Improvements to colonial trade, diplomacy, and quality of life

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PtY

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Since the upcoming patch is focusing on two of the more economically important areas for European colonial empires - North America and the East Indies - I'd like to suggest some improvements to colonial trade, diplomacy, and quality of life. Most of these will (hopefully) be easy to implement, and all of them are designed to produce more historical outcomes.

This a very long post. Feedback on any part of it is appreciated.


1) Changes to trade good spawn probabilities

No tobacco in the Northeast region

It's not historical.
Tobacco wasn't grown north of the Chesapeake Bay area during EU4's time period, but in EU4 it can spawn as far north as Maine. Two Canadian Huron provinces start with it even though tobacco can't spawn in Canada.

Change the starting trade goods of all tobacco provinces in the Northeast and Canada region to fur or another resource
Change the regions/areas in which tobacco can spawn to exclude the Northeast (except for the Maryland area and Delaware province):

Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 0
            is_random_new_world = no
            NOT = { region = la_plata_region }
            NOT = { region = southeast_america_region }
            NOT = { region = rio_grande_region }
            NOT = { region = brazil_region }
            NOT = { region = carribeans_region }
            NOT = { area = appalachia_area }
            NOT = { area = south_appalachia_area }
            NOT = { area = maryland_area }
            NOT = { province_id = 957 }
        }

Make fur less likely to spawn in coastal provinces
This will make naval supplies more likely to spawn in the Northeast and Canada regions without making naval supplies more likely to spawn elsewhere.

Colonial New England's virgin forests provided a cheap source of high quality timber and its shipyards provided cheap, high-quality ships to European markets. However, few provinces in in this region spawn naval supplies thanks to fur and tobacco being over-represented.

Source:
Employment and export ratio of colonial shipbuilding industry

Make it 50% less likely for fur to spawn in coastal provinces:
Code:
modifier = {
            factor = 0.5
            OR = {
                has_port = yes
                NOT = { native_size = 1 }  
            }
        }

Make sugar and coffee more likely to spawn in the Caribbean (and in Brazil and Colombia, respectively)
Both - especially sugar - are very under-represented in the colonial Caribbean.

Sugar was by far the most important export of nearly every European colony in the Caribbean during EU4's time period, and coffee was typically an important secondary export. (In later EU4 start dates, 70% of Caribbean provinces produce sugar and a third of the remaining provinces produce coffee.) However, in EU4 a large number of other, less valuable resources ahistorically spawn in the Caribbean.

Sources:
Saint-Domingue exports
British colonial staples

Change the code for sugar and coffee to make both significantly more likely to spawn in the Caribbean.
Increased regional chance and increased chance in 7+ development provinces for sugar:

Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 5
            is_random_new_world = no
            NOT = { province_id = 481 }
            OR = {
                region = carribeans_region
                area = ceara_area
                area = pernambuco_area
                area = bahia_area
                area = guyana_area
                area = suriname_area
            }
        }
        modifier = {
            factor = 2
            is_random_new_world = no
            development = 7
        }
Increased regional chance for coffee:
Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 2
            OR = {
                region = carribeans_region
                region = colombia_region
            }
        }

In my mod, where I've already implemented these changes, Caribbean provinces with 7 development or more have a roughly 2/3 chance of producing sugar.
As noted above, sugar also gets a boost in northeastern Brazil, the historical center of Portuguese sugar planting in the Americas, and coffee gets a slight boost in Colombia.

Allow dyes to spawn in the Southeast region and in savanna provinces
Indigo was a major export of colonial South Carolina, which is unrepresented in EU4.

Indigo was one of the most valuable commodities produced by Britain's North American colonies. Both varieties commonly grown survive well in drier tropical environments, which includes the savanna provinces found in the Southeast and Caribbean regions.

