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Civ 5: The good and the bad, a review

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Alexfrog, Sep 26, 2010.

  1. Alexfrog

    Alexfrog Warlord

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    My thoughts on Civ 5, with a few days now under our belt.


    First off, the first thing I feel about the game is that it is unfinished. This feels more like a Beta than a release. To some extent this is true for most games on release, but more true for Civ V than most. I think it was rushed, and the testers given insufficient time. I only somewhat hold this against it, and am hopeful that it can improve significantly with patches.

    I think Civ V has a few incredible ideas. Specifically:

    * City States are an awesome addition. Diplomacy with civs that are not competing to win!
    * Culture providing the ability to unlock Civics is very neat. I like that culture is more important now. (But its still not as good as civics in Alpha Centauri).
    * Not having the Gold/Research slider is a massive improvement. I love that they are separate resources now.
    * One unit per tile: This is an awesome change (if only the AI didnt suck at it).
    * No technology trading. Finally they got this right. Tech trading warps the game so much, and the AIs dont know how to broken techs well.

    I also like how its not as important to increase quantity of cities, I like playing a smaller number of cities. I like the projects requiring 1 of X building per city - rewards smaller numbers of cities. I like land units embarking and moving along coasts. I like the new barbarians much better than Civ 4's.

    So thats the good. There are a number of great ideas that push the game forward and make it better. If they had simply kept the rest of the game as similar to Civ 4 as possible, this game would be absolutely amazing.

    However, there are many other areas where the game takes huge steps back:

    * The AI is horrible. Wow. Just atrocious. They cannot fight effectively AT ALL. They seem to ignore city states, which are quite powerful to ally with. They seriously overpay for your happy and strategic resources early in the game, giving you all their money such that you can get all the city state alliances. This is the #1 problem.

    * Production costs are way too high for many buildings. A ton of buildings are not worth building EVER, as their cost and upkeep are too much for the small benefit they give.

    * Land and especially special tiles production is too weak. I loved that in Civ 4 the special tiles were actually special. Now, stuff like cows and sheep and the like are practically worthless. Its way too hard to make production. The only benefit of this is that start positions are more balanced. However, I'd like to see both.

    * City growth gets way too expensive. The cost to increase a city size becomes practically exponential. It takes way too many food for the smallish benefit of one additional population once the city becomes large. All previous civ games have handled this far better, Civ 4 did the best imo.

    * The game is really slow to play. It just takes a LONG time to get through a game, and not because of a slow computer or anything like that. Its just way too dang long. Its like standard is Civ 4 marathon, and quick is Civ 4 epic. It just takes far too long to accomplish things in the game.

    * Its way too hard to get decent production. You really cant afford to build much. The only way to build buildigns at a reaosnable base given their high cost, is during golden ages, working a bunch of plains and hills tiles. (Hills river tiles are great, farm them for 2 food/2 production. This feels pretty silly. Grassland is pretty terrible, given that large food excesses dont help much when the city gets big. You can get food surplus from maritime city states anyways).

    * The balance of things is not very good. City state alliances are insanely strong. Patronage tree is extremely good. Some Civ abilities are super weak while others are way too good (Babylon!! Yay for paying $10 to unlock the super broken civ!). Some early wonders are amazing (Great Library, Stonehenge), others are super weak (Colossus, Pyramids?). Horsemen are crazy good, and there are some early horse based UUs that are insane. Companion Cavalry!! Overall balance feels much worse to me than it was in Civ4.

    * Maintenance costs are crazy high, and erratic. You can delete a unit lategame and pay 9 less gold a turn. Delete another and it doesnt change. WTF?

    * Documentation is extremely poor and often innaccurate. Part of the game being unfinished, the rulebook is horrible, and many important game concepts are briefly mentioned but with no technical info. How much do great people improvements provide? What do specialists give? No info anywhere.

    * Great people one time bonuses are massive (free techs!) while the long term benefits they can give from settling are pretty weak in comparison. Also, scientists are pretty much massively better than most of the others, and the way that the GPP points add up, you'll basically only ever produce one type of great person: whichever type you are focusing specialists in.

    * Settlers cost 89. WTF. Seriously, was 90 not good enough?

    So thats the bad. Unfinished, unbalanced and bad AI, way too slow, hard to accomplish much. The good: some revolutionary and great ideas. Some big steps forward and some big steps back.

    I wish that they had taken the great ideas, implemented them, and then tried to make other things similar to Civ 4, instead of completely screwing them up.

    I believe that the game will get MUCH better with patching and modding.
    I hope that in time enough things will be fixed that the game comes to be better than Civ 4. It definitely isnt now, but it does have some wonderful ideas.
     
  2. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    I agree with every thing you said, except I still haven't figured out the benefit of City States, since you have keep supplying them with boatloads of cash.
     
