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[GS] Combat and Promotions in Civ V vs Civ VI

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Solipsist, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Solipsist

    Solipsist Chieftain

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    This is my first post in this forum and I haven't browsed through the entire history so I don't know if somebody brought this topic already up (I also literally made an account just to write this), neither am I a hardcore player of all the Civ parts (as for anyone who might say that some of the things I bring up aren't that impactful on Deity/when taking some exploits or other strategies into account), but I have several hundred hours in Civ V and I usually play on Emperor or Immortal, so I think that I'm qualified enough to have some opinion on the topic. I did look through quite a few posts and I haven't seen a single person talking about it, so I wanted to give my two cents on the topic:
    I'm certainly biased towards Civ V as it's my most played game (overall) and I also played it with all DLCs from the beginning, so I didn't experience it's rough start, but I still think that my arguments hold water.
    With that our of the way:

    Combat in Civ VI feels utterly meaningless in comparison to Civ V to be honest. I don‘t have all that much play time in Civ VI yet and I‘m starting to doubt whether that will change all that much in the future and the reasons are the following:

    Not only are units mostly interchangeable, they also feel incredibly dull. I never thought that I would use AT-infantry instead of normal infantry simply because it was cheaper and didn‘t require any strategic resources. But, boy how great was my disappointment when I saw that AT-infantry only receives a meager +10 bonus against tanks. AT units in Civ V were so much more meaningful, because they were actually specialized. A 100% bonus against tanks is something that you feel immediately, even if the base strength is 20 lower: 50*2 = 100 vs 70 → 42.86% advantage, even without any further promotions.

    And that is the same for all units in Civ VI, all units that are supposed to COUNTER someone, don‘t do that at all. Even the spearman which gets +10 on it‘s base of 25 only gets an effective improvement of 40% (vs. The 50% bonus in Civ V and also a significantly better match up, as I‘ll explain). Which means that the following happens in Civ VI: spearman 25+10= 35 vs 36 horseman. Sure it‘s 35 vs 28 when against the heavy chariot, but that‘s only one of the two units the spearman is designed to counter and I doubt that all that many heavy chariots are being used.
    But even with the HC as an enemy the spearman only enjoys a 25% advantage vs. Civ V where the spearman had a 11+5.5=16.5 vs 12 → 37.5% advantage.
    While the spearman is admittedly from a different era as the horseman, the following example of the pikeman results in a very similar result.

    The pikeman has 41+10 = 51 vs. 48 knight → 6.25% advantage, which means that your counter is barely stronger than your enemy, and that is only the case for the heavy cavalry, whereas your advantage against light cavalry from the same era is merely 51 vs. 44 → 15.91%. Whereas previously you had a 25% advantage against a unit from the same era, so you already start to feel the diminishing returns from the +10.

    But that‘s only the beginning of where combat sucks.
    Terrain has become meaningless as well. The times were you could hold a piece of rough terrain with a few units with the right promotions seem to be gone.

    I don‘t even look at the terrain in Civ VI when attacking, the difference in the result is absolutely neglectable, while in Civ V – oh boi were you in for a horrifying experience if you didn‘t use terrain properly. +25% defense for an enemy in rough terrain, -20% when attacking over a river and -33% for cavalry and tanks attacking cities.
    Sure, you have -10 for attacking over rivers in Civ VI, but once you have musketman (which kind of happens really fast) that disadvantage is lower and only continues to decrease: 55-10=45 vs 55*0.8=44. The other modifiers are similar, or rather even worse, as they‘re also absolute values, but even smaller ones, which in combination with higher total unit strength (which I‘ll go deeper into further down below) leads to miniscule differences in the relative strength of units to each other.

    To refer to Hearts of Iron 3 (which is obviously a different game, but nonetheless an example where things are similar to Civ V, because that's simply more realistic), if you were to attack a city with a pure tank division you would get -50% on your attack modifier or even more, depending on how heavy your tanks are. Similar results with attacks in other types of rough terrain.

