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Are diplomats too weak?

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by pineappledan, Jan 20, 2021.

  1. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Diplomats don’t seem to have much value. Even for a CV, I would rather use spies to steal GWs for 99% of the game than use the % modifier for having a diplomat with that civ.

    There are buildings to block/slow down spies, but you can block diplomats completely by going to war, so it seems like they should have more value.

    it seems like the only real value diplomats have is levelling up your spies safely (which you can also just do by putting them in a city-state) and the last 20 or so turns of a DV game. With a Diplomat victory, you switch all your spies to diplomats for vote trading and for the +1 vote in the WC for a DV from globalization (assuming the entire planet is not at war with you because you’re going to win)

    maybe diplomats could give +1 vote in the WC from the start, and have that increased to +2 at globalization?

    what are some other ways we could make diplomats more ‘competitive’ with spies?
     
  2. InkAxis

    InkAxis Prince

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    I've always thought they were weaker than spies. I remember I thought of some way to make them better but I forgot.

    Ideally, you should send diplomats to your friends and spies to your enemies, obviously changing based on conditions (VC, tech level, etc)
    So, they should give some sort of friendly bonus. It could be bonuses to trade routes, or a bonus for having a DP/OB, also perhaps the chancery buildings could get additional yields per diplomat.

    If we want something a bit more extreme perhaps DP can only be made with a diplomat. People complain about too many DPs, this would make them have an actual cost. And anyway, most of the time you only make a DP with your ally, who you probably want a diplomat with, not a spy. It might be too restrictive before you get spies though. It could be that you get 1 DP without a diplomat, the rest need diplomats. But that seems a little complex, I would prefer the first option.
     
  3. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    If I had my way, the two would simply be merged. Spying is too important early to give up, and while vote trading is fun it doesn't replace the power of spying. Frankly Diplomacy and Espionage go hand in hand, the two work together, so I would love if we just removed the spy, called it an "agent" and allowed it both functions.

    If your going to keep the current way, I think +1 vote is a reasonable idea. Before CS allies are allowed votes, every vote is pretty precious, so having some extra votes at the cost of spying during the "peak time" would be interesting. Now realistically would I ever use that in a competitive game? No....I have to spy to keep up in tech most of the time...that's simply part of the game, but its a cool option at least.
     
  4. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    On paper, the idea of using a diplomat to "unlock" advanced diplomacy options sounds like a very cool idea. That said, the issue is I never have a good enough understanding of whether an AI will go for my pact or not, so would I risk all the turns to make my spy a diplomat (trashing my current spy mission), just to see the AI decline my deal, and then having to take all the turns to reestablish the spy? I can't imagine I would ever do that.
     
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  5. InkAxis

    InkAxis Prince

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    Yeah, that is a big issue.

    But maybe it could be fixed, if you can just ask them. You can ask their opinion of someone, so you can ask their willingness for a DP. So they would just evaluate the trade deal worth to them. If it's "Impossible" then they say no, so no need to move spies. And they could say how willing they are, like if they would only do it if you give them more stuff on the trade deal, they would say so.
     
  6. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    So one simple idea since Recursive is doing all the diplo work right now, is for Diplomats to either/both:

    1) Increase their base diplomacy bonus (they give a +15 to your diplo score, not that strong at the moment, could be a lot higher).
    2) Speed up the reduction of negative penalties (working to smooth over faun pax)
    3) Reduce the amount of negative penalties you take for certain actions.

    So the idea would be, if your ability to royally screw someone...send archeologists to their lands, betray a deal, kick a CS they like, etc....you could send a diplomat to soften the blow.
     
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  7. InkAxis

    InkAxis Prince

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    I think they should most effectively stop the diplomacy penalties for having different ideologies and for having different social policies. It makes sense realistically because diplomats should be helping smooth over cultural differences. But it also works better gameplay wise because if you have an ally the whole game but then they happen to choose a different ideology/social policy you probably want to do something to help. Other diplomacy penalties shouldn't be reduced as much because you should still be punished for war/CS/etc. If those bonuses go away too easily it makes the AI easier to manipulate.

    Also, if diplomats become too focused on diplomacy then they will still be basically useless in multiplayer, something to consider.
     
