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EU4 - Development Diary - 27th of March 2018

rb.jpg


Good morning! It's Tuesday and probably 10am somewhere so let's have another EU4 Dev Diary. Today marks one week since the release of Rule Britannia along with the 1.25 England update. The whole team is delighted to see people playing and enjoying the content, in particular the popularity of England (Already one of the most played nations in the game) spiking sixfold.

So while we are very happy with how this release has gone this is no time to rest on our laurels. We have been hard at work digesting your various bug reports and feedback and fixing appropriately. Today I want to talk about our development plans going forward.

Firstly, we have not released any immediate hotfixes for 1.25. We put together a hotfix as soon as possible when we find massive issues, usually with stability (game crashing, consistent widespread out of syncs) which affect many people with high frequency. Thankfully we have not been receiving much report of these but there are still a number of issues which we do want to get fixed in a small patch which we are looking to have ready for you in the not too distant future.

Here is a list of some of the issues we are looking to get fixed up as a matter of urgency:

  • Rare naval mission crashes in Random New World Games
  • AI pirating Rule Britannia and having access to Naval Doctrines when the player does not
  • Duplicating modifiers when loading multiple save games
  • Various Missions fixes a-la 20,000 development U-tsang
  • Religious icons offset
  • Luck of the Irish achievement not working for all Irish tags. (This won't be able to retroactively fix your save so if you want to go for the achievement with one of the newly added Irish tags, wait for this fix)
  • Cleves being nuts about converting heretics
  • Fixing that the English mission "Strategic Control" was sometimes impossible to complete.
  • Correct claims for Great Britain in decisions/nation formations/missions
  • Neverending AI wars
This is not an exhaustive list, but it's some of the more serious issues which we are looking to sort out in an upcoming 1.25.1 hotfix. Its deployment date is chalked up to be "soon", pending successful fixing, building and testing which all, much as we try to bend the fabric of reality, takes a bit of time. It's my hope that we can have the fix out to you in time for Easter though, so we can celebrate it, as is tradition, by staying indoors and playing games.

Beyond this though, lies our road forward. We shall start working on our next update for Europa Universalis IV. While we are very happy with how our Immersion pack has done, the next planned release is slated to be an expansion and accompanying update of the magnitude of Rights of Man, Mandate of Heaven or Cradle of Civilization. Dev diaries going forward will be talking about some changes and additions in the next release which will be quite some time away. We'll start with talking about one of the bigger changes in 1.26 next week if all goes to plan, so see you then!
 
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Imanuglyfish

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There is also the fact that earlier wars seem to have more chance of triggering it than mid-game wars.

And this is exactly what @Trin Tragula and some of us have tried to explain to you. The event is tied to professionalism because that mechanic is supposed to simulate the slow transition from a peasant/mercenary army who was common in the early game and a standing state army in the late game. The former was notoriously hard to keep disciplined, and with a lack of state means (The crown wasn't usually that rich in the 15th century when more wealth was concentrated to the church and powerful nobilities in your country) that quite frequently lead to both friendly armies, hired mercenaries and hostile armies sacked and looted citys under a particular crown.

Land in itself wasn't really belonging to a group of people in the sense of state and citizens today, so that a city belonged under the Austrian crown and you happened to fight for the same crown didn't per se imply you felt any loyalty to that city just because the same crown who you fought for had taxation rights on that land. The event is bringing realistic and historical accurate flavor to the game, we should not judge EUIV event and there logic with how things works today and in which sense they feel reasonable given state loyalty today.

Edit: If I should give you a example out of my head to illustrate how identity worked back then in contrast to today, this example might not be the best one but it is one I know for sure and from the top of my head.

One of the main reasons to the advantages of Gustavus Adolphus battlefield tactics was that his army was divided in to regiments based on there origin. So people from Västra Götaland(Areas around province of Elfsborg) was in one regiment, people from Finland(Not the nowadays country but the region in Finland called Finland) was in one and people from Estonia was in one. These people didn't feel loyalty to Sweden as a nation, they got payed for fighting for the Swedish sake, and a big portion of that pay came from looting. I don't think any of these regiments would have hesitated to loot a province of an ally or even a province belonging to Sweden if that was there only prospect of getting paid. They weren't Swedes, they simply fought under a Swedish flag and one of the payment they received was the right to loot without any legal repercussions.
 
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Golladan

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I have to wonder how your playtesters didn't notice the epic fail that is the ai colonizer in the release version. I noticed it about the time my England hit dip 7 in the first playthrough when I found Cape Verde uncolonized.

Then again, this is the crew that also missed rebels instantly retreating from every combat and some of the other whoppers that have been inflicted on the playing (and paying) public.

How about instead of diving right in to adding new features for the next DLC you get a good solid and reasonably well-balanced release version out for the first time in who knows how long?
You could always apply to become a beta tester if you think you can do better.
 

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I have to wonder how your playtesters didn't notice the epic fail that is the ai colonizer in the release version. I noticed it about the time my England hit dip 7 in the first playthrough when I found Cape Verde uncolonized.

Then again, this is the crew that also missed rebels instantly retreating from every combat and some of the other whoppers that have been inflicted on the playing (and paying) public.

How about instead of diving right in to adding new features for the next DLC you get a good solid and reasonably well-balanced release version out for the first time in who knows how long?

Have anyone actually been running some test games without human interactions at all? Because I suspect that this mainly comes down to the players possibility to put AI in dept and severe financial trouble. I have played four games up in northern Europe with the latest patch and the colonizers are acting just like before in those game. The closer to them I get thou the easier it is for me to stop their efforts. So think this comes down to the ill-designed new mechanic regarding money in peace deals and would be fixed by simply balancing that aspect in a different way.
 

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And this is exactly what @Trin Tragula and some of us have tried to explain to you. The event is tied to professionalism because that mechanic is supposed to simulate the slow transition from a peasant/mercenary army who was common in the early game and a standing state army in the late game. The former was notoriously hard to keep disciplined, and with a lack of state means (The crown wasn't usually that rich in the 15th century when more wealth was concentrated to the church and powerful nobilities in your country) that quite frequently lead to both friendly armies, hired mercenaries and hostile armies sacked and looted citys under a particular crown.

Land in itself wasn't really belonging to a group of people in the sense of state and citizens today, so that a city belonged under the Austrian crown and you happened to fight for the same crown didn't per se imply you felt any loyalty to that city just because the same crown who you fought for had taxation rights on that land. The event is bringing realistic and historical accurate flavor to the game, we should not judge EUIV event and there logic with how things works today and in which sense they feel reasonable given state loyalty today.

Edit: If I should give you a example out of my head to illustrate how identity worked back then in contrast to today, this example might not be the best one but it is one I know for sure and from the top of my head.

One of the main reasons to the advantages of Gustavus Adolphus battlefield tactics was that his army was divided in to regiments based on there origin. So people from Västra Götaland(Areas around province of Elfsborg) was in one regiment, people from Finland(Not the nowadays country but the region in Finland called Finland) was in one and people from Estonia was in one. These people didn't feel loyalty to Sweden as a nation, they got payed for fighting for the Swedish sake, and a big portion of that pay came from looting. I don't think any of these regiments would have hesitated to loot a province of an ally or even a province belonging to Sweden if that was there only prospect of getting paid. They weren't Swedes, they simply fought under a Swedish flag and one of the payment they received was the right to loot without any legal repercussions.

Again. The problem isn't related to if my allies has professional or not. Although I don't know why my vassal don't trigger this event.

The problem is that despite wide-spread sacking/looting common up to WW2 (Soviet was particularly bad in Germany). This event has a decent chance to happen the first 40 years then start to fade as more drill happens over time. Not to mention lack of a diplomacy repercussion.

Going back to my Austria capital example, if someone took over siege who has low professional they can screw you out of long-term income + devastation by pick the one option to destroy +2 production development. Why should I let it go especially if it was one of my allies? If anything losses of trust in your army professional or lack therefore. Why should I call you to arm again? When I can instead sign an alliance with France with better army professional? I suppose army professional play some small degree in military strength but I suspect AI doesn't care as much as a sensible player would.

This event fail to emulate anything like that line of thinking. In the same way that your army is actually a full standing army non-stop despite being "composed" of entirely nothing but peasant men who would be call into action at moment of war plus mercenaries not beforehand.
 

