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Do you disable espionage?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by alysenne, Dec 18, 2012.

  1. alysenne

    alysenne Chieftain

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    I just bought the expansion and I've been having fun playing an immortal emperor game. Unfortunately, one new 'feature' is pissing me off so much.

    Coups of city states.

    I'm not 100% sure how they work, but I've lost like a dozen city states allies to these coups. Many, many thousands of gold and all the benefits.

    What makes it worse is that the owners of these spies are several civilizations that I devastated already, but I'd rather not waste the time to completely wipe out. Apparently, it costs no gold to stage a coup?

    Is espionage a worthwhile addition? Right now, for all future games, I'm seriously considering disabling it. Maybe I can mod out coups or something?
     
  2. playshogi

    playshogi Emperor

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    I like it. I use spies to rig elections and get free influence.
     
  3. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Agree. Honestly, I haven't found coups all that aggravating. In fact, I think I coup about as often as the AI coups my allies (and there are more AIs than little old me).

    I would not recommend that you disable espionage; experiment with it instead -- learn what works and doesn't work.
     
  4. crashcrush

    crashcrush Chieftain

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    I think if you station a spy in one of your city state allies it reduces the chance of them being couped - not 100% sure of that though.
     
  5. Bex

    Bex Chieftain

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    I'm disabling it for my next game, as I tend to be ahead in research in my games. Espionage seems designed to cripple the science leader while being fabulous for everyone else. I have the highest ranking possible for my defensive spy, plus the protective buildings, plus the wonder that reduces enemy spy effectiveness, and the other civs are just walking off with my techs. I lost techs to 3 civs on a single turn. China alone has got 4 techs from me.

    Maybe that would be OK, if I could do something equally devastating with my own spies, but in terms of advancing a civ's position, flogging intelligence or flipping a city state doesn't even come close to balancing out a bunch of free techs.
     
  6. alysenne

    alysenne Chieftain

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    I finished my game as quickly as possible because wow, I was getting really upset. Sigh.

    I figured out why I dislike it so much. It's too random and I don't have enough control.

    I usually aim to be the tech leader and/or the one with the most CS allies. So my entire game, I felt like the the espionage system was screwing me over, while I wasn't getting much benefit at all.

    And I also think it's unfair that civilizations with a third of my score can have just as many spies.
     
  7. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I disable Espionage. The reasons are the following:

    - Coups are a nuisance beyond comparison.
    - Getting techs stolen are frustrating, and the time to steal back makes this a feature that doesn't add anything positive for me. With luck I'll steal 1, perhaps 2 techs in a game, more likely 0.
    - Rigging elections can be nice, but you'll be likely to lose more influence on this account than you gain, simply because the number of AI spies rigging elections against you will be greater than the number of elections you can rig yourself.

    Since I started to play without espionage, I find the game ten times more enjoyable.
     
  8. Jelster

    Jelster Prince

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    Two of the major benefits are:

    1) You can see what the Civ is building, this can give you an idea where they are tech wise, and if they are ahead of you on a wonder.

    2) It gives you LoS for artillery, airaids etc. You can also see what units are in & around the City.

    If you are losing that many techs then I reckon you are playing too low....
     
  9. mrscotty

    mrscotty Chieftain

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    I like it. I end up with so many citystates as "friends" with 60+ influence because the AI can afford to buy them up so hard at high difficulties that I have at least 1 spy just strolling from city state to city state couping them all.
     
  10. Biologist

    Biologist Researcher

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    I never turn off espionage. It has both pros and cons, and in my opinion the good points outweigh the bad.

    Cons:

    1) Getting a city state ally sniped by coup: This is easily the most annoying part of espionage. If you want to have CS allies, you need to either defend them with your own spies or spend wheelbarrows full of gold. This is mitigated by the fact that when you sucessfully defend a coup, that spie is out of action for a while.

    2) Getting tech stolen from you. This I just accept as inevitable, but there are ways to minimize the damage. Putting a spy in your capital (AI almost always steals from the capital) will occasionally succeed in stopping theft, and building constabularies and police stations slows it down considerably. Building the Great Firewall and Intelligence Agency are optional, but helpful.

    Pros:

    1) Stealing tech. This is very helpful if you are a few techs behind the world leaders and need to catch up. Stealing techs quickly can help with CS research quests.

    2) Enhancing diplomacy. You can report malicious plots to your neighbors for a free diplomacy boost. Doing this at least twice for the same neighbor makes the boost stronger. Sometimes other civs will volunteer valuable information to you. Quite often I'll hear that some civ is plotting against me, and sure enough they betray me within the next 50 turns.