    So it‘s kind of obvious that terrain should have a decisive effect on the outcome of a battle (a substantial part of Sun Tzu‘s „The Art of War“ is just about the different ways to use terrain) and not just in the older eras, but as can be seen in reality, even nowadays terrain can be decisive in a battle/war.
    How many times did I personally struggle with cities that had a belt of rivers around it, combined with some forests and hills these were massive fortresses that could hardly be taken until the modern era, when bombers and artillery could be used in large quantities.

    In fact I had so many great times experiencing WWI combat in Civ V firsthand (usually on Emperor or higher) when I tried to invade a stronger AI nation and I would just attack some city for 10-20 turns, get so close to taking it, but expanding too much of my offensive force to actually do it, or take a city to get rolled over by some counter offensive.

    Carefully going over each unit and calculating when the right moment for an assault would be, weighing a citadel against the loss of the great generals bonus. It was (and still is) a feeling that a decision actually mattered and that if I wasn‘t cautious enough, I might lose the entire game.
    None of that is the case for Civ VI.

    Many people have criticised the late game of Civ VI already, but not only is it boring and unenjoyable, the units themselves are also boring as hell.

    There are less, that is obvious, but despite the fact that one would expect each iteration to be a substantial improvement over the previous one, you instead get corps and armies that really mitigate differences in tech and on top of that the difference in strength between units is decreased. The best example is that warriors start with 20 strength (?! why the hell would one of the weakest units start with 20 strength, that‘s almost the longswordman in Civ V). Then comes the swordman which is stronger than the rifleman in Civ V (but still only a 75% improvement, like in Civ V) and then you instantly jump to the musketman which is the equivalent of the WW-infantry in Civ V (leaving out one upgrade) and in the next step jumping over two upgrades, but reaching the same strength as the Civ V infantry (both having 70).

    What one can observe is that the scale has simply become more compressed, while the jumps are less meaningful, because the old promotion system using percentages has been scraped in favor of just giving a few more points of strength, which results in diminishing returns, the higher the base value of a unit is.

    While in Civ V you could easily get units with two promotions right out of the production which meant up to +30% in open terrain (Shock II), +30% in rough terrain(Drill II) or 50% (Cover II) against ranged attacks to name just a few of the more relevant ones.
    And what has Civ VI to offer?

    +7 against melee and ranged and +10 for defending against ranged units, which is when compared nothing but a joke. Even when taking the musketman with 35 in Civ VI, his +7 only result in 20% more strength and the +10 defense against ranged result in 28.57% additional defense. Both promotions only give a small improvement when taking relative strength differences into account and as always in Civ VI their effect only continues to diminish with time, as +7 is only a 10% increase for infantry (compare that to infantry in Civ V with Shock II: 70*1.3= 91 vs 77 = 70+7).

    Of course I could go through every single promotion and start comparing all the details, but I hope that the general idea gets across with what I just showed: Experience was a significantly larger factor in Civ V, that made an elite army actually “elite” and highly experienced units that had promotions like logistic (+1 attack per turn for artillery) or march (heal 10TP every turn even when acting) were beasts and there was hardly anything more satisfying (at least to me) than to obliterate some city with artillery that could attack twice per turn (on top of the fact that artillery was an actual counter to cities due to +200% strength when bombarding cities + a special siege promotion that gave +50% strength for bombarding, which ties into the previous section).

    Maybe some people didn’t like the old system, but let’s be honest:
    Experience is a massive factor in combat and I might be influenced by other strategy games I played, but when refering again to HoI3, there experience was measured as a percentage and that percentage was just a straight buff to all values of the unit (it added to a universal attack and defense modifier). Of course that is a very different game, but I think that it exemplifies how experience is not just some improvement to strength, a better experienced unit can also get more out of it‘s equipment and as such increase the difference in effective fighting strength even further, which was exactly what happened in Civ V.

    As I said, I may very well be biased towards Civ V, but I don't see any area where the combat and promotions of Civ VI are better than those of Civ V, in fact they are consistently worse and appear to be not exactly thought through (I didn't even do a deeper dive into AT units in Civ V vs Civ VI).

    Is it just me or have other people similar issues with Civ VI?
     