  8. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    The espionage system needs a complete overhaul anyway. Agents should be allowed to do advanced actions regardless of whether they're spy/thief/diplomat. Advanced actions should be pure sabotage actions - reducing a certain yield of the target civ if successful. You can toggle sabotage actions on/off.

    Gold stealing can be split into a "reduce gold in target civ" advanced action (maybe setting a fire on public properties so it costs gold to repair) and a "steal gold" action that's only done by thieves in capital/cities without any Great Works.

    Spies can steal whole techs if applicable, or steal science if not. The advanced action should only sabotage science.

    Diplomats should increase the target civ's opinion score on you, gives a tourism bonus, and allows trading votes, until they're caught doing sabotage actions - then you're forced to reassign them as spy/thief if the agent escapes, or return and re-send them (with another fake identity!) to act as diplomat again.

    You can reassign the agent as another role in the same city without re-sending them - you save the travel time this way, but not the establish surveillance time.
     
  9. Recursive

    Recursive Covets Lands That You Currently Own Moderator

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    This is not feasible with how DP willingness is currently programmed. AI updates its willingness every turn; it's intended to be a little more stable for DPs than for DoFs, but there's a reasonable possibility your diplomat could arrive there only to find the AI no longer willing to make the agreement.

    Additionally certain events (particularly declaring war) cause the AI to reset its willingness to make a DoF or DP until the next turn.

    If it's too powerful, it's exploitable. Yes, the bonus could be larger, but I don't see why such a large bonus would be justified given that having a diplomat doesn't help the AI too much. Opinion bonuses/penalties are a % modifier to AI approach towards a player and are used elsewhere in decision making. I get the roleplay appeal to it, but I don't want to make the AI purposely stupid to avoid the game becoming too easy.

    Eliminating the penalty for different Social Policies seems fair. Ideologies are meant to set civilizations apart and shake up the late game, and this would be too easy a circumvention in my opinion. If you're a really long term ally (3+ DoFs without war, denouncement or premature end of DoF) the AI should already ignore ideological differences.

    If victory competition is disabled, perhaps it could have this effect.

    I agree with the point about multiplayer. Any rework of Diplomats should take this into account.

    Side note, the espionage code is a sad overcomplicated mess and overhauls would require a lot of work.
     
  10. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    What if Diplomats effectively linked the two capitals via an unpillageable, invisible trade route, in addition to the other bonuses?
    You don't get a TR :tourism: tourism modifier in addition to the Diplomat :tourism:tourism modifier, but you both get a constant stream of :c5gold::c5science::c5culture: as if it were a standard land trade route.
     
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  11. amateurgamer88

    amateurgamer88 Emperor

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    What if every diplomat gives you +x% :c5science: Science and :c5culture: Culture in your Capital? I see no need for unpillageable, invisible trade routes if something simpler can be implemented.

    The choices are spies with bigger gains and angering the civ or diplomats with small steady bonuses (scaling with era if necessary) and improving relations.
     
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  12. HungryForFood

    HungryForFood Prince

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    Could have the bonus :c5science: and :c5culture: tied to the other player's tech and policy lead for a more reliable rubber band mechanic than trade routes.

    Could also have it applied at the player level rather than the city level to not affect happiness.

    Sounds like a neat custom civ actually, if this idea does not get used.
     
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  13. Phosphoraptor

    Phosphoraptor Chieftain

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    I agree that diplomats should serve to increase your diplomatic options similar to paradox games. Players can start with limited options like maximum X number of DPs, RAs, that increase the more diplomats you commit. I also like the idea of diplomats giving better opinion from the target civ (make it gradually increase to the set amount to prevent gamey behaviour or have it disappear from diplo no-nos like backstabbing).
    Diplomats giving yields are fine but should be behind policies/wonders and not their primary function.
     
  14. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Another thought would be that if you are popular with a nation you get a free diplomat in a city "unless you have a spy there". Or maybe just get the benefits of having a diplomat there. Gives a lot more incentive for tourism outside of CV.
     
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  15. InkAxis

    InkAxis Prince

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    That is probably a good idea, but doesn't help diplomats being weak much.
     
  16. Rekk

    Rekk Emperor

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    Reduce the time it takes for a diplomat to set up in a capitol, or at least let the time scale with influence like it does with spies.
     
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