Firaxis at 30, I'm celebrating 15 on civfanatics – final thoughts on Civ6 and the future

nzcamel

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I'd pay more for better AI etc. But I do appreciate not everyone will. I think Firaxis and 2K could take a look at the Kickstarter model to help with that.

Ironically what I'm proposing they do isn't great with the product I associate it with most - board games.
On Kickstarter many of them are offered up with expansions you can buy along with the base game upon release. And with a bunch of other bells and whistles that are either optional or unlocked with greater number of preorders.

Civilization 7 should do something similar with an AI "expansion". If you want the mass market AI you still get the game for $90 or whatever. If you want something that's a bit more brutal on release, you can pay more towards it.
It makes far more sense in a computer game, compared to boardgames, where the expansion available from the start isn't more content (that hasn't been widely tested) but is proper hard levels for those who want them.

I know there will be some push back on an idea like this from the "I paid for the game once and that should cover everything crowd" but realistically they're a shrinking part of the computer game market as more and more people see having DLC's for all sorts of content as being not only normal, but meeting people's different wants out of a game.

This to me is a win/win.
 

Zaarin

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I think Firaxis and 2K could take a look at the Kickstarter model to help with that.
I crowdfund a lot of tabletop RPGs, but I won't touch video game Kickstarters--too many of them end poorly and at any rate Steam sales make Kickstarter a poor value for video games. Big publishers also rarely use Kickstarter; in the video game market Obsidian is the biggest developer I've seen use the platform--and Pillars of Eternity was their first foray into developing their own IP rather than working with other developers/publishers, putting them closer to the indie than AAA field at the time. I can't see a large publisher like 2K stooping to crowdfunding; either they'll fund the project or they won't.

I know there will be some push back on an idea like this from the "I paid for the game once and that should cover everything crowd" but realistically they're a shrinking part of the computer game market as more and more people see having DLC's for all sorts of content as being not only normal, but meeting people's different wants out of a game.
I do agree, however, that we will see more DLC moving forward; it makes sense economically.
 

nzcamel

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I crowdfund a lot of tabletop RPGs, but I won't touch video game Kickstarters--too many of them end poorly and at any rate Steam sales make Kickstarter a poor value for video games. Big publishers also rarely use Kickstarter; in the video game market Obsidian is the biggest developer I've seen use the platform--and Pillars of Eternity was their first foray into developing their own IP rather than working with other developers/publishers, putting them closer to the indie than AAA field at the time. I can't see a large publisher like 2K stooping to crowdfunding; either they'll fund the project or they won't.

I'm not suggesting they put Civ 7 on Kickstarter. I am suggesting they make an "AI expansion" available for pre-order along with vanilla Civ 7, much as you see happen in kick starters.
 

Thormodr

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Interesting idea. Different tier "rewards" depending on how much you pay.
I have backed a lot of boardgames on Kickstarter so I can understand where you are coming from.
 

aieeegrunt

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Since tone doesn't convey well over the internet, I hope that comment didn't sound snide. I meant it sincerely: I'm glad you enjoyed it. I just didn't. I do regret buying NFP, but I'm not overly sorry it killed the game for me--I've gotten more or less what I wanted to out of Civ6 and have moved on to other games. I'm sure I'll be back to it at some point. I still think Civ6 (pre-NFP) was a great game; it has triple the hours of my next competitor for most played game on Steam.

I found the base game dramatically superior to the expansions in almost every way

The game being modular is probably it’s only saving grace for me, if I was stuck with nonsense like the Luxuries Bug in Corporations, or the way dark ages work the game would definitly be in the trash. Being able to salt to taste may be part of it’s broad appeal.

Given 6’s success I expect 7 to follow the same pattern. It’s not the worst model.

My biggest issues with this game is the terrible QA and the punching bag AI.
 

UWHabs

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Then we should call them other DLCs Expansions too, because some have 2 Leaders, World and Natural Wonders (and even resources) and also have Scenarios that have a unique gameplay.

