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Have they killed the fun for warmongers

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by ThERat, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. Sirian

    Sirian Civ Map Programmer

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    Should it? Are you sure?

    There are only two ways to balance offense and defense. You advantage one, or you advantage the other. The scales tip very quickly, so any effort to "balance" these inevitably results in advantage to attacker.

    Aeson covered how Civ3 AI fails to defend its cities, but the problem extends beyond even that. In GalCiv, the AI doesn't even leave a token defense. It sends ALL of its fleet in a beeline at the enemy, leaving its homeworlds undefended. The human player can bribe the AI to attack a third party, with his own attack force already in position. The sucker AI sends its ships offworld and the human can hit every world owned by that AI while it has no defense at all, and wipe out a whole civ with little effort in an "Alpha Strike".

    The only way to stop this is to send less units out on offense, and keep more at home on defense.

    The Civ3 AI is PATHETIC in this regard. It does leave a token defense, but that defense is all static. It will produce new units and suicide them immediately.

    I urged Soren to change the AI. Many changes were made.

    1. The AI now has three "war states" instead of just one.
    -a. Limited War - intent is to damage a rival to slow them down or butter them up for concessions.
    -b. Dogpile War - AI asks another civ to join them in a 2v1 vs their enemy.
    -c. Total War - AI is intent on conquest and will try hard to take cities.

    2. Limited War means the AI is trying to do harm without taking heavy losses, so it will focus mainly on pillaging. To stop pillagers, the defender must go on the attack. It will go for cities if there is a border city very weakly defended, but chiefly it will try to disconnect resources, rip up cottages, etc.

    3. Dogpile wars are very opportunistic. The dogpiler will continue its effort if it is making gains. If it is taking a lot of losses and not gaining much, it will tend to stop.

    4. Total War is in there, still, but even it is not as aggressive as Civ3 or GalCiv AIs. Even in a Total War, the AIs will keep a stronger defense at home than they do in Civ3 (making them less vulnerable to being wiped out by a simple dogpile.)

    5. All the AIs keep two kinds of defense: static city defenses (mostly City Garrison type units, but also a few "counter" units like axe, spear, or machine gun) and mobile counterattack forces. The static defenses do not move, period, but the mobile defenses will try to respond intelligently to invaders. That is, if the invasion is too strong to counter in the field, then the mobile defenses will hide in the cities and help to protect the cities. If the mobile defense can hit isolated pillagers, or has enough force in position to have a solid chance of actually wiping out invading stacks, they will attack, as a group, in force. ... There are still holes in this process, especially early game or for a civ who lacks resources or has had them pillaged, but by and large the AI tries to use strategy now, in choosing if and when to fight. (If you always bring overwhelming force to a fight, you won't see the mobile defense mobilizing very much. They WILL stay in the city, usually, if that is the best option available to them at the time -- and it's something I do, too, when I lack the force to deal with a large invasion. Protecting cities is more urgent than protecting the countryside, in nearly all cases.)

    6. The AI on attack has two approaches: Scatter and SoD. The SoD method will use stacks of six or eight or ten or twelve. It will land several galleons of troops in one spot. It will GO FOR CITIES. The scatter approach will try to surround cities, and will pillage a lot more, but will go for a city if it gets enough forces in position. The AI will also use siege units on attack. This has room for more improvement, but they can put a good threat on a single city even if it is very stiffly defended, and they can attack at more than one place at a time with multiple SoDs.


    The Civ4 AI, at the big picture level, is not behaving as I hoped. There are two basic reasons for this.

    A. There is no variation (or not enough variation) in the ratio of AI units committed to its various military roles. There is offense, mobile defense, and static defense. Currently, the AIs are more or less following a One Size Fits All set of unit ratios. This is set at a level where the AIs keep strong defenses and rarely take any major risks. Thus one civ's offense is never a match for another civ's total defense. This is chiefly due to the fact that the AI ON DEFENSE was made significantly more capable!

    I have always believed that the ratios need to be more flexible. Sometimes the AI should commit more of its total force composition to offense. (A human certainly will do that, but a human can also more readily tell when he is or isn't vulnerable to a dogpile/backstab/etc.) If an AI took more risks, now and then, they'd more often be able to overwhelm a target, and if they fail, they'd be highly vulnerable to a third party. (Getting this to calibrate and balance correctly won't be easy, but I hope I get the chance to try.)

    B. With AI competent now (finally) on defense, they also need to be a bit more competent on offense. Not tactically (some room for improvement is there, of course) but strategically.

    DIPLOMACY IS THE OVERARCHING ISSUE OF SINGLE PLAYER.

