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In Europa Universalis II, domestic policies (DPs) allow you to change the character of your country and the events that will happen to you through your policies. They are of the outmost importance to achieve your goals in the game, since they affect research, economy, diplomacy, fighting, exploration, colonization, religious conversions and events. You should work out the type of country that you want to be starting, since you are only allowed one DP change every 10 years (40 changes in the game) so unless they are changed by events, you won't be able to change them all up and down. Every DP change will cost you a -1 stability penalty and it will become painful when your stability costs are so high that it takes you over 10 years to raise it without extra expenditure on stability. Nevertheless most gamers will advise you to change the slider when the time comes every single time.

Every slider has 11 positions (value from 0 to 10). In game mechanics, and hence this wiki, they are named after the policy at the right of the slider. Thus, a Land value of 0 means being fully Naval oriented. Some events can only be triggered if your policy slider is above or below a certain level. Other events, such as explorer events or random conversions have more than one trigger, and the position indicates an increased chance from that point.

Aristocracy Edit

A country's Aristocracy defines the degree to which the ruling class is hereditary, as opposed to based on wealth (plutocracy).

Effects of Aristocracy Slider Edit

The effects of the aristocracy slider are listed below.

Slider                       Trade     Production  Diplomacy
Setting  Cavalry  Warship  Efficiency  Efficiency   Rating
 0        +7.0     -10         +5          +5         -3 *
 1        +5.6      -8         +4          +4         -2 *
 2        +4.2      -6         +3          +3         -2 *
 3        +2.8      -4         +2          +2         -1 *
 4        +1.4      -2         +1          +1         -1 *
 5         0.0       0          0           0          0
 6        -1.4      +2         -1          -1          0
 7        -2.8      +4         -2          -2          0
 8        -4.2      +6         -3          -3         +1
 9        -5.6      +8         -4          -4         +1
10        -7.0     +10         -5          -5         +2
[*] Add one to diplomacy rating if the initial result is negative.

Legend:
Cavalry, Warship = effect on base cost, in ducats, before inflation
Trade/Production efficiency = in percentage points
Diplomacy rating = in diplomacy points

Events and Aristocracy Edit

The random events tied to aristocracy are:

  • Gift to the State (increased at >5 and high serfdom)
  • Enthusiasm for the Army (increased at >6 and medium-high land|
  • Nobles Ally with Foreign Power (>0)
  • Noble Feud (>3)
  • Bourgeoisie Request Privileges (increased at >5)

For plutocracy:

  • Enthusiasm for the Navy (<5)
  • Nobles Demand Increased Pensions (1-6)
  • Nobles Petition for Old Rights (2-8 and medium-high centralization)
  • Build a Great Palace (<10, and not maximum centralization)

Being at aristocracy zero will avoid a lot of bad random events, while being at 10 avoids some. Be aware that for some countries there are very bad scripted events tied to a high aristocratic position, although they give you a more historic game.

Analysis Edit

Aristocracy is one of the most powerful and important domestic policies. The bonus to cavalry cost is nice in the 1400s, as infantry are weak before land tech 18. Good players build few infantry or none at all in this era. However, if you plan to expand up against the BB limit, but not past it, you'll want maximum aristocracy for the effect on diplomacy, both for diploannexation and for dropping BB faster.(On normal difficulty setting, Aristocracy will lower BB by 1 per ten years, on VH it's still 0.5 BB.)

For countries playing a trade dominance game, especially hyperteching, low aristocracy is desirable. The effect on trade efficiency for this strategy outweighs the importance of the diplomacy gain. More generally, if you intend to stay at peace most of the time and concentrate on colonization and trade, you don't need the diplomacy increase as much and will enjoy the substantial increase in income that plutocracy brings via its effect on trade and production efficiency.

Centralization Edit

This slider is one of the most important ones. Centralization has so many advantages that most players will choose that option. Being at centralization 10 has three powerful effects. It reduces your technology cost by 10%, and it increases your production efficiency by 10% and your census tax modifier by +0.25. In addition there two minor effects: high centralization increases the rebellion delay (time to independence, default is 3 years) by 6 months. This gives you a bit more time to respond to rebellions.

