Let’s start with the Manchus. The 1.29 Manchu update will contain absolutely no Manchus anywhere in the world in 1444. Introducing instead, the Jurchens:
The Jurchens were the predecessors of the Manchu, founders of the Jin Dynasty that ruled northern China during the 12th and 13th centuries. As members of the Evenki culture group they share little cultural kinship with their southern neighbours, and a Jurchen dynasty will struggle to hold the imperial throne.
The Jurchens are divided into several clans. Jianzhou, the eventual founders of the Qing Dynasty, and Haixi are settled peoples in the good graces of Ming. Unlike their northern neighbors they have embraced the Feudalism institution and are Tributaries of Ming. Jianzhou has the added advantage of controlling Paektu Mountain, a site sacred to the Jurchens and Koreans alike that grants a bonus Prestige and Tolerance of the True Faith bonus to the owner of the Jianzhou province so long as they have an appropriate culture and religion. Udege, Donghai, and Yeren have much less development than the more “civilized” southern clans, and must also contend with the new Evenk tribes of Nivkh and Solon.
So where are the Manchu, I hear you cry? The Manchu identity was forged during the unification of the Jurchens by Nurhaci and his successors. When you form the Manchu nation, all Jurchen provinces in the world will instead become Manchu:
Forming Manchu is a little more difficult in the Manchu update. You must now own 20 core provinces of Jurchen (or Manchu) culture, becoming a true unifier of the Jurchens rather than simply rushing to own a few key provinces. Manchu culture has a great advantage over Jurchen culture in one important way: it is part of the Chinese culture group, allowing you to rule over China and hold the Mandate without penalties. Forming Manchu will also give you the option to switch from Jurchen to Manchu national ideas - we’ll reveal those another time.
Next up, the Jurchen/Manchu/Qing mission tree!
As before, the Jurchens begin by Dominating Rival Jurchens and Uniting the Jurchen Tribes. They should also consider building Shrines at the Mountain in Jianzhou for an early Horde Unity bonus. Raising the Eight Banners, fittingly enough, requires having eight Banner units and rewards permanent claims on both Korea and a significant amount of Mongolia, opening the way for invasions of those regions.
The Manchu invasion and conquest of China takes up the bulk of this mission tree, and mission after The Mandate of Heaven will require you to establish the Qing Dynasty. The first step towards this goal is of course to Bypass the Great Wall. At the time of the Manchu invasion this section of the wall was held by the Ming general Wu Sangui, who refused to accept the legitimacy of Li Zicheng’s Shun Dynasty in Beijing. How this will play out in the game depends on the state of China. If either Shun or a weak Emperor hold Shenyang while you are at war with them, the mission can be completed and an event will fire:
Wu Sangui will defect to the Manchu army and become a General in their service, and in the process immediately cede his fortress at Shenyang to the invaders. If however the invaders face a stronger and more unified China they must conquer both Shenyang and Beijing through more conventional means. Either way, you’ll also be rewarded with +15% Siege Ability for the next 20 years. This is when the invasion truly begins. Taking Liaoning and North Hebei in the initial war will allow you to complete the Invade China mission.
It is now time to seize the Mandate of Heaven and proclaim the Qing dynasty. Taking the Mandate from Ming will add the Mukden Palace (pictured in the new loading screen) to the Beijing province, which grants +0.05 Monthly Mandate and -2 Years of Separatism until the end of the game so long as you control Beijing. Another early source of Mandate can come through the Establish Tributaries mission; 10 tributaries will give a flat reward of 20 Mandate. The conquest of China is far from complete, however. Owning at least 25 provinces in North China will lead to the establishment of the Green Standard Army, immediately bolstering your manpower reserves with an influx of Chinese defectors and increasing your Mandate. If you are at war with Ming when you complete this mission, Ming will also lose manpower and stability.
With the north under your heel, it’s time to march south. The Devastate a Metropolis mission offers an opportunity to hasten this conquest; raise the Devastation of any hostile province with at least 25 development in China to 20 and you’ll be rewarded with the Cruel Example modifier, granting 20% Siege Ability and Province Warscore Cost for 20 years. You’ll then be tasked to Extinguish Ming completely, removing them from the map once and for all and strengthening your Mandate even further. Last week I talked about a new Disaster with the potential to break apart Ming China. Conquering 20 provinces in the South China region will allow you to complete the Three Feudatories mission. If Yue, Wu, and/or Dali exist and are either independent or subjects of Ming, they will immediately submit to the Qing as Marches. This can be a huge boost to Qing power when timed opportunistically. Additionally if Wu Sangui is still alive and you gain Dali as a March through the mission, Dali will immediately form the Zhou tag and Wu Sangui will become its ruler. This is how we are representing the Three Feudatories in the Manchu patch; three large feudal realms in southern China led by Ming generals who submitted to the Qing. Of course, the Three Feudatories are best known for their revolt against the Qing. After around 20 years, these states will ally one another and declare a war for independence, dishonoring their agreements with the Qing. These upstarts must be crushed, and swiftly. You must control all of southern China directly to complete the Revoke the Feudatories mission.
