I've been thinking lately about ways that the concept of EU3 could be improved - perhaps a sign of how much it has come to dominate my life. It's certainly one of the best games that I've ever played, and I absolutely love it. Divine Wind is an excellent expansion, but, considering the popularity of the franchise, I imagine that an EU4 will be needed. Here are my thoughts on what should be in (and out):
Things to Do
- Make it more of a challenge for the player to maintain a country's internal stability and coherence. I have ideas for this, but I don't want to get bogged down in writing an essay. Rather than one simple stability figure, I would split it up into political, economic and social stability. I would make rebellions more threatening and more frequent, with the possibility of your generals and their armies defecting or rebelling against you. Something to really make the player spend more time thinking about how to keep his own country together, rather than simply thinking about how to annex other countries.
- Better AI prioritisation. Easier said than done, I know. But the AI countries need to have a clearer idea of their goals and strategy so that they don't end up taking senseless bits of land etc., over-extending themselves and collapsing. I would especially like to see Castille concentrating more on New World colonisation than on conquering dirt-poor desert provinces in the Sahara.
- A more interesting and involved colonial game. I think that the steppe horde feature introduced in Divine Wind works very well with the North-American tribes (I've modded it into my own game), and far better than it does with the actual steppe hordes (see below). I'd like to see a few more important tribes (though not too many), and I'd like to see them play a more meaningful role in diplomacy between the colonial powers.
- A more sophisticated system of international commerce. Nothing like Victoria 2, obviously, but something a little more involved than simply placing six merchants in a CoT. Something that would involve protecting actual convoy routes, etc.
- Countries that manage to hold themselves together better. It's always annoying to see a successful AI France lose just one war and then splinter into every single one of its constituent nations. One suggestion that I have is to turn the 'Promote Cultural Unity' decision into an event with a MTTH that would fire for same-culture provinces where you have a core. That way over time countries like France would gradually lose their minor cores and become much harder to shatter.
- Maybe some native tribes in South Africa and Australia?
- I would really like to see penalties for armies that are fighting outside of their native region/climate against armies that are within their native region/climate. Right now it's possible for European countries to easily annex West-African countries, for example, at the beginning of the 16th century, whereas in reality it would have been impossible for Europeans to send armies to these places because of disease and attrition. Or say you send an army to India - the local Indian armies should be granted combat bonuses against you to simulate the fact that you're outside your natural environment and would have accompanying supply and logistics problems. Naturally the penalties should decrease as your technology improves.
Things Not to Do
- Get rid of the steppe horde system, at least for the steppe hordes (see above). It's not historically accurate and it doesn't work well in gameplay terms. It's an interesting idea, but not appropriate for central Asia. Maybe for North America.
- West-African colonisation. In EU3 we see Portugal, Spain and England colonising West Africa and the Congo before they even get around to the Americas. These are places that weren't even colonised until half-way-through the Victoria 2 period. Frankly I would be tempted just to get rid of these provinces entirely.
- Omniscient AI. I know that there is a reason for the AI knowing all about where my fleets are, since it's not smart enough to cope in any other way, but this needs to be worked on. I find it rather irritating that the English know exactly when I move a fleet into the Black Sea and then send their own mega-death-fleet into the Mediterranean instantly in order to hunt it down.
- Don't penalise Indian, Middle-Eastern or even Sub-Saharan countries as much as EU3 currently does. They weren't that backwards, and many of them were even capable of inflicting defeats on Europeans.
- Crusades and Holy Wars. Interesting idea, but even in 1399 the crusading movement was pretty much at an end. I support the idea of allowing Holy Wars against your immediate neighbours, but I don't like the idea of the Pope picking a crusade target that every Catholic country can go after. It just means that North Africa gets annexed by England and Castille (and occasionally some less intuitive countries like Sweden) in the opening 10 or 15 years of the game.