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Espionage is not fun?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by avl8, Nov 5, 2016.

  1. avl8

    avl8 Prince

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    Guys, I seriously dont understand the idea behind espionage mechanics. Its probably me, who dont understand it, or its a flawed game design.

    First, training spies costs A LOT. Base cost is like a district (300 hammers on standart speed), then each next spy will cost even more, like +100 hammers per spy. You can lower building time by adopting a renaissance civic, but its still a very long process (10+ turns on standart speed in a high production city).
    And it seems that military city-state bonuses to build units and encampment bonuses to production doesnt help.

    Second, spies die and they die randomly and often. So, you train spy, invest A LOT, then you lose him on a 74% success mission. You are lucky if they capture your spy, at least you can offer some gold to get him back. But if they die, you need A LOT + 100 hammers to get a replacement.

    Third, spies offer mediocre benefits for you. You can risk and try to get some cash (180-300gold on standart speed), which is a really bad deal by the time you develop spies. And if you fail, you lose A LOT! You can risk even more and try to snatch some great work. But the chances are miserable and again, if you lose, its GGTHXBYE 300-500 hammers. Oh, and you can simply buy these great works with gold by trading.

    Fourth, there are so few options to enhance espionage actions. Yes, you can increase production rate by 50% (still 10+ turns on standart speed in a high production city). Yes, their missions can be faster (6 turns instead of 10? on standart speed). Yes, very late in the game you can also get some bonuses if you hunt eurekas. And you can invest some time to boost a spy so he can act as a spy 2 levels higher (what is it?), but then they still gonna die, no matter how much levels they got.

    And finally, AI will always know that you are spying on them. Which is really bad game design desicion as I see it. In Civ5 there was a rather high chance that AI wont know whos sending spies. But here, in Civ6 they always come to you, complain, and you get -influence with them. It seems that spies just come to town and say "hello, im a french spy!" to everyone...

    Ah, you can send spies on counterespionage mission. But you have to choose a city, then choose a district and then you still get a chance that enemy will still do damage. So if they move their spies, you have no control over where to guard your own cities.

    Guys, let me know if Im missing some important features or facts about current espionage system. At the moment its pretty raw and flawed in my opinion.
     
  2. Sascha77

    Sascha77 Prince

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    Not sure about that one.. in my last game I was constantly siphoning funds from Vicky and got away with it five or six times in a row.

    Other than that I agree that the spy-system has some weird mechanics built into it now. Why do I have to renew my counterspies' assignments every 10 turns or so? Why does production take such an insane amount of time?

    I much preferred Civ V's system where spies would stay on their mission until you assigned them a new one. That way you could leave spying alone if you wanted to. This constant baby-sitting of my spies (especially counter-spies) is annoying the hell out of me. At least add a button to "leave counter-spy on this mission until further notice" or something.


    S.
     
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  3. Timally

    Timally Chieftain

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    Jul 23, 2012
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    As you mention, spies are expensive. You have to take care of them. They also get promoted easily, so use that. First develop sources, which gives you less chance of getting caught. Then do a listening post, after this you should get you a promotion. Then promote something to help you get away or increase your chances of success. After a couple promotions your chances of being caught decrease. When the sources boost runs out, do it again.

    Enemy can't see spies until after the mission..and may not know where they came from if they are good.
     
  4. TruthfulCake

    TruthfulCake Prince

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    I have to disagree with the OP. Spies have been a great fun in my games. Unlike in Civ 5, where you can't control the creation of spies (and thus your investment in the espionage game), it was assign and forget, basically. They would proceed to be useless for tens of turns before finally rolling a die on whether or not they will get to perform their only function.

    The diplomatic visibility that spies provide you this game is just one of the things that makes espionage so much better now. You get to sabotage many aspects of an opposing civilization, and their scope of operations factor in the decision-making when planning districts. On top of the tech stealing that was in Civ 5 (and it's now much less time consuming too!), you get to siphon funds, destroy factories, steal works of art, and even stop science victory. And if you don't want them to bear the risk of dying or getting caught? Assign them to an enemy city and just let them sleep there. Permanent visibility on what the enemy is doing. As how it should be when you send spies.

    Finally, all the individual spies are different this game thanks to the many promotion paths, instead of the flat 3-rank system in Civ 5. How and where to use your spies is now a very fun thing to figure out. Definitely more layers than the flowchart in Civ 5 (assign to capital if ahead in tech, then assign to city states, otherwise assign to the capital with the highest science).
     
    avl8 likes this.
  5. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I like this espionage system infinitely better than the Civ5 system, but it definitely has its flaws. I do agree spies are somewhat too expensive to train, but then again, production cost needs tweaking all over the board. Secondly, I find the fact that sabotage missions destroy ALL buildings in a district rather frustrating. AI spies *love* to sabotage industrial districts - and I understand that, it's a great strategy - but I think it would be a little less frustrating if only some of the buildings were destroyed (or a random number between one building and all buildings). Thirdly, I think counterespionage is somewhat underpowered. The fact that a spy only protects the district it sits in and the surrounding districts, and not all districts belonging to the same city, means you'll generally have to invest two or three spies to protect just your capital, and then they start working in satellite cities also. I think one spy covering all districts in the city would be more reasonably (although again, if production cost is scaled down, I think it would be less of a nuisance to have to invest so many spies in counterespionage).

