Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by MantaRevan, Dec 8, 2013.
I'm sorry, but what exactly is the "Tall Empire Bias"?
The biggest issue for me is that 1UPT is not a satisfactory solution to SOM. Instead of the dreadful stack, we now have the "carpet" , at higher difficulty levels, there are units everywhere and you can't move anything, worker orders constantly got canceled due to this. You will have to issue a ton of movement commands in a war and there is no sense of strategy since there is no room to maneuver. I think something needs to be done about this, perhaps armies should move in groups like in TW games or some other alternatives? This is civ, not Panzer. What works in Panzer doesn't quite work for Civ.
On the other hand, if you play at lower difficulty level where the AI doesn't get massive bonus, you will see very few units (as intended by the designer to limit congestion). A "massive" war will be found by 3 archers and 2 melee units. This is boring and removes that epic feel from civ.
Tall empire bias is also a pretty serious issue. It kind of make the game not very fun to play, since you get constantly penalized for doing what makes the game fun, ie, exploring, expanding, etc.
It's that since the fall patch, AIs are more likely to only have a few high-population cities rather than many small-to-medium-population cities. There's also that human civs are penalized with unhappiness for having too many cities.
I personally don't play on the higher difficulties enough (or give the AI much of a chance) to see the problem. I usually found at least 8 cities playing on chieftain, and I usually crush the AI before they get more than 5.
I actually think it is a remarkable problem, that you can build battleships and submarines without combustion, cavalry without rifling, galleass without gunpowder, and other stuff. I think they should add a second required tech for some units, as in Civ IV, to add more realism.
You know, I waited to get Civ 5 until this year because I though 1UPT would ruin the game, but now when I play earlier iterations I forget to stack
I actually like it more, especially with ranged combat.
I, and many others, would argue that what you're saying leads back to the issue of the bad AI. If there were a good AI in place, it wouldn't just spam units like silly and send over a giant carpet, but it would strategically select units to train, position them correctly, and fight intelligently. Instead, the AI cannot handle combat and simply sends a carpet of units (Which, though worked in Vanilla, isn't too effective now).
The stacks in Civ 4 and below only seem better because the AI didn't have to put much effort into them. Get a bunch of units, throw them in a stack, and shoot that stack towards an enemy's stack/city. Any six year old can do that. Where 1UPT really shines is in the multiplayer matches, where it's a human mind against another human mind.
Thank you for the explanation.
I voted Boring/Predictable Endgame because I do find myself constantly confronted by what I call the "grind" where the early excitement of exploring and founding cities is replaced by the tedium and monotony of simply getting to the inevitable conclusion of the game. I do wish something could be done to make the end of the game as good as the first and middle parts. It seems that after I get Navigation, things start getting a bit boring and predictable.
Yeah, 1UPT is awesome, it's what made me invest more time into this game than any previous one in the series. I would be seriously disappointed if Civ VI went back to stacks.
His explanation wasn't accurate. Tall bias is the bias towards using tradition and few cities to achieve a massive science lead even on high difficulties (even more so on lower ones), and how that approach is either a strong or the strongest opening regardless of which victory condition you pursue and for the vast majority of civs, excepting unusual settings like a duel map ---> ASAP city capture.
On challenging difficulties, wide empires were nerfed so hard that tall >> wide in the general sense, and you have to reeaaaaaaaaaallllly reach to find exceptions for most of a game.
If you tried lobbing a giant AI stack at a decent human player at equal tech in MP, you'd be off the map, probably in under 20 turns. 1UPT has definite merits, but I do get tired of Civ V and even Civ IV players assuming that a big stack is all you need. It's poor play. The last time I fought someone bad enough to do it he had ~1.4 times my power and died in under 15 turns, at near tech parity.
Well, as I've said before, if the ending is starting to bore you, why not try a game that starts in the atomic or information era? The game usually gets boring because either you or a runaway completely out-techs everyone, at which point combat is a joke. The later you start, the less of a tech-gap forms.
