Selling Europe By The Pound: EU IV

By Adam Smith on June 13th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Preordering anything in a digital format seems like an odd thing to do, unless you’re absolutely confident of the product’s quality and are getting some form of discount. Otherwise, why not wait, look for the best deal on release day and purchase then? All of that said, Europa Universalis IV is now available for preorder and, having spent almost a hundred hours with the pre-release version, I’m not afraid to say that it’s very good indeed. I’m sure you’ll be sad to hear that my preview copy has now vanished so I’ll have to wait until August 13th to play, like everybody else. The video below is less than a minute long so you’d have to watch it around 90,000 times to pass the time until release.

Members of the development team have told me several times that if the company still operated as it did in the past, the game would have been released months ago. It already seems ready for release to me, but with a game so deep and broad, extensive testing can discover all manner of unexpected issues.

DOUBLE EDIT: I hadn’t realised that some of the preorder bonuses are timed or linked to having friends sign up. Paradox just confirmed for me that the reveal of the bonuses is timed but anyone preordering will receive them all, even the ones that are still hidden at the time. I’m still going to reserve a slight frown because it’s my habitual look. The units and monuments appear to be entirely cosmetic, new models rather than game changing additions. So there you are!

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34 Comments »

  1. bstard says:

    Sounds good, <3 Paradox and having huge expectations for their new title. After 1300hours on CK2 it's time for something 'new' ;) But pre-ordering it? No.

  2. Jomini says:

    There are seven day 1 DLC’s that you would have to buy separately if you don’t pre-order, at least one of them impacts gameplay.

    http://www.europauniversalis4.com/buy

    Plus the two day 1 DLC packs from their pyramid scheme campaign.

    http://signup.europauniversalis4.com/

    • Meusli says:

      Bah emued, yeah its rather silly.

      • Adam Smith says:

        Actually hadn’t seen all of those – agreed that timed bonuses are extremely silly indeed, even if they are cosmetic. I’d be very surprised if everything wasn’t available at a later date but, yes, daft.

    • Butterbumps says:

      Gah, I was vaguely aware of there being preorder nonsense, but I’d assumed it was all just cosmetic.

      For the record this is the description of the not-purely-cosmetic one: “STAR AND CRESCENT – 70 new Muslim themed event pictures, as well as several new events for the Muslim nations”.

      So yeah, “several events” is probably not a huge thing, but still pretty unfortunate.

    • Rangerage says:

      I’m worried about the direction paradox is going with the DLCs honestly, it can feel pretty damn nickle and dimey at times, even if they do put a lot of the content out to everyone for free in the patches.

      • All is Well says:

        What exactly is it that worries you? Because I can’t find much fault with their current model myself.
        They release the base game, cosmetic DLC (music/sprites/portraits) and mini-expansion DLC (Republic/Old Gods/Sword of Islam), all of which seems reasonably priced, for what it is. Or at least the mini-expansions do.
        The cosmetic DLC is entirely optional and a lot of the gameplay changes brought by the mini-expansions are included in the free patches, so you won’t miss out on too much if you abstain from getting them. Also, anyone hosting a multiplayer session can share what DLC they have for that session, meaning you won’t get left out of MP if you don’t have the right DLC.
        All in all, I think there are a lot of silly DLC schemes out there (Last Lights Ranger DLC, for instance) but Paradox seem to be doing it right.

        • Jason Lefkowitz says:

          I actually like Paradox’s general approach — the periodic mini-expansions keep their games fresh and interesting to play for several years. Victoria II came out what, three years ago? And we’re still getting new content for it, which is nice.

          The only problem I have with them is that they release so many ultra-cheap micro-DLCs (sprite packs, music packs, face packs, flag packs, etc.) that it can be hard in Steam or other shops to pick out the actually must-have DLCs (the mini-expansions) from all the cosmetic ones. Since they’re all labeled “DLC”, It can be a bit overwhelming for new players to figure out what they need and what they can live without.

