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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Fun and Balance mod for EU4 1.12.1

Baby Fox by StarfireRayne from flickr (CC-NC-ND)
Fun and Balance, the one true way to play Europa Universalis IV, is now available for 1.12.1.

1.12 expansion balance math

There's been surprising amount of backlash about coring cost changes and a few other issues in latest patch. Before explaining what Fun and Balance does about it, here's some math.

In vanilla 1.11 to core 100 base tax you needed 2000 admin points, but realistically you'd have claims on that all reducing it all to 1500. 

In vanilla 1.12 on average 100 base tax worth of provinces turned into 268 development (exact numbers vary from place to place on the map). Coring that costs 2680 admin or 34% higher than before, however claims reduce it only 10% not 25% so actual cost is closer to 2412, or 61% higher than before.

Diploannexing same amount of territory changed from 1000 diplomatic points to 2144 points, or 114% more.

However now administrative efficiency applies to coring and diploannexation costs, up to -50% late game, so eventually costs are meant to go down to 1206 for coring with claims. It actually goes down even further to 1072 as efficiency is applied additively instead of multiplicatively as it was presumably meant to, which is nice for claims and coring cost reduction bonuses, but nasty for hostile coring cost increases. In either case you pay more early game, less late game, and have less need to carpet claim.

With diploannexation cost eventually goes down to 1074, just 7% higher than before.

These changes were definitely meant to slow things down, but under assumptions that players generally play the game 1444 to 1821 (or play shorter campaigns but starting from different bookmarks every time), they aren't that drastic. 

Except of course we know this assumption to be false, and as any survey will tell you vast majority of the players tend to start at earliest possible bookmark, and very rarely play all the way through. So people experience early game cost increases, never get to late game cost reductions, and are left very unhappy if this doesn't agree with their playstyle.

Note that none of this applies to Extended Timeline, where people starts at all possible bookmarks from Roman times up to present day, and there are no time limits, so slowing down the game doesn't really cause any problems.

Fun and Balance expansion balance changes

Fun and Balance leaves base coring costs as they are. Administrative efficiency is moved so you get +10% every 5 technologies - 7, 12, 17, 22, 27 instead of 25% at 23 and 27.

Development efficiency (not relevant to this discussion) is similarly spaced with +10% upgrades at 8, 13, 18, 23, 28 instead of 25% and 24 and 28.

It is similar to changes Extended Timeline already does, which needs to spread these upgrades throughout 2000 year timeline, so there are more smaller upgrades instead of just two big bonuses. Developers discussed doing in future versions of vanilla as well. (pretty much every patch a bunch of things Fun and Balance did before appears in vanilla as well - you're sort of playing future patches here)

These are minor changes. Much more important change is that Fun and Balance doubles relations limit, and goes as close to making diploannexations not cost points as it can, just as it used to. Unfortunately that's not moddable, so it does its best with 1point/development - and to make best simulation of annexations taking longer you can only start them after 20 years of vassalage, not 10.

Monarch points are also slightly easier to get in Fun and Balance as well, as it fixes a bunch of problems with rival system, which frequently prevented you from having enough rivals or flickered rivals on and off. Unfortunately there's only so much mods can do about rival system, so these fixes aren't always enough.

As result of such changes expansion in Fun and Balance should be easier in terms of monarch points impact, but more difficult due to denser defensive alliance chains. 1.12 patch's +50% extra AE for taking land from non-cobeligerents makes it even more difficult to use cheesy tactics to bypass enemy's alliance networks, making these alliance networks even stronger defensively.

Other major changes

There are now holy sites for more religions, generally based on CK2. For organized New World religions they include London and Paris if you want to play Sunset Invasion game. Holy sites are now visible as province modifiers. Extended Timeline religions corresponding to vanilla religions got holy sites too, the remaining ones will probably get them eventually as well whenever it makes sense. (the whole holy site system can be disabled from in game menu).

