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Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Inspector Javert, May 11, 2016.

  1. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

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    Moderator Action: It is rarely a good sign when folks start arguing about what constitutes a valid argument or position, or who is or is not being more "pedantic" in their arguments, rather than discussing their actual views about this particular game (which is the purpose of this thread). Please do not continue derailing this thread with an inherently circular debate about the nature of debate.
     
  2. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    I'll get to your larger post when I have more time, but the issue I'm most interested in is not Civ IV vs. Civ V, which has been done to death by me and others, but the 'why isn't Civ VI closer to Civ IV than Civ V?'.

    And this is my answer: from a mechanical standpoint, Civ IV was a clunky, obsolete design - it was a great game that got absolutely the best it could out of those mechanics, but if you were to design a Civ IV successor from scratch rather than be beholden to systems developed over the prior 15 years, you would not use the Civilization IV mechanics.

    I don't treat appealing to a forum poster's opinion as authority, and this doesn't seem a sensible comment without any kind of qualification. Games are designed with specific objectives, and there are ways to meet those objectives that are simply better than others.

    Take again the expansion example. You can have a game that tells you 'to win, you must expand' and which adds a mechanic which tells you 'to expand, you must be punished'. What's the focus of that game? If it's to promote strategic play, this is quite simply poor design - it offers only one strategic option and provides penalties for pursuing it.

    Then you have the alternative of a game that tells you "to win, you can either expand or you can focus on owning less territory and developing what you have" and which tells you 'to expand, you must be punished'. This offers a choice, at least in principle. In practice it is obviously incomplete, because it presents two strategic options but punishes only one of them (which is not quite true of Civ V, as there are costs to going tall in forgoing the advantages in production capacity and resource access that going wide allows, but is broadly accurate).

    Now the above is deliberately generic to get away from the emotive comparisons people insist on drawing between one game and the other, and if someone who didn't know which game each description referred to were to look at these two alternatives, which do you suppose they would consider the better of the two designs?

    You note in the other post that the second characterisation is a euphemism for going tall being the only viable option. That's not altogether true - going wide is viable in Civ V and it can be powerful, it's just a lot more difficult and a lot more dependent on the map (as you have to commit too early to know whether it's a good decision) than going tall.

    But assuming for the sake of argument that your point is generally correct, that's an issue with implementation, not with the core game design - going tall vs. going wide just isn't well-balanced. Indeed, prior to the patch that nerfed Liberty Civ V was characterised as ICS all the way - all the people who now revere Sulla's review as though it were pertinent to a version of the game 6 years on from release conveniently ignore that one of his key criticisms of the game was that it wasn't as good as Civ IV at punishing ICS. Evidently that would not have been possible if the core game design was hostile to going wide. Which comes back precisely to my point in an earlier post that Civ IV had a worse design than Civ V but implemented its systems better.
     
  3. dannyevilcat

    dannyevilcat DESTROYER OF FURNITURE

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    My first impressions are meh. And I was looking forward to seeing what they'd come up with.

    I tried to give Civ V a go, but I consider it a failure. It wasn't the 1upt mechanic in itself that made me dislike it, but rather the AI's inability to actually use it. And the diplomacy was a step back from Civ IV. I don't have a lot of faith that these will be done better this time around. Ultimately, though, I think other game titles have simply eclipsed the Civilization franchise for me, for what appealed to me about it in the first place.
     
  4. dexters

    dexters Gods & Emperors Supporter

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    I don't want to pile on the negativity as I am looking forward to this game but I have been saving a pc fund specifically for civ6 to build a new pc.

    If those rumored specs are remotely close to final mimimums I will be disappointed. As I'm not a developer I would not know all the advantages of using multi threaded cpus over the single core experience. But I assume there are some My hope is that civ6 takes advantage of all cpu cores and all threads in a cpu to deliver maximum experience. I feel like we've been stuck with core2 as minimum for dar roo long.
     
  5. jjkrause84

    jjkrause84 King

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    Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself.
     
  6. nyyfootball

    nyyfootball Warlord

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    If Sim City is to Cities: Skylines, then what is Civilization VI to?
     
  7. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    Tradition 3-4 cities has been an optimal Civ V strategy for two expansions - it wasn't even viable in vanilla. That's wholly an implementation/balance issue, separate from the fundamental basics of game design.

    When I'm talking of game design I'm talking of core systems and basic underlying philosophies.

    Like mechanics that punish what would otherwise (in principle) be an optimal strategy but provide a viable alternative, rather than just punishing the optimal strategy without offering any real alternative.