For me, it's not about how much Content you add (you can add that bimonthly with small DLCs) but it's about the main Features of the expansion and how they force you to change the way you play the Game. Deciding to play with an NFP Leader isn't any much different than choosing one from Rise and Fall XP for example, and you can have the Game Modes enabled and completely ignore using the features they introduce. Barbarians will still attack you as always, ignoring getting a SS, acquiring Heroes and building Monopolies won't affect much how you usually play the Game, I mean you can say that AI using them adds a little challenge, but that's not the point. Tree Shuffle Mode is a good one though, because it really affects how you play the Game, without it you would always know which route to take and plan ahead, but with it you can't do that, that's a little game changing, but a good one, more of that! Dramatic Ages is just darker dark ages, and Apocalypse just builds on the already existing disasters and takes place too late in the Game. With Rise and Fall on the otherhand, the Loyalty System introduced affected the game from ancient to future era, you need to think more on where to settle, worry about neighbours and conquering cities became a totally different game now. You can't ignore any of that. After all, the Expasions are called after the main Feature they bring in.

I understand why you see it like that, and I'm also glad that you enjoy NFP, but on my part it's far away from being an Expansion. Mainly because you can sell me New Game Features and Mechanisms but not New Content. It's the Game Mechanics that I'm more interested in, the Features that extends the Gameplay and affect how you play the Game (no matter the Leader). I can't get that with a small DLC, so Expansions are my Favorit Shop for that. Did NFP add those Features? Yes. Are they any comparable to regular Expansion Features? not at all, some of them are actually just variations of Features from previous expansions. So if NFP is an expansion then I expect Civ 7 to have similar Expansions, and if that's the case then I would diffenitely say no to Civ 7 and stick with civ 6 or hope for an improved Humankind.

I think to me, the NFP was sort of like an experiment. My gut says they never initially planned on it, but basically had a few pieces of features that were on the cutting room floor from earlier in the cycles (stuff like the random tech tree, the various dramatic ages modes, some of the apocalypse mode stuff, maybe even some of the basic pieces for secret societies and the like), and they basically decided, "hey, so I wonder if we can spend a little time to clean these up and sell them?"

But there's obviously a reason why those modes ended up on the cutting room floor before, hence why them being all optional game modes. And then as others have mentioned, it becomes exponentially harder to balance and integrate the various optional game modes, so they just... didn't. That's why the modes only really superficially interact with other systems. If they really intended for the various modes to balance, then there would have been more policy cards interacting specifically with them, and they would have been better integrated. I mean, we don't even really have any true interactions between the new districts and the policy cards. It would have been easy to add a "all cities with a Preserve gain +1 amenities", or have an inspiration based on them. Heck, they never got around to fixing the couple eurekas that shifted from Bombards to Trebuchets or Musketmen to Line Infantry, and while that's just a UI/text thing, it does somewhat point to how the changes came out.

So in all that, I would agree that the NFP doesn't quite live up to an "expansion" title, as it's just not quite there. I personally still enjoy having those new features, and still enjoy being able to change things up. So I can decide if I want monopolies on or off, or shuffle things up more or whatever. But because they don't truly 100% integrate with the rest of the game, it does still leave me wanting a little bit on it. And overall, games like this have a problem with feature bloat, so I do think it was probably better on the whole to get a bunch of "featurettes" rather than a truly new feature for this last pack.
 

nzcamel

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My biggest issues with this game is the terrible QA and the punching bag AI.

So if when Civ VII was announced you could also preorder an expansion that gave better AI, you'd be jumping on that?
I suspect half of the Civfanatics community would be all over that, and they'd still pick up a decent chunk from other players.

There's a whole raft of different ways it could be packaged; but I think it would be reasonable for the base game to come with Settler to King levels; and have Emperor and above (which could be more than 3 levels), come with the expansion. That or there could be over lap. You could retain all 8 levels in the base game under the current model of giving the AI lots more stuff to compensate for not being especially sharp; and then have the expansion levels start as low as an equivalent to King or Emperor, but working off of the better AI from that level up.

Also, the terrible QA will be less noticeable if they move away from season passes. I hope they do. I enjoyed the NFP, but it wasn't worth the game breaking more than was fixed with each new addition.
 

Zaarin

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I found the base game dramatically superior to the expansions in almost every way
For me, despite loathing the World Congress, I think Civ6 was in a solid state after Gathering Storm. It was specifically the halfbaked designs and lower quality of NFP that soured the game for me.

