Is Civ5 really more simple than Civ4?

Celevin

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Two threads (Downside of 1upt and Simplification) have both discussed how Civ5 is being "dumbed down for the masses", or "has complexity / micromanagement removed". I think that's not true at all. I will argue just from the point of raw amount of compexity or micromanagement, and not about if it's actually a good or bad thing. To get my point across, pretend we started a new game of Civ5.

Where do we build our second / third city? Some newer players would suggest to "have as little overlap as possible while remaining close". Well, that would involve settling 7 tiles away as cities each grow out 3 tiles. But there's a big problem to this. The culture gap between cities is now massive, and takes a LOT longer to grow than Civ4. Due to several reasons, including barbarians, an early war, maintenance, or just taking advantage of good resources, it could be a costly mistake to build this far away. So we build closer, causing overlap. In fact, most of the time I think the optimal distance will cause at least 6 tiles overlapped! In the most extreme case, there are 18 overlapping tiles! In fact, 4 individual cities can share the exact same tile! Any advanced Civ player knows about the micromanagement of switching tiles between cities to optimize city growth, and to give production, among other things. Having a good resource overlapped between two cities is a very big advantage and lends a lot of flexibility. This feature just went into overdrive in Civ5, and will be a lot of micromanagement and depth. I think city placement just became harder, and has maybe too much micromanagement to it.

It's no lie that combat just became much more complex. This is a point for the "downside of iupt" thread. The raw number of decisions has increased drastically. I think we can agree that more micromanagement has been added in war. Even during peace, the placement of troops just in case of a sudden war is a lot more complex.

The currencies in Civ5 add a lot more interesting decisions. In Civ4, all that happened was all remaining gold was converted to science, and culture wasn't so much a currency as just something that "happened over time". Now, we have to worry about how we spend our gold, valuing tiles against each other. We also can spend our gold for other gifts from city states, and hurrying production as a staple ability. Same with culture, as we choose between different policies. These are complex systems that don't have easy answers.

The policies system has more decisions than religion, civics and espionage combined. In Civ4, face it, most civics were just better than others. As a result civics were really just a bonus from researching. The most complex they got was after building a specific wonder and even then the choices were more or less obvious depending on your playstyle. Religion is a system with lots of cogs and gears, but the choices the player has to make at the end of the turn are rather simple: Choosing a religion is easy, and then spreading the religion also takes no thought. The same could be said about espionage, which is a system so meaningless that I could find myself ignoring it and it not influencing anything. The best feature about espionage was using the spy for LOS, which I could do even with no espionage points. On the other hand, policies are something which a lot of thought must go into. It will take resources away from your empire to specifically grab culture to buy policies, and the player will be forced to choose between which policies to buy.


There are loads of other features which I haven't touched upon, like city states, the improvement of sea warfare, leader uniqueness, and more. So I ask again, how is Civ4 more complex / more decision making / more micromanagement?
 

Commander Bello

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You've brought up quite some good examples.

Well, I am not that much frightened of complexity per se, yet I see some areas in which I think it might become overdosed (1upt would be one thing - since there is a thread for this already, I won't go into details here).

As far as the policies are concerned, I would assume that after a month or so a "golden path" will have been identified and I heavily doubt that it really will add that much to the gaming experience.

Yet, we'll see...
 

Frank Drebin

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i think what we can say for sure is that we wont know untill it's out.
 

AlpsStranger

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I actually agree, but I think it has to do with defining "simple." I think Civ5 will be simple in a largely positive sense. Let me give a few examples of negative complexity (in my opinion, of course)

Individual building upkeep and corruption in Civ3
Binary research fiddling in Civ4
Loading unarmed transports in various games
Twiddling with the colonization sliders in Sword of the Stars
Figuring the espionage numbers by keeping a pen and paper next to you in unmodded BTS
Controlling 100+ cities/planets/etc in pretty much any 4X

Civ5 will be a very complex game if you are trying to play well, just like any good game. My hope is that there will be less pointless complexity in the vein of what I listed above.
 

AlpsStranger

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You've brought up quite some good examples.

Well, I am not that much frightened of complexity per se, yet I see some areas in which I think it might become overdosed (1upt would be one thing - since there is a thread for this already, I won't go into details here).

As far as the policies are concerned, I would assume that after a month or so a "golden path" will have been identified and I heavily doubt that it really will add that much to the gaming experience.

Yet, we'll see...