Imanuglyfish

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Going back to my Austria capital example, if someone took over siege who has low professional they can screw you out of long-term income + devastation by pick the one option to destroy +2 production development. Why should I let it go especially if it was one of my allies?

In short, why would you as a royalty care about those little subject getting slammed in your city? Same kind of poor little subjects was the ones defending the city for you so they deserve their share right? The production output is an abstraction easy to see in game, but events is there to give historical flavor in contrast to the straight forward production value you see. Monarchs back then simply didn't saw the value lost in production you so easily can see in-game, or didn't really valued their subjects if the price of that would be to start a conflict with an ally. In-game is simplified, and I have yet to find out about any historical relation between states going from alliance to hostile based upon some sacking and looting of less worthy people in a city (That is in early-game time frame so to speak).
 

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In short, why would you as a royalty care about those little subject getting slammed in your city? Same kind of poor little subjects was the ones defending the city for you so they deserve their share right? The production output is an abstraction easy to see in game, but events is there to give historical flavor in contrast to the straight forward production value you see. Monarchs back then simply didn't saw the value lost in production you so easily can see in-game, or didn't really valued their subjects if the price of that would be to start a conflict with an ally. In-game is simplified, and I have yet to find out about any historical relation between states going from alliance to hostile based upon some sacking and looting of less worthy people in a city (That is in early-game time frame so to speak).

Lost +2 production (depend on terrain/cost modifier) can easily cost about 100 diplomatic MP, 1/4 of an idea group is nothing to laugh about plus lost income, on a 15 province. That is a gameplay reason to not want this event even if it only happens from 35 to 50 years between sacking.

EU 4 is not a game based purely on realism since gamplay >>> realism. For instance, why no one freak, it was nicknamed vile, diabolical alliance for a reason, out as soon France and Ottoman sign an alliance as they did historically? Heck they may even instead rival each other. Or despite Ottoman owning some Russia's permanent claims. Then Russia will happily sign alliance with Ottoman and go somewhere else. Or the fact that Ming is pretty unusually stabilized in most games despite having multiple disasters to the contrary.
 

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Lost +2 production (depend on terrain/cost modifier) can easily cost about 100 diplomatic MP, 1/4 of an idea group is nothing to laugh about plus lost income, on a 15 province. That is a gameplay reason to not want this event even if it only happens from 35 to 50 years between sacking.

EU 4 is not a game based purely on realism since gamplay >>> realism. For instance, why no one freak, it was nicknamed vile, diabolical alliance for a reason, out as soon France and Ottoman sign an alliance as they did historically? Heck they may even instead rival each other. Or despite Ottoman owning some Russia's permanent claims. Then Russia will happily sign alliance with Ottoman and go somewhere else. Or the fact that Ming is pretty unusually stabilized in most games despite having multiple disasters to the contrary.


Franco-Ottoman Alliance is a bad example for gameplay vs realism as most of the time ingame this alliance is absolutely unrealistic
In history it was an anti-Habsburg alliance, basicly the number 2 and 3 great powers allying vs the number 1 great power

In the game France and the Ottomans are often number 1 and 2 great powers in the region, there's no reason for that alliance
 

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Lost +2 production (depend on terrain/cost modifier) can easily cost about 100 diplomatic MP, 1/4 of an idea group is nothing to laugh about plus lost income, on a 15 province. That is a gameplay reason to not want this event even if it only happens from 35 to 50 years between sacking.

EU 4 is not a game based purely on realism since gamplay >>> realism. For instance, why no one freak, it was nicknamed vile, diabolical alliance for a reason, out as soon France and Ottoman sign an alliance as they did historically? Heck they may even instead rival each other. Or despite Ottoman owning some Russia's permanent claims. Then Russia will happily sign alliance with Ottoman and go somewhere else. Or the fact that Ming is pretty unusually stabilized in most games despite having multiple disasters to the contrary.

I'm not arguing that gameplay is less important than realism, it is not if you ask me. But event is one of the flavor mechanics in EUIV who is there to bring some realism and uncertainty in. They are not game changing but have some impact. That people in your country saw a comet and it translates to - 1 stability is also costly gameplay-wise but still it is there. There is good and there is bad events, or are you arguing that only positive events should be allowed to happen?
 

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I'm not arguing that gameplay is less important than realism, it is not if you ask me. But event is one of the flavor mechanics in EUIV who is there to bring some realism and uncertainty in. They are not game changing but have some impact. That people in your country saw a comet and it translates to - 1 stability is also costly gameplay-wise but still it is there. There is good and there is bad events, or are you arguing that only positive events should be allowed to happen?

No...

I am saying 100 diplomat MP to raise back up the production and having to deal with 50 devastation in a fort province in an early 1444 - 1500 warfare is pretty steep penalty for a minor to deal with. Nevermind that the fact it only affect ONE fort so wide or major power will not be impacted as much as say 5 province tag with only one fort.

Heck switching some of the penalty toward a diplomatic nature (reputation/trust loss) in exchange for smaller devastation would be better than leaving the event as it is now.

Making the event more common in wars that last longer than 5 years and between great powers would be another good move and much more realistic than sacking a 5 total development OPM for 50 devastation just because.
 

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I am saying 100 diplomat MP to raise back up the production and having to deal with 50 devastation in a fort province in an early 1444 - 1500 warfare is pretty steep penalty for a minor to deal with. Nevermind that the fact it only affect ONE fort so wide or major power will not be impacted as much as say 5 province tag with only one fort.

Yes that is only logical since that province will have a higher relative value the lower the total development of the state in question is? But as well, that alliance (who's troops did the slacking and looting) will also have a higher value for said state since it is smaller and more depended on diplomatic relations. I am just tired of seeing folks having bad events or a bad run complaining about the game. There is a lot of steep penalties in-game, especially if you start small and every single event is of greater importance, that is part of the challenge. Heck, that is why people prefer smaller tags from majors, if forces you to be more flexible and adapt to diffrent aspects of the game, including events.
 

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Yes that is only logical since that province will have a higher relative value the lower the total development of the state in question is? But as well, that alliance (who's troops did the slacking and looting) will also have a higher value for said state since it is smaller and more depended on diplomatic relations. I am just tired of seeing folks having bad events or a bad run complaining about the game. There is a lot of steep penalties in-game, especially if you start small and every single event is of greater importance, that is part of the challenge. Heck, that is why people prefer smaller tags from majors, if forces you to be more flexible and adapt to diffrent aspects of the game, including events.

There are currently unplayable OPM right now in 1.25 due to the change in mission system.

I challenge you to find an opening where you can pull Bahamas, or any other Vijayanagar's rival really, and win one or two province against Vijayanagar first war using reconquest CB as Madurai for Pandya Empire. The lack of a mission to get dec 14, 1444 rival conquest CB really hurt them a lot since Vijayanagar almost always warn you.

Then Bahamas, or whoever you sign alliance with, goes and lose a war and then Vijayanagar will declare on you if not right away.
 

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I hope Australia gets a much-needed province overhaul. It probably wouldn't take as long as other overhauls seeing as there are no tags there that would need to be given ideas and stuff (except maybe independent Australia tag?).
 

brifbates

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There are currently unplayable OPM right now in 1.25 due to the change in mission system.

I challenge you to find an opening where you can pull Bahamas, or any other Vijayanagar's rival really, and win one or two province against Vijayanagar first war using reconquest CB as Madurai for Pandya Empire. The lack of a mission to get dec 14, 1444 rival conquest CB really hurt them a lot since Vijayanagar almost always warn you.

Then Bahamas, or whoever you sign alliance with, goes and lose a war and then Vijayanagar will declare on you if not right away.

1) OPMs are supposed to be very hard
2) best CB
 

Tavior

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1) OPMs are supposed to be very hard
2) best CB

Being inherently hard is ONE thing. Like being OPM in Germany with plenty of alliances but luck is against you kind of hard.

Being completely impossible due to changes is a whole another thing!
 

