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Game balance

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Jheronimus, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. Jheronimus

    Jheronimus Warlord

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    What I notice during the progress of the game is that the game becomes faster and faster, ancient times are well belanced, but modern times are way to fast, everything comes in to quickly, you get way to much options availible at a very short time and you don't have enough time to build some things before they go obsolute or something better moves in. All the options are great, the more the better, but I like them comming in at a little slower phase. Also micromanagement becomes less important to me in later stages, while I allready have an enormous production why should I bother 3 extra shields since I've allready got 120. This causes me to loose intrest in the game and causes me to start a new game. Maybe it's because I play at Prince level and this is to easy for me, why micromanage when you allready have twice the score of your thoughest opponent, maybe I'm wrong....
     
  2. MrCynical

    MrCynical Deity

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    Every incarnation of Civ has tended to hit the problem that the outcome of the game is almost always decided by the modern age. I too have a habit of losing interest in a game in the late industrial and early modern age since it is already won, and is just a matter of building the spaceship, conquering X number of cities of vastly obsolete military, or whatever the victory conditions demand. I tend to start a new game rather than bother to finish off one that is just a matter of time. It's a shame, as the few games that have got well into the modern age without a clear winner, or with me well behind were easily the best I've played. Not the best in score or finish time (in fact they're usually quite poor on those), but simply the most fun to play. Certainly one of the best Civ 3 games I played I actually lost in the end, but it was a lot of fun nonetheless.

    Despite this problem having been around since Civ 1, no-one's really some up with a good solution. The obvious solution of punishing a civ for doing well has been rejected innumerable times as being "unfun".
     
  3. Jheronimus

    Jheronimus Warlord

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    That's my problem too, I usually quit the game before the modern times have arrived, causing the modern time to be unknown territory. Now I force myself to play the game to the end, but I must say I have to push myself, because it isn't that fun anymore.

    The problem is also that I've got to many cities and to many units, this makes the game very slowwww. Ok, I could start on a small map with little room but I don't think this is to much fun at the beginning stage.

    The micromangement doesn't reward as much as earlier times since I've allready got tons and tons of everything. Things tend to become to complex in large cities, multiplied by the amount of cities you controll makes me forget certain things I wouldn't have forgotten in earlier times.

    All this makes the moderntime less attractive to me...
     
  4. Older than Dirt

    Older than Dirt King

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    You bring up some very good points, Jheronimus. The modern age is usually just a very prolonged mop up and becomes tedious. The last 100 years of a cultural victory are just as boring as waging repeated wars with hundreds of units to be moved every turn. Moving up to a much higher level so that the modern age remains more competitive results in having a whole lot of aggravation for the first 5000 years in my experience. The insanely aggressive civs seem to become even more so on Monarch level and up, but I haven't played at that level enough to be sure. Maybe they actually become more friendly, eh?
     
  5. drkodos

    drkodos Emperor

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    Seems like the game mimics the modern world very well.




    Perhaps people do not like the world we currently live in because of the complexities involved.
     
  6. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    As far as I understand the original poster (and some others) it is everything yet not the "complexity" which annoys him.
    To be honest, calling Civ4 a complex game is really a good joke. Civ3's RaR-mod made for a complex game. Civ4 is not.

    It may be unbalanced, yes. Playing at low difficulties makes the late ages boring, as the whole game is decided already (in general, there may be 1 out of 20 games, where the decision will be found at the late ages). You have either a trillion of points in advance or you are way backwards.
    This may be adressed by playing at higher difficulty levels, yet there the advantages for the AI are very unbalanced at the earlier ages.

    In total: I don't think the game was tested very well.
     
  7. sens1942

    sens1942 Chieftain

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    I think you guys should think a little more before complaining. I will agree that the late stages are kinda boring and that yes the game is usually decided much earlier. But in commanders case here he gives an exemple of what he doesnt like but really it's that kinda thing that can fix your "it's too easy problem" !!

    The fact that once you pass noble the earlier ages becomes more difficult tells me that the programmers were aware of it and why the "unbalance" at higher lvl is probably exactly what you need. Anyhow , at some point you should be able to build/manage way better then the AI and sorta make that "unblance" balance.

    no?
     
  8. Black Waltz

    Black Waltz Prince

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    What gamespeed do you play on? I find that the "Standard" gamespeed is far too quick. The eras just fly by. However, the modern age can be very quick even on Epic gamespeed... I do get what you mean by this as it seems you only just get one tech and you can't savour it before a new one comes along... Maybe what is needed is some sort of hike of the tech prices in the modern age?
     
  9. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Emperor

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    I've never, ever played in the modern times. The furthest i've ever got before getting bored and starting a new game, i didn't even have riflemen yet.

    But i don't care, since i can start as many games as i want and the early game is enough for me to enjoy Civ 4.
     
  10. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    I think you got me completely wrong.
    I am not complaining about the higher levels becoming more difficult. This is exactly what one would expect, right?
    What I am complaining about is that - regardless of the level - once you have "survived" the early ages, the rest is rather easy.

