Essential Europa Universalis 4 Mods

By Edward Mass 15 May 2019 0

With over four thousand mods, the top one hundred of which having between 10K – 300K subscribers, trying to tweak your Europa Universalis IV game can be intimidating. Thankfully, it's hard to go wrong with the quality of the modding community for EUIV as they've made the game almost infinitely replayable.

So instead of gawking at the sheer quantity and quality of mods, let's look at how easy it is to enhance the vanilla game via four key categories to get any megalomaniac started on a fuller EUIV experience.

HOW TO MOD

Getting mods for EUIV, if you have Steam, has become as easy as shopping on Amazon Prime. Simply go to the Steam Workshop for EUIV and any mods you subscribe to will automatically be downloaded onto the launcher. It's there that you can choose to activate or de-activate mods.

Here are some notes to help the first timer:

  • Check if the mod is up to date with the most recent patch. Once a new expansion comes out you may have to wait a few days, weeks, or even months for bigger mods, until the mod is updated. Thankfully, EUIV will give you a warning if you're about to load a mod that isn't up to date. Also, each mod will tell you on the side menu if it requires certain DLC.
  • Hey, still want to play that favourite mod of yours but EUIV's latest update ruins your save game? You can always roll back your version to continue your campaign. Check the mod pages on Steam or the Paradox forums on how to do this since it might be different for each mod and version of the game. If all else fails, ask in the comments threads for instructions!
  • Check if the mods you've selected are compatible with the other mods you've downloaded. This information is usually found on each mod's page as they usually list which mods they are able to run with.
  • Remember that most mods are Ironman incompatible as they necessarily change balance. If you're achievement hunting, you'll need to find those mods that will tell you on their descriptions that they're Ironman compatible.
  • Finally, sometimes it takes a while for the interface to properly load the mod's latest version. Check if you have auto-updates enabled for mods and then, if you're unsure, simply relaunch the EUIV launcher to check if all of the mods are present and up to date.

There are some mods that are too large for Steam Workshop. They will have separate instructions on their respective pages on the Paradox Forum.

Since there are way too many actually great mods to list in one sitting, this primer is more about teaching you how to find mods rather than simply which mods to get. After all, modding is all about customizing your experience to build your game the way you want it!

TOTAL CONVERSION MODS

Total Conversion Mods are giant behemoth mods that tweak almost everything about the game. With these, you rarely need any other mods as they are a complete holistic package with a singular vision.

"Imperium Universalis" by Karantukki and Team (Link)

Take a step back in time to the ancient world where the legacy of Alexander the Great still lives and a dream of universal empire looms on the horizon. Imperium Universalis is the Gold Standard of Total Conversion mods bringing to life the world of 612BC in stunning and meticulously researched detail. 

This total suite has everything from map changes to period and nation appropriate events. Take on the role of any of the hundreds of budding empires (or establish one through decisions) vying to make their mark to bring civilization to the world in this magnum opus of a mod. The graphics are beyond compare and the detailing so deep that one might think one is playing Imperator: Rome instead... although it's arguable which is the better experience.

imperiumuniversalis

“MEIOU and Taxesby lukew, gigau et al (Link)

Everything from provinces to government to religion and culture is tweaked, changed, or outright enhanced. M&T even has Pop mechanics and economic simulation which aren't included in the base game (think Victoria). Calling itself the “quintessential” EUIV overhaul mod is no understatement as its added complexity and clarity to the game mechanics is a modding miracle comparable to the jump from SD to HD graphics. You'll find yourself managing parts of empire building you never thought could be experienced. It's the gold standard in uplifting your EUIV experience to the next level.

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“Veritas et Fortitudoby penguintopia and team (Link)

The other flagship total conversion mod. The impressive technical complexity of VeF is just as impressive as M&T but also takes on the ethos of immersing the player in deep event lines and flavour. Once again, everything is changed from graphic interface to ideas to even how vassal integration works. Playing VeF and any other Total Conversion mod is like experiencing a whole new game. VeF makes the vanilla version of EUIV feel like the alpha build and VeF is the finished product.

