Humankind is Awesome :) , but too easy :(

Discussion in 'Humankind - General Discussions' started by Eyswein, Sep 4, 2021.

  1. Eyswein

    Eyswein Prince GOTM Staff

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    Posting for the first time without having read much, so sorry if I missed other comments on this already. I love the concept and play of the game, but I am very disappointed in the ease of the game. I've only had time to play 6 games: Nation to learn it; Metropolis to get some achieves (not all of which activated - boo!); then Empire, Civilization, and so far two at Humankind level (one on normal map, one on huge map) with as many expert AI as I could (there should be at least 9 of each skill level!) and the remainder at Advanced for the huge map. Sadly, far too easily won them all so far.

    My basic strategy of the Humankind on a Huge Map game with 9 AI:
    -Note: On huge map zero civics were offered - bug or weird design, assuming bug; definitely was slowing in Ancient
    -Neolithic: stayed until I had over 20 tribes (started Ancient with two Agrarian era stars), made me last to Ancient and got stuck with last one which was Zhou on T19 (in my first Humankind level game I did the same thing with only 5 AI and I chose Egypt) and could only place two Zhou districts at mountain squares; really focused on production and some food
    -Set all city policies to do production/science/money/food (rare exceptions early to not lose population)
    -Defensively aggressive in Ancient (raid outposts, but not attack units; at least two scouts together at all times to win defensive battles); AI often threw a single scout at my two scouts when I was ransacking outposts, just worthless - saving up to 3 with +2 combat bonus would have outstripped me; I was initially raiding 2 of 3 neighbors, but cut it back to 1 and then retreat when I could - lost about 6 scouts holding back their expansions
    -Classic: 4th of 10 to Classic and got Achaemenid Persians; behind in military I didn't want to spend time on so tried to be more friendly while claiming land, expanding empire to include 2 independent cities with still a focus on production, then food
    -Medieval: 1st to it, only 2 turns away from 2 more bonus era stars, but closest AI was at 5 stars so I didn't take any chances so changed eras to take Khmer - after this it was a total runaway
    -Next up was Joseon, French, and Japanese with runaway everything, but mostly production/science; by end of game I was Allies with all 9 AI; insane trading made my cities stay at 100% stability which I'd never been able to do on a smaller map where I was often just trying to stay above 30 stability; unfocused T138 finish that certainly could have been faster and I don't even fully understand the game mechanics yet

    I'm sure there is lots of discussion on how to fix this. One idea without changing any game mechanics would be to give the AI a better boost at a new max level above humankind level (call it genetically enhanced level?) as soon as anyone enters the next era:
    1) instead of +3 on workers, recommend +(3*era*era) which would give them a whopping +147 per worker in the contemporary era; in ancient era +3 seemed fine, but it was meaningless by Medieval
    2) for military could be +2*(era+1), so still +2 in Neolithic (era 0), but +4 in Ancient era would force you to get warriors/archers to fight scouts which would slow everything else down, etc.

    Lots of other ways to limit exponential exploits.
    Neolithic: You can't control a sprawling tribe so you are limited to 7 tribes, 15 science, and 50 influence - may not be right numbers, but something like that; still gives option to get all 3 era stars without a runaway number of tribes->scouts, and makes it less valuable to do so
    Classic and on: again, you can't control a modern size society in the ancient era, so each era cities/ total number of troops/ etc. are limited in each category to a max for that era; maybe districts limited for each territory by overall city population (something like summation population for a district beyond the main/admin plazas, so 1 pop = 1 district, 1+2= 3 pop = 2 districts; 1+2+3 = 6 pop = 3 districts; 10 pop = 4 districts; etc.) This would force you to try to get more population (limits other actions) or expand # of territories in the city (stability reduction, high influence cost). Again, not sure what is right amount. Debate could be between linear, summation, or exponential with summation seeming like a good middle ground for most limits. In theory, stability limits much of this for cities, but not always enough, so may need another hard limit which makes historic sense.

    Other polish could include that when you hover over an infrastructure build it tells you the impact you will get from it at the current time for a quick choice between options. This would be awesome so you don't have to manually check.