Allow dyes to spawn in savanna provinces
Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 0
            NOT = { has_terrain = jungle }
            NOT = { has_terrain = savannah }
        }

Allow dyes to spawn in the Southeast region
Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 0
            is_random_new_world =  no
            NOT = { region = niger_region }
            NOT = { region = guinea_region }
            NOT = { region = kongo_region }
            NOT = { region = central_america_region }
            NOT = { region = mexico_region }
            NOT = { region = carribeans_region }
            NOT = { region = southeast_america_region }
        }

Restrict tropical wood to jungle, hills, and coastline (and possibly savanna)
Tropical wood currently spawns in implausible places and crowds out other colonial goods.

Tropical wood can currently spawn in any province with a tropical climate or jungle terrain. This leads to ahistorical outcomes - there wasn't nearly that much tropical wood in colonies, at least compared with other trade goods - and is inconsistent with EU4's own definitions. For example, the description for drylands says they are "treeless land," yet tropical wood can still spawn in tropical drylands.

Restrict tropical wood to provinces with tropical climate and either jungle, hills, or coastline terrain.
Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 0
            OR = {
                NOT = { has_climate = tropical }
                AND = {
                    NOT = { has_terrain = jungle }
                    NOT = { has_terrain = hills }
                    NOT = { has_terrain = coastline }
                }
            }
        }
This would lead to more cash crops and precious minerals in Brazil (which has lots of savanna and drylands) as well slightly more slaves in West Africa and spices in the East Indies.

As I noted in the subheading for this suggestion, there is a fair case to be made for allowing tropical wood to spawn in savanna provinces as well. The description for savanna says the terrain has "a high degree of trees mixed in," and there are several savanna provinces producing tropical wood in West Africa.

Make spices more likely to spawn in the East Indies
The Moluccas don't produce nearly as many spices as they should.

I don't know how the setup for the East Indies has changed in the upcoming patch, but in the 1.30 patch the East Indies spawn a lot of trade goods besides spices. A typical island in the Moluccas has about a 1/6 chance of spawning spices, even though the spice trade was almost the sole reason Europeans colonized the region, and despite the large majority of provinces in the region colonized over EU4's time frame producing spices in late game start dates.

Increase the development needed to spawn chinaware
Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 0
            NOT = { development = 15 }
        }
As far as I know, European trade for porcelain occurred almost exclusively with China. It certainly seems implausible that Europeans would colonize tropical, semi-inhabited islands to produce a form of pottery they didn't know how to make for most of EU4's time period. Increasing the development required for chinaware to 15 precludes it from spawning in any uncolonized province in Southeast Asia in the 1.30 patch, which also makes spices more likely to spawn.

Make spices more likely to spawn in the Malaya, Indonesia, and Moluccas regions (and fix the apparent bug in the code for the spices)
Code:
        modifier = {
            factor = 5
            OR = {
                region = malaya_region
                region = indonesia_region
                region = moluccas_region
            }
        }
The OR logic isn't in the vanilla EU4 code. Adding it increases the chance of spices spawning in the Malaya, Indonesia, and Moluccas regions by several percentage points. This appears to be a bug that contributes significantly to the under-representation of spices in the East Indies.
I also increased the factor from 1.25 to 5 in my mod, which raises the chance of spices spawning in these regions to roughly 50% per province.

Edit: As noted in my next post, I think increasing the factor to 10 instead of 5 produces more historical outcomes. The probably of spices spawning in Indonesia and the Moluccas increases all the way to 65-75% per province, which is also more in line with provincial resources in later start dates.

Make slaves more likely to spawn in West Africa and Congo
These regions don't produce nearly as many slaves as they should.

Roughly 85% of the people forcibly migrated by the Atlantic slave trade originated in West Africa and Congo. The current probability of most uncolonized provinces in these regions spawning slaves is about 25%, which seems low.

Source:
Atlantic slave trade regions and participation

Triple the weight of slaves spawning in West Africa and Congo
Code:
modifier = {
            factor = 6
            OR = {
                region = kongo_region
                area = west_africa_coast_area
                area = gulf_of_guinea_area
                area = benin_area
            }
        }   
        modifier = {
            factor = 2
            region = horn_of_africa_region
        }
The Kongo region and West African Coast, Gulf of Guinea, and Benin areas are currently given a factor of 2 along with the Horn of Africa region.
This change roughly doubles the chance of slaves spawning in these places, from ~25% to ~50%.

