Ready To Go: Europa Universalis IV’s Res Publica Expansion

By Alice O'Connor on July 17th, 2014 at 9:00 am.

What swine they are!

Where does DLC end and an expansion begin? What’s the difference between DLC and a mini-expansion? Are all downloadable expansions DLC anyway? Stirring those muddy waters with a stick and giggling, those Paradox rascals have released what they’re calling “the third expansion” for Europa Universalis IV, which they’re also saying is sort of a “mini-expansion.” What scamps.

Res Publica is out now in the usual places for £3.99, giving opportunities to run your own republican dictatorship, schmooze with aristocrats, guilds and traders, and shake up staid Dutch elections.

For EU4 at least, the distinction between DLC and expansions seems to be that anything adding simply more ‘content’ like units and maps is DLC, while new systems make it an expansion. So here’s what you’ll get in Res Publica:

  • New government type – Republican Dictatorship: Republic tradition does not increase regularly during Dictatorship and you will be presented with opportunity to gain power by losing Republic Tradition or losing power while gaining Republic Tradition during your rule.
  • New faction system: Consisting of Aristocrats, Traders and Guilds. Spend power to increase faction influence and reap the benefits of a specific faction’s bonuses.
  • New election events for Dutch Republics: Centered around Statists and Orangists. If Statists are in power elections are held every 4 years, a new ruler will always be be chosen out of 2 random candidates. With Orangists in power there is no election until the ruler is deceased.
  • New Idea Groups: This new feature opens up a the possibility for expanded exploration.

Europa Universalis is one of those series I find far too overwhelming even just looking at screenshots, so I’ll nod and say “Yes, politics, good. Get those Orangists. Right on.”

A hefty patch also arrived alongside Res Publica. The changelog’s over here.

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37 Comments »

  1. TC-27 says:

    Patch seems to break savegames – ye be warned!

    • Bank12 says:

      Of course it breaks save games, it not only adds the new government form and mechanics, it also finally allow diploannexing without marriage. That feature should be the first fucking one, in all bold caps, but they hid it in the middle of the patch notes.

      • Tep says:

        My savegame worked fine :0 you’re right I missed that annexing change! Awesome.

        • bstard says:

          Some broke, some didnt, for me.. dont know why. Seems the broken ones are those close to 1821, and the just started ones are playable. Expansion looking good so far.

    • revan says:

      My save games work fine as well.

  2. MrThingy says:

    Uh, it’s actually called “Res Publica”?

    All this time I assumed it was an RPS high-brow pun I was too thick to understand, rather than just an appallingly bad name picked by Paradox Marketing…

    • YogSo says:

      Res Publica is the Latin phrase (it literally means “public affair”) from where the word “republica” originates. What’s so wrong about choosing it as a name for this expansion?

      • MrThingy says:

        It just sounds bad? If we were to go down the wank-o-Latin route, why not make Conquest of Paradise : “Conquest of locus”, or Wealth of Nations: “Opes gentium”. Just call it what it is, “The Republic”.

        • Serenegoose says:

          The Republic is already a name given to a Crusader Kings 2 expansion (which made republics playable), so they probably wanted to say as much without using the exact same name, to avoid the worst of the confusion.

        • Arathorn says:

          Except that Res Publica is a very established term that anyone with a little bit of classical education (or quite a lot of regular education) is familiar with (unlike your rather random counter examples). The Roman republican era is also something republics of the time associated themselves with a lot. Amsterdam for example regularly referred to itself as SPQA.
          Finally it allowed RPS to make this pun in the topic title.

        • YogSo says:

          Because the Romans (and by extension, the Latin language) had nothing to do with the American continent expansion, nor with the age of exploration and trading that those expansions were themed around (plus, both names were already references to other stuff), while in this case, the name is aptly choosed, because the “wank-o-Latin” Romans where the first to came up with a concept for “everything that is of public interest, to the state and all its interests”, or in other words, the “res publica”.

        • Porkolt says:

          Uhh… Ever heard of the Renaissance? Neoclassicism? Wank-o-Latin as you call it was a pretty major cultural theme throughout the early modern era. Attempts to emulate the Romans and Greeks were made in almost every significant cultural achievement of the time. It’s only natural allusions to the Romans are made in a game that is set in this period of history.

        • CKScientist says:

          Maybe because they already called a Crusader Kings II expansion ‘The Republic’. It would be weird to reuse the name, even for an expansion to a different game.

