Essential Imperator: Rome Mods29 May 2019 0
Time (and tons of DLCs) will tell if Imperator: Rome will soar as high as its eagle standards. Until then, the modding community has not wasted any time in changing the vanilla experience of the game into something with a bit more flavour - or, in the very least, something easier to swallow.
Since Imperator has only been out a few weeks, the depth of field present in the mods workshop is still in its nascent stages. Everyone is waiting for more content and more mechanics to tweak so we'll keep today's list relatively simple and await further developments. We'll eschew our usual categories since the sample size is too small to make neat groupings with significant populations. For now, let's look at some potential gems currently being offered.
As usual - and this is especially important for new players of Paradox titles - let's go over how to mod your game. The vehicle we'll be using is Steam's Workshop which makes adding mods to any Paradox title easy and simple.
HOW TO MOD
Steam Workshop has thankfully made the whole process as easy as clicking the subscribe button on the mod you want and Imperator will automatically download it and add it to its launcher. From there, the player can choose to enable or disable any mod of their choice. As outlined in our CKII Modding Guide, here are some essential tips for modding a Paradox title via Steam for the first time:
- Check if the mod is up to date with the most recent patch for Imperator. Once a new expansion comes out you may have to wait a few days, weeks, or even months for bigger mods, until the mod is updated. Thankfully, Imperator will give you a warning if you're about to load a mod that isn't up to date. Also, each mod will tell you on the side menu if it requires certain DLC.
- Hey, still want to play that favourite mod of yours but Imperator's latest update ruins your save game? You can always roll back your Imperator version to continue your campaign. Check the mod pages on Steam or the Paradox forums on how to do this since it might be different for each mod and version of the game. If all else fails, ask in the comments threads for instructions!
- Check if the mods you've selected are compatible with the other mods you've downloaded. This information is usually found on each mod's page as they usually list which mods they are able to run with.
- Remember that most mods are Ironman-incompatible as they necessarily change balance. If you're achievement hunting, you'll need to find those mods that will tell you on their descriptions that they're Ironman compatible.
- Finally, it may take a while for the Imperator interface to properly load the mod's latest version. Check if you have auto-updates enabled for mods and then, if you're unsure, simply relaunch the Imperator launcher to check if all of the mods are present and up to date.
Rarely, some mods are only found on the Paradox Forums, so head over there to find the instructions on how to install them. However, this may not be applicable to a game as new as Imperator. You can also google search large mod wikis in order to find instructions for installation.
So let's take a look at some of what the modding community has already put forward to enhance the Imperator: Rome experience.
"GLADIO ET STALE" BY RIVTALDM (LINK)
Our first stop is a mod that claims Veritas et Fortitudo of EUIV mod fame as its creative influence. Like many of the overhaul mods for other Paradox games, Gladio et Stale focuses on adding an added dimension to the overall gameplay experience with its keynote stability mechanic. This new mechanic adds a bit more depth to provinces allowing a certain amount of much needed “drama” to be played out in the act of conquering and holding onto provinces. While this may not fundamentally fill the need for greater immersion in the gilded museum known as vanilla Imperator, it is a step in the right direction. With the game being so new, this mod - and its mission statement - will go a long way in establishing one of the first total conversion mods for Imperator.
The mod is not without its drawbacks as it's still in early development and even its centerpiece of a stability system can sometimes feel unwieldy or outright unfair to the player trying to conquer the world. However, it can add a bit more vision to the game which helps to alleviate some of the staleness of vanilla play.
"DIADOCHEN" BY MENKALINAN (LINK)
One of the most interesting and perhaps overlooked periods of ancient history was the period of the Diadochi: the successors of Alexander the Great and the various Hellenic empires they forged after the death of their great leader. It's certainly a great boon that not only is Imperator Rome-centric, but that it includes the opportunity to delve into the drama of these successor kingdoms in the East.
To that end, Diadochen aims to magnify this experience. Instead of a romance of three powerful kingdoms in the vanilla start date, Diadochen aims to rewind the clock to the time when the wars between these successor states were just beginning. Now, the player can choose which of the various generals and vassals of Alexander to bring to new heights and hopefully reunite Alexander's empire. More than this, it is refreshing to feel someone who loves and studies ancient history take a stab at creating a historical scenario to delight the dramatic and ambitious alike.
"MOVEABLE WINDOWS" BY SIRPENETRAT0R (LINK)
Sometimes a mod simply has to increase one's quality of life to qualify as a game changer in a very real sense. Movable Windows does exactly what its title suggests: now all of the statuesque interface windows can be shifted around in order to provide absolute ease of access for the player. Simple yet effective, it adds a degree of freedom for a game as point and click intensive as Imperator. The visual style can be more fully appreciated with this mod.
