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Leader Improvements

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Thalassicus, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    @EricB While your solution to Venice does seem to work, it still seems quite a bit a roundabout way of doing it. I'd prefer solving the problem (puppets science) itself or maybe add a single variable (extra capital science per era?) than adding many smaller buffs to terrain.

    I do like the later National Wonders, though it does detract options from the player (worth it). My first (and probably only) question to you regarding the Rationalism policy tree would be "What if wide empires take it, f.e. the food on farms?". I'd keep a few more effects though, but this really should belong in the policy thread!
     
  2. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    Wide empires could take rationalism for just that effect. In practice, when I've played wide games having cities that grow really quickly is usually a negative. I usually don't build aqueducts when playing wide as they cause happiness problems. But I did think of that problem when designing the tree, and that's why I put the benefits to national wonders in the opener. It's unlikely that a wide empire would waste a policy on such a thing as that, especially when wide empires tend to have not as many policies to pick from (slower culture rate). One possible solution is to require some sort of policy prerequisite and make it a 2nd tier policy.
     
  3. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    @mitsho, I think my issue with it was that it borrowed a lot from ideology effects, which I grant we need to get to balancing at some point, but pillaging them of available effects to deal with a single tree seems a bit much.
     
  4. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    To give a little background, there's basically two types of civs in the game: peaceful and warlike. I like to keep these evenly matched. Peaceful civs research more advanced units to counter the more experienced units of warlike leaders. One side has more science, while the other has more promotions. This is why I introduced peaceful science bonuses (like RAs stronger with an alliance), and warmonger science penalties (like less science from puppets). The goal is to balance these two factions.

    I agree this runs into problems with Venice. Ideally Firaxis would set Venician puppets to have no penalties. We can't do this directly without core modding. I think a workaround might be to make puppets never build science buildings on their own, and reduce the basic puppet science penalty. This should keep science from puppets mostly unchanged for most leaders, while reducing the effect on Venice, since Venice can simply purchase their science buildings.



    @EricB
    Here are some ideas for changes based on your suggestions:
    • Aztecs: +1:c5food: +2:c5production: to Chinampa. (Artifical islands that don't need water might feel odd)
    • Brazil: 50% longer Golden Ages
    • Inca: starts with Mining, stronger Slingers.
    • Indonesia: Civilians start with Amphibious promotion (embarkation and bonus embarked strength).
    • Iroquois: +2 :c5production: Longhouses
    • Morocco: Berber Cavalry move faster in deserts.
    • Russia: +1:c5culture: +1:c5production: Krepost.
    • Shoshone: +10% stronger Comanche Cavalry.
    • Sweden: fix a bug giving them their old farm bonus.

    High rankings on the favorite leaders poll show these leaders probably do not need significant buffs:
    • England
    • Shoshone
    These civs have average rankings, and probably do not need nerfs:
    • Greece
    • Babylon
    I want leaders to feel very unique, and avoid duplicating their bonuses. I'd prefer to find different approaches to these suggestions:
    • Copy Denmark's naval movement theme to England.
    • Copy Arabia's desert movement to Morocco.
    • Copy Songhai Mandekalu siege bonus to Spanish Conquistadors.

    I occasionally see requests to move Denmark's water movement bonus to England, but if we do that, we need some new theme for Denmark. I don't think I've seen suggestions for a new Danish ability. We could swap Denmark and England, but would that make sense? England was known for highly experienced sailors and powerful ships, which fits the experience bonus.

    Steles should give 1 faith plus 1 faith per population. This seems very powerful, and I'm not sure adding another +1 faith will change much. I think the other bonuses of Ethiopia might be the weak points.

    I try to avoid giving free buildings in cities, like a longhouse for the Iroquois, as it reduces our choices of what to build.

    Indonesia's Candi building seems out of place. It comes late for religion, with a weak effect, so it's unlikely to influence the game. It doesn't synergize with their other bonuses either. If we buff Indonesia I'd like to change that unique building.

