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[Complex] (7-NS) Polynesia UA changes (...and Carthage)

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Tekamthi

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This proposal is intended to be non-conflicting with other polynesia- proposals, and does not include a specific carthage proposal -- any of the others are suitable, or none.

This proposal has been revised significantly since first post -- the design purpose is to provide island-centric utilities that may be paired with other UA suggestions and proposals

Preliminary assumptions:
Spoiler :

  • VP is a mature project, and as such, less-is-more when it comes to changes to significant, game-long features, such as a civ's UA.
  • Civ is at its best when thematically-oriented concepts are expressed in ways that result in good gameplay, rather than when gameplay-first concepts are implemented just for the sake of good/efficient gameplay. Though sometimes the latter is necessary, we should always at least consider the best fit for thematic solution.
  • VP's handful of under-utilized, and in some cases entirely unused, database features are the best potential value for effort in terms of adding interest and depth to VP gameplay


Thematic considerations:
Spoiler :

Translated into civ terms, RL Polynesia were known in the collective global consciousness for strong faith, strong arts culture, maritime trade, on-coast melee warfare, population growth in isolated island environments, and their innovation in nautical & navigation technologies. I am not saying necessarily this is the full picture, and welcome corrections, but I put this forward as the snapshot that reaches the typical Western-influenced armchair historian anyway. These attributes will be the focus of this proposal.

Moai are believed to have served a multifarious role: they are at once symbols of worship & faith, individual achievement & leadership, and indicators of sources of fresh water.

Our current polynesia design is to have them play as an exploration and island settling focused civ; this is fine, but it ignores some aspects of their thematic background, and will be better improved with small additions rather than sweeping modifications.


Gameplay considerations:
Spoiler :

  • Though faith is perhaps underrepresented in VP's abstraction of polynesia's characteristics, flat faith buff itself is not the answer; rather we will improve and distinguish the value and function of moai as a symbol/abstraction of that faith
  • Polynesia recently lost its UI-related combat bonus, without proper compensation; this is reason alone to add something back to the UI ie moai. With the proposal to move polynesia UU to unique scout, polynesia's history of warfare will be significantly under-represented in their kit. As-is the island warfare representation is rather mid.
  • Polynesia may have been underperforming before, but now even moreso; there is no one agreed source of their woes, but I'd point to their playstyle, which encourages difficult to defend island settlements, making it more likely to lose control of their territorial holdings through a full game than many other civs. Hanging on to more cities for longer results in better yields across the board, and better yields improves overall performance. The less-is-more approach to fix Polynesia is to re-add a moai-related bonus in a way that supports defense of their islands, and secondarily improves their progress in other lagging areas.
  • The moai as UI is unique from all other improvements in that it often forms a near-complete perimeter around its owner's cities, as the cities are often best placed on islands inland 1-tile, and moai best placed in nearly all coastal land plots. This perimeter structure makes the moai a viable candidate for location-based promotions
  • Location based promotions via improvements are not used elsewhere in VP, and in this way are inherently a "unique" mechanism, which is desirable for a UA or UI. The common perimeter-like formation around cities of the moai, ensure that units will often cross over them in their status quo default behavior; no additional analysis will be necessary for AI to grasp the basic functionality.
  • Location-based promotions operate just as any other promotion outside of how they are acquired, and can have any attribute that any promotion can have, such as a post-combat promotion, or a simple turn timer; either of these two attributes can make them temporary in nature and re-addable after their loss: an "aura" without an actual aura. (moai lost an actual aura last round)
  • This round's proposals seek to add production and culture to polynesia UA -- we'll accept these as lacking here as well.

