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Affinities are (still) a nonsensical wash.

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Westwall, Nov 13, 2015.

  1. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    Why are Affinities so closely tied to the tech web?

    How does this reflect your actual play style at all? How does it immerse you in the tenets of one path or the other?

    For example, why don't my actions towards the native life (kill or let live) have any bearing whatsoever as to whether I gain Purity or Harmony points? I feel like Harmony players ought to have a way to acquire Alien artifacts without pillaging alien nests.

    The whole Affinity system should really be much more closely tied to quest choices and actual gameplay. Likewise, if you go hybrid, that should also be reflected in how you play.

    Instead, the devs bizarrely continue emphasizing tech web choices and placing way, way, way too much importance on units and not nearly enough on changing other aspects of the game, like improvements or growth or science output.

    I mean shouldn't going Supremacy maybe put me in a better position to maximize my beakers and energy production, while making me relatively weaker when it comes to culture and growth, while Purity has the opposite problem and Harmony really excels at growth/food and maintaining health?

    I feel like I should see more sprawling hive-like cities with Harmony factions, that are maybe even able to get the most out of organic resources like tubers and chitin without the use of improvements, while Supremacy might have access to better mineral improvements and so on.

    There should also be a more tangible sense of fellowship and cooperation between factions sharing the same Affinity, to show how planetary divisions are being drawn along ideological lines with the future of human evolution at stake.

    Currently, Affinities just aren't distinct enough. There's no sense of character or depth to them.

    They're paint jobs.
     
  2. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Your suggestions would make sense if you could balance a game (series) where Science is the key resource for other resource types, but as it stands your thematic suggestions for, say, linking Science and Supremacy will only make Supremacy the most efficient choice for winning the game.

    Also, I disagree that just because there isn't enough depth to Affinities, they therefore have no depth. Absolutes rarely make for fruitful discussion.
     
  3. Olodune

    Olodune Emperor GOTM Staff

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    Having a chance at an alien artifact from a nest, inside your territory, with "blue" aliens, would make sense. In my harmony games I always feel a little bad when the moment comes to pillage those nests. Agreed.
     
  4. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    I wouldn't mind if affinities were roughly equally quest, culture, and science based with quests that guide thematic gameplay decisions.

    As far as changing non-unit aspects of the game, I'm looking for feedback on an Affinity buildings overhaul in the Ideas section: which I intend to mod into the game.
     
  5. NASAROG

    NASAROG Prince

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    Agreed. I would also split them you better on the tech web the way they are on the upgrade web.
     
  6. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Supremacy techs boost energy production from Geothermal plants, Generators, and hammer production from Quarries and energy from Mines. They allow you to build Academies and boost science from Academies. They allow you to build Arrays and boost Arrays. Nodes, too.

    Harmony gives you Biowell, which boosts food and health. They allow Solar Collectors, and increases food from Plantations and Xenomass Wells, in addition to allowing buildings that give more food.

    Purity gives culture through Domes and Holomatrices and growth through easy Health buildings (Gene Garden). They also allow you to settle the most inhospitable of climes through Terrascapes.
     
  7. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    I always found it strange that Harmony has the most incentive to kill aliens instead of let them live (due to the MindFlower aggression period)
     
  8. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    That only makes sense if you misunderstand Harmony's aims as being happy-dippy-trippy with the aliens. That's not so. Harmony's all about taming the planet just as much as all the other affinities - they're just going to do it with biotechnology, and they're not above poaching some "upgrades" while they're at it.
     
  9. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    That's the theory, in reality you just spam Farms because the bonuses don't matter at all.

    It's the same problem as always: Games are too short, stuff comes too late to matter and the bonuses are too small to really define gameplay. Affinity is just a number that increases and gives you some good buildings if you focus on 1 and some nice health bonuses if you increase 2 numbers simultaniously.
     
  10. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    That sounds like your personal headcanon more than anything.
     
  11. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Westwall:

    The view is derived from the entries I've read about Harmony and their techs, buildings, and units. They're way fine with domesticating Raptor Bugs and breeding them into some kind of mount creature. There's a Harmony questline that involves a company enslaving creatures using nerve control, while leaving them mentally intact - a horrific violation of any creature's existence.

    Ryika:

    Eh. I'm sure it'll finish that fast if I always aimed the gun at the VC, but I've always thought that needed reworking anyhow, so I play my games as if the VC only opens at around turn 215 - which is about where it ought to be, IMO.

    The upgrade Supremacy gets to Geothermal Wells and Quarries comes within the first ring, FYI, and Domes are viable, apparently, all your theorycrafting to the contrary.

    Biowells are a Harmony thing and they're definitely not too late to get.
     
  12. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    Do you remember the specific quest?

    I have very limited experience with Harmony.
    _____________________________________

    There are some mods that make Domes decent, but they definitely aren't in the base game.

    Their maintenance starts as almost a break-even change rather than an improvement, and ends extremely lackluster compared to the other improvements available.

    I personally made and use a mod that removes the maintenance and changes their Biowells upgrade to +1 food, for a nice +2 Food +2 Culture if you go Purity.

    Competing with +2 Food, +1 Energy, +1 Production farms in Purity techs* and +3 Food, +3 Production, +3 Culture, +1 Health, +2 Energy, -6 Maintenance, yield replacement with terrain buffs in tact Terrascapes I'd say that is balanced.

    *(Add +1 Science if you get a distant Harmony tech.)
     
  13. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Yes, about 215-230 sounds like a good baseline to start the victory wonder. I would prefer games that are even longer, but BE currently doesn't really have much to fill the endgame.

