EU4 - Dev Diary - December 3rd 2015

EU4 - Dev Diary - December 3rd 2015

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Hello everyone and welcome back to another development diary for Europa Universalis 4. With The Cossacks released, we'll now be getting back to non-feature related development diaries for a while. Before I start yammering on, however, I thought I'd let you know that we're currently working on a hotfix for 1.14, due to be released soon(tm). In addition to the hotfix, we're also working on a larger bugfixing patch (as we always do after an expansion) that currently has no decided ETA.

Since the hot topic the day seems to be the pricing of The Cossacks, I thought I would go ahead and address the bugbear in the room by explaining how we (we being EU4 specifically) price expansions.

What's in a price tag?
A number of comments have emerged along the lines of 'Why is Cossacks, which has the same amount of features as Common Sense, $/€5 more expensive?" The answer to that question, quite simply, is that they do not have the same amount and size of features.

When designing an expansion, we make a plan for the number and size of features that will be in said expansion. We break up features according to the following classifications:

Mega - A mega feature that represents a very large time investment and a major change in how the game can be played, such as introducing new game modes. The Nation Designer and Random New World are the only mega features to date.
Major - A major feature that takes a large time investment and has a large impact on the game. Examples of these include Estates from Cossacks, Subject Interactions from Common Sense and the Army Planner from Art of War.
Medium - A medium-sized feature that takes about an average time investment and usually has a fairly large impact on the game. Examples include Development from Common Sense, Nahuatl mechanics from El Dorado and Horde Unity from Cossacks.
Minor - A small feature that can be implemented quickly and generally has limited impact on the game. Examples include Threaten War from Cossacks, Return Province from Common Sense and Selling Ships from Art of War.

We make sure that each expansion has a good mix of major, medium and minor features (with a mega feature instead of several major ones in CoP and ED) and then sum up the total number of features where mega features are worth 10 points, major features are worth 6 points, medium features are worth 3 points and minor features 1.5 points. This is then divided by price to create the actual value, which we ensure stays very close to the value for money in previous expansions (our highest 'value for money' expansion is Wealth of Nations owing to the low price tag, but it's only 5% more value for money than The Cossacks, for example). We never factor free content into the price - while Art of War came with a mega map rework, this had nothing to do with its $20 price tag, and neither did the Random New World rework influence the Cossacks price tag. We set our price purely according to the actual features you are getting for paying for them.

For those still not convinced, I'll make a quick comparison between Cossacks and Common Sense. Here are the 'expansion features' lists for each:

