Everyone knows how important the selection of idea groups is in Europa Universalis IV. Aside from your national ideas, idea groups are the primary way to shape your playstyle.
While national ideas cannot change (unless you create a different nation), groups of ideas are unlocked at certain intervals throughout the game. You can plan them consistently beforehand.
In multiplayer games in particular, the right groups of ideas are a necessity in order to be able to hold your own against other players. Due to the nature of competitive lobbies, uncontrolled expansion (so-called “wide”) is usually not an option. Instead, you want ideas that complement a more compact power base (that plays “big”).
This ranking is aimed at lobbies without all game changing mods. The top ideas in this list are almost always modified by game-changing mods because they are must-haves.
At the time of this writing (patch 1.33) changes to some of the mentioned groups have been announced; but most of the arguments made in the article remain relevant nonetheless!
Yes, Naval gets a spot on this list. Though long considered a meme animal choice, naval ideas have finally found their niche in multiplayer lobbies.
What is this niche? Well, naval war.
While land battles are far more important in the game, naval warfare has long been grossly underestimated. Recently, people have realized that dominance on the high seas can be a huge advantage.
Although you won’t win a war, there are instances when your navy can make an enemy’s life hell.
Take for example a war between Spain and France.
Even if France is a little stronger, it would take a long time to breach the Pyrenees. Naval dominance can allow the attacker to launch amphibious assaults and give the defender the ability to pressure a white peace (through blockades and denial of reinforcements).
You should generally not pick Naval Ideas. Especially not in the early game. One nation per alliance bloc should get them as the game progresses into the later stages.
Offensive ideas make a lot of sense for the list.
Good military bonuses for your army are what you are looking for to give you an advantage over your enemies. Unfortunately, in the current meta, offensive ideas are somewhat neglected in terms of priority.
In an environment where any decision (no matter how small) can lose the game, there is little room for choice. Offense is outperformed by two other military idea groups higher on the list.
However, it is the third strongest. Since you need to strengthen your military as much as possible, you will eventually choose to go on the offensive as well. All provided bonuses will make your military a little bit better. Siege skill and extra discipline can mean the difference between victory and defeat in a great war!
Their bonuses for generals are much more valuable early on, but like I said, other groups take precedence.
If you are confident in your skills or isolated from other players, you can try to get them earlier than usual!
Multiplayer EUIV is a very different game than single player.
In a highly competitive environment with players from all major European nations, you should never choose these groups. You are being overrun by a stronger neighbor.
However, with some clever diplomacy and good politics on your part, you can get away with it. Maybe promise to emigrate from Europe, or give a neighbor money to leave you alone.
Exploration and expansion usually go hand in hand. If you get tired of your neighbors, you can choose to explore and only unlock the first few ideas. Colonize a bit, then refund the party for a more military-focused one.
There are cases where you can also just select the extension. This can usually happen when you are playing somewhere outside of Europe and far away from other players and need the two colonists for quick colonization.
A high risk, high reward game.
If you do indeed go down this route, I recommend not doing so at the expense of early military idea groups.
Trading is your moneymaker from the middle of the game.
Armies need money to keep them on the field!
This idea group provides additional traders and trade power buffs and is invaluable in multiplayer. While in single player you may have full control over entire nodes and be the only one controlling/collecting there, in multiplayer this will rarely be the case.
I won’t explain the game’s trading mechanics in detail here, because this topic needs a few articles on its own. However, I assure you that your trading power and income in shared trade nodes will skyrocket with this idea group.
The bonuses for trading power and guidance in nodes shared with other players are very strong. Outstanding policies with the remaining top 4 ideas seal the deal for trade ideas.
Trade ideas are my recommendation for a 4th idea group in a typical multiplayer lobby.
Quality is the late-game king of military boosts. At least for single player. In multiplayer, you’ll want this party sooner than usual!
High quality ideas simply make your troops and ships fight better.
The ship part, while useful, isn’t really important. However, the combat skills for all your military units along with the extra discipline will be invaluable.
The politics of the group is fantastic too. Most of these policies tie into other groups of ideas that have priority in multiplayer games, giving them even greater relative value.
Having quality ideas fully worked out when artillery becomes relevant in battles (mil tech 13) will give your firepower a huge boost! This works great as a third idea – unless you’re feeling adventurous and instead go offensive. In this case choose the 4th or 5th place.
Economic ideas are just the right thing when things get tight and the possibilities for expansion are limited. That will be the case in crowded multiplayer lobbies.
Offering buffs tailored to nations looking to develop and build their provinces, they allow you to spend money and monarch points efficiently to improve your skills without expanding.
The main bonus that gets them so high on the list is this -20% Development costs for fully unlocking all ideas in the group.
This modifier is Celebration, especially when stacked on top of other similar ones. Developing your provinces cheaply is a must if you want to run a prosperous country!
Not only do economic ideas allow for a big playstyle from the start, but they also have excellent strategies with other must-pick groups. Policies that in many cases provide powerful military buffs. I can’t stress enough how important a strong military is in multiplayer.
This is almost a must for the 2nd or even 1st idea group. If you’re relatively isolated, you can be greedy and pick it as the first group.
Crowd ideas are the undisputed king of multiplayer.
Analyzing the group, you can easily deduce that the multiplicative bonuses are stronger in the late game. However, the party is so important in player warfare that it will usually be one of your earliest choices!
Since the mercenary changes, max manpower and manpower recovery are arguably the most important modifiers in the game. Labor is an invaluable resource; more is always welcome.
If you have far more troops than your enemy, you can fight strategically and lose every single battle until you run out of manpower. Then you can push him back and force a peace. Remember, quantity has its own quality!
The rest of the bonuses, apart from those to manpower and manpower recovery speed, are there to reduce attrition and make your army cheaper. Reductions in fluctuation are indirectly transmitted to workers.
The less upkeep you need for your troops, the more you can deploy.
And this group also has excellent economic and trade policies, two groups that are at the top of this list. Politics with economic ideas is so powerful that people want them as early as possible.
Note: The only forthcoming effective change will be quantity economic policy. In patch 1.34 it will be changed to become irrelevant.
However, this is almost a necessity in order to be selected as the first idea group. Granted, you can be greedy and go economical first; and in this case crowd ideas should be your second choice.
Even if totally isolated, this policy with economic is invaluable!
https://www.fandomspot.com/eu4-best-multiplayer-ideas/ Top 7 Best Multiplayer Ideas in EU4 (Ranked) – FandomSpot