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Affinities are (still) a nonsensical wash.

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

  1. WiseGreen

    WiseGreen Warlord

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    I agree with Ryika about farms standing head and shoulders above other food improvements as the optimal strategy, but... What incentive do you have to pursue *the* optimal strategy, except OCD? This isn't CiV Deity, where you mishandle some part of your game and the AI beats you by 20 or more turns. If you can repel the AI militarly, you can do pretty much anything you want. Any strategy that doesn't create a huge affinity gap between you and the AI is viable. This, to me, is the main issue with the game right now; not enough inertia, not enough challenge, and the AI can't really catch up with the player.
     
  2. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Oh, I'm not saying there is a reason. ;) I'm just saying that having optimal play and interesting play be two completely different things is an issue that does not have to exist. It is purely a balancing/scaling issue that prevents the second half of the (pre-victory wonder) game to be fueled by tools that are unique to affinites in efficiency-driven matches.
     
  3. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    Slightly off topic, but this sounds amazing! Imagine a society that so despises Old Earth history, it ends up letting old earth history define it (and therefore remains stuck in Purity).

    For example: "We need to prove that we can beat sexism before we upload ourselves into genderless robots, or we'll never know if we are better than our ancestors", etc.
     
  4. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    That doesn't really make much sense, though part of admiring history is learning from its mistakes.

    Outright reviling the past would seem to encourage the crazier elements of transhumanism.
     
  5. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    Because you basically have to go out of your way to play the "interesting" sub-optimal strategy.

    Even automated workers default to building farms so you have to specifically tell them to build things that we all know are less optimal and might as well not be in the game for all the good they serve.

    Hey, here's an idea: Why not make all improvements equally viable?

    I guess that's too much trouble for the developers, isn't it? Probably.
     
  6. CountAccountant

    CountAccountant Warlord

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    I think that it makes sense, though I concede that my opinion is no more valid that yours. Show me two "Beyond Earth" players and I'll show you two different interpretations of the affinities.
     
  7. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    That does not make all opinions equally valid, despite the fact that they are subjective where they are not in direct conflict with the canon.
     
  8. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    All opinions are by definition equally-valid. Nobody's using hate speech to put their opinions forward, are they? C'mon now, live and let live a bit :p
     
  9. WiseGreen

    WiseGreen Warlord

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    ... I kinda think it is? BE has how many different terrain-neutral improvements, a million? Balancing them doesn't involve only making them somewhat equivalent outputs, which is hard already because not all outputs are equally useful, but also programming the AI to correctly decide not only when and where to build each improvement, but also if it's worth replacing them as new improvements become available and old improvements become better with new tech/afinity bonuses.

    But again, regarding specifically the improvements, I don't think they should be equally balanced. Late game improvements should be overpowered. You, as the player, should feel like you've fully mastered the planet in a way Old Earth never was. But, again, late game should last more, different affinities should care for different things other than science for their victory quest etc.
     
  10. Westwall

    Westwall Emperor

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    Good luck.

    These devs don't even feel the need to make the AI aggressively expansionist.

    Also doesn't help that they make having anything over ~5 cities suboptimal.
     
  11. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    A large amount of the available strategies of any game (with strategy) will always be "suboptimal". The optimal path in any game which offers a multitude of variable paths will always ever be a minority of the overall content.

    The argument's getting a bit nonsensical at this point. Yes, you can make the available strategies more balanced, but in doing so you will find it very hard to change the % of dominant / optimal strategies. Balance will just make the others not as bad by comparison, over time.

    You could say "well that's all I want", and that's fair enough, but it doesn't change the fact that even with your perfect ideal of design and balance, there will still be a select amount of optimal strategies that dwarf all others.
     
  12. WiseGreen

    WiseGreen Warlord

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    @Gorb I agree with your point, but a) I think the imbalance between strategies should favor those which use late-game improvements and not those relying on basic, early-game improvements; b) even if going one affinity is more "optimal" than the others (e. g. mind flower gets you a faster win than emancipation gate), each affinity should have its own optimal mid-to-late game strategy, specially involving terraforming. Even if we consider Academies and Paeans/VFs as equally optimal, they're both too Affinity-agnostic right now.
     
