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Do you disable espionage?

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

  1. Bex

    Bex Chieftain

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    But every civ getting one tech is still everybody getting a nice gift, while there's nothing equivalent that I can get in return. Espionage seems a barely-disguised mechanism for levelling up the lower civs, not a tool that each civ might use in potentially an equally beneficial way. If you lead in tech there is really no substantial benefit to spies, nothing even remotely equivalent to gaining free techs (oh and if only they could steal just one).
    Well, diplomacy mechanics are a whole thread in itself, no? I think if you tell someone not to spy on you, and they agree to stop, being labelled a warmonger for attacking them when they don't stop is unreasonable (but par for the 'suck it up' philosophy of Civ relations... I'm used to it, like when I'm denounced for being 'untrustworthy' purely for keeping my word.) The red 'you asked them to stop spying' lasts FOREVER. Sorry, why is that so bad? 'Please take my techs' is the default?
    Reduce the tech stealing success rate, and/or have some sacrifice that you can make to allow defensive spies to block stealing 100% earlier... add stealing social policies or culture points, units, population, workers, happiness points.... I don't know, anything. Right now espionage seems entirely about evening-up techs, which is great if you are behind in techs and not if you aren't.
    Oh, the vast majority of 'plots' were baseless... which didn't stop them being diplo boosts with the civ you informed about them. I stopped caring whether they were ridiculous or not and just used them to score points. It seemed weak and artificial. Out of about two dozen messages that Civ (pick one) was on their way to attack Civ (pick another one) I saw exactly one that actually happened. I have no idea whether the civs planned something and changed their minds or whether intel was randomly generated, but the accuracy failure made it all a bit ********.. And Dido plotting against a civ she had barely any contact with when she was about to have her last city extinguished by someone else was just completely silly.
     
  2. Princeofnigeria

    Princeofnigeria The illustrious

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    Eh, I play half and half with espionage, and can't figure out where I stand. When I play with it I tend to get frustrated and declare war on general principle (same guy fails to steal my tech 5 times... And keeps saying how sorry he is... F- U!). When I don't play with it the game feels like it's... Missing something. It's rather annoying.
     
  3. Clause

    Clause Chieftain

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    espionage is the only way to catching up with deity AI since GS nerf. As for coup, yeah AI did it better than us, also I've a lot of experienced failed coup at rate 80%-90% damnn... hurt.
     
  4. Bead

    Bead Chieftain

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    I think the worse part is, as someone else mentioned was, no matter what level counter intelligence spy you have and how many anti-spy building you have,it doesn't really stop them. They are just a waste of hammers and upkeep. The great firewall I guess works but any time I have built it the game just stops trying to steal from me anyway, or maybe the game just ends before I can see how it would work.
     
  5. Chomes99

    Chomes99 Chieftain

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    I almost never build police stations etc, mostly because I rarely have a significant tech lead, I dont think it is a worth the price. I would rather focus on production or culture than protecting a tech lead. I know a lot of you think tech is the most important thing in the game, but if you are about equal in tech with your enemies, then you have nothing to worry about. If you are slightly behind, then you can catch up with stealing techs.

    Some of you think that it is unfair that there is almost no defense against stealing techs. Think about the real world and how easy it is to steal technology, you'd have to be a very closed off society to have any chance of protecting any technologies that aren't cutting edge. Think about how often the Chinese get away with industrial espionage in Canada and in the USA. It happens all the time and all our governents say is that we need them to buy our exports. You just have to accept it
     
  6. alysenne

    alysenne Chieftain

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    I've been playing a new game to see if I can cope with espionage better, now that I'm more familiar with it.

    I can deal with tech stealing. For the most part, it's only the losing civilizations who can steal from me, so it's not too bad. The randomness still annoys me, though. I can see that it would be helpful if I'm behind in tech.

    It's great being able to look into AI cities and past the fog of war. Not sure how helpful uncovering schemes is yet, but it's potentially a cool feature.

    But the coups. I still hate them with a passion. HATE. HATE. My playstyle is heavy CS and constantly losing 100+ relations is ruining me. I don't have anywhere enough spies to counter.

    I can understand if the spies reduced my relationship by maybe 25 or something. That still hundreds of gold. But right now, the spies can drop it by 80+, 100+. That's fricking ridiculous.

