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10 Mistakes Offline Players Make When Playing Online

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by SoxSexSax, Jun 6, 2006.

  1. SoxSexSax

    SoxSexSax Chieftain

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    10 Mistakes Offline Players Make When Playing Online

    About 2 months ago, after winning a tough setup monarch game with ease (don't get me wrong, it took plenty of attempts to do that), I decided to try my hand playing online. In those 60 odd days, I have discovered three things about online Civ 4:

    A) Gamespy is a steaming pile of monkey plop (but that's not what we're discussing here thank God! :))

    B) I play Civ much better than the average online player (although I am by no means the best of the best or anything, I have my awful games as well as my good ones)

    C) A lot of players try using strategies that work offline but fail miserably against aggressive, thinking humans.

    So, I decided to compile this little list of the 10 most common mistakes I see mainly-offline-players make when playing online. I confidently postulate that a player who can win on noble will be significantly, SIGNIFICANTLY, better than the average online player if they can avoid making any of the following boo-boos:


    1) Rushing to found an early religion without mysticism

    It's very simple: if you do not start with mysticism, and two other non-teamed civs do, your only chance of getting one of the early two religions is if they both go for the same one. Even then, you can lose out. In the above scenario, you are significantly less than 50% likely to get one of the first 2 religions. If you desperately need an early religion online (and most times, you don't: rarely have I had a game go on long enough for the religious bonuses to make a big difference), be spiritual. Otherwise, change strat.


    2) Starting to build wonders that have been available for a while.

    If the pyramids have been available to build for 10 turns before you start, don't you think someone might just get there first? Huh? So often I hear people say "Oh how unlucky was I, I missed by 1 turn." It's not luck buddy, it's called lack of planning (yes, i had this happen to a team-mate today, a team-mate who told us how great he was at the start...and died first well before 500 AD). If you start building a wonder late, expect to lose it, ESPECIALLY if your civ is not industrious and an opponent's is. Pretty simple stuff, and yet why do I see people make this mistake every time I play online?


    3) Fail to build a military.

    This is by far and away the most common and most dangerous mistake to make. In fact, it's so common that I can't remember an online game where it hasn't affected someone.

    It is all well and good building a solid economy at the start. It is also all well and good building wonders. But, when your opponent who has diverted his hammers into axes instead of large triangular shaped tombs comes knocking at your door, those pyramids and libraries are just gonna stand there and let themselves be captured without so much as lifting a brick to stop it.

    The AI only tries to win a space race victory. Sure, it can backdoor its way to another type of win (usually time), but it only plays for space. Humans online, on the other hand, almost invariably play for conquest. In fact, you can safely assume that anyone who is not on your team plans to destroy you, and you'll be right 99.9% of the time. Additionally, if you lose a city to the AI, if it was important it'll normally remain for recapture (or you can reload, if you don't mind being a wee bit lame). Human's raze, most of the time, and there are, obviously, no reloads. Do I need to tell you that if you lose your capital online, you are basically dead?

    EVERY SINGLE THING YOU DO IN AN ONLINE GAME SHOULD BE DONE TO INCREASE YOUR MILITARY!!! This does not necessarily mean you should build units exclusively (although at least one or two cities probably should): increasing commerce increases money which allows more troop upgrades, building forges or the Heroic Epic allows quicker army building, happiness resources allow more tiles worked which can increase both commerce and hammers etc etc. But remember: EVERYTHING is simply a step on the path to military might. If a decision you make does not further your military cause in either short or long term, rethink it.

    As an example, I recently played a 6 player ffa on a large continents map. I declared war on England in 1580. I had somewhere in the region of 30 cossacks (playing as Catherine). England's defences? One swordsman per city, accompanied by a whole archer in the capital (oooooh!). In 1580. Shortest war I've ever had...


    4) Attempting to win by space, time or culture

    Do I actually need to explain why this is a bad idea online? Everyone gets told when you are close to achieving those goals. Everyone will declare war on you as soon as you are. You will not be able to achieve these goals while keeping a comparable military to a human warmonger, and you will be crushed.

    Maybe a real expert (faaaaar better than myself) could pull this off. Unless you are that expert, you win by eliminating your opponents. End of story.


    5) Not looking at the game setup properly

    Cast your mind back to point 3, to the story of that 6 man ffa. Why did England only have swordsmen in her cities? Because the player involved was going for a cultural victory (which, as we now know, is a mistake 99% of the time anyway). What makes this particular mistake even worse? CULTURAL VICTORY WAS BLOODY DISABLED IN GAME SETTINGS!!!!

    If you don't want to look like an idjit, check the game settings before it starts. Please. I'd advise paying particular attention to whether barbs are on or off (and frankly MP should have no barbs, because they can be horribly unfairly distributed on some types of map i.e. the earth map, england will get none, russia will be swamped).


    6) Not assisting allies in a team game

    A lot of online games are played either 2v2v2v2v2 (etc) or 3v3. This makes research go a lot faster, and having others to share in the glory/blame can be a lot of fun (and provides a good excuse for defeat too!) However, it becomes significantly less fun when you realise that you've joined a 3v3 game and gotten lumbered with two players who, with the exception of combined research, are basically treating it as a ffa.

