For those of you that think they removed the free amenity, they did not

hhhhhh

Prince
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Also, what do you mean by "amenities are still kinda easy once you hit Cultural Heritage"? To my knowledge Cultural Heritage don't have anything contribute to amenities directly, I always understand Professional Sports (Stadium, Aquatics Center, Ski Resort, etc) as what helps amenities in the late game the most.
He probably mean Natural History which unlocks zoos and Water Parks.
 

Nerevatar

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Your minimum thresholds for Unhappy and Displeased cities are incorrect -- before the patch, they were -4/-2, now they are -5/-3.

I didn't go for minimum modifiers since that is irrelevant for the negative states (just as the maximum states are irrelevant for the positive states). I used the thresholds closed to 0.

But even if you wanted to use the minimum modifiers for the negative states it wouldn't change anything as they are relatively the same. This can be tinkered with in the excel sheet for those interested.
 

acluewithout

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If anyone is interested, the Developer discussion about the Amenities changes is here.

Anton (I think) discusses the goal as being to stretch out the range of happiness scores more and to make negative Amenities more tough. But there is also discussion around making Amenities harder or more demanding by removing the free starting Amenities, so clearly that was the intention.

I'm happy basically playing with the existing change for now, but @lockstep 's mod. I also think @pokiehl 's mod is a good approach, but obviously goes further than the existing design.

Honestly, I feel like every balance change is three steps forward two steps backwards.
  • Remove free Amenity, but sort of softball it as discussed above.

  • Nerf Envoys, but over nerf Mercantile City State Envoys by making them +1/+2/+3 like the other yields even thought Gold is worth half as much.

  • Buff Production / IZs, but don't adequately buff Workshop and make Lumbermills more boring (by losing any adjacency for Rivers).

  • Buff Coastal Cities, but introduce this weird Shipyard +1 for unimproved tiles, so you gain a +1 for fish, then lose it when you build a fishing boat, then get it back again when you research Exploration.

  • Buff Religious Beliefs, but stop short of really doing more with Religion like late game Reformation Beliefs, more Unit Diversity, more interaction with Loyalty (although the increased integration with Diplomacy is a good change);

  • Buff T2 Government Plaza Buildings, but don't touch Audience Chamber which seemingly no one uses (I mean, it's fine, but clearly needs FXS to bring back sexy for the Audience Chamber, if you know what I mean).

  • Introduce Policy Cards that can only be used with T3 or T4 Governments ... but don't allow the T3 ones to be used with equivalent T4 Governments (e.g. you can use Arsenal of Democracy with Democracy, but not with Digital Democracy), with the result that T4 Governments can end up a worse choice overall because you lose access to key cards.

  • Introduce new disasters, but still no Earthquakes.

  • Introduce Zombies, but don't add them into their Gonzo End of the World Game Mode (I mean, I can't really hold that against them, but it does seem like a missed opportunity).

  • Cliffs of Dover. I mean, I really didn't care if these got buffed or not. Totally fine as they were. But if they were going to get buffed, the Appeal thing was a very underwhelming way to do it. Just give the Cliffs adjacencies like Ik-Kil or Paititi, or additional GPPs or something if you own a tile like Zhangye Danxia. It's not hard.

  • Introduce Natural Wonder Picker, but not a City State Picker or way to exclude specific Civs.

  • Rework Soothsayers a little, but don't really tackle the problem that they're kinda boring as implemented and there aren't any other options for messing with disasters in Apocalypse Mode.

  • Introduce cool Secret Societies, but they don't seem to be particularly secret or have anything to do with Societies, discovering them is kinda tedious (particularly with the very obtrusive Pop-up triggering four times every game), and the Governor Titles just make an otherwise interesting game mode OP.

  • Military still a mess, with lots of problematic unit gaps, AC and their promotions still suck, and Aircraft Carriers being basically useless. Naval units still deeply suck.

  • Neighbourhoods, Sewers still basically useless (although, forgivable not reworking these until there's a better w vs t balance overall) . Science Adjacencies, Natural Philosophy and Rationalism-type cards still OP.
I promise I'm not slamming NFP or the Community Updates or FXS, which seems to be flavour of the month with some people lately. I’m sure this is all much harder to do than it looks. But, from the outside looking in, I do think FXS seem to be doing all this awesome work with NFP and the Community Updates, really putting in the time, but then somehow keep ending up at "good, but not great"...

At least a lot of this little stuff can be tweaked with Mods. I still feel like I'm playing Civ VI as intended when I do that, I'm just adding in the tweaks FXS will eventually add themselves.

But it is all getting a bit maddening.

