Europa Universalis IV Best DLCs (Ranked Worst To Best)

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Changing the world, one expansion at a time.

Europa Universalis IV is a great game, and like most great games of the modern era, it has plenty of DLCs. Both cosmetic ones, as well as ones that add in new and exciting features. In fact, EU4 has so many DLCs, that combined, you would have to pay over 400$ for the full experience!

Since nobody has that kind of time (or money) to spend trying to figure out which of the DLCs the game has to offer are good or not, this list is here to help! Only the best DLCs have been listed here, and each of them is guaranteed to improve your experience in the region of the world they cover.

10. Conquest of Paradise

Europa Universalis IV: Conquest of Paradise - Discovery Trailer

Conquest of Paradise, the very first DLC release for Europa Universalis 4, allows you to experience a brand new take on the New World, as well as see what life was like for natives of the continent.

Funny, how it also ended up being the first DLC on this list, though it wasn’t without reason. The DLC itself adds the ability to generate a random New World, that is completely different from what the America’s look like. Be it a giant supersized version of the Falklands, a pole-to-pole spanning strip of land, dividing the world in two, or just a reverse India, there are plenty of interesting variations on the colonizable landmass.

Beyond that, there is also the option to add advanced civilizations, or even hidden and secret countries in that vast unknown land. 

The natives themselves get a great deal of mechanics to keep their gameplay interesting and entertaining, while also allowing you to form federations to ward off the encroaching colonizers.

There’s just one problem with it.

It only really affects the New World, a part of the world that simply does not affect you the majority of games. Sure it’s fun and neat to play around there, and colonizing yourself can be a fairly fun and rewarding experience. But the undeniable fact of the matter is that, outside of those playing as the natives, most people simply wouldn’t even notice anything different, even with a completely random America. And that’s if you even remember to enable it!

Overall, while the DLC can be pretty fun, it’s also extremely easy to just accidentally ignore, since it doesn’t really add anything that important to the table in the grand scheme of things.

More information here.

9. Wealth of Nations

Europa Universalis IV: Wealth of Nations Release Trailer

Wealth of Nations, as the name suggests, is the DLC all about making money. Be it from the conquest and control of important trade routes, or via more… clandestine operations, as well as expanding some of the religions of the game.

Previously, light ships in this game were only really used in order to secure your own trade at sea, but now, you will be able to hoist the black flag on them and steal the riches of other nations. Yarr Harr, as the pirates of the Caribbean say. Beyond that, this expansion also allows for several new peace treaties, from allowing access to your armies and navies to forcing your defeated rivals to direct their trade to you. 

Furthermore, the Reformed, or Calvinist, faith, alongside Hinduism received much-needed changes. Not only with new mechanics that make these religions stand out from the rest, but also by adding new events for them, depending on what aspect or deity you’ve picked.

And of course, this was the DLC that added Trade Companies, for any Dutch or British East India Company fans, as well fleshing out the Merchant Republics of Venice and Genoa more.

So if so much was added, why is this so low on the list then? Simple really, the other DLCs simply added more substantial things. True, having more interesting religions are fun and all, but the fact is, particularly for the Reformed faith, these aren’t very widespread religions. And to make matters worse, Trade Companies were included in another DLC further down the line.

For the most part, while this DLC did expand on the existing mechanics a fair bit, very few actually new mechanics were added that are solely a part of this expansion, and even those that are, aren’t really all that substantial.


More information here.

8. Common Sense

Europa Universalis IV: Common Sense - Release Trailer

Common Sense, as is implied by the name, is one of the first must-have DLCs for the game. It added plenty of new mechanics, including Free Cities in the Holy Roman Empire, flavor for theocracies, and developing, among many, many others.

Another game-changing feature that was added in by the DLC was being able to change your government rank. No longer could great empires own all of one province, no more could duchies control an entire continent. The power and influence you had were now accurately depicted throughout the time you spend in your campaign.