    I guess that depends on the definition of viable. If being 10-15 turns slower than "optimal" strategies is "viable" then sure (true for both, Domes and Biowells). But it is good design that you can just use very basic tools and win quicker than you would win with the interesting tools? I don't think so.
     
  14. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Galgus:

    The questline involved is the Neuromega Company Questline. I believe it opens a little after building some Ultrasonic Fences. Apparently, keeping the aliens out is a very Harmony thing to do. It involves killing alien units and clearing out an alien nest.

    I think a +1 Food upgrade in BioSPHERES is reasonable, but... I dunno. Since playing mass Domes it became obvious that one of the reasons why Artist is such a strong colonist is because there really aren't that many sources of Culture, and that the Virtues are balanced to be acquired when Culture is like that. In contrast, you can grow Science with Population and Energy with tile outputs. This makes Domes and Stations with Cultural Output very valuable.

    With Purity 12, Domes get +1 Food, so you're going to get +1 Food, +2 Culture Domes pretty fast if you're Purity at all, even if you don't do the mod, and you still get the +1 Energy from Biospheres. The farms are actually not that good later in the game because the food becomes less important in the aquatic settlements (those mainly get their food from land city routes), and Domes functionally give +3 culture in water.

    Ryika:

    Things could stand to be better. Shrug. A win's a win. It's only you turn-counters who really care about how fast because that apparently matters for epeening. If you can win with Domes, then it's viable.

    From a certain perspective, the point of having interesting content is its own reward - so it can make sense to make them less powerful, just as a counterpoint to their being more interesting - the fact that they're interesting makes them into their own reward. It's not a cut-and-dried thing.

    If you're going to just make Domes and Biowells stronger than Farms, then what use are Farms in the first place after the first few turns, and not at all if you have Tubers and stuff? In the Domes thread, you objected to every upgrade we proposed!
     
  15. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    Virtues are strangely balanced at the moment in that many are next to useless filler with some that are incredibly strong.

    Generally Virtues and Culture generation is stronger early with heavy diminishing returns later.

    The Maintenance in particular kills the viability of Domes, and makes them less distinct from Terrascapes.

    I could probably beat most difficulty levels with extremely poor decisions, but that doesn't mean that balance doesn't matter.

    It means that the AI needs to be much stronger, whether by actually making them smarter or by increasing their bonuses in the mid and late game.

    It would be, frankly, a horrible balance philosophy to think that interesting things need to be less powerful as a trade off.
    _____________________________

    Trade routes are a whole different issue and need some serious rethinking.

    I'd support a system like BNW's that isn't based on cities with Trade Routes unlocked by Affinity Level and certain techs.

    Yields would be determined either by local resources or by a portion of overall city output of a yield.
     
  16. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Shrug. A lot of the "extremely poor" decisions you lot make to me are "I'm only ever going to play the game this way because I'm too close-minded." Have you even tried to make Domes work? The only other person I've seen try them has been Olodune.

    Same with the Colonists thing. Like Artists are the only ones you could choose. Many of the Civs in Civ V are clearly weaker that other Civs, but it's not like we don't choose to play Denmark, and we don't deign to play the weaker Civs because "they're not optimal." Or I dunno, maybe you do and Civ is super boring to you.

    I'm not saying that the Domes couldn't stand to be changed. I did propose changes already in another thread. I just don't think "balancing" the yields directly yield-for-yield without in-game experience is a sound way to make decisions.
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Yeah, sure... "epeening" is the only thing that matters, the fact that some people just enjoy trying to optimize their strategies in... you know... a strategy game does not matter at all. :mischief:

    But glad that we've cleared up that we have a different opinion on what viable means. By your definition every single improvement, every single tech and every single virtue is "viable", just because the AI is so bad. That definition is so broad, I don't think it's worth much for me.

    See, if that's your opinion: Great for you. For other people that's not enough.

    Yes, and I made arguments for why I think that your proposed changes were not good and (if I don't completely misremember that thread) gave my own take on what I would do with them. It's called a discussion and the fact that you don't care about efficiency but then start crying because someone who cares about efficiency tells you that he doesn't think your solution is a good one - that's really not my problem.

    But yeah, in my opinion Biowells and other advanced Improvements should be stronger in the later parts of the game and lead to better victory times than basic improvements. That's what they're there for, they should get your society ahead, the interesting decision should be when to exactly start switching to a more advanced improvement. Spamming farms all game should be a semi-viable option for people who don't want to optimize.


    If you open your mind too much your brain will fall out.
     
  18. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    I'd be okay with Farms having a niche, but perhaps not a niche in all affinities.

    Fundamentally though researching tech to unlock and upgrade improvements should be rewarded appropriately.
     
  19. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Yeah. I don't agree with that at all. Biowells and Domes should offer yields other than Food, but making their yields stronger just because of tech both makes tech stronger (like we didn't already have a problem with that) and makes all the improvements less interesting. It's not like you need Farms in the outer settlements. That just makes the differential smaller, or haven't you noticed?
     
  20. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    From a certain perspective, the point of having interestingly looking improvements is its own reward - so it can make sense to make them less distinct, just as a counterpoint.

    But I'm not even sure why you think I would be arguing to make every improvement yield food. The Dome is literally the only improvement that has the Culture-Only problem where it would make sense to add food. For all other improvements the bonus they grant just needs to be stronger to make them interesting - I think something similar to what I have done in my Awesome Affinities Mod (yes, shameless self-promotion) would work great, of course in a more balanced and less over-the-top way.

    I mean, Firaxis even tried to do it in Rising Tide, just that the effects generally come too late and are too weak.
     

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