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Civilization "Depth" - A Civ 4 vs. Civ 5 Comparison

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by stethnorun, May 14, 2011.

  1. MkLh

    MkLh King

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    Yeah, but it's quite meaningless as won't get any feedback from your roleplaying actions from other civilizations. No matter if you act like Hitler or Gandhi or choose all liberal or autocratic policies, your neighbor will tell you he doesn't like you because you are trying to win the game same way as he does.

    This game was meant to be played to win. Trying to roleplay it is a bit like trying to roleplay chess.
     
  2. NicTeos

    NicTeos Warlord

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    have only read the article and this only looked at very few aspects.

    I don't think that war in civ5 is more complex than in civ4. In civ 4 you had more stone, scissors, paper methods with strong promotions. In civ4 it was more about the strategic planning and building of troops and how to fight against the others SoD's correct. Civ5 can't get the 1UPT from the classical games like battle isle, history line aka great war.

    At diplomacy you had more options how to better relation with other nations and decisions like mission them or enact their religion. And this decision had influences at your production ( missionaries, anarchy )

    At health/happiness you also had more decisions which need production,ressources and tech.

    ---
    What hasn't be analyzed is:

    Tech
    In Civ 5 there are hardly any cross relations, while in civ 4 you had some choices how to get a certain tech.

    Production
    There was more to build and more about to think. Shall I build missionaries,health,happiness, factories, units, etc. and especially a decision what to build and how to improve city tiles. Food for SE, Hammers for production, Cottages for economy. And specialisation of cities with National Wonders.

    Sliders
    Taxes vs. Science and happiness and espionage. In civ5 all this are decoupled.

    City States
    They aren't any decision. Their bonus is far too strong for only some gold, playing without makes civ5 little bit more civ.

    and social policies are also far to often no brainer without complexity compared to civ4. Do I switch do civic x, would civic y would also fit better therewith - how long will I have anarchy therefor.

    ---

    Complexity generally means the ability of a system or model that in all his behavior can not be described, even if you have full information about its individual components and their interactions.

    In Civ 5 there is hardly any cross-influence , hardly any decisions between more options.

    Maybe many player are gone, but I like Civ far more than I hate Civ 5.
     
  3. Knightly_

    Knightly_ Warlord

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    Hey stethnorun,
    i just read your article and i disagree on most what you wrote. First a quote which sums up my first thoughts:

    However, the longer i think about it the more i have to disagree to point 2. The complexity in civ4 comes from an incredible amount of knowlegde that is required to play the game successfully on the highest difficulty levels. This knowledge ranges from the simplest (what changes when i switch into organized religion now) to the finest (when exactly are new trade routes calculated) scale and all small subsystems in civ4 that Sephi refers to are linked to it. Some of those information is readily available in the game, some is more or less hidden (wheoorn) and some can only be extracted from the files (peaceweight, unit build prob). Strictly the interactions of those subsystems are well known aswell and (if known to the player) would not add depth but just more information that is needed to master the game. The problem is that the human brain is not able to capture all of it. In addition to the knowledge you need its the ability to plan and execute stuff on all time scales correctly which creates the depth of civ. In analogy the amount of turns a chess player can plan ahead is probably an indicator of how good he is. In civ alot of those things are pure experience values. When you watch AbsoluteZeros deity lets plays you can see that the most important decisions (who to bribe, how many units are enough to attack) are based on his experience. The fact that civ is an incomplete information game is negligible here given that you really have (or can get) all the information you need. Back to the civ4 civ5 complexity/depth discussion as civ4 has just a immense amount of gameplay elements which interact with each other i dont see how anyone could argue in favor of civ5.

    Now some things where i strongly disagree with you:

    If you want to be effective, you have to take terrain into account in civ4, too. Hills, forests and rivers are key elements when you want to make a first strike on the enemy counter stack. In addition, you have to protect injured units too. You just talk about civ4 strategy like you have a 50 units stack that is superior to everything. As this maybe true in a later stage of a game and at lower difficulties early warmongering on imm/deity or mounted warfare is by no means pure stack vs stack.

    Based on what i wrote above i think with its first strike rules, difference in +str and other promotions, ignoring of walls/castles and stuff the civ4 combat rules are even more complex than the civ5 ones. No doubt that civ5 is more a tactical game though.

    Of course the diplomacy is more complex in civ4 because you have to be aware of a ton of things when you successfully want to manage it. Some examples:
    How many trades can i make with xy to reach WFYABTA limit?
    What can i do to increase relation with xy to get him to pleased so that i can bribe him into a war?
    Will it piss off xy if i switch into that religion?
    How will xy react if i trade with his worst enemy?
    Will xy probably switch into another religion soon?
    How many techs does xy want fo a bribe against the other one?
    Can xy attack me when i am pleased with him?

