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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. blasto

    blasto Prince

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    A solution could be if they were able to provide a more advanced feature option specifially for the AI. Then they might be able to make everyone happy.

    I'm not thrilled either about the way the difficulty slider is handled. (bonus manipulation instead of a tactical difference) If they were able to break down the slider by tactics, that would be much better and would go a long way to making everyone happy. Or one step further, able to set a set of sliders per each AI. (or just an option to be able to)

    For example:

    AI slider for aggression 1-10

    AI slider for Financial savy 1-10

    AI slider for Cultural output capacity 1-10

    AI slider for Production capacity 1-10

    AI slider for Random trigger likelyhoods 1-10

    These are obviously just suggestions, but the programmers could set these based on variables that the game tracks.

    An overall slider would rule, but the option to be able to set per AI would be even better.
     
  2. Civsassin

    Civsassin Immortal

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    I did take a swipe with that comment, but it came with a point. If you want a relatively peaceful but unopposed victory, lower levels offer that. However, what you stated is simply wrong. There are no peaceful victory conditions. There are victory conditions that are not conquest, but that doesn't mean they are peaceful. War is a necessary part of the game no matter how you slice it. If you play on as high a level as you say, you know that. War is a tool in the game like trade, tech, etc. If you don't like aspects of CiV, I get that. Opinions vary. I happen to like the game as is. You may get some of the mechanics you crave in expansion packs. That is what they are for after all. However, remember that any civ game cannot be all things to all people. They do hit a sweet spot with many though.
     
  3. spicytimothy

    spicytimothy Warlord

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    After reading this, most of my frustrations with diplo are out of window!

    I absolutely love the deceptive approach, and I'm wondering is the "backstabbed you" notice the only way we know the AI was at one point deceptive?

    I also wonder if we can look into why AI stays mad after liberation?
     
  4. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I only play with the TBC mod. I don't know to what degree this mod alters diplomacy - it does - but I have next to no army 80% of the time... and have no wars in 25% of those games. Half the time I have an inconsequential war, easily handled by bribing someone or defensive pacts. (Defensive pacts are easy to get from long-time friends.) I defend myself in long wars in the rest, and very occasionally get swamped in the late game by a modern military fighting my ceremonial spearman and archer.

    So I can safely say that a basically peaceful, diplomatic approach to Civ 5 works quite well. at least with the TBC mod.
     
  5. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    The most interesting thing diplomatically is how the AI isn't using a single score or an RNG to declare war which was what backstabbing mostly relied on in previous games.

    An AI that can guage your victory path, guage your threat level and pretend to be your friend before backstabbing you is fantastic.

    I had a potential war ally stab me in the back before by renegging on his promise to join in on a war to stop an AI from winning a diplo victory.

    Edit: RE un-opposed victory. I've had 2 unopposed diplomatic victories back to back. It may not always be possible, but you need to be active diplomatically and have at least some friends going into the final stretch or rather, have a counterbalancing AI that is strong enough to scare the other AIs off from attacking you and possibly leaving themselves exposed.
     
  6. Isikien

    Isikien WHOA

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    I think the most important points we've learned from the release and continued patching of this game's diplomacy is how it conflicts with the series' status quo of immersion. The AIs are very different from CivIV simply because they think outside the box. They are aware of victory conditions whether they are cultural or diplomatic.

    And the issue is how these AI conflict with the traditional victory settings of the previous civs. Some people just aren't finding the simulation aspect of interacting with the leaders interesting enough, because they all get VERY VERY cutthroat. This is partly due to a lot of things:

    - The way the system is designed. There's not enough gameplay alternatives to stop chain declarations or safeguarding or manipulating events in their favour AFTER the war has occured. You get a very blunt declaration of war, and any attempt at resisting (i.e. counterattacking) vilifies you even more as a warmonger. Worse your reputation is forever hampered, you are forever Nazi Germany, and you may have not been the original aggressor in the first place. And lets not even get started on the HUGELY LIMITED TOOLS of swaying favour or similarly souring it. Gifting stolen workers and settlers is the only thing that gives you a massive increase in favour. Forget any past cooperation between civs, the only thing that basically demonstrates whether you're friends or not is an announcement to the world that you are friends, rather than past cooperation or trade ventures.

