Europa Universalis IV Developer diary 20 - A Tale of Two Cities

Europa Universalis IV Developer diary 20 - A Tale of Two Cities

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Welcome to the 20th development diary on Europa Universalis IV. Today we offer you a great tale of two cities - a magnificent saga of trade in the Mediterranean and a rivalry to dominate that trade. We bring you Venice and Genoa, trading capitals of Italy.

Both start as merchant republics, a government form that increases their trade power by 10%, their trade efficiency by 5% and gives them an extra merchant. Both of these republics are formidable trade powers, but in your hands, who knows where their destiny lies? Among other things that Venice and Genoa have in common, both of these states have the decision to Confirm Thalassocracy (a fancy word for “Ships are awesome and will be our backbone), which gives a dramatic boost to their navy and trade power once they get a colonial empire going.

Venice
Situated on the Adriatic Sea, Venice always traded with the Byzantine Empire and the Muslim world extensively. But in history, Venice's long decline started in the 15th century. When Christopher Columbus discovered the New World and Portugal found a sea route to India, Venice's land route monopoly through the Silk Road and focus on Eastern Mediterranean ports became pointless, striking at the very foundation of Venice's great wealth.
Portugal was followed by France, England and Holland and Venice's oared galleys were at a disadvantage when it came to traversing the great oceans. Without a sizeable fleet of seaworthy vessels, Venice was left behind in the race for colonies.

So the question is, will you be able to do better and change history to hinder the slow decline and keep Venice as the great trading nation?
The fact is that Venice does start in 1444 with an enviable strategic position. It has extensive dominions both along the Adriatic Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, with a port in Crete serving as a great base for its navy. At this point, only the Ottoman fleet can really challenge Venice in this area, which is doubly important since Venice itself is an island – so long as its galleys control the Adriatic, it is almost impossible for a rival army to cross and lay siege to the great city.

Venice’s naval power and domination of the Adriatic Sea means it also dominates the trade node in this area, one of the richest in the early game, a legacy of centuries of investment in diplomacy and warships to keep control of that rich Eastern trade.

Venetian Events
Venice was one of those major countries that had very few historical events in Europa Universalis II, the last Europa Universalis game to really dedicate time on events. They did inherit Cyprus and experienced worsened relations with The Ottoman Empire, but not much else. In Europa Universalis IV, however, we’ve given them a fair amount of interesting historical events, which will deeply enrich the experience of playing them! These events include how to handle the Inquisition in Venice, and, of course, the origins of the word Ghetto.

Venetian National Ideas
Venice starts with +10% trade power in foreign trade nodes, and +10% to their trade efficiency.
  1. Venetian Arsenal: -33% cost for Galleys
    In the Mediterranean, galleys and galleasses will be the masters of the sea for quite a while. Historically, the Venetian need for a strong naval presence meant the creation of one of the greatest oar based navies the world has seen.
  2. Printing Industry: +1 extra diplomat
    For much of the 15th century, the Venetian culture of openness and the quality of its paper made it a hub for scholars and writers that wanted to see their works published.
  3. Stato Da Mar: +10% Trade Income
    The Stato da Mar was the Venetian name for all of her possessions beyond the Italian homeland. These were administered as a single unit within the Venetian bureaucracy, making management of their potential much more efficient
  4. State Inquisition: +30% Spy Defense
    Not connected to the religious Inquisitions that were common in this period, the three State Inquisitors of Venice had power almost equal to that of the Council of Ten that ruled the city state, at least in regards to investigating threats against the city and charges of treason.
  5. Conscription: -33% Naval Maintenance
    Venice did not use slaves on its galleys, preferring to go to its Dalmatian provinces and draw peasants and villagers by lot to serve in the navy. And every merchant ship – by law – had to carry a significant store of arms to help preserve Venetian dominance.
  6. Defend the law: -10% Stability Cost
    In the early 17th century, Venice confronted the Vatican over the issue of whether clergy were subservient to secular law, even in the matter of quite petty crimes. Despite a Papal Interdict and the threat of French or Spanish intervention, Venice held to its principles and won the dispute.
  7. Provveditori ai beni Inculti: -25 land and naval attrition
    Roughly translated, “the supervisors for making untilled land better”, these officials helped expand the agricultural base of Venice and her nearby possessions, reclaiming fertile land in the service of the state.
When Venice has unlocked its national ideas, they get a +50% power bonus to their galleys. Venice is a country designed around trade and naval power, controlling the Mediterranean. With their high defense against spies and lowered stability cost, they are less vulnerable to covert actions. If you can get to the higher National Ideas, the reduction of maintenance and naval attrition gives Venice a chance to build a colonial empire.


Genoa

Genoa has been nicknamed la Superba due to its glorious past and being the birthplace of Christopher Columbus. Dark times did reign where The Black Death struck hard on both Genoa and it also lost Sardinia to Aragon, Corsica to internal revolt and its Middle Eastern, Eastern European and Asia Minor colonies to the Ottoman Empire.

