What is new in EU3?

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For veteran players of Europa Universalis II, this page provides a summary of most of the new or altered features introduced in Europa Universalis III. It is by no means a complete list since there are far too many minor tweaks and changes to itemize them all here.

Engine and Mechanics

  • EU3 is the first major Paradox strategy game to be introduced with Three-Dimensional graphics. The large 2D world bitmap and animated sprites have been replaced with fully-rendered 3D models to produce a more appealing overall visual effect.
  • The event engine has undergone a drastic change. Rather than EU2's largely country-tag-based predetermined events, EU3's event engine has been rewritten from the ground up, relying primarily on underlying cause and effect criteria. This allows events to trigger when they are contextually appropriate for any nation that satisfies the trigger conditions. This is essentially a blend of the best features and functionality of the event engines of EU2, Crusader Kings, Victoria, and Hearts of Iron 2.
  • For the modding community, EU3 is by far more open to modding than previous Paradox games. All major global and regional variables have been exported to files where they can be altered to suit your preferences. Almost all aspects of the game can be modified, added to, reduced, or otherwise adjusted in almost any way. You can add or tweak religions, cultures, policies, ideas, events, countries, and more. With appropriate 3D modeling software, you can now also easily edit and modify the map and any other in-game graphics.
  • The multiplayer community will find EU3's new multiplayer support far more stable and convenient to use. The game permits up to 32 players to join a server, and allows cooperative multiplayer (more than one player controlling a single country). Paradox Interactive has also introduced a new, more convenient metaserver matchmaking service to replace the more clumsy ValkyrieNet. This is provided at no charge to registered users.


  • You may now start the (Vanilla) game at any date between May 30, 1453 and December 30th, 1792. The game engine uses detailed history database files to generate an accurate set-up.
  • The end date of the game is now December 31, 1792. If you have the In Nomine and Napoleon's Ambition expansions, however, the timeframe is October 14, 1399 - December 31, 1821.
  • All monarchs and leaders who existed on the date that you start will be included in the set-up. Their deaths are now determined randomly and all future rulers will be generated randomly and given a name that is appropriate for the country. Future military leaders are now either recruited or may appear as a result of an event, but these, too, are randomly generated.


  • The concept of military tradition has been added to the game. Military tradition is gained by fighting battles, exploring uncharted provinces, and by building certain province improvements. It is gradually lost by not fighting battles for a period of time. Military tradition is tracked separately for land and naval activities and it is the prime determining factor in the quality of generals and admirals that you will be able to recruit to lead your military forces.
  • Leaders are no longer given to you according to a preset, historical timetable. Instead, you will recruit them as needed by expending a portion of your military tradition, some gold, and one of your diplomats. The quality of your leaders will depend on your military tradition when you recruit them. You may also convert your ruler into a leader, although there are will be dire consequences if he subsequently falls in battle. Leaders can also be generated through random events.
  • Armies are now formed of regiments that are a fixed size and recruited from your provinces. By default, armies have no leader and will perform poorly unless commanded by a general. Armies replenish their losses automatically over time, drawing manpower from your national pool until they return to full strength. This reduces the frequency that you will need to recruit new forces to replace your combat or attrition losses and makes each regiment a precious commodity that you will be heartbroken to lose.
  • Similarly, fleets must be commanded by admirals to be truly effective and are assembled from individual ships that are built one at a time in your coastal provinces. Each ship now has an "operational strength" that affects its performance in battle and can be reduced due to attrition or by damage sustained in combat. Ships are rarely sunk except in large naval battles but will periodically need to visit a friendly port to repair any damage they sustain through combat or attrition.
  • Naval attrition is now treated as a chance of encountering trouble at sea, allowing smaller fleets to embark on long voyages if they dare. The unpredictable ocean storms of EU2 are gone, and are now simply incorporated as a component of attrition. If you are lucky, it is possible to sail great distances with only a ship or two in a fleet, although it is unlikely that the navy will be in any shape to defend itself if it encounters a hostile force.
  • Overall manpower levels have been greatly reduced. It will be difficult and prohibitively expensive to field armies or navies that are even remotely close to the size of the ones that you may have used in EU2.


