1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

A cogent explanation on the shortfalls of Civ V

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by masterminded, Oct 5, 2010.

  1. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

    Joined:
    May 19, 2006
    Messages:
    13,818
    Location:
    Lisbon, Portugal
    Yup, this means that the AI in high levels will think on you pretty badly as soon as you meet them. Nothing too much compared with previous versions , that simply added hidden diplo demerits ...

    The issue is the magnitude of the thing. The AI will never be your friend if it perceives you as weak, period. Don't even bother trying, it is absolutely impossible to make a AI minimally neutral to you as soon as they think on you as a weak guy, and this regardless of how you menace them to win or not , of how far you are and such. AI in civ V only respects strenght and if that is something you lack ( internet cookies from CFC for the one that guesses from where this speech is from ), say goodbye to a peaceful game. Same for when they perceive you settling near ( and near might be something like 6 tiles away of their border, even discounting the unit as border bug ... ). Worse if you have both :D

    In the end, the fact that the AI war bent makes that the humans will go war bent as well even if they aren't that interested in warring. That does not bode well for the game, even if because the AI is no Napoleon or Hannibal Barca :p
     
  2. ZooMan2

    ZooMan2 Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2007
    Messages:
    100
    Location:
    North Carolina, USA
    Playing at what level ... and how many is several games? Just curious because at middle level dif this does not appear to be the case ... course have only played a few rounds to this point given the game has been out for less than a month.
     
  3. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Messages:
    3,526
    Games played on Prince and King. Two games involved no war whatsoever. Many games involved lasting alliances with various Civs.
     
  4. Venereus

    Venereus This Is Streamlined!

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2010
    Messages:
    1,026
    So that's why at some point one strong AI becomes an unstoppable super-power, as many players have noticed as a common thing in their games.
     
  5. Lord Parkin

    Lord Parkin aka emperor

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    6,374
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Try it on Emperor/Immortal/Deity. It's much harder (or impossible) to stay ahead of the AI's in strength on those levels, so you really start to see the jerkwad side of the AI civs.

    Also, on any level try starting a war that an AI requests you to start, and see for yourself how quickly they eventually hate you for it.

    Finally, I wouldn't call relations with the AI at any point an "alliance" in their present state. At best you can call it a prolonged period of indifference. The problem is that the AI simply doesn't understand the concept of friendship at the moment. It's so heavily biased towards war that the slightest little thing (often things you have no control over like where it settles and where it explores) will set it off and drastically deteriorate relations.
     
  6. masterminded

    masterminded Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    The only thing I agree with is that I dislike Civ V out of preference, as I would rather play a complex strategy game that allowed for a greater array of options and more challenge. Civ V isn't a bad game per say. There is a market for easier games with fewer, more rigid, and consequently more manageable mechanics. There are certainly advantages to each style.

    What I am claiming is that Civ V is a bad civ game because it lacks the complexity, depth, and difficulty of its forebears.

    Regarding the specifics of my observations, I think you are right to suggest that a reevaluation of my understanding was somewhat needed. In fact, I claimed as much in a prior post. But while I think the details of my points from early could be requalified or adjusted somewhat, I think the conclusions I made at the end of each point are still valid.

    This is a misrepresentation of my post on the subject and much of the conversation regarding cultural victories on this thread. Perhaps my review of the posts on cultural victories missed something, but the criticism of my argument wasn't that cultural victories are easier with larger empires, but that while they were easier with small empires, they were still possible with larger ones.

    To that point, I conceded. However, in practical terms, it doesn't change my conclusion, which is that the game provides a very strong incentive to remain small when pursuing a cultural victory.

    The reason that I spend so much time on this point is because it's emblematic of your argument: you address points that I often don't make or you mischaracterize them.

    First, your description of the penalties of unhappiness above is strikingly underhanded. You mention the penalty to population growth and claim there is no other effect. Then you mention that there are in fact other penalties under -10, which you seem to suggest is hard to reach, but you never actually enumerate them. This manner of presentation misrepresents the true penalties of unhappiness by neglecting the more damaging effects, such as combat and production penalties, while only describing the weak effect.

