View Full Version : Three tech trees (research/culture/faith) is lazy design


snapple232
Mar 10, 2012, 04:46 PM
I already wasn't a fan of how social policies in Civ 5 vanilla worked. They were basically a parallel tech tree to the research one, which seemed pretty repetitive. Now in G&K they're adding yet another tech tree in the form of religion. There's nothing wrong with the basic design of accumulating points to unlock upgrades. But having three independent versions of that system at the same time in one game just seems completely unimaginative and uninspired.

Sure, it works, and it's functional. But considering the large number of other systems in Civ 5 that use the same "accumulate X resource to unlock Y" model, it's just boring. It's like that's their go-to solution for every design challenge. "How should we let players interact with social policies? Accumulate culture to unlock stuff. How should we let players expand their borders? Accumulate gold to unlock stuff. How should we players develop their religion? Accumulate faith to unlock stuff." And so on.

A large part of the replayability of the Civ series comes from how varied the gameplay experience is. Randomization of maps makes for highly varied experiences between games. But I'd argue that varied experiences within games is just as important.

Civics in Civ 4, for example, were completely unique in their implementation relative to the rest of the game. No other system in the game worked that way. I'm not saying they need to copy Civ 4, but there are plenty of ways they could have designed social policies, religion, etc., without resorting to the frequent flier miles reward model.

seasnake
Mar 10, 2012, 04:50 PM
The biggest problem I have is that units and buildings should be multi-tech dependent. Being able to build Cavalry and Infantry but not Riflemen is silly. I wouldn't mind a more twisting tech tree like Civ IV, but I would really like to have units and buildings to require multiple techs where appropriate.

snapple232
Mar 10, 2012, 04:53 PM
The biggest problem I have is that units and buildings should be multi-tech dependent. Being able to build Cavalry and Infantry but not Riflemen is silly. I wouldn't mind a more twisting tech tree like Civ IV, but I would really like to have units and buildings to require multiple techs where appropriate.

I don't disagree with that, but it's obvious you didn't read my post (or the title itself) for that matter :P

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 10, 2012, 04:58 PM
I do enjoy the idea of policy trees, but the thing that it's lacking is proper opportunity cost within EACH tree. Atm, we only have 2 diffrent opportunity cost.
Rationalism OR Piety
Freedom OR Order OR Autocracy

If there was a opportunity cost in. let's say that in Freedom, you can get a bonus strength in each city OR free units. Or, in patronage, a Double Amount of Bonus they get (Culture for example) OR a double amount of science that they get. Something like that.

I also think if Policies were Tech dependant by default, it woudl be awesome.

AriochIV
Mar 10, 2012, 07:16 PM
Religion isn't a tree. It's more similar to Wonders that you build that give you exclusive bonuses, as once you select a Belief, no other religion can use it. You can also spend Faith on buildings and units. I think it sounds like a very interesting system.

I've heard the complaint about Social Policies just being another tech tree, and I'm not sure that's really a problem. In Civ IV, religions and civics were all unlocked via the tech tree, but I always thought that was a bit silly... things like Monotheism and Monarchy aren't technologies, and really shouldn't have anything to do with your civilization's scientific capabilities. So instead now you can choose whether technology or culture is more important to you, and build structures that will generate the points you're interested in. It may not be inspiring from a game designer's perspective, but it's more realistic. What's wrong with that?

What is your non-lazy, imaginitive, inspired alternative?

Kurtbob
Mar 10, 2012, 07:29 PM
I do enjoy the idea of policy trees, but the thing that it's lacking is proper opportunity cost within EACH tree. Atm, we only have 2 diffrent opportunity cost.
Rationalism OR Piety
Freedom OR Order OR Autocracy

If there was a opportunity cost in. let's say that in Freedom, you can get a bonus strength in each city OR free units. Or, in patronage, a Double Amount of Bonus they get (Culture for example) OR a double amount of science that they get. Something like that.

I also think if Policies were Tech dependant by default, it woudl be awesome.

I agree. Choosing one option in policy tree over another would definetly add some much needed opportuniy cost decision making to the policy tree. Choosing freedom over order or over autocracy is a no brainer by the end of the game, unless you play randomly or enjoy deviating from a game long strategy on a whim.

seasnake
Mar 10, 2012, 08:10 PM
I don't disagree with that, but it's obvious you didn't read my post (or the title itself) for that matter :P

Actually, I just have no problem with the Faith system or social policies, so I focused on the science tree which I think needs improvement. I thought the lazy design portion of your title referred to how these features were implemented and that's why I focused on the implementation of the one feature that I agreed needed work. I don't think social policies should be changed at all, system wise, merely balances and tweaks here and there. And the faith selection sounds excellent.

It just seemed silly to spend time talking about what I liked since it seemed that the crux of your first post (which yes, I did read) was talking about flaws in having these three similar systems (blue, pink and white trees, so to speak). My comment was that the blue tree (tech) should be reworked and its effects should be fixed and it would improve that and solve any lingering design overlap.

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 10, 2012, 08:40 PM
Actually, I just have no problem with the Faith system or social policies, so I focused on the science tree which I think needs improvement. I thought the lazy design portion of your title referred to how these features were implemented and that's why I focused on the implementation of the one feature that I agreed needed work. I don't think social policies should be changed at all, system wise, merely balances and tweaks here and there. And the faith selection sounds excellent.

