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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Xetfield

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How the number of mercenary company's manpower is calculated? Can player or AI affect it?

Will administrative ideas be rebalanced entirely?
 

Skagzill

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What does this mean for ideas that affec merc (mostly Admin)? I guess those that affect costs can stay but what about those that affect numbers available?
Will there be new events? Like if you hire Swiss company and start the war against the Swiss will they rebel?
 

Praiokles

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Well theyve said your armies get your military stats. So mercenary only modifiers like +5% discipline are likely to disappear. Now they will have their own army modifiers like you can see on the screenshot.
I don't like that very much. Why should the Swiss fight better when they get paid by Prussia, then by Lübeck? Are prussian coins coated in meth?
 

PrimeYuri

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Nice. But weird to allow nations to hire the same company.

Unrelated maybe but can we get some new info on the soon small patch for the introduction of the 64-bit system? Can you please add a quick modification to the AI to be more willing to convert their provinces eventhough it costs them some cash.
 

Scorpene

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It need some work. What nation can hire what mercenary band (within trade radius), due to religion, relations is sure to be a topic for future talks.

I like it, the game will finally change, the balance will change. But still, i have a question. Say, as France, i want to conquer the totally legitimate Algarve that should definitely be French. Portugal (cowards!) hire those Peruvian Mercenaries (i like it, NL used Africans mercenaries to break Indonesian rebels), but, how are they going to come in Portugal ? Could i have a pop up signalling me that the Portuguese are bringing some fighters?

Whats more, does that mean that we will have a real Rework of colonial nations (and colonization)?

Last but not least, could we avoid the XXth century situation were a country fighting in Europe against European people bring armies from all over the world (just like UK and France did). That can be anecdotical and legitimate with one or two companies. That would be game Breaking if you could hire as many companies as you want from all over the globe.


Ho and, maybe a little teaser of the future devdiary topics (other than "grand change")?
 

Skagzill

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Oh also how does hiring company affect Professionalism? Same way as it does now just per unit hired? Or stable hit per company hired?
 

-Leonidas-

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I love the new system, since it's far less abstract than the previous one! It could be taken a bit further though, therefore I would like to offer two suggestions:

- Don't let the mercenaries use the stats of the country hiring them. It would be quite odd if the Raiders from Navajo you mentioned would be hired by Spain with military tech 12 and a couple of month later by the Aztec with military tech 5 and suddenly have units that are much worse than before. If you gave them the standard technology level of the current year - modified by the institutions present in the region of origin - it would not only be much more realistic, but would also further differentiate the companies from each other and therefore add additional flavor.

- I understand that you don't want to make a mercenary company exclusive to the country currently hiring it, since it would limit the chances of ever hiring them. However making them always available to everyone could create unrealisitic situations, since it's possible that 50 countries hire a 10,000 strong company at the same time, making them effectively 500,000 strong. Maybe a compromise would be to make the companies bigger and make it only possible to hire 1/3 of it. Thereby it would not be too limited since up to three countries could use them and at the same time it would be more realistic and less abstract.
 

Praiokles

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It need some work. What nation can hire what mercenary band (within trade radius), due to religion, relations is sure to be a topic for future talks.

I like it, the game will finally change, the balance will change. But still, i have a question. Say, as France, i want to conquer the totally legitimate Algarve that should definitely be French. Portugal (cowards!) hire those Peruvian Mercenaries (i like it, NL used Africans mercenaries to break Indonesian rebels), but, how are they going to come in Portugal ? Could i have a pop up signalling me that the Portuguese are bringing some fighters?

Whats more, does that mean that we will have a real Rework of colonial nations (and colonization)?

Last but not least, could we avoid the XXth century situation were a country fighting in Europe against European people bring armies from all over the world (just like UK and France did). That can be anecdotical and legitimate with one or two companies. That would be game Breaking if you could hire as many companies as you want from all over the globe.


Ho and, maybe a little teaser of the future devdiary topics (other than "grand change")?
It's ristricted by trade range, which means certain nations with outposts throughout the world will be able to hire all the companies.
 

cristofolmc

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I don't like that very much. Why should the Swiss fight better when they get paid by Prussia, then by Lübeck? Are prussian coins coated in meth?

Theyve copied that from IR and I didnt like that decision back then either. Mercenaries are supposed to be not that good generally. For countries woth no military tradition, yeah they could be better than their own troops. For countries like France, Spain, and Prussia, recruiting mercenaries should be a last resource and used for sieges and such, as they would be significantly worse and less discipline and lower morale than their armies. Other wise Mercenaries are always a go to option since day 1, for all countries.
 

