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Difficulty Level Means Nothing it's All Starting Location

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Rockafellar, Jan 20, 2018.

  1. Rockafellar

    Rockafellar Chieftain

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    Love the Civ series and in Civ 6 have worked my way up to winning Immortal games. But in Civ 6 I can't get over the fact that the difficulty setting seems to be meaningless because:

    1 - Start Locations - Almost all of the difficulty in a game is determined by your start location and it's so random in every way. In Civ 6 this can range anywhere between a city in the dessert with like 1 resource or less and a an awesome city with tons of initial food and production and tons of resources (4+). On high difficulty starting location is pretty much everything because the AI's science/culture grows so much faster than yours. So I end up restarting the game a lot to get a good starting location. But then I feel like I've cheated somewhat. This is irritating. Civ 5 was the same way but not nearly as bad as Civ 6. I've spawned many times right next to other civs or city-states and that's messed up too. I can capture a city-states's initial settler often.. but then feel bad about it lol.

    2 - AI is not AI - It seems that in most if not all Civ games AI just means handicapping the player. It doesn't mean that the AI is smarter or uses better moves, etc. Or it might be slightly more intelligent but it's almost all just handicapping the player with less culture/science/initial units/initial cities, etc.

    The starting location thing definitely bothers me the most though. So it's hard to really get into the game anymore. Anyone else?
     
  2. comatosedragon

    comatosedragon Emperor

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    Yeah. I have always wanted to be able select difficulty level after seeing the starting dirt.
     
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  3. Trengilly

    Trengilly Warlord

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    Well the starting next to someone thing is a bug that will be resolved with R&F.

    As for the terrain - I like that it varies. Its very rewarding to take a weak start and make it into something great. Also of the starts that look poor can actually have good stuff just out of sight for your second city - so its good to give them some time.

    As for Civ 5 - I found the starts so homogenized that it got boring. Basically every start had to have a luxury, strategic, bonus resource, a couple food tiles, a couple production ones.
     
  4. earlc

    earlc Warlord

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    I think it's been reliably established by others that the AI doesn't get smarter with difficulty levels. I think the consensus was that this would be extremely difficult to implement, particularly given how complex the AI is already (and hence why it's not just fixed with a couple beep-boops and it's perfect). You're right that the higher difficulties just flatly handicap the player and boost the AI opponents.

    What the higher difficulty setting DOES actually do is make it so that the AI has the resources to function more effectively. eg, in a lower difficulty game Norway wouldn't have figured out how to get the wherewithal to spam 20 knights at me, but on Deity he did.

    And it's not hard for me to get into the game because of the start location thing, I'll just reload until I get a decent starting location. If I happen to get an overpowered one I usually feel a little guilty but play through anyway.
     
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  5. Abaxial

    Abaxial King

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    I find it very unsatisfying that higher difficulty settings don't make the AI smarter, just make it cheat more. In any game I don't go above whatever setting is a level playing field.
     
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  6. Rockafellar

    Rockafellar Chieftain

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    Ya i really hope in the future they will have true AI. It really shouldn't be far away with how much more common true AI is. They could probably even teach a modern self-learning AI Civ 6. Supposedly they can drive cars now on busy highways so why not? They could have a different true AI for each difficulty level. The thinking/adapting speed of the AI can be slower on the lower difficulty levels. They could even grow AI's with different personalities or strategies. Maybe the tech isn't here yet I don't know.
     
  7. Denkt

    Denkt Left permamently

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    It is the same with all civilization games I have played. The reason is simply because you need to invest Resources into growing your economy and the more Resources you start with the more you can invest into your economy and the quicker you grow and the more Resources you can invest into your economy the next turn allowing you to get ahead.
     
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  8. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Try england deity start.. 5/6 have no fresh water which is just fine, it the lack of production that’s crippling.
    It’s not just the start, it’s the civ.... try 6 starts as England and 6 starts as Greece and you will see what I mean.
    As it happens I am fine with it. So for example a Gorgo game on immortal is a breeze but an immortal game as England can be quite a challenge. Play powerful civs on a harder level for you first then use say catherine and see the difference.
     
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  9. Esperr

    Esperr King

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    Uhhh i think start position has meant less and less with V,VI and BE. I feel like a start cant make me lose in VI, but it def could in IV.
     
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  10. Duuk

    Duuk Doom-Sayer Supporter

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    I've noticed that difficulty isn't really based on difficulty so much as civ start bias. Some civs, to me, are near impossibly slow starts that I can't overcome quickly enough. Likely it's my playstyle, which I only recently realized was weird (religious victory is by far my most common, which apparently less than 9% of players have ever won by). So when Cleo's "look, all flat deserts" starts screw me...
     
  11. Lily_Lancer

    Lily_Lancer Deity

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    Yes the starting location is part of difficulty.
    But currently difficulty level in Civ6 is just a joke, deity is too easy, even with any starting location and any Civ.
     
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  12. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    It's less starting position in terms of terrain than start position in terms of how many civs are nearby (and whether they can reasonably be attacked), as well as whether you're hemmed in by city-states. Success in Civ VI boils down completely to how many cities you get up and running in the first third of the game or so. I had no chance in a recent session where I spawned as Indonesia in an area with only three reasonable city spots, where Macedon took my closest city state Palenque between me and my primary enemy - the Aztecs - so that I couldn't take Aztec territory. Having to develop sailing etc. and finding a sea route to new territory I could colonise was too long a delay, and I wasn't in a position productive enough to quickly build an army to move on Macedon.