    At King, it may be hard to survive against 17 other nations. But once you have managed this and have reached the industrial age, there is nothing much to do anymore. Either you are way backwards and just can't keep up anymore, or you are way ahead and there is no way for the AIs to get you.

    I constantly catch myself to start meaningless wars after around 1500 AD, since the game become boring and a click-orgy.
     
  11. Smidlee

    Smidlee Deity

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    This is so common with strategy games not just with civ4. The last stages is nothing but mop up or you are already defeated. So a fast modern age can be a blessing since you already know if you win or not. Galciv2 Brad's has the AI to surrender to reduced the end of game mop up.
     
  12. King Flevance

    King Flevance Deity

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    I think a whole new element needs to come into play on this. Not sure what exactly but even the idea of cities rebelling and becoming their own civ sounds pretty good anymore. Just have a trigger that say once the Rennaisance (sp?) period hits cities may flip if you do not flex military in them and also due to distance.

    I want to lower my cost to upgrade by 50% but cant find where. I think that would help a little. But basically I think the endgame needs side projects that will aid that are worth dealing with somehow. Not even neccessarily through production but maybe through a new civics system or something that would make you have to focus on...(you could even just make this an option in the checkbox list so people that dont want to mess with it dont have to) But have something like Natural disasters occur and you have so many options to react to the situation.

    Example: Port Anon has been hit by a hurricane!
    A) Divert production for repairs.
    B) I will have a worker unit repair damages (consumes worker)
    C) Eh..

    Something LIKE that. But that alone wont fix the problem. I personally, think having something like the ability to commit crimes against humanity as an option. (It HAS been done many times in history. How it would work is say you go into your Domestic Advisor and have a couple options for crimes against humanity. Now this would have some benefit like all units cost 50% less to produce and recieve 2 XP upon creation in ALL cities. But as a result you do something that will take your diplomatic stance with all other nations to a -10 and you can NOT uncheck the option once you have done it. The AI has these options as well and use them if it suits them, someone like Monty would be prone to use these for military. However, there will be others for culture and such that would tempt other AIs. (It really depends on their victory they are aiming for)

    Which brings me to my next point. I think the AI, at the beginning of the game should aim for 3-4 SPECIFIC victories. It seems all the AI cares about now is score alone.

    But with this scenario a box would pop up.
    Example: Montezuma has been creating crimes against humanity to enforce his military!
    You then act accordingly. As will other AIs depending on their rating system taking a -10 hit. -10 is just an example, it could be moved to a more severe punishment but I think that the system can't take too much of a hit by this or again balance is thrown off.

    I am not saying these are magnificent ideas but its something that would add to the game. Anyways, if I actually ever think of anything that would help this "late game boringness" I will definatley post it with alot of typos in my excitement. :p
     
  13. Jazzster

    Jazzster Chieftain

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    Of course, if you're at pole position in modern age you will win, but being a warmongerer I enjoy the challange of trying to knock out the remaining civs, often large and with modern units, with carefully planned invasions usually over seas, and that can be difficult to manage.

    So, I often enjoy the latter stages. But on the other hand, I never build gigantic amounts of units because that makes the game extremely tiresome, seldom more than five or six bombers, for instance.

    By the way, Commander Bello, what's "Civ3's RaR-mod"?
     
  14. Smidlee

    Smidlee Deity

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    Conquests "Rise and Rule" mod which started out as PTW "Double your pleasure" mod
     
  15. Jazzster

    Jazzster Chieftain

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    Thank you. Too bad I never stumbled upon that one in my CivIII days.
     
  16. CaptainMidnight

    CaptainMidnight Warlord

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    To make late industrial/modern age actually interesting, even if your in a massively dominant position you need to make spys exciting to use.

    One idea I have is that of improvements that are undectable to other civs unless a spy actually enters the tile.

    Governments, I have to presume (this might be wishful thinking) do not tend to keep nukes in built up areas. One of these secret improvements should be a missile silo. A nuke when constructed in a city must first enter a silo (or, indeed, a sub) before becoming active.

    Once active the nuke can be set to target any tile for a mass launched attack. If you manage to blow all or most enemy silos and they have no subs the megadeath count will be in your favour.

    This would mimic the insane logic of cold war tactics. You have to make spies, wack them on auto scout, and count other civs, set your nukes to shoot them. However, a crafty player could hide it offshore somewhere.

    This is just one idea to improve espionage element and create a more intriguing late game that's not so based on numbers.

    If you reckon this is a good idea I have a more developed idea of 'wondrous improvements': Wondrous Improvements

    And also a way to introduce Biological Warfare: Biological Warfare
     
  17. vsipinen

    vsipinen Warlord

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    Yes, I think that this is quite big problem - at least it is a problem for me. If I play at easier level the beginning of the game is fine and enjoyable, but the end game tend to be boring. If I try more difficult level, the beginning of the game is too hard for me - at least it is not fun for me anymore, because I don't like being at so much disadvantage that I have to really struggle to survive (at least not in the beginning of game - in later phases it might be even interesting).

