My thoughts on Civ5 (That's not a 'Story' or a 'Tale')

lemmy101

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Here are some of my thoughts through playing the game. Link to my lovely playthrough at the bottom of this post:

War - The 1UPT is great. The hexes are great. The difference is amazing and it makes me look forward to wars instead of them feeling like a necessary burden. In Civ 4 I avoided war unless I really really had to. I never played the militaristic game purely because it wasn't as fun as the peacetime activities, and I begrudged having to divert all my cities to producing units when they could be building lovely empire improving buildings or wonders.

This time round it feels like the combat aspects of the game are woven into everything, just as money, science and everything else. Even when at peace I'd see Bismark's troops milling about on my borders, lining up, rearranging themselves. Snooping close to my cities then running off. I felt like he was scouting me out, looking at what troops I had on show. I'd send up a few units as a show of force, and he'd back off and dissapear into the fog of war. I can't begin to describe what a difference this makes. It makes the old stacks of doom seem ridiculous now. Don't get me wrong, I loved Civ 4 more than any other game in existence, but this is just so many steps forward it's crazy.

Yet it still feels like Civ, the march forward toward their cities, holding back to heal after conquering a city. It all feels reminicent but so much better.

Hexes too. It feels so natural, when you're on a thin one tile width stretch of land, either between water or mountains (in my case water) it feels like a tangable strip of defensible land, and before long you forget about hexes all together and the terrain just works as you would expect. Marvelous.

The combat alone is enough to justify this game's place in Civ history, even if the rest of it was dumbed down or not as good. But I really don't feel it is.

Maintenance - I love the changes here, despite it being one of the things cited as being dumbed down. Too much of my Civ 4 time was spent worrying about distances to my capital and oversea colonies being crazy expensive, yet I would just build whatever buildings I liked in every city. That's a library, uni, observ, lab (regardless of if it's my science city) a market, bank, a barracks. By the end of the game I'd be building units purely because I'd literally built everything else. That's stupid if you think about it because surely what buildings you build in each city should trump city placement in terms of strategy, since it's something you do 10-20-30-40x more often.

This way I can place cities where I like, which is liberating and fun, while I'm instead torn by what I should build in those cities, or even if I should build anything at all. Often I put them to build science or wealth, not because I needed it (wealth building seems a little lame in this tbh) but because I simply could not afford anything. Just one more granary, or one more rifleman, would push me into defecit and I would risk losing my units and suffer a massive science penalty. In terms of the carrot and the stick this was a big stick making me carefully consider every time I made a building. This made a huge difference to how much satisfaction I got out of city build strategy.

Interesting is how this impacts wonder building. It makes them more of a viable punt. After all, a wonder doesn't cost maintenence. So if my economy is screwed, and I can't afford a building or unit, then building a wonder is a good option, since if I lose out to a rival I get some money, and after all I shouldn't have been building anything else anyway.

I should add that a lot of these realisations come from the challenge I faced. I imagine if I played on Warlord or Chieftain I may not have appreciated this, since I'd likely have not had to make the painful agonizing choices of what or if to build.

Global happiness / health removed - Another victim in the 'dumbing down' argument. Did we really need two independent city growth limiting factors? Three if you include food? Both happiness and health behaved identically and required the same solutions to fix (albeit different buildings)? So health is gone, we have one limiting factor of growth, happiness, and it has been made global. This has not been simplified. They have turned something that was a soft and unobtrusive cap on population growth of one city and turned it into an empire wide calamity. Now happiness matters massively. Also losing out on the golden ages sucks because golden ages in this are awesome.

Slider removal - Contending for the best change in this game. I had no problem with the sliders in Civ 4. Never thought twice about it. Never even imagined there was another way. But I'm convinced now that they should stay gone forever. In this game I was on negative money for a long time. My science was still good because of my library dudes, but I was just in a money pit and had a real hard time climbing out. In Civ 4 I would have pressed the - button one or two times and just coped with slightly less science for a while, and thought nothing of it. My economy would have been sub-par, but I could have just trundled on happily taking an extra turn or two to research techs.