  • There are now a large number of different Forms of Government available in the game, many of which will only become available when you have invested enough research in the newly introduced "government technology" field. Each form of government will have certain effects on your nation that may expand or limit your options in certain areas. Monarchies usually allow a broader range of diplomatic options, but may experience special issues related to its rulers' succession. Your form of government also affects how often you are allowed to make changes to your domestic policy sliders. Changing governments is fairly disruptive and it only possible in a country with positive stability. Drastic changes can only be achieved as a result of a series of smaller steps, or as an option in an event.
  • You may now hire the services of up to three different court advisors. Each advisor has an area of expertise that will assist you in some way, most often contributing additional investments into a particular field of research.
  • Each country can adopt up to ten special "national ideas". These are fundamental directions that you can set for your county's development and will have a significant effect on its future. The number of ideas you can adopt depends on your current government technology level, with the first becoming available very early in the game; others appear as your research advances. It will not be until the very end of the game that you may have an opportunity to choose your final national idea.
  • If you are interested in exploration and colonization, one of the most important changes is that all countries are now able to begin exploring, provided they have adopted the "Quest for the New World" national idea. Explorers and conquistadors are only obtained by recruitment, and will never be available to countries which lack this national idea. The trading and capture of maps is not longer possible; however, maps of newly discovered provinces will gradually spread throughout the world as word of their discovery spreads.
  • The trade posts of EU2 have been eliminated, and it is no longer possible to "blanket" your discoveries to prevent others from expanding. Unoccupied provinces can only be settled as colonies, and there is a practical limit to the number of underdeveloped colonies that you may have at any one time. You will expand them by sending additional colonists until they eventually achieve full-fledged colonial city status. It is only then that you would begin to consider starting a new colony. You will also find it considerably easier to establish colonies near your existing colonial cities, making it considerably more likely that countries will seek to settle a general region rather than scattering isolated colonies all over the globe.
  • There are now three fundamental things that have a significant impact on your diplomacy: your reputation (badboy), your relationship value, and your prestige. Prestige is gained and lost in a variety of ways, and is a major component of diplomacy.
  • EU3 has considerably expanded the range of diplomatic options. You may now buy and sell provinces, subsidise wars, and arrange for a wide variety of different relationships. Alliances are now also separately negotiated bilateral agreements between two nations, rather than large multi-country alliances. Temporary alliance groups may form as a result of wars, but will not endure beyond them. Some diplomatic options are only available to countries that have a type of monarchy as their form of government. These options can be very beneficial but also carry an associated risk that can lead to temporary regencies, unintended relationships with countries, or even succession wars when your monarch dies.
  • Espionage is a new feature we have introduced to EU3. You can send spies to other countries' provinces to engage in sabotage or attempts at insurrection. You can also attempt to assassinate another nation's advisors or to tarnish its reputation; however, there is a danger that your spy will be detected which can seriously damage your relationship or reputation, and may give a nation a temporary casus belli against you.
  • A new political body called the "Holy See" has been added to the game. Catholic countries may attempt to influence the curia's seven cardinals in an attempt to gain control of the Holy See. The controller gains several special advantages that will often make this a worthwhile goal to pursue.
  • The Holy Roman Empire has been considerably expanded in its scope and intrigue as compared to EU2. Countries who are part of the HRE may attempt to influence the seven primary electors in the hopes of being elected as the new emperor when the current one dies. The emperor gains significant advantages for the duration of the ruler's reign, so this is something you should consider if playing a country in that region. The HRE is somewhat fluid, so new members may be added or old ones could be banished, depending on what happens in the game.

Note: the above is taken (more or less) directly from the EU3 player manual, of which MrT is the author. His profile may be found at paradox

See also