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Ok, so I"m late to the party I'm sure, but...

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Yzen Danek, Feb 8, 2012.

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  1. Yzen Danek

    Yzen Danek Warlord

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    I didn't have Civ-esque time to really explore this game like I did its 4 ancestors until a recent medical-related break put me at home for a couple of weeks, so this may have been said again and again in the last couple years, though I don't see it on the first few pages.

    Is this the least "Sid Meierish" Civilization game that's ever been? Where are the "interesting decisions" as Sid always put it; the difficult choices how to proceed based on context?" I've played 6 or 7 full games now, each of increasing difficulty, starting at Prince, and I'm finding the AI totally incompetent. What should have been clear Space Race losses in Civ1-4 on any difficulty suddenly come out wins, e.g. Darius has the tech before me and the production, but doesn't prioritize the space win and loses even though he hits the required techs 20 turns before me. In previous titles, if you were in a Space Race, the AI meant it, and you were considering full-scale Espionage, Nuclear Weaponry, or Full Military Assault on the capital city as means to counter; in this game, apparently you just prioritize building spaceship parts when your incompetent opponents are still building endless Mech Inf and you win.

    Playing as Alexander even with a horrible, horrible, plains-and-tundra-ridden start turned into an easy Diplomatic victory on Emp by simply buying all City-States' favor; pretty much during any Golden Age Alex can pick up a new ally per turn, he very slowly loses them, and pretty much anything you do by chance - build any GP, any wonder, etc. turns into a huge gain.

    My first try with France (on random, but the obvious Cultural choice) turned into a lock for a Cultural victory by 1950. Really? I wasn't even trying; I just suddenly noticed I was only 2 policies away from finishing 5 trees, and there I was, at the end of the game. Prince game, but at parity isn't the game supposed to at least make it mildly interesting?

    Also, did it stop mattering in Civ5 if you win early vs. late for score? Did the AI civs stop trying to beeline for a win once they had the opportunity?? I just had a game (my 6th total since buying the game) where I had the spaceship parts all built in 1972, but according to my potential final scores going either Space by launching the ship (that no opponent had even started yet and that no longer gave the opportunity to stop by taking the capital; Diplomatic (by buying the favor of all 20 city-states with the 600+ gpt I was making at that point); or building the Utopia Project (for which, despite having 30 or 40 cities, I was easily the front runner), came out all the same. Do we now just milk the game until the final turn and win at the last moment we can? Seems so. Launching a spaceship ~1850 no longer seems to be important; just use that Science lead to dominate more opponents and your score climbs.

    Further, it seems like the hex map and the one-unit-per-square heavily favors a human player (by being essentially chess-like against a weak combat AI); the lack of the possibility for the stack of doom on offense means the AI sucks at combat and lets the player skimp all game while the AI overbuilds units. The AI seems to suck at basic city optimization (policy trees make certain land improvements, like trading posts, close to useless). The AI seems to suck at stopping you from winning in general (shouldn't every AI on the board be trying to sack your capital when you're close to done with the space ship???)

    There's a lot of great stuff about the graphical presentation of this game, but is it the general consensus of serious-minded Civ players on this board that this is the least meaningful version of Civ ever?? I have to imagine it is, after all of the serious discussion I participated in during Civ 4. Is there a catch-all mod (I did look a little but found nothing comprehensive) that basically puts the game back in line with the same level of AI vs human interaction I've come to expect of the series in the last 18 years??

    Civ I started the series and blew us all away. Civ II improved it majorly in almost every way. Civ III was great, but was in a lot of ways an unfamiliar tangent from what this game had been. Civ IV (esp. w/ Warlords) was honestly the pinnacle of what I felt this title could ever be - proper tools for managing borders, defense, mixed armies, city specialization, trade, diplomatic deals, espionage, everything. Civ V started out with strong expectations for me, but honestly it feels like they dumbed the game down majorly. (Even while making it a hex map, which every strategy gamer since WW2 PnP games (Rommel, etc.) must have been dying for.)

    I'm kinda reaching out here. If this game is still as much a Sid Meier game as its predecessors, tell me what limitations or conditions this community has decided make it so that vis a vis the AI it's a worthy challenge, because I'm finding it to come down to either wild human exploitation vs. a terrible AI or impossible exploitation by the mechanics of advantage by the AI on the hardest levels; there's no more middle ground like there was in previous Civ titles.

