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Old Dec 09, 2010, 02:09 AM   #1
sir_kris
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Exclamation Maintenance Imbalance!! (Civ 5 cannot support large empires/armies)

I just played a single-player game on a standard map, King difficulty, domination-only. The goal was to test how Civ 5 handles situations where the game is reduced to 2 main, exceptionally large superpowers, vying for control of the planet. In previous Civ versions, everything would balance out quite well, allowing for a really strategic-- and hella fun-- showdown that usually ends with one or both civs being covered in mushroom clouds and fallout. The only real annoyance would be that far too much time would be spent micromanaging an enormous number of cities.

Enter Civilization V. The pro is that much less time is spent micromanaging cities and constructing SoD's. There is only one con. Unfortunately, it's not only big, it's downright prohibitive. I can sum it up in one word: Maintenance.

Unfortunately, Civ 5 is simply incapable of supporting a superpower nation with an army that can compete against the AI. My guess would be that the devs simply neglected to figure that into the equation when they were making sure the numbers all added-up.

Specifically, if you have a large number of cities + a large number of units, it is 100% impossible to sustain them, period. In my experiment, I played until around 2070 with Future Tech researched a few times. Japan and I (playing as America) were the sole superpowers, each on separate continents, though I shared mine with two smaller (and friendly) civs and some city states. Virtually all of my land is improved, mostly trade outposts (to the point where citizens are starving in many cities). All maintenance-reducing social policies have been adopted (roads, units, cities, etc). I'm not at war and net happiness is hovering between -10 and 10, depending on how I tweak unit fortifications/etc. Virtually every city has a stock exchange, gold focus, and is producing gold. I also tried selling science and other non-essential buildings in non-puppet cities.

The result? About -300 gold per turn. I was able to get it to around -200 after selling over half of my buildings AND switching every city to gold production. It dropped to around -180 after several units were randomly disbanded as a result of insufficient funds (cannot run a deficit under any circumstances like in Civ 4).

Meanwhile, the "Pointiest Sticks" metric shows that Japan has about 10 times the number of military units as I do (and you can see them). Diplo screen shows that Japan has 0 gold with around -800 per turn! No evidence of their units disbanding as far as I can tell. As a result, there's no way I an compete with their military, because theirs will continue to grow while mine shrinks due to the deficit.


This issue has been reported by others as well. Here's one link I found with a quick Google search:

http://www.gamespot.com/pc/strategy/...785&pid=938528


I certainly understand the devs' desire to discourage large clusters of units in favor of more strategic placement, but I think their zeal for this caused them to lose sight of the fact that larger civs will build larger armies, particularly in the future era. And remember, this was all on the *standard* map. I can't even imagine how bad this would've been on Earth....

This definitely needs to be fixed in the next patch, because right now Civ 5 is unplayable under those conditions. This is the first time I've said this since I started testing with this scenario after Civ 2 Multiplayer Gold was first released. I sincerely hope this will be addressed in the next patch.


Here are a few ideas that could alleviate it:

1. As the game progresses into later eras (and/or as the number of cities you control grows), REDUCE THE MAINTENANCE COST OF UNITS! I was building a fleet of destroyers in that test so I could see if Japan started to send an invasion force across the ocean. I couldn't narrow down a consistent per-unit GPT cost, but in one turn that I built a single destroyer (and nothing else), my GPT dropped -15! It almost seems like they actually rigged it so that the cost for each unit actually goes up the more units you have, like an exponential curve. Bad idea.

2. Make it so that researching Future Tech actually provides a substantive benefit, rather than just boosting your score. Specifically, perhaps like a cumulative 1% boost in gold production each time it's researched.

3. Have some wonders that can reduce the cost of various maintenance of buildings/units/improvements.

4. Add a social policy (perhaps to the end of the Commerce tree) that allows a civilization to run a deficit, similar to how you could in Civ 4. You could realistically offset this by creating unhappiness the larger the deficit is.

5. Increase the gold from "Wealth" production in a city. Converting only 25% of production is basically pointless. For example, in a moderate-sized city that's costing me about 20 gold per turn in maintenance, if there's 10 production then I'll get a whopping 2.5 gold per turn! I think it should be 100%, or at very least 50%.


I've got some saves from that test if anyone would like to have a look at the specifics of what I'm talking about. I would also be interested in hearing any other suggestions on how this "formulaic bug" (for lack of a better term) can be fixed. And no, I'm not interested in hearing "Just dont biuld large civs, n00b!" responses, so don't bother. ;P


--Kris

Last edited by sir_kris; Dec 09, 2010 at 04:24 PM.
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Old Dec 09, 2010, 02:13 AM   #2
Slowpoke
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Fixed in most mods including mine, via using option 1 (create wealth I think is 60% in MM last I checked, too) Developers seem to like taking mod ideas, so I wouldn't be surprised if it's fixed in vanilla soon.
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Old Dec 09, 2010, 12:13 PM   #3
Aldor
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Please post a save.

I think its not a problem of building lots of cities. Each city after all brings new people to work land and earn gold. Unless you build too many buildings, city building maintainance should be usually covered by what the city earns. Then you have trade routes to cover the rest. I suppose you're just building too many units.
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Old Dec 09, 2010, 04:21 PM   #4
sir_kris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aldor View Post
Please post a save.

I think its not a problem of building lots of cities. Each city after all brings new people to work land and earn gold. Unless you build too many buildings, city building maintainance should be usually covered by what the city earns. Then you have trade routes to cover the rest. I suppose you're just building too many units.
That's also what I thought at first. However, when I checked the expenses, buildings were costing almost as much as units. And unfortunately, your suggestion is not an option because most of those buildings are in puppet cities that I have no control over. Annexing a single city causes a ton of unhappiness (that can only be cured with expensive buildings like the courthouse). And if you don't annex the city, it continues building useless buildings that drain your treasury.

So because of this, yes having a lot of cities is not supported, because the only way you can have this many cities is to keep them as puppets, or to have your empire crippled by "livid" citizens. It's a catch-22.

I'll go ahead and post some saves. I don't have time to go through it at the moment but I'll get them posted as soon as I get the chance. =)


--Kris
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 05:57 PM   #5
sir_kris
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Alrighty, here's the most recent save file, as promised. Note that, in this save, about half a dozen or so of my military units have already been forcibly disbanded.

I sincerely hope they fix this bug in the next patch.
Attached Files
File Type: civ5save Washington_0554 AD-2077-.Civ5Save (899.9 KB, 61 views)
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Old Jul 23, 2011, 09:54 AM   #6
sir_kris
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I hope y'all will forgive me for bumping this old thread. I haven't played Civ 5 since I posted this because the maintenance imbalance proved to make the game prohibitively limited for my favorite superpower strategy. Now I just read about this new patch. I took a look at the changelog and it looks like maintenance costs are somewhat reduced, but so is happiness.

So I'm wondering: For those of you who have played the patched version already, can you tell me if the maintenance issue for large empires is better or worse than before? If better, then I think I'll start playing again!


Thanks guys!
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Old Jul 26, 2011, 05:05 AM   #7
Camikaze
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I haven't noticed a maintenance issue. Using social policies like Oligarchy and Military Caste are big helps in this regard. You may run a small deficit at times, but it should be adequately compensated through warfare (taking cities), and seems to quickly improve with a solid puppet empire.
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