Common Sense vs The Cossacks
Paid Features - Common Sense

- Theocracies now have heirs that are chosen by event, with each choice having a different effect and unlocking certain events that can happen once that heir becomes monarch.
- Theocracies now have Devotion, which is similar to Legitimacy and Republican Tradition. Devotion goes up from high stability and pious acts and goes down from low stability and low religious unity. Devotion affects your Papal Influence, Church Power, Prestige and Tax Income.
- Constitutional Monarchy, Constitutional Republic and English Monarchy now have Parliaments. Countries with Parliaments have to grant a certain number of their provinces Seats in Parliament, which then allows those seats to vote on issues. The country with the parliament can choose between a few randomly picked issues, and then have a number of years to secure enough votes for the issue to go through. Votes are secured either through events or by bribing parliament seats with things which that particular province wants. After five years of an issue being debated, there is a random chance that the vote will go through at the end of each month, with the chance of winning the vote depending on how many seats are backing it. If the vote goes through, the country gets the benefits of that issue for 10 years, otherwise it suffers a penalty to prestige.
- Protestantism now has Church Power. Church Power accumulates over time and can be used to buy aspects, which are permanent modifiers added to that country's particular version of Protestantism. A country can only have 3 aspects, after which Church Power can be used to trade in an existing aspect for a new one.
- The diplomatic action Remove Electorate is now available to the Emperor, to remove an elector at the expense of worsened relations with other electors and 10 IA. This action is not available unless the HRE has an official religion.
- Implemented Government Ranks feature. Each Government type can now have up to 3 ranks, with higher ranks conferring better bonuses, and higher government ranks lowering cooldown on changing your National Focus. Players with the Common Sense expansion can dynamically change their government rank through the Government screen and various events and decisions while those without are locked to rank 1 or 2 depending on whether they are independent, unless they are playing a historical empire such as Byzantium and Ming.
- Buddhists now have Karma. Karma decreases from aggressive conquest and increases from honoring alliances and releasing nations. Rulers with too high Karma become detached from the world and suffer a penalty to diplomatic reputation, while rulers with too low Karma will lose the trust of their mind and get a penalty to discipline. Rulers with balanced Karma get a bonus to both discipline and diplomatic reputation.
- Can now return an owned province to another existing nation that has a core on it for an opinion boost, at the cost of 10 prestige. Doing so will remove your own cores and claims on the province. This cannot be done while at war.
- The Emperor can now grant Free City status to nations in the HRE that only own one province. Free Cities get a special republican government, a bonus to tax income and will always be able to call in the Emperor when they are attacked, even in internal HRE wars. The Emperor gets a bonus to tax income, manpower and imperial authority for each Free City in the HRE, but there can only be 7 Free Cities in total at any given time. A Free City that gains a second province or leaves the HRE will lose their Free City status. Free Cities cannot be Electors.
- Can now Pause Westernization. While it is paused, no monarch power will be spent towards westernization progress and no westernization events will fire, but the country will continue to experience unrest.
- Added Subject Interactions for all subject types. These are special actions and toggles you can enact on your subjects, such as forcing a colonial nation to declare war on another colony, placating a vassal to lower their liberty desire or forcing a lesser union partner to adopt your culture. Subject interactions are accessed through the country subjects screen.
- You can now increase the base tax, base production and base manpower of your provinces at the cost of admin, diplomatic and military power respectively. Cost of developing a province depends on the terrain, the climate, and how many times the province has previously been developed. Certain ideas and modifiers will also increase or decrease development cost. For those without the expansion, reduced development cost ideas will instead give other beneficial effects.
- If you have money to burn, you can now dismiss an advisor from the pool, allowing greater control of the advisors you can select.
In total, Common Sense had 2 major features (Subject Interactions, Parliaments), 4 medium (Protestantism, Development, Buddhism, Devotion) and 6 minor (Free Cities, Remove Electorate, Pause Westernization, Dismiss Advisor, Government Ranks, Return Province) features. This gives a total of 33 points, or 2.2 points per $.