@Sostratus any chance you get join the Firaxis QC/QA team? Maybe you could also get @Boris Gudenuf to advise on the historical stuff? And then we'll get @Eagle Pursuit to leak all the details here? ;-)

[Edit: added some additional points e.g. COD.]
 
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RealHuhn

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I was looking forward to the harsher penalties but it has already been said. The devs nullified their own ideas by changing the threshold of content to -1.

I'd also like to add that it's still too easy to get almost every single luxury on the map by trading, even with unfriendly AIs. When you get 10+ diplo favor per turn and the AI only wants 7 diplo favor per luxury in a 30 turn trade, you can tell the balance is completely off. They even made it harder to reach ecstatic and the only thing this change accomplishes is that players don't even bother anymore. Just get every luxury on the map for a couple of diplo favor and don't care at all. I'm seriously asking myself if I can come up with a more boring way to implement amenities. It's really bad. Sorry for the unconstructive criticism, just disappointed because this change had potential.
 
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Lord Lakely

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Also, what do you mean by "amenities are still kinda easy once you hit Cultural Heritage"? To my knowledge Cultural Heritage don't have anything contribute to amenities directly, I always understand Professional Sports (Stadium, Aquatics Center, Ski Resort, etc) as what helps amenities in the late game the most.

Water Parks and Zoo's unlock at Cultural Heritage, which is important because the amenity bonuses from Zoo's and Aquariums affect other cities, and they stack with each other. Once you start building Water Parks in your coastal or lake cities, reaching Happy City levels becomes easy and you can even grab Extatic too with the right policy cards (Medina Quarter, Retainers, New Deal). Professional Sports bloats this even further, but it is at Cultural Heritage where amenities reach their first power spike.

It's way easier for Hungary, Rome, Ottomans, Khmer and Scotland than it is for others. Hungary is probably the best Amenity Civ in the game, with Scotland closely behind (I feel like many people forget but Zoo's provide +1 Amenity to all cities in a 6 tile radius. Thermal Baths can provide up to plus FOUR if their city owns a Geothermal Fissure, which is equivalent to a double Colosseum. NUTS. :hammer:)

as for the Tall vs Wide conundrum, the general idea of a 4X game is that you go wide first and THEN grow your cities tall. Civilization 5's system of growing tall first for 85% of the game before FINALLY expanding was horrible and degenerate and I'm glad it was trashed completely. Sorry if you like boring-ass games. ^_^
 

Bibor

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In previous civ games (Civ4 & below), where yields were directly tied to population, it made sense to make unhappy citizens simply not produce anything, but eat food.

Now that yields come from passive effects like districts and trade routes, % penalties make more sense, but it doesnt make too much sense because we need a global modifier like Working population to make some sense of it all. Also because the map is still the same like in all civ games (i.e. providing yields), but with higher values.

this is why making specialists insignificant, and making adjacencies way too important, was a bad idea.
 

ducksinwar

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Yes, this is a point I was having some difficulty convincing people of in the patch notes thread. Allowing every city one negative amenity without penalty is mathematically equivalent to to giving every city one free amenity.

I still have no idea what the devs were thinking. Perhaps it was an issue of different people making different changes at different times and no one actually sitting down to think about how they interact? Fortunately @lockstep has created a mod that reverts the changes to negative thresholds, so that's a great option if you want to play with the free amenities actually removed.

You are actually the reason why I made this post, lol. I really think this deserve it's own post to get the attention of the community. People keep claiming that they removed the free amenity but they did not.

Let's get this straight. I mapped out the now-famous example of 4 cities of 10 pop vs 10 cities of 4 pop, in both pre-patch and post-patch scenarios taking the changed thresholds into account.

View attachment 567734

As can be seen, Content, Displeased and Unhappy is all unchanged between pre and post patch. However, tall was hit less hard by the patch when it comes to getting to some of the happy states.

So there you have it. I have attached the excel file if anyone wants to tinker with the values for modding purposes or check my math. I know I will myself when/if I decide NFP is worth my time.

Thanks for putting that up! This will help people who don't want to do the math themselves to see the problem here.

Most 4X games are inherently friendly to “wide” since players need to expand to play the game as intended. “Tall” is something that generally needs either 1) deliberate design choices or 2) enough content to support it.

Making tall work in civ6 anything similar to what, I suspect, people mean - being able to build up cities in the early-mid game as opposed to building out- would require districts and buildings to simply not work the way the they do. And specialists. You can’t National college rush if the national college just doesn’t exist.
Amenities could sort of fill that role but with the threshold changes, and how plentiful they are, you’d need more than just number tweaks to make that work.