    This is not caviling. In order to evaluate the mechanics, they must be properly described.

    Second, I would dispute your account regarding the difficulty of achieving > 10 unhappiness. That is one additional city with a population of 8 with no new buildings or luxuries to offset the unhappiness.

    Third, my point isn't that resources cannot be managed to prevent unhappiness or that they are hard to manage, but that they require too much constant attention at the margins. In other word, the restrictions are not onerous because they increase the difficulty, quite the opposite; they are onerous because they are too heavy-handed. To a degree, this is the result of a paucity of mechanics: the fewer the game has the more those few mechanisms must restrict. In this case, unhappiness and maintenance costs. This leads to a shallow experience: Gone are the days of tracking multiple mechanisms, each of which only limit the player in a specific and limited sense (e.g. corruption, health, research/culture costs as a function of economy, etc. along with unhappiness and maintenance). Instead, the remaining mechanics must restrict nearly everything. This eliminates a whole number of strategic possibilities, where the player could choose to make a sacrifice for a benefit, such as forgoing research for a few turns in order to raise funds or sacrificing the ability to grow population during the industrial period for increased production.

    To put it plainly, the fewer mechanics that the designers implement, the more heavy-handed each restriction and the fewer options there are for the player.

    Fourth, they are also onerous in that they create counterintuitive incentives to maintain a small empire. The mechanics that create this incentive are many: unhappiness is caused by the number of cities; luxuries give a flat bonus that does not scale with empire size; more money must be spent on happiness buildings to compensate for this lack of scaling, which means a higher maintenance burden overall; the requirement that maintenanced buildings be made in every city before constructing a national wonder; social policy costs do not scale well with larger empires; none of the above scales to accommodate larger map sizes etc.

    The result is that on lower or medium difficulties, maps are largely empty for most of the game because the incentives are to either remain small or grow very slowly. This is extremely counterintuitive to the player who is trying to forge a civilization that dominates the world, especially given the pace at which historical empires have grown. The remedy to this is increasing the difficulty level, which gives the AI advantages that violate core gameplay mechanics.

    To summarize the aforementioned points, I never claimed that the mechanics were difficult to manage or insurmountable, but that they are shallow in their heavy-handedness and introduce perverse incentives to not grow.

    I'm going to address these in the original order they were presented for ease of reference: buildings, wonders, units, and genocide. At the end, I will address your last point.

    First, you misrepresented my analysis on buildings. My concern was not with build times as an isolated phenomenon, but how build times, maintenance costs, opportunity costs, and smaller army sizes converge to render many buildings virtually useless. These are two very different arguments.

    Your criticism of my my use of stables as an example puzzles me. True, stables were somewhat of a marginal argument in Civ IV as well. But so what? My argument demonstrates how this building is rendered even less useful. In you would prefer a different example, I could make the same argument about barracks. Slow building times, maintenance costs, the changes in combat (fewer but more robust units and the carrying over of xp when upgrading), and the opportunity costs of not constructing other buildings render barracks undesirable. Their costs have increased and the benefits provided by them have decreased to the point of favoring other buildings with the long building times.

    Second, you did not address my analysis of wonders. With longer build times, they should provide better benefits than they did in Civ III or Civ IV. Instead, they provide the same or worse, with only a few exceptions.

    Third, you may have built more units, but that doesn't mean they are all useful. Given build time restrictions and the focus on fewer units, makes one use missiles less useful. Further, given this focus on fewer units, there imperative is to build the more powerful units. Giving the player many choices does not make much sense.

    Fourth, like the second point you completely ignored this analysis, which is probably my strongest point.

    Fifth, to address your last paragraph, I never claimed that the player lacks money or production to build things. I advanced that combining elements from past civ games with a new system in this game has lead to some very odd contradictions in gameplay, which are a result of poor design.

    How can you claim my argument fallacious in this section when you misrepresent it twice and leave half of it untouched?

