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Ironclads suck

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Jim Bro, May 20, 2011.

  1. EndoConvert

    EndoConvert Warlord

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    Yeah, ironclads do suck in Civ5.

    Their biggest problem is their lack of an upgrade path. Nothing upgrades to or from them, giving them an extremely narrow production/use window, and then they are quickly outclassed by destroyers.

    At the least, they should upgrade to battleships to make them not completely useless.
     
  2. Save_Ferris

    Save_Ferris Admiring Myself

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    They can still be useful with coast-only because they can defend. Not much offensive use though.
     
  3. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Jokerfied Western Male

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    Defend from what ?
    I can't remember a game where one of my cities or land units was bombarded by a caravel or frigate.
     
  4. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    I agree, they should be able to travel on the sea and Stronger than the Destroyer (although slower)..unless they make the Destroyer require Oil.
     
  5. Randall Turner

    Randall Turner King

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    I agree, but I believe the more important change is to allow promotion to Battleship. Repercussions are huge!

    Aside - going to expand a bit, a little off-topic:

    Spoiler :


    I made a bunch of changes to the units. This was mostly prompted by the huge jump in effectiveness from Infantry to Mechanized Infantry - by nerfing Mech Inf to "45", requiring oil, and dropping movement from "4" to "3", it forces you to selectively upgrade the basic infantry unit. I've still got a lot of WWII style infantry now, and they're not that much worse than Mech Inf. Also nerfed Rocket Artillery some, bumped General speed to "3", made Modern Armor require 2 oil + 1 alum, bumped Great General speed to "3" so they can keep up, etc, etc. But, the changes to naval stuff was even more fun!

    First of all, slow units are boring and Battleships, Carriers, and regular Submarines should all move faster. (Regular Submarines get around on the surface in real life, they're only slow when they submerge.) By bumping all these to "6" and the Carrier to "7", it gets more interesting.

    Then, I didn't like that Battleships lose duels with artillery units, so I made them more powerful (and expensive). They can basically one-shot any other naval unit, which is also more realistic. You still need Destroyers for scouting, but your backbone is Battleships.

    Now, I was all, "oh, I'm so clever" and built two Ironclads for later upgrade to Battleships, but I forgot something - the AI loves Ironclads. I found out later that Arabia had build something like six-seven of the things (that I've found so far). Bismarck almost as many, even China has more than I do.

    I got into a war with them. (Arabia.) Whoa. I've never lost a naval war before. It was like Jutland, only with me being Argentina or some such, those guys raped me!

    After regrouping (ie, "run away"), I switched to a different strategy and discovered a wonderful synergy thing from the changes:

    In order to deal with a huge Battleship fleet, I had a bit of a tech advantage (jet fighters vs. prop fighters, limited numbers due to alum+oil requirement) so I figured I'd go Aircraft Carrier to deal with the BB's, as in real life. But, even that didn't work so well, the aircraft take a lot of damage and the new faster Battleships still control the sea, they're just tough, and make one mistake and they've sunk an expensive carrier and three even more expensive air squadrons.

    Submarines work better, no attrition on attacking, but if they're in sight range of an enemy Destroyer the Battleships (or their aircraft) make very, very short work of them.

    Finally hit on a strategy that has a chance - I use the Carriers to attempt to strip away the enemy Destroyers, then send in Submarines to wear down their main line of battle. Still risky - if they've got an unsighted Submarine to spot mine, their Battleships still one-shot my Subs. Plus, miss an enemy destroyer == game over, and they attrit my air squadrons badly.

    But it's so fun! There's a lot of rock/paper/scissors, the AI seems to be better at running Battleships (their tactics are pretty simple), they've got land-based aircraft providing an umbrella they can retreat under, fun!

    I bumped Guided Missile strength** and they just got Missile Cruisers (which I also gave the ability to spot subs w/i their shorter sight radius), it's turning into a furball, and I'm pretty sure I'm going to lose again. (My air squadrons are almost all down to 50%, going to have to retreat.)

    I'm hoping my new nuclear subs (on the way) will finally let me get enough sea control to invade. (I bumped their sight range up a bit so they can operate independently, plus some other improvements, though they need uranium now.) I'm not sure though - the AI replaces losses awfully quickly, and Arabia is swimming in oil.

    Sorry for wall-o-text, end off-topic spew.

    ** - bumped Guided Missile strength because they cost as much as regular unit's upkeep, they're more worth it with a "12" range and a "80" barrage.
     
