Discussion in 'Leader Balance' started by Funak, Oct 19, 2014.
Right now, my problem with the UA is that it is:
1 - Too onerous and inconsistent to use once the war becomes protracted, and your army is consistently level 4+.
2 - There is no peacetime means of effectively using the UA, so you are either leaving the UA fallow, or getting crushed by war weariness without reprieve
3 - It's much easier to start over with low XP units and farm those for easier, more consistent culture and science. In effect the UA rewards you for turning your army into a Kamikaze meat grinder. Perhaps that's intended, suicidal bravery being a cultural hallmark of Japan's military tradition, but... blegh. The high XP boost "carrot" for keeping units alive is tantalizing enough that I never change my war tactics much with Japan despite this.
An explicit telegraphing of the UA's intent would put this to bed for me. Either explicitly reward retention of highly trained units (ie passive culture for every level on units starting at 5), or explicitly reward human wave tactics (ie. culture bonus whenever a unit is lost). As it is now the UA creates ambiguity where before there was none. With any other civ a higher level unit is better. Always.
Also I agree with Legen; the build/disband exploit is anti-fun, and as it is it's explicitly coded as a viable strategy for this civ. Japan is uniquely punished for being beaten to orders/Alhambra/Brandenburg in a way that makes losing these races grounds for restarting.
A possible solution:
Reward Japan for maintaining an obsolete army, perhaps 0.5 culture/turn per unit which has an available upgrade. This fits better with 'Sakoku', where firearms were effectively abandoned during the Edo period. Then, give a 1-time science boost for upgrading a unit. This would make a tension between progress and culture reminiscent of the Meiji restoration and the Boshin War.
Edit: I only just realized even more historicity nested within my suggestion. The Samurai were a warrior caste, exclusively charged with mastering and waging war. They were prohibited from engaging in trade or business of any kind. During the relative peace of Edo Japan (the period in which Sakoku was in place), Japan effectively had an entire population of career soldiers with no wars, whose only permissible outlets were artistic. Giving culture for an obsolete standing army, pumping out culture, but being a large drain on national finances, is Tokugawa's Japan to a tee.
Isn't there an Authority policy that was/does grant culture/happiness for city garrisons? Why not have a variation of garrisons = culture bonus?
That build/dispand exploit have existed for the Ottomans for ages and no one ever complained about it because it's just not viable enough to be an exploit. You don't have the hammers to just build units and throw them away. Yeah it makes gifting units to city-states slightly cheaper, that's true, but that's not what you're talking about here.
Yep. Not to pour water on this party, but Japan's doing just fine.
Balance is important, but what I am concerned about is 'fun'. As it is now, something just feels angsty about Japan, in the classical use of the word.
Maybe it's because they have to put up with Shinji not wanting to get into the mech.
But honestly I agree with G, Japan is doing pretty well for a warmonger. His bonuses are exponential so long lived units still give more than new ones, and it makes long term combat and unit survival a higher priority. If anything I'd almost say they're doing too good, but since they've been languishing on the low end for so long I don't want to throw them back there so quickly.
@pineappledan sorry, I like current Japan, and I find forcing Japan to keeping an obsolete army VERY unfun.
EDIT: Also, Gazebo would have to teach AI the right balance between keeping the army obsolete and keeping it upgraded enough to be able to fight effectively, which sounds quite an impossible task involving some arbitrary numbers
Do Japan's bonuses from unit upgrades scale with era or anything else aside from unit level?
It doesn't scale with era, no. But then it becomes easier to get to higher levels later so scaling isn't really necessary. Dojo's give a boost to XP gains so it's not really needed, and it stacks with the bonus from Autocracy.
So you'll have more units, fighting more, getting more experience, and leveling up more often overall.
Japan's best bonus is actually the unique promotion on the Dojo, not much the UA; as your empire expands, the extra yields end being a small part of your science and culture output. The promotion also works really well with Autocracy's Lightning Warfare, which gives Japan a second power spike (not just Medieval era) to keep expanding.
My only grip with Japan is not really of effectiveness or fun, but that the UA helps too little in the early game development, which was the reason pointed to moving it from the Dojo to the UA. This is most evident when comparing to the likes of the Celts with Morrigan's pantheon, or the Aztecs. I had made suggestions earlier, but it was mostly just about trying to make the UA behave better in the Ancient/Classical eras, as I expected the "yields on leveling" move from the Dojo to the UA to be more impactful.
^ It helps a little with scouts. It's kind of lame to depend on scouts, but if you have them explore and take the vision buffs when you get them (more exp right?) then you'll get some very high level scouts, assuming they aren't blocked by water early. It's kind of sour that you have to, imo, depend on that, though.
Dojos also seem awesome as a building.
There has to be a way to stick a flat bonus in there. What about something like on era? Like all combat units regain x percent of their highest leveling bonus on era, increasing percentage with era? Dunno. That'd end up being game breaking late, though, if you kept everything optimal. Maybe not actually because stuff like way of transcendence is a pretty big flat buff in some eras.
