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Came back after a few months, district cost formula still kills the game

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Tomice, May 4, 2017.

  1. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Its not exactly punishing someone a lot unless they are near the end of the tech tree and you are near the beginning which is what snowballing is. I think it handles it well... if you are close there is in essence little punishment, it gets greater the further apart. Quite elegant to me.

    I fully get your arguments, what you are trying to say... I think in reality its all a middle ground where its not a great as I say and not as bad as you say and with no solid alternative for this completely new mechanic I do not think they have done too bad. People seem rarely to agree or compromise, just polarize.

    But OK thread done to death. People are not reading the thread from the start I have said all that needs to be said, the rest is in peoples head.
     
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  2. MooFreaky

    MooFreaky Meatbag Destroyer

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    How are you being punished for progress? It is simply making the cost of the district similar across all phases of the game, taking into account all methods of production. For established cities that's not a problem. For new cities it involves directing trade routes there. Saying this is a way around the issue is simply refusing to use a feature for one of the reasons it exists and then complaining there isn't a way to achieve that very purpose.
     
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  3. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    How to best put it? For one thing, it doesn't always work out how you state. I am fully aware of directing trade routes to new cities to speed up production, I've been doing it since day one, and generally playing as an expansionist who settles many cities even late into the game. That doesn't mean the mechanic works out. It's not taking time to establish new cities that I have an issue with, it's making districts cost more production in a very "gamey" way that is disconnected from the district production process itself (why did discovering Naval Tradition make my Campus more expensive?). Hence the word "arbitrary" I use to describe it at times (an apt description, despite some protests). And even in established cities, it can take longer to produce districts later on than it did early on, unless production is heavily emphasized. It's another reason why improvements that add non-production yields are generally overlooked--it's not just they're weak, it's that you need citizens working production tiles to keep up with the artificially inflated costs.

    I admit it's a fine line. But this is the wrong way to handle it. When you have the choice between rewarding a player for doing one thing or penalizing them (and yes, an increased cost to something that previously had a lower cost is a penalty) for doing the opposite, you should generally choose option one. It's why Civ had Golden Ages instead of Dark Ages. It's why World of Warcraft/FFXIV/other MMOs have rested EXP instead of a fatigue penalty. This may seem like an odd comparison, but it's another form of a "catch-up" mechanic. Originally it was conceptualized as having players earn less EXP the more they played. This was unfun. It was redesigned so you instead receive double EXP for a time after being logged out of a game for a time, scaling with the amount of time logged out. From a penalty to a bonus. This is good design and it's the one that stuck. It may seem like a minor distinction, but it's been important enough to game design that it was something specifically mentioned in the Civilization IV manual as being a reason for why Golden Ages were implemented the way they were.

    That's why I suggested the earlier form of catch-up: reduce a tech/civic cost by a small amount (let's say 2% as a start number) for each other player in the game who has discovered the tech (this could scale up or down with map size or the number of players in the game). It makes thematic sense (it's easier to discover some new idea if other Civs are using it) and it functions well in gameplay by not penalizing a player for being ahead but making it easier for players who are behind to catch up.
     
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  4. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    That does not make the districts cheaper for them
     
  5. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    And you think I'm not repeating myself? I've explained several times why this mechanic isn't so bad, yet you're still arguing against me. Just give me short and clear what's bad about the mechanic compared to other mechanics. Again, in the same 4-5 lines style that I used in the post I quoted.

    If you don't want to do that, either stop discussing the point, or link to a post where it's clearly explained and use that as argumentation. But you cannot argue a point if you're not willing to say and repeat your arguments. Also remember that this thread started more than a week ago. I don't know about you, but I have plenty of other things bothering me in a week, so I can't recall everything from this 200+ post thread.

    Agreed, anti-snowballing needs to be handled carefully. And I cannot think of a much more careful way than this. You need to actually think through the mechanic before realizing that it's anti-snowball, which is a lot more than most games can say (compare a racing game where you race faster if you're behind, or a moba where you earn more experience for getting a kill if you're lower level). On top of that, it's not primarily an anti-snowball mechanic. As I explained in my post earlier (the one I quoted in my last post, referenced just above and got a link to below), I feel like, in the end, the choice came down to this system or letting districts scale with game time, and then the snowball vs anti-snowball may be (remember, I'm not a dev myself, so I'm just making a guess) what made them decide on this mechanic, though the crazy production times for a modern-era liberated classical era civ might have played a role too.

