Europa Universalis 4: Third Rome DLC Impressions, Russia Is Now Unique And Fun

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Europa Universalis 4 is available on PC. Paradox Interactive

I finally got a chance to sit down with Europa Universalis 4’s newest DLC, Third Rome. The titular Third Rome to which the DLC refers is none other than Russia. A few Czars made claims that Moscow was the new Rome after the fall of the official second Rome, Constantinople. As you can imagine, the DLC focuses primarily on Russia. I broke down the feature list when it came out, but now that I’ve gotten a chance to play, I can fill you in on how it all functions and my thoughts on the DLC.

The Map:

The first change worth noting is the map for the region is completely redone. There are far more provinces in the region. This allows for more strategic depth and more accurately characterizes how huge these areas are. This not only affects the Russian principalities, but the Lithuanian region as well.

New Playable Countries

There are two new playable countries, but both start out fairly weak. Rostov and Beloozero both begin the game under Muscovy control but are fleshed out enough to have their own national ideas. Will it take your leadership to bring them to independence and dominance?

As for me, I’ve yet to try either of these as I thought I’d get a better sense of the changes from a position of power, so I played as the dominant power in the region, Muscovy.

Muscovy now has a different set of ideas than the ones you get after forming Russia. Let me say here that you don’t need to be Muscovy to form Russia, but it is by far the easiest path to doing so.

New Abilities for Russian States

This is, in my mind, the closest thing to a fundamental change in how Russian States operate. There is a new tab on your main state window for Russian abilities. Each one is connected to a bar that fills up over time, certain events will also fill them up more quickly, here’s what they do:

  • The Administrative ability is called Reform Sudebnik, and reduces autonomy by 10% in all provinces you own.

  • The Diplomatic ability is called Support Oprichnina, and reduces progress of all your rebel factions by 30% each.

  • The Military ability is called Raise Streltsy, and reduces war exhaustion by 2, and raises 20% of your force limit as Streltsy Infantry in your capital.

These all have a significant effect. As Muscovy, I found myself wanting to be very aggressive early on, both because it will take a few wars to take over all of Novgorod, and because I wanted to take the other independent principalities before my neighbors got to them. Being able to pop Oprichnina and immediately slow revolts is hugely powerful, especially since you control when it goes off. I found myself camping on it, fighting a few wars of aggression at once and then using it as soon as I made peace before the inevitable revolts sprung up.

Streltsy are fun because they are an all new war unit. They make buying stability more expensive but are instant troops and the reducing war war exhaustion can be key during the long Russian wars of attrition.

Weather

This isn’t new per se, but was new to me as someone who had no reason to play Russia until now. The harsh weather is a game changer for how you must wage war. If you are in enemy territory from around late October to Late April, you will take extra supply hits for the harsh Weather. Combine this with often low supply limits and you might kill off all your manpower to the weather before you even get to battle. Full disclosure, this happened during my first game and was disastrous.

The fun part is you can use it to your advantage too. When I later was invaded by the much stronger Denmark I just constantly retreated and let the old Russian Winter wear down their forces.

New Government Types

There are three new Government types added, all unique to the Russian region. The first is Veche Republic, basically a Republic with the Russian abilities. Novgorod and Pskov start as this.

The second is Principality. This is the new monarchy government form for all Russian provinces. They can’t progress beyond Duchy rank but it gets they have a bonus of -1 unrest and +5% Tax Modifier, which is useful.

The final one is big boy, Tsardom. You get this by forming Russia. It is equivalent to Empire rank. You’ll get +10 to amount of states and the following buffs: +20% Manpower, +0.1 Yearly Absolutism & -0.05 monthly autonomy.

That’s not all for the Tsardom however. With this rank, you’ll also be able to claim entire areas not just provinces. This is hugely powerful and to my knowledge, the only power in the game that can do this. Using this, you can expand greatly and not be destroyed by the aggressive expansion penalty for claiming things you didn’t go to war for.

Siberian Frontier

Instead of endless hordes to the East, there are now colonizable territories. When you form Russia, you will get a special Siberian Frontier idea, which allows you to colonize an adjacent territory without a colonist. What’s more, it will not cost any colonial maintenance and will then slowly grow until it becomes a territory.

I’ve found it very fun to slowly spread out to the east. I haven’t made it to the coast yet, but there is a new Achievement available for doing so quickly enough.

Orthodox Religion

There are major changes that affect all Orthodox countries, not just Russia. Patriarch Authority has long been in the game, but now instead of just granting you passive buffs, you can spend 10 to commission an icon. Icons have fun little art of different Saints and grant you hugely powerful temporary bonuses. After a brutal war, I crafted an icon to increase my manpower recovery speed. Later I commissioned one to help the Renaissance spread through Russia. They’re really fun and are the right amount of flavor to usefulness.

Another power to gather Patriarch Authority is to consecrate a Metropolitan. You can create one in a well-developed state and it will generate Patriarch Authority in return for a slightly higher State Maintenance.

My game has been going great and I have to say, this is the first DLC that has really got me happily playing a non-Colonial power. This is a huge achievement since the colonial race is just so fun. From the early statecraft and warcraft consolidating principalities to the Siberian Expansion game later on, the DLC finally makes Russia unique and fun to play, as is only befitting of one of the great powers of the age.

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