We’ve all been there – limited funds (or desire to spend them) and the daunting task of having to single out a couple of DLC packages from the myriad of additional content in a Paradox game. With two new major DLCs a year and several cosmetic packs accompanying them, it’s easy to get lost: I’m here to help and tell you which are essential, which depend on what you want to play as and which you might want to wait for a sale.
Absolutely Essential: Art of War and Common Sense.
Art of War is the single DLC you want to get if you only have the money to get one. It adds peace deal options, allows you to create army templates in order to speed up troop creation, set war objectives for your allies, adds Marches and Client States, and many other things. You’ll hardly ever find a different opinion on this matter: Art of War is the best DLC for EU4, as it not only adds plenty of content, but said content is accessed in any playthrough, regardless of the nation you pick.
Common Sense comes second in this list, and if not as important as Art of War it certainly still has its fair share of important changes: improvement to religious mechanics and theocracies, government ranks, parliaments for certain governments (such as England’s), and the backbone of the DLC, province improvement. You can now spend your monarch points to improve a province’s base tax, production or manpower, increasing its development and allowing you to build additional buildings – an essential feature for those who want to build tall (play a small, but powerful nation).
I already have the two above and want
one two more: The Cossacks and Rights of Man [Review].
The Cossacks is a close third, far removed in terms of importance from Art of War but close to Common Sense’s relevance. It adds broad features that will apply to any nation you play as, such as the ability to tell the world what are your opinions of other nations and which provinces you want, an enhanced diplomatic feedback system you’ll use with your allies to gain their trust and favors, and which allows you to convince an ally that won’t join a war you’re fighting by promising them land in the peace deal. There are many other features, some specific to hordes and Tengrism, but two more stick out as important: a revamped espionage mechanic that changes how fabricating claims works and adds a whole new set of actions you can take against your enemies, such as agitating their vassals to fight for liberty or lifting the fog of war in their country, and the new estates mechanic that will have you managing different sectors of society, each vying for more power and influence over the crown.
Rights of Man introduces some interesting customization for your monarchs, their spouses and children, adding traits that are either positive or negative – these traits also alter AI monarch behavior. Taking a page from Victoria’s book, the eight most powerful nations in any given game are now considered Great Powers, and with the title comes a slew of new actions and possibilities: you can interfere in other wars, drag nations into your sphere of influence and overall just meddle in the affairs of lesser countries. Prussia and The Ottoman Empire also receive new government forms, approaching them to their historical reality.
Situational: Res Publica, Wealth of Nations, Conquest of Paradise, El Dorado and Mare Nostrum.
The reason I’ve piled these five DLC pieces into the situational category is because they don’t offer a significant amount of content if you’re not playing the nations they’re geared toward. Res Publica is essential if you want to play republics, such as Genoa and Venice; Wealth of Nations is an important DLC if you want to play a nation that focuses on trade, like the merchant republics or England; Conquest of Paradise improves colonization mechanics and fleshes out the North American native groups, so if you’re itching for some Iroquois fun it’s a must; El Dorado focuses on the central and southern parts of the American continent, giving exclusive mechanics to native tribes such as the Mayans and Aztecs, as well as on colonizing nations such as Portugal and Castille, with the Treaty of Tordesillas and new events for colonizing; and Mare Nostrum with an evident emphasis on seafaring and naval nations, adding naval missions that mitigate the micro-managing of fleets and other new interactions related to espionage and the navy.
As an avid EU4 player I’ve also got to mention that all of the DLC add interesting mechanics, and even the situational ones will flesh out specific aspects or nations in such a way that if you’re ever interested in the nations it focuses on, you’ll want to get them. If money’s tight, however, you can’t go wrong with the broad and quintessential DLC packs Art of War and Common Sense, followed by The Cossacks and Rights of Man if you have a bit more to spend.