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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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.

eu4_anniversary_livestream.png
 
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mechanical_Critter

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No, can you speak? "lol"

Well you see, -100% missionary strength isn't a modifier that says 'wew, your missionary strength is lowered by X amount'. It says 'you cannot convert'. It might as well be -20 or -50 or -75 or -1000 it would serve exactly the same purpose: a placeholder for denying missionary conversion. It's not balanced around the actual number displayed which is entirely irrelevant.

So suggesting to average around that number would be similar, to, for instance, suggest to average diplomatic stuff with things that give -1000 reasons (which is typically what is used when an action is forbidden). It's idiotic.
 

master_kong

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Well you see, -100% missionary strength isn't a modifier that says 'wew, your missionary strength is lowered by X amount'. It says 'you cannot convert'. It might as well be -20 or -50 or -75 or -1000 it would serve exactly the same purpose: a placeholder for denying missionary conversion. It's not balanced around the actual number displayed which is entirely irrelevant.

So suggesting to average around that number would be similar, to, for instance, suggest to average diplomatic stuff with things that give -1000 reasons (which is typically what is used when an action is forbidden). It's idiotic.
Thing is it will be depend on the estate influence. So -%100 missionary strength is when the influence is %100. And dhimmi influence tend to be much lower than other estates by design. You can even make them stay at 0 influence without any real drawback. So I don't see any problem with that.

And again the modifier most likely will be global_heathen_missionary_strength, heretics shouldn't be effected.
 

dD_ShockTrooper

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Thing is it will be depend on the estate influence. So -%100 missionary strength is when the influence is %100. And dhimmi influence tend to be much lower than other estates by design. You can even make them stay at 0 influence without any real drawback. So I don't see any problem with that.

And again the modifier most likely will be global_heathen_missionary_strength, heretics shouldn't be effected.
That moment when you accidentally give Dhimmi 3% of your land and now the entire empire is immune to missionaries.
 

Chetos25

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Hi, noobish player here -- made an account just to express an idea of mine.

What if this whole new estate rework includes an option that allows you to either "incorporate" or "reject" new states that correspond to newly conquered land, just like native policies? e.g Three token policies come to my mind right now:
  • Assimilate Estates: Allows for instant integration (and access to provileges) of a certain estate as soon as the newly conquered land is annexed/cored. Influence would be calculated according to the [(development of provinces that allow for said estate)/(total development)]. The downside of this would be, of course, the other estates taking a lesser chunk of the pie, which would make them mad right away.
  • Promise Privileges: After annexation, new estates will be recognized but start without any influence; rather, they will begin at influence 0, but as time goes by they will expect to have a bigger influence/certain privileges (what they ultimately expect may be proportional or similar to the relative influence/privileges they held in the conquered nation). This would allow for a much more gradual integration of said estate, which could be meaningful if you want a specific benefit out of them in the long run but don't wanna anger the other guys right away.
  • *token estate rejection name*: Basically this option doesn't recognize any of the estates in newly conquered land, giving them 0% influence without gradual growth. The only interaction this would allow for would be basically "Dissolve estate", whose function should be pretty clear as it would kill it for the rest of your game in your country (might cost you some mana to do so, because if it stays alive then maybe some event may trigger it and make it active with a certain influence level). This could be the default option and probably the other two may be unlocked through humanist ideas or a certain reform/tech level.
As another user said, I like that you guys are focusing on the internal politics aspect of the game while getting rid of the previous mechanics, which felt kinda forced sometimes as if you needed to check a box after doing some clicks every 15-20 years or so. Hopefully you can still give us a way of obtaining decent leaders in 1444 haha :p

ALSO, all of those [redacted] options... Perhaps it has something to do with the current mercenaries rework? Some new game mechanic we haven't been introduced to? :eek:
 

Weyird

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With regards to the question: Why give any power to the Estates, if taking it away gives Absolutism?

If the Devs are determined to keep the corruption from too many territories in the game, maybe giving lots of power to Estates is one way to reduce how much corruption you get from too many territories. makes sense, don't you think? Smaller nations find it a lot easier to be ruled directly, while larger nations need some delegation.
 