Beyond simply having more flavor and events added to them, the faiths of Protestantism and the various Buddhist denominations finally gained unique mechanics. Where Protestants could now define their faith how they choose, Buddhists had to maintain a careful balance of Karma in order to receive the most benefits out of their faith.

Besides that, a feature previously locked in another expansion, Res Publica, was also unlocked for this expansion. However, I have to note that there was one feature that caused a great deal of strife amongst the community when this DLC was launched. And that feature is developing your land.

Now, for such a simple feature, where you just click buttons to make your provinces better, you wouldn’t think that it would be such a big controversy, yet it was. Because developing allowed players to, for the first time, play tall instead of wide. What might that mean? 

Well, playing wide refers to simply conquering and expanding everywhere in order to grow more powerful. Whereas by playing tall, you limit your expansion but instead focus on increasing the value of your existing land.

Considering that an entire viable playstyle was locked behind this DLC, up until recently anyway, I don’t believe that I am able to rank this expansion higher than it already is.


More information here.

7. The Cossacks

Europa Universalis IV: The Cossacks - Release Trailer

In the Cossacks expansion, gameplay for the peoples and hordes of the steppes was revamped and improved, and not only that but diplomacy got a major expansion and became much more intuitive.

In fact, with this expansion diplomacy was made significantly more in-depth, introducing a favor mechanic that rewards faithful allies and punishes betrayal. Furthermore, you’re also able to plan your route of expansion with much more complexity, even being able to carve areas up into zones of interest and influence with allies. 

As for the steppe hordes themselves, the native faith of Tengri was overhauled by this expansion with new events and mechanics. All the while, Christian cossacks get a specific government type that represents their tolerance, aspirations of freedom, and of course, the conquest of their neighbors. 

Beyond that, even espionage is improved with this expansion, adding many new clandestine operations to your repertoire. Of course, if the weaving of intricate webs of alliances and rivalries isn’t your forte, you could always just threaten your enemies for land with this DLC.

Not to mention the fact that this is the expansion pack that introduces estates, as well as the many interactions you can have with them.

As a result of all of this, it is very hard to not recommend this DLC. The fact that it adds so much more diplomacy options, as well as an expansion to an often neglected, but extremely fun, type of nation, this expansion is an easy choice to pick up.


More information here.

6. Rule Britannia

Europa Universalis IV: Rule Britannia - Release Trailer

Rule Britannia is the 2nd of the so-called immersion packs, but is the one with the most impact out of any of them. Experiencing the rise of the English from a regional power duking it out with France, to a global superpower duking it out with France.

Of course, this immersion pack doesn’t only let you follow the history of the British Isles. It revamps the mission system that was present in the game to a far more refined one, one that has a proper mission tree, giving you tangible and visible goals for the entirety of the game, rather than the random selection of missions previously available.

Beyond that, it also introduces a new religion into the game, the Anglican religion with mechanics similar to that of Protestantism. Aside from the new faith, it also introduces naval doctrines, and a new late-game game-changing resource in the form of coal. As well as innovativeness, a mechanic designed to reward those at the forefront of scientific advancement.

For the most part, immersion packs are designed to really only influence a small portion of the world, as well as increase all of the flavor of the region. And of the three immersion packs released thus far, Rule Britannia is the one with the most substantial changes to the game of the three.

So, I believe it is fair for this small, but fairly significant DLC, to be where it is on this list.


More information here.

5. Emperor

Europa Universalis IV: Emperor - Release Trailer

Emperor is the DLC that finally updated, refined, and improved upon the Holy Roman Empire. A mechanic that has remained unchanged since the release of the game. But despite primarily focusing on the Empire, it certainly has its fair share of additional features.

From adding a new religion in the form of the Hussite faith and expanding upon the Reformation, to improving and empowering the Catholic faith. The only faith, funnily enough, which had a negative modifier in it up until Emperor.

The new rework of the Empire has massively changed all European games and has now given a separate path to go down for anyone willing to try to reform the Empire itself. You can either centralize it, eventually becoming a true and proper Holy and Roman Empire, unifying all of the disparate dukes and margraves of the realm. 

