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BE still fairly boring

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by HughFran, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    To be perfectly honest, Acken, the way you play has always seemed to me rather gamist. That's not a dig, just an observation. It's like you always consider the numbers and then when you find a solution, you just do that all the time until you find something "better" and then you do that.

    I don't believe Civ was ever designed to be played like that. Ever.

    That sort of analytical win-only play is what spawned ICS in the heydays of SMAC. Even back then, I highly disliked ICS and won't ever play a Civ game like that, even if the systems allowed it.

    Point here being, the fundamental nature of the game is to simulate and live in a fictional universe, not to solve a problem. That kind of pure analytical play is useful in thinking up interactions within the game systems, but Civ systems don't stand up to that kind of rigor because they value simulation over game and theme over pure mechanical soundness. An example of a rigorous game designed like that is more like GalCiv.

    I don't believe that the problem is the trade routes. I get that you think that getting 70 production from a concentration of them in a small city could be leveraged to make the vic go much, much faster. That's totally doable. I just don't think that would be a problem if 70 hammers weren't enough to win - the problem is that it is.

    That is, the problem is that the tech is arranged in a web, and there's too few of it that you absolutely need to win. If you just want to pare it down to the barest necessities, it's basically an ultra-fast culture or Council win in Civ, which if I remember correctly, used to be doable before the Medieval era was even over, rendering everything after "obsolete."

    It's basically like having shortcuts through to the Space Age tech you could use to win, and being able to win scoring just one part. Yes, you could play that way, if you really wanted to, though I think playing any Civ that way kind of misses the point.

    I'm not sure if there's any way short of requiring you to research all the technology in the game to solve that problem. That's how all the Civs before did it, and I'm pretty sure there's a lot of that kind of thinking still in the design of the web. Its designers obviously think you should be researching a lot more than many of us actually do when on a time run.

    Example is that the basic strategic resource for Harmony - Xenomass - apparently comes too late to matter. That's a pretty serious design faux pas and simply removing Trade Routes or boosting tile outputs without tech isn't going to change that much.

    Basically, I'm pointing out that yes, you can win the game without playing most of its systems. That doesn't mean they're not there. It means the game can be won without using many of its systems.
     
  2. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    That's not entirely true. Otherwise I'd be optimizing my routes and running the numbers. I don't because I don't find that interesting or fun. I still need a reasonable incentive to use an option though. I'll experiment with them once but I won't say things are okay just because they are there.
    If the game wants me to be use domes so that I boost city health then the game has to provide me situations where it is required to do so.

    As a side note GalCiv makes a lot of design mistakes too so I don't think it's a good example. The whole planet specialization is in my opinion a very poor idea because it rewards 100% sliders rather than careful balance and ship customization allows for a lot of shenanigans.

    We'll have to disagree on trade routes. It's been a common theme of yours that they were fine in 1.0 and since they are back to a similar state you're likely to like it. I've probably already told you my views on the subject. Mainly that it breaks building balance, terrain importance and makes building units/buildings trivial.

    You're mistaking when it comes to Civ5. Diplomacy cannot be won in medieval era and culture victory requires a very cheesy strategy where you spam cities and take Sacred Sites. I recognize this as cheesy and think it shouldn't exist but it's not possible in most cases on Deity and players playing on lower difficulty are usually playing the game normally rather than rely on cheese.

    It's true that the last 2 era buildings are useless. This is something I have aknowledged multiple times and often use it as an illustration why the majority of civBE buildings are useless. I criticize it more heavily in civBE because it concerns a bigger portion of the tech tree.

    You're also right that in the end it's like having a shortcut to the space age. And this is bad. Which is why me (and some other) have long asked for affinities to be removed from the tech tree or no longer be bound to specific techs (or some other ideas). You're clearly underlying what I think is a problem there.

    Finally, again, I do not deny the systems are there. I deny that they are useful which is, imo, a problem in a strategy game.
     
  3. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    As a quick rejoinder, I'll correct you on something I know isn't true. I didn't think the trade routes were fine in 1.0. I thought they were interesting, which isn't to say that they're fine. I simply objected to calls to roll them back to how they were before, which is regressive, rather than take what they can do and roll it forward.

    I still think they're a little bonkers. I don't think they'd be as much of an issue for anyone if the game were longer, though on that same note, you're not really paying attention to what they're doing so it's not like there's any useful critique there.

