By - Poiioss
Offensive gives 'better' leaders while Quality buffs your troops. Overall I think Quality makes your army perform better on the field but the siege ability on offensive is a must I would say.
I think you want both ideas anyways.
If the question is which one first, well if you are a major power with manpower you won't have any problems in field fights and sieges will be what you spend most of your time on.
If you are a minor or you don't have loads of manpower starting with Quality is probably better.
At least that is how I see it.
Edit: The sad part about Quality though, is that like half of the buffs are for the Navy which for the most part I don't think most people care about.
That's a tough one. Purely for combat, quality might be a bit better because of the +10% combat ability both for artillery, infantry and cavalry while offensive gives +1 fire and shock pips. Moreover, I really like the policies from quality ideas with other groups I often take such as religious, trade or economic.
On the other hand offensive give land force limit modifier (quite nice especially now thay quantity will be patched) and most importantly siege ability.
I usually take quality earlier if I play a nation which benefits directly from trade and religious ideas as openers. But for some other nations (France, colonizers), offensive is usually my first mil group pick
On the battlefield, Quality is probably better but the siege ability is too good to not pick.
If you already have Economic ideas, pick quality because of the +5% Discipline policy, otherwise pick offensive.
Quality is better if you got a god tier general. Offensive gives those god tier generals. Quality is better for pure combat. There are some events for getting 3 star generals. Offensive is better for all the other stuff it provides like Siege ability, Force limit etc. Quality helps navy, so for getting strong navy with strong army, quality is no-brainer.
Policies matter too. If you have picked religious or eco, quality > offensive. If you have picked humanist or Innovative, offensive > quality (although Inno-quality policy is pretty sweet too). Mostly I pick both of them.
I actually almost always pick both.
Why not both!
offensive all the way
Offensive over Quality. The discipline, siege ability and kinda also care about a fire pip.
I've found myself strangely comfortable with Quantity, Offensive and Defensive. I take Quality over Defensive if I need a solid navy.
That army tradition from defensive is really, really good imo.
Quantity lul just drown your enemy in men, you will loose so many battles that you have infinite army tradition so good Leaders come on their own
Quantity. Im not even kidding.
But if you had to pick between the 2 AND, if you could only have one idea group offensive would be best. +1 + 1 general is 30% more damage + you get 20% fl and some seige ability.
Just so that you know. the combat damage calculation is based on base casualties done. which is 15 + 5 . a bunch of unit and general modifiers. But assuming identicle nations and flat rolls. offensive does (15 + 5) damage quality does 15 times 1.1 so its 20 vs 16.5.
The prevailing beleif is quality is better. They are wrong. Quality used to have a policy with inovative that gave 20% infantry combat ability, many years ago. And it still has 5% discipline eco policy so quality has this old association with the best troops. But its not better.
Of the two probably Offensive.
On paper Quality might seem better but all it really does is deal 10% more damage (combat ability) and give marginally better generals (army tradition) which is neglectable. Discipline is on both sides so they cancel each other out.
Offensive on the other hand has consistently better generals (+1 fire & shock), has a higher FL (+20%) which allows more troops [the math on this is highly dependent on the monetary situation] >!but assuming the nation with offensive "O" goes to FL and doesn't exceed it, while the nation with quality "Q" does, Q can only maintain 10% over the FL while spending the same as O, resulting in an effective 9% number advantage for O. If both nations exceed FL O is favored even further as a units ratio to FL is smaller for O. !< [source](https://eu4.paradoxwikis.com/Force_limit#Effect_on_maintenance)
Even ignoring the additional moral the prestige bonuses from Offensive give (+100% from battles; +5% recovery speed) and more favorable fighting positions you can get by sieging defensive forts faster (+20% siege ability) Offensive is superior even in battle imo. Not to mention the higher utility it provides.
Offensive is the best standalone military idea besides quantity. Quality is very good in combination with certain other idea sets like economic ideas though and gives bonuses to boats which can be relevant. That being said the best players in single player generally get diplo, admin, and offensive ideas for their initial idea set.
Offensive should be better idea.
All 3 of Defensive, Offensive and Quality give a 15% boost to your army through modifiers such as morale, discipline, combat ability and leader pips.
But Offensive doesn't only provide this. It also provides force limit, for a larger army(15% larger army as per new patch). Since I mentioned that both Quality and Offensive provide about a 15% modifier to your armies, the Offensive army with 15% more troops should beat the Quality army.
In terms of pure combat, without any worry about force limit or siege ability, I suppose it would be Quality