2) Make the Caribbean region's climate tropical, not temperate

  • It would be realistic.
  • Development would be more expensive. Caribbean colonial nations tend to spawn early, fill up the Caribbean early, and start developing their provinces to ahistorical levels early.
  • It would slow down colonization. The Caribbean was where several late colonizers gained and maintained their only footholds in the Americas. Slowing down early colonization of the Caribbean would make this more likely.

3) Implement a better AI colonization algorithm

I don't know how the AI decides where to colonize, but here's a rough outline of how I choose and how I'd like the AI to choose:


Choose a colonial region based on the following criteria, in descending order of importance:

1) Do I have any missions requiring provinces in the region or trade power in its trade nodes?
(If yes, then this region should be a top priority for colonization independent of economic factors. If the relevant missions' requirements are fulfilled, even if preceding missions haven't been completed yet, then this region shouldn't be prioritized.)

2) Do I have any trade power (usually 10% or more) in any trade node immediately downstream from a trade node that provinces in this colonial region belong to?
(If no, then the AI should prioritize conquering or colonizing provinces in downstream nodes first.)

3) Do my colonial nations and I own more than zero but fewer than five provinces in the region?
(If yes, focus on colonizing or conquering in the region until a colonial nation spawns.)


Within the selected colonial region, choose provinces based on the following criteria, in descending order of importance:

1) Is the province a requirement for fulfilling a mission?
(If yes, then this province should be a top priority for colonization independent of economic factors.)

2) Does the province have a settler increase rate at least as high as other uncolonized provinces in the colonial region?
(If yes, then then this province should likley be colonized next.)

3) Does this province have a center of trade?
(If yes, then it should be colonized before provinces with similar setter increase rates.)

4) Does this province have higher development than other uncolonized provinces?
(If yes, and there aren't centers of trade to colonize, this province should likely be colonized next.)

5) Does this province have a lower development cost than other uncolonized provinces?
(If yes, then this province should be colonized before other provinces, which likely have unfavorable terrains and climates.)

4) Treaty of Tordesillas rework

The Treaty of Tordesillas mechanic is ahistorical in its formulation and in the outcomes it produces. I suggest the following changes:

  • No longer assign colonial regions to Catholic colonizers automatically.
  • Allow trade company regions to be assigned to Catholic colonizers.
  • Assign colonial and trade company regions only as the result of an event chain for Portugal and Castile/Spain. (The Papacy didn't broker the treaty historically; it only issued the Bulls of Donation prior to the treaty's negotiation and endorsed the treaty after the fact. The monarchies of Portugal and Castile/Spain negotiated the terms on their own.)
  • Don't allow subject nations to violate the treaty. (For example, don't allow New Granada to colonize in Colonial Brazil.)
    • Colonial nations would still be allowed to colonize regions that aren't assigned to a different colonial overlord. (For example, New Spain could colonize both Colonial Granada and Colonial Louisiana.)
    • Add a failsafe in case one of Portugal or Castile/Spain becomes a subject of the other. (For example, if Portugal falls under a personal union with Spain, both countries and their respective colonial nations would still be restricted to the regions assigned to them by the treaty.)
  • Apply the opinion penalties and settler increase maluses associated with violating the treaty to trade company regions in addition to colonial regions. Only apply the settler increase bonuses from the treaty to colonial regions, not to trade company regions.
  • Change the completion requirements for the Portuguese misson "Colonize the Caribbean" and the Spanish mission "West African Ports" to include the ratification of the Treaty of Tordesillas as an alternative to the colonization requirements.
    • This would function similarly to the British mission "The Hundred Years' War," which can be completed after a flag from the "Surrender of Maine" event has been set.

