EU4 - Development Diary - 7th of September 2021

Hello there!

After the summer break, I am honored to present what the new content will be about!

But first, let me introduce myself as it is my very first time to write in the official forums instead of just lurking here.
I am Ogele, a content designer from Germany, who joined around the time of the release of Leviathan, and as such I got directly thrown into a lot of script bug fixing. Prior to joining, I was (and still am) a modder for EU4 - the one or other might know me already as Comrade Flan on Steam. Oh, and if somebody wants to complain about the bugfix of Fars' color: that was me - so to all the fans of Yellow Fars, I am sorry for your loss.

With that said, it's time to move to the actually exciting new stuff for the new Content Pack which will be focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa.

Today I start with the presentation of one of the famous realms of Africa - Mali
dd_mali.png

Before diving into the mission tree I want to say that this is all still work in progress. As such, everything still is subject to change.

Mali is a realm which has outlived its time of glory, and is spiraling into irrelevance during the timeframe of EU4. Starting prior to 1444 with the death of Mansa Suleyman Keita, the brother of the famous Mansa Musa, Mali has been facing civil wars and poor leadership. As such, Mali has not a good time starting in the game as they will have to face the Disaster Decline of Mali.

dd_mali_disaster.png
dd_mali_disaster_event.png

Icon and event picture are not final.

While the modifiers themselves are not the end of the world, Mali will have to face a series of events:
dd_mali_disaster_monthly_events.png

There are a few more disaster related events, but I think these will suffice.

Now the question is: how do you end this disaster? Well, the mission tree has the solution

dd_mali_mission_tree.png


The mission tree is split into three parts: Reconquest of your former borders, dealing with the Disaster and a little bit of colonization. The most right side of the tree is the one you will focus the most in the early game as its rewards remove some of the disaster events, making the Decline much more bearable. They will remove the Pretender rebels spawning on every new monarch, make the estates loyal for your cause and remove the estate rebellions and will finally ensure that provinces, which are core of other nations, remain loyal to you instead of revolting. At the same time, the missions in the middle part will push you into conquering former territory back, giving permanent claims over Macina, Jenné, Timbuktu and Songhai. An additional bonus of the missions is that each conquest of a new territory will grant you +1 Stability as long you have the disaster active. Also, while you conquer after your heart's desire you will fire these events through the mission tree:

dd_mali_jnn.png
dd_mali_capital.png
dd_mali_son.png


With the Restore the Empire mission you can finally retake your status as an Empire, and if you also finish the mission Handle the Kaabu you can finally put an end to the Decline as you have clearly proven that Mali has recovered from the disaster. Restore Mali Authority will end the disaster and gives you -15% Stability cost and -0.05 Monthly Autonomy. After dealing with the disaster, it is time to step into Mansa Musa's footsteps and try to outperform his generosity. But first you will need to get the income for that, and because of that the missions following handling the inner troubles will focus on developing the main sources of income, which are Gold and Ivory. Completing the mission Gold and Ivory will allow you to use a brand new estate privilege and will fire an event, which is beneficial for every owner of ivory provinces:

dd_mali_estate.png
dd_mali_ivory.png


Now that the gold question has been solved you can now relive the history and make a pilgrimage to Mecca. By ensuring that the owners of Ankara, Kairo and Mecca have the "Sent Gift" opinion modifier, you can complete the mission Show Generosity and get an event which allows you to invest into Mecca, either adding a Great Mosque and making your own Ulema happy or adding a Counting House and making your own Dhimmi happy.

Finally, it wouldn't be a Mansa Musa experience if you don't crash the economy of a whole country. With the final mission Dominate Europe's Trade, which requires you to have a strong trade presence in either of the European trade nodes and having 15,000 Ducats without any loan will, you can unleash the sheer amount of gold you have hoarded upon Europe!

dd_mali_dear_god_have_mercy_upon_your_soul.png


If you wonder what the result will look like... well... here you go. Poor Genoa will never financially recover from this

dd_mali_oof.png

While I am at it: I want to point out that this effect is still in balancing phase, and that it has only 10% of the effect for player countries and their subjects. While I like to add rewards which make you feel good, I don't want them to be an auto-win against other players. Of course you can argue that it is an auto-win against the AI, but it must be considered that you have to be a economical behemoth already to get this mission done. Also, it is very satisfying to see the pop-ups coming over the year of AI trade countries declaring bankruptcy.