Schwarzer Ritter

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Once you grow to a certain size, you wont have much use of these priviledges. You can have +5 advisors running all the time, endless money and manpower. Absolutism is much more important there and there is no rebellious army you cant destroy when you've gotten big. I think the Estates should still be relevant and a force to be reconned with, even in the lategame when you might be a massive Ottoman empire spanning from Vienna to India.
 

Silesian Burd

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Once you grow to a certain size, you wont have much use of these priviledges. You can have +5 advisors running all the time, endless money and manpower. Absolutism is much more important there and there is no rebellious army you cant destroy when you've gotten big. I think the Estates should still be relevant and a force to be reconned with, even in the lategame when you might be a massive Ottoman empire spanning from Vienna to India.
That's just a massive balancing issue with EU4's late game in general.

Perhaps adjusting provinces' autonomy should lead to estates getting more land. I really, really don't like how they're decoupling land from province, but it would at least allow for them to say that the estates have minor holdings or stakes in various parts of your realm, which would do a lot to make provinces seem like they're more than just empty tiles.
 

Vasili

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how about an ai fix update. like fixing ai going past forts and seeing past fog of war
 

Nassau

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I have always ignored the estate mechanics while playing EU4. When none of them have any lands, they tend to be equally powerfull.
 

Caspian Mortis

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'Crown Land' doesn't make much sense for republics, since they have no crown or monarch but an elected head of state.

Will it be called something else for republics? State-owned land maybe?
 

DonKiszon

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Finally something is done with the estates. They were kind of boring at annoying with their events
 

Ark Tolei

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This seems, on its face, like a much more interesting way of handling estates than what is currently implemented. There are definitely fun aspects of current estate design (I was enjoying the gameplay aspect of slowly taking all the centers of trade away from Qinwang and giving them to the Shangbang as Ming) but generally the more fun you're having with estates, the less optimal your estate play actually is. It would have almost certainly been more optimal to not juggle at all, and instead just eat the rebels to steal it all immediately.

Having 20 year cooldowns be changed into long term policies is a great idea, and I like the idea of crown land consolidation being a mid-late game thing as administrative tech improves, and the government becomes better capable of administrating things themselves, rather than letting the estates take their cut.

One hope that I have for this change, is that powerful estates will have legitimate value, and the transition to absolutism, while valuable in the long term, will have significant costs associated with it. Right now, maxing out absolutism as quickly as possible is pretty much nothing but good. Having the bonuses from absolutism functionally replace the bonuses from estates has the potential to make for very different playstyles, each with their own benefits, if the bonuses from estates are sufficiently powerful. This is especially true if you can use your loyal estates to influence disloyal estates in other nations for some benefit to yourself, or problem for your enemies.

One thing to consider is the possibility of creating new estates for your lands that weren't historically relevant to your culture/religion, but are related to your empire's current power structure. If you have a large, professional standing army it doesn't really make much sense for that standing army to be represented by the nobles, because nobles fundamentally give you temporary levies, and those levies are generally run by their idiot sons. Having the military itself start to supplant the nobility as professionalism rises might be an interesting mechanic.

I don't know that such a thing would be possible to implement with the current system, but if the new system is designed from the ground up with estates not being hard locked to religion/culture, you'll be able to do a ton with them in the future, even if you don't decide to implement such things immediately.

Another obvious example is for a christian nation to be able to come up with an estate similar structurally to the Dhimmi if they have a bunch of heathens around who aren't being actively oppressed. Never happened historically as far as I'm aware, but there's no real reason why it couldn't have under the correct circumstances.
 

Winddbourne

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145
I like the idea of estates and absolutism being opposing ways of running things that support different playstyles. I fully believe that the french could centralize and become an absolutist state even earlier than they did in the real world . . . a smaller country might have an even easier time centralizing. But the gigantic country of Russia? No way . . . tie it in somehow with shipping/trade range, also perhaps infrastructure.

If you want to paint the map then you're going to have to place your trust in estates that can run distant regions and accept them taking a bit of the wealth for themselves. Alternately if your empire is all coastal provinces thenl, maybe I can see you centralizing things pretty easily and taking all the taxes and trade right into your national treasury. If you get the balance right small tightly centralized and highly developed provinces will be able to complete (tall play style) with sprawling feudal empires with powerful estates who get much less per province but just have so much land it doesn't matter (wide play-style).

That sounds a lot more interesting than the current general rule of thumb that playing tall is always better.