EU4 - Development Diary - 6th of August 2019

Good day and welcome to another Development Diary for EU4's upcoming European Update + Expansion. After enjoying a plethora of maps, missions and other content work from our esteemed content designers, I'm here to turn our attention towards the mechanical changes and additions we can look forward to in said European update.

We're going to start with Mercenaries. Not too long ago, I penned a dev diary outlining our ambitions with mercenaries

I'll take this moment to draw attention to the fact that the UI and numbers are far from final

6th Aud DD macro.jpg


In the upcoming Euro update, the old method of recruiting mercenary units one by one in individual provinces is replaced by the action of hiring Mercenary Companies. Mercenary Companies are complete armies of pure mercenaries, as such will not consume from your manpower pool. They can be recruited in any of your core provinces, where they spawn at full strength, but with low morale.

Mercenary Companies come in two flavours: Local Mercenaries and Foreign Mercenaries.

All nations have three bands of local mercenaries available for recruitment, ranging in size from small to large, capped at a minimum of 2 units and a maximum of 40, depending on the development of your nation. Other than the fact that all nations will have local mercenaries available for hire, there is nothing special about them.

6th Aud DD company available.jpg


Things get a little more interesting with foreign mercenaries. Across the world, there will be foreign mercenary companies, tied to a province of origin; the Free Swiss Guard from Bern, the Flemish Company from Vlaanderen, the Raiders from Navajo etc. These companies come with their own General who is loyal to that unit and that unit only. They also can have different costs and modifiers on the unit, depending on which company you hire from. These companies can spawn and despawn over the course of the grand campaign, but no matter how much you want any particular mercenary company, you can only recruit Mercenary Companies within your trade range. So while you may feel confident invading a colonial Portugal, know that they may well have a far larger pool of Mercenary Companies to draw upon.

6th Aud DD Frisians.jpg


So let's take a closer look at the mercenary units themselves. They are typically more expensive than your standard nation's armies, although those costs compared to the current 1.28 mercenaries are likely to be reduced. This is largely due to how Mercenaries will no longer have unlimited manpower, able to feed themselves with coins and bandage wounds with solid gold. No, from the upcoming European update and going forward, Mercenaries will have their own local manpower, unique for their army

6th Aud DD local manpower.jpg


Not to belabour the point, but UI and numbers shown and discussed here are far from final

Once you hire, for example, this Cossack Host, they will replenish any lost souls from their own unique manpower pool until, eventually, they will be completely exhausted and no longer able fight at full strength, leaving them liable to be wiped out in battle. Our intention here is for mercenary companies to be the muscle you flex in times of war and conflict, rather than the go-to permanent standing army for all nations. To this effect:

Make mercenaries always stay at 100% maintenance

We added this and are quite happy with the results. If a nation chooses to rely heavily or exclusively on mercenaries at all times, they will certainly be footing the bill for them.

As for when you terminate your deal with any Mercenary Company, they will leave your nation and your command like all other units, but will not be available to hire by your nation for 10 years. If, in time of great war, you may find yourself at a disadvantage if you have exhausted your access of mercenaries against a foe who has many other companies at their disposal.

You may notice that the Local Manpower for a mercenary army replaces certain actions in the UI. While mercenary regiments can still be consolidated, they fight as a single unit under their leader. They will not accept being lead by another leader or army and cannot be split, nor merged with another. In the event that their leader dies, they shall elect a new leader from within.

6th Aud DD dead leader.jpg


In playtesting, this has lead to it feeling rather chunky, when manoeuvring multiple stacks which cannot be merged together, as they can have different arrival times and movement paths. We are looking into a better way to manage such stacks of armies, and as inconsistent arrival times has been a bugbear for some time, it seems a fitting moment to address it.

Some other points about Mercenaries which warrant bringing up here:
  • Hiring a Mercenary Company won't prevent another nation from hiring from that company too. We didn't want to create a situation where the player who clicks fastest gets those juicy Swiss mercs.
  • Mercenaries will use your nation's military stats, then apply any of their own modifiers on top of that. We did not want to echo the situation in EU3, where mercenaries would end up clearly spending all your money on booze because they were too drunk to fight well.
  • Mercenaries will be hired through the macro builder rather than through the provinces. This should help reduce click fatigue, but also necessitates some work on the Macro Builder, which we'll address in a future DD.
  • With Mercenaries no longer being a bottomless source of manpower, base manpower is likely to increase for all nations, likely by increasing the base amount development gives and/or boosting the value of manpower buildings.
  • Mercenaries are to use unit models fitting for their origin.
  • All changes above are going to be part of the free update.

