Paradox has sent the Crusader Kings 3 community into a tumult after announcing a retroactive price change for CK3 flavour packs that almost doubles their cost.
The change, which is due to take effect on September 13, will ratchet up the price of CK3's smaller DLCs from $6.99 to $12.99 (though regional pricing means the scale of the increase might change a bit depending on where you are). It affects the two previously released flavour packs—Northern Lords and Fate of Iberia—plus any flavour packs that are yet to come, whose cost will "be more in line with this price point" when they come out. Neither the base game nor the game's bigger expansion DLCs will be changing in price.
Inflation seems like the most obvious explanation. With everything else in the world getting precipitously dearer, why not CK3 DLC? But Paradox's announcement doesn't mention the global economic situation at all. Instead, a Paradox community manager says only that, "These changes are being made to keep up our quality level with the increase on all Flavor Packs and related content".
Paradox has been through a lot of turmoil recently. After a much-feted announcement, work on Bloodlines 2 ground to a halt before Paradox took the project off Hardsuit Labs and gave it to a new, still unknown developer. During that time, Paradox lost CEO Ebba Ljungerud after her resignation in 2018. Her replacement, returning CEO Fredrik Wester, almost immediately had to issue an apology over his "inappropriate behaviour" toward a colleague at a company conference held that same year. These crises have all carried a price in terms of time, morale, and money, and it may be the case that price hikes like these are part of an attempt to make up for that.
Players haven't taken the news well. The Paradox forum post announcing the price hike is flooded with comments from fans upset by the unexpected and—to be fair—pretty significant leap in price. Paradox has recommended that players pick up the currently available packs before the price change kicks in, and suggested that players could avoid the pinch on future packs by buying future expansion passes. If anything, those suggestions only seem to have fueled the community's belief that these changes are motivated by greed rather than necessity.
CK3's flavour packs are the bitesize cousins of its bigger, full-blown expansions. Where expansions bolt on entire new layers to the game as a whole, flavour packs focus on adding more specific cosmetic and mechanical differentiators to the game's myriad cultures and religions. The two that have been released thus far have focused on adding new customisation options and mechanical intricacies to the game's Iberian and Norse cultures, but there's almost certainly a lot more to come if CK2's gargantuan library of DLC is anything to go by.
If, like me, you have a crippling and self-destructive addiction to buying Paradox DLC and then not playing it, that habit is now going to cost us around twice as much from September on. Maybe I can get a loan from the Pope.