Europa Universalis IV looks east with Mandate Of Heaven

Space is getting grander and more interesting thanks to the Utopia dlc for Stellaris, and Crusader Kings II is receiving a rabble of Monks and Mystics next week, but Europa Universalis IV [official site] hasn’t been left out. A tenth expansion is coming. It’s called Mandate Of Heaven and it adds an objective system based around semi-dynamic ages (from Discovery to Revolutions) to the world while introducing new mechanics for the Empire of China, daimyos and Shogunate of Japan, and Manchu.

The Mandate of Heaven is in the game currently, causing the Ming Dynasty to collapse into a death spiral if they lose it. Essentially, it means that the Emperor is considered an appointee of the divine, legitimised by the gods themselves. It’s impossible to be any more legit than that, but if the mandate is lost, the entire Dynasty finds it extremely difficult to recover.

In the expansion, handling of the mandate and its power will be far more involved, allowing the use of powerful divine edicts, and negating the need for legitimacy entirely. Instead, the Empire of China will use Meritocracy, a system of power tied directly to the skill levels of advisors. There are other changes in that part of the world, including the use of tributaries and a revamped Confucianism, but the biggest changes might be in Japan.

Paradox are rebuilding Japan in the image of Sengoku, their 2011 strategy game. The spread of Western technology and religion, isolationism, a war of unification and control among the daimyos, and a harmonisation mechanic that rewards the Shogun who can keep everyone on the same page. The unification of Japan sounds like a game within a game.

Globally, there are now four ages to move through, each of which comes with objectives that unlock new abilities, which are only available in a single age. Once the world (and your nation) moves on, the ability is lost. Some of the abilities are unique to certain nations, but there are seven generic ones for each age.

Mandate of Heaven also brings some smart UI modifications and a whole bunch of other changes, which we’ll look at it in more detail shortly.


  1. KillahMate says:

    A bit of a nitpick, but at which point should Paradox start considering changing the name of the game?

    • BTAxis says:

      It’s probably too valuable as a franchise name to change, even if it isn’t exactly accurate anymore.

    • Fiatil says:

      Probably at the same time they stop tying technology advancement so closely to “How Western European is your nation?”

      Never, you know.

      • modzero says:

        I dunno, I feel like they might actually. But last time I tried being optimistic Trump won, so maybe I shouldn’t be hopeful after all.

        But I do feel that, considering the content, you need more and cognitive dissonance to not cal their games “Europeans are awful, medieval edition” etc.

      • Haplo says:

        Cultural tech group hasn’t had any bearing on research speed in EU4 for awhile, actually. Ever since they put in ‘Institutions’, your tech speed depends on how quickly you adopt those new institutions. Institution spawn isn’t fixed, but can be in any province that meets certain criteria, including outside of Europe (in my last game, I had three institutions spawn in the same province in Japan).

        • modzero says:

          Too bad if you’re playing in the Americas, though, because then your spread is tied to colonisation. Now, while to an extent I’d say it is okay, it can get rather ridiculous — like in my Cherokee game, where Europe screwed up rather badly and didn’t arrive in NA until 17th century, and by that time I *almost* reached the nice Ming on the western coast. There is a point before which “cherokee carracks” are ridiculous, but there’s also a point after which “no cherokee carracks” is ridiculous.

          But the change does mean a lot for other continents, which is a part of why I’m hopeful.

        • Fiatil says:

          The institutions made it worse! There’s no more flat tech penalty, sure, but they replaced it with a few institutions that require “be in Italy” or “be in Germany” for them to spawn and increase naturally.

          You can absolutely game around it and be a tech powerhouse as someone non Euro — I did it with Japan — but that doesn’t change that the tech penalty is still absolutely tied to how Western European you are. AI Asia is much worse off with the new system, as the entirety of Africa is going to be more advanced on average just because they’re closer to Italy and Germany.

          • Haplo says:

            Yeah, you’re probably right.

            It’s something I’d need to do a little more looking into, I think- in my (admittedly handful of) games, the east didn’t really suffer much in the tech game at all- but one of those games was the one with aforementioned Japanese institutions, so we’ll see.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      “Crusader Kings” is probably even less appropriate. But hey, they’re memorable and well-known names, no real reason to change.

  2. Dogshevik says:

    Judging from the Dev stream they are going to update the sorting options in the ledgers, too. The ledgers, man!

    I am not even sarcastic or anything. This is great news to me.

    I just hope they will add more character to the different indonesian and indochinese nations. This wouldn´t neccessarily require entirely new mechanics. A couple of events can go a long way, especially in the later stages of the game when they tend to dry up and become all genereic for all but the usual suspects. (France, Ottomans etc)

  3. Treners says:

    Are these UI modifications part of the expansion or the inevitable update alongside it? I don’t want to pay for UI improvements (obviously it wouldn’t be ALL I’d get but it’d certainly set a precedent).

    • Chiron says:

      Given Paradoxes past form you will get the UI improvements for free, as you would with any other paid DLC and the tweaks it makes to maps or interfaces.

  4. BobbyDylan says:

    Where is Victoria 3?

  5. kirito says:

    Just like always, you will get the UI stuff free, and free DLC in multiplayer.

    • MaXimillion says:

      The host still needs to own the DLC in multiplayer, it’s not completely free.

  6. kentonio says:

    Good to see Japan getting some love, I’ve had some good games with them but there are some real frustrations currently.

    Not sure about the different periods mechanic though, will need to try it and see. That kind of thing can feel awfully arbitrary and gamey when you suddenly can’t do something you’ve been doing a lot, just because a counter ticked over somewhere.

    • Dogshevik says:

      Well from what I have seen it will be modifiers mostly instead of giving you abilities you wouldn´t have otherwise.

      So you might get prestige from converting provinces, additional trading power, reduced power costs to change province culture etc. Temporarily boosting how good you are at something instead of opening up new paths.

  7. dylan says:

    This game is so overbuilt that I can’t even make headway in a Portugal campaign anymore without crashing my economy or being diplomatically ostracized for something I barely understand. It’s okay, though; I had my fun with it, and I hope all the new stuff is appealing to others.

  8. Replikant says:

    Fully agree. There’s too many different games in there at the same time. There’s all the estate business to give people playing tall games some things to do but which otherwise adds nothing but annoying micromanagement to a game which has quite enough of that already (rotating diplomats, micromanaging of fleets and armies in times of war, especially with the broken retreat mechanics and the ridiculous fort mechanics, etc.). There’s the competing systems (I feel) of buildings in a province and province development in three different flavors, and there is the constant endeavour from Paradox to make WC games as difficult as possible for no apparent reason other than to make it more difficult. Heaping (overpriced) DLC on (overpriced) DLC resulted in a jumbled mess of a game. Most players, it seems, do not seem to play within the given set of rules, but rather employ as many gamey tactics as possible.
    EDIT: This was supposed to be an answer to dylans post.

    • Fiatil says:

      Yeah, I wish they didn’t have a continual effort to try to limit the amount of fun stuff you can do all in the name of multiplayer balance. It’s mostly chasing their own tails as they do it while constantly introducing new features that are broken at launch.

      To their credit though, most of it is really easy to mod out. I’m still sad they made colonizing so much more boring with Colonial Nations you have no direct control over, but at least it’s a simple text file edit to fix.

  9. Harlander says:

    I was hoping this’d add Japan to Crusader Kings II…

    • Replikant says:

      Just imagine! Once they have the entire world in Crusader Knights 2, they’ll release a HOI to CK converter (alternatively justified by nuclear apocalypse or some planet-wide transdimensional time-travelling something). Never stop playing again!