    In fact by what deity players say the handling of diplomacy is the most important thing at the highest difficulty level. You may like or dislike the system for its feature to be highly exploitable but you cant say its not more complex than in civ5.

    First your state religion is not what you people or you "are" but something that you as a leader have decided to be. Its just like one of your other decisions. In addition the civ4 AI also likes/dislikes you based on other actions like stop trading with other ones, trading with other ones, settling near them (indireclty through shared borders) etc.

    Yes it does because another thing to be considered in civ4 is which technologies the AI already has. You want to research things that nobody else has so that you can get the maximum tradeoff.


    Social policies is a point of debate. I personally like civics more because it adds new game elements (drafting, whipping, rushbuy) into the game instead of a +anything. Both have to be incorporated into your gameplay and i dont know which is more complex or deep.

    One thing i like to add. I dont want to be offensive but you whole article is very subjective and every few lines it shines through that you like civ5 more. Just read the captions of your pictures and tell me they are not subjective. Its ridiculous that the page is called "Objectivist Gamer". From you postings i read that you are the kind of a player who does not like too much micromanagement. Or with other words you dont enjoy pushing the game to its limits and try to beat it on the highest difficulty level. Is this then really a good background to make complexity analysis of a game where the understanding and execution of all of its parts is absolutely necessary?

    greetings Knightly
     
  4. Civ4Brains

    Civ4Brains imperfectus

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    I could be wrong but judging by stethnorun's about me page the Objectivist approach to which he refers is most likely that of the philosophical doctrine espoused by Ayn Rand. In which case you are most likely misinterpreting this particular application of Objectivism, being perhaps more familiar with the traditional meaning of objectivity.

    As Ayn Rand describes in 'What Is Capitalism?':

    "The free market represents the social application of an objective theory of values. Since values are to be discovered by man’s mind, men must be free to discover them—to think, to study, to translate their knowledge into physical form, to offer their products for trade, to judge them, and to choose, be it material goods or ideas, a loaf of bread or a philosophical treatise. Since values are established contextually, every man must judge for himself, in the context of his own knowledge, goals, and interests. Since values are determined by the nature of reality, it is reality that serves as men’s ultimate arbiter: if a man’s judgment is right, the rewards are his; if it is wrong, he is his only victim."

    hope that clears things up for you.
     
  5. stethnorun

    stethnorun Warlord

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    I'm sorry, but I really can't debate this. I've played both games enough to know for a fact that I spend way more time and energy trying to be strategic in Civ 5's combat than I ever did in Civ 4. I understand that there was a (very basic) rock paper scissors dynamic going on in 4, but that just doesn't compare to the thought needed to fight 1upt. Not saying you need to accept what I'm saying as truth, but no amount of debate is going to change my mind on that matter because I've seen it with my own eyes for many hundreds of hours a piece.

    You actually summed up a very good point. I think this is a HUGE dividing line in the Civ community. Those of us that play on Prince and lower (myself included) by in large find Civ 5 to be quite good, both complex enough and fun. Again, AI needs major work but the design itself is solid, by us (again, not speaking for everyone, just seems to be the general trend).

    Those playing at King and higher (and especially at the extremely high levels) find Civ 5 to be basic, non-challenging, and boring. They have mastered and automated (in their minds, not actually using the "automate" function) the strategy of the game in a way that is very mathematical and methodical. Having done that, they are disappointed that when they "look under the hood", there are not nearly as many moving parts as their used to be.

    I can understand both sides of the issue (though I clearly fall into the former camp). Understanding this dividing line and not throwing insults at the other side would help this community greatly, I imagine. I feel bad that the hardcore crowd doesn't have more "moving parts" to tinker with. It's not what I find fun, but that doesn't means I think no one should find it fun. Likewise, I would hope that hardcore players can understand that not everyone is interested in "gaming the game" as much as they do. Some of us just want to cruise through the centuries, taking everything as it comes, only planning out the next 5 turns or only planning in broad strokes (ie I would love to have Spain's capital city!).
     
  6. stethnorun

    stethnorun Warlord

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    Bingo. Objectivism is different (though related) to "being objective". I try to be objective as much as possible, but that doesn't mean not having preferences. I prefer Civ 5 to Civ 4. However, if asked what problems Civ 5 has, I could list off dozens without blinking. Being objective means being comfortable with the truth, even if it's a truth you don't like.
     
