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Excellent diplomacy analysis just popped-up on the 2k forums of Civ5

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by gecos, Apr 21, 2011.

  1. crashcrush

    crashcrush Chieftain

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    I've been having some more success on the diplo front the last couple games (on Emperor). Some of the things I've noticed:

    1. Giving back workers never hurts, but I've not had it be the magic bullet mentioned earlier in the thread.

    2. The biggest indicator of where a civ's attitudeis going to go is how much you give in to their requests. If Washington asks you for that extra spice you have, and you say yes, you are well on your way to a friend for life. If you say no he's not going to declare war on you, but it is a first strike.

    3. It seems like you can get away with declining to help out in a war if you are on good relations, but decline a couple times and you're definitely going to fall off the BFF list. That's where the "cold war" technique comes into play, where you declare war on a civilization that is distant and that you are unlikely to ever actually have to engage, then take peace at first opportunity.

    4. Denouncements from "friendlies" - this one actually is more a case of me rethinking what a "denouncement" means. Originally I thought of it as a "You're a scum sucking pig and I hate you and I'm going to tell everyone you smell." But, I think it could also be interpreted as "You consistently refuse my requests for help, and I'm going to tell everyone about that." Yes, yes, the AI doesn't surface that nuance but it helps me sleep at night and get over the "Why is my friend denouncing me just cause I wouldn't give him my extra incense" problems ;-).

    5. Always, ALWAYS, denounce a civ before you declare war. Think of it from your perspective, if Lizzy suddenly hauls off and slugs Cathy with no warning you think "wow, crazy chick, I gotta watch her." But if she denounces Cathy, you are not the least surprise when Lizzy's longbowman go knocking on Cathy's door. Same works in reverse.

    6. Never, ever, declare war on a civ you are currently friends with, even if another civ asks you. Why? Well, isn't it obvious? If you are willing to slug him on a whim, what's to prevent you from slugging me. Sure, you're my "ally" but with friends like you, who needs enemies? That's why you're also going to be eyed with suspicion by everyone, even people who were once your friends.

    7. Not be in any danger of winning - ok, not sure about this last one ;-) But it is only fair to say that in each of these Emperor games I have been in the middle of the pack (I tend to play with 12 or 13 civs on standard size maps). So, since I'm not a threat maybe they like me more?

    Anyway, I am finding diplo more fun now that I have worked out what I think is some underlying logic to the AI experience. In any case, I have now had several games where I have had longterm friendships and even "friends for life."
     
  2. Drawmeus

    Drawmeus Emperor

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    The weirdest thing about the "AI should play to win" vs "AI should not play to win" argument to me is that nobody has bothered to check the premises of the debate.

    Best example - there's a conflict over whether the AI should form longterm friendships with the player or not - if they do and stick with it, they aren't "playing to win", and if they don't, singleplayer might as well just be multiplayer. However, the true weirdness here isn't whether they are or are not playing to win - the true weirdness is that only one civ can win, because we have a semi-arbitrary "You won!" or "You lost!" at the end of the game which, most of the time, doesn't even make sense (what the heck does a culture win represent?). This is completely not reflective of the real world situation AND makes for bad gameplay for one segment of the population no matter how we decide.

    I say just throw scores up on the screen at the end and tell me how well I did, completely independently of 'winning' or 'losing'. Points added for dominating an era, points for being elected president of the UN, points for building the Utopia Project, points for launching a spaceship, etc. Let every civ play for its own best interest... where its own best interest can include a lifelong friendship with a more powerful civ. If we need the binary win/loss at the end, play for a score specified at game start.
     
  3. Marsoups

    Marsoups Chieftain

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    I am myself growning to love the CIV5 diplo system more and more. For me one of the main things still missing is more positive modifiers (coming in next patch) and recognition when you liberate a civ.

    But I do agree that the more I play the more I can get a feel for the leaders and what they will do, their personalities. I've learned the hard way that Harun likes my land will play friendly before attacking me and failing miserably. :)

    And of course Cathy grrr!
     
  4. Putmalk

    Putmalk Deity

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    I think that was exactly what I was trying to get across...I don't really like the victory conditions at all.


    Since I haven't played Civ 5 since like...the first game after March Patch...I'm going to go back, pop up a game and study diplomacy hard this time. I'm not playing with any victory conditions enabled, though. Let's see how this takes me.
     
  5. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    IMHO playing 'to win' is a misnomer in terms of Civ5. The AI is "playing not to lose". I have experienced mass DoW as I countdown to a UN victory and the AI things they can corner me.

    I've also had games where I built the UN and simply play one AI off against another in a kind of daisy chain and the AI didn't DoW on me because of my size and power and I cruise to a diplo victory.

    So there's quite a bit of variability here, but the core concept appears to be to plan ahead both in how you manage your economy in a ramp up to a UN victory, as well as how you manage your relationships. Last minute buying of alliances with city states against a well funded AI competitor is difficult.