    CrabHelmet and Myomoto like this.
  2. new boy

    new boy Chieftain

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    Would you change your mind if I were to tell you that civ6's damage formula is exponential? for example a +10 combat strength bonus is +50% damage and +17 bonus is +100% damage?

    Only the difference in combat strength is what matters, so a battle vs 10 and 20 strength units would have the same outcome as 90 and 100 strength units, so you can't really use percentage as a way to measure the combat boosts
     
  3. Niai

    Niai Chieftain

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    I completely agree about this issue and was considering posting about it myself even though I'm basically just a lurker here. I vastly prefer the promotions in V and have felt like this ever since launch of VI. There's just so much more choice and flexibility for experience paths in V, whereas 8 (or 9?) promotions for an entire unit class in VI makes every unit with some experience feel the same. Although having unique promotions for units isn't necessarily a bad thing, I like having generic combat modifier promotions as well that focus on terrain advantages - it feels like you can put entire armies of different classes of unit through the same specific training for a particular scenario you have in mind for them, plus it's undeniably more useful than really gimmicky specific promotions and such a linear tree.
     
  4. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    Welcome to the forum!

    There have been extensive postings about unit balance, something near and dear to my heart.

    As pointed out in your first reply, the combat system is based on the absolute difference in strengths in Civ6, versus the ratio of strength for civ5. The actual formula is something like
    Damage multiplier = exp ( Difference/25) where exp is the exponential function, aka “e”.

    But +10 -> 50% and +17 -> 100% are very important numbers in this system and they are everywhere. Another critical number is that +30 is when one hit kills start happening.

    Anyways, it is also widely discussed that anti cavalry units are exceptionally weak in Civ6, especially spearman and pikemen. You may be interested in a unit balance mod (there’s a link to one in my signature.)

    It should be noted that there is a difference between a system and the balance of that system. Yes, unit balance isn’t great; but our current combat system is much more flexible that civ5’s. Promotions could also use work but there is a lot you can do with promotion trees tht really wasn’t feasible with civ5.

    I am very biased but I do think the game plays a lot better with the linked balance mod, and helps show off the good design decisions in Civ6 by alleviating some of the numbers mistakes.
     
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  5. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    Spears and pikes are pretty lackluster but not because of their effectiveness vs cavalry. They're a good counter if you lack horses or iron. Essentially they can keep you from getting curbstomped by a civ with a lot of cavalry.

    Civ VI's pikes stink next to V's because their production cost is higher relative to concurrent "strategic" units. In V they were cheap spammable infantry but in VI they're really situational.
     
  6. Solipsist

    Solipsist Chieftain

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    Thank you for the mod recommendation, it might help alleviate a part of the problem, though I have to admit that I find this system utterly counterintuitive. 10 and 17 seem like relatively arbitrary values (I know that the strength gaps between different eras are roughly in that corridor, but even so) and it feels just "illogical" to be honest. I'm not even sure what they tried to achieve with the rework of the combat system, as I have yet to see any real advantage of the new one.
    Maybe you could give some examples of why the current promotion tree is better, since it seems to me that something similar could have been implemented in Civ V relatively easy by simply adding additional requirements for certain promotions. Most of the promotions in Civ VI don't feel particularly "better", in fact they are as someone said above, too gimmicky and you can't really stack specific ones like with Ambush II in Civ V, where the AT units easily reached 1.5:1 ratios (resulting in 2:1 dammage) against tanks. While here the +10 lead to equal strength and the following promotions barely change the balance as the tank gets strength against anti-cavallary, while the AT gets further AT.
    I get how it works now, but the fact that overall unit strength gives close to zero information on how effective the unit actually is just doesn't sit right with me (40vs50 being the same as 90vs100 is simply ...weird).

    Thank you for the informations, but as I wrote in the other reply, that only makes it even weirder/counterintuitive, while not really doing anything about some of the other problems (like counter-units not countering anything).
     
  7. AlanC9

    AlanC9 Chieftain

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    A ten-point bonus is massive in Civ VI, yeah. And upgraded units are devastating.

