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Inquisitors and Religious Conversion

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by Stalker0, Mar 24, 2020.

  1. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Since this topic has come up again, I thought we could pull it off for specific discussion.

    First, we have to think about 2 important considerations before reviewing changes.

    1) Making religious conversions too easy will hurt the human too. If conversion becomes a lot easier, than the next balance thread will be people complaining they can't maintain their religion in their own cities, an equally valid concern. So we have to be careful about that.

    2) A lot of people do not actually know how to properly convert an established religion. This is also very understandable, because lets be honest, the conversion system is crazy complicated. You have pressures that most people don't know how they are really generated, you have religious resistance from buildings that works on missionaries but not GP, and UI wise....I have no earthly idea how much pressure I am actually dealing with in a city when I go to convert it. So some of the complaints on religious conversion stem from ignorance on how to properly do it...which again is very understandable.

    Honestly if I got my pie in the sky change, I would actually remove pressure entirely as a mechanic and just use missionaries....but I think we are way past that kind of dramatic change. So lets dig in shall we.

    How to convert....really convert.

    First, having done a lot of Byzantium games recently with aggressive conversions, I feel I can speak on this topic with the current version (3-15).

    There is only 1 way to really convert another civilization to your religion....Great Prophets. Missionaries with 25% more power (aka 1250 pressure spreads)...do not work. Missionaries with 25% pressure erosion work a little better....but still don't really work. Borobodur missionaries with +25% power and +25% pressure erosion...still do not work (and I had orthodoxy, believe me I've tried).

    This is for a simple but often poorly understood reason....when you are pushing your own religion you are fighting up a large mountain, which is the established pressure that been brewing in that city for 50-100 turns. Stronger missionaries can help climb that mountain a little quicker. Erosion missionaries can chip that mountain a little bit. But the inquisitor gives the enemy the power to knock you down to the base of the mountain at a moment's notice. Against that power, winning means spending so much faith that you might as well not be generating faith at all.

    But with a Great Prophet hit....you destroy the mountain. And suddenly we have a fair fight. Sure they can use inquisitors to knock you back down....but only off a small hill. Now your greater faith spend and stronger missionaries actually have meaning. The opponent may fight you for a bit, using his own inquisitors and missionaries...but if you are committed (especially if you have superior missionaries), you can win the day.

    So at the end of the day, the complexity of religious conversion comes down to a simple formula, but one that should be followed "religiously" (hehe):

    1. Use a GP charge on every city you wish to convert (and only one charge). For civs 7 or more cities, its best to bring 2 at once.
    2. Use missionaries to reconvert cities that the enemy inquests.
    3. Continue step 2 until your pressure beats the original religion and the enemy stops using inquisitors. Aka your religion becomes "stable".

    The Inquisition Power is fine

    So with the method above, I've had a lot of success converting civs to my religion, even against inquisitors eroding my pressure. Yes, GPs are an expensive price....but shouldn't it be? You are fundamentally changing the key bonuses of another civ, gaining spread bonuses for yourself, as well as secondary benefits for having them join your religion. I think GP are a reasonable price to pay for such power.

    So to me the Inquisitors ability to erode my faith is not really the problem, its just reasonable protection against enemy pressure and spreads....unless the enemy is willing to commit a "great price".

    The Inquisitor Spread Block is the Issue

    However, I think the Inquisitor's ability to stop a spread cold is silly and arbitrary. When I go to do a real conversion, l generally find one of 3 scenarios:

    1) No inquisitors
    2) Fluid inquisitors that are willing to move.
    3) Locked down inquisitors.

    Number 1 and 2 means I will convert....2 just takes a bit longer. 3 means the GPs I built up were a complete wasted effort. Anything in the game that completely turns off a game mechanic always gets some salt from me, and this one is a cheap price to make you immune from enemy religions.

    This to me makes inquisitors too strong, and I think it should simply be removed.

    ***The Middle Ground... Inquisitors for Owners Only***

    A middle ground option, have inquisitors only available for the Religion's current owner only. The thought behind this, the times I don't control a religion, I generally don't mind as much that multiple people are fighting over me. In fact I often like it if they are bringing new religious buildings to the game.

    So let Inquisitors keep their power for religion owner, and let unconverted people's become "religious battlegrounds"....where missionary spread remains viable (aka CS in the current game). You don't have to send GP to do some real conversion in those regions...unless an enemy is also seriously spreading, and then in which case you might need to bring in the "big guns".

    This can open up religious play in a way that doesn't tee off people that founded their religion...aka adding to gameplay instead of taking it away.

    I really like this option, and if it can be easily established I think it would be the best option.