    What I do like about the system is: 1) You don't get spies for free, but are limited same way as caravans. 2) You can capture - and keep/sell - enemy spies. Great! 3) Spies have different missions with different success rates - that seems rather balanced. 4) Spies can earn promotions, although I do miss some buildings to give them starting promotions (expansion pack district?). All these things were things I had directly wished for in Civ6, so glad to see that this made the cut.
     
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  6. criZp

    criZp Emperor

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    What I dont understand is when you pick a mission the game tells you like "3% chance to get captured/killed"

    And then, after you have done the mission, you get various escape options like "by foot", "by boat" etc.

    The escape options give different chance of succcessful escape, where "by foot" is the most likely one.

    This means that the chance to get captured/killed is not 3% after all, because the chance can't be 3% and at the same time be a variable like it is before you choose your escape route. The game seems to be outright lying.
     
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  7. fubi

    fubi Chieftain

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    I agree the whole system isn't that fun to interact with, but at the same time spies can be effective and beneficial. In my latest Immortal game I built a spy as soon as I unlocked a slot, and started leveling them up early. They stole quite a bit of gold and, more importantly, got me nearly every Eureka for late game Atomic/Information Tech. Things like the randomness, notification and assignment UIs, and counterspying could use some improvement though.
     
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  8. TruthfulCake

    TruthfulCake Prince

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    The 3% is the chance of getting captured/killed. It seems that whether the spy is captured or killed is fifty-fifty, although in later eras I find that they get killed less and captured more, perhaps reflecting how treatment of human lives evolved with time. As for the escape options, sometimes your spy can successfully complete a mission AND get spotted. If the spy manages to escape with its loot, you get whatever it stole. Otherwise you lose it. So by foot is always the safest and therefore best option, unless you are in a rush.
     
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  9. kampori

    kampori Warlord

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    Agreed I don't find espionage fun at all. What's worse is the AI is obsessed with it. So I have to keep 3+ spies around, usually counterspying my industrial zones.
    Having to redeploy then every 10-or-so turns is awfully tedious.

    However
    My smallest city, which is quite high production but nothing special, can build spies in 5-7 turns.
     
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  10. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Agreed, this design feature is horrible and is what annoys me the most about it. Just leave the spy in place until I select him and give him orders to do otherwise - PLEASE!
     
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  11. bladex

    bladex Emperor

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    let them spy on you when you capture their spies you can ransom them back for big $ or stuff YOU want :p
     
  12. smartcanuck1988

    smartcanuck1988 Warlord

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    I miss being able to send spies to city states to mess with their influence that way.
     
  13. Amrunril

    Amrunril Emperor

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    I think you have some valid complaints, but most of them seem like they're related to balance and tuning (on that note I'd say it's actually to easy to get high probability great work heists and that the AI focuses disproportionately on you capital's industrial zone). In terms of underlying design and mechanics, I like this version of espionage far better than any previous edition's.
     
  14. RealHuhn

    RealHuhn Emperor

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    The easiest way to level up a new spy is sending him into a small city (where the AI doesn't have counter spies) and let him siphon funds. With promotions spies get a lot more useful. If you have a few promoted spies and one spy with the quartermaster upgrade at home, they become almost unstoppable. Odds are usually at 80-90% at that point. Later you can use new spies for counter spying and get some easy level ups.

    And no, the AIs don't know that you are spying on them unless one of your spies gets caught.
     
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  15. ProMeTheus112

    ProMeTheus112 Warlord

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    Personally I think random things like this are better off having a low enough loss/reward potential with regard to the things that aren't random.
     
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  16. Magil

    Magil Monarch

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    Personally I rather like spies as they are implemented. Aside from needing to reassign counterspies every few turns (there's an abort mission button on the spy if you click them... so there's no reason the mission shouldn't be indefinite), I've had a lot of success and fun utilizing spies to mess with the AI, particularly on higher difficulty levels when playing peacefully. Note that the spy-related policies that help you build spies faster and give them extra levels go in diplomatic policy slots, which I find to be the weakest slots. Slotting these policies in to boost your spies is often for me the way to go.
     
  17. Hawaiian

    Hawaiian Sage

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    A better UI for renewing counterspying would be great. Digging through endless menus just to try and get your spy to stay in the same place to counterspy every 10 turns is a pain. I'm sure they'll fix that sometime though.
     
  18. Takfloyd

    Takfloyd Prince

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    Yeah, OP clearly just doesn't know how to use spies. They are very powerful, especially when promoted and used in combination.

    You should never do a mission without leveling up the spy first, which OP clearly hasn't done. At late game, I was raking in 3000+ gold every 8 turns from my promoted spies and a spy at home with the promotion that levels up spies abroad, with nearly a 100% chance of success. And that was without any Civics. And once the AI starts building their spaceports? Spies are essential.

    The only problem with spies at the moment is having to reassign counterspies all the time. They should just be permanently in counterspy mode until you click them and wake them, like a fortified unit.
     
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