In this it was a massive factor in the game play. A huge one. I also had happiness problems, and no access to luxuries. I could have solved the happiness problems easily. Just build a couple of Colosseums. Except I simply couldn't. I couldn't afford them. I was just managing to avoid having my troops all disbanded when I needed them the most, so it forced me to address my economy problems as a matter of urgency. Once I sorted them out I didn't just get one turn faster techs, I was finally able to grow my cities, support an army, and build useful buildings.

None of these challenges would have been present if that slider was there.

Also my culture sucked throughout. Imagine I could just set culture to 100% for a few turns every so often? In retrospect it seems cheap and lame.

In all this, please don't think I'm dissing Civ 4. I loved that game so much I can barely describe. But this game is better. Of course other people may feel differently, but feel my experiences so far, which I have recounted somewhat, show that the changes and apparent simplifications and dumbing downs have actually deepened the gameplay in unexpected ways, so while on a checklist you may be able to count X less 'features' and 'gameplay system's the overall strategy is deeper than ever.

Further more I feel this is a much more focused and solid base for mods to be built onto. Civ 4 had so many game systems to deal with that inclusion of a new one in a mod started to get a bit heavy. I'm excited about how mods will extend the game, not to mention expansions.

That is all. Will say more as I continue with this game, which is far from over! Glad you've all enjoyed!

lemmy

EDIT: It occurs to me I didn't even remember to write up about the removal of religion, which I guess shows how much I care. And I loved religion in Civ 4.

-----

The link for the playthrough is: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=380899
 

MashPotato

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I haven't had a chance to play much yet, but I'm totally agreeing with the 1upt change. I used to avoid being aggressive just so I could avoid making SODs, but now I can't wait for some war action :D

And yeah, I miss having your playthrough in general discussion--it combated the seemingly overwhelming negativity here ;). It's also one thing to have these things commented on, and another to see them in action (especially for those at work, like me *sigh*), it clarified a lot of the stuff that might have sound a bit iffy/unclear. The link to Lemmy's thread, for those interested: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=380899
 

JimMac99

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Since my playthrough / thoughts / review thread was frustratingly filed under 'O' for 'obscurity' by being moved into the 'Stories & Tales' forum, despite I feel it having a lot to offer in terms of a pre/review for people who have yet to be able to play it / buy it who would only come here, and a bit of relief from a lot of the negativity on the forum about Civ 5, I've collated my thoughts on the game from that thread to post here:


The link for the playthrough is: http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=380899

If people who were enjoying it could keep the discussion alive about my thoughts on the game above to keep this thread alive for a while, if only to make sure new visitors have a chance to find the link to the playthrough. I'm not getting full of myself or anything but the general vibe was yesterday that people were loving finding the thread what with reading a lot of worrying things about Civ 5 that I strenuously disagree with, and I fear new people are unlikely to see it any more now it's moved.

Lemmy, PM a mod and ask them to move your..um first impressions/review back to the General Discussions forum. It was the most entertaining read on the forum yesterday, and restored the balance in a positive way in contrast with the negative threads here. :goodjob:
 

Feyd Rautha

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BTW, one thing to say about religion is that it was probably the biggest reason the economy in Civ IV was unrealistic. Just build a holy city and you bring in enough money to remain at 100% science forever?
 

Aegis

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Slider removal -

In this it was a massive factor in the game play. A huge one. I also had happiness problems, and no access to luxuries. I could have solved the happiness problems easily. Just build a couple of Colosseums. Except I simply couldn't. I couldn't afford them. I was just managing to avoid having my troops all disbanded when I needed them the most, so it forced me to address my economy problems as a matter of urgency. Once I sorted them out I didn't just get one turn faster techs, I was finally able to grow my cities, support an army, and build useful buildings.

None of these challenges would have been present if that slider was there.