However Genoa rose from the shadows and was able to stabilize its position as it moved into the sixteenth century, eventually taking cover as a satellite of the Spanish Empire. Under the resulting economic recovery, many aristocratic Genoese families amassed tremendous fortunes. The practices Genoa developed in the Mediterranean were crucial in the exploration and exploitation of the New World. Christopher Columbus, who was a native of Genoa, donated one-tenth of his income from the discovery of the Americas for Spain to the Bank of Saint George in Genoa.
Will you be able to make your empire rise from the dark past or will you struggle in the race for the fortunes of the New World?

The Genoese strategic position is not as great to start as that of Venice. First, its overseas territories on the Black Sea will mean fighting the inevitable defensive war far from home, beyond the bottleneck of the Dardanelles. Second, it is more vulnerable to a Milanese attack than Venice, behind its sea walls, and faces a strong France not too far away. But it has a very strong navy, easy dominance over its local trade node compared to the tiny city states of Italy to its East and there are enough strong and mid-power states not too far away to make alliances useful.

Genoese Events
Genoa had only one historical event in Europa Universalis II, and while they are not on the level of Venice now, they have been given about a dozen events, including a small but interesting chain on Andrea Doria, the great admiral and re-founder of the Genoese republic. Does the republic need this great son, or is it too risky to bring this ambitious and talented soldier into the bosom of the state?

Genoese National Ideas
Genoa starts with +10% to their trade efficiency, and a -0.5% reduction on interest payments on loans. With a base of 4% on loans, this is a rather powerful tradition to have.
  1. Reunited Genoa: -10% Stability Cost
    Genoa is still recovering from the collapse of its Eastern outposts. The Republic has to regroup and refocus on its regional power for now.
  2. Lessons of Chiogga: +0.5 Naval Morale
    Once the greatest naval power in the Mediterranean, Genoa’s crushing defeat at the hands of Venice at Chioggia in 1380 humiliated and crippled Genoese influence east of Naples. But a smart admiral takes cues from the past to improve the future.
  3. Genoese Trade: +10% trade power in foreign trade nodes
    Centuries of trading experience made Genoa an economic power even as her political star continued to fade through the centuries.
  4. The Genoese Arsenal: -33% Galley Cost
    Like Venice, Genoa is a galley fleet to begin with. Use these ships to maintain your power as long as you can.
  5. Overhauled Bureaucracy: +10% Tax Modifier.
    On the restoration of Genoan indepdence, Andrea Doria reconstituted the Genoan Republic in 1528, reducing the chances for factional rivalry and strengthening the hand of the aristocrats by dividing power among “clans”. This greatly strengthened the state.
  6. Office of the Grand Admiral: +33% Naval Force Limit
    The highest military office in a maritime republic, the Grand Admiral can call on the resources of the state to support his grand ambitions.
  7. Standardization of Designs: 10% faster ship construction.
    Shipbuilding became much more efficient as the centuries wore on, and standardization of measurements and materials made it possible for a small state like Genoa to keep its fleet afloat.
When Genoa is fully powered up, they get 33% cheaper naval maintenance. Genoa is a country that can punch above its weight when it comes to naval capacity (with morale and construction bonuses), while also being a good trade power. Since naval power and trade power go more tightly hand in hand in Europa Universalis IV, this is a sensible path for Genoa to stay on. If Genoa does decide to build a land empire, it can use its fleet to block amphibious landings to choke off enemy ports, but it will need further ideas to compete on even footing off the seas.

Bonus Feature: Annexation & Integration
Annexation – that most powerful of diplomatic tools. We have changed how annexation and integration works in Europa Universalis IV. So say good bye to that thrilling gameplay mechanic of sending a diplomat to a vassal, asking for annexation, hoping they answer yes, and then, if they don’t, repeating this amazingly fun experience until they have answered yes (all the while sending enough money to keep diplomatic relations high enough). Yeah, I know you will miss it as much as I will.

Clearly, this repeated action was annoying and could be simplified since all you’re really doing is sending envoy after envoy until the annexation works. So, to reflect that action but with fewer steps, to annex a vassal (or integrate member of a personal union), you need to send a diplomat on that mission to that country. This is one of those diplomatic actions that your envoy will keep doing until the job is done or he is recalled. Progress towards annexation will slowly tick up, based on factors such as the stability of target, how long they have been a vassal, your diplomatic reputation (formerly known as diplomatic skill), the size of target and other minor factors. Annexing a small vassal can take between 5 and 20 years depending on who is annexing whom.


To get a bit of flavor to go with this dev diary on how it is to actually play as Venice;

I recommend that you read this lovely article from the Paradox Interactive Convention:
Europa Universalis IV: The betrayal of Venice at Destructoid
A tale of greed, rebellion, and lost glory
“Being a gentleman (the worst trait for an EU player), I said I'd be happy to team up with someone and share responsibility for whatever mess we found ourselves in. So I had joint command of wealthy Venice with Rock, Paper, Shotgun's Adam Smith.
Our plan was a simple one: drown in gold. That we actually ended up drowning in blood and rebellions just goes to show that no plan survives the first five minutes in EUIV, especially when other human players are thrown into the mix. “
http://www.destructoid.com/europa-universalis-iv-the-betrayal-of-venice-244854.phtml

And here is a new interview with Thomas "Besuchov" Johansson, project lead at Europa Universalis IV, enjoy!
[video=youtube;wFV-4VArLVg]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFV-4VArLVg[/video]
 

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Jia Xu

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Thank for another great diary! I'm kind of surprised that Venice didn't get +1 republican tradition as one of its national ideas. It kind of seemed like a natural fit for them, but it's not really important.