    You feel giving gold to Siamese Farms fits their historical background? I don't know much about Siamese history.


    @jwerano
    Missionaries cost 300:c5faith: in the first three eras (ancient-medieval) when most religious spread occurs. This is 50% higher than the unmodded game. Missionary costs remain 300 in late eras when missionaries are less useful. The unmodded game raises missionary costs up to 800-1000 in late eras.


    @Ahriman
    Faster embarked speed can only be applied at a nationwide level through UAs, technologies, or policies. I don't think we can speed up individual embarked units like civilians. However, we can make English military ships move faster.

    Steam Mills unlocks Ideologies like the factories they replace. Steam Mills only need 23 techs to research at Steam Power, compared to the 45 techs required for Factories at Industrialization (technically just one tech later, but with strong prerequisites).


    @EricB, ExpiredReign
    Assyrian Royal Libraries also give an experience bonus to units trained in the city, if the great work slot is filled. This rarely has a significant influence on the game in practice. The civ mostly focuses on the unique unit and ability. I agree the library's weak.


    @EricB
    We should buff a civ for humans only if they are weak in human hands. I use the favorite leader polls to determine this. If the AI plays a leader poorly, we can give them buffs that only apply to the AI, instead of humans.

    AIs tend to be better playing leaders with simple bonuses like the Mayan science building. It's more difficult for the AI to play a leader with a complex strategy like Venice. This doesn't necessarily mean the Mayans are stronger than Venice in human hands... just that we need to give these AIs specific bonuses to compensate.
     
  5. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I've actually been working on these leader issues the past couple of days so it's fresh in my mind.

    Denmark is a tough one to balance. They need something, but it's hard to think of what it is.

    The issue with Ethiopia is a bug. Their Stele building does not give faith per population like it should.

    Byzantium always seems to be a really weak civ every time that I encounter them. I guess I take the opposite approach as you in that I want the AI to play every civ about equally. I know that a human player can play any civ well since humans are much smarter than the AI, so having a human play them well is a lower bar to achieve. With Byzantium, they need some sort of bonus to get their faith going early in the game. If they don't have a powerful, dominant religion, then their unique ability is worthless.

    With Morocco, I've been working on boosting the Kasbah. It's such a situational improvement that can only be built on deserts. Something very narrow like that should be pretty powerful.

    The Netherlands don't make a lot of sense at the moment. The Trade Office is essentially no better than a Caravansary. Plus, they are a naval civ, yet have a land trade building.

    America is terribly weak until the late game when they are insanely powerful. The NASA building is just too much giving a free tech per city basically. The free tech should be eliminated and they need some strengthening in the early to mid game eras.

    I've been re-working Carthage a lot lately too. Free Harbors and a free Sailing tech is way too powerful along with that really strong Lighthouse they have plus starting naval units. Out of control really. What I've been implementing lately is this:
    No free starting techs.
    Starting settler, warrior, trireme, and bireme.
    Lighthouse building with the happiness luxuries.
    Ability to cross mountains.
    African Elephant unit.
    And I've made a custom promotion just for Carthage that isn't earnable. It's giving to all Carthaginian ships and gives them a 15% combat bonus, thus making them a really powerful naval civilization but without all the passive gold bonuses that those free harbors gave them.

    Also, I've been re-working England to make them more of a naval civilization as well. To start, I got rid of the 30XP for ships and re-stored the +2 movement for ships vanilla effect. I also added a free Targeting 1 promotion for all English ships. This gives them a pretty powerful navy. Then, I got rid of the Longbowman unit. The extra range felt like a bit of a cheat allowing the human player to kill everything without the danger of being killed. Actually made it pretty boring to play with England. I restored their Ship of the Line unit and tweaked it slightly giving it a bit more combat strength than a Frigate and also a sight bonus. Left the Steam Mill as is.

