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Bye for now, Civ 6 - It was nice getting to know you

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by SCBrain, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    I finished a game as Gilgamesh last night and realized that there was nothing else I really wanted out of Civ 6. I deleted it. I might check in later after a patch or two, but I don't think Civ 6's big problems are patchable. I should say that I do not feel ripped off or aggrieved - I tried all of the civs at least once, and I won with every victory type. I had my fun and I think the developers did a good job, little things like the insane unit cycling notwithstanding. Maybe, as some have said on this board, the civilization concept is just a bit tired now. How could anyone make the concept fresh at this point?

    I feel compelled to share my thoughts as a kind of post mortem.

    1) I know this is "settled law," but the way that naval units work sits wrong with me. I was chasing a damaged chariot unit across a frozen peninsula, and when they reached the coast, it just turned into a boat and sailed away. I saw them waving facetiously as they left. Where did these boats come from? Perhaps it would be better if units could embark and "turn into boats" only at harbors. If you launch an amphibious invasion, you cannot just call it off and go back to the ocean; it's capture a harbor or your units are gone.

    2) Religion clearly needs to be reconceptualized. Needing to send hundreds of religious units across closed borders so they can convert ancient holy cities just makes no sense. I like the idea of a religious dimension to the game, but when I see a carpet of missionaries coming my way, I just sigh. A religious victory perhaps could consist of collecting X holy relics from each of the five world religions? This needs much more thought than it has received.

    3) Most importantly: the sense of urgency is sorely lacking. Civ 4 had this sense of urgency throughout, at least until the game was in hand - you needed to get that second city; needed to get iron hooked up; needed to get those cottages in place as an investment in the future; needed to do the next thing until the game was over. Civ 5 didn't have it because you just needed four cities to win. Civ 6 doesn't have it because after the opening era (when the warmonger penalty is zero and the AI seems willing to start wars), wars only happen if the player starts them. And one always knows one will win because the AI cannot play the 1UPT game, and couldn't in Civ 5 either. (Given that the designer of Civ 5 admits that 1UPT was a failure, I don't understand why it was revived, almost completely unimproved, for Civ 6. There are so many possibilities available.)

    4) Related to number 3: Eurekas make the tech tree go by too fast, and there's too much gold floating around, allowing anyone to build a flash army whenever needed, rather than building a strong defense and maintaining it. Because of the ample supplies of money, I can just buy great people at will by the midway point.

    My suggestion: Increase the upkeep per unit at higher levels dramatically. At the moment, it is possible to create an infinite-sized army consisting of slingers and warriors (and Sumerian war-carts if available) even at deity FOR FREE. If you add the "-1 Gold per unit" card, you can support an infinite army of warriors, slingers, spearmen, archers, galleys, chariots, and battering rams.

    Perhaps it could be like this: at the beginning of the game, at Prince or King, the first unit would be free. Second unit would cost 1 GPT. Third unit would cost 2 GPT. And so on. A big army, if you can produce it, would be expensive, even for lower difficulty levels. If you have seven units moving around in the ancient era, it would cost you 21 gold per turn. You can look at your balance and know whether you can afford to enlarge your army. If you don't have +7 gold for the eighth unit, you'll be running a deficit, and when you hit zero, your units will be disbanded. In later eras, the costs could be 1/2/3/4/5... and 2/3/4/5... instead of 0/1/2/3/4...

    Alternatively, I very much like the idea of armies as the only military unit - at the outset you get one or two armies with three to four slots, and these numbers would grow as your government matures - because it would solve the carpet of doom problem and yet make the military part of the game more strategic. (One army of just archers? One siege unit in each army? Interesting choices....) But I think this won't happen, even though it's not that far removed from the mechanics in place already.