I'm not so sure. I believe there may be a golden path in the sense of "you end up here", but I don't think there will be nearly such a static order. *EVERYONE* may take things 1,3,5,7,9,and 12, but there may be a huge amount of difference in the timing and order. This isn't going to be like a WoW talent where all that matters is the final spec, it will be a set of decisions made during an evolving ground game.

We'll see, I suppose. If it ends up being a pointless mechanic I'll be right there with you complaining.
 

Zhahz

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I would rather think it'll be refined and different. The depth of strategic thought should be there without some of the tedium. And they've probably managed to introduce some new mechanic(s) that will replace prior elements of nuisance. It seems to always happen.
 

Celevin

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Frank Drebin said:
i think what we can say for sure is that we wont know untill it's out.

You can say this about anything on this forum. The point of discussion before it's out is to investigate what the game will be like, its perks and its flaws.

Well, I am not that much frightened of complexity per se, yet I see some areas in which I think it might become overdosed
This was my fear as well, too much micromanagement in the way of 1upt and city working. It's why I'm so confused when people complain that it's going to be "streamlined", or "not as complex".

AlpsStranger said:
I actually agree, but I think it has to do with defining "simple."
Well the word has multiple meanings, especially depending on who you talk to :) . For the sake of internet arguing, it's best to assume that the more decisions you have to make and the more information processed, the more complex something is. Negative complexity, as you defined it, is just information being processed but isn't adding many new decisions.
 

Earthling

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Figuring the espionage numbers by keeping a pen and paper next to you in unmodded BTS

This isn't true, the ctrl-E screen has always been there, have you missed that?

But as for the OP, I certainly agree not everything is simpler. Some things may well end up needlessly complicated imo - for instance the 1upt system cited in the OP and suggested that some people are arguing one way - I've always said the system is not a bad change because it's simpler, but could be bad for introducing horrible complication and micromanagement.

The biggest potential problem for simplicity in civ V, which in philosohpy/principle is similar to games like civRev, is massive reductions in the scale of the game and interaction with your opponents. Everything so far suggests that diplomacy and foreign management has lost a lot compared to civ IV. Likewise, in civ IV, maps and empires can be several times larger than it appears civ V has been balanced for (to say nothing of earlier civ versions too).

So while there certainly are some cool improvements or things that do add micromanagement (tile management and the incredible tedium of 1upt could actually add very large amounts of MM/"complexity") none of these things fall into the category of interacting with opponents, with the possible exception of city states.

When you look at:
-removal of technology trading
-removal of religion
-removal of espionage
-removal of civics (related to diplomacy, as far as we know social policies won't really affect this)
-altered victory conditions
-altered presentation of diplomacy

There really are almost no positives to suggest more complexity on this part of the game. The few major things involved, all relate to actually interacting with other civilizations/opponents. And as the default assumption should be that the AI somehow didn't gain massive levels of intelligence (because one should never assume that for any game, that's not how AI works these days) then without more ways to actually interact it could be very shallow.

As for other points, I do not think city placement itself will really be any different, handling barbarians could be more fun, but not necessarily more complex (though this is a good thing, I am thinking the new barbarian/city-state system is quite exciting overall)

Also, there seems to be nothing to suggest that navies and in general handling expansion/colonization got more in depth, if anything they mostly seemed eliminated/made irrelevent/elements not encouraged in the new game. I don't see the classic "Terra" models and such, very popular with many civ IV players (though not particularly me, just saying) being very viable in civ V.

Oh, and about currencies/basic economic sliders and so on - I'm not sure the new system will be more complex or more exciting necessarily. Civ IV had some problems in encouraging non-science investment, but the sliders were incredibly dynamic, usually not excessive to micromanage, and more importantly led to some very elegant design (everything about culture is pretty wonderful how it works out in civ IV, except for actual control of tiles because of the weird way culture builds on actual tiles.) Especially with new victory conditions, I'm worried about changes here.
 

Schuesseled

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To put it simply, certainly not.

Lots of things have been added as well as taken away, and the look of the game may be simple in design but it has layers complexity underneath, for those who wish to use it.

eg "only 3 or 4 commands to give units WHAT THE F>>>"

^ there are more options that expand out through an 'other' type button, commands you won't use often like delete unit.

Lots of hidden complexity, tooptips, expandable menu's, this civ is definetly not the dumbed down simplicity of civ rev, which lets face it, had as many options as a wooden toothpick.
 

bjbrains

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This isn't true, the ctrl-E screen has always been there, have you missed that?

