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[R&F] Everything that is wrong about the AI obsession with capturing CS in two images

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by leandrombraz, May 23, 2018.

  1. leandrombraz

    leandrombraz Emperor

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    I just liberated Brussels, which was captured in that first genocide of CSs that happen in early game. John Curtin, true to his agenda, told me that "We share a common interest in protecting those who cannot protect himself". Next turn:
    20180523131112_1.jpg
    A leader acting against his own agenda right after he congratulated me for liberating a city, conquering another CS that I liberated earlier from Tomyris (may her soul rest in peace). I can't do anything because there's no option to act when an Ally do that against one of your Suzerain, not that it would matter, he is conquering a city that he can't possibly keep because of loyalty. Everything is wrong in that action.


    Anyway, Brussels is free from Jayavarman's grasp, Toronto will conquer its own freedom, I'm liberating Granada and what is this nonsense?

    20180523185813_1.jpg

    That's right, the AI obsession attacks again. My recently liberated suzerain is being attacked by my recently renewed ally and there's nothing I can do about it. He also can't possibly hope to keep the city because of loyalty but this time it will go back to Jayavarman, so all my effort was for nothing.


    This game need desperately:

    - Huge reduction on the AI willingness to attack CS. Increasing their defense didn't do the trick and imo it's the wrong approach. The AI need to value keeping CSs alive.

    - A leader agenda/personality should define how willing he is to attack a CS. John Curtin shouldn't be so trigger happy against CSs.

    - We need a mechanic that allow us to do something to protect our suzerain from Allies. Either that our suzerain CSs should be part of the alliance. Allies can't declare war on it and maybe get a minor bonus for each CS we got to make it valuable.

    - AI need to stop attacking cities that they barely have influence over.
     
  2. Eliminator_Sr

    Eliminator_Sr Prince

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    Yeah this kind of stuff is really immersion breaking. I doubt it's easy to fix but I agree they should have put some more thought into these interactions.
     
    nzcamel likes this.
  3. Disgustipated

    Disgustipated Deity

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    Yeah would love to see CS part of the friendship alliance and un-attackable.
     
  4. Banazir864

    Banazir864 Warlord

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    This is especially bad because historically, the whole reason why an independent group would voluntarily take a suzerain is for protection from others. If you can't protect your vassals, what kind of suzerain are you?

    IMO, they should add the following rules:
    1. You can't declare war on a CS that an ally is suzerain of.
    2. If a Civ declares war on a CS that you're the suzerain of, you get a call to arms from the CS and can join on the defending side (ideally, there'd be some penalty for refusing the call to arms, such as a loss of envoys with that CS).

    If you become suzerain of a CS that is already under attack (even by an ally), nothing happens (otherwise mid-war suzerainty switches could be too annoying). And of course the AI should take this into consideration and not attack a CS unless they were willing to go to war with it's suzerain (so things like your strength and their relationship with you would be taken into account).
     
    tzu, Prester John 2, King Rad and 7 others like this.
  5. Vandlys

    Vandlys Prince

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    We need to be able to claim they are our protectorates, without it being linked to suzerain status, and regardless of people being allies or not. Otherwise people can, in their turn, put in an envoy to break suzerain status, and attack. An attack on a city state that is your protectorate should immediately be a DOW on you too. The times I had someone attack a city state I was suzerain of, even, without any recompense, is ridiculous.
     
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  6. TomKQT

    TomKQT Prince

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    I've never captured a single city-state (in Civ6), so I wouldn't really be even against an extreme solution - city states cannot be captured by force.
    There maybe could be some other effect of a successful attack of a city state, something like everyone else loosing all envoys and you being automatically the suzerain for some number of turns.
     
  7. Chefofrats

    Chefofrats Prince

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    That would not make sense. Sometimes capturing a CS is the only way to expand your borders. It also makes sense to capture a CS when your enemy is its suzerain, the CS bonus is powerful and you can't out-envoy the rival AI civ.

    Obviously though it should not be possible to attack a CS whose suzerain is your friend or ally. There should also be some cooling-off period after the friendship declaration ends. Say, 10 turns?
     
    Sansa_Stark, acluewithout and nzcamel like this.
  8. Rambo919

    Rambo919 Warlord

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    How bout just "regessing" to declaring war on a CS being declaring war on it's suzerain?
     
