With over four thousand EU4 mods – the top one hundred of which having anywhere between 10K – 300K subscribers – trying to tweak your game can seem like an intimidating experience. Thankfully, it’s hard to go wrong with the quality of the modding community for Europa Universalis IV. They’ve somehow managed to make an already replayable game even more replayable, if you can imagine that.
So instead of gawking at the sheer quantity and quality of mods, let’s look at how easy it is to enhance the vanilla game across a range of categotries to get any megalomaniac started on a fuller EU4 modding experience.
In days gone by you’d have had to grab mods directly from the Paradox forums and get into the weeds of placing files here and there. Thankfully for EU4 getting mods has become as easy as shopping on Amazon Prime thanks to the Steam Workshop integration. You might find some mods still host themselves separately but all of the popular ones at least will automatically be downloaded onto the launcher once you subscribe. Let’s take a look.
The Best EU4 Mods
Here are the best EU4 mods, ranked by number of subscribers on Steam:
- Extended Timeline
- Graphical Map Improvements
- A Song of Ice and fire: Game of Thrones
- Imperium Universalis
- Theatrum Orbis Terrarum (Carthoge Reloaded)
- Veritat et Fortitudo
Take a step back in time to the ancient world where the legacy of Alexander the Great still lives and a dream of universal empire looms on the horizon. Imperium Universalis is the Gold Standard of total conversion mods bringing to life the world of 612BC in stunning and meticulously researched detail.
This total suite has everything from map changes to period and nation appropriate events. Take on the role of any of the hundreds of budding empires (or establish one through decisions) vying to make their mark to bring civilization to the world in this magnum opus of a mod. The graphics are beyond compare and the detailing so deep that one might think one is playing Imperator: Rome instead.
At the time of writing, it is unknown if this mod is still being supported or whether it will be updated to Version 1.30. You may need to roll back your game version and use an older version of EU4 to play.
MEIOU and Taxes
Everything from provinces to government to religion and culture is tweaked, changed, or outright enhanced. Meiou & Taxes even has Pop mechanics and economic simulation which aren’t included in the base game (think Victoria). Calling itself the “quintessential” EUIV overhaul mod is no understatement as its added complexity and clarity to the game mechanics is a modding miracle comparable to the jump from SD to HD graphics. You’ll find yourself managing parts of empire building you never thought could be experienced. It’s the gold standard in uplifting your EUIV experience to the next level.
At the time of writing, this mod is currently only compatible up to Version 1.29.x – rumour has it that M&T 3.0 is in the works.
Veritas et Fortitudo
The other flagship total conversion mod. The impressive technical complexity of Veritas et Fortitudo is just as impressive as M&T but also takes on the ethos of immersing the player in deep event lines and flavour. Once again, everything is changed from graphic interface to ideas to even how vassal integration works. Playing VeF and any other Total Conversion mod is like experiencing a whole new game. VeF makes the vanilla version of EUIV feel like the alpha build and VeF is the finished product.
Currently only compatible with version 1.29.x – a 1.30 version is in the works, but there is no time-frame on when it will be completed because a lot of core systems have been changed.
A Song of Ice and Fire: Game of Thrones – Reboot
This titan of a mod reaches complexity and immersion on par with M&T and VeF but takes it in a totally “non-EUIV” direction: into the realm of Westeros and the lands beyond the Narrow Sea. While not as appropriate for Game of Thrones as its counterpart in the Crusader Kings II Modding scene, this mod still provides an entirely new gaming experience and is one example of where mods can take the game engine. If Westeros is not your scene, let this mod at least be a sign that you can search for any fictional universe to satisfy your cravings to rewrite fictional as well as real history. You can grab it here.
This mod was ‘relaunched’ in December 2019 and is currently compatible with Version 1.29.6. A 1.30 version is in the works, but no timetable yet.
Better Nation Designer and unlimited points
A previous entry on this list featured the ‘Nation Designer Extender: Unlimited’ mod, however since it hasn’t been updated since late 2018 and is now largely incompatible with modern versions, we’ve finally replaced it with a new one. Better Nation Designer is a similar mod that aims to roughly give the same functionality as our previous nomination did – giving more options in the nation designer, as well as expanding the available amount of points so you don’t feel restricted.