Warlord of Buda

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Apr 19, 2017
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Trin Tragula, DDR Jake, and others,

I am quite new to this forum (but not the games), so do let me know if there is a better feed to raise the following 2 points/issues:
1. Hungarian province names for the current Carpathia and southern regions are not exactly complete. So here are my well-researched suggestions:


Province names in Hungarian: Carpathia (subject to change)

Tirgoviste: Tergovistye (as per Transylvanian Hungarian history writing).

NB: This is a densely populated province which should be at least two provinces instead. In case you split it in two, makes sure you add Arges (In Hungarian: Argyas after the Banat of Argyas in the 13th century) as the northern part of the current Tirgoviste province and keep the southern part as is.

Oltenia: Szörény (after the Banat of Szörény in the 13th century).


Province names in Hungarian: Balkans (all)

Slavonia: replace "Szlavónia" with Verőcze (the current name is anachronistic).

NB: This is a densely populated province which should be at least two provinces. In case you split it in two, makes sure you add Pozsega as the southern part of the current Szlavónia province and rename the northwestern-northern part to Verőcze.

Varasd is fine.

Nándorfehérvár is fine.

Szerém is fine.

Zágráb is fine.

Lika: Tengermellék (the current name is okay as well).

NB: Lika is far less important in this location than say Fiume or Zengg. None of them are truly important in the Hungarian Kingdom apart from their function in accessing the sea. Hence the Hungarian Tengermellék name (meaning: By-the-sea-land).

Dalmatia: Dalmácia

Dubrovnik: Raguza / Tölgypart

NB: Tölgypart is a very rarely used translation of the Slavic Dubrovnik (Oak Place), but Raguza is the historical name.

Travunia: Drina (after the river Drina).

NB: The way you drew the map, the real Travunia happens to correspond to Zeta province anyway. So you should use Drina for the English/Default name as well.

Hum: Öreghíd or Neretva

Donji Kraji: Orbász

Visoki: Magasvár

Bosna: Boszna

Branicevo: Galambóc (as per the old name of the region in Serbian: Golubac).

Raska: Rácország

NB: Please correct the Serbian/default name to Raška! You are currently missing an accent there!

Kosovo: Rigómező (very-very important, historical-traditional Hungarian translation which most school children have learnt and will recognize).

Nis: Nissa (as per the old Hungarian name in history books).

NB: Please correct the Serbian/default name to Niš. You are missing an accent at the moment.

Zeta: Feketehegy (but the current name is also fine).

Nigbolu: Nikápoly

Silistre: Durosztol

Kirkkilise: Várna

Edirne: Drinápoly

Vidin: Bodony

Filibe: Filipápoly

Sofya: Szeredőc (NOT Szeredoc)

Üsküp: Feketevíz (based on the old name of the region, Vardar: black water).

Lezhë: Lezsa

Durazzo: Duránc

Avlonya: Valóna

Constantinople: Konstantinápoly is fine.

Selanik: Szaloniki

Kesriye: Kasztória

Tirhala: Thesszália

Yanya: Epirusz

Corfu: Kerküra

Achaea: Korinthosz

Morea is fine.

Athens: Athénás (or the more modern "Athén").

Negroponte: Euboia (we use the Greek).

Naxos: Kükládok


Province names in Hungarian: Anatolia (partly checked)

Crete: Kréta

Rhodes: Dodekanészosz / Rodosz

Scio: Leszbosz

Cyprus: Ciprus

Aydin: Szmirna

Mentesha: Halikarnasszosz

Antalya: Attaleia

Saruhan: Magnészia

Biga: Dardanellák (or "Trója")

Hüdavendigar: Nikaia

Kocaeli: Nicomedia

Kütahya: Dorylaeum

Ankara: Angora


Please note, there might be several instance in which your recent updates offer the same name.

For more on Europe, please contact me with a specific request. I would also welcome any comments you might have.
 

Warlord of Buda

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Apr 19, 2017
3
0
The 2nd issue - or rather, set of issues - is longer to explain. Prepare for a very long post with several parts.

I.
INTRO/DISCLAIMER: Most players will notice - with regard to any similar game - that West Europe and larger markets like China, Russia, US, the Gulf, etc. - tend to get preferential treatment. This is understandable as making games is just as much about good business as it is about passion for making excellent games. It is also clear that no game can be perfect and that the process of gradual improvement can be endless. I, for one, certainly appreciate what Paradox is doing with the dedicated patches and am happy to pay a little extra on a temporary basis for all the extra content I get. However, I haven't seen so far the sort of dedication to East Central Europe (or as the ignorant call it: East Europe) from Paradox that we could expect based on the China, Russia, England, etc. related content. In fact, and please don't take this too badly, the so-called Hungary patch was perhaps a slightly hasty job and the region still requires a serious second round of revisions. I am sure other gamers have raised this as well. Therefore, if there is some duplication below do I apologize in advance. Also, since my comments are largely focused on Hungary and just a few other countries, I must also beg forgiveness for not being more inclusive. Either way, I would really appreciate it if we could have a dedicated discussion on this - just point me in the right direction.
So, here it goes.

II.
Economy and trade:
1. Historically speaking, Hungary and what is ahistorically named "Ruthenia" used to be some of the largest exporters of livestock (e.g. beef) and grain into the HRE and beyond. Yet, what we see instead is many-many poor provinces in Lithuania (especially in what is today Ukraine) with very low production related development. Now, I can see how admin/tax related development should be lower in these provinces, but in terms of grain and cattle output they should be far more formidable as they used to feed not only themselves, but also the Venetian and Genoan trade as well as much of the HRE. Youn need to seriously consider increasing production when it comes to these goods, so that a smart "East European" player can leverage grain and cattle in trade (incl. trade missions for taking back control, improving local trade control), whereas the bad player will be particularly vulnerable without sound livestock and grain export revenues. This was the real curse of the region, not actual poverty in terms of production output...
Just like in the case of Iberia, the spawning of new provinces in Britain, France, Low Countries, Middle East, etc. needs to be followed by compensation in the HRE and also in East Europe. It is a very sad joke that Poland or Hungary are almost the same in size and in may ways poorer than, say, Ireland (4 areas, really?) or Scotland... come on, those places were backwaters compared to East Central Europe in 1444 and you know it. Which Scottish king could afford a library like that of Matthias Corvinus? Which country mined more gold and salt in the 14th-15th centuries than Hungary? Again, this is kinda sad.

2. The trade nodes in East Central and East Europe are not working well either. For instance, the Crimea trade node (as of the most recent patch--England) is simply too large. Northwest Armenia/Georgia was by no means competing with Odessa (Edisanas) or Azov. Instead, there should be three trade nodes: 1. Northwest Armenia, all of Georgia, North and Northeast Turkey; 2. Pontic Steppe and Circassia; 3. Bulgaria, Moldavia, Wallachia, Transylvania, and Red "Ruthenia". The reason for including the latter two in this group I will explain later in more detail, but basically, East Hungary/Transylvania was far more connected to the trading activities of Polish/Moldavian/Transylvanian/Ukrainian Jews as well as the Armenian diasporas than the game allows us to experience at this point. I am happy to flood you in historical citations, should you prefer. An alternative, perhaps better, approach would be to group this part of Europe as follows: Wallachia, Serbia (just the area, not the whole country), Bulgaria, and Southern Transylvania in "East Balkans" trade node, whilst North Transylvania would join Moldavia, Yedisan/Edisanas, Red Ruthenia, and Volchyna-Podolia in a "West Ruthenia" or "Lvow/Lwiw/Lamberg" trade node. East Balkans would flow downstream in three directions, and would get an upstream connection from (Constantinople, Ragusa, Wien) from the Northeast Turkey/Georgia sort of trade node (which would compete with Constantinople). "West Ruthenia" trade node would have three downstream (Wien, Krakow, Kiev) and two upstream connections (Crimea, East Balkans). Or something along those lines. There is also a substantial problem with North Hungary (now Slovakia) belonging to the Wien trade node alone, since the Eastern provinces (Zemplén, Trencsén, Szepes) by the Polish border were rather dependent on the Krakow trade node instead of Vienna (see also: History of the Visegrád collaboration) and so were some of the other provinces. The biggest problem, however, is that the game treats the central areas of Hungary as a trade area/node which is obviously governed by Vienna. This was by no means true in 1444 or for some of the latter starts. Only two provinces - as per the current layout - were dominated by Vienna and it was only after Ottoman conquest that Vienna became so dominant in Hungarian trade affairs (and the pointof this games is that this outcome is by no means guaranteed). Therefore, much of Hungary (especially the centre, but also the inland territories of what is today Croatia) should be in a separate "Pest" trade node. In this case, however, there is no need to reassing Sopron and Pozsony to Vienna and Szepes, Trencsén, and Zemplén to Krakkow (also, downstream connections to Vienna from Ragusa, West Ruthenia and East Balkans could also pass through here, as the Danube and Croatia were the natural connection for the latter and the mercantile diasporas connected the former). Now, before you accuse me of playing favourits or something, I think Polish, Czech, Slovak, Serbian, Romanian, Ukrainian, etc. focused players would all support this change as this would mean that they can benefit more from inland trade as well. If you think about it, with sufficiently hight mercantilism a Serbian or Wallachian player (+Bulgaria) can make serious trade profits (as opposed to the current version and the earlier history of the area) well before they take their beloved Constantinople from the Ottomans. Also, a Polish player would eagerly welcome the extra profit from having access to two trade nodes and will finally see the point in expanding into both Bohemia and Hungary/East Balkans as well. Finally, when Habsburgia finally gets Hungary, they get to benefit from controlling two trade nodes, just like they did historically. So win-win for all.
There might be similar problems in other areas, but the main idea is that you need to look at the trade dynamics and interests of more countries in the game, not just Ottomans or, say, Prussia. What has Wallachia in common with central Anatolia in 1444? Nothing.

