Hearts of Iron IV tank artwork

Hearts of Iron IV, Paradox's World War II grand strategy wargame, has recently been updated with its very first major patch. The oddly named "Sunflower Patch" brings with it massive improvements to the AI, an overhaul of the user interface, numerous balance changes, and perhaps most importantly, a greatly improved online multiplayer.

You can read the full patch notes by heading over to the Paradox forums. However, if you're just interested in the short version before jumping in and figuring things out as you go, here are the highlights of this update:

 The AI has been greatly improved

 Custom difficulty settings allow you to adjust the relative power of Germany, France, Italy, the Soviet Union etc.

 Peace conferences have been improved based on the popular Steam workshop mod by Neutrino.

 Hotjoin has been added for multiplayer games

 A Resync button has been added to remedy connection issues without having to re-host multiplayer games

 New releaseable nations have been added

 The modding tools have been improved

 The general balance has been slightly shaken up

The Sunflower Patch is already live, so if you ever needed a good reason to whip out Hearts of Iron IV again, well, there you go! As far as save files are concerned, you should be OK, but as always its recommended that you back up your saves before trying to load them for the very first time. Just in case something... unpleasant happens.

If you do end up in a situation where your save files simply don't work properly, worry not as there is a way around it. You can return to the previous version of Hearts of Iron IV by heading over to Steam -> Properties -> Betas -> Patch 1.1 - Red Ball Express. Right after you close down the window an update should start, indicating that the patch has been reverted. If nothing happens, however, simply restart Steam. That should kickstart the update and get your game rolled back to version 1.1. Have fun!