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EU4 - Development Diary - 13th of August 2019

Good day all, Tuesday is here once again as it often is, so let's dive into another Dev Diary for the upcoming European Update. Last week we were all about how you can project your power externally, so this week let's look more internally, with focus on Estates.

Back in April we had a dev diary which was largely an expunge of thoughts on the Estates feature, where it's been and we still want to take it. Let's get a recap on our thoughts from then:

Firstly, the busywork element of Estates should be removed, or at the very least reduced. our Grand Strategy games are about creating , without sounding too pretentious, intellectually stimulating experiences, and the current methods of interacting with your Estates are not up to par with this.

Additionally, the actions done through the estates should be more impactful. I've said it quite a few times before, but I'll say it again, when a Diet is called, perhaps there should be...a Diet? Impactful is an easy word to throw around with various different meanings being drawn from it, but in Estates' cases, the existing interactions often make little change worth noting outside of their influence and loyalty, which has limited meaningful effect on your nation until hitting crisis point where they can seize control of your nation through disaster.

On another note, making the Estate UI more accessible would be a boon. Currently, much of the hands-on actions are somewhat buried as menus within menu

Over the past few months we've been pondering how we can make such aspirations a reality, and today we'll share where we are with that.

As mentioned last week, and will continue to be mentioned, any numbers seen and especially interfaces seen, are not in their final form

13th DD no Estates.jpg

As teased earlier, one of the first things we did with Estates is completely remove their relationship with individual provinces. This interaction with estates was always micro intensive, deeply confusing for new players, caused a lot of issues with 1444 setup for many nations (Nobles eating all my gold provinces) and scaled fairly terribly into the late game. It was not without its charms: assigning individual estates to individual provinces could have a nice internal management feel, but it was not an action that lent itself well to the expansion loop of the game. It was hard to feel excited about the estate allocation to your newest 20 provinces, while a tall player would have little interaction to be done throughout the entire game.

The death of direct province ties gives birth to a new concept in EUIV, that of Crown Land. Every nation with Estates has their Crown Land to manage. Much like how previously Estates started with a share of provinces, now they own a certain percentage of Crown Land. There is 100% of Crown Land which is divided between the various Estates, and the nation's own full control.

13th DD French Crown Land.jpg

Pie-chart, coder art flavour. The French have yet to reign in their nobles

Estates' portion of Crown Land will heavily affect their influence, as well as many of the interactions you have with them. Conversely, your nation's control over Crown Land is of grave importance: If you want to be a strong, absolutist state heaving into the Age of Absolutism, you'll want to wrestle control away from your estates, and giving up all of your crown land will have negative effects of your control over the nation.

You have many avenues of influence over Crown Land. Firstly, there are three direct interactions available in the Estate Screen.

  • Sale of Titles
    • Sell 5% Crown Land to the Estates based on Influence for 1 Year of Income
    • +5% All Estate Loyalty
  • Seize Land
    • Gain 3% Crown Lands, estates loses based on their influence
    • -10% All Estate Loyalty
    • Give +5 Unrest to random provinces up until you equivalent development the estates hold.
    • Spawn rebels fitting for the most influential estate type.
  • Summon the Diet
    • [REDACTED]
    • [REDACTED]
    • [REDACTED]
Additionally, developing your lands directly will increase your direct share of Crown Land, while acquiring new provinces will boost your Estates' share, based on their current influence. Highly influential estates will see it as their right to enjoy the lion's share of new lands.

Another big change happening here are with the interactions one has with the estates. I'll refer to an excellent post from the aforementioned dev diary.

So here are my thoughts on Estates: atm they are unnecessary button clicks that u can do every 20 tears to get free monarch points, also as some governments (like hordes) the best play is to just remove them entirely. I think they should be a lot more impactful, once your nation get's bigger, since they were what helped kings keep big empires together in Europe.

We don't want Estates to be the monarch point and advisor generating buttons that you hammer every couple decades, but in reality, it's how a lot of people use it. Heck, it's how I use it, so what's to be done here?