II.
Now, let us continue with more country specific stuff:

1. Problematic Starting Conditions: Romanian Nation vs. Wallachian, Moldavian, and (even) Cuman Culture

Romanian ethnic events and game decisions use a number of assumptions which are largely ahistorical and occasionally ungrounded. To give you an example, I was playing as Hungary 2 patches ago and my empire ranked #1 globally and stretched from Sweden to Indonesia... I suddenly got a Romanian nationalism event in Transylvania, where I spent huges amounts of time to convert all to Catholics and an even larger amount of diplo points to change culture to Hungarian. In fact, by that time, even Wallachia, Moldavia, Serbia, and Bulgaria was ethnic Hungarian and so was Thrace/Constantinople... out of nowehere: booming in come the Romanians (btw: same thing happened with Slovaks). WTF? I only wish the same thing happened when I formed Rome in another game... ;-D
While I might not be popular with this suggestion in all circles in Bucharest, I do believe that most Romanians would agree with me over this: Romanian identity - with its proclaimed links to a Roman/Dacian past - only emerged in the 19th century. This is not to say whether they are true or not. Only to argue that before the 19th century nobody cared over there about ancient historic ties. So, just like in the case of France (where Gasconards, Provencals, and Franciens are separete items in the same group) Wallachians and Moldavians did not, in fact, consider themselves Romanian per se in 1444 or even in 1700. So they should appear as separate groups as well. Alternatively, the "Romanian" identity could be formed in the age of Revolutions - even without controlling the other territories - for a free claim/core or something. Otherwise, if and when the player does form a Romanian nation (e.g. event), I think they should be able to get a free slot or even form a new nation (as in the case of Iceland or as in the case of Mughals or Prussia or Italy). I hope this won't offend anybody.
Then again, it was only after actual Ottoman conquest of these lands that a united intellectual base and a more-or-less overlapping elite (such as Phanariote Greek nobles and merchants) could emerge, mix with the old ruling classes, and form a new identity. For instance, without them the man who eventually unified Moldavia and Wallachia – Alexandru Ioan Cuza – would have never existed (he came from Greek elites, too)...
There is also another group which is missing badly from this part of the world, albeit you can still see them in CK2 in most endgames: the Cumans. Indeed, before Ottoman conquest, parts of Wallachia (i.e. the Muntenian lands around Tirgoviste and Buzau, but not so much Oltenia) and parts of Moldavia (Basarabia and Tighina, but not Moldova province) were dominated by Cuman and Pecheng elites which shifted to Orthodoxy (and occasionally Catholicism) and blended in with their subjugated peoples (a mix of different groups of Christian farmers, shepherds, burgers). For examples, one of the most important Wallachian noble families - the Basarab - were also likely of Cuman (or similar, Pecheng) origin. Also, looking further into Bulgaria, Serbia, and even Macedonia, the same people have founded several ruling dynasties. And by 1444, they were still around in what is today East Romania and Southwest Ukraine (e.g. Besarabia province, Edisanas/Yedisand area). So there should be some room for recovering them from oblivion (e.g. cheaper cultural conversion/reversal cost in those provinces and the ability for East Balkans nations to claim that identity instead of a Byzantine influenced one) when they start building an empire in some directions. A good Wallachian or Moldavian player might use both historical narratives or frameworks to end up with a supermassive, integrated nation.
Either way, it has to be underlined that it is very anachronistic to consider the general population Romanian in the 1440s. To give you an example on how wrong the current solution from Paradox is, imagine having the British culture in both Scotland and England before Britain is formed as a nation... you would never dare do this. In fact, several patches ago Scotland was divided into two major ethnic groups which are not even of the same culture group... not to mention France or Italy which start with several of them! So why should this area or culture be any different or exempt? Right now, should a player unite Moldavia and Wallachia before the age of Revolutions (when all the actual ideas, political tools, and national curriculum necessary for creating the concept and forming Romania was developed), they will still end up with a purely Romanian nation with no accepted culture slots used... So, in effect, despite there not being a concept of Romania at the time, despite Paradox' general approach to these situations, Wallachians start as Romanians at no extra effort whatsoever... Don’t get me wrong, when playing Poland, Russia, Lithuania, Ottomans, Austria, or Hungary I really love this situation, as it allows me to have one very powerful march/vassal there which can take a decent amount of territory before I annex them. Nevertheless, this does not make the conditions historically or comparatively correct per se and needs to be changed.

So, to summarize: I think the appropriate solution would be (1) to have Cuman culture in Basarabia province and perhaps also in Tighina province (with a potential to release/form a Cuman nation); (2) to have Moldavian culture in Moldova province (and that should be also the main ethnicity of Moldavia as a state); and (3) to have Wallachian ethnicity all over what is Wallachia now. (4) Wallachia should come with one extra province and Moldavia province should be separated into two ethnic Moldavian provinces. In addition, (5) Moldavian should be also the previous - i.e. reduced cost conversion - culture for Tighina, Basarabia, and Buzau provinces; whilst Cuman should be the same for all of Wallachia (so that the player need not spend too much diplomatic power to ‘restore’ it); (6) Moldavia should be allowed to form royal marriage with Wallachia (or Cumania) even if they are vassals of or march under Poland (thus increasing the chances of a support independence agreement or war for P.U.), as they normally did marry their neighbours. In fact, royal marriages should be allowed for all vassals or marches, anyway. Also, historically speaking, Wallachia - allied with Ottomans, Lithuania, or Hungary - should be a real threat to Poland's overlordship of Moldavia (although this might change overall game mechanics too much...). Finally (7) Ottomans should get an event for changing Besarabia province population into Muslim (Gagauz) Turks, as they did historically (although this event could be randomized).


2. Problematic Starting Conditions: Slovaks, Saxons, Slovenes, Moravians, etc.

Slovakia and some of the other Slavic minors are not sufficiently detailed or resolved (from both historic and gaming perspective).