      • mike2R says:

        Really disagree. I’m a huge Paradox fan, and under the old model I would have bought any and all expansions for CK2 without thought or regret.

        With the new model it has occured to me that I really only want to play in northern and western Europe as feudal leaders, and certainly don’t want to be invaded by ahistorical Aztecs. Result I’ve skipped more than I’ve bought of the big DLCs, and my game still works absolutely fine for the starts I want to play – all the AI functionality is there from the free patches, I just can’t play in the areas that they expanded on. Which I don’t want to.

        I was skeptical when they announced the change, but I’m a total convert. They are selling extra content to people who want to buy it (and lots of people do) while not forcing me to pay for stuff I don’t want (indeed I’m getting an incredible amount of post-release extras in the free patches).

      • Drinking with Skeletons says:

        The expansions for CK2–especially the Old Gods–are extremely good. For a far lower price than a traditional expansion pack (or at least any I’ve ever bought on release) you get a huge amount of game-changing content. I’ve played plenty of expansions that offered less substantial updates than any of CK2′s, so I don’t begrudge them at all. From a business perspective, it lets them see how many of their fans are sticking with the game, and provides incentive to continue updating and supporting the title.

        What I do think is nickel-and-dimey are the cosmetic and music DLCs. They can add a lot of character to the game; I want to see vikings and Mongolians running around on the map, not generic guys, and I want more of that great soundtrack specifically tuned to the factions I play. I don’t want to pay for all of that separately. I know they weren’t free to produce, but I would like to see them bundle these things together in sensible ways.

        Of course, if they had to raise the prices on the major expansions to do so, there might be an outcry from fans who don’t want to pay for mechanically unnecessary additions. There might be no way for Paradox to avoid displeasing people while still offering such high-quality content.

    • Bhazor says:

      So it’s another game I wont buy until a year after release? Good to know.

      • varangian says:

        Yep, I have to wonder if the pre-order nonsense actually does benefit them significantly. OK they get some upfront money but, in this case at least, not very far in advance. And I bet for every one of those there’s someone like me and thee who say ‘sod it, plenty of other games I haven’t played yet, I’ll leave this one until I can get everything bundled in, probably at half the price.’ Right now I can only think of three games I might buy on release, Rome II, HL3 (if it ever appears) and SPACE HULK. And of those only HL3 would likely get a pre-order, the others I’d wait until a few Wot I Thinks have appeared just to make sure there’s no DRM stupidity or game breaking bugs.

        • jonahcutter says:

          All the Greek factions are locked-out in Rome 2. Pre-order or pay extra for them.

          • Bhazor says:

            And judging by Shogun 2 there will be plenty more after that. Though to be honest I want to upgrade my computer before I play it and you have to wait at least 3 months for the worst of the AI brain farts to be patched out. So I would have probably waited even if there was no DLC.

          • varangian says:

            Wonderful. Already I feel my enthusiasm trickling away like a Roman’s blood into the earth after Hannibal paid a visit. And that’s exactly the kind of pre-order nonsense to make me disinclined to purchase, by all means provide plumes for horses and a plastic sword for those who pre-order or some similar kind of fun but inconsequential reward. But removing a key player from the board is just ludicrous.

        • Bhazor says:

          I was thinking about that the other day.

          How much DLC does an average fan buy? I’ve heard that less than 1 in 10 000 buy anything in F2P but I don’t recall anything about DLC rates for retail games.

  3. Meusli says:

    No words on the ridiculous pre order timed bonuses? You can get DLC for inviting friends to sign up and then there is the pre-order bonus for what month you sign up for it, so to get it all you have to pre order it this month. It all leaves a rather sour taste in my mouth,

    • Premium User Badge Peptidix says:

      I thought they were just announcing the pre-order DLC inclusions month by month, with anyone pre-ordering still getting everything (except the pyramid scheme stuff). I have to admit I did not look in detail though.

      edit: and a quote from one of the people responsible:
      “Hi,

      Thanks for bringing this to our attention. The information on that page is incorrect, and will be swapped for the correct version as soon as possible. There are no such time restrictions, regardless of when you pre-order you will receive the items listed for that particular version (Standard or Deluxe).