    Summary of Change Options
    • Inquisitors can only be created by the owner of a religion (after enhancement).
    • Inquisitors lose the ability to block a religious spread
     
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  2. AndreyK

    AndreyK Warlord

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    I like that
     
  3. phantomaxl1207

    phantomaxl1207 King

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    One issue I would have on losing Inquisitors as a non-Founder is having to deal with Religious Unhappiness. It is the more appealing of your 2 suggestions.

    One thing I do not like about the current Conversion system is that it benefits one greatly to be the first Player to introduce a Religion to others. Trying to convert other Players that have had Maya, Ethiopia, etc. Religion there for 50+ turns feels like a wasted effort.
     
  4. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    I'm 100% behind removing Inquisitor blocking and have even suggested this before - I agree, it's a silly mechanic that's way too strong particularly on account of disabling another mechanic.

    Honestly, I'd also find it interesting if the removal of other faiths was more along the lines of 80% or 1000 pressure, whichever is greater - does any inquisition in reality ever remove ALL heresy? That strikes me as unrealistic.
     
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  5. Omen of Peace

    Omen of Peace Prince

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    Another option would be that Inquisitors don't block conversion but diminish the strength of conversion of Missionaries (like a religious building) but also of Prophets.

    I'm not super fond of having no counter at all to Missionaries/Prophets, even if it's just non founders.
     
  6. Cokolwiek

    Cokolwiek Warlord

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    I don't like owner's only inquisitors. It is just plain wierdness. Who, for centuries owned christianity, or islam? Every medieval/renaissance country has its own inqusition/persecutions/religious wars.

    I think they just should lower foreign presence, not eliminate it, so basically be nerfed.

    And I think thematically fitting drawback for using quite-powerful inquisitors on your cities, that was mentioned in another topic, should be food loss. Substantial food loss.
     
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  7. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Just noting that religions right now in the mod provide "founding" bonuses, aka bonus to the person who owns the religion. So we have accepted that weirdness for a very long time.
     
  8. Cokolwiek

    Cokolwiek Warlord

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    That's is completely different, just as holy cities are. Religions have their cultural birthplaces with powerful economic or political benefits, like pilgrimages or crusades, historical status of Mecca, Rome, or Jerusalem confrims this. It is rightfully reflected in the status of holy cities or founder's beliefs.
    Inquisitors are far more connected to individual state interests and social situation in that state only. They are always half-priests, half-police, and don't even need to be religious: recently Soviet Union had official state atheism as their "religion" and persecuted religious groups or supressed their influence.
     
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  9. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    I'm inclined to agree with Cokolwiek here. I could add to what Cokolwiek is saying by noting that even religions that are all around the world don't nearly share as much in common in various countries as we seem to think they do. I mean - "Protestantism" isn't one religion per se - there are hundreds of different Protestant religions (Thousands?), they all have different beliefs and leaders: that's obvious from the outside, how they name themselves, their hierarchical structure. Compare that to Catholicism: is this religion really all the same everywhere? I don't see any evidence of that. The belief system might have more stringency than Protestantism does, but I don't need to visit many Catholic churches in order to come to the conclusion that Catholicism is just as diverse in belief systems as Protestantism is: the only difference I've noticed is that while Protestant churches all have a different church name on their street signs, Catholic churches all clearly say "Catholic," as if we all knew what that meant and it was some clear-cut single monolith worldwide. It's not - it's really quite different everywhere.
     
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  10. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I don't think I'd like to see inquisitors weakened.

    Even in the case where a civ has spent a bunch of faith to put inquisitors in each of its cities to stop aggressive missionary spam they are still susceptible to passive religious pressure. Having to periodically purge your cities of foreign influence due to passive spread and maintain inquisitors in your cities to stop active spread is really costly already. Defending a small, insular religion against heavy spreaders ends up costing you a ton of faith which means less faith for GP purchases, religious buildings, reformation purchases, etc. Adding a population loss penalty on top would be overkill IMO. Removing the inquisitors ability to shutdown missionary/GP spread would make insular religions too onerous or potentially impossible to maintain.
     
  11. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    In my opinion, an opponent with enough passive spread to crush your religion is one that deserves to have its bonuses from one more civ taking stock of that religion.
     
  12. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I think if inquisitors were made weaker the religious game might devolve into a meta where only a single religion will end up existing on a given continent. In that meta it probably doesn't make sense to invest in religion at all unless you think your religion can be dominant- likely only true if you're playing a religion civ?

    I think the balance now is pretty good. If you tailor your religion to spread or you're willing to spend faith on aggressive spreading then you can most definitely overtake other religions (at the cost of probably not taking beliefs that would otherwise benefit you more or at the cost of spending a lot of faith on missionaries/GPs). If you have a small/insular religion you can typically manage to hold onto it if you're willing to spend a lot of faith on inquisitors. I'm not really sure where the problem is in the current dynamic.
     

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