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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Fun and Balance mod for EU4 1.6.1 - now with holy sites and partial westernization

Tired white tiger cub by Tambako the Jaguar from flickr (CC-ND)
So I just finished full campaign as Dai Viet with this mod, and while I liked a lot of things, a few really need changing, so I'm releasing new version of the mod.

I'm not sure if I should keep calling it "minimod" since it's getting more and more content with each patch, but I'm still trying to keep the spirit "like vanilla except fixed", not going into totally different experience, but I'm not above stealing good ideas from EU3 and even occasionally CK2.

You can read about previous version here.

For just download click here.

Minor changes

First, a bunch of minor bugfixes, balance tweaks, and in particular reverting ridiculous westernization nerfs the 1.6.x patch introduced.
  • Correctly got rid of protectorates this time.
  • Forming Qing/Persia/Mughals now changes government to despotic monarchy.
  • Peasant War trigger conditions made more relevant. Now if it happens it's really your fault, not just the game being mean to you.
  • Neighbour bonus increased to -5%/tech level (1.5 levels), with max increased to -50% (to make westernization worthwhile)
  • Completely removed size-based westernization speed penalty
  • Tribal government reform stability requirement moved from +3 to +2 (effect does -5) - AI can't plan to get to +3, so it wouldn't do that even if it ought to.

Religion rebalancing

1.6 introduced separate missionary strength bonuses against heathens and heretics, so it's now finally possible to fix a lot of ridiculousness of vanilla - like Catholics being trivially easy to convert to Sunni, but Shia to Sunni being pretty much impossible.

All ad-hoc per-religion missionary bonuses are thrown away. Previously base values were:
  • Pagans 4%
  • default 2%
  • Orthodox, Sikh 1%
  • Muslim, Shinto, Coptic 0%
Now base strength modifiers are:
  • Pagans 4%
  • Heretics 2%
  • Heathens 1%
which improves gameplay basically everywhere different religions meet, while making far more sense.

Some other tweaks to conversion rates:
  • Important religious center is only -2% penalty, not -5% like vanilla (already in previous versions of the mod, just repeating it here for context)
  • Positive stability gives +0.7%/level, up from +0.5%/level, so if you really want to burn your admin points to speed up conversion, you're welcome.

Holy Sites

And most of all - EU4 now has holy site system very similar to CK2. Each holy site religion controls gives +0.2% to missionary strength. If a religion has all its holy sites, all countries of that religion get +1.0% missionary strength and 1 prestige/year on top of that (that is 0.0%, 0.2%, 0.4%, 0.6%, 0.8%, 2.0% going from 0 to 5).

Getting all five is not supposed to be easy - more a serious mid-game goal. Bonuses for partial control should give you interesting reasons to support other countries of your religion in their fights against infidels - something that vanilla EU4 was severely lacking, unlike CK2.

All sites are intended to have some level of historical plausibility while leading to some interesting gameplay. I'm definitely looking for suggestions, but gameplay takes priority over historical plausibility every time.

All Muslims:
  • Mecca
  • Jerusalem
  • Cordoba
  • Constantinople
  • Karbala
Medina is a pretty obvious one missing, but it would be too easy and sitting next to already existing holy site. Since Constantinople falls within first few years of the game anyway, including Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, and Constantinople (as we'd like) would get really close to completing the set with very little effort, so for gameplay reason one of them needs to go, and Medina it makes most sense to cut Medina.

Karbala is a Shiite holy city, so it would lead to some fun Sunni-Shiite conflict. Cordoba is included to make Muslims somewhat interested in face of Granada and reconquista - something that was completely irrelevant usually.

All Christians share Jerusalem, Rome, and Constantinople for obvious reasons, and additionally:

  • Macedonia (Mount Athos)
  • Kiev (mostly for gameplay reasons)
  • Alexandria (for gameplay reasons)
  • Tigray (location of Ark of the Covenant)
Catholics, Protestants, and Reformed:
  • Galicia (Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela)
  • Kent (Canterbury, mostly to give Protestants something to do here)
I don't see how any Christians could not have Jerusalem and Rome as holy sites, and Constantinople is really good for both historical plausibility and gameplay, but the remaining two are a bit random. Choosing Protestant and Reformed sites also runs into a problem that reformation in game can start in very different places than it historically did.

For Hindus/Sikhs I just picked some plausible shared sites (based on just a bit of Wikipedia research) with a bit of geographical spread:
  • Jaunpur (Varanasi - Hindu)
  • Coromandel (Chidambaram - Hindu)
  • Gujarat (Palitana - Jain)
  • Siem Reap (Angkor Wat - Hindu and Buddhist)
  • Punjab (Harmandir Sahib - Sikh)
And likewise for Buddhist/Confucians/Shinto:
  • Bihar (Bodhgaya - Buddhist)
  • Shandong (Qufu - Confucian)
  • Owari (Ise Jingu - Shinto)
  • Siem Reap (Angkor Wat - Hindu and Buddhist)
  • Gyeongsang (Bulguksa - Buddhist)
I'm definitely looking for better ideas here, and they don't need to share same sites with other religions in their group. However, remember that gameplay wins over historical plausibility, so we don't want 5 Shinto holy sites all in Japan.

Pagans don't get any, since "Animist/Shamanist/Totemist" are not real religions, just some loose agglomerations of vaguely related beliefs.

You can get missions to conquer holy sites held by infidels if you're neighbour of their holder (even if you don't neighbour the site directly) or you have Deus Vult religious idea. AI in tests has been fairly bad at doing such missions, but then AI can't usually even get its cores back.

Partial Westernization

And for the second big change - any country with less than Muslim tech can now partially westernize up to Muslim tech as long as it has Muslim or higher tech neighbour, loads of points and stability it's willing to lose, and is willing to take 10 years of Western influences (+10% revolt risk, +50% advisor cost). Nomads can't use it as they have their unique "Reform the Government" decision which also upgrades them to Muslim tech, and works along very similar lines.

It doesn't matter if you're ahead or behind on tech - that part never made much sense to me, and nomads can already move to Muslim tech without any such conditions by reforming their government, so I don't see why others couldn't.

Muslim tech means you no longer suffer from -1 or -2 monarch point production penalty, just tech penalty, and that's huge. Going from Muslim, Eastern, or Ottoman up to Western will require regular westernization - or you could just go for full westernization without intermediate steps if you prefer.

AI is surprisingly good at using this decision. Sometimes it collapses to rebels, but often it manages to survive rebellions and use its new tech group to its serious advantage.

Everything is optional

Different changes in the mod are isolated as much as possible, so if you like only some of them and not others you'll be able to cherry pick to your liking relatively easily.

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