      Kind regards
      Susana ”
      from a forum thread called “Preorder page updated”

    • MrThingy says:

      “You can get DLC for inviting friends”

      Hahaha. Friends. Paradox gamer. Friends. Paradox gamer. Friends.

      Oh you…

  4. Sakkura says:

    89,999…
    89,998…

  5. Premium User Badge Earl-Grey says:

    I know what I like,
    and I like what I know;
    getting better in grand strategy.

  6. mouton says:

    After many hours in Crusader Kings 2, it will be a nice change to actually control a country this time. Then again, smashing puny rebelling nobles, throwing them in prison and revoking their titles is lots of fun too.

  7. Fanbuoy says:

    Huh. For me (in Sweden), the regular edition costs £34.99 to pre-order. The extreme edition costs $44.99. Note the currency difference. $45 is about £29. How about that?

  8. Laurentius says:

    Color me doubtful, now don’t get me wrong I’m EU fanatic and sink unimaginable number of hours into these games but CK2 make me kind of angry. Once again I love this game and it was my 2012 goty but seriously some of these DLC were plain bullshit. Old Gods DLC, that’s fine but Sword of Islam, how this wasn’t in game from beginning? That was low cash grab from Paradox in worst way that cause DLC criticized so often. Now I just wander what feature that was in Eu2 or Eu3 from beginning will be turn into paid DLC.
    PS. Oh, and does anybody remember that EU or EU2 was released without working “save” option. That’s right you couldn’t save game until patch arrived.

    • killias2 says:

      Yeah, what assholes! They’re taking elements that were free in old games in charging them! Like, in Crusader Kings 1 you could play as Mus–wait.. What’s this? You couldn’t? Well, I’m sure the full priced expansion pack for Crusa–wait, what’s this? Not even that added Muslims?

      Well, I’m sure there’s still a good reason to expect that feature for free. After all.. REASONS

  9. Premium User Badge Bluerps says:

    I’ve broken my own “no-preorder” rule for this game. I’ve read ever dev diary and every article Mr Smith has written about the game, and I simply cannot see how it could end up bad.

  10. Leb says:

    Pre-ordered and don’t regret it. I love you Paradox <3

  11. Vinraith says:

    While I think objectively enough time has passed since EU3, I must admit that I’ve barely had time to scratch the surface of the newer expansions for that game. I’ll check out EU4 eventually, I’m sure, but I’m in no hurry. I suppose that has the advantage of letting me buy a complete pack at some far-flung point in the future, which is all the better.

    • Sakkura says:

      In fairness, the game was essentially complete with the Heir to the Throne expansion in 2009. And Divine Wind was released for Christmas 2010.

      Of course, if EU4 launches in a similar state to EU3, you are indeed in no hurry.

  12. Triplanetary says:

    I may actually preorder this. Haven’t decided yet. I’ve only regretted about half the pre-orders I’ve made in my life. I like those odds!

  13. nindustrial says:

    While I have learned my lesson in the past, and now do not generally pre-order as a rule, in this case, Paradox has earned it from me. I am confident that this game will be exceptional, so I’ve got no problem throwing down early for some (presumably) discounted DLC. I agree that the DLC offering is a might bit silly, but overall it’s about the same state of affairs as if they hadn’t bundled it. You buy the game, then pay for any DLC you want later. Now, you pre-order the game you were already going to buy, and get a discount on the DLC. Paradox has a good DLC strategy, so none of this really bothers me in the least. (By which I mean, none of Paradox’s DLC feels like they’re closing off functionality that ought to be provided and asking for more; rather, they present additional functionality that does not affect my experience if I choose not to buy it)

  14. hjarg says:

    So… how about a preview, telling us about these hundreds of hours?