Although Victoria is set during the age of imperialism, itís not necessarily a game won by colonization and conquest of uncivilized nations. Itís perfectly possible to go on a rampage in Europe, particularly as one of the major powers like Russia, Austria, Prussia or France. A win in the game is by becoming the foremost Great Power, a state which is calculated by the power of your military, industry, and how much prestige you possess. Claiming colonies and researching cultural techs is the best way to gain prestige, though it is also awarded for winning wars.
Technology is one of Victoriaís weaker points, since the actual research of the technology is only half the battle. The other half is waiting for the inventions to occur. These are supposed to happen some time after the research is done, and often provide more useful benefits than the researched technology. Not surprisingly, the problem is that some of these inventions wonít trigger in a timely fashion or at all. Being the only country in the world that canít produce machine parts in the year 1900 is a ridiculous state of affairs, to say the least, though it happened in one of my Swedish campaigns. Although this is far from a sure statement, but my experience has been that technology acquired in trades is the most problematic. Paradox would solve itself a lot of bug-finding hassles by doing away with inventions completely, and simply hard-coding the benefits to occur immediately with the invention, or at set intervals Ė like 6 months in between.
There are many other triggers that donít work, arenít clearly defined to the player or worse, nigh-on impossible to attain. I dare anyone to tell me what the conditions for creating Germany are, without parsing the forums or the events file. Should you permit the North German Federation to appear or not? You beat France in the war of the Spanish Succession and took the provinces that make up Alsace-Lorraine, but Germany still doesnít appear and you donít know why. What Paradox and the event fail to inform the player about is that Paris has to be occupied by 1871. The creation of Italy is an exercise in pure frustration; even if the triggers work, theyíre more of a hindrance than a benefit because no one in his right mind wants a land war with Austria. Although considerably toned down from 1.01, Austria remains a deadly opponent even to a competent Prussian or Russian player.
One of the most serious issues to new players is that no nation is properly set up at the start, particularly in 1.02. Multiple false starts are necessary to learn how to run even the most basic country, since they all start with hideously bloated default budgets and trade settings. There is no tutorial, the manual is lackluster and if it werenít for my past experience with Hearts of Iron and Europa Universalis, Iíd be swearing and scouring the forums like another other player new to Paradox games. The simple fact of the matter is that Victoria is more complex than any other strategy game out there, with an interface completely unable of handling the tasks assigned to it, no help from the game and no tutorial. Odds are that most players go through divisions individually, reinforcing each and every single one, instead of clicking the fist icon when selecting a corps. But why not permit the fist icon when multiple armies and corps across various provinces are selected?