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Old Nov 18, 2010, 05:04 PM   #1
Stanislaw
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[UPDATE!] Death of Conventional Strategies? [11/18 + 12/3 Patch Notes]

From the new patch notes of 11/18, as well as the updated ones from 12/3:

Spoiler:
AI

* Never use ranged units to provide flanking bonuses. (Added 11/18)
* Improve AI use of protected bombard attacks (melee in front, ranged in the rear). (Added 11/18)
* Worker priority adjustments (prioritize pillaged tiles, etc.). (Added 11/18)
* Further pathfinder optimization. (Added 11/18)

* AI will be more aggressive about pursuing Diplo victory if they are wealthy. (Added 12/3)
* AI more effective with building, moving, and using aircraft and anti-aircraft more effectively. (Added 12/3)
* AI more likely to effectively use siege units in a city attack. (Added 12/3)
* Better nuke targeting by AI. (Added 12/3)
* Tactical AI Tuning: Reduce chance of AI civs making "suicide" attacks. (Added 12/3)
* Multiple tweaks and bug fixes. (Added 12/3)


GAMEPLAY

* Science building track adjustments (cost, specialist slots, GP Points, etc). (Added 11/18)
* Amount of damage caused during naval combat increased. (Added 11/18)
* Melee horse units combat value lowered, and now receive a penalty when attacking cities. (Added 11/18)
* Lowered bonuses received from Maritime city-states. (Added 11/18)
* Removed maintenance from defensive buildings. (Added 11/18)
* Multiple unit upgrade track adjustments. Most (but not all) units now have a full upgrade path from start to finish. (Added 11/18)
* Open terrain penalty lowered. (Added 11/18)
* Policies must be selected the turn they are earned. (Added 11/18)
* Promotions must be selected the turn they are earned. If it’s as a result of combat, then the beginning of the next turn. (Added 11/18)

* Increased city strength ramp-up based on technology. (Added 12/3)
* Catapults and Trebuchets now weaker against units but stronger VS cities, and reduced effectiveness of Archers & Crossbowmen (and their UUs) VS cities. (Added 12/3)
* Have culture cost for policies never go down (trading away cities to reduce culture cost exploit). (Added 12/3)
* Reduced effects of Forbidden Palace and Meritocracy (Happiness per city). (Added 12/3)
* Reduced points from Wonders & Cities, increased points for population. (Added 12/3)
* Reduced culture needed for first plot acquisition. (Added 12/3)
* New Building: Circus Maximus (National Wonder for happiness track). (Added 12/3)
* New Building: National Treasury (National Wonder for economic track). (Added 12/3)
* Unhappiness beyond a certain point breeds rebels within your empire, based on the number of cities a player has. (Added 12/3)
* Reduced amount of food needed for cities to grow at larger sizes. (Added 12/3)
* Tradition branch balance (Landed Elite and Monarchy improvements). (Added 12/3)
* Liberty branch balance (Settler training bonus now only applies to capital). (Added 12/3)
* Buildings can now no longer provide more Happiness than there is population in a city (wonders are excluded from this). (Added 12/3)
* 3 new additional Natural Wonders added to gameplay, with accompanying “rarity” code. (Added 12/3)
* Multiple Tech Tree tweaks to address “slingshot” tech exploits. (Added 12/3)
* Killing a barb inside a city-state's territory now gives a 5-turn buffer where there is no Influence intrusion penalty. (Added 12/3)
* Reduced and balanced combat bonuses. (Added 12/3)


UI

* Added game option to disable automated workers from removing features. (Added 11/18)

* Additional updates to the Global Politics screen. (Added 12/3)
* Added game option to disable turn-blocking promotions and policy choices. (Added 12/3)


DIPLO

*Additional AI attitude tool-tips for cases that were not already covered. (Added 12/3)


MODDING

* Support for mods that perform major restructuring of the tech tree including adding, deleting, and updating techs, buildings, and units. (Added 12/3)
* Added GameEvents system for overriding Gameplay DLL specific functionality. (Added 12/3)
* Fixed "Reload Landmark System" mod flag to now refresh landmarks defined in "ArtDefine_Landmarks". (Added 12/3)
* Multiple SDK Updates (details to come with full patch notes). (Added 12/3)


Perhaps, perhaps not.