Proposal:
Recon, melee, gun, archer, worker, settler units that enter moai plot get moai promotion, as follows:
  • has "post combat promotion" but the actual post combat promotion is undefined: its just lost when unit engages in any combat -- this promo only lasts 1 fight and is not replaced, must revisit moai to reacquire.
  • double movement in ocean & coast, +1 embark vision
  • No ranged penalty attacking ships (+20% attack vs domain_sea)
  • Can move after attack
moai promo is also applied for free on great people except admiral, diplomat, prophet

moai improvement allows flat embark/disembark out of/into plot (same config as forts receive, but never more than flat cost of 1 -- for poly only, not on capture of moai)

Amendments:
Spoiler :

Amendment 1: added a split flat embark/disembark across both promos

Amendment 2: swapped withdraw from melee for adjacent city strength buff on the pre-combat moai promo

Amendment 3: reworked the pre- and post-combat promotions, for pre- as transit promo, post- as combat promo; removed archer line from eligibility

Amendment 4: adjusted further based on in-game tests -- re-added archer eligibility, added double coast movement, added +10% attack vs sea domain units (to help archers fight off naval invaders)

Amendment 5: removed post-combat promo, objectives can be obtained without it

Amendment 6: moved flat embark from promo to moai -- it's the only way to ensure high level of auto pathing for promo pickup. Dropped amphib to preserve Denmark uniqueness


Sponsor Notes:
Spoiler :

This needs a bugfix, and a tiny bit of new code, as follows:
  • recent attempt to fix how improvement promotions with timers functioned, intended to refill timer on each visit, instead empties timer: github issue at https://github.com/LoneGazebo/Community-Patch-DLL/issues/10800
  • there needs to be some method to make only polynesia eligible for this promotion -- ideal would be some kind of table-based system the same way unitpromotions_unitcombats works, as this opens it up for further modmod usage -- or perhaps this exists already and I'm unfamiliar...
  • Similar functionality needs to be added for moai flat embark/disembark as exist for forts/citadels, but never worse than 1 move flat cost, and only affecting poly (not a captured moai)


Test model (attached) current to amendment 5 (note that amendment 6 cannot be implemented as modmod, amendment 5 close enough to get general feel)
 

Attachments

  • Polynesia Round 7 UA moai proposal (v 5).civ5mod
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I think that the AI could use this accidentally. Might be harder for melee to get the buff from inland invasion.
 
I think that the AI could use this accidentally. Might be harder for melee to get the buff from inland invasion.
yeah the AI would be at a disadvantage when working with mainland settlements -- it wouldn't know it should tag up its units on the coast before heading into combat in the interior. For island cities it should do just fine. If its a popular idea though, perhaps our devs would consider training the AI... we did get an update to improvement promotion functionality in the last patch, if anyone is reading the fine details of the patch notes; enough to make this an entirely database-only proposal, despite some unusual qualities.

some possibilities to make it more AI-friendly:
  • initial moai promotion has no timer: the actual combat promotion will always trigger when its needed, as combat begins -- however, with no timer, we lose the pseudo-aura, polynesia can carry this anywhere in the world, rather than just their own sphere and slightly beyond
  • make the post-combat promo bonuses an aura to adjacent units, rather than single-unit effect: we can do this with the heal, and maybe the defense bonus, but not the yields afaik. If done as an aura effect, as long as AI gets it on some units somehow, a large number might still benefit
 
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A temporary promotion on improvement actually fits the Shoshone more, as the Encampments are omnipresent and the AI won't have troubles using it. Polynesia wants the aura back so their ships can also benefit.

Withdraw from melee and post-combat don't mix, btw.
 
A temporary promotion on improvement actually fits the Shoshone more.
For a first time implementation of the improvement promotion feature, we will be relying on AI to stumble into the functionality, and in this regard its possible that shoshone may be challenged: encampment has less-compatible placement restrictions, no two adjacent, only on flat -- especially with no two adjacent, units will just pass between them often. With polynesia & moai, when polynesia is settling islands as it should, the moai often form a continuous line of improvements that units must pass over to leave/enter the island.

I think I agree however that the idea of gaining a promotion from a camp with people living there, and food and supplies, makes more sense than gaining one from visiting a big rock head on a desolate beach 😛 let's pretend their faith is so excited by spending time near their idols that they row faster and fight harder, the fresh water they collect nearby helps them heal faster, etc.
 