    In a 3v3, the team that attacks first is very likely to concentrate its forces on ONE opposing team member. Now, should that mean that the one team mate should fight off the troops of three opponents single handed? It shouldn't, but it often does.

    If a teammate is under attack, and you are not, send what you can to him ASAP. Money is good. Troops are, obviously, superb. Any happiness resources or health resources you can possibly do without are also great. Fact is, you lose your third team mate, you have 2 researchers v 3. Put another way, lose the first team member, lose the game 99% of the time. If a teammate is under attack, YOU are under attack!


    7) Trading with players who are beating you

    If you're playing to win, you're playing to conquer. We've established as much. That means that the person offering you the trade is at some point planning to attack you. Now, that's not a problem if you consider yourself to be ahead in military. However, if THEY are ahead in military, odds are that the trade they are offering will benefit them more than you (if it doesn't, your probably against a rather inexperienced player...or noob, if you'd prefer :)).

    I'm not going quite as far as to say you should absolutely never ever ever trade with a more powerful civ online...but I would be wary to the extreme. At least consider it carefully before you do, as I have been able to get people to give me iron for fish in the past, while playing as Rome. Can you see why that might not be a great idea?


    8) Neglecting to build a navy on a map with lots of ocean

    It's easier to sink a fleet carrying 20 redcoats/panzers/cossacks than it is to kill 20 redcoats/panzers/cossacks. You should keep that in mind if the map suggests amphibious invasions are likely. Remember, a human will probably use far, far more military to attack you than the AI ever does, and if you can kill multiple units in one foul swoop in a ship battle, you'll make life a loooot easier for yourself.


    9) Waiting too long to go to war

    Attack as soon as you have the advantage. Don't hang on...and on...and on until you feel you have an absolutely brutal military...because if your opponent is competent his military should have grown at a similar rate. If you have the advantage (first to liberalism, for instance), press it ASAP. If not, better get a move on, because your opponent will be after you soon...


    10) Not passwording your civ at the start of the game

    OK, this one isn't really a game issue, but still, do you realise how irritating it is to have people constantly joining the game when its in progress? Very, is the short answer. But if everyone passworded their civ like the game prompts you to, it wouldn't happen. So please, for the sake of others, password your civ. You'll be glad you did, trust me.


    Whew, that took ages and its bloody hot in my PC room right now and I'm all sweaty and desperate to take a bath! However, in conclusion I just want to remind you of point 3: it is your military might that decides whether you win online. No military? No chance. If you pick up nothing else from this essay (because it is an essay :)), pick up on that!

    Any and all feedback gladly accepted provided it ain't rude.
     
  2. Naismith

    Naismith Chieftain

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    I've never done multiplayer, and don't intend to. I've always assumed that it would be a lot of fighting, so I'm not surprised by what you say above. Thanks for writing it though - I've always wondered if I would measure up online, and now I can believe I would be a great player without going to the inconvenience of actually trying out my theory. :lol:

    Fish for Iron? :eek:
     
  3. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    I think you need to change your terms from online/offline to multiplayer/single player. After all, lots of people play hotseat, direct IP or LAN games with friends, and while those games are multiplayer, they are still offline. Similarly, lots of people play succession games, and while those are single player (in that they are played against the computer), they are certainly online.

    Also, don't confuse being spiritual and starting with mysticism. After all, some spiritual civs start without it (Mali at least), and some non-spiritual civs start with it (Inca at least).
     
  4. SoxSexSax

    SoxSexSax Chieftain

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    Yah, thats a reasonable point.

    Note: the above mainly applies to games started from gamespy lobby.
     
  5. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    You might also consider greatly reducing your sig, or at least hiding it as a spoiler. As it is now, an admin will soon come in, delete it and give you a warning.
     
  6. SoxSexSax

    SoxSexSax Chieftain

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    Huh?

    It's less than 600 bytes...why should that be too big?

    Your avatar is over 4 times larger in size than my sig...
     
  7. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    It's not because of the size it takes on the drive, it's because of the size it takes on your screen. Read the forum policy. I've seen moderators delete signatures and post warnings because of large size, and i'm pretty sure your former signature would have been a good candidate for this.
     
  8. MrCynical

    MrCynical Chieftain

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    It's not the file size that's the issue, it's the number of lines the sig takes up in the forum. Yours was considerably larger than most of your posts, and hence was very distracting. I think you're allowed an absolute max of 7 lines (including blanks) and in a much smaller font than you were using.
     
  9. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    From the forum FAQs :

     
  10. TrailblazingScot

    TrailblazingScot I was kittenOFchaos

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    Zombie, are you going to try ladder as just playing random non-ladder people isn't going to be a particular challenge as they're happy to leave.

    Then, there is playing the best of the Frenchies in a team game in a Modern or Future games during the CCC...then you understand how much there is to the game. Waah!
     
