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It's a bit silly to say definitively that Civ V is less complex than Civ IV.

Mathochism

Chieftain
Joined
Sep 25, 2010
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The game's been out for, what, five days? It's simply not possible for anyone to understand all of the nuances of Civ V's gameplay mechanics in such a short period of time. It will be months before we have any real idea as to how deep the game's strategy actually is. As such, any claims at this point in time with regards to Civ V being less strategic than Civ IV have no factual basis.

My suspicions:

1. Beneath the "streamlined" exterior of Civ V lies a strategy game just as deep as Civ IV vanilla. (Not BtS, but that's understandable since BtS was the second expansion to Civ IV.) Civ V was designed specifically so as to not scare away first time players due to the game's sheer complexity. As such, the game has been designed to look shallower than previous incarnations of the series on the surface. However, it is likely that there exists a veritable gold mine of strategy behind the game's "streamlined" exterior. Playing Civ IV was like being flung into the middle of an ocean without knowing how to swim. From the beginning it was obvious that the game was complex, but unless you could adapt to having so many visible options, you were likely to drown in the ocean of strategy. Playing Civ V, I'm guessing, is a bit like starting off on an island as opposed to the middle of the ocean. The water around the island is a bit shallow, but as you get further and further out, the water progressively becomes deeper and deeper until you find yourself in water as deep as in the previous metaphor. You're less likely to drown as you had to learn how to swim to get out there, as opposed to being flung into the middle of the ocean in the first place.

2. If you believe that how deep a game is depends on how much micromanagement is involved in the gameplay, then you're likely to be disappointed, as Civ V seems to have a greater emphasis on macro-management as opposed to micro-management when compared to every other game in the series. Civ V wants you to be concerned exclusively with your civilization's ability to function in the long-term. Hence, anything that allows you to alter how your civilization's economy function in the short-term has been removed. The game does not want you to be spending every twenty minutes every turn optimizing the output of each of your cities. As a result of this, you have less to do per turn which leads to perception of the game being shallow compared to Civ IV. This does, not however, necessarily mean that the game is less strategic.

In short, we're dealing with a different monster, here. Civ V has been developed specifically to look friendly to new players and has a much greater emphasis on macro-management then micromanagement. The result is a game that is considerably different from its predecessors. It is likely that the game is just as deep as Civ IV, but the game actively hides that depth from view so as to not scare off potential new players. This is of course speculation on my part since we don't actually know how deep the game is, but that's sort of the point. Saying definitively that Civ IV is more strategic than Civ V or visa-versa is foolish, as we won't know for a couple months at least how deep Civ V is.
 
No it's not silly. It's objectively true.

If you're going to figure out a way to like Civ 5 I suggest you go for a different angle, because this is a losing battle.
 
No it's not silly. It's objectively true.

If you're going to figure out a way to like Civ 5 I suggest you go for a different angle, because this is a losing battle.

I hope this is sarcasm.

Personally, I've enjoyed Civ V a great deal so far. Much more so than any previous incarnation of the series at the start. That doesn't mean anything, however, as to how complex to game is. And we can't know the level of complexity until all of the mechanics in the game have been thoroughly analyzed. As such, I'm annoyed by everyone claiming that Civ IV is deeper than Civ V or Civ V is deeper than Civ IV. We don't have enough information yet to make a case either way.

Of course, I'm a mathematician, so, I require definitive proof for everything when it comes to making claims. :p
 
yeah,yeah,this game jut got one style of playing,the war game.
You can't do any game that will be different from that.

unlike civ 4, that had some really different objectives.

No realy,just look to the political choses in civ V,you can make a Capitalist-Socialist-Absolute Monarchy-of the Republic of Japan.... you don't lose anything for being a King,a Emperor, or a President,Actually you can be all these leaders at the same time XD
 
yeah,yeah,this game jut got one style of playing,the war game.
You can't do any game that will be different from that.

unlike civ 4, that had some really different objectives.

No realy,just look to the political choses in civ V,you can make a Capitalist-Socialist-Absolute Monarchy-of the Republic of Japan.... you don't lose anything for being a King,a Emperor, or a President,Actually you can be all these leaders at the same time XD

Actually, I haven't even bothered to go for a domination victory, yet. I've been playing small empires with relatively little offensive power and have won by means of culture, diplomacy, and space race.

So, to say that you can only play the game like a war game is, in fact, incorrect.
 
yeah,yeah,this game jut got one style of playing,the war game.
I don't think that describes it fairly at all.

That said, it would be nice if one had a non-warring delaying response to another civ going sci victory or cultural victory. It used to be that silly minigame of espionage, ie the adventures of batman in foreign lands..