    Like a diplomatic system that, however flawed in practice, endeavours to model multipartite relationships between multiple factions in a game designed to be about multiple factions, rather than a trade screen in which other factions' behaviour towards you is dictated almost wholly by your actions with regard to that faction alone.

    Like a religious system which, while it was unbalanced and featured an unnecessary amount of bucket-filling, provided gameplay options, promoted active interaction with the religions of other factions, and produced a resource that had specific religiously-thematic uses such as the construction of religious buildings. Rather than a tech rush to specific religions that appear on a tech tree and give a flat bonus that only increases with the number of religions you collect.

    Like a government system, that while even more unbalanced, is derived from a type of 'social capital' resource rather than, again, promoting a rush to specific, favoured points on a tech tree to unlock favoured civics.

    Removing queues as an obvious option I agree was bizarre, and worse still was hiding a key unit ability - Fortify - in a submenu that had to be opened separately every single time you wanted it.
     
  8. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Maybe you wouldn't, but I think a lot of people probably would. And my point is that they are not more or less right than those who wouldn't. It is a matter of preference.

    Anyway, the core issue for me with V is not the constraint on expansion, but the fact that science=population rather than commerce= (determined by slider). I'd be willing to take the happiness system from V if they'd bring back sliders and the whip.

    EDIT: also, I think the real answer is "we made a buttload of money from V and we ain't gonna fix what's not broken." Not that I'm criticizing them for that, or anything. I mean, I'm working on overthrowing capitalism but until that happy day, can't blame the capitalists for acting like capitalists.

    Well, that wasn't an appeal-to-authority so much as a point-to-hypocrisy.

    I guess I just don't see the problem with this. That is true of literally any game that constrains your actions - if there were no "penalties" attached to what you need to do to succeed at the game, it would be too easy.

    Granted the game may have been patched since the last time I played it, but at that time tall tradition was really the optimal strategy.
    And as you imply going wide only works if there are enough unique luxuries nearby- if not, then going tall will always let you fill up your bins faster than going wide.

    Meh. They've had how many years now to get it balanced? To me that suggests perhaps a deeper issue than 'implementation.'
     
  9. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    But of what use is this distinction in practice? What difference does it make to say the core game design/philosophy is superior in Civ V, it's just implemented poorly? It doesn't change the fact that in V you have one, possibly two ways to approach the game and in IV there are many more, all equally viable.

    If I accept your framing, then the obvious conclusion is that actually implementation matters more than core design...
     
  10. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    Pop=science is indeed the big issue with Civ V. I don't think sliders need be the solution.

    In principle, I can get behind what global happiness was trying to do - by acting as a global pool of happiness, it wasn't just aiming to constrain expansion, but also to limit going tall - "you have X happiness, and you can choose to divide it between X population going wide, or Y population going large." You'll have less of a penalty per pop going tall, but as a trade-off you have less access to luxury resources and happiness buildings to offset the penalty. Rather than a mechanic to be roundly hated, I think it's a shame that it didn't work better.

    Fundamentally, it made money because it played well. It's still a strategy game, it still has day-long or longer game sessions - whoever's buying it, it's not people uninterested in strategy games or unwilling to invest time, and while it's certainly less challenging than Civ IV it's still a complicated game for people unfamiliar with 4x games. Witness any number of threads on the Civ V forum asking for strategic advice. That seems fair enough as a basis for the company to build on.

    Yes, every game needs challenge. But a strategy game also needs strategy. Dark Souls is hard, but it's not a game you go to for strategic depth.

    I said good city spots - luxuries in latter-day Civ V aren't the be-all and end-all of city placement (though the trade system does bias towards them since you want a diversity of resources in commerce cities, and for some reason bonus resources were removed from the trade system between BNW previews and the eventual release). And non-unique luxuries are good if not optimal since they can be traded.

    The deeper issue may just be the direction the developers wanted the game to go, not limitations in the fundamental game mechanics. They could have fixed the library at any time to remove the extra science bonus from population, for instance. They could have fixed the National College or the national wonder system more generally, as the 'one of X per city' national wonder requirement was the single biggest disincentive from going wide. To their credit the most relevant national wonders introduced in later patches and expansions didn't have this requirement, which hopefully reflects Ed Beach's preferred direction, but they never fixed the original ones.