This is a major change to system that has been largely untouched since EU3, and it won't be until 2020 that this update hits the shelves. The system is likely to get some refinement based on playtesting and feedback. Early results show a lot more involvement with Mercenary Companies, especially in multiplayer. Hearing "Oh bollocks he hired the Swiss" down the microphone certainly evokes much glee, but we shall continue refining the system. We shall be back with more about Mercenaries, as well as the content that goes hand in hand with the system, as development continues.

As ever, comments and feedback are welcome in the thread. Next week we'll be tackling another large change coming in the European Update.
 
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Nikoleis

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A thought that I got today is, how do mercenary unit operates when your development increases? Do they see an increase in size directly or need to be rehired? And if the former, what happens when those mercenaries are loaded on a transport fleet exactly their size? Are you breaching the maximum, or losing the troops immediately, emptying their manpower reserve?
 

rimworld inbox

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Some quick observations from a megacasual game:

RCxRxeA.png


"how many troops do we need to safely engage these rebels"

"I don't care, send everyone!"

2wiXuh4.png


This is VH by the way, so the AI has some seriously broken manpower bonuses (50 MRS / 50 manpower modifier). Even still, it is still mercing and tapped out of manpower, after having been at peace for 5 years, simply to put down 2 rebellions. Also it needs its entire army to guard the border against Polish noble rebels.

Luckily in this iteration of eu4, the AI still has quite high military capabilities even without manpower. I can't wait until a few rebellions actually end up burning 30%+ of the nations war capacity.

Can you imagine the absolute disaster on normal?
 

Lone_War

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Ok, my dream of Mercenaries.

There are THREE (NOT Two) types of Mercenaries. Local, Provincial, and National.

Local Mercenaries come from Within YOUR Country, have NO Special Modifiers, are completely computer generated as far as composition, and have YOUR countries Military Modifiers. Almost exactly like the Mercenaries we have today, but with the force limits per Unit mentioned in the original Dev Post.


Provincial Mercenaries are the Ultra-Elite (Or Not) custom dev-designed units sort of like the devs mentioned. A Province can have from 1 to 3 Armies (Mostly 1) of units available to hire and ONLY ONE person can hire each Army.

In order to hire these units, they need to be within a counties trade range; they need to be either a part of the country hiring them, or a player needs to be on at least friendly terms (+50 relationship) with the country that does have that province within their borders. And finally, if a Country has NO Separatism with the province, OR is an Ally of the Country that owns that Province with 100 Trust, then they can hire ALL of the Armies of mercenaries available via Provinces. This is to prevent a Denaries Senario where you hire all they units and then declare war on the country.

Provincial Mercenaries have a TECH LEVEL. This is a value between 0 and 32 and they also have an effective tech level equal to the higher of the Games current Military Tech Level (Based on the dates that techs are supposed to come into existence) or the player who hired them tech level, but capped at the Tech Level maximum of the unit. Example; The Berlin Brigadiers are a Tech Level 32 unit, but when Brandenburg hires them on 11.11.1444 they are capped at Tech Level 3. On 01.01.1446 when Brandenburg upgrades their Military Tech Level to 4, the Berlin Brigadiers also upgrade to Tech Level 4. Meanwhile, later in the game Spain is conquering the Aztecs. They have already taken and cored Belize. Realizing that they need more manpower in their Aztec conquest, they hire the Belize Badboys who are a Tech Level 2 Army. Even though Spain is Tech Level 13, the Belize Badboys will remain Tech Level 2 Cannon-Fodder all game. Tech Levels add 4 Ducats to the Hiring Cost of, and 1 Ducat to the Maintenance Cost of each Mercenary Unit.

Provincial Mercenaries can have between 0 and 4 Military Idea Groups specific to that Mercenary Army and are NOT affected by the player's Military Idea Groups. A Provincial Mercenary will gain Military Idea groups based on its Original Tech Level. Provincial Mercenaries are granted a Military Idea group if their Tech Level is at least 5, and gain addition Military Idea Groups at with Tech Levels 10, 18 and 29. These Military Idea Groups are active even if the Effective Tech Level of the unit has been decreased due to the Game Year or the Military Tech level of the Country Hiring them. So, even though it is 11.11.1444 the Berlin Brigadiers would still have 4 entire Military Groups of bonuses and even though the Belize Badboys have been Hired by Tech Level 13 Spain, they will NEVER gain a Military Idea Group. Military Idea Groups Multiply the cost of the Mercenary Army by 0.50% for 0, 1 for 1, 2 for 2, 3 for 3 and 5 for 4.

