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No Tech Trading!?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Takeda, Mar 12, 2010.

  1. Gliese 581

    Gliese 581 Your average civ junkie

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    A bigger problem for overcoming cIV style of AI handicaps at top levels is the change to AI personality. Not being able to predict what your opponents are going to do due to randomized variables is a significant step up in difficulty.
     
  2. heihojin

    heihojin Prince

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    I previously made a similar post here, but I am reposting an expanded version in this thread for the sake of greater visibility.

    Civilization has always been a strategy game epic in scope, with decisions required by the player at grand strategic, strategic, tactical, and operational levels. Many of the new features announced for Civ V (such as hexagonal tiles) directly affect the complexity of the game at the tactical level. With more options available to the player, the game gets more complex; hopefully, this results in a more challenging and interesting game.

    However, the preclusion of tech trading removes options from the player at the strategic level, and renders the game far less interesting. A good example of how this can happen would be Civilization III, which was sorely deficient as a multiplayer game. Although Civ III was still complex tactically (perhaps more so than Civ IV) and operationally, as a strategic multiplayer game it was very formulaic. The generally bilinear tech tree meant that players had few options when it came to tech trading. The optimal strategy in almost every case was:
    1. Find a trading partner very early in the game.
    2. Trade techs with him or her at least until you've run everyone else off your continent.
    3. Find a new trading partner located on another continent.
    4. Stab your old trading partner in the back and take over your continent.
    5. Shoot for Space Race.

    Civ IV is far less formulaic strategically, primarily because of the additional options available for tech acquisition. The tech tree is far less linear than Civ III's, and so there are more options available to the player at any given point. There are some benefits to progressing linearly through the tech tree, in the form of discounts to research - but there is also incentive to race ahead. With multiple options to research at any given time, the player may have multiple simultaneous possible trading partners. Hence he or she is given the challenge of delicately balancing diplomatic relations with other players while maximizing the rate at which his or her civ advances. At any given time, I may have to evaluate whether to break an agreement with another player for the sake of collaborating with someone else. It's the challenge of weighing these balances correctly, and the resulting diplomatic intrigue, that make Civ IV such a great multiplayer game.

    But with no tech trading there is even less incentive to dissolve collaborative partnerships. Without a mechanism to catch other players "up to speed," the player's strategic choices become far more limited. Hence there will be less diplomatic intrigue and backstabbing, and the correct strategy (a la Civ III) becomes simply to pick a research partner early and hope that you have picked the right partner. Without a mechanism for giving away technology, players become trapped into agreements that they might otherwise want to break.

    Furthermore, precluding tech trading punishes the strategic choice of forgoing research in pursuit of other priorities (such as military production). Currently if I am granted a sufficient advantage in production (hammers), I have the option of emphasizing military production at the expense of technological research and leveraging that against my neighbors. I might extort technology from them, or I may offer my military services to them in exchange for technology - but to deny me those options altogether puts me at a disadvantage when I shouldn't be.

    The only Civ games I now play are epic multiplayer PBEMs, and all of these situations have occurred in my games. All the work being done to make Civ V prettier and its combat more engaging is pointless if the strategic game is less interesting. Reducing strategic options is a death knell for multiplayer Civ; tech trading is an integral part of the game, and removing it would be a big, big mistake.
     
  3. Takeda

    Takeda Warlord

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    My that's a massive wall of text, I'm not sure where to begin. I'll just say that you're assuming a great deal here, especially given the completely revamped diplomacy in Civilization V. You're also ignoring the potentially game changing role of City-States and their impact on diplomatic decision making given the potentially game making or breaking bonuses they confer.

    I also dearly hope that Civ V better balances the victory conditions so that Space Race is no longer the easiest and most common victory type achieved. As I said before, I don't have the slightest problem with removing tech trading as a game mechanic, I'm only somewhat concerned about what that could mean for high level single player play.

