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Another wide/liberty thread sorry

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by GhostSalsa, Dec 10, 2013.

  1. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    I searched but didn't see any threads about BNW liberty more recent than pre-patch. I know it's a well-worn discussion also being visited in the Biggest problem thread.

    Going wide early is ridiculously penalized. Now not just in happiness and culture, but science and gold. This on top of the fact that it requires significantly more effort on the part of the player to plot their settling and click on all those extra build and unit commands. Whereas going tall with four cities is a low-investment high-reward route to industrial tech dominance which makes taking over the map a breeze. Everyone know this.

    There's nothing wrong with early-game-turtling-late-game expansion, but it's boring to be forced into the same process over and over.

    I played Spain on Immortal with a lucky (two 500g wonder-finds) start and tried to leverage that (plus Isabella's free extra happiness from wonders) into a wide empire and stalled out in the Industrial era. I had half my cities still struggling to finish classical-era buildings and losing important tiles to newly-settled AI neighbors. It was a humiliating disaster.

    I concluded:

    -The game doesn't let you settle cities between turn 100 - 200. If you want to, too bad. That's stupid vanity and you need to play like a deity tradition player, sorry. Never mind that Spain's unique unit is designed for Renaissance expansion. If you actually use a conquistador to settle, all you do is cause headaches. Because:

    -New-city turnaround time (when you get back all you have to invest in it) does not improve until Industrial/Modern era. It's about 100 turns before a settled city will start to look good, even with 4 hammers from Liberty and Exploration. This turnaround time is the same on turn 50 as it is in turn 150. It does not improve.

    A city settled on turn 150 probably wouldn't build an Opera House on its own until 250. Getting Hermitage on turn 250 is unacceptable. So the mid-game expansionist is in for around $800-1100 of rush-buying on that city just for Hermitage. Gold which they then cannot use for their older cities or for any new settled cities. The new city will not make that gold back ever. The turnaround time just expanded into infinity. The turtling player meanwhile needs no rush buying mid-game and has an easy cushion by industrial to pop three factories and an ideology.

    -Yes you can use trade routes to improve new city turn around speed, but those same trade routes could go to support specialists in your capital instead. So shorter turnaround is higher cost. Which means less resources for your other founded cities. It's the same snowball as rush-buying.

    -After Industrial you can get nearly-instant turnaround with negligible cost (via Order or now painless high-bankroll rush-buying). Again, where does this leave the Spain or any other historically-mirrored Renaissance expansion rush?

    Certainly the player feels the pressure to grab key spots in that era. But the game makes it universally preferable to tech fast for ideology first and then grab those spots via conquest instead of just, god forbid, going out and settling them.

    --

    I think Liberty is a good policy tree, but its intrinsic rewards for a wide empire are laughably out-gunned by the current penalties. Instead Liberty tends to function best with the same turtle/expand timing as Tradition, but is obviously a less powerful choice for that strategy.

    The fix needs to buff Liberty by scale or tone down the penalties for mid-game expansion. My recent disaster leaves me with these 3 suggestions:

    -2 free internal trade route slots. A mid-game expander needs to be able to feed new cities without being lapped by a turtler's super-charged capital. Tall empires getting the same number of trade routes (plus preference for TR wonders) is a huge swindle for wide empires.

    -Building percentage bonus scales higher for every instance of a building in empire. Not with Rome's stupid in-the-capital restriction (the "my capital is too busy finally building National Monument to build a market right now" problem). Base hammer bonus scales +1 with era after adoption. A city founded in Renaissance should have 5-turn build times for a market, not 20. Everyone knows buildings are stupid-expensive anyway.

    -No more cost scaling for National Wonders. That's such an obvious snowball. If my empire is wide then my capital is shorter. So now I have to spend more hammers on National Library but have less hammers-per-turn to do so, and no wonder-bonus, and because of smaller yields I am benefiting less. 16 turns for National Library on 10-population city is insane. Now I'm those extra 10 or so turns delayed on new buildings for my capital, which delays those bonuses which makes everything else the capital ever does take longer. Tall empires already get more bonus via higher capital yields, they don't need cheaper cost to build.