Now to some other smaller highlights for Mali:
  • The colonization missions are based on the legend of Abu Bakr. Because we didn't find many evidences for the existence of his journey to the new world, these missions will describe him more as a legend then as a discrete fact. The missions will revolve about travelling west and founding an own colony in South America
  • The mission Connection to Maghreb enables a decision which allows you to purchase a province in Europe for 2000 Ducats. You have a choice of 5 provinces here, which are all near Italy or Iberia
  • The mission Choose Direction will enable a mission which is either focused on converting your land or on tolerating the traditions
That's all for today! There are a lot more things I would love to talk about, but I think I am stretching that dev diary more than enough already. With that said, next week we will take a closer look at Songhai. Until then, have a nice week!
 
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I am very disappointed to see that you once again decide to expend development time on countries outside Europe. After all, the name is Europa Universalis and as your own numbers show, most people tend to play a handful of European countries. Yes, there might be some effect from the fact that these countries have received the most attention in the past, but does anyone seriously think that e.g. Mali will ever be as popular choice to play as England/GB, Brandenburg/Prussia, Castile/Spain, or other favoured European nations? I certainly do not. If the developers have run out of ideas for Europe in EUIV, I would suggest moving on to EUV and develop a core game without the da** monarch point system.
Europe did receive many DLCs and free updates like Third Rome or Emperor or like free Poland and Denmark updates. The game is called Europa but with all do respect I have to disagree. Other continents are interesting as well and deserve some attention, like in this case Sub Saharan region. Mali is interesting nation that I always wanted to play with but also those Nubian nations, Kongo etc.
 
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We play the game each week to test things and find bugs and issues, both in SP and MP, and even some of us do that in our free time. We're also supported by a QA team, that also play and know the game as well as us. But you've got to take into account that: a) People does mistakes. b) This is early access content, so it's in need of further reviewing and balancing. In this case, about the Production Efficiency/Goods Produced for Gold, it's easy to forget it when you're scripting so much different things. What goes on then is further testing, and QA assistance, so this can be fixed in time. Then, take this kind of things as an opportunity to help us devs with what we're working on, and to try to improve the new content.

I really appreciate that you are putting time into bug fixing & testing. That said, I feel like EU4 isn't your average RPG game where that approach could realistically work in the long run.
You look to other strategy games like StarCraft or AoE2, or MMOs(like FF14) or any other more complex titles, and you start to notice that their development teams either have at least one or two people who had spent thousands of hours playing the game in their free time and have a genuine passion for trying to understand all of its ins and outs or they are in constant contact with the people from their community that do.

I don't want to say that your approach is "wrong", because with EU4 there's always going to be a ton of people, especially among newer players, who won't mind useless or broken mechanics and poor balance(because they won't be even able to tell them apart) as long as they get to do "fun" stuff(like the inflation event from the dd).
I know that no matter what you will always have people who will appreciate that kind of content design, but at the same time you are also going to be alienating who had spent the most with your games more and more, as they can tell poor balance and poor design choices more easily than the newcomers to the game.

You mention that everything is still going to go through further reviewing and balancing, and I hope that this will end up true and succesful, especially with what was mentioned in the DD. However there have been ton of instances in the past were blatantly unbalanced or silly content/features were allowed to be released(like some monuments, or parts of the Siamese region to give some recent examples).

I understand that you are in a difficult spot and that it's very hard to please everyone, but I'd be really, really happy if you could at least consider putting a bit more thought into pure numbers/small design choices of the updates you make. EU4 has suffered a lot from not the best choices in this respect, and it's sad, because it buries for me - and for many others - the great work that had been otherwise put in the new releases.
 
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Have to disagree with you there, this is incredibly early in development. Having some wrong modifiers and grammar issues is equivalent to placeholder art. So long as they are spotted and reported, then there is plenty of time to get them fixed.

Remember, this was literally the first dev diary on the Africa content.
I understand that this is placeholder and has plenty of time to be fixed, and I do think these mistakes that are spotted at first glance will be fixed.

