Hearts of Iron 4 DLC Guide

By T.J. Hafer 13 Sep 2019 0

Paradox's grand-strategy wargame Hearts of Iron 4 hasn’t built up as powerful a salvo of DLC as its other squadmates in the Paradox Development Studio roster, but with the release of Man the Guns there’s now enough extra stuff available for purchase that you might want to know which order to attack them in. We’ve called each paid offering to attention to assess their capabilities and see how well they pass muster.

Note on the Expansion Pass:  If you’ve never heard of the Hearts of Iron 4 Expansion Pass before, none of this information is relevant as it’s no longer available for purchase. But if you did get a hold of it back around launch and are curious, every major DLC mentioned in this guide is included with the Expansion Pass up to Man the Guns.

Want to know which DLCs are worth the effort for Europa Universalis IV, Stellaris or Crusader Kings 2? Our sister website Strategy Gamer has you covered!

Together for Victory (2016) - $15 [Purchase] [Review]

toge4

What’s in it?

  • New focus trees for the Commonwealth nations: Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, and the British Raj.
  • Autonomy system allows subject countries to assert their independence over time, and for overlords to integrate subjects more fully.
  • Allows asking for, in addition to offering, lend-lease of equipment.
  • Spearhead command allows your custom battleplans to include more direct, focused assaults.
  • Technology sharing allows less advanced faction members to get discounts on technologies that have already been researched by another faction member.
  • New voiceovers in German, French, Italian, British English, American English, Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Japanese, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and Swedish.
  • 19 new infantry and airplane models for the featured nations.

Is it worth it?

The focus trees for the Commonwealth nations are pretty underwhelming. There are mods available on the Steam workshop for several them that, in my opinion, are more fun to play with than the official DLC ones. How much you’ll enjoy the rest of the grab bag features relies a fair bit on how much you enjoy playing minor nations. Autonomy can be a fun way to go from a subject to an equal partner, but from the overlord side, you’ll rarely have the time or resources to do much with it before the war ends. Spearheads can be a nice time-saver, but also don’t do anything you couldn’t accomplish already by micro-managing your tanks. Honestly, my main reason to recommend it is the new unit models and voice overs, which help add texture and immersion to the war.

Death or Dishonor (2017) - $10 [Purchase] [Review]

Death or Dishonor

What’s in it?

  • New focus trees for four minor European powers: Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.
  • Equipment conversion allows you to re-purpose old or captured equipment (such as refitting older Panzer models into StuGs).
  • Licensing allows you to gain access to another nation’s equipment designs in exchange for industrial capacity, or license your own designs for a profit.
  • New subject types for Fascist nations such as the Reichskommissariat which behave differently from normal puppets.
  • New unit models and voice overs for the featured nations.

Is it worth it?

I think the content designers did an overall better job on the focuses and events in this pack than they did in Together for Victory. From restoring the Austro-Hungarian Empire to dealing with King Carol of Romania’s ongoing antics and shenanigans, I got some of my most entertaining playthroughs trying to scrape by on the mean streets of South-Central Europe. I don’t really find myself using equipment conversion that often, but licensing is great if you’re playing a country with limited research slots and you don’t, for instance, have the luxury of always staying up-to-date in fighter tech. As with Together for Victory, the new unit models and voice overs offer a lot of value for me - but your mileage may vary if you’re the NATO counter type of player.

Waking the Tiger (2018) - $20 [Purchase] [Review]

Tigerwoke

What’s in it?

  • New focus trees for Communist China, Nationalist China, the Chinese Warlords, and the imperial puppet state of Manchukuo.
  • New focus tree branches for two of the major Axis powers: An 'Oppose Hitler' path for Germany that can lead to the restoration of the Kaiserreich or a democratic, constitutional monarchy, as well as democratic and communist paths for Japan.
  • Command Abilities allow generals with certain traits to spend Command Power on temporary, unique buffs to the armies they lead.
  • Expanded Decisions list including the ability to form or reform some anachronistic/ahistorical nations or develop strategic resources in historical areas that did not have them at the start of the war, but were discovered to have them later.
  • Border Conflict mechanic allows certain countries to engage in a limited skirmish over control of a single state without declaring all-out war (Chinese Factions only).
  • Infiltration mechanics allow Chinese communists to subvert local authorities and seize control of states covertly.
  • Power Struggle mechanic allows Chinese factions to compete for national leadership politically, without bloodshed.
  • Troops who remain in a hot or cold area long enough can become acclimatized, gaining modified unit models and reduced penalties for fighting in that climate.
  • Air wings can now be sent as volunteers along with land divisions.
  • New orders give more control over what types of targets strategic bombers prioritize.
  • Sending military attachés allows countries who can’t send volunteers to aid a warring nation and gain some army xp.
  • Allows merging of under-strength divisions.
  • Allows you to set custom unit insignias for each, individual division.
  • Adds a minimap.
  • New unit models for Chinese infantry, cavalry, artillery, and planes.

