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First impressions: Wonders still suck (big time).

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Ryika, Mar 11, 2015.

  1. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    In the end, the main problem with wonders is still twofold:
    (1) Game pacing (games end WAY too early)
    (2) Tech Web Design (most wonder tech requirements are harsh)

    To make a wonder useful to me it must provide me with a significant benefit that makes winning more likely. In case of an Affinity victory that mostly means reducing the win timer.

    Since I can convert production into science, my rule of thumb is basicially: Does the wonder provide a [COST/4] worth of science until the point when I start the Mindflower? If the wonder is not located at one of my affinity techs, it also has to recoup the cost for the tech I had to research to get it.

    And here is the problem: Barely any wonder will manage to do that. Heck, even most late game buildings (e.g. Nanopasture) are not worth building at this point, even if you unlock them quite early.

    I think to make wonders actually useful/powerful they need to push back the win timer by at least 100, maybe even 150 turns. As long as turn 200-215 wins are possible, many of the existing mechanics (including wonders) can just be ignored. Which is sad.

    Let's hope they fix that with the Spring Patch...
    ...if it is even fixable.
     
  2. JokerJace

    JokerJace Prince

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    Sure, but if this is possible, I think the problem lies somewhere else.
    Does it work out in 100% of the cases? If so, why? AI problems?
    Does the player gain disadvantages in other areas because of his focused / rushed strategy? If not, why? General balance issues?
     
  3. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    @Acken: the time (turn) cost is also a factor, not just the Production cost (r.e. Gene Vault). Nevermind the lack of a necessity to path a Worker to the new City site in the first place.

    Not all Wonders have such subtle benefits beyond recouping the Production cost invested, but the new Gene Vault is definitely more useful than that comparison alone.

    @GAGA_Extrem: do you think all Wonders (and thus all technologies) should be reachable in a competitive high-skill game? Because at lower AI competencies (and presumably at lower human levels of skill) games can drag on considerably.
     
  4. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    No.
    But in either case I'd like to have more choise for existing strategies. As it is I can usually set my techpath from the very first to the very last tech on turn 1, without ever returning to the tech window unless things go *really* wrong.
     
  5. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Huh, that's fascinating. I've never really used that functionality (sometimes I have done for beelining certain techs), I prefer the flexibility of evaluating the game state as it changes.

    More choice for existing strategies I agree with completely. I'm not sure how viable extending the game length is though, for those people who're already bored with the midgame. Perhaps more to do with the Quest system, and slowing down / extending the Affinity bonuses (one for each level or even every other level).
     
  6. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    What is the time cost for you if it's not the time it takes to build something and therefore directly a function of the production cost ? That makes very little sense unless we put ourselves in a situation where you make a lot more than 60 prod per turn (and where it would actually take less time to make the wonder than 4 worker). An unlikely situation by the time the gene vault has any use.

    What is so hard that you would simply move a worker with the settler to get the same effect.

    I'm hardly convinced the Gene Vault is worth it unless you get 4 or 5 new cities minimum :)
     
  7. Gamewizard

    Gamewizard Emperor

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    Game length has been increased due to the decrease in # of trade routes.
     
  8. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    For me the problem is - to put it simply - the Affinity system.
    Most of the Affinity techs you have to research offer no significant benefit to improve your win speed. Here is how I look at the tech web when I play my usual Harmony game:

    I do not care that Tissue Engineering gives me +10 heal.
    I do not care that Swarm Robotics unlocks the Drone Sphere.
    I don't even care that Nanotechnology gives me +1 Science for Manufactories because even that direct science bonus is inconsequential.

    The only Harmony Affinity tech that I consider to be important is Photosystems. These other techs might as well be blank and just give an Affinity bonus, I have to research them to win - and it is simply faster to get them asap after the early game stuff is unlocked than invest in any other non-affinity tech.

    The ironic thing is, that the there is actually a phase where I feel like I have choise. It starts right after I have begun construction of the Mindflower, when I no longer have to care for Affinity and instead can focus on stuff I want. It is fake choise, sure, because it doesn't affect my wintimer anymore. But I can finally get some food for that small city, build an Institute for that big one - all developments that are pointless if you want to win the game, because nothing past the mid game pays off before the game is over.

    That is what makes me so sad.

