Europa Universalis IV Developer diary 15 - Et tu Brute?
Welcome to another development diary for Europa Universalis IV!
So far, all of the national profiles we’ve given you have focused on the big boys
– the major powers that people tend to start with when they play a new game, and that have the greatest potential for world spanning empires.
But the Europa Universalis series has also attracted a lot of people that want to spend time with smaller countries and see what they can do.
This time, we turn our focus on a country that is on the 3rd tier of importance for development to show the attention they get.
So welcome to Milan, a flat territory where sultry summers and cold, rainy winters prevail. Situated in Northern Italy, the Duchy of Milan is a part of the Holy Roman Empire and includes allthe former towns of the two centuries dead Lombard League and holds the wide rural area lying between the hills of Montferrat and the Venetian Lagoon.
In the mid-15th century, Milan was pretty much constantly at war with its neighbors. This was the high point of the condottieri wars that ravaged Italy for a century – pretty much until the French invaded and started smacking everyone around. So expect Northern Italy to be a bit of a cockpit.
The Lombard plain’s greatest advantage is that Milan can create a lot of wealth for a nation that starts the Grand Campaign with three provinces. Its cloth and wine are high value goods and it has easy access to trade nodes dominated by both Genoa and Venice – meaning that if it chooses to invest in a merchant fleet and can win some battles at sea, it can reap the wealth of these trade routes.
If you dare to choose to play Milan, you might find that you need to defend your territory against the Swiss, the French and the Venetians. It´s hard work, but someone has to do it. In your favor, France and Venice have bigger fish to worry about in the early going (though they will naturally expand towards Italy) and Switzerland has to cross the Alps to do any damage, and this takes time. If Milan chooses to go aggressive, the smaller city states of Italy (Mantua, Modena, Ferrara) are close at hand, and if Florence falls, Milan is well on its way to becoming the premier power on the peninsula.
The Flavor of Milan
In Europa Universalis II, the last game in the series that really invested in historical events for the player to engage with, there were two events for Milan: one where they could get inherited, and one flavor event about Leonardo Da Vinci. However our goal with Europa Universalis IV has been to make sure that not only the ten or fifteen most “interesting” nations had flavor.
At the moment, Milan has ten historical flavor events, none of which are a forced inheritance. One of the most interesting one is the Ambrosian Republic, which can be triggered during the first century of gameplay.
In 1447 Filippo Maria Visconti, Duke of Milan, dies without a male heir which brings the Visconti line of rulers to an end. Now, the Ambrosian Republic enters the stage. Historically speaking, this was a short-lived popular government that resisted foreign invasion until it was toppled by one of the great Italian soldiers-of-fortune, Francesco Sforza.
In Europa Universalis IV, if Milan has a regency or low legitimacy you can choose to institute the Ambrosian Republic in Milan. This action will give some large neighbor’s a Casus Belli (Just cause for war) on you so they can restore the monarchy, while you get a unique government form that gives you increased morale for your soldiers and greater tax income.
Of course, Milan can still form the nation of Italy as all Italian minors can But they need to dominate Northern Italy and Rome to do it.
Milanese National Ideas
Milan starts with the tradition of +10% infantry power to represent their formidable condottieres, and a +1 bonus to diplomatic upkeep (a concept we'll talk more about in a future dev diary).
Renaissance Prince 10% cheaper Ideas
Patron of Music +1 prestige yearly.
Lowered Power of Barons 10% more tax
Age of Condottieri 25% cheaper mercenaries.
Encouragement of Philosophers - 5% cheaper technology
Merchant Princes +10% Trade Power
Rulership of Enlightened Principals 10% cheaper stability.
And when you have gained all your national ideas, you get a bonus 20% to your manpower.
Not every minor nation will be getting unique National Ideas – most will get a generic list of bonuses. But many popular and important minor nations, from Bohemia to Vijaynagar, will give you a chance to play smaller powers that don’t sacrifice anything with regards to personality or variety.
Bonus Detail: Republican Tradition
In the Heir to the Throne expansion to Europa Universalis III, we added the concept of legitimacy for monarchies. The idea was to find a way to model the transitional period between new monarchs or new dynasties and make the royal marriage system a little more important. This created some interesting mechanics, and we felt we needed something to serve the same purpose for Republics.
So, in Europa Universalis IV we have now added the concept of Republican Tradition. This is a value between 0 and 100%, and a newly formed republic starts with just 1% tradition – people like what they know, historically republics were seen as a little bit unstable, and it takes time before the ideas of civic freedom and voting for leaders take hold. A low republican tradition increases stability cost, and a high tradition reduces revolt risk. If you get a low republican tradition, you are more likely to have rebels supportive of restoring the monarchy, and if you ever go below 1% tradition you convert to a despotic monarchy rather quickly.
Your Republican Tradition goes up by +1% each year, and there are events that can give you a hard choice between tradition losses or other negative consequences. There are some advantages to playing a Republic – you get to choose your leaders in elections, after all. But you should never be really comfortable.
In light of adding this new mechanic, elections for Republics have changed slightly. You will lose 10% Republican Tradition if you re-elect the same leader, to represent the fear of a republic losing that regular change of office that guarantees the legitimacy of the government, and if you re-elect someone at while you have low tradition (currently we’ve set this at less than 20%), your Republican period comes to an end and you give birth to a despotic monarchy.
Milan is one of my most favourite nations to play in any game (TW/EU3 etc). This diary was a great read for me. They seem to be really interesting and flavoursome despite being a 3rd tier nation! The Republican tradition sounds really fun to play with. It could be interesting to RP a nation with High tradition and slowly sabotage the country to drop to despotic monarchy (As my leader gets a little too ambitious and decides to become a monarch - I assume on the latter example " and if you re-elect someone at while you have low tradition (currently we’ve set this at less than 20%), your Republican period comes to an end and you give birth to a despotic monarchy." The re-elected leader becomes the monarch and not somebody else.)