One thing Paradox Interactive’s newest game, Victoria 3, undoubtedly has going for it over its predecessor is extreme prettiness. Even its graphs and charts have a certain sparkle to them, especially when compared to the MS Paint pie charts of the second game.
However, when it comes to stats, there’s a lot to be said for function over form. It may be attractive, but perhaps Victoria 3’s UI could present its information more cleanly. When you look at the current all-time most popular mods for the game on the Steam Workshop, it’s obvious that a lot of them are all about turning it back into an information-dense spreadsheet simulator, rich with facts and figures.
For instance, currently at number two on the Steam Workshop there’s Complete Pop List by user Ron Swanson, which makes the pop list tab show the proportions for every pop type in your nation by default, instead of just the main three. Then there’s Seppiya’s Dense Market Details, which condenses all the info on goods to reduce the need for scrolling. Roiu’s Dense Trade Routes Tab does the same thing for – you guessed it – your trade routes.
In the top 12 there’s even a mod called ‘More Spreadsheets‘ which adds a ledger with all sorts of metrics, and enough icons and numbers to make your eyes water. “What would your favourite socio-economic simulator be without spreadsheets?” asks the mod’s creator, inch4t, in its description.
In an attempt to make a more accessible game in Victoria 3, Paradox might’ve missed the fact that the most devoted fans of the series liked the Excel-aesthetic of Vicky 2.