  6. Jim Bro

    Jim Bro Emperor of Quebec

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    the problem is that the AI in civ5 is unable to be efficient on the sea. if we don't build ironclads because we can't upgrade them why would we build them to defend the coast if there is no threat...
     
  7. Ddude97

    Ddude97 King

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    @Randall Turner: At the bottom of your spoiler it says that Guided Missiles cost upkeep, but I thought that was the big thing for Guided Missiles, they don't require upkeep, are you sure they require upkeep?
     
  8. Randall Turner

    Randall Turner King

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    I'm pretty sure, even Great People require upkeep.

    I'll make a test run here real quick and make sure...

    Oh my God, Ddude, you're RIGHT! Deleting the guided missile didn't reduce unit maintenance costs. That's huge, I made them too powerful, returning them to their default strength now.

    Where is this documented? How could I not have known this? Must have been in a release note or some such, didn't see it under "Guided Missiles" or general "Missiles" topic in Civilopedia.

    Thanks for time timely heads-up, I was blissfully unaware - income fluctuates too much on a turn-by-turn basis for it to have been obvious to me. Luckily I'm just barely getting to the point in the game where it matters.

    ps - checked Great People too, they do indeed require maintenance. (Turn those Artists into monuments at your best culture-multiplier city as soon as practical is the obvious conclusion.)

    Edit: Ah, it was hidden in the unit XML files. Thanks for all the help again guys, it's turning this game into real fun for me.
     
  9. EndoConvert

    EndoConvert Warlord

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    No, they shouldn't be stronger than destroyers. Not only do they come before destroyers both historically and on the tech tree, but in real life, destroyers are far more powerful than any ironclad.
     
  10. Randall Turner

    Randall Turner King

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    Not even close, unless you're assuming the in-game ironclads are the very very first Monitor/Merrimack hacks launched in 1860's, which isn't indicated by the unit graphic, ie, they look like the later 1880's ironclad battleships.

    These ships typically had something like 4 x 10" guns, 10" armor, that sort of thing.

    A WWII heavy cruiser had 5" armor typical. WWII Destroyer 5" shells would just bounce off these guys.

    Due to the abstract nature of units in Civ, we'd have to assume the "Ironclad" unit is representative of all coal-fired ships of the line from mid-1860's to 1905 - many of which are much, much more powerful than the off-cuff stats I listed above.

    Look up the USS Maine for representative, and trust me, the Royal Navy and Imperial German Navy had "tougher" ships of the same type.
     
  11. MarsRobert

    MarsRobert Chieftain

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    Agree totally JimBro. I think the main problem is that they become available in that very short window between the Frigates and the Destroyers. I never bother with them, and just wait for destroyers to become available.
     
  12. Polycrates

    Polycrates Emperor

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    Seems to me that part of the problem might be on the other side of the equation - that destroyers are just too damn good. They're ridiculously fast, they have good sight, they're powerful on both attack and defense, they do anti-air and anti-sub, they're resourceless and they're relatively cheap (and they come not too long after ironclads). They even make battleships seem pretty pointless.

    If the destroyer was weakened to more closely fit its traditional role as a support unit (for screening, scouting, sub hunting etc) then the ironclad (and the battleship) would be better-placed to take up the mantle of the heavy-hitters. Ironclads could perhaps still do with a little extra strengthening, and letting them upgrade to battleships is no more ludicrous than any of the other naval upgrades.

    About the coast-only thing for ironclads, it wasn't that ships of that era weren't seaworthy (the Monitor and similar things aside) but that coal was such an inefficient fuel that many pre-dreadnought ships needed to stay in relatively close range of friendly coalling stations and so had a relatively small operational range. I think it's fair enough, and it certainly makes them an interestingly different ship. It would just be nice if they also had some more teeth to compensate.
     
  13. Rex_Mundi

    Rex_Mundi Prince

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    With Polynesia Ironclads can sail on the ocean.
    A nice little bonus and special play for them.
     
  14. General Tso

    General Tso Panzer General

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    They should have a 50% bonus against frigates and be less expensive.
     
  15. Im_An_Eejit

    Im_An_Eejit Chieftain

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    Never built one, but on deity at the moment, America - its only me and him left, is spamming them all along his coastline, making it very hard for me to make an easy landing. So like i said, never built one, but i would never call it useless - the makers wouldn't but something in a game if it was pointless - who could be arsed to do that?
     