There is only one downside to centralization: full centralization increases your maximum war exhaustion by +2. However, this one does have one very important game use. In 1.09, at Very Hard level, civil wars were made extremely common for human-played countries over the badboy limit, if the country is not at war. Thus, if you are trying a world conquest, you will have to stay at war almost indefinitely. In this circumstance, you want full decentralization, as well as minimum innovativeness.

Centralization is such an obvious option that a lot of random events push it down and you have to keep moving it just to keep it at the same position. If you want to be decentralized just let it move on its own, while you take care of the other sliders.

Decentralization doesn't really have bad events tied to it, while centralization will give you colonial uprisings (>5) and nobles (>3) and cities (increased at >5) demanding old rights, that will lower your centralization. Petition for redress and building a great palace can raise centralization.

One new effect in 1.08 was that decentralized nations get a manpower bonus from vassals. It can even be a 50% of their base manpower, depending on how decentralized you are. This strategy is, however, worth considering only under specific circumstances - like Denmark vassalizing the lion's share of German minors or Brandenburg aiming for a late unification.

Centralization slider effects:(Full Decentralization = 0 <-> 10 = Full Centralization)

Slider    Max War    Rebellion    Tech      Production  Census
Setting  Exhaustion    Delay      Costs     Efficiency  modifier
  0        -2.0        -6.0       +10          -10       +0.0
  1        -1.6        -4.8        +8           -8       +2.5
  2        -1.2        -3.6        +6           -6       +5.0
  3        -0.8        -2.4        +4           -4       +7.5
  4        -0.4        -1.2        +2           -2      +10.0
  5         0.0         0.0         0            0      +12.5
  6        +0.4        +1.2        -2           +2      +15.0
  7        +0.8        +2.4        -4           +4      +17.5
  8        +1.2        +3.6        -6           +6      +20.0
  9        +1.6        +4.8        -8           +8      +22.5
 10        +2.0        +6.0       -10          +10      +25.0

Legend:
War Exhaustion = % revolt risk once a positive number
Rebellion Delay = months
Technology Costs, Production efficiency = %
Census = %

Innovative Edit

This is possibly the most important slider and the one that truly defines your nation. Innovativeness 10 will increase your stability cost by 25% and reduce your technology cost by -15%, will increase your maximum war exhaustion by +2 and will reduce your missionaries and colonists by -2 per year. Innovative 0 (narrowminded) will have the opposite effects.

The choice is easy. If you are, and plan to be, small, non colonial, and mono-religious you want to be innovative and you will hypertech more easily. All others want to be narrowminded. If you want to colonize and convert, you need the colonists and missionaries. If you are big you need to reduce your stability costs. If you go from small to large you want this slider to accompany you in the transition. The bonus to max war exhaustion that you get for being narrowminded will compensate for the penalty that you get for being centralized.

Narrowminded is tied to heretic uprisings (<4), colonial dynamism events (<3), and conversion of heretics (<3), while innovative is tied to unhappiness among the clergy (>2) that pushes it down and unexpected inventions (>6). Also philosophers, painters and university events will allow you to move it at a cost.

Innovativeness slider effects:(Full Narrowminded = 0 <-> 10 = Full Innovativeness)

Slider    Max War       Tech    Stability      # of        # of
Setting  Exhaustion    Costs      Costs    Missionaries  Colonists
  0        -2.0         +15        -25         +2.0        +2.0
  1        -1.6         +12        -20         +1.6        +1.6
  2        -1.2          +9        -15         +1.2        +1.2
  3        -0.8          +6        -10         +0.8        +0.8
  4        -0.4          +3         -5         +0.4        +0.4
  5         0.0           0          0          0.0         0.0
  6        +0.4          -3         +5         -0.4        -0.4
  7        +0.8          -6        +10         -0.8        -0.8
  8        +1.2          -9        +15         -1.2        -1.2
  9        +1.6         -12        +20         -1.6        -1.6
 10        +2.0         -15        +25         -2.0        -2.0

Legend:
Technology Costs, Stability Costs = % (percentages)
Missionaries, Colonists = number per year

Mercantilism Edit

This is a slider of lesser importance, since a middle position is acceptable to many. Being fully mercantilistic will reduce your number of merchants received per year by -2, but also will cut their placement cost by 50%. It will allow you 10 trade embargoes without penalty to research and will reduce your colonists by -1 per year. Being a fully free trader will have the opposite effect except that no free trade embargoes are allowed when mercantilism is five or less.