    To make it harder for now, I think I'll limit myself to exiting Neolithic as soon as offered, but not a fan of doing stuff like this as staying for extra era stars feels like a big part of the fame game - trying to get more fame in each era and not just rush ahead to the next one. If still too easy I'll randomly select the culture each era, which could be just nuts - and defeats the cool decision of whether to stay for more fame or exit for the culture you want.

    Again, love the game and I'm very impressed with it; I just want game mechanic exploits to be hard limited.
     
  2. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

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    Balance will come, plus I am pretty sure they did not want to risk scaring away many people that got used to "everyone should win at Deity"...

    In the meanwhile, some settings make for a little more difficulty, like reducing land to the minimum and overcrowding the maps.
     
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  3. Eyswein

    Eyswein Prince GOTM Staff

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    I hate that. The hardest level should not be easily winnable. One thing I liked about WOW raiding back in the day was not even the best teams made it through Mythic on week one and most never did.
     
  4. Karmah

    Karmah Emperor Supporter

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    I agree although I don't think it is about spoiled customer. At release I think it is difficult to actually know what is 'too strong' with just the feedbacks from the internal team or beta testers. I think it is healthy to let every strategy grow in the hand of the players and then from the feedbacks shrink some of the too cheesy strats that makes human go ahead fast.At least that's what I would do if I were a game designer : "Trust large experience" rather than my own limited observations. But in essence I agree with "the balance is coming" part. Btw I have the feeling that the character thingy does more than just fun but could probably serves to record your playstyle. I'll dwell on that hypothesis later on
     
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  5. Eyswein

    Eyswein Prince GOTM Staff

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    Hmm... I'm thinking small map (normally 4) and max competitors (6 as it won't let me set more) with all expert AI. Two continents with a new world so we all start really crunched and reduce land size to 30%.
     
  6. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    I just finished a game with a combo of starting on turn 6 (I accept the free event tribe) and advancing to ancient when offered, on a crowded two continent map (Large 40% 9AI). I’m usually still one of the first to Ancient, so you get the fun of picking cultures, but sometimes with only 2-3 scouts (a lot of curiosities sometimes). This game I went Egypt > Carthage > Norse > Mughal > Italians > Egypt part 2. I got boxed in pretty bad and had 4 territories until late (and I mean late) classical when I got trade expedition and settled some islands. Started the comeback when I got greatswords and from there it was a race to stop the leader on the other continent who was some 4-5k ahead and in contemporary already. I declared on them when I got Mughal elephants, siege cannons and muskets. Ironically this AI took Poles and since most fighting was them re-sieging the cities I’d just taken, the war was a bit underwhelming (edit: since winged hussar can’t climb walls). Eventually conquered half their empire and held them at 12 contemporary stars and 13k fame. Had to cover my cities with trees to slow down the pollution and eeked out the last aesthete and money stars and a few wonders on the last turn (ended on pollution the same turn I launched Mars), pulling ahead 13.4 to 13.0k.

    I think if you play to win in ancient, you will win every game by the end of ancient. Neolithic loitering as folks are calling it here seems to be a very exploity and so probably not the best to judge the difficulty of the AI. What I find is really lacking is the AI don’t keep up their military into the early modern and beyond. The AI persona who always does best for me has the risk taking and rushed traits, which may explain why they pick up rival AI cities so fast, but against the player this seems to mean losing one army at a time in a bunch of easy battles. The AI should have the production to crank out units in 1-2 turn each in most every city, but for some reason they don’t. I mostly hope the rebalance comes with some improvements here.
     
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  7. fortydayweekend

    fortydayweekend Warlord

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    Starting crunched isn't necessarily a handicap (though it's lots of fun 8 players on a Normal pangaea). It leaves open a scout rush opportunity (or scouts plus free warriors) which will give you a big head start.

    There's another thread on self-imposed difficulties where people are sharing ideas.

    Personally I don't think HK level is easy with every start, sometimes there are no mammoths and you can only get a dozen or so scouts by T20, then your aggressive neighbour goes Huns.. I think there are some good challenging maps that would be difficult to win.
     
