Beyond Earth - a flawed, underrated gem

vorlon_mi

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I love that .... Survive, Thrive, Win; in that order. It is succinct and explains a lot.

The only exception I've seen to that priority order is when an AI seems to be blinded by rage. The game tells me that I can't redeclare war on an AI player until 10 turns have elapsed after peace is agreed. Yet, Kozlov has DOW'ed me after one or two turns many times. They don't seem to be subject to the same restriction. And when I bring my forces to bear on the AI's last city, and ask if the AI wants peace (to survive), it's always "nope, we've not yet shown what we can do." Alright, say hello to Oblivion.
 

legalizefreedom

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Yep. You do get the occasional suicide personality. :scan:
 

Guide-on

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I'm sure it's not intentional, but I like to see the AI priorities as: Survive, Thrive, Win. In that order. Just because they can Win doesn't mean it's their highest priority. If they have a good opportunity to Thrive a bit, they will, esp if no one else is making a push for victory,
Some say the AI is bad because of this, but I see it as more realistic. Similar to Trade and Diplomacy. It kind of forces you to be real without all the janking of the AI you do in the main games.

@Imaus
Absolutely, I've told anyone that would listen... This game wasn't finished. It's pretty clear. I would agree with your ideas. There are several clear examples of units that weren't filled in. The world gave up on this game and it is a shame.
The thing that is really missing from the satellite game is the ability to move them. Esp the attack satellites. They are good for an attack or two and then they are useless most times. They could be much more relevant if you could move them one hex per turn.
 

Guide-on

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The Rocktopuss is able to move, but it needs improving. If memory serves it can only move one hex per turn, and at T1 has to stay in orbit the full 20 turns before it deorbits. The Awesome Rocktopuss has hover and can more (I think) 3 hexes per move. You can deorbit at any time with one of the promotions. What is needed is T1 to allow the Rocktopuss to orbit up to 2 hexes from where it is, and to deorbit after one turn to land squares (no mountains or canyons) up to 2 hexes. The T2 would be able to either orbit 3 hexes or 2hexes and deorbit on same move unless firing, and have hover. This would make it mobile enough to keep up with late game units.

That said, I would love for there to be a late game affinity UU that would be able to move in orbit. It might be somewhat like the Battlestar Galatica mod with slightly less range.
 
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I still like Beyond Earth and Rising Ride a lot. It has some really interesting and good game concepts. The affinities are great. The fear/love aspects of the diplomacy added in Rising Tide are great. The diplomatic agreements and traits are also great. The tech wheel instead of a tree is also a neat concept. The hybrid affinities kinda ruin the affinities IMO. The affinities should remain more distinct and unique. Instead of hybrid affinities, I might add a 4th core affinity based on becoming energy/spiritual beings. I do think the maps and the colors in particular are a big weakness. Some maps are just very hard to see what is what. For example, I think it is the fungal map where the land is often a purpleish color and the ocean is a blue/greenish color. The colors are too similar and it makes it hard to really see what is land and what is ocean. And the mini map is terrible. You can really see anything on the mini map. I play almost all my games on an arid map because the desert like land is easy to distinguish from the ocean.
 

Guide-on

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I still like Beyond Earth and Rising Ride a lot. It has some really interesting and good game concepts. The affinities are great. The fear/love aspects of the diplomacy added in Rising Tide are great. The diplomatic agreements and traits are also great. The tech wheel instead of a tree is also a neat concept. The hybrid affinities kinda ruin the affinities IMO. The affinities should remain more distinct and unique. Instead of hybrid affinities, I might add a 4th core affinity based on becoming energy/spiritual beings. I do think the maps and the colors in particular are a big weakness. Some maps are just very hard to see what is what. For example, I think it is the fungal map where the land is often a purpleish color and the ocean is a blue/greenish color. The colors are too similar and it makes it hard to really see what is land and what is ocean. And the mini map is terrible. You can really see anything on the mini map. I play almost all my games on an arid map because the desert like land is easy to distinguish from the ocean.


There is a thread on having a 4th affinity. You might want to read it. I wanted a 4th that was opposed to Supremacy with Purity and Harmony opposed to each other. Everyone needs a(t least one) built in enemy.

