Any advice for an EU4 newbie who sees a lot to like but a lot more to be confused about.

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Stormbound5

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As above, I love Stellaris and CK3 and have been trying to play EU4 but find the lack of clear information frustrating. I just have the base game so if your advice relies on a DLC please include which one it will require.
 

OllyOllyOxenFree

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Lets just say that you're better off pirating the original 1.0 release rather than playing the modern 1.0 version where various modifications to the base game have been made to temp users to buy DLC. They even had the balls to include development in the base game but no way to develop provinces without DLC.
 
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Stormbound5

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Lets just say that you're better off pirating the original 1.0 release rather than playing the modern 1.0 version where various modifications to the base game have been made to temp users to buy DLC. They even had the balls to include development in the base game but no way to develop provinces without DLC.
What do you mean? you can spend power to increase the development of a province, unless I drastically misunderstood the interface and its terminology.
 

OllyOllyOxenFree

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What do you mean? you can spend power to increase the development of a province, unless I drastically misunderstood the interface and its terminology.
Oh you can now after the outrage over such an inclusion. Though that problem extends to many other features that were first introduced in DLCs and then modified in the base game to encourage new players to buy the DLCs.
 
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MatthewP

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I’d say just jump in. Play the easier countries - ottomans, Castile, England are decent ones. Try to follow their mission trees (worth nothing Castile and England get better missions with golden century and rule Britannia, but the base ones are fine).

Key mechanics to focus on are aggressive expansion/truces/coalitions, trade, unrest, how to balance monarch point usage, how battles and sieges work, and colonization. It will take a long time to master them. the wiki is quite good, and if you have specific questions on how to do something better or what’s going on, folks on the forum will help. But I think learning the game without having a browser open to search the wiki is near impossible.

edit: as for comparisons with the paradox games you’ve played, EU4 is harder and more complex than either. It’s also more of a focused strategy game - CK3 is largely an RPG and stellaris is largely a simulation/exploration and discovery game, but EU4 is really a competitive game about diplomacy and conquest at its core. Also, the other two games basically differentiate empires by traits like species/ethic in stellaris or culture/faith in ck3. EU4 does much more differentiation and content based on the nation you play and the region you’re in.
 
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EarlKonrad

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It is fine to start with just the base game and, as a matter of fact, it's probably the best way to start playing EU IV. That way you will have less mechanics to worry about and can focus more on the core concepts rather than learning all at once. I would also recommend that you buy DLCs peace meal so you can learn what each new feature do and how they interact slowly. If you are dead set on getting everything or a lot at once, you can always turn DLC off and on before a game.

I'd say that the only essential DLC to own nowadays is Mandate of Heaven because it adds something that is called "Diplo Macro", a menu from where you can perform all diplomatic interactions with any country and even automate some of the diplomatic game. This feature is a godsend.

On learning the game I'd say ignore 90% of it and focus on the other 10%. Play one of the countries that start out strong (Ottomans, France, Muscovy) and simply play the game. The first few mechanics you should focus are: diplomacy, war, coring, aggressive expansion and unrest. The rest you can kind of ignore in the beginning while you learn how the game works.

As always, the wiki is extremely helpful and so is the forums. Wheneve you have a doubt, ask and you will most likely get a good answer, and whenever you do post please attachat a photo or two of what you are talking about so we can better help you.
 
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Blizzrd33

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You don't need the DLCs to get to know the game. Feel free to start without and just dive in, you'll be fine. The DLCs add depth to the game which you might be interested in eventually but see if you like the overall game first.

Also recommend you choose a strong nation to start with. My first two choices were Castile and Muscovy. Ottomans would also be a good choice, they are the strongest nation at the start of game.

I learnt a lot about the game via the wiki and searching the internet for answers to specific questions.
 

Spartakus

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No DLC's is perfectly fine to learn the game and have some fun. I would recommend playing Castille for the first game. You can have a nice colonizer game in the americas (without trade companies from the DLCs there's not much point in proritizing south east asia over the new world. Catholic mechanics are in the base game too, which is good for Spain.

Read the wiki, especially the beginners guide and don't hesitate to come back here for more questions.

If you are looking for DLC's, Art of War is the one that adds the most to the base game.