    Now I'm wondering wheter you even read this post at all, as it, among other things, explained why this is a far better mechanic than only letting it scale at certain techs. Considering you had a 2-line reply to it that didn't go in-depth at all, I'm inclined to say you didn't. Please do so before continuing the discussion, as not reading one of the most important posts against your case isn't a good step in a healthy discussion.

    So what's your suggestion? Instead of the current system we now have 600 cost districts with a price reduction of 90% in the ancient era, slowly scaling down to 0%? Because that's the difference between fatigue penalty and rested EXP.
     
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  6. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    The thread subject is about the scaling district cost mechanic and how the poster is unsatisfied with it. Don't you think the problem might actually be asking why 200 posts in? At this point it's been repeated enough that if you have to ask why you're just not paying attention.

    Edit: Seriously, I go back to the 2nd page of the thread and I see the same things being said there, and you replying to them... the current mechanic punishes progress, it has a realistic disconnect, etc., what good do you think would come of me restarting those arguments and you replying to them again?

    If you're going to accuse someone of not reading a post, you should at least read the post you're quoting first. Because there's a much more reasonable anti-snowball suggestion in that very post. Combine that with a much more reasonable district cost system--either a flat cost or any of the those mentioned previously (and you acknowledged previously), and you're good to go.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2017
  7. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    Come on, you have nothing to back that up. Like the game devs are so concerned about the AI running ahead of the human player, that they programed the AI to build fewer districts. :rolleyes:
     
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  8. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Clearly you have not used spies

    I like the phrase know thine enemy, it's why I read rule books. So quite often I will run a reveal all or just look around the map if I have a few allies and see what they build. The evidence is in EVERY game I play

    How often when you spy do you add op the total number of commercial districts you can steal from and realise you have more than the rest added up

    I do not need more evidence than the games I play. They probably do not code "do not build districts" they have a decision tree, it clearly encourages civs to build farms....and the priority for districts is either lower or capped. Look at city states, they seem capped at 2 to me

    Just try reveal all @rschissler please, know what the AI does and then you can work out what you need to do to beat it without being a domination kill all type
     
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  9. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    I don't deny that the AI builds fewer districts. The question is why, and not because of the reason you stated.
     
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  10. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    You say potatoe I say potato. I really do not care why ... the fact is IT HAPPENS

    all I said was "As the AI builds few districts"

    I did not say why ...You made the stupid assumption and then blamed me for it
    MfG
    (or should that be lol)
     
  11. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    No reason to get huffy, just be honest.
     
  12. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Lol, I was being very honest. I never said the devs coded it. I was also being helpful and trying to show how this information is useful.
     
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  13. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    The original poster actually said that this thread made him see the merits of the system, so you're bringing a plain bad argument to the table there. As for this 2nd page of the thread, I indeed adressed some similar points there, and I would say that I adressed them quite well. If not, go ahead, qoute them and explain me why I'm wrong. One way or another, you seem to be almost the only person still in this thread that considered this system worse than it's alternatives that you mentioned (referring back again to the post I referred to several times), and I really, really want to know what you think is wrong, and what you think would be a better alternative, instead of continuously dodging the question.

    Edit: And why, of course. That's the important part, as I already know the what.

    I fail to see how a game cannot properly have more than one anti-snowball mechanic. Wheter or not it is balanced depends on the strength of the snowballing and anti-snowballing mechanics. As for the rest, you again seem to have not properly read my post, as I clearly stated, in fact using italics to emphasize it, that anti-snowball is not the primary reason to use this system, instead just tipping the balance between this and scaling with game turns.
     
  14. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    Well, your links don't work, so there is that much. I click on them trying two different browsers and nothing happens. So I don't know what posts in particular you care so much about. But what the original poster said was that he "hates it less". Not exactly a ringing endorsement! I would say the system has merit in that there is some merit to scaling in general, but I see very little in the precise way it scales.

