This article is considered accurate for the current version of the game.
Through westernization, a country not in the western tech group may gain access to the knowledge of Europe. Westernization is a difficult process and will severely disrupt a nation for years or decades, rendering them vulnerable to domestic turmoil and external attacks.
Starting the westernization process requires the following conditions be met:
- Satisfy one of the conditions below:
- One of the country's core provinces is next to a western tech group neighbor's core provinces. Provinces belonging to trade companies do not count.
- Capture and core a province that belonged to country with western tech group and was its core, but wasn't trade company province.
- Country must be at least 0 stability.
- Steppe nomads need to reform their governments prior to westernizing.
- Natives of North America must also reform the government before westernization.
As of 1.9 it is possible to be annexing country before westernization starts, it's also possible to start annexation during westernization. Even when completed, it does not appear to effect length of westernization.
Westernization costs Monarch Power equal to 2000 modified by the tech penalty of the country's technology group prior to westernizing. (For example, westernization of an Eastern tech nation will require 2000 * 1,2 = 2400 power points in total.)
If available, each month, up to 10 points are drained from each Monarch Power type and added to the progress.
The maximum amount of points per Monarch Power drained each month is reduced by 1 for every 15 gold of total monthly income, down to a minimum of 5 points per Monarch Point type. Thus, powerful countries with a high income will westernize slowly.
During the westernization process, the country has the following effects:
- +5% unrest.
- +50% advisor cost.
- Westernization events giving a choice between losing 120 points of progress or another penalty (100 Diplomatic or Military power loss, rebels ...) occur every year.
- Pagans may get an event to convert to Christianity, which gives access to useful decisions and removes the "Colonial Conquest" casus belli against them.
- Reactionary rebels who manage to win a siege of a province will reduce westernization progress by -10.
During westernization, reactionary rebels can spawn and demand the cancellation of the westernization attempt.
- If these rebels break the country or if their demands are accepted, Westernization will be canceled and all progress lost.
- After westernization completes, reactionaries are still a rebel faction though they cannot reverse the process. (They may spawn in western countries as well.)
The effects during westernization are removed once it is fully completed. In addition, the nation's technology group becomes western, but they keep their current units.
The cap for monarch points will drop to 999, the standard cap for western technology.
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The first encounter with the European powers usually happens when reforming the government is already possible. This gives a huge boost to the current technology levels (not the cost of technology). The new technology levels after the government reform depends solely on the neighboring European country. This implies that buying technology prior to this is technically a waste of monarch power.
An additional side effect of reforming the government is that it immediately unlocks at least three idea groups, where excess monarch power can be spent. If all three native idea groups have been completed, then a generally good idea is to save as much monarch power before reforming the government as possible, as technology difference is greatly reduced independent of the current level. A few methods monarch points can be spent on while waiting for Europeans to show up without technological and idea advance:
- Cores:: It is absolutely top priority to have cores everywhere, as both reforming the government and westernizing requires the country to have 0 overextension.
- Change culture: When westernization process starts, the country has to face country-wide revolts. Having low amount of different culture provinces ensures that Patriot rebels don't show up.
- Stability: It is always a good idea to keep a high stability, which is even more important when westernization is started. Waiting for European shows up also means spending administrative power for +3 stability is a feasible solution.
- & Inflation & War Exhaustion: It is a good idea to reduce both if excess monarch power is available.
- Harsh treatment: Crush the rebellious locals if you have to.
- Military technology: As there is no other good long term investment spending military power. It can give a competitive edge against the fellow natives, and also allowing more of the previous methods of spending administrative and diplomatic monarch power.
In short: Unlock native ideas to be able to reform the government. Spend the monarch power only if the monarch power cap is close. Reform the government when Europe shows up.
After the government has been reformed you can dump the monarch power on ideas and buildings. Additionally based on the difference of the new technology levels and the European neighbors level, many decades of wait may be necessary, to let them get 24 technology levels ahead of you. A couple of methods to dump the amassed monarch points at this point:
- Buildings: Reforming the government unlocks the western building types and immediately destroys all of your native ones. This may result that you are unable to upkeep your forces and face a decreased income, until western buildings can be built.
- Ideas: Pick any three that you wish. Usually Religious (helps stability and the inevitable religious change); Exploration (to keep expanding the realm before more Europeans show up); any military idea (to have a chance fighting rebels and foes during westernization) are all good ideas. This also boosts the currently unlocked national ideas.
- Stability: Having as high stability as possible is important as always.
Hitting the westernization button has a massive effect on the country's peace. One has to be prepared to face both internal and foreign threat, because the country becomes about the most vulnerable one has to face during the gameplay. The country has to face several immediate effects:
- Drop of stability by -3
- Increased unrest by +5
- Advisor costs (including maintenance) increase by +50%
- Monarch power is drained every month during westernisation. The amount taken monthly is based on the tax base of the country. Larger countries drain less monarch power per month, but will consequently westernise more slowly.
The westernisation button details how much monarch power is drained per month. If you are already at 0 monarch power from one type, it drains as much as the country produces, and the westernization process is slowed. If the country goes into negative monarch power, due to an event, then the pool is restored to 0 first (while the westernization process is slowed) and then it keeps draining all of the monarch power income into westernization. This means that one has to reserve monarch power enough for keeping up full speed of the westernization, and also for any decision which requires monarch points.
Additionally, if the country's religion is pagan, one of the events likely to fire is to change to the religion of the western neighbor. If the decision is accepted, the changed religion reduces the religious unity to 0, driving up the national unrest even higher. While it is easy to defeat peasant and reactionary rebels, religious rebels are reluctant to give up. There is no turning back to the old religion, therefore they are simply ruining the country, but can never make it back to the pagan religion. Therefore focus should be on reactionaries.
It is also worth to note, that the constant revolts do not slow down the process of westernization, unless the reactionary rebels break the country. Also, rebel occupied provinces stop providing manpower and income, therefore decreasing the self-defense capabilities of the country. This means that rebels basically increase your vulnerability to outside enemies for the duration of the process.
How to effectively defend yourself from outside and inside enemies? There are a number of things to ensure swift and painless transition:
- Stockpile monarch power! Not only for the speed, but remember to stockpile for boosting stability and crushing revolts. (See next section.)
- Have full manpower before the start of westernization. Even then, it may not be enough.
- Stockpile money! Occupied and looted provinces provide even less. Don't be afraid to take loans if necessary, however having a supply is better than living on loans.
- If you have enough money, it may be worthy to hire better advisors, even while their cost is increased.
- Theologian advisor tends to be very good help reducing unrest by -3.
- Have mercenaries if you need. After exhausting manpower pool, mercenaries are a very good solution, IF you have enough money.
- Have the right ideas and decisions! Anything that reduces the national unrest is a good thing.
- Have religious ideas, if you have to face conversion. It better be done fast and quickly. Also try to convert provinces adjacent to already converted provinces. Religious rebels are very unlikely to pop in state religion following provinces, and the additional tolerance helps with the local unrest.
- Have high legitimacy or republic tradition! Low legitimacy means increased national unrest, while low republic tradition means high stability costs. Legitimacy is rather hard to increase if you are playing as one of the North American natives. Because neither your neighbors, nor the Europeans would enter royal marriage with you. If there's a chance, even a newborn republic is better than being struck in low legitimacy hell. Also, your prestige is likely to be very low due to defeats and losses, decreasing legitimacy even lower.
- Do not buy technologies. Keep in mind that the ruler may die, and the stockpile may not be enough, lengthening the whole process. Technologies will also be far cheaper when westernization is complete.