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Padding out the naval tech line

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by megabearsfan, Jun 9, 2017.

  1. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    While writing a blog recently about my personal frustrations with the way that Civ games handle difficulty levels (http://www.megabearsfan.net/post/2017/06/03/Frustrations-with-Civ-difficulty-levels.aspx), I came up with an idea for possibly padding out the naval tech line and limiting the ability (for civs like England and Norway) to rush to the Renaissance in 600 BC via Cartography. I'm thinking that there should be a new medieval technology in between Ship Building and Cartography. I have two suggestions for what this tech could be:

    • Optics = Allows construction of Explorer recon unit (scout upgrade), and maybe a new medieval naval unit.
    • Lateen Sail = Allows construction of Caravel (and/or another medieval naval unit).
    "Wait a minute", you might say, "Caravels are already unlocked by Cartography. Do you want naval units crossing the ocean in medieval?" Well, one of the new rules for Civ VI is that naval units do not possess the ability to cross ocean. That ability is granted exclusively by the Cartography tech (pending some new unique unit with that ability). So if Caravels are moved to be earlier than Cartography, then you'd have Caravels that can't cross ocean yet. This can already happen if you get to Mercantilism early, as you can potentially build Privateers that can't cross oceans.

    I do think that if the Caravel is moved out of Cartography, then something else should be put there to replace it. I don't like having a tech that only unlocks the ability to cross ocean. Perhaps the Explorer unit proposed above could be placed in Cartography if the Caravel is moved up to Lateen Sail?

    Either technology could also have Military Tactics as a prereq, thus further padding out the distance between Ship Building and Cartography.

    What does the community think?
     
    Manifold likes this.
  2. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    I think it is a good idea, it would also reduce the overpowered Frigate rushes.
    And I think a tech that gives the ability to cross the ocean is already useful without needing a new unit, since it is something you want to research at some point - depending on the map. Since it is called Cartography, it seems possible that allies only share map visibility if this tech is researched or that it permanently increases the line of sight of (all) your units, making it easier to scout.
     
  3. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    I like the map idea! Maybe we could also have a variety of different tradable map types:
    Coastal map = only reveals coastlines,
    Geographic map = reveals land features (but not resources),
    Political map = reveals civ and city state borders,
    Geologic map = reveals land features and resources,

    Naval Tradition or Celestial Navigation could unlock coastal map. Cartography could unlock geographic map. Diplomatic Service could unlock political maps. Geologic maps could be delayed until Natural History or Conservation.

    ... But now that's all kind of a tangent perhaps appropriate for another topic...
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
    agonistes likes this.
  4. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Chieftain

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    I would like to see a proper medieval warship added to the game, and I think your idea is a god way to fit that in.

    The earlier naval tech (whatever you want to call it) gives you access to the Medieval Galley (uninspired name, but hey, we already have "Modern AT" later on in the game, so it's not that bad). This comes after the Galley in the unit upgrade path. Then Cartography, or Optics (whatever you want to call the later tech) gives you the ability to build Caravels, which form the first unit in the Naval Raider line (albeit probably without the ability to raid), and upgrades to the Privateer when the time comes. This means you have to deliberately build or buy your way into rapid naval exploration, instead of upgrading those ancient galleys.
     
  5. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    There are other potential names for a medieval naval unit: cog, junk, galleass, and hulk all come to mind. I'm sure there are other.

    I'm not sure about the idea of making the Caravel part of the raider line... I think I prefer leaving it as a naval melee/recon unit. If you want a medieval raider unit, then I'd prefer adding a new unit (something along the lines of a corsair*). That might require a rework of the Viking Longship, as having a medieval-era raider might potentially weaken the Longship as a UU, since Longships would potentially be severely outclassed by corsairs, cogs, galleasses, etc.