    You make a number of assertions here with no evidence or warrants. I would dispute two of them: the AI in Civ IV is worse and that Civ V is more complex than Civ IV. I won't make an argument. The burden is on you for making the initial claim in that regard.

    First, you claim that real players do not inform others why they behave the way they do. I would say that this is incorrect. Other players form alliances, go to war, conduct certain exchanges, etc., because these things are in their interest. Certainly, a fair amount of perfidy, secrecy, and missteps are to be expected from human players, but nothing like the poor AI in Civ V, which is mercurial to an extreme.

    Second, diplomacy as it functions in the real world and real players as they function in the game give some indication of how they view the behavior of others. Matters of secrecy aside, diplomacy usually strives for transparency. Its better for another nation to know the disputes between them or their common interests in order to coordinate and avoid conflict. That is why the memory of the AI in Civ IV and the report that elements like religion built were so realistic. The reason the game told you what these were is because you don't actually have actual diplomats and advisors in the game to relate such information to you, so the system it provided served as a convenient shorthand.

    Third, this argument is risible on its face. What is the point of diplomacy if other players will not convey their concerns or interests?

    This is another assertion. Please provide an argument so that I can provide a response. Otherwise, I will simply gainsay this point.

    First, I never referenced Sulla's argument and it is unclear how that is relevant.

    Second, you seem to be contradicting yourself. Earlier you argued that larger empires are relatively easy to attain and here you claim that ICS is only possible late game after certain social policies are accessed. Which is it?

    Third, you contradict yourself in regard to cultural victories. At first, you claim that they are easier with larger empires. Here you suggest expansion should be avoided until social policies are obtained. If the first is true then there is no need to hold off expansion, as empire size won't inhibit social policy accumulation.

    I don't think you accurately addressed my arguments. In fact, you left most of my examples untouched and never addressed my critique of the meta game. Of course, this isn't necessarily a problem if you had approached this differently. Had you only disputed certain points, than your argument would have had more merit. Instead, you addressed each point by point, which suggests you were trying to make a comprehensive critique.
     
  7. masterminded

    masterminded Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    This is a mischaracterization of our critique. At no one point did we demand the AI announce where they would attack or declare war prior to mobilization. We want a simple and transparent means of measuring goodwill or hostility and the causes of these such. In real life, countries have had an extensive network of advisors and diplomats that know these things. The system in Civ IV was convenient and intuitive, as it provided a good shorthand for such. Of course, this does not necessitate that Civ V adopt Civ IV's system, but that it replaces it with something else that is intuitive. Instead, we get nothing. Sometimes the AI tells us why he or she is unhappy. Sometimes the AI does not and we are left guessing. In these circumstances, there is no point to a system of diplomacy that doesn't actually implement meaningful diplomatic relations.

    I would also caution you regarding your reliance on history. Certainly, sneak attacks occured throughout history, but they were almost always prefaced by a high tensions, demands, and military mobilization. The one who is attacked is aware of all of these things, even if they are not aware of the target, timing, and strategy.
     
  8. masterminded

    masterminded Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    First, you claim that critics dislike this game because it isn't similar to Civ IV. This is an unfair representation. We dislike the core mechanics of this game because they leave the game less complex, easier, etc. The concluding section of my OP on the game is a good place to look for my analysis. What you will find here isn't that I wanted the game to be like Civ IV. If that were the case, I would have never even purchased Civ V. I would have continued to play an older game. Instead, you will find a critique of inconsistent mechanics and limited options.

    Second, you have made this claim regarding giving time to understand the mechanics of the game elsewhere and have never answered the criticism of your assertion, which is that the mechanics of this game are apparent in their consistency across all difficulty levels. This isn't Civ III/IV, which took weeks (months?) before anyone could beat them on deity and the system was complex enough to allow for a multiplicity of strategies. Civ V was beaten very early on deity. There are fewer and more rigid ideal strategies to victory. Certainly, these strategies can be deviated from, but the game provides such clear incentives not to do so.