It just seemed silly to spend time talking about what I liked since it seemed that the crux of your first post (which yes, I did read) was talking about flaws in having these three similar systems (blue, pink and white trees, so to speak). My comment was that the blue tree (tech) should be reworked and its effects should be fixed and it would improve that and solve any lingering design overlap.

Here's my view
RESEARCH
- Could mirror the Civ 4 tech tree, which I loved, here it's not as exicitng and often repeats (I find myself choosing the same tech order each game, making it quite boring) In Civ 4 there wasn't as much similairity.. or at least it was more subtle

POLICIES
- I don't have much complani, but they should provide more Opportunity Costs within each Policy Tree, which would make them more unique and more strategic.

FAITH
- With the limited information there actually seems to be "little" opportunity cost, because each set of beliefs is available to few places (The Follower beliefes won't be available in the Founder beliefs). So I'm happy with it... So far

seasnake
Mar 10, 2012, 08:57 PM
Here's my view
RESEARCH
- Could mirror the Civ 4 tech tree, which I loved, here it's not as exicitng and often repeats (I find myself choosing the same tech order each game, making it quite boring) In Civ 4 there wasn't as much similairity.. or at least it was more subtle

POLICIES
- I don't have much complani, but they should provide more Opportunity Costs within each Policy Tree, which would make them more unique and more strategic.

FAITH
- With the limited information there actually seems to be "little" opportunity cost, because each set of beliefs is available to few places (The Follower beliefes won't be available in the Founder beliefs). So I'm happy with it... So far

Well, you were less wordy but you pretty much said what I was going for. Well done.

MrBlondeGotShot
Mar 10, 2012, 11:47 PM
Civics in Civ 4, for example, were completely unique in their implementation relative to the rest of the game. No other system in the game worked that way. I'm not saying they need to copy Civ 4, but there are plenty of ways they could have designed social policies, religion, etc., without resorting to the frequent flier miles reward model.

While the ability to change unlocked civics at any time was certainly a unique system, the civics were still originally unlocked by progressing through the tech tree. You still needed to accumulate X in order to get Y. The difference with the CiV social policy system is that now you need X and Z in order to get Y, where Z is culture. I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm simply pointing out that the two systems are actually more similar than you are making them out to be.

Also, the idea of a "tree" system and a "collection/reward" system are not mutually exclusive, though both do apply to civics and SPs. The results of both systems, together or independent, is that they force players to make long-term decisions. If I want to unlock SPs, I have to focus on accumulating culture and keeping my SP cost low. To do that effectively, I will have to sacrifice other aspects of my civilization like science, economy, military, etc. If I want to get the UN as quickly as possible, I will have to sacrifice some military focused techs.

I am curious as to what kind of systems you would like to see used in place of "trees" and "collection/reward."

anandus
Mar 11, 2012, 12:59 AM
I agree. Choosing one option in policy tree over another would definetly add some much needed opportuniy cost decision making to the policy tree. Maybe I'm understanding you wrong, but aren't you doing that all the time in the policy tree as you can't get it at once?
"should I choose the free worker or the free settler?", "should I choose Constitution, Civil Society or Universal Suffrage?", etc.

Of course they're not mutually exclusive like whole branches are, but depending on your game it can be exclusive for quite a while.

black213
Mar 11, 2012, 03:18 AM
I agree. Choosing one option in policy tree over another would definetly add some much needed opportuniy cost decision making to the policy tree. Choosing freedom over order or over autocracy is a no brainer by the end of the game, unless you play randomly or enjoy deviating from a game long strategy on a whim.

I'm pretty sure all of the social policy trees will be reworked, so Order and Autocracy become good choices too.

JtW
Mar 11, 2012, 03:46 AM
I disagree with the OP. Rather than lazy design, it's elegant design. Having all three separate makes them easy to distinguish and to manage. And honestly, I cannot imagine a system where you don't have to 'collect X to unlock Y' - all computer games work that way.

Babri
Mar 11, 2012, 03:58 AM
Civics in Civ 4, for example, were completely unique in their implementation relative to the rest of the game. No other system in the game worked that way. I'm not saying they need to copy Civ 4, but there are plenty of ways they could have designed social policies, religion, etc., without resorting to the frequent flier miles reward model.

Did u actually played cIV. Health was copy paste of happiness, corporations was copy paste of religions, research & gold use the same sliders etc. CiV systems are quite good, the only problem is that there are no disadvantages, just bonuses. New diplomacy might do provide that disadvantage in form of relations with other civs based on ur religion/SPs, but I would certainly more such variables like random events.

Optional
Mar 11, 2012, 04:58 AM
I think and hope the Religion system will work out different from the policy tree.
The policy tree is indeed just another tech tree, I don't mind that observation.

My main gripe with the policy tree is that almost everybody chooses the same policy every time, meaning always going Liberty for the free settler and worker, whatever the game is. If people do the same thing every time blind folded, that points to a problem for me.
Also hoards of players go for the Great Library every time - a free library and a free tech, while other wonders of the same time do almost nothing for you - and going for the Hagia Sophia and Education is also a staple.
If players are doing the same thing every time it means the game is one dimensional and lacking depth. The tech tree has a at least still a little bit of resource dependency about it - need iron and horses for some units - which can shake things up a little bit, but the social policy tree is extremely bland.

