Welcome to another development diary about Europa Universalis IV (EU4)! This time we're talking about the envoys you have at your disposal.
Throughout the Europa Universalis series, envoys have been resources you could spend to take certain actions in the game. “Envoy” is a word we actually use quite a lot internally, but probably not as much when describing the game to you all before. Still, you know what we mean. You would get a colonist and send him to make a colony. Get a missionary and send him to convert the heathen.
In Europa Universalis IV (EU4), prepare for the fact that the envoys and how they are used have undergone major changes. In Europa Universalis IV (EU4), envoys are not treated as resources and will, to a larger extent be persons at your disposal that take actions by your command. It's a subtle difference, but we'll clarify it shortly.
Envoys are still used to make alliances, create colonies or take spy actions, but it quite different ways.
First of all, as we mentioned in the last development diary, the spies and the magistrates has been cut with a sharp blade. You can read about the reasons here. (Link to previous devdiary)
We are absolutely keeping the diplomats, colonists, merchants and missionaries in EU4, however you will see that their behavior will change.
Monetary cost for envoys have been removed
In a move that may surprise some people, we have completely removed the monetary cost for the envoys. We've done this for a few reasons. .
First of all, removing the cost means that we can simulate the abilities of poorer or smaller countries being able to do things on the same scale as others. So a vast Portuguese colonial empire is more likely to happen. This was difficult to make possible in the old model - unless you gave country-specific price reductions or made the cost irrelevant for richer countries.
Secondly, removing the monetary cost removes the consistency issue that existed in Europa Universalis III (EU3) for newcomers to the games. Having some envoy actions (diplomacy, magistrates) cost nothing while the others required some cash could be confusing.
Finally, removing the monetary cost reduces the number of ways the AI has to screw up handling money. This means fewer potential ways for the player to exploit the AI and fewer drawbacks for the AI when it looks at its options. We hope this will make the game more challenging for you as a player.
Your number of envoys will be your limit
All of this adds up to the only limit on your envoy actions being the number of envoys you have at your disposal. Therefore you should not be limited by the amount of money you have. But it also means that if you have three diplomats, you can only have three diplomatic actions going at once. More on this shortly.
No connective between diplomats/colonists and leader recruitment
We have removed the connection between diplomats/colonists and the recruitment of leaders. It was never any actual restriction for the player and with the other changes it made sense to change it.
Envoys are now separate entities
The biggest change for you is the concept that envoys will no longer be a resource that accrues value that increases every month. All envoys are now entities that are assigned to a mission and sent on the mission, similar to how you give your court members tasks in Crusader Kings II. And, while the envoys are on their missions, they will not available to do anything else than the mission you have assigned to them. We feel that it will create more interesting strategic decisions for you as a player.
Because if you only have two diplomats, what will you do? Do you want both of your diplomats out on missions, or do you want to keep one at home?
Missions also take time to perform from start or end, so this naturally keeps your envoys occupied for a certain point of time, especially since their travel time is also taken into account.Envoys becomes less an object you need to spend and more active participants in your national policy.
Some of the diplomats actions will still be instant, but quite a few will now be missions that the diplomats are assigned. Diplomats will also do some of the actions that spies did previously in EU3. We promise, we will go into detail on new aspects of the diplomats and their actions over several development diaries before the game releases, so stay with us!
The missionaries will work as before, in that you give them a mission to convert a province to your chosen faith, and they have a chance every month to succeed. The only difference is that the amount of missionaries you will have at your disposal will limit the amount of activity you can do in parallel.
This hard limit on simultaneous conversions will make religious ideas a more important option for anyone that is interested in conquering a lot of people of another faith.
The Merchants & Colonists
The merchants and colonists will perform actions similar to EU3, but we'll go into detail regarding those later
So when you use envoys in Europa Universalis IV (EU4), it will be more about strategic choices of where to use them and when to use them, instead of simply putting them to work as soon as you can afford them. In our testing so far, this has proven to be a rather dramatic change, and one that is greatly appreciated by the players. So we really hope you will enjoy envoys!
This was all for now, next week we will talk about the budget and the new economy system.
Here's a screenshot showing some new stuff...