Europa Universalis IV: Developer diary 5: The Return of the Kings

unmerged(1823)

Johan's Home Account
Mar 14, 2001
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Welcome back to another development diary for Europa Universalis IV and today we delve into Rulers - your high and mighty leadership, their abilities (or lack thereof) and how to use the new monarch power we have introduced in Europa Universalis IV.

We will go in-depth about these new concepts as we discuss the monarch of your nation and his or her court. While we use the word monarch here, it ,of course, also represents rulers of other government forms, and naturally for all those republics not necessarily ruled by a single person.

Monarchs, Dynasties & Heirs
As you may have already have suspected, we are keeping the dynastic and heir system from the previous version of Europa Universalis intact , except for one interesting addition.
If you play a monarchy, once your heir reaches adulthood, you can turn him into a military leader. This was something that was common in the era, and we want to add that flavor into the game. This is risky of course, because you will need to make decisions on whether you dare to send a talented martial heir to the battlefield for conquest (or defeat) or if it is better to keep your heir safe at home.


Your Monarchs Abilities
Monarchs in the Europa Universalis series have always been represented by their three abilities, administration, diplomacy and military.

How it was in Europa Universalis III:
The abilities of the monarch were in the range from 3 to 9, with higher values representing a better monarch. For example Louis XIV de Bourbon of France was a 8/9/9 monarch, not to mention his good looks. The infirm, addled and confused Henry VI of England, however, was on the other end of the scale at 3/3/3. These ability scores were direct bonuses that were added to research, investment in stability, or diplomatic skill.

How it will be in Europa Universalis IV:
In Europa Universalis IV , we have removed the direct bonuses from monarch abilities, which is fine because we've redone the technology and stability advancement as well. We have also changed the range to be from 0 to 6, in the same range as the abilities of the military leaders.

Your Monarchs Power
In the place of direct bonuses, we have introduced the concept of monarch power for a country. There are still the same three types of power, each corresponding directly to your monarchs’ ability in administration, diplomacy and military, but each month these abilities are added to a pool for each power. So if your monarch has an administrative skill of 4, you will see your administrative power pool increase by 4 each month. You can store up to 999 power at a time. These values are shown prominently in the game user interface at the blue bar on the upper left with a scroll for administration, a dove for diplomacy, and two crossed sabres for military.

Why the concept of power?
Designing a strategy game is about implementing limitations on the players, because the choice of how you will spend your limited resources is what strategy is all about. With the introduction of power, we have managed to create a system which gives a really interesting balance that works both short-term and long-term inside a game. In short, our new system is one where monarch ability places restrictions on the player according to the ability of the monarch. This system removes the rich getting richer syndrome (or the “snowball effect” as some people call it) where power begets power. It also works out splendidly in a rich historical game, because depending on the leader and his/her abilities and traits it creates ebbs and flow, and sometimes even causes stagnation for countries. That prevents the gameplay from going static, because you really need to be aware and change your tactics to gain as much as possible from the strengths and weaknesses of your ruler. It is one of the most fun systems I've designed in my career in games, and it works really nicely to catch the atmosphere and still create a challenging environment.

We do feel that the person of the monarch was in many aspects the key to the period for Europa Universalis IV, such as Fredrick the Great, Queen Elizabeth of England or Louis XIV of France. So even if the game's main focus is empire building and for the player to explore, trade and colonize, those rulers did change the destiny of countries. A weak military ruler with a strong administrative skill should lead to a nation where you need to rethink your course of action since you will not be accumulating military monarch points as quickly as you will administrative points.

What do you use your monarchs power for?
The monarch abilities are now converted into points that you use for actions. First of all, there are large costs like capital movement, technology advancements & idea selection. Second, we have smaller costs like core creation, stability increases & inflation reduction, and finally we have tiny costs like assaulting or constructing buildings. There is also an upkeep cost for having military leaders and diplomatic deals.
Now we haven't listed all things the various powers are used for, and the costs of actions and assets are changing constantly as we play internal games at the office. But, to give you a few examples to help explain the system, having a general currently costs one military power each month, while building a building costs about five power, and advancing a technology costs about 400 power (without any other modifiers on it.)

Your Advisors.
In connection to this we've also changed how advisors work. Instead of having lots of advisor categories that all have different functionality, your advisors now affect one of the three monarch stats. If you can recruit a really good administrative advisor, you can either compensate that weakness in your current monarch or reinforce that strength to take advantage of that talent while you can. In our database we have lots of historical advisors that you can recruit, but also some new generated ones.
There are three slots for advisors as before, but now each slot is directly tied to specific monarch ability. You can only have one advisor for each ability. The skill of an advisor is now in the range from 1 to 3, and each skill point gives one extra power of the corresponding type each month.