The anachronism of talking about Slovaks in 1444: Few Slovak historians would ever claim that the elites in Upper-Hungary (modern Slovakia) were predominantly of Slovak ethnicity in the 15th century. Even fewer to suggest something like this for earlier centuries. Most would, therefore raise two eyebrows if someone dared to suggest that previously existing principalities in this part of Europe before Hungarian conquest (e.g. "Nitra" in EU4 and also Balaton in CK2) were actually "Slovak". In fact, according to Slovak history writing, the main Slavic groups in then-Upper Hungary were chiefly the remnants of the Moravian empire and partly related to an earlier entity: White Croatia. So, if we really need to assign them to a single ethnic group - and should they emerge as a nation any time between 1444 and 1650s ingame - they ought be of post-Moravian ethnicity or something equally old (as opposed to Slovak). However, this does not mean that the game should not lead to an earlier emergence of the Slovak culture and nation ingame. Here are the dynamics I would suggest:

A. the Hussite wars need to be developed far more in EU4. They were a major set of events in European history which resulted in massive Slavic migration (especially Czech, Moravian, Ruthenian) into Hungary. Now, the impact of that migration can be either random (i.e. effect different provinces) or fixed to historical outcomes (e.g. Trecsén and Szepes will be most affected by Slavic influx and wartime devastation). This should also be a contributing factor to where Slovak identity surfaces in-game and whether it will be isolated or re-enforced by neighbouring Slavic populations in other countries.
B. The other major factor in real history was the Ottoman conquest of 1526 and subsequent Ottoman expansion into the central areas of the country. Before then, Hungarian cultural influence was actually growing-expanding and assimilation was very strong even among richer domestic (e.g. German-speaking burger) and neighbouring independent populations (see: terms like "Ungrovlachia" being used by Wallachian rulers). Furthermore, they were some of the most loyal ethnic groups of the Hungarian crown upto the 18th century and there were few reasons for them and Hungarians to get in conflict. A major Ottoman conquest can change all that by destroying the fabric of the Hungarian state. However, to allow Slovaks to emerge sooner as an independnet national actor, the Ottoman expansion into Hungary would need to be more extensive than it was in historical terms.
C. The last factor is the discovery of the Americas and the introduction of potatos to Hungary. Slovaks usally lived in areas where proper wheat was hard to grow and so was barley, etc. Having access to potatos - as in the case of Ireland - made it easier for ethnic groups living in harsher terrains to increase their numbers. So, say, if America has more than 40 European colonies by 1550, it likely means that potatos have already arrived in Europe. So an event related to that could give a boost to Slovak numbers and increase their chances of becoming a more dominant player early on (the same event might work beyond the Slovak context as well).​

I understand that this needs good explanation.

Let me begin by saying that nobody denies there were Slavs in Upper Hungary back in 1444. Nobody denies that most of them might have spoken Slavic languages and dialects.
Nevertheless, what is crucial here is that they had neither the means to unite nor felt a particular need or urgency to make such attempts at this kind of thing until centures later.
We know for a fact that Hungarians outnumbered all other ethnicities in the same area around the middle of the 15th century. In fact, given EU4's simplistic monocultured province approach, this alone renders the whole Slovak-discussion meaningless as all those provinces should be simply listed as Hungarian. So, end of story? Not quite!
I find that most Slovaks, Ukrainians, Romanians, , etc. would like to play this game and enjoy leading their ancestors to victory. Indeed, nobody came from "nowhere", so surely, they should be able to trace themselves somewhere. However, in reality this somewhere tends to mean multiple sources and complex events, so people just go for a simple, often very romantic approach. We have all seen George Washington in a caveman's clothes (in the Civilization series)... At the end of the day, this is understandable and some strong arguments can be made for it even beyond the business perspective (e.g. selling them what they'd like to see instead of what was...). Also, there is always some room for debate, as historians in older, established nations (e.g. Poland, Hungary, Austria, etc.) can be dishonest or inaccurate as well. So let me be particulalry elaborate about the Slovak case.

Argument #1 -- no elites in Slovakia: Every country needs a group of leaders, elite families. Be it a republic or a monarchy, a society is organized by people with capacity and capital for stately affairs. However, talking of "Slovak elites" is very hard in the 15th. In fact, the Slovak national history narrative is all about subjugation by Hungarian, German, etc. elites... with few notable exceptions. So, without their own stakeholder elite to organize them or access to critical technologies (like the printing press), how could the formulation and propagation of a new national-territorial concept on the basis of a common Slavic identity be plausible? The answer lies in points A-C above.

Argument #2 -- no desire for Slovak political nation: To repeat myself, most Slovak historians claim that the cities of Upper Hungary were dominated by Hungarian and German elements. Most of the nobles belonged to the "Hungarian political nation" as well, so they had different outlets for their political ambitions. Upward mobility for ethnically different groups and leaders was generally open, as the Hungarian nobility and political nation consisted of the subjects of the Crown of St. Stephen and was never restricted to specific groups. The offical state language was Latin (until the 1830s), so knowing the Hungarian language was a secondary requirment. Many famous families (e.g. Kossuth, Hunyadi, Zrínyi, Báthory, etc.) originated elsewhere and some of the greatest statesmen were of Slavic stock as well. Indeed, Slovak history writing comes to our aid in explaining that both future Slovaks and ethnic "Magyars" were part of the same political nation: Lands of the Crown of St. Stephen. So there really was no need to proclaim a Slovak identiy until post-enlightenment ideas and pressures for state-led Magyarization occured. in the 19th century.

Argument #3 -- Hungarian ethnic and cultural dominance: Most historians - including Hungarian ethnonationalist zealots - would accept that there were Slavic groups in all parts of Hungary. However, despite stark differences in language, the cultural differences and traditions among Catholic populations were very minimal, so even if Slovaks became a majority earlier, they would still not have much to starkly differentiate themselves or their intersts from those of other subjects of the Crown. What is today Slovakia was called by most sources Upper-Hungary with a good reason. Hungarians were the majority in all the relevant areas. Even when the Ottomans conquered much of Hungary and drove her richest territories into dust in a period of 150 years, this status quo hadn't changed much. While the ethic Hungarian (or Magyar) element got much weaker and scarceer in large areas, Slavic populations were not really a threat to stability until much later. Indeed, the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian basin and one should also recall that the Hungarians were particularly successful at assimilating large numbers of eastern and slavic tribes (incl. Cumans, Avars, Alans, Pechengs, Vends, etc.) in the plains areas. In fact, even as late as 1920 – when Pozsony (now Bratislava) became the capital city of the Slovakian part of the newly forming state of Czechoslovakia, 40% of the population was still Hungarian-speaking there, while German-speakers made up the relative majority of 42%. Most of the villages and small townships around modern-day Bratislava remained Hungarian speaking well into the 1970s and there are few parts of Slovakia where Hungarians had not been a signifiant ethnic group upto 1918. As I write this, most of South Slovakia has a Hungarian majority despite decades of aggressive assimilation, economic oppression, political pressuring, and constant emigration by young people to Budapest. A 100 years ago Slovaks were hardly more than 65% of the population anywhere in Upper-Hungary/Slovakia (check the maps of HOI games: despite their strong bias, they still show large parts with Hungarian majority) as the Stalinist re-settlement of Germans and Hungarians from Czechoslovakia had not happened back then. What Paradox did with EU4, therefore, looks more like what the Slovak far-right wants to see in 2050, than what is the reality today, let alone a 100 or 500 years ago... In result, it is safe to argue that even if one chooses to incorrectly project the worst possible modern statistics on the past... one still cannot claim that the whole Upper-Hungary area was purely Slavic at the time, let alone literally Slovak (I hope Slovak gamers will be frank enough and support my argument on this).​

So why do we need Slovaks in this game?

If your answer is that you want to see Hungary waste a full accepted culture slot on a culture which did not independently exist in 1444 in the first place, think again.
However, there are a couple of legit reasons for discussing Slovaks in the game:
Reason #1: It is fun to play all sorts of nations and I particularly enjoy building massive Slavic nations with a capital right in the centre of Europe.
Reason #2: There is a good chance in every game that Hungary makes bad alliances and falls apart. In some respects, this is the historically reasonable expectation. Although there obviously needs to be variation. So, when the central areas - which were traditionally the most populated - had quickly fallen to the Ottomans, why not have some power-contestation and renewal? It makes perfect sense for new nations to emerge from the ruins of the Hungarian political nation. In fact, I would include more of them (e.g. Cumans in the Alföld region, Croatian minors in Sopron and Szlavónia, German minors in Szepes, Pozsony, and Királyföld). So Hungary could look just as bad as Britain, Spain, or Lithuania after a couple of lost wars and revolts. In fact, having minor revolters is a privilege for great nations. ;)
Reason #3: Slovakia is plausible in the long run. As a territory where Hungarians are 50% of the population and Slavic groups make up the other 50% would naturally see a rise in calls for Slavic integration as a countermeasure to relative Hungarian dominance. While historically speaking this did not occur precisely this way and even when it did it was already the 19th century, this does not mean that the world cannot develop differently. Yes, it is true that after losing Transylvania and much of Central and South Hungary Hungarians have managed to still outnumber and successfully integrat large groups of Slavic populations. However, they were dancing on the edge of a very sharp knife and there were several occasions when Hungary had almost completely vanished as an independent actor.​

When shouldn't Slovaks/Nitra and similar minors appear?