I think the reason I don't do that is because I enjoy the units and time period of the early part. It's not a game killer, I have 940 hours in the game total, it's just something that becomes a bit of a grind.
I think the biggest balance problem in this game is insufficient technological rubber-banding. Once a civ falls behind, barring fantastic luck they're pretty much out for the count. I feel like this is the crux of the dominance of science, as well as the stale endgame where half of the civs are really just taking up space.
There have been a few small steps towards improving it - espionage, science from trade routes, scholars in residence, research agreements - but they're really not nearly enough, I feel.
I would love to see a big reduction in beaker costs based on number of civs that have already researched a tech. Like up to 50% if everyone else already has it. Base tech costs would have to be increased to compensate, of course. This would give civs a chance to catch up, and would make becoming and remaining the tech leader a more costly endeavour - if you focus on science you can still gain a crucial temporary leg-up if you're quick to exploit it, but it would favour a more relaxed approach to the tech tree. It might also improve the harder difficulties - make the overly tough early game a little easier and stop the player running away in the later game.
Militarily, I think there's a lack of rubber-banding too - once you've "broken the back" of a civ it seems to become progressively easier to keep conquering. Once you've taken one city, it seems like the hard work is already done and it's then much easier to keep conquering. More often the factor that stops continued conquest is the warmonger penalty rather than lack of military strength.
I would propose this: when a city is captured, its borders do not flip to the new owner until the city is out of revolt. Liberating a city does not damage the city.
It's too easy to maintain momentum when suddenly the attacker gains the home-turf advantage when they get a city. This would make actually holding a conquered city much more of a struggle and would slow down continued conquest considerably. I suspect it would also make melee and cavalry units more useful since you're going to need to shield a very vulnerable city until you can get it under control.
Holding is already pretty touch-and-go as it stands, now that you really want to - you pay multiple warmonger penalties if you let it flip to clean up population. But that's on immortal, when the AI's secondary cities can still pump out modern units at one a turn after you take capital. I don't know how it works on Emperor/below since its hard to get into wars there.
I do agree with the idea - I like having to bring more than one melee unit now to hold a city, and generally put more thought into it than "artillery and a calvary" - but I'm not sure how much more stress the warmonger playstyle can take. You already pay the "capture tax" - the negative GPT maintenance on buildings during revolt which totally walks back the pointless pillage gold.
Letting cities keep population if they flip back is nice but I feel the diplomatic penalties already really encourage keeping the city in the first place. If the goal instead is to make the AI able to hold liberated cities more easily, they should just be coded not to try liberating right away - kill my units before throwing away melee on the city. I'll have the city as long as I still have the army that took it.
Tall Empire Bias, but most particularly a ridiculously out-of-balance SP tree, with Tradition/Liberty and Rationalism being the trees to select to win the game, Commerce, Aesthetics and Patronage as situational ones, and the others to have fun with. It's not fun for me when there is a single game-winning strategy, because whenever I pick something else I always feel like I've wasted a game on performing suboptimally. The fun thing is finding new and imaginative ways to win a game, not to handicap yourself on the general course to winning. For this reason I've started playing only with Reform and Rule, not because it's totally balanced but because at least I don't know the imbalances like the back of my hand, as with the vanilla tree.
These are all serious problems that this game has. I voted for having a boring ending (since most of the single player games I win are science victories, particularly in the higher levels.) The AI is kind of dumb though, I would give a vote for this as well, which makes the game a little easier despite the fact of having a huge warmonger penalty. This eventually leads to a boring ending because of the warmonger penalty that leads to a peaceful game, forcing players to enter the tall empire bias, which is another problem, and the dumb AI letting you walk away with an easy, boring victory. This isn't always the case though, sometimes the AI does make a DoW once in awhile and switches the win into an eventual loss.
Just finished my first post-patch game (Emperor, Earth, Random size - turned out to be 10 civs, Random Civ - turned out to be Indonesia), and answered Diplomacy.