    Edit:

    Please don't post on this thread if you are going to deride those with whom you disagree. It's rude and you do it often.
     
  9. masterminded

    masterminded Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    My analysis, which you never address, isn't that these restrictions are too hard to overcome--they are not--but that their design is too heavy-handed and shallow, and they restrict too many options.

    This doesn't address my argument. It's not about build times, but the way the various mechanics converge to render even buildings like barracks poor choices for construction. Please see my response to Roxlimn for more details.

    Are you really disputing that many of the wonders are useless given the greater build times? Why would anyone build the Colossus or Brandenburg Gates when they can build a market or build more units?

    You are comparing my analysis of two different elements. There are too many restrictions in regards to viable strategies and the unhappiness/gold mechanics are too heavy-handed. The result of these restrictions renders the plethora of units unnecessary. This is indicative of poor planning.

    Misrepresenting my argument and then sarcastically attributing false motives to me is rather unfair. Personally, I am tempted to skip the rest of this analysis, especially since your arguments tend to be unsupported short assertions that fail to deal with the nuances of my claims, but you seem to be attempting to address my OP comprehensively and point by point, so I will continue.

    This is another non-responsive line that doesn't address the heart of my claims. I'm not arguing that the player should be able to conquer the world in one military campaign or that such mechanics are insurmountable. I am claiming that the game provides an incentive to commit genocide while conquering that is ridiculous and indicative of poor design.


    Given the design so far, I lack faith in the designers to improve upon this aspect. However, I may be wrong about this.

    Your comparison to a board game, where mechanics must be simplified even further than in a PC game strikes me as silly. I would suggest you read my recent responses to Roxlimn and Charon just above this one. It addresses your argument quite well.

    I spent time explaining the reasons that certain victory conditions are more inflexible and shallow in Civ V compared to prior versions of Civ. You did not address them. Rather than ignoring my argument and rendering an unsupported judgment, it would have behooved you to engage my analysis.

    This is an unfair characterization and rather odd argument, as it was easier to lose in prior Civs than in this one, especially at the higher difficulty levels. This, like most of your points, is a sarcastic one-liner that doesn't address anything. Its goal is ridicule.

    Please address the argument made in nearly every one of my posts and those of others that the game incentives the player to follow one of a few strategies with very little variance as a result of its heavy-handed and poorly implemented mechanics.

    In a subsequent post, I revised my argument to claim that while this approach wasn't impossible, it was still undesirable. Fewer cities means better scaling for social policy cost, which means that a smaller empire is preferable. Puppeting cities will still eventually bankrupt the player. Even if they produce money from trade posts, etc., this will be offset if they are allowed to build for long enough.

    This doesn't address my point at all, which is that diplo victories in Civ V are essentially commercial victories. The player does not need to spend copious amounts of time satisfying other empires. She only needs to buy off city states.

    Genocide is a perfectly apt word. I don't know what else to call burning down every city of another civilization.

    No one is disputing that this is a game with rules. That's ridiculous on its face. My argument is that the rules create perverse, unintuitive, and poorly designed incentives. Please address that argument.

    Until you actually address the arguments in my previous points, I don't see how you can make this claim. You need to show, in detail, how my claims are incorrect. Glibly misrepresenting them or ignoring them doesn't cut it.

    I have no idea what you are claiming, and since you never really addressed my critiques of the various mechanics, I don't see how you have any ground to claim that it's impossible that the meta-game is broken as I define it.

    Another non sequitur. It's always possible to lose a Civ game. My concerns have nothing to do with the possibilities of victory, which is too easy to achieve, but the implementation of the restrictions and the incentives they institute. In fact, I would claim the opposite of which you suggest and proffer that the more options the player has to chose from, the greater the likelihood that the player will make a mistake or be out maneuvered, which means the greater the chance for loss.