We need them only in the most extremely negative scenarios (e.g. no PU with Austria, Poland is a rival, Ottoman gets early mission and allies Bohemia, Venice is a rival, Lithuania falls apart, pope declares crusade on Morocco twice, France rivals Hungary, Aragon is PU-d quickly by weak Castile, etc.). Otherwise, they are not realistic at all.
#1: It should not be possible to liberate them before the age of Englighenment and they should not revolt separately unless the conditions A-C are met.
#2: They should not appear more often than every 10th or 20th game (unless the player specifically pursues Hungary's demise, say, as Ottomans). So, while there is a good chance that in EU4 Hungary ends up losing some or even more territory to Ottomans or Poland or Bohemia, and even fails to secure alliances with Bohemia, Poland, and/or Austria, such Slavic states or mixed Slavic-Hungarian and new Hungarian principalites should emerge earlier in history only if the situation is particularly bad. Otherwise, there is no point in having such events. After all, why should an independent Slovakia emerge from a successful and rich Hungary which is expanding and already capable of subjugating Ottoman, Austrian, or Polish territories? Who can the Slovaks rely on if, say, Matthias Corvinus secures the Bohemian electorate by subjugating most of their slavic neighbours?
#3: Slovaks should not exist in most Hungarian games. They should only emerge when A-C are met or Hungary had decades of very low stability and suffered losses worth 60% of her core territory.
#4: As long as one or all of Pest, Pozsony, and Torda provinces remain with Hungary, there should be no Hungarian decline and no new nationalism to speak of.​

Please let me know what you think. Especially Trin and DDRJake.


The Saxons that never existed?

Now, The role of the Mid- and Lower Danube regions own Saxon communities is likewise missing. Hungary used to be strongly shaped by their presence (not to mention South German bankers like the Fuggers). City and bourgeoning trade life was something these “Zipsers” and “Transylvanian Saxons” excelled at (becoming as significant for East Central Europe as the Dhimmi estate in case of Muslims). And there were many Schwab and Dutch settlers, too. At least under a collective name, they should appear somewhere in the game or as an estate or both.


Compensating Hungary for bad events with good events? Perhaps the same for other historically less fortunate nations (e.g. Serbia?).

More importantly here, the gameplay needs to reflect the deep impact of Ottoman conquest and Habsburg rule in Hungary. If the player experiences the negative influence of both empires, it is obvious that the Hungarian culture should suffer – therewith enabling ethnic-nationalist events fire and replace Hungarian culture in their struggle for dominance (see Slovak discussion above). Then again, if only one or none of these factors gets triggered, the player should be left with a culturally more united, correspondingly stronger Hungarian culture, nation and a series of events which increase unity and cultural homogeneity instead. Carrots and sticks should be applied evenly.
After all, does it makes sense to have the Slovaks appear in a strongHungarian state? As I asked above... do such "national resurgence" event make any sense when Venice, Vienna, Prague, Warsaw and Constantinople are already culturally converted provinces of an 1000 development strong Hungarian empire? Where do these people come from if I (1) converted them and (2) there is not a single province on the map with their culture (group) left? To me, it is quite absurd having to march back from Naples or ship armies from Alexandria to crush them, let alone spend additional culture points on removing Slovaks the second time, after they appear out of the blue in my powerful Protestant nation (which took Constantinople from the Ottomans well before 1470...). Do consider changing this mechanism.


Double standards?

At the same time, one cannot help but notice, that Paradox sees areas like Erzgebirge as of purely Czech culture even in 1444… or that the Carniola area of Austria has Austrian culture... If you do check, Carniola was far more Slavic (proto-Slovenian) at the time than, say, any part of Upper-Hungary was ‘Slovak’ (or even a 100 years later). Erzgebirge was already too Germanized culturally to be included under the same culture as the rest of Bohemia (not to mention Moravia, where Moravian culture is still a thing today...). The correct thing to do is to apply the same principles to all countries.


Solutions:

In order to resolve some of the the above issues, I would like to suggest the following: (1) make Hungarian the starting culture in Hont, Zemplén, and Pozsony provinces; (2) make “Danubian Saxon” the starting culture in Szepes (and add it to the South German culture group); (3) remove Slovak culture in Trencsén county and introduce ‘Moravian’ culture instead; (3) make Danubian Saxon the previous (e.g. cheap to restore) culture in Hont, Sopron and Pozsony (so that it costs less to restore it if you are playing Austria); (4) make Hungarian the previous culture in Szepes and Trencsén (for similar reasons); (5) give the provinces of Moravia (Brno and Olomouc) to the Moravian culture as well; (6) list Moravian as one of the previous cultures in Fejér, Pozsony, Sopron, and Hont provinces (so that Nitra and Moravia can grow quicker if they should emerge); (7) make Nitra a secondary nation to the Moravian culture; (8a) make both Moravia and Nitra disappear in 1760 (or so) and once they are gone, set Moravian provinces in Bohemia to Czech culture (with event) and Moravian provinces in Hungary to new Slovak culture (emergence of Slovak nation), but only if Hungary is in a very-very bad shape. So, (8b) if there is no Ottoman conquest of Pest province or any Upper-Hungary/Slovakia province, then Moravian culture should switch (by event) to Hungarian instead of Slovak (so that there is no Slovak emergence at all). However, if there is Ottoman conquest of Pest or Upper-Hungary/Slovakia and/or Polish/Austrian/Bohemian conquest anywhere in Upper-Hungary/Slovakia, the whole region should fire events of Slovak emerging nationalism. Then (9) the culture in Carniola should be changed to a new culture, “Slovene” (except for Istria); (10) Hungarian, Moravian, Slovak, Slovenian culture should be added to what is the West Slavic Group and the whole group should be renamed Central European or East-Central European; and (11) keep Hungary and the rest of her new culture group in Western Technology tree until Ottomans take Ragusa, Basarabia, Edisanas, and Genovese Crimea (Cafa, Azov).
NB: Before then, Hungary and Poland were just as proximate to developed Aragon, Provence, and Italy as England or Norway…



3. Problematic Starting Conditions: Serbia and Croatia in the West Balkans

The next problem is having Serbs as the dominant culture of Szerém and Nándorfehérvár provinces. While the population there was predominantly Slavic indeed, these territories were originally taken from the crumbling Bulgarian Empire with significant Bulgarian populations and the Slavonian (inland Croatian) element in Szerém province was likewise strong. I believe it is a fair compromise to keep Nándorfehérvár (future Belgrade) province as Serbian (and have Bulgarian culture as the previous, cheap-to-recover culture there), but Szerém should not start as Serbian and Orthodox at all, as both Hungarian and Croatian Catholic influence is much stronger there historically.

Secondly, Croatia is very problematic indeed. In fact, the cultural reality on the ground should resemble Scotland from the recent patches. On the one hand, there needs to be a potential to form a strong Croatian or South Slavic nation (just like in the case of Romania or Britain), but the diversity within Croatia back in 1440s cannot be ignored. The inner parts of the Croatia area of EU4 – which lived under Hungarian crown much-much longer and had seen Hungarian majorities earlier as well – always had their distinct Slavonian flavour, but are essentially compatible with Hungary in terms of culture. Whereas the Croatian groups in Dalmatia and Hum were normally closer to the Adriatic-Venetian sphere of influence, not to mention their sea-proximate material culture which has more to do with Illyrian than Pannonian legacy. Therefore, dividing Croatia into two-three cultural groups seems fair. This would make it (a) harder for Hungary to culturally promote a second Croatian group by the shore, and also reduce the currently unjust disadvantage Hungary has in inner-Croatia (Croatia area). After all, Hungary and Croatia lived together for 400+ years by then, so their cultural proximity should be more similar to English-Welsh or English-Scotish relations than to the English-Irish (for comparison sake).