    Am I way off base here?

    Disclaimer: Three relatively strong alcoholic beverages were consumed in the writing of this post; if at any time the grammar or spelling suffered, well, it was still comparatively better than Civ 5's AI.
     
  2. Tokira

    Tokira Warlord

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    Personally I agree that the game lacks some mechanics that existed in previous versions. For example not having espionage is a big minus. So is the non-existant diplomacy.

    However, in the beginning of your post I got the feeling that basically you're saying that the game is too easy. On prince or king I've found find that I can totally decide how I win the game regardless of my starting location and all the other variables as well. The AI is simply not strong enough to compete against me. On emperor the starting location is a bit more meaningful and I think that it is harder to beat the game from a so called horrible tundra start. I haven't lost a single game on emperor either, though.

    The situation changes a lot on immortal and deity, at least in my opinion. The AI is still tactically poor but the amount of units that it generates is immense. Also here I have noticed that you can't build all the wonders anymore and that I have to have a significantly larger empire than the AI has in order to be able to compete in science. Basically losing is very much possible due to all the bonuses that the AI gets. Even here, though, you can beat the massive AI armies simply because their "logic" in controlling the units - especially overseas - sucks.

    I don't know on which difficulty levels you played, but I recommend that you should try immortal or deity if you long for problems. If an AI gets to develop in peace until you meet it, it is usually a lot stronger than you are.
     
  3. Horizons

    Horizons Needing fed again!

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    I don't find the game easy at King at all.
     
  4. Yzen Danek

    Yzen Danek Warlord

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    Tokira, I totally appreciate that I'm not playing higher difficulties than King yet. It's been 6 total games, but I guess I was expecting to have to settle into the new mechanics rather than having 4 previous games worth of Civ equate to automatic wins at King or below. I've been playing races alphabetically; it's not like planned Civ4 Elizabethian gold spam and ran with it. I played Alexander, Askia, Caesar, Bismark, Catherine, and Darius I, and plan on continuing down the list.

    I guess what I'm saying is that, more than any title since original Civ, the structure of this game seems to demand those difficulty levels at which the AI gets major advantages in order to be remotely challenging. Civ 5's AIs are never particularly sneaky, so far. Maybe they can be and I can't say; maybe I haven't played enough.

    The first Civ, we did things that were unanticipated by the Devs. Sid himself admitted that. Deity level eventually became routine. Recall that scores above 100% rating became routine and 100% had started as the theoretical maximum. Player battleships were annihilating offending triremes, chariots and spearmen by the 8th century in great games; that kind of stuff. Sid and Co. had made an incredible game, but they just hadn't tempered their feedback loops enough to keep a perfect player from propelling themselves into unimagined spaces. We weren't supposed to get a 200%+ score at Deity and launch our ships by 1492. We did. It was fun. We got to where we could do it most of the time, using context to work all the angles. Maybe we were cheating and restarting when we saw an opening layout wouldn't support that; maybe we reloaded every time a hut didn't give us a Chariot or an advanced civilization; apparently I've long since forgiven myself the transgression. I don't reload anymore, ever. Better late a purist than never, I guess.

    But in Civ 2 through 4, the devs went out of their collective ways to close those kinds of loopholes. Normalized tech costs, decreased tech costs with more civs discovering any tech, single random number seeds that couldn't be altered by reload; that kind of stuff. Inefficiencies for cities too far from the capital; the essential mandate to determine the perfect capitol and the perfect forbidden palace, those kinds of decisions; I'm preaching to the choir now. The AIs in Civ2 and Civ4 in particular got especially good, to the point that you learned tricks from them. At times they were themselves exploiting the loopholes. You could be on the verge of a win when a Civ 2 civilization went 100% gold, mustered the cash to fund a spy mission, and sabotaged the last piece of your ship.
    That's great stuff.

    This game doesn't do that. It rolls over when you're about to win.

    I'm writing this post because I just finished a game where I had built most of the spaceship and the other Civs basically just capitulated. WTF. Hey guys, I'm 4 turns from winning here. Frigging nuke me. Declare War, all of you. You're about to lose. Make me prove I can hold all of you off long enough to win. Isn't that what games are about?
     