At the very least, horsemen rushes are made a bit more difficult, Granary (and Water Mills) will actually have a point with Maritime Bonuses lowered, and since Science buildings are going to undergo changes - probably in the negative direction, such as having only one scientist slot for a Library - 200 turn Diety spaceships will now be probably impossible. And let's not forget that slingshoting to Industrial from the use of Great Scientists via Biology and unlocking Communism immediately after will now be impossible due to the fact that Policies must be selected the turn they are earned, and saving up Insta-healing promotions (which was massively overpowered to begin with) is no longer an option and ranged units no longer contribute to Flanking bonuses (edit: misunderstood), making battles a little more challenging.

And along with the 12/3 update notes, even more changes...

So what do you guys think of all the changes, and how they'll affect all the conventional strategies we've used when they release the patch?

Personally, I like the naval changes the best. I always thought naval combat was a bit underpowered, and makes controlling the seas much more important now. And now with the new update notes, it makes it look like a whole different game altogether...

Last edited by Stanislaw; Dec 05, 2010 at 06:06 PM.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 05:35 PM   #2
Lanstro
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This patch is very promising. In tandem with the promised AI improvements, I think this patch can move the game from 'good' to 'very good'.

I didn't warrior rush or ICS using great scientists much before, so those changes don't affect me much. The main things that this patch will shake up for me is how I use social policies and maritime city states. One of my standard openings on immortal was to go for stonehenge (if a calendar resource is nearby), using tradition and aristocracy. Since we won't be able to save up for social policies (I was fond of saving a few for commerce or patronage), this opening will be greatly less powerful and I'll probably abandon it altogether. That probably means that I'll have use tradition a lot more often than I have been recently, since we'll be forced to pick about 3 of the ancient policies and the best set-of-3 is probably in the tradition tree.

It's interesting that maybe this means a good strategy in the early game is to avoid building monuments until you unlock better policy trees (eg commerce), and instead rely on purchasing tiles until that stage. Absurdly, it may open the strategy of plopping down some undesirable cities just to increase the SP cost, and then sell them off to the AI later on.

The other thing about not being able to save up policies is it will slow down cultural wins. So much for saving up policies for the freedom tree, then saving up policies until you've built the cristo redentor.

The maritime city state nerf will as you said make granaries and water mills more useful. I'll also probably farm more, which means less mines/trading posts, which means an overall less powerful empire.

Stick in the promised tougher AI, a few more exploit fixers (eg trade-then-declare, settler blocking, etc), and the game will actually be a challenge!
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 05:54 PM   #3
tibbles
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I don't like the policy change. While the current approach is abusable yes, the new approach just introduces the far worse mechanic of actively trying to avoid culture until certain eras.
A game should never force you to avoid improving and this is even worse than the current irritant of trying to avoid positive happiness until you want a GA.
It also breaks balance between picking small bonuses now and saving for large bonuses later. Instead we get stuck with picking junk now. This needs to be paired with more policy tree balance.

My guess (especially given there is a visible display field for unspent policies) is they originally wanted to let you save up, then noticed how far players abused it and so overshot by removing it rather than making it less beneficial.

The other changes will hurt, but should be good for balance. Will have to try them out to see.

edit: Also note, while the policy change hurts culture wins and more interesting play styles, it does nothing to slow the ICS approach of grabbing Liberty policies ASAP as policy costs inflate rapidly.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 06:02 PM   #4
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Why do units have to use their promotion on the turn they get them? I don't like that.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 06:10 PM   #5
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Looks great to me! If anything goes too far they can always dial it back anyway.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 06:11 PM   #6
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Maybe better than forcing you to choose an SP as soon as you meet the culture requirement, why not penalize you for not taking it?

If you have 10x the culture you need to purchase a policy, the policy is 2x in cost. The more excess, the more severe the penalty.

I think something along those lines would be much more reasonable, and open up another choice for the player.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 06:27 PM   #7
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They all look great to me! Anything to make the game harder, more challenging and less exploitive/abused.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 06:56 PM   #8
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To me it feels as if the whole game philosophy is wrong.
As it is, builds and units take ages to be handmade. The only thing that is fast in this game is science. Now, what do they do? Nerf science as well, nerf social policies, nerf warfare.

There is little evidence to me that changes are made to give you more options, more choices, more challenges. It's simply 'we make the game harder for humans by nerfing all strategies they could exploit'.

What will the game look like after that? No more fast growth, less speed with science, less useful social policies.

Looks to me as if the game will turtle even more with all these changes. Be prepared for more click end turn boredom.

and to add: to me changes in the right direction would be.
- enhance the AI
- get rid of the stupid road penalty
- get rid of building maintenance
- make buildings useful
- rethink that 1upt decision to allow more than 1 worker per tile
- make strategic resources really strategic
- make the AI diplomacy interesting
etc etc
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 07:01 PM   #9
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So now there won't be much point in making chariot archers, archer or cross/longbows, because their promotions don't get converted to the melee versions once upgraded to a melee unit.

