'Tis soon the Season, and us friendly elves here at Paradox are merrily chiseling away at the bound-to-be-hailed-as-a-masterpiece EU3 expansion; Heir to the Throne. (Well, some of us are; the rest of the crew pretend to be working on Victoria 2, but they're not fooling anyone!) It is time to reach into Santa's great big sack and pull out another ribboned feature or two to spoil for you...
Today we shall celebrate the Queene's Day by speaking of her (Elizabeth I, bless her soul) enterprising servants at sea; the privateers. These hardy men who tread the fine line between honest patriotism and outright piracy (and sometimes drunkenly swerved across it. Yarrrh!) In fact, for this diary I think it might be more appropriate to assume the Spanish point of view and regard them all as scum who deserved nothing but a shameful hanging. (Begging her majesty's pardon.)
A major complaint with pirates in EU3 is the amount of micromanagement required to keep the bloody scoundrels in check, cluttering the outliner and requiring a lot of player attention even with automated naval patrols. We decided on a solution that still requires large colonial empires to maintain powerful navies, but does not increase micromanagement. First of all, every fleet now has a patrol range, and sea zones within that range are now marked as 'patrolled' for a certain number of days when a fleet is nearby at the start of a new month. The patrol range depends on your naval technology, and a few fleets alone can potentially cover the entire Spanish colonial empire. Of course, if those fleets get blockaded in a port during a war, they will no longer perform this duty. We also reduced the spawn chance of pirates but made them slightly stronger to make them more challenging. Lastly, provinces on an unpatrolled coast receive a financial penalty, representing smuggling and other shady activities.
On a salty and somewhat related note, we added a new map mode for naval and colonial range, as well as the new concept of Trade Winds. Trade winds are shown with red arrows in certain sea zones where the prevailing wind tends to come from one direction. For the sake of simplicity, the strength and direction of trade winds are static, making certain routes more or less attractive to fleets.
Now then, while Heir to the Throne is a veritable cornucopia of new and addictive features I could go on and on about, it is time to stop blathering and return to the hammer and the chisel! But don't be sad kiddies, here are some screenshots with lots of pretty colors!