With the annihilation of Ming and the defeat of the rebellious generals, the Qing can finally set their sites on restoring harmony to China. Directly owning all of China, achieving complete Religious Unity, and ensuring that average Unrest remains low will allow you complete the Harmonious Empire mission which grants +1 Tolerance of the True Faith for the rest of the game. There are also a number of missions representing the administrative development of Qing China: adopting Confucian Administration, Reforming the Censorate, and founding the Library of the Four Treasuries will reward players with various administrative boons that will aid in ruling the great expanse of China.
Lastly, the Qing dynasty saw some of the most extensive and most rapid expansion of Chinese borders in history. The Ten Great Campaigns of the Qianlong Emperor targeted almost every neighbor of the Qing, from Vietnam and Burma in the south to Inner Asia and Tibet in the west. As we discussed in the previous dev diary, the Empire is no longer penalized for failing to surround itself with tributary states, which makes direct expansion a viable path for an ambitious Qing Emperor.
Onwards to Mongolia!
The setup in Mongolia for 1.29 is much the same as it is in 1.28: Powerful Oirats in the west, a vassalized Mongolia in the heartland, and an opportunistic Korchin in the east. There are however quite a few more provinces in this iteration of the steppe. Very large provinces make for slow and frustrating gameplay in this region, so efforts have been made to increase the province density as well as to improve the starting development of both Mongolia and the Oirats. A reunited Mongolia ought to feel like a meaningful threat to the often complacent Ming. Mongolia is no longer immediately disloyal in 1444, though it is a close balance and even a small misstep could have dire diplomatic consequences at an inconvenient moment. Loyal Mongolian soldiers will surely be of great help to an Oirat player during the Tumu Crisis.
The Mongol mission tree is shared by all nations with Mongol, Korchin, Khalkha, and Oirat culture. As you might expect, it leads the player down the path of recreating the conquests of the great Genghis Khan and his successors. To begin this ambition campaign you must directly control both Ih Huree and Qaraqorum - meaning that the Oirats must integrate Mongolia and that Mongolia must defeat their Oirat masters. Completing this mission will establish an Annual Kurultai in Qaraqorum, which grants a very significant +1 Horde Unity per year so long as you continue to own the province and stay true to your Mongol roots. Next you must Unite the Mongols by owning at least 5 provinces from each Mongol culture.
Now there is a choice to make: follow in the footsteps of Genghis Khan and declare that all the tribes are one Mongol people, or reorganize the tribes and thereby accept all Mongol cultures and 3 additional Promoted Cultures for the rest of the game. From here several paths of reconquest lie open. Starting with 1.29 Manchu, we’ve decided that many conquest missions demand too many entire regions or areas, and we’ve instead opted for more lenient triggers. For example, Reforging Great Yuan requires the key provinces of Beijing and Xuanhua, but only requires 20 owned provinces in the North China region to progress to the next mission rather than the entire region. We feel this improves the flow of mission tree progression. The conquest of China naturally leads to the subjugation of Korea, and from there you are tasked with achieving what Genghis Khan never could: defeating the Japanese Shogun. If the Divine Wind does not strike again and you manage to directly own Kyoto, you’ll be rewarded with permanent claims on all of Japan as well as +1 Prestige for the rest of the game. Just like in the Tatar mission tree, the conquest of Central Asia leads to an invasion of Persia, which creates a new opportunity to restore the Ilkhanate as a March. Subjugating the Tatars and Defeating the Rus ends one branch of the mission tree, but the wetern campaign needn’t end here - you’ll be granted permanent claims on Poland and -15% Province Warscore Cost for the rest of the game, in the event that you wish to extend Mongol rule over all the world. If you succeed in truly restoring the Mongol Empire of old, the Pax Mongolica mission rewards a permanent National Unrest and Stability Cost reduction.
And now I hand you over to Groogy to talk about some of your favorite kind of changes, balance changes with numbers n' stuff!
Hello Groogy here! Now it’s my turn to write down a bit. So since the area is getting a change over and the entire balance structure in the east being reshaped. I took the opportunity to have a look over the old Banners and their place in this new world. Their function has always been to give cheap strong units to a nation that doesn’t have a lot of money or manpower naturally. Though clever as you all are, you can always get around that so some tweaks were necessary.
Banners bonus discipline have been lowered to 5% from the massive 10%, they reinforce half as fast as normal units and we lowered the amount of banners you get per development. They also now use manpower but only 1/4th of normal units. So a full regiment of Banners costs only 250 manpower.
Because of these changes we removed their mercenaries-like status, meaning they won’t disappear if they take damage while at 0 strength anymore but will stay around. They also are 50% cheaper in maintenance.
The intent for the changes are to make Banners easier to get a big bunch of early in the game on your road to form Qing by making them cheaper and to stick around even after a disastrous battle. But that they don’t remain as the end-all units towards the end game. Still good, but not Space Marines on horseback.
That's it for today! Next week will be the last in our trilogy of Manchu dev diaries. We'll be focusing on Japan, Korea, and Central Asia, so stay tuned for more.