    The current diplomacy model works out pretty well when there are an equal number of Peaceful Builder and Raging Warmonger AIs in the game. If the situation works out with three civs on one side and three on the other, and regular wars between one or more civs from each side, then the game works out pretty well. However, only a minority of AI personalities are really warmongers, so if there is an imbalance, usually the warmongers are too few and cannot form dogpiles, and fall behind for having fewer trade partners. I have even been in games with NO warmongers at all. Peaceniks don't tend to start wars, but prefer to build.

    The diplomatic balance is not what it could be. And the AIs lack the ability to coordinate more effectively -- with the human or with one another.


    Combine these two issues (lack of variance in AI unit mission ratios, plus lack of cohesion and balance in the "diplomatic blocs") and the result is that (on average) AI wars vs AIs are both too few and too ineffectual. This CAN be remedied but it is not a small task -- and some eggs will have to be broken to make the omelette.

    These issues were understood at release time. However, they are "next generation" issues. These are emerging from Civ4's AI. The problems of the Civ3 AI have largely been addressed. Every major weakness has been shored up, and considerably so in some cases, such as AI competence on defense. The AI is more competent on attack as well, but its defense competence shot up by orders of magnitude, leaving the AI-on-AI wars in a new and strange place.

    You can see how challenging it is to work on AI, though. Even when you fix ten or twenty things, there is another layer beneath those that will come to the surface. Beneath that is another layer, and another. We are making huge progress (in my opinion) but there is no doubt that more can be done.


    Players grew fat and lazy off the Civ3 AI. In my opinion. They got used to being able to pit one AI vs another at will, for pennies. They got used to AIs who would gas themselves in wars with other AIs, leaving the player able to cruise in like the Big Bad Wolf, huff and puff and blow their house down. Well, no more. The AIs are competent on defense now, and that is as it should be. Competent does not mean unbeatable, though.

    Civ4 warmongering is more than possible. The gold gained from repeated taking of cities can fund a lot of research, a lot of cities. Rivals wounded by your efforts are, as Aeson puts it, knocked out of the game, more or less. Warmongering will no longer snowball, though, and if that is what you want from it, then go back to Civ2 or Civ3 -- or mod Civ4 to make war The Only Right Choice once again, by making it (once again) in to a cakewalk.

    War was the fortunate son of old. Seems that some people liked it that way, but when you put people like Aeson and myself, who grew bored with the Civ3 AI being too easy to beat, in to advisory roles, the AI -WILL- become harder to beat. (That was kind of the point, you know?)

    There was no shortage of warmongers on the testing team. As Aeson also eloquently described, the problems that folks are complaining about in this thread are less about the war system and more about the AI. Well, I've described the two main reasons why the AI is falling down on the job. I've also described many of the areas where it is getting the job done.

    Will Civ4 be even stronger and more fun after the first expansion? I hope so. Meanwhile, some situations (maps, civs involved, settings, etc) are more well balanced than others. If the powder keg of the AIs can be sparked off by getting them started on some warring vs one another, then the diplomatic system will tend to foster additional wars. Find ways to ignite the powder yourself, and you can get in to situations where the game is playing out the way it should be. If I'm in position to improve the ratios and redress the weak spots, I'll do it. That's all I can say for the moment.


    Civ long and prosper. :hammer:


    - Sirian
     
  2. Kylearan

    Kylearan compound eye

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    Hi,

    I can't right now for reasons that I cannot explain at the moment - I'll promise I get back to you when I can. You'll get a full report about that game, eventually.

    That I can explain: Every time I see some AIs fall behind, it's because they've waged war too early/often/long. Usually, it's the aggressive/insane leaders like Genghis, Monezuma et al. who fall behind compared to the peaceful civs (Gandhi, Washington...). Because my games see AI-AI wars very often (I'm really curious to see why people like Arathorn et al. don't see this in their games?), I see AIs falling behind very often as well.

    So it looks like the AI suffers from the same phenomenon as well, that the penalty for warmongering might be too harsh. Note that AI-AI wars in my games never lead to one AI getting too large/overexpanded. (If the AIs have fun while warmongering, I cannot say :p )

    Sorry I was unclear about that, my mistake. It wasn't 2v1, it was 1v1 two times. First, one AI attacked, then (after a period of peace), the other attacked. Both times, it was muskets/knights vs. infantry/cavs (and forge vs. factory), and both times one city max changed hands.

    -Kylearan
     
  3. Kylearan

    Kylearan compound eye

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    Hi,

    thank you very much for outlining how the AI internally works! That was great stuff, very interesting to read. :goodjob:

    I had already noticed how the AI fights different kinds of wars, but haven't been aware just how complex it really is. I like the concept very much!

    Yes. :) There has to be an area where you can become more powerful than your neighbour, and if civ A has more power at his disposal than civ B and won't be able to overcome him, then what's the point in becoming more powerful at all? If the system levels the playing field so much that regardless what you do, you won't be able to gain an advantage over the others, then what's the point of war anyway? All civs would resort to pursue a space victory all the time.

