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Civilization is only for casuals and new gamers?!

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Mouthwash, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    This video has singlehandedly changed the way I look at the franchise. I know it's annoying to ask that people watch something for ten minutes instead of a written post, but it's worth it:



    Spoiler Comments :
    I think of myself as a diehard Civilization 4 fan, but it's been years since I've played a game in vanilla. The mods that I use - Fall From Heaven or Dawn of Civilization - all completely alter the way the game is played. I do in fact love the core gameplay model, but not the actual gameplay.

    Even though civilizations do play differently, it's almost completely a result of their leaderhead's AI. When was the last time you saw an AI civ carrying out a successful invasion, building an unstoppable tech lead, or otherwise changing its situation purely on the strength of its unique unit/buildings? Most of them are, as he says, little more than modifiers. Some of them were important in pursuing specific strategies (such as the Quechua rush), but only the Praetorian or Fast Worker ever really changed things in a general way. The only one that could have been radical was the carrack, which gave the Portuguese ocean transportation long before anyone else, but colonization was never a viable strategy next to conquest or cottage cheese.

    All this applies to Civ 4 only. I welcome your thoughts on the other installments.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  2. Hygro

    Hygro soundcloud.com/hygro/

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    I'm 8 minutes in and so far there is no payoff.

    edit: finished. A case for greater faction diversity and complexity. That's his whole video.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
    Dachs, Azem.Ocram, The_J and 4 others like this.
  3. Cheetah

    Cheetah Chieftain

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    Thank you.
     
  4. metatron

    metatron deplorable ally

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    Oh, it's Adam Millard going on about Endless Legend and Stellaris?
    Adam's is a fine enough channel. Don't easily dismiss it.
    He leans toward... unnecessary length, admittedly.
     
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  5. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Chieftain

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    Each Civ game since II has increased the differences between factions but theres a limit about how far you can take that in a game about historical human civilisations.
    Comparing it to games with fantasy or SF settings doesn't serve much purpose. Ofc those games can have bigger differences between factions, they aren't all human and have access to magic or technology that no historical civ has. A faction with similar abilities to the necrophage wouldn't work for civ.
     
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  6. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    I'm surprised, but I guess you win some and miss some. :dunno:

    coughmongolscough
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  7. Leathaface

    Leathaface Chieftain

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    Civ IV was fairly complex, then V dumbed down a lot of system. VI has gotten more complex, though not on the level of IV yet.
     
  8. Ryika

    Ryika likes cookies and milk.

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    Haven't watched the video, but for me the biggest "problem" with Civilization V and VI is that systems don't really interact with each other. This makes things really easy to control, and the whole "difficulty" of Civ comes from knowing which moves are "good", but not from problems in one system that bleed over into the other systems. Your empire simply never grows to become a "unit", your empire is always a collection of "sub-systems" that all feed into your overall progress. As a result, the game does not provide "complex puzzles", like an advanced strategy game should.

    Thus, as a result, Civ is (rightfully) seen as a game that is "not for hardcore strategy fans". "Casuals and Newbies" however doesn't describe the Civ fanbase either, it's more... people who like the fantasy of leading an empire however they want, without having to actually manage them on a deeper level.
     
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  9. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Chieftain

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    Mongols weren't cannibals who ate their enemies so getting food production from defeating enemies would make no sense for them
    Civ doesn't represent cultures that aren't city-building farmers very well but that type of thing shouldn't be tied to factions
    Humans change their whole way of life when their environment and circumstances change
     
  10. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    He is right about what he is saying, but you need to be aware that it is not possible to diversify as much in Civ as in the other games.
    As the guy explains, in that other game, there are 8 main focuses in the game, and 8 factions, which focuses on one of these section. That is great, and they hope they did it well. But this is complicated, and it is hard to come up with interesting concepts.
    Civ could do that to. But the entire fanbase will (rightfully) riot, if you'd restrict Civ to like 5 civilizations, because there are like 5 core components (or however many there might be).
    And coming up with truly unique concepts for 30+ factions, which are also balanced, will be rather impossible to do.
    With the additional problem that trying to give any of the civs really big disadvantages will probably be a political mine field.

    tl;dr: Valid complaint, but not really good implementable.
     