    So no espionage for me.

    I might look into modding out coups, but not sure I can do it properly so the AI's know to stop wasting spies on it.
     
  7. Smokeybear

    Smokeybear Emperor

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    Agree wholeheartedly on all points. While coups seem to have moderated slightly since the last patch, if I am tech leader, I still lose scads of techs to spies regardless of how well I defend against them. And on the flip side, when I try to steal techs anymore, I lose my first spies probably 75% of the time, now. If you don't get a successful tech steal under your spy's belt right off, and they get killed, you seem to rapidly fall behind the curve with your following spies, and be even less likely to get a successful steal with them. Then your spies are pretty much relegated to rigging elections- lame. Non-spy games are always more fun and result in less hair loss, overall.
     
  8. Smokeybear

    Smokeybear Emperor

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    Nice encapsulation of the incredulity of much of the CiV AI decision-making system. There are few if any logical counterbalancing factors to moderate such ridiculous choices that any civ can make at any time, regardless of how utterly stupid and unimaginable some of those choices may be.
     
  9. whyidie

    whyidie Emperor

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    With such critique, one would think you didn't enjoy the game.

    Regardless, I find Civ realistically mimicks the illogical, incredulous, ridiculous, stupid, and utterly real world decisions humans make.

    While it took me awhile to warm up to it, glad they added espionage.
     
  10. Smokeybear

    Smokeybear Emperor

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    I love the game. But the ridiculously poorly done parts, I critique with gusto. As for CiV AI decisions realistically mimicking RL, only up to a point. But once you encounter the frequent examples like I and the poster I was discussing this with were pointing out, you just have to shake your head and say "nope".
     
  11. Bex

    Bex Chieftain

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    I've been playing Civ since the original. I still think it's the best strategy game ever. Still, there is room for criticism, why not? The fact the designers allow you to select 'no espionage' suggests they knew it would not be universally adored.

    Yes there are "illogical, incredulous, ridiculous, stupid" decisions made by real world leaders but not comparable to what happens in Civ IMO. It broke immersion. I was really looking forward to espionage, but I don't think they did a great job with it and I think it needs to be tweaked.
     
  12. Matches

    Matches Chieftain

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    Espionage to me seems too simple and sudden. Send a spy into a city, wait a while and then suddenly, boom, technology stolen. Send a guy into a CS, wait a while and then boom, influence increases (under the guise of "rigging elections").

    I would rather prefer these effects to be a little bit more dynamic, based on how much a player chooses to invest in espionage. Instead of "rigging elections", which cause an immediate boost or drop in influence, why not have it be a function of bleeding influence away from one civilization towards another, with the amount of transfer being dependent on the spy's ability level, and perhaps the amount of espionage buildings built.

    Same with science stealing. Instead of suddenly gaining a tech, I would much prefer the mechanism be that the spy is stealing individual beakers per tern, which go towards whatever tech the target civilization is researching, perhaps.
     
  13. whyidie

    whyidie Emperor

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    On both points I agree! You'd had "this great thing happened" posts which have furthered my enjoyment of the game.


    Can't really argue with these statements either. For me I can rationalize the AI's behavior. Doesn't work for you guys and I accept that.


    I'm all for criticism, its the gusto which borders on hyperbole that can get tiresome. Too much of it detracts from the point and leaves less room for constructive discussion.
     
  14. Dogmouth

    Dogmouth King

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    I don't turn it off, but I'm not a fan of the system. Espionage adds an unwelcome dose of randomness to a CS diplomacy system that was just starting to become interesting (with more and better missions, religion, and the AI more willing to spend gold). What is fun about getting 1 coup a turn split between 5 CSs that you're trying to develop? It takes a lot of micromanaging and social policy investment to get a solid CS network. To have that taken away by coup-coup-coup-coup-coup is annoying, and it makes the patronage tree into a casino game (maybe it works out well and you win, or maybe constant coups make your influence bonuses irrelevant). Yes, I can stick my own spies in the CS to limit the coup chance, but that doesn't seem to work very well and you don't get enough spies to make much of a differense.
     
  15. K25th

    K25th Chieftain

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    Im new to civ but i'd like to share a few things.