Achievements. The game won't allow you to get achievements in modded game, but if you feel so inclined you can enable them from in-game menu and you'll get an in-game achievement popup at next monthly tick after fulfilling achievement criteria. You can check available achievements in triggered modifiers dialog. If you want to use Steam Achievement Manager to make them "official" or turn it into a drinking game, have fun. It is disabled by default. As console and save scumming are available while playing mods, it's up to you how "legitimately" you get those popups.

You can press your subjects' holy wars and cleansing of heresy CBs without direct border to target if both you and subject have Deus Vult. You must be same religion for Cleansing of Heresy CB, but it's enough to be same religious group for Holy War CB - so for example Catholic Poland can use its march Moldavia's border with Sunni Ottomans to Holy War them. It is only fair as Ottomans could have always used Holy War CB against Poland due to their border with Moldavia.

EU3 style partial westernization feature (worse than Muslim tech to Muslim tech) mod used to have disabled by default. It can be reenabled from in game menu. I found that with Goa core event and all alternative ways to westernization it's no longer necessary, and it causes some issues mid to late game.

Other balance issues

Patch 1.12 did a lot other things like splitting Burgundy and adding very high fort costs.

For now I kept Burgundy's capital in HRE, as it used to be in older versions of Fun and Balance, as this led to better gameplay. I'm not sure if that's still true in new patch, but it seemed like a safer way, and was more historically accurate, which isn't top priority, but a decent tiebreaker in ambiguous cases.

Fort prices are kept at their vanilla values, even though evidence from AI-only games shows that they're far too high for AI which frequently spams high level forts everywhere and ends up in permanent crippling debt, with nothing left for expenses like advisors. I'm avoiding any significant tweaking, as next few patches will probably try to rebalance that. The problem doesn't seem to be fort upkeep itself - its' mainly how many useless forts AI tends to build, or keep in conquered territory.

AI would probably be better off if it got an event every now and then for any fort next to another fort asking if it wants to delete it. Such duplicate forts not at the border, or at the border but next to 2 or more other forts are really just a pointless drag on AI economics. I don't think AI ever deletes buildings normally, as before 1.12 there was never any reason to, so event like that might help a lot, but it requires more testing.

It's hard to create balance with forts which simultaneously provides interesting tradeoffs for the player (as current system mostly seems to aim for), can be competently managed by AI (which current system fails at), and doesn't involve blatant AI cheating.

Everything is optional

Changes the mod does are as independent from each other as I could make them, so it should be easy to customize the mod by selectively disabling or modifying it to get game experience you want. A few are exposed from in game menu, but don't be afraid of text editor.

Enjoy the game. Happy blobbing. Or happy not blobbing. Whichever way you want to play.

Oh, and one small thing. If anybody feels like making a nice logo for the mod for Steam Workshop, that would be nice :-)


Donald Sjerven said...

Got it. Thanks for all the great work. :-)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Can you post 0.13.3 Extended Timeline version? This version has problems with some provinces that are being owned by random nations.

Ex. A chunk of Great Britain in the middle of Spain in the Modern Day scenario
Moldavia being independent in 58AD out of nowhere
Native American tribes having their own nations within US territory

taw said...

Anonymous: Random provinces being owned by random nations in ET is generally caused by trying to install it to mod/ folder within the game. That doesn't work, you need to put it in mod folders in your documents.

I don't think 0.13.1 vs 0.13.3 should cause problems.

Anonymous said...

Ive played the earlier versions of your Extended Timeline and Fun+Balance mod and they never had this issue, so I assumed it was the version causing the problem.
However, I dont see any mod folder in Documents/Paradox Interactive/Europa Universalis IV

taw said...

Anonymous: Just make one (something like "c:\Users\\Documents\Paradox Interactive\Europa Universalis IV\mod"). Or if you're using Steam Workshop for the mods, it will be made automatically.

If you're still having problems, then it's not impossible that it's a version issue, but it's not very likely, as the only map change Fun and Balance does is moving Burgundy's capital.

BlueGoo said...

can you help me when I load the mod for eu4 it crashes in the loading screen plz help

taw said...

BlueGoo: Sounds like mod version is incompatible with the game version. Which versions are you using?