With also sophisticated trade systems lacking in Civ 5 the game can easily become become a boring slug, with every game playing out more or less the same way.

I actually hope the religion system can restore some depth and address some disbalances that are in the game right now. For example, when Stonehenge gives faith and the religious bonuses are strong, some people might decide to build this instead of the Great Library. There seems to be more resource or terrain dependency in the religious system, we can hope that this brings some variety to the game.
Three tech trees is indeed not great, I personally rather had more intelligent trade systems, but don't forget people had asked the developers for a religion system, so they're answering a call.

aatami
Mar 11, 2012, 05:09 AM
I disagree with the OP. Rather than lazy design, it's elegant design. Having all three separate makes them easy to distinguish and to manage. And honestly, I cannot imagine a system where you don't have to 'collect X to unlock Y' - all computer games work that way.
Was going to write a longer post, but this pretty much sums up already what I was going to say.

Buccaneer
Mar 11, 2012, 09:10 AM
I can't imagine how anyone thinks that Civics were better than Social Policies. There were very little choices and consequences in choosing Civics, even to the point for many, you just get to the choice ones each branch and stay on that forever. You can even get to the point where you can switch off at will, if you wanted. In other words, very little decision making. Contrast that to Social Policies. All nice wonders-like bonuses (even though I would like to see a little more negative bonuses scattered throughout). In a strategy game, what better mechanism is there than having to decide one tree to start with over another or even better, having to choose one tree at the expense of another? For example, the left side of Rationalism is awesome but so is Organized Religion in Piety. You can't do both.

If you want to see very lazy design mechanics, look at the way religion, espionage, corporations and civics were implemented in Civ4.

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 11, 2012, 10:43 AM
Maybe I'm understanding you wrong, but aren't you doing that all the time in the policy tree as you can't get it at once?
"should I choose the free worker or the free settler?", "should I choose Constitution, Civil Society or Universal Suffrage?", etc.

Of course they're not mutually exclusive like whole branches are, but depending on your game it can be exclusive for quite a while.

Nope, You will eventually get all three of them. My point was (which what you quoted was a reply to) is the pernament opportunity cost.

You can get only One bonus over the other, you can't get them both.

Rat vs Pty, and Ord vs Auto vs Frdm don't give the same opportunity cost since you actually already know what you're gonna pick.

Btw, does anybody thing that if the Policies also brought something negative to the mix it would make them better (i.e picking Rationalism could slower your Culture gain in one of the policies?)

Louis XXIV
Mar 11, 2012, 11:18 AM
I don't think so, no, but this is a widely debated subject. I think the fact that you have to work to acquire them means it makes sense to give them bonuses. Nobody speculates that wonders would be better if they had penalties. For example, what if Stonehenge gave you science penalties. It would give a cost associated with them, but why?

Culture takes time to acquire. You have to choose which policy you want to get before the other even if you eventually get both and that does make a difference, especially early. For example, I usually find myself choosing between production bonuses for wonders or a free settler and that's not an easy choice.

CivilizedPlayer
Mar 11, 2012, 01:11 PM
The idea that the social policy system and religion are both "tech trees" isn't really accurate. Yes, they both require you to build up a resource and then get rewards from it, but beyond that they're significantly different.

For starters, culture is technology dependent. The culture buildings and policies are both unlocked through science. So describing them as two seperate "tech trees" isn't very accurate, as they are both intertwined. Another important point is that the tech tree is more or less linear. You can choose whether or not you want to research Astronomy right away, but sooner or later you're going to have to go back and research it, otherwise you can't research other things you need down the line. On the other hand social policies are not in any way linear. By the end of the game, at the very best, you will only have around half the policies researched. You've got to choose which benefits you want. Another difference: social policies provide passive benefits, while the tech tree allows you to create new buildings and units.

Basically, although they have a similar basic structure, their purpose and implementation are very different from each other. And while I'm intentionally not saying much about religion, because we don't know much yet, I will say that it also appears to be unique. Beliefs are exclusive to your empire, and provide bonuses based (at least initially) on the terrain of your empire. Furthermore, it's only a serious feature in the first 2/3rds of the game, and gradually loses importance. In other words, it also sounds pretty different from the tech tree and social policy system.

Louis XXIV
Mar 11, 2012, 01:16 PM
Yeah, there's nothing tree like about religion. If anything, combat promotions (which haven't yet been mentioned) are more tree-like. You could say Civ4 had just as many trees as Civ5.

KokeenoPokameso
Mar 11, 2012, 02:38 PM
Hello There. Personally I agree with the OP there are too many similarities between Culture and Social policies.

I made a similar Post on Mar 10, 2012, 03:46 PM called Is Culture and Faith the same thing? http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=455995. On my post most people are discussing how the things you are buying with faith points behave differently than the policies you buy with culture. which is true but the underlying mechanic is fundamentally the same.

