This is the second in a series of reviews looking at the evolution of Europa Universalis IV. See the previous review here:
Europa Universalis IV: A Fantastic Point of View

After taking a look at the New World in Conquest of Paradise, the EU IV team next decided to enhance the new trade system, and provide more gameplay options as opposed to the pure… ‘set up’ focus of CoP. The second expansion, Wealth of Nations, was announced in January 2014, and was released on May 29th, along with patch 1.6, which featured a new launcher to manage DLC and mods the same way on all systems.


Religion got two upgrades: Chrisianity and Islam each got a third at-start branch (Coptic and Ibadi, each with one nation of that religion) as part of the free patch, along with Sikhism appearing around 1500 in India.

Reformed (Lutheran) Christianity and Hiduism also got enhancements with the expansion. PDS felt that many players in Western Europe were sticking with Catholicism or Protestantism, and just clearing out the second wave of Reformed Christianity, so they got an extra mechanic on top of the regular religion bonus (and as the Dutch were the primary Reformed power, as well as a trading powerhouse, they figured it was appropriate for the expansion). Reformed countries produce fervor, and can then spend their fervor points on trade, war, or stability bonuses. All of this is on a per-month basis, and generally activating a bonus will drain points faster than they come in, but its easy to turn them on and off, and once a Reformed state gets going with high prestige, they can maintain one while occasionally turning on a second bonus.

With the expansion, Hindu states have no native religion bonus at all. Instead, each ruler, after he takes the throne, can pick one of six gods to follow, each of which has its own religion bonus. This makes a Hindu state nicely flexible, as it can concentrate on what looks to be needed for the next couple decades depending on which god is chosen.


A new diplomatic concept in base EU IV is that of rivals. Each country can declare up to three other countries as rivals, which will give you permanently poor relations, but you get more prestige for fighting rivals, demanding their territory is easier, and other rivals of the country will be friendlier to you.

Rivals must be approximately the same power as each other, so decisively beating a country can remove it as a valid rival, and doing so several times certainly will. They also have to be relatively close, though as the power of the nation goes up, so does the distance of allowable rivals.

Patch 1.6 added power projection to this to give countries a better reason for declaring rivals. Power projection ranges from 0-100, and increases military morale and trade power in proportion; at 25 it also enables an extra military leader without military power upkeep, and at 50 or above grants one extra monarch power point each month in all three categories. Just having all three rivals will tend to make power projection float at about 30, while declaring wars, taking provinces, and other means of proving that your country is superior will temporarily push it up, while the opposite will push it down.

The concept of rivals was a good step forward for the diplomatic system (especially as the AI was made aware of ‘historical’ rivalries, and tends to emulate them, bending the game in traditional power-politics directions without hard-scripting), and the addition of power projection nicely turned it into something that can’t just be ignored. The bonuses aren’t game-breaking, but they are a nice combination of handy boosts.

National Policy

Idea groups also got a boost in this patch. Every pair of idea groups not in the same category has an associated policy now. For instance, offensive ideas and expansion ideas unlock the ‘pioneer policy’, which causes you to automatically discover every province adjacent to one of your colonies, allowing for much faster or easier discovery of the interior of a continent.

The first catch is that this only becomes available after every idea in both idea groups are purchased. The second, and bigger, catch is that enacting a policy costs one monarch point per month from a particular category. Most of them provide a general, reasonably powerful modifier, unlike the more situational bonus mentioned above.

This makes them very much a late-game enhancement. It will take a while just to have a policy available, and of course taking the bonus will slow down development in other ways. But once idea slots are filling up, one of the bigger needs for monarch points is winding down, and policies become more attractive.

Trade Practices

As a ‘trade’ expansion, its bigger features do center around that. The biggest feature is trade companies. As a non-Asian (and non-African) country, you can start one of these in any coastal trade node region in Asia (or Africa) that you have provinces in. Generally, there are penalties to such provinces so that you won’t get much tax or manpower from them, and forming a trade company guarantees this, but increases trade power (which is the main thing you do get). If you can dominate trade in the node, you even get an extra merchant. At the same time, trade companies increase goods production for all the native-controlled provinces, making the node more valuable overall.

Note that despite the somewhat independent status of the operations of such companies in history, these are not independent states like the colonial nations. These act purely as as a modifier on the node and your territories in it, leaving all wars and trade patrols under your control.

The other interesting option opened up in the expansion is to use privateers. Slightly oddly (in that it makes sense from a game perspective), this doesn’t involve hiring civilian ships, but is another separate mission for light ships. It’s the opposite of the protect trade mission, in fact. Instead of giving you trade power, privateers give trade power to a ‘pirate’ faction (at an increased power rate), effectively taking market share, and money, away from other countries. This makes it something to do when you can’t get any traction of your own, or maybe when someone is making a killing in a node that you can’t get anything out of (possibly by being downstream of you).


As a patch, 1.6 included a number of definite improvements to the UI, and other features that made it a nice incremental step forward.

As an expansion, Wealth of Nations is much more limited. The little additions to two religions were nice, but it feels odd that just two should get this treatment. This would change in the future, and now it feels odd that you have to get a number of unrelated expansions to get enhanced mechanics for everything. Given that they didn’t know where it would end up, it’s understandable, but still annoying.

Trade companies are the biggest expansion feature, and an interesting counterpart to the colonial nations in the free part of 1.5. I don’t think I can recommend this expansion to any but a completist, but the features are nice when playing in Europe with an interest in going East. A final nice note, is that the AI does a good job using all of these features.