This is unexpected, since I've been an outspoken fan of Civ V's diplomacy in general. However, Brave New World was a major step back for the system since late-game ideology trumps everything else, and can arbitrarily wreck game-long relationships without a lot of extra effort put in by the player to sustain them (and of course the AIs aren't going to that effort to sustain their own relationships, so automatically default to predictable ideological blocs). The diplo victory also suffers from the problem that the AI is not coded to vote against, only to vote for - so you never have voting blocs where everyone will vote against the civ that has enough votes to become World Leader.
Post-patch, AI behaviour in diplomacy seems more arbitrary than ever - I'd have long-term ally Harald denounce me for refusing to denounce my Siamese ally (Siam and I both had Freedom, Harald had Order), and then next turn he's neutral and asking to accept an embassy. Earlier in the game, I had been to war with Haille Selassie, who promptly adopted Freedom. Some turns later he asked for peace, which I accepted - and because we were both Freedom civs, he asked for a Declaration of Friendship the next turn.
It's also unfortunate that diplomatic exchanges can't be reversed, so you have odd situations like Order-loving Harald denouncing me one turn, and then the next voting for my World Ideology because of an earlier deal I'd made with him - breakdowns in diplomatic relations (i.e. denunciation and war) should really cancel vote agreements, and probably force a recall of ambassadors.
The more peaceful BNW game also gives a lot of this diplomatic behaviour very little consequence - civs that rage against me and repeatedly denounce me will never declare war, even with my poor military, so there's no real sanction for undiplomatic behaviour towards them.
Most of the others are issues, but "science trumps everything else" and "boring/predictable endgame" are longstanding issues pretty much hard-wired into the Civ series, and I give Civ V credit for doing more to resolve them than previous entries. I'm not even sure the "Tall Empire Bias" really exists - in the game I just won I founded eight cities. It's possible that isn't "optimal", but if you play Civ games just to have an optimal strategy, you rather miss the point - if you do that in any of them you run into the equivalent issue, save that in the earlier games everything focused on going as wide as possible. It's bizarre to see a game criticised because certain social policy branches appear to be there
since that is surely the essential point of a game? And the fundamental point of a strategy game is to have fun through being challenged - using an optimal strategy that presents no challenge is akin to using cheat codes for a shoot-em-up and then complaining it's no fun.
I've already answered this. The fact that there even is an 'optimal strategy' ruins it for me. There should be circumstances in which you should take Piety for a strategy that will be at least as successful as one in which you take Tradition - in general, there should be a wide range of strategies to win the game, not a single obviously overpowered one (tall + tradition + rationalism + gold + diplomatic / science).
Of the options given in the poll, I chose "Tall Empire Bias." I think wide empires are generally speaking more exciting than tall empires. (Well, administering a wide empire can be more tedious, which is one downside.) But generally, when the pressure is on to expand your empire or perish, that feels fun. When I can comfortably build up 1-4 megacities and just coast through the game, it's less fun.
All of these features interconnect to other shortcomings mentioned:
The main reason tall is so good is that science is so important.
Science specialists are very strong.
The science buildings are so critical that it skews the tech tree.
The tall social policies are stronger, which biases towards tall, and then which biases towards those policies.
The late game is made less exciting by a bunch of tall peaceful civs.
The tall bias is amplified by more peaceful AIs and early war being unprofitable for the aggressor.
And the AI being peaceful and ineffective at war is tied to still-not-good-enough tactical AI.
And that's tied into what I think the single biggest problem as of Civ 5 BNW "fall patch", which was not present in choices of this poll (although some commenters have mentioned it): combat unit balance.
Composite bowmen, crossbowmen, frigates, and great war bombers are too powerful compared to contemporary units.
The twin problems with Archery units is that:
1. they're very effective (you can kill enemy units from afar without losing units or even having to heal your units)
2. they're good in every situation (more versatile than melee, mounted, siege, or naval units):
Enemy land units? Archers are great.