But some way to have sabotage % chance for gold, maybe through an embassy, would be nice.
 
you also needed to be able to defend yourself in civ4

the difference is that in civ4 that was actually possible given short notice assuming you had a tech lead, since there legitimate ways of rushing troops out, cities actually had high production, and units were cheaper
 
Personally i would say Civ V is less complex . No need to worry about religions , no more war weariness , no more diseases and so on . Than we have the social policy system which could be compared with the civic system with as only difference you cannot adapt . I loved to go police state in Civ IV when at war , but in Civ V you're stuck with what you chose , for the best and worst.

I feel like Civ V focused to much on the combat aspect and lost a lot in the process . Instead of polishing or adding depth to the already existing concepts they simply removed many, which is a shame and which took away quite some depth and complexity
 
No it's not silly. It's objectively true.

If you're going to figure out a way to like Civ 5 I suggest you go for a different angle, because this is a losing battle.
Very few things in life are objectively true. Civ 5 is more complex than Civ 4 in some areas, while less so in other areas.

I'd say they are about equal, from what I've seen so far. But then again, I've only scratched the surface of how the game works, as have you.

That is, if you bothered to play it, instead of going on the forums and acting like a know-it-all.
 
Actually, I haven't even bothered to go for a domination victory, yet. I've been playing small empires with relatively little offensive power and have won by means of culture, diplomacy, and space race.

So, to say that you can only play the game like a war game is, in fact, incorrect.

Hey Mathochism. I ran into you in another tread, one which I started and was lamenting the simplification.

I also like playing small empires. The small empire was my first experience with Civ 5 and I liked it.

Then I actually played as a warmonger and it was easy-mode. It was so easy that I realized that the strategic depth of Civ was completely gone. They stripped out so much complexity from the system that there was a clear right answer. There is another thread where a guy says the game can be too hard, and actually this is correct also.

Basically, lacking any trade-offs, the game is accidentally designed so that "the winners keep winning" in a horrible positive feedback loop that can start as early as the first 50 turns. If that player is you, you win. If that player is an AI that somehow you cannot stop in time, then that AI wins. This is the hallmark of a poorly designed game. You can read exactly what that guy said in his thread, here:

http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=383942

Edit: here's the relevant part that explains why it's so stupid:
Cities are no longer are burden. The more cities you have, the more production, finance and science you have. Sure the unhappiness can start to cause military problems eventually, but the offset of aquiring a billion cities is you suddenly aquire the ubiquitous starting resources of their capital (which I've found is always at least 3 luxuries). Previously this rapid expansion would cripple you economically, now it catapults you ahead... which I actually agree with.

The key is the Previously this rapid expansion would cripple you economically. The economy of Civilization used to be complicated and growth vs. consumption (military) trade-offs existed, like in real life. Now the entire thing has been replaced with "happiness" and building any buildings is so agonizingly slow that you should always invest in military units and just take someone else's buildings. All that limits you is "happy", and distant city resources have enough luxuries (and enough GPT once you hurt them) to get all the happy you need. War used to cost money, now it makes money unless you don't raze non-capitals, which is what the people who are steam-rolling through the game (despite it being out only a few days) are all saying.

You'll notice what he said is also what I said, about how I won my game so easily, and what the people who've won Deity already have said. Yes, we now have several confirmed Deity wins already, and this is the first weekend the game has been out?!

Being a mathematician, I know your standards of proof are high. But even in the early stages of any problem, you should try to develop your intuition to help with ultimately creative act of problem-solving. Deity used to require endless reading of guides and flawless execution. I don't think there were this many -- if any -- Deity wins in week 1 for previous Civ games. This all just seems absurd, and lines up perfectly with what the "it's simplified" group is saying. Of course that doesn't make it true. But saying it's not simplified is being to stretch the imagination.

Try warmongering the right way and see what happens. The only other possibility is that the AI is the only reason the game is bad. But the AI was always bad, sometimes extremely bad. The consequences may be worse now with 1UPT, but can poor AI alone account for effects this absurd? I can't give you a mathematical proof that the answer is "yes", so I guess time will tell if the game is as shallow as many of us think.
 
Ah, but all of those problems can be rectified by making some changes to some numbers. Namely:

1. Drop production costs around the board.
2. Make purchasing units more expensive.
3. Reduce the amount of happiness generated by luxuries.
4. Make the effects of having an unhappy civilization more severe.
5. Either reduce the amount of gold generated by taking a city or decrease maintenance costs.

Fix the numbers and you fix those problems. As such, it's not the core mechanics that are at fault for any loss of depth in that scenario. Once the game is patched and numbers are altered, then suddenly that strategy will cease to dominate.
 
Yes, but they did play test it. They chose these numbers. This was their intent.
It seems you are talking about the depth of possibilities from the engine, and not the depth of the game. Most people are talking about the game as it was sold, not as it could be modified. I mean with mod's you can make a completely unrelated game. That doesn't meant this one has depth, it just means it's very mod-able.

DK
 
No it's not silly. It's objectively true.

If you're going to figure out a way to like Civ 5 I suggest you go for a different angle, because this is a losing battle.