  7. NicTeos

    NicTeos Warlord

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    Where is the complexity in civ5 warfare ? there are too less units involved, which move to slow, etc. It's little bit more tactical than in civ4, but not more complex.
    Have you ever played one of the old round-based war games with hexagons and 1UPT like battle Isle or History Line ? I played one week after Civ5, History Line and I found History line better than civ5 in terms of warfare.
    And if you want warfare with the possibilities from today - try Hearts of Iron 3. And this is more complex than all civ's together.

    Do you really think, that your position is the only right one, so that no debate is needed ?
    If you want to make it correct and to represent the opinion of more people than your own, start polls for each complexity topic and let the people decide.
     
  8. Pangur Bán

    Pangur Bán Deconstructed

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    @stethnorun, on civ 4 bts, what was the highest difficulty level you could win at? Answer honestly, otherwise kittens across the world shall perish at the hands of the merciless fairy of games. :evil:
     
  9. stethnorun

    stethnorun Warlord

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    I'm not saying it's not worth debating, I'm saying that personally, my mind is made up on that matter and I have no interest in defending my judgement or attacking someone else's. That's all. If you think Civ 4 has deeper combat, great!

    I played mostly on Warlord and was part way through reliably beating Noble when I decided to stop playing because I wanted my "Civ desire" to be super-high for the release of Civ 5. As I said, I am NOT a powergamer.

    Right now with Civ 5, I can pretty easily beat Prince every time, but King is a monster for me. I only played one game on King and I only won through a cheap, last minute diplo win. Otherwise, I was going to get crushed.
     
  10. NicTeos

    NicTeos Warlord

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    I guess you never understood the whole complexity of civ4 ..., me also not, failing at Immortal ("Unsterblicher" in german)
     
  11. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    There is nothing wrong with enjoying a game at a casual level. But if you're going to do a strategic analysis of a game then you really have to be in a position to master that game - because you have to understand the strategies involved.

    My benchmark in Civ is being able to consistently win at the Emperor level. Historically the difficulty ramps up substantially above that level largely because the AI handicaps get extremely large. I don't enjoy those levels much for that reason - but I can actually win at them. But if you can't consistently win at Emperor then you really haven't cracked the system.

    I find the claim that Civ 5 combat is deeper, for instance, to simply be objectively wrong. From a tactical point of view the computer isn't very good. It's just easier at any given difficulty level, and this is true across the board.

    Also, there is an entire strategic level of the wargame which is extremely deep in earlier Civ games and very shallow in Civ 5. Take some basics: knowing when to build your army; knowing how to use it; knowing how to develop your civ to be able to support it; using your armies effectively before war weariness kicks in. These factors count in depth much, much more than "put foot troops in front of archers" or "put a piece in the one-hex bottleneck". Civ 5 gives you the illusion of depth - but if you play other games in the genre you'll see the difference.
     
  12. stethnorun

    stethnorun Warlord

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    Well I'm not going to go point for point on that one because like I said, it's not a debate I'm interested in having.

    But I will say, much of what you talk about has to do with execution, not design. Yes the AI is pitiful in many ways, but that doesn't speak at all to the depth of the combat as designed. The architect is not at fault if the foreman doesn't build correctly off of the blueprints.
     
  13. Disraeli

    Disraeli Chieftain

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    Although I do play on Monarch (actually prince but I'm in the endgame of my current game and I completely stomped the AI) so I'm slightly above your line, difficulty is not my major complaint with Civ5. The things I don't like about Civ5 are that there are fundamental flaws in the game (IMO of course) and that I can't roleplay as well; the game feels lifeless compared to Civ4. I micromanage and I trade for techs to trade for techs and all the more gamey stuff, but the reason I play civ is because I like to have the feeling of commanding a real nation. Civ5 does not do this for me nearly as much as Civ4 does, and Civ4 doesn't do that for me nearly as much as modded Civ4 does, which I think is another if not the most major reason that I prefer Civ4 over 5; the decreased moddability or if the moddability is the same as I'm not really sure about that then the lack of mods that add entirely new features, an example from Civ4 being the Revolutions mod or Rise of Mankind to a much greater degree. Without Civ4 mechanics like happiness and health and civics it's much harder for me to imagine that I'm playing a real nation and not just a game. Global happiness and 1upt and social policies and the lack of religion are huge blows to immersion which takes a lot out of the game for me nevermind the fact that they take away (except for social policies) a great deal of complexity.

    You've said that you find the roleplaying aspect of civ alive and well if not better in Civ5 (unless I'm thinking of someone else) and I'm interested in hearing why you think so.
     
