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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Darth.

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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.
How does this work? Can everyone in range hire Swiss mercs, creating more companies as needed? Or can the second player pay more money to get the mercs to switch loyalties?
 

Darth.

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@DDRJake
Does the Merchant thing means that we have to have assigned Merchant to a Company, or to a Trade Node they reside in?
Trade range means you need to have the ability to do so if you wish
 

Darth.

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i like it, but it's not cool that u cannot merge it, this is annoying stuff for multiplayer.
They literally said they're working on a fix for that. Give it time.
 

OldmansHQ

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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.
Excellent ideas. But we should also be careful to not put too many eggs in this same basket. There is so much potential for reputation for companies, returning customers, rivalry between companies, and whatnot. But I'm not sure if it won't take away from other aspects of the game? What the hell, maybe that wouldn't be a problem ^_^.
 

Cenvor

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As this change increases the amount of tedious micro that'd need to be done it seems like it'd make the difference of widening how much better a better player will do compared to a less skilled player in mp, as far as i can see this change which the devs have already called chunky looks like change for the sake of change can some one explain how the central mechanic of merc companies, as seen here, is better than mercs as they currently are.
 

Praiokles

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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.


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.
I wouldn't like to see wealthy nations hauging all the mercenaries. Give the option to buy the companies for extra money after a few years.
 

Zak Preston

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Cutting down magic numbers and infinite resource pools is always a welcome change!

Currently there are 2 ways of increasing manpower effeciveness:
  1. Keep the MP pool relatively the same (250 MP for 1 military development), but greatly boost manpower regen (for example double or tripple it from 10 years to 5 or 3 years). Think of it as an "energy" resource from some MMOs or MOBAs.
  2. Increase MP pool considerably (for example double it), but tone down MP regen a bit.
Anyways these merc changes will finally make attrition, drill, professionalism, unique units and CAVALRY viable again!
 
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Mingmung

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I like it. I hope the AI will be able to handle it properly.
 

Voigt

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You said the Manpower of Mercs won't regenerate as long as they are hired.

Would be cool if some Nations had special national ideas where they could, atleast in peacetime. Nations that heavily depented on Mercs.
 

OldmansHQ

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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?
Perhaps a bigger manpower pool? Flat out more regiments in companies for the same price seems kinda OP.
 

bly08

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View attachment 503935

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.

View attachment 503934

1. What determines the army composition of available companies?
2. Why are there 8/5/0 stacks? Do I have to kill off the merc cavalry I don't want from every stack? What if I want merc cannons?
3. What do "bands" refer to? Are we gonna have three randomly sized and comped stacks that the player has to mix and match every time mercs are recruited?

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.

Does this mean the more land I conquer the less available mercs will be? Will local mercs adjust for that?

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.

1. How did you come up with 10 years? Randomly or through testing?
2. Whose idea was it to force the player to recruit 8/5/0 merc stacks and not letting them be split or merged? Or not letting the player choose their general?

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.

Is that the only thing you noticed or were there more reasons?

I hope I'm not bursting any bubbles here but random comp, unsplittable/mergeable stacks with random generals sounds ridiculous. I'm amazed it's even being considered. Did someone really need to test the game to figure that that having to hotkey ten different 7/5/0 stacks like brood war could potentially be annoying?
 
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wkscrombie

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I love the overall trajectory of this change, but I'm adding my voice to those of others who do not like the idea that companies can be hired out by multiple countries simultaneously and that they assume the military buffs of their employers. The former both doesn't make physical sense and takes away from the possible depth of strategic planning (I love the idea of a 30-day bidding period that was floated by @Edopardo); the latter seems like it takes away a lot of possible flavor. Just make it so that mercenary companies (each with their own unique traits, as your screenshots already suggest) start the game slightly above average and, over the course of the game, become outmoded by the development of standing armies with increasingly modern military technology.
 

Skagzill

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Perhaps a bigger manpower pool? Flat out more regiments in companies for the same price seems kinda OP.

Another option could be more companies available. I don't see what determines what and how many local companies are available but this idea might affect it.
 

wkscrombie

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Nothing like getting a new dev diary at 1 in the morning on my birthday.

Anyways, as a player who doesn't use mercs much, I hope this new system gives it that added touch of flavor that makes using mercs fun/enjoyable. I'm also hoping this is a free feature... I'm sure there's plenty of other mechanics like [redacted] and [redacted] to go into the [redacted] dlc.

He said near the end that "[a]ll changes above are going to be part of the free update".

Also, happy birthday!
 

OldmansHQ

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1. What determines the army composition of available companies?
2. Why are there 8/5/0 stacks? Do I have to kill off the merc cavalry I don't want from every stack? What if I want merc cannons?
3. What do "bands" refer to? Are we gonna have three randomly sized and comped stacks that the player has to mix and match every time mercs are recruited?

I hope I'm not bursting any bubbles here but random comp, unsplittable/mergeable stacks with random generals sounds ridiculous. I'm amazed it's even being considered. Did someone really need to test the game to figure that that having to hotkey ten different 7/5/0 stacks like brood war could potentially be annoying?
Jake's post says that you cannot alter the regiments in the stacks. You're too hell-bent on min-maxing. I think the idea is that customisation of those is outside your control. You either accept them as they are, or you don't.
 

Edopardo

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I wouldn't like to see wealthy nations hauging all the mercenaries. Give the option to buy the companies for extra money after a few years.
You could limit it to the foreign ones, so that you always have access to your local companies. And maybe add contract terms so that the company is automatically freed after a year or two, maybe with a slight increase in price after it for the country that hired them to discourage them from hogging the mercenaries.