But as for the OP, I certainly agree not everything is simpler. Some things may well end up needlessly complicated imo - for instance the 1upt system cited in the OP and suggested that some people are arguing one way - I've always said the system is not a bad change because it's simpler, but could be bad for introducing horrible complication and micromanagement.

The biggest potential problem for simplicity in civ V, which in philosohpy/principle is similar to games like civRev, is massive reductions in the scale of the game and interaction with your opponents. Everything so far suggests that diplomacy and foreign management has lost a lot compared to civ IV. Likewise, in civ IV, maps and empires can be several times larger than it appears civ V has been balanced for (to say nothing of earlier civ versions too).

So while there certainly are some cool improvements or things that do add micromanagement (tile management and the incredible tedium of 1upt could actually add very large amounts of MM/"complexity") none of these things fall into the category of interacting with opponents, with the possible exception of city states.

When you look at:
-removal of technology trading
-removal of religion
-removal of espionage
-removal of civics (related to diplomacy, as far as we know social policies won't really affect this)
-altered victory conditions
-altered presentation of diplomacy

There really are almost no positives to suggest more complexity on this part of the game. The few major things involved, all relate to actually interacting with other civilizations/opponents. And as the default assumption should be that the AI somehow didn't gain massive levels of intelligence (because one should never assume that for any game, that's not how AI works these days) then without more ways to actually interact it could be very shallow.

As for other points, I do not think city placement itself will really be any different, handling barbarians could be more fun, but not necessarily more complex (though this is a good thing, I am thinking the new barbarian/city-state system is quite exciting overall)

Also, there seems to be nothing to suggest that navies and in general handling expansion/colonization got more in depth, if anything they mostly seemed eliminated/made irrelevent/elements not encouraged in the new game. I don't see the classic "Terra" models and such, very popular with many civ IV players (though not particularly me, just saying) being very viable in civ V.

Oh, and about currencies/basic economic sliders and so on - I'm not sure the new system will be more complex or more exciting necessarily. Civ IV had some problems in encouraging non-science investment, but the sliders were incredibly dynamic, usually not excessive to micromanage, and more importantly led to some very elegant design (everything about culture is pretty wonderful how it works out in civ IV, except for actual control of tiles because of the weird way culture builds on actual tiles.) Especially with new victory conditions, I'm worried about changes here.
I fundamentally disagree with everything that you're saying. If you simply take a list of what has been 'taken out' without looking at what has replaced it or *why* it was taken out, then of course you're going to get a lopsided pov.
On tech trading: It led to imbalanced, free research multipliers and completely screwed over more isolated civ(s). Research agreements have replaced those, which fill a similar role (mutual cooperation for research boosts), but with actual costs in gold and time as well as risks of either side breaking it.
On religion: They've already talked about why it wasn't necessary or fun for Civ 5.
On espionage: It was broken and unfun for all but the hardcore. Not a mechanic you want in the core game (note it was added in BtS and was *NOT* a feature of civ 4 or warlords).
On Civics/Diplomacy: Policies do actually change how you interact with city states. And civics were rarely relevant in diplomacy (with a few exceptions where it gave an overlarge boost with no cost).
On altered win conditions: The Diplomacy victory is now more difficult to achieve now that each civ/city state has one vote, and apparently there will be more city states than civs on each map. The cultural victory is no longer tied to "three cities", but is empire-wide (which makes more sense and requires a lot less micromanagement). Not to mention it actually has benefits along the way via social policies. Conquest is easier to achieve than it was in civ 4, but even then, after you've managed to take all the capitals in the world in civ 4, it's mop-up at that point. Space seems more complex now since you have to transport all the vulnerable parts to your capital, providing more chances for enemy disruption.
As to diplomacy no longer giving you exact numbers, this makes the game more complex because you'll have to predict how people will react instead of knowing how they will react.

Positive things for complexity:
1UPT (You can't argue this doesn't make combat more tactically complex)
Increased unit diversity (now that units actually do different things instead of being RPS-like counters or just the 'best' unit for its age).
Social policies versus civics. There might be 'good' paths, but the game is too variable to have a simple 'best' path for every situation. It offers a huge decision tree, starting with a simple one (Which path do you want to unlock and get the immediate benefit from?), and growing from there (If you got tradition, then which of the first tier policies do you want? Do you want to go into another path? How much of your civ's resources will be devoted to culture? What about the mutually exclusive paths? Will you change your planned policies based on who you meet? Based on how your land looks? On what resources you get? Of course!)