  3. Tep says:

    The official game forums are not having a good time with this one. The DLC itself seems great, and I was excited for it, but the 1.7 patch also includes a harsh change to the length of truces – they used to be 5 years always, now they are up to three times as much depending on how much you claim from a battle. Since there’s a system in the game (length of war modifier) to encourage you towards a few major wars instead of several minor, I expect to often be right at the maximum time. This means that if for instance you’re trying to recreate the Manchu invasion of Ming China, it’s now going to take a ludicrously long time, during which there’s not much to do but sit there on max speed. I’m new-ish to the game, but this seems like a really disappointing change. It will badly affect some countries, with from my point of view very little benefit. (One thing pointed out is that it can be strong defensively against coaltions – if you win the war and take a few things, they can’t attack you again for ages)

    The lead dev has showed up on the forums to defend the change, and imo is really making things worse. YMM absolutely V, some people are saying they love that he’s there and being blunt, but I think it’s pretty lame. There was some swearing and saying that trying to explain design on the forums was like explaining algebra to 3-year-olds, but when I went to link them in this post they seem to have been deleted :) probably for the best.

    He’s also done an AMA, which is here! http://www.reddit.com/r/paradoxplaza/comments/2av8py/iama_johan_andersson_talks_eu4_and_stuff/
    I am sad about this part: http://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=111576&d=1405529373
    For me, I never intend to play EUIV multiplayer and I’m pretty unhappy to hear that balance changes are being based around it. But he says it will make for better single player in the end, soo I guess we’ll see. I’m not quitting the game over it or anything, but as someone who’s interested in playing smaller countries, yeah, I hope they change their minds about the truce timer. Maybe I’ll play some Ottoman Empire for a change, they won’t be affected much.

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Yeah, it’s increasingly annoying that they’re balancing the game around MP, when Johan said in a post a few months ago, less than 20% of the players who own EU:IV have ever entered a MP game.

      • bstard says:

        Selective quoting. PDS also said they aim the AI to be as human as possible.

        • Captain Joyless says:

          It’s not so much about what they are doing as how they are going about it. They deleted the most critical thread regarding the changes, and Johan directed profanity at his detractors and made an analogy between explaining his design decisions to the forums as explaining algebra to three-year-olds.

          So fuck that guy. I’m done with buying their buggy DLCs that need 3 patches to get half-fixed (I swear whenever they event a new opinion modifier they get it backwards every time, like the new Elective Monarchy relations bonus).

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Hang on, they called him on his BS about Paradox MP games selling way better, and his example was…. EU4, the very game they’re talking about him changing to cater to MP?

      Talk about a logic fail. That Johan guy sucks.

    • Gormongous says:

      Yeah, I didn’t have a problem with Johan in previous games, but he does seem to be at the forefront of a bad trend at Paradox. The “new Paradox” is dead after only a few years and now it’s hard to tell where they’re going as a company. Problems I’ve had since the release of EU4:

      - The complete reversal (and reverse of the reversal) of several fundamental design decisions in EU4 based on office multiplayer sessions or half-serious forum AARs out to break the game for laughs.
      - Inability to articulate the end goal of their various games’ post-release schedules.
      - High-handed attitudes toward critiques of their game design, no matter how in-depth or polite.
      - An accelerated DLC schedule that announces the next DLC/expansion before the last one is released.
      - Game-breaking bugs with central parts of every new DLC, with implicit intimidation of people who complain that they’re being sold a broken product.
      - Open admission that Google and Wikipedia are their only research venues, with ridicule towards hiring a professional historical advisor and repeated use of the false “realism vs. fun” dichotomy.
      - Open admission that they only test major European powers in EU4 between patches unless there is a specific mechanic being changed elsewhere.
      - Repeated assertions that multiplayer is the most popular part of the game and that EU4 is a multiplayer title when neither the numbers or the marketing (or the game, really) support that.

      I really wonder how things changed so much between the release of Crusader Kings II and the release of Europa Universalis IV. Maybe it’s Chris King leaving, maybe it’s the commitment to Steamworks allowing for more multiplayer, I don’t know. Either way, Paradox is losing me fast. Having to wait two weeks for a playable Rajas of India game, while being told on the forums that I’m lucky to get to pay for even broken DLC, makes me feel that maybe I’m better off playing something else. And, despite how Paradox seems to regard their fans, there’s always something else to play.

  4. King in Winter says:

    The choices the game gives in the OP image’s event are really really vague.

    I mean, they don’t tell in the slightest if they’re talking about the Rivals or the Aristocrats.

    • Bluerps says:

      I’m pretty sure it’s about the Rivals, though that could be worded a bit better, yes. It’s not really a problem however, because each choice in an event has a tooltip that explains in game terms what the consequences of the choice are. With that, you’ll know for sure which swine this is about.

    • Vendae says:

      You would not dare calling your aristocrats “swines”, nor you don’t “cut ties” with one of the factions in your administration, you merely disagree with it, at least in game terms. Admittedly, it might be quite confusing and Paradox has a history on poor wording and orthographic and grammatical mistakes.