    Now I'm not saying that the AI should be tamed by your luxury peddling ways in such a way that you can get away with almost anything, but at the moment the system doesn't give you enough options to deal with the AI in varied ways, and the options that it does give you are not explained in the game mechanics, are completely ineffectual and vague and don't encourage the individual to bother interacting with the AI in any venture other than research agreement spamming or conquering neighbours.

    That is POOR DESIGN GENTLEMEN. You're not engaging anyone other than the code junkies such as the guy in the OP's link or the people who are actually willing to experiment. The system scares off people, such as me, who just want to ENJOY THE GAME, to have OPTIONS clearly defined to them. You can throw a 'well, you're not trying hard enough to actually work the system' argument at me, but yknow what? It doesn't wash with me and it's a strawman argument defending what is essentially a lying, broken, vague and limited diplomacy UI and interface. Engage the player's interest!

    - The way the old victory system works when it is transplanted into this game. From a gamist perspective, it makes perfect sense for AI's to be aware of the metagame concept of victory. But for one who prefers the simulation aspect of the series, it is a desctructively jarring concept to get used to. 'WE HATE YOU/WANT YOU DESTROYED BECAUSE YOU'RE WINNING THE GAME/WINNING IN THE SAME WAY AS US' is just a bizzare thing to get as a rebuttal. Why not 'We are in competition in the field of science' (Russia and America's rivalry during the cold war era over the race to space is a good example of this) as a better example of a diplomatic rebuttal.

    This is a big dividing factor at the moment, this whole simulation vs game argument. Civ has always teetered dangerously atop the two, but this time it threw the ball into the game court heavily, in the way that it treats the player as a person playing a game rather than a leader of a great nation. What's the problem? The AI sucks at playing the game. It is plain too complex for it and needs bonuses, like it has needed in previous iterations. It is damn stupid at trying to create gambits and strategies (AIs in previous patches rolling the culture win gambit was hilarious at times). This is immersion breaking for the gamers. THEY WANT CHALLENGE. All they can do is raise the level of handicaps they recieve and find out ways to exploit the game to absurd levels. And it's kind of sad that on the basic level the AI really isn't challenging, it means that the gamers are going to get to immortal or diety faster and rinse the game of all the challenge it has until they get bored.

    So what does this leaves for the simulator fans? Nothing all that much really, like I said, it only takes one stupid event such as the world turning on you because you're 'ABOUT TO WIN THE GAME' to completely kill all immersion entirely. The gamers of civ don't realise how crucial and specific the immersion and roleplay aspect of the game is. One immersion breaking event is like a ripple in the water, or a metal rail slammed against a iron gate. It gets your attention and it irritates you for the rest of the time when you play that game. Whether it was blatently apparent that the AI planned a dogpile on the basis of you 'WINNING the GAME' or whether the choice words of one AI who says you're trying to win the same way gets your attention, suddenly you're not a grand leader of a great nation, scraping your way to the very heights of civilisation in a environment of potentially varied individuals, but you're actually playing 'SKYNET SIMULATOR 2010' and you realise that 'Oh, I'm playing a game, even the AI says so'. Then the simulator player just looses interest and goes and plays something like EUIII which gives you a better feel for simulation.

    CiV is only pleasing one camp at the moment, the gamers, and I get the feeling that unless the patching offers enough variety (WHICH IT ISNT BY THE WAY, NERFING TONS OF GAMEPLAY OPTIONS, REDUCING SPECIALIST SLOTS WAS A DAMNING NERF TO WHATEVER VARIETY THIS GAME COULD POTENTIALLY HAVE), the gamers are going to get quickly disinterested and move onto things that could offer more potential challenge, because the AI sure as hell can't, and the options with which to obtain victory have been nerfed into oblivion.
     
