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BjornB

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Greetings!

Tomorrow Tuesday the 21st of January 2020 we’ll release a patch for EU4 called 1.29.4. As this patch will seemingly do nothing for you except change the version number and checksum we thought we should explain what’s going on.

We are running a few experiments aimed at reducing the threshold for new players to access the full EU4 experience. We are approaching this in a data-driven way, somewhat related to what we did in CK2 a few years back (and that test turned out great when it comes to growing the CK2 family around the globe!); which means that we cannot fully disclose how exactly it will look, as that will interfere with the test. What we can say is that it’s fully and completely optional and does not require you to interact with it in any way.

We hope that these experiments do not negatively impact your game experience, but, since updates have the potential to cause unforeseen effects, it is important that you know what is happening.

Tomorrow’s patch changes nothing that should affect mod compatibility. Mods that worked on 1.29.3 should work with no problems on 1.29.4. However, if a mod has specified 1.29.3 as it’s level of compatibility it will say it is outdated in the launcher, even if in reality it would work as normal. Hopefully your mods already have 1.29.* compatibility specified in which case there should be no effect whatsoever. If they are not though: it should be completely safe to run the mods anyway.


EDIT 18:00CET 2020-01-21 (go to pdx_pdawg's post)
Hi everyone! Pontus, team lead for EU4 marketing supporting Björn real quick. Since “the cat is out of the bag” me and the team wanted to clarify a few things before speculations are running to rampant and are established as truths:


- Yes, we want to test a subscription model for EU4.

We have heard for years from existing and potential new players that the cost of getting the game and all expansions all at once is quite expensive (and might be discouraging for completely new EU4 fans), it's been supported for almost 7 years after all. A subscription model has been suggested to us on many occasions, so we thought we'd run a test to see how popular such a service would be.


- No, we are NOT replacing the current model or changing how anything works now. We are simply adding another option.

Expansions and other DLC's, both existing and upcoming, will still be available for purchase as usual for those who prefer that. We will not remove any content from anyone or make future content exclusive to people with a subscription. Nobody will be forced to pay again for content they have already purchased, and you will get to choose if you want to subscribe to get future DLC or continue purchasing the items individually just as you’ve always done.


- The cost of such a service is one of the things we want to decide based on the test.

This will help us assess how the presentation has performed, and help us determine how we should value any subscription offer in the future (if it ends up being a desired feature). This, unfortunately, is why we were so cagey about this experiment.


In hindsight we might have been a little more open about this process -- we know, as our long-time fans, this model may not be aimed at you (again, none of your existing purchases are going to be charged again). We wanted to try and gather data from people who encountered this new idea without prior bias or discussion (makes for a better experiment). That’s why we were keeping things “on the DL,” as the kids say.


That's pretty much all there is to it at this point. A limited group of people will be receiving this offer, and it's entirely up to these people whether or not they want to jump on the offer or not.


Thanks for your keen interest on this topic. You are of course welcome to share your ideas on what you think of such a service with us.
 
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There are no gameplay changes, I'd be very surprised and confused if there were a drop in performance
 
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BjornB

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So uh... What *is* this? You're saying this will reduce thresholds, but with no noticeable changes, so I'm assuming you're not rolling any DLCs into the base game. If telling us anything at all messes with it, does that mean it's some telemetry thing? Can you tell us what it exactly is after the tests are done?

I'm just confused.

It's not telemetry stuff. We're going to test some stuff, but test results are not reliable if people know exactly what the test is. I'm sorry I can't be more clear what it's all about. This patch is so small that we wouldn't even have mentioned it if it wasn't for the fact that since version number and checksum changed we had to tell you something happened.

For most of you, this should have absolutely no impact whatsoever.
 
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Basically the testing is not taking place in the game at all. We just had to add a small thing to the game to support it unfortunately.
 
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I'm sure that you will learn what it was all about soon.

Maybe they're doing a psychological test to see how many people will report reduced performance in an update that literally changes nothing except the version number.

This is an idea :)
 
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Spoiler :

Out of curiosity I checked the last modifed files in the eu4 folder after the patch. There's an interesting file "subscription_l_english.yml" in the Europa Universalis IV\localisation folder that was updated today related to



SUB_VIEW_PITCH_NOPRICE:0 "Gain access to all DLC ever released for a monthly payment.\n\n- All major expansions!\n- More than 40 content packs including new units models\n- All music packs\n- Unique unit model available only as a bonus for subscription"
SUB_VIEW_PITCH_PRICE:0 "Experience everything the game has to offer with the new subscription offer: gain access to all DLC ever released for only $PRICE$/month.\n\n- All major expansions!\n- More than 40 content packs including new units models\n- All music packs\n- Unique unit model available only as a bonus for subscription"



I'm pretty sure they're going to implement the subscription model for dlc soon.

Huh, I suggested a subscription/Games as a Service model to @Shams years ago and was told it'd never be successful.
 
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Well, if you wanted to subtly work on " something" without causing suspicion, this post probably was not the best way to do it, just saying.

Indeed, I agree. But if you suddenly got a new patch version without any form of communication I think things would go pretty haywire too.
 
