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Early CS friends/allies too good?

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by crdvis16, Mar 5, 2020.

  1. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    Question- are CS friends/allies TOO good in the early game?

    I frequently find that my early game becomes significantly easier or more explosive if I happen to get lucky with some early CS quests. The luck is in what quests become available and the skill, I suppose, is in being able to complete them. The quest rewards themselves usually feel appropriate but the yields from influence level seem overly strong early on. Culture and faith seem especially over tuned- they can give a huge amount relative to your normal output for two yields that are extremely important early on. Science in conjunction with free military also feels a bit overboard. Food is strong but maybe less crazy while happiness/gold feel much weaker than the others usually (but maybe the others are just too high). I can't help feeling that these very large yields are somewhat just luck in many cases.

    I'd personally be in favor of CS friend/allies giving significantly less yields in the early and mid game- like half of what they currently give for culture, faith, and science as well as slightly less food maybe. I think the yields in the late game are at a good level, though, as they supplement your normal yield output at that point rather than being a huge fraction.
     
  2. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I have been thinking the same thing, especially in regards to culture CS. It is quite possible to get 50% or more early culture from a couple of culture CS.

    Although frankly, the more I play the more I feel that CS management is critical for most of the game. The chancery bonus is amazing, you should at least make friends with every CS you possibly can. Otherwise, you are really denying yourself bonuses. I also thinking this is a big X factor in happiness. If the AIs have a lot of CS friends and you don't, that's going to affect your yields and your happiness.
     
    vyyt and CrazyG like this.
  3. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    I am more inclined to knock down the amount of influence that quests give and adjust other influence amounts as well before adjusting the per-turn gifts from CS (while quests rewards that aren't influence I almost think of as a completely different category). Here's some concrete thoughts.

    1. Clearing a barb camp often yields 20-30 influence. I like this as a base value for the beginning of the game for quests generally, because it offers some influence, but not enough to become a friend - you'd need to put in some extra effort to secure the friendship at least if not an alliance (another Quest, kill barb, gift a unit, or use a Diplomat).

    2. The easiest top-up early-on is gifting a unit, but this has sucked for some time. I like our current general idea of decreasing influence with higher CS units, but it shouldn't be as punishing as it is. I'd say the value should start at 15 and only begin to decrease from there after the CS has 4 units or so. So if you clear a barb camp, you can donate units to keep your alliance - but it won't work forever (besides the costliness of the production investment).

    3. Early diplomatic units are too strong. I'd prefer a starting influence like in the early days of VP of about 35. Our current system of instant alliance just seems too extreme if you ask me. This way, the Diplomat needs to be strategically aimed at "topping up" a CS from another Quest to secure it. Or in other words, you are working and labouring for every CS.

    4. A completely different possibility would be to simply increase the amount of influence needed to be friends or Allies (like 60 and 120, for example), or to make alliances impossible unless you are at least doubling the second-place contender's influence. Taking this route, I think you'd see a notable decrease in early-game per-turn yields without actually removing the he possibility of acquiring them through meaningful effort and investment.
     
    CrazyG likes this.
  4. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    I've noticed this sort of thing. Sometimes a start looks terrible, but you have two friendly culture CS nearby who target the same barb camp, and suddenly its pretty good.

    Or a capital position looks great, but your continent has a bunch of happiness city states, or all the CS are hostile, and over the course of the game the impact is huge.

    Early on emissaries are amazing, and they become a lot less affordable by the medieval and renaissance eras. Maybe a higher base cost but slightly slower scaling would be a good addition.
     
    Heinz_Guderian and Omen of Peace like this.
  5. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Personally quests that don't give enough influence for a friendship I don't much care for. The barb camp is fine because I'm getting GG points, but a lot of the other ones I only actively do if it snags me a friendship. That said, I agree that emissaries are really good when they first come out, but then scaling is brutal towards the mid to late game.
     
  6. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I also wonder if this might partly lead to higher variance in AI performance. If an AI gets lucky and snags some cheap early allies they can often snowball from there, perhaps beyond what that difficulty level would normally produce.

    So in the same way that some luck with a player's start can net them some early alliances and snowball, you also have cases of AI snowballs. Both forms of variance make difficulty more spikey rather than consistent.

    Lowering influence rewards for quests and diplo units as suggested does seem like another possible way to tackle the issue and I'm open to going that route as well. Or maybe a combination of both strategies (so also lowering the yield rewards from friend/ally some). Either way would presumably cut down on some of the variance you get and maybe help smooth out the difficulty levels somewhat and that's the important part in my mind.
     
  7. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    Culture CSs could definitely use a drop in bonuses, they're a bit too potent.
     
    vyyt and SwirlSlayer like this.
  8. Arthur Jama

    Arthur Jama Chieftain

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    Yes, pre-religion bonuses from religious city states are pretty significant too, but feel irrelevant in the late game, perhaps we could dilute the bonus faith with other bonuses that are actually useful in the late game like tourism, religious pressure or even reduced unhappiness from specialists.
     
  9. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Phoenicia needed a nerf, so a nerf to early CS allies fits my designs perfectly.

    As long as they are still useful enough to be a viable boost before the WC.
     
  10. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I like the idea of increased pressure, though that also doesn't have a lot of late game scale.

    What if we went a bit more exotic, could those allies count as one more vote than a normal CS?
     
    Arthur Jama likes this.
  11. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    nO nEW fEaTuReS 0_o
     

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