In Addition to Military Idea Groups, Provincial Mercenaries can have Special Bonuses and Penalties as per the original Dev Post. But the bonuses can be anything from additional Unit Pips to ideas the devs mentioned, to faster movement speed. etc. Each Special Bonus increases a Provincial Mercenary Army Hiring Cost by 25% and each Special Penalty reduces it by 33%.


Finally we come to National Mercenaries. National Mercenaries are just that, Mercenary Armies from current nations in the game. A Nation has 10% of its Force Limit (Minimum 10) and 10% of its Manpower (Minimum 25,000) (FROM A TOTALLY SEPARATE POOL THAN WHAT THE NATION USES) available for anyone to hire as Mercenaries (Including that nation itself). These National Mercenary Armies are identical to the troops that the nation can field itself. The Special Part of National Mercenary Armies is that the Nation they are from gains 50% of the Hiring and Maintenance cost of these National Mercenary Armies as Income. National Mercenary Armies may have Special Bonuses if the country they are hired from has them in their National Ideas and they are unlocked. National Mercenary Armies have a composition determined by the AI. National Mercenaries have a cost determined the same way as Provincial Mercenaries.


Well, what do you all think?
 

peter12345

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I only read a few of the comments on this post (+20 pages now), so this might have been suggested/mentioned before, but here we go:

Why not merge the mercenaries from foreign countries with the condottieri feature? It seems to make sense. That would also prevent situations of countries hiring the same mercenary company. The AI could be made more likely to offer mercenaries, if a higher number of available foreign companies are desired.

Will country A be able to hire mercenaries from country B, if the two countries are at war? Would be very annoying...

The 10 year cooldown on hiring a mercenary company seems a bit unflexible. Why not give mercenary companies a manpower recovery rate? You would then only be able to hire mercenary companies that are fully recovered. The recovery rate could be such, that it would take about 10 years to fully replenish a company that has been annihilated. It also seems a little unrealistic, if a company is not able to recover its manpower pool. Surely, it would be able to conscript new people for their company.
 

Amtep

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Yeah... it seems extra odd that mercenaries can't recruit while they're being paid, and then can recruit again when they're no longer being paid. What's the incentive to join up, then?
 

Lee Saxon

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A stackwipe is a stackwipe, that mercenary company is gone, and will not be available for hire re-hire for another 10 years.

In other words the companies carry their reserves around with them but won't field them (and I bet also won't replenish any faster than regular troops), so you're effectively fielding X number of troops but standing to lose 3X (yes I know the exact numbers are subject to change).

Sounds like a pretty raw deal and terrible odds to me.
 

rimworld inbox

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In other words the companies carry their reserves around with them but won't field them (and I bet also won't replenish any faster than regular troops), so you're effectively fielding X number of troops but standing to lose 3X (yes I know the exact numbers are subject to change).

Sounds like a pretty raw deal and terrible odds to me.
Nice part is that since they are unmergeable they will be extremely easy to pick off with correct movement, especially with forced awful composition.
 

Ruian

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It will be interesting to see how this changes the map. It might give a bit of an edge to smaller AIs that are usually not at war against larger AIs that run out of manpower/mercs. It will surely weaken the AI against an advanced player but also require a lot more micro to make the correct plays (i.e. making sure you are managing your manpower very efficiently). The manpower edict might actually get some use in single player despite its cost.
 

Schwarzer Ritter

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Why?

1) What issue with gameplay does this address? Surely, having the Ottoman threat be real is a good thing?

2) Army logistics in the period didn't rely on shipments from home. There might be some justification for modifying replacement rate far from the depot, but there is really no historical support for attrition to be so related. Had the Ottomans not been stopped by an allied army at Vienna, they might very well have penetrated further into what is now Italy, Germany and France.

To my mind, if you want to argue for this, you need both a gameplay issue to address and a historical justification for addressing it in a particular way*. It seems to me that you have neither, here.