Albania encounters similar problems. They have a lot of cultural proximity in this period with a number of neighbouring provinces and their material culture and religion does not separate them from other tribes and groups in the same period too much. The borders are fluid, the frontiers very mixed ethnically. This needs to be represented in cultural conversion and/or national decisions and events (especially with leaders like Skanderbeg/Kastrioti). Albania should get culture conversion bonuses on all its neighbours, in fact.

I would suggest that (1) in terms of starting culture Szlavónia and Szerém provinces start with Slavonian culture; and also get the capacity to form Slavonia as an independent state in the same two provinces (initially); (2) Croatia’s cores should be kept in all of Croatia area, including these Szerém and Szlavónia provinces (so that the player has a wider choice in terms of vassals, liberated states); (3) a new “Dalmatian” culture should be introduced to all of Dalmatia area, the Bosnian province of Hum, and the Venetian province of Istria (in Carniola area); (4) Dalmatia, Zeta, Travunia, and Dubrovnik should be claimed by a potential “Dalmatia” state initially (eventually, Istria, and Lika should be claimed by events, too); (5) when all Croatian, Slavonian, and Dalmatian cultured provinces are united, there should be an event or national decision to enforce the main culture of the starting Croatian principality on the rest of the kingdom (e.g. Slavonian culture introduced in Croatian and Dalmatian provinces) OR promote them without using up a proper slot; (6) there should be a solution for doing the same – subsequently – with the Bosnia area and Zeta province; finally, (6) if the player should unite all of these lands and cultures as well as include Serbia, they should have an event or very costly national decision to unite all Southern Slavic cultures (OR promote them without taking up additional slots). Serbian states (7) should have the same option in return. In addition, (8) Serbian should be the previous culture for culture conversion in Szerém, Hum and Dubrovnik provinces. Serbia (9) should also have an event or costly national decision to pull all Bosnian and Dalmatian areas and return Zeta province to Serbian culture quickly (with costly decision or event). Albania (10) should have previous province culture bonus for culture conversion in Zeta, Kosovo, Üsküp, Yanya, and Kesriye provinces and an event to transform Korfu into Albanian culture (costly though). (11) Hungary should have a series of decisions or events to unite the West-Balkans under the ‘Adrian Ambitions’ (Croatia-Zeta-Albania), ‘West Balkan Ambitions’ (Serbia), ‘East Balkan Ambitions‘ (Bulgaria), and ‘Black Sea Ambitions’ (Wallachia and Moldavia) which would fire any time after 1500 if these states are not part of other empires (e.g. Ottomans), to help Hungary with this – based on the historical incident with Venice and Ragusa – a stronger Hungary should be also invited by badly losing Balkans states to help them (a couple of war score related events for Ragusa, Slavonia, Albania, etc., as we saw in case of the Várna Crusde, etc.).

With these changes wars in the West-Balkans would be interesting and enjoyable, making them a tempting option for multiplayer games. Alternatively, Ottomans and other powers may benefit from setting up stronger vassals or proxies in the area, or just farm an increasing number of minors for prestige and gold (as one normally can in other parts of Europe and the ME).



4. Problematic Starting Conditions: North & South Transylvania and Máramaros province

Transylvanian culture makes little sense. Its chief aim is, as far as I understand, to enable the formation of a larger Romanian state early on. A goal which is both ahistorical and replaceable by better targets… Indeed, Romania was formed long after the game’s standard end date of January 1821, so there is no need to code this into the game so early on...
The existence of Transylvania (as a nation) early on as a separate culture there is a massive punitive measure against Hungary and blocks this nation from succeeding in the Balkans even on the rare occasion it does manage to survive the first Ottoman invasion. Despite being historically one of the most integrative in terms of culture and rather united in terms of linga franca, Paradox' Hungary ends up as one of the most divided, unruly countries of Europe instead. This begs the question, why?
First of all, unlike in EU4 1.20 and patches emerging after, there was no differentiation between Hungarian nobility in the rest of Hungary and the geographical area of Transylvania. It is the same circle of families, customs, and rules anyway. Some autonomy there did exist occasionally, but it was based on distances and topographic necessities – culturally it was hardly different from anywhere else. When it comes to spoken dialects or even food, there is almost no difference between Hungarians anywhere. And when it comes to special rights, only the Székely areas were distinct to the general population (all of which are part of Maros province since before 1.21). The emergence of Transylvania as an independent or substantially autonomous area of Hungary would have never come about, if it solely relied on the cultural differences between the different parts of Hungary around 1444 and shortly after (for more on this, see below).
The EU4 provinces of Bihar and Temes were never parts of Transylvania proper. They are part of a different entity, which emerged long after Ottoman conquest, by the name Részek (Latin: Partium) and control over them shifted back-forth between the Kings of Hungary, the Ottomans, and the Princes of Transylvania in the 16th century. Also, what is called Máramaros in EU4 since the last few patches was normally part of North or – more precisely – Upper-Hungary, and was only handed to Transylvania later, as part of a Habsburg deal (i.e. it should not "revolt" together with the rest of Transylvania).
Historically speaking, there are two critical reasons for Transylvania to emerge as an independent phenomenon. Firstly, the invasion of the Ottomans (which involved losing the national capital--Pest province in the game) led to a series of events under which the Hungarian crown was inherited – once again – by the Habsburgs. Now, since the Ottomans remained too close and dangerous for East Hungary to openly align with the Habsburgs, the situation necessitated a compromise and a sort of spectacle of power. Hence the ambiguous role of the principality between the Sultans, Emperors, and Polish kings... However, the result of this was not the weakening, but the enforcement of distinct Hungarian culture in Transylvania. In fact, at the time Transylvania was one of the most Hungarian-dominated areas of old Hungary (with Upper and remaining Western bits being under Austrian/German control and the Centre and South under Ottoman this was the only “Free Hungary”). Transylvania was also the location from which Hungarian pretenders aimed to unite the rest of Hungary. So it makes no sense whatsoever, to class the rest of Hungary and Transylvania as different cultures, when Transylvania played the part of the temporary Hungarian heartland throughout the period! In comparison, would you give Free France in a WW2 scenarion African culture??? Don't think so. PLEASE CHANGE THIS ASAP.
Secondly, parts of Transylvania were indeed, non-Hungarian. Hunyad province had a long established presence of Wallachians (future Romanians) and Orthodoxy was prevalent there. However, the dominant group in Királyföld province were not Wallachians or Hungarians, but Saxons whom settled in Hungary centuries ago (still, Catholics NOT Orthodox). BTW, in 1444, neither Torda nor Bihar province was majority Orthodox… These territories were still dominated by Hungarian majorities in cities and relative Hungarian majorities even in rural areas. Wallachians (again, NOT Romanians), despite being already significant in numbers, were not a serious force to be reckoned with at the time. In fact, even a century later, political rights were shared between the Hungarian nobility, Székelys, and Saxon German populations and all Wallachian elites regarded themselves as Hungarians for political purposes.
The sequence of decisions that eventually led to a relative Wallachian majority by the 17th-18th century and then an absolute Romanian majority by the 19th century were taken ONLY in result of economic and military pressures from Austria and the Ottomans. Therefore, should the player avoid losing wars to the Ottomans and Austrians, the multitude of decisions that led to gradually inviting Wallachian labourers and eventually settling them can be easily avoided, changed or perchance reversed in the other direction (with expansion and cultural conversion)… Again, there is no need for ethnic%culture resurgence events, unless the country is collapsing.
Yet what we see on the map in terms of culture in 1444 is more or less what we see after 1920 or 1946 (i.e. it is extremely ahistorical). Moreover, just like in the case of ahistorically introduced Slovak identity and nationalism, it makes no sense to have Romanian and Transylvanian separatism anywhere in a strong Hungarian state… having never experienced the shock of Ottoman occupation or accepted the pragmatism of Austrian/Habsburg re-settlement policies there is simply no room for that. Leaving these anachronisms in EU4 only leads to pointlessly ruining the gameplay for one of the otherwise most interesting and already extremely challenging nations in EU4! Again, in comparison, would you do the same to France by introducing English culture with an event in, say, Gascogne and Normandy, 200 years after England already lost the 100 year war? Nope, you wouldn’t.