    Conversely, in my current game as Poland I have 8 cities on turn 100 with a settler on the way (had I been slightly more aggressive I could also have taken a Spanish settler, but it got out of range as I hadn't got cavalry or chariots), due to both an extensive area of empty space - which affords me at least three further city spots - and an ill-advised declaration of war by the Spanish, which cost them too easily-captured cities on my border.

    Religious victory is the one I haven't yet achieved - the religious combat/expansion system is overly tedious, and it requires being more all-in than any other victory type as you need your own religion (something that demands an early Astrology rush on higher difficulties) and to focus on earlier-than-optimal Holy Site spam.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  13. Esperr

    Esperr King

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    Yeah no, I completely disagree if your talking about SP. The more people you have nearby the easier the game gets. Even on Deity the A.I is easy to attack and exploit due to stupidity, theirs a reason we measure success in VI and V by turn times and not whether or not you can do it.

    Regarding your Poland game, that might be your problem. You want more citys by turn 100, 8 is fine, but your usually looking to try and have at least 10 to 15, even if your just going for SV, citys are all that matter. Fill in every gap you can with citys and just don't let them grow to needing an amentiy, try to get them down ASAP and "plant" the district so its as cheap as it possibly will be.
     
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  14. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    I wouldn't say difficulty level doesn't matter, it very clearly matters. But I have had Prince games that were more difficult than King games. My current game I'm playing on Prince since I'm playing with several modded leaders, and wasn't sure what to expect. But I have 2 fronts to defend, and when I was attacking Pericles to try to conquer Dehli (which he took from India), Donald Trump attacks me. Not to mention one of Greece's city states were putting serious pressure on an adjacent city, city states build more units than civilizations in this game. I came dangerously close to losing two cities. But in the end, I took out 4 Trump cities, and did conquer Dehli, but had to peace out to deal with America. I'll win of course, but I've had King level games where the AI never once posed a threat. And I say difficulty matters because obviously at deity the AI will be one if not two eras ahead of you, you can't say that for Prince or King.

    Perhaps they just didn't like me because I'm playing as Lenin, and they don't like commies.

    Also my first game with Real Tech Tree mod, and it's been interesting.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2018
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  15. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    Try the Balanced Start setting in the advanced options. Or Legendary, if you prefer that.
     
  16. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    What you're asking to solve is a conceptual issue in randomly-generated game worlds. A bad RNG roll can screw anything over. You also can't rely on a chained series of RNG-dependent actions to have a sensible result (i.e. what we understand as ingame AI). This is why the player receives handicaps. It's prevalent to most strategy games. For example, the classic RTS Dawn of War gave resource multipliers to all AI enemies above Normal. Among other bonuses. The developers found this was the only way to even the odds once you worked out how the AI (generally) worked. It's a similar principle here, giving the player some handicaps. It also means that regardless of any AI presence, the game itself will be harder to succeed at.

    Every Civilisation game has been, to a greater or lesser extent, affected by start position. At least, on the highest difficulties, or with regards to PvP. On the lower difficulties you can steamroll your way to victory any way you please. This hasn't changed with Civilisation VI.

    I do understand being tired of the same limitations on the genre. For me, I can manage what Civilisation throws at me (mostly without swearing). Anything more dependent on RNG I tend to hate, though. Take XCOM (the new set). Haven't been able to complete a single run, I get too invested in my characters and I get too sick of the game running so heavily on a bad throw of the dice.
     
  17. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    This is something that I've noticed as well, and it seems like something that would be easy to fix. The devs in the R&F preview videos have specifically said that they've revised the starting location logic to more evenly spread them out.
     
  18. Lord Lakely

    Lord Lakely Idea Fountain

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    ^ It's actually not uncommon to start sandwiched between other Civs on huge maps. Even with a reduced Civ count. It's also not uncommon for these maps to have massive, sprawling, empty continents, ripe for colonization.
     
  19. Esperr

    Esperr King

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    I think its coded so that x amount of civs start in x amount of space from eachother. Ive found that no matter what I always seem to have at least 1 civ within my starting "box".
     
  20. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    If you're intent on conquering all of them and you're actually able to reach them, sure, but mountains, coasts and civs or city-states you don't want to spend time and resources going through can delay things enough that it isn't efficient to take on multiple civs early, as it forces too much emphasis on unit production at a time when you don't have especially productive cities. In the Indonesia game there was a one-tile-wide pass between Palenque and the coast that I could get through to move on the Aztecs - however stupid the AI, it can beat units that have to arrive one at a time, and with the Aztecs already angry after I wiped out their army in a pre-emptive war I didn't particularly want to move on Macedon.

    Plus it was my first game at Immortal and, not being familiar with the extent of AI unit buffs, I lost several units myself by taking on battles I would have confidently won on Emperor.

    Well, that and the fact that that's how progress in Civ games has been measured for years - this site's Civ III and Civ IV challenges are based around winning as soon as possible. The whole point of the end-game leaderboard (and in five games, the associated Hall of Fame) was to measure success by score when you win, not by whether you win. It's not new to the easier entries in the series.

    There's no problem at all in the Poland game - I'm second in science output and quickly closing on the leader, my culture production is adequate, I have a high per turn income, and have beaten or pacified my plausible military rivals. My point wasn't about having a set number of cities, it was simply that Civ VI is basically a game of spamming the map as early as possible and then coasting to victory for the next 2-300 turns, pretty much with complete indifference to the actual strategy you pursue or individual in-game decisions. It's the major reason that, despite the wide variety of more-or-less meaningless options the game presents you with to give the illusion of depth, it still falls a long way short of the depth of Civ V.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018

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