Civ IV players' opinion on Humankind

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Ita Bear, Aug 26, 2021.

  1. Ita Bear

    Ita Bear Warlord

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    Hello folks,

    Humankind has entered the 4X arena and I'm wondering what your opinion, as Civ IV players, is of it. I haven't bought it as I'm having a blast with Old World and early reviews for HK are modest, but it seems developers are intent on improving the game with a first patch recently released. Does it challenge Civ IV in any meaningful way as the best 4X ever? :D

    Kind regards,
    Ita Bear
     
  2. TheBirdMan

    TheBirdMan Chieftain

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    I guess I might not be the one, who should be the first one to answer this.

    Mostly because I'm not playing the original Civ IV (with or without its most basic add-ons/mods). I'm playing with the BtS including the RI 3.55 mod. The version than in my eyes is the most advanced (BtS) with the most advanced mod (RI 3.55). But still all combined it's 100% true to the original Civ IV idea. At least so I believe.


    Anyway. I didn't knew there was a game as Humankind "out there". But I found some information on the net.


    Tomorow I'm going to find/read much more about this game.
     
  3. TheBirdMan

    TheBirdMan Chieftain

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    I have now read a little about the game in Wiki and on it's own homepage.

    My first opinion is, that it's not a serious challenge to Civ IV. Humankind needs more development - more different units, techs and buildings to choose from. Bigger maps too (guess the limit of 4Mb size plus/minus some hundred kB of a savegame isn't a problem for Humankind).


    Howver, Humankind have some features, that I would like to try - and the price seems reasonable - so who knows?! I might give it a shoot in a month or two, depending on what more I read about it.
     
  4. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    I own both Humankind and Old World. Old World is my current go-to game. I love it. Humankind is shallow and boring. It is a game without a soul.
     
  5. Mezmorizor

    Mezmorizor Chieftain

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    It's grown on me a bit, but that just means I've gone from "I hate every hour I've sinked into this game" to "I guess it's worth trying if you like the genre". It's too easy to really be something that keeps you playing for a long time though. I'm not even a particularly strong civ IV player, I've never won above emperor (though to be fair I haven't tried either so maybe I could do immortal with good leaders+map), and I stomped the second highest difficulty on my second game despite the Hittites into Huns AI pulling me into a two front war early game. Maybe I'll do the highest difficulty with a similar strategy to say I did, but I don't see how that would change anything. At no point was I anywhere close to losing or even being in a bad spot.

    Definitely nowhere near the best 4X game ever. It is very flawed in a lot of ways. Though I will say humankind's combat is what Civ V+VI wishes its combat was. It's still fundamentally very broken (believe it or not the best combat unit the entire game is an archer and you never want to upgrade it), but if you don't play multiplayer you can pretend that 7 archers don't beat a tank and enjoy that their AI actually understands the combat bonuses and how zone of control works.
     
  6. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    The combat system in Humankind is definitely its best feature. Unfortunately the AI has no clue how to do it. I think it should be a lot of fun in multiplayer.
     
  7. Fippy

    Fippy Mycro Junkie Queen

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    Sounds like nothing changed and new games are still terrible, yay.
     
  8. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    As I said earlier, Old World is an excellent game. This is not surprising since it was designed by the same person as Civ4, Soren Johansen. Old World is a war game. You can't win it peacefully. The Orders mechanic continually forces difficult choices on the player, especially at the higher levels where the number of Orders is severely limited.

    The combat system is the same as Civ5 or 6 with the important difference that the spacing between cities is kept quite large (perhaps 8 tiles). This allows units the ability to move rapidly around the map. And the AI is quite capable of fighting. Perhaps not as good as a human but certainly respectable.
     
  9. Mezmorizor

    Mezmorizor Chieftain

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    Surprisingly the AI is actually pretty good with move, shoot, move units like what the huns have. I was mostly able to come out ahead in all the battles because I always kept reinforcements nearby. In a straight fight it would have decimated me despite army for army our power being similar. The AI perfectly understands zone of control, what positions give it combat bonuses, and line of sight. What it doesn't understand is how to position itself in a way that it's still safe after it gets its attack in, and the huns unique unit and units like it bail it out there. I mentioned the two front war to say I didn't roll an easy map. I got ganged up on in an era where you're still weaker than AIs. The game is just actually easy enough that a ~monarch player in Civ IV can probably comfortably win on the highest difficulty. Even without using some of the more broken strategies in the game.

    The problem is less the combat AI, though it is less impressive when you move it away from cultures that can attack and retreat in the same turn, but more in the economy side. The economic play is a joke. Production is king and it's not even close. Food is effectively useless after you pass the very low bar of having enough to tech through the ancient era, gold is a bad version of production, and science needs are minimal until you decide to end the game and turn all your production into science directly with no loss of efficiency.