    Next, I went about making Portugal a bit more fun to play. In my games, I have the tech Compass in the late medieval era instead of early medieval era. Optics is also late classical so basically naval techs are pushed back a tad in the early game. This puts Compass just before Astronomy (in the spot where Carvel Hulls was). Their unique unit the Nau (replacement for Carrack) is at Compass. I removed the Cannot Cross Oceans penalty for just the Nau. I haven't tried a game yet with Portugal, but the idea is to make them the early explorers of the game, just like in real life. The Nau can cross oceans without researching Astronomy while other civilizations with Carracks have to wait for Astronomy to do so.

    I agree that the Siege promotion for Spain makes more sense than for Songhai as Spain gets bonuses from taking cities while Songhai does not. Songhai does need something, but I haven't spent much time working on them yet.
     
  6. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    Some quick thoughts.

    The issue with Ethiopia might also be that they just have a meh effect in how to play them. Agreed, fixing the stele would help some.

    I'm not sure Brazil needs a longer golden age. That UA is very strong already. It would seem like a buff to the UI would be more in line with fixing the problems people have with them.

    Buff to the longhouse and chinampa seem fine. Agree with this:
    I'd agree desert movement for Berber is somewhat lame. It's fine as a promo for just that unit but some other buff for Morocco overall would work better than yet another desert civ.

    I'm not sure I think the conquistador ought to have the bonus siege effect. It seemed fine on Songhai. Spain's primary ability in conquest was a) splitting/converting/enslaving the local populations and b) annihilating the Aztec/Incan military with cannons and horses and armor. I don't think they need a synergy to make the siege more effective so much as have effective renaissance era units, as they do already.

    Carthage I'd say again doesn't need free sailing. A bonus ship or ship promotion on sailing is fine.
     
  7. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    Compared to the rather lengthy posts above this will look small.:D

    @stackpointer is doing some excellent work restoring the functionality of the YieldLibrary and more than likely the Ethiopian stele bug will be fixed when that is finished.

    Carthage, well you know my stance on Carthage.

    Agree with @mystikx21 about Brazil. No need to adjust the GA, the UI could do with some tweaks.

    Netherlands also agree the Trade Office is a strange mix. Increased land trade wasn't a big deal with the Dutch.
    They do have a lot to do with International law, maybe a building or something that gives them a bonus in the World Congress?

    Denmark. Hmm... this is really left field, the Vikings in general were really good at resisting the religious influences from the central European countries, remaining "unchristian" for a long time after the rest of Europe was "converted". Maybe a boost to their religious strength to resist the onslaught of other missionaries/prophets.
     
  8. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Seems easier to just give them a sea trade advantage; useful and flavorful.

    I think civs are better when they have a unified coherent design and playstyle. Denmark is the embarked-land units and amphibious assault civ.
    What has been suggested many many times is to drop Jelling Stones and give them a Longship UU, with builtin city attack and gold yield bonus.

    Resisting missionaries/prophets is totally unrelated to their main theme and playstyle, and doesn't really coherently support any particular strategy, except maybe a religious one, and I don't think the Danes should be particularly religious.
     
  9. stackpointer

    stackpointer King

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    I can confirm that the Stele has been fixed.
     
  10. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    So I've been tinkering with Spain and Songhai (just going alphabetically though the civs, so got to both of them around the same time)

    They are so similar.

    The Knight has 26 strength for reference.

    I'm setting the Spanish Conquistador at 26 strength with a Siege promotion and the Songhai Cavalry at 29 strength without the Siege promotion but with a Drill 1 promotion. Songhai units also have the Amphibious promotion for all units.

    I was trying to buff Songhai a bit. Their Cavalry unit is good, and now it's a bit weaker vs. cities (but that's not their unique trait anymore so that's okay). They are strong at taking out units.

    Songhai has a start bias to start in jungles, which makes sense historically. So, on top of that I added +1 production for unimproved jungle tiles for Songhai. This way jungles yield 2 food, 1 production early in the game. Civilizations that are surrounded by jungles struggle with production and a warlike civ like Songhai needs production. I thought that would have good synergy with their existing uniques.
     