    I also find it amusing that you seem to believe that tech trading enhances CivIV's diplomacy, given that most of us feel it does the exact opposite. Tech trading did inject alot of strategy into research choices, as being the first to hit a certain tech would allow you to circumvent alot of other techs in order to focus on other priorities, but the system was also easy to exploit and it tended to narrow your focus. We don't know how this change is going to implemented and what if any mechanics will exist to replace it.

    Just wait and see what happens before you complain.
     
  4. heihojin

    heihojin Prince

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    Quoting the wall of text doesn't make it easier to understand. ;)

    I am assuming ceteris paribus, i.e. other things being equal. I did so to demonstrate how key a role tech trading played in determining whether Civ was a great multiplayer strategy game (Civ IV), or a mediocre one (Civ III). So while we are speculating as to what wondrous miracles we are to expect from Firaxis in Civ V, I'm cautioning that they might screw it up. They have a lot of screw-ups to their credit.

    Most Civ players play only single-player games; I only care about multiplayer. I can conceive of how the single-player experience can be easily molded into a game where tech trading is not important; I cannot do so for multiplayer games. Human players are not bound by arbitrary game mechanics with respect to diplomacy, and so "revamping" the diplomacy mechanics doesn't strike me as relevant to multiplayer games.

    Or cheerlead?

    I don't know about you, but from now until the game releases I'm simply evaluating whether or not I want to risk $50 and dozens of hours of my time only to find that the game doesn't fulfill my needs. My time and money are far too valuable to waste on mediocre games.
     
  5. Takeda

    Takeda Warlord

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    I'm not sure you demonstrated that all that effectively. I'll agree that taking on alot of building projects can tank your research, and the tech trading mechanic was useful for keeping up to speed with the leading technological powers. I wont agree, however, that tech trading ever made diplomacy more dynamic or interesting. As I've said, I feel it does the exact opposite. Locking you into a relationship with a useful tech trading partner and thus making other diplomatic options sub optimal. I'm sure that other technological "rubber banding" mechanics will exist in the game, and I doubt that "no tech trading" means that no techs can ever be acquired through any means other than research. Perhaps they'll introduce an EU3-like mechanic in which players lagging behind in the tech race will receive a research bonus until they more or less catch up. We don't know what they will do, it's just a little premature to cry foul on this issue.

    Yeah, never been a big multiplayer civ fan myself. I don't feel that the 4x genre lends itself particularly well to multiplayer play. RTS games like Starcraft, Supreme Commander, and Company of Heroes do a much better job of filling that particular role IMO. That said, one of the Civ series biggest issues with competitive play is that certain victory conditions are simply far easier to achieve than others. By making conquest victory easier to achieve, as they are, it means that making certain you're perfectly up to speed with technology would no longer be your chief concern if you were hoping to win the game by any means possible. Perhaps the victory types will be much better balanced this time around, and a Space Race victory will no longer conclude 90% of all games.

    Surely it's a little premature to already be determining whether CivV is worth your time/money. Granted speculation is entertaining, and hashing out whether an announced change represents a design challenge or potential pitfall is something that all diehard fans engage in. But deciding this early on whether the game is mediocre or not is simply not realistic given how little information we have on just how this game will play. I'm not saying you can't express concern over an announced change, just don't declare the game a success/failure until you have more info. :thumbsup:
     
  6. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    First of all... I'm not sure about Firaxsis talk of Tactical... there is no such thing as Tactical in Civ... unless you zoom in and control combat from a Tactical small-scale perspective, using one unit on a map which signifies a large force is strategical.

    ----------

    It's also premature to say you may think no tech trading is a good idea. Don't declare a great success without more info. <------- it's called an opinion, this goes on in droves with people saying 'It's better than breathing air!', when they don't know crap about it yet.

    Tech trading worked great in all Civ games because it was designed to do so. Was it perfect? No, nothing on planet Earth is. Will no tech trading be perfect in Civ 5, No. The game will have just as many bugs, if not more, than other Civ releases have had. And many won't get fixed, ever.