I'm Glad someone out there agrees with me for I have gotten few agreements on my own thread.:goodjob:

Louis XXIV
Mar 11, 2012, 02:39 PM
Isn't the fundamental mechanic for science or military promotions the same in that case?

guczy
Mar 11, 2012, 03:44 PM
If you really want to split hairs even building buildings is the same mechanic, you accumulate hammers to get them, for some of them you need to have a prereq built

Deggial
Mar 11, 2012, 05:49 PM
While I agree, that all (money, culture, faith) is sort of a currency which has to be accumulated to "buy" the related elements, I don't think this as "lazy" by all means.

As many posters clarified in this thread, there are enough differences to make them feel unique. Additionally, I can not see an interesting and intuitive alternative. But maybe my imagination is just limited and I would love to read proposals of a different approach.

Anyway, I did write a lengthy concept about religion at a German civilization forum, proposing a slightly different (and, as I think, quite "revolutionary" ;) ) way of faith accumulation:
My "faith" was generated by *all* religion followers and loaded an "international faith trust" (so to say). When reaching a certain threshold, a new believe should have been available (just as in G&K), but only the "religious leader" (= the player who gathered the most faith so far) was allowed to choose which one will be taken.
The interesting part here was, that wars between followers of the same religion would have lowered the amount of faith accumulated, which hinders the growing of the religion and could lead to the loss of religion leadership. Religion would have been a true peace keeping force as result of this mechanism.

(All in all, I am very proud that the G&K religion system is not so far from what I proposed. But to be honest, G&K's *unique* believes are better than my concept was.)

Fabiano79
Mar 11, 2012, 06:00 PM
I dont think "lazy" is a fair statement. They probably work hard to get this kind of design. But, I agree with the OP regard that I dont like this mechanic.

When ciV was released, lots of people complained about how "gamey" the series had become. I now see this very clearly.

I know many people like to have "all the information transparent", they like to know all the bonuses..the plus 2 food, plus 4 culture...right in front of them.

But, if you like to roleplay your empire, ciV is far the worse game on the series. All those numbers and tree options keep pushing you back to your chair by telling you that is just a game. The "AI trying to win" concept has the same effect.

The civics werent perfect, but IMO the devs moved to the wrong direction when they decided to just remove them.

seasnake
Mar 11, 2012, 06:05 PM
Actually, I think it's far more game to suddenly decide "I want to go to war, let's a be a police state" and then to say "war's over, let's embrace free speech again!" In Social Policies you're setting up your civ to get better at areas that either 1) compensate for weaknesses of your civ or 2) accentuate your strength. You you can invest in a really tall india game with few cities and max out Tradition, or you can try to offset India's weakness and found more cities with Liberty. You can choose to embrace late game specialist economies, building economies, or fighting. And so on.

bhavv
Mar 11, 2012, 06:26 PM
I vastly prefer social policies to civics, however I also miss governments from earlier civ games.

Another thing I also disliked since Civ IV was how much more expensive they made it to build things. I absolutely loved Civ II and Smac in which you could actually win via just building things. They completely took the fun of that out in Civ IV and V.

vonbach
Mar 12, 2012, 03:48 AM
The tree design was probably my favorite change they made to this game.
Its far better than the old governments.

Volapyk
Mar 12, 2012, 05:21 AM
Give me a single example from the entire known existence where any effect is not preceded by an action (or reaction). Want to buy a pizza? Pay X money. Want to take a single step? Pay the energy required to move your leg. Want to have another thought? Pay the energy required. It is the basis upon which every choice is made, wants and costs (or actions and consequences).

Basically everything is based on "Pay X to get Y", though that is of course an oversimplification but as a generalization it holds. So yea one could argue that it is lazy design, but on the other hand is it even possible to have any other way available?

IcyFrozen
Mar 12, 2012, 08:54 AM
I liked the concept used in Civ4 better.

In which you choose a particular unlocked option in each category instead of selecting a category and choosing various elements of the theme.

Why do i choose Piety and run the gamut from liberal to oppressive relgion in the same tree? How many nations in history have had liberal/oppressive religions? Civ5s concept is more about getting bonuses then any sort of portrayal of realism. Which is pretty much a summary of the whole game.

SammyKhalifa
Mar 12, 2012, 08:57 AM
I liked the concept used in Civ4 better.


Why do i choose Piety and run the gamut from liberal to oppressive relgion in the same tree? How many nations in history have had liberal/oppressive religions? Civ5s concept is more about getting bonuses then any sort of portrayal of realism. Which is pretty much a summary of the whole game.

It's no more or less realistic than the way 4 did it, whether you like it better or not.

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 12, 2012, 09:31 AM
I liked the concept used in Civ4 better.

In which you choose a particular unlocked option in each category instead of selecting a category and choosing various elements of the theme.

Why do i choose Piety and run the gamut from liberal to oppressive relgion in the same tree? How many nations in history have had liberal/oppressive religions? Civ5s concept is more about getting bonuses then any sort of portrayal of realism. Which is pretty much a summary of the whole game.

Not a single Civ game is supposed to mirror any actions done in real life.

That's the thing, we're supposed to be making these type of nations, why not make a Fascict Jewish Germany or a Religious Communist China! We have this options and we are suppose to be taking advantage of them. Saying that we shouldn't combine Communism with Religion is like saying.. well it's saying something. This is Civ 5, it's meant to be fun, not to educate and mirror real history. If we were to go for that we shouldn't have half of these nations because they're already dead.