    Which, as it seems, happens right now - which is not fun. I don't want to play only a space race game, but also a space vs domination race, for example. I'm not talking about player options here; the player can win a domination/conquest victory even on higher levels, no doubt about that. I'm talking about AI variation.

    I wasn't sure what is causing the problem in the first place: AI problems or game mechanics. I had no idea how the AI works internally and have played the game for only a couple of weeks now, so my first ideas (lowering city defense? Having the AIs keep smaller garrisons?) were stabs in the dark.

    I firmly believe that this issue has to be addressed somehow, though. As I said, I love the game and find it highly superior to Civ 3, but if every game ends in a space race and every AI-AI war is only a pillaging one, it might become boring. But you seem to be aware of that problem already, so I'm in good faith here - although I hope we won't have to wait for the expansion for that.

    Believe me, I know that. I have programmed AIs for different (small) games myself, and have thought about how I would do it for other games as well. It's hard. That's something non-programmers (or non-designers) have a hard time understanding that, for example "simply change the AI to coordinate his forces more" isn't simple at all. Here at CFC, I see these kind of remarks very often, and it makes me angry.

    Civ 4 (and Civ 3, too!) has the most complex AI I've ever seen for a game. I have very high respect for Soren, you and the others who worked on the AI, and I have very high respect for Firaxis that they've decided to put so much money into something the casual gamer never will be able to fully appreciate. :hatsoff:

    I basically agree with that. However, for some people like ThERat and others, it's also less fun because of the slower pace. I guess many people like fast-paced action with high numbers involved - killing 100 cavs on one turn, capture 16 cities in one turn (OMGWHTTZ :eek: ) etc.

    I miss some of this as well, but not as much. I prefer slower-paced combat if that's the price for closing all the loopholes from Civ 3. :)

    Again, I agree, but I don't think that this was the point of the original complaints. Note that some people who complained were those who play Handy22 AW Noble, where they (at least until now) had an easy time beating the AIs. It's not the challenge, it's the different "feel".

    But now back to playing the game... :D

    -Kylearan
     
  4. ThERat

    ThERat Chieftain

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    we do face stiffer resistance for sure. But, even in Civ3 any landing on the other continent would be a challenge initially. I like it that the AI seems far more competent to defend themselves.
    The problem however is, that war is so slow, that you need far too long to succeed. With the current setting, we are more than busy to improve infarstructure all the time on our home continent (unless we want research to halt or go bankrupt). By the time, a proper force can be assembled, the AI has gained new techs and superior units. I feel it will be very hard on a continental setting to beat the AI on time before the space ship can be launched.
    And that's not because they bomb you to oblivion as it used to happen in Civ3 once the AI got flight, it's simply because the settings of the game aren't right for this kind of play.
    Movement, transport capacity, proper naval units far too late in the tech tree (you got to wait for astronomy to be able to ship any unit to the enemy). This can be better balanced IHMO.


    ps. Thanks Sirian for a very comprehensive explanation about the AI. I am no programmer, but I know for sure that this is no small issue.
     
  5. Sirian

    Sirian Civ Map Programmer

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    Favoring offense tips the scales to providing only one right answer, all the time: attack and keep on attacking.

    In order to stop the Snowball Effect, the advantage MUST go to the defender. How much advantage and in which areas is the right question to ask.

    Since the player can go 1v1 on an AI (or another human player) and beat them down, there's nothing wrong with the combat system.

    The AIs can, at present, only go 1v1 on another AI if there is a major gap in tech or production, or a dogpile is taking place. The dogpile is a legitimate mechanism. If the AIs start out with fair lands, they should NOT be able to take out one another 1v1. Otherwise the advantage is tipped to the attacker, and the Snowball effect is in full force.

    Favoring the defender opens up a ton of new gameplay possibilities. If defender is favored, players can put a stronger opponent on the other side of the aisle and face a tougher game. Diplomatic situations will vary. Alliances will have to be forged to bring extra force to bear on a target to make them crumple. Wars become a strategic thing where you have to start and stop, choose your targets and alliances wisely, and capitalize on your civ's strengths (traits, resources, terrain, etc) or your enemy's weaknesses and vulnerabilities. There are more situations presented to you, where some careful thought is necessary to proceed.


    As I've already explained, the diplomatics aren't quite cohesive enough, and the AI unit mixtures aren't quite varied enough. Humans can take out an AI because A) They are smarter and B) They will send the kitchen sink when it is safe to do so. AIs fail to take out other AIs because their units are stuck in the boxes of "Defender", "Mobile Defender" and "Attacker" in fixed ratios.