  11. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    How so? The Songhai Empire was along the Niger River basin -basically the Sahel or close to it.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songhai_Empire
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sahel

    This area is quite arid - plains or even desert. The jungle in West Africa is only along the coast - once you get to the northern end of Cote d'Ivoire/Ghana/Togo/Benin/Nigeria it's quite dry. The only significant part of the songhai empire that would have had significant rainfall is in the extreme west, in modern Guinea, where most of the rain happens that feeds the Niger.
     
  12. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    I have to strongly disagree!

    The free harbors are one of the coolest ideas Firaxis had for an UA. IMO, this is the most crucial part defining Carthage and what makes them special. Nerf everything else to your liking, but please leave this one! Not because Carthage is admittedly my favourite Civ, but because it alters gameplay in an unique way and would be a severe loss.

    It's not so much about the gold, it's about settling patterns. Carthage is designed to be the Civ that wants to have all its cities coastal. This is unique, most other civs don't need more than 1-3 coastal cities.

    Carthage can make even the smallest islands worthwhile, especially when taking a fitting pantheon (e.g. production from fishing boats). As Carthage, you'll actively avoid inland cities. You'll have a more spread-out empire than anybody else, accepting this vulnerability to profit from the sea. That's what it is all about.

    We added (and partially removed again) a lot of stuff surrounding this general idea. Thal's Cothon supports it, the removed "civilians can embark on turn 1" supported it, the free Trireme was born to support it.



    Turning Carthage into another "better at naval combat" civ would be a loss and far less interesting.
     
  13. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    Is there a way to have them have this ability but without all the extra gold? Every time I'd run into Carthage in a game they'd be this overpowering economic monster of a civ. They get a ton of extra gold from automatic city connections without the effort of building a harbor. Plus, harbors are a building that you get in the mid-game, but they get it on turn 1 for free. They are definitely a work-in-progress. Is there a way to encourage them to be coastal without giving a free building in every city? I came around to Thal's view that free buildings in cities are rather boring.

    Another part of the issue with Carthage is that their harbors allow them to have even longer sea trade routes really early in the game. Once they can build a Cargo Ship, then that cargo ship can travel very far early in the game and give them huge amounts of gold. That combined with automatic city connections makes them a powerhouse. Then, you combine all that cash with tons of extra free happiness from their Cothon building and they are able to expand like crazy and have plenty of cash to purchase buildings in all their new connected cities. If they aren't checked early in the game, then they are a monster in the late game.

    There must be a way to allow them to be a coastal civ but without being an economic powerhouse like that.
     
  14. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Can we have them get the building automatically, but not have it zero maintenance cost, and potentially increase the maintenance cost for them? This could help a bit.

    The other part of this is really a map issue, in that with standard Communitas there is too much coast and it's too easy to have every city coastal without sacrificing empire space or good city spots or resource access.
    On a map with more continents, being a purely coastal empire has more downside.

    I don't really have a problem with this; in the early game it can still take a fair amount of effort from using naval units to keep a trade route from being pillaged by barbarians.
     
  15. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    So again regarding Carthage and how to make them pretty much a coastal civ where their coastal cities are really valuable but without making them this giant gold monster civ I'm still pondering how to do it within the confines of what's possible to mod.

    What about this?
    Free starting Trireme
    No free techs
    No free harbors
    African Forest Elephant Unique Unit
    Cothon Unique Lighthouse
    Extra +1 gold from water tiles

    This way you'd be encouraged to settle on the coasts because coastal tiles would yield +2 food and +1 gold. That could increase to +3 food with the Cothon building in addition to it giving you a free luxury resource. It would go to +3 food and +2 gold with a Seaport for coastal tiles. Ocean tiles a bit less food. Would that be worthwhile? Or do you have any ideas for how to make them fun to play but not clearly the most dominant civ?
     