    3) Gaining line-of-sight. Your spies can be used to see an enemy city even if you don't have units in the area. This is helpful for long-range bombardment or nuclear attacks, and for spotting where the AI has its troops deployed.

    4) Monitoring AI wonder/project/spaceship progress. Spies can be used to see whether an AI player is trying for the same Wonder as you, and how far along they are. They can also be used to find the cities an AI is using to build spaceship parts, which is helpful if you need to declare war to hold off a space-racing AI.
     
  11. Biologist

    Biologist Researcher

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    Something to remember about having tech stolen from you is that the same AI is almost certainly not getting all of the stolen techs. If you have 6 techs stolen from you in a short time, that seems devastating... until you realize that those techs were likely spread out between 5-6 civs (you might even know this depending on how good your counterspy is).

    Also, the techs that get stolen are not always terribly valuable in the larger context of the game. Sure, I once had an AI steal Nuclear Fission from me (I was... less than pleased with my counterspy's failure), and that was aggravating. At the same time, do I really care if I'm in the Atomic Era and my opponent steals Fertilizer? If you really have a superior tech lead, you might want to just build the Great Firewall to cement your position, and until then have counterspies and espionage buildings in all major research centers.
     
  12. Gamewizard

    Gamewizard Emperor

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    IMO, if you don't find spies useful then you probably aren't playing a high enough difficulty. I find them to be very helpful to stay close to the tech leaders in my Immortal games and to know if I have a chance at certain wonders. Also helpful when you gold gift a CS and you get within 10 influence of the current ally, use a spy to coup at the maximum 85% success rate.

    If you find that the AI is stealing all of your tech even when you have a spy stationed in your city, its because you are too far ahead in tech and EVERY civ has one of their spies in your city. Play a harder difficulty and you won't get this spy-ambush.
     
  13. Theruss

    Theruss Warlord

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    Espionage is very useful for keeping tech parity when dealing with opponents like Hiwatha and Catherine who always seem to try and runaway in science. Helps greatly with staying allies with city states too. The only time I find the coups annoying is when playing against Alex or Ram. Although seeing as those two benefit greatly from city states, it's not surprising that their spies are always in the city states.
     
  14. Civking5

    Civking5 Prince

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    Espionage is very useful in my immortal level games, mainly for stealing techs from other AIs. In civ 4, I used to turn off espionage, just couldn't stand the water poisoning and unhappiness attacks.
     
  15. whyidie

    whyidie Emperor

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    Coups do depend a lot on the other Civs. If diplomacy oriented Civs (England and Siam come to mind) are on the map and have the money it can get competitive.

    On the other hand I've had some games where I can beat off other Civs fairly easily.

    Tech stealing made me want to turn it off when it was initially released. Read a couple of posts similar to the ones above that changed my mind. They are usually low value techs and it only happens when I've got a tech lead, which isn't terribly often given my playstyle. If I am playing with a tech lead and get frustrated with the tech stealing I'll build the right buildings and sacrifice a spy to defence.

    Overall I like it. Game would lose a little of its flavor with spies.
     
  16. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Well there's no such thing as right or wrong difficulty, but it is probably true that Immortal/Diety levels will have the spies benefit the player more. I play Emperor, and on this level spies are always an overall loss to me, and while I don't mind a challenge, this one is just a frustration. I have rage-quited games for less than beelining Artillery in order to conquer someone only to have them steal it from me shortly after. As for tech stealing, waiting 80 turns to steal a tech (which is generally how it is) hardly seems worth the trouble - even if they still had a tech I didn't have 80 turns later, chances are game will be more or less over by then.
     
  17. Chomes99

    Chomes99 Chieftain

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    I agree with some of the previous posters. The spy system acts of a way of countering run-away civs (including yourself), if you are the tech leader then you are the biggest target. the number of spies you have is based on your current era. so if the AI is far behind you, they won't have as many spies as you. If you are getting techs stolen left right and centre then you are still going to win because you have such a big tech lead. If you are getting pissed off, tell them to stop, if they dont, denounce them, at least you can say you had a good reason to go to war, tech leads are very good in war.

    As for the CS Coups, I find this annoying too. but it just means I have to either A) station a spy on my fav CS ally, or B) forget about CS allies and go for another strategy.

    I think that without the spy system you are taking away a very fun aspect of the game, it forces you to adapt because you are being attacked without being Declared war on. On the harder difficulties, you will depend highly on spies to get every advantage on the point/tech leader. I always use spies in cities for line of sight before a large scale invasion.

    Tip: your spies won't die if you nuke the city it is stationed in.
     
  18. apocalypse105

    apocalypse105 Deity

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    I disable espionage because its a mechanic that is'n made well and doesnt' really iprove the game at all I will explain why..