Pseudo-code for the event chain:
Code:
# Treaty of Tordesillas #

Triggers:
Portugal and Castile/Spain both exist
Portugal and Castile/Spain are at peace
Portugal and Castile/Spain both have at least one exploration idea
Portugal has discovered North America or South America
Castile/Spain has discovered North America or South America

Mean time to happen: 3 months

Option 1:
# Ratify the treaty
Whichever of Portugal and Spain doesn't get this event receives an event asking them to ratify or reject the treaty
The AI should always or nearly always choose to ratify the treaty

Option 2:
# Reject the treaty

Effects (if both countries ratify the treaty):
Assign Colonial California, Colonial Mexico, Colonial Caribbean, Colonial Colombia, Colonial Peru, and Colonial La Plata to Castile/Spain
Assign Colonial Brazil and all coastal trade company regions in Africa and adjacent to the Indian Ocean to Portugal - except for the Indonesian, Moluccan, and Philippine Charters
If Portugal owns Tenerife (4565), cede Tenerife to Castile/Spain
If Portugal owns any provinces in Castile/Spain's colonial regions, cede those provinces to Castile/Spain
If Castile/Spain owns any provinces in Colonial Brazil, cede those provinces to Portugal
Set flag treaty_of_tordesillas_ratified


# Treaty of Zaragoza #

Triggers:
Portugal and Castile/Spain exist
Portugal and Castile/Spain are at peace
Treaty of Tordesillas was ratified
Any province in the Malaya, Indonesia, or Moluccas regions is owned by Portugal or Castile/Spain

Mean time to happen: 3 months

Option 1:
# Ratify the treaty
Whichever of Portugal and Spain doesn't get this event receives an event asking them to ratify or reject the treaty
The AI should always or nearly always choose to ratify the treaty

Option 2:
# Reject the treaty

Effects (if both countries ratify the treaty):
Assign Indochinese, Indonesian, and Moluccan Charters to Portugal
Assign Philippine Charter to Spain
Portugal gets a permanent claim on the Spice Islands area

For reference:
Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Zaragoza

5) Culture and religion in colonial nations

Colonial nations don't convert cultures or have an incentive to convert religions (their traditions give them no penalties from heretics or heathens). This is fairly unimmersive. To work around the design of colonial nations as heterogeneous societies and the minority expulsion mechanic, I suggest the following changes:

  • Replace colonial nations' second tradition - immunity from penalties caused by heretics and heathens - with a new tradition that only grants immunity to penalties from heretics. This should incentivize colonial nations to convert heathen provinces. Since I've rarely seen the AI conquer colonial regions before heavily colonizing them, I also doubt it would cause cascading rebellions from low religious unity in colonial nations.
  • Add a flag or province modifier to all provinces with expelled minorities in them which either prevents the AI converting their culture and religion or prevents both the player and AI from culture converting them. (This could be a hard prohibition against conversion or -100% missionary strength and +1000% culture conversion cost.)
  • Update the AI logic for colonial nations to avoid religious conversion in heretic provinces (which wouldn't give religious penalties) and to convert cultures in provinces without the minority expulsion flag/modifier. This logic should lead the AI to convert native religions and cultures but leave religious dissidents from Europe untouched.

6) Quality of life

Claims in colonial regions should go to colonial nations
  • Missions that reward claims in colonial regions should give them to colonial nations rather than their overlords.
  • Upon the formation of new colonial nations, all of the colonizing overlord's claims in the colonial region should be automatically transferred to the new colonial nation.
  • Spain's mission tree, which rewards permanent claims in Mexico and South America to Spain rather than its subjects, is the main offender here.

Block settlement growth by default
  • Settlement growth should be blocked by default for all nations as soon as they become subjects. Overlords should have to interact with their subjects to allow settlement growth.
  • Being able to force subject nations to stop growing their settlements would be better. If that's not feasible, please do this instead.