  7. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    There's lots that needs improvement in the diplomacy system, but it's never going to satisfy both you and me. Put me in the camp of " the people who are actually willing to experiment." Because I learned how to function diplomatically, I almost never have to deal with the world turning on me because I am about to win the game. At the same time, no two games are the same diplomatically, because every AI civ is different from the next. If the diplomatic options were simple enough to be "clearly defined" for people "who just want to enjoy the game," then I would find diplomacy much less interesting.
     
  8. Isikien

    Isikien WHOA

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    Very good point, I think I would just like to say that seems to be the problem. CiV is trying to please every camp. It IS doable, but not in the state the current game is at, maybe in the future.

    I still think that they should induct players a little better. I'm not expecting a tutorial mode, I'm just kinda wishing things were explained a bit better in game.
     
  9. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    There are plenty of studies made of Civ4's diplo system done in a similar fashion with tests and hard variables.

    The key difference is really that Civ5 doesn't tell you the score and is less reliant on a single score determing diplomacy.

    It's a lot more complex and you have AI planning ahead to a victory and checking you out as opposed to the turn by turn 'best option' type AI we've had with the franchise since Civ3.

    I think there's more that can be done on the UI and interface side of the diplomacy, especially with some form of control over managing relations over the long term and perhaps a 'table' to discuss with an AI on what your mutual goals are. The UI should for example show the different level of a 'warmonger' status, and there should be more ways to smooth relations.

    Trade also currently appears to have limited to no effect on AI opinion. Even if AI approach remains the same (as it should); their opinion should be a little bit more flexible to bribes.

    In anycase, it's still an improvement overall. Previous Civ games have AI playing turn by turn, calculating the best action to take on that turn, rather than gaming out long term goals vis a vis their top rivals. So you have crutch diplomacy systems like religion which made managing diplomacy easy, and you have a diplomatic system that doesn't really punish you for being an asshat warmonger because the AI has limited means on keeping track of your past actions and most of the 'memory' in the diplomacy is contained in the single attitude score in the diplomacy screen.

    A considerable amount of complaints have more to do with the system not functioning to what people are used to than what is actually wrong.

    The OP does a good job of explaining how Civ5 diplomacy works. It's a learning curve, and we've all had to learn how Civ3 and Civ4 diplomacy worked as well. I don't see what's different here.
     
  10. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    In practice you wouldn't need to do a lot of conquering in earlier Civs because you could develop a big enough empire without it - perhaps with, as you note, a strategic war on a neighbor who started too close, or got in your way. And you had sufficient diplomatic tools to prevent later game conflicts if you wanted to.

    You may be right - it could just be that this version really didn't appeal to my style. I have a lot of company, however. The folks who like this game seem to view the war side of things as essential. But trying, for example, to beat your personal best for spaceship launch on Emperor is a valid way to approach the game too - and a backstab "gamey" set of opponents is poison for something like that. I was a Hall of Fame regular in Civ 4, and 5 just can't scratch the same itch.

    The comments above by Isikien also really spoke to me - the immersion factor is extremely poor for me in Civ 5 - the worst by far in the entire series. And the "streamlining" makes the builder side of things boring, and removes a lot of the diplomacy (e.g. forming actual, reliable, and long-lasting NATO-like groupings.) It really does come across as a wargame, with the other aspects reduced to things which complement war-making - and a series of punishments that you need to overcome to win, as opposed to bonuses for doing well.
     
  11. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    And I assume the NATO-like alliance is led by the human player. That was the intent in beta, as I was in it. But the end result was so difficult to understand that it had to be smoothed into the vassal states by the time we got BTS. The original 'bloc' system Soren want to implement never materialized, until Civ5, that is.

    What is happening in reality is a fantasy alliance in your mind. A is with B, C is with D and both are vaguely fighting E so its an alliance. (that's possible in Civ5 too, and also in Civ3, but Civ5 is also able to do so much more)

    This has never been a reality even in Civ4, where there is no option for an alliance outside of vassal states (which has diplomatically stunted many players) and formal 1-1 military pacts or agreements.

