Is Way of the Pilgrim inherently unbalanced (human vs. AI)? How would you change it?

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by LifeOfBrian, Oct 22, 2020.

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Does the Way of the Pilgrim need to be changed?

  1. Yes, it's inherently unbalanced in human vs. AI terms, needs a radical change

    9 vote(s)
    64.3%
  2. Yes, but just tweak the numbers a little

    3 vote(s)
    21.4%
  3. No, it's good as it is now

    2 vote(s)
    14.3%
  1. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian King

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    I've been thinking that The Way of the Pilgrim founder belief (gain 15 culture and tourism when spreading your religion to cities with followers of other religions, scaling with how many there are) is inherently unbalanced because the way to maximize its benefits is so specific & counterintuitive it's hard to teach the AI how to do it, so it'll always be much better in human hands vs. the AI's hands. I've been decreasing the numbers from 15 to 10, to 7 and eventually to 5, but the point remains that while I can make it comparable in human hands to other founder beliefs, it'll still be underused by the AI if it picks it.

    Why? Because the way to go is to 1.) pick the fealty opener even if you then go to Statecraft or Artistry, 2.) intentionally weaken your missionaries before using them and 3.) purposely using them against the holy cities/biggest AI cities where they'll make the smallest dent. That goes against the AIs principles for missionary spread, so I'm not sure how to "teach" the AI how to follow both rules. As a human, if I have open borders with my target civ, I'll leave my missionaries in the lands of some other AI to attrition down to the strength of 250 before moving them to the lands of my target AI, using them twice at the strength of 250. If I don't have open borders with my target AI, I'll move my missionaries next to the target cities and let them attrition to 500, so the first time I use them they'll be at 500 strength, and the second (last) time I use them they'll be at 250 strength. Because they're so weak, the number of my followers will increase as slowly as possible and the number of other religions' followers will decrease as slowly as possible, both allowing me to gain more culture from using the WotP on that city. After a while (for example when in a 20 pop AI capital there'll be 4 or 5 of my followers) I'll ignore that city for a while and target another city (or another civ altogether), keeping my eye on when it'll be inquisitioned/purified of my followers so I can reap full benefits from using WotP on it again.

    I haven't seen the AI use these tactics, in fact the AI never uses missionaries against my holy city, I've never seen the AI pick only the fealty opener, nor any of the other tactics. So there's a lot of "lost" yields from suboptimal play when the AI picks WotP. I'd recommend changing the WotP altogether 'cause it's an inherently AI-unfriendly game mechanic. Given the constraints of not using new code, I'm not sure how I'd change it, but if there's no other ideas, perhaps I'd simply have an alternative to Apostolic tradition where instead of food&culture you'd get some other type of yields upon increasing the number of your followers via missionaries/great prophets. Alternatively I'd go for something like GA 30% longer, 2GAP in all your cities and 15% more culture in your cities during GAs - like a wide alternative to Divine inheritance.

    Thanks for your replies
     
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  2. InkAxis

    InkAxis King

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    Wait, so the bonus is bigger the more followers you *haven't* converted? That seems pretty strange, it should probably be the other way around unless I am misunderstanding.
     
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  3. Zanteogo

    Zanteogo King

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    This.

    Should be changed to this.
     
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  4. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN King

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    If its changed to followers converted, it falls off hard and is a weak competitor to Apostolic.

    I'm fine with it as is.
     
  5. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    It's not the AI doing a suboptimal play, it's you doing an overoptimal play. Same with running culture/science process for 5 turns before purchasing a writer/scientist, or saving faith to mass buy writers after World's Fair.
     
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  6. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian King

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    InkAxis, if you use your missionary against a city that has 17 followers of other religions and 3 followers of your religion, you'll get more culture and tourism than if you use your missionary against a city that has 12 followers of other religions and 8 followers of your religion. That's why it's in your interest to not convert other cities too strongly, because with every extra follower of your religion you get less culture from using your missionaries against that city. That's why it's counter-intuitive.

    Azum4roll, I personally would eliminate culture and science processes from the game and I'd eliminate the extra culture from World Fair, all are inherently imbalanced because the human player is just so much better at knowing how/when to use them.
     
  7. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Emperor

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    It's been a really long time since I used this founder, so I don't remember the mechanics. I always assumed that the :c5culture: was based off the population of the city, as long as it's not your Religion. Wouldn't it make more sense for it work this way?
     
  8. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian King

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    The culture is based on the number of other religions' followers in the city - the more there are when you use your missionary, the more culture you get. It works with foreign pantheons as well (so if you're spreading to an AI city that still has its pantheon followers).
     
  9. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN King

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    In terms of raw power, Way of the Pilgrim is huge because it translates faith into culture. I love it when I use it and appreciate it when I take another founder. It also doesn't depend on successful faith control of cities like other beliefs - its just as good if its the only city with that religion.
     
  10. InkAxis

    InkAxis King

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    Well, it seems everyone agrees on that. Also, there are many other ways that can be implemented that convert faith into culture.

    The question is whether the AI can use it.
     
  11. Gidoza

    Gidoza Emperor

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    I once used this tactic as a Warmonger against Gandhi who was on an island, while fighting all the other Civs. A single Missionary was giving me thousands and thousands of Culture because his Capital had a population of 60+. I quickly surpassed everybody in policies, needless to say.
     
  12. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    It seems that the question should not be 'does the AI know how to do this' so much as 'is this an exploit, and should humans be able to use it this way'.
    Just to be clear, it's not always much better in human hands. It's much better in the hands of a human who has learned said specific and counter-intuitive method, and chooses to use it that way. I don't think I want the AI to be following the method you have described, that would be super cheesy to play against.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2020
  13. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian King

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    James, I think I know what you mean, but can I ask you what would you do about this?
     
  14. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    Depends what the community considers the problem to be. If the problem is that Way of the Pilgrim is exploitable, then I guess we should change it to something that isn't.
     
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  15. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian King

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    @Gazebo , your thoughts on this? Is it meant to be exploitable like that by humans?
     
  16. notaspambot

    notaspambot Chieftain

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    Even if the AI could use it as effectively as humans could, the belief would probably do well with a change- a mechanic that scales so strongly based on sheer micro isn't a very healthy one in my opinion. I've tried going with Way of the Pilgrim in a run, and while it was certainly effective, it was not a game I would call all too fun.
     
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  17. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    I suggest getting rid of attrition and using the spread action in civs without open borders consumes 3 charges (so each missionary can only do one full-power spread action, even with boost).
     
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  18. chicorbeef

    chicorbeef Emperor

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    I think it should simply scale with population of the target city instead of followers. The numbers could then be tweaked down if it's overperforming.
     
  19. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    I'd need more definitive evidence of comparing with/without runs to see the true impact. I doubt the micro is that substantial.
     
  20. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian King

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    Ok, thanks for the reply, do you have any specific requests with which civ, policy trees, map settings, difficulty ..., to make comparison?
     

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