    Farewell Civ 6, and for those who enjoy it, best wishes and carry on. I think I like reading your thoughts about the game more than playing it!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2016
  2. Larsenex

    Larsenex King

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    I am 190 hours in. Games is fine. Mod it play it or not. Perhaps Civ IV is your best bet, personally 1UPT is the best thing to happen to the series. Can you link your info on the designer who admits 1upt is a failure, I would like to read it.
     
  3. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    Key quote:

    "In Civ 5, every unit needed its own tile, and that meant the map filled up pretty quickly. To address this, I slowed the rate of production, which in turn led to more waiting around for buckets to fill up. For pacing reasons, in the early game I might have wanted players to be training new units every 4 turns. But this was impossible, because the map would have then become covered in Warriors by the end of the classical era. And once the map fills up too much, even warfare stops being fun."

    From this essay:

    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonshafer/jon-shafers-at-the-gates/posts/404789
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2016
  4. Photi

    Photi Governor

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    yeah i think it is only a certain type of player not into 1UPT. 1UPT took a little getting used to (haven't played civ since IV, other than an opening round with V that i never continued), but with the corps and armies, it seems to balance out. at least 'zone of control' does not mean you cannot even move into that tile. It is one thing to critique, but all the negativity towards VI and Firaxis is, well, rude. I'm trying to imagine myself as part of the Firaxis team reading some of this negativity. the goal should not be to force them to rage quit the community, though if i were part of firaxis that is what i would feel like doing.

    Edit: and let's be real, if no 1UPT then all the complaints would be about stacks of doom. if 2UPT, then arguments about arbitrariness, if 3UPT then artificiality etc etc
     
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  5. rastak

    rastak Emperor

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    Well, we'll miss ya SCBrain but I personally wish you the best on your travels and hope you find what you like.
     
  6. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    That entire interview needs to be read with a large pinch of salt. It was the interview where Beach was first advertising his kickstarter for At the Gates; slamming various elements of Civ V he wasn't using in that game was just a marketing tactic.
     
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  7. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Shafer, not Beach
     
  8. MyOtherName

    MyOtherName Emperor

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    ...and probably get flak from both sides of the fence; the rest of the UI does not inspire me to believe they'd have a good UI for managing stacks!
     
  9. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    At least there might be fewer complaints about a braindead tactical AI.

    The reason he wasn't using it was a fairly sound one, though. True, you do need to keep in mind the context of the article when reading it. But that shouldn't invalidate otherwise valid points.
     
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  10. SCBrain

    SCBrain Chieftain

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    I don't think it can be so easily dismissed. Civ V sold a lot of copies, and he had no reason to critique it so thoroughly unless he thought it deserved that critique. As a marketing strategy, he could easily have said "Civ V was great and I am proud of it but my next game is going in a different direction and I think you'll like that too," but he didn't. It is, prima facie, terrible marketing to say "I think my last game had serious, game-breaking flaws and they are my fault, so please invest in my next one." Plus, At the Gates is going in a totally different direction, which kind of tells you everything you need to know about his take on Civ V.

    Second, it so happens that everything he writes in that post makes perfect sense.

    I think the way to read his essay is as an honest analysis and an honest admission of what he thought didn't work in Civ V. It was and remains a startlingly candid document. People rarely admit they made mistakes so openly.
     
  11. Photi

    Photi Governor

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    People have been complaining about the AI for as long as i can remember, by definition the AI has always been 'braindead', but the complaints seem more viscous for VI than in the past. while on the one hand of course the AI can be improved, it does at times seem like people are complaining that Firaxis hasn't yet invented a sentient, Civilization-playing robot. Tactics are fluid and dynamic, adapted to specific scenarios, once you try to set AI tactic scenarios to code, the human player will adapt and exploit in a way the computer cannot counter.