7) Cosmetic changes

Change the color of colonial nations after the tag of their overlord changes
Change the names of colonial nations after the tag of their overlord changes

  • I imagine both of these could be accomplish by regenerating the colors and names of colonial nations as if they'd just been formed.
  • For example, if Holland forms the Netherlands after creating a colonial nation, that nation should regenerate its color so that it appears orange instead of brown.
  • For example, if Castile forms Spain after creating a colonial nation in Colonial Mexico, that nation should regenerate its name so that it's called "New Spain" instead of "New Castile." Regenerating colonial nation names should only happen for AI colonizers to avoid overwriting custom player names for colonial nations.
 
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PtY

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After more testing, I made two small changes to the suggestion:
  • I suggested increasing the factor of spices spawning the in the Malaya, Indonesia and Moluccas regions to 10 (I originally suggested 5)
  • I suggested tripling the factor of slaves spawning in West Africa and Congo, from 2 to 6


After the time I've spent drafting and refining the trade resource suggestions, I think it would be interesting to have more situational modifiers to trade good spawn probabilities. This would likely be both more immersive and easier to balance.

Current situational modifiers:
  • The existing decision to abolish the slave trade prevents your colonies from spawning slaves
  • Being Muslim prevents your colonies from spawning wine
  • Being in the French, Latin or Iberian culture groups increases the chance for your colonies to spawn wine by 10%
Potential situational modifiers:
  • Colonial trade events (such as the Atlantic Slave Trade or The Triangle Trade) could increase the chance of countries that fit the eligibility criteria to spawn the affected trade good in their colonies.
    • In this example, Portugal (in the case of the first event) and all countries with colonial nations in North America, South America, or a random new world (in the case of the second event) would have an increased chance of getting slaves in their colonies from the time the event fires until the end of the game. This could be restricted to particular regions (e.g. West Africa and Congo) or it could be global.
  • Countries with particular idea groups, or whose colonial overlords have particular idea groups, could have an increased chance of spawning some trade goods
    • Completing a certain number of naval or maritime ideas, or having at least one naval-themed national idea could increase the likelihood of spawning naval supplies.
      • National ideas such as England's and Britain's could increase the likelihood of spawning naval supplies, analogous to France's last national idea preventing it from taking the Embrace the Counter-Reformation decision.

A major benefit of these dynamic trade good spawn factors would be to prevent the global spawn factors from having to accommodate all countries at once. For instance, you'd need to increase the spawn factor for spices from 1.25 to roughly 10 in the East Indies to get a historical distribution of spices in the region. That might not be appropriate if something goes horribly wrong in Iberia in 1400s and Portugal never reaches the East Indies, which are instead colonized by local powers who don't see a need to dramatically increase the production of already-plentiful spices.



(And yes, this is a shameless bump before the release of a major patch as well as an actual update.)
 
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5) Culture and religion in colonial nations

Colonial nations don't convert cultures or have an incentive to convert religions (their traditions give them no penalties from heretics or heathens). This is fairly unimmersive. To work around the design of colonial nations as heterogeneous societies and the minority expulsion mechanic, I suggest the following changes:

  • Replace colonial nations' second tradition - immunity from penalties caused by heretics and heathens - with a new tradition that only grants immunity to penalties from heretics. This should incentivize colonial nations to convert heathen provinces. Since I've rarely seen the AI conquer colonial regions before heavily colonizing them, I also doubt it would cause cascading rebellions from low religious unity in colonial nations.
  • Add a flag or province modifier to all provinces with expelled minorities in them which either prevents the AI converting their culture and religion or prevents both the player and AI from culture converting them. (This could be a hard prohibition against conversion or -100% missionary strength and +1000% culture conversion cost.)
  • Update the AI logic for colonial nations to avoid religious conversion in heretic provinces (which wouldn't give religious penalties) and to convert cultures in provinces without the minority expulsion flag/modifier. This logic should lead the AI to convert native religions and cultures but leave religious dissidents from Europe untouched.
Great suggestion, is good to see more interest on upgrade the colonial gameplay.