Paid Features - The Cossacks

- Diplomatic Feedback: There is now a new interface in the diplomacy view called 'Diplomatic Feedback'. Here you can set your attitude towards other nations, see what provinces they are interested in conquering and see their Trust towards you and the amount of Favors they owe. Favors are gained by being allies and helping each other in war, and can be used to raise Trust or to call them into your wars. You can also set provinces as being of interest to your nation, so that AI allies know to give them to you in peace deals.
- Estates: Nearly all countries now have Estates, representing powerful groupings in the country such as the Nobility or the Priesthood. Estates have a loyalty and influence level, and can control territory, granting various benefits at the cost of local autonomy. A powerful estate will have significant effects on the country that are good or bad depending on whether they are loyal or not. Estates that grow extremely powerful will attempt to seize power in the country or break away to form their own nation.
- Native Policies: You can now choose a policy for you handle the native population in colonies between Coexistance, Trading or Repression, with each giving a different benefit.
- Threaten War: Adds a diplomatic option to let you demand a province that you have a claim or core on. If the demand is accepted, the province is yours, otherwise war ensues.
- Force Migration: Added a new casus belli that lets you force a migratory neighbor to move to another province.
- Concede Colonial Area: Added a new peace option available when you have a Colonial Nation to take all provinces owned by the enemy in that region.
- Advanced Change Culture: Allows you to restore cultures or change to neighboring ones at reduced costs, rather than only the primary culture.
- Declare Colonial War: When declaring war, you can now choose to make the war a Colonial War against overseas opponents. This disables calling in your allies, but allows you to call in your protectorates. The enemy can still call their allies as normal.
- Name Your Heir: You can now name your heirs, and a button is available to re-roll another random name.
- Horde Unity: Horde Unity is a new mechanic that for hordes that replaces legitimacy. It decreases at a steady rate and must be maintained via looting and razing provinces.
- Raze: Hordes can now Raze non-core provinces that they own. Razing a province lowers its development permanently and gives the Horde monarch power relative to the amount of development razed.
- Tengri: Tengri nations can now pick a Syncretic Faith from among the religions in their provinces and neighbours. Provinces of the Syncretic Faith are treated exactly as though they were Tengri, using Tolerance of the True Faith, and countries of that religion will view the Tengri nation as though they were their own faith. The national bonuses for being Tengri differs based on which Syncretic Faith is picked, with a different set for each religion.
- Grant Province: Added a new subject interaction that lets you grant a province to a subject.
- Grant Core/Claim: Added a new subject interaction that lets you grant one of your cores or claims to a subject.
- Build Directly to Army/Navy: Clicking the "+" buttons in the Army Panel will build a unit, move it to and merge it with the selected unit.
- Build in Subjects: It is now possible to recruit armies and build ships in your subjects' lands, as long as their Liberty Desire is below 50%.
- Distribute Spoils: When signing peace, gold and prestige is now distributed between allies according to war participation, instead of all of it going to war leader.
- Victory Cards: Countries at 300 development or more will now get Victory Cards every 100 years from 1450 and forward, that will grant 1000, 2000,3000 & finally 4000 points if they are held. A victory card requires you to own, control & core an entire area, and will be randomly picked from nearby areas of possible rivals.
- Study Technology: New spy action that allows you to send a spy to a more technologically advanced country to study their technology, granting +1 monarch power per month in each category where they are ahead by at least 2 techs.
- Agitate for Liberty added: New spy action that allows you to send a spy to raise the Liberty Desire of another nation's subject.
In total, The Cossacks had 2 major (Diplomatic Feedback, Estates), 7 medium (Advanced Change Culture, Build Directly to Army, Improved Espionage, Horde Unity, New Subject Interactions, Native Policies, Tengri) and 9 minor (Name Your Heir, Victory Cards, Concede Colonial Area, Distribute Spoils, Construct in Subjects, Threaten War, Forced Migration, Declare Colonial War, Raze) features. This gives a total of 46.5 points, or 2.32 points per $.

One final thing I wanted to mention is that The Cossacks, in addition to being our expansion with the single most paid content (Art of War had 3 major, 4 medium, 10 minor for a total of 2.25 points per $), also had a huge amount of free content, even if you leave out the RNW rework. The region rework took about a month and the interface reworks in country view and the interface rework to macro builder and country view took weeks and weeks of artist and coder time. In terms of actual team time spent on it, the Art of War map changes were far cheaper, as much of the work was done by our beta testers and map modders. Just because something isn't immediately visible on the map does not mean it did not take hard work on our part.

I think that pretty much wraps it up. You're of course free to think that our pricing model is wrong for one reason or another, but I hope you should at least be able to understand where we're coming from, and that we're not just setting our prices because we decided that we wanted to hit you for an extra five dollars this time around.
 

ChildeR

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This is good to know.

However, if my impression that there are more complaints about price than with AoW is correct, have you considered that your method of tallying things may not agree with the audience's? Any ideas why that might be?
 

Wiz

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This is good to know.

However, if my impression that there are more complaints about price than with AoW is correct, have you considered that your method of tallying things may not agree with the audience's? Any ideas why that might be?
My personal theory is that AoW had highly visible (free) content which made people feel like their purchase was worth it, despite the fact that their purchase did not actually buy that content.

Humans in general are honestly not very good at estimating value, so we'll just have to try and be better at explaining what you get for your money in the future.
 

hunding00

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Thanks Wiz,

Any chance we can get some indications on what you guys are looking to fix/patch in the coming weeks?

There seems to be a lot consternation in the community regarding the randomness of estatesplosions. (Though I personally do not mind the new mechanic).
 

Helperman123

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I always thought the amount of man-hours you guys put into it, is where the price came from and not the a 'point system'. I never really complained about the content nor price of it, because each expansion feels like a new game to me, which I love. Anywhos, thanks for informing Wiz, you learn something everyday:).
 

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Cossacks is amazing. The hotfix and bugfixes will be appreciated, of course, but you guys do tremendous work on your expansions.