Trade embargoes charge a 3% penalty to trade efficiency to the embargoer regardless of this slider.

Regarding competition in CoTs, free trade will help your merchants enter the CoT, while mercantilism will help them resist competition (stick).

Colonizing nations, and non-historic exploring nations will favor free trade despite the higher cost for merchants because of the colonist and random explorer. Major trading nations will go mercantilistic when competititon is tough because of the cheaper merchants and their stickiness.

If you have full mercantilism (base -2 merchants) and need more merchants: coastal provinces on the home continent (up to +4 for Protestant/Reformed, +1 otherwise), a high trade research level (+1 for 5-9, +2 for level 10), monopolies (+1 each), ownership of CoTs (+1 each) and high stability (up to +3) can still get you up to the maximum of 12 per year.

Free trade is tied to random explorers (<4 with low land), while mercantilism is tied to new monopoly company formed (>6), and unhappiness among merchants (>5). The foreign trade competition event forces you to chose between moving the slider up or down.

Mercantilism slider effects:(Full Free Trade = 0 <-> 10 = Full Mercantilism)

Slider     # of    Merchant    Trade      # of
Setting  Merchants    Cost    Refusals  Colonists
  0        +2.0       +50         0       +1.0
  1        +1.6       +40         0       +0.8
  2        +1.2       +30         0       +0.6
  3        +0.8       +20         0       +0.4
  4        +0.4       +10         0       +0.2
  5         0.0         0         0        0.0
  6        -0.4       -10        +2       -0.2
  7        -0.8       -20        +4       -0.4
  8        -1.2       -30        +6       -0.6
  9        -1.6       -40        +8       -0.8
 10        -2.0       -50       +10       -1.0

Legend:
Merchants, Colonists = number per year
Merchant Cost = % (percentages)
Trade Refusals = before getting the penalties

Offensive Edit

This is a very important slider for warmongers. Being fully offensive increases your troop morale by +0.20, increases the artillery cost by +10 and the default leader shock value +1. The default siege value is reduced by -1 for leaders with a siege value (i.e. > 0). This goes for both default and historic leaders. Being fully defensive reduces artillery cost by -10 and gives your leaders a default siege value of +1, reducing the shock value by -1. You will also have a morale penalty of -0.20. Notice that the siege and shock bonuses are gained at positions one and nine respectively. The fortress cost is increased by 5% for every offensive slider position up to a maximum 50% increase.

In the 1400s, you'll want to be full offensive for the shock bonus, and the increase in morale which has its greatest effect early. Fighting with a +1 shock bonus and pure cavalry armies, with most real battles in plains or desert, is a surefire winner. However, once you get to land 9, and the fire phase starts, the shock bonus begins to lose its importance.

Some players advocate an offensive value of 1, for the siege bonus. Although winning battles is important, they contend that sieging faster (especially against high fortification levels later in the game) is even more important. After all, getting 100% warscore does not require winning any battle, but it does require completing at least one siege. Morale can be found via land technology, or on other sliders.

A defensive setting of 0 or 1 also improves the defense of fortifications by improving the siege value of all forts.

Offensive is tied to Foreign drill instructor (<10), while defensive is tied to Italian engineer (>2) and fortification effort (<4).

Offensive slider effects:(Full Defensive = 0 <-> 10 = Full Offensive)

Slider              Land    Leader   Leader  Fortress
Setting  Artillery  Morale   Shock    Siege     Cost
  0        -11      -0.20     -1       +1        0
  1         -9      -0.16     -1       +1       +5
  2         -7      -0.12      0        0      +10
  3         -5      -0.08      0        0      +15
  4         -3      -0.04      0        0      +20
  5          0       0.00      0        0      +25
  6         +2      +0.04      0        0      +30
  7         +4      +0.08      0        0      +35
  8         +6      +0.12      0        0      +40
  9         +8      +0.16     +1       -1 *    +45
 10        +10      +0.20     +1       -1 *    +50

Legend:
Artillery = base cost in ducats, before inflation
Leader Shock, Siege = default and historical leader ability
Fortress cost = % (percentages)

[*] The minimum siege stat is zero. Thus, only scripted historical leaders who have nonzero siege abilities are penalized at high Offensive settings.