It's a coastal improvement though, while land units fight inland, unless they're archers shooting at naval invaders. Encampments are more commonly placed on the frontlines as they have an innate damage aura and defensive bonus.
 
I think I agree however that the idea of gaining a promotion from a camp with people living there, and food and supplies, makes more sense than gaining one from visiting a big rock head on a desolate beach 😛
hm, I don't really agree here. I'd think visiting an encampment would let you heal and rest up, same as visiting a city. Visiting the big rock head invigorates your faith/morale. The latter is better for handing out promotions.
 
It's a coastal improvement though
yes, but in the island context units are often moving between islands, and thus over moai -- it won't help poly inland in a big continent, but then i'm not taking anything away from them there via this proposal, they'll do just as bad/good as they do now... and the other proposals don't really help them much in such situation either
 
yes, but in the island context units are often moving between islands, and thus over moai -- it won't help poly inland in a big continent, but then i'm not taking anything away from them there via this proposal, they'll do just as bad/good as they do now... and the other proposals don't really help them much in such situation either
Unless Polynesia can embark/disembark fast like Denmark, their units aren't going to hop between islands much. And those promotions don't even work when they're embarked.
 
And those promotions don't even work when they're embarked.
the embark defense buff will & double move in ocean as well -- it used to be that withdraw from melee did as well, has this changed? it doesn't matter too much, my intention with withdraw from melee is to support their landing on beach. As you note they don't currently have flat disembark, so on arrival they are vulnerable, withdraw improves survivability on that landing turn specifically, and then falls off shortly after as combat gets going

Unless Polynesia can embark/disembark fast like Denmark, their units aren't going to hop between islands much.
i am not against them having this, but it is overlap with denmark -- the way to make it different is also to bundle flat embark/disembark into this moai promo stuff, however this is a move towards AI-unfriendliness. As things are fluid here, its worth amending in for better discussion on this concept; I have an idea... see OP
 
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withdraw improves survivability on that landing turn specifically, and then falls off shortly after as combat gets going
How? They're backed up against the ocean already, restricting where they can withdraw to (they can't withdraw back into the water).
 
How? They're backed up against the ocean already, restricting where they can withdraw to (they can't withdraw back into the water).
adds some tactical subtlety & consideration in deciding where to land, no? I'm committed to the improvement promotion structure here, but these fine details can be changed if deemed undesirable. Is there a better way to configure these promos?

Withdraw from melee and post-combat don't mix, btw.
I missed this earlier, apologies... but they actually do! A successful withdraw does not trigger the post-combat. But any actual combat that is not a successful withdraw does. I called your attention to this already for another reason lol but you could see this mechanism in action if you gave core0 and core2 from 'recon pay...' modmod a test run -- core2 makes use of this, you can see it working on the starting pathfinder
 
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adds some tactical subtlety & consideration in deciding where to land, no?
You've already added a bunch of additional active effort to make use of these promotions. I don't think it needs an additional positional requirement that is difficult for the AI to use.
 
Having to go back to an improvement to “power-up” and then fight until it wears off sounds tedious.
 
You've already added a bunch of additional active effort to make use of these promotions. I don't think it needs an additional positional requirement that is difficult for the AI to use.
Yup that's fair, I originally included it as an alternative to flat embark/disembark, as a means of keeping things much different from Denmark while still trying to protect that beach landing turn, but I've already conceded on the embark/disembark and added those in... Swapped it out for adjacent city strength buff, see amendment in OP

My intention is to avoid giving poly an always-available flat disembark, as this is the premium maritime offence skill. Denmark is already supposed to be the coastal invasion specialist civ. The way I've laid out out in OP, poly should have disembark only during the post combat turns -- so if they are engaged at sea, or jump back into water after getting into a fight, they'll have it briefly available to make their escape. On defence, even they are fighting and moving through moai frequently, they may have both embark/disembark, which I speculate should help them defend in a way that can be countered by their opponents (pillage all the moai and within 10 turns no poly unit will have embark or disembark anymore) It's really somewhat of an after thought though, maybe both promos should just have flat embark only, as this is the premium Island hopping ability