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“A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones” by Vawser and Theo (Link)

This titan of a mod reaches complexity and immersion on par with M&T and VeF but takes it in a totally “non-EUIV” direction: into the realm of Westeros and the lands beyond the Narrow Sea. While not as appropriate for Game of Thrones as its counterpart in the Crusader Kings II Modding scene, this mod still provides an entirely new gaming experience and is one example of where mods can take the game engine. If Westeros is not your scene, let this mod at least be a sign that you can search for any fictional universe to satisfy your cravings to rewrite fictional as well as real history.

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CREATIVE MODS

Mods are capable of not only enhancing the game engine but can actually co-opt it into a whole new experience. Here are some mods that can push the engine to its very limits.

“Nation Designer Extender: Unlimitedalso by Vawser (Link)

Why settle for the polar opposites of a totally fictional world and a totally historical experience when you can have a little of both? Nation Designer Extender: Unlimited unlocks the restrictions placed on the Nation Designer and gives the player freedom to finally create that custom nation of his dreams. Input a bit of our own fantasy into the timeline of this world. Rewriting history becomes a lot more immersive.

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“Missions Expandedby the Missions Expanded Team (Link)

Sometimes finding something else to do with the game doesn't need to be a world-shattering mod, but a simple addition of something missing. In this case, Missions Expanded takes those often-neglected nations such as Oda and Georgia and gives them their own unique and immersive Mission Tree. The Missions Expanded Team has already completed giving all of Europe added flavour and it's only a matter of time before they take on the whole world. While EUIV promises that every nation is playable, sometimes the blandness makes this a chimera. Missions Expanded helps to fix this disparity of quality.

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MECHANICAL MODS

Sometimes all you need is a simple game mechanic fix either to address an imbalance or make the game that much more enjoyable. Here's a few that really do the trick.

“Extended Timeline Modby qweytr (Link)

Simple yet incredibly ambitious: this mod allows the player to play from The Second Year of Our Lord to the year 9999. Unlike infinite time mods, this mod actually creates all new mechanics to reflect this extended timeframe. Technologies are tweaked to match the long spread and every single date is filled with researched polities and nations making it an eerily accurate depiction of time from Rome onward (except for the future of course!). Just be wary of the rather bland mechanics as the mod sputters out when you reach modern times.

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“The Idea Variationby Flogi (Link)

A must have for any EUIV game. This mod creates a thoroughly new Idea and Policy selection which deepens the game and adds nuance to player decisions. Not only can the ideas truly reflect where the player wants to take his or her nation, but also adds supporting elements in policies and buildings that complement these changes. This mod also increases the number of ideas a nation can take (while lowering the bonuses to preserve balance) allowing for a more incremental but a highly more customized experienced.

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“Rule the Wavesby SuperCrumpets (Link)

I'm adding this mod to the Primer not because it's a 'must have' but because it showcases just how easy it is to tweak game mechanics to affect balance. While Paradox is great about presenting history as a game, sometimes game mechanics might not reflect real world realities such as the importance of naval domination. Mods like this affect the game balance to better turn the numbers towards the historical vision of the mod creator and the subscriber. There are no graphical changes to this mod to be 'seen' but the effects are just as important.

COSMETIC MODS

While effects are important, sometimes aesthetics can bring about a totally unforgettable EUIV experience.

“Theatrum Orbis Terrarumby Kryo (Link)

Gorgeous map mod that thrills the senses and pulls the player straight into the aesthetics of the period. This is a mod that needs to be seen and not just described. Still, even with all of these graphical tweaks, this mod crazily improves performance rather than overburdens our GPUs with its better graphics. A miracle and masterpiece, it's like being in front of a truemap of this game world.

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“Classical & Baroque Musicby Feuerfuchs (Link) and “Dynamic Cultured Music” by L♥rd Awesome (Link)

From sight to sound, don't underestimate just how more immersive it is to play EUIV with period or culture appropriate music. While Paradox has done an outstanding job in creating a soundtrack for the game, it's honestly just an emulation of period music. It's as if Hollywood wrote the soundtrack to history. Not anymore! You can get your hands on the actual deal and feel like that victorious yet cultured conqueror.

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Again, these mods are presented merely as standing examples of the routes one can take to look for a new EUIV experience. Whether it's enhancement or something totally new — a complete overhaul or small mechanical or cosmetic change, the modding community presents a whole plethora of well-crafted offerings.

There are many great EU4 mods out there so feel free to share your favorites in the comments!

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