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Balancing Economy Civics

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by MilesBeyond, Aug 14, 2015.

  1. MilesBeyond

    MilesBeyond Prince

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    So after over a decade of playing this game religiously, I've just now gotten into modding it, heh. The first thing I'm looking at doing is making a minimalist "balance changes" patch that irons out some of the issues the game's had that's always bugged me, but I need some input on that.


    To me, the big issue with Economy civics is that there's pretty much an established hierarchy:

    State Property: Amazing and should almost always be used.

    Free Market: Decent and can be better than SP if you're going big on corps

    Mercantilism: It's possible to conceive of a situation where you would use this civic. Probably.

    Environmentalism: There are Modern-era civics? (Technically super-late Industrial, but whatever)


    This ought to change. So, here are my proposed changes.


    First, State Property. IMHO +1 :food: from Watermills and Workshops alongside a raw +10% :hammers: is already a pretty powerful bonus. The no maintenance costs from distance to palace is just ridiculous overkill. So I say axe that part and leave the rest of it as is.

    The big problem with SP is that it seems to fill two roles: More production, and a stronger economy, especially for large empires. Moreover, it fills those roles well. Very well. I think. By stripping it down to only one role, we come closer to a more reasonable civic, I think.


    Mercantilism: Give it +50% :commerce: from internal trade routes. The big issue with Mercantilism is that not only does it lose you your external trade income, it also effectively loses you a trade route in terms of opportunity cost compared to Free Market. One specialist per city doesn't make up that difference IMHO, but free specialists combined with higher-yield internal trade routes might.


    Oh, and the other thing - move it way up in the tech tree. Currency seems like the logical choice but Currency is a damn powerful tech as it is. Maybe Compass? Also it's possible that moving it earlier and the +50% :commerce: aren't both necessary (as no foreign trade routes is significantly less punishing in the early game).


    I'm gonna level with you, I have no idea what role Mercantilism is supposed to fill. To me, making it earlier will at least mean that the free specialist is more powerful. IMHO the other alternative is to completely redesign the civic.


    Free Market is okay with me.


    Environmentalism... I feel like there's been a million mod projects to try and make this one more useful already. I guess it's technically a growth civic? Its role is pretty clearly :health: management. But it just seems like too little, too late. I would say move it up to Biology or even Sci. Meth (a lot of moving up here but it bothers me how late the Econ civics are). AFAIC the main use of Environmentalism is to combat the massive :yuck: generated by industrializing, so being able to have it in place as your Factories and Coal Plants are coming out would be nice. On top of that, replace the :health: bonus from Public Transit with maybe halving or even cancelling the :yuck: penalty from Factories having access to Oil and Coal.


    To me, Environmentalism would still be a pretty niche civic, but at least it would be a niche civic that fulfils its role, rather than a niche civic that you probably won't access until after you've already dealt with the health crisis.


    Thoughts?
     
  2. ringwraith18

    ringwraith18 Chieftain

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    I don't think environmentalism should be there at all personally, since it's a social policy rather than a replacement of free market economics. I'd like to see it replaced with an earlier civic, maybe "palace economy" or "tribute system" or something.

    Regarding your changes, I can't speak for State Capitalism because I rarely run it, but Mercantilism definitely needs a buff. Boosting national trade route seems reasonable enough, since the Civ IV mechanics don't really model the sort of trading environment that mercantilism was build around.
     
  3. The7Sins

    The7Sins Hungry Burger

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    I like your idea for Mercantilism. So I modded it just now to do that. Well sorta. Can't get the buff for just internal trade routes. But due to the nature of the civic unless I have tons of vassals like I do this game the buff to foreign trade routes may as well be non existent.
     
  4. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    State Property shouldn't lose it's maintenance bonus imho, in Spaceraces its still not as good as Free Market + Corps, so it's a civic that has it's specific use in Domination / Conquest games, or also on maps that are too huge to get many Corp-resources. Free Market imho is also not overpowered, because it's a civic specifically for Corporation-approaches, if no Corps, Mercantilism + REP is usually better. Mercantilism + REP can even be better than State Property under specific circumstances, like when having only few Workshops and Watermills because those get effective late, and many improvements with low Workernumbers means one will have Cottages and Farms. During Golden Ages, Mercantilism is also better, unless Corps again, and when having Vassals, one even can have foreign TRs while running it. Also, the extrea TR by FM doesn't give much if they're only internal.

    To me, the only civic that needs a redesign is Enviromentalism, because saving Forests 'til the endgame is usually very very bad, and both, State Property and Free Market seem better. There are some OCC Spaceraces that use it and it's right in them, because there, one saves Forests for :health: reasons, and there are some lower-difficulty Spaceraces, that use it aswell, and they've extremely good finish-dates.