    Yes, but I'd guess that this change doesn't much more than adding between 15-30 turns. Which is probably still way too little to make all that fancy mid/late game stuff viable (even more so since the reduced production also means longer build time for buildings and wonders). The more interesting question related to the change is probably if it has shifted the balance from Academy rush to Biowell rush.
     
  9. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Following Gorbs Example I have taken the time to go into some more detail about what I think is right and wrong about the new wonders. I'll like both posts in the original post - as well as the posts of anyone else who may decide to give his opinion.



    Ectogenesis Pod:
    Was probably a bit too strong but now it's really useless. There are just no tools available that allow us to grow really big cities and this wonder NEEDS a big city to do anything. Early wonders should help us grow(!), not reward us for already having big cities. That just doesn't work. It's also extremely overpriced for what it does. I actually like the addition of the 2 Geothermal as prequisite (as "rushing" that wonder is now only possible by buying Geothermal from an AI), but as a compensation for that and the fact that it's WAY weaker now it should cost a lot less production.

    Holon Chamber:
    A nice idea and a wonder that COULD reward a very specific play style (aka make that playstyle competative), however, it's position in the tech web makes it utterly useless. You just can't forge half of your game around a wonder that comes that late. Also, way to expensive. At that time in the game it just doesn't have the time to pay for itself if it costs that much - and again, the Floatstone-Prequesite should at the same time reduce the actual production cost.

    Tectonic Anvil:
    I like the idea. And in the right city it could be a huge tool to push out the victory wonder a lot faster than any other wonder could. But once again, the price is insane. Also, it's on a tech that is completely useless for any peaceful victory. And military victories do not need it.

    Crawler:
    I actually don't think this wonder is much different from before the patch. At that point in the game you're usually not going to be building to many buildings and if you have enough production to build the crawler, well, then frankly, you really don't need the production. In theory it's useful... but as always - the price. Considering the fact that it's not on a leaf tech and should thus be heavily contested I'd say cut down the cost SIGNIFICANTLY. Then it's fine.

    Drone Sphere:
    This one seems hilariously cheap compared to most other wonders. It probably comes too late to the Academy-spam-fest though, so it's rather gimmicky. Could be useful for magrails. Overall, I'm really not sure about this. If it was available a bit earlier I'd say it's op as hell, but at that point it asmost seems like a cheap "throwaway-wonder" with some limited use. I actually like that.

    Nanothermite:
    Not sure about this one. It seems quite useful to me, though I'm certainly no expert at domination. Semms overpriced though.

    Stellar Codex:
    Imho completely useless now. Interesting to annoy the AI, but no real benefit. Especially not for 300 production and on a tech that doesn't get my anywhere.

    Armasail:
    Useless for refined strategies. However, that's probably by design - you just don't need city defense in that kind of game. And you also can't skip units, because if you do then you'll still lose that city to an army of melee units. So I'll go with a suboptimal game where I somehow don't have enough units at that point and I have to say that it seems quite nice in that scenario. But like so many wonders - WAY overpriced. And it comes way too late.

    New Terran Myth:
    Interesting bonus, but it comes at a time where Culture is rather useless - and it's still on a late-game tech that doesn't have anything else. With that position the wonder would need to be a real game changer to be worth spending the science on and this one just isn't. Even if we'd get that wonder automatically just for researching that tech it would probably still not be worth it.

    Deep Memory:
    Again too late for a culture-based wonder and again the problem of rewarding big cities when there just aren't any mechanisms that allow us to build really big cities -> Not worth building.

    Human Hive:
    Useless. Really. This wonder does absolutely nothing. We already have the Surveillance Web on a tech that is available much earlier, costs much less and basically does the same job. At 3 Intrigue an AI can't harm us. No benefit at all.

    Resurrection Device:
    Way too late. Way to expensive. I like the idea, but there's no way this one is ever going to pay for itself.

    Xenonova:
    Same as Resurrection Device. Just... a bit weaker at that point in the game. Because once again this wonder comes very late in the game and you just can't afford staying in serious negative health in the mid-game before that wonder becomes active.

    Xenodrome:
    Comes WAY too late. If this was an earlygame wonder, then it might find some uses. But I don't think it really does enough. What about also adding a HUGE combat bonus for friendly Alien units that are within our borders? THAT would actually make it worthwhile to keep aliens around.

    Archimedes Lever:
    Similar to the Armasail this one doesn't seem too useful if you play really good. It seems very gimmicky - and you already know the deal, it's way to expensive.