    Currently, the ratios are such that the AIs tend not to send enough to get the job done. Typically, one AI's mobile defenders are enough to negate the other's attackers. The defender then still has his static defenses, and that's all she wrote. War ends in stalemate. Even if the attacker brings extra units, it's not enough. The mobile defenders will hole up in the cities. The AI focuses very strongly on City Defense. The human can overcome this by choosing the right mix of units and promotions, while the AI tends to choose more versatile promotion options. (If it always chose only city attack options, then it would be too easy to fight them away from cities!)

    What I most fear, and why I haven't pushed too hard on this issue, is that Soren will decide to change the unit ratios, thinking that a different number will work better. That's not the answer and could make things worse. The AIs need to vary their ratios. The problem occurs because they all have the same ratio all the time. They are too much alike! Their military strategies are too closely linked, and so tend to cancel out each other.


    I think a real and lasting fix will require more than tweaks and is not feasible before the first expansion. The task is too large to obtain with a few tweaks.


    - Sirian
     
  6. Sirian

    Sirian Civ Map Programmer

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    Are you kidding me? :smoke:

    Take an Army or two, game over.


    This was true in vanilla Civ3. It became way more true in Conquests.

    CFC GOTM14, Deity, January 2003 -- my last non-variant game of Civ3. I made an initial invasion of the western continent late in the industrial era, which by that time had been wholly taken over by China, and I brought three armies: two Mech armies, one Tank army. These, and a couple more loads of mechs, and China blew its entire offensive force attacking me in cities on hills behind walls. Once they run out of gas, it's a bit of mopping, then game over. I posted the fastest conquest in that game. Not a single AI reached the modern age.

    RBCiv Epic Nine, Deity: fall 2002. I only had one army in place at the time: veteran infantry, when I crossed the sea to invade Babylon. I brought some elite Tanks, though. Pop a couple of leaders, form armies with each. Snowball. Once they burn their full mobile force, they are gassed and it's game over.

    Doesn't have to be late in the game, though. Armies own earlier, too. Immortal army, Hoplite army, Mounted Warrior army, Bowman army, Impi Army. More examples than I can shake a stick at. Invade, hold ground while they burn their mobile forces, pick up leaders, form more armies, steamroll.

    *yawn*

    I mean, yeah, it was fun, for a while. Same deal every time, though.


    Everything is slower in Civ4. Expansion is slower. Getting your workers and settlers built takes longer. Military costs more per unit. Peaceful builders have to expand in waves. Warmongers have to wage war in waves. It's harder. It's MEANT TO BE harder... and more interesting, more thoughtful, more challenging.

    Do you want war without any need for infrastructure? That would give warmongering a free pass. This is as unreasonable of a request (with all due respect) as players who want to be able to build without ever having to train any military, or to expand endlessly without any need for thought or choice.

    Large armies are expensive to maintain. Vast territories are difficult to control in primitive times. You will have to be successful in all phases of the game, in Civ4. Whether you are expanding peacefully or expanding via aggression, the expansion phase lasts for most of the game. You can choose when and how to try to expand, including even expanding upward and not outward. We think this degree of strategic choice makes the game more fun for most players, but I admit that it may not be everybody's cup of tea.


    - Sirian
     
  7. HounddogLGS

    HounddogLGS One Sick Puppy

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    I agree, artillery and forts have been rendered almost useless, and I miss being able to build armies. I also think that some cities seem to build up the defensive bonus way to quick, contributing to situations where it is ridiculously impossible to take the city.

    One other problem I run in to is the slowness in building speeds, especially regarding city improvements- which also slows down the overall war effort.
     
  8. MeteorPunch

    MeteorPunch #WINNING Supporter

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    The thing is that most wonders in Civ 4 are weak, or they are mainly good as a supportive role to a niche playstyle or victory. You can go through the game just fine building no world wonders, but the Pyramids are very powerful. Why make one overpowered wonder and the rest near useless?

    My other gripe with this is because of the lack of WW options in the early game. I think Firaxis expects you to build the Pyramids everytime which just isn't fun or feasable (vs. Ind. or Stone-having civs, for example). I want WW eliminators in the beginning.

    I don't think having cities should automatically cripple your economy early on.

    I have never seen these actual values. I think it should be clear who is whom's "worst enemy" and why. I should be able to block the other AI's from popping up and making demands of me, which are only deteremental. Do AI's make demands of each other?

    The manual is not very forthcoming with info. Even if it was I don't like the system to begin with.

    I glad we agree here, but I don't see why it would take more than a day of brainstorming, followed by the months of normal playtesting.

    I agree but again, the game artificially corrupts the warmongers efforts through expensive distance/city numbers corruption.

    Jails..a world wonder...not being at war? The first two come too late and the third is not an option. Even after 10 turns of peace to redeclare I've had the WW immediately jump up to rates the equivalent of being at war for many, many turns. The game simply goes by too fast to wait around forever and hope that WW goes away. The other AI's will be too advanced by then.