    Parhaps the way difficulty levels are implemented should be changed so that at the beginning the game would be more balanced, and the bonuses for either player (the easiest levels) or to AI civilizations (the hardest levels) would start to take effect only in later phases. For example the tech costs could be even at the start (or at least almost even), but the cost of later techs could start to differ in increasing amount as game progress. Similarly the building costs could start to differ in later phases. Also there should not be bonus units at the start of the game, but instead the AI could parhaps later get some free units.

    What do you think about the above ideas ?
     
  18. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    I think increasing bonuses/boni (sp?) at later ages would be a good idea.

    As I only play at customized gigantic maps with all 18 nations, the bonuses at King level are so overwhelmingly high that you have to have a real good spot to start at. Otherwise, the AI just out-settles you, leaving you alone with a small empire surrounded by nations of double and triple size.
    Since they get so many space to settle and by that, so many cities, you just cannot keep up with their tech pace, since you don't have anything left to trade. Neither resources nor techs are left for the human player to get first.

    Well, the obvious solution would be to play at lower scales of the map, yet this is not my interpretation of an epic game.

    At the bottom line: I think the balance between the different levels was optimized for small maps, not foreseeing that there might be players who prefer bigger maps.
     
  19. mjs0

    mjs0 The 4th X

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    I actually made this same post in a poll thread yesterday, but I realised that many people just vote in polls and don't read the discussions in those threads so I thought the points I wanted to raise might fit better here...

    [The poll asked what percentage of games you finish]
    I answered 20% but I suspect it is much lower, in 6 months I have finished a grand total of 5 games, and I know I have played more than 25!

    Since I tend not to play with Space Race enabled it is normally pretty obvious by around 1900, if not before, who is going to win. At that point I would rather start a new game with all the excitement and uncertainty (key word) of the initial exploration and the race to early city sites, techs and wonders.

    I generally find that Terra maps hold my interest the longest, with the promise of fresh territory to explore. (Plus pillaging those barbarian cities is so satisfying in so many ways!)

    The sad fact is that the late game just doesn't capture my imagination the way the early game does. There is too little uncertainty, it feels like by the time I get to the late industrial age all the important strategic decisions have been made and I am just going through the motions to finish the game.

    Now that I am thinking about this I am realising that, for me, in some perverse way the very features and choices that make the early game interesting are what bogs the game down in the later stages. If anything there should be even more important and yet different decisions to be made as we enter the modern eras, not just the continuation of an approach that was old when...well... was old when Rome fell (in 350BC to the Japanese :D ).

    Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Civ4, I believe Firaxis did an excellent job providing some interesting early game choices of strategy, and of removing the late game monotony caused by pollution, corruption, etc, so finishing a game is no longer painful -- it just isn't yet fun, at least for me.

    Of the four Xs (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate) I find the early game is quite nicely balanced but the late game is too biased towards Exterminate as you either mop up the remaining opposition or repel the warmongers attempting to prevent your cultural dominance. Obviously by the late game there is no territory left unclaimed, so give me new approaches to exploration (e.g. the search for dwindling natural resources, scientific, historical and cultural missions for bonuses), new things to expand, (e.g. trade and politics), and new avenues to exploit (e.g. espionage, multi-lateral diplomacy, insurgencies). I am not suggesting that all of these be incorporated in great detail into one hugely complex modern era game but pick a couple and implement them with a simple, elegant system as was done with religion.

    How about new late game concepts such as...
    • True Multi-Lateral Diplomacy and interdependent nations with more and broader treaties (vassal states may be a big step in the right direction)
    • Technology that levels out but with the potential for short bursts of domination that need to be exploited rapidly or squandered.
    • Espionage that matures from tactical to strategic importance.
    • Multi-civ Trading blocks with better geographical isolation of, and limited control of, key resources
    • More meaningful effects of political and socio-economic ideological choices.
    • Nation states with fixed borders only changeable through war or *intense* diplomatic pressure
    • and yes, even the introduction of some concept of insurgents that threaten the very fabric of civilization (To steal a well-worn phrase.) as ancient yet now minor civilizations tumble towards anarchy.
    In a very real sense the 'rules of the game' have changed since we entered the modern era (In RL), I personally would like to see Civ reflect this so, perhaps we could even have a more dynamic approach to each era...
    • A dynamic interface that introduces more game mechanics and control choices as time passes, for example, the very idea of civics AND the game mechanics used to select them should evolve as the game progresses, not just introduce more choices in a matrix.
    • The very definition of victory should be dynamic with objectives for the next era based on your performance in the current era. Think about it...if you enter the modern era as a minor player your definition of a successful outcome will be way more humble than if you steam into the modern era as a behemoth of an empire. Having objectives that challenge you without appearing too easy or too hard might keep you playing.

    Now, some combination of those ideas might revitalise the game, and keep my interest all the way to the (maybe) bitter end.

    I know, I know...I should build a mod...well maybe I will. ;)
     
  20. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    Some interesting ideas, msj0!
     

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