    1 Coups

    Coups are broken and you don't have any counter against them. Because having a defensive spy in a city state isn't a guaranteed you can still lose the city state..

    Instead of fixing it they buffed it by making it easier to coup CS if their isn't a defensive spy. There is only 1 reason for this change and that is : THE AI CAN HANDLE IT BETTER BUT IT THROWS BALANCE OUT OF ESPIONAGE

    Its a anoying game concept and firaxis keeps it in the game because the AI loves to do it. Instant healing is still in the game which surprises me because its broken. Proparly because the AI loves it.

    Imagine a real time strategy game with a overpowerd unit which can kill everything and the Ai builts them constantly I guess people get anoyed :mischief:


    2 Tech stealing

    The atack /defence is unbalanced because the atacker has allways the advantage while the defender should get it... Ever played risk? The defender has allways a better change their because you take a risk as atacker

    Examples of this :

    -Once a offensive spy is promoted he can steal technologies faster , but a high defensive spy can still fail to kill a enemy spy stealing...

    - To be better at defending you need to spend maintainance at buildings like police station and it still doesn't give you a 100% guaranteed for defence I've had techs stolen from me when i've had the national intelligence agency and a level 3 spy...

    Somethings wrong here.. This is basicly the same problem we have with coups there is no guaranteed to defend no matter what you do.

    Finally Tech steeling is the new great scientist exploit you basicly need to steal free techs to keep up again bad game design . whe're back to vanilla.. Instead of laying the focus on building up you're economy growing cities and building science buildings.. shame:(

    3 Intrigue

    more then 80% of the time the Ai doesn't follow their plans. So it basicly isn't worth putting a spy in a city for intrigue you sometimes get it if you are stealing.

    - aquiring and Sharing intrigue isn't real worth it because you need you're spies for other things like constantly stealing techs with other civs, defending against tech steeling , couping..

    - Finally diplomacy still brakes down in the end game either by war monger penalty or the thousands other negatif modifiers. So why bother?
     
  19. Bex

    Bex Chieftain

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    Yes... I'm ahead in science because I've prioritized it, the same way other civs have prioritized military strength or culture, and espionage penalizes this... I get the logic of the advice to play on a level that guarantees I am never ever the tech leader... I guess.
    Too bad espionage doesn't allow stealing social policies from culture civs or citizens from big civs or battleships from militant civs. They steal a LOT of techs, even when you take all the precautions the game allows you to take. It's a big boost and rather depressing to watch happen.
    Good reasons for war aren't recognized in Civ, are they? Telling them to stop, and denouncement/DoW when they don't stop (and they never did) are all diplo strikes against me. The only 'win' in being spied on is in forgiving them for spying. Oh yay I'm a doormat.
    If there were better options to adapt I would like it. If spies could level up better and faster. If I could do more with my own spies. I will miss the visibility in enemy cities. I will miss... um, no I guess that's it, really.

    I tried to get into intelligence gathering. I curried favour with everybody but Dido by sharing the intrigue that Dido was plotting against them, because she was allegedly plotting and launching sneak attacks on everybody practically every turn, but I was watching her and it was all bogus. She was a turn away from being killed, down to one city with no health, no units, and still conjured up a plot against someone else on the other side of the map; the info felt artificial and randomly manufactured, just there to use as currency rather than anything that made sense. It wasn't immersive, know what I mean?
     
  20. Biologist

    Biologist Researcher

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    I'm not sure how big a boost all that tech stealing is if it's spread out among 5 different rival civs. Having 5 techs stolen seems like a huge loss, until you realize that each civ only got one tech, and it most likely wasn't something vital anyway (there are exceptions, of course).

    It makes sense that these are diplo strikes against you with the civ you're denouncing. When, say, the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. denounced and condemned each other, it didn't make them like each other more. If the civ that you caught stealing from you is an enemy or a "frenemy" (a civ posing as a friend that you know will betray you), go ahead and denounce them; chances are you'll break diplomatic contact with them anyway. If the civ you caught was a friend, weigh the value of your alliance against the value of whatever they stole (or tried to steal) from you.

    What kind of things would you suggest to make spies better and level up faster? Maybe a good idea could get made into a mod, and that way more people could enjoy using espionage.

    Sometimes that happens. I've had situations where civs that were absolutely powerless to do anything to anybody were found to be plotting against me or against somebody else. I've also had situations where the rumored plot or sneak attack actually materialized within a reasonable time frame. I feel that what the espionage AI interprets as a feasible "plot" could probably be tweaked somehow, but for now the best thing is probably to judge the credibility of your intel in light of current circumstances. I'm sure that not every intel lead that comes up in the real world is useful either; that's where the player comes in as a director of espionage to determine what's useful and what isn't.
     

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