I don't like the policy changes at all. This means we will always have to take a policy or two in the first 3 trees. However, if this change only applies to those Free policies from Wonders or the last policy in Piety, then it makes a little more sense to have to use it right away. Otherwise this change will force us to avoid earning any more than the single culture per turn from the Palace in our home city until we've unlocked the policies we want to use. This makes Cultured CS the worst one to ally with and makes ICS even stronger because it can very effectively prevent popping a new policy too early due to the increasing cost for each added city.

The worst bit about the patch is, those of us that don't like one or two of the changes can't continue playing without this patch, because Steam will force us all to have the patch.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 07:21 PM   #10
John-SJ
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It's unfortunate, but many of the changes that Firaxis is proposing seem to be punitive in nature.

Rather than making minor adjustments to some of the worst abuses and then boosting some of the choices that were too difficult or expensive, and giving the player a wider range of viable choices, they seem to have taken the strategy of making every choice equally unpalatable.

I suppose that is one way of providing balance, but it seems it will be done at the expense of fun.

Too bad.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 07:52 PM   #11
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Agree on the social policy and promotion changes -- limiting a player's strategic options are bad, when the game is already lacking in strategic variability.

I like the horseman penalty.

However, nothing has really been done to change how the game is played. Rushing will still be the way to go. Bringing an extra horse or two will hurt, but warrior rushing is still the same. Nothing has been done to change ICSing really aside from nerfing maritimes :shrug:

What got beefed? Some of the underpowered SPs could use improvement, etc. etc.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 08:12 PM   #12
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The SP is major - a huge change - an enforcement by the Firaxis police state. My worry is not only that it reduces strategic options (as futurehermit said), but that along with the other nerfs it will take out the dramatic high spots of the game and make it even more bland.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 08:16 PM   #13
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Ranged units still provide flanking the change is that the AI will no longer use them for flanking which opens them up to easy melee attacks.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 08:19 PM   #14
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Sounds like a nice bunch of changes. Free defensive buildings, yay!
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 08:32 PM   #15
Martin Alvito
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tibbles View Post
I don't like the policy change. While the current approach is abusable yes, the new approach just introduces the far worse mechanic of actively trying to avoid culture until certain eras.
It's going to significantly weaken the French, for sure. And it will certainly cause me to actively avoid Culture so that I can continue to take my second policy in the Renaissance.

The biggest concern I have is that several other changes also seem to be ill-informed:

- Forcing players to take promotions immediately just compels microing which units fight what when, so that they earn the proper amount of experience at the proper times. The problem is the instantaneous self-heal, not the ability to defer promotions.

- It's difficult to comment on the Science nerf from the information provided, but switching the number of Scientist slots on Libraries and Universities isn't going to solve the problem. A pure ICS runs a single Scientist in a Library; I generally defer heavy Scientist use until Universities. Also, I hope they've added a slot to the Wat if that is the approach they took, rather than unintentionally nerf Siam.

- Juggling building costs isn't going to solve much either. Even at 300H, a University is going to be a sensible investment because of the power of Great Scientists.

- Regardless of how few GPPs you make Scientists produce, it's still going to be the case that it is only desirable to produce Great Scientists and Great Engineers. At best, altering that calculus will promote early Workshops. The other GPs need a buff.

Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of positive new changes. But a lot more needs to happen to fundamentally alter the present gameplay optima. With the information we have, it looks like all this batch of changes will do is compel players to substitute away from early Cultural allies to early Maritime allies, substitute Iron rushes for Horse rushes and prioritize Education and Scientific Theory. That doesn't strike me as producing the strategic richness players desire.

The implementation of the AI fixes is probably the most important thing. The better a tactical game the AI plays, the more the player will be compelled to deviate from theoretically optimal play and instead play the map and opponents.

Last edited by Martin Alvito; Nov 18, 2010 at 08:36 PM.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 08:44 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Stanislaw View Post
And let's not forget that slingshoting to Industrial from the use of Great Scientists via Biology and unlocking Communism immediately after will now be impossible due to the fact that Policies must be selected the turn they are earned, and saving up Insta-healing promotions (which was massively overpowered to begin with) is no longer an option and ranged units no longer contribute to Flanking bonuses, making battles a little more challenging.
I think you misread the statement about flanking. It just says that the AI players will not be using ranged units to provide flanking bonuses, so it will be 'smarter' in that ranged units will not be exposing themselves to melee attack in order to provide a flanking bonus to another one of their units.

