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Are all those difficulties really necesary?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by RobbySpry, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. RobbySpry

    RobbySpry Chieftain

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    Ok, first of all, this is NOT a rant. I love this game and i'm just plain curious!

    Hello. I just joined this forum because pretty much entirely because i presume there's quite a few Civ pros in here! :goodjob:

    I guess you've read this before if you're an experienced user here, but i didn't find any good answers when searching this forum: this game's kinda difficult when you play against the AI! I've probably managed a Warlord game (3rd difficulty) once or twice, but that was so much about pumping out units that it felt like there was no room to do anything but pumping out units, which was kinda dull. I guess the main "problem" here is that i'm one of those pacifist players who don't really play Civ to rage war, but to enjoy the expansion and exploration in the early game and see who simply can take best care of their people.

    At Chieftain diff (2nd) it's perfect to play as a pacifist since the computer is about on the same level as you when it comes to units. You still have to defend yourself of course. But anyways, i am very curious to find out how it's even possible to beat the AI on the Noble diff (4th). I mean, at Warlord the AI is so offensive that i don't see how anyone but true experts can survive. The thing is, there's quite a few more diffs on that list that i have never even dared to try. How can the AI create more units that it creates on the Warlord diff anyways? How can it actually get more difficult than that? Unless the AI gets a lot of unfair buffs i mean.

    Is it i who simply suck at this game or has Sid become so good at his own game that he forgets about the casual players who don't want to loose every game? lol Can someone please explain to me? It just doesn't make any sense! :crazyeye:
     
  2. karadoc

    karadoc AI programmer

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    The large ranger of different difficulty levels is necessary because there is a large range of player skill levels.

    The AI does get a lot of 'unfair buffs' at higher difficulty levels. Most notably, tech research costs less for the AI at higher levels, and more for the human player. It also gets discounts on hammer costs and maintenance. But it doesn't really mean that you can't do anything but build units. It is still viable to play peacefully at higher difficulty levels. I recently one a cultural victory on Emperor difficulty in which I only captured 1 city through war. I never declared war. I fought very little, and I built very few units. (Normal size Pangea map, epic speed). So pacifism on higher difficulty levels works fine. It's just more difficult than at lower levels, as you might expect.

    The people who frequent these forums come from the full range of difficulty levels, right up to Deity. So I think that is good evidence that the large number of difficulty levels aren't just for nothing.
     
  3. Bushface

    Bushface Deity

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    Practice is the thing. I'm an old Civ hand, right back to when Civ1 came out, but I still began Civ4 with a game at Settler level to learn the basics afresh. Then up to Warlord, skipping Chieftain, where I lost a few games before learning more skills, then gradually on up to Emperor level where I now win, usually. I've tried one game at Immortal, and got smeared: whether I shall try again at that level is uncertain.
    The great thing about Civ4 is that almost everything is situational. If your neighbours are the violently aggressive type, should you (and can you) wipe them out early or hope to survive and out-tech them ? What's the best tech to research in your current situation ? In what direction should your cities evolve ? Is it a good idea to trade a tech for another one, or would gold be better ? There is no absolute answer to these questions, nor to hundreds of others; only experience will tell you. And remember that "Good judgment comes from experience: experience comes from bad judgments".
     
  4. peppe1

    peppe1 Warlord

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    Noble level is generally the 'equal' level for AI's and humans.

    Above that the human spends more resources to get the same result and eventually the AI gets starting bonuses. Barbarians are harder and come faster, while goodie huts may not always give something good.

    Below that the human spends less to get the same result. And anything below noble the human gets starting bonuses and goodie huts are always good.
     
  5. Sveon

    Sveon Warlord

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    Sometimes it feels like the neighbourhood sets the difficulty more than the actual setting. Starting location is also improtant. If you start in the middle of the continent or in a corner and so on. I would say its a lot easier to play from a corner position with just one border and one religion to worry about in the start. Being squezeed between several zealots or agressive AIs of diffrent religion adds at least one step in difficulty.
     
  6. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Welcome, RobbySpry! :goodjob:

    I'd have to agree with Bushface on this (everything he says holds true for me), but like you to know I'm more of a builder than a warmonger as well. It's quite possible to be a builder and win above Warlord level, but you can't totally avoid war - it's been an essential part since Civ first came out - and indeed of history itself. (Personally, on an Earth map, I prefer the Egyptians.) ;)
     
  7. Rifler

    Rifler Chieftain

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    Since I wanna have a layed back and enjoyable game, I use to play Warlord or Noble. I also do build a lot and test the maps, so it's seldom I play a game to the very end.