Finally, there are many small glitches, such as having Kievan (sic!) separatist in Máramaros province (even after version 1.22 by which both Ruthenia/Russia and Hungary were revised several times…)… that territory never was part of the Kievan Rus and the closest Ruthenian state – or, more precisely: potential state – is Galicia-Volchynia! Now, even if one replaced Kiev with Galicia-Volhynia as the revolting nation, it still makes no sense, as the traditional mountain pass to connect them with Máramaros province is still oddly missing, (along with the traditional mountain pass between Moldova and Maros provinces which connect Hungarian communities on both sides for centuries and saw many-many armies, including the Tatars, Mongols, and Russians).
Moreover, the tribes and groups living in Máramaros province are far more mixed even today and cannot be described as majority Ruthenian, let alone Kievan. Ukrainians became a majority there only in the 20th century. Their roots are largely Slavic, but the lower lands and major cities were dominated by Hungarian culture at the time, whereas the upper areas they shared with non-Ruthenian Slavs, Wallachians, and so on. Given that the local population was always extremely loyal to the Hungarian nation (incl. all Thököly, Rákóczy and Kossuth-led rebellions as well as all campaigns by older kings against other parts of Ruthenia) this territory can be easily regarded as culturally Hungarian for the game's purposes. The chances of a Kievan or Galician revolt in the 1400s were less than 0 (as they would have fought for Hungary), and the Orthodox church was never that powerful there as it is EU4...

Based on the above, I would like to propose the following changes: (1) The culture in Máramaros province changes to Hungarian, but religion stays Orthodox; (2) Galicia-Volhynia becomes default or scripted revolting nation in Máramaros, but there is no separatism at the start of the game or as long as Hungary is strong and sound; (3) Ruthenian becomes previous culture of Máramaros province (for the sake of cheaper culture conversions by Galicia-Volhynia). More importantly (4) Torda and Bihar become Hungarian, but only Bihar becomes Catholic (Torda stays Orthodox); (5) Hunyad becomes Orthodox and gets Wallachian culture (with no separatism); (6) Királyföld becomes Catholic and gets “Danubian Saxon” culture (along with the changes mentioned above regarding Slovakia/Upper-Hungary). However, (7) Transylvania should not be available as a nation before Ottomans take Pest province; (8) Transylvania should emerge as a principality ONLY if Hungary has three cores – including Pest – under de jure Ottoman control and Kingdom of Hungary is either not existent or junior in personal union/vassal state under large Christian nation (e.g. Austria); (9) Transylvania can only emerge with Hungarian primary culture!!!; (10) the decision to introduce and switch to Transylvanian culture can be only taken as part of an event or national decision by a Protestant or Reformed Transylvanian prince or their overlord (if they are in a personal unions or vassal relationship; (11) Ottomans or Catholic overlords may release Transylvania as a March (national decision or event); (12) Hungary cannot lose its cores on Transylvania (ever, unless forced to do so in a peace treaty with regard to Királyföld and Hunyad). However, (13) if Wallachia or Moldavia conquers Transylvania, they may choose to expel Germans and Hungarians from 1 or 2 provinces respectively (ethnic cleansing with event - as in the case of Granda and Castile) and replace them with their own culture and religion OR to include Germans as a promoted culture for free. In addition, (14) if there is no Wallachia and Moldavia OR Romania by the time of ethnic tensions and uprisings, those events must never trigger in Hungary (as there is no basis for them). Alternatively, solely after successful Ottoman conquest, (14b) Hungary should get a series of tempting migration events (extra tax and production in certain provinces with changing culture) to enable Wallachian and Moldavian culture expansion in Transylvania (leading to the historical outcomes). Importantly, (15) two new passes ought to be added: (a) “Frog Pass” between Moldova and Maros province and (b) “Vereczke Pass” between Máramaros and Halicz province. Finally, (16) Zemplén, Trencsén, and potentially Máramaros should be part of the Krakow trade node, whereas the rest of North Transylvania should be part of the Crimea trade node (OR part of a new trade node) – as suggested by Armenian, Jewish, and Danubian/Transylvanian Saxon trade history in these parts of Hungary. Lastly, (17) Máramaros should be part of Upper-Hungary area (also rename Slovakia area to Upper-Hungary area as it is more historically accurate). NB: Máramaros has nothing to do with North Tranyslvania originally.


5. Reforming Culture Groups in East-Central Europe

Culture groups are not easy to deal with as in real life they often formed continuums and some cultures could belong to many groups whereas others are more-or-less standalone. I believe it is perfectly fine to treat Hungarian culture as a separate phenomenon. It makes conquest harder both ways, giving Hungary a little extra security and making their expansion somewhat more challenging in the beginning. However, there is an even better alternative.
As per above (under heading “2. Slovaks and Slovenes”) I would suggest that we look at the early political development of a Visegrád Group as signs of an emerging, single cultural area. In terms of material capital, Upper- and West Hungary, Southwest Poland, and all of Bohemia should be Western Tech Group anyway. This will allow a good ruler to quickly expand, say, from Bohemia and create an empire with Hungarian, Polish, Silesian, Moravian, Slovene, and Danubian Saxon areas, leaving only Austria as an obstacle (as it should be and was indeed collectively seen by these people at the time). Central Hungary has far more in common with these groups than with Wallachia, Moldavia or the Balkans. Moreover, such a shift would make expansion – South or East, respectively, far less tempting to the player in charge of Hungary and Poland (and more in line with Poland’s traditional Silesian and Hungary’s Moravian and Silesian ambitions). Moreover, some of the most prominent leaders of Hungary were indeed of Moravian, Czech and Slovene stock, for instance. So, overall, this shows a lot of cultural affinity and fluidity.
However, such a reform would be impossible without re-thinking the Balkans. Accordingly, one could add Bulgarians and Romanians – or, rather, Bulgarians, Wallachians, Moldavians, and Cumans – to the Byzantine cultural group. They are not only in the same trade node as Constantinople, but also of the same religion anyway. This would be also helpful in underlining the critical cultural difference between Bulgarians and Croatians/Serbs, not to mention that playing Wallachia or Bulgaria would be far more promising if it involved restoring the East Roman Empire with fewer culture penalties (e.g. if I was Greek, I would see a Wallachian/Romanian overlord far more positively than a Tukish one...).

Correspondingly, beyond the changes suggested above, I propose the following changes to the cultural groups: Certainly, (1) forget the artificial "Carpathian" culture group (it is bullshit and you know it); (2) add Bulgarian, Wallachian, Moldavian, and Cuman to Byzantine group; (2b) alternatively, add Cuman to Steppe/Tatar culture group instead (in the latter case, assign Edisan, Ingilas, and Zaporoze province to the their culture, too); (3) add Bulgarian as the previous (i.e. cheap to restore) culture of Edirne and Üsküp province, as well as all of Wallachia area and all of Serbia area (for easier culture conversion by player restoring Bulgarian Empire); (4) give Hungary events forcing rivalry with Bulgaria and Serbia if they should have more than 9 provinces (but keep them friendly otherwise). Finally, (5) exclude Hungary from rivals to Serbia, Byzantium, and Wallachia in 1444 Rise of the Ottomans scenario; and (6) provide events to form grand coalition with Polish, Byzantine, Serbian, Wallachian or Hungarian leadership including Theodoro, all Greek primary culture nations, Cyprus, Bosnia, Albania, Bulgaria (if it exists), Lithuania, and Wallachia – it should be a series of expensive and risky events with Ottomans having the option to bribe coalition partners (i.e. if relations with Ottomans are good, given state won’t join or backs out). (7) Change Hungarian Hunyadi regency to something similar to consort regency. Hunyadi did indeed initate wars while he was regent, so not allowing this is a big mistake. However, there can be negative events from nobility to discourage this. NB: Christian coalitions need to form much more efficiently once Hungarian/Polish interregnum's end.

NB: Please let me know if you disagree, would be interested to see some pushback. I am also sorry for the long post. It must look like a rant here and there. Hope it will be welcomed and appreciated in general though.
 
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Alex198037

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I would like it if there could be a mechanic in place, that prevents it or makes it difficult for AI-players to start 'blobbing'. Especiailiy to controle the Ottomans. In most of the games I played they become the most dominant player, and controle everthing in Europe. If they joined a war, that side will always win.