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Feudal Ranks

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Mod Components' started by MyopicCat, Jan 27, 2014.

  1. MyopicCat

    MyopicCat Chieftain

    Jan 6, 2014
    [size=+3]Feudal Ranks[/size]

    Feudal Ranks is an AI/difficulty mod for Brave New World that aims to provide a fresh challenge for skilled players by rescaling the handicaps and mitigating some of the more severe strategic flaws of the AI, without changing the game itself.

    [size=+2]10 things ...[/size]

    1. No rules changes of any kind. Civilizations, units, buildings, techs, policies and religions are all unchanged. Only handicaps and AI preferences are modded.
    2. Deity-level AI without free starting techs and units. This means that you should have a realistic chance to beeline for early wonders, even at very high difficulty levels. (But are the sacrifices you need to make worth it strategically?)
    3. Nerf the research speed of the human player in order to compensate for the lack of free techs and units for the AI. This makes the mid to late game (much) more difficult. Also, since the research penalty increases with the difficulty, era progression is slower for the human player and therefore the number of turns required to win also increases with the difficulty level.
    4. Keep the same bonuses to production, maintenance costs, etc. as in BNW. These bonuses are considerable (they produce the notorious "carpets of doom"), but they mostly have a long-term effect and don't feel like cheating in the short term. They are unfortunately necessary to compensate for unintelligent AI.
    5. Provide several difficulty levels that are more challenging than Deity, in addition to levels similar in difficulty to Prince, King, etc.
    6. Improve AI city siting - further reduce the AI's tendency to settle useless locations in the early-mid game (still a problem after the fall patch). However, expect the AI to continue to make strange new settlement choices during the mid-late game.
    7. Improve AI social policy choices - increase the AI's probability of selecting Tradition, Liberty & Rationalism.
    8. Unit equality. Identical military units should have the same basic strength, whether they are human, AI or barbarian.
    9. Minimalism. Every change risks causing more balance problems than it solves, so don't go too crazy with the tweaking.
    10. Mod theme. The difficulty levels are named after feudal classes, see e.g. this Wikipedia article. No Immortal or Deity levels here, because I prefer to keep things real.

    [size=+2]Difficulty levels[/size]

    Based on Prince in BNW, and similar in difficulty.
    Human research cost nerf: +0% (i.e. +18% higher than the AI).

    Based on King in BNW, and similar in difficulty.
    Human research cost nerf: +7% (i.e. +26% higher than the AI).

    Based on Emperor in BNW, and similar in difficulty.
    Human research cost nerf: +15% (i.e. +35% higher than the AI).

    Based on Immortal in BNW, and similar in difficulty.
    Human research cost nerf: +22% (i.e. +44% higher than the AI).

    Based on Deity in BNW, and similar in difficulty.
    Human research cost nerf: +30% (i.e. +53% higher than the AI).

    Based on Deity in BNW, but more difficult.
    Human research cost nerf: +40% (i.e. +65% higher than the AI).

    Based on Deity in BNW, but substantially more difficult.
    Human research cost nerf: +50% (i.e. +76% higher than the AI).

    Based on Deity in BNW. Good luck - you'll need it.
    Human research cost nerf: +60% (i.e. +88% higher than the AI).

    Based on Deity in BNW. "Only the best players in the world will beat this level." That quote may actually be true now.
    Human research cost nerf: +70% (i.e. +100% higher than the AI).

    For comparison, the AI always gets a 15% discount on listed beaker costs of technologies (this is unchanged in the mod). This explains the higher research cost relative to the AI. For example, a Feudal Ranks Emperor player needs (100+70)/(100-15) = 2 i.e. twice as many beakers as the AI. I imagine that winning at the highest levels requires maximizing the unique abilities of your civilization, or going for an early domination victory. But feel free to prove me wrong by posting a Let's Play winning a science victory on Feudal Ranks Emperor with a lower-tier civ!

