using translations.
The setup already houses the translations for German and Spanish version!
- New UI's by cedric37!
Brilliant UI's by master cedric37 have made their way to the SS!
- New textures by Baraban
Baraban has kindly provided new unit models and textures for some of the SS units!
The battlemap is now a nicer place
- Teutonic Hilltop settlements added!
The hilltop settlement structure for the northern european settlements has been implemented into SS!
- Warman222's new death animations added!
- Hotseat compatibility
SS was fully reviewed in terms of hotseat compatibility and smoother when it comes to hotseat campaigns.
Added stake sound when deploying stakes.
Bulgarian names fixed.
Russian names in Galway fixed. [early/late]
Pre-battle one liner speeches fixed.
Wise Admin/Greedy ruler fix. [early/late]
Trebuchet+Catapult Smoke fix.
Imams and Pagan priests getting bishop title fixed.
Bonus movement hotseat bug fixed.
Sicily trait fix.
Infamous gui CTD bug fixed.
Slave merchants now have some movement points so you can't kill them accidentally.
Title stripping and faction killer traits now work correctly.
Old pagan priests portraits added.
Jihad video added.
New mongol/cuman cards added.
Timurid script overhaul.
Generals are now recruitable in higher level castles.
Merchant old age trait remade. [not so hardcore anymore]
Added newt's fix as 'DisableRR' option.
UI cards tweaks.
Devastation bug removed.
+ all reported bugs were removed
Well, there it is. While 6.3 was packed with features, 6.4 is a more of a "balance, upgrade, fix bug and re-think" patch.
CTD's should be just incredibly rare with this patch if it's installed right, as just a hint, in over 100 auto-games which used these files i have not gotten one CTD, and i used the base version with permanent watchtowers, savage AI and permanent arrows.
Most importantly, the campaign map is now balanced in a lot nicer way. Although it is not hard to maintain your faction, growing and developing your settlements is harder.