  5. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    I´m afraid not. I´m finding CiV the least interesting version to date... :(
     
  6. Tokira

    Tokira Warlord

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    I completely agree that the AI sucks in Civ V. They aren't very competitive and you indeed can't really learn anything from them. It is rather that they should learn something from you, which is impossible for them. Even though that I think that the game is pretty good now (at least since I still play it), I'm sure that it would be a lot better with some more depth and tricks performed by the AI.

    After all, even on immortal or deity you can't really say that the AI would be skilled at anything. The reason why these difficulty levels are difficult is simply the huge bonuses that the AIs get and are thus able to launch huge carpets of doom for example.

    In my opinion the AIs should indeed be more competitive which would make them more humanlike. It would be great if they actually tried to do desperate moves to stop you from winning even though it might not really be realistic. Actually, in my case the AI very rarely DOWs me on difficulties below emperor even though I'm winning culturally, scientifically or diplomatically and my army would be small compared to theirs. On immortal and deity this has happened a few times though I can't really know whether it really was the reason for them to DOW me or not.

    It seems that the "soldiers" stat in the statistics is what the AI uses to determine whether they can beat another civ (AI or human) in war. Maybe this is one of the reasons for the lack of competitiveness on the low and medium difficulty levels.
     
  7. King_Course

    King_Course Prince

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    The A.I. not wanting to win is a huge problem for the game. To the point that I almost always just play the beginning game, see what start I get, what wonders I reach and so on. Somewhere around Rifling I tend to ditch the game, as everything from there is just for show.

    The irrationel diplomatic behaviour of the A.I. was explained as; play to win. But even that isn't the case, what it does is at best; play to delay the human.
     
  8. King_Course

    King_Course Prince

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    The problem is, that the only way you lose on higher settings is getting swarmed by A.I. unit spam. So you lose somewhere during the game, not at the end of it. Always the same way, you are conquered. No Diplo wins, science wins, cultural wins for the A.I.

    Only; I was beaten on deity by X spamming Y.
     
  9. bonafide11

    bonafide11 Worker

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    I don't know why people always have to romanticize earlier versions of Civ's AI. The AI has never been very good in any of the games. In Civ IV, it wasn't until BTS came out that the AI was even adequate.
     
  10. Becephalus

    Becephalus King

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    The AI was honestly worse in 1-4 so I am not sure why everyone is so quick to pile on the 5 AI. 5 is just a harder game from an AI perspective so the AI "looks" worse. It is actually better, but 1upt is a lot harder combat system than "pile all your units on one hex and conquer cities until you run out of units"...

    I also don't remember the AI chasing victory in the previous games. Civ 5 is a disappointment not because it is worse than 4, but because it could have been a ton better than 4 if 2k had put more resources into it, but instead it is just slightly better than 4.

    My $0.02
     
  11. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Jokerfied Western Male

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    The AI in Civ4 used to some really idiotic things. I remember asking a weaker neighbor for tribute and he paid, only to attack me the next turn, but Civ 5 is much worse. For one, they'll buy your resources with all their gold, and attack you (and their former CS ally you just bought with their money) the next turn.
    In both games they track your behaviour and judge you by your actions, but in Civ5 they don't seem to take into account your actions towards them.
    I'm asked by civ A to go to war against civ B, and when I do they'll later denounce me becasue I'm a warmonger. You can get a warmonger penalty while nor starting a single war, or if if you wipe out the biggest troublemakers who keep attacking your allied city states (and who you can't even ask to make peace with the CS because the CS has declared a permanent war on him after being attacked several times).
    In Civ 4 a long term ally would betray you if you neglect your military, in Civ 5 a weaker ally will start to betray you because you destroyed his worst enemy. It's like Canada declaring war on the USA in 1945 as punishment for winning WW2.
    Yes, the AI in Civ4 wasn't very good, but you could always see where they come from and the leaders all had a distinct personality. Japan was isolationist, but you could form a long standing friendship with them if you fight their enemies.
    In Civ 5 fighting their enemies just tells them you're fighting and starting wars. I wish diplo in Civ 5 had an ignore button, so I don't have to speak to anyone except to renew RAs and luxury trades every 30 turns.
     