Enemy naval units? Archers are great.
Enemy units invading your territory? Archers are great.
Enemy units defending their territory? Archers are best (you can shoot and kill their units without ending the turn within 2 tiles of their city).
Taking an enemy city? Archers are great. You just need one or two melee units to actually take the city. Sure, you can build a couple of siege units if you want to speed up the process, but by the time you've broken the back of the defending army with your archers, those same archers can take down the city in no time. Since your archers can move and shoot every turn, they get to double attack and +1 range promotions faster than siege units.
Other notes on unit balance:
Swordsmen and Longswordmen are too weak to justify researching their techs and securing a source of Iron, when Pikemen are a sufficient replacement, falling between Swordsmen and Longswordsmen in strength and cost. (Pikemen could be nerfed -- lower their combat strength and increase their bonus vs. mounted. Another fascinating suggestion elsewhere in the forums was to move Pikemen from the top-middle science-favoring part of the tech tree down to something like Metal Casting. That might be too harsh, and I like the idea of there being SOME units in the top-middle, but it might go a long way to unskewing the tech tree. Beeline for Public Schools and you'll be a sitting duck.)
Frigates: As mentioned elsewhere on this forum, there is no counter to Frigates except more Frigates, which leads to less interesting gameplay. Their +33% land bombardment promotions are excessive. I wonder if we could lower their attack range to 1, which would make it harder to annihilate a coastal city with a carpet of Frigates, and also limit their ability to dominate land combat. That might be too annoying in other cases, though, I'm not sure.
There are some more minor game design/balance issues I'd like to see addressed, after 1. unit balance and 2. tall bias. I'll just give a quick summary below and save the rest for separate posts.
3. city state quests: late-game city state quests aren't interesting enough. "generate the most faith/culture" quests are predetermined in the late game; some quests tied into World Congress or Ideologies would be interesting. Also some city-state quests encouraging aggression might be nice: I'm not even a warmonger, but "most units killed in the next 30 turns" or "most cities captured/razed in the next 30 turns" sounds fun to me!
4. Allow stacking of military and non-military units belonging to friendly civs. It's cheap and nonsensical that one civ's military units can bar another's Worker, Missionary, or Archeologist.
5. Inquisitors are lame. I'll make a separate Ideas/Suggestions post about how Inquisitors could be improved.
The same thing ruins pretty much any Civ game if you look at it in terms that broad. You can see a lot of discussion in Civ IV about which civics are best to suit which strategy, but the overall strategies are still not competitive with one another. The game works at a finer scale than that - in Civ IV, you can say, for instance, that State Property is the best for large empires (taking an example from an old Civ IV forum post, since my own recollection of the game isn't sufficient to identify which is the best strategy), but that you may choose a different civic for smaller empires.
However, this does not mean the different options are equivalent, because at the broad scale Civ IV strategy boils down to "largest empire is best" (with the specific exception of cultural victory - but again, playing for cultural victory is "for fun", it's not an optimal approach to winning the game or competitive with winning via other victory conditions, if you're concerned about such things as winning by Turn X). If State Property is the best pick for large empires, it follows that State Property is the optimal pick in Civ IV. But you can do a lot in Civ IV with a large empire that has State Property.
Same thing in Civ V. "Tall empire, Tradition & Rationalism" is a pretty broad brush, and within that there's substantial potential for variety in your approach, the extent to which you focus on trade, on religion, on warfare, the order in which you tech and the Wonders you aim at, some of which is hard to define clear rules for because it will depend on the game environment of any particular playthrough.
Actually, my most successful games immediately following BNW's release were using a Piety rather than a Tradition start (though Rationalism was still in the mix, as were gold and science).
Oh - and these also reinforce tall empire bias, since science leads to top culture and wonders that civ gets rewarded with free CS boosts for tech and culture quests all game long - and eventually the aggregation of faith CS allies via culture quests leads to always winning the faith quests too.
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