Reposted since we may want to spin a dedicated CK3 conversation out of the what are you playing thread...
I haven't check the wiki bio links.
And the just improved the old CKII game thing is 'true' but also not true. There are changes. I found more of them. I like them (so far).
First, quick report on the first game that ended poorly. (Not surprising that a first run through a new Paradox game would founder). Initial Petty King was a mountain of a man who successfully pulled together the Kingdom of Ireland. He was loved by his subjects and vassals, and feared by his enemies. A truly great man and leader who lived well into his 80s. He had prepared his oldest son to follow in his footsteps as a warrior and a steward. But we learned something important when the original king died. The new king had been engaging in a decades long affair with his younger brother's wife. Dad had not known about this skullduggery. Dad had the younger brother trained in the arts of intrigue, with the intent that he would watch his older brother's back and protect the family. Yeah... that did not happen. Older brother lasted less than a year on the throne before a 'mysterious accident' killed him. His oldest son had been maimed (blind, missing two limbs) but was still alive so the throne passed to the the maimed son's only child. An eight year daughter with the traits Sadistic, Cruel and Callous. Yikes! Before I could even blink, the Independence Factions were out in force. Ireland shattered back into a maze of petty kingdoms. And I retired that play through.
So... biggest changes so far. Stress is an awesome game mechanic. Basically, Stress is a new level to track. Acting *against* your traits is what earns you stress. So my original character, who was impatient and wrathful, would earn stress any time he had to show patience or not blow his lid. It made him a better battlefield commander since he was decisive and committed. It made him a worse administrator. And it made him horrible at subterfuge. At one point, I tested out the intrigue system by having him target an enemy for murder. And every time a decision would come up, do we act now and risk being discovered or give the conspirators time to tighten the noose and increase the chance of success, I would have to choose between loading the king up with stress or taking the smart path. When you hit 100 (or 200, or 300) stress, you have something of a 'nervous breakdown'. And you can deal with it... depending on your traits. My king had anger management issues. When the king was stressful, you did not want to be too close because he might get... violent. It made lots of other things more important. Calling for a hunt really lowered my king's stress. So I called for hunts as often as I could. Getting involved in intrigue increased his stress (he wasn't good at it or temperamentally suited for it) so I didn't get him involved as much. Which is why I was blindsided by the news of what was really going on at court when he passed away. I think Stress is going to help different characters *feel* different. And not just the next pawn in the plans of the ancient Methuselah (i.e. me).
Next difference is the new lifestyle thing. I like it. You pick one of five or six different life paths based on the skills. Obviously, my original king was martial. Then there are three sub-focuses. I went with Chivalry. The choice of the focus and sub-focus gives you bonuses (and helps define what gives and relieves stress) and also determines what actions earn you lifestyle XP. You spend that lifestyle XP in three trees (specific to the main focus) that give you bonuses. Obviously, the big bonuses are at the end of the trees. But you need ever increasing amounts of XP to get to the bottom of the trees. So, do you focus to get the best goodies -or- do you spread yourself out to get more, smaller bonuses? You can switch focuses and sub-focuses, but doing so is stressful and sets you back to the beginning of a new set of trees. Also, you can completely respec your bonuses once per leader's lifespan but doing so is VERY stressful and unless your character is a psychic rock, will likely cause a minor nervous incident or two.
Third, war has been streamlined quite a bit. No longer do you call up your armies and a slew of little units spring up around the realm. Now, they all show up at a designated rally point (your capital by default) over the course of a couple weeks. You can set multiple rally points and theoretically the army will divide itself roughly equally, but I never had a big enough realm to require me to test that out. Had I expanded my burgeoning empire onto the bigger island to the east, I probably would have set a rally point for armies over there. There is no more flank/center stuff. The battle screen has been simplified to a single bar that moves back and forth as the battle rages. Different troop types do 'counter' other troop types. Oh, and instead of commanders, you have knights. How many knights you have is governed by a set of things I do not fully grok yet. But more knights is better. Knights can sway a battle.
Anyway, there are lots of other little changes. And I'm sure I'll learn more when I do my next playthrough. Tradition dictates I do a viking run and try and create a Scandinavian Empire. But I'm also tempted to dig into the new custom religion/heresy systems and try to create the Mormon religion a millennia early. But that might be too complicated. Another option is picking a weird corner of the world I haven't played with before. Maybe build a true Roman Empire and see the Byzantines dominate the world. Hell, the map is big enough, maybe I'll conquer the world as Korea...