Things like withdraw are not really all that powerful in combat, at least not for the purpose of outright defeating the enemy -- having interesting but not too powerful abilities attached to this is my approach to keep some relative parity between human and AI -- finding that balance of subtle usefulness, rather than overwhelming advantage, is best way to minimize problems arising from AI's accidental-only use of this feature, short of getting devs to dig in and train ai.

Having to go back to an improvement to “power-up” and then fight until it wears off sounds tedious.
May be, but we've never really seen how something like this plays in the wild. I think the way we manage this concern is finding the right balance where it's nice to have but not necessarily a must have -- already it's just an add-on to status quo, it's not like we're weakening anything, poly can still fight without the promos applied with no change from status quo. As far as direct combat stuff goes we're just thinking an extra 10% defense... So the extent that poly "must" use this always is debatable -- the tedium may or may not be realized, I find it difficult to imagine that level of granularity

When I posted this I anticipated a prime concern would be the yields on kill, and whether these actually fill in enough of what poly needs to stay competitive -- part of the yields may come from improved ability to not lose cities, but they're still gonna more vulnerable than most civs regardless. Also, it may arise that some units will have the promo and others not -- making the kill with a promo unit will be important to get the yields -- will AI analyze for this? At the moment it performs the analysis, all variables should be set, the promo already applied and visible to the AI, but I'm still not sure if they can prioritize the killing move effectively in this way. Feedback has been good so far, can we get critique on this point too?
 
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Between you wanting to change Polynesia's kit so you have to constantly move units on and off of Moai for randomized bonuses and your proposal to turn ancient ruins into escort quests that you have to move back into your cities for randomized bonuses, I think you just really like moving units around... For randomized bonuses.

This seems like another example of demanding tons of additional micro and complexity from players for minimal gain. Ignoring the complexity of adding 6 temporary promotions when 1 would suffice, having to recycle them doesn't sound any fun.
 
move units on and off of Moai for randomized bonuses
how randomized bonuses? here there is pre- and post-combat bonuses, all defined. The basis of their selection is two-fold: reduce transit time between islands, and improve defense in and around islands to hold onto island cities slightly better. In this latter sense the moai will be very accessible, and the promos applied often without even trying.

Call them minor bonuses, if thats what you meant, but this mechanism only allows for minor bonuses for a first implementation. If it goes in, devs maybe look at upgrading the AI to fully accommodate improvement promotions over the long term -- these ARE a long-standing feature in VP, not even hidden behind modoption or anything, just idle -- and maybe then we upgrade the bonuses themselves. In the meantime they're AI-accessible enough to get started.

In any case, there are some downsides, certainly. Added micro may be one, though the option of added optimizing decisions is not seen as negative by all. In briefest of terms, we'd have a polynesia still as exploration/island civ, but now with a little extra bite to their island defence, defence oriented kit that can be stretched into offence briefly just beyond their immediate sphere. And after all this game is primarily about moving units around
 
I say randomized because if they function like the current post-combat promotions the promotion that is selected post-combat is chosen randomly from a pool of choices.
 
I say randomized because if they function like the current post-combat promotions the promotion that is selected post-combat is chosen randomly from a pool of choices.
Only if there are multiple promotions in the pool. He's only proposing one promotion in the post-combat pool. All bullet points are for one promotion, which is why the duration is in the same list as the rest of the abilities.
 
aye post-combat with 2+ promo definitions chooses randomly, but with only one definition always gives that one promotion. Post-combat with zero definitions just means the promo drops off with no replacement. Its a nice tool for modder to create a dynamic effect, some things are too powerful to be always on, but maybe not so bad if they are there for one fight and then fall off.
 
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