    They're actually not the same as they were in their first incarnation. You can't concentrate massive bonuses in the capital anymore. Direction can't be controlled. Regardless of which city sends the route the bulk of the payoff goes to the smaller or less developed city. If equally large cities send the route, the payoffs are small. If equally small cities trade, the payoff is also small. Basically, it's a way for large cities to help out smaller ones. Once the cities pick up, the route diminishes in value unless you maintain a differential, but the hammer payout isn't as great as the food one, which has diminishing returns.

    Basically, you can only see +60 hammer concentrations in small cities now, and you're going to need a bunch of fairly developed cities concentrating their routes to see that. And the end result is only production of about 90 or so - easily below what any of the larger cities can natively do.

    No. I think it was a Apostolic Palace win in Civ 4 or some such. Diplomacy early. I don't get why you're so against cheese when what you're doing is basically the same thing and you're saying the game is broken, whereas in that game, you're choosing not to play that way and you're saying it's cheese. It's basically the same thing.

    I'm pointing out that the nature of Civ has always been not to be designed in that way. CivBE is just more like that because the tech slingshotting is much worse, especially with the Progenitor Ruins giving away affinity like candy.

    Hm.

    The pacing of the game and the basic functionalities of the buildings and such are very Civ-ish, actually, if you don't make a beeline for the finish every time you play. I'm not saying that this is desirable. I think Affinities are a great idea, I just don't know about tying them to the VC. Once again, I'll point out that VC design in Civ games has always, always been completely awful. It's just not that kind of a game. Not that it can't be, but to say that CivBE is an exceptional design offender simply isn't true.

    The tech web and the differing affinities theme certainly calls for a VC design that's different from traditional Civ design. I hope they can introduce one in the next expansion. There have been lots of suggestions that call for more active interaction between the VCs of the different factions - direct and indirect conflict. But saying "It's the Trade Routes" misses the forest for the trees. It's the bigger problem that's the thing.
     
  4. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Trade routes are a part of the problem. If you want to say it's the tech tree or the VC that's fine by me. All these are equally problematic to me so pick your poison I'm not going to fight hard over which one is the worst.

    Yes it's much worse so we agree. Which is why CivBE is getting blamed more for it.

    I think you missed the part where I said that I did not like it in Civ5. I also do not like it in CivBE. I also stated that it's more often than not not available for me on deity. Where do you see the inconcistency ? I also clearly stated that we're talking about a very specific strategy in civ5, by comparison what you think is cheesy in civBE is simply playing in a very straightforward fashion.

    I find it hard to call expanding and making trade routes then beelining techs cheesy too. I'm not making something strange, outlandish or a gambit which is what people usually refer to. You cannot seriously call that a cheesy strategy. Cheesy doesn't mean "not fooling around".

    The game doesn't stop me from expanding so I just expand, the game relies on high yield routes so I make that, the game asks me to get techs A B C D to win so I tech those. There's nothing cheesy there.
     
  5. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Shrug. Cheesy is a matter of interpretation. Any tactic that gets the win could be described the same way. I'm saying you don't have to play that way. The way I see it, if you're beelining the win, the odds of using a "cheesy" tactic is always going to be fairly high in a Civ game.
     
  6. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    And you see nothing wrong with the fact that a strategy game is balanced in a way that a good player doesn't really have to make decisions, because the strongest strategies are always the same? That's what I'd call bad game design.

    If you don't care about efficiency and trying to win quickly, fine - but it's rather obvious that there's a problem for people who do, right? You can be all like "That's how it's always been", but that's not a counter-argument to the complaint, because in the end people complain hoping that this problem can be fixed.
     
  7. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Firstly, most complex strategy games will default to a single strong strategy however you try to balance it, even if you try it with thousands of testers with millions of man-hours. That's the nature of complexity - it's hard to balance because everything affects everything else. A single strategy being the strongest every single time is just expected. To think that this is inherently wrong is to shrug and just give up on any game more complex than tic tac toe. Even in Chess, White is acknowledged to have a great advantage, so the "fix" was simply to have each player switch every game.

    This isn't to say that I don't think it's a problem. Haven't I already said it's a problem over and over? I'm just pointing out that it's an old problem, so 1. CivBE design isn't unique in that, and 2. going back to old designs from which those problems come from isn't going to solve it.
     
  8. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    The difference between chess and Civ is that the environment changes every game. All one has to do to have a game where the player has to make unique decisions every game is to make it so the factors that change - Terrain, Opponents, (theoretically) Quests, etc. - are not overshadowed by mechanics that are the exact same in every game.