    If I were to rework the entire naval lineup, it would probably look something like this (proposed new units are underlined):

    Recon class: Galley (ancient) ---> Caravel (late medieval / early renaissance) ---> Sloop (late renaissance / industrial) ---> Patrol Boat (modern)
    Melee class: Trireme (classical) ---> Cog (medieval) ---> Corvette (renaissance) ---> Ironclad (early industrial) ---> Destroyer (modern)
    Ranged: Quadrireme (classical) ---> Galleass (late medieval) ---> Frigate (renaissance) ---> Dreadnought** (late industrial) ---> Battleship (modern) ---> Missile Cruiser (information)
    Raider: Corsair (medieval) ---> Privateer (renaissance) ---> Submarine (industrial/modern) ---> Nuclear Submarine (information)
    Carrier: Carrier (modern) ---> Nuclear Carrier (information)

    Having so many new naval units could open up new tech and civic options as well:
    Lateen Sail (medieval tech, req. Military Tactics and Shipbuilding) = unlocks Galleass, Cog (and maybe Caravel?).
    Piracy (medieval civic, move Mercenaries one space to the left, and Piracy requires Mercenaries and Naval Tradition) = unlocks Corsair.
    Turrets (industrial tech, req. Ballistics, Rifling) = unlocks Dreadnought.

    I'd also give all naval units the ability to heal when adjacent to any non-mountain land tile, and the ability to raid coastal barbs and outposts. Viking Longship (and other raiders) would then be stronger and have ability to coastal raid any enemy tile, and Viking Longship would be able to cross ocean (but take 50 HP damage if ends turn in ocean). But that's just my personal preference.
    Personally, I also wouldn't mind raiders having hidden nationality and being able to attack or raid any player (I think that's how they worked in Civ IV and Colonization). Defeating one would have a percent chance of discovering its true nationality and gaining a casus beli against its owner for "piracy". That might be too complicated a rule for the A.I. to handle though... Having barb privateers would probably make hidden nationality work better. It could also be cool to see a Barbarian naval UU: Pirate (or Buccaneer), which would be a renaissance-era raider unit for barbs! Something to keep everyone's navies on their toes.

    * Corsair info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_corsairs
    ** Dreadnought info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dreadnought
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2017
    Prester John 2 and Uberfrog like this.
  6. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Chieftain

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    That's a pretty good proposition right there. I think I might also go a step further. The Enlightenment Era Civ V mod really convinced me that that era should be added to the game. Given its concurrence with the Age of Sail, it would really help flesh out naval combat, and it would be good too see a whole new era inbetween Renaissance and Industrial to really bring that proliferation to life.

    I have been thinking along these lines:

    Melee: Galley (ancient) --> Trireme (classical) --> Medieval Galley (medieval) --> Galleon (renaissance) --> Ship of the Line (enlightenment) --> Ironclad (industrial) --> Destroyer (modern)

    I'm on the fence about whether early ranged ships are better in gameplay terms or not, but from a primarily historical basis, they didn't really exist - galleys and triremes both primarily boarded and rammed each other in combat. So my idea was to get rid of the Quadrireme as a ranged unit, and start the real naval proliferation after the Renaissance - prior to that your ships are restricted to shallow water, and the Quadrireme at present only has range 1 anyway...

    Ranged: Galleass (renaissance) --> Frigate (enlightenment) --> Steam Cruiser (Industrial) --> Battleship (modern) --> Missile Cruiser (information)

    Then you have the raider/exploration line. I don't see a real need to split these two as they can spend most of their existence peeled off on their own harassing things (like undefended natives). It might be interesting to add a Babarian Galley (akin to the Barbarian Horse Archer) to this line, as well as the Norwegian Longship. As you say not having a raider before the Medieval helps keep the Longship in a class of its own.

    Raider/Exploration: Caravel (renaissance) --> Privateer (enlightenment) --> Submarine (modern) --> Nuclear Submarine (information)

    Agreed with all of this. People have debated on these forums for ages whether or not actual Privateers were anonymous or not. It doesn't matter if the gameplay is interesting, and at the moment, Privateers are not quite distinguished enough.