We actually turned this into a guiding principal of designing the Estate screen and their interactions. We were not to have any interactions which the user would return there on a regular pulse to repeat. As such, all old Estate interactions have been removed, and we have instead introduced a system of Estate Privileges

13th DD Noble Priv.jpg

13th DD Burghers Priv.jpg

Once again, all numbers and Interfaces are far from complete. You won't be seeing a screen full of ??? on release (well, I certainly hope not)

Rather than actions with cooldowns that you demand or bestow your Estates as before, these Privileges are meaty interactions that you can choose to take with your estates. They will impact on their Influence/Loyalty/Crown Land Share and come with a variety of effects, often wide reaching, long lasting and more often than not, impacting on your maximum absolutism. When the age of Absolutism comes around, you may well consider revoking these Privileges to gain absolute control over the state (Although if your ambitions are Revolutionary, you may have other plans...)

Each Estate type have their own Privileges and many of the old functions of estates are accounted for. The nobility, for example, can give you added military power per month if you're willing to guarantee them precious crown land, while the Rajputs will enable the direct recruitment of Rajput Regiments, in exchange for permanently increased influence. While such Privileges can be revoked, much like seizing the crown land away from them, you will invoke their ire, and should be done when you have either sufficiently appeased the estates through other means, or are ready to deal with their rebellions.

We'll certainly be back to talk more about these Estate changes as development on the upcoming European Update continues. As ever, questions and comments are welcome in this thread, and next week we'll go on to talk about another sizeable change of a more Ecumenical variety.

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It's commendable that you are willing to change the estates again after 1.26 and the way I read it, you now have to make a choice between trying to get as much crown land yourself vs getting specific benefits from estates? That could be a fun change, but the devil will be in the details for sure. It will come down to balance.

How easy would it be to keep the estates happy while taking their crow lands away?
Is there a reason to go above 60% influence if you don't milk the estates for monarch points anymore?
How many monarch points would you be able to get a month for what price?

Things currently redacted, possibly still being discussed.
Estates' portion of Crown Land will heavily affect their influence, as well as many of the interactions you have with them. Conversely, your nation's control over Crown Land is of grave importance: If you want to be a strong, absolutist state heaving into the Age of Absolutism, you'll want to wrestle control away from your estates, and giving up all of your crown land will have negative effects of your control over the nation.
I get the impression from the overall tone that the estates are now meant to be your direct and constant enemy with privileges as little more than a plot to appease said enemy until you are strong enough to crush it completely. I'm not sure I like that idea. I would like to be able to benefit from working together with the estates. Absolutism was not build on crushing all opposition a lot of it was build on cooperation with the burghers (and sometimes clergy) against the power of the nobles i.e. helping one of the estates at the cost of another. Having all estates be only a direct and constant enemy that drains the full power of your land seems a bit revisionist and very simplified (and wasn't this redesign meant to be intellectually stimulating rather than always giving you the obvious right choice?).

Of course, I may be getting the wrong vibe here, and I'm not making final judgement here, just sharing what the feel of the DD seems to be: "Crush your estates and see them driven before you".
Nice, will there be some unique country privileges? Or maybe some crises related to them?

This mechanics fits perfectly into Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. I hope I can grant a lot of privileges as Polish king :p
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How will it work with the Cossacks and Dharma estates like Dhimmi and Rajputs? They were not made free as far as I remember.
Looks excellent!
Will there be local pie charts (and thus the country-pie chart acts like a sum), or is it only managed on the country scale?
Do local factors, like trade goods or CoT, affect the balance between the estates?
How will territories work in this new system? Will they fall under "local land" instead of Crown Land?
If this mechanic is meant to reward the tall players more: how will you achieve that?
I absolutely welcome the change from one time boosts to ongoing bonuses! However it seems you didn't change it completly, since the "Grant Monopoly on Textiles" privilege still offers two one time bonuses. Couldn't you limit it to ongoimg benefits without exceptions like these? That would make the system more homogeneous and prevent new types of "click this button every ten years".
It will probably be a pain to un-unassign it so you'll want to scale down your usage of estates before 1610. I doubt you can just take it all away in a few clicks without serious consequences.

Probably won't be much worse then revolts, which just drain your manpower a bit. You should have plenty by the 17th century anyway, especially with edicts.
It would be more of an issue if this was Victoria and you ended up having to kill all your own pops
You create developer logs too small. I didn't see any content this week. If you continue this way, the patch will come to 2020. I understood that. And it seems to be planned this way. In short, you save time by dividing a small amount of content a lot. I don't like this in general. If there was no content, the development log might not be available this week.