The hybrids can be used to have an enemy. The love aspect should be adjusted so that the more or less your affinity is like theirs the more, the more the love/hate you. Harmony would hate the P/S hybrid and the H/S hybrid would hate Purity etc.
 
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legalizefreedom

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And the mini map is terrible. You can really see anything on the mini map.

I found the minimap just too small. It is much more useful with the edit below (with my recommendations for a couple of different resolutions). The colors still aren't great, but when you mouse over, it's pretty good.

C:\Users\[username]\My Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization Beyond Earth
config.ini

[MiniMap]
; Default 245x140

For 1920x1200
Width = 380
Height = 275

For 2560x1440
Width = 500
Height = 300
 
Joined
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Messages
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I found the minimap just too small. It is much more useful with the edit below (with my recommendations for a couple of different resolutions). The colors still aren't great, but when you mouse over, it's pretty good.

C:\Users\[username]\My Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization Beyond Earth
config.ini

[MiniMap]
; Default 245x140

For 1920x1200
Width = 380
Height = 275

For 2560x1440
Width = 500
Height = 300

Thanks
 

Guide-on

Chieftain
Joined
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Messages
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One good improvement that would fit into the quest system would be for the alien life to evolve. The quests where you can let the alien be pets or work animals and the one where you can allow a earth plant to just grow wild could trigger stronger aliens. A harmony player could be rewarded by leashing them easily (i.e. no damage taken) and others would find them stronger and harder to kill.

Also, on a side note: Age of Wonders : Planetfall and Pax Nova or both on sale. Which is better - for a BERT fan.
 

legalizefreedom

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Great ideas! I've always been bothered by the fact the Harmony victory turns the aliens against you. It doesn't make sense.

Haven't played either of them enough to know.
 

Protok St

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I've always been bothered by the fact the Harmony victory turns the aliens against you. It doesn't make sense.
Why not be protest? Aliens has their own Harmony with Planet and dont want to be replaced with humans. Humans trying to devour not only Aliens territory but the existence of Alien consciousness it self.
I'm well understand why they don't want that. :c5happy:
 

Guide-on

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Choices! Everyone kills aliens. The Harmony version of the kill 10 aliens should be to leash 10 aliens. The reward should be either that aliens do NOT count against your unit cap or count less and you take no damage for leashing them. Another possibility is that you can leash them for a set period and have them fight for you without declaring war. ;) ;)
 

legalizefreedom

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Excellent ideas @Guide-on ! Totally agree there should be at least one path that doesn't involve killing aliens. And as you state, actually benefiting from aliens. Also the worm killing quest should be worm leashing.
Having them be still be neutral, yet controlled units would cut both ways, but I really like the idea.

@Protok St , I can see that point of view, but I consider Transcendence to be joining their ecosystem/consciousness, not forcing ours on them. And considering Guide-on's comment, why do the aliens end up dead in all cases. There should be at least one truly cooperative and beneficial path and Harmony is the natural fit.
 

Protok St

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@legalizefreedom the way of any Kind is to be a dominant in surrouding life area. The affinities is only a way to reach this goal. And Harmony looks like a way with intention of less harming the nature, but the goal is same - to be a dominant life form.
Humans use the "understanding and integration with the planet’s alien ecology", "their own genetically modified versions of the planet’s native alien life, and adopt some of their aesthetics" to be more effecient in a competitive world.
Using their own potential, humans will become more adapted to the Planet than the Aliens themselves as a species.
The aliens will become mere pets or secondary servants to Humans, and as a species will simply be subordinated. In other words, it is slavery, even if the chains are gold.

And when the level of multi consciousness society will be reached this things will be repeated in a larger scale. The Aliens will be overwhelmed with power of human consciousness.
That's OK, in case if look at Aliens just as a wild animals. In that case this will be even good for them, because Humans will spread best of this animals with them to other planets, extending presence of aliens as a kind.

But if look at the Aliens as a species with a swarm intelligence, combining many different kinds... There is only one way to not become a slaves of humans - staying and protecting their ground: and territory, and "mind space".
This is a rules of nature. Which should be understandable for Harmony people. If they want to use a resource belonging to other species, then other species, most likely, will not give this resource away for free or without a fight.

