Hearts of Iron IV: Waking the Tiger Review + 1.5 Cornflakes Patch

by Strategia

1100 words, Wow!


Waking the Tiger may be the best expansion for Hearts of Iron IV to date. Like I said in my earlier blog post, this is HOI4’s Art of War. The main feature of this expansion is the East Asia region, which has been significantly reworked and expanded in detail. Many countries have received sparkling-new focus trees. Besides that, several key systems have been removed, replaced, or added to the game. I won’t spoil everything either so you can try some of the lesser known additions for yourself. Now, let’s start looking at the core features of both the expansion and the patch!


A look at some of the unit models in East Asia.


Major Features:

National Focuses in East Asia

Like I said earlier, the main focus for WtT is East Asia. There has been a significant rework with a variety of options to play as, from the Kuomintang nationalist government to the small Chinese warlord.

An example of one of the new focus trees, this one for Nationalist China.


The Kuomintang has received a gigantic tree, with their focus on unifying China and annihilating the Chinese Communists and the warlords before Japan knocks on their door. Alternatively, they could create a Chinese United Front like they did in real life, but it would be dysfunctional with many small countries fighting an Asian superpower. Japan also has gotten a focus tree, which has been completely reworked from the old focus tree which was very small and lacked content. There are now four paths, including a communist Japan allying with the Soviet Union, a democratic path focusing on an Asian Arsenal of Democracy, the real-life historical path with going south towards China and the European colonies, and finally establishing a “Japanese Shogunate”, which would be non-aligned and non-interventionist. While the reworked industry, army, and naval foci are free, the alt-history paths are part of WtT.

The Japanese reworked focus tree.

Going towards the smaller nations, the Empire of Manchukuo led by the last Emperor of China, Puyi, have received a focus tree allowing them to break free of China and establishing a second Qing Empire. Finally, the warlords of China have received a “generic” focus tree, but they are allowed to claim the name of China and their national focus tree. Now if they could update the actual generic focus tree to Waking the Tiger standards… Anyways, the new national focuses and additions have made East Asia a lore-rich and interesting area, with plenty of content and paths for you to explore.


Updated German Focus Tree

Here is another focus tree. The German focus tree before WtT was not that bad at all, but it definitely could have been expanded. While the industry, army, and naval paths have not been touched significantly, there are now 2 new alternate history paths. The trigger for these paths starts with the player choosing to ignite a military coup against Hitler’s regime and the remilitarization of the Rhineland. Germany then descends into a civil war, with you controlling the new German Military Junta led by August von Mackensen.


August von Mackensen, or the “Last Hussar.”


After you win the civil war, you can choose to restore the House of Hohenzollern and the German Empire to its rightful place as leader of Germany. Then you can form an anti-communist shield and focus on them, or hate both them and the Western powers, recreating the Central Powers. Alternatively, you can restore the Weimar Republic and create a European Union, which would again focus on defeating the communist threat. I tried a test game of the German Empire, and it is one of the best and most interesting games I’ve ever played, with plenty of decisions and content to keep you interested. Now, like with the Japanese focus tree, the new industry, army, and naval paths are free, while the alt-history paths are part of Waking the Tiger.

Minor Features and New Mechanics:

Chain of Command and New Traits and Abilities

Before Patch 1.5, there was only Armies and Divisions, which could be led by either Field Marshals or Generals. Now, Cornflakes introduces a new addition to the mixture, and that is Army Groups. While armies will now be led by only generals, army groups will be led by field marshals. A field marshal can command only a couple of armies effectively, while a general can only command 24 divisions (72 if using garrison order). For me, it’s a welcome addition, but it will probably need some time to get used to it instead of the old abstract system we had before.

The new Chain of Command system in Cornflakes.

Also, generals and field marshals now can be upgraded using traits and abilities. Instead of commanders randomly getting perks based on where they are fighting you now have the ability to “promote” them by giving them perks at the cost of a new currency called “Command Power.”

The new traits and abilities interface.

For example, Erich von Manstein in the picture has the earned trait called “Panzer Leader.” At the cost of some command power, you can upgrade him to “Panzer Expert.” Finally, instead of the arbitrary skill number, you now have 4 different areas of skill which vary depending on the general.

Missions and Decisions

Everyone’s favorite menu in EU4 is back! The mission and decision interface are meant to compliment the national focuses so you can have a more immersive experience. Things you can select vary from generic things like “Anti-Communist Raids,” to historical events that depend based on the nation that you are playing as. I really enjoy the mechanic as it allows for a much better experience that national focuses or events couldn’t really fill.


Some of the missions and decisions for Germany.


This is one of the less important features in Waking the Tiger. Basically, while your units are in an extreme environment (Desert or Winter), your units will adapt to the harsh climate and be more prepared. One way this shows on the map is their unit uniform changes based on the environment. A small change, but pretty useful to have in the Russian winter!


Left: Normal Units. Right: Acclimatization in Full Effect.

Is it Worth It?

Compared to expansions before Waking the Tiger, this seems like Hearts of Iron 4.5. It adds a lot of new features that will definitely spice up your game. Unlike previous expansions, I would say it’s worth it at full price, but it never hurts to get it on a sale. It is a little bit buggy, but like most Paradox expansions, the hotfix will fix most of it. Even so, Waking the Tiger truly is HOI4’s Art of War.



HOI4 Dev Diaries and Wiki Article




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