    Sry if this demotivates you, but for me, all those civics have a place in CIV. They're not all equal, probably not even equally good, but they all have their use in certain situations like described. If at all, Enviromentalism should get all of its bonuses from non-forested tiles, and maybe Mercantilism should be a little more friendly to Corps, like also giving it the 25% reduce on Corp-maintenance.
     
  5. Noble Zarkon

    Noble Zarkon Civ IV Emperor EQM Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    One issue with Mercantilism is that you discover it just a few turns before you get Free Market generally. This should be moved earlier in the Tech Tree to give it a longer shelf life I reckon.
     
  6. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    But Free Market is only more powerful if you got Corps, at the time you discover Mercantilism, REP is much closer and you're likely to start the first 2 or 3 GAs. Don't underestimate a REP-Specialist, he's 2 :hammers: and 3 :science: , that's better than 4-5 more :commerce: because he increases production, and he gives :gp: . If you have mentionally big empire at that time, which is possible if continuously warring from HAs or Elepult onwards, you won't even get 4-5 more :commerce: , because the additional TRs will be internal (exception: large maps) . In my 695 AD Spacerace, I even ran Mercantilism while State Property was already available, Free Market for a long time already, the 9 :gp: (Pacifism + GA) alone are enough to make up for the TRs, and without Watermills and Workshops and without economical problems due to having banked a lot of :gold: while building Oxford + AIs having quite a lot :gold: 'til that time too, State Property also doesn't make sense for the 1-2 GPT saved on each city.

    What makes Free Market superior are really the Corps, and State Property is mostly a :food: + :hammers: civic, and it's not even that that early, because WMs and WSs only get strong shortly before State Property arrives, so not much time to build many of them. State Property makes sense in those hardcore Domination / Conquest games, because in those, one will have captured a lot of Workers and cities will be super-small due to the whip, so one can really invest very early in useless Workshops and Watermills, in a Spacerace, the phase where State Property is useful is shorter than the one of Mercantilism. In cultural games, the :gp: are also more useful for a long time.
     
  7. f1rpo

    f1rpo plastics

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    Some disjointed considerations:
    * All the civics on the last row are at least a little bit relevant because of the UN. Environmentalism hinders some civs less than others, and the former could want to impose Env on the others. That actually seems fairly realistic.

    * I think there should be a civic that helps small civs that have too few luxury and food resources. That civic could have high upkeep because this won't matter much for a small civ. It doesn't have to be Env (or even an Economy civic), but Env already fills that role to a degree (OCC), and might just need to get a bit better at it.

    For one, Env could provide some happiness. K-Mod has done this by changing the bonus for Public Transportation to +1 happiness, and attaching a happiness penalty to global warming that Env can help avoid. A health boost alone won't allow small civs to grow their cities. Currently, an Env civ can only use resource trades to convert excess health into happiness.

    * It's probably true that the late position of Ecology in the tech tree is the biggest hindrance, however, historically, it seems to be in the right spot. It may help to re-theme Env as "welfare state", which would also fit well with a health and happiness bonus. The new New Balance Mod does this (or intends to do it).

    * The very large health bonus can mean that Env civs actually don't need to build Recycling Centers and PubTrans, which is counterintuitive. It would be nice if Env rewarded (very) high health values rather than explictly boosting individual buildings.

    * Some ideas for abilities that would fit for Env flavor-wise:
    +commerce from all obsolete resource tiles (whale-watching and such)
    +trade route yield to play up the tourism thing
    +production to capture recycling more explicitly

    * I agree with the OP that SP does a bit too much. Not too good, just too much. In particular, it disables two concepts entirely: distance maintenance and corps. The maintenance ability could be moved to a different civic, where it would hopefully make more sense as well. I was thinking of renaming Free Speech to "federation" or "pluralism" and replace the boost to Towns with the distance maintenance ability. I've just read through the discussion pages of the RtR mod, and someone there suggested almost the same change years ago. It wasn't implemented though. It's somewhere in this 200-page thread: Realms Beyond

    * SP doesn't have to be barred from having corps; ringwraith18 already (accidentally I guess) called it "state capitalism". Some other special rule could apply to corps when in SP, e.g. lower income from headquarters. Or move the increased maintenance from Env. to SP, and have Env lower the HQ income for both foreign and domestic corps (so that it's not all-downside).

    * Having both CS and SP boost Workshops makes SP and CS pair too well for my taste. I find highly synergetic civics problematic because they tend to narrow down the choices a bit. Also true for Merc and Representation I guess, but at least this pair is less weird historically.