    The mechanics behind the game are so few, so simple, so restrictive, so consistent, and the AI is so poor, that yes, I'm making this claim. This isn't Civ III/IV that took weeks (months?) to complete at the highest difficulty settings. Deity was beaten within days. The AI acts consistently at all levels of difficulty. The game incentivizes swim lane strategies toward victory. Certainly, these can be deviated from by the player, but the incentives to do otherwise are strong and there are few trade offs to pursue. In addition, due to the poor challenge of the game, there is little need to try and find other ways around these problems, when the swim lanes are so easy to follow.

    First, any game played with other thinking people will be enhanced by their presence. This does not change the perverse and unintuitive incentives.

    Second, the comparisons that I do make are valid. The problem with Civ V are the core mechanics and incentives these engender. No number of expansions or changes at the margins will remedy this. The game needs to be completely rebalanced in order to provide more depth and complexity. If not, it doesn't make the game "bad" sans a consideration of the inconsistencies. It renders it more accessible. Some people prefer this over complexity and depth. But this is a bad Civ game, where such things have mattered in this series.

    Third, I find it immensely ironic that you claim that I haven't made any actual points. Just compare the length of my OP, this post, and my other posts to your post. You don't address my "actual points" at all. In fact, you seem to do what you accuse me of doing: complaining without cause.
     
  10. Jediron

    Jediron Prince

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Messages:
    396
    Masterminded, well spoken :king:

    I could not have said it better myself ;)
     
  11. Lord Parkin

    Lord Parkin aka emperor

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    6,374
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Indeed, I just finished reading through all your responses, and you have many excellent points. I hope that others will also take the time to read through them as carefully. :)
     
  12. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2010
    Messages:
    3,273
    Location:
    Shacklyn
    Great analysis. Thank you for clarifying the reasons behind a lot of my own dissatisfaction with Civ5. Especially this:

     
  13. masterminded

    masterminded Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    Thanks for the positive responses.

    FWIW SuperJay, that is what I found most tedious about the game: every decision at every turn came back to whether I had enough happiness or gold.
     
  14. polypheus

    polypheus Prince

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Messages:
    372
    Its actually worse than that. At some point in the game, you can even just ignore happiness and only gold is king. The game then degenerates into a gold hoarding mechanic.
     
  15. Misterboy

    Misterboy Modern Major General

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Just to throw my two cents in:

    Mastermind is obviously a smart and well informed person, who has strong convictions about this game. But without digging into details, I respectively disagree with him on most of his points.

    The simple reason is that I think he fails to take the game on its own merits. He seems to me to want an extension of a game he really liked, called Civ 4. He seems to fail to realize that many changes were made to this game to make it very different from Civ 4. It cannot and should not be played the same.

    (While comparisons are valid, the comparisons I routinely see are, "you can't do X, Y, and Z". Well, no, you can't. Now you can do A, B, and C instead. Please stop comparing apples to oranges.)

    While it does lack features that Civ 4 has, it reinvents the wheel in so many critical ways that you can't really compare them. And that's all I see from these threads: people trying to compare this game to the last one. And when I say "compare" I mean they specifically seem to not like that their old views and strategies from Civ 4 do not apply to Civ 5.

    I feel sorry for them. While Civ 5 is far from perfect, it is so much more playable than Civ 4. I enjoy the arguments for and against, but I keep finding the logic used to belittle Civ 5 is based on personal preference and a core lack of understanding that the game purposefully changes the mechanics and the balance of the game.

    Time and again, I see people complain about feature X or problem Y. Then, quietly a long time player and poster who joined this forum in 2005 comes on and says, "actually you're wrong because of these specific reasons". I see threads like this that say, "this "can't" work, the AI "never" does this," etc. The problem is, in my games I see circumstances that don't agree with the black and white views. I've seen all sorts of diversity where the opposite is claimed.

    While there are problems with AI path finding, a lot of the complaints I see are designed features, and I'm so glad that Jon Shafer fixed the big key issues I had with Civ 4.

    So we'll all just have to agree to disagree I suppose. In the mean time, I plan to enjoy a game which IMO, has more strategy and less cheap exploitation. It's not perfect (yet :mischief:) but it's a *GIGANTIC* step in the right direction.
     