      With regard to the expansiony thing which is being discussed below, I am feeling fatigued too. I almost always buy all DLC/expansions, cosmetic and otherwise, when in the 50%-75% off range. And still, particularly in EUIV, I feel like it decreasingly pays off. Two main reasons: i) the exploitativeness of the huge number of DLC products they publish, with little effect, both gameplay-wise and cosmetic-wise; and ii) the game itself. I have come to embrace a position that has been running through the official forums: they are constantly tweaking the game in a way that feels quivery at best, going back and forth, and that makes the game less fun at worst. They are constantly trying to address expansionism (military, diplomatic or colonial) but in doing that they fail to understand that the administrative part of the game is lacking. One might think that the systems that have been introduced through time might address that, but they feel like just MOAR MODIFIERS (and they have been increasingly bizarre). Add up some design decisions that some of us feel they were wrong to start with [THIS IS SUBJECT TO PERSONAL OPINION] (keeping the flawed technology groups from previous iterations in place; monarch points as they work; idea groups, particularly the unique ones) and you get a flawed game.

  5. noodlecake says:

    Yeah. It is DLC. There are DLC packs that are much more content filled for similar prices by larger companies and people can’t wait to moan about them. Oddly Paradox get a pass. People on the internet are irrational beasts.

    • revan says:

      I buy their stuff, but mostly big expansions like Conquest of Paradise and Wealth of Nations. Haven’t bought American Dream since people are saying it’s pretty much useless. I must say that Res Publica has induced purchase fatigue in me. Last month we had WoN and now this as well. On top of it all, RP seems like something that was cut away from WoN and is now sold separately. I love their games, but this is pushing nickel and diming a little too far.

      If they’re smart, they’ll lay off on new DLC for at least half a year and concentrate on fixing things people are complaining about.

    • Steve Catens says:

      As a counterpoint, I would mention that a decent chunk of new features and content came for *free* in the sizable new patch, along with a bunch of bugfixes, interface refinements, mod support, and gameplay tweaks. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the amount of value owners of the game are getting for free in the patch exceeds that contained in the paid DLC. The DLC sale is simply how they make that kind of ongoing support possible for a complex strategy game with a niche audience.

      This is the age of sale driven purchases and digital piracy, forcing game makers to adapt to the changing landscape. Some are doing it by making all their games into lite-MMOs and crippling the games to adapt to the limitations of online only. Some are going the “Freemium” route which makes applying the “nickel and diming” tag to Paradox’s model seem a bit broad by comparison. Other niche strategy game makers simply eschew discounts and price their games out of the casual spending range of most game consumers, arguing that dedicated strategy fans should have to pay more for the games they like.

      So maybe Paradox gets a “pass” because they continue to make some of the most interesting mid-budget strategy games on the market, and have a history of continuing to improve and support those games, much of it at no cost to the consumer. Maybe some players prefer Paradox’s business model of letting players get in the door at a reasonable price with a frequently discounted vanilla game that by itself is a rich sandbox capable of providing hundreds of hours of enjoyment, and then funding ongoing support with completely *optional* DLC purchases. Perhaps they prefer it to some of the other approaches mentioned, and understand it’s a necessary reality to support the ongoing development of a game they enjoy.

      Or, yeah. Maybe just the “irrational” thing.

      • Jason Lefkowitz says:

        To me, the big distinction between the Paradox approach and the “standard” DLC model is that Paradox DLC are always entirely optional. The vanilla game, as originally delivered, is always a satisfying experience, and it never nags you to buy DLC the way many obnoxious F2P games do. You can buy the vanilla game and happily play it for years, never knowing the DLCs even exist. They’re just available if and when you decide you want to expand the vanilla game in new ways.

    • Orija says:

      Para get criticized for that stuff as well.

  6. Dr. Fleming says:

    I’m a lurker, but I JUST HAD to register in order to congratulate Alice for referencing Republica’s Ready to Go, one of the best one-hit-wonders EVER.

    • Saarlaender39 says:

      Let’s make it a “Two-Hit-Wonder”, hm?
      I mean, there was “Drop Dead Gorgeous”, too.

    • mezron says:

      Same here, that’s the first thing I thought when I read it.

  7. Shadow says:

    Damn. I could’ve sworn they had originally said Res Publica was going to be a free mini-expansion.

    Seems rather expensive for something that just provides minor improvements to a couple of uncommon government types. Especially when Wealth of Nations already did a fair bit for merchant republics.

    Argh, now I’m two expansions behind.

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Don’t worry, you get a bunch of things broken for you in your game for free.

      (So what if nobody plays MP! We’re balancing it around MP!)

  8. teije says:

    I played EUIV after release for awhile, but haven’t been back to it recently. Just too many changes/additions without properly balancing the game. CKII is much more fun ATM.

    And avoid the EUIV forum if at all possible.It’s been grumpy as shit for months. The CKII forum is much better, and has awesome thread titles (“how do I marry my sister as a Zoroastrian”, “best way to breed geniuses”).

  9. hilltop says:

    I have been intimidated and intrigued in equal measure by Europa Universalis IV and Crusader Kings II. Which would people consider a better starting point for the uninitiated?