Europa Universalis IV dev diary 2 –The purge & all cards on the table

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Welcome to a new development diary about Europa Universalis IV where we talk about the purge the game is undergoing. So what is a purge when it comes to creating a sequel?

Purging is when we remove features that simply are not good enough, or not as fun and exciting as we had hoped them to be when we thought of them, or that we feel stand in the way of a completely new system. Plenty of features have been reworked from scratch, but today I want to focus on the features that we're taking out – not redesigning. There won't be any direct replacement for these ones.

So why, you wonder, are we spending the first development diaries for Europa Universalis IV (EU4) talking about our vision of the game, how the map is evolving and what features we have decided to remove?

Well, if there is one thing the development of previous games have taught us, is that you have to be straight with information and tell everyone the truth about issues that can be controversial for many of you that love this series.

Because, honestly, we weren’t clear enough about our thinking process during the Europa Universalis III (EU3) development, and the result was that some of you felt disappointed. Not because of the actual gameplay, but because some expected something else from the game compared to than what they received.

So now we want to lay our cards on the table, so that you know what to expect and what you can look forward to in Europa Universalis IV.
We know that you all have expectations and hopes for EU4. And we promise that we will try and make those hopes come true. But if your imagination and our vision collide because of different expectations, it's probably best we put that to rest now by telling you the big decisions we've already taken. Then you can get back to anticipating the great thing we are building instead of feeling let down because we didn't mention a major change.

What have we removed in EU4 compared to the prequel and why?
Here is a list of concepts that were present in EU3, features that will not be around in EU4.

Spies
we’ve removed the envoys called spies, and the entire system for sending them to do covert actions. We felt that the mechanic wasn´t enjoyable enough. First, it came down to 'click for random effect', and, second, it had a negative effect on the game balance. There was a reason why most multiplayer (MP) games had severe house-rules on the use of spies. However some of the old spy mechanics will live on in other parts of the game and we will explain this more in detail further along the development.

The daimyo & shogunate system
Sometimes you remove features because they are not good enough, and sometimes because you feel that they simply are not fun enough. This was the case with the daimyo & shogunate system introduced for Japan in Divine Wind. But aside from the lack of fun, this system was a chore to maintain since as it had special rules for it inserted in so many places in the code. To maintain this system took precious time from us in our development, time we honestly would have liked to free up to improve and enhance other aspects of the game. So for EU4 we have decided that this feature is not worth the time and effort to create and maintain it.

Trade features
You probably know this, because we have mentioned it in a lot of interviews around the announcement, but the trade system will be completely overhauled. This means that concepts like centers of trade, trade rights, trade leagues, trade agreements and open markets have been removed from the game. We'll devote a development diary later this autumn to the new trade system, where we'll go into deep detail about it, and what new mechanics it uses. Hopefully all your questions will be answered then!

Magistrates
We talked earlier about the removal of spies as an envoy, and they are not the only envoy that went the way of the dodo. A major problem with magistrates was that you sometimes needed far more than you had, and sometimes had your maximum of 5 but no real use for them, except spamming minor decisions. So magistrates have been removed entirely, as we have several new mechanics in the game that fulfill the same role of limiting expansion that magistrates did in Divine Wind.

Cultural Tradition
Cultural Tradition has also been removed from the game, as it was primarily a currency for advisor creation, but the advisor system has been changed rather drastically, so it had no purpose anymore.

Automatically getting cores
The concept of automatically getting cores after fifty years of ownership has also been removed. We have a new way of handling claims and cores, and we'll talk about how that works in later diaries.

Domestic policies
Aside from trade, this is probably the biggest change people will notice. One of the features that we added into Europa Universalis II (EU2), which was in both Hearts of Iron II (HoI2) and EU3 was the concept of domestic policy sliders. Those defined different abilities for countries, and let you change your country slowly over time. It was an approach that was fine for those games, but it had some drawbacks in that they did not give a proper unique description of your country, and also enforced specific settings for certain countries. We have designed new systems to replace the function of domestic policies; so we have removed domestic policies and administrative efficiencies from the game.

To kill our darlings
We need you to know that we removed these features because we want Europa Universalis IV to be as enjoyable as possible. We hope that the features we are adding or rethinking forthe game will give you a great gameplay experience. Trust us when we say that it is hard for us to kill our darlings and let features go altogether. We have all lived and breathed the Europa Universalis series for over a decade and we've invested time in creating the features we are now tossing aside. But sometimes you have to let go of features people have come to know and understand in order to make the overall game experience greater. No matter how hard it feels and no matter how your heart (or head) hurts.
Thus ends our three week focus on the controversial stuff. So please stay tuned for 50 more weeks of new cool features, as we talk about envoys the next week. ?

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Hmm, well, we knew about several of these already... I guess Japan is reverting to a unified country from the start, then... but clearly the biggest surprise is the death of sliders. That's a biggie. Also, I'm really hoping previous trade mechanics, like trade agreements and such, get equivalents under the new trade system.

I guess the coolest news here is the absence of elephants in the room. Having dedicated a dev diary to what they are removing means that everything else is still in.
 