The interesting story about this mod is that there is already built-in (but disabled) support for movable windows in Imperator itself. Why the developers decided to have fixed windows is perhaps an aesthetic choice, but players can certainly now enjoy the option of having the option enabled for them. Sometimes mods don't require a lot of code or be original in order to be useful tools for players.
"IMPERATOR: BARBARICUM" BY PALANDO (LINK)
While it's almost a certainty that Paradox will be adding content to differentiate the gameplay and immersion for the barbarian realms in future DLCs, it does not need to stop a player from seeking out the northern wilds now. Boasting dozens of new tribes and formable polities, Barbaricum offers a better experience for anyone looking to start as a barbarian civilization - or for greater challenges and drama for those of us civilized enough to fight them.
Supported by some solid research into the various tribes, this mod adds some extra granularity to gives that vanilla experience a little bit more of a rocky road crunch.
"ASHES OF EMPIRE: THE DARK AGE [ALPHA]" BY TJROLEX (LINK)
“The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious,” and so is Ashes of Empire. Trying to bridge the historical gap between Imperator and Crusader Kings II, Ashes of Empire seeks to bring the player into the realm of Late Antiquity and the start of the Middle Ages. This is a world where the Western Empire has fallen and barbarians set up their thrones in the Eternal City and its former provinces. Will the player fulfill the ambition of a Justinian... or carve out a new double-headed eagle in the East as a Barbarian Holy Roman Emperor?
While we can almost certainly bet that this time frame will be covered in some future expansion either for Imperator: Rome or for Crusader Kings II, this mod gives the player a chance to experience an exciting and often misunderstood era in European history that is beautifully rendered in the gorgeous skin of Imperator: Rome. Still in its alpha stage, this mod still has a lot of development ahead, but from what is being set up so far, it may prove to be a popular choice for “megacampaigners” who want to take their tiny Germanic tribe in Imperator: Rome all the way to the stars in its Stellaris end game.
"NO FOG" BY GLU (LINK)
A subtle change that has already proved popular as one of the most subscribed mods out there at the moment. Like its title suggests, the in-game rendering of fog is no longer an eyesore and no longer multiple stab wounds on our GPUs. While I love the improvement in visual immersion, it also doesn't mess with the gameplay whatsoever, allowing this to be one of the few Ironman-compatible mods at the moment. Also note that the “fog of war” is not affected by this mod.
"BUILDINGS+" BY VAWSER (LINK)
It wouldn't be unfair to call Imperator's current buildings to be barebones. Compared to the large selection in EUIV and CKII's Great Works to the various building trees and ethos-specific bonuses in Stellaris, the buildings in Imperator are almost like generic board game cutouts. This mod attempts to fix this glaring day-one disparity. Unlock some building diversity without having to pass through a DLC paywall with this mod, which adds nine additional buildings with different bonuses. I also wouldn't be surprised if this mod gets integrated into larger overhaul mods that are sure to crop up in the future. For now, since it doesn't disturb many other files, this mod can be easily compatible with other modifications out there so that one can hodgepodge their total conversion together.
"BETTER CHINESE LOCALIZATION HOTFIX" BY LAZY_NERD (LINK)
I have almost never reviewed localization mods, but I have found it at least important enough to mention in this case. With a new game, sometimes first impressions in non-European markets are not just an essential key to commercial success, but also allows non-English speakers to have greater immersion into the game. To overlook this service that modders do for non-English speaking fans would be to give the wide reach of Paradox titles a disservice. While Paradox tries its best to localize its games, much like their research into historical breadth, there are corners that are necessarily cut that modders fill. Thanks to my Chinese friends for helping me with this recommendation and for highlighting that some of the most subscribed mods for Paradox titles are often their localization ones, which seek to better translate the game's literal and idiomatic facets.
"HISTORICAL UNITS AND MILITARY TRADITIONS" BY KAM2150 (LINK)
Let's face it, one of the most fun things about other titles such as Rome: Total War was always the different unit types. Who didn't love seeing war elephants battle it out with Principes or Hoplites? The current setup for Imperator is a bit too bleak when it comes to unit types; army compositions often feel soulless compared to other titles that cover this period. This mod seeks to correct this with the addition of new unit types, new Roman infantry types, and an overhaul of the traditions in order to allow the player to better customize their army bonuses. While still a far cry from the epic feeling of the vast array of styles of warfare and army setups in the ancient world, this mod at least attempts to take a step in the right direction.
As Imperator: Rome is still a new game, there are relatively few mechanics to work with and modders are still learning the game in order to provide better offerings. Still, it's encouraging to see many mods pop up. We hope you enjoyed this short offering of some gems out there and please feel free to suggest any you've come across in your travels across Rome.