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  8. Infixo

    Infixo Deity

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    The achievement for finishing on HK difficulty is (has been?) broken, and triggers even for lower difficulties.
    However, there is another achievement "There Can Be Only One" which works fine. Win on HK difficulty, against 9 AIs on the Huge map. Right now 0.5% people have it (Steam stats).
    So... 1 in 200... I wouldn't say that the game is "too easy". I think there is a proper difficulty for everyone. Also, I expect that once devs start patching exploits, limiting OP mechanics, maybe improving AI, etc. and adding new content the game will become even more difficult. Which is good and I am looking forward for that.
     
  9. Eyswein

    Eyswein Prince GOTM Staff

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    I have "There Can Be Only One" (as well as Lord of the Flies which triggered when I played 5 AI on HK) and it was a uninspiring easy win with 8 of 9 AI in Early Modern or earlier as I was getting a Contemporary techs every turn I had so much science and then built each of the Space launches in one turn each, so I'd respectfully disagree on proper difficulty for everyone - perhaps far too much strategic gaming experience that started with board games as a child, playing on a friend's Amiga in the 1980s, and really got going in 1991 with Civilization - that made it intuitive or I just got overly lucky starts on my first two HK games. Since posting this I've read about folks winning with space launches in under 80 turns which is definitely broken.

    I agree improved AI and limits to OP mechanics are critical. One problem I've seen with AI bonuses in most games is it often makes them borderline too tough early, but then end up too weak later on so believe era scaled enhancements would be perfect at higher difficulty levels. Keeping it a challenging competition throughout the game is key.

    For achieves, the ones that annoyed me most was I took the time to get "The Stars are my Destination" (get all era stars in a game) in a lower level game, but none of the 12 related achieves triggered - they seem to be stuck at the amount I did in my first game and are not registering any of the later games I played.
     
  10. DrCron

    DrCron Prince

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    Another self-imposed rule to make the game a bit harder would be to not pick the Khmer. I'm pretty sure they'll be the first culture to get nerfed when balance change come, but for now they're just too OP.

    Agreed, I got a couple of starts in which every starting curiosity was science and no food, so I didn't get a 2nd scout until the one from the random event. It's not always so easy to get 20 scouts by turn 20. And if you're boxed in and your two closest neighbors attack you during ancient times at the same time (happened to me once) you'll be in trouble.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2021
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  11. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    I’ve noticed some achievements giving weird results too, but didn’t know if it was from not finishing many games. But in swear I’ve finished games with more than 7 military stars! Unless winning is a requirement…
     
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  12. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    No these are bugged for sure. Although for some reason a few of them unlocked at some point for me…
     
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  13. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    I really appreciate the tips on this thread. I've been having difficulties on metropolis to be honest but I don't want to talk about it much. I noticed that most people lag the transition from Neolithic to ancient and plunder the outposts with a few tribes.
     
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  14. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    I’m coming back to my old pedestal about wanting mid-battle retreats. I went into medieval war against the Harappans (one of my AI has the “stubborn” trait where they will never change cultures, so much fame! They also conquered and/or made vassals of a few neighbors and so were at a 3k lead.)

    At the beginning of the war, they had two 6-unit stacks with knights, great swords and crossbows. Maybe 8-10 other units scattered around. I had just brought my Teutonic Knights online, had crossbows and some pikemen, and some standard swordsmen.

    Our armies met in a pretty dynamic battlefield with a 3-wide central front and two side fronts separated by cliffs. Unfortunately for them, we followed different religions, and that +6 bonus on my knights made the battle, although rated as even, pretty lopsided. This practically decided the war.

    However the Harappans had the tenet where they get extra war support for grievances and so they kept fighting for long enough for me to capture all four of their cities. By the second city, the Harappans got a few halberdiers (and therefore upgraded their militia) and brought out their event arquebusier. Apparently due to my crossbows they were aggressive at charging my knights which made capturing the cities remotely possible (it seems AI will hide in their walls if you don’t bring any range, but bring a little range and it’s largely back to pre-patch behavior).

    That said, what really made capturing these cities possible was that the most of the AI army was killed in the first battle. If they could have retreated with 2/3 of their units, once the battle was decided, and used these units to defend cities, I don’t think I would have captured any (or would have had to train a ton more units).

    The current mechanic, without a chance to retreat, seems to very strongly advantage the player, who tends to win the first key battle in the field.