Zaimejs
Mar 14, 2012, 03:24 PM
I forgot how much I liked the opportunity to change policies/politics in Civ IV. the idea of a Policy tree is just stupid when you think about it. Policies should change and adapt with the times and the leaders. Show me a civilization that has been on a steady "policy" path! I should be able to change my policies with my desires. If I want to be a fascist for awhile, I should be able to be. That's my complaint about the current system. I don't mind unlocking policies, but there should be a way to switch.

turingmachine
Mar 14, 2012, 03:28 PM
I forgot how much I liked the opportunity to change policies/politics in Civ IV. the idea of a Policy tree is just stupid when you think about it. Policies should change and adapt with the times and the leaders. Show me a civilization that has been on a steady "policy" path! I should be able to change my policies with my desires. If I want to be a fascist for awhile, I should be able to be. That's my complaint about the current system. I don't mind unlocking policies, but there should be a way to switch.

The mechanic just suffers from poor naming. They're not policies, you're right. However, they do represent your cultural tradition and history. If a civ used to be huge warmongers, that's not something you can switch from. Even later on, that part of your history and culture remains, people remember it, and it influences later culture and actual policies.

Honestly, if it was just named Tradition or something similar they'd be no confusion over the mechanic, or demand for the ability to switch. In terms of gameplay it replaces the old government and civic systems, but thematically it doesn't. In fact, you could justify adding a government system in addition to policies if Social Policies were named correctly.

rfxmills
Mar 16, 2012, 02:00 PM
I forgot how much I liked the opportunity to change policies/politics in Civ IV. the idea of a Policy tree is just stupid when you think about it. Policies should change and adapt with the times and the leaders. Show me a civilization that has been on a steady "policy" path! I should be able to change my policies with my desires. If I want to be a fascist for awhile, I should be able to be. That's my complaint about the current system. I don't mind unlocking policies, but there should be a way to switch.

If you have gone down the Freedom path and you want to be Autocratic instead, you can, but you can't reassign the policies you've already chosen and you can't have both branches active at the same time. You will go into unrest for a few turns as well. I think this is a really good system.

Zaimejs
Mar 16, 2012, 06:48 PM
It is silly. Why would it take so much longer and be so much more effort for a later civilization to chance "policies" than an early civ? I can't just sell something or trade something to change my "policy".

Steamwerks
Mar 16, 2012, 08:39 PM
I can't imagine how anyone thinks that Civics were better than Social Policies. There were very little choices and consequences in choosing Civics, even to the point for many, you just get to the choice ones each branch and stay on that forever. You can even get to the point where you can switch off at will, if you wanted. In other words, very little decision making. Contrast that to Social Policies. All nice wonders-like bonuses (even though I would like to see a little more negative bonuses scattered throughout). In a strategy game, what better mechanism is there than having to decide one tree to start with over another or even better, having to choose one tree at the expense of another? For example, the left side of Rationalism is awesome but so is Organized Religion in Piety. You can't do both.

If you want to see very lazy design mechanics, look at the way religion, espionage, corporations and civics were implemented in Civ4.

I don't mean to be elitist here, but whenever I see someone claim that civics could effectively be put on autopilot (at any stage) in Civ IV, I have to question their level of proficiency with the game. Certainly at Deity/Immortal, and probably Emperor, this is demonstrably false. If you're always choosing the same leader and regenerating the map to get a specific terrain then you will likely trend towards a particular loadout much of the time, but even then, there are going to be many occasions where religious spread, diplomacy, warfare, and timing will factor into the analysis and draw you away from your theoretically optimal civics. Furthermore, there's also a great deal of optimization involved in juggling civic swaps to coincide with golden ages, swapping immediately for maximum benefit, etc. If it's the case that you generally play deity/immo and random-civs, then you're going to vary the selection and timing of your civic choices a lot from game to game (any many times over the course of those games). With exceptions of course, I suspect the optimal civic is often not nearly as obvious as you think it is.

I won't go over your list of "lazy design mechanics" one by one, but just point out that the only real similarity between religion and corporations is the delivery system. There is far more that differentiates them.

In regards to the OP, I'd say the jury's still out on the new religion system, as we haven't gotten our hands on it yet. But, there is at least a semblance of being sufficiently distinct from the other systems. I'm actually quite excited to try it out. As for social policies, yes, I am in total agreement. Honestly, I'd love to see the whole system scrapped; it's very static and prone to optimal builds, because the juicy stuff requires a level of commitment that generally makes it impractical to adapt to circumstances. The tech tree is decent enough, but once again, it's a bit too streamlined as opposed to IV. There simply aren't enough viable paths through the tree.

rfxmills
Mar 19, 2012, 03:41 PM
It is silly. Why would it take so much longer and be so much more effort for a later civilization to chance "policies" than an early civ? I can't just sell something or trade something to change my "policy".

If your society has focused on being pious for hundreds of years, how could it suddenly become very rational overnight? Surely they would have to spend more time becoming an equally adept rational society?

Gucumatz
Mar 19, 2012, 05:05 PM
I have to agree with some of the posters. I like and hate culture as it is in Civ 5. I like how there are gradual rewards. However, the inability to change your government effectively sort of takes away from the Civ feel.