---
In any case I should to say, that to leave together with other species in natural harmony is a good sweet goal. I like it.
To reach this goal need not to modify own body with the extra genes.
To do this, it is necessary to change the behavior of humanity, so to not to be a "plague" like, in relation to everything that it touches.
 

Guide-on

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I have played over 1,000 hours on BERT according the steam. I have games( Civ VI) that I have played for less than 10 hours. Two questions: How many hours do you need to play a game to feel that you have gotten your money's worth; and when would you call it a classic.
 

legalizefreedom

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That depends on the price. I'd say if you get an hour for every dollar, you got a great deal.

I consider games classics when I return to them at regular intervals. After returning a few times you build up a history and attachment.
 

Guide-on

Chieftain
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Age of Wonders Planetfall has campaigns that you have to finish the first to do the second. The choice of quest can influence (I think) the victory conditions and the choice of VC in one campaign WILL(the game tells you so before you pick) limit your choices in later campaigns. To get the Contact victory in BERT, you have to get keys to the signal, but you can get one from a lucky expedition. Imagine if building the VCs required some widely separated techs, but you could acquire one of them by quest.
 

Navelgazer

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So I picked up BE back when it released, because my MacBook could supposedly run it, though that turned out not to be the case. I basically forgot about it until about a week ago when I saw it in my steam library and decided to try it on my current MacBook, where it runs smooth-as-silk, and then a few days later I added Rising Tide. I can legitimately say that, as much Civ as I've played in my life (thousand and thousands of hours), no game in the series has sucked me in as powerfully and immediately as this one. I think there are a few reasons for this:

1. It's a 6-7 year-old game running on my newish machine, meaning almost no time spent checking emails or facebook between turns. This alone is huge.
2. The engine is Civ V's, and the mechanics very much adapted from it, but not exactly so, such that it feels both new and familiar in a good combination.
3. It's gorgeous. Especially with Rising Tide, the look of it is just stunning, even today. The way that the different worlds look and just feel different is amazing, and it feels distinct from messing around with map type / temperature / rainfall settings in Civ.
4. Coming in without pre-conceived notions of the AI personalities, it's been fun to see how my opinions of them develop over a number of games. A week in, I know that Han Jae-Moon will always hate me and eventually declare war on me, even if he only has one poorly-defended aquatic city and is already at war with several AI players. Hutama will always be friendly at first and then backstab me mid-game. Arshia and Barre will be my besties from beginning to end, etc. But an interesting thing about this is that I have no idea if this is the case for everyone. The respect system (which I haven't looked under the hood on) makes it feel as if they're just responding to my priorities in gameplay, and that if I shifted around and adapted, their reactions might change. No idea if that's accurate, though.
5. Tech-Web, as a concept, is just way cooler to me than Tech-tree. I imagine I'll tire of it soon enough, but it's a neat twist on the concept that really fits the idea of Future-Tech.
6. Affinities! Affinities Affinities Affinities! Such a great concept, that makes so much more sense narratively than CivV's Ideologies.
7. Traits! Traits Traits Traits! Much like the aforementioned Ideologies in that you can change them for a price, but seriously, what a cool way to do Diplomacy! The fact that developing these helps to develop the agreements available to the AI, and that those agreement benefits improve with a better relationship status, is awesome.
8. I never go to war in Civ if I can help it, and have gotten very good at avoiding it. It just stresses me right out, for whatever reason. BE and BERT don't give me that option. There will be war and you need to be prepared for it, which adds real tension and difficulty in choosing how to deal with science, industry, colonization and generally just how much you should be pumping out units vs. getting your infrastructure up. When I switch back to Civ6 from this, I fully expect to have my gameplay-style changed, probably for the better.
9. Expeditions and Marvels make it worthwhile to explore every inch of the map, even though resource allocation and AI behavior discourages settling wide.

So, what are my criticisms, even though I'm having a ball with this?