    That's a relevant question, but as I mentioned I'm concerned in general with why the Civ IV model is not a good one to follow for Civ VI, whether or not Civ V is the correct one. If the developers have their hearts set on forcing you to play to a single optimal path, they can do that with the Civ IV engine - just make alternative tech routes or civics sufficiently unattractive. And it becomes relevant in practice if the game lives up to its promised modding support (and XCOM 2 suggests that Firaxis has got on board the modding train, if late, and is keen to support this going forward), since a better core engine gives mods more to work with. That didn't come to fruition in Civ V because the game wasn't very mod-friendly.
     
  11. ds61514

    ds61514 Warlord

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    One thing I really miss from Civ4 are the huge "swings" that players can unlock as early as Bronze Working.

    1. Chop-Whip rush with Axes/HAs/Elepult/UU. I've lost count of how many times this thing has been nerfed, but it's still a (the?) premiere strategy on levels below Deity.

    2. Slingshots + Tech Trading. GS into Philo into Lib into Nationalism/Mil Trad was the default tech path. Given that AI research was fairly easy to determine, it was pretty easy to backfill missing techs. Tech brokering was what separated the best players from us mere mortals.

    3. Drafting. The ability to *instantly* convert from high-research/commerce into military allowed good players to create armies from thin air. The only thing more powerful than drafted rifles was whipped Cavs :lol:.

    In Civ5, I feel this is really toned down (especially after horseman got nerfed). Hopefully Civ 6's emphasis on more "situational" strategy gives the players the ability to make powerful plays.

    It's funny that Civ5 has the "casual" reputation, but my Civ 4 games (I mostly played Emperor vanilla/Immortal BTS, got a few lucky Deity wins) were generally done in ~2 hours. Civ 5 always took longer.
     
  12. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Okay, I can get behind the assertion that the underlying potential of the mechanics is better in V (happiness excepted, both global happiness and maintenance were punishment mechanics, but maintenance handled the tradeoff/timing better because you had more considerations with regards to its limits). However, I feel that is a too-constrained interpretation of "design", or rather that the separation between that and "implementation" is too black/white with regards to how you're representing it.

    You could make a case that the implementation of 4 city trad reflects a design goal of forcing tall play, for example.

    But all of that is meta. What matters is how the game plays in practice.

    Put to the extreme to showcase what I mean, the best design intentions in the world don't matter if the game doesn't run, and the best potential system in the world doesn't matter if the implementation doesn't utilize it at all. Having a good framework ties your hands less, but that matters more if you don't stick those hands straight into fire.
     
  13. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    If happiness is just City based in Civ 6, won't Infinite City Sprawl just be a thing again? What do we think they'll do to make this less possible?
     
  14. Travizuma

    Travizuma Chieftain

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    Newby poster here, but longtime civ player...

    I was curious if anyone had any thoughts about the fact that on Steam they are bundling Civ VI with the Steam Controller???

    It is hard for me to imagine playing any version of Civ with a controller, and I'm wondering if this might imply a new interface or if the game might have a console version on the horizon?

    I join the chorus of those not thrilled by the art direction, but will reserve judgment at the moment - these are the first three shots and we haven't seen the game in action yet. Looking forward to it - and wondering what all is in the works.
     
  15. civvver

    civvver Deity

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    Actually it wouldn't be that hard to play civ5 with a controller. The steam controller emulates a mouse very well and you can do everything in civ5 with mouse easily enough. Civ4 was harder cus of stacks of units and grouping required shift or ctrl. Other than that it's mostly just hotkeys to menus which are clicked easily enough.
     
  16. Countmonte8242

    Countmonte8242 Warlord

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    Hope you don't mind me stealing this but every bit of it applies to me as well.


    For a while I'd been thinking at least there's some hope for Civ VI... Now it seems I'll have to change my horizon to Civ VII.

    All the people defending the early features of this (1 UPT..) with the sales of Civ V need to stop, seriously. We could go on and on with examples of why high sales of anything does not necessarily equate to the best possible experience, but I'd think most here would be smart enough to figure those out on their own. Civ V after expansions was a decent, still fun game. But it's not the Civilization experience many of us grew to love. It's missing too many of the key elements.
     
  17. Akka

    Akka Moody old mage.

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    Pot, meet kettle, then, because your entire reasoning seems based on being obtuse and purposedly ignoring that to have gold not a limiting factor, you needed to shot donw your science. So claiming it's not a limiting factor, when it can only be if you pay a big price, is kinda the definition of eing pedantic or deliberately obtuse.
    Self-projection much ?
    That's basically a bizarro world you're describing, because in mine it's about the very opposite : what made Civ5 a failure is precisely that its basic concepts were TERRIBLE. What made me love Civ4 is that they were both well-implemented and good by essence. So you coming and claiming that "objectively" it's the opposite of reality, is hardly convincing.
    I don't really get how you can manage to twist "distribution of ressources" as "adjusting level of pain". Distributing your budget seems like both logical, relevant to how a government work, and as such rather immersive. Your antagonism against this concept is just as puzzling as the rest of your logic.
    Actually, EU3 is entirely about sliders and how you distribute your budget (basically the same thing than Civ4) and Galactic Civilization is all about distributing your money in different budgets too.