    They could have left tech trading in, but so far... they have axed diplomacy to the point to where there is nothing left that we know of. And even with trade for long term research bonus, this is the same as 'trying to know everyone, to trade and get research bonus'.

    Same thing, different way of doing it.
     
  7. heihojin

    heihojin Prince

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    We're probably approaching the "agree to disagree" stage.

    It isn't the act of trading techs that locks players into these relationships, however; it is the lack of viable alternatives to maintaining the relationship.

    Civ III was structured so that the optimal strategy was to maintain one, and only one, trading partner at a time. The tech tree was bilinear, so players generally could benefit from only a single partner at once. Techs furthermore cost a minimum of 4 turns to research, regardless of how many beakers the civ was actually generating - which meant that players who didn't have a trading partner almost invariably fell behind those who did.

    Civ IV's non-linear tech tree offered far more choices with respect to research, and the multiple paths to acquiring tech offered players who didn't have trading partners more options for keeping pace with their opponents. The result was a far more interesting multiplayer game. Your mileage may have varied, but then again you haven't played in any of my games. ;)

    What I've seen so far regarding Civ V has given me cause for concern. I am automatically skeptical of any claim that removing options from a player is a net good for a multiplayer game. This is particularly so given how crucial tech trading has been to Civ IV's success as a multiplayer game, and how limiting tech trading in Civ III made it so formulaic. However, I am willing to defer further discussion until we have more information.


    In general, I agree with you. However, there is a segment of the market that is interested in multiplayer turn-based strategy games of monumental scope. These are the same kind of players who used to play Diplomacy through snail mail, who used to travel to conventions to stay up for three days straight playing war games, and who now play Civ PBEMs that span years of real time. Of all the modern PC games, Civ has come the closest to being the ideal epic grand strategy game.

    But yes, it still needs work.

    And I do await more info. But I have seen Firaxis screw up multiple times. And when a new lead designer makes big bold changes intending to fix what isn't broken, I'm going to voice my dissent.
     
  8. heihojin

    heihojin Prince

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    The relationship between tactical and strategic decisions is relative, and in Civ is not determined by absolute size of the units they are intended to represent. The decision to invade is strategic; the manipulation of individual units in combat is tactical. Even Firaxis uses those labels for the four interrelated AIs (http://pc.ign.com/articles/107/1075587p1.html).

    There is no smaller scale in Civ than the individual "unit."
     
  9. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    Sure, technically by definition, almost anything could be referred to as tactical. An Army Group could be tactical if you wanted it to. In a broad game sense, coimbat tactics exist in Civ (a tactical first strike, or tactical defense on a mountain); whereas tactical (small-scale actions serving larger purpose) in the grand scheme of things does not; otherwise you would call every single move by every individual unit a tactical plan which is silly; since it's no different from a strategic perspective in game.

    In your example, the only strategic plan that is possible in Civ is to: attack or defend. Not very strategic the AI will be then. I doubt Firaxsis is thinking along those lines; of course now that I think about it.... they probably are, a reason the AI is plain dumb in almost everything it does.

    But, Grand Strategic they said means how AI wants to win... this is not 'combat win only'; is combat, diplo,space race, w/e else there is
    So with no other word to use (they won't use Combat Strategic, sounds the same), they use Tactical... which is moving units.
     
  10. Agent Cooper

    Agent Cooper Lynch's Creation

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    My overall thoughts about Civ5 is that it will be a completely different gameplay than Civ4 and I welcome it. Don't get me wrong - I love playing Civ4, but I would like to try something groundbreaking different for Civ5. Too many game sequels are 90% similar to the original game.

    Sure there was a lot of 'exploits' in Civ4 for the experienced players to utilize, especially playing the harder difficulty leves. But remember that playing the game over and over, reading this forum etc. really helped develop your understanding of strategy and tactics. No matter how good you are at using exploits and game mechanics to your advantage, there's no way you can win the game at monarch/emperor and above, if you don't know the first thing about generel strategy.