Or what about all units gain 1 level each era? haha. I dunno, just making stuff up, but I dunno if they *need* anything else, per se. It would be nice to not have to feel so tied to scouting. I would think in an island map you would be kind of handicapped early.
How much science/culture can you realistically get with scouts? It doesn't seem that effective to focus on scouts as Japan, especially as their marginal utility drops drastically.
I'm not a fan of the second part of Japan's UA. When you're playing as Japan, it hardly figures into your game plan at all, and when it does, it's not due to any action on your part, but that of your opponents. When you're not playing as Japan, having Japan in the game randomly makes cultural victory much more difficult than normal. A UA that affects your opponents more than you seems like weak design to me.
I too would rather have the current Dojo unique promotion from the start of the game and bonus science/culture from promotions come later in the game. At the moment, it's very hard to compete in the early game.
If you keep it a pathfinder/scout alive exploring on a standard map, it can reach lv 6 prior to Medieval (standard speed), which amounts for 150 /. That's only one scout, though, and it only hasten your Medieval time by 1-3 turns, depending on how well/bad you're faring. That's roughly the amount of extra science Korea would get from a single specialist, so not meaningful at all and with far more work. Though, it would be quite good if the UA also generated faith, at least with these values; especially if Japan goes for the reworked Fealty.
I like the idea of having the unique promotion from the start, much like it is in Vanilla Civ5. The early game can be quite wacky based on how many neighbors have an Ancient/Classical UU to ruin your early wars and yields from the UA.
I think Japan is quite strong, its a pretty significant bonus to / early on. The scout promotions are very valuable because of how early they come, especially if you get a map ruin. You want to focus on gaining experience, not killing or taking cities like many other civs. I think the trick is not to be conqueror, but to keep the empire small (at least for a while). If you get too many cities you dilute the UA's bonus too much and it becomes insignificant.
Agree with this. It's thematically sound but could potentially put a giant roadblock in a game that's not a result of actions on your or the AI's part. At the very least I think the direct Tourism modifier should go.
I build another pathfinder first, then just explore while playing normally. I play huge land maps these days (with water, but not split by water.) You can get a lot of experience, I'd say, with both of them. It seems like it's way more than 150 sci. haha. but I also play epic. The meter is jumping more than just 3 turns worth; it's those early techs that matter most, to me. You can get fishing and then start exploring the water, too. Or you can tank some city states. If you go from pathfinder to scout with a ruin and have picked up the heal every turn promotion, not much can kill you.
But for me, *just* exploring has proven enough. They might not get as much sci as Korea would, but I am unfamiliar with them. Aren't they one of the best sci civs?
I wouldn't recommend focusing on scouts, just build that second one and split up. Also depends on how many Civs you have, how big the map is, water, etc. It's no small bonus. It's not a gameplan, it's an opening, to get ahead early in tech, but if you just play normally and do that, too, you will get a good buff and more than likely be the leader in tech early game. But I only play on Emp, so...
I'd say that Japan is my current favorite Civ. I kind of do the scout thing which helps me get to Horses and skirmishers, then start taking my exp gaining to wars(yea I've started warmongering again; best part, early war mongering seems free of penalty!) Also I clear barb camps like mad.
Like I said, the 'scout minigame' is fun to play, but it kind of feels like an exploit. It's different enough that it's still fun, though. Going through forests, trying to get on mountains to clear more fog of war. It's like playing PacMan. I wish there was some way to make it only military, but there's no way to have that work early game. You basically have to do major scouting. I used to like Aztec because of the gains on kills, but this is somehow more interesting.
Well, there you have it
Well, on standard size and speed (and Continents-type map, not Pangaea), the UA feels underwhelming. You expect to reach that lv 6 on the scout roughly by the time you're moving to Medieval, not during Ancient Era or early Classical. And it's also less likely to see your non-recon military units reaching lv 4, meaning most of your troops only generate 5 / in a war by the time you reach Medieval. And since it's more concentrated in the later part of your pre-medieval game, you don't get an early edge over other civs.
I also think that the UA is being balanced way too much for AI Japan, who cheats a lot to make it viable. For reference, in King/Deity difficulties, it gets free XP (20/30), extra XP from buildings (+50%/+100%), units require less XP to level up (-10%/-25%), cost less hammers (-10%/-30%) and have a higher supply cap (+20%/+50%). That means AI Japan gets exponentially more yields than the player, pretty much as if it were in Medieval/Industrial as soon as it builds a Barracks. So what is a balanced UA for the AI is pathetic to us.
About the scout and map size part, it does feel like an exploit. Maybe the way to do would be to:
make the UA apply to non-recon units only, or even restrict to specific military branches only (like the "Melee, Mounted, Gun and Armor" restriction of the Dojo promotion).
further increase the yields to make up for the unit restriction.
adjust the formula from "(FormerLevel - 1)² * iLevelUpYield" to "(FormerLevel)² * iLevelUpYield" for the player only. Meaning we get to play with an UA closer to the one that is being balanced for the AI.
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