The game being modular is probably it’s only saving grace for me, if I was stuck with nonsense like the Luxuries Bug in Corporations, or the way dark ages work the game would definitly be in the trash. Being able to salt to taste may be part of it’s broad appeal.
Ignoring modes, which were literally just the developers making mods for fun at the end of the development cycle, the base game wasn't modular, though. You couldn't even toggle which civs or city-states could or could not appear until a very late patch. There was nothing modular about the base game.

Given 6’s success I expect 7 to follow the same pattern.
If by same pattern, you mean the pattern of NFP, with low-quality, rapidly produced assets and toggleable core features, it'll be a hard pass from me. Civ has never been the best 4X game; its appeal has always been its flavor more than its features. But there is a limit to just how poor the game itself is before flavor stops compensating.
 

aieeegrunt

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So if when Civ VII was announced you could also preorder an expansion that gave better AI, you'd be jumping on that?
I suspect half of the Civfanatics community would be all over that, and they'd still pick up a decent chunk from other players.

This would guarentee that I would never purchase another product from this publisher again. AI is an integral part of the game.

This would be like auto makers making you pay for manufacturer defects instead of doing recalls. It’s not a perfect analogy but you get the idea

Or a dealership delivering a car without a stearing wheel. Or a machinist making a spindle without threads.

There's a whole raft of different ways it could be packaged; but I think it would be reasonable for the base game to come with Settler to King levels; and have Emperor and above (which could be more than 3 levels), come with the expansion. That or there could be over lap. You could retain all 8 levels in the base game under the current model of giving the AI lots more stuff to compensate for not being especially sharp; and then have the expansion levels start as low as an equivalent to King or Emperor, but working off of the better AI from that level up.

If we are going to do monetization I think Civ6 already has a good model. A SOLID FUNCTIONAL base game, and then various modes and/or more civs that I can pick and choose whether to purchase or enable

This is probably the new thing about Civ6 I like the most.

Also, the terrible QA will be less noticeable if they move away from season passes. I hope they do. I enjoyed the NFP, but it wasn't worth the game breaking more than was fixed with each new addition.

They need to actually do QA. A typo breaking the AI is one thing, but it not being caught, then being shipped, then simply being left broken is…I mean I shouldn’t have to say it


For me, despite loathing the World Congress, I think Civ6 was in a solid state after Gathering Storm. It was specifically the halfbaked designs and lower quality of NFP that soured the game for me.

I’m not sure exactly what features came with which expansion since I bought a bundle. I do know I hated the way Loyalty and Ages were implemented, and being able to turn all that off is the only thing that made Civ6 playable for me

Ignoring modes, which were literally just the developers making mods for fun at the end of the development cycle, the base game wasn't modular, though. You couldn't even toggle which civs or city-states could or could not appear until a very late patch. There was nothing modular about the base game.

I was referring to the add on stuff, like Rising and Fall and Gathering storm

If by same pattern, you mean the pattern of NFP, with low-quality, rapidly produced assets and toggleable core features, it'll be a hard pass from me. Civ has never been the best 4X game; its appeal has always been its flavor more than its features. But there is a limit to just how poor the game itself is before flavor stops compensating.

Oh I totally agree about how bad the quality is. Civ Revolutions was left in a similar state
 

nzcamel

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This would guarentee that I would never purchase another product from this publisher again. AI is an integral part of the game.

This would be like auto makers making you pay for manufacturer defects instead of doing recalls. It’s not a perfect analogy but you get the idea

Or a dealership delivering a car without a stearing wheel. Or a machinist making a spindle without threads.

So the status quo would remain. AI will continue to take a back seat to the blingy parts of the game that get the widest sales.

Or... Those of us who (going back to the OP) are willing to pay more for a better product, will do just that and get a better product. But without driving up the price for the casuals that 2K see as crucial, and who will rarely venture above Prince anyway (so the car they bought isn't missing a steering wheel at all).

Fortunately in 2021 only a small slice of the Civ community think the former is better than the latter.
 

Zaarin

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I’m not sure exactly what features came with which expansion since I bought a bundle. I do know I hated the way Loyalty and Ages were implemented, and being able to turn all that off is the only thing that made Civ6 playable for me
Both Loyalty and Ages are on the long list of features that were good ideas whose implementation was less than ideal, though in both cases and especially Loyalty I prefer having them to not having them.