    Edit: Please don't reply with an evaluation of how liberty performs that does not mention going wide vs going tall. This post is about not being able to expand past initial cities in any other than the one same rote game timing.
     
  2. Adjuvant

    Adjuvant Emperor

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    It's a balance problem, but moreover it's a trend. A year and a half ago you'd be hard-pressed to find someone to constructively discuss real benefits of tradition because they were so outweighed by the "old math". The pendulum's swung, not irrevocably, but certainly noticeably.
     
  3. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    I disagree. I am currently in a liberty game with Hiawatha.I am first in tech and competitive in all other categories. I am typically a tradition player, but I have been playing liberty lately for a change of pace, and it is as good as tradition if played properly and used in the right circumstances.

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  4. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    I am playing on immortal difficulty.

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  5. Strategist83

    Strategist83 King

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    I don't think your assertions are reasonable. Liberty isn't as bad (or bad at all) as you're trying to make it sound like. It's exaggeration upon exaggeration. I can understand the frustration with how the game almost forces you to play a certain way but your conclusions are unfair.

    Most likely you are making the classical mistake of basing your observations on how the AI functions at the lower levels of play (King and below): It doesn't connect and therefore doesn't share luxuries properly. This lacking AI feature hurts Liberty far more than Tradition since only Liberty will be making full use of all that happiness. Your conclusions therefore have some merits on low levels of play but it isn't the same as that Liberty doesn't work properly - problem is the AI.

    I certainly agree Civ V puts far too many artificial restrictions on the player, especially pertaining to expansion. Hopefully, they'll have learned their lessons and Civ VI will be quite different from the rather mediocre game we have now.
     
  6. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    The example game was Immortal, as stated. And I find the AI is useless at having duplicate luxes to trade post-patch, because it will settle far-away unique luxes before duplicates, making the trade screen a waste of time.

    In my Spain game, happiness wasn't a problem because I was Spain and had a good religion. GPT wasn't even as bad as most of my wide runs because I had Machu Picchu. The problem was building, technology, and wonder deficit. The problem was wide-ness.

    I'm going to edit my original post to reduce replies about Liberty that don't address wide-ness vs tall-ness.
     
  7. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    You didn't mention how wide your empire is or when you settled your cities (mid-game or waiting until Industrial) at all.
     
  8. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    I am not home. I will have to take a look at the game later and post another reply, but I settled three cities, went for the NC, and settled three rest: about eight. I would say my last one was about turn 150 or so.

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  9. MantaRevan

    MantaRevan Emperor

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    I agree that Wide empires need to be accommodated. At least before BNW they didn't have some massive science penalty working against them. Civ 5 is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. Deity tradition turtling isn't fun. In fact, some of the most enjoyable aspects of the game such as expansion and conquest are discouraged pretty ridiculously. People always talk about "conquering the world" when they're play civ, but in reality how often are you doing that? An absurdly strong and long-lasting warmonger penalty makes it so that unless you're playing domination(and from a strategic point of view, why would you want to...?) you want to avoid capturing cities at all costs.
     
  10. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    I'm glad mid-game settling is possible, then. Since it's tons more pure effort than turtling I still feel it should be fairer frequency of reward.
     
  11. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Mid-game settling IS possible, you can even make it break-even fairly quickly. But like MantaRevan said, there's not much incentive left to do it the way they tweaked the game. It will most likely stress your diplomatic relationships, the resources you get access to will at best cover the unhappiness you get from the city, and the research penalty means that it will only be in late game that city contributes positively to science, and question is then if that outweighs the setback it gives you midgame. I understand the wish to limit ICS somehow, but it does seem that the game has come to a state where the only reason you would bother to go wide is "just because", and that is a bit sad.
     