    Beyond this, what seems to be missing is the large section of territory between city centers. In Victor, with its long snaking continent, I remember you had to fight several battles through hostile territory to get to their city center for the siege. This wore down your units, and allowed one to forgive the lack of retreat, since your army would be weakened and the next wave of AI units might do some real damage. Or you’d be stuck without much chance of winning a siege, with no units left able to take a hit. However with the current spacing of cities, you march from your territory (or occupied territory) directly to the next city center and always engage at full health. And you do so against these mostly undefended cities.

    For this to work, the AI would also need to be tuned not to march its few surviving units to meet you in the field in front of their city, which makes for easy victories without having to fight militia, and then easy sieges not having to fight real units (and you can heal in between).

    And lastly, the AI needs to be tuned to train and garrison range units in their cities. Or early modern militia need to be given crossbows and the gunner trait (to model them switching to swords when you attack with your melee units). Their fortifications don’t do much good when they have to charge your knights for fear of being slowly picked off by your crossbows.

    With any/all of this, and removing mammoth farming, I think the game can be made quite challenging.
     
  15. Eyswein

    Eyswein Prince GOTM Staff

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    I think they are just bugged. I finished one with all the era stars and the 12 achieves for getting 12/18 didn't take. They are stuck at what I did in my very first game.
     
  16. Don Andre

    Don Andre Chieftain

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    It looks like you did have fun though, maybe you are just a good player. I definitely got kicked hard two times on harder difficulties. The ai threw huge number of units at me and I could win only defensively against them. Aborted the game and started a new one. This i am best overall, but still way behind in fame, so still have to do something about it.

    If you want a challenge then relax a little in neolithic and ancient and then try to play catch up. I mean the game is quite okay the way it is for the single purpose of being fun. Some balance here and there will come. But it's definitely not too easy, simply because one player says so.
     
  17. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    For sure getting all era stars is not trivial. I haven’t figured out how to get both gold and influence while also competing with AI in early eras. Had 20/21 as Babylon, but then Persia invaded with a swarm of immortals and I upgraded to Rome before getting the third gold star. I don’t have the heart to play the end game once I’m in the lead, which you clearly are after an era or two with all star, so a bit of a moot point. I guess I’m just saying, there is plenty of challenge if you go looking for it, and the early race is unbelievably fun!

    I just finished a game with a massive amphibious assault by an army of samurai against 7daysofwar’s Mongols. But they threw me a curve ball and built a bunch of Carracks (just to remind me I wasn’t nearly as ahead on techs as I thought, though no arquebusiers). Had to swarm them with Norse powered cogs using my ancient land army in boat form as support. For me, the game ends up being about how I launch a decisive invasion of the AI leader. Sometimes that’s in medieval, other times it’s industrial taking shots from their antitank guns. But what really helps keep it fun is letting the AI get out ahead of me. I’m liking 2 continents for the AI’s ability to really steamroll its neighbors so that a rival power emerges on the other continent.
     
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  18. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

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    You should. One of the AIs surprised me in the last era with a superb fame performance in my first Empire game, and overturned my 3 era long comfortable lead into a 300 point defeat at the last minute. I could not react because the AI was in another continent and I did not have the time to do anything.

    Victory is not a given in this game, even with a comfortable lead. AI can surprise you.
     
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  19. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    Ah, perhaps that’s the difference between our play styles. I don’t tend to set up such a strong engine in the early game that I can snowball past a runaway AI, so in half my games an AI on the other continent will be 3-4K ahead and climbing fast, and as far as I can tell the only way to slow them down enough to catch them is to invade, at latest, in early modern (two continents is nice for making earlier invasion of another continent more challenging). I’ve come back from such a deficit and won by <500. So I usually just resort to targeting the AI leader when it becomes just barely feasible, in hopes it will pose a challenge. But this means that if another AI threatens to get ahead it’s pretty trivial to stop them as well. Especially since the AI in my games will end the game on pollution around T210 if left to their own devices, the timing I might expect to get ahead peacefully, by taking more era stars in the middle of the game, seems it will prevent getting as many stars in contemporary. That is, assuming that the thresholds for future eras change based on your performance in earlier eras, I don’t know one way or the other.
     
  20. PSG

    PSG Chieftain

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    So you started raiding late in WOW....
     

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