I was referring to the add on stuff, like Rising and Fall and Gathering storm
I mean, that's been the pattern since Civ2, though: base game + two expansions. Civ5 added a few DLC; Civ6 added more.
 

SLGray

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I do not understand what you mean by systems work together better. I do not see any issues in my games I have played so far.
 

Zaarin

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I do not understand what you mean by systems work together better. I do not see any issues in my games I have played so far.
Being culturally dominant or culturally dominated has no effect except filling buckets for a Culture Victory. Being coreligionists has negligible impact on diplomacy. Each system only fills the bucket for its own victory condition without interacting with any other system. Cf. cultural influence in Civ5, which made it easier to conquer or spy on other civs, made them more receptive to your ideology, and improved the science yields of trade routes. Therefore being culturally dominant was useful for more than just Culture Victory (and being culturally dominated was actually a disadvantage).
 

aieeegrunt

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So the status quo would remain. AI will continue to take a back seat to the blingy parts of the game that get the widest sales.

Or... Those of us who (going back to the OP) are willing to pay more for a better product, will do just that and get a better product. But without driving up the price for the casuals that 2K see as crucial, and who will rarely venture above Prince anyway (so the car they bought isn't missing a steering wheel at all).

Fortunately in 2021 only a small slice of the Civ community think the former is better than the latter.

Here is what would happen if they thought the majority of the playerbase was stupid enough to ask for this

They would take the AI that would have been in the game anyway.

Cut it out

And charge you extra for it

Both Loyalty and Ages are on the long list of features that were good ideas whose implementation was less than ideal, though in both cases and especially Loyalty I prefer having them to not having them.

I can see the concept sure, but the implementation of both was terrible. 110% better off without it

Do tell. Which typo?

The AI will put an 150% emphasis on generating science, meaning it spams campus etc at the expense of everything else, even disbanding it’s military
 

nzcamel

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Here is what would happen if they thought the majority of the playerbase was stupid enough to ask for this

They would take the AI that would have been in the game anyway.

Cut it out

And charge you extra for it

:lol::lol::lol:
Okay, I get it, you've been burned before and are cynical AF. Fair enough.
What you're missing here though is that the people wanting to pay extra for better AI are mostly not the mass market who will have little to no clue if their money is put towards that or not. You say if they offered different options for people to buy into on release, that would be the moment you no longer spent a cent on their products? Well if they did what you suggest they will and not invest the extra money they made into AI, half of CivFanatics would never spend another cent on them. It's not only fraud but a betrayal of a long suffering yet loyal part of their community.

So no. Neither Firaxis nor 2K are stupid enough to do that.
 

Zaarin

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I can see the concept sure, but the implementation of both was terrible. 110% better off without it
Yes, the implementation was bad. I would prefer to see Loyalty replaced by an Ethnicity mechanic in Civ7, but in Civ6 I feel like it does its job of preventing forward settling, complicating conquest, and making isolated outposts harder to maintain than your core regions. It's a rough, unpolished solution--but in this case I feel like some solution is better than none; here's hoping for a better one next time around.
 

Linklite

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Do tell. Which typo?
As aieegrunt said, they put 150% emphasis on science (there was a thread about it, I think they said it was probably meant to bee 15% or 50%, I can't remember which). Any, it goes mental after science over anything else...which basically screws it over. Initially, it makes things hard, Barbs with more advanced units that you, etc. But then, because it has gone straight for science, it takes ages to build units because it's too advanced, it's not building CHs because it wants Campuses, so it can't afford it's army and therefore disbands it. It dies very quickly and the AI is effectively just a zombie for the majority of the game.

The worst part is, I have Civ VI on the Switch, so there's precisely nothing that I can odo about it. They introduced that bug ages ago, someone discovered it months ago, and nothing has been done about it.
 

SCBrain

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The worst part is, I have Civ VI on the Switch, so there's precisely nothing that I can odo about it. They introduced that bug ages ago, someone discovered it months ago, and nothing has been done about it.


Do you say you can do nothing about it because if you had it on a PC, you could alter the file/key value?
 
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