Published on July 22nd, 2014 | by Tony Odett0
Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations Review
Summary: A decent expansion that adds some interesting features, but nothing game changing like the previous expansion.
Not Bull or Bear
Europa Universalis IV is on the shortlist for top strategy game ever made. Its first major DLC, Conquest of Paradise, fundamentally altered exploration and expansion in the game, and is one of the crown jewels of strategy game expansions. With those efforts as antecedents, it would be difficult for the second expansion, Wealth of Nations, to hit those same levels of success. And while Wealth of Nations does provide some value to the trade obsessed ruler, the average player is not going to get nearly the boost out of this effort as they did from the previous expansion.
Wealth of Nations focuses its changes on the trade aspects of the core game. Europa Universalis IV overhauled the trade portion of the series in huge ways, and this continues those developments. The expansion’s most significant changes are made to the political elements of trade. Other nations can be forced by diplomatic means to give the player nation their trade power. Additionally, transfer of trade power can be included in peace deals, allowing players to not only get a one time influx of cash from a war victory, but also a long lasting boost to trade.
Involvement of trade in war isn’t limited to victory conditions. Light ships can be commissioned to raid trade nodes, not only resulting in acquired (stolen) trade, but potentially cause trade casus belli. Trade conflicts can be diplomatically engineered, giving you something to do with your diplomats other than raising your relations. It’s a nice touch to get that casus belli on a country that’s been encroaching on your sphere of influence without having a border connection.
Some of the other changes seem a bit small. It’s nice that you can form East India Companies- I just wish they were better represented than a simple manufactory. It’s great that merchants can be placed at inland trade nodes to get much bigger bonuses, but I had a hard time actually finding that many inland trade nodes. Generally, the biggest issue I had with the expansion- while it made some solid changes, they were under the hood, and didn’t really alter things to a degree where they were readily apparent.
Wealth of Nations is one of the most covert expansions I’ve played. It doesn’t fundamentally change any one aspect of Europa Universalis IV’s core gameplay. Instead, it enhances what was already a fully-featured experience. The additional diplomatic and peace-offering options are wonderful, and I deeply enjoyed sending off small groups of light ships to raid enemy (or “friendly,” for that matter) commerce. Trade companies can make you a lot of money, but really exist only as a new kind of manufactory. Rather than being a game changer (like the previous Conquest of Paradise expansion), Wealth of Nations offers a host of minor additions. It’s a nice addition for those looking for more color and more trade options, but a must-have expansion Wealth of Nations is not.
Wealth of Nations was reviewed using a Steam code provided by the developer.