  11. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    There is a valid point buried in there. Civ is what it is, and making it the definition of a genre is a mistake. Going into developing (or playing) a 4X game with a mindset of "be like Civ" invariably begs the question "why not just play Civ?" That issue is no less difficult to deal with when you substitute "new Civ" and "old Civ."
     
  12. Azem.Ocram

    Azem.Ocram Chieftain

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    I would describe myself as a casual PC gamer and I agree, Civilization (especially 5 & 6) are more casual than most other 4x games. However, every game has obsessive players. In F2P/P2W games, they are called whales because they spend the most money. PC games have different types of obsessives: modders, min-maxers, power-gamers/marathoners, streamers & LP-ers, and whatever you call players obsessed with a single subsystem (ICS in civ, decorators/detailers in SimCity or Cities: Skylines, interior decorators in the Sims).
     
  13. MagisterCultuum

    MagisterCultuum Great Sage

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    I could never get into Civ V or VI, and would probably have abandoned Civ IV a long time ago were it not for FfH2. I think it is much more fair to compare those fantasy or SciFi 4x games with mods like FfH2 than with vanilla civ, and with 21 factions with unique mechanics FfH2 holds up well in such comparisons.
     
  14. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Warlord

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    I'm about halfway done. Seems a bit unfair to compare Civ6 to a sci-fi type game. It's hard to give a human faction the bonus of being required to eat other civilizations in order to survive. Although maybe you can say Alexander (Civ6) has that ability. :) I'm talking about the science/culture they get from conquering.

    SMAC had these things, this isn't new with Endless Legends. Their factions had some pretty severe drawbacks. None more than the Believers. You had to conquer in that game to keep up if you played the Believers. I haven't played Endless Legends, so I can't really comment more than that.

    I will say Civ6 seems pretty "safe" and also seems too politically correct. It's like they didn't want to make certain civilizations explicit warmongers for whatever reason. People like Alexander hardly ever go to war any more than any other civ. So that's the biggest complaint with Civ6, other than that I do love Civilization 6 and civ games in general because of the historical aspect of it.
     
  15. mitsho

    mitsho Chieftain

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    Yeah, I'm not going to watch 13 minutes, I'm old in that way that I still prefer text I can skim over... :)

    Based on the discussion below, I concur: Faction Diversity and Complexity seem important, but I rather point more to "Storytelling". Because casuals (and new gamers?) really want to experience a distraction, being told a story of how their empire stood the test of time. Civilization would be a truly boring TV series*, but it works as a game. (*if we don't regard documentaries as the equivalent). And for that you don't really need complexity, but rather reducing it by removing the need for endless micromanagement.

    It's of course never as easy as would fit in one paragraph, but then again, it's not me who will make the next game anyways, so... :)
     
  16. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    He spends the vast majority of the video comparing Civ to 2 games (Stellaris, Endless Legend) and really driving home the point that in these 2 games the civilizations you can play as are so different from each other. In Stellaris you can play as worm cats who are antisocial and use lightsabers or underwater penguins who speak Esperanto and don't believe in sociology. In Endless Legend you can play as undead zombies who can't fight wars or mutant tomatoes who live underground and can't found new cities.

    Ok, great, but in both these games these are fantasy settings where you're playing as aliens or other fantastical made up creatures. It's possible to do this sort of stuff for that reason.

    I'm not sure if this guy really understands that Civilization is a game in which you rule a historical human civilization.. Okay, he seems to get that, but he doesn't really seem to. He could have at least suggested changes to Civ, but instead he just goes on and on how great those other games are.

    Okay, awesome, go play those games then. The differences between the playable civilizations are minute for a reason. These are all human civilizations. The Incas did not succeed the way they did because they had 4 legs. The Holy Roman Empire wasn't successful because they can breathe under water. They were all human. When you're playing a game of civilization, no matter what civilization you pick, you want your gameplay experience to be similar. As you're playing you know there's other civilizations out there who had a very similar starting point as you - with minute differences directing their decisions along the way. This to me is the core of civ, and it does not really seem that this guy "gets it".

    If you want a different gaming experience in civ, you can up the level. Your minute strengths and weaknesses become a lot more important as you do so.
     