    Here's my analogy for that: Civ 3 was a sinking ship with many problems. While they fixed some problems, they also added new problems and in cases, just plugged up the holes (made it so that you couldn't do certain things). Illustration:
    This is interesting. Does this mean there is no hope for AI? Maybe some kid with a lot of time on his hands can get the SDK to do amazing things (I hope).

    I cut a bunch of questions before this one, becuase they are all similar. The ships have nothing important to do other than transport units. city bombardment and net pillaging isn't enough.

    Actually it kind of does. Because space is the only victory AI's can attain (in 98% of games, I'd be willing to say), that shows that the combat system needs to be improved, that the AI's ability to win by culture needs to be improved, and perhaps that the space victory should be more difficult to attain. With the latest patch they increased tech and space parts cost slightly, but much more needs to be done. I can't believe the game was released so unbalanced.

    What was Civ I,II, and III then? Civ has had a primary focus until now as a wargame through history.

    This is because of one thing alone - the AI couldn't use artillary. Armies were very easy to kill with artillary.

    Everything but the tech race.

    I believe this in one of the core mistakes. Why shouldn't war and gaining territory snowball. It makes perfect sense that it should increase your powerbase, production, science, etc. Whereas in Civ 4, there are many artificial factors thrown in to limit this.

    I don't think having a tougher game was that high on everyone's agenda as you think. You have to weigh your priorities. The AI should not become harder to beat over and above breaking the whole game system and putting artificial limitations on everything. Program a better AI or give them more rediculous bonuses if you want a hard game. Don't make the game system less fun.

    I'll go a little off subject now into a theory I have. Civilization is looked upon (by some - not me) as a kind of new, modern chess, a game for some who want to "prove their mental mettle." I believe it may have hurt some game designers pride when in Civ 3, people could easily stomp the AI's, even with crazy variants thrown in. In an effort to combat this, many of the things that made the game fun have been thrown out the window. Is it harder? Yes. Is it more fun? Debateable. To me I don't care if I beat it on the highest level or whatever, I just want the game to play and feel right.
     
  9. Kylearan

    Kylearan compound eye

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    Yay, now I'm quoting myself already... :p

    After reading Sirian's explanation of how the AI works and that it has different "modes" for war, I guess the stronger AI (the one with infantry) was in the "limited war" mode and simply had no interest in taking cities, which in that case (being a peaceful builder, and being attacked) was a smart decision. So I withdraw this example - the AI may or may not be able to conquer another civ if it has a tech advantage, but my example won't help clarifying this.

    However, I still stand to my claim that AIs fall behind in tech when they wage war while (in contrast to a human player) they fail to gain anything from that war, which is highly problematic. That even happens if there are more aggressive civs in the game which whom they could trade.

    -Kylearan
     
  10. Kylearan

    Kylearan compound eye

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    Hi,

    No manual for any game has info for everything in it. You may or may not like that, but I chalk that one up to "learning the game". It took a long time for us to learn how to beat Deity in Civ 3, to use stacks of artillery, or armies. What's wrong with that it might also take time until we've figured out how to use the diplomatic system to our advantage?

    That's a stupid and false statement. You can still trade around to catch up, and in fact I often (have to) do this. Just because some may not have found out how to do it (that you have to get some allies that like you enough!) is not the game's fault.

    Same here - you can still conquer the world, it's just more difficult and may need more time, but is very well doable.

    Not necessarily. As Sirian pointed out, it might also show that the AI (and its offensive capabilities) have to be improved.

    Because then war would clearly be the strongest path to victory, which would make the game unbalanced. You can argue that the penalty to warmongering might be too high, but there has to be some penalty.

    -Kylearan
     
  11. MeteorPunch

    MeteorPunch #WINNING Supporter

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    Just because something is accepted, doesn't mean it should be. I don't need very detailed manuals for FPS game, but I do for Civ. Why should I wait a year for someone to discover things necessary for a game I want to enjoy more now?

    I think you missinterpreted Microbes statement. He's not saying that they are impossible, just much harder (too much so), and as a coverup.


    My bad. When I said combat system, I meant war and everything relating to it (the subjects of this thread).

    The game is unbalanced now, so what does it matter? And I agree, there should be penalties, but not so high.
     
  12. ThERat

    ThERat Chieftain

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    another evidence that the AI war is broken. Almost all games I played into the modern age, the aggressive AI's are the ones left behind. This will be a big issue for Civ4, since AC is the only victory the AI can go for.
    The casual gamer won't notice this, but the big fanbase will. It's just a matter of time.

    In Civ3, there would often be debates about which victories the AI could achieve, would it be culture, AC (hardly), domination or UN. Especially Un was a real threat for AW games. I want to see such variety in Civ4, not only AC.