I’m not thrilled with the -1 threshold instead of 0. I mean it makes the concept of the number 0, obsolete and replaces it with -1.

Honestly even if they actually remove the free amenity civ 6 will still be wide friendly. However, it just doesn't make any sense that 4 10 pop cities requires more amenities than 10 4 pop cities. Also, removing the free amenity will make amenity (and thus EC/WP) actually relevant, unlike right now.
 

Myomoto

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In previous civ games (Civ4 & below), where yields were directly tied to population, it made sense to make unhappy citizens simply not produce anything, but eat food.

Now that yields come from passive effects like districts and trade routes, % penalties make more sense, but it doesnt make too much sense because we need a global modifier like Working population to make some sense of it all. Also because the map is still the same like in all civ games (i.e. providing yields), but with higher values.

this is why making specialists insignificant, and making adjacencies way too important, was a bad idea.

Yea, until the Devs change the yields balance of districts to heavily skew towards specialists rather than buildings (i.e. population needs to work to produce the district yields), the game will fundamentally be about city spam.

Tall cities would have the advantage that they would need to specialise less and could produce a bigger balance of yields, while hardcore sciencing/culturing would probably still be best accomplished by a wide + semi-tall strategy.
 

hhhhhh

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Most 4X games are inherently friendly to “wide” since players need to expand to play the game as intended. “Tall” is something that generally needs either 1) deliberate design choices or 2) enough content to support it.

Sadly this is true. I think one of the reason is all the 4X games are inherently number-accumulation simulators - you cannot go wrong if you boost your science high, and the more tech you get the better. (And in the case of Civ VI, a campus-library-university set is only costing 4 gold to maintain, always worth it.)

I really wish 4X games have different goals for different eras, e.g. early game you explore and claim land, and religions are important, mid-game you grow your empire, tax your population and explore the ocean, and only around the time of late renaissance and industrialization, tech start to play a key role and reiligion are less important.

Maybe it's good to introduce a notion of literacy rate, which is something that's hard to change unless you invest a lot in infrastructures for a long time. And if you don't, then in ancient eras no matter how high your on paper science output is, only 20% of that are applied to advance the tech tree. The penalty can be so harsh that you simply gain more tech from eurekas, random events and communication with other civs than doing research of your own. And as the game progress the literacy rate slowly improve from 20% to 95%-100% and doing "research" become a real thing.

Another thing I don't like about current 4X game is the confusion of science and technology. It's a modern day thinking that for any technology you always need science. But for many ancient technology, like stirrup and plough, it's certainly not invented by scientists but craftsmen. Maybe one day they (or other 4X games) can enhance the eureka system even further so that some of the pre-industrial techs are completely independent of science - e.g. build 5 horseman and use them to fight a bit will get you stirrup, that will be fun. (But to make that happen one need to allow tech to really propagate among civs via trading or even fighting, and relax the dependency a bit, for example it doesn't make sense that without Stirrup you cannot have Banking or Gunpowder.)
 
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Amrunril

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Regarding wide vs. tall balance, it's interesting to note that, in comparison to Civ V, even equal amenity costs for wide and tall play would represent a significant buff to wide play. In Civ V, each city cost 4 happiness on top of its unhappiness from population. This would be equivalent, in Civ VI terms, to cities starting at -2 amenities (-3 with the first population).

I don't think that anything resembling Civ V's 4 city Tradition strategy is a goal to strive for in terms of balance. The thing is, though, that even with this happiness system, even with population based science buildings,even with culture costs scaling by city number, even with the national wonder system, and even with specialist-based great people, wide strategies did great in the vanilla game and in the G&K expansion. It's only when BNW took all of that and added tech cost scaling and a "rebalance" of the Tradition and Liberty trees that the 4 city strategy we remember became dominant.

I'm not sure what the moral is in terms of specific balance changes, but I think it is worth noting that Civ V's final version and Civ VI both represent extreme points on the spectrum of possible wide/tall balance states, and there's a huge amount of middle ground that could allow for more varied and context dependent strategies.
 

Sostratus

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The thing is, though, that even with this happiness system, even with population based science buildings,even with culture costs scaling by city number, even with the national wonder system, and even with specialist-based great people, wide strategies did great in the vanilla game and in the G&K expansion. It's only when BNW took all of that and added tech cost scaling and a "rebalance" of the Tradition and Liberty trees that the 4 city strategy we remember became dominant.
i think a lot of people only remember BNW or started playing at that point. Even in BNW it wasn't like tall was invincible either - only vs the AI. If you went wide with the right happiness strategy - usually religion based - many people would find that the science utopia is quite vulnerable to the absolute flood of production and gold a wide empire could dish out. 4 city tradition just happened to be the fastest way to win science and was competent enough vs the AI on military defense.