    * In a sense, FM is currently the most interesting civic to play with because all the others take away certain parts of the game: "foreign trade doesn't matter", "distance maintenance doesn't matter", "corps don't matter", "bad health doesn't matter". If these abilities stay, it's probably for the best that FM is the go-to civic, and that the others are restricted to sporadic or situational use.
     
  8. Tatran

    Tatran Deity

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    Here's an idea to change the Environmentalism civic :
    - allow to plant forests (and maybe jungle too) like the player could in previous civ iterations.
    - +1 :food: for all forest and jungle tiles
    - no more unhealthiness from jungle tiles and the return of the happiness bonus for every jungle tile or another bonus (+1 commerce?) to replace the hammer from forests.
     
  9. Noble Zarkon

    Noble Zarkon Civ IV Emperor EQM Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Thanks for this - I have probably undervalued the Merc / Rep combo thinking about it.
     
  10. SpK

    SpK Warlord

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    Personally i view the economic civics as.... adding specialization to a strategy you had to plan and take previous actions to make them worthwhile.

    They all enhance, or complete, an entire chain of planning. I mean, state property can be ridiculous strong, but it can also only save you a bit of maintainence. ...

    Environmentalism allows growth, especially if you skimped on previous buildings. It allows a fast transition from war only to growth/research empire.
    It is viewed as weak because it comes late and trading/diplomacy can supply health too...
    It is very strong in always war or a resource poor map though, maybe in OCC if you have enough food too??
     
  11. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    I noticed that you guys have been talking about many civic combinations but no one mentioned police state. Police state could be really underestimated because in a large enough civilization, police state could be your rise to power if you have all your happiness issues under control and most of the necessities that your civilization may have. Fascism not only gives you police state but also allows you to train paratroopers which are stronger than infantry, are built quick with police state and current hammer output and its technology, fascism, is researched quick. Stacking an early industrial stack or two of paratroopers instead of infantry with artillery, why not?
     
  12. ShiVvV

    ShiVvV Warlord

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    I know it's not an economy civic but...while you're in the modding mood. Could someone please do something with poor Serfdom? It's like that particular civic choice doesn't even exist. And no, I have no ideas for improving it other than top of head stuff. But man, I don't think I've ever used Serfdom...ever!
     
  13. oranje willem

    oranje willem Prince

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    It is indeed really bad, I only use it occasionally with a spiritual leader when there is a lot of jungle to clear. But even then it is not that great.
     
  14. MilesBeyond

    MilesBeyond Prince

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    I've actually been meaning to make a follow-up thread for what to do with Labor civics. IMHO the other three trees are fine, but Labor and Economy could really use a tune-up.

    Well, with Legal I'd say that maybe Vassalage needs to be revisited. The problem I have with Vassalage isn't that it's a bad civic, per se, it's more that it and Nationalism both seem to fulfil the same role: They're both wartime civics. Bothers me a bit that you've got two wartime civics in the same tree - especially since Vassalage isn't as good for warmongering as Nationalism is.

    Anyway, some really good feedback in here. I do agree that Merc/Rep is a potentially powerful combo, especially when combined with Pacifism, but I still think that Merc is a slightly weak civic. Part of that may even be the AI: Merc could potentially be very useful for blocking enemy corps while running your own, but unfortunately in my experience the AI doesn't really spread corps enough to make it all that useful.
     
