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Fixing the Defensive Pact

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by VainoValkea, Aug 7, 2013.

  1. VainoValkea

    VainoValkea Emperor

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    As it currently is, Defensive Pact is broken. There are three core issues with it:

    1. The AI doesn't understand Defensive Pacts. They are eager to accept pacts with their friends without paying much attention on factors such as whether this friend is actually capable of defending them in the event of war, or whether the friend is likely to need defense themselves. The AI should avoid defensive pacts with weak civs that are likely to be attacked and prefer defensive pacts with strong civs that are not likely to be attacked. Furthermore, based on some rather quick DP-inspired wars between me and AI players, the AI doesn't take defensive pacts into account when deciding whom to invade, even though it should know about them.

    2. The diplomatic penalties from obeying defensive pacts are unjustified. If I make defensive pact with Pedro, and Alexander attacks Pedro, I automatically declare war on Alexander and face the warmonger penalties. Alexander is the aggressor and knows about the defensive pact, and thus knows that in committing himself in hostilities against Pedro, he also will attack me. The diplomatic penalty should land on Alexander for attacking, not me for just obeying the defensive pact that was intended to ward off conflict anyway.

    3. The Defensive Pact is an empty promise. "If a signatory to a Defensive Pact is attacked, the other partner is automatically at war with the attacker." That's all there is to it. The pact's promise is fulfilled by a simple declaration of war, with no real hostilities needed, making it rather useless for mutual defense if the other signatory doesn't bother to show up. The AI, I believe, is programmed to play fair and actually wage war against the aggressor, but human players have no such obligation and never get called out for not actually participating in the war, making the system unfair against the AI in single player and nearly useless in multiplayer. Surely, if the pact's purpose is mutual defense, there should be some actual defending involved?


    Fixing number two shouldn't be hard: just alter the declaration of war so it's Alexander who is declaring war against me, not vice versa. Number one may be more difficult, but I believe it would still be fairly straightforward to work out a decent set of values for the AI to consider when thinking about Defensive Pacts.

    Number three, however, is one that I haven't figured out a simple solution for yet. Any ideas? Comments?
     
  2. Polisurgist

    Polisurgist King

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    #3 isn't a total problem, since there are effects of having that war out there, like the civ you're at war with coming after you, plus the diplomatic effects, having trade routes disrupted, etc. But it could still use some beefing up.

    First, I'd have a diplomatic penalty for entering into a defensive pact and not participating (measure it as the total damage done between the two parties and/or their allies). That should penalize the human player from exploiting this. Second, maybe have an incentive for participating in a war under a defensive pact? Like, Rome and Denmark are in a DP with one another, Atilla declares war on both (according to your fix, which I like), and for the duration of that war, some portion of all damage Rome or Denmark do to Atilla's units (and vice versa), they get a little (tourism? diplo? trade?) bonus with one another.
     
  3. Galgus

    Galgus Emperor

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    #3 Perhaps there could be a diplomatic penalty for not attacking the enemy until the war ended.

    Nations would view you as an untrustworthy ally.
     
  4. VainoValkea

    VainoValkea Emperor

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    Trade routes and deals being cut with the aggressor is a certain downside of being at war, yes, but if the aggressor's intent was to attack the other signatory, not you, it would be unlikely for them to go out of their way to get you too. The "third party" that joins the war because of the pact is likely to have a less heated war.
     
  5. Viregel

    Viregel , The Rt. Hon.

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    I never use Defencive Pacts anyway, unless I really want something to do. That's a good enough reason for them to be changed. I'd just say give more reason to have them, and less penalties, and they're fine, just as stated above.
     
  6. VainoValkea

    VainoValkea Emperor

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    Yup, I've even used them a few times although not once have they been useful. They should act as a deterrent and thus be a valuable tool for civs wishing to retain peace while they work their way towards Cultural Victory or something, but the AI doesn't seem very deterred by them...
     
  7. Polisurgist

    Polisurgist King

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    Part of the problem is that it's too easy to boil a pact down to the binary decision of whether it's a benefit or a liability, especially for the AI, which can crunch the numbers that much faster. So it's hard to think of a case in which you're going to get a beneficial DP from someone, since the AI is only really going to want to sign with a stronger ally.

    Maybe in general there should be some small diplo penalty for turning down trades and or generally dicking people around. Something very small but which accumulates.
     
  8. VainoValkea

    VainoValkea Emperor

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    I also wouldn't rule out the possibility of DP including some other type of co-operation as well. That would intuitively increase the signatories' interest in each other's welfare.
     
  9. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Rename it to take the word "defensive" out, since literalism seems to be the main issue at hand.

    OK, you damage one enemy unit slightly, and then leave. Pact fulfilled?

    Consider that it may well be impractical for one civ to attack another. They may be separated by geography.

    I'm not sure what folks are expecting out of Defensive Pacts here. When two AI civ's are at war, they will attack each if they see a venue for attack. They'll compare relative strengths and look for a city to attack. If they come up with bupkus, then they don't make a move. A civ certainly shouldn't be compelled to send his army across the map leaving his civ open to invasion, or send them to certain death against a superior force. If war isn't feasible, they should wait the 10 rounds and then sue for peace. They fulfilled the pact, but no civ should be expected to impale themselves on another civ's behalf. That's not an empty promise, that's just common sense.

    If you'd like them to help you attack a civ, ask them declare war with you. If they won't do that, then don't expect a DoW from a defensive pact to produce better results.
     
  10. VainoValkea

    VainoValkea Emperor

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    Except the defensive pact is supposed to be just that. Two civs who promise to, if needed, to impale themselves for each others' behalf. Of course it should be expected to the signatories to actually do something when war is declared.

    And yes, common sense makes defensive pacts useless. That's the entire point. That's why I said they were broken in the first place.
     
  11. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    There's only one catch, but it's a big one. That's a literal interpretation of "defensive pact" that you've superimposed onto the term. The game doesn't explicitly tell us that's how it works.

    Now perhaps you'll reply "of course that's how it shoudl work the word defensive means defend obviously of course..." or somesuch. So, like I said before, the only apparent correction needed is related to nomenclature, not the AI behvavior. Excise the "defensive" part. Then perhaps fewer people will expect that the AI civ's ought to be forced to overcommit and defend another civ in anything other than a convenient and opportune fashion.

    Right now, if I make a defensive pact with another civ, I expect them to attack the enemy's ships when they encounter them abroad, to pepper those units when they cruise near their border, and to aggressively invade if the enemy has an accessible border *and* they feel their stick is sufficiently pointy. Beyond that, I don't see any practical reason to expect much else.

    In fact, the best use for a defensive pact is to get other civ's to protect you, but rather to extend my protection to another civ. If I have Venice as a neighbor, I have to protect him to maintain all those lucrative trade routes. The defensive pact has proved my best shot at that. Enrico maintains such a paltry defensive army that he tends to get bulldozed.
     

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