    In general it's also just a balance nightmare. It's hard to point at something in the game that isn't broken. The pre civilization era especially is broken because staying in it a bit longer gives you free reign to terrorize two+ AIs and steal at least one if not two cities for free.

    And while I haven't tried, from what I've heard multiplayer is pretty lame. Huns are 100% ban rate at this point because they're just busted in the hands of a human that knows how to do a timing push, but more relevantly the game has minimum combat damage and "indirect fire" is a rare ability for a ranged unit to have. Archers do have indirect fire, so combat for the entire game is "rotate meatshields to protect the archers who do the killing". That's the level 0 strategy anyway. Some unique units are really good and are worth using over archers in their era (like the ridiculously overpowered hun horde as an example), but the archers are always an option and end up being better than what you may want to do a lot of the time.

    For people who haven't played, Hittites into Huns is the strongest military civ you can possibly have in the Classical era. Hittites give a combat bonus throughout the entire game when you pick them, and the Huns have a downright stupid unique unit. I don't even know what to compare it to in Civ IV. Maybe like...Keshiks at half cost, unlocked at the start of the era, +100% damage bonus vs spearmen+pikes, the ability to make 3 other versions of themselves after pillaging a tile improvement, and the ability to make another copy of themselves after winning a battle. Not an exaggeration. Thankfully the AI doesn't abuse the sheer speed the Huns can make a massive army of them and just uses them like a normal unit, but that doesn't change that they're the scariest unit of the era in a straight up fight.

    Edit: Oh, I forgot my two biggest gripes two.

    1. The entire game just feels like a bunch of the devs sit in front of a blackboard listing out ideas that they thought would be cool and put them in the game without considering how they actually interact with other systems. There are a lot of examples of this, but I'll go with simultaneous turns which leads me to:

    2. You will basically never get the attacker advantage vs the AI because turns are simultaneous, the AI waits for you to move before it moves if you could attack them, and good luck beating the computer at inputting an input.

    Edit 2: I also forgot by far the stupidest mechanic in the game. You can have infinitely negative money and influence. It doesn't matter beyond you not being able to buy stuff. You can even still use money to get yourself out of a war despite you having literally none. Negative 2 million is the exact same as -10 which is the exact same as +20 which is the exact same as +40k (at least in the lategame where 40k doesn't buy anything).
     
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2021 at 8:45 PM
  10. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    While you are right that it understands ZOC and elevation, it simply does not understand how to coordinate its units. They all do their own thing and it is easy to pick them off one by one. It also doesn't understand that damaged units should be retreated. That's also true of the Civ4 AI but when you've got dozens (hundreds?) of units in play, that's OK. When you've only got 3-6, it's a problem. I expect to see improvements in the battlefield AI. Perhaps it will even become respectable.

    However, the real problem with Humankind lies elsewhere, as you said.

    It just doesn't have a soul. They started with a couple of really attractive concepts. The territory claiming and the era changes are just great (I wish they hadn't made us change civs every era - but that's a quibble). The army mechanism and the combat are another set of great innovations.

    4X games are supposed to be about empire-building. The player makes a series of choices throughout the game which affect the way his empire grows. One of the keys to making the game replayable is that the optimal set of varies from one game to the next. Civ4 and Civ6 were both very good at this, right from the placement of your initial city to your choices of paths through the tech tree. In humankind, the initial placement is pretty automatic and the tech tree is not so much about getting new abilities but more about racing as fast as possible to the next era. The stuff actually unlocked is, for the most part, a side issue.

    The same thing goes all through this game. Are cats better than ferrets? Well who knows. But one thing is certain: whatever the answer is, it ain't gonna change the next time you play the game. The entire civics and tenets sub-games have exactly the same problem. There is no reason to select one choice in this run and another in the next one. Contrast this with Civ6's brilliant concept of policy cards. Throughout the entire game, you are continually faced with a series of decisions about which ones to use. And these decisions have a real impact on the outcome of your game.

    Unsurprisingly after a few dozen turns humankind turns into a routine. A typical game is roughly like this: claim your territory and settle your first city. That city should build a couple of key districts and some military to defend your claims. Then get into a routine where you build or buy a district every few turns. The tedium will be interrupted by some dumb events, most of which have little impact, and repeated interruptions by the annoying and inscrutable AI leaders. After a while they start to leave you alone so you can content yourself with pushing EOT.

    I don't see how these issues are solvable without a complete re-write. And that won't happen. It's too bad because the artwork is gorgeous and the basic concepts were excellent.
     
  11. civac

    civac Prince

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    Civ6 policy cards don't really force that many decisions. Sometimes they do but often you can have all/most things you want becuase you switch them around so easily. Like a lot of systems in Civ6 you gain a lot of value by micromanagement, in this case timing civic advancements. Conversely, switching governments in Civ4 is maybe a tad too painful.
     
  12. Abegweit

    Abegweit Anarchist trader

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    Yes. There is no penalty for going negative in stuff. Kinda like Modern Monetary Theory.
     

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