    And yes, the game is slow in all aspects but one. In fact tech speed is much faster without that 4 turn minimum limit. That's exactly what i meant, we might run out of time before being able to finish off the AI.
    By the way, I have to admit that all the eye candy makes the game slow for me as well, and that's no fun really. Following the enemy movement in AW games makes my head spin, because the camera swings back and forth, up and down. I feel nausea after a while, serious. :crazyeye:

    Sirian, ever since I read your interview, statements etc about Civ4, it seems you completely belittle Civ3. I might be wrong but this is another indication

    This is a little too simplistic for me. Handy AW games had some real cliffhangers and we lost quite a few times until we were able to beat AWD on standard continents. We lost despite the fact we had armies. But the AI had powerful bombers and there was no way to safely land on the other continent, virtually shredded by bombers, no exception for armies. I wonder what it was, that the AI knew how to make use of bombers but not armies/arty. They also didn't hesitate to lob some nukes at you (there is a famous LK game loss due to nukes). In one GR AW game, we almost lost to UN because the AI runaway bombed us to no end.
    Whatever it was, it was great fun to play, I knew the shortcomings of the AI, but the game was fun.

    So, maybe in civ3 it was too easy to outsmart the AI, but I can't say that I didn't enjoy that.
     
  13. Sirian

    Sirian Civ Map Programmer

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    Pennsylvania, USA
    You had to go to Always War on Deity to get that. So where does one go to get it when not playing Always War? That's the point that Aeson made earlier in the thread.


    My biggest disappointment so far from the Civ4 fan base is from the Always War crowd. I was unaware that there were a handful of players playing NOTHING ELSE BUT Always War SGs. You guys have been very vocal critics! I made sure that Always War got in to the game, and that it was upgraded to be more varied and more challenging. Variety and Challenge don't seem to be what you and a few others wanted, though. I'm sorry about that! There is no way to give you back a Civ3 version: we'd have to dumb down the AI significantly to get there. I tried to do something good for AW players, and I still believe that we achieved that, but the changes were never aimed at folks who play nothing else. They were meant to add another flavor, for those who occasionally venture in to variant land for variety and challenge.

    That is what I know best: how to add variety or challenge to games. See the map scripts: TONS of variety there, and plenty of interesting challenges. I guess that all I can say about your general discontent is, "I don't get it." I don't get it! Why would you enjoy beating up on a dumber AI? Why is it fun to play and replay the same war strategy? Why is it fun to have to go to Deity and higher, with MASSIVE distortions in the gameplay, just to get any sort of challenge at all?

    I'm truly sorry that the kind of gameplay you want isn't in there. Maybe this is a case of making things better for almost everybody at the cost of losing a niche experience treasured by a few. ... I don't know.

    The title of your thread, though, is "Have they killed the fun for warmongers"? The answer, I am confident, is a resounding No. The thread title may be misstated, though. If the question is, "Have they killed my fun?" meaning you and the style of Always War game you crave, the answer may be yes.


    I'm tough on Civ3. I'm tougher on Civ2. I'm an unholy fiend about Civ1.

    *shrug*

    I'm also fair about all three. There's a difference between being tough but fair, and being negative for the sake of belittling.

    My love affair with Civ3 is dead. It lasted fifteen months. We're "still friends", though.


    I'm tough on Civ4, too, far more than you will ever know, but there's no point being tough on it out in the open, where people with agendas can abuse my words and intentions. I can send my comments directly to Soren.

    I'm also fair about Civ4, which is the part you tend to see: when I intervene to present the other side of the story on an issue, when it is not being given a fair look.


    I sometimes wonder if people will talk themselves out of a good thing, just because it isn't perfect. People demanding perfection are not being reasonable.

    Civ2 had a lot of fans that panned the devil out of Civ3. A lot of them did not like that Civ3 was harder in many ways. Will the same hold for Civ4 vs Civ3? In some cases, that seems to be true. Amazes me, but people like what they like, and sometimes people don't like change.

    Play what you find fun. In the end, that is the only good answer. If Civ4 isn't your cup of tea, you still have Civ3 to play for as long as you like. (There are still folks playing Civ2!) I hope you warm to Civ4, but if you don't, then you don't. I'm not particularly interested in trying to persuade you or anybody. I have presented my viewpoint, for whatever that may be worth to readers of this thread.


    - Sirian
     
  14. MeteorPunch

    MeteorPunch #WINNING Supporter

    Joined:
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    4,786
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    TN-USA
    I've stated most of what I think about things, war-related, so I started making a list of things I think would make the game better overall. I was gonna post it here, but the list addressess more than just warmonger issues.

    Read and post here
     
  15. microbe

    microbe Cascaded Mansion

    Joined:
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    4,596
    Wow, Sirian, very good reading (and I haven't finished yet and had to post this first). :goodjob:
     
  16. microbe

    microbe Cascaded Mansion

    Joined:
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    It's not stupid nor false. Who claims the opposite is hiding his head in sand.