  15. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    What I don't understand, is, why there only may be one civic of one type. To stick to your examples, Vassalage i. e. comes a lot earlier and is great when you have no well spread religion and build either cheap units or later when you have Factories. Nationalism is also good for more than one situation, it costs no maintenance, which makes it good for crazy Sushi-sized Highscore empires and it's simply the ultimate war civic in the time of Rifles, maybe also Infantries, but definitely not past that. It depends so much which resources you have and what type of game you play, because that decides about which units you're going to build. If you have Horses and play for Domination on Normal speed, you'll definitely go for Cavalries and only draft 2 or 3 rounds of Rifles for the inital war, after that, the Cavs are just way faster in conquering the map. If you are in a weak situation though, you'll go for Rifles only, because drafting Rifles is the strongest way to war, and you don't even need resources (perfect for when having gotten boxed in early i. e. ) . When you're Rome and play with Praets + Siege, you'd never think about switching to Nationalism, as you'll definitely have a strong army of Praets, and Praets + Cannons is the ultimate Combo, going Rifles and drafting them would be completely stupid then, one would have mixed forces of Rifles and Praets, and while Rifles are good without Siege, Praets against Castles is :wallbash: , in that situation drafting makes 0 sense and whipping with either Vassalage or Buro + Theo is just way better. I could come up with several more examples, where Vassalage or Nationalism or both is best. Vassalage imo only appears to be not strong enough to you, because you're used to break out at the time of Rifles, if you'd play different games (also i. e. a Marathon game or one with a CIV that has a Chariot-UU) , you could see how good Vassalage can be, especially as it can even be oracled (when having good Commerce or on non-Deity difficulties) . Nationalism is much further down the tech-tree. It's more versatile (i. e. also Espionage-economy and Time-games for Barracks :) ) , but it's time is limited at most times. There is only one problem to Vassalage, and that is, that Buro + Theo is better in the major number of cases, because it achieves the same (5 XP units) but gives a lot more research. The problem is basically that Buro is completely OP when combined with an Academy and a Cottage capital. Still, there are situations in which Vassalage has it's place, just imagine you'd run a Golden Age in a Conquest or Domination game and want to run Pacifism while not losing the capability to produce 5 XP troops, then the example with the non-spread religion and the example with late wars in which you have Factories. Take the Hammer-bonus from Buro and give it +10% more :commerce: if you want, then it'd really be the Civic for research, and make Theocracy give less War Weariness instead of more XP, so that it cannot be combined with Buro for the same effect that Vassalage has, that would make it really unique, and there's need for a Civic that reduces WW earlier than Police State, because WW is what stops the wars, and it stops them forever because it isn't reduced in any timeframe that would make sense, unless your a CIV-Dev. Maybe make Vassalage medium maintenance on top, make the free unit-bonus scale with cities and not with population, things like that, but don't kill it. It's good, that there are two different war-civics, the problem is, that the third, the combination of Buro and Theo is just overpowered as it's almost always either the best, or at least comparable at most times, it's almost never bad. And :mad: reducing Theocracy imo would be genius, too bad that the CIV-Devs didn't have that idea but thought "1 civic for each situation" when making REP, Police State and Hereditary Rule, while they, but couldn't see that the :mad: reduce of Police State needs to come by an earlier alternative, and that Theo and Vassalage do exactly the same, while stacking them only brings an almost non-mentionable benefit. Stacking two Civics that reduce War Weariness later in the game would make sense though, because then, you could skip on building Jails in all cities and still get 100% reduce with Mount Rushmoore. I hate needing to build Jails everywhere, just because I can't keep cities happy without it when I'm in war, when I'm in war I want to build troops, and I also don't want to run the culture slider and kill my research.

    Sry for this monster paragraph, that has no sub-sections. For me, the problem is not the two war-civics, as CIV is a war game, the problem is that Buro is OP and it's combinations are even more so, nobody even thinks about playing differently anymore. Buro needs to be way more specific to research, while the 2 XP bonus from Vassalage must be unique. As it stands, the free units from Vassalage are almost useless, because they scale with Population which one won't have when one whips units, and the +2 XP are just completely useless, because there's no advantage in 7 XP units. If Vassalage is the only option to get 5 XP though, then it's killer for all Siege and mounted wars, and it'd be an early and late game war Civic. Nationalism then still has its place, for drafted wars, Espionage Economy and crazily huge Empires, and what's definitely missing in the game imo is the option to combat War Weariness by civics earlier. :hammer:
     
  16. SpK

    SpK Warlord

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    Serfdom is much more useful on marathon, especially after your early rush stalls and you need to get an economy running...

    also useful once Railroad comes into play, once you are that far in, anything which speeds up war is ideal

    In many games you have enough of an edge on the
    AI it doesn't matter, but it can be very powerful, especially with Spiritual leader, you can really optimize short term plans


    Seraiel - I always wanted a religious civic that affects WW, I mean, religion plays a huge part in most of histories wars.... fight for God and all that ....
    maybe take the XP away from Theocracy and add a WW bonus.... a Theocratic Police State that thrives on war seems realistic. ..
     
  17. Noble Zarkon

    Noble Zarkon Civ IV Emperor EQM Moderator Hall of Fame Staff Supporter GOTM Staff

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    Sorry I don't agree with this, war is an important part of CIV but it's not a war game - you can win a game without a single battle, in fact you can win a game without building a single military unit!
     
  18. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    I agree it's not a war game, at least purely so, but winning at a decent level without a single warrior and barbs on might be tricky.
     
  19. rah

    rah Deity Supporter

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    Wasn't there a challenge on this many years ago. Of course I'm old so my memory sucks. ;)
     
  20. SpK

    SpK Warlord

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    True, but being good at war is the fastest way to just about any victory, from just about any type of start, on almost any map....

    Once barbs start attacking, don't they aim for the weakest target? So I would say impossible above Noble xD


    I would call Civ 4 a war based strategy game, where you can increase your difficulty by avoiding conflict as a tactic. ...kinda like running away from battles on Final Fantasy back in the day. ...

    :clap:
     

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