I guess I would like Social Policies and perhaps a reintroduction of civics (in a muuuuch weakened state) as separate things.

However, I dont mind the way they built faith. Looks really fun and since its use/span is limited mostly to the early game and you can choose many things looks like a lot more fun than social policies.

CYZ
Mar 20, 2012, 04:06 AM
I guess I would like Social Policies and perhaps a reintroduction of civics (in a muuuuch weakened state) as separate things.

However, I dont mind the way they built faith. Looks really fun and since its use/span is limited mostly to the early game and you can choose many things looks like a lot more fun than social policies.

I also really like the choices and variety it seems to offer. And indeed, the policies seem boring by comparison.

I'd prefer it if all Policy Branches were mutually exclusive between their counterpart (Tradition<->Order, Liberty<->Autocracy etc). But you could easily switch back and forth with just a small anarchy penaly. That way it'd be less set in stone, like civics, and there'd be some tough choices to make too.

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 20, 2012, 05:37 AM
I think Policies lack a good Opportunity Cost within their branches (Liberty having two things that can't be active at the same time)

I also noticed that Faith isn't really a "tree" you don't have a prerequiste prior to other beliefs. You don't need God of Hunt to get... whatever.

Rex_Mundi
Mar 21, 2012, 09:54 AM
If your society has focused on being pious for hundreds of years, how could it suddenly become very rational overnight? Surely they would have to spend more time becoming an equally adept rational society?

I think a good real life exaple would be Germany, in game terms they changed from Autocracy to Freedom, as I see it they have addapted quite fast to the change.

I'm sure if you think about it you can name quite a few pious countries that has adapted very well to a more rational way of thinking. Even quite a few that manage to do both at the same time.

My point is don't confuse this game with reality.

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 21, 2012, 09:56 AM
Actually, you don't re-gain Culture Points if you change to a conflicting Policy Tree

if you change from Piety to Rationalism not only do you lose all the benefits of Piety, but you lose 5 policies all together, because you have to refill Rationalism from the beginning with new culture.. I think..

KokeenoPokameso
Mar 21, 2012, 11:20 AM
Actually, you don't re-gain Culture Points if you change to a conflicting Policy Tree

if you change from Piety to Rationalism not only do you lose all the benefits of Piety, but you lose 5 policies all together, because you have to refill Rationalism from the beginning with new culture.. I think..

I do agree with this point, Changing from one policy tree to a conflicting one never makes cents. I do believe their is a relatively simple solution this problem. After you switch tree you gain culture culture 2x 3x 4x or 5x normal till you get caught up in terms of how many usable policies you have in total. this way their is a consequences for changing trees but it would still be a viable choice should you need to do it.

howox
Mar 21, 2012, 11:41 AM
Social policies are concept copied from RPG games and new trend (with diablo 3) is abandonment of that principle. For the same reason they should be abandonded in Civ 5. You dont want to set yourself into carved path, because: 1. circumstances do change 2. strategy is limited that way 3. you must choose skills (policies) that you dont like at the begining or you dont like at the end of a tree, because system rewards it.

Civ4 copied civics system from SMAC and it proved to be great concept in both games, because it brought more strategic depth.

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 21, 2012, 01:29 PM
I've said once, and I'm saying again, Policies need to have Opportunity Cost within their trees.

However, howox, I have never encountered or adopted a policy that I didn't want, they are all very useful one way or another, and I tend to pick them to my liking according to the victory I'm going for, the only 2 policies I either never pick or leave for the last (if Cultural) is the 2 naval ones in Commerce.

dexters
Mar 21, 2012, 01:39 PM
The premise in the OP is incorrect. Social Policies aren't 'tech trees' You don't research a policy ; you earn culture which you can, in theory, apply in a modular fashion, to your society/empire.

Faith works in much the same way, as far as previews have told us, but unlike SP, they appear to be exclusive... so once a belief is taken by one civ, you're out of luck. In that way, it works more like a modular wonder, where there is some element of racing to be the first to acquire a sought after belief.

I would characterize social policies , faith, as experience trees. Your empire 'levels up' and gain new traits; which IMHO is far more realistic than previous implementations of civics or sweeping governments. But I'm sure that's a point of contention with some.

Either way, it's not a 'tech tree' and the modularity of it all makes it quite an interesting concept and IMHO one of the strongest contributions of Civ5 to the franchise. The idea of lasting change built over time, rather than OCD micromanaging exemplified with moving workers around tiles every turn, or changing civics, religion or government every few turns.

I've said once, and I'm saying again, Policies need to have Opportunity Cost within their trees.

There already is. If you pick Piety, there is a cost as you can't pick rationalism without losing your SP progress and getting hit with anarchy.

You can only pick either Autocracy, Order or Freedom , not dabble in all 3. Those are costs.

The only thing missing is turning commerce into an oppositional SP to patronage, and making that a city-state centric branch as well, so there's more variety in that end of the game.

And possibly pairing the 3 early SP Liberty/ Tradition / Honor with the 3 later SP Order/Autocracy/Freedom so that you get a bonus for completing a pair say Liberty + Freedom

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 21, 2012, 01:46 PM
There already is. If you pick Piety, there is a cost as you can't pick rationalism without losing your SP progress and getting hit with anarchy.