It is currently compatible up to Version 1.29.x and requires the El Dorado DLC.
Sometimes finding something else to do with the game doesn’t need to be a world-shattering mod, but a simple addition of something missing. In this case, Missions Expanded takes those often-neglected nations such as Oda and Georgia and gives them their own unique and immersive Mission Tree. The Missions Expanded Team has already completed giving all of Europe added flavour and it’s only a matter of time before they take on the whole world. While EUIV promises that every nation is playable, sometimes the blandness makes this a chimera. Missions Expanded helps to fix this disparity of quality.
This mod is only compatible up to Version 1.29.x for the moment.
Extended Timeline Mod
Simple yet incredibly ambitious: this mod allows the player to play from The Second Year of Our Lord to the year 9999. Unlike infinite time mods, this mod actually creates all new mechanics to reflect this extended timeframe. Technologies are tweaked to match the long spread and every single date is filled with researched polities and nations making it an eerily accurate depiction of time from Rome onward (except for the future of course!). Just be wary of the rather bland mechanics as the mod sputters out when you reach modern times. Available here.
Compatible up to Version 1.30.
The Idea Variation
A must have for any EUIV game. This mod creates a thoroughly new Idea and Policy selection which deepens the game and adds nuance to player decisions. Not only can the ideas truly reflect where the player wants to take his or her nation, but also adds supporting elements in policies and buildings that complement these changes. The Idea Variation also increases the number of ideas a nation can take (while lowering the bonuses to preserve balance) allowing for a more incremental but a highly more customized experienced.
Updated to work with Version 1.30.
Graphical Map Improvements
This is a graphics mod that, instead of going for a new visual style instead tries to enhance the existing one. It features new HD terrain textures, better-looking seasons, better water gfxs, thicker font for country and province names and easier-to-see country, province and state borders.
It is compatible up to Version 1.30, and also has several sub-mod variants that can combine with other mods or expand different feature sets.
Theatrum Orbis Terrarum
TOT is a gorgeous map mod that thrills the senses and pulls the player straight into the aesthetics of the period. This is a mod that needs to be seen and not just described. Still, even with all of these graphical tweaks, this mod crazily improves performance rather than overburdens our GPUs with its better graphics. A miracle and masterpiece, it’s like being in front of a truemap of this game world.
EU4 Music Mods
From sight to sound, don’t underestimate just how more immersive it is to play EUIV with period or culture appropriate music. While Paradox has done an outstanding job in creating a soundtrack for the game, it’s honestly just an emulation of period music. It’s as if Hollywood wrote the soundtrack to history. Not anymore! You can get your hands on the actual deal and feel like that victorious yet cultured conqueror via the Classical & Baroque Music mod and the Dynamic Cultured Music mod.
HOW TO MOD EU4
Check if the mod is up to date with the most recent patch. Once a new expansion comes out you may have to wait a few days, weeks, or even months until the mod is updated. Thankfully, EU4 will give you a warning if you’re about to load a mod that isn’t up to date. Also, each mod will tell you on the side menu if it requires certain DLC.
Related: A complete guide to EU4 DLC.
You can always roll back your version to continue your campaign. Check the mod pages on Steam or the Paradox forums on how to do this since it might be different for each mod and version of the game. If all else fails, ask in the comments threads for instructions!
Check if the mods you’ve selected are compatible with the other mods you’ve downloaded. This information is usually found on each mod’s page as they usually list which mods they are able to run with. Remember that most mods aren’t compatible with Ironman. If you’re achievement hunting, you’ll need to find those mods that will tell you on their descriptions that they’re Ironman compatible.
Related: The best grand strategy games.
These mods are presented merely as standing examples of the routes one can take to look for a new EU4 experience. Whether it’s enhancement or something totally new — a complete overhaul or small mechanical or cosmetic change, the modding community presents a whole plethora of well-crafted offerings.