    Let's face it: the civ4 diplomacy system makes it harder to trade in general.

    Let's not mention the loss of gpt/resources for tech trading. In CIV3, you could use all kinds of strategies without worrying much about trading opportunities (the only exception is that you pay attention to trade route for wars). In CIV4, you often lose more trading opportunities if you piss off other AIs forcing you to abandon a lot of strategies. Which means that at least for warmongers, it's much harder to catch up in tech.

    I am pretty sure you knew all I said above.
     
  17. Smidlee

    Smidlee Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,348
    Artillery useless???? you are kidding right. I found artillery extremely useful in both offense and defense ; single player and multiplayer in Civ4.

    P.S I'm so thankful armies not in civ4 but agree forts are useless for the most part.
     
  18. microbe

    microbe Cascaded Mansion

    Joined:
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    4,596
    There is an AW game option. I think it's perfectly doable to tune the AI differently when this option is set.

    Maybe Handy and his team can try to mod up a better AW system (like giving different ratios for the AI, and when the SDK is out tune it up more). :)

    I don't see why you should be disappointed at receiving criticisms though. You've offered wonderful comments for all of us to understand the game better, and that's what I deem productive discussion.
     
  19. Kylearan

    Kylearan compound eye

    Joined:
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    Messages:
    1,538
    Location:
    Bonn, Germany
    Hi,

    I agree. It's harder because you have to watch who's friend with whom, and be careful about with whom you trade with. I like the new system, YMMV.

    What you have said though was (or at least MeteorPunch quoted you that way), "no more such trading in Civ 4 [to catch up]", and that is false. I do it all the time. It's harder, but viable, and in fact needed on higher levels - and it's not taken away from the game.

    -Kylearan
     
  20. Aeson

    Aeson orangesoda Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2001
    Messages:
    2,686
    There are other good ways to spend that 400 production, even on other Wonders. You haven't addressed any of the other ways of dealing with WW that I mentioned yet. Ignoring them doesn't make them non-existant, but it would explain why you feel the Pyramids are so necessary.

    It doesn't. Having crappy cities that can't pay for their own increase in maintenance and Civic upkeep does.

    Well, the original topic here was the actual values. F4, Click leader, hover over other, will show the exact values.

    You can tell who is whom's worst enemy rather easily once you have contact with them both. As for why they are worst enemies... does it really matter for practical purposes? They are worst enemies. That tells you how they will react.

    The forums are always going to be better than the manual. I personally don't care about the manual, haven't supported the manual in any of my statements, haven't told you to go read the manual, and can't see how it's relevent at all to the issue we were discussing. Would you rather wait a year for the manual while some "scientist" figured it out so it could be printed there?

    As for not liking the system, that's your perogative. It's rather useless information to relay to me unless you include what exactly you don't like, and how you think it could be improved. Something to consider is that you've admitted you don't understand the system though, perhaps understanding it first before judging it would be best.

    It's not that simple. It may require brainstorming to find a solution, then testing, days, weeks, or months later finding major flaws in the implementation, brainstorming again, ect... there are no guarantees the first implementation will be the one that ends up working as intended. And even if it was that simple, it is quite a cost considering something else will not be "brainstormed" in the allotted time instead, and playtesting focus will be taken from something else. Are finite time and resources really that difficult to understand?

    First of all, you can drop the "artificial" tag. Unless you can come up with one thing in the game that is not artificial.

    The game limits the warmongers and the peaceful builders the same way with maintenance. You can't Settler flood either. You have to found/capture cities which are going to be useful enough to cover their costs if you want to gain economically from them. That is just simple math. 1+1=2. 1-1=0.

    Warmongers actually get a bonus in this regard, as they capture cities which give a commerce reward as a bonus. Those cities will generally be larger than a newly founded city, will be more likely to have improvements (city and terrain) than a newly founded city, and be directly decreasing the economy of the competition.

    That is for directly affecting WW. (Though you forget that the way you carry out your war will impact WW as well. There are "happy" ways to fight, and "sad" ones.) There are indirect ways of addressing WW as well, which I have already mentioned to you.

    Drama allows almost unlimited happiness. Trading for or claiming Happiness resources increases Happiness. Various Civics which give Happiness boosts. Religion. All can mitigate the Happiness impact from WW... and that's all WW is, a Happiness impact.

    There is still tech trading in CIV. I do it all the time. You can still catch up by trading along with other improvements in your gameplay. If you are behind very far though, it's because you are doing somethings wrong. By continuing to do those things wrong, you won't catch up, you will fall further behind. That's simply what mistakes are, things you do which cause you to be in a worse position. So unless you drastically change your gameplay, start doing the right things, you can't expect to just trade your way out of the hole you are continuing to dig deeper. Civ III was no different. If you screwed up over and over to dig yourself a hole, you couldn't keep screwing up and expect to dig your way out of the hole.