  12. spider1

    spider1 Prince

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    Playing Civ V at the lower difficulty levels is like taking candy from a baby. It's just to easy. Playing it at the highest difficultly levels really requires a lot to be able to win, or even survive to end of the game to see which computer AI wins. Somewhere in between is a person's "right" difficulty level. At least that's how it works for me.
     
  13. Chibiabos

    Chibiabos Prince

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    I'm finding the biggest detraction is the craptacular lack of game engine optimization. Okay, maybe since I'm not a programmer myself, I shouldn't complain, but ... for frack's sake, my quad core while not uberpowerful nor modern shouldn't cry and take 30-60 seconds or more to process a turn at the dawn of the Industrial era. The end-of-turn and UI lag (trying to work with the city build queues, or the auto-map pans when cycling through units needing orders, etc.) make the game get painful the farther I go.

    I really, truly cannot fathom why Gamespot came up with the score it did. I would maybe rate the game at a 6.0 - 7.0 now, and that's 2 numbers higher than I would have rated it at release. I keep trying, and while the horrid AI and lingering bugs are moderately bad, to me they pale compared with the painfully long end of turn and user interface lag. :/
     
  14. bonafide11

    bonafide11 Worker

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    Don't get bad diplomacy confused with bad AI. The diplomacy system in Civ V is bad and needs a lot of work, but that's not an indication of bad AI. Not that the AI is any good, but it's not any worse than it was in Civ IV a year and a half after its release.
     
  15. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Deity

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    Really?
    The bonuses in civ 4 for AIs were nowhere near as large as the giant happiness cheat that AIs need in civ 5 to even be remotely capable of playing the game, and this bonus is even found on Prince :lol:.
    Effective strategies were nerfed into oblivion rather than rebalanced in order to protect a pathetic AI (examples being, horses, GS)
    In the original release ICS was resurrected as *the* way to play (by an extremely poor core mechanic), while this was also nerfed into oblivion for players, the AI was actually taught to abuse its happiness bonus to do this.
    And still the AI can't accomplish anything.....

    The civ 4 AI while not very good, is at least more capable of playing within the rules of its own game.
     
  16. Becephalus

    Becephalus King

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    I don't think you have the slightest idea what you are talking about. The Civ 4 AI was atrocious until BtS and even then it was pretty bad, and Civ 4 is a MUCH easier game (from an AI coding perspective).
     
  17. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Jokerfied Western Male

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    The thing is, it did play by the same rules as the human. The AI in Civ 4 had bonuses to starting units and economy, but not to an extend that it could pursue 'strategies' that are impossible for a human player. Try founding as many cities as a typical AI on King or Emperor, it won't take long until you have rebels pop up everywhere. In my last Emperor game Harun al-Rashid would have founded his third city by turn 50 if I hadn't stolen his third settler. This is prettty much impossible unless you have really cheap policies and go for Liberty.
    And after I stole the Settler and we were at war, I just had to park two Jaguars south and east of his city to get an endless supplies of Workers/Arab Settlers. Sometimes he'd send them without escort and sometimes with one Warrior. He had two Archers and three Warriros inside his borders and it never occured to him to send a larger escort or a sortie to clear my units out. If they declare war, they attack with a large force, if you declare war early you can cripple them for the rest of the game. You can even cripple two civs who both have a much stronger military than you at the same time. The worst they do is sometimes ally with a CS and cost you influence. If you don't resort to this cheap tactic they'll spam settlers and cities like it's going out of fashion. They'll build cities for access to one luxury resource of which they already have several units with no one to trade it to. I've seen the AI colonise one-tile islands for one fish resource. Not whales, not pearls, but fish.
    They did this too in Civ4, but in Civ4 ICS was less ruinous and after a couple of turns almost every city could pay for itself if the location isn't total rubbish. The change from upkeep to happiness makes ICS a really bad idea for people who actually have to pay attention to it.
    The AI in Civ4 was often bad, but I never had the impression it was playing a different game than the human.

    And yes, AI and diplo aren't necessarily the same. Instead of saying the AI is atrocious I'm ready to admit that diplomacy is atrocious and the AI is merely bad and not much worse than in Civ 4.
     
  18. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Moderator Action: This appears to be a rants thread. Please use the [url="http://forums.civfanatics.com/showthread.php?t=401228]Rants Thread[/url].
     
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