  14. JohnnyW

    JohnnyW Gave up on this game

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    I think this line (regarding Civ 4 happiness and health) characterizes your incredibly flawed stance on everything you wrote in your article:

    I hope I don't need to explain.
     
  15. essmene

    essmene Warlord

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    First of all. Thank you all for this informative thread.

    I was looking for a new game, tried the demo and looking for opinions. One statement I found was "Civ V is like the new young girlfriend after a year long relationship. She´s younger, prettier - but after some time you realize that certain aspects are missing."

    I think we need to keep in mind a few things:
    • Civ IV with BTS had it´s end of life cycle - thus it was a more or less well rounded product
    • The opinions raised and arguments depend on the game difficulty played. On prince an enemy Stack of Dome with catapults, Axemen, ... against two riflemen is nothing too worry about.
    • what kind of game people prefer - how much zou want to and need to get into micromanagement or game mechanics

    I agree with stethnorun that diplomacy does not play a huge role at prince. But it does have a huge impact on higher difficulty levels as people have pointed out. Religion plays a huge role as well. Once I had a noble game and I was lucky getting a 3 religion holy city (and never thereafter) and it did fund my imperium quite well.

    I never got past noble myself, as it needed many aspects I still cannot master - e.g. choosing the right sites for a gold, gp, beaker farm. Understanding the other leaders - even if I had a few friends they either brought me wars against more nations that i could cope or they declared war on me for unknown reasons. But I do like that Civ IV has a lot to offer, that you can choose the difficulty you want to master and you can go beyond.

    In Civ V I like a few things as well. First of all cities are no longer warrior or warrior stack capturable (yes past noble this is not even possible in Civ IV with the AI head start). The hexagons do seem to offer a better city placement and with a radius of 3 some really hugs cities (still only played the demo). The limit of one unit pre field offers some a different approach to tactical placement. I found it cumbersome in CIV V moving 8 units hand by hand and I did like moving a singe SoD more.

    Both Civ IV and Civ V lacked AI automation. Let it be Civ IV scouts on explore camping on the only available plain field surrounded by woods and dying to a lion or Civ V scouts running over city states territory and giving diplomatic penalties.


    Interface and balancing. I do play with the latest PIG mod. First of all I like the additional elements like city placement marker, reminders in 5,8,10 turns, the improved city advisor, advanced combat odds,.... As far as I have read this some or most of it is not possible to implement due limitations in the scripting language provided and the missing access to a custom library.



    I was surprised reading the announcement of Civ V only 6 months ahead of time and i think they could have waited two years instead giving the whole game more polishing. The video´s or animations for the wonders are gone - same for combat - I read the tile improvements shall overlap into rivers.

    My impression is that they wanted to get another sale out to the community and then polish the product based on the flame crackling up at the support and earn revenue with people upgrading their game over time by micro payment and later selling a finished product as a Civ V complete to the people that had waited.

    P.S.: I did miss the number of different units and resources in Civ V. And yes needing different resources to speed different wonders was something that made a difference in Civ IV and a generic +25% boost feels watering this speciality. In my opinion these steps were necessary to enable the AI to keep up against a human player. Look back at the AI discussion threads. The AI was unable to specialize cities, to understand which units to produce and where it´s borders are. Thus it did waste hammers on the central cities to produce walls and defensive units. The global approach should make it easier for an AI to play the game.
     
  16. joyous_gard

    joyous_gard Prince

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    That's just crazy talk. I never min-maxed with IV. I find myself doing tinkering with things in V though because there is a lot less entertainment value in the game.

    Roleplay with religion was one of the best ideas I have ever seen in a game. They managed to maintain non-bias in terms of religion and you had crazy games with Ghenghis the Muslim. Religion in IV was a genius decision for entertainment purposes. My natural roleplay instinct was to like people with my religion "Oh there's lame Mansa Musa. He's a jew too so I will be nice to him. I hate the hindi Isabella. She is really expanding her influence on this continent. I would like her holy city." Religion was tailor made for roleplaying.

    V roleplaying for me is "There's an idiot AI. It is closest. It will die. That idiot AI attacked me and is now dying at my hand. After these idiot AIs are dead, I will kill the next idiot AI that attacks me." 1upt troop movement, 1upt troop movement, 1upt troop movement.

    Min maxing is a playstyle (I don't even know what it is) and was by no means a requirement in IV.

    In IV, you could play the game for 2 years and still not know what a national forest could be good for. After getting curious you could look up a National Forest strategy and have fun. I don't see that kind of depth in V.
     
  17. joyous_gard

    joyous_gard Prince

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    I disagree with all of what you just wrote. I was a low level (cheiftain, warlord) IV player and I am a low level (prince) V player. IV was a much better game for low level players.

