Europa Universalis IV: Developer diary 4: Your Economy is about to change

Europa Universalis IV: Developer diary 4: Your Economy is about to change

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Welcome to another developer diary for Europa Universalis IV and prepare for the fact that your economy is about to change!
Simply put, economy is a matter of income & expenses: What you get, how you spend it and what you choose to invest it in.

In Europa Universalis IV, your “Treasury” shows how much money you have to spend, and, if you're lucky, any surplus you have left over. This week we´ll talk about your country’s basic economy and then we will go into detail how the economy has changed in Europa Universalis IV. Like many of the systems, we have overhauled national economies so they are quite different and, we think, dramatically improved from the systems we've had in place since the very first Europa Universalis.

First of all, lets start with an overview of the categoeis of income and expenses EU4 has:

INCOME

  • Taxation: How much money each province gives you in tax. As the provinces become more developed and add new structures and buildings, and adds population, you will gather more tax.
  • Production: Production income depends on what resources the province has and what good the province is producing. Wine is worth more than fish, spice more than grain, and so on. So your production income depends on what trade goods each province can produce and how much you can get for that trade good, since it all comes down to supply and demand. As your province improves its technology, your income will increase since the province gets better at producing those specific trade goods.
  • Trade: This is the income from merchants in various trade nodes. As technology progresses, this value grows as your trade efficiency increases.
  • Gold: This is income from goldmines and is tracked separately from any other production, because it affects your country’s inflation.
  • Tariffs: Income from overseas provinces and colonies, as you don’t get taxes directly from those. Tariff income is modified by the number of large ships you have relative to your number of ports, since you need naval support for a colonial empire.
  • Temporary: Loans, Events, Gifts and other temporary income goes into this category.
    When you’re short on gold there are two ways to get extra – bank loans and war taxes. Yes, they are both good for quickly filling up the cash chest, but can have nasty consequences…
    - Bank loans last for 5 whole years or more and you have to pay interest on the loan. If you extend a loan because you can't pay, the interest rate goes up.
    - War taxes give extra income for the year, but your population won´t like it and might revolt against you if the war taxes continue for too long.
  • War Subsidies: This is the income you get from other nations when they want to subsidize your war effort.

EXPENSES

  • Advisors: Shockingly enough, your advisors do expect to get paid each month. The more skilled the advisor, the higher their pay rate.
  • Interest: When you have loans, you pay monthly interest on them. And yes, if you can´t pay the interest, you will go bankrupt. Bankruptcy clears your debt, but may cause your population to revolt and will increase future interest rates. And on top of that, going bankrupt will lower your prestige and your armies’ morale.
  • Harbor Fees: What you pay for being allowed to use other nation’s ports.
  • War Subsidies: What you pay to other nations when you want to help them survive an expensive war.
  • Colonial Maintenance: What you pay in upkeep for your active colonies. Once a colony transitions to a full city, you no longer have to pay this fee.
  • Missionary maintenance: What you pay in upkeep for your active missionaries. Converting the heathen can get very expensive.
  • Army maintenance: The current cost for your army.
  • Fleet maintenance: The current cost for your navy.



What changes to expect to economy in Europa Universalis IV:

Only monthly income and expenses
So what we have done is that we have eliminated the concept of having yearly and monthly budgets. Now you only need to think about what is happening from month to month.

The concept of direct taxes no longer exist, instead all income is treated the same way.

Technology no longer connected to economy
In what is probably a surprise for a lot of players, we have detached the technology investment away from the economy. In the old system, you would invest part of your budget into pursuing improvements in military and civic technologies – this, in fact, would be a large percentage of your spending. The reason we are separating them is because it caused balancing problems between large and small countries, and always had scaleability problems. So in Europa Universalis IV, the economy has nothing to do with the technology. We'll talk about tech in a future developer diary.

Stability no longer connected to economy
Like technology, stability was once something you invested money in to stay afloat. We've cut that tie, too. Increasing the stability of your country is also no longer something you spend cash on, but is tied to other aspects of the game. We will talk about how that works in a later diary! ;)

Since technology and stability are no longer connected to your country’s economy, this means that there are no longer any investment sliders to spend money on.
So, the money flow affects your treasury directly, making it easier to understand how your economy is doing.
You still manage expenses, of course, but these are the ones traditionally associated with empire building – your army and navy maintenance, colonial support and missionary activities. You can adjust how much you spend here to increase or decrease cash flow.

Minting has been banned
In previous Europa Universalis games, any money you didn't spend on investing in tech or stability went to your treasury. This was how you accrued most of the money you would need from month to month as you waited for that annual tax boost. This was called “minting” because you were, in effect, making money for future use. But this would lead to inflation, of course.
By getting rid of the tech sliders, we've effectively done away with “minting”, so that means that inflation has changed rather dramatically. Inflation is no longer incurred by minting too much, but is primarily increased by loans and goldmines. There is still the possibility of reducing this inflation slowly over time, but you will also be able to actively reduce inflation for a cost in power.

Repay Loans now possible
One new thing that has been requested countless times is the possibility to repay loans before they expire. Sitting on a pile of money for five years is too tempting for many people. So now we have added that feature, but you still have to pay all the remaining interest you signed up to pay, so be prepared.

Stay tuned, next week we'll be back with more interesting details about Europa Universalis IV :ninja:
 

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Walker85

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Thanks!
 

Kolonel

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"Combat our inflation". :)

Wonder what that little, magic button does...
 

ben_mit_b

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Quite interesting what changes have been done!

I'm especially curious about the technology part :3
 

No idea

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Two important things I have noticed:

1. Population is going to make it into the game again. Let´s hope this time population reflects reality and is not like in Eu III, which was a bit of a nonsense regarding population.