1. Games feel same-y. The victory paths lead to different endgames, but not different enough, and 20-40 turns of waiting, followed by a sudden victory screen, isn't satisfying. Especially since you're going to be crushing it if you've managed to survive to the endgame, it turns things into a slog in those endless final turns.
2. Affinity Flavor feels mostly cosmetic. Don't get me wrong - I love the cosmetics of it. But so far I haven't felt a big difference with units or gameplay going down different paths, and that's me playing a style of choosing my techs based on trying to get affinities raised as quickly as possible (so that everyone kicking around in their Cutters will stop mocking my unit strength, which I now realize might be about Veterancies rather than Upgrades... hmmm...)
3. Leaders have personality... but not enough of it. This is probably me spoiled from Civ6 in terms of civilization/leader distinctiveness. Especially with all of the DLC and expansions in that game, they've really gone down a route of making every civ play uniquely and every leader feel like someone you know and understand. CivV was baby-steps into doing this, which BE and BERT reflect. So while I'm always happy to meet PAU and Al Falah, and start gearing up for war as soon as I meet Chungsu, the "narrative" of the game feels like it rests way too much with the player, except inasmuch as the war-happy AI can push you towards a Domination victory being just easier and more actively engaging than waiting for the Mind Flower to bloom. It'd be preferable to have opinions about the leaders, but have that lead to situational cooperation/alliances depending on the individual circumstances of the game. Right now it already feels like walking into a party and already know who my friends are and who they aren't.
4. The customizability is fantastic, but the dearth of Sponsor-uniques is disappointing. Beyond just making playing with different leaders feel, you know, unique, they could have been a great balancing tool. Imagine if Brasilia had an early unit that could either stand toe-to-toe with Aliens in the early game, or else be produced much more quickly than a soldier or a ranger? Or if Slavic Federation had an early Orbital unit that granted sight over unexplored parts of the map? These are just top-of-my-head ideas for making hay out of underwhelming traits that, in the game, are the only things making one sponsor distinct from any other.
5. Naval Units kinda feel like the only units that matter, now that I'm talking about it. Maybe if I played on Protean that would feel different, but with roads being so costly (especially in the early game) and Aquatic cities so worthwhile, everyone seems to settle on the coast, or near enough to bombard from the ocean, so building up a formidable land-army is a waste of turns, and since you can only build the dry-dock in aquatic cities, this becomes a feedback-loop (much as, if Land Units were the ones that mattered, the Repair Facility restriction would make Aquatic cities rare.)
6. Again, no real balance for the Sponsors. ARC might not be "strictly better" than Chungsu in a technical sense, but come on. Slavic Federation's bonuses are practically non-existent, especially with resources being plentiful, evenly distributed, and - most importantly - unnecessary to make the Solar Collector, the bread-and-butter of Orbital Units. This goes on and on. Ideally, I'd want more more more in terms of available sponsors, but if twelve is all we get, they should be more universally well-thought-out.

But all that said, I'm loving it. Flawed, underrated gem indeed.
 

vorlon_mi

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3. It's gorgeous. Especially with Rising Tide, the look of it is just stunning, even today. The way that the different worlds look and just feel different is amazing, and it feels distinct from messing around with map type / temperature / rainfall settings in Civ.

4. Coming in without pre-conceived notions of the AI personalities, it's been fun to see how my opinions of them develop over a number of games. A week in, I know that Han Jae-Moon will always hate me and eventually declare war on me, even if he only has one poorly-defended aquatic city and is already at war with several AI players. Hutama will always be friendly at first and then backstab me mid-game. Arshia and Barre will be my besties from beginning to end, etc. But an interesting thing about this is that I have no idea if this is the case for everyone. The respect system (which I haven't looked under the hood on) makes it feel as if they're just responding to my priorities in gameplay, and that if I shifted around and adapted, their reactions might change. No idea if that's accurate, though.

9. Expeditions and Marvels make it worthwhile to explore every inch of the map, even though resource allocation and AI behavior discourages settling wide.

But all that said, I'm loving it. Flawed, underrated gem indeed.

3. Yes, I agree. The colors and variety look great.

4. Yes, this has been my experience, too. Hutama usually backstabs me, and most often objects when I start building a victory wonder. Ditto for Fielding. Han Jae-Moon usually declares war, even though he doesn't have much of an army. Barre is a good buddy most games; on one of my attempts to get the "Victory on Apollo difficulty" achievement, he was my direct neighbor and declared on me because we competed for resources. Arishia rarely backstabs. Lena builds more wonders than Daoming, even though Daoming should have that nailed with her trait.

9. Yes, I've taken to making physical notes -- either on paper or a Notepad on another screen -- for where the marvels are, and whether or not I have "consumed" them.
 
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