Land Edit

Another first priority slider for everybody. Full land will give you reduced cost for troops (-3 for infantry, -5 for cavalry and -10 for artillery) and increased cost for ships (+10 for warship, +3 for galley and +5 for transport) and will increase your land morale by +0.50. Full naval will have the opposite effect on the units cost but will increase your naval morale by +0.50 and give you 2 colonists more per year. Full naval also reduces the "no land connection" penalty on province income. There are no morale penalties in this slider. Full land has a production efficiency bonus of +5% and a trade efficiency penalty of -5% that are reversed at fully naval. Full land will increase manpower and economic resources for armies and reduce economic resources for ships, while full naval will do the opposite. Manpower affects the support limit for armies. Two independent types of economical resources, land and navy, affect the support limit for armies and navies.

Most people want to be land oriented for the morale boost and cheaper troops, but if you are going to have an overseas empire you want to be naval for the colonists, random explorers and the only boost to naval morale available in the game. After all, if you are fighting the AI you can easily afford being naval. Being naval reduces the penalty for provinces income due to lack of land connection to capital, a huge economic bonus for big overseas empires.

Note that there are two types of "No Land Connection to Capital" (NLC) penalties (aka overseas tax penalties). Provinces not land connected to the capital and not land connected to an owned and controlled port city always have 10% penalty. Provinces that are not connected to the capital but are connected to an owned and controlled port city can have between 0% to 20% overseas tax penalty as shown in the table below. The game display does not always show the correct overseas tax penalty but the correct percentage given in the table is applied. Sub-city colonial ports do not count as port cities. The port must be owned and controlled for the DP slider to affect land connected provinces. However, not all the owned provinces making up the land connection to the port need to be controlled. Note that above a Land DP slider setting of five, there is a greater tax penalty for having a land connection to an owned and controlled port city than there is for not having the connection.

Land is tied to enthusiasm for the army and established cantonments (>5), while naval is tied to enthusiasm for the navy and random explorers (<4).

Land slider effects:(Full Naval = 0 <-> 10 = Full Land)

                                                                                            Overseas
Slider                                            Land   Naval Trade & Production  # of       tax     
Setting Infantry Cavalry Warship Galley Transport Morale Morale  Efficiencies   Colonists   Penalty Manpower
  0      +3.0      +5     -11     -4       -6      0.0   +0.5     +5     -5        +2.0        0     -25
  1      +2.4      +4      -9     -3       -5      0.0   +0.4     +4     -4        +1.6       +2     -20
  2      +1.8      +3      -7     -2       -4      0.0   +0.3     +3     -3        +1.2       +4     -15
  3      +1.2      +2      -5     -2       -3      0.0   +0.2     +2     -2        +0.8       +6     -10
  4      +0.6      +1      -3     -1       -2      0.0   +0.1     +1     -1        +0.4       +8      -5
  5       0.0       0       0      0        0      0.0    0.0      0      0         0.0      +10       0
  6      -0.6      -1      +2      0       +1     +0.1    0.0     -1     +1        -0.2      +12      +5
  7      -1.2      -2      +4     +1       +2     +0.2    0.0     -2     +2        -0.4      +14     +10
  8      -1.8      -3      +6     +1       +3     +0.3    0.0     -3     +3        -0.6      +16     +15
  9      -2.4      -4      +8     +2       +4     +0.4    0.0     -4     +4        -0.8      +18     +20
 10      -3.0      -5     +10     +3       +5     +0.5    0.0     -5     +5        -1.0      +20     +25

Legend:
Infantry, Cavalry, Warship, Galley, Transport = base cost in ducats before inflation
Land and Naval morale = morale "units" (not percentages)
Trade efficiency, Production efficiency, Overseas tax penalty, Manpower = % (percentages)
Colonists = number per year

Note that since the costs of miltary units are always in whole ducats before inflation is applied, a change of 0.6d for the cost of a galley has an effect after rounding. No other modifiers affect galley base costs, so the rounded modifier value is shown above. Costs of infantry are also rounded down; other modifiers do have an effect on infantry so the value is shown before rounding occurs. Notice also that there is an odd drop in warship and transport costs between having the Land slider at five and four. An additional drop in galley costs between Land slider at one and zero is also odd.