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  9. pietro1990

    pietro1990 Prince

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    There are no personalities in this game. In civ 5 certain leaders had a high flavor for atacking city states while others have a low value. For example atilla would atack them a lot while siam would protect them..

    In civ 6 there are no flavors and thats the issue thats why you have so much wierd AI behavior that goes against their agenda.
     
    Civrinn, Trav'ling Canuck and AlannaT like this.
  10. gozpel

    gozpel Couch-potato (fortified)

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    The problem is not about flavours of the civs, it's that CS can't defend themselves early. Just give them more units from the start so they survive until their walls are up, then the matter would be less of an issue. I really hate CS go on turn 20-30, when their walls "normally" are up at turn 40.

    If they survive, they can be a pain in backside or a great ally. I have seen CS mustering 20+ units in the medieval era, I especially notice this when they are attacking me, haha. :)
     
  11. Art Morte

    Art Morte Prince

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    There are too many factors involved for this game's AI to be able to act sensibly on this CS matter. Diplomacy and loyalty concerns go out of the window when the AI decides whether or not attack a CS.
     
    tzu likes this.
  12. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Deity

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    I agree that there needs to be some sort of diplomatic protection you can offer city-states. "Suzerainty" is currently a meaningless term and it's absurd that you have to wait for a CS you have invested in to fall before you can intervene.

    I also agree that AI leaders who have a stated agenda to protect city-states should be absolutely opposed to conquering them.

    But the way a lot of people are talking, it seems that some people would like city-states to be an almost untouchable diplomatic entity, and any conqueror an immediately tarnished war criminal. This is absurd. Taking city-states is an important and useful tactic available to the player, and therefore needs to be available to the AI too. Hard-wiring every computer opponent to be opposed to CS conquest is just hamstringing the AI.

    On the one hand you see common criticism that the AI doesn't play the game very well, and then you see people also criticising the AI for being "too willing" to take CS, something that human players do all the time. If the city-state is in your immediate starting vicinity, it makes sense to conquer it. If the city-state has constructed a district you like, it makes sense to conquer it. If the city-state has a suzerain bonus that is no use to you, and potentially a boon to the AI, it makes sense to conquer it. Part of the role of city-states, whether you like it or not, is to provide players (human or AI) an opportunity for conquest with a smaller logistical and diplomatic cost. It's part of the game, and stacking ever more bonuses on city-states to make them unconquerable isn't going to improve anything.
     
    tzu, Prester John 2, MrRadar and 3 others like this.
  13. AlannaT

    AlannaT Chieftain

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    You took the words right out of my mouth!

    My proposition / my selection of changes proposed by others:
    • Give city states units the same combat bonus the AI gets from the chosen difficulty.
    • Give city states more starting military - maybe 1-2 warriors less than the AI gets. So it again scales with difficulty.
    • When a city state is liberated it immediately unlocks techs and civics appropiate for the world era. For example during Industrial the first half of all techs and civics of that era and all previous ones.
    • When a city state is liberated it automatically gets era appropiate walls / defenses with full health.
    • Reintroduce unit gifting. The suzerain may gift a city state units by moving a unit into the city states territory and gifting it. (I guess some cap is needed like a CS can only have a total of X units and / or you can only gift 1 unit per turn.)
    • Introduce differing likeliness to attack city states for AI civs, where very few civs never attack, most civs only attack if the CS blocks their expansion and other civs attack whenever they want.
    • Reintroduce declarations of protection which are independent of suzerainity and result in an automatic declaration of war if the CS is attacked. This should be easier for the AI to evaluate because then a war against a CS guarantees a war against its protector while right now a suzerain might interfere or might not which is much harder to calculate with. (Maybe a declaration of protection should by worth 1 envoy?)
    • Prevent allies from declaring war against city states their ally is suzerain of.
    • Declaring war on any CS should result in the loss of 1 envoy in every other CS.
    • (Refine the AI's decision process to a) take diplomatic relation to and military strength of the CS's suzerain into account, b) consider their number of envoys (I feel like right now they are either suzerain or not and they don't care if they have 10 enjoys somewhere or just 1) and c) value attack a lot less if they won't be able to hold the CS due loyalty.)