  13. MAMoob

    MAMoob Chieftain

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    Tbh I've also played a fair number of games and I do not think spamming farms until the endgame is always optimal, as +1 food is not that great and getting more than that requires you to grab 2 relatively expensive techs that give you no affinity XP or science. Many advanced improvements practially need S/S extract to be viable though. Exact same problem is present with covert ops - they're practically unusable without Soul discerner training and/or ARC UA. Imo this needs to change, all options should be viable from the start and the buffs obtainable for them should be less OP. RT messed up quite a few things in this regard.

    This does not change the fact that improvement buiid times and yields are not balanced however. I'd say improvements should be more situational. Given a fixed map there would always be one "optimal" strategy, even if it doesn't beat the others by a huge margin. Balancing improvements does not mean that you can win in an equal numbrt of turns spamming either one (why even bother with the decision what to build then?). To me this means that there should be situations in which each of the improvements would be better than the others.

    One other problem is that every single VC in BE only needs science + production (mostly science). Well, emancipation can also use some energy instead of production for the final phase but that's it. This makes yields like culture much less attractive, especially in the lategame when virtues become very expensive and have even less time left to pay off. Imo if there's a chance for another BE expansion (which I doubt) it should focus on reworking the VCs in the first place.
     
  14. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I understand the concerns about Affinity-agnosticism, but I also think for better or worse, that's what the developers are shooting for. They might change this, but everything they've done so far indicates they want everyone to get a piece of the pie. Nobody should be excessively punished for pursuing a specific Affinity (or Hybrid).

    I think end-game (or late-game, however you think they're going to be placed) improvements could perhaps be stronger than they currently are (especially if we keep on upping tile maintenance, given how easy Energy is to stack the further a game progresses). Separating out the basic improvements and the, um, improved improvements in terms of build speed was a good step.

    Problem is that the improved improvements don't necessarily give bang for their buck (with a couple of exceptions, especially Terrascapes on a polar start) and the ultimate problem that everyone keeps coming back to: average game length.

    Problem is average game length is defined by quality of play, which I've seen some people arguing that we shouldn't be balancing for - in which case what quality of play / level of play do we balance for? I fully expect people to chip in with "anything is better than we have now", but that doesn't really help answer the question, in my opinion.
     
  15. kaltorak

    kaltorak Emperor

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    I must have been wrong then, thinking it was about beeing in harmony with the planet. Wait, how was the affinity called again? Taming? Bio-Taming?
     
  16. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    That could also be solved by making each affinity indirectly generate bonus-science. Make it so Purity gets 3% Science per Virtue and there you go, spamming Culture-Improvements may suddenly be a strong choice, if the game-length was extended - while at the same time making it less valuable to stay on low-tech improvements.

    Give Harmony a few more "per Population"-tools and biowell-heavy strategies would profit them most (if trade routes were brought down to a reasonable amount of food/production).

    Supremacy could get a native science boost from their gpt like that one wonder already does.

    And I'm pretty sure it wouldn't be too hard to find more of these things for hybrid-affinities.
     
  17. Barathor

    Barathor Emperor

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    That's a very cool idea! You've also inspired me to think of something else. :)

    Man... if only I had a full week of doing nothing by myself, I could bang out all these mods I'm typing and collecting ideas for in my journal. Then, I could enjoy playing the game once again, haha.
     
  18. Starrynite120

    Starrynite120 Prince

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    How easy would it be to add another condition to building the wonder? For example, purity needs 20 virtues to build the wonder, harmony a city with 30 population, or supremacy a high energy surplus. This would certainly make the victories more distinct and force you into different play styles. I think this could be a simple yet refreshing change to the victories
     
  19. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    No, not really.

    Just because there is not a firmly objective standard to measure all of them by does not make them equal.

    Though admittedly it makes them hard to judge, more about defending and attacking arguments than a clean measure.
    ________________________________________________________

    On a later comment, I do agree that a short late game is a problem.

    This is far from a perfect solution to AI ineptitude, but what if they got significant bonuses as the game goes on, to help them not be totally surpassed by the player?

    I feel like the best way to make the late game interesting is to have AIs that feel like an actual military threat rather than a speedbump.

    It would also give us proper wars to play with the upgraded Affinity units.
     
  20. MAMoob

    MAMoob Chieftain

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    Yeah, that would be one option, and one of the easier implementation wise. Another option would be to have some powerful lategame (affinity specific?) virtues that only unlock later in the game and justify the higher cost. Or just straight up buff the t2 and t3 synergy bonuses.

    And this is another option. I would prefer something more complex still, but this would be a start.

