Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome Released

Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome was released on the 15th of October, together with Patch 1.07. The big question, why buy and download Legacy of Rome? Is it worth the £4 (6$)? Is it like Sword of Islam? A lot of questions, and we will attempt to tackle all of them.

Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome aims at providing you with an enhanced Orthodox experience. Now when you play as the Byzantine Empire (or any nation following the Orthodox  faith) you will have a few more options, differently looking models for your Council, and in general more things to do if you got bored with the Catholic and Islamic faiths. There are two big scoops of “joy” for you however. One of them is focused around the Byzantine Empire itself, while the other is focused on the things that are added to the game, together with Legacy of Rome. So even if you do not like playing as an Orthodox nation the other additions to the game might greatly appeal to you.

Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome

It’s all a bit sketchy…

What does Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome offer?

Let us first focus on the Byzantine Empire, or rather, your aim when playing as its ruler (or subordinate). You have two “Epic Tasks” that you can attempt to achieve, both in a way inter-connected. Firstly, you can attempt to unify the Christian Faith (under the Orthodox Cross). This involves going on an insane campaign to conquer three crucial religious sites (you usually have the fourth necessary one) and gather enough piety to perform the action. The clear problem is that in order to achieve this objective you have to not only wage an all out war against the Catholic faith, but also Islam. In other words, it’s all out War against everybody, maybe not at the same time, but still. The other task is “reforging” the Roman Empire. Remember Ancient Rome? Although you are not meant to be as big it will involve a lot of Military campaigns, and patience. Why patience? Because you will have to get there first, and that might not be so easy due to the second additions that came together with Legacy of Rome.

So, what is the second scoop? First of all, standing armies. Previously you had Personal and Vassal Levies, now you can also have standing armies. The difference between these armies and Levies is that: 1) You first pay a bulk sum to “buy” them. 2) They cost you gold to upkeep, only if they have to reinforce. 3) You have preset choices as to what type of Standing Army “groups” you can have. 4) They do not disband together with standard Levies (although you can make them disband, and they can be destroyed by enemy armies). Standing armies are a useful boost to your military, even if expensive to a weak economy. The problem with standing armies is their “limit”. The limit of how big a standing army you can have depends on how many regions you control and how developed they are. It will be very hard for you to have a big standing army, but you might as well make sure it is a very good standing army. Another thing which comes together with this are indeed the “groups” you can recruit. Let us say you had an upper “pop” limit of 1,200 for your standing army. With that you could recruit 2 Skirmish Groups (800 archers and 200 Heavy Infantry total, because each 500 man group costs 600 pop) or invest it all in a Cavalry Group (100 Heavy Horsemen and 400 Light Horsemen which costs 1,200 pop). If we bought, let us say, the Cavalry group it would spawn in our capital with 1 soldier, and then proceed to reinforce at a steady pace. While these armies reinforce they cost your extra upkeep but once they are at full strength they cost you almost nothing.

Crusader Kings II: Legacy of Rome

Factions and Standing Armies are only two (among other) things added with Legacy of Rome. Factions can work in your favor (you can form them as well) or against you. Retinues (Standing Armies) are your own paid Armies, and they can tip the balance between victory and defeat.

So, why use Standing Armies? Most likely because you can have a group of 500 specific troops that you need, including Cavalry and Heavy Infantry. Such soldiers are usually very hard to get a hold of, without spending a lot of cash on mercenaries or holding a lot of upgraded castles.

On top of that there is a new Faction system. What this means is that you, as well as other Lords, can now gang-up effectively to take part in, for example, Rebellions, or when forcing a ruler to decrease his Authority, without a Rebellion. Previously you would have a “Plot” or a chance of Rebellion if the Vassals were unhappy. Now you can see when they are grouping together, and preparing to attack. The handy table will also tell you just how outnumbered you are.This is the problem I spoke of when attempting to establish an Empire. Lords might want to form Factions to break away from your Empire, or to fight against you, perhaps install an usurper on the throne. Even though you might be aware of these groups it won’t necessarily give you an edge. On the other hand it is also a handy tool for yourself to use.

One last thing that caught my attention is how Ambitions now work. If your character has a Trait below 8 you can give him an ambition to improve it. He might then have events associated with said ambition, resulting in successfully improving said Trait. Speaking of which, there are also more Commander Traits, so now you have to be even more careful when organising your armies.

Summary

In short summary, Legacy of Rome offers a lot of new things, whether you want to play as an Orthodox nation, or the good ol’ Catholic or Islamic nations. Is it worth the price? I would say so, but just like in the case of Sword of Islam you won’t get any new music tracks or military models, which is a bit of a bummer. You can buy those as separate DLCs if you feel you need the new rhythms and looks. The question now is, what comes next? What aspect of the Medieval Ages was not yet explored? I presume we will see (or hear) very soon.

Rating:8/10
Pros:Standing Armies
Factions (for the better or worse)
New Ambitions
Interesting Orthodox Play
Cons:No Custom military models/music
Doesn't feel as big as Sword of Islam
Game producer's website:Paradox Development Studio
Official website:Crusader Kings II
Game available at:Gamersgate

Alex “WriterX” Bielski

About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

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