I do think having more depth to what you can actually do to build up a city, however, would really enhance the game.
 

bbbt

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I think my example managed to confuse things, but my thought was that was their explicit intent. Not change negative penalties, but make it easier for 'tall' empires to get the positive multipliers.

I guarantee they did not want the majority of players (who play on lower levels, and are likely not paying attention to patch details) to suddenly have increased number of displeased cities, and wonder what the heck happened.

Ideal scenario imho would be: remove free amenity per city. Leave content/displeased/etc levels as they had been. Add per city amenities by difficulty level, i.e.:

-Settler +2 Amenities per city for the Player, 0 for the AI
-Chieftan +2 Amenities per city for the Player, 0 for the AI
-Warlord +1 Amenities per city for the Player, 0 for the AI
-Prince +1 Amenities per city for both Player and the AI (or 0/0)
-King +1 Amenities per city for the AI, 0 for the Player
-Emperor +1 Amenities per city for the AI, 0 for the Player
-Immortal +2 Amenities per city for the AI, 0 for the Player
-Deity +2 Amenities per city for the AI, 0 for the Player
 

lotrmith

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The only change to amenity they have accomplished with this patch is:

1) Harsher penalties to cities that drops below the content threshold
2) Make it extremely hard to get a bonus by sharply increase the happy threshold
I mean, those are both pretty big deals.
 

acluewithout

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the general idea of a 4X game is that you go wide first and THEN grow your cities tall.
I do think having more depth to what you can actually do to build up a city, however, would really enhance the game.

I think the sweet spot is having the right balance / mechanics where you generally have lots of Cities, most of which are low pop, and a few of which you want to build up and develop, ie not just lots of cities that are either all low pop or all high pop, or a small number of cities that are all high pop (ie 4 city tradition), but lots of small and a few big cities.

I guess, ideally, you then have a few specialist Civs that really do the “small number of tall cities”, “large number of small cities” and “large number or large cities”, to shake up the basic meta.

FXS seem to be inching towards “lots of small a few tall” with various changes, including the diplo quarter. I’m interested to see if the Amenities changes were implemented ahead of other specific wide / tall balance changes, and to see who at the next district does.


Add per city amenities by difficulty level

I do think things like happiness, maintenance, era score thresholds etc should either adjust based on difficulty or be separately adjustable at set up. Not a big deal, but would maybe make it easier for FXS to keep everyone happy.
 

8housesofelixir

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I think the sweet spot is having the right balance / mechanics where you generally have lots of Cities, most of which are low pop, and a few of which you want to build up and develop, ie not just lots of cities that are either all low pop or all high pop, or a small number of cities that are all high pop (ie 4 city tradition), but lots of small and a few big cities.

I like the idea, and I image that will be a sweet spot between "tall" and "wide" - a structural combination of both.

IMHO, the introduction of diplo quarter (maybe also vampire castle?) does lean towards "lots of small and a few tall", but the current difference between "small" cities and "tall" cities are still in yields, not functions. Optimization-focused players will still develop "many tall" cities if the small cities cannot provide them with enough yields like the tall cities do.

If small cities and tall cities are functionally different, complementary to each other - for instance, small rural city provide foods to the highly developed tall city - the player will more likely to develop both small and tall cities, rather than build up everything into a 10 pop +3 adjacency city (I blame the Rationalism card here).

Maybe that can be a possible direction for Civ 7: based on the current district system, and let different cities build a different "set" of districts. (The core idea of the City Lights mod is similar to this, and it does look more like a DLC than a mod.)
 

Myomoto

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Yea, I'm not really an advocate of the Civ V 4 mega cities strategy. My biggest problem with VI is that district yields are entirely disconnected from population (apart from the 10 pop threshold of the policy cards), and the general lack of maintenance costs.

There is really not a big incentive to specialise your cities, you don't 'need' to have that one mega trade city with the harbor/commercial hub/city center triangle to produce gold to support the big science/culture city, or your mega industrial city doesn't really need a bunch of internal trade routes to supply food and crammed neighborhood slums to make sure it has enough population to work in the factories.

Instead, all the cities end up with similar 'cookie cutter' district layouts, and the quantity of 'cookie cutter' cities is what determines success.

Edit: One fix I can think of, is to give the adjacency bonus of a district to the specialists working there, remove almost all except 1, 2, and 3 of the respective yields from the tier 1, 2, and 3 buildings, and remove great people points from the buildings as well - each specialist gives +2 of their district's respective gpp. Remove all the Rationalism type cards, or make them just give a flat bonus like +1/+2 food and yield to the respective specialist type.
 
