At Paradox Con the Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations DLC was announced as the game’s second expansion. We met up with Thomas Johansson the project lead for Europa Universalis IV to find out more.
After the major revamp of colonisation in the Conquest of Paradise expansion, Johansson tells us that the trade system was the next important category to be enhanced in an expansion. With additions to diplomatic reasons for declaring war, war demands, privateers and trade companies the expansion will open up both great rewards and great risks.
In Wealth of Nations there will be new ways to justify trade wars to receive a portion of a countries trade power. Unlike regular wars, this trade power transfer would be permanent and the target country would need another war to break out of it.
Light ships previously could protect trade and give a bonus to trade power in a trade node, and in this expansion they will also be able to be assigned to steal trade from competitors as privateers at a higher modifier than the bonus received for them protecting trade. However this action would give the target country a reason to declare war on you.
It will be possible to establish Trade companies in Wealth of Nations, details of which are still being tweaked but they will be similar to protectorates and colonial nations. “Trade companies are more like something that organises provinces you own, not a colonial state that has its own diplomacy” says Johansson. Reaching certain milestone sizes for trade companies will unlock extra merchants to boost your trade ability. Trade companies open up another tactical option across the region and would allow you to focus between trade if you are a far away nation, and manpower if you have land borders to the region.
As another option instead of moving a nation’s capital, you will now be able to designate a port on your continent as a trade capital and receive bonuses there. With the ability to already protect trade with light ships on sea trade nodes, merchants on inland nodes will now have a boost to their effectiveness based on your country’s trade efficiency. Other changes in Wealth of Nations include granting top scoring countries bonuses, as they are considered great powers in a tip of the hat towards Victoria 2.
Developing a DLC takes 3-4 months typically, and while the new world with the randomised map was technically challenging, balance and AI changes are much easier. Johansson tells us about the studio multiplayer sessions which spark tactics and conversations that can be used to feed into future changes and DLCs. Spectator mode was born from one of these sessions.
A tablet version has been discussed for EU4 but Paradox aren’t announcing anything yet. One of the problems they had was that tooltip information is a major part of the game, and it’s tricky to hover on an element on a tablet. A concept being looked at is opening the tooltip with holding the finger on the screen and dragging it over an element in a way similar to the Civilisation V tablet version.
We also had a chance to play EU4 on a Steam Machine and it was completely playable. The first challenge was just getting used to the controller and where the buttons were mapped. The second issue was the distance you would need to sit away from the screen in order to be able to read the text. This problem ties in with a tablet version of EU4 requiring a scalable interface and it is pretty likely that this will be looked at.
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We’re looking forward to more strategic options for trade in this expansion, with the ability to hinder other nations without necessarily being at war and the possibilities teased about Trade Companies.
Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations is due to be released Q2 2014. Read the IncGamers review of the previous expansion Conquest of Paradise, here.