The main issue is how it looks when presented and how that relates to the feedback you get back.

For example, I'm writing an essay and quickly jot down the general idea of the essay in a few pages without caring for grammar, spelling or flow of the text because I know I can go back and fix these things at a later point.

If I then go and ask someone to give their feedback on the essay what will the quality of the feedback be?

Most people would be frustrated they are being asked to review something that clearly has not been reviewed by me first, and the feedback I'm going to receive will mostly focus on the glaring issues, such as the grammar and spelling, while more deeper feedback related to the ideas expressed in the text will be sidelined.

In general terms, you get back the same level of feedback as the level of quality you present. Asking for feedback works when there is good faith you've done your best effort and need a new perspective to progress. Leviathan sadly ruined a lot of that good faith, so more effort does need to be done to show you've done your best with the work before it's presented. This means more design meetings, more bug testing, more quality control before showing things to the public.

When we are presented with non-functional mechanics completely designed around gold production, where bonuses or maluses to gold production is core to the design for that to work properly. That is the level of quality that's been set.
 
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In general terms, you get back the same level of feedback as the level of quality you present. Asking for feedback works when there is good faith you've done your best effort and need a new perspective to progress. Leviathan sadly ruined a lot of that good faith, so more effort does need to be done to show you've done your best with the work before it's presented. This means more design meetings, more bug testing, more quality control before showing things to the public.
Well put. Paradox has been burning good faith since before Leviathan; expectations have been adjusted accordingly.
 
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There are two issues here. On one hand statistics get applied on way too many fields where they don't have a place (like all math, i mean the whole field of macroeconomics is "how do i manipulate my data the way that they fit my equations i chose beforehand"). So it very well can and should be questioned if applying statistics is the correct choice here.
This is not what Macroeconomics is all about, except in a few looney-tunes political "theories", but that's not really germane here.

On the other hand you are right that most data in social sciences can't rely on havibg the exact same settings. There are two workarounds, large sample size and settings as similar as possible. Neither is happening here. We have a VERY small sample size. And the settings completely differ. We had multiple game directors and completely different teams working on DLC with completely different focus in completely different work environments here. Trying to analyze this situation as a stochastical event is a worse abstraction than eu4s supply system.
(a) Modelling with stochastic models and saying something about a situation based on the inevitably stochastic nature of it are two completely different things. I can say that a randomiser will, on average, generate a number less than its maximum possible without knowing the full range of results it can produce, never mind the full probability profile of the random range. Just because something is not fully analysable doesn't mean that you can't say some important things about it. You can characterise a time series in plenty of ways without ever knowing what the precise factors are producing the series - I used to have people working to do exactly that to help plan a global supply network.

(b) The EU4 supply system is actually a reasonably good approximation of the realities of military supply in the period. Troops obtained their food locally and were limited by the density of local population and time of year. The only thing really missing is depletion of local supplies over time when the supply weight is an appreciable fraction of the local cap.

People that are good in their specific field try to apply their knowledge to as many things as possible, but sometimes things that initially seem to be part of that are only touching it.
You seem to have a background in social sciences or psychology so you should know that almost all large scale stochastic theories are not applicable on a case by case basis.
I have a background in engineering (chemical and process), finance, supply chain theory and practice and economics (bachelors' and masters' degrees plus lots of work experience). I have applied statistical concepts (as well as several other techniques and methodologies) across all of these fields. Plus a lifetime of reading military, economic and medieval history and playing and designing wargames and roleplaying games as hobbies.

uhm no. Neither guidance nor training have anything to do with this. Neither has statistics as i said above.
No, you're simply wrong. References from Dan Kahneman on down.

Now i wouldn't mind to discuss this furthee but it would derail here, so answer me in a pm if you wanna discuss further.
Running to hide won't help either of us.
 