Is it worth it?

If that feature list seems huge compared to the previous two expansions, that’s because it is. Waking the Tiger is definitely the most value you can get for your money of the currently available Hearts of Iron  4 DLCs. It’s the first expansion that really feels like a Paradox expansion in how much it changes things up. The Chinese focus trees aren’t all great - for instance, a lot of the interesting power struggle stuff for China becomes irrelevant 90 percent of the time since the United Front must either band together or get absolutely demolished by Japan.

Border Conflicts, especially, seem like a rushed feature that doesn’t always behave in logical or predictable ways. The new options for Japan and Germany are a lot of fun, though. The new unit models and Acclimatization system bring even more realism and some unique strategic concerns - you don’t want to train troops you plan to send to North Africa in the mountains of Montana, for example.

Man the Guns (2019) - $20 [Purchase] [Review]

Man the Guns Head

What's in it?

  • New Focus Trees for the US, UK, Mexico & Netherlands, offering a variety of alt-history and in-depth narrative options.
  • New Ship Designer tool allows you to customise your ships by equipping different components to different slots.
  • Ships can now return to a shipyard to refit and upgrade to a newer version.
  • New Government-in-Exile feature allows you to keep playing even when you've lost your core territory.
  • Admirals have now been given traits similar to what was introduced for land generals in Waking the Tiger.
  • You can now deploy mines to sea zones to help defend key water-based territory.
  • New Amphibious equipment in the form of tanks and troop transports have been unlocked for naval invasions & attacking across rivers.
  • You can designate certain ocean territories as 'restricted' or 'off-limits' to your transports, allowing you to customise the route your shipping takes.

Is it worth it?

It's a pretty definitive 'yes', although the caveat is if you typically avoid big naval powers or generally don't play the nations that are getting the most improvements here, then you may struggle to get much out of this. Outside of that though, while it doesn't offer as many features as Waking the Tiger added, these features have a lot more impact and take better advantage of the changes that have come as part of the 1.6 Ironclad update (namely, the addition of Fuel and the overhaul of naval combat mechanics).

Being able to design ships, refit and all of the other little naval goodies completely revolutionises the naval game, where-as the Government-in-Exile mechanic is crucial if you like play nations that typically can get steam-rolled by larger powers. The new focus trees, while a bit complex to navigate, also bring the four targeted nations to up to the same level of flexibility nations like Japan, Germany and the Balkan nations. Overall, this is either tied, or a very close second, in terms of value, and the only real deciding factor is how much you enjoy the naval aspects of WW2.

Miscellaneous DLCs

Colonel Edition Upgrade Pack - $10

What’s in it?

  • Seven new models for heavy cruisers from various Allied and Axis nations.
  • Eight new tank models each for the Soviet Union, United States, Britain, Germany, and France (for a total of 40).

Is it worth it?

47 new models is a lot, but this is purely visual. If you don’t mind your Panzer IIIs and Panzer IVs looking identical (or you play with NATO counters), it’s an easy one to skip.

Sabaton Soundtrack - $3

What’s in it?

  • Five World War II-themed songs from Swedish power metal band Sabaton.

Is it worth it?

If you like Sabaton, sure.

Sabaton Soundtrack Vol 2 - $6

What’s in it?

  • Ten more World War II-themed songs from Swedish power metal band Sabaton

Is it worth it?

If you really like Sabaton.

hoi4dlc2

THE BREAKDOWN

Best New Features:

  1. Waking the Tiger
  2. Man the Guns (could be no.1 if you enjoy naval warfare more)
  3. Together for Victory
  4. Death or Dishonor

Best New Focus Trees:

  1. Waking the Tiger / Man the Guns
  2. Death or Dishonor
  3. Together for Victory

Required for a “Complete Experience”:

  • Germany - Death or Dishonor, Waking the Tiger, Colonel Edition Upgrade Pack
  • Japan - Waking the Tiger, Man the GunsDeath or Dishonor
  • Manchukuo, All Chinese Factions - Waking the Tiger
  • Britain - Man the Guns, Together for Victory, Colonel Edition Upgrade Pack
  • United States Man the Guns, Colonel Edition Upgrade Pack
  • Soviet Union, France - Colonel Edition Upgrade Pack
  • Canada, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, British Raj - Together for Victory, Man the Guns
  • Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia - Death or Dishonor

Make sure you check all our DLC Buying Guides regularly, especially after a major DLC release or around a major sales event. We'll always keep these up-to-date so you're fully informed as to what to buy.

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