*: It would help if that way was also likely to be fun/deep.
My point wasnt to nerf the Ottomans or any specific nation, but the ability to just walk around the map freely, only taking attrition when sieging a province. You can walk from Lisbon to Beijing if you just ask for military access. Is this something you feel works? As Ottomans you shouldnt be able to besiege the austrian netherlands, period. As France, you shouldnt be able to fight in Siberia. Attrition has saved Constantinople from the Arabs, Greece from the Persians, Vienna from the Turks, Russia from France and Nazi Germany. Yeah there was fighting done during all these wars as well, but attrition was the key player. Losing the army supplying fleet was what drew Xerxes back, even if he had taken most of Greece. Same with the Arabs. And you are referring to the second siege of Vienna. It was snowfall that won the Austrians the first one.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Vienna

To counterbalance this, getting a big chunk of enemy territory and holding it for some time should give you a 100% score, without needing to march all the way to Vladivostock to besiege the entirety of Russia. Similarly had Vienna and the rest of the Habsburg heartlands fallen, holding the Netherlands wouldnt stop the Habsburgs from suing for an immediate and humiliating peace treaty.
 

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My point wasnt to nerf the Ottomans or any specific nation, but the ability to just walk around the map freely, only taking attrition when sieging a province. You can walk from Lisbon to Beijing if you just ask for military access. Is this something you feel works? As Ottomans you shouldnt be able to besiege the austrian netherlands, period. As France, you shouldnt be able to fight in Siberia. Attrition has saved Constantinople from the Arabs, Greece from the Persians, Vienna from the Turks, Russia from France and Nazi Germany. Yeah there was fighting done during all these wars as well, but attrition was the key player. Losing the army supplying fleet was what drew Xerxes back, even if he had taken most of Greece. Same with the Arabs. And you are referring to the second siege of Vienna. It was snowfall that won the Austrians the first one.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Vienna

To counterbalance this, getting a big chunk of enemy territory and holding it for some time should give you a 100% score, without needing to march all the way to Vladivostock to besiege the entirety of Russia. Similarly had Vienna and the rest of the Habsburg heartlands fallen, holding the Netherlands wouldnt stop the Habsburgs from suing for an immediate and humiliating peace treaty.
Thing is, you pretty much could march anywhere provided that you kept moving. That last bit was the tricky bit, and it's not well represented in the game right now, I'll admit. Would it be worth doing? Yes, maybe. Some sort of supply limit that declines to a lower (set) level if the lower level is exceeded might be interesting*. But all the examples you list (except those after 1914, when warfare changed irrevocably and supply and logistics became a radically different affair) caused problems because the attacking army was forced to stop moving. This was literally death for them.

The issue with sieges was that you had to stay in one place, which pretty soon denuded it of food. This caused horrific attrition, if you didn't take action; the Prussians before Paris in 1871 (or 2?) actually stopped the siege to reap the crops and make bread for themselves! Fleets were needed precisely so that ports could be besieged (and loot taken away - a key element in paying the army!), not because they carried food or supplies.

On war score/coming to terms, you have a very valid historical point, but how do you prevent the player(s) fighting to the last electron of their people's virtual blood? For gameplay, the fact that the AI acts more like the player does is an advantage; the alternative would be to find a way to make the player despair over their defeat much earlier. Throwing them into a drafty castle with no food and surly, mutinous soldiers might be attractive, but it's not a realistic proposition, alas...

*: So, for example, if you had a province with SL 22 and a lower limit of 6, then if the weight in the province was up to 6 it would have no effect. If the weight was over 6 then the SL of 22 would reduce at a rate proportional to the weight minus 6. The (reduced or full) supply limit would work just as it does now.
 

Amtep

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I was thinking of tying it to loot, where an army counts as in supply as long as it's still looting. But that would mean looting allied and neutral provinces too. Realistic but would probably break the game.
 

Victory5

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I'm late to the party, but i'd just like to add that this is the single greatest change that has been proposed to date and mercenary reform is something a lot of people felt was badly needed (particularly in MP) for years and i'm ecstatic that Paradox has finally taken notice. Perhaps i'll be able to play this game again.


I would note however, that the idea of everyone being able to rent out the same mercenary unit seems a bit much. Certainly its understandable that the first player to click on a merc stack during a war shouldnt have a monopoly over those soldiers for the length of the war if they can pay for it, but perhaps cap the number of times a certain unit can be rented out? Perhaps have that tied to the historical significance of the unit or the population of the area they come from? I'm fine with 5 units of Swiss Pikes, but having 25 is overkill.
 

Canute VII

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I would note however, that the idea of everyone being able to rent out the same mercenary unit seems a bit much.

I would share that sentiment. It's one of those black-white game design decisions that is likely well intended but ultimately might be too simplistic and anger grand strategy fans who seek to immerse into a plausible game world. However, it's actually hard to judge this now, given the limited information provided and it might turn out to be o.k. anyway!