    I haven't dodged the question. What do I think would be a better alternative? How about any of these:

    Despite what you say in the post you keep trying to link to (you did not input this code correctly, it appears), it still makes more sense than arbitrarily tying district costs to tech progress. For example, the most often repeated suggestion in the thread that I see is to scale district costs based on the number of districts of that type in your empire, or the number of districts in a particular city. Easy to explain from a flavor standpoint, even though you mysteriously describe it as "the hardest". What? Here: supporting a large scientific community that spans several cities requires significantly more infrastructure than is represented by building a bunch of laboratories and calling it a day. There, easy explanation as to why a Campus in your third city costs more than it did in your second. You're not just paying for zoning another Campus, you're paying for making sure the infrastructure in all your cities with Campus districts can properly coordinate their efforts. Or as for more districts in a city=more expensive districts, we can easily explain it flavor-wise by saying that obviously it's harder to continuously expand a city because you naturally go for the easy-to-develop land first, among other concerns. The first new district was naturally easier to build than the second, because the second has to have the infrastructure to properly work with not only the city itself but also the other district, and you need to pay for all of that infrastructure.

    It also serves an important game balance feature in curbing ICS, while at the same time not unduly punishing expansion (if the numbers are right, that is). It encourages district diversity, something the game sorely needs more of, and means there's more to achieving a cultural victory rather than just necessarily spamming a Theater Square in every city. You should look for other sources of Tourism, like Wonders, coastal resorts, a Holy City, etc. to supplement your Theaters. Or maybe you can build a cheaper district now and get a theater square up later when your infrastructure can support it!

    And perhaps more importantly to me, it ties the scaling cost of building districts directly to the fact of building districts itself, rather than techs/civics, which feels like a rather arbitrary connection (and yes, I have read explanations for it in the various posts, I simply don't see why those arguments are somehow more valid than what I just posted above). I don't have any problem with how Settler and Builders scale in cost, because it happens as you build more of them. That makes sense (from a game balance perspective at least) and doesn't encourage too many weird strategies. At best, it might encourage you to hold off making too many builders until you can get the policy to add extra builder charges. But as that's a specific policy unlocked at a specific civic, and not something like "builders get better with every single civic, so hold off until later", it's something you can plan around and make a strategic choice for. I don't find "not discovering new techs/civics makes districts cheaper" to be as compelling a strategic decision, by comparison.

    As a wild, off-the-scope suggestion, what I'd actually like to do is remove maintenance costs from buildings, remove district production scaling altogether, and have maintenance costs assigned only to districts and cities cost maintenance based on the number of districts in a particular city (among other factors). This would encourage building up and getting the most out of your districts, because an empty district provides you with much less benefit-per-cost than a filled district. And continuously building cities and districts without first developing them would mean you got a lot less out of them than if you properly developed them. But that's not what Firaxis has done here, and I don't expect anything like it to happen. I'd just be interested to seeing how it played out, and adjust the numbers to see if I could get something that felt right (unfortunately, modding scaling maintenance costs is difficult). I suspect it'd put more emphasis (and drain) on gold and less on production, at the very least.

    I can see the logic in introducing a sort of "production tax" to the game, however. While I think having districts with a flat cost would work out just fine, there is a certain logic to having scaling districts. But I'd argue that a different form of scaling would be more interesting and feel more connected to the process. It's more interesting if the cost scales up directly to which districts you build, where you build cities, or which techs and civics you choose. This is as opposed to the current scaling which is just "the more you advance, the more expensive they get". Boring, and frankly, backwards (things should get easier to build as you advance, not harder/staying the same, as has been pointed out many times).

    Well, the point of introducing a new anti-snowball feature would be to replace the current, broken one. If it was enough to turn it into flat scaling with turns, that would be a better solution than the current one.
     
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  15. nzcamel

    nzcamel Nahtanoj the Magnificent

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    Most mechanics are "gamey" on one level or another. I'm not as devoted to the current system as Victoria and Leyrann are; but I think to say that increasing district build costs are too gamey is well outside the margin of error. I mean we aren't talking global happiness here! That...is gamey.

    And as a rule, the do something positive rather than something negative is good. Yet there are always exceptions to the rule. Just because most things in the game should be implemented with that in mind does not mean that all things in the game should be implemented with that in mind.
     
  16. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    First of all, thanks for a really good read.

