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(3-09) Proposal: God of War & Goddess of Protection Tweaks

I’m sorry if this is rude to say, but this entire Goddess of Protection deal seems like change for the sake of change. There’s nothing wrong with the pantheon in it’s current form that warrants this sort of overhaul.
 
I’m sorry if this is rude to say, but this entire Goddess of Protection deal seems like change for the sake of change. There’s nothing wrong with the pantheon in it’s current form that warrants this sort of overhaul.
I'm afraid change for the sake of change applies to a lot of proposals.
 
Second game with the proposed God of War. Japan, a civ that adds 1 :c5culture::c5faith: to Barracks (and Walls), it is the civ most affected by this proposal. Founded on turn 102, with Stonehenge, Statue of Zeus (free Barracks + 1 :c5culture::c5faith: from the wonder itself). Opened Tradition (3 :c5faith: early from Sovereignty) due to a flood plains start. Barbarians didn't roam my lands, I instead went to clear three barb camps that were requested by two CS quests.

Overall a slow start compared to what this civ usually gets with the current Goddess of Protection + Tradition. I usually get a pantheon between turns 85-95 in these conditions. Compared to it, founding on turn 102 makes it similar to how I tend to perform when playing with civs that have no faith bonuses, like Babylon and Carthage. And curiously, AI Austria managed to found on turn 101 with Goddess of the Home. All of this suggest that the proposed God of War could be amended to provide 3:c5faith:1:c5production: to Barracks and be on par with existing pantheons, faith-wise.

The 1:c5production: on Barracks has been underwhelming, even for Tradition's secondary cities. I was expecting it to help them to get infrastructure almost as if I were playing Progress, but the city tends to have already expanded to enough production tiles by the time the barracks is ready.

Despite Japan adding a 1:c5culture: to the barracks, I'm one policy behind all other AIs, though not for long. There's a big opportunity cost in prioritizing Barracks over the monument and shrine; Japan is usually able to cover it, but a generic civ will likely struggle. I intent to try with a generic civ next to confirm it.
At 3 :c5faith:, the barracks would be entirely carrying the pantheon, and the yields on kills wouldn't even be a factor.

How much stuff are you managing to kill in these test runs? Are you doing the things you ought to be doing like hunting barbs and killing CS units?

We could increase the yields to 125% or even 175%, but the original, with no building bonus was 225%, and I can't imagine how anyone managed to found with this pantheon if we can't put half of it on a building.

Edit: also another good reason to move 1 of the 2 buildings off GoProtection. It maps way too cleanly onto Japan's UA right now. Basically removes any decision making from that civ for pantheon choice because there is 1 pantheon which is already just 2.5x power on your UA. It even gives the same yields.
 
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At 3 :c5faith:, the barracks would be entirely carrying the pantheon, and the yields on kills wouldn't even be a factor.

How much stuff are you managing to kill in these test runs? Are you doing the things you ought to be doing like hunting barbs and killing CS units?
As much as feasible. With Assyria, not only I chased them into their camps, I even went to an early war against Poland to kill units and conquer two cities. With Japan, there was no war, but I actively chased barbarians and even sent my units to remote places just to kill the last barbarian camp that was left around.

We could increase the yields to 125% or even 175%, but the original, with no building bonus was 225%, and I can't imagine how anyone managed to found with this pantheon if we can't put half of it on a building.
Mainly Aztecs and/or raging barbarians, I think. So often a post appeared of someone enjoying raging barbarians with Aztecs and God of War. This pantheon is well tailored for this civ.

I personally prefer the yields on kill to be boosted, since the current 100% is not enjoyable to obtain. I do think that God of War gives very little outside the faith, though, the extra production is not doing enough to justify this pantheon; even if the faith output were good, it is providing overall less for the empire than other pantheons are capable of.

Edit: also another good reason to move 1 of the 2 buildings off GoProtection. It maps way too cleanly onto Japan's UA right now. Basically removes any decision making from that civ for pantheon choice because there is 1 pantheon which is already just 2.5x power on your UA. It even gives the same yields.
A civ being particularly synergistic with a pantheon isn't new: Russia with God of Expanse, Aztecs with God of War, Babylon with Goddess of Wisdom, Carthage with God of Commerce, Inca with Goddess of Nature, Polynesia with God of the Sea, Egypt with Goddess of Beauty, etc.

It may have been intentional when Gazebo changed Japan's UA. Goddess of Protection wasn't exactly fitting that well with any particular civ, even those that had a related UB weren't founding faster or getting more out of this pantheon than a generic civ would. Gazebo also mentioned about Japan being more defensive than France, this synergy with Protection likely plays a role in that reasoning. If that was indeed intended, it worked; Japan can indeed defend from aggressive neighbors early on, despite its military bonuses being tied to Medieval Era, due to both the healing and the big rewards for prioritizing military/defensive infrastructure (over the generic monument + shrine).