All this purging seems good for me. Except perhaps domestic policies, I don't see what was the problem with them actually. But if you're going to remplace them by something better, I'm not against.
 
I must admit i'm not to fond of the removal of the Shogunate system as it was one of my favorite additions in Divine Wind, however i have faith in Paradox's decision and hope for the best :)
 
Spies
we’ve removed the envoys called spies, and the entire system for sending them to do covert actions. We felt that the mechanic wasn´t enjoyable enough. First, it came down to 'click for random effect', and, second, it had a negative effect on the game balance. There was a reason why most multiplayer (MP) games had severe house-rules on the use of spies. However some of the old spy mechanics will live on in other parts of the game and we will explain this more in detail further along the development.

Not sure about this one. I had some of my best moments in EU3 using spies, but they did feel a little gamey. I would hope there is maybe some more subtel spy mechinaics at some point in EU4.

The daimyo & shogunate system
Sometimes you remove features because they are not good enough, and sometimes because you feel that they simply are not fun enough. This was the case with the daimyo & shogunate system introduced for Japan in Divine Wind. But aside from the lack of fun, this system was a chore to maintain since as it had special rules for it inserted in so many places in the code. To maintain this system took precious time from us in our development, time we honestly would have liked to free up to improve and enhance other aspects of the game. So for EU4 we have decided that this feature is not worth the time and effort to create and maintain it.

Yeah fair enough.

Trade features
You probably know this, because we have mentioned it in a lot of interviews around the announcement, but the trade system will be completely overhauled. This means that concepts like centers of trade, trade rights, trade leagues, trade agreements and open markets have been removed from the game. We'll devote a development diary later this autumn to the new trade system, where we'll go into deep detail about it, and what new mechanics it uses. Hopefully all your questions will be answered then!

Can't wait to hear the new system, but I hope the baby doesn't get thrown out with the bathwater. Some of those features, like trade leagues, were very good I felt.

Magistrates
We talked earlier about the removal of spies as an envoy, and they are not the only envoy that went the way of the dodo. A major problem with magistrates was that you sometimes needed far more than you had, and sometimes had your maximum of 5 but no real use for them, except spamming minor decisions. So magistrates have been removed entirely, as we have several new mechanics in the game that fulfill the same role of limiting expansion that magistrates did in Divine Wind.

Good.

Cultural Tradition
Cultural Tradition has also been removed from the game, as it was primarily a currency for advisor creation, but the advisor system has been changed rather drastically, so it had no purpose anymore.

Fair enough.

Automatically getting cores
The concept of automatically getting cores after fifty years of ownership has also been removed. We have a new way of handling claims and cores, and we'll talk about how that works in later diaries.

Brilliant! Very glad to hear this.

Domestic policies
Aside from trade, this is probably the biggest change people will notice. One of the features that we added into Europa Universalis II (EU2), which was in both Hearts of Iron II (HoI2) and EU3 was the concept of domestic policy sliders. Those defined different abilities for countries, and let you change your country slowly over time. It was an approach that was fine for those games, but it had some drawbacks in that they did not give a proper unique description of your country, and also enforced specific settings for certain countries. We have designed new systems to replace the function of domestic policies; so we have removed domestic policies and administrative efficiencies from the game.

Interesting. This is a major departure and I can't wait to see what's in the game to replace them.

I think it's good to redesign stuff form the bottom up to some degree, there's no need for the apologetic tone in my view. New features for the sake of it are a bad idea, but innovation is good too. I hope this DD will make people realise this is a new edition, not an expansion. Keep up the good work!
 
I must admit i'm not to fond of the removal of the Shogunate system as it was one of my favorite additions in Divine Wind, however i have faith in Paradox's decision and hope for the best :)

Yeah I liked it too. Far more than I did the Chinese factions, really. Actually I'm quite curious about that. Did Paradox really remove the Shogunate but keep the Factions? I was expecting the other way around if anything...

And of course, I'm eager to see what replaces spies. I'm hoping there will be ways to interfere with other realms besides diplomacy.
 
Trust in the Paradox. :)

Sounds like you've thought it through and I'm really glad you're honest about it.
I'm eager to read more next week!
 
Generally, this looks good, but I'm a bit sceptical of the removal of the sliders.

How can you ensure that the country will be pushed like you want it?
 
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Domestic policies
Aside from trade, this is probably the biggest change people will notice. One of the features that we added into Europa Universalis II (EU2), which was in both Hearts of Iron II (HoI2) and EU3 was the concept of domestic policy sliders. Those defined different abilities for countries, and let you change your country slowly over time. It was an approach that was fine for those games, but it had some drawbacks in that they did not give a proper unique description of your country, and also enforced specific settings for certain countries. We have designed new systems to replace the function of domestic policies; so we have removed domestic policies and administrative efficiencies from the game.


Ohh, this has me all exited. I am very curious too find out how domestic policies will be handled because the sliders had it limitations. Of course, I'm not expecting Vicky 2 levels here, but hopefully molding your nation will be something fun to do when at peace, finally:D
 
The removal of something detailed and complicated outside of Europe (the Shogunate system) due to time constraints spells bad for the rest of the world aspect of the game... I hope I'm wrong.