  3. ptossia

    ptossia Chieftain

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    You will receive significant bonuses from the city-states you ally with, which help a great deal during the early game. Depending on the type of city-state, different bonuses are given out. There are military city-states, culture, and others, although I have not met those yet. Anyways, the awards are worth your time, at least in my opinion they are.

    At some point, you might decide you may not need those city-states anymore, at which point you can just annex them through sheer force. Just treat them like easily allied civs. Always take advantage of them. Puppet states are also incredible.
     
  4. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    It's nice to have it be better to leave some nations alone than it is to take them over. That's really a clever concept and a keeper. One of the few, unfortunately, in the entire game (along with cities defending themselves.)
     
  5. PEACE!

    PEACE! Lord.Moldovian.Guy

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    "The game is really slow to play. It just takes a LONG time to get through a game, and not because of a slow computer or anything like that. Its just way too dang long. Its like standard is Civ 4 marathon, and quick is Civ 4 epic. It just takes far too long to accomplish things in the game"

    well isn't that the joy of it?in civ4 all i did was make a couple of turns and them BOOM I'm in the medieval era..you can think this as a more realistic game,time doesn't go that slow... :)
     
  6. Alexfrog

    Alexfrog Warlord

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    I would much prefer the game to take 2 hours, and then play it many times. Being in a winning position after 5 hours and spending 15 more grinding it out is not at all fun.

    Longer is not better, especially if it is due to more wasted time and not more depth. Its better to pack as much depth and fun experiences into a shorter time frame, and then play it multiple times.

    I would much rather experiment with and experience different strategies through games that took a couple hours each, than to have to burn 20 hours getting through one game.
     
  7. pagh80

    pagh80 Warlord

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    I agree with almost everything. Civ V definently have potential to the the best Civ game in the series, but it needs some serious fixing.

    Its miles ahead of the old style when you are at war and is managing your front or your defense.
    But its also a logistical nightmare to manage your non combat units like workers, and just boring and annoying during peacetime.
    Way too much gametime is spent dealing with this during peacetime, and it is just not fun.

    It would be better if non combat units could stack, while still only allowing tiles to be worked by a single worker at a time.
    For combat units you could let them stack but give some penalty for doing so. for example: stacked units cant attack, only one unit in the stack can defend but everyone in the stack will take damage.
    This would prevent you from stacking units at the front, while making it viable during peacetime or when your units arent at the front.


    Btw the UI is quite bad also on many areas:
    Cant see how many angry faces a certain city gives.
    The overview windows stack... why? I dont want to ahve to close 9 unique windows after pressing F1-9. I want them to automatically close when i open a new one.
    Example:
    If i want to talk to a leader, i will open the diplo screen and click on the leader i want to talk to. Now before i can even talk to that person i have to close the diplo screen. Why is that needed?

    And take queuing:
    First you have to click to build a improvement, then you have to select back or press escape, then you have to select the add to queue button. You get back to the build overview.Click the improvements you want to add, click back... again, move them up or down the queue if needed. Finally done!
    Seriously why was it made like that?
    Why not just shift click a improvement to add it on the queue and alt click to put it on the front of the queue? If you want to remove stuff from the queue just rightclick on the improvement/unit on the queue. This would be much easier.
     
  8. digitalcraft

    digitalcraft Warlord

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    That's what she said :crazyeye:


    Sorry, I'm a 12 year old sometimes. After the 'longer is not better' I couldn't help but think that for each thing. 'I would much rather experiment...' 'I would rather it take two hours and do it many times....'

    Again, sorry!

    What I really meant is that Civ IV games could take very long, but it seems like there was a lot more going on. Because there was so much more with the tech tree and buildings, things were actually changing. Civ V I play on quick because it gets super boring, Civ IV I'd almost always play on epic.
     
  9. Alexfrog

    Alexfrog Warlord

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    Yeah, having to click end turn several times as many times before something finally happens, because everything costs too much, isnt a good thing.
     
  10. SevenSpirits

    SevenSpirits Immortal?

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    I pretty much agree with the review, except that I'm less confident about what's the best way to fix some of the problems (like everything being really expensive), just because it's such a complex system overall.

    Also I want to emphasize that a lot of the reason the game feels so slow is that it's freaking hard to micro stuff. (I guess the really long build/grow times help too.)

    - 1UPT and 2-move combat units makes something as simple as ordering two turns of a unit's movement dangerous. So you have to give orders to every individual unit that's moving around, every turn.

    - Autocycling of units which you can't turn off makes any kind of queuing really inconvenient. This matters most for workers.

    - Being unable to see worked city tiles from outside city view means you have to go into every city, every turn, if you just want to know what your cities are doing!

    There are probably tons more things I'm not thinking of right now.
     