I don't mind splitting Walls and Barracks between two pantheons, there's merit on Japan being synergistic with two pantheons instead of one, even if not as synergistic as it is with the current Goddess of Protection. But I'd prefer those proposed pantheons to not be subpar, which is how the proposed God of War has been turning in my tests.

On a side note, I don't like the amendment to Protection's healing being toned down, since that's the iconic part of the pantheon. I prefer this pantheon to be powerful and unique at expense of speed, over fast but weaker and generic.
 
The biggest problem with putting Protection all-in on Walls is that Walls just very aren't good buildings. They're a waste of hammers unless you're under or expect to be under aggression in that particular city. I've had countless cities across countless games that don't even bother building Walls for several eras after they're unlocked. Do tell if I'm wrong, but I image that's a pretty common story. I'm not saying that they're a bad building, mind you, Walls are very good at what they do, just that they're very niche.
And therein lies the problem with making Protection tied to Walls. If you give them boost similar to what other pantheons give to less-niche buildings, ones the player's actually going to build, then you've turned a slow but strong, reliable military-focused pick into a pantheon as niche as Walls themselves. Nobody is ever going to click Protection unless they encountered Shaka on turn 5.

I'd imagine this is why Protection boosts two different buildings in the first place. Which, for the record, is not inherently a problem. Something being unique or unusual does not mean it's something that needs to be fixed.
 
If you went GoProtection you are building walls in all cities. That remains true Before and after the change. If you weren’t going to build walls you wouldn’t have picked the pantheon that relies on them for almost half its yields.
Which, for the record, is not inherently a problem. Something being unique or unusual does not mean it's something that needs to be fixed.
A building bonus is never unique or unusual. If anything, Having 2 of them on 1 pantheon makes GoProt the most *Usual*, ordinary pantheon. Defending the most samey, boring bonus in the game as actually the thing that makes GoProt unique cuts no ice with me.
 
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If you went GoProtection you are building walls in all cities. That remains true Before and after the change. If you weren’t going to build walls you wouldn’t have picked the pantheon that relies on them for almost half its yields.
No, not really. 2:c5faith:1:c5culture: on Barracks and the Palace with the healing bonus is pretty good on it's own. If you're also building lots of Walls then sure, it's better, but it's not like it's bad if you're not.

A building bonus isn’t a unique or unusual. Having 2 of them on 1 pantheon makes GoProt the most *Usual*, bog-standard pantheon. Defending the most samey, boring bonus in the game as actually the thing that makes GoProt unique cuts no ice with me.
I'm not defending the two boosts as something unique, I'm saying it's not inherently a problem. There's a difference.
And Protection is the most *Usual*, bog-standard pantheon because of this? One of the problems you list in the proposal is that it's "the only pantheon that has 2 regular building bonuses." That's what I was addressing with that aside. Now it's bog-standard? Make up your mind.
 
Finished my third test game. Huns, a civ with zero faith bonuses. Authority and no faith from terrain or city-states. Got Stonehenge and I was blessed with a large landmass and only one distant neighbor (England), meaning barbarians kept popping everywhere. Founded on turn 102, similar to my previous games, thanks to the situation with barbarians being quite extreme; it was as if I had selected Raging Barbarians (I didn't). With so many barbarians everywhere and my neighbor being quite far, I didn't have time for a war. I actually expected to found closer to turn 90 with this much unit killing, so turn 102 was a disappointment to me.

Cultural progression was slightly slower than on the previous Japan run, about 100 :c5culture: culture less by turn 102, despite the amount of barbarians killed. The hunnish Eki did provide some extra culture, so this wasn't the generic civ run I was planning before; culture from uniques shouldn't differ much. It mostly reflects the difference between Tradition vs Authority, in my opinion.
 
I plan to test two more times, different civs as usual, among them Aztecs, whose UA stack with God of War. In the meanwhile, here are my thoughts on the proposal:
  • God of War's faith output is overall subpar, giving in favorable conditions what many pantheons give in their average conditions.
  • The 100% CS-to-faith conversion is not doing enough to carry this pantheon, and loses much of the excitement of the current GoW when killing a unit.
  • The 1 :c5production: production on barracks isn't noticeable.
    • For Tradition, it is tied to a costly building, meaning secondary cities take a long time to benefit from it.
    • For Authority, 1 :c5production: production gets drowned by the opener and scaler.
  • The pantheon lacks in giving something else aside faith. Only 1 :c5production: production means it offers little compared to the alternative yields and/or effects of other pantheons.
Overall, I think the proposed God of war could use a numeric buff, plus an alternative effect to distinguish it from all other pantheons. My tentative suggestion would be:

:c5faith:Faith from Kills (150% of unit CS), and Melee units heal for 10 points after killing a military unit.
+2:c5faith:+2 :c5production: from Barracks


Two numeric changes and a weaker version of Authority's heal on kill. I think this effect is thematic for this pantheon, and I'm tempted to make a counterproposal for it.