The only thing is that the suggestion about colonial cultures would still be unimmersive for the main colonial nation, Spain. The two main reason are:
1- One of the spanish manifest objetives was not only to convert the heathen natives but also to prosecute any heretics on spanish colonial lands. At some point the spanish authorities were supposed to be "less harsh" on natives syncretic practices becuase they were "nuevos cristianos". For sure any protestant province have no place on spanish colonies.
2- Native population was the majority of spanish colonies from start to end of EU4 timeline. At their independence from Spain more than 60% of Mexican and Peruvian population dont even speaked spanish. The loyalty of the local native authorities in the form of "Repúblicas de Indios" was the keystone on the pacification of most of these regions.

Some people see the many native tags from Mesoamerican and Andes as a incovenience to benefit from their gold producer provinces, since they spam a lot of rebel armies, but the historical solution was far from be forced cultural conversion (beyond religion), the traditional native ways of war and administration were the ones used by spaniards to keep most of the city states loyal while nomad and seminomads were the ones that resisted and were forced on "Reducciones".
Some unique spanish mechanic that include the "República de Indios" estate would be not just the way to keep all those cultural diverse mesoamerican and andean provinces on peace, but also even open the door to early and fast conquest with the massive native ally armies to snowball conquer all those regions.
 
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PtY

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Great suggestion, is good to see more interest on upgrade the colonial gameplay.

The only thing is that the suggestion about colonial cultures would still be unimmersive for the main colonial nation, Spain. The two main reason are:
1- One of the spanish manifest objetives was not only to convert the heathen natives but also to prosecute any heretics on spanish colonial lands. At some point the spanish authorities were supposed to be "less harsh" on natives syncretic practices becuase they were "nuevos cristianos". For sure any protestant province have no place on spanish colonies.
2- Native population was the majority of spanish colonies from start to end of EU4 timeline. At their independence from Spain more than 60% of Mexican and Peruvian population dont even speaked spanish. The loyalty of the local native authorities in the form of "Repúblicas de Indios" was the keystone on the pacification of most of these regions.

Some people see the many native tags from Mesoamerican and Andes as a incovenience to benefit from their gold producer provinces, since they spam a lot of rebel armies, but the historical solution was far from be forced cultural conversion (beyond religion), the traditional native ways of war and administration were the ones used by spaniards to keep most of the city states loyal while nomad and seminomads were the ones that resisted and were forced on "Reducciones".
Some unique spanish mechanic that include the "República de Indios" estate would be not just the way to keep all those cultural diverse mesoamerican and andean provinces on peace, but also even open the door to early and fast conquest with the massive native ally armies to snowball conquer all those regions.
Thanks for the feedback.

I think the main issue here is limitations in EU4's system of representing cultural and religious minorities (in that it doesn't have one). I would be pleased if Paradox implemented this suggestion or something similar and 40% of Mexico and Peru were culture-converted by 1800. It wouldn't be perfect - development isn't population - but it would be better than it is now. A pop-based system in an eventual EU5 would obviously be the better solution.
 
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Thanks for the feedback.

I think the main issue here is limitations in EU4's system of representing cultural and religious minorities (in that it doesn't have one). I would be pleased if Paradox implemented this suggestion or something similar and 40% of Mexico and Peru were culture-converted by 1800. It wouldn't be perfect - development isn't population - but it would be better than it is now. A pop-based system in an eventual EU5 would obviously be the better solution.
Would be great to have pop system on EU5 (maybe we get it before Vic3).
For the proposed changes the spanish colonial cultures (Mexican, Peruvian, etc.) could still emerge on provinces with X number of development, representing the melting pot on the administrative and commercial cores like the cities of Mexico, Lima, Veracruz, Puebla, Guadalajara, Quito, Guanajuato, Acapulco, etc. This would give ous a closer to historical outcome.

A system to pop out Afro-descedants cultures on provinces with trade goods like Sugar could be usefull to represent better some regions like the Caribbean.
 
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I like this Tordesillas rework. I had some sort of Papal Bull in mind but removing the Pope altogether seems better.