Or you can de-centralize, preserving the autonomy of the lords of the land, while simultaneously bridging the gaps in relations and presenting a united front against all enemies.

Aside from the Empire itself, Catholicism was reworked from a fairly weak religion, where the only nations that could really stay Catholic were the Papal States and whoever is the current Emperor, to one of the better religions. No more is Catholicism to suffer the only negative modifier for religions in the game!

And finally, the expansion greatly, well, expanded the late game, especially concerning revolutions. From enabling them to spawn anywhere, and not just in Europe, to simply having a more dynamic revolutionary experience, regardless of whether or not you yourself are one.

And all of that, without even mentioning the dozens of fleshed out and excellent mission trees designed to keep you entertained while playing the many myriads of nations in and around the Empire. As well as the reworked mercenary mechanics, where you can no longer trade money for infinite manpower, but actually recruit more historically accurate mercenaries.

It should be noted, however, that the incredible changes brought by both the patch and the DLC introduced a great deal of bugs to the game, many of whom are now thankfully patched. So for the poor launch, I think this is a fair place for it to be, despite all of the features it brings to the table.


More information here.

4. Leviathan

Europa Universalis IV: Leviathan - Release Trailer

I’m really unsure if there could’ve possibly been a better name for this monster of an expansion. From introducing monuments to further refining the favor mechanic so it’s not just something you can click and forget, but actually interact with. From new peace deal options to developmental changes. 

This expansion is one hell of a beast.

While Leviathan was primarily focused around South East Asia, that wasn’t the only area of the game this DLC touched. A new religion was added for the indigenous people of Australia, as well as brand new tribes for the continent. North America was once again improved with both the addition of many new nations and a rework for the mechanics those tribes had access to. 

But also a new reword to the Totemist faith of those tribes, singlehandedly making it the most min-maxable religion in the game.

But that’s not all folks. With the added ability to pillage your enemies' capital, taking their development for yourself. as well as concentrating the development of your and your subjects’ lands, you can easily end up with a true megalopolis of a capital city.

Beyond that, the monuments added provide another layer to conquest. One where you can plan out to seize holy sites and important landmarks to give your nation bonuses, depending on the faith and culture requirements of the monument. Or simply in order to deny your enemies’ from having those very same bonuses.

As a result, this is expansion is a fantastic show of how much many small changes can impact the game as a whole in a fantastic way. However, this DLC is also extremely infamous in the community. 

The reason for this? It was utterly broken on launch.

If you even managed to launch the game with it, you’d have quickly found out that your save game had gotten corrupted. Lag, which had been building up for several expansions now, practically slowed the game down to a crawl. And many of the new features ended up completely breaking the balance of the game, as well as allowing for some truly astonishing exploits.

Thankfully though, after this was acknowledged as the worst DLC launch ever in company history, Paradox managed to fix virtually all of the issues with it. And not only with Leviathan, but also many of the problems plaguing players for years now.

And so, with the added features and disastrous launch in mind, which was followed by a doubling down and cracking down on problems and fixing issues, I believe that in the end, this DLC deserves the spot it received.


More information here.

3. Cradle of Civilization

Europa Universalis IV: Cradle of Civilization Release Trailer

Cradle of Civilization is one of those DLC that, at first glance might not change that much, but are actually really important. From the island of Madagascar to the steppes of Siberia, from the Iberian peninsula and the Sahara desert to the spice islands of Indonesia, this expansion focuses on the Muslim world as well as adding many now staple features.

Islam in the game has always been a strong religion, both in the number of countries that follow the faith, as well as in how widespread it is. Besides the America’s and Australia, there is literally no region in the game where the religion doesn’t appear. So, what happens when a strong and widespread religion gets engaging mechanics? 

Even better gameplay, that’s what.

With this expansion, Muslims were introduced to many new and mostly unique government reforms, as well as a system that rewards faithfulness. From the Slave Kings of the Mamluks to the Sultans of the Ottomans and the Shahs of Persia, there are plenty of great nations to both play as and form.

