7 Best Late Game Idea Groups in EU4This post may contain affiliate links. If you buy something we may get a small commission at no extra cost to you. (Learn more).
Your choice of idea groups in Europa Universalis is a major part of any given campaign.
One could argue that it is the most impactful decision when considering the way your nation is set-up.
Different idea groups steer your country in different directions, providing a variety of bonuses. It goes without saying that there is a situation for each one of these groups.
During the later parts of the campaign, you’re looking for idea groups that compliment your playstyle up to that point. While this list mostly focuses on the single player experience, multiplayer aspects are also considered, albeit with a reduced impact on my final verdict.
Religious ideas are in the unique position of claiming the last spot in both this ranking, and our list for the early game.
Because of the niche they fill, being the only idea group that provides any bonuses related to converting provinces, they’re a staple of all one-faith runs.
Obviously, they can be picked early under certain circumstances. If you need to expand into heathen land from very early on for example.
However, in most cases of one-faith runs, you will pick them after you have already set yourself up as an established major power.
One of the two options you have for efficiently pacifying your empire when you inevitably expand into heathen land.
Humanist ideas are an excellent alternative to religious when trying to stabilize a large empire.
They require less micro-management and in certain cases they can even prove more useful.
Especially when paired with Horde ideas, the combination is just what a large multi-cultural empire needs. All the bonuses provided by the Humanist idea group aim at internal stability and faster pacification of conquered provinces.
The massive +30% improve relations modifier can work wonders to break up coalitions or prevent new ones from forming!
I would advise picking it as a 2nd idea group if playing as a Horde nation that picked Horde Ideas first.
However, in all other cases the group’s advantages are far more valuable during the later stages of the game.
Administrative ideas get the fifth place on the list. The logic behind this choice has again to do with world conquest scenarios.
Personally, I am not a big fun of the idea group. It would be unthinkable, though, to not include it in the list. Providing a great core creation cost reduction and topping it off with a boost to governing capacity, this idea group is all about blobbing.
In the past, getting administrative ideas was a necessity for world conquest campaigns.
We have come a long way since then. And nowadays core creation is not the bottleneck you will face in this sort of campaigns.
The rest of the group’s bonuses are not impressive. Mainly buffs to mercenaries which have also been diminished in value after the latest patches.
Still, especially for a less experienced player, I would recommend administrative ideas as a sixth or so choice for a world conquest campaign.
Trade ideas are all about making you money.
They do one thing, but they do it very well.
While rather lackluster early game, it is the current multiplayer meta to pick them as a 4th group. However, in a single player scenario you can postpone it a bit more if need be. You;ll see a significant boost to your income when you pick them.
Especially in scenarios where you already own some trade companies and partially control some high-value nodes, the bonuses from trade ideas will be massive.
That is exactly where these ideas shine. The keyword is “partially”.
With bonuses to your trade share of a node, they find little value when you fully control a node and there are no competitors.
That’s a rather large part of why in multiplayer campaigns they find extra value. That and the excellent policies they provide with economic, quality, and especially quantity which are other exceptional multiplayer ideas.
Quality ideas, the late-game king regarding military capabilities.
Providing buffs to the combat ability of your entire army and navy, Quality ideas are there to simply make your military stronger. On top of that, they provide access to some exceptional policies with other frequently picked idea groups.
In multiplayer games they can be picked earlier than usual, as you practically need them to compete with other player nations.
In single player I consider them mostly later, as a fifth idea or so.
If you want to go toe-to-toe with nations that possess strong militaristic national ideas (like Prussia or France) you must pick Quality at some point. However, quantity has a quality of its own!
Wars cannot be won without manpower.
Especially after the recent changes to mercenaries, manpower is easily the most important resource in the game. What do you mean the changes aren’t recent? It’s been years? Damn I am getting old.
Quantity ideas are a must have.
In a competitive multiplayer environment, they will be your first or second ideas picked.
In single player however, you can postpone picking them for quite a while. In fact, you cannot pick them at all if you’re playing a nation with a national idea set like Russia’s.
Quantity ideas are all about giving you a cheaper and larger standing army.
The most important bonuses they provide are those to National Manpower and Manpower Recovery Speed. The bonuses are massive and synergize with one another.
The bonus you get from the ideas alone is an effective increase of 80% to your available manpower when you are fighting in a war. Add to that some of the best available policies in the game and you will have a hard time skipping this group in any of your campaigns!
The reasoning behind Diplomatic ideas getting the number one spot is that they’re clearly a group that finds more value after the early game in single player campaigns.
While rather useless in competitive multiplayer games, its single player value cannot be overstated.
Of course, you can pick them early in scenarios where you struggle to become the HRE emperor or have a great number of vassals. Vassals, though, can also be handled by Influence Ideas as well.
So what makes Diplomatic so good of an idea group?
Well, everything. Aside from the reduction to diplomatic technology, which is more valuable early on, all other bonuses aim at helping you in late game scenarios.
The two extra diplomats will find work in improving relations with your neighbors, and they will do it more efficiently with the increase to improve relations also provided by these ideas.
The extra relation slot and diplomatic reputation allows you a more comfortable vassal gameplay, while the reduction to warscore cost for provinces is ideal for late-game conquests.
The reduced impact to stability from diplomatic actions makes truce-breaking and annulling royal marriages actually viable options!
Honorable Mention: Naval
It’s no secret that land warfare is far more important than naval warfare in EUIV.
However, naval warfare might not be as useless as a lot of players once thought.
This inclusion is mostly for multiplayer purposes, but all points apply to single player campaigns as well.
Lately, people have started picking Naval ideas in multiplayer games to dominate the seas. Regardless of what nation you’re facing, if you have naval and they don’t, you’ll win all evenly matched engagements. Assuming equal generals as well, of course.
Yes, this is true even against Great Britain.
The thing is, Great Britain can also pick naval ideas as well.
In any case, lately every alliance block in competitive multiplayer attempts to have at least one nation with a focus on naval warfare.
The group’s bonuses need no explanation. They just make your navy perform better!