I tried the edict for +50% trade power in Jylland, as it had 2 centers of trade. I'm not even sure that paid for itself. At least I moved trade capital from Baltic to Lubeck node - eventually it will need to move to English Channel.
First thing to do was humiliation war against Byzantium. Of course I forgot how to fight, so the first battle was 12k stack wipe against me. Second battle I lost my 45k attacking their 22k - mostly due to really awful generals I rolled in 4 tries, but crossing didn't help.
Fighting against much better general works really poorly in EU4, so I tried using merchant estate rebels against Byzantium to soften them up, then go in with my troops.
Of course game decided to bug out, and when I tried to setup 3-way battle between Byzantium, rebels, and me, my army magically autolost. Well, reload, just enter province same month their battle ends.
And I got fresh zone of control bug, when freshly recruited mercenaries were instantly in zone of control of a fort, and couldn't go join nearby battle of Skopje - only direction allowed was towards the fort.
It took way too much effort, but one of two Byzantines armies got destroyed (with rebels me having 5:1 ratio), and the other army lost battle of Skopje to merc spam. So far I feel like I'm the one being humiliated here.
Well, I finally kicked them out of European side, took Constantinople, and all I got from the war was humiliate rival and some money - humiliation being second age objective.
I got two princes to abandon heresy peacefully, leaving 93 to do, and huge relation penalty with existing heretics for doing so.
Well, time for some serious wars. My second war was against 12 members of Greater Prussia all at once. Fun and Balance higher alliance limit plus trade leagues plus marking everybody as cobeligerent is fun.
I chained 4 more wars like that. With so many damn heretics it's hard to even tell them apart.
While fighting those wars I got a bit land from Normandy - Caux Seine estuary, Antwerpen Center of Trade, and Picardie which slowly aims at connecting the two. And one provnice in Norway to help colonization.
By the end of it, I reduced number of heretic princes from 95 to 60.
I pressed demand unlawful territory button a lot. I'm OK with them taking each other's lands as long as total number of princes remains at 170. Sadly there's huge penalty for accepting this button once, so prince count fell to 168.
And Deccan somehow vassalized Turkestan, who's in the empire, so that's another source of imperial authority loss. I knew I'll have to face them eventually, but didn't expect that early.
Overall my imperial authority growth is finally minimally positive - but let's be honest, I'll need to convert a lot more of those bastards.
Somehow I got Renaissance in Denmark. I guess Italy isn't terribly well developed in this timeline.
As having 5 vassals is now an age objective, I got 4 of them already (Samogitia, Kurland, Lithuania, Halland), and I'm working on Estonia. That's a ton of diplo slots (5/9 on trivial vassals), but age goals are age goals.
I took exploration first, but I have no range whatsoever.
I asked Champagne and Luxembourg to be my tributaries. I could ask some HRE members, but I'm not sure how it's going to interact with revoke privilegia. Not to mention I want to finish religious cleansing first.
They'll send me 1 bird mana and 300 men a year, which is not much.
I'm now over 200 years old.
So far age goals (2/7):
- discover America - not yet, won't even have range before I take Iceland
- control 5 centers of trade - I got 4, I guess Scotland has 5th I might take
- city with 30 development - DONE
- embrace Renaissance and have it in all state provinces - embraced, spread to 18/30 - fortunately territory provinces don't count so I can't lose this once done
- 5 vassals - 4 done, 5th in progress
- present in two continents - not yet
- humiliate rival - DONE
There were a few countries with duplicate names so I made up some new ones like Breisgau (was second Baden), Ural (was second Perm), Oslo (was second Pecs, somehow), Milan (was second Lombardy), East Kola and West Kola (were two Kolas).
I thought my only worry would be attrition, so I sent my troops in small armies
Instead Byzantines just invaded right away, and wiped one of my armies
CK2 AIs are so much more passive, and it takes them forever to gather levies
After that fail I built 4 forts (original 3 were placed in dumb places so I deleted them)
They can't move, but I can't really attack them here
A while later I got to 60 army tradition and got some good generals
Giving unhappy estates something productive to do
Going in for 3-way battle, like it used to work
Then reloading, waiting for battle to finish, and starting a second one
Renaissance requires 21 development, and in Italy only Venice has it
It also requires not being an island, not sure if straits count
I control majority of very high development provinces, so I'm not even surprised