    Why is it sometimes okay to suicide a unit, and other times it is not? Why is it sometimes better to pillage tiles and other times it's better to capture the city? In a war, is it better to convert all production to units, or is it okay for some cities to still produce districts and wonders? what's the golden ratio? is it 61.8%? so 61.8% of cities should produce units unless AI has a 38.2% or better tech advantage, at which point 61.8% of cities should be devoted to non-military? but what if the opponent, even if behind in absolute numbers of techs, still has a tech advantage at the bottom of the tree instead of the top, should the AI switch production to 78.6% military? back when IV/BTS was prime, there was a guy who was modding a "better AI". I don't know if he succeeded in doing anything other than making the game less fun for players less militarily aggressive, or, if the player was militarily aggressive, making the AI exploitable in other ways. I think what Civilization and Firaxis really need are dedicated supercomputers remotely processing and directing all AI moves in all single-player Civ games around the globe. Dang Firaxis, get on that.
     
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  12. CaiusDrewart

    CaiusDrewart King

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    I agree complaints about "the AI" on this forum are often vague, and expectations are often unrealistic. Nonetheless, in lots of ways the AI in Civ VI is objectively worse than in past games. It can't escort its settlers. It can't grow its cities faster than the human player even on Deity. It can't take cities with even a little bit of fortification, ever. These are all huge, game-breaking issues, and none of them have been true in past Civ titles.
     
  13. nokmirt

    nokmirt Emperor

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    Let me know when the AI builds planes and uses them, then I'll play again.
     
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  14. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    Nobody's asking for an AI on the level of the human player. Nobody reasonable, at any rate. But when it could stack units, it could present a credible threat with the huge advantages it gets with difficulty. Now, it just trips over itself and looks stupid.

    This is roughly the equivalent of plugging your ears and announcing "lah-lah-lah, I can't heart you". Total avoidance of the issue. The AI is noticeably worse with the introduction of 1UPT, and it's somehow even worse in VI than it was in V. People see some merits in 1UPT, but the AI cannot be praised. Please don't pretend there's been no change in the apparent competence since 1UPT was introduced. It's willful ignorance at best.
     
  15. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    Cliffs have made it a bit more interesting...but I'd go back to transports myself too.

    I still feel the sense of urgency. I'm probably not as good as you lol

    I would hate a hard limit. Utterly hate it. That was one of the reasons I stopped playing Age of Empires.
    It flies in the face of 4X as far as I'm concerned.

    I think a good half way house between Stacks and 1UPT could be that each tile can only hold, say, 10 points worth of units. Melee and light ranged would be worth 1 point; cavalry and heavy ranged 2 points; with later units like tanks being worth even more points (credit to Dale Kent over at We Play Civ).
    This would be easier for the AI to deal with, while making stacks way smaller than they could be in IV.
     
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  16. mice

    mice Moose

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    This I agree with .

    I lost two years to Civ4 but I feel Civ 6 is on the clock with Tyranny and Ultimate General Civil War breathing down its neck , not to mention Oriental empires.

    It just doesn't feel like much of a win when you get it .
     
  17. Photi

    Photi Governor

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    I see that in some of your sentences you are able to make points and substantiate them, in other of your sentences you get lost in ad hominem passive aggression.

    Regarding the actual points you made, they are arguable and counterpoints cannot simply be dismissed with jibes. Yes, stacked units present a formidable challenge to poorly defended cities, no argument there. But there was never anything challenging about countering a stack of doom. As long as the player kept up with the AI in military techs and kept military units up to date, 2-3 units with city walls was usually enough to defend a city or enable it to hang on until reinforcements could arrive. Not really a deep strategy there, and i suppose a stack of doom is tactical in the sense that it was the tactic to city-bust within the confines of the game.

