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A number of Steam reviews for EU4 express sentiments like the following:

Fun for a while, then once you realise they announce DLCs and remove content that was already in the game/charge for content that should've been in the game from the get-go or in a free DLC, then you realise how far you've fallen.

My interpretation of this is that DLC has been released that includes "replacements" for features simultaneously removed from the vanilla game (or earlier DLC) but I can't find a list of specific examples of this.

What features have been removed and replaced with equivalent (or considered equivalent) features requiring paid-for DLC?

I appreciate that there's likely some subjectivity in determining that a given feature is a "replacement" for another but given the frequency with which this comes up in recent reviews I'm assuming there are some clear examples of this.

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    My own personal opinion (and thus as a comment and not an answer) is that the game is perfectly fun without the DLC's. Each new update brings changes to the base game as well as additional features in the DLC, with the aim to change the game dynamics to a sufficient extent to keep it interesting. Works fine and not having bought a sinlge DLC I still enjoy the game very much. – Richard ten Brink Jan 11 '17 at 8:52
  • @RichardtenBrink thanks for that comment - I played EU4 a bit a couple of years back and didn't want to start investing time in it again if I was going to start running into padlock icons! – Ant P Jan 11 '17 at 9:02
  • Nope, nothing of the kind. The only thing that I have found inaccessible is certain achievements on Steam, but that's hardly a dealbreaker to me. – Richard ten Brink Jan 11 '17 at 13:25
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Underneath the review you quoted, I found a review that said the following:

The breaking point for me was when developing your provinces, an integral part of base gameplay, was reworked and put behind a paywall wih the DLC "Common Sense." With the AI retaining the ability to develop its provinces normally, only the player's country remains a medieval backwater, unless you pay for the privilege.

Based on the other reviews I'm reading, it looks like this is the most egregious case of "removing content from the base game," or at least, the only one people have mentioned explicitly. However, based on the top negative review and then double-checking the actual DLC list, there are 46 DLC packs that value well over $100, which is a bit absurd. I believe this is one of the main issues people have, as seen in the review you've quoted:

charge for content that should've been in the game from the get-go or in a free DLC

Thus, while there has definitely been at least one case of base game content being removed and relisted as DLC, it looks like the more pressing issue is just how much DLC Paradox has put out for this game that don't really add anything (unless it was something integral that used to be there).

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  • Interesting - poking around that specific accusation (you can't develop provinces) it seems that complaint in itself is a little disingenuous in that while you can't develop a province in the base game, that's not "game breaking" since the idea is for province "development" to be fixed, encouraging specialization of smaller provinces (not for it to hamstring you into buying the DLC). – Ant P Jan 10 '17 at 15:47
  • @AntP I think you interpreted "breaking point" as "game-breaking", which is slightly off, but I think the real reason that this would be seen as bad-mannered on the developer's part is, as you've mentioned, this DLC essentially puts a price tag on a fix for a feature that was available in the base game. In other words, the developer is asking for payment for a patch. – Vemonus Jan 10 '17 at 15:51
  • Sorry, "game-breaking" was a reference to the general attitude towards the changes across a number of reviews. Yes, it seems like that is the feeling but based on reading other justification for the change - particularly point 1 here it actually seems like a fairly valid DLC feature (at least in the sense that the game isn't "broken" without it, i.e. it doesn't prevent you from making meaningful use of any vanilla feature and developing provinces is actually very minor). Thanks for the answer! – Ant P Jan 10 '17 at 15:54
  • Just to clarify - the general gist seems to be that (in the base game) development values were made static and buildings were buffed to encourage specialization but some parts of the community have interpreted this as putting a paywall on buildings (which only accounts for the first half of the rebalance) because simultaneously a feature was included in a DLC that allowed you to increase development. – Ant P Jan 10 '17 at 16:00
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    In defense of EU4 the developer is one of the few who maintain and develop the game for many years after release (CK2 for instance has been out for six or seven years and latest DLC was released late last year). Somebody has to pay for this kind of long development support. Personally, I think the games are just so much higher quality than what is released elsewhere that I'm more than happy to pay for it. – SMeznaric Jan 12 '17 at 8:44

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