2. It seems Tech will be tracked province by province (like in CK II), instead of having a single tech level for all your empire: "As your province improves its technology, your income will increase since the province gets better at producing those specific trade goods".

3. We finally get a clear and non difficult to understand income/expenses page
 

DanubianCossak

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Johan could you guys change the gold mechanic a bit, so that we (modders) can create more trade goods with similar effect, without having them worth as much as gold? For example, apart from gold, we also have silver, which was mined and made substantial income of many nations, but it isnt exactly "gold".

Right now in EU3 we have this:

Code:
gold = {
	base_price = 0
	goldtype = yes
	supply = {

	}
	demand = {
	}
	
}
where the "goldtype = yes" part of the code pretty much applies 50 base value to the trade good and makes it cause inflation.

What im asking for is to separate "goldtype = yes" from "cause_inflation = yes" (or something like that), which means that gold would have both of these entries, while silver (or some other trade goods) would only have "goldtype = yes" (meaning fixed unmodified by supply/demand value).

Another thing that would be sweet, is the ability to determine how much exactly gold is worth, something thats hardcodded (afaik) in EU3 and unmoddable.

Good changes to the economy by the way. I think it will take some time to get used to direct taxes being gone, personally i loved the concept.
 

Poh

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"Combat our inflation". :)

Wonder what that little, magic button does...
probably use power to lower inflation ;)

Good additions, like that you have cut ties to tech and stability and the harbour fees sounds fun too. This will i imagine make the game easier to understand. All the people i have introduced to EU3 had the most trouble getting the hang of monthly expenses and yearly census tax and how to balance that, So a huge thumbs up that this is gone.
The interface designs look really intuitive so thats a huge improvement too only thing im missing is the treasury. Like "Projected Tresury" next month (just below the balance) because if the Balance is negative you might want to know when your cash pile is gone. Ofcourse you could look that the top bar where i imagine the number is but then you have to look two places and the front size is also really different etc.
 

neondt

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Interesting stuff. Harbour fees look interesting.

In EU3 a French player almost never needs to take a loan and doesn't initially have any gold provinces. If inflation is primarily based on gold and loans, will more nations have access to gold or require loans?
 

Sirmoneybags

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Very interesting :) , can't wait to hear more about tech, and see what you guys have done there, such as will we still be able to invest money into certain tech, and if yes would this mechanic work like in EUIII or would it only increase the percentage chance of a new tech level being increased?
 

Filios

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Getting rid of technology sliders connected to economy and minting seems the easiest and most effective (I hope) way to help the AI. So no more Ottoman Empire having 429% inflation and 20 tech levels behind others.
 

Letar

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Trade goods... Does the price of different goods fluctuate during the timeframe (you mentioned supply and demand so...)?
 

apg

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Johan could you guys change the gold mechanic a bit, so that we (modders) can create more trade goods with similar effect, without having them worth as much as gold? For example, apart from gold, we also have silver, which was mined and made substantial income of many nations, but it isnt exactly "gold".

Right now in EU3 we have this:

Code:
gold = {
	base_price = 0
	goldtype = yes
	supply = {

	}
	demand = {
	}
	
}
where the "goldtype = yes" part of the code pretty much applies 50 base value to the trade good and makes it cause inflation.

What im asking for is to separate "goldtype = yes" from "cause_inflation = yes" (or something like that), which means that gold would have both of these entries, while silver (or some other trade goods) would only have "goldtype = yes" (meaning fixed unmodified by supply/demand value).

Another thing that would be sweet, is the ability to determine how much exactly gold is worth, something thats hardcodded (afaik) in EU3 and unmoddable.

Good changes to the economy by the way. I think it will take some time to get used to direct taxes being gone, personally i loved the concept.
I second these requests!

and nice to see harbour fees. Oh and i see you spelt 'harbor' in an american way? please make it proper English - as with all your future spellings.
 

Enoch Root

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Interesting stuff. Harbour fees look interesting.

In EU3 a French player almost never needs to take a loan and doesn't initially have any gold provinces. If inflation is primarily based on gold and loans, will more nations have access to gold or require loans?
I suspect in EUIV asking for a loan will be the new minting: i.e., not something the game does to you to punish you for overspending (as it was in EU3), but something you do to finance your devious plans (as real life states do). As such, as a large and ambitious state, you will be asking for loans often even if you're running a healthy positive income and your inflation will rise accordingly.
 

Dankysh

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I second these requests!

and nice to see harbour fees. Oh and i see you spelt 'harbor' in an american way? please make it proper English - as with all your future spellings.
+1 to that :D
 

Letar

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It's already in EU3.
Yes. Of course. So I guess its similar in EU4 as well then, but I don't usually take anything, which is not explicitly mentioned, as granted ;)
 

Talq

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Interesting stuff. Harbour fees look interesting.

In EU3 a French player almost never needs to take a loan and doesn't initially have any gold provinces. If inflation is primarily based on gold and loans, will more nations have access to gold or require loans?
The very large change in expenditure and implicitly income and your military maintenance will probably affect how the game plays. If France gets into war with half of Europe and needs lots of troops it can't get away with minting a bit - they are probably going to need loans at some point.
 

VoodooEconomist

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"Combat our inflation". :)

Wonder what that little, magic button does...
Requires at least two economist advisors, and starts a decades-long argument about what is to be done while another country actually figures it out ;-)

I'm intrigued by the slider removal. And by everything we've seen so far. So much excitement!
 

Shadow Knight

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I like the streamlining going on here. Thanks for the info!

Although it seems like we're still stuck with one trade good per province. :\