  16. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    @Ahriman,

    I agree with you regarding too much water on the standard Communitas map. I normally play with it with 'low' sea levels. I also prefer it to have 'sparse' resources since it seems like there's too much on the map. BTW, I posted that above posting before reading yours (writing at the same time). The first idea I thought of was yours actually, but I thought it would be more fun to add a 'carrot' than impose a 'stick' :)
     
  17. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    The big thing with Carthage is the free sailing and free ship. The free harbor, along with the luxury is basically fine (except it should cost extra upkeep, at least 3g).

    I would not add extra gold. Having an instant (good) harbor is an excellent and unique incentive to settle on coastlines already.

    I'd give a bonus on sailing instead of it being for free, say that's when the instant harbor kicks in, and you'd get a free ship. Something like that.
     
  18. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I don't see that a free ship is necessary at all. IIRC it already takes the wheel for trade routes to kick in and so for the trade routes to start functioning - I don't think it's possible to easily make that go to sailing. And I don't think there is any particular reason why Carthage needs extra bonuses from sailing, if they're playing coastal it's already going to be a good priority.

    I guess the problem is that the harbor isn't a UB, so we have to either create a dummy UB for Carthage, or increase the maintenance for all harbors. I'd say 3 maintenance cost for all harbors would still be fair.

    I agree that +1 gold on water tiles isn't really a great idea, I think the harbor is more fun. +1 gold on water would just make Carthage a late game monster.

    Yeah, I need to start doing this.

    Taking away free harbors feels much more like a stick than does increasing their maintenance cost slightly.
     
  19. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    It's not really possible to increase harbor maintenance costs just for Carthage as they don't have a unique harbor. It would increase the maintenance costs for all harbors.

    What I meant by a 'stick' is that to increase maintenance costs for Carthage's harbors, you'd have to create a unique building just for them that would function exactly like a harbor except have higher maintenance costs.

    Maybe a solution would be to have them get a free, normal harbor like the vanilla version but increase the gold maintenance on a harbor to around 4-5 gold. I picked 5 because normally it takes around 4-5 road tiles to connect a city, so usually there's a maintenance cost of around that for city connections anyways.

    One potential problem this would create is that a new city would be a net negative on gold. A new city starts with 1 gold on the city tile itself. If it had a maintenance cost of 4 gold for the harbor, then a new city would give -3 gold. Another issue is that I believe that when you give a city a free building from a trait or a policy then it's maintenance free. So implementing this change may actually hurt every civ except Carthage, the exact opposite of the intended goal.

    Just thinking out loud of possible solutions...

    What if the Cothon took on some of the functionality of the harbors? What about giving it the ability to create water connections, but not have the ability of extending sea trade routes. Then, Carthage wouldn't get a free building right away, but with building a Cothon they could get a city connection earlier. This could help them get their cities connected more easily than normal civs, but not be a freebie. One downside is that harbors wouldn't do much for them except extending their trade routes further. But that is just with 1 civ. Other similar things exist. For example, the Scientific Theory tech does nothing for Sweden as they get their building earlier. Iron Working doesn't give much to Rome either because they get Legions at Bronze Working.

    It would be fairly easy to add a water connecting ability to the Cothon building. Adding a unique Harbor for Carthage may or may not work. I'm not sure how the system would handle having 3 uniques (haven't tried it). They would have a unique Lighthouse, a unique Harbor, and a unique Horseman unit. Might be easier to move some of the functionality of the harbor onto the Cothon.
     
  20. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    5 gold I think would be too much: the harbor is a building you have to pay hammers to construct (for most civs), it needs to be better than just road connection.

    Arguably this is a feature that helps stopping Carthage from snowballing like crazy, which was the concern with the Cothon. Also, once you have the wheel, even a size 1 city is going to provide a fair amount of gold from base yield plus trade income.

    I don't really like the idea of discouraging Carthage from having harbors at all (and I'd never build one just for sea trade route range - or at least I'd never build more than one). This still seems worse than the status quo. I really don't think the free building right away is a serious problem. You also then have no UA for Carthage, and a super-UB.

    3 maintenance harbors for everyone and Carthage with instant harbors, Cothon, elephant, no free tech and no free units would be fine. Strong, but every civ should be strong in it's own way.
     

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