    In your first paragraph you talk about the time involved for combat in V. Combat is a chore in V. The unitpathing doesn't always work in 5 so I tediously and methodically have to place my units. I don't find this challenging. I find it tedious. Combat in V is not some complex mystery: melee in the front, bombard behind, horse (optional) on the sides. The worst part of combat in V is troop movement. Now you have to move 5-10 units 1 at a time. So yes, I do spend more time and energy in combat in V, but it's burdensome and not a challenge. V exchanged the convenience of a stack for the immobility of 1upt.

    IV was a much better game for low level players than V is. Don't ever refer to "Those of us" because I am a low level player and V is a major letdown in terms of gameplay satisfaction compared to IV. Quite simply, in IV there were things to enjoy after having a won game at low levels. In V there's not much to do after securing a won game. You can try to win faster or you can Next Turn.

    If you are a low level player, how do you know what the high level players are doing? That's way to generalized. Again, I am a low level player and I enjoyed "looking under the hood" for entertainment purposes. I liked seeing what percentage culture my cities were. I liked seeing what trade routes my cities had. I liked being able to "out-espionage" my opponents and see what they were building. I liked using privateers to have a little fun while winning. It's a simple fact that Civ V "basic, non-challenging, and boring" compared to IV. It has nothing to do with difficulty level. It has to do with the game itself. I am playing at prince in V, something I never did in IV due to the simple fact that there is less entertainment in the game. I decided to up the difficulty to have more tension in the games because I can't "up the entertainment" level.

    It's not a difficulty level divide. It's a divide over what people want in their games for entertainment value. High level players are still high level players. Low level players are still low level players. I never "gamed the system" and that is definitely not where the divide is over V and IV. Those that "gamed the system" don't like V, those that don't "game the system" do like V. It's a nonsense generalization.

    In IV you could do and see more. You didn't have to do it. It was just there for you. I pretty much ignored most things when I first started. After a while I learned about some of the intricate little systems that were in place.

    Here's an example of one that I remember: "Trade network on rivers? Amazing, what a touch of flair. I bet those really existed in the old days." The next time I tried to get a trade network on a river it didn't work. So I looked it up and "Oh!! I need sailing? That makes perfect sense. This game is AWESOME!" You are hard pressed to find any of that kind of discovery and nuance in V.

    V is heavy-handed: "Can't build temple without monument. Can't build Opera House without temple." All resources do basically the same thing in V, +5 happiness. Marble helps build everything. That's plain ignorant. WIne and incense give you a monastery in V and that's appreciated but it is few and far between. The resources all "turn on" in 3 places and that's lazy and less creative than in IV. It also reduces some of the early tech strategy.

    Trading posts don't stand up when compared to cottage. In fact, the lack of diversity in tile improvements led them to create marketable DLC in the form of Civs which have more diversity in tile improvements. Sure that's a smart business move, but it just shows that the game is less diverse and the company can take advantage of this by creating DLC that fills the void.

    I would like to keep going but I am definitely late for work now. Try to avoid sweeping statements like "Those of us..." and "The other camp is made up of these specific type of players." Some people are varying levels of displeased with V when compared to IV and some people are the opposite. I personally think V is a POS compared to IV for numerous reasons and I have tried to explain them now and again. On the other hand, I only play V now, so what does that say? It says to me that everything has an apex.
     
  18. stethnorun

    stethnorun Warlord

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    I made no claim that either game was better for roleplay than the other. I simply said that that's how I choose to play all my Civ games, thus I have little insight into the min/maxing aspect of the games.
     
  19. stethnorun

    stethnorun Warlord

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    I did say that I wasn't speaking for everyone, in either camp. Obviously there are exceptions to the trends, but that doesn't invalidate the trend. The basic psychological point is still valid: people have different ways of playing that play a major role in how much enjoyment they draw from the game.
     
  20. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    Saying that you enjoy one game more than another makes perfect sense; people enjoy games with very different styles and levels of complexity. You're getting a lot of disagreement on your claim about complexity because there are objective criteria behind that statement - and your position is severely flawed. The game designers even disagree with you, for heaven's sake - they heavily advertised "streamlining" and "appealing to a mass audience" in pre-release interviews.

    Civ 5 is a simpler and less deep game than Civ 4, full stop. There doesn't have to be anything wrong with that - such games can be a lot of fun. (I also think that Civ 5 is a badly designed simple game, but that's a different matter.) But to claim the contrary and to ignore numerous, numerous pieces of evidence to the contrary is just looking for trouble.
     

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