You can only pick either Autocracy, Order or Freedom , not dabble in all 3. Those are costs.

The only thing missing is turning commerce into an oppositional SP to patronage, and making that a city-state centric branch as well, so there's more variety in that end of the game.

And possibly pairing the 3 early SP Liberty/ Tradition / Honor with the 3 later SP Order/Autocracy/Freedom so that you get a bonus for completing a pair say Liberty + Freedom

No, I meant within each Tree. Opportunity Cost of two policies withint for example Patronage.

dexters
Mar 21, 2012, 02:36 PM
No, I meant within each Tree. Opportunity Cost of two policies withint for example Patronage.

That wouldn't make sense. The SP branches are meant to be self-reinforcing benefits within a general theme.

Opportunity cost is the amount of X you give up for Y. There is opportunity cost to going into Piety instead of Rationalism because you lose all the science buffs , some gold plus 2 free techs.

But some of that is also offset by the gold earned in Piety. The opportunity cost of Piety over rationalism is therefore W culture + X science + Yhapppiness + Z Gold (note the values could be negative). Opportunity costs must also be controlled for things you would have built anyways. For example, in Piety, Temples and Monuments give extra happiness, however, you are likely to build both because they also give culture which is critical to social policies. What is harder to measure is the relatively likelihood the AI buildinhg something else in your puppet cities because monuments and temples are relatively less attractive buildings to them without the +1 :) And the cumulative turns it took for the AI to eventually getting to building them.

Within each SP branch, there shouldn't be any trade offs as the idea is to complete the whole branch. Now, there might be reasons why you don't do this and start a new tree, but that usually has to do with non cultural VC approaches and the immediate benefit of opening a new tree ... say... the happiness from the order opener, outweighing some marginal benefit to unlocking a SP within a branch.


If by opportunity cost you mean 'negative' effects in Social policies that's not an opportunity cost. That said, nothing stops them from making it such that unlocking Piety gives you a 50% RA science penalty instead of gaining 50% RA bonus from unlocking Rationalism, but negative effects like that have limitations. As Civ3,4 has generally borne out, penalties and suboptimal settings tend to drive compulsive behavior and bean counting ( to minimize those penalties), as well as a negative feedback loop. Plus, it's also much harder to balance all the trees with so many moving parts.

It is however easier to review the relative benefit of adopting one SP over another SP if you're talking about trading off science benefits from culture benefits where each choice adds something different to your empire.

TheKingOfBigOz
Mar 21, 2012, 02:46 PM
That wouldn't make sense. The SP branches are meant to be self-reinforcing benefits within a general theme.

Opportunity cost is the amount of X you give up for Y. There is opportunity cost to going into Piety instead of Rationalism because you lose all the science buffs , some gold plus 2 free techs.

But some of that is also offset by the gold earned in Piety. The opportunity cost of Piety over rationalism is therefore W culture + X science + Yhapppiness + Z Gold (note the values could be negative). Opportunity costs must also be controlled for things you would have built anyways. For example, in Piety, Temples and Monuments give extra happiness, however, you are likely to build both because they also give culture which is critical to social policies. What is harder to measure is the relatively likelihood the AI buildinhg something else in your puppet cities because monuments and temples are relatively less attractive buildings to them without the +1 :) And the cumulative turns it took for the AI to eventually getting to building them.

Within each SP branch, there shouldn't be any trade offs as the idea is to complete the whole branch. Now, there might be reasons why you don't do this and start a new tree, but that usually has to do with non cultural VC approaches and the immediate benefit of opening a new tree ... saw the happiness from the order opener, outweighing some marginal benefit to unlocking a SP within a branch.


If by opportunity cost you mean 'negative' effects in Social policies that's not an opportunity cost. That said, nothing sotps them from making it such that unlocking Piety gives you a 50% RA science penalty instead of gaming 50% RA bonus from unlocking Rationalism, but negative effects like that have limitations. As Civ3,4 has generally borne out, penalties and suboptimal settings tend to drive compulsive behavior and bean counting, as well as a negative feedback loop. It's also much harder to balance all the trees with so many moving parts.

It is however easier to review the relative benefit of adopting one SP over another SP if you're talking about trading off science benefits from culture benefits and each choice add something different to your empire.

No, I never mentioned anything about negative modifiers (even though they were useful). I don't know where you got that, I might've said before. People are saying how Policies are cheap or whatever, and I'm giving my idea.. that's it.

dexters
Mar 21, 2012, 02:57 PM
No, I never mentioned anything about negative modifiers (even though they were useful). I don't know where you got that, I might've said before. People are saying how Policies are cheap or whatever, and I'm giving my idea.. that's it.

To re-iterate, opportunity costs within a SP branch makes no sense. Unless you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what it means.

SP branches are meant to be completed, the benefits are self-reinforcing and there is even finisher bonuses

When you say there should be an opportunity cost within an SP branch, you're saying essentially players have to actively not choose one SP within that branch in favour of another SP and never unlock the SP they are trading off. That makes 0 sense given the mechanic.

Now, if you meant opportunity cost between different branches, that already exists as I pointed out earlier, but you replied to that already saying you didn't mean to say opportunity costs between branches.