    [size=+2]More implementation details[/size]

    • Reduce the AI tendency to aim for a culture victory (this indirectly increases the chance of going for a science victory).
    • Tweaks to tile priorities when settling: increase minimum fertility requirement, increase likelihood of settling on coasts, remove the devaluation of resources 2-3 tiles out from the city, etc.
    • Both AI and human bonuses vs barbarians have been removed for all difficulty levels.
    • AI spam of empty air carriers has been reduced. (This is somewhat incompatible with bullet number 9 above, but it's a pet peeve of mine. In my games, the AI often churns out 20+ aircraft carriers and only uses one or two of them.)
    • Feudal Ranks is mostly an XML mod (except for tiny tweaks to the basic and advanced setup screens in Lua), so this mod should be compatible with many other mods.

    [size=+2]BNW requirement, usage and beta status[/size]

    Feudal Ranks currently requires BNW. For most users, the modded difficulty levels will show up on the basic setup screen with nice big icons (it depends on whether or not you have the Upgrade 1 DLC). If not, you will find the modded difficulty levels under Advanced Setup (no icons unless you return to the basic setup screen after selecting your difficulty). I will consider releasing a version for G&K and Vanilla if the demand is high enough.

    Download and install from the database, or go to the Steam Workshop.

    The mod is currently in open beta. Please post your experiences in this thread!
  2. MyopicCat

    MyopicCat Chieftain

    Jan 6, 2014
    Version history:

    v1 (Jan 27, 2014): Initial release.
    v2 (Jan 28, 2014): Fixed bug that disabled the G&K specific civs.
    v3 (Feb 7, 2014): Updated descriptions of difficulty levels.
    v4 (Feb 18, 2014): Now compatible with the Really Advanced Setup mod.
    v5 (Mar 3, 2014): Fixed a bug that blocked rewards from Ancient Ruins on the Yeoman level (only).
  3. MyopicCat

    MyopicCat Chieftain

    Jan 6, 2014
    Thanks to Pazyryk, I just realized that my mod makes the G&K-specific civs unavailable to play. :(

    (Complete list of unavailable civs: Austria, Byzantium, Carthage, Celts, Ethiopia, Huns, Maya, Netherlands and Sweden.)

    I'm considering how to fix this officially, but attached to this post is a quick fix that makes all civs playable again. However, everyone now has to select difficulty via the Advanced Setup screen.

    My sincere apologies to the heroic early downloaders of my mod! I guess the only good thing about this is that the open beta process is working - both me and my two playtesting friends missed this particular bug ...

    EDIT: Official v2 update released, quick fix deleted.
  4. Sequm

    Sequm Chieftain

    Jul 4, 2012
    I want someone to beat it on Emporer (the max level here) and then I'll know it's possible haha.
  5. MyopicCat

    MyopicCat Chieftain

    Jan 6, 2014
    Me too. I sure can't. :)
  6. Midnightman

    Midnightman Chieftain

    Feb 19, 2014
    There is no way i consider this a beta, it is just fantastic!!! Kudos to you for making this. Raging barbarians and rebellions are now big issues, just like it was in real history. I started on earl but got wasted I think il work my way up from Knight one game at a time :p

    Cheers for the hard work this should be a paid for DLC
  7. MyopicCat

    MyopicCat Chieftain

    Jan 6, 2014
    Thanks for the positive feedback! Posts like that, or this gameplay story on Reddit, may help get some word-of-mouth going. I'm glad you feel this has the same quality as DLCs for purchase, but personally I'd rather see Firaxis set up the default difficulties as in Feudal Ranks in the next Civ release. Extra starting units and technologies for the AI is lame because strategies that should be feasible (e.g. trying to build early wonders) become impossible.