    (and sorry for the slightly messy reply)

    I think you're indeed giving some really good points here, and I mostly like the scaling maintenance costs for having districts in a city and, I suppose, also slightly for the amount of districts you have, as otherwise you're actually encouraging spamming cities and building very few districts in them to keep maintenance costs low. Then again, I suppose that wouldn't matter for someone like me as I tend to expand as fast as my empire can support anyways for the first 2-4 ages, and after that there's not that much space left to expand.

    And on top of that, as you mentioned the districts scaling in production cost curb ICS, so maybe the implementation of both the maintenance-per-district and the cost-per-district-of-the-same-kind would make for a net neutral change, which would be fine in my opinion, as I like the current speed of expansion.

    You're also giving a good argument why it (be it gold or production, really) could scale flavour-wise between districts of the same kind, and I suppose that, in one way or another, it can be applied to every single district if I'm just quickly thinking about a number of them. Looking back to my previous post (this time the link should be working, if not look up post #211 on page 11) the reasoning against this one was also the weakest. In fact, I remember a few months ago I even changed the game to play like this, though a patch came a few days later and I couldn't be bothered to change it again (I still don't know how to create a working mod so I'm working in the base game files...), so I just went back to the normal system and started to like it more.

    What I also like about the maintenance-per-district system is that it goes back to the Civ IV system of maintenance costs that rise as you expand, but not quite as front-loaded in the expanding as they are in IV, where you basically (at least on Noble and using my playstyle) expand a burst, then get your economy up again, then expand another burst, once again get your economy up, etc. It would be a pretty natural flow I think, as in that it won't draw a lot of attention from players* apart from "oh it's there", which is what I also like about the current district scaling.

    One more thing, regarding what you mentioned about the logic of scaling district cost depending on how man you have already in your city ("Or as for more districts in a city=more expensive districts, we can easily explain it flavor-wise by saying that obviously it's harder to continuously expand a city because you naturally go for the easy-to-develop land first, among other concerns."), I would like to see two changes together on districts: The first that they can only be built adjacent to already existing districts**, including city-center, so that you have a closer-packed city instead of just buying those two tiles and getting that 4 adjacency bonus campus in the third ring in the Ancient Era. The second is that the district cost then depends on the terrain you build it, with flat land being cheaper than hills, maybe a cost reduction if there's more districts adjacent, etc.

    I think that, if the district cost system would be changed, the best would be to make a dual change that they scale on both the amount you already built and the amount you already have in the city you're building the district, though I'm not sure if a mod can get this to work with the current possibilities.

    Lastly, more regarding districts in general, I want to see more districts. A lot more. Like, 30 instead of 12, all kinds of hybrids between two or even three different yields, etc. And then I'd want to see changes in the yields all around (to balance all the stuff) as well as possibly a city range of four, all of this coupled with aforementioned changes in where you can build districts. Just changing the game up such that you're truly building a city district by district and that the average city probably ends up with about 10 districts in the first, second and maybe even third ring. I think it's a bit much to ask for for an expansion though, maybe even for Civ VII. If VI turns out to be moddable enough after everything's released though... I'd love seeing a mod like that, and I'd love working on it myself.

    Footnotes:

    *Note that I am talking about in game here, not about diving into the code to figure out what causes the increased costs.

    **This would probably exclude the Encampment, as it currently cannot be built adjacent to the city-center, and is indeed a bit of a "different" district. It probably shouldn't count as a district other districts can be built adjacent to additionally, to avoid people using it to jump far away fast. The same might probably count for a Harbor in the case of a non-coastal city.
     
  17. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    This is interesting in how you think this parallels Civ IV in combating ICS, except that it works in opposite to Civ 6, as you mentioned Civ IV being "front-loaded." It's true that in Civ IV the maintenance costs kept ICS in check for the early game, as your research slider could near zero because maintenance costs stripping your empire of gold, so you were forced to expand slowly. Then in the later game, I found that it wasn't much of an issue with captured cities, because of the upgraded cottages in place. While in Civ 6, you can settle early cities with almost no penalty, so it's like a priority to expand ASAP, which doesn't seem right to me. Yet the later game makes you think twice about expanding or keeping captured cities, because of increased district costs. Of course I'm impartial to Civ IV in just about everything, and this is no exception, though I realize that really isn't relevant to the discussion of district costs here.
     