    I hope the experience obtained from playing Civ4 can be (mostly) re-used when playing Civ5 and the game will still seem fresh because of the radical changes to the overall gameplay in Civ5. :)
     
  11. bob rulz

    bob rulz Prince

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    My concern with this is how do they expect people to catch up on technology research if there's no more tech trading? Hopefully they will automatically speed up your research as your neighbors advance ahead of you, or if you're stuck on an island and the rest of the civs are way ahead of you.
     
  12. heihojin

    heihojin Prince

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    From Wikipedia (emphasis added):

    My example of the decision to invade being a strategic decision was a single example, and was meant to illustrate the difference between the scopes of the decision to invade and the tactical decisions made to manipulate individual troops in combat. Movements and actions of individual units in Civ are tactical by nature; they are the only units that can be disposed and maneuvered "on a particular sea or battlefield." Their actions do, or at least should, serve larger purposes: securing a particular hill tile from which to besiege a city, for example. Hence they should meet the definition of "tactical" that you proposed.

    There are many, many more strategic decisions than just "the decision to invade" in Civ. Their consequences are broader in scope than individual tactical actions, and they support the player's grand strategy for winning the game. Choosing a tech to research is definitely a strategic decision in Civ.
     
  13. Mesodius

    Mesodius Warmonger

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    I understand your concern about no tech trading, heihojin, because you play the game in multiplayer all the time, but if you've played Civ 4 in single player mode with max AI you'll see that the tech trading, especially AI-AI tech trading, was completely broken. I'd rather see tech trading axed in favour of this new system than see that atrocity replicated.

    Maybe they will be nice and give you the option of turning tech trading on for multiplayer :)
     
  14. Drago Askani

    Drago Askani Warlord

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    Heihojin while its understandable your concern how this will impact you multiplayer sessions you of course know that 95%+ of all civ players probably only play the game in single player. So you thus know that is the target demographic for the game. They will tune it for single player first and foremost, with multiplayer being just icing on the cake essentially. And quite frankly due to the nature of this game and its player base that's the way it should be.
     
  15. MethanalCHO

    MethanalCHO Chieftain

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    If you want tech trading back (like me), we can just make a mod identical to Vanilla, but allowing tech trading. That would work, wouldn't it?
     
  16. tom2050

    tom2050 Deity

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    The only thing tactical is really choosing how your units fight from a tactical combat perspective... (on a hill fortified, or on a mountain, with a radar tower, attack first? or wait and defend?) but there is only 1 combat model in the game, so I guess you could say it's half way in between both, in the grey area... there is not 2 seperate distinct combat models in Civ, and there never has been. Giving that argument that a single unit on a map is both tact and strat could be made for anything, including tic-tac-toe and checkers.

    That is probably why they are calling it tactical and operational (they just needed cool words to use even though they don't really apply to a specific game model).
    --------------
    BTW, I'm surprised how people are Excited that so much of Civilization is being Axed from the game... quite odd. Thing is; Tech trade is axed, with nothing new replacing it... In fact, most all of diplomacy is being axed with nothing that matters replacing it so far. You can trade for land and resource. But diplo is being made to be more powerful than conquest.
     
  17. Drago Askani

    Drago Askani Warlord

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    I doubt that its gonna be that simple. I'm not saying it won't be doable but I would expect that to be a rather large mod in and of its self in terms of hours of work needing to be invested. :nuke:
     
  18. heihojin

    heihojin Prince

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    Possibly. I'll be interested to see the mods that are released for the game.
     
  19. JanissaryRush

    JanissaryRush Warlord

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    A big benefit to keeping up very good relations with civs is to allow tech trading. For many aslong as they are pleased with you they won't attack or very rarely, yet they still wouldn't trade all their techs until they became friendly.

    They should have let it as an option to allow tech trading or not.
     
  20. Nitram15

    Nitram15 Pro Libertate!

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    I'm not. Tech trading was very good to increase your reputation with other civilizations. Like you give him 10 tech, and he will friendly with you.:)
     

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