    A good hint would be, to restart the game every once an hour. So you learn how to 100% perfectly build up your civilization. If you really want to get in depth of CIV4 gaming then read this guide by Sullla:

    Sulllas guide
     
  8. Groogaroo

    Groogaroo King

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    I'm a peaceful builder type player and have won without warring at Emporer level and there are players that have even beaten Deity peacefully. However this game does reward warring quite heavily so on higher levels war is generally the way to go.

    When I first got the game I didn't have a clue how things worked and was quite happy playing at settler & chieften and getting some nice little wins there, but after stumbling upon this site couldn't resist reading all the article and improving my game and eventually became more interested in playing for the challenge rather than purely for fun.

    If your happy having fun and playing along at cheiften then that's fine, any game is about having fun first and foremost.

    If you are interested in pushing your game and giving yourself more challenge then I would recommend reading Sisiutil's Strategy Guide for Beginners

    That will give you a good general understanding of how the game works, also after that there are a load of strategy articles over at the waracadamy for almost every aspect of the game.
     
  9. Baldyr

    Baldyr "Hit It"

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    RobbySpry, I'd say that you probably haven't mastered the game yet. And by "master" I by no means suggest you would have to play on anything above Noble level (the most equal level vs the AI). Rather than you are the master of the game, not the other way around. (Right now it sounds like you're the whipping boy of Sid.;))

    I assure you that there's a ton of stuff for you to learn about the game. I myself have being playing for years and find that I learn new stuff on a daily basis!:eek:

    As a beginner I'd suggest you take some time to study the game. Read the manual (if you haven't already), then go on to reading some of the guides on this site. Your game will improve manifoldly simply from you gaining all this knowledge about the game!

    Sooner than you think, you'll be laughing at your initial statements in this thread!:lol:

    Don't feel bad, though, we're all beginners at first. Don't feel afraid to ask either, if something is getting the better of you. The game is devilishly complex and it will take time before you'll be able to master all aspects of it.

    One way of reducing the complexity could be to simply take away some of the options. Choose "Custom Game" next time you play and switch off stuff like Espionage, Vassal States and Random Events that are actually add-ons from the expansion packs (if you have them). You could also disable some of the victory conditions you feel that you can't be bothered with at this stage. Furthermore, if you don't wanna bother with trading technologies and don't want the AI to be able to either, disable this also.

    Also, in the in-game options, you could enable auto-promotion for your units, enable auto-workers and auto-missionaries (and executives, if you play Beyond the Sword). Lastly, there is an option (Custom Games) to outlaw war completely. This would let you practice on building your empire and focusing on research without being harassed by your neighbors. A lite version of this would be simply to use the custom settings to have peaceful rivals (help me out here, someone, anyone?) or only a few rivals (perhaps on a slightly larger map) so that you won't be making first contact before you're ready.

    To summarize: Do your homework and practice. Until you feel comfortable with the game elements you're struggling with right now, try take away some of the difficulty and complexity of the game - for now.
     
  10. RobbySpry

    RobbySpry Chieftain

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    -------
     
  11. deanej

    deanej Deity

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    I'm the same way, and I'm pretty sure that until you came along I was the only one here.
     
  12. RobbySpry

    RobbySpry Chieftain

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    Haha, well maybe you and i should play then? If we both suck, we've got nothing to worry about! :lol: Except the AI of course, hehe.
     
  13. deanej

    deanej Deity

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    I mostly mod these days, though I do have a RFC game as Japan that I should finish (or at least continue) sometime soon.
     
  14. Baldyr

    Baldyr "Hit It"

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    :rotfl:That's hilarious stuff, man!:rotfl:

    There are "worse" players out there than mere "builders". I'm talking about folks who play PC to the extent that they refuse to make war on moral grounds, refuse to use "evil" Civics like Slavery or Police State, and won't adopt a state religion they don't personally believe in - in real life. What's the point of playing Civilization, then?:crazyeye: (The beauty of the game is however, that they are still able to enjoy the game, as it lets them achieve victories while maintaining their moral high ground. To each their own, right?:goodjob:)

    "You can't have manslaughter without laughter."
     
  15. RobbySpry

    RobbySpry Chieftain

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    Aaww.. :( Well good luck with your stuff!

    Hehe, it's tougher being a philanderer than some think. ;)
     
  16. mechaerik

    mechaerik Tuturuu!

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    When I first got this game (a little over a year ago), I was a settler. Now, I am at Monarch, and managing to do fairly well (not win unfortunately, they always get me in the late game :sad:). Read some stuff in the Strategy and Tips forum, ask for advice here if you need it, and only have one goal in mind when you start the game: Win.


