Are the corp and espionage problems just scaling issues?

What is your game speed/map size and experience with corps and espionage?

  • I play Normal/Standard and have problems with corps but not espionage.

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters


Apr 6, 2007
A lot of Marathon/Huge players especially seem to hate corps and espionage, which makes me think they're balanced for Standard/Normal and that there might therefore be a simple problem of proper scaling to longer games on larger maps.

Now, never having played Marathon/Huge I would rather like to see some statistics on the people who have these problems. For the purposes of this poll:

  • Problems with espionage = excessive poison water by the AI, inability to counter espionage effectively, excessive spy spam etc.
  • Problems with corps = inability to found any corps and get them to run at a decent rate, poor compensation for the cost involved, necessity of running State Property at all times during the modern era etc.
I play on a hybrid of the 2 (Normal/Huge) and espionage drives me insane. Although that could just be the governors always giving me loads of spies whenever my workers build an improvement, despite the fact that I always turn the gits off.

I find corps (Ok, corp singular, Sid's Sushi) works just fine.
I play marathon/huge, have had problems with Corps but I suspect this was before I knew how to untilize them properly and I haven't really tried since.

Espionage can be a right pain in the ****ing arse, and I hate firaxis for this. Not everyone wants to play a civ game thats over in an hour or two, wake up to that fact you fudds.
The espionage system does not scale well to the larger map sizes and slower speeds. The passive missions tend to become ludicrously expensive, as does tech steal (i.e. costing about 4 times as much as it would to research the tech yourself). Some missions such as poison water and forment unhappiness seem to be broken the other way, and are too cheap.

Corporations seem to scale fine though. I can't see any real problems there.
Stealing techs is more expensive than researching them on large/epic, but that I believe is on purpose. Tech stealing is reasonable only if you gain extra EP's without devoting specialists or slider for the purpose, eg. by Great Spy (infiltration) or events (some can give EPs).
I find Espionage extremely annoying and would prefer to play without it.
Simple as that. I normally play on a relatively standard size and speed, but nonetheless, Espionage is pissing me off. Especially because of the AIs' tendancies of spending way too much money in this, resulting in me needing to do this aswell to stop catastrophies from happening. ARGH! I am mad at corps! :mad:

Corporation, n. Ingenious device designed to annoy the standard C-IV player.
The problem with espionage and corps is that the AI don't know how to use them properly. Well known by now is the AI's tendency to overemphasise espionage at the cost of research. Couldn't say about corps, as I've never seen an AI found one, but from what I hear they spread them indiscriminantly. And that doesn't work, even with Solver's patch unplanned wanton spreading of corps will often drive you bust.
I play on huge/epic. In regards to espionage, I have never had anything even approaching the horror stories I've read about before. By the time I've played a game from start to finish, I can usually count on one hand the number of times I've had my wells poisoned, etc, and while I do catch spies in my territory frequently, it's seldom more than once or twice a turn.

As for corporations, that is a topic I've been debating in the various corporation threads. I've been using Solver's fix since it came out, so I can't say anything with certainty regarding their utility. But I have seen people routinely reporting 10+ food/turn and similar yields from corporations, and getting results like that would require 25-40 resources (depending on the corp) on the settings I play. So I'm reasonably convinced there's a scaling issue there.
I play on large maps, epic, and the espionage is often very annoying. In fact, it drives me nuts if I live next door to Isabella or Tokugawa and we don't have top relations. And Mansa Musa loves poisoning your wells and blowing up your forges even if he is "pleased" with you. It really shouldn't be possible for the AI (or for you) to spam spies that keep poisoning wells, blowing up improvements and so on without any repercussions of any kind when it is peace. One way for the game designers to deal with this is to see to it that sometimes, the spy's nationality becomes known even if the msision is successful. Another is to make spies more expensive to produce instead of being the game equivalent of M & M's. A third is serious consequences for a civ caught engaging in terrorism in peace time - unhappinsss among its citizens, a minus in the esteem of other civ leaders, perhaps even negative economic consequences of some kind, such as reduced income from trade for a number of turns, something like that.
I play on lots of different maps and sizes, but I usually stick to small, medium, and large maps on Standard speed. Sometimes I play on Epic, but never Marathon. Besides being mind-numbingly slow, I also think Marathon is an exploit.

I wish that Firaxis would re-implement religion to make it more than a virus that causes diplomacy modifiers ("You have become infected with the wrong virus! I shall now declare war on you!"), rather than adding half-assed features like vassal states and corporations. I don't think anyone wanted vassal states to be a strategic element to the game, but that's what it ended up as. What was wrong with the model in Alpha Centauri? Oh, I see; there were no drawbacks to capitulation. We can't have that! It was too fun. So, now, when your opponents capitulate, you end up with worthless vassals that can't wage war worth crap, and you dare not donate to them any technology, for fear that they give it away to your worst enemy! But if you don't accept their capitulation, your weakened opponent will almost certainly capitulate to a different civilization. Gah. Frustrating. This is not fun, though it does add more strategic depth to the game. For all of it's annoyances, I still play vassal states on, because I appreciate the strategic depth (which is sorely lacking in Civ IV). I guess you could say that I think the game is slightly worse for not having any strategic depth than it is for having a really annoying feature.

Corporations are the same deal. Your first instinct is to spread all your corporations to all your cities, but after your first game, you realize the folly of that move. So, then I realized it was meant as yet another strategic element. Crap. I thought corporations would be something desirable, but I'm finding that they're sometimes more of a hassle than they're worth. I mean, sure, the strategy of deciding which corporation should be added where is kind of fun, but I was really thinking that corporations wouldn't be so heavy-handed and punitive in their implementation. Oh well. But, like vassal states, I appreciate the effort to make the game more strategic.

Personally, I wouldn't have implemented these features in the same way. Instead, I would have made the civics a bit more strategic. I would have made the units a bit more diverse. I would have changed the combat system so that waves of low-tech units wouldn't have a prayer against a single high-tech unit. But, then, I liked Alpha Centauri, and I thought that Civ IV was going to steal more concepts -- and leave them untouched -- than Firaxis did. I'm still waiting for some of the better Alpha Centauri features to be implemented in Civ IV. Maybe in the next expansion. Ha.

So, in conclusion, I think many people complaining about vassal states, corporations, etc are annoyed that these features ended up being strategic elements, rather than something like religion, which is bland, boring, and easily abused. Many of us, when we heard about vassal states, thought that some of the tedium required in conquering the world would be decreased; instead, it turns out that we have to deal with a further annoyance in a game that was supposed to remove all annoying aspects of the previous game! Consider this for a moment.

Okay, I've gone on for long enough; and, for those snarky posters who feel the need to tell me to play AC if I'm such a big fan of it: I still do, occasionally. It's a welcome break from the annoyances of vassal states, inanity of religion, and silliness of culture. But the AI is crap. Long live the Civ IV 'Better AI' mod! Blake truly is our savior, and one of the few reasons that I'd rank Civ IV over AC.
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