    Beyond Earth certainly has the most problems with this out of all the Civ games I've played (which are only 2, 4, V and BE, but still). What I don't understand is: If you acknowledge it's a problem, why do you go through so much effort to argue that it's "by design" then? Can't we just agree that if it's by design it doesn't work that well?
     
  9. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Ryika:

    Yeah... well, that actually doesn't work out as simply as you'd like, especially in a game where part of the theme is that you get to approach the game however you want. Part of Acken's point appears to me to be that none of the decisions matter because you win all the same. The other way to express that is that you can choose to express yourself in your path to winning; that the terrain and opponents don't necessarily constrain you to win in a particular way. Both design philosophies are valid and show up in many games.

    See, that's where nuance comes in. FWIW, I've played all the Civ games, their expansions, AC and SMAC, Call to Power series, Master of Magic, the GalCivs, a variety of German-style board games (Settlers of Catan is a classic), and so on.

    I'm not saying that to pull rank or anything. I'm saying that that's where I'm coming from. Basic win condition design isn't the worst in CivBE. It's actually fairly typical. It was (expectedly) worst in Civ 1, naturally. Broadly, I'd say the design hasn't changed much over the decades and it has much the same weaknesses it's always had. See: Progress Quest. Basically, you click a button until you win. Yay.

    Some things are related to that and some are not. You see there's that nuance thing. If you try to fix a problem by fixing things that aren't a problem, the game gets worse. See: Battlesuits. Some things are by design. That part where you can settle anywhere and somehow make it work? Yep. I think that's totally in-theme. Contrast to Civ 2 where if you end up somehow in Desert or Tundra, you're completely screwed. Some of those games are very swingy by design. They're trying to make a point. CivBE is making the opposite point - different theme. So that part is by design. It's intentional.

    It's not perfect. I was composing a Tile Improvements Catch-All thread in the Ideas section, but I'm not at home so I can't access the game's Wiki (which documentation is inadequate). So yeah, I think that part can be made more interesting without compromising the theme.

    The problem specifically is with the VC. It's not just that it's quick to access with the Affinities. That's just one factor, and it wouldn't be so bad if you had to do way more things with it once you're done with the Gate or something. Of course, there's also the issue with AI interactivity, intrusion, and rubber-banding - all important in a single player game.

    So I think the parts you're complaining about are the just the ones that are different from Civ 5 the most and that's why you think those are the problem, when the real problem is that the new designs and themes no longer work well with classic Civ VC design (which has always been poor). The solution isn't to go back to primitive crap. The solution is to update the VC design. By which I mean more than just making it last longer. Because that's just prolonging Progress Quest and is part of the reason why the latter two eras in Civs have always been snorefests.
     
  10. Polycrates

    Polycrates Emperor

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    Civ V is a useful reference point actually, if anyone remembers Civ V in its early days.

    There were a whole bunch of very similar issues - the resources were so weak it barely mattered where you put your cities, one improvement dominated (trading posts), and a couple of cheesy strategies dominated (horseman rush, and trading post spam and buying all your units/buildings with gold), most of the buildings were weak and uninspiring and not worth building, and there was a major mechanic using behind-the-scenes maths that didn't make much sense to people (diplomacy and pacts of secrecy etc).

    I think there's a lot of parallels to BE here, but the thing is that Civ V iterated its way slowly towards what I think most people agree is a *much* better balance. A fair few of the changes went against the 'theme' they were originally going for, but it wasn't working out so they changed it. Sure it's still not perfect now, but it's come a hell of a long way. Where now trying to play non-cheesy doesn't feel like you're hamstringing yourself any more, and where you excel by balancing most/all the aspects of empire and adapting to the circumstances, rather than spamming one or two things and ignoring the rest. And there are a lot of strategies that are perfectly viable on anything except Deity. I don't see why that's necessarily an unrealistic goal for BE, and I think there are useful pointers to be taken from how Civ V dealt with almost exactly these same problems.
     
  11. Mutineer

    Mutineer Deity

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    I have to repeat, progress quest designed with idea that people will play p-p and in order to remove sudden death scenario which casual player may find upsetting, feeling that they were cheated of game. World wide notification that some one will win in N turn, do something about it designed execly for that. I can understand it feels boring in solo, but may be simple because AI does not provide enough challenge.

    If you do not like it, suggest something better.
     
  12. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Total freedom and tactical play don't go hand in hand, period. A tactical player will never value the freedom to having 20 choices if one of them is 20x stronger than all the others. And balancing the game so tactical decisions matter doesn't break the "Play however you want"-mentality of the game for a player who doesn't care that much about tactical decisions. After all, Explorers and Trade Routes being as broken as they are right now don't break that element, so bringing choices closer together and overvaluing those that vary in every game won't do that either.