I also don't really believe this will be changed given our experience with other black-white design choices like only-1-flagship or non-scaling-by-development-in-territory-territory-corruption. Nethertheless, here's some ideas to explore.

Allowing one merc company to be rented simultaneously by multiple nations surely prevents any one nation to monopolize any given merc company, which is good. On the other hand it also prevents competition for the best merc companies in a game that actually is all about competition. So there might be a middle way between allowing a merc company to be hired only by one nation and allowing it to be hired by everyone-and-his-mother. This could be centered around the "local manpower" of a company.
  • instead of each instance of a merc company being rented bring the exact same amount of local manpower, local manpower could be reduced for all instances of the company each time the company finds another employer. E.g. Swiss company brings 10k men with 20k local manpower. On being rented first time, the nations which rents them, gets exactly this: 10k men with 20k local mp. Comes the second nation to rent Swiss mercs: it wil get 10k men, but only with reduced local mp (reduced by 10k, i.e. from 20k to 10k) and the first instance of the merc company will also have its local mp reduced (by 10k). That means each new instance of a merc company draws its active men from the local manpower pool of the company, just like a nation recruiting new regular regiments would draw from its manpower pool.
  • The result would be that no nation can monopolize a merc company, but a specifically "good" merc company (e.g. the SWISS) could not be just multiplied across the globe without any real downside. So with this it might be a better or at least a competitive choice to hire super-fat-and-clumsy-merc company instead of the SWISS, because unlike the Swiss they will have a full manpower pool to draw from.
  • I'd also like to see somethng done about merc company "reinforment rate" and "local manpower recovery rate" (I don't quite know how these will be implemented). So at least for the foreign merc companies, these two stats could be dependend on the relation of the renting nations with the home nations of the merc company. E.g. if relations are +100 then the merc company will have +10% reinforcement adn mp recovery rate, if relations are -100 then it will have -10% reinforcement and mp recovery rate (scaling). That would give some weight to diplomacy and leave the bad guys in a bad spot while the good guys can enjoy faster merc company recovery. This would also mean, that even if the above two points would be implemented (i.e. multiple instances of a merc company will come with reduced local mp), those nations that are nice to the home country of the company will see local mp fill up faster.
I'm aware that there might be a multitude of events to deal with certain situation (like the Swiss mer company No1 fighting the Swiss merc company No2 or the Swiss merc company fighting Switzerland) and maybe also the above line of thinking could be made into appropriate events....
 

Anallucio

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I like this change very much! Congratulations!
However I think it is bad to allow for several countries hiring the same company. It is not realistic at all and because of that, kills some spark of the game. I would love to decimate some company and see it never rise again.
And this should not be a problem. You should build the system in a way that would make the Merc companies be competitive between each other and not a fight for the first click. Just make the Swiss company extremely expensive and the drunk company really cheap. That way players should lose time thinking what is best for them, and won't run for a top choice.
Thank you for this change anyway!
 

purplephoton

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That way players should lose time thinking what is best for them, and won't run for a top choice.
For SP, this won't matter - the player can just pause while they think. As for MP, it has been shown multiple times that when there is a potential 200-ws swing, the best course of action is to hire EVERYTHING (as long as you won't bankrupt mid-war), regardless of how good or bad it is, so that wouldn't matter there either.
 
Last edited:

Balesir

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For SP, this won't matter - the player can just pause while they think. As for MP, it has been shown multiple times that when there is a potential 200-ws swing, the best course of action is to hire EVERYTHING (as long as you won't bankrupt mid-war), regardless of how good or bad it is, so that wouldn't matter there either.
And there's a gameplay issue that needs to be addressed, right there...
 

purplephoton

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And there's a gameplay issue that needs to be addressed, right there...
Well... yes and no (I'm assuming you're talking about the MP part rather than the SP part). It's an issue in the sense that it makes wars expensive to the point of being discouraged, which kills player interest. It's not an issue in the sense that a nation "shouldn't go above FL" or whatever - that's just a different playstyle.
 

Balesir

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Well... yes and no (I'm assuming you're talking about the MP part rather than the SP part). It's an issue in the sense that it makes wars expensive to the point of being discouraged, which kills player interest. It's not an issue in the sense that a nation "shouldn't go above FL" or whatever - that's just a different playstyle.
Right - the gameplay problem is that there is only one "correct" or "worthwhile" approach to the problem; the FL thing is just a soft limit, after all. The problem is that the optimum is singular, not a constellation of local optima, various ones of which work under differing conditions.