    I'm not sure anyone who doesn't understand these points is competent to debate the system.
     
  8. new boy

    new boy Chieftain

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    I think it is counter-intuitive yes, but once you understand the system, I think it works well. Lots of percent modifiers is pretty messy in my opinion. Why not give it a proper go with an open mind now you understand it and see what you think?

    As for counter-units, what do you mean? They do +10 damage which is +50% (if even combat strength to begin with) which is exactly the same as civ5 according to your post unless I misunderstood? Like others have said some of the units kinda suck, but that's a different topic really.
     
  9. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    I may be one of the more prolific commenters regarding the math behind units in this forum. If you are interested, consider reading some (slightly old but conceptually relevant) posts on the subject. According to many people this is a very good post, so don't skip out.
    If you read the description of that mod I walk through why I made certain changes and what i think the devs were going for.

    I think +10 is the key number. Even without knowing anything else, 10 points is the difference from era to era. It's also the value of most built in unit class attributes; how much extra damage pikes do to horses, or swords to pikes, etc. But the ratio of strength from era to era in civ5 was also, in any sense, "arbitrary;" developers have to pick a number that fits with their vision of how fast the game should move. It's been 5 years but iirc riflemen-great war infantry- infantry go from 34-50-70 strength. This is very close to 1.5x per era. Keep in mind that civ6 had a design decision to not have units upgrade every single era, but when they do it's usually +10.
    Using a ratio system vs a difference system is just a choice - it might seem odd, but as a designer or player, it makes things very clean. For example, my unit strengths can rise linearly. I can quickly spot that a +10 damage bonus means my units can fight one era up. (Note also, the corps and army system uses +10 and +17.) Bonuses like "+4 combat strength" always have the same relative value because it is essentially inserting an extra combat factor on the end. I tend to prefer the difference system because it summarizes everything into one quantity that i can work with. In the old ratio system, each additional +15% boost was proportionally less effective, for example, and I recall computing effective numbers on the fly when making decisions (which is very tedious.) Having all boosts multiply together in a ratio system (if you wanted to get around this) is also super messy for players to track in their heads.

    But if you read through my mod description, you'll notice that being able to articulate unit classes based on trends - ranged units are this much weaker in melee vs ranged combat; heavy can is this much stronger than a melee unit; etc., is very easy to think about in the difference system.
    And, once you are used to it, it's straightforward.

    Since civ4 the developers have had an eye to make promotions into something that makes individual units take on more of a unique personality, rather than simple "veteran" status like you might see in a total war game. Pure numbers-wise, yes, a lot of civ6's promotions could be done in civ5. But the fusion of the promotion UI and breaking out each unit class into unique trees really furthers what you can do with units. I am slowing working on a larger combat overhaul, and leveraging promotion trees to create "character" via role specialization is really handy because players can see it on the interface. I really can't overstate how important the presentation of promotion trees is in civ6.
     
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  10. Solipsist

    Solipsist Chieftain

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    The post you linked was quite informative (and confirms my thought that anti-cav/AT units are borderline useless in their respective role, because being 10 points worse just to get a 10 point bonus is ... pointless).
    About the different strength systems: I agree that there are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. I have simply played Civ V for a bit too long to make an easy switch to a system that's built on a different paradigm (though I'll have to if I want to get some more fun out of the money I invested, which was admittedly not much, since I bought it in a massive sale).
    Though what do you mean about each 15% boost being less effective? Of course there's no compound interest when adding these percentage values, but you ultimately just have to add/substract all percentages and then apply that number to the base value, which I think is ... doable and (as I already said) more intuitive (On top of that, once your ratio reaches 1.5 and higher you get progressively better dammage output, so I'm not sure if you can really say it like that). At least it became so ingrained over the years, that it's my base approach to any game using similar combat values. If anything, I wonder how I could use an entirely inappropriate system and still have the feeling that combat was no challenge whatsoever.
     