I'm more or less okay with all these, except the Social Policy changes. This is a perfect example of treating a symptom and not the disease. Why do people save up policies? Usually because they deem the early ones weak and don't want to buy them, or they won't be able to afford the later ones they want to get if they don't save. So they simply prohibit the behavior they don't like instead of correcting the causes of that behavior- by making earlier policies more desirable or later policies easier to get. I don't know how a player is expected to do anything with the Order and Autocracy trees now while having these policies can still have any meaningful impact on their game. And I agree this is going to make the cultural victories significantly harder unless you do the lame exploits that this patch doesn't correct.

If they were really going to go with the force-buy method, it would have been better to couple it with being able to reclaim used policies with 1 or 2 turns of anarchy for every one you take back. That way you can decide to go all out for Tradition in the early game when you get the most benefit, then make a strategic decision to swap it for Order late game when Tradition no longer helps you. Or somebody who thinks they might be in a losing game can pull out their policies to funnel into Honor if need be.

I don't think the Science changes will be that big of a deal. If they switched it so that the Library has only 1 specialist slot and the University has 2, that would be pretty sensible.

I'm very happy about the removal of maintenance for defensive buildings, but i don't see that having a huge impact on the game.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 08:50 PM   #17
E66man
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Originally Posted by Martin Alvito View Post
The biggest concern I have is that several other changes also seem to be ill-informed:

- Forcing players to take promotions immediately just compels microing which units fight what when, so that they earn the proper amount of experience at the proper times. The problem is the instantaneous self-heal, not the ability to defer promotions.
This is another example of treating a symptom and not the disease. The smarter fix would have been to either remove insta-healing or link it to other promotions (Medic?). Now with this ranged units suffer even more since you can't mitigate the damage of losing their abilities when upgraded to melee.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 08:55 PM   #18
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There'll be a mod in a jiffy to get rid of the SP rule. No problem .
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 09:19 PM   #19
Stanislaw
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Originally Posted by E66man View Post
I think you misread the statement about flanking. It just says that the AI players will not be using ranged units to provide flanking bonuses, so it will be 'smarter' in that ranged units will not be exposing themselves to melee attack in order to provide a flanking bonus to another one of their units.
Yeah, my bad. It should have been obvious since that tidbit was under the "AI" heading rather than the "GAMEPLAY" heading. One of those moments...

As for the social policy changes everyone seems to be having the most problems with... I think the biggest problem is the fact that social policies simply take too long to unlock. This is evidenced by the fact that hardly anyone goes for a cultural victory, and unlike the Maritime city states which provide more bonuses the more cities you have (in terms of total food produced), Cultural city states provide a flat bonus regardless of your empire size. I think the best time I got for a Cultural victory is something around 380~400 turns on Standard, and that's with me playing on Prince difficulty and thus getting pretty much all Culture related wonders. I have no idea how I'll pull it off on higher level difficulties. Compared to all the other victory conditions, it is by far the hardest to achieve.

Personally, I wouldn't mind of they force you to adopt social policies when you gain enough culture - if they made the overall culture required for unlocking a policy lower. In exchange, they can make it so cultural victories require to have six social policies completely unlocked. That way you can have more cultural policies unlocked, giving access to more benefits, and allows a player to sidetrack and dip in to the less-popular social policies even if they aren't going for a cultural victory. Or something. The way it works right now, especially with the massive positives of having tons of cities, social policies are all-too often under appreciated because they hardly get unlocked.

Last edited by Stanislaw; Nov 18, 2010 at 09:25 PM.
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Old Nov 18, 2010, 09:21 PM   #20
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Well I'm happy that they're trying to balance the game, but I think these changes will just make more micro-intensive and less fun. Not being able to save social policies is the worst example of that- now, if you want to use any of the later policies, you'll have to delay getting any culture early, and try to get a new policy on the same turn you enter the new era. Most likely, everyone will just go down liberty or honor- as if those policies weren't already good enough. Especially with (I assume) slower science.

And, like others have said, you'll have to carefully count XP points so that units heal when you want them to. Not looking forward to that, either.

I'm happy that they're nerfing horse units, although I doubt they're doing enough. 4 moves for horsemen is just too much.

All together, these changes seem to discourage doing anything except a pure ICS right from the start, with liberty to manage happiness, and swords/catapults for defense.
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