    Conquering the world is still possible. It's no longer the cakewalk it had been in previous games in the series. That's a good thing. If you don't like it, want a return to Civ III style city dominos, change your UU to 100 str and 3 movement (and/or the Commando trait to help simulate Settler blitzing) and make it available whenever you feel would be most appropriate. Or simply change the culture level defense modifiers as I've already explained how to do in this thread. Or whatever gets it "right" in your opinion.

    Armies are gone. Prior to C3C Armies were basically useless. Often having 3-4 seperate units was more valuable than having 3-4 stuck in an Army that couldn't attack as much as the units could seperately. Units in Armies couldn't be upgraded (except in some buggy patches) and so putting units into them was often a long term loss. Also the other use for MGL's, rushing Wonders (and often even units or improvements) was far more valuable in most cases.

    The Army's real benefit over seperate units were only in C3C. The big one was that AI's wouldn't attack "units" which had a certain amount of D*HP, which Armies almost always triggered at high health. That certainly isn't something that should be preserved.

    The other main benefit was added A/D/M, which was definitely extremely powerful. Promotions do much the same thing though. There are movement bonuses (Mobility, Commando) and a score of combat modifiers, along with several new abilities.

    Other benefits were the ability to heal faster, in enemy territory, auto-pillaging, and for units to not die until all units in the Army have died. The Medic Promotions obviously cover the healing. Auto-pillaging isn't there, though Mobility or Commando units can move as fast as the rest of the stack and have enough to Pillage too. Plus Pillaging is more lucrative now as well. That leaves the "zombie" units in Armies. The closest I can come up with is the Flanking upgrades for mobile units, as a way to increase the survivability of units even when losing their fight. Not exact, but pretty close.

    If you look at what the effects are on gameplay, outside AI exploitation, Promotions are effectively the replacement and upgrade for Armies, and one which the AI uses decently well too.

    It means there are limitations on what can be accomplished with a finite amount of time and resources. Choices have to be made about where to invest them. Investing them in one area means not investing them in another. If you can't understand that concept, I'm sorry. There's "no hope" for you.

    With more time and resources invested into the AI (ie. modders in addition to Firaxis working on it) there will be opportunity for advances in the AI. Also, with less restrictions on the time an AI takes to process the moves (hours between turns would be suicide for a game company, look at how seconds are ranted about... but fine for a modder who isn't economically reliant on sales) more indepth AI analysis of the situation, and thus better response to it, will be feasible.

    You don't use sentries? Protect your transports? You don't sink invasion forces? You don't explore? If you ignore everything that ships have to offer, then yes, they will be useless to you. They are very useful for me on any maps with large bodies of water even if I never transport a single unit by ship.

    Though even if we assume transporting units and city bombardment are the only things ships can do, that still means they are extremely useful. Coastal blitzing is something you should try when possible. No more waiting for those slow Artillery, because they are on fast transports and/or fast ships can lower the city defenses while all troops can attack directly from transport, with the Amphibious promotion being a very interesting choice.

    That you ignore navy and airpower, along with rushing possibilities, makes perfect sense as to why you feel combat is too slow.

    I though you were against changing game rules so that the AI can compete with them? Your nice little sinking boat analogy... remember? Here you are advocating changing the combat system just so the AI's can do better with it. While that is one way to go, it's hardly in-line with your other arguments.

    Have you tried playing with various difficulty levels of AI yet? Do you use Aggressive AI and Randomize Personality? Those are things you can do to increase AI variation.

    4X game. Always has been. Warfare is a part of that, but only a part. You have to build an economy to build units to fight. And Civ has definitely never been a war simulator, which is what is meant by "war game". It has always relied on a very abstract representation of warfare.

    It does snowball actually. Just not if you ignore the economic side of things.

    There is still wide variation in how tough the game is.

    Simply saying the game system is broken and artificial is meaningless. You have to actually show that it is broken. And everything in game is artificial.

    The AI limitations can't simply be circumvented. You really think Soren isn't already trying to make the best AI he can?

    Sid in Civ III shows the limitations of ridiculous bonuses to make a game "hard". Sid was simply a switch at game start up. Impossible or Inevitable based on game settings and some dice rolls. The funny thing is that it was possible to beat because of the bonuses, as the AI would completely destroy their economy supporting masses of units because they could build them so fast. The core problems weren't being addressed, just covered up by bonuses.

    As for fun, your idea of fun is one thing, mine another, the developers have their own idea. Insinuating that since you don't find the game fun that fun was ignored in creating a game is ridiculous. Especially when other people say they are having fun. Can't please everyone all of the time... and the universe doesn't revolve around you. Mod tools are there to tweak the game to be more fun, use them. And if you come up with a system the developers agree is more fun... that's likely what the game will end up being in the future.
     

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