EU4 - Development Diary - 14th of April 2016

EU4 - Development Diary - 14th of April 2016

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Hello everyone, and welcome to another development diary for Europa Universalis IV. Today we’ll focus a bit on Mare Nostrum, and what was the goal of the features in that expansion and the accompanying patch.


Improve the Naval aspect of the game
The Naval game is something that has received quite a few complaints over the year, so we really wanted to make an expansion on the naval theme.

Some of the features like Sailors and the Combat Tweaks were just too much of a rework of core concepts that they had to go into the free patch.

We’re rather happy with how the naval combat now works, now that quality actually matters, and it is no longer just about who has the most money to maintain the most heavy-ships.

The Naval Missions, and the Repair mechanics was based on our experiences of the Hearts of Iron IV development, and how much more fun it made the naval game, to avoid constant micromanagement. It was one of the main features we built the exoansion around.

The changes to making blockades more visible, and having Admirals that could be good at blockading was a few free features that have proved to be a success as well.


More Peacetime Activities
After Art of War there has been a constant barrage of requests for more peace-time activities. Pretty much every expansion since then have had a large focus on adding more things to do at peace time. El Dorado had exploration related mechanics, Common Sense added Development, Interaction with Subjects & Parliaments, while Cossacks had Estates and Diplomatic Feedback, not to mention all minor actions added for the all.

Mare Nostrum is no exception there, with two major systems to enhance gameplay outside of war. First of all, we reworked how espionage works for the free patch, to make it more of an interactive mechanic, and far more transparent than before. We also made Support Rebels more of a valid option, and added lots of new spy actions.

Secondly, the feature that was the biggest to develop for Mare Nostrum. The Condottieri. We designed and added this because at the end of the day fighting in eu4 is fun. It was also heavily influenced of the fact that HoI4 testing showed us it was great fun helping out in the Spanish Civil War while still building up your own nation. Of course, Eu4 was not really designed to have units checking two sets of allegiances, so the amount of work to get it to the state we have now was enormous.

It is also the only feature that has made the AI able to crush all QA within a few decades, so we had to scale it back a bit when balancing.


Regional Specific Enhacements
Every expansion we try to add unique mechanics to some part of the world, to make for more variation in gameplay.

Besides implementing a detailed map for central and east africa, with lots of new nations and ideas, we added two cool features to make some less popular countries played, while keeping to the naval theme.

There is not much to say about the Slave Raids and Trade Leagues, except that they work, they are fun, and they create diversity.


Community Requested
We also try to add in things that the community requests in each patch, and Mare Nostrum contains two such features..

Unconditional Surrender - This was requested by both SP & MP proponents, and was added to make it possible to get out wars when you have truly lost, without the opponent totally ruining your nation forever.


Timeline Mapmode - I think this feature has been requested since eu1. One of the most

Balance Related
Obviously, these are the features that tend to be not so popular.

Corruption - This solves quite a lot of balance problems, and makes for a more challenging game longterm.

States and Territories - This solves the problems of overseas mechanics which you had to work around and exploit to benefit from. It also gives greater flexibility to the player.


The teams favorites

So, what did the development team like the most from Mare Nostrum?

Condottieri won in a landslide!


 
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The problem with corruption is how much blatantly better vassal expanding is than anything else right now.

Vassal expanding currently avoids:

Corruption.
Converting.
Rebels.
Allows you to work around hostile core creation cost in many circumstances.


It allows you to:

Take wrong-cultured land without penalties.
Take wrong-religion land without penalties.
Take land without spending any points initially, allowing you to take land much quicker than otherwise restricted by coring points.
Spend only 8 monarch points on the development, rather than the 10 of coring.

It's so much blatantly better to vassal expand than anything else right now it's a bit absurd. And the ahistoricalness of it all is at an all time high. It's at the point where expanding via coring is actually a little questionable, and the tutorial should basically be an intro to releasing, granting provinces to, and annexing vassals.
 
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Mare Nostrum is no exception there, with two major systems to enhance gameplay outside of war. First of all, we reworked how espionage works for the free patch, to make it more of an interactive mechanic, and far more transparent than before. We also made Support Rebels more of a valid option, and added lots of new spy actions.
Are there plans to make those spy actions actually usable/viable at some point? The opportunity cost for taking the idea group needed to unlock them is too great, when you could instead be taking an idea group that directly buffs your important capabilities, like generating money, buffing troops, or being able to more efficiently use MP.

As a side note, what exactly was the intended use for that idea group's new finisher, being able to steal maps? I can't think of a single situation where it would be useful. If you are a colonizer, you can gain the ability to chart stuff out on your own with the exploration idea group on the second idea, instead of needing to finish it. And if you aren't a colonizer, then the natural spread of map knowledge is more than enough for whatever it is you are doing.

Edit:
Also, Support Rebels is bugged, you can't always support rebels that have the potential to rise up.
 
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wow so nothing about the next patch and the fixes to AI which are completely broken by debt and hyperagression to the player :(
 
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Corruption does make the game more challenging which is good imo.
The naval rework is also really nice and fighting proxy wars with conditierri has been great fun in multiplayer so far; the fact that the feature beat all of QA really makes me want to try the game in hard-mode.