Question: You briefly mentioned personal unions in the integration section. Is random inheritance on the monarch's death removed completely now? (I hope so!)
 

Rabid

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So Venice starts out with stacking trade bonuses from its NI and government type? Assuming the numbers in EU4 are similar to EU3, 15% TE in the early game will be huge.

Question: You briefly mentioned personal unions in the integration section. Is random inheritance on the monarch's death removed completely now? (I hope so!)
I second this sentiment :)
 

RedRalphWiggum

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This looks great, I'm very interested in setting up a Thassalocracy as I would expect gameplay to be very different from my normal land power empires.

Here's the thing though: pratcially every player's intinct is to try and pain the map his or her colour. So, let's say I'm playing Venice. Will there ever be any point in trying to become a major land power in Europe? Will that harm trade, or help it? What should be a player's strategy going forward past the 1500s? 'Islands' of provinces strewn throughout trade routes?
 

panionios

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Annexing a small vassal can take between 5 and 20 years depending on who is annexing whom.
1.Does this mean that you can start the annexation process right away, after they become a vassal, or will the ten-year rule still apply? Because if the rule still applies, then we are talking 15-30 years!
2.Hopefully we will also get a bonus feature or dev diary (I think it deserves it) on how vassal relations will work and, of course, Personal Unions (especially integrating PUs).
 

Jay85

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+30% Spy Defense. What does this mean? I though you got rid of this mechanic.
 

Alerias

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Good work. The dual focus is presented well, and the DD delivers. As I suspected, playing Mediterranean republics will be worth exploring in Eu4. Integrating previous PR references appear an honest and sincere marketing effort from marketing, so make sure to give Regina her afternoon off ;)
 

Jia Xu

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This looks great, I'm very interested in setting up a Thassalocracy as I would expect gameplay to be very different from my normal land power empires. Here's the thing though: pratcially every player's intinct is to try and pain the map his or her colour. So, let's say I'm playing Venice. Will there ever be any point in trying to become a major land power in Europe? Will that harm trade, or help it? What should be a player's strategy going forward past the 1500s? 'Islands' of provinces strewn throughout trade routes?
If you read the destructoid preview, they actually look at these issues. Taking just two provinces in Italy turned their Venice from criminally rich to pitifully impoverished. It makes me wonder how practical it is to form Italy at all anymore. Maybe your resources would be better spent trying to grab a province in Morocco so you can remain relevant in trade by getting a piece of the Indian/American pie for yourself.
 

RedRalphWiggum

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If you read the destructoid preview, they actually look at these issues. Taking just two provinces in Italy turned their Venice from criminally rich to pitifully impoverished. It makes me wonder how practical it is to form Italy at all anymore. Maybe your resources would be better spent trying to grab a province in Morocco so you can remain relevant in trade by getting a piece of the Indian/American pie for yourself.
I haven't checked that out, yet, thanks for the tip.
 

vasziljevics

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I hope this galley-oriented navy focus will prevent the merchant republics from being as OP compared to the "historical naval powers" as they are in EU3 right now.
 
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Johan

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1.Does this mean that you can start the annexation process right away, after they become a vassal, or will the ten-year rule still apply? Because if the rule still applies, then we are talking 15-30 years!
2.Hopefully we will also get a bonus feature or dev diary (I think it deserves it) on how vassal relations will work and, of course, Personal Unions (especially integrating PUs).
10 year still applies.
 

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Nice to see that it wont be the same experience playing venice and genoa in regard to the National Ideas. Also thats one alternative looking Denmark in the ss. Looks like they pawned away Jutland to the germans just like they did irl.
 

Johan

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If you read the destructoid preview, they actually look at these issues. Taking just two provinces in Italy turned their Venice from criminally rich to pitifully impoverished. It makes me wonder how practical it is to form Italy at all anymore. Maybe your resources would be better spent trying to grab a province in Morocco so you can remain relevant in trade by getting a piece of the Indian/American pie for yourself.
Forming Italy makes you into a Monarchy, and also gives you the italian ideas... Which changes your country dramatically :)
 

Nikolai

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+30% Spy Defense. What does this mean? I though you got rid of this mechanic.
They got rid of the spy, not the spy system.
 

Andy_Dandy

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10 year still applies.
But it will still require good relations as well to even start the annexation process, or won't relations matter more then being a modifier on how long time the annexation process will take?

NB! I really like the trade-off having to use a diplomat for a long term annexing process. Diplomats are precious ressources now, so this sound nice.
 
Last edited:

Jia Xu

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Forming Italy makes you into a Monarchy, and also gives you the italian ideas... Which changes your country dramatically :)
Oh, dear! I thought that your unique national ideas carried over when you became a union country. (At least this is the impression I got from the developer response about forming Great Britain as Scotland.) That's very interesting though, thanks. :)