    With the current version of the game, i see more complex movements with AI units. They are good at approaching cities, but instead of attacking full-throttle, each individual unit seems to have a bias for its own preservation and in that regard units appear to lack discipline in the face of battle. Barbarians on the other hand seem to be less concerned about their individual worth and do not retreat until a higher threshold of damage has occurred. So on the one hand i like seeing that the AI units aren't all kamikazes, but on the other hand clearly more tuning is needed, like maybe some sort of discipline-like meta-modifier where a value is placed on the importance of any given war (eg, war of expansion an importance of 4, a pillaging/nuisance war a 2, a war to keep another Civ from winning a 6, or whatever numbers work), and that value of 'fighting for the greater good' is then used to modify the self-preservation coding that seems to already be present. In the bigger picture though, i do think the AI can be praised, because it is moving in the right direction, which is to say it is moving away from stacks of doom. Clearly the AI is using 'thought' or else why would they retreat (again compare to barb attack behavior)?

    Critiquing is one thing, i could list off several UI tweaks i'd like to see, i think though that when people come on here talking about game-breaking bugs, something else is going on.
     
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  18. georgjorge

    georgjorge Deity Wannabe

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    I have nothing against 1UPT in general, but I would qualify "AI can never ever take a city that has walls, no matter how big their army is" and "AI never ever uses air units in a remotely competent way" as pretty game-breaking. Not to say it can't be fixed (through expansions or mods), and if it is, VI will be a pretty good game. But as of now winning because of those AI shortcomings is too easy.
     
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  19. Mustakrakish

    Mustakrakish In 'Node' We Trust

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    "Criticizing is good as long as it's something I agree with, but if it isn't - it's not critique."

    This is hilarious, do go on...
     
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  20. Onii-chan

    Onii-chan Prince

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    I still honestly find it unbelievable that some people actually like stacks of doom more than 1UPT. I mean yeah okay, the AI is more challenging like that, but that is literally only because the system is terrible. There is almost no strategy or tactics whatsoever involved with stacks. All you need to do is to have enough units and of the right type. It turns the whole combat part of Civ into a game solely consisting of macro, but no micro whatsoever. That's a whole dimension lost. A game being harder doesn't automatically make it better. If that's what you want, you're better off playing something like Battletoads instead. If we're comparing a system which is good but easy versus one which is bad but hard... I'd take the former any day of the week. No contest. Don't get me wrong, I loved Civ IV back in the day as well, but 1UPT was probably the best change that ever happened in Civ's history and I can't even imagine going back to stacks after experiencing the difference between them. If there's anything that could actually make me not want to buy Civ VII if that ever comes out, it would be going back to that. Instead of just giving up on the current system, I'd rather remain patient and hope that they actually manage to make the AI more competent at using it, because that's really the only downside to it
    /endrant

    Anyway, as far as the other stuff OP mentioned, I somewhat agree but all of that is easily fixable with mods, so it's not really an issue. There are numerous mods out already which rebalance religious beliefs and make it more important, and the new patch already made the religious units less spammy. There are ones which tune the exact % a eureka/inspiration boost gives so you can lower that if you want. I don't really see why units embarking is a problem considering that every turn in Civ represents years or decades so it doesn't seem very strange that a camped-up unit squad could have time to chop some trees and make some simple boats out of them in the earlier eras, or have some inflatable dingies or amphibious vehicles with them in the latter ones, etcetera, not to mention that Civ has never been very realistic to begin with so idk why you'd be hung up on this particular detail of all things. And I don't agree at all that Civ VI lacks urgency; Civ V definitely did but here you have new decisions to make all the time even when you're at peace due to how district management and policy cards work. In fact I used to play Civ V on epic most of the time but I've resorted to standard more so in Civ VI just because relatively speaking Civ VI takes more time due to how many things you have to do all the time. Though I will agree that it feels a bit like you don't have to min/max everything perfectly in order to win, but that's more related to the AI's weakness than the gameplay design. The AI+ mod is definitely a step in the right direction for that part at least. And a unit hard cap? That... might increase performance and reduce turn times, but for gameplay it'd be awful. It makes no sense for a game as large scale as this. Supply limits are understandable in RTS games like Starcraft, Age of Empires etc but not so much for turn-based ones if you ask me. Can't say I like that idea very much
     

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