  12. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    I'd make one of the following 2 changes:

    1. In medieval era, the settler should upgrade to a new unit, the colonist. The colonist will:
    -Found a city of size 3 (or add 3 population to a city, up to a max of maybe 6?)
    -The new city already includes all the buildings of the ancient and classical eras.
    It should cost twice a normal settler, but it would certainly help things out in the later city-building.
    Alternately, don't make it a settler bonus, but make it a standalone unit. Each colonist, when it settles in a city, will either add one population or build one ancient or classical building. Heck, we could even have it improve one resource tile, if any are not already improved. So you would still settle a new city with a settler, but you could send it colonists to get it up and running much faster than before. Sort of like the older civ games (maybe the current one too) if you start the game in the medieval era, you get all the ancient and classical buildings for free.

    2. Add the following to one of the Liberty policies: +50% build speed for each previous era building (stacks, so if you're 2 eras ahead of the building you want to build, then you get +100%). So if you're in the modern era, you'll get a default like +250% bonus to building your ancient era library. It would fit in well with the Liberty strategy of going wide, in that it would help you get your new cities in line much faster than before.

    Do those, combined with other tweaks to the liberty tree, and I think you'd see a very strong wide empire path. Maybe instead of the golden age for representation that policy would grant you 2 extra internal-only trade routes.
     
  13. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    I've always said that liberty is a very situational SP tree. I try to make my policy choice based on the map and not ahead of time. In some situations it works, and in others it doesn't.

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  14. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    I like these a lot.

    Another approach to mid-game settling would be that colonies (post-Astronomy settlements on other continents) found as puppets with free worker. Ease the ridiculous strain mid-game cities put on Hermitage requirements. Since puppets cause extra unhappiness then there's your colonial discontent system built-in. I'm sure that's been suggested before.

    The downside would be nonexistent border expansion. You would need a patch-on system for colony/puppet border expansion like +2 tiles for every new citizen, which is no longer as simple a change.
     
  15. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    I feel that national wonders should scale up in terms of hammer cost relative to number of cities but does not require a prerequisite building in all cities (maybe only first 4 cities) that way i can still get my Oxford and hermitage while expanding in the medieval era.

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  16. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    I agree, and use it as such, but that also gets into the snowball effects of why Tradition is so much more "safe" and easy. To even know if I can make liberty work, I have to prioritize exploration from turn one, which delays my monument which delays my Liberty tree freebees. Whereas with Tradition, I definitely still want to explore, but I don't really need to. I'll get away with turtling every time because Tradition gives me four strong cities no matter what I do. Now we're back to limited optimal play paths favoring tall every time.
     
  17. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    I still don't see why. A tall capital can build a same hammer-cost wonder faster than a wide one. With NC, NM, and Hermitage the tall capital is getting way more out of it because it is working more specialists (science and GP) and more wonders (base culture dots) than a wide capital would ever have. So the wide capital gets less but has to pay more? And, again, what happens to the wide capital after that extra 5-turn delay? It's behind on buildings forever.
     
  18. Vitruvius

    Vitruvius King

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    I dont understand your argument that a tall capital is stronger than a wide capital. Age of exploration expansion, setting up of outpost cities to grab that lux or nw does not limit to just liberty players. You can expand beyond 4 cities whatever policy tree you picked. Besides liberty capital gets that extra production from republic that makes them no less powerful than tradition caps.
    What I am just saying is that mid game expansion is so detrimental because now you have to build all those prerequisite buildings in your weak new city (where you should be building granaries and watermills etc) just to get that important national wonder up. I'd rather add the hammer cost to the national wonder itself since my cap has way more production.
     
  19. VicRatlhead5199

    VicRatlhead5199 King

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    Could you imagine the game without the per city science penalty and but adding internal trade routes?

    Before BNW there used to be a lot of complaining about wide empires snowballing and becoming unstoppable. Could you imagine going wide without that penalty? Every new city can be pumped up artificially fast with internal trade routes. Trade routes are important not just for money and the piddling little science you get from external routes. You can get much more science from internal food trade routes. Without the penalty every city would be a total net gain for research. Progressing through the tech tree would be game breakingly fast.