    I really get the feeling you're from a different reality than me. None of your argument make sense or looks factual to me.
     
  18. Biz_

    Biz_ Prince

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    Based on these descriptions, Civ6 seems to continue down Civ5's path of making player agency less important. I'd be more okay with it if that's what players wanted and it was a conscious decision, but I believe the tragedy is that this seems to be happening by accident. I don't see it as part of some grand plan to turn Civ into a throwaway mobile game, but rather the collateral damage that results from developers trying to design the experience instead of just designing the game.

    I have always viewed civilization as a game about players exploiting the tiles on the map to pursue their plans. Most of the game was about getting more tiles and extracting more resources per turn from each tile. The rules were simple, but the strategy that emerged was complex. You only had a handful of options about what to do with each tile, but when you combined a lot of tiles and factored in growth, technology, and workers there were millions of possible lines of play. Maybe the higher difficulties had a narrower range of viable strategies, but that was a natural result of competition, not an artificial result of a developer trying to create a tailored experience.

    When I played earlier games in the series, I remember that how I played when I was a beginner was nothing even remotely close to how I played as a veteran. The rules of the game were not changing. The AI behavior was not changing. But my game experience was changing, and it was being shaped by my own evolving understanding of the games' systems. That process was satisfying.

    After Civ5 and especially after its revisions, the opposite was true. The game became so restrictive that my experience was determined by the initial game settings or the changeset of the latest patch, not by my strategic choices. Instead of playing a game where I was exploiting the map, it felt like the world generator was in charge and I was merely a puppet. I wasn't building an empire - I was governing a handful of cities.

    Why did this happen? The game took away all the tools that we could use to steer our empires in different directions. Nobody needed to hear about what happened during the actual game - simply sharing a screenshot of the starting location was sufficient, and people could fill in the blanks. It was as if somebody decided there was a "correct" way to play Civ and that players who tried to deviate from that path needed to be reigned in.

    And now with Civ6, all the new features seem to involve more restrictions, more complex rules, and more dependencies, all of which translates to less non-linearity. They seem to move the game farther away from letting players use their own ingenuity to plan and make a wide range of strategic decisions about how to transform a bunch of tiles into something great.

    It's okay if different people play the game differently. It's okay if we don't beat Diety on the first day. It's okay if we never beat Diety. Actually, it's even better if we never get there because the game is so much more fun when the AI is playing by the same rules. The process of improving gradually is what makes Civ good instead of just a time sink, but we can't have that experience if we're all funnelled toward a narrow range of options.

    I'm not saying that there's only one way to make a good game. But does the developer have enough expertise to mathematically balance all these complex rules and buildings and technologies and bonuses and restrictions so that the player has actual decisions to make instead of just making the obvious choice based on whatever world happened to get generated? Probably not, if we base that conclusion on Civ5's development history, but I hope I'm wrong.

    This post may come across as "I hate Civ5", but that isn't even the case. Civ5 had more player agency and a wider range of playstyles than its revisions (and possibly even the earlier games in a few areas).
    But most people only remember the patches and expansions for what they add and forget about what they take away. Hopefully the news about Civ6 is similar: maybe we are only hearing about the new additions, and the story of how it takes away the flaws of Civ5:BNW is yet to come.
     
  19. Denkt

    Denkt Left permamently

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    Infinite City Sprawl is slightly more interesting then 4 city tradition. There are many many ways they could discourage founding alot of cities but at the same time encourage expansion but Im not going to list all whose ways as it would be pointless to do so as we have to see how they decide to do it.
     
  20. Genesis_26317

    Genesis_26317 Chieftain

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    Civ 4 solved early game city sprawl with the increasing maintenance cost of the cities. It was seriously limiting especially before courthouses become constructed in your 3rd tier/wave cities.


    Personally I would like to see something along the lines of them limiting the cultural expansion of outer tiered cities to make it more similar to real life.

    Ex. New Mexico and Montana aren't exactly pushing the borders of the U.S. outwards, the same with Siberia not pushing Russia's borders into Mongolia and China.
     

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