The game does require a different angle of approach now tho when playing. You can't just blob senselessly anymore instead pick your targets well and play smarter than before. WC and massive blobbing all that is still very much possible it's just going to take some getting used to.

Overall I think you guys did a great job with 1.16.2!
 
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That's it ? nothing about patch 1.163 ? I have to admit I'm disappointed.
 
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Cheers for the DD Johan :D. Am very much enjoying the changes - I didn't finish what I was playing and start it up until 1.16.2, so can't comment on the way corruption was initially (although I can say that having two patches out that quickly after launch is crazy impressive :)), and I'm not finding it crazy challenging to keep down (sitting at 0 corruption seems fairly easy - I'm playing a moderately expanding (in a historical, not EU4, sense) Austria) so wouldn't have been unhappy if it was a tiny bit more challenging to manage (maybe with some estate interactions?) but totally get the balancing act between various styles of play, and making it too hard would shut down the blobbers.

Espionage is a lot better with spy networks as well, although I'm still finding that the only reason I'm going to take the espionage idea group is for role-playing reasons. Is there any thought to breaking the espionage idea group out and just making all spy interactions available (maybe unlocked gradually through tech?)

Love the naval changes - the sailors, missions and greater visibility of blockading work a treat :D.

Thanks for all the work by you and the team :).
 
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For the record, the new Rome decision also need to be slightly adjusted to make both gameplay and historic sense. Seriously, it's one thing calling a new Mediterranean empire Rome, but adopt Roman culture should be a separate decision if anyone actually want to do this at all.
And great DD.
 
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Instead of being enabled by an idea group, espionage actions should be enabled by diplomatic tech.
Bam — diplomatic tech useful, corruption for unbalanced research unneeded.

(sitting at 0 corruption seems fairly easy - I'm playing ... Austria)
/rolleyes
 
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It is also the only feature that has made the AI able to crush all QA within a few decades, so we had to scale it back a bit when balancing.
Your balancing was to dumb down the AI?
 
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Khazrakh

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Corruption - This solves quite a lot of balance problems, and makes for a more challenging game longterm.
What it does right now is break and bankrupt AI nation after AI nation and ruining a lot of former interesting starting nations.
Corruption per se is not a bad idea, but the AI needs to learn to handle it and it need quite some balancing outside of Europe.
 
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Corruption doesn't make the game harder... You can deal with it, but the AI fails completely. And when your opponents get weaker, you get relatively stronger, and the game gets easier.
 
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The teams favorites

So, what did the development team like the most from Mare Nostrum?

Condottieri won in a landslide!
Interesting, somehow the team or one team members favorite Features are the ones i care the least about.
Was National focus, now is Condottieri.

Btw. Can someone elaborate how the AI managed to beat QA before Condottieri were turned down?
 
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Zak Preston

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@Johan the game has been improved a lot since I've started playing it, but for now I can see strange disbalance that haunts the game:
1. Manpower meta has gone and now we have mercs meta. Not that I complain about having infinite reinforcements that cost my money, but some nations can't afford lots of mercs and it also kills the viability of manpower-related events and ideas.
2. After adding corruption you can't afford yourself as many mercs as before, so you have to stick to your manpower pool whick is sually laughably small (around 1:1 to your FL in terms of regiments at very best). Edit: Administrative ideagroup is a soluton for SP, but in MP still rocks Discipline, Morale and CA.
3. European region is kinda weird right now, a few examples: Castile usually dies to France sooner than later, Iberian Wedding is kinda rare, nerfed Lithuanian provinces are twice larger than Central African ones and are as poor as them in terms of development (thanks God their terrain type hasn't been changed).
4. In MP games still rocks Quality + Religious + Quantity + Economics + Offensive + Innovative meta (sometimes it's Quality + Economics + Offensive + Religious + Quantity + Innovative) and colonists usually abandon Exploration after their 5-th or 6-th idea set. None usually takes Expansion, Humanist, Trade, Influence, Diplomatic, Administrative and so on. Aristocratic, Defensive, Espionage are extremely rare in competitive MP.
 
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seriousgigi

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mediterrenean countries such as venice, genoa and ottomans don't build heavy ships but they're building ridiculously much galleys over their navy force limit. for example ottos have 190 navy force limit and 220 ships (5 heavy ships, 180 galleys, 35 transport) and they don't think to build heavy ships to withstand the castile/france/portugal/england's navies. as you see in the screenshot AI otto acts like retard.

so seeing this in mare nostrum DLC which claims that "improved naval wars" is just disappointment.

ottos can easily maintenance 50 heavy ships instead 200 overlimit galleys.

 

Johan

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Youbar

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Corruption - This solves quite a lot of balance problems, and makes for a more challenging game longterm.
I can't believe Johan is still hanging on to this idea. Corruption hasn't solved any balance problems, instead it's tearing apart nations like the Timurids and the Qara Qoyunlu and driving every other nation into debt. This is the only patch where I've commonly seen over half of my enemy's allies decling a call to arms due to debt. Of course, the "fix" will be just to get rid of corruption for the AI, applying some ridiculous buff as they did with forts, instead of recognising a broken mechanic that doesn't make the game harder, but simply takes longer to ultimately achieve the same goals.

We designed and added this because at the end of the day fighting in eu4 is fun.
This is a rather ironic statement considering Johan is making every attempt possible to prevent us from fighting.
 
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