    And actually, IIRC, the AI doesn't really receive many buffs at Warlord. You do.
     
  17. Baldyr

    Baldyr "Hit It"

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    The first great leap forward as a Civ player for me personally was when I read the game manual, back to back. This was back when I got Civ1 in the early 90s. After that it was another game altogether. I've read all the manuals ever since, making the transition to a new version much smoother.

    Back in those days it was still possible learn all the game rules by heart, but with this fourth edition and with the expansions, I haven't even tried learning them all, because there is just so much stuff to know. But I do know the basics: how Commerce works, how terrain Improvements work, what every single thing means in the city screen and the various advisors (well, mostly anyway...), how exactly Specialists work and how to utilize them properly to specialize cities, what Promotions to get for my units (and why), and so forth. The more you know, the better you'll be at the game.

    Then there's always the strategic aspects of the game, like how to make war successfully (a science onto itself), how to maintain good diplomatic relations (necessary to be able to make war on your own terms, and for trade), how to get the most out of trading resources, and so on. It seems that you can never learn all the tricks and you will also invent new strategies as you go along.

    Try not to have the exact same approach every time you play, simply because you've been doing it before. It might have been a terrible plan for the beginning, so you might in fact be handicapping yourself (like building Settlers as the first order of business in new cities, when focus should be on growing the city - not sending people in a diaspora). Also, you pretty much learn something every time you play, as long as you keep trying new things. It might be a total catastrophe, but simply go back to the initial autosave and try it differently this time around - or try something completely different.

    Another tip for beginners could be to set the :science: percentage at 50% at an early stage, so that you will both be allocating some of you Commerce to research and to income. This way you won't always be broke as would be the case if you let the fractions self-adjust themselves every time you run out of money. (You shouldn't need to mess around with Culture or Espionage either, as there are other sources for that.)

    The point would be that while playing at a beginner level, research shouldn't be that hard to come by anyway, and you will be able to experiment with buying Techs (from friendly rivals) or upgrade your obsolete units (so that you don't always have an outdated military). Its also possible to buy resources or bribe other leaders. Its hard to learn how and when to do this without any money to spend.

    Moving on to higher levels of difficulty you really need to focus more on Research, as the game is designed in a way that you should try to have a Tech lead over your opponents. And it will always be a question of either making a surplus monetarily - or funneling those resources into even more science. (I call this design principle "The Science Rat Race", as you always need to focus on this single aspect of the game or loose the advantage.)
     
  18. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    For my enjoyment without undue frustration, all difficulties above Noble were needed (long-time civ veteran although none of the earlier titles got me hooked as much).
    In fact, I could use one more difficulty between Immortal and Deity... that one is a very big jump. Immortal is usually a forgone win before the medieval age for me, and if better players didn't tell me otherwise I'd say a quarter of all Deity games are unwinnable without prior information (of course, I lose considerably more).

    As has been said, on Noble the AI doesn't have any gamebreaking advantages over you, and many experienced players think the game's AI isn't competitive enough. I feel that war often makes the game easier because the AI is spectacularly bad at it, but it shouldn't be necessary if you expand quickly enough.

    If you have the default number of cities required for all national wonders (6 on default settings) by 1AD, they are reaonably well placed, connected to the trade network and working improved tiles, you should do well.
    Ther are many things you can milk for an advantage (blocking in an AI so you can claim land at your own pace, spawning Great People and use them to 'lightbulb' towards a game-breaking tech, rushing an AI, trade non-monopoly techs around while hoarding those nobody else has, seizing all important world wonders and settle the resulting Great Specialists, break one type of terrain improvement by prioritising all techs/civics that help it) but you don't really need a focused approach yet... that can wait until you tackle Monarch or Emperor.
    For now, just look at what the AI seems to do better than you and try to improve on those fronts.
     
  19. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    You probably just need to make more workers, and make sure all your citizens are working tiles with some sort of improvement on them. Then make sure your cities have enough food to grow, and some way to keep them happy and healthy. That should be enough to let you completely crush the AI on noble level, even if you're a complete pacifist.
     
  20. Öjevind Lång

    Öjevind Lång Deity

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    I'd like a difficulty between Warlord and Noble - one where the human player does not get a discount on building and research, or any free settlers and workers, but where the AI civs are not quite as fiendishly clever. A lot of tricks from seasoned Civ players have been programmed into them, which does not make Noble a truly level playing field unless one is a dedicated and very experienced player.
     

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