Amen. I mean, it's like saying that Civilization Revolution was just as deep as Civilization IV in its own special way that you don't quite grasp yet. No. There's nothing to grasp. The concept was watered down to be more accessible to a wider audience of PC gamers that have, in the past, been turned away from Civilization because of its perceived learning curve. You can argue whether or not reducing the complexity and depth of the franchise is a good way to go. I say no, you might say yes. But you cannot argue that they have reduced the complexity and depth of the franchise. Like the quoted said, it is objectively true.
 
Ah, but all of those problems can be rectified by making some changes to some numbers. Namely:

1. Drop production costs around the board.
2. Make purchasing units more expensive.
3. Reduce the amount of happiness generated by luxuries.
5. Make the effects of having an unhappy civilization more severe.
6. Either reduce the amount of gold generated by taking a city or decrease maintenance costs.

Fix the numbers and you fix those problems. As such, it's not the core mechanics that are at fault for any loss of depth in that scenario. Once the game is patched and numbers are altered, then suddenly that strategy will cease to dominate.

I'm sure there are things they could do that would prevent it from feeling totally broken. To be honest the more I think about it, the more I think you're right: I'm starting to believe it's probably just the AI being screwed up that is making this happen.

At the same time, it seems to me that happiness and maintenance are the two "streamlined" mechanism controlling everything in the game. Science coming from population, which can be gained either through development or through war, can possibly be balanced but seems like it will take the fun away.

The most fun I ever had in a Civ game (this was Civ 3) was playing my roommate. He would warmonger and own tons of cities, but they would be inefficient and his tech rate would be slower because he had allocated so much to maintenance, corruption, unit costs, etc. The aggressive AIs in both Civ 3 and Civ 4 play like this too. Huge, inefficient empires with lots of outdated units.

I would have very impressive production capacity given my small number of well-developed cities, but would be several tech levels ahead of him. Generally, we would start on different continents, fighting with lots AIs. Eventually we would meet some time around industrial age and the real fun would begin.

It was interesting that there was room in the game for different strategies. And to be honest, I have since learned that spamming lots of cities was the superior option in Civ3 and my roommate just didn't do it right. But doing it right was hard, because you had to manage expansion and warring well. Although I now know the inefficient way I played was suboptimal, it still worked and was fun for me.

This new game has similar mechanisms, but they seem so much more basic now. Back then, there were so many things you had to worry about to develop your empire. And they ALL seem to have been replaced with maintenance and happiness. That's it: get gold, then buy luxuries from city states or pay maintenance costs. I think it will still seem like a boring game to me, even if they fix the imbalances. Once you can see the small number of mechanisms operating before your very eyes, it's like playing a game, not building an empire, and the magic is gone.

It's entirely possible that it's all just a case of nostalgia, trying to relive the fun of an old game that was just as imperfect as this one, only back then I was too unaware of how simple it really was.

I suppose time will tell. I get this feeling it will still "feel" dumbed down to me. But I think you're right about the AI.
 
Mathocism,

I appreciate your methodical and emotionally detached approach towards interpreting the complexity question. I also appreciate the fact that you understand the distinction between subjective and objective, just as you understand, from a mathemeticians viewpoint, the significance of scale as it applies to analysis. As a logician, these attributes appeal to me.

The lovely irony of a mathemetician missing a number while enumerating discussion points is also something I appreciate (above; going from 3 to 5 reminded me of Arthur in Monty Python's Holy Grail).

Thank you

Iullus Cornelius Smegmus Magnus Pantocrator.
 
Personally i would say Civ V is less complex . No need to worry about religions , no more war weariness , no more diseases and so on . Than we have the social policy system which could be compared with the civic system with as only difference you cannot adapt . I loved to go police state in Civ IV when at war , but in Civ V you're stuck with what you chose , for the best and worst.

I feel like Civ V focused to much on the combat aspect and lost a lot in the process . Instead of polishing or adding depth to the already existing concepts they simply removed many, which is a shame and which took away quite some depth and complexity
Well the civics aspect meant you could just switch systems anytime you wanted, here you have to think it over what you wan't to actualy be and live with any mistake.
 
Mathocism,
The lovely irony of a mathemetician missing a number while enumerating discussion points is also something I appreciate (above; going from 3 to 5 reminded me of Arthur in Monty Python's Holy Grail).

Thank you

Iullus Cornelius Smegmus Magnus Pantocrator.

Oh, sweet lord. How did I manage to screw up my list?

I blame quotient spaces.

EDIT: Presumably, I had a 4th point but then decided to delete it without altering the list's numbering. Oy vey...
 
Whoa, I can't see how you guys came to the conclusion that Civ5 is more complex than Civ4. I go further, I can't see how Civ5 would be complex? It's utterly easy and stupid. I can say with a straight face that by my second game I've completely figured everything out and I won't ever improve my skills further and it's safe to come to the conclusion that the game was aimed at 'broader audiences' (read: preteen kids with learning disabilities).
 
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