    There are certainly other candidates for the ship that could work, but I think a souped-up galley best represents the generally non-ocean-going warship of the day, visually distinct from the caravel when that turns up. I'm thinking this sort of thing:

    Spoiler Medieval Galley :


    Then Gunpowder gives you its beefier, artillery-laden big brother, the Galleass:-

    Spoiler :
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  7. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    It looks like the Medieval galley and the Galleass are basically the same thing. The big difference is whether it has gunpowder cannons. In that respect, I also wouldn't mind seeing a mechanic in which gunpowder naval units also rely on Gunpowder tech in some way. One way would be to do something similar to the ocean-crossing via Cartography: allow the Gunpowder tech to "equip" naval units with cannons. So before gunpowder, your Galleass (medieval galley), corsair, and caravel would be armed with arrows or catapults/onagers or something, and would have relatively weak combat strength (only incrementally better than earlier naval units). Once you research Gunpowder, however, all ships get equipped with cannons, and their combat strength goes up. This could maybe also increase their range from 1 to 2.

    I propose the hidden nationality in order to separate the Privateer from the Corvette in my hypothetical unit outline. Currently, in Civ VI, the Privateer is kind of filling dual roles: the basic melee naval unit of the renaissance (which it kind of overlaps with the Caravel), and a raiding role. By adding a Corvette as the basic melee naval unit that has strength comparable to a Frigate, the Privateer is freed up to be more of a specialized unit, hence the hidden nationality. This also acts as a kind of prereq to submarines being outright invisible. The chances of discovering a Privateer's nationality should probably also be increased if it's destroyed by a melee unit (since that would require boarding the Privateer). And if Firaxis adds the ability to capture naval units, then capturing a Privateer should guarantee that you discover its original nationality. I'm on the fence about whether hidden nationality should be applied to the earlier Corsair unit that I'd proposed...

    That being said, I still love the Privateer unit in Civ VI! I still find myself reaching to get them early so that I can scour the globe for any remaining coastal barb outposts and ancient ruins. But I also loved the hidden nationality mechanic from Civ IV, and especially in Civ Colonization, in which shipping goods back to Europe was a major gameplay mechanic (and has an analog in Civ VI's trade routes).

    As for separating raider and recon units: this would be more for promotion purposes. So recon units would have a promotion line focused on revealing the map and providing support abilities. Something along the lines of:
    +1 movement --> Chance of evading melee combat --> +1 Science and +1 Culture each time reveals a new tile
    +1 sight ---> Heals an additional 10 points per turn ---> Additional flanking and support bonus ---> +1 range to naval ranged units within 2 tiles

    And raiders would have their existing promotion line that focuses on looting and hit-and-run attacks.
     
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  8. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Chieftain

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    That's a really elegant solution. It's always bugged me that you can have this Caravel blasting a broadside at enemy ships when you haven't even research Gunpowder, such is the absurd beeline to Cartography.

    They more or less are, to be fair. But yeah the main issue here is that galleys remained the primary warship for thousands of years, and Civ has never quite found a way to represent that without them being hopelessly outdated until the Renaissance. But your gunpowder solution does that, so it's fine :)
     
  9. agonistes

    agonistes wants his subs under ice!

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    I'd like to see settlers and scouts be able to navigate oceans earlier. At least on TSL maps, the age of exploration comes very late for most civs.

    Maybe unlocking this ability at a few different points would work, instead if so deep into the naval line. Even in a civic too.

    And allowing builders to scout coasts, but not actual scouts, doesn't make sense to me.

    Possibly adding weaker versions of ships outside of the naval line, and weaker versions of land units in the naval line, would spice things up.

    Then a naval encampment.

    Destroyers seem to come late.

    Something between the quad and frigate would be nice.
     
  10. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    That's true. Most naval warfare prior to the age of sail consisted of ships ramming and boarding each other. That began to change with the introduction of guns and cannons. Even so, there were advancements in technologies that gave certain ships advantages over each other. The aforementioned lateen sail was one of them, as it allowed ships to more easily maneuver in unfavorable winds.
     