    About the beta status. I'm very happy with the way the mod plays as it is. However, I need a bit more feedback on a few aspects before I remove the beta marker. Specifically:

    1. Does the lack of extra starting units for the AI make them too easy to kill in ancient era wars?
    2. For the same reason, does the AI suffer too much vs barbarians in the beginning?
    3. Do most players agree with my claim that Earl is "similar in difficulty" to Deity (and Knight similar to Emperor, etc), or should these be tweaked up or down?
    4. Is it possible to win on King or Emperor in Feudal Ranks, or should Prince be the highest level? Personally I've squeaked out a science victory on Prince, but not yet on King or Emperor.
    Any comments on these questions would be much appreciated!
  8. Midnightman

    Midnightman Chieftain

    Feb 19, 2014
    One bug report confirmed: the 2 difficulties below king (serf and yeoman) do not allow gaining benefits from ancient ruins.

    And a question does difficulty affect my starting location? King and above seems to 50% of the time put me in a spot with no luxury resource in reach.

    Who knows maybe I am unlucky. :p
  9. MyopicCat

    MyopicCat Chieftain

    Jan 6, 2014
    Hmm. I have partially confirmed this and found the error that causes it, but the problem should only affect the Yeoman level. New version uploaded that fixes this bug. Good catch, and sorry if I ruined a good start for you.

    Either you are extremely unlucky or I am extremely lucky, because I consistently get 2-3 luxuries at all levels.
  10. Midnightman

    Midnightman Chieftain

    Feb 19, 2014
    Good stuff keep up the good work.

    The balance is great for me Knight and up, plus I like the sound of playing as a knight :p

    With raging barbs, it reminds me of some real history scenarios where I go to take on a neighboring civ only to have a few weaker troops defending against those damn horsemen barbarians pillaging, stealing workers and generally causing havoc. That or having a rebellion while I'm off at war.

    Fun times!

    Maybe slightly scale down baron difficulties and up. I find it a huge leap between knight and baron.

    Still enjoying though.
  11. peterw1987

    peterw1987 Prince

    May 8, 2014
    Just tried this mod today, and I am loving it.

    I have won quite a lot Deity Science and Cultural Victory, but I feel like the process is kinda boring and almost the same step.
    And for landgrabbing & settling new cities, with that extra settler AI got, you must pray that they do not forward settle near your capital. Not to mention all that goodies early wonder (HG,GL,HS,Petra is almost zero chance built).
    But this MOD really balance all that thing, without reducing the challenge and fun.

    BTW, I tried the prince level using OCC Egypt going for religion+cultural, and I manage to build GL,HG,Oracle,Parthenon,HS,Borobudur,SC,Uffizi so far.
  12. Bingles

    Bingles Chieftain

    Jan 7, 2014
    Sunny Florida
    I really enjoy this mod. I installed it in March and have never turned it off. I also like the medal style rankings. I know I can beat the AI without any stress on any of the bronze difficulties (Serf, Yeoman, knight) and I really have to focus my game when I select one of the silver levels (Earl, Duke, Baron). Some day I will try a Gold rank (Prince, King, Emporer) just to see how many turns I survive before I am annihilated.

    Edit: Oh look, a 6 month old survey!
    1. Nope. If I spend 30 turns building an invasion force, I usually find one of equal size when I reach my neighbor's borders. Except for the more pacifist civs, which is appropriate.
    2. I always play with raging barbarians. The AI's suffering is my suffering as well. When we atart our ancient wars, it is veteran versus veteran. I like it. Except Gandhi, he stinks out loud, always lets his cities burn.
    3. No opinion. The thought of AI with advance start techs and units fills me with disgust. Never played beyond prince in vanilla.
    4. I can't even win on Earl. I think that in a perfect world, games would all have several difficulties so severe and punishing that only the most insane or elite players would ever use them. Those players can later be proud that they are amongst the 1% who ever completed the highest ranks.
  13. bane_

    bane_ Howardianism High-Priest

    Nov 27, 2013
    Indeed, I downloaded it when I saw back first trimester but never commented on it.
    Has anyone beat a non-Science game against King or Emperor?
  14. elotar

    elotar Chieftain

    Jan 16, 2014
    Will ask here too: do anybody know, why this mod conflicts with Enlightenment Era mod for me?

    It all looks very strange - begins with disappearing stone, cocoa and bison on strategic map, than continuing with broken saves.

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