    I am against making CS kind of invulnerable with free walls, nearly free unit production etc. But I am even more against programming all AI to not attack CS while the human is still free and capable of doing just that. I do think that the list above represents a middle ground where CS get stronger but not undefeatable, where liberating them is worth it, where DOWing CS carries higher opportunity costs and where more tools are available to prevent or discourage city state conquests.

    Right now the state of the game is rather frustrating. I am (kinda) able to accept that 50-75 % of all city states are captured within the first two eras as part of the war rewarding early game. I can't really intervene then because I either haven't met the CS or I am too far away or I am still playing catch-up and am in no position to protect someone. But what I cannot accept that liberating city states later on is absolutely pointless unless I commit fullheartedly to their protection from now on. Every liberated CS that is even remotely close to another civ gets DOW'd a turn or two after liberation by friends and foes alike, it doesn't matter. And with no walls, no units and techs from 2000 years ago they can't defend themselves at all. And those 25-50% of CS that survived the Ancient onslaught are not much better of. There seems to be a second wave of CS attacks around the late Renaissance where even those CS that prospered are suddenly considered valuable targets - diplomatic penalties and potential Protectorate Wars be damned.
     
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  14. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    Lots of great ideas here. For me, the three that I prefer are:
    • You can't attack a City State with a Suzerain without going to war with it's Suzerain
    • The AI Civs have a relative preference for attacking or protecting City States based on their agendas.
    • Sending a Trade Route to a City State and having a large army near a City State give automatic free Envoys, so that it is easier to become the Suzerain of bordering City States (compensating protective AIs for not attacking)
    The idea I don't support is the idea that giving the City States more military or free walls will solve the problems. If a major Civ cannot defeat a City State, then the AI will never be able to pose a threat at war. You can't give a City State enough free stuff to bring them up to par with the major Civs. Once a major Civ decides to attack a City State, if another major Civ doesn't step in then that should be game over for the City State, and the only question is how much damage they inflict on their way out. I don't want to rely on the AI's incompetence at war to allow City States to survive. I want the AI to be good at war and for there to be other game mechanics that encourage City State survival.

    EDIT: Also, if a City State without a Suzerain is attacked, it should put out a call for help. Any major Civs declaring war on their attacker should get some bonus Envoys, which obviously are only of value if the City State survives.
     
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  15. Aldor

    Aldor King

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    IMO it would also help to make "Levy Military" a lot less expensive. Being able to control the city states defense would help a lot, I think :) I can count on one hand (in many, many games) how often I have used that function though, it is just too expensive, especially early in the game.
     
  16. eleven11

    eleven11 Warlord

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    Just want to voice support that this is one of the most annoying things about the AI. If that were my game I would immediately DoW Australia and burn him to the ground. He is one of the worst hypocritical AI.

    John Curtain: Yes, I'm all about maintaining peace and standing up for the little guy! Right after I annex these 4 city states. Oh, and screw you for declaring War because you responded to an Emergency.
     
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  17. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    It's worse than that. If you levy the City State's units, they become your units, not the City State's. If you're not at war with the aggressor, then those units can't protect their City State, unless you can form them into a complete circle around the City State. Then they form a perfect defence, as the aggressor can't go through them to attack the City State without declaring war on you first.

    It's a rather silly system, to my mind. :crazyeye:
     
  18. UWHabs

    UWHabs Deity

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    Yeah, I think this makes some sense, although not as much a fan of the 3rd point. Maybe that should be a simple "if you have an active trade route with a CS, that counts as 1(2?) envoy(s)". So basically you can be at 0, send a trade route and Amani, and then you're automatically at 3. But if the trade route ends and you move Amani, then it's back to 0.

    And yes, having a "call to arms" is a neat mechanism. Probably that should come in as an emergency - someone has attacked a city-state without a suzerain. Although I guess that's similar to the "liberate the city-state" emergency, but I wouldn't mind being able to react before it gets conquered and I lose all my envoys there.
     
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  19. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Deity

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    That's an even better idea, that you get bonus envoys when you have an active trade route to the City State.
     
  20. Tech Osen

    Tech Osen Emperor

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    And it is even worse than that: if you levy the units and one turn later someone takes over suzerain you loose control of the units right away, and nope, no refund.
     
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