    Ideally though, I would like to see some actual tension between the affinities going for the affinity VC with only maybe the contact victory remaining the "wait X turns" type. I don't have the whole picture in my head yet, but some basic things that can be added:

    -Affinity victory conditions clash with each other. It might be more difficult to get refugees from Earth when someone else is sending troops to "liberate" them. E.g. sending troops through emancipation gate limits the spawn rate of earthing settlers. Likewise it might be difficult (or outright impossible) to achieve transcendence in a heavily terraformed or industrialized world. This would force harmony players to attack the onces who clear miasma and spam terrascapes or manufactoeirs.
    -Higher emphasis on terraforming. Already mentioned a bit in the previous item. Harmony players should be encouraged to leave the planet in its natural state while building some eco friendly improvements. They should get bonuses from tiles with forest or miasma and be able to regrow forests etc. Supremacy players should be encouraged to just pump up production and energy ignoring any ecological problems. Purity players should be encouraged to terraform.
    -Create some affinity tension akin to civ5 religion tension. Your population should too have different views on the future of humanity. It should be required to have your affinity as dominant in your cities to even have a shot at the VC.

    Example of potential changes to illustrate the idea:

    Miasma - miasma reduces food on the tile by -x. Also each tile of miasma reduces health of ALL nearby cities in y tile radius regardless of the owner by some small value. Harmony later can reverse the effects and gain food and health. Supremacy can later ignore the health penalty. Also increases harmony tension in nearby cities.

    Alien nests - Increase harmony tension in nearby cities. Can later be worked by harmony players for extra yields. Supremacy and purity players can build unique improvements on nests that remove the tension (and stop aliens spawns) and also get additional yields (supremacy uses them for labour adding production and purity builds preserves that give culture). Simply pillaging the nest also removes tension.

    Forests - biowells built in forests grant extra food. Increase harmony and purity tension by equal amount.

    Mines, quarries and manufactories - reduce health of all cities in x tile radius by a small ammount regardless of the owner (pollution). Supremacy players later ignore the penalty.

    Domes - negate health penalties from nearby miasma and production improvements (by x per dome, up to 0 penalty).

    Terrascapes - greatly increase purity tension. If pollution and misma health penalties in a city with terrascapes reaches x all terrascape yields are reduced. Otherwise give a large health bonus.

    Nodes - increase supremacy tension. Manufactories gain a production boost for adjacent nodes.

    Arrays - Greatly increase supremacy tension.

    New unique traits:

    Supremacy
    -Tolerance: population ignores pollution and miasma health penalties. Cyborgs just don't care.
    -Global network: Gain health and science bonuses for each city connected to the capital. Later on connections can be established with satelites. Science penalties for city count for connected cities are also reduced.
    -Collaboration: gain +x science for each supremacy follower in the world.
    -Humanity 2.0 (endgame ability): Population no longer generates unhealth or consumes food. All excess health is added directly to science. Population no longer growth naturally. Can convert production to food at 100% rate to grow.

    Harmony
    -Adaptation: Gain health and food bonuses for miasma instead of penalties.
    -Ecoscaping: Gain extra food from forest tiles. Can grow forests with workers.
    -Swarm intelligence: Gain +x% science per pop in city (encourages tall cities).
    -Biomanufactoring (endgame ability): x% of city food is added to production.

    Purity
    -Purity of thought: Garrisoned troops increase purity tension. Can chose to "purify" conquered cities by killing all non purity followers. Min 1 pop remains.
    -Rigteous cause: Cities spawn free units, rate depends on the culture output.
    -Ideological sciences - +x% science for each adopted virtue (as suggested by Ryika)
    -Holy war (endgame ability): - +x% combat strength near cities where purity is the dominant affinity. x% of culture output is added to energy.

    Tension:
    Basically the same as civ 5 religion. Each affinity tension determines the % of followers of the given affinity in a city. Progressive penalties for the number of citizens of non dominant affinity (going hybrid allows to tolerate two affinities).

    Victory conditions:
    Can only be attempted if >50% of empire pop is of the appropriate affinity. Transcendence speed depends on # of forest and miasma tiles worldwide. Earthling settlers can not be settled if miasma/pollution is above certain level in the area. Additionally they can not be spawned on a turn when a unit entered emancipation gate on the previous turn. Can put units into the exodus gate instead to protect Earth (reduces the supremacy VC counter).
     

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