    Civ5 is the only Civ game that I know of where the AI can for the benefit of the game form groupings of the weak and aggrieved to stop someone;And a human player may or may not be part of that grouping. And where it can acknowledge your friendship with another Civ and state it as an alliance between friends.

    You seem to be making things up as you go, restating how things used to be with rose colored glasses and playing a dated version of the game you are criticizing.
     
  12. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    You can't get other AI players to vote for you in this game no matter what. You actually could do this in earlier civs - and, of course, there are a number of other games where you can make alliances that stick. I see you're falling back on the "you just wanted Civ 4.5" dodge, by the way. Hint: I'm comparing the Civ series to other games, not just other entries in the series.

    If you look in the boardgame world, by the way, you will find that the most popular multiplayer games are *deliberately* designed to make it very, very difficult to gang up on any one player. The reason for that is that it's lazy and poor game design. You design a good game so that it isn't obvious who is going to win until the end, e.g. you create ways that people can catch up if they fall behind. You also set them up so that someone who successfully executes a good plan can come out ahead, not get kneecapped at the end. (Among other things, this leads to games which end in a reasonable period of time, which has always been a failing of the Civ series.)

    Note also that backstabbing games make some people angry and they find them the opposite of fun - that's another perfectly good reason to avoid them.
     
  13. Kaosprophet

    Kaosprophet Warlord

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    I think you'll get there faster by just eliminating the single-player game and making it exclusively multiplayer.

    Saves time coding AI, which could be devoted to improving network stability and functionality. And you'd only lose the segment of the playerbase that you would have lost trying to make the AI play with the same cut-throat approach humans apply anyway.
     
  14. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    Completely agreed. I think it didn't happen because the game was unfinished (and is still unfinished). By the time they can give you what you want, I think it will be so late that they won't bother. As a result, these forums are a godsend.

    By the way, if you haven't tried Thalassicus' Total Balance-Combined (TBC) mod, do. It has been aligned with, but ahead of, every patch so far, and makes diplomacy* much, much better.

    *with major help from Alpaca and Sneaks
     
  15. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    Calm down ... it forms a group of weak and agrieved players to stop someone ( sometimes ) or it simply makes weaker people to pop out in anger with no actual coordination of efforts between those weak players ? ;) Those are only superficialy similar ... and if the first might actually a good idea for the weak players, the second is simply suicide*N players in most cases.
     
  16. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    The way that the AI "works together" in Civ 5 is actually counterproductive. When a big nation is attacking a medium nation the smart thing to do is to reign in the aggressor. In this game the smaller nations attack the wounded medium sized nation, ensuring...that the aggressor nation gets bigger and stronger, so that it can devour them next.
     
  17. r_rolo1

    r_rolo1 King of myself

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    Missed your edit yesterday ...
    Well, i was talking of something completely diferent :D I was musing over the whole "game is competitive because the AI does not show explicitely it's diplo stance" mantra that is around here since day 0 of launch ... more on that below.

    You are absolutely right though. Diplomacy is war with verbose suited guys and the objective is always to get a good result for your country ( or atleast the less bad possible due to circumstances ).
    Ok, like I said above, my point was completely diferent one. I was just pointing that you can have a game focused on competitiveness with or without diplomacy inside, or the other way around. In other words, competitiveness and the existance of diplomacy are unrelated, unlike a lot of people seem to think around here. It looks that you are not one of them ( your quoter to whom I responded was , by the looks of it ), so sorry for taking the brunt that wasn't meant to you

    Now in the games where there are both, you are right, diplomacy is only one more of the tools in the bag. But the issue is that Civ diplo in itself is not a zero sum game ( and even in the big picture it technically it isn't a zero sum game because the value of the win for the winner is not equal to the module of the sum of the loss value of all the losers ... and this is not a trivial matter, since it makes the zero sum game strategies not necessarily good ones in this situation ), a thing that means spreasheet analysis case by case + a look at the bigger picture.