In Europa Universalis III, after a few expansions, there was an enormous amount of types of advisors. And that made it hard to choose for the players and a lot of the advisors were, quite frankly, not really useful at all. So in Europa Universalis IV, we've narrowed it down to five different types per ability, giving actual choice to the player.

Each type of advisor has a bonus, for example the trade advisor makes your merchants more efficient, but the skill no longer affects the power of bonus, giving you further choices between quality of advisor and the bonus you may need.
A final change when it comes to advisors is that they are far more expensive now. These people know to charge for their talents. So you will not always be able to afford a full set, especially if you aren´t a rich country. This again adds to decision making and strategy: What is important for you right now?

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That’s it for today, hope you enjoyed it! We have a lot more development diaries remaining for Europa Universalis IV, so stay tuned, because next week we'll be back to talk about what has replaced domestic policies :cool:
 

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unmerged(63836)

Field Marshal
Dec 25, 2006
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Sounds interesting, though it's still hard to imagine how it would actually work in game. If it would prevent linear growth of power, or snowball effect, discourage mindless blobbing, and make playing large empires equally challenging to smaller countries - that would be great indeed.

Also - are map textures changing colors depending on the season? They look quite autumn-ish on that screen.
 

Kimberly

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Sounds great, for the most part. I like that monarch power means that even large nations can run into trouble and decline, as they did historically, and it also functions as a limit on expansion. However, I'm worried it might get to be like EU3's magistrates--a system that limits you arbitrarily, which is rather annoying. I guess preventing that is a matter of balancing monarch power gains and costs properly, and the ability of the player to influence those. Advisors being expensive now still gives an advantage to rich nations, rewarding success, but a decrease in the power of the almighty ducat makes things a bit more interesting.

I have a question, though. Does "we are keeping the dynastic and heir system from the previous version of Europa Universalis intact" mean there will be no changes to dynasties? I found EU3's dynasty system to be unintuitive. You could see who was part of the same dynasty, but what their relations to each other were was a mystery, and whether a "local nobleman" or a "noble from house Such-and-Such" would come to the throne appeared random at well. Of course EU3 isn't CK2, but I'd like the dynasty system to at least be presented a bit more handsomely.
 

Jaol

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Sounds like a great system!

Although the actual numbers listed are a little :eek:. If a general costs 1pt/month, and the best Monarch+Advisor = 9pts/month, then I guess you won't be able to keep your generals around during peacetime.
 

Norpheus

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This was a very nice diary reading. I had not thought of such a system myself.

I would really like character portraits though. To just get the feeling of what I really am, the leader of a nation. If it was made like the old paintings becoming more modern due time it would be awsome and make it a more personal experience.
 

unmerged(1823)

Johan's Home Account
Mar 14, 2001
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Sounds interesting, though it's still hard to imagine how it would actually work in game. If it would prevent linear growth of power, or snowball effect, discourage mindless blobbing, and make playing large empires equally challenging to smaller countries - that would be great indeed.

Thats the intent, and how it works in internal testing right now.

Also - are map textures changing colors depending on the season? They look quite autumn-ish on that screen.

yeah.
 

unmerged(1823)

Johan's Home Account
Mar 14, 2001
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I have a question, though. Does "we are keeping the dynastic and heir system from the previous version of Europa Universalis intact" mean there will be no changes to dynasties? I found EU3's dynasty system to be unintuitive. You could see who was part of the same dynasty, but what their relations to each other were was a mystery, and whether a "local nobleman" or a "noble from house Such-and-Such" would come to the throne appeared random at well. Of course EU3 isn't CK2, but I'd like the dynasty system to at least be presented a bit more handsomely.

Thats an interface issue, not a gameplay issue though.
 

Checco

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I like the narrowing of advisors, as well as the emphasis upon the fact strategy is how to use limited resourses.

I hope not all my heirs will become cannon fodder, as it sounds hard not to think of them being victorious on the battlefield ;). (after I made them generals)
 

Evie HJ

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Loving the way advisors have been revised to work with the monarch points. If feels more like building a government around you, appointing people to specific posts, rather than just having a random court.
 

unmerged(63836)

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Looks quite awesome I have to say.

Yeah. It seems that each decision would have more weight behind it with these power points - should make for a more strategical game. Good riddance for mindlessly constructing buildings everywhere with hoarded gold.
 

lordreaven448

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Will there be a Dynasty Map mode? In EU3 it was neat seeing which nation had Dynastic ties with you, but not seeing it on the map made it feel weird. Though I can see why that map mode wouldn't be included due to Dynasties not really having a big effect on game (from what I see).
 

Arakhor

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So a low-military monarch won't be able to maintain any generals naturally and will instead be spending or squandering the past glories of his predecessors? I can see the trope about the grandfather building it, the father enjoying it and the son losing it playing out a hundred times already.