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I can't speak for him/her, what I have in mind when reading is PU. You can get PU for free on a dice roll and you can integrate PU for free on a dice roll. Player have some agency to put the god in good position but at the end, it relies on magical dice roll that is a real game changer and poor design.
Oh,by the way, all the European mission giving free PU casus belli is at least as game breaker as this Mali mission, because PU missions are way to easy to obtain and achieve. Just play as Austria and you have Bohemia, Hungary and Milan as a PU without coalition in 40 years into the game. Which mean basically: GG you win. And later on, you have Polish + Lithuania PU. Yeah, good design and no problem here....
I agree that Austria's mission granted PU CBs are overkill and imbalanced. As somebody mentioned it here it is like "cheat mode activated". In a way it is great historical flavor, but it might need to be balanced in some way. As for other countries, some of them get PU CBs/events on a couple of other nations but those are the historically ascendant powers and in the end is in the same vein as having lucky nations and it makes for good, interesting content and in total it is not really game breaking. If we don't count Austria, the most considerable PUs by mission or event are:
  1. the Iberian Wedding and the Portuguese PU for Castile/Spain. This makes Spain a great power. Without it Spain never really gets to be a major power and will most likely remain a regional power for a long time.
  2. Lithuanian PU for Poland. Makes both have at least a chance against their big aggressive neighbors.
  3. French PU for England. Moderately Difficult to pull off for a player and never achievable by AI.
  4. Naples PU for France and a chance to have Milan. This strengthens France in a big way but is not game breaking in any way.
All of those PUs I mentioned don't have the same level of impact as the currently presented Mali event. The Mali event allows you to completely dominate a whole continent for actually not that big of a cost. All those PUs allow you to be dominant in your region, but not rough stomp a whole continent. Again, Austria not withstanding. Their missions are just broken. At least AI Austria keeps it sane and usually gets only Bohemia and Hungary and sometimes Milan making it a powerful regional power, but not dominate without competition the whole continent. A player can go further and PU Spain and at that point Austria becomes the master of continental Europe.

Standard PUs are a completely different deal, they are a lot more random. It's like a built in mini lottery where your time and resources can be sometimes wasted and sometimes you get the jackpot. It's far form guaranteed and even an average of lucky games with at least one PU will involve around 2 PUs. Also, any forced PU (and most PUs are forced), and even mission granted PU CBs involve some thoughtful actions from the player: planning and gathering resources for a war, playing the diplomacy game, showing skill in that war, managing the PU afterward (can be sometimes a challenge for smaller countries). It's a whole process and that is engaging. That's good design. The Mali event is just a one click win button.

What I would like to see are some events for Austria for example to have a probability of succession wars on monarch's death. I would love to see the Spanish Succession play out. Some generic events that would have some probability to fire for any PU that would be similar where on monarch's death there is a probability for your rival to get a PU claim on one of your junior partners and starting a succession war. Maybe a split of a dynasty event where on monarch's death there would be a probability of junior PU becoming independent with a member of your dynasty and a chance for you to claim it back through restoration of union.

EU4 is special among strategy games in that it is historically focused in it's flavor, but still offers a lot of flexibility for many unique alternate scenarios. It's the asymmetry that makes EU4 a historical flavored game that is realistic while offering a lot of flexibility and PUs are part of that. Without asymmetry in the power of countries and regions the game play from one tag to another would be nearly identical. Even playing for disadvantaged countries and going into alternate history would not be that interesting without such powerful opponents.
 
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As a suggestion, please ideas and missions for poor ethiopia and yemen also. AND CHANGE THE TRADENODES from alexandria to tunis also, from guinea to safi, and from safi to tunis. we know the game is historical, but its a videogame not a video, you are supposed to change things and trade its so messed up to do anything nice with an african country. ps thaaaanks, mali its my top picked country, but that event its broken, balance it out, we multiplayer gamers know we are a minority, but dont ruin the game for us please...
 

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I have to agree with the sentiment that mercenaries need a hotfix, the problem is that the cost of 5.00% army professionalism is too much mid to late game. When you can "slacken recruitment standards" for manpower upfront, then it makes sense to lower it to between 3.00% - 2.00% army professionalism.

Additionally, the stacks should be shrunk. The tradeoff is army professionalism and total cost for convenience of building an army across the globe rather than transporting them. Maybe variable Army professionalism based on size will be better. Either way the sizes need to be tuned down quite a bit.

Additionally the army composition is bad. Player combat meta should be considered. Early to mid game cannons are just used for sieging having a few in each army for forts. Mid to late game, since cannons can fire from the back row, it's better to have a 1:1 ratio of infantry to artillery and to phase out calvary entirely.