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pdx_pdawg

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Hi everyone! Pontus, team lead for EU4 marketing supporting Björn real quick. Since “the cat is out of the bag” me and the team wanted to clarify a few things before speculations are running to rampant and are established as truths:


- Yes, we want to test a subscription model for EU4.

We have heard for years from existing and potential new players that the cost of getting the game and all expansions all at once is quite expensive (and might be discouraging for completely new EU4 fans), it's been supported for almost 7 years after all. A subscription model has been suggested to us on many occasions, so we thought we'd run a test to see how popular such a service would be.


- No, we are NOT replacing the current model or changing how anything works now. We are simply adding another option.

Expansions and other DLC's, both existing and upcoming, will still be available for purchase as usual for those who prefer that. We will not remove any content from anyone or make future content exclusive to people with a subscription. Nobody will be forced to pay again for content they have already purchased, and you will get to choose if you want to subscribe to get future DLC or continue purchasing the items individually just as you’ve always done.


- The cost of such a service is one of the things we want to decide based on the test.

This will help us assess how the presentation has performed, and help us determine how we should value any subscription offer in the future (if it ends up being a desired feature). This, unfortunately, is why we were so cagey about this experiment.


In hindsight we might have been a little more open about this process -- we know, as our long-time fans, this model may not be aimed at you (again, none of your existing purchases are going to be charged again). We wanted to try and gather data from people who encountered this new idea without prior bias or discussion (makes for a better experiment). That’s why we were keeping things “on the DL,” as the kids say.


That's pretty much all there is to it at this point. A limited group of people will be receiving this offer, and it's entirely up to these people whether or not they want to jump on the offer or not.


Thanks for your keen interest on this topic. You are of course welcome to share your ideas on what you think of such a service with us.
 
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BjornB

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As many has pointed out: the subscription is aimed at allowing an easier point of entry for people who haven't already purchased the expansions. We don't expect players that already own most of it to convert to this model, although the test might prove that maybe they do after all which would be an interesting find.

If you think that adding another option to players to obtain the game is a poor idea. Please let us know why.

What I wonder is why they were so incompetent about hiding it? If they hadn't mentioned it in plain text in files in the update, we still wouldn't know. If they feel we would be suspicious about an empty update, they could have included a few bug fixes- there's plenty of low hanging fruit.

Yeah, the localization file did reveal things. We would also have liked to have launched it together with a more useful patch, but circumstances didn't allow for it unfortunately. Releasing "a proper patch" does require a fair bit of work. And we rather try to space bigger patches out a bit as they tend to break save files and mods, and doing that too frequently is quite annoying.
 
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The option, in itself, isn't atrocius per see in the current state. Because it lives next to another one.

The problem stems from the general trend of removing ownership to people. Subscription leads to limited duration ownership, leads to not needing to leave the files client side, leads to cloud gaming... I think you see where I and the industry are going (sadly as the Stadia tried, but thankfully failed, to prove). Don't see it as 'us disliking having this option alongside the other one', but 'us preemptively pushing back against the moment this new option will fully replace the previous one from the get go on new games'

This is a valid concern
 
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1) DLCs and patches accompanying them have a tendency to have problems lasting for months, meaning that unless there is some very accurate timing with the length of the "allowance period", you may end up with having to renew said period (and hence the payment) for multiple times before you have a functional experience. This is especially true in proximity of vacations.
2) There have been long periods of "content drought", especially for EU4, meaning that, again, you may activate a period only to find that the content needs work which will arrive farther in the future (see point one).
3) The time constraint may force crunches on the developers themselves, resulting in rushed content (typos and balance issues on release are a constant subject of joke among the community, now imagine having to try ironing them out with customers breathing on your necks).
4) Problems external to the dev team; just look at the recent debacle for the new PDX launcher. People have been locked out of their games for weeks, even months, and some still have problems with mods and other annoyances. Said debacle was enough to have a launcher developer publically blow on the community. Now imagine shit you'd be facing if said community was also on a time limit to play the game.
5) It removes product ownership, as oblique as it is through Steam, which is really bad with videogames (you are at the mercy of the company being able to provide the service)
There are surely other reasons others have put out in this thread, but this were the ones which came to mind to me on the spot.
This sounds as a mechanic which could work for people who, as others said, come for a new update/DLC, play a couple games and then leave until the next one. Not so much for the normal clientele, neither the new blood nor the old guard.

As mentioned: The purpose of this is mainly to allow for newer players to be able to get the entire game without having to spay the cost of all expansions at once. Not so much to increase sales of future expansions (although that would of course be a welcome bonus). But I can see your concern. Maybe there needs to be some sort of ability to "freeze" your subscription in eventualities like the ones you describe? Would that improve the situation you think?

I'm feel quite confident saying that the subscription will not cause any extra crunches or time constraints on the developers. If people feel that the subscription is not worth it because new content isn't coming out quickly enough, they should cancel the sub for the time being. Or if my hypothetical example would become a reality: freeze it.

The sad truth is that with digital distribution kind of already means that same level of ownership.
 