The only difference between having the slider and not is having the *option* to use it. Not having the slider means we are unable to turn down the speed on research in order to pool money for unit upgrades, bribes, pop rushes, etc. Losing that flexibility is a big loss in interaction. A fixed income isn't very fun for me, however being able to manipulate what percentage of the economy is going towards science, commerce and entertainment is interactive and fun. That is a feature which I will miss.
 

lemmy101

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Lemmy, PM a mod and ask them to move your..um first impressions/review back to the General Discussions forum. It was the most entertaining read on the forum yesterday, and restored the balance in a positive way in contrast with the negative threads here. :goodjob:

Thanks :)

Of course everyone is entitled to their opinion and I'm sure to those people those opinions are as much fact as my opinions are to me. Just I despair a little that a lot of people will be getting a much skewed opinion by reading this forum, because when people dislike something, the language they use is by its very nature extreme, making things sound a lot more negative than is justified really.

I was really enjoying my game and wanted to share that, as it happened, with my thoughts on the new systems and such. Thought it'd make the time pass quicker for those who pre-ordered, and provide those who've not bought it with another perspective to judge it off. I feel that's very much in the public interest as much as threads about how 'Elizabeth and Greg have betrayed us all!' and other dark and depressing topics...

Perhaps they deemed it unfair that my thread was getting bumped by myself so often but I would have thought a most positive and joyous 'I LOVE CIV' thread should be a welcome sight here... over the months all the Steam hating and anger over DLC and various announcements of features removal and whatnot has really worn me down, and I was happy to write something that would make people happy to read, not start arguments or brew discontent and concern about our beloved Civ series.

Back on topic, a few other thoughts:

The AI seems a LOT more active now. I spent the majority of the time on the American continent alone with Bismark. Then I finally (very late) head over to Europe and find the rest of the Civs in the throes of an intense total war that seemed to have last since the dawn of time.

Since then I've slowly seen two great empires rise. The French and the Chinese. The rest have fallen under their sword and slowly descended into footnotes in the history books. China have amassed a HUGE empire. Seriously it's massive, covering the entire of Europe and Russia and eating into the French domain of Africa as I speak.

I've never seen this kind of thing (or to this extent) from the AI in Civ 4.
 

lemmy101

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The only difference between having the slider and not is having the *option* to use it. Not having the slider means we are unable to turn down the speed on research in order to pool money for unit upgrades, bribes, pop rushes, etc. Losing that flexibility is a big loss in interaction.

Yeah but the point I'm trying to make is that having the ability to do this, at least in my eyes, was a big cheat.

Now if you want to pool money for unit upgrades, bribes, pop rushes etc you have to improve your economy so you can afford it. Or encourage a golden age which MASSIVELY increases your gold output.

They seem like much more interesting gameplay related 'interactions' than clicking a slider to me.
 

Ralgar

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Dec 13, 2006
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"Clicking a slider" had all sorts of consequences. Perhaps you only had libraries but no banks, so lowering your science rate was more inefficient. So you tried all sort of different stuff to get money: merchants, great merchants, trading tech, trading your only strategic resource.

I don't want to criticize Civ V, only want to defend CivIV, because this masterpiece has immense possibilities of different play styles and neat little tricks. And even back in Vanilla I had epic multiplayer battles with my friends and countless hours in cool singleplayer games.
 

Gnollen

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Jul 24, 2006
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totally agree regarding the slider. The problem with it, IMO, was that it didn't lead to interesting choices. 90% of my games I'd leave it cranked as far as I could for science and ignore it. The few times I felt like an adjustment was needed, I'd nudge it a bit but that's it.
 

lemmy101

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Hey as I said before, I'm not dissing Civ 4. It was, for a long time, the best game every created by human kind. Just to me, I find the challenge and consequences of no slider much better. It provides less flexibility sure, but it adds like about 3 other immediate challenges to the game that were not present in Civ 4. In Civ 4 it was all about slowly improving your economy to get more efficiency out of stuff and faster tech speed and more unit/building rushing opportunities, where in Civ 5 it's like OH GOD MY ECONOMY IS BROKE OMG OMG OMGOMG I NEED TO DO SOMETHING.
 

sbrylski06

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Your playthrough was more informative than any review that's been released or written on these forums. It should be on the main forum.
 

Davor

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I still don't understand what you guys mean. You want money you build markets and banks. You want science you build universities. We did these things with Civ, Civ II, Civ III and Civ IV. So what makes this so different in CiV? We are still building the same buildings in CiV that we did in other Civ games.