Until calvary can attack around infantry (encircling irl) to attack the back row of cannons. Then, it makes no sense to include them late game. (This leads to a bigger point about inconsistency in 19th - 15th century combat. The "Rock, Paper, Scissors" of Infantry, Artillery, Calvary needs to be embraced in its entirety ingame. It's true, calvary eventually became obsolete to counter artillery (i.e. canister shot, explosive mortar rounds). However, this should occur in the final military techs.

Finally, the merc stacks should be divisible to supplement divisions, much like (Hesse) Hessian Grenadiers in the American revolutionary war.

Here's a video explaining the problem better than I can:


Hopefully, this comment is seen and it's advice can be taken to heart.
 
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Atomcreator

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"If you wonder what the result will look like... well... here you go. Poor Genoa will never financially recover from this"

Personally I don't believe there should exist single click missions that have the ability to devastate other countries with very little actual effort.
 
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Could you please add more provinces to this region? There are extremely large(especially when you consider the Mercator projection making equatorial regions smaller) It is hard for a Mali(or songhai) to compete with European powers without unrealisticaly blobbing into kongo or the Huasa when in real life the Mali Empire at its height far dwarfed the European leaders in population with a whopping 20 million people, whereas England had around 2-3 million in 1500 and Spain 7-9 million in 1500. If you do not believe me search it up! Obviously, it would be dumb to make Mali this powerful at the start as it had a major plague outbreak a little before EU4's time and it having lost around 1/2 of its territory, but Mali controlling its peak territory should at least make it bottom rank great power, instead of it having around a pitiful 150 dev(if even that!). In addition, Mali's borders are wrong! A simple YouTube search would give more accurate estimates on their borders.

Events to continue Mali's decline if reforms fail, events that lower dev of provinces should be included, as Songhai was more of a regional power than a global one and after Songhai, the region fell to obscurity.

Thank you and I apologize for long post.
 
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it would also be nice if some of the new monuments included in this DLC are fetishist or coptic (in case we're also doing ethiopia) only. Plenty of religions have their exclusive monuments but especially the fetishists need some love!

no new achievements for Mali?? please? I want a motivation of playing mali on ironman.

seconding this, more achievements would be more than welcome!
 
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@Johan One suggestion. Allow Mali to convert to Fetishist via rebels, event or some other way.
The religious angle for Mali has some really interesting possibilities, I think. They went Muslim in order to get benefits in the trade through the desert to the north - if you are going to send a guy over the Sahara with a camel-load of gold (and expect him to come back in one piece), being a co-religionist with the people you're trading with helps! But when Mali attempted to take control of the gold mines to their south, this caused them almost immediate problems. The secrets of finding and extracting the gold were bound up heavily with the religions of the forest kingdoms; when the Malians took them over, production plummeted (this is, incidentally, a possible source for the fable of the goose that lays golden eggs).

So, Switching to "fetishist" might be possible - they tried to retain the 'old customs' as much as they could, which got them into trouble with later, puritan strains of Islam - but it would swap ability to maximise the gold mines for facility trading to the north...
 
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The religious angle for Mali has some really interesting possibilities, I think. They went Muslim in order to get benefits in the trade through the desert to the north - if you are going to send a guy over the Sahara with a camel-load of gold (and expect him to come back in one piece), being a co-religionist with the people you're trading with helps! But when Mali attempted to take control of the gold mines to their south, this caused them almost immediate problems. The secrets of finding and extracting the gold were bound up heavily with the religions of the forest kingdoms; when the Malians took them over, production plummeted (this is, incidentally, a possible source for the fable of the goose that lays golden eggs).

So, Switching to "fetishist" might be possible - they tried to retain the 'old customs' as much as they could, which got them into trouble with later, puritan strains of Islam - but it would swap ability to maximise the gold mines for facility trading to the north...
I mean just immagine possibilities. If Mali is Fetishist, it means that it can pick Cults. From there you can convert to Buddhism, Christianity, almost any religion you want or stay Fetishist. I think this would be cool thing to enable. If Indian Muslim nations have ability to convert to Sikhism i don't see anything wrong for Mali or other West African Muslim nations to have similiar choice.