    Hoping to get a world war going as you're approaching a diplo win may not be easy as the AI has all adjusted their threat level of you as high, but if you manage your geopolitics well and created enmity between two civs of roughly equal power, you can cancel out a threatening neighbour by bringing one of their large neighbours to war them early on and just let the ball roll down the hill. Though you need to be v ery careful with this.

    An AI that has every intent to war you will take your bribes and sue for peace as the earliest opportunity. I had one game where I bribed Monty to war Alex. Two or three times. The third war was surprisingly short, and the next thing I knew they both DoW on me and I was literally swarmed with units on the first turn.

    >Exit to Windows :hammer2:
     
  6. King Patrick

    King Patrick Warlord

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    As CrashCrush points out, part of the problem people seem to have with diplomacy is the language. For some reason, being branded a "warmonger" or being "denounced" just drives some players nuts. But the AI can't be programmed with the proper response for every potential nuance, so "warmonger" has to cover everything from "Your excessive military build-up is causing a rise in global tensions that I find concerning" to "You are an inhuman monster with the blood of millions on your hands!" Same with denouncements - it's just a catch-all for "I don't like whatever it is you've been doing," whether it's a minor border dispute or burning down half the planet. But people see the words "warmonger" or "denounce" and just completely flip out. "The computer is insulting me! It's not fair! Make him take it back!"
     
  7. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    Wrong. AI opponents play to their programming, which is to optimize its situation towards a win. They play regardless of whether it is possible or not unlike a human who realizes he/she isn't going to win and quits. Regardless of whether it can win or not, the AI is executing its program to optimize its game (win). The AI will optimize its game based on preset conditions and random variables, which gives it a bias toward a certain type of play. This will normally lead to a particular type of win, which is why some are more aggressive, some are inclined to science, etc.

    Bottom line, the AI ALWAYS plays to win.
     
  8. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    To be fair, I think there is a marked difference in each of the AI we've played over the last 10 years.

    Essentially we're playing a new 'opponent' each time we buy a new Civ game, as the AI programmer's flavour is embedded deep in the AI core, in how it behaves etc.

    The Civ traits temper that core code, but I'd say 50% of the issues a lot of people had with the diplo AI was due to the switchover from Civ4 to Civ5. And there is a distinct difference in approach, mood, attitude Civ5 AI takes compared to Civ4.
     
  9. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    People that liked the CiIV diplo system typically don't like the CiV system because it is more difficult to understand. The CiIV system was in large part based around the religious paradigm. Be my religion and I like you; be another religion and I don't.

    There is no "trigger" mechanism in CiV that lets you know "he hates me because..."

    Also, there are still some bugs with the CiV diplo system. I've never been offered a defensive pack, nor has another civ ever accepted an offer from me. As far as I can tell, that aspect of diplo doesn't work at all. Perhaps others have a different experience; I would look forward to hearing about it if they do.
     
  10. King Patrick

    King Patrick Warlord

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    I've never seen the defensive pact come into play, either. Unless it's subsumed under declaration of friendship, but it doesn't seem to be - it's not automatically triggered when someone attacks a friend.
     
  11. AlpsStranger

    AlpsStranger Jump jump on the tiger!

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    I agree, and I agree to an even greater extent. When I play Civ4 ( at least two dozen times for every game of Civ5 I play, btw :mischief: ) I actually expose the hidden modifiers in *it.* The way I see it, in Civ4 or Civ5, if it can be derived with near 100% accuracy then stop jerking us around and just display it:cringe:
     
  12. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    That's where your argument breaks down. It cannot be derived with near 100% accuracy. All of the modifiers are a range and not an absolute value for that very reason. Leaders and diplo modifiers are based on probabilities, which are not an exact science. It's designed with some general rules in mind, but it is adjusted enough that there are no absolutes.
     
  13. Isikien

    Isikien WHOA

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    This.

    The ai goes into overdrive on their defcon gauge, but this isn't the issue. The problem is the ui in diplomacy still lies to you. Warmongering menace? For defending myself? Why don't you actually throw me a bone game as to why genghis and his three satelite states declaring on me are grounds for instant denouncement if i take the initiative to stop myself from getting gang-raped on my Borders and invade them?

    As it stands the ai is too vague and presents a nonsensical learning curve. There's withholding information to make something challenging, and then there's creating ui tooltips outright lying to discourage you from making any further diplo relations
     
  14. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Deity

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    Having a Civ game where you care about citizens? Not having victory conditions?? Having advisors telling you what to do in the name of "immersion"??? I swear, I just don't get where those people come from and why they have such unrealistic expectations of Civilization. It would be almost like getting Madden and expecting to sell peanuts in the stands.
     
  15. TPQ

    TPQ Cogito Ergo Civ

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    Looks to me like it's excessively complex and the complexity doesn't seem to add much to the game imo. Does all this complexity really make for a satisfyingly engaging diplomatic experience?

    The main job of any AI in any game is to interact with the player in a way that's fun, engaging and makes some kind of intuitive sense.