All in CiV is you do not have to think now. Do I want more money or more science? I find it funny I never had the money in Civ IV for upgrades because I was always concentrating on science. So now this thinking is gone.

I see why Firaxis took it away. In the begining of the game, nobody would have money to "buy" tiles so thier new innovation would be moot, if everyone concentrated on science. Firaxis or is it Sid, is running out of ideas now. Still not a bad game, just not the best game ever that is all.
 

lemmy101

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I still don't understand what you guys mean. You want money you build markets and banks. You want science you build universities. We did these things with Civ, Civ II, Civ III and Civ IV. So what makes this so different in CiV? We are still building the same buildings in CiV that we did in other Civ games.

As I said above, the building of these buildings is, comparitively, MASSIVELY more expensive than in Civ I, Civ II, Civ III and Civ IV. So the amount of consideration required to build them is significantly greater. Thus strategy is borne from something that had much less strategy before.

All in CiV is you do not have to think now. Do I want more money or more science? I find it funny I never had the money in Civ IV for upgrades because I was always concentrating on science. So now this thinking is gone.

It's not gone. it's never been gone, just people seem to refuse to see that. As I said elsewhere:

But for e.g. the lack of sliders, the management has just been displaced into existing concepts, thus people assume they're gone because those existing concepts already existed in Civ 4. Instead of lowering the science slider, the focus is on buildings and improvements. Sure you did that in Civ4. But consider that once you built a town that was *it*. You loathed to ever remove those improvements due to the investment that went into it.

So in Civ 5, instead of a science / money slider, you have a money / food slider. But it's not a slider, it's the process of getting all your workers to uproot farms to turn them into trading posts -food +money. It accomplishes the same goal as changing a slider, but requires infinitely more planning and consideration, and takes longer, and is more of an investment and a risk, but more importantly of all you're doing it in a way that actually fits in the game world rather than clicking a dull slider +/- icon. But in simple terms you ARE changing a slider between 0 and 100% where 0 is all food and 100 is all money.

Just the % is defined by all the worked tiles in your empire and what improvement is on them, and each + or - is done by a worker instead of a mouse click.

Add to that lumber mills, which mean it's really a three way slider of food / money / production. Add the great people improvements and that includes culture and science.

Surely that's a much cooler and more strategic and deep way to manipulate things in your empire?
 

CrimsonEdge

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Aug 25, 2006
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256
I'm in love with the civilizations themselves. As an example, my first game I abused the racial unit of Songhai and his unique ability to amass early game wealth and tech boost my way to the UU and win with my dominant military.

In my second game I'm playing as Ghandi with only one city. I'm currently allied with England and we've attacked Monty a couple times so far. Any city of his I take I make a puppet and, as a result, does not change how much culture I need for a new Policy.

Having cleared 3 trees by 980AD feels good.
 

MentatYP

Chieftain
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Sep 21, 2010
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18
lemmy,

I'm with you on the sliders. Now that I've played without them I see how they encouraged short term thinking rather than long term planning. Thinking back now, the massive pendulum swings that you could perform between the slider values was a bit silly. The new way is harder since you have to plan ahead and keep a closer eye on things, rather than being able to perform an "oh no" radical switch between money and research as needed with sliders and swinging back to the other extreme with a few clicks of the sliders once the crisis is over. I would almost call the slider system a cheat as well, but I think that's being a bit harsh on prior Civs instead of being complimentary to Civ 5.

I might grow to hate this new slider-less world after playing a while, but for now I'm very happy with the switch. It has forced a new and more difficult thought process in a way I didn't anticipate. Good stuff!
 

themaelstorm

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Nov 22, 2009
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Thank you very much for your well thought and well written comments. You have put my faith back in the game:)
 

SkepticalSinner

Chieftain
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Sep 21, 2010
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Great points, and pretty much sum up for me the reason why I'd never play CIV IV again (even tho I absolutely adored it)

There are some annoyances in the current build (which we don't need to go through - except, why oh why isn't there a clock? You want me to be late for work???) However, I can only imagine where Patches, Expansions and Mods are going to take this game over the next 3 years.

I'm really satisfied with it, thank you for sharing your feelings!
 
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