About the proposed Goddess of Protection, I think the amendment wasn't ideal. I much prefer the original and I think it only needed a cap, to keep its scaling within expected for a pantheon. The +10 heal is the most distinctive part of this pantheon and I don't think it should be changed; meanwhile, the concern with the faith from city strength was for the late game, something that the +10 heal should already cover enough.
 
And Protection is the most *Usual*, bog-standard pantheon because of this? One of the problems you list in the proposal is that it's "the only pantheon that has 2 regular building bonuses." That's what I was addressing with that aside. Now it's bog-standard? Make up your mind.
I'll put it this way then. Having 2 building bonuses on a single pantheon is aggressively mediocre design.
:c5faith:Faith from Kills (150% of unit CS), and Melee units heal for 10 points after killing a military unit.
+2:c5faith:+2 :c5production: from Barracks
Getting the heal on kills onto it is new code, and I'm not sure I'm cool with how that pushes GoWar into so much overlap with the Dominance Authority policy.

How about 175%:c5faith: on kills and +2:c5faith::c5production: on barracks? That would also unstack the kills% from Aztecs
 
A civ being particularly synergistic with a pantheon isn't new: Russia with God of Expanse, Aztecs with God of War, Babylon with Goddess of Wisdom, Carthage with God of Commerce, Inca with Goddess of Nature, Polynesia with God of the Sea, Egypt with Goddess of Beauty, etc.

On a side note, I don't like the amendment to Protection's healing being toned down, since that's the iconic part of the pantheon. I prefer this pantheon to be powerful and unique at expense of speed, over fast but weaker and generic.
I sympathize with this point of view, but I don't know if it makes good design sense.

That +10HP in certain situations is just extraordinary in a way that other pantheons aren't. The only ability in the game that is more than +5 heal by itself is the Khan. A +5HP heal is still definitely impactful.

Now, putting that 10HP in competition with the viability of the pantheon to found is tough, because some civs have synergies with this pantheon and no doubt would like to found with it while also playing to their strengths. But if you are the civ with the unique wall, and it was determined that your pantheon would be hard to found with because what makes it special comes at the cost of its faith generation, that sounds much better on paper than it does in an actual game. Some other civ like the Iroquois gets to have a pantheon boost their UB without it being a special, non-founding pantheon, and when they found and you don't, they can spread to you and supplant your pantheon.
 
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Fourth test game, playing as Persia, a civ with zero faith bonuses and only 50% longer golden ages for culture, which is rather insignificant in Ancient Era. It was overall a bad game, partly due to my inexperience with this civ; I overestimated how durable the Immortal really is. Founded on turn 104 nonetheless thanks to a city state quest worth 86:c5faith: faith.

Stonehenge (so consistent), Authority, I found few barbarians around my lands. After clearing the two camps near my lands, I settled aggressively towards my closest neighbor (Brazil) and declared war for an Immortal rush. Not a successful war, despite timing it with a golden age; fighting in heavy jungle meant that I had little vision and few ways to chase his units; moreover, his units would almost always have the 25% :c5strength: CS terrain bonus to reduce my ability to earn kills, as if his units also had the Armor Plating promotion of my Immortals. As such, I ended getting relatively few kills on this war and got little for all the trouble. After the war, though, three more barbarian camps appeared around my empire, which I farmed desperately to found before the 110 turn mark. One city state asked for Petra, which I rushed for and got 86 :c5faith: faith out of it, which shaved 6 or 7 turns of faith output.

Culture output was bad, about 300 :c5culture: less than what I got in the Japan test. Again, part of it had to do with my inexperience with this civ, as my war was not a good one; this difference alone isn't explained by the culture form uniques alone.

Overall, this test game gave an idea of how the proposed God of war performs under a bad game, in contrast to the favorable ones from before. I actually expected the faith output to have been lower in such conditions, but I guess that the 100% rate means low variance in the end. Overall a slow pantheon, but not by as much as I thought, and with low variance so far. I may try an extra test game with Progress to check how important the faith on Barracks really is.
 
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Getting the heal on kills onto it is new code, and I'm not sure I'm cool with how that pushes GoWar into so much overlap with the Dominance Authority policy.
I tested coding it before suggesting it, and managed to implement it with sql/xml only. It can be implemented with the existing code.