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Sostratus

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There is really not a big incentive to specialise your cities, you don't 'need' to have that one mega trade city with the harbor/commercial hub/city center triangle to produce gold to support the big science/culture city, or your mega industrial city doesn't really need a bunch of internal trade routes to supply food and crammed neighborhood slums to make sure it has enough population to work in the factories.
This is what i think about when i go to sleep at night. How do we achieve this?

One fix I can think of, is to give the adjacency bonus of a district to the specialists working there, remove almost all except 1, 2, and 3 of the respective yields from the tier 1, 2, and 3 buildings, and remove great people points from the buildings as well - each specialist gives +2 of their district's respective gpp. Remove all the Rationalism type cards, or make them just give a flat bonus like +1/+2 food and yield to the respective specialist type.
This isn't a bad start, although you could not drop this into civ6 as is - the entire system around adjacency etc would need to be reworked. Although going forward with the series, I think adjacency really needs to be important. If you don't believe me, consider that entire civs play differently just by the existence or absence of a single adj effect. I myself am a big fan of adj+specialists, though. Maybe this concept can go into the Civ6 CFC ultra mega fan balance patch. It would be really fun to play around with once i am happy with unit balance. (That project held up by excessive cycles of idea-spreadsheets-displeasure-new idea.)
 

Victoria

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Tall is 10, wide is 6, 4 is too small. Not sure who came up with the 4 thing, the city is just not productive enough and does not allow those specialists to be used.

This minor tweak is just meh. I guess it’s a talking point because there is little else going on with the core game. It’s like the game is considered fin. But they are spinning it to get the loose change out of our pockets.

Warmongers say the game is too easy and Dom is one of the faster routes. WW should have been made more important, especially by length of wars rather than deaths in combat which hurts the AI more.

The balance is hard to get right and mega cities were so last version I struggle to see TvW arguments as nothing more than personal preference.
 

Myomoto

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This isn't a bad start, although you could not drop this into civ6 as is - the entire system around adjacency etc would need to be reworked. Although going forward with the series, I think adjacency really needs to be important. If you don't believe me, consider that entire civs play differently just by the existence or absence of a single adj effect. I myself am a big fan of adj+specialists, though. Maybe this concept can go into the Civ6 CFC ultra mega fan balance patch. It would be really fun to play around with once i am happy with unit balance. (That project held up by excessive cycles of idea-spreadsheets-displeasure-new idea.)

I don't think it's so bad, I will try and sit down and do a spreadsheet at some point, but if you just take an example of a mega-campus with +5 adjacency, with all 3 buildings and all 3 scientists populated it would produce 26 science (3 x 7 + 1 + 2 + 3), whereas an unpopulated campus now would be 19 science (5 + 2 + 4 + 8). My suggested system would be a lot more 'spiky' in it's output, but my idea was to actually put even more emphasis on adjacency and on quality of districts, i.e. a good city can outproduce a few bad ones in its total output.

Obviously for industrial zones and holy sites some things would probably need to be tweaked, as a +8 adjacency is probably a little too crazy if you can get it 3 times over :mischief:
 

acluewithout

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I blame the Rationalism card

I blame the Rationalism card for a lot of things.

I think adjacency really needs to be important.
My suggested system would be a lot more 'spiky' in it's output, but my idea was to actually put even more emphasis on adjacency and on quality of districts, i.e. a good city can outproduce a few bad ones in its total output.

Adjacencies are one of the best parts of the game.

I don’t know how Specialists ever get better or how they fit into the game. The last buff they got was cute, but really didn’t fix them. In some ways, I think their role has been taken by Projects, which are themselves a really fun part of the game which I wouldn’t want to lose.

There are probably a million ways to tweak things. And I agree with @Victoria that some of this maybe just becomes a question of preference. I’m not clear if FXS are seriously working on improving (in the sense of deepening) the game or not. I tend to think they are, but for the reasons I posted above they seem to constantly land on good not great (although maybe that’s just my own confirmation bias).

I think part of the solution to the “tall v wide / food and pop don’t matter enough / when will specialists ever be good / buildings and rationalism are too powerful / lily keeps winning science victory on turn 25 using 432 builders, 920 Rockbands, pyramids, oracle and a +1 Holy Site” would be just getting rid of flat yields from most buildings so you really had to use Specialists to get Science and Culture. Maybe some judicious use of +%. Adjust Rationalism to taste.

Or maybe Firaxis surprise everyone, and bring out some rocking Third Expansion April 2021 that fixes everything and basically brings the 4X genre to an end in one ultimate defining game of our generation. But probably not.
 
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