    Yeah. Just that there are no meaningful buttons to click in the last third(!) of the game. It's not a "Click button to progress your victory progress"-system, it's a "Click button to wait"-system. That's the whole difference. The victory condition is clearly designed around the idea of ending in a big climax where there's a ton of hostility between the affinities going on, it just doesn't work because the AI can't handle it.

    I'm sorry, but that's just a silly example. The battlesuit nerf has gone too far, far further beyond anything that players asked for at that time, but that doesn't mean that a nerf wasn't required. Both versions are silly, the one where you can beeline a single unit to conquer the world and the version where a unit starts weak and then becomes unusable for 50 turns. The proper place is between the two and I won't accept the fact that they didn't manage to put the unit into a good state as an argument for why I shouldn't ask for balance changes. If it's brokenly good and overshadows everything else in pretty much every situation then it should be fixed.

    If anything then this - and the wonder patch - is an example of how Firaxis understood that there's a problem but didn't know where the sweet point is. That's an invitation to discuss the topic in hopes that Firaxis understands what players say and that it helps them balance it properly.
     
  13. Roxlimn

    Roxlimn Deity

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    Potayto Potahto. I mentioned it because it was an appropriate example. People thought that the Battlesuit was OP, but the problem was much more complex than that, and the problem wasn't necessarily the unit strength itself - but people fixated on that and now we have unusable iconic units, and it often feels like I'm the only one mortally offended by that.

    I never said you shouldn't ask for improvement. In fact, I just said in the statement you quoted that that's fine - that's nuance. You think about what you're doing, maybe play around differently and see how the mechanic truly interacts.

    There were a lot of problems that came together in the Battlesuit, and the CNDR, and the Xenoswarm in addition, but pure strength was what people saw and fixated upon. It wasn't the low city defenses. It wasn't the too-abundant Strategics (they still are), it wasn't the slingshottable tech - no it was the strength. Of course it was. That solves everything.

    FWIW, the VC wasn't designed at all. It's a relic of the past - when clicking to see units move was good enough for a strategic game. Nearly no modern board game has that kind of outdated singleton design. In fact, CivBE's speed is actually a step forward - it aims to remove pointless clicking. But then they forgot to actually remove the pointless clicking. SMH.

    That's why I don't do Harmony Vics. At least I get to make cute sites with my Earthlings. It's fun to prettify their tiles with Terrascapes and stuff.
     
  14. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    In your definition of cheesy you'd include "picking tradition and get NC asap". That's a rather ridiculous way of looking at it if you ask me. I can't agree that simply playing a general CivBE strategy is the same as using one very specific strategy that is unusable at higher levels and which can backfire. What is so special about what I do in CivBE ? Please tell me. And how should it be played then ?

    I find the difference rather obvious...

    Hey you're right, the solution is not necessarily to go back. It could be to do something entirely new.

    We're not there yet though so it's mostly wishing about what could be. Previous civ though are easy to use as a reference. We cannot easily compare what is wrong in CivBE to something that doesn't exist.
     
  15. Olodune

    Olodune Emperor GOTM Staff

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    Fortune cookie? That would make my day :mischief:
     
  16. Mutineer

    Mutineer Deity

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    Unupgraded T1 Melee affinity units why week originally have one thin go for them - they are cheap to produce production wise.

    So, they become cheap expendable folder, not useless. Upgraded version become effective and true version is a monster.
     
  17. HughFran

    HughFran Prince

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    Wow, I didn't expect so many passionate responses when I asked this questions! Thanks for the responses so far but try to be nice when responding to one another - some of the replies have been a little 'aggressive'!!
     
  18. Hail

    Hail Satan's minion

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    the builder game in civ:be is insanely boring and repetitive.
    the war game in civ:be could have been fun if the AI was not horrendous.

    all VCs except Transcendance require alot of end turn clicking.

    the only somewhat fun part of civ:be is the exploration phase.
     
  19. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    The builder aspect of civ has always been rather boring, even civ5. Clicking the next item in a list is always going to be less interesting than moving units and watching them fight.

    I actually find the war aspect in BE more fun than in civ5, despite the bad AI, just because I enjoy the scifi element. Destroying things with an ANGEL is just more cool than destroying things with a regular tank.
     
  20. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Erh no if the builder aspect was equally boring in previous civs I'd personally play none of them. The tactical aspect got expanded mostly with Civ5, before that Civ was mostly a builder game.
     

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