Quality Edit

This is the war capability slider. Full quality reduces manpower by 25% and increases the cost of troops by +2d, but is rewarded by +0.25 troop morale and a default leader +1 fire bonus. Full quantity increases manpower by 25%, reduces the cost of troops by -2d, penalizes troop morale by -0.25 and penalizes default leaders' fire value by -1.

Quality has steep penalties in the two lowest positions. In general, you want to have a quality of nine or ten; but if you want to take over the world, manpower will be your main need. In that case, I advocate a quality of two to get the maximum manpower without the penalty. The manpower change is really steep making quantity a better choice that it once was. Note that small countries benefit little from manpower since the minimum amount of buildable troops is 12K per year even at no manpower. Manpower benefits small countries only in helping the support limit by very little amounts; sometimes a small rise in support limit may be very important though.

There are no special random events tied to this slider.

Quality slider effects:(Full Quantity = 0 <-> 10 = Full Quality)

Slider                                Land    Leader
Setting  Manpower  Infantry  Cavalry  Morale    Fire
  0       +25       -2.0      -2.0    -0.25     -1
  1       +20       -1.6      -1.6    -0.20     -1
  2       +15       -1.2      -1.2    -0.15      0
  3       +10       -0.8      -0.8    -0.10      0
  4        +5       -0.4      -0.4    -0.05      0
  5         0        0.0       0.0     0.00      0
  6        -5       +0.4      +0.4    +0.05      0
  7       -10       +0.8      +0.8    +0.10      0
  8       -15       +1.2      +1.2    +0.15      0
  9       -20       +1.6      +1.6    +0.20     +1
 10       -25       +2.0      +2.0    +0.25     +1

Legend:
Manpower = % (percentages)
Infantry, Cavalry = base cost ducats before inflation
Land Morale = morale "units"
Leader Fire = default leader ability

Serfdom Edit

Full serfdom's main benefit is the -50% in stability cost but serfdom also gives a -2D cost for infantry. This comes at the price of -10% production efficiency and -0.25 land morale. The free subjects setting is just the opposite.

Because of stability costs, size is the main determinant here. If you are big or plan to become big, you want to enserf your minions. If you are small or medium and choose to remain that size, orient yourself toward free subjects.

Serfdom is tied to the awful unhappiness among peasantry (>5) that will sack your stability, and the less problematic unhappiness among the artisans (>3). You can also get a gift to the state (>5 and high aristocracy).

Serfdom slider effects: (Full Free Subjects = 0 <-> 10 = Full Serfdom)

Slider             Land   Stability  Production
Setting  Infantry  Morale     Cost   Efficiency
  0       +2.0     +0.25      +50       +10
  1       +1.6     +0.20      +40        +8
  2       +1.2     +0.15      +30        +6
  3       +0.8     +0.10      +20        +4
  4       +0.4     +0.05      +10        +2
  5        0.0      0.00        0         0
  6       -0.4     -0.05      -10        -2
  7       -0.8     -0.10      -20        -4
  8       -1.2     -0.15      -30        -6
  9       -1.6     -0.20      -40        -8
 10       -2.0     -0.25      -50       -10

Legend:
Infantry = base cost, in ducats, before inflation
Land Morale = morale "units" (not percentages)
Stability Costs, Production efficiency = % (percentages)

Some of the content from this article has been taken from Fodoron's Introductionary Guide to EU2. This text can be edited as a standard GNU FDL documentation, but don't delete his signature and this list:

People who made serious contribution to Fodoron's guide are: Lawkeeper, Wooster, Blackthorne, Daniel A, robin74, Touga, sliver legion, broadsword, DSYoungEsq, ws2_32 and Fodoron himself.

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