    In the end, I agree with you, the Civ V diplo system in itself is not bad ... probably it lacks some options, but that is another issue. The big issues are the AI lack of understanding the game enviroment in general, the opaqueness of the UI that makes the understanding and handling of the diplo situations somewhat less than intuitive ( like other poster some pages ago said, we have a foreign advisor, so why not put him giving us some feedback on the other players diplo stances, but without putting +10 you liberated us in the screen ) and maybe some common sense added to the tune up inside the the AI diplo rules ( treating the attacker and the defender equally is stupid, for a quick example, even because one of them actually attacked :D )
    You are right, but you need to take it with a grain of salt. One of the things that sometimes wannabee bench Civ AI coders tend to forget is that you need to be alive to win :D This means that before thinking on winning, you actually have to care with your own survival first and IF you have a good degree of certainty of that you can start thinking on how to win. If not, first take care of your own survival :D ... In other words, if you are a major player, think on winning, if you're not, think first on being one :D

    Unfortunately as far as I know ( without the SDK in front of my eyes I can't assure this ) Civ V AI as it is does not care with their survival possibilities when plotting their grand plans :( But the fact is that none of the civ AI coders i know ( Soren, Blake, jdog5000 ) ever putted a lot of emphasis on teaching the AI to play the diplo game ( while they always loved to tune up the military AI ... not that it is not needed :p but good armies are useless if you make bad diplo IMHO ), so waiting for it was surely wishful thinking.
     
  18. JoeBas

    JoeBas Warlord

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    Disagree. Take a look at some of the top multiplayer board games on the market today:

    Diplomacy: Already Discussed.
    Settlers of Catan: Who gets robbed/blocked everytime there's a 7 rolled? The leader.
    Carcassonne: Came out with the latest expansion specifically designed to help stop a runaway.
    Ticket to Ride: Transcon blocking at highest levels to block/prevent big ticket trips.
     
  19. ohioastronomy

    ohioastronomy King

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    The last three are actually examples of what I was thinking about; my apologies if that was unclear. In Settlers you win by collecting resources, which are randomly given if you roll a number near your city. You can move a piece to block one place from giving resources to someone else - but you can't have three people blocking three things off. The Civ model would have all three of the other players able to kneecap a single leader. Note also that there is no way to remove pieces that another player has placed, no matter how many opponents they have. You can refuse to trade with others, but that won't stop a balanced player from a win.

    In Ticket to Ride you get points by laying track to complete routes - and in principle other people can block you. But it costs you and you don't know which routes other people have to complete (they are hidden from opponents.) If you could see what everyone else has to do then blocking would be more common - but it isn't. Also, blocking someone else means that you don't do something that you want to do - meaning that there is a cost to spite, and third parties benefit when two others squabble.

    I'm not familiar with Carcassone. But if I go through the list of German board games they reliably follow this pattern: you have some limited ability to influence others, but it is very difficult to gang up on anyone because of the game rules.

    Diplomacy is an exception, with backstabs being frequent. I love that game, in fact - although in face to face games we tended to operate on keeping to carefully worded agreements (e.g. I said I wouldn't move to Serbia - I didn't say that I wouldn't support Turkey moving to Serbia!) But Diplomacy is also decades old and from an earlier wave of game designs.
     
  20. JoeBas

    JoeBas Warlord

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    Leadership ganging still happens though... most of the games I play, whoever has the most points gets the robber, and once someone gets within 2-3 points of winning a full table-wide trade embargo goes into effect.

    While it's true you can't have THREE robbers blocking three hexes (there's those hexes again!), it still often winds up with a fairly competitive structure - an early runaway "civ" usually finds themselves unable to trade and having to do everything themselves via whatever converters they can build to. Similarly, I've found at least in my group the best strategy is often to remain a strong #2... and sit just under the surface... right up until the win. Much like Civ.

    True enough, but you can often see when someone is trying to complete their transcontinental route, and surmise they likely have transcontinental tickets, and block accordingly. Yes, there's an opportunity cost to doing that, but against a player that is already with a lead on the scoreboard and a handful of potential transcon tickets, what's 4 white cars?... ;)
     

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