  17. Mouthwash

    Mouthwash Escaped Lunatic

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    What if they changed up the whole formula? Instead of adding recognizable civilizations you start out as a cultural group like 'Germanic,' 'Indian', or 'Middle Eastern'. Each one would have a totally different gameplay style, and they would also transform into subcultures like France or Egypt as you played, with more ordinary unique bonuses.

    I think you're underestimating how much diversity could be added to a history-based game. We could give the Polynesians the ability to embark units, for instance. Or give the Mongols the ability to move cities. Or remove the ability to construct offensive units like swordsmen from the Arabs, and force them to build a 'tribe' unit which can then draft five swordsmen from cities. Then tie the swordsmen to the tribe, so that they have to go where it does. Or for China, make some kind of imperial examination mechanic by adding a free specialist to the capital for every ten pops in your empire. That's all just off the top of my head.

    Even changing some build requirements would probably completely alter your strategy for a civ. This all seems really easy to do thematically.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
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  18. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Another drone in the hive mind

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    That has the potential to be a good game, and there might be someone out there to make it. But the people who make Civ aren't going to do it, because they are busy making Civ.

    I'm also not quite sure how to get "totally different gameplay style" out of different human groups that are, after all, still humans one and all. It's not like introducing Protoss and Zergs to the mix.
     
  19. Dirichlet

    Dirichlet Chieftain

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    I think more diversity and complexity is probably the wrong direction to go with Civ. I always felt a bit ambigious about the increasing differentiation beyond traits in leaders and Civs that started with Civ 5. It may add some replays, but in general I like the blank slate approach where you can decide how the Civilization develops and which strengths it has. Having the differentiation but being able to pick it in game, depending on the situation your Civilization is in seems much better to me. And I also do not like those decisions being 100% permanent - one of the most interesting things about Civilizations is how often many of them have reinvented themselves. I think the Civ 6 policy system combined with cultural traits and governmenst that are harder to switch but has larger impact would be the optimal way for Civ to handle diversity between Civilizations.

    And complexity is often seen as adding more things to simulate and pay attention to, same as some of the Paradox games. But many of the deepest games humanity has ever invented (e.g. Go and Chess) have comparably simple rules that interact in a way that adds a level of depth not achieved by Civ. Not saying Civ should abstract everything away - unlike Go/Chess the Civ series is about both strategy and flavor (recreating history). But there are detail levels in the latest two Civ games that do not add to the game - why do we need to manage archaeologists and theme museums manually? One of the first signals that a system adds little to the game is if it does not have any true interaction with the other systems (archaeologists) beyond adding to your culture/tourism score or if it consumes time to set up even if the solution is obvious (theming museums).

    In a similar way this is why I now prefer the first Master of Orion to the second. Every option in that game had a purpose. All systems interacted in a meaningful manner in with each other, building to a greater whole. MoO II had too many bad choices you could make (research choice was too often straightforward), the planetary micromanagement was much more time consuming without really adding depth. You tend to build the same buildings in the same order anyway.

    In the same way I have come to favor vanilla Civ 4 more than BTS - to me it seems like it is better balanced (fewer really weak traits like Protective) and less complexity that adds little to the game (corporations which come too late to matter and unique buildings, which have a mostly small impact but adds more things to remember). And the vanilla Civ 4 religion system was more tightly integrated in the rest of the game, as it also gave visibility.

    As I evolve as a strategy gamer I find I prefer games with fewer and more meaningful systems. Unfortunately the trend of the genre runs opposite to that.
     
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  20. AmazonQueen

    AmazonQueen Chieftain

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    If you compared Civ to Paradox products that depict historical cultures rather than SF ones like Crusader Kings or Europa Universalis you don't find the massive differences between cultures that Stellaris has.
    Government type and religion are big differences in CK but they aren't fixed features. The Magyars (Tengri nomads) can become Hungarian (feudal Christian). If the player wanted and put some effort into achieving it they might become an Islamic republic or other unlikely outcomes. In EU National Ideas don't really make major differences in how nations play. Like Civ IV-VI they just emphasize what a particular culture is good at (although since EU covers a much narrower period of history they can be a little more specific).
     

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