    The AI in Civ5 may well be a work of technical genius, but is the way it handles diplomacy something the end user, the player, is going to intuitively understand and enjoy engaging with? Many Civ players would answer "no", or at least "not enough".

    I personally think that the actions of the AI in a game like Civ should make intuitive sense to the majority of people who play these kinds of games without having to have an xml analysis to dissect the cold mathematics of the AI decision making.

    Still, Civ5 is a work in progress, so, if the patches so far are any indication, it will only improve with time.
     
  16. Nurgle84

    Nurgle84 Warlord

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    I actually had a very funny game as Augustus, were I had an ingoing DoF over about 3000 years with Rameses complete with defensive pact. We both were the biggest fishes in the pond. Still Genghis attacked me. Big mistake as he was crushed from two sides. The DoF only ended as I was asked later on by Rameses to declare on the mongols. Shouldn´t have conquered the city state in my borders Genghis paid :D. From a diplomatic view, that game was very interesting.
     
  17. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    Personally, I don't find the diplomacy system overly complex. It certainly does have some room for improvement; as I pointed out, the defensive pacts don't work at all. However, on the whole, the system is not difficult to figure out if you put SOME effort into understanding it. It is leader based though, meaning that each leader will behave differently within the existing diplomatic framework.

    It would seem to me that the people who are complaining about the system are probably casual players who are not concerned with learning the nuances. Civfanatics - hence the name of site - are willing to learn the nuances, and top tier players manage to make diplomacy work well enough for them to win at the highest level.

    As I've stated several times, casual gamers who don't want to take the time to understand the system prefer a CiIV type diplomacy that is simplistically built around the religious aspect: be my religion, be my friend.

    It is still a work in progress, and it will improve, but the fundamentals and complexity of the system will not change.
     
  18. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Deity

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    Is that why we hear a lot of cries and rumors to bring back religion - to make it a simpler game for casual players?
     
  19. TPQ

    TPQ Cogito Ergo Civ

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    Well, I have played Civ since Civ1 in the 1990s so I wouldn't consider myself particularly "casual" as a player of the series and it's taken me much longer to get to grips with the "nuances" of Civ5 diplomacy than Civ1, 2, 3 or 4.

    It could be because the game is still being refined, but in the ~800 hours I've played Civ5 I have found diplomacy to be the weakest, least intuitive part of the game.

    It's true there is some sense to Civ5 diplomacy, but it's not particularly fun or engaging imo, as the AI "plays to win" and therefore you are not a leader of a nation, in a game world, playing a simulation with other nations, you are now a "player" playing against other "players" and you are all competing for the goal of winning.

    There can be no genuine, meaningful and long-lasting diplomatic friendships, or cooperation with your competitors, as to do so would be anti-competitive and the AI is programmed to compete to win, not simulate some kind of game world of nations.

    I like Civ5 and play it a lot. I have played the diplo game on OCC and there is a sense to it, but it is very different to previous Civ games I've put countless hours into and now feels like a competitive game, rather than a simulation, which imo makes genuine diplomacy somewhat farcical.

    I don't know, maybe my years of Civ playing have led my expectations to be contrary to what Civ now is with the latest iteration. I still enjoy it, but I can sympathise with those who find diplomacy frustrating and seemingly illogical.

    Civ5 diplo is just not all that intuitive until you accept all the AIs are playing the game and are aware it's a game and are not simulating nations for you to interact with and even then, in it's current state, diplo, for all it's apparent technical complexity, still feels very much lacking to many of us who play the game.
     
  20. Architect

    Architect Prince

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    The AI has always played to win in every Civ game since the original. Civ is a war game first and foremost and comparing it to something like Simcity frames it incorrectly.

    The problem with previous incarnations of Civ is the AI were not good at thinking about the big picture. Their planning was atrocious and they basically just produced units and moved them around and their plans were short-sighted and executed poorly. The AI never surprised anyone and it was very easy to manipulate.

    The CiV AI has many failings and is very easy to manipulate if you play to exploit it as we are seeing in the Bushido game on the strategy forum. One thing that gives me hope though is its ability to big-picture plan. Let me give a quick example.

    In a recent game I was positioned in the middle of a long peninsula with Elizabeth basically pinned in by my cities to the north. She had room for 4 or so cities in her space and I purposely did not settle in her direction. We traded peacefully and she remained friendly but even with the open space of a city in-between us she rallied a significant force and declared war on me. There was no indication in the UI that I had done anything wrong she "desired friendly relations with me". She did not denounce me either. She obviously realized that I was in her way and needed to go so she went for it because her military was way bigger than mine. This is exactly what I would do in the same situation.

    Because the tactical AI is still like previous Civ games I easily repulsed her invasion and took one of her cities. She begged for peace and gave me everything she had to broker it. To the person playing the game as a "God" game or a simulation I can see how this might seem like erratic nut-so behavior. To someone playing it like a war game this is awesome behavior and exactly what she should do from the big-picture perspective.

    If they can improve the Tactical AI to the point where it can execute a war plan as well as it can execute a big-picture plan the game could actually be quite difficult.
     

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