  16. masterminded

    masterminded Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    I have repeated this multiple times, but my problem with the game is not that it isn't Civ IV. This is why when I compare Civ V to past entries in the series, I reference both Civ III and Civ IV. I want to avoid that claim since I consider it an unfair characterization.

    If you read my argument closely, I constantly refer to the effects of any one mechanic or feature on the meta game. I would point you to my analysis of that because it seems like you didn't follow my claims.
     
  17. polypheus

    polypheus Prince

    Joined:
    May 30, 2004
    Messages:
    372
    @Misterboy

    The issue is not whether Civ5 is different or has tossed a bunch of features from Civ4. The issue is Shafer's focus on developing the war aspect while nerfing the non-war aspect.The major change (and not necessarily for the better) is with this new 1UPT battle system while over-simplifying and streamlining the non-war aspect of the game.

    In Civ4, if they took out warfare and made it totally strategic (meaning you just formed armies, fleets, etc) and just gave orders to them and there is no actual unit combat, the game is still very playable because there is so much more to it than a war game.

    Now imagine we did that with Civ5 and made warfare here simply a matter of strategic decisions. Can you not see that as implemented, you'd literally have almost nothing fun to do?

    Of course this thinking only works if you wanted something that was a Civ development/advancement game (but with war as one component) rather than just mostly a war game. But for people that want mostly a war game but one through the ages, I feel they should look to Rise of Nations, AoE, etc as those are much better as war games.
     
  18. Misterboy

    Misterboy Modern Major General

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Messages:
    244
    Well, I stand by my statement. I personally feel that although you say you're not just asking for more Civ 4, you actually are. It's hard to pin down and it's late and I'm tired. I just think your points are wrong. I think there is a breakdown of logic.

    I'm sorry this seems unsupported... I suppose it is. Again, I very much respect your opinions, but I simply do not see most of the faults you see. I just don't. And the problems I've seen, can be fixed, and most likely will.

    People keep saying, "this is BROKEN", but I don't think they know what that means. There are unbalanced things. There are things that some posters obviously don't fully understand (like Diplomacy... largely because it's intended to be more mysterious than Civ 4). But I'm tired of reading statements in which people say, "it IS this way and it IS that way", when in my experience it is not.

    I just wanted to offer a counterpoint. Perhaps it is not a worthwhile effort. I just took mild offense in a thread that says, "Here are specific reasons why all of us don't like Civ V... so that we can be specific about the problems"... while at the same time, sticking to generalities and opinions rather than facts, for the most part.

    And I realize this thread is heavily against Civ 5, so I've jumped in the lion's den. I guess that was a tactical error.

    @polypheus

    The funny thing is, I never play Civ as a wargame. I do now, more than ever because finally I find it fun and interesting. I prefer a non-warfare play style. I admit that a Cultural Victory can be kind of ho-hum, but that is highly dependent on your neighbors. It can be exciting.

    And yes Rise of Nations was a great game :)
     
  19. Lord Parkin

    Lord Parkin aka emperor

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2004
    Messages:
    6,374
    Location:
    New Zealand
    Exactly. And the proof is in the Always Peace setting. In Civ4 you could have lots of fun in a game with Always Peace on. In Civ5, it's rather plain and uninteresting.

    Buildings and wonders in general (some more than others) really need to get a good boost overall. Right now there are too many buildings and wonders (I would argue more than half) that leave you worse off for having invested the effort in constructing them. That doesn't make any kind of sense.
     
  20. masterminded

    masterminded Chieftain

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2010
    Messages:
    92
    There are so many good points in this post. I honestly wonder if the designers settled upon the combat system and then designed the rest of the game around the new mechanics with the intent of minimizing the builder's experience.

    And another thing I would like to note is that I immensely enjoyed war games like Rise of Nations and Age of Empires. But civ hasn't traditionally been that type of game, and while I'm sure it could be made ito a good war game without scrificing the building elements, this attempt failed.
     

Share This Page