    You can "break even" faster than people think. The penalty really isn't that bad. You do have to wait a little longer to truly go "wide" though, because early trade routes don't provide as much food and you need those national wonders. Around the Renaissance or Industrial you can usually safely double the size of your empire and really only lose a few turns of research. Send a food trade route to the new city and get a library and university in the city asap, you'll barely notice the penalty. Usually you can catch up and pass a smaller empire because those extra cities eventually become a gain for your total research.

    No, tall is not stronger than wide. They're pretty even really. I don't really like that because, like Manta and Kasper said, there's not much incentive to expand. I like to warmonger so I do it for resources and to help with logistics. A nice road system and later on air ports makes troop movements a breeze. Plus there is that nice added effect of having a bunch of cities cranking out troops. The only other VC that might benefit from going wide is a CV. More museums, more cities to build archeologists with, more antiquity sites in your borders, more landmarks to work. It might be a good way to go if you really want a CV but got beat out to a lot of the early culture wonders.

    Wide just doesn't snowball as early as it used to. I think a lot of these complaints about slow turn around times are coming from people who think every trade route has to be external. City connections can help with the economy and you won't miss the external routes as much. Worrying about the Hermitage is a waste of time when going wide. It's just not necessary because of the large number of museums you can build in a wide empire. I can't remember the last time I built it tbh.

    Liberty on the other hand can't compete with tradition for wide or tall. They both have production bonuses, liberty for buildings and settlers, tradition for wonders. They both have "free stuff" to save on early production, Liberty gets a settler, worker and GP, Tradition gets culture buildings and aqueducts. They both have culture from the openers, and the happiness policies can break even in larger empires. That's where the balance stops though.

    Tradition has two things to indirectly assist expansion that liberty does not. The growth bonus from the finisher is the first. This, paired with an internal trade route, will help you shoot past that bad time when the new city is hurting more than helping. The other is the free gpt. Tradition has a minimum of 8 free gpt via maintenance free buildings. It can be more if you get legalism to build later buildings. Oligarchy can save tons of money on an army you have to build anyway for defense. Monarchy provides an income almost equal to an early trade route alone depending on how big your capital is. Liberty has...a golden age, very temporary compared to the long term benefits of tradition. This means a tradition civ can spare more trade routes to feed new cities without hurting their economy.

    The only thing I miss from liberty is the policy cost reduction but I don't find it hurts all that much if I can get a faith building from either my religion or some one else's and then later supplement that with works and artifacts. Once the WC kicks in, my wide empire beats out anyone else on the projects so I can also get some help with Sopols from there.

    Possible ideas to balance the trees:

    -remove a lot of the gpt from tradition. The maintenance free stuff and gpt from monarchy are dinosaurs left over from before river and coastal gold were removed. They were to help a tall empire compete economically with wide empires who could work a lot more gold tiles and trading posts. It probably should have been removed at the same time because it means liberty civs are much more dependent on the same number of trade routes.

    - if gold isn't removed from tradition maybe it should be added to liberty. Maybe 4 workers maintenance free (not free but maintenance free, you'd still have to build them) at citizenship and +1gpt for city connections at meritocracy. Adding 1gpt to city connections would make the happiness from meritocracy attainable sooner without killing your economy.

    -Make the ToA a liberty wonder instead of the pyramids. Fast growth is very important for expansion now. It's also an ancient Greek wonder which kind of fits liberty a little better than an ancient Egyptian wonder. I know it wouldn't help every liberty civ but it'd at least balance the growth bonus for one civ.

    Sorry 'bout the wall of text but this isn't exactly a one paragraph topic.
     
  20. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

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    Sorry yes - I agree removing the all-cities requirement for National Wonders is a good idea too.

    But no, it's generally agreed that Republic doesn't outdo the free food-in-capital from tradition, since that free food is essentially two free mines you get to work, which is six hammers instead of one. But moreover the National Wonder cost scaling is a question of tall vs wide rather than policy tree comparison. Higher city count means less productive capital, generally. Being held back extra turns to finish National Wonders only compounds this by delaying other buildings and their bonuses
     

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