  11. Solipsist

    Solipsist Chieftain

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    I'll do so. In regards to counters I'll quote my upper response: "being 10 points worse just to get a 10 point bonus is ... pointless". Which is the case for both AT-units, and which wasn't the case in Civ V because there you had an AT-gun with 50 strength that got +100% against armored units and the unit it was supposed to counter was the tank with 70 strength so what happened was: 50*2=100 vs 70 -> resulting in a ratio of about 1.42:1-> while 1.33:1 results in 1.33:1 damage dealt and 1.50:1 results in 2.00:1 damage dealt, so you get an approximate damage dealt to damage received ratio of 1.60:1 to 1.80:1 (without Ambush promotions which each added another 25% against armored units and when taking the progressive nature of the damage dealt to damage received ratio that was another massive upgrade), which is something AT units can only dream of in Civ VI.

    Well sure, I used the Civ V system for all observations in my first post, but that doesn't really mean that anything coming after that is also wrong/misunderstood. It's not rocket science (and competence in this case is knowing that +10 = +50% and +17 = +100%, which I would have known if the game actually stated that somewhere) and even with that in mind my comment on ineffective counters is still pretty much on spot, as is my critic of the changed promotions legitimate (in regards to having more choice).
     
  12. new boy

    new boy Chieftain

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    QUOTE="Solipsist, post: 15865980, member: 328904"]I'll do so. In regards to counters I'll quote my upper response: "being 10 points worse just to get a 10 point bonus is ... pointless". Which is the case for both AT-units, and which wasn't the case in Civ V because there you had an AT-gun with 50 strength that got +100% against armored units and the unit it was supposed to counter was the tank with 70 strength so what happened was: 50*2=100 vs 70 -> resulting in a ratio of about 1.42:1-> while 1.33:1 results in 1.33:1 damage dealt and 1.50:1 results in 2.00:1 damage dealt, so you get an approximate damage dealt to damage received ratio of 1.60:1 to 1.80:1 (without Ambush promotions which each added another 25% against armored units and when taking the progressive nature of the damage dealt to damage received ratio that was another massive upgrade), which is something AT units can only dream of in Civ VI.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah, Anti-cav is not very good, no one is going to argue otherwise. Still, if your facing an early horse rush, then you wouldn't say no to having some around. Its purely an issue with the unit design though, the system around counter units is sound.

    Apologies for answering on someone else's behalf, but its simply due to the % based system being additive.

    10 lots of 10% boosts would look like this

    110 (+10%)
    120 (+9%)
    130 (+8.3%)
    140 (+7.7%)
    150 (+7.1%)
    160 (+6.7%)
    170 (+6.3%)
    180 (+5.9%)
    190 (+5.6%)
    200 (+5.3%)

    So each boost matters less than the last.

    With the civ6 system, its basically the opposite, and each point of combat strength matters more than the last.
     
  13. Solipsist

    Solipsist Chieftain

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    Yeah, Anti-cav is not very good, no one is going to argue otherwise. Still, if your facing an early horse rush, then you wouldn't say no to having some around. Its purely an issue with the unit design though, the system around counter units is sound.



    Apologies for answering on someone else's behalf, but its simply due to the % based system being additive.

    10 lots of 10% boosts would look like this

    110 (+10%)
    120 (+9%)
    130 (+8.3%)
    140 (+7.7%)
    150 (+7.1%)
    160 (+6.7%)
    170 (+6.3%)
    180 (+5.9%)
    190 (+5.6%)
    200 (+5.3%)

    So each boost matters less than the last.

    With the civ6 system, its basically the opposite, and each point of combat strength matters more than the last.[/QUOTE]

    But as I said, of course there's no compound interest on these percentage increases, but that's not necessary, because a strength ratio of over 1.33:1 will lead to exceedingly favourable results. So you can't just add these values up and call it a day.
    Here's how damage develops in comparison to the strength ratio (in Civ V) and as you can see, having twice as much strength as the enemy (ten times +10% with the same base strength) would lead to your unit dealing three times more damage than the enemy one (so it's not a linear increase). And if you would continue further you would get even more damage out of every strength point, which is why these percentages don't have diminishing returns.
    upload_2020-8-5_9-2-48.png
     

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