SPAMbuca

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Theyve copied that from IR and I didnt like that decision back then either. Mercenaries are supposed to be not that good generally. For countries woth no military tradition, yeah they could be better than their own troops. For countries like France, Spain, and Prussia, recruiting mercenaries should be a last resource and used for sieges and such, as they would be significantly worse and less discipline and lower morale than their armies. Other wise Mercenaries are always a go to option since day 1, for all countries.

In practice it will probably go the other way around. Nations like France, Spain, Russia (anyone with a fat wallet) will probably just hire the merc companies to save part of their manpower pool and have the money to spare unlike the smaller nations.
 

marze1992

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I have some questions/suggestions:
nowadays every nation in 1444 start has a low manpower and is not t the force limit, so if you want to start a war straight away you need some mercs (ie thinking about Austria that want take Boemia ASAP), would you give more manpower at the start date?
In the picture I have seen some odd cavalry that, as we all know, is pretty useless, could you just create stack of mercs with even cavallry units?
Since low recruiting time was one of the strongest thing in old mercs, do you think you would lower recruiting time for regulars units, i think that 60 days for an infantry are too much if you can't recruit mercs in 14days no more.
Thanks
 

cristofolmc

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In practice it will probably go the other way around. Nations like France, Spain, Russia (anyone with a fat wallet) will probably just hire the merc companies to save part of their manpower pool and have the money to spare unlike the smaller nations.


Yup, sadly. When it should be the other way around.
 

Xetfield

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Will you have profit while giving your mercs (as Switzerland, for example) to other countries? Income, prestige?
 

Thomas kip

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Looks good, however i am not to pleased that the mercs use the hiring country's military stats. As described by Machiavelli mercenaries were useless when you had to rely on them because they were only there for the money and you couldn't put them in their place because you needed their support. In the thirty years war Mercenaries looted and burned large parts of germany and were generaly unreliable as allies. Maybe mercenaries should cause devestation in the provinces that they're in and should have a penalty to morale/discipline to represent that they didn't have a true cause to fight for and were only helpfull as long as their employer had the dosh to pay them.
 

OldmansHQ

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I'm already hyper excited to play this, and can't wait to see the other features, and the improvements mentioned. Like, fixed desynced arrival times is such a minor, yet major thing. This is the attention detail I expect. I approve! I commend!

  • 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.
I strongly vote against the first motion and in turn also against the second one. It kind of takes away from having global companies. With limited manpower pool and constant max cost, they're already a soft capped (best kind of cap) temporary thing, so no country can hoard them forever (maybe introduce a time limit if they don't suffer any casualties to prevent exploitation in multiplayer). But racing to hire out the best company in anticipation of your enemy doing the same SHOULD be a thing. It'd create competition exactly where there should be. Not to mention, it would be dumb seeing the same company fighting each other. A global economy of merc companies with demand, supply, and shortages would add so much depth...
 

YetiBandito

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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.

Some people seem to have a hard time understanding this.

Rich countries can't take away the mercs for other countries since the company can be loaned out to multiple countries.
 

Edopardo

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I strongly vote against the first motion and in turn also against the second one. It kind of takes away from having global companies. With limited manpower pool and constant max cost, they're already a soft capped (best kind of cap) temporary thing, so no country can hoard them forever (maybe introduce a time limit if they don't suffer any casualties to prevent exploitation in multiplayer). But racing to hire out the best company in anticipation of your enemy doing the same SHOULD be a thing. It'd create competition exactly where there should be. Not to mention, it would be dumb seeing the same company fighting each other. A global economy of merc companies with demand, supply, and shortages would add so much depth...
You could implement a 30day waiting period before actually spawning the mercenary army, in which other countries can bid to hire them. If another country pays up you could have a sort of auction in which the country offering the higher salary gets the company. Add a warning when your rivals, someone against whom you are at war or someone with a CB against you is trying to hire mercenaries, and you have a new economic front in which to fight the war while also hiking up mercenary prices in warring periods due to increased demand.

Some people seem to have a hard time understanding this.
Rich countries can't take away the mercs for other countries since the company can be loaned out to multiple countries.
It's not hard to understand, it's just that it seems like rich countries should be able spend lots of money to prevent their enemies from hiring more troops.