    Quantum Computer:
    As a cheap Early Game Wonder this one would be okay. I know people dislike orbital duration, but it's only negative if you use Weather Controllers or Orbital Fabricators - 2 Satellites that many strategies don't even use at all.

    Memetwork:
    Insane. I'd say this one is by far the best wonder in the game now. It's relatively cheap and it basically saves you around 4-5k science to get to Affinity13 (in a non-might strategy).

    Cynosure:
    Probably the best of the "Per population"-Wonders, but still. Some math: 1650 Production, that's, if you use science focus, roughly 400 science. If we assume that the part of the game before you're done researching to get to Affinity13 will drag on ~50 turns after you get that tech (which I think is a rather genuous assumption) that wonder would need to generate a total of 8 science per turn to even make up for it's production cost. That's a size 24 city - just to break EVEN in total science output. Then you also have to factor in that by building that wonder you delay that science gain... it's just a bad deal.

    Bytegeist:
    I think the current strategies don't benefit from this at all. Can't think of a single scenario where one is ever 1 virtue away from a strong bonus (though I may be wrong here). Seems rather useless. Though it would have the potential to actually change strategies - if it wasn't so expensive.

    Master Control:
    This one is CHEAP. What the hell. Did they forget to make it cost double of that? Whow. Well, it's an okay wonder. Cheap, effect is nice and useful. It's on the wrong tech though - put in on power systems, that way the wonder actually has reasonable production costs for the tech its on AND you solve the problem of supremacies first tech being HORRIBLE.

    Markov Eclipse:
    Probably a nice bonus. But 1600 production? On the same tech level as the Master Control? What the hell went wrong here?

    Precog Project:
    The idea is nice, but meh, it doesn't really sound like that's too useful. Especially not as your units can basically be "oneshot" in offensive wars. (But again - I'm not good at war, so I may value this one completely wrong.)

    Gene Vault:
    You get it AFTER the big expansion phase. I don't see how this would be useful at all. If it was every EXISTING city (or if it at least had 2 free workers in the city it is build in or something), then it may be different. But the way it is... I just don't see it working.
     
  10. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    @Acken:

    Oh right, my brain absolutely derped with the time comparison. My bad.

    The moving the Worker is a lot more situational, but it's the fact it's an additional one, so you don't have to sacrifice an existing unit (from working other tiles). I don't know how many Cities would make it "worth it", but I'd imagine it'd take a few. Maybe not as many as 4 - 5 though. Personal utility / game situation dependent.

    What else would you like on the Wonder? Honestly I think it could be buffed (despite being a very early Wonder) but unlike the others it has no easy numbers to buff up - you'd have to add something separate out of the constraints of the redesign.

    EDIT:

    GAGA, Ryika, I'm sure we've been down this before but why do you both only ever assume the Affinity Victory is the only available Victory? I understand that Contact is technically faster, but what about Domination? Game design needs to be applied for that as well.
     
  11. TLHeart

    TLHeart King

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    First play through after the patch, slightly slower early growth. just had to get up to 10 pop quicker with one less city than before the patch...

    Still did the Supremacy, academy, bio well spam, and finished the victory on turn 255.

    Ignored all wonders again.

    6 city total, no wars, was not attacked when I built the gate.

    Same problem as before, get city started, trade, slightly slower now, tech affinity points, disregard the AI and win by turn 250. 4 hours to complete the game, and the last 30 turns are just press enter still.
     
  12. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Simply reduced cost would make it okay. But I wouldn't care that much if the rest of the wonders were in a better shape. I can live with a situational one.

    I think my most wtf moments were when reviewing Deep Memory and Tectonic Anvil. There seems to be some disconnection to what really happens in the game when I see these.

    Domination didn't change that much after the patch. Could see it make a couple of wonders now though yes.
     
  13. GAGA Extrem

    GAGA Extrem Emperor

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    I do not wage war because it is incredibly innefficient in terms of RL time. For one domination game I can probably finish two Harmony victory games. I also find the CIV5/BE combat system to be quite dull (without considering AI ineptitude).

    I don't go for contact because it is too random for my taste. Same reason why I don't play Spain in CIV5.

    I don't assume that Affinity victories are the only viable ones. It is just the most convinent one for me to go Harmony.

    But even if you take all victory conditions into consideration, many techs and wonders remain pointless. If you want to discuss that further - fine, but please let us open a seperate thread. As I said elsewhere, we end up with way too many locked threads because these side discussions spiral out of control.