Increased resource management. In terms of food/production/science/gold/culture. In civ 4, you generally wanted to get as much science as possible, get enough culture to maintain borders, and then just get as much food/commerce/production as possible. Basically, you had 3 relevant resources in a city.
Now, there are 5 resources that are all relevant at all points in the game. Food/production are essential as always. Gold 'replaces' commerce as the gathered resource, along with more uses for it such as rush-buying from the start, bribing city states, and rush-expanding territory. Science now is more difficult to spam since its tied to food, this makes specialists more relevant since they can increase your science output. Culture now is more relevant. You'll be getting tiles one-by-one, with an increased maximum # of tiles. You'll also be unlocking the powerful social policies (Just unlocking liberty with your first policy makes your settlers 20% cheaper!). The slider in civ 4 was simple because you could easily switch from 'max science' to 'max gold' with few downsides.
As to navies, an army in transit is more vulnerable, and naval units can bombard ground units. Navies in civ 4 could be ignored unless you wanted to launch an amphibious invasion.
 

Celevin

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Earthling said:
The biggest potential problem for simplicity in civ V, which in philosohpy/principle is similar to games like civRev, is massive reductions in the scale of the game and interaction with your opponents. Everything so far suggests that diplomacy and foreign management has lost a lot compared to civ IV. Likewise, in civ IV, maps and empires can be several times larger than it appears civ V has been balanced for (to say nothing of earlier civ versions too).
Everyone is saying this but I don't see any evidence for it! Why? There is nothing to show that Civ5 is on a smaller scale, aside from people taking screenshots from constructed demo-maps. Is there a single developer quote saying the scale is reduced?

Cities take up more tiles. 1upt requires more tiles. Everything so far speaks to me like it takes up more room, and requires a larger scale.

Earthling said:
-removal of technology trading
-removal of religion
-removal of espionage
-removal of civics (related to diplomacy, as far as we know social policies won't really affect this)
-altered victory conditions
-altered presentation of diplomacy
Are any of these really that complex or deep?

Removing religion and civics adds complexity to diplomacy if anything. Now your decisions rather than those systems change what the coms think of you. Religion wasn't complex, instead it was just tedious spreading it just to receive bonuses that would be better if you could build them normally. Civics are replaced with a much more in-depth policies system.

Espionage could be enabled or not enabled, and in 90% of my games I wouldn't know the difference. It's a cool idea but it was badly implemented. The Great Wall made it that much worse.

And tech trading was horrible. Good riddance! It influenced diplomacy too much, and was too easily abused for player advantage. I hear people talking about how the coms need certain bonuses, and I wonder if they're the same people playing with tech trading on, and gaining massive leaps in technology over the opponents with it. It wasn't complex compared to "mandatory to do and check up on" if it was enabled.


If you want to talk about rival interactivity, this happens in 2 ways in Civ:
1) War. 1upt completely changes interactivity in this regard. The goal is to make wars more thought provoking, more fun, etc. This is direct interactivity. Also, the switch to hexes makes the world more complex for wars in that bottlenecks and mountain ranges can actually exist in a more natural war unlike before. Troop movement can now be blocked.
2) Diplomacy. Features that are called "complex" like religion and civics actively got in the way of diplomacy, making those the only ones that mattered. With those gone, hopefully the design team has done a good job and made diplomacy and decisions meaningful again. City states influencing players hopefully also makes this more robust.


Earthling said:
Also, there seems to be nothing to suggest that navies and in general handling expansion/colonization got more in depth
I'm gonna call it now, feel free to go back to this quote in 3-4 months: Navies will dominate Civ5.

Think about it. If I have a navy and you don't, my troops can use the sea and yours can't. I have a lot more movement options on a map that only has 1 unit per tile. Moreover, you can't defend your cities that well if you don't have a navy. I can bombard you to 0, then land and take it. If you don't have a navy and our armies are nearly the same size, you're dead in the water. Navies are infinitely superior and are *crucial* if your empire has a decent number of cities on the coast. In Civ4 they could practically be ignored.

Earthling said:
Oh, and about currencies/basic economic sliders and so on - I'm not sure the new system will be more complex or more exciting necessarily. Civ IV had some problems in encouraging non-science investment, but the sliders were incredibly dynamic, usually not excessive to micromanage, and more importantly led to some very elegant design (everything about culture is pretty wonderful how it works out in civ IV, except for actual control of tiles because of the weird way culture builds on actual tiles.) Especially with new victory conditions, I'm worried about changes here.
What changes to victory conditions?

What made Civ4's culture system interesting? All it granted was additional tiles in an uncontrolled way, and happiness. And some people went for the victory condition. The town defense portion of it was a joke due to the way siege engines worked.