Inhalaattori
Mar 21, 2012, 04:08 PM
I think a good real life exaple would be Germany, in game terms they changed from Autocracy to Freedom, as I see it they have addapted quite fast to the change.

Yeah, but Germany was defeated in war and it lost its Capital. In Civ terms Germany is still US puppet. It can produce what it wants, but US still has military control over the country. Same thing with Japan - they lost war and became US puppet. They did not change from "autocracy" to "freedom" - they were conquered.

What happened in Soviet Union when they changed from "Order" to "Freedom"? They pretty much lost everything they had achieved. The country was in a total anarchy for a long time/ many turns.

So it seems Civ V mimics the real world better that one might expect.

Mark the Bold
Mar 21, 2012, 04:33 PM
The OP question is unfair. So, Firaxis is lazy because they make the most consistently awesome series of video games ever made? They made a design decision based on their judgment of what their customers would like, and implemented it through no doubt extensive hours of programming and QC. Quite well, in my opinion. I have met many successful people in the video game industry and while they are usually perculiar personalities, lazy they are not. Reading intelligent and articulate posts on this thread reminds me just why I love this game, and its fans, so much.

I much prefer the current Social Policy system to the old civics. Yes the civics had the option of being changeable over the game, but I disagree that they allowed for a more flexible game experience every time. Short of MP game <100 turn cIV deathmatches, who wasn't trying to found either Buddhism / Judaism and going the Organized Religion (+25% building bonus) in the early game?

But I do agree that there is something that can be done to the current Social policy system. The reason I never go Autocracy is because I really don't have any need to: I can be a full-Liberty, full-Freedom, full-Rationalism SP civilization, AND be a MORE effective "women-and-children-die-first" fascist entity than any Honor-Piety-Autocracy one.

I believe the SP system does need some "negative" or restrictive traits to the various branches. There should be no reason why a Liberty-Freedom loving civ should be allowed to burn once-great civilizations, (of no threat to anyone) to the ground across the globe with very little consequence (via nukes or otherwise) . Not so much war weariness, but making puppet cities / razing cities have SEVERE consequences to the very science/production/happiness bonuses that Liberty-Freedom-Rationalism give you. If you did this, believe you me, the war civs like Mongolia, Iroquois, Aztecs would not be taking Liberty every time like they do now.

I am receptive to the idea of changing / refunding social policies during the game with two major conditions: "unrest" and "sunsetting clauses". By unrest, I mean that to go from Freedom to Autocracy my entire civ must enter a period of major production / science losses, whereby the period is extended by how deep one is into the currently undesired SP. Similar to cIV but much longer so it would have to be a decision not taken lightly.

By "sunsetting clause", I mean that once you have fully completed a SP tree, say Liberty, you can never reassign or change it after XX turns or years.

howox
Mar 21, 2012, 05:53 PM
Short of MP game <100 turn cIV deathmatches, who wasn't trying to found either Buddhism / Judaism and going the Organized Religion (+25% building bonus) in the early game?


Maybe someone who didn't play builder game? Using theocracy to make highly promoted units? Or someone that wanted to avoid highest upkeep religion civic ? Or someone that wants religion, but wants to have not so high upkeep and prevent other religions spread. That is the beauty of the system. It is so flexible.
Anyway early game you don't have other civics. And avoiding religion altogether is totally viable strategy. If pacifism was earlier in tech tree I'm sure many would consider it with representation/caste system. OR is by no means a must civic it is just one of many paths(something Civ5 policies don't offer).

KokeenoPokameso
Mar 22, 2012, 10:38 AM
I believe the SP system does need some "negative" or restrictive traits to the various branches. There should be no reason why a Liberty-Freedom loving civ should be allowed to burn once-great civilizations, (of no threat to anyone) to the ground across the globe with very little consequence (via nukes or otherwise) . Not so much war weariness, but making puppet cities / razing cities have SEVERE consequences to the very science/production/happiness bonuses that Liberty-Freedom-Rationalism give you. If you did this, believe you me, the war civs like Mongolia, Iroquois, Aztecs would not be taking Liberty every time like they do now.
.

:agree: without these sorts of restrictions picking a policy is just a matter of which boon do I want here and now. picking policies shouldn't be just about what I want to do as a civ but what I can't do with the civ. I the gods & kings expansion policies are going to have an effect in diplomacy which will mean their will be an element of role playing to the policies now and this sort of system would reinforce this.

Zaimejs
Mar 23, 2012, 01:31 PM
Is there a way to see what policies your "enemies" have in place? I liked that in CIV IV when it told you that someone changed from this to that... you knew they were building up for war or whatever. I've probably just not looked for this yet in Civ V. Laziness.

I just don't think the skill steps to social policies make much sense. Another added cool thing would be to have pressure to take the policies of your neighboring civs. I liked how in CIV IV that countries with the same government types would be friendlier. This makes sense. Maybe a new UN will help to implement some of those ideas?

Gucumatz
Mar 23, 2012, 02:18 PM
Yep Zaimejs. Clicking f4 brings up Diplomacy screen. Then clicking on the right for global politics will show which policies people have adopted I.e. 4 liberty, 2 Autocracy, 2 Piety, but not the specific policies