  11. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Chieftain

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    Yes. Technically, there is no such thing as a 'Ranged' warship before the Medieval Cog - all the various Harpax, Ballistae, catapeltae mounted on Quinqueremes, Liburnians, etc. were mainly to make it easier to get close enough to ram or board - naval combat was land combat plus the chance of drowning.

    This might actually make the entire Naval Upgrade/Tech line a little 'lighter' in requirements:
    Melee
    Penteconter (Ancient) - Quadirime/Quinquerime*(Classical) - Medieval Galley*(Medieval)
    Ranged
    Cog (Medieval) - Ship-of-the-Line (Renaissance) - Ironclad (Industrial) - Battleship (Modern) - Missile Cruiser/Frigate (Information)
    Recon/Raid
    Galley (Ancient) - Liburnian (Classical) - Caravel **(Medieval) - Frigate*** (Renaissance) - Destroyer* (Modern)

    The Notes:
    * = the Classical ship can be Upgraded when Catapults become available, the Medieval when Gunpowder becomes available, to have the Civ V-Zulu-Impi-Type Fire Before Melee capability. The Destroyer and Frigate have it automatically.
    ** = the Caravel becomes the first Ocean-Going ship wth Cartography
    *** = The Frigate can also get a Special Upgrade: with Steam Power AND Ballistics Techs it can become a Steam Frigate with speed +1 and Ranged (before Melee only) + 5
     
  12. megabearsfan

    megabearsfan Chieftain

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    I do like the general idea of techs providing incremental buffs to existing units (as opposed to unlocking new units). I'd like to see a lot more systems in the game in which tech advances provide small, incremental advantages to the civs that get there first.
    The ideas for Cartography allowing ocean-crossing, Gunpowder allowing ships to have cannons, and Ballistics increasing ranged strength are all good ideas.
    Other such ideas could include Optics increasing the sight range of all land and naval recon units. A medieval Steel or Alchemy tech (existing modern Steel could be changed to "Alloys" maybe?) could grant a small combat bonus to all ancient, classical, and medieval melee units. Printing Press could buff theological combat. etc. But that's probably an idea for a whole other thread... :)
     
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  13. agonistes

    agonistes wants his subs under ice!

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    My super genius idea was similar... but the additional bonuses would be random in ability, and vary from civ to civ and game to game. You couldn't choose the bonus, but you could choose to research further into a tech to improve it.

    The idea would apply to all gains from techs, not just units. So buildings and districts too.

    edit: maybe later in the game military institutes and naval academies could generate 'military beakers' that could be applied to unit enhancements.
     
  14. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Chieftain

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    The overall application of that is definitely fuel for a new thread. In the specific instance of Naval Units, I see it as a way to get more of the lovely naval unit graphic variations into the game without having New Units pop up so fast and often that you don't have time to use them. Don't know about you, but there are few games in Civ V where I didn't have a Trireme exploring on the far side of the continent(s) still rowing along when the rest of my navy had been upgraded to Caravels or even Privateers.

    When you consider that just in the Classical Era you could potentially have Triremes, Quadirimes, Quinquerimes, Liburnians, Biremes, and special types like Polyremes and Dromons, there's no way you can work them all into a 'straight' Upgrade line. As incremental upgrades they can come faster, be more specific to your Civilization and situation, and still justify a graphics 'tweak' to the Unit.

    And such a mechanism applies throughout the game:
    Gunpowder Upgrades in Medieval/Renaissance Eras
    Armor/Steam Power Upgrades in Industrial Era, followed by Coal to Oil Fired Boilers speed upgrade in Modern Era
    Antiaircraft/Sight/Range Upgrades in Modern Era to Atomic Era (light AA weapons, Radar, Range-finding Optical sights and computers)
    Specific Upgrades to certain ships: "Long Lance" and Electrical wakeless torpedoes giving upgrades only to Destroyers and Submarines, for instance.

    Lots of applications just in this one watery arena...
     

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