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I don't really like the idea of having subscription system for a game that doesn't have monthly fees itself like server hosting. (And I don't want to have this things in EUIV)
But I also agree that the full price of EUIV is something hard to deal with, so why not consider doing something in the midle :
You subscribe to it for a certain price per month, and once you've paid up to the full game price, you own it and your subscription end automatically.
I don't know what to say in case of cancellation but you get the idea :)

An interesting idea. I can't say that we would do that, but interesting nonetheless. I want to point out that this is an initial test to see how a thing like this could work. We are open to adjusting it in a way that we feel works for the environment in which we operate (and is allowed by tech)
 
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If you add cosmetic content exclusively available to those who subscribe (which the text in the game files imply), then that is a poor idea. I don't feel I should have to explain why.

Opinion noted, thanks for the feedback
 
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Whats the point of subscription now when you just released Humble Bundle eu4 pack for 17e, that way better way to get in for the new players.

The subscription test has not yet started. We haven't said we are starting a subscription service, only that we are running some tests to see how people react to it. One could argue that showing people a bigger selection would give more data on what people like.
 
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Yeah I dont buy it, we've seen time and time and time again that once a bussiness model is introduced into a game, the game has to be balanced and designed around it, you dont solve an issue by adding ANOTHER set of issues into a game, particularly if its a new monetization scheme.

Do you mean a new business model? Because I can assure you that pretty much all commercial games have a business model from the start.

And I'm not sure this is such a pivot in our business model. My sincere conviction is that it won't have any effect on either balance or design of the game.
 
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cannot launch game after yer patch, experiment seems failed :rolleyes:

That is strange as the changes (that were so nicely presented in this thread too) should really not be able to have that effect on the game. Please visit our support forum or submit a ticket through support.paradoxplaza.com for more help.
 
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The only thing that comes to mind is to count the cumulative amount of time played, but that is so smoky and, frankly, user unfriendly that it would cause even more problems in terms of reception.


The fix for that is the same as it was all those years ago: make DLCs less pricey for every [PERIOD] of time that passes. Someone proposed a 25% slash in price during special sales for every 6 months the content was out, and I think this is a good compromise.


This is still adding another level. If you go around on Steam there are numerous games which people refuse to buy the game due to other DRMs being applied, like need to create an account for the game other than the Steam profile, other intermediate third-party launchers, etc.
And even if the missed sales were not a problem for you, you've just implemented a measure that it's actively turning away people from your game. Sure in this case it would be another option, but A) I don't think "at least you can avoid it" is a good selling point for a mechanic, B) The subscription exclusive content already kind of puts a wrench in that line of reasoning.
I'm fairly certain this would never happen in this case, but don't ever underestimate the level of damage an added level of separation can cause on a game.


With all due respect, that's not a call they get to make. Again, just look at the launcher debacle, or the "calls for fix" which followed some botched patches launches (the Conclave one is the first that comes to mind). That's not something that depends on the skill of the developer, and sometimes it's something not regarding the game altogether.


As you said, these problems can be almost fixed with a freezing mechanic, but since I have not seen one suggested so far, and I'm the first one unable to find a solution as well, I can't really consider this a good system on a promise of "I'll talk with the team", sorry.

Also, there is always the looming spectre of this model becoming exclusive rather than optional, which is why there are people who do not like the sound of it.

I'm not quite sure how to respond to most of this for several reasons, one of which is that I really need to go to bed. Your opinions are noted nonetheless. But I will address the last point at least because it's an easy one. We've said over and over that we have no intention whatsoever to make this anything but optional. I'm not sure how many times more I can say it. If you already own most content there is not any real reason for you to consider this option.


And with this I will end this impromptu Q&A session and head to bed. Hopefully I haven't given you all any reasons to let me wake up to 20+ pages of outrage in the morning. I've been trying to answer your questions to the best of my ability, and I hope that it will be enough for you to be patient for a while and see where it all ends up.

Good night folks. Please feel free to post any constructive feedback you may be having.
 
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Alfray Stryke

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Yeah, but how hard would have been to put together a quick bug-fix patch (it isn't like EU4 lacks bugs to fix :p)? or maybe some small free content patch, like a couple of songs, or some extra units (as a bonus preview for the DLC, maybe) and sneak in the subscription in there. no one in eu4 team have some Intrigue education?:cool:

About the subscription itself, I don't really care, both generally (I don't like subscriptions, I prefer pay for what I want once, and keep it, still think in the long period is more convenient) or specifically for EU4, the problem with the "full EU4 experience" is that I think some DLCs make the game worse (i am looking at you, Golden Century) and beside already own all the DLCs I want , the only one I am on the fence is Dharma (and maybe the new one, but I have still to hear something that make me want to buy it)


If the build that the bug fixes are in is the same build as the changes for 1.30, disentangling the bug fixes from the new stuff is likely incredibly tricky.
 

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True. Also, I have full confidence in this community to dig around and quickly find changes we were not supposed to notice even without any suspicious announcement like this one. So it would likely have been noticed anyway.

Well I for one tend to run diffs using WinMerge between different version to check what the unlisted changes are.