I don't think it is an issue to have it stack with Dominance, it may even give an incentive for players to pick Dominance as their 2nd policy, over the common 2nd Tribute -> 3rd Imperium. Besides, so many pantheons overlap with Tradition's policies (if due to how many buildings it boosts) that it may be a good idea to add one for Authority's policies.

That +10HP in certain situations is just extraordinary in a way that other pantheons aren't. The only ability in the game that is more than +5 heal by itself is the Khan. A +5HP heal is still definitely impactful.
Other heal abilities work outside friendly territory, Goddess of Protection's heal doesn't. It is not going to push your offense towards enemy lands outside placing citadels. It is powerful when defending, but is limited when on the offense. Especially against distant civs.

From memory, Protection's heal also only applies in owned territory, it doesn't seem to work in allied territory. I remember my units not getting extra heals when inside the lands of allied city-states with my religion. So, allying a city-state and converting it doesn't let you benefit from Goddess of Protection when projecting power on distant civs.

Now, putting that 10HP in competition with the viability of the pantheon to found is tough, because some civs have synergies with this pantheon and no doubt would like to found with it while also playing to their strengths. But if you are the civ with the unique wall, and it was determined that your pantheon would be hard to found with because what makes it special comes at the cost of its faith generation, that sounds much better on paper than it does in an actual game. Some other civ like the Iroquois gets to have a pantheon boost their UB without it being a special, non-founding pantheon, and when they found and you don't, they can spread to you and supplant your pantheon.
Fair point. But note that pantheons that are hard to found, but powerful, can be an attractive choice for civs with good faith output or related effects, such as Ethiopia and India. A civ doesn't need to be synergistic with Protection to perform well with it, merely being a solid religious civ works as well.

How about 175%:c5faith: on kills and +2:c5faith::c5production: on barracks? That would also unstack the kills% from Aztecs
Likely good enough.
 
Another test game with the new proposed values for God of War (175%:c5strength:, 2 :c5faith::c5production: barracks), and one that I plan to continue playing to fully experience patch 3.1.1. This implementation also has a heal on kill, to get a proper feel for what I suggested before.

Played as Japan again, opened Tradition again ang got both Stonehenge and Statue of Zeus. Founded on turn 91 this time, a considerable improvement over the former turn 102 of the previous Japan test. No faith from terrain or city-states, all the faith was from the pantheon, shrines, UA and Tradition's Justice policy. I had difficulty early on to reach barbarians due to terrain, but managed to farm two camps and a decent number of unit spawns near a cultural city-state, which I allied. Another city-state (maritime) got the barbarian raid event, popping barbarians relatively close to my empire for more faith farming and alliance. By turn 91, I had two barracks in the empire, with a third city still trying to build another (Tradition's cities are just that slow). No walls yet (cost ineffective even with the UA), so Japan's UA contribution is limited to 2 :c5culture::c5faith: per turn by the time the prophet was born.

The new values are well felt. Seeing the Brute kills give 14 :c5faith: instead of 8 :c5faith:, or Spearman give 21 :c5faith: instead of 12 :c5faith:, makes the effort feel rewarding. The extra hammer is noticeable as well, my secondary city had gone from 6 :c5production: to 8 :c5production: upon completing the barracks and is developing at a noticeably better rate; there's merit in picking God of War with Tradition, at least for Japan. It is a small contribution in the capital compared to its total output (19 :c5production: -> 21 :c5production: when built), but really appreciated due to this city being overworked with this tree and pantheon choice: I need more military than usual for the faith kills and can't rely on the secondary cities to help with it for a very long time.

The 10 heal on kill was fun, shaving one turn of a unit standing idle for healing, but not a major impact yet. It may have sped up the founding time by one or two more turns simply from having my units ready earlier for another barbarian kill.

The cultural development is distorted from having allied a cultural city-state and having a furs monopoly around me (+1 :c5gold::c5culture: camps), I'm about on the same amount of culture as my former Japan game 11 turns earlier. It is hard to say if the extra production on the barracks made any difference in this result, but I'd likely be more advanced if I had gone for Goddess of the Hunt, or the one that boosts tundra resource tiles instead. In this light, the 2 :c5production: production on secondary cities and the heal on kill that I'm testing are what makes me look forward to this pantheon to make up for that. I'm planning to wage war at Medieval and may get some value out of the heals, plus maybe get a few military from a secondary city to alleviate the Capital's production burden of pulling a Samurai rush. I'm grabbing Orders to keep Morale and further build up on the pantheon's benefits of killing units.
 
Proposal sponsored by axatin.
 
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