    My highest difficulty is currently Prince. I've had it bad with espionage in lower dif cause i was always on the lead, so i tried to avoid that now. I usually rush the tech that'll lead to a wonder that most benefit my civ base on the enviroment (ie rush Petra if there're a lot of desert tiles) then i research lower tech to improve tiles or weapon tech if my army is not up with time.

    Then I wait for the Ai to reach Renassaince 1st and imediately put a spy in a civ that has been most hostile towards me. My spy will steal a tech (that im missing from them) in about 15 turns and will be leveled up to recruit agent, then i'll either leave him there or move him to a more advance civ and keep stealing and ignore defending my city almost completely so he'll turn in to a special Agent in no time.

    I only build Constabulary/ Police Station in cities with 5 star rates, and have them up in the other cities when i have all the more impotant buidings up first.

    In 2 of my more successful games in Prince i found that i dont even need to put spies on defense in my city anymore because the Ai are too busy rigging and couping CS. And i tend to keep the CS that is most closed to me for defend against invading force than those far away so i usually end up with just 2-3 allied CS.

    So the Espionage system will be less annoying and more useful as you move up the difficulty ladder.
     
  16. adwcta

    adwcta King

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    Wow, so much spy hate.

    I don't think it's a terribly efficient system, but there's something in it for everyone.

    1. If you are tech leader, you have more spies than your opponents, this means you can actually do MORE with the system than your opponents. So, while you may be losing tech, the system actually favors the tech leader. This is especially true because human players tend to beeline for certain techs, or just to get to the next era for city state bonuses anyway (counterbalanced by higher faith costs).

    2. Do people not care what the AI is doing? Spying doesn't help the AI, they already know what you're doing, and what they don't know is in your head and so they CANT get this information. You, on the other hand, can. E.g. a AI that spies on you can never get a diplo advantage by sharing what it learns about you with another civ. You, the human player, not only CAN do this, but you can also learn things like what the civ is producing that helps you make intelligent decisions. When you are tech leader, you are usually just worried about really unexpected things happening, because otherwise, you are naturally going to win. The spy system lets you keep tabs on your opponents much easier and more effectively than otherwise (even without them actually finding out the AI's plans).

    3. Are people actually complaining about city state coups? It's just about the only way AIs stay competitive with you and city states. It brings balance so you can't hold onto the entire map of city states for the entire game with minimal effort. Yeah, it's a bit random (literally, it's a random % chance), but their chance drops to close to 0 if their influence isn't high enough, so it gives more value to the patronage tree closer. Want to prevent coups? Have around 200 influence in each city state. You won't get couped. City states severely favor the human player, and at the very least this semi-corrects for the bad AI. Let's face it, you're playing above Prince difficulty because you recognize that the game is no fun unless the AI gets advantages to stay competitive, because it sucks at so many things. City state control is one of the most glaring holes in the AI's game, so anything that helps them in that regard is welcomed in my book. Coups dont' so much as screw you over, as they balance out what the AI is unable to otherwise accomplish (that a human opponent would)... in the same way the AI gets production, happiness, research, and gold bonuses. If you want a balanced system, play on prince and beg for better AI. If you've accepted that the AI needs help, then why complain about this? (this system where objectively, the AI actually gets no bonuses, but is just a structural change that makes it harder for everyone to control large #s of city states).
     
  17. Matthew.

    Matthew. Deity

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    It is funny that there are complaints about getting techs stolen, since that is exactly how the system was designed. Consider that the game is all about science and tech level. Once one Civ gets ahead, it is near impossible for another to "catch-up". Spies exist to keep the game close, keep it challenging, because challenging maintains interest and fun.

    And it isn't that bad in the big picture. Yeah, the advantage is always in the one spying since they have nothing to lose and everything to gain, but later techs become very long to steal (especially with anti-spy buildings and ranks). Is it really that big of a deal if someone steals machinery when you are researching Radio? You still have a larger base science per turn so they will never pass you up until they catch up in other areas of the game.

    It makes sense from a practical perspective too. If another country is using technology you don't have you either get it through friendly means (research agreements) or through not-so-friendly means (stealing).

    All that said, of course no one cares how you play. If you don't want spies, don't have spies. I just wanted to point out that while it sucks getting stuff stolen from you--even in a video game by AI, I think in the big picture it actually enhances the overall experience. The game becomes boring real quickly once you have too much of a massive lead; spies help slow that time down to keep interest up longer.
     

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