  16. Ddude97

    Ddude97 King

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    Yeah this is the big thing for guided missiles and anything that carrries them. By the way, if you ever publish your chagnes their into a mod, let me know - I'll download (because I'm too lazy to do it myself :p)
     
  17. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    Well the easiest solution would be

    Make Destroyers require Oil
    Make Ironclads ocean travellable + upgradable to Battleships

    (if you want a post-Caravel Navy without resources, use Subs)
     
  18. Randall Turner

    Randall Turner King

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    I'm just making xml changes, posted an initial version on another thread.**

    As one of the vets points out, it'll get overwritten as soon as Steam sees fit to update those files, which is fine with me - Steam won't update them while the game is running, I keep the game running in the background all the time, and the edits are easy to re-make.

    Aside: I also made some changes that I wouldn't have "generally", just for this map. I made so many things require oil (often two oil, and often in conjunction with aluminum or another second resource) that I also gave some of the oil-poor civs on my current map workarounds -

    Japan: Zero requires no oil (efficient radial engine)
    USA: B-17 requires no oil (they just don't have any)
    Germany: Panzer requires coal (Nazi synthetic oil capability, plus again, they just don't have much but have a ton of coal and their country is huge)

    Sure enough, Germany is tooling around with a slew of Tiger-looking tankies. And I made Modern Armor so resource-expensive, ie, [2oil+1alum], that nobody can upgrade all their Tanks to Modern Armor. So, they're not just a stepping-stone.

    ** - also, some Tuner modifications to civilizations to get them to use their money more.

    I can upload these xml files (current versions), but I tweak them almost daily as I see an imbalance. (Latest was to give the Nuclear Submarines the +2 vision free promotion so they can operate independently, thinking of dropping Alum from Jet Fighter requirement, they're 1oil + 1alum right now and they're just not worth the resource hit.)

    These changes do get rid of almost all the "grumps" here. I should note that Ironclads/Battleships (6 speed) become the fleet "backbone" everything else maneuvers off of. But I like that. :)

    Key thing is that it's just very simple to tailor the irregularities yourself. (Even without looking at what I did as a model.)

    Edit: @Krikkitone - if you're going to make most modern units require oil + (whatever else), you do NOT want your destroyers eating it all up. (Especially with the "Mech Inf requires 1 oil" change.) And no matter what you do, late-game wars will be driven by oil acquisition (or in the case of Arabia, oil-well defense). I liked that, felt "right".

    @Polycrates - realize that all destroyers through WWI were also coal-fired.
     
  19. Polycrates

    Polycrates Emperor

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    Many of them, absolutely, but that was true of the vast majority of surface warships of all classes in WWI, and oil as a warship fuel was really pioneered in destroyers - well before its introduction in fuel-guzzling battleships (though they might have oil sprayed on the coal). If anything, battleships could lay a far better claim to requiring coal than destroyers; the defining moment for the battleship - Jutland - was fought between coal-powered capital ships, and by WWII they were half-way obsolete.

    Back to gameplay, though, the destroyer works fine as a resourceless unit if it occupies its seemingly intended role as a weaker cannon fodder/countering unit - the pikeman to the battleship's longswordsman (and the ironclad's swordsman?). Battleships are of course fine with oil, since most people think of Bismarck and Yamato etc rather than Dreadnought. And I really think ironclads should require coal, especially since it's such a nothing resource at the moment. They just kinda need to be more fearsome. I kind of wonder if a useful buff to them might be to give them 3 range - it would bring them in line with artillery, and these ships did have big guns with long range and were used for shore bombardment (even if naval gunnery training at the time was so woeful that they could never actually hit anything) - and it would slightly mitigate the coast-only penalty. But I think overall the best way to improve the value of the ironclad and other late-game ships would be to weaken the all-powerful destroyer.

    Incidentally, one of the best changes that Thal's mod has made has been the reduction of the amount of oil in the world and the increase in the number of units that rely on it, making the late game much more of an oil game.
     
  20. Randall Turner

    Randall Turner King

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    The shift from coal to oil happened simultaneously for both types.

    First oil-powered destroyer was in 1911, first oil-powered battleship was in 1913.

    By WWII, no front line battleships were coal fired. (ie, none in USA, GB, Germany, Italy, France, etc, etc, etc.)

    This isn't a history lesson, this is game-relevant. The coal-powered ships were a well-defined generation. That generation spanned from 1860's to 1910's. That "Ironclad" we're seeing there represents all ships up to Dreadnoughts - the defining factor of which wasn't power-plant, of course, it was all-big guns - but the point stands. If the unit is representative, it's underpowered.
     

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