And day to day. Giving us a weekly look into Paradoxia, responding constantly on the forums (special shout out to the QA team, which seems to reply to every other thread and every single case of a newly reported issue) and just being *honest* with us, even when the answers aren't to our liking.

The hate is much louder, but don't for a moment forget the love that's out there for you guys.
 

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I always thought the amount of man-hours you guys put into it, is where the price came from and not the a 'point system'. I never really complained about the content nor price of it, because each expansion feels like a new game to me, which I love. Anywhos, thanks for informing Wiz, you learn something everyday:).
Points are based on man-hours that go into it (a major feature takes far more time than a minor one), it's just that it isn't directly correlated to coder implementation hours because for example, 10 1-day features take more QA/art time than 1 10-day feature, and since we can't know the exact amount of hours each feature will take ahead of time we categorize into groups.
 

SirRobin

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Nice explanation. Now about that hotfix... :)
 

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Thank you for this detailed post with the explanation! And keep up the good work with patches and DLc's.
 
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RobRoy3

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My personal theory is that AoW had highly visible (free) content which made people feel like their purchase was worth it, despite the fact that their purchase did not actually buy that content.
Sure. The free content of AoW (especially the map!) was hugely appreciated. Many (if not most) of your customers conflate the free content with the paid DLC content since they really are supporting the free content, if only indirectly, via their purchase.

Humans in general are honestly not very good at estimating value, so we'll just have to try and be better at explaining what you get for your money in the future.
Partly agree. But we're getting into semantics. Humans are terrible at estimating COST. But they're the only ones who can estimate the utility or benefit or pleasure they receive from a good or service. And they're the only ones qualified to put a price tag on that utility/benefit/pleasure. Given that VALUE is a blend of these, "not very good" might be a bit of an overstatement.
 

DM818

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  • Semper Fi
  • Europa Universalis IV: Res Publica
  • Hearts of Iron III: Their Finest Hour
  • Hearts of Iron III
  • For the Motherland
  • Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations
  • Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise
  • Europa Universalis IV
  • Crusader Kings II
  • Crusader Kings II: The Old Gods
  • Crusader Kings II: The Republic
  • Crusader Kings II: Sons of Abraham
  • Crusader Kings II: Sunset Invasion
  • Crusader Kings II: Sword of Islam
  • Europa Universalis IV: Art of War
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Death or Dishonor
  • Europa Universalis IV: Mandate of Heaven
  • Stellaris
  • Hearts of Iron IV Sign-up
  • Stellaris Sign-up
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Cadet
  • Crusader Kings II: Reapers Due
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rights of Man
  • Stellaris: Digital Anniversary Edition
  • Stellaris: Leviathans Story Pack
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Together for Victory
  • Age of Wonders III
  • Surviving Mars
  • Crusader Kings II: Monks and Mystics
  • Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia
  • Crusader Kings II: Conclave
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cossacks
  • Crusader Kings II: Horse Lords
  • Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense
  • Crusader Kings II: Way of Life
  • Mount & Blade: Warband
  • Europa Universalis IV: El Dorado
  • Cities: Skylines - Green Cities
  • 500k Club
  • Warlock: Master of the Arcane
  • Victoria 2
  • Imperator: Rome - Magna Graecia
  • Hearts of Iron IV: Expansion Pass
  • Stellaris: Apocalypse
  • Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization
My personal theory is that AoW had highly visible (free) content which made people feel like their purchase was worth it, despite the fact that their purchase did not actually buy that content.

Humans in general are honestly not very good at estimating value, so we'll just have to try and be better at explaining what you get for your money in the future.
I think that part of it is also that the features that people value the most are not necessarily the ones that have the highest point value, for instance, most people would say that development is the most important feature of common sense since it permeates all of the game while parliaments only effected certain government types. People don't really value items by what went into it they value it by what they get out of it, therefore it is very easy for there to be a disconnect between what something is being sold for and what people want to buy it for. In addition I think part of the issue is that it seemed like the dlc was marketed very much as a horde focused expansion which doesn't target any of the more played nations so even though there are estates which effect everyone people go "I don't really play hordes that much so this seems a bit too expensive for me."