  11. Rhygar

    Rhygar Chieftain

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    Why don't you guys just play on the quicker settings? I only play Marathon. For me the feel of the Ages is more important than most other things.
     
  12. SevenSpirits

    SevenSpirits Immortal?

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    That's the problem, "quick" isn't quick enough!

    Imagine if instead Civ V's "Marathon" was super fast - equivalent to quick in Civ IV. That would bother you, right? I mean, that would be dumb too! Why take away the option to play slowly for people who want to?

    Same situation here, just in the other direction: a problem for people who prefer to play at a faster speed.
     
  13. daemon5

    daemon5 Chieftain

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    I think you got this wrong.
    The way I see it, every unit costs the same amount of maintenance (which increases with the age), and you pay maintenance for every two units. Use this to your own strategic advantage.
    I think the system is balanced, otherwise you could just spam scouts to explore everything quickly or keep your cities happy. The focus should be on a strong, professional army.
     
  14. Alexfrog

    Alexfrog Warlord

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    Maybe if this was explained ANYWHERE in any documentation in the game at all, it would be ok, because it would at least make sense.

    But more than the unit maintenance, I think the high building maintenance is a problem, especially with puppet states. My main issue with it is that it takes buildings that would otherwise be okay (high cost for a moderate benefit, but borderline useful), and wrecks them by adding additional cost that negates much of the benefit you get from them. You can actively hurt yourself by building the wrong things. (As in, you are now worse off with the building than you were without it) You shouldnt be able to do that. You should get better by building stuff. 'Mistakes' should be when you build things that are less optimal than others, but they still should be benefitting you, not hindering.
     
  15. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    If this is true (I have a feeling it is), then it makes me wonder what the game designers were thinking? What was their logic is creating parts of a game that are so detrimental that they are not going to be used (buildings that take too long to build and have too high maintenance costs)? I've read a lot of posts that say "only build buildings that you really need", in other words "don't bother with most of the buildings in the game." It seems like a waste to spend development time creating parts of a game that will never be used. In CivIV (I hate comparing the two), but in later stages of that game I used to build just about everything, so I feel like I got full use of what the game had to offer.

    A Civ V where only 20% of the units, buildings, wonders, etc. are used seems like a such a waste.
     
  16. Wulf38

    Wulf38 Warlord

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    Building maintenance costs really do need to be tweaked or removed outright. I've seen a lot of people say they encourage city specialization by making you think twice about what buildings you put in what cities. But there's another perfectly good mechanism preventing you from putting a forge in your science city: the fact that it's a waste of hammers. Really, building maintenance just breaks city specialization by penalizing you even for choosing appropriate buildings, and by forcing you to cover more and more of the landscape with trading posts just to pay your bills.
     
  17. effexop

    effexop Chieftain

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    What amazes me is that the dev team basically said "ok, let's put a system of civics (social policies) that just adds up, so you don't have to worry about the bad of leaving old policies behind, as their effects would just stack. It gives a feeling your civ is developing and growing more powerful." Meaning that you lose nothing, except for the opportunity cost. Yet they put the reverse reasoning in the buildings. Except its worse, because you can't really get rid of the buildings you (and your dumb puppets) construct. You are screwed for the rest of the game if you build the wrong things, because of the murderous maintenance.
     
  18. zzzz

    zzzz Chieftain

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    Good thoughts aLexman. I agree almost on evrything. I'd wish they made civ4 with the new tiles, 1UPT and city states.

    anyway, what's the chance the developers did this on purpose to give room for the upcoming "expansions"?
     
  19. Tiwar

    Tiwar Chieftain

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    Pretty much agree, took 4 hours ( Friday ) of game play to realize, though not in details. Haven't played since, it just wrecked the hole experience.

    Right now it just seems like a waste of money. I'm not sure I want to even try for an exp in case, if this is standard for civ now. I don't see how patches are gonna solve the broken game play, games released like this pretty much stays broken, they fix one thing, and another pops up.

    They may prove me wrong, and for that I would be happy.

    Overall it's just too little civilization for me, and too much warmongering.
     
  20. Arbustro

    Arbustro Warlord

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    So far I feel much worse with this system, maybe because I haven't figured out what are the best policies, but now once I pick the policies I'm stuck with them for the rest of the game, even if they don't fit my needs anymore. It requires more planning than civ4, or smac, where you could adapt your civics. The opportunity costs are now much higher than they were, which is not necessarily bad, since it requires better planning. That said, I'm still figuring out what are the best policies, and it's too soon to say if they're unbalanced or not.

    Would it be too hard to add a "sell" option? Then the problem is, would the AI know how to use it? Buildings and their benefits, production costs and maintenance costs sure need to be rebalanced, I think that and combat AI are the top priorities for a patch.
     

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