But not only could you choose different denominations of Islam, but you could also choose different schools. Each of which has a different bonus, and relation with all of the others. Sometimes, even the staunchest of allies might find each other less desirable if their chief scholars disagree on matters of faith.

Of course, Muslims weren’t the only ones who received goodies. Army professionalism and drill fundamentally changed how warfare was conducted, nerfing mercenaries and, if you have the patience, producing nigh-invincible armies. 

And yet again, not only all of that but trade has also been further deepened. Instead of sending you merchant to just conduct his business, now you can also set a focus for him. Be it improving relations with other nations’ merchants in the area, or perhaps forging a network of spies, trade and finance has finally become the proper tool it always should’ve been.

For such a varied and impactful expansion, Cradle of Civilization is a firm contender for this spot.


More information here.

2. Dharma

Europa Universalis IV: Dharma - Release Trailer

Dharma is the DLC that ended up hitting far above its weight. Despite focusing on the Indian subcontinent, it added some of the most useful features to the game for everyone to use.

From making the estates tab and features added in Cossacks free to adding in more in-depth trade mechanics. From the first automatic command for armies in the form of rebel suppression to making colonists actually useful once you’ve finished colonizing. 

And, of course, allowing you to finally purchase land from far away nations, starting your global trade empire with small trade company outposts. And finally, the most important mechanic to come from this DLC, government reforms.

Previously, you could select certain types of governments depending on the conditions you fulfilled. These were set in their bonuses and were, for the most part, static and boring. Now though with dharma, players have finally been given the chance to customize their government to its fullest.

Wanted to make a stable, devout society as a theocracy? Go for it. 

Dreamed of endless conquests and will to Empire? Nothing is stopping you. 

These choices, and vastly more, suddenly became available, and the options for role play have never been higher since.

Of course, considering that the focus was on the rich lands of the subcontinent, the majority of the content is there. And what’s here is quite a bit of content! 

Each region in India now has a formable, and should you unite the claustrophobic Thunderdome that is India, you’ll be able to form one of two powerful end-game nations, depending on your faith. Even the requirements for formation differ based on your culture! Which is one of the least utilized features of the game.

Overall, due to the sheer abundance of significant features added, despite this being a very focused DLC, Dharma very firmly deserves the spot its been given.


More information here.

1. Art of War

Europa Universalis IV: Art of War - Release Trailer

And finally, the ultimate expansion in Europa Universalis IV: Art of War. This is, bar none, the single most important DLC this game has to offer.

Adding the history-changing events like the Religious League War, which simulates the 30 Years’ War that happened in the real world. As well as adding the Revolution mechanic to the game, drastically changing the power balance during late-game in favor of whoever spawns it.

This DLC also added one of the best quality of life improvements, that being the ability to raise entire armies with the click of a button with the addition of army templates. No longer shall your fingers bleed dry clicking hundreds of provinces to produce your troops!

On top of that, a brand new subject type was added in the form of Marches. Subjects that don’t pay you taxes, are impossible to integrate, but pack one hell of a punch and provide you with more force limit. 

Not to mention the fact that you were no limited by simple falsified claims and just reconquests to go to war! It even added the ability to direct your war allies to specific targets and coordinate with them, instead of having them do their own thing, as well as extorting money from your defeated foes in the form of war reparations.

And, as is the case with the previous few DLC, Art of War also added many events that provide both benefits, as well as negatives from their various choices.

Honestly, EU4 is a great game, even if you’re tight on money and can’t buy every DLC. But Art of War is simply a must-buy due to the ridiculous number of features added to the game by it.


More information here.

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Be it heroic or gritty face-to-face battles or a general's war table, I've seen it all. No bullet was left uncounted in my wake, nor was any soldier left behind (well, mostly anyways).
Gamer Since: 2008
Favorite Genre: RTS
Currently Playing: Europa Universalis 4
Top 3 Favorite Games:Europa Universalis IV, Metro Redux, Dark Souls: Prepare To Die Edition

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