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  18. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    I agree with those who came to the conclusion that (once you got used to it) the Civ 6 anti-snowball-mechanism (increasing district-costs) is more comfortable than other mechanism like infamous corruption or global (un)happiness or unlimited increasing settler costs etc.. Unfortunately you not always have enough forests to chop at hand when starting a new city.

    For players like me who like founding cities in mid- to late-game, it would be helpful to be able to ...
    - Buy districts with Gold or
    - Build districts with builder charges like azteks or
    - Build / Buy a "Great District Engineer" unit in one of my cities which can complete a district on site. (Like settlers complete city center district in 1 turn.)

    To avoid the anti-progress-micro-management-exploit, district costs could scale with government-type instead of progress, e.g. despotism would have cheap districts, democracy would have expensive districts but also feature more civic-slots and global advantages.

    As mentioned in a thread above, progress can be measured in completed techs and civics (anti-progress-micro-management-exploit) or as the sum of produced science and culture (including heurekas). If you use the sum of produced science, you would need to translate this value into equivalents of completed antique / classic / medieval / ... techs since tech costs increase with era and the most science is earned in late game when cities are maxed out with high pop, Research Lab, etc.

    I also thought about the opposite scenario :

    Free districts as a reward to reach a certain population in the city. This would encourage AI and player to focus more on growth than on production and would allow AI to build more districts independent of their (poor) production base. To limit Expansion I would choose a mechanism like in "Civ - Call to Power" where the number of free cities is based on the government and having more cities than allowed would result in inefficiency, e.g. having 11 cities in a 10 city-system would mean an inefficiency of 1 - 10 / 11 = ca. 9 %. The late-game high level governments would allow unlimited number of cities at a flat tax per city (similar to the card with -8 Gold per city, + Housing, + Amenities). This would encourage players and AI to quickly research and implement more advanced government types like in earlier versions of Civ.

    (To be able to secure certain resources and strategic locations early, I can imagine a type of military outpost / trading post / colony / fortress (-> Civ 3). Players would sent a combo of military unit + settler which would build an outpost/colony/fortress which does not count as city, does not grow, does not have income etc except for the resource it claims or the position it blocks. The military unit and the outpost would cost upkeep and maybe require a trade-route. Later the outpost could be turned into a regular city and grow etc. or could be abandoned/dismantled if it is no longer of use.)

    (Edit : Problem in Civ 6 is the high flat income from CH and trade-routes which makes a flat tax somehow pointless. In Civ 1 - Civ 4 city income was based on trade/commerce yield (from tiles, specialists, buildings, trade routes) and tax-rate, so high-income cities could profit from a flat tax while small and poor cities had to be supported. Increasing settler and district costs in Civ 6 are actually a direct logical consequence from the huge flat city income in Civ 6.)
     
    Last edited: May 13, 2017
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  19. c4c6

    c4c6 Prince

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    I am uncertain, whether you refer to this post:
    Anyway, I'd like to point out, that I meant
    the Sums of all produced science & culture points relative to the science & culture points necessary to invent ALL techs & civics
    Optionally the produced science and culture could be just that generated in cities (people, worked tiles, districts, buildings, wonders incl. policy cards), but excluding standard boosts, eurekas and techs&civics from goody huts. (This would mean, that all techs & civics could be acquired before reaching the 100% mark of district costs - at which these should be capped!)
    As mentioned already above ("how handling the scaling of tech&civic costs"), another Option would be to use the plain, unmodified science & culture points (without the implicit 'correction', which is included in using techs & civics). Ie scaling the District costs like the scaling of the Techs and Civics costs, resulting in an initial increase lesser than linear (or something in between).

    In any case, scaling the District costs directly on science and culture would abolish artificial tech&civic-development changes.
     
  20. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    While I'm not again the idea, I do think you need to figure out how to do the scaling first, as, as you also mentioned, the science and culture gain does not scale linear, but exponential, so some balancing would be needed to have districts scale on it with an exponent of (I think) below 1. How much would probably be something that just needs balance testing.
     
  21. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    Edit: Double post apologies.
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2017

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