Separating the currencies adds more choice. If we're talking about adding complexity and depth, this is the largest feature that does it. Gold and culture are meaningful things to look at, and time will be spent wondering what to purchase next with them.

Before, science was prone to absurd amounts of micromanagement due to both tech trading, and binary research. Good riddance to both of those.
 

Earthling

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Are any of these really that complex or deep?

Yes, and I don't actually think any of your other points are worth responding to as a matter of argument, they represent a a fundamentally different set of opinions, you are clearly very excited about the potential for wargaming, which I do not see making up for any of these other factors. I hope you enjoy that, but I'm pointing out why and others perhaps may not see this as favorable.
 

Louis XXIV

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BTW, speaking of the diplomatic front, I get the impression that there is possible interaction with other civs that are unrelated to transactions (so, even though there aren't things like tech trades, it doesn't mean that diplomacy has a more simplified/less important role).
 

D712

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I totally agree with Celevin about how those Civ IV points werent that complex and how Civ V is. I think that espionage and Religion really made it impossible to make alliances through diplomacy impossible unless you had the same religion. It blocked so many possibilities, and without it, so many more great things can happen.
 

Earthling

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Then in what way are they deep?

There's a large amount of focus every turn or every couple of turns, on keeping up with civics, religions, and diplomacy to stay on good relations with AI players. Especially if this is purposeful, for a game focusing on diplomatic victory, or using the spiritual trait, or something.

Espionage can be abused, but by focusing on it the player can employ very novel and exciting playstyles, contributing immensely to warfare and trade, and victory conditions at the end of the game too (Space Race, for one)

As for civics, since I specifically mentioned related to diplomacy, the choice of civics for the sake of diplomacy is a strategic and interesting call. The social policy tree could be cool, I will give that credit, but if it doesn't affect diplomacy (city-states are good here too, I really hope they work out) that's another lacking area.

For victory conditions, civ 4 had very diverse victory conditions that required entirely different gameplay and strategies. Civ 5 is certainly looking like more conditions are devolving down to the equivalent of the "backdoor" wins you'd have in civ 4.

Technology trading is incredibly deep, again, arguing that it isn't balanced purposely doesn't mean it isn't "deep." It basically defines the entire use and structure of the technology tree. It defines warfare, relations between civs, and remains a major force in singleplayer and multiplayer games. It also makes exploration and trade an exciting and dynamic game - I'm not sure what, if anything, is even going to be possible in civ 5 that will make you care about civilizations on another continent, given loss of features like this in diplomacy.

In short, what's listed there are some of the most complex/deep elements in the game, that involve series of important and interesting decisions. Civ 4 had some areas heavier in micromanagement, like forest chopping, but I would rightly say that was more micromanagement that depth. But I really am not sure how diplomacy and AI interaction will stack up in civ 5, and see no proof things have come together very smoothly (As in, even the difference between vanilla civ4 and BtS was pretty large, things have come such a long way, and that step back with a new version of the game alone could be rough, if it's not a bigger gap)

I get the impression that there is possible interaction with other civs that are unrelated to transactions (so, even though there aren't things like tech trades, it doesn't mean that diplomacy has a more simplified/less important role).

I agree with this, the probable problem is, that things unrelated to transactions or obvious factors that influence relations are going to be horrible for the AI to comprehend and deal with. (Things like military passage or cultural borders and so on). I would expect to see some of those elements in the game, but I don't see them making up for other aspects of diplomacy.
 

Earthling

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Well, almost every thread on this forum would be, with the exception of Steam-related argument threads, which could be merged into one and either closed up or let in its own little world, imo :)

But there's a huge influx of new posters or players or whatever all the time who keep asking for news and developments, and 2k isn't releasing all that much.
 

PieceOfMind

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The reason I said it is that most threads in the forum at least focus on a particular feature or mechanic which can be discussed to some extent in isolation from the game.

This thread on the other hand is examining something as broad as the complexity of the game itself - something that in my mind seems impossible to judge given that not a single member of this forum (short of 2K reps :jealousy: ) has even played one minute of the game. (people under NDAs don't count)

As an example, you don't exactly have to have civ5 in your hands to be able to discuss the possible merits or disadvantages of a hex-based tile system. Indeed, any day now I might have finished my mod that converts civ4 to hexes. :D

There are of course a large number of perfectly legitimate reasons for having a civ5 forum that I'm sure I don't need to talk about here, taking the thread off-topic.
 
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