  11. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    I will play just as many ladder people as i play non-ladder people, i.e. none. I'm simply not interested in multiplayer. I like to work my brain at this game, sometimes pausing and taking as much as 15 minutes to calculate e.g. whether it's more effective to rush something or to produce it the normal way. That kind of playing is incompatible with multiplayer, where fast play is a must. Just not my kind of game.
     
  12. Cosmichail

    Cosmichail Dark Lord of The Sith

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    Soxsexsax,

    Good pointers, I haven't played gamespy online games yet but am thinking of trying it out. Would like to see what it is like against humans. I liked your sig by the way but zombie is correct. DOH Have heard numerous times that there are a lot of problems with gamespy. Are they the only option?

    Zombie you mention there are various ways of playing. A person can also play with friends a game too through direct IP which I noticed in the Civ IV screens? What is hotseat btw?

    I have noticed too in SG games that people will defend their home cities with 1 archer when there are cavalry running around on the land they are invading. :eek: The AI leaves them alone but if there were humans about I am sure they would attack. I know I would.
     
  13. theimmortal1

    theimmortal1 Chieftain

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    Few things I'd like to chime in on:


    Firstly I disagree with passwording your civ. You want people to join in a game if somebody leaves. If I am playing online I want to be playing humans, not the AI.

    Secondly, with team games, I find people have very little strategy. They rarely want to tech in the same direction and most players have no idea how to manage the tech tree. For example I just played a 2v2, I was Qin. I was building the Oracle and I knew my opponents weren't. So I wanted to do a Machinery slingshot (Cho Kos). My mate started building Writing/COL as I did pottery and I began metal casting. But he was *****ing so I went to COL. Which BTW COL is the extremely useless in MP team games early on.

    So of course once we get COL I use the oracle to get civil service. Basic normal play. But then of course my mate yells at me once he dies because I didn't get my UU earlier. ummm, its kindo f difficult to get Machinery when you want to research AH (For horses nontheless), Writing, COL, Math and Construction before he will even budge on metal casting.
     
  14. GABB

    GABB Chieftain

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    Please Zombie, you must write an article: "Pausing your wife while calculate"...:lol: ... I'm interested....:goodjob:

    What about e-mail MP games? I didn`t try it in C3C, but I was unmarried and I played a entire game in 1 day, :rolleyes: , I think I can play 1 turn per day now.... Have you played this kind of game? ....
     
  15. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    I tried playing PBeM for another game, completely unrelated to civ (a board game normally played face to face). I didn't like that you had to wait for days to finish the game, when a normal game usually takes about 2 and a half hours straight. Plus everytime you get your opponent's move, you've forgotten all about the game, where you stood and what your plan was.
     
  16. TrailblazingScot

    TrailblazingScot I was kittenOFchaos

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    Apologies, I had somehow got into thinking that the first post of this thread was yours. I was marrying up your statements with what had been said in the first post - which sounded arrogant.

    Now to check if SoxSexSax is being arrogant!

    :lol: :crazyeye: :lol:



    P.S Despite alot of MP under my belt, I'd still love to take alot longer over turns. I enjoy to micromanage...which is why I work like a demon during multiplayer to get everything that has to be done, done!
     
  17. Swiftwin

    Swiftwin Chieftain

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    I just cant play single player. Its too predictable and boring. There seriousely lacks the geo-political aspect of the game. Thats also why I like to play multiplayer with permanent alliances and tech trading (not team game).

    It forces you to analyse who is on who's side, and why. You have to analyse every opponent's position and figure out their strengths, weaknesses, and assert their next move accordingly. You can manipulate people into attacking eachother and attack from behind. Once I lost my capital, and fell far behind in the game. I managed to envoke a war beteween a bunch of other guys, pretending to be their ally and stuff, and calulated my attack, and excecuted it perfectly and won.

    Sometimes though it bites you in the ass.

    I hate people who dont like permenent alliances on. They dont like it because they suck at it.


    Also, about the original post, MP isint all about war. Its all about manipulating others to avoid war. Ive played games where i havent been in a war the whole game will about 1500AD, where i crushed everybody.
     
  18. Yushal

    Yushal Chieftain

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    Good article. I would agree with alot of it, most of it. But I want players to NOT password their civ if they are the quitting type. I want people taking over the AIs.

    Instead of that, stress the fact that communication between team-mates is paramount. You have to work together in order to succeed, unless your opponents are just as scatter-brained as you are.

    The last game I played, my partner the Roman never replied to me with word one, and never did anything during my war (our war) until he finally contacted me to try to gift me all his crappy cities and then left. Never built one praetorian either, lol.
     
  19. The Tyrant

    The Tyrant Chieftain

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    I used to have my sig in a spoiler, but an admin asked me to remove the spoiler tags and make the text size one. Apparently spoiler tags in sigs are frowned upon.
     
  20. Shigga

    Shigga Shiggadelic Baby! :)

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    Interesting read I will certainly consider this when we get to organize the big cIVLAN-Event with 2vs2vs2vs2. That's gonna be nasty :D I love Coop-Games vs AI best tho :)
     

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