    Imho the problem is the opportunity cost. To make a mid or late game wonder viable the effects would have to be *insanely* good.
    ...and at the same time you'd need to take into consideration that the player can beeline the thing, so it can't be a viable first choise.
     
  14. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Not sure how you came to that conclusion. I even mentioned that some combat-oriented wonders seem like they may possibly be really good and that I don't have enough experience to give an informed opinion.

    ...though I assume that may be a strange concept for you. Actually saying "I'm not experienced enough in this field, so I'll not even try to seem as if I knew what I'm talking about." :D
     
  15. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    the tool tip for the Gene Vault says new cities get a worker. Doesn't that mean that every new city you build after the Gene Vault gets a free worker? if so, that is not a bad wonder at all.
     
  16. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Well, a normal, "efficient" game looks somewhat like this:

    - Get free Settler from Virtue
    - Get trade routes up
    - Spam settlers until you ideally have 6-7 cities
    - You're done expanding for the rest of the game

    To make the Gene Vault even "pay for itself" you'd need to AT LEAST settle 5 new cities (as workers cost 60 and the Gene Vault costs 250 production) after you built the Gene Vault.

    So what options do you have? Delay settling until after the gene vault? Well, you'd need to get the leaf tech first, THEN build the wonder and THEN start getting settlers. That doesn't sound like it would work.

    Settle even more after getting the Gene Vault? At least on Apollo at that point there is usually not enough space left to really get these cities down - and of course, getting that tech is an investment as well - because even if you plan on going for purity... at that time you usually don't need the purity 1 yet. All of this for a few workers that could also have just been produced in the capital? Meh.

    The idea is nice - but I can't see any scenario where the wonder would really work.
     
  17. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    It changes things, like Memetwork goes from "incredibly useful" to "eh, take it or leave it". That said, this has been a sticking point throughout debates since even the Fall Patch. People tend to assume Affinity Victory above all else, I just want to understand why.

    For my part, my failing was also relying on Domination too much in my Wonder review. Will have to bear that in mind.

    Interesting. Again, it's fun to see other players' perspectives - I play for sheer enjoyment, for example. I don't care about efficiency; I've got a game sitting here right now as I forum browser on the other monitor. I've always found this genre of games a good way to de-stress, maybe do some RL scheduling on my phone, etc. I enjoy Domination, and then Affinity. I rarely bother with Contact just because it seems so fast. Fast isn't what I want out of the game, and given complaints about game length I'm not that surprised a lot of people don't mention it much.

    And as ever, I'm just discussing this patch. I don't really see a lot of threads locked. A lot of moderation, sure, but other forums are far more strict than this one in terms of thread locking. And as long as we're discussing this patch and how people view it, it's on-topic!
     
  18. SupremacyKing2

    SupremacyKing2 Deity

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    But even if you only get say 3 workers, it might not pay for itself in terms of production but it does save you the time it would normally take to build those workers and move them to your new cities. Having a worker that can start improving tiles for your new city as soon as it is founded will help your cities grow faster.
     
  19. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Absolutely. And if you look at Civ5 many of the long term bonuses wonders are at the start: HG, Petra, ToA, Pisa. Or immediate bonuses very useful at the start: HS, GL, Borobodur. And later on the best wonders are those giving a very strong immediate bonus like SoL or Hubble.
    Wonders that have very little use are those that come late and have long term bonuses.

    The problem civBE faces is that it uses a tech web so this long-term short-term stuff is far harder to balance right since as a designer you cannot evaluate when the player will get that tech. That's why I think they should move away from giving yield bonuses like Cynosure, Tectonic Anvil, Deep Memory etc that are all very long term bonuses and instead go for more immediate bonuses.

    No at best it saves you the move time not the build time. And like already said you can accompany the settler. Yes accompanying isn't as good for sure but I wouldn't overestimate it. I'd preffer having 4 workers than 3 without having to move them, but maybe that's just me.
     
  20. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Well, that wouldn't work either, as you'd be able to build 4 workers at the time that you'd build the wonder and could then move the first 2-3 workers and they'd arive at the new cities before the wonder would even be done.

    In theory one could of course push out a bunch of settlers, THEN build the wonder while the outposts are not yet cities and that may give a similar outcome to just building workers at that time, but... well, then there's still the tech investment.
     

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