PDan's General Impression of Policies & Tenets

pineappledan

Deity
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Aug 9, 2017
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Alberta, Canada
There have been quite a few shakeups with policies and tenets with the changes to Tradition and Artistry, and the overhaul of the happiness system to rely almost entirely on flat happiness reductions. I thought I would take a few minutes to write down my general impressions of the policy and ideology trees as they are now.
Spoiler Tradition :

  • The recent change that added +1 working range to the capital on the finisher is a really special, nice touch. I underestimated how fun and cool this was going to make Tradition. It has a few little technical hiccups, like you can unassign and try to work a neighbouring city. and that breaks that city's ability to work its own city tile afterwards. Something should be done about that, but it's for the most part a really great addition.
  • I think I went too far with the +1 :c5production: to GPTIs. Tradition not being very big on production was one of its main weaknessesthat set it apart from Progress and Authority, and I think this does too much to shore up that deficiency.
  • I don't know if it's warranted, but I miss the +5% :c5food: growth scaler. The current 3% scaler is very small, and I wonder if we couldn't re-emphasize Tradition's :c5food: food focus?

Spoiler Progress :

  • I think Progress has been shown a bit too much love recently
  • The addition of the +25%:c5production: towards settlers was unwarranted, and it blurs the lines between itself and Authority, which up until now had the only Settler-related bonus
  • We could stand to pull a few things off Progress, like only giving the +1 movement to workers and fishing boats, and no other civilian units. That would re-emphasize Progress' focus on infrastructure and sharpen the tree by taking away its bonuses for settlers/Great people

Spoiler Authority :

  • Authority is, for the most part, a pretty great tree, in my estimation. It does its job as "the unit tree" pretty well.
  • There have been some discussions about moving the yields on settle forward to the 2nd left policy (Tribute), and moving the Tribute :c5culture:bonus back. I think that would resolve some timing issues with how Authority feels disincentivized to settle new cities until it has 3 policies. I think that would be a fair change; we gave Progress retroactive yields on tech unlocks to resolve a similar problem there, after all. Just swapping those two bonuses would make the tree feel more natural.
  • Some comments have been made that the garrison bonus conflicts with how the rest of the bonuses in the tree want you to move units around. I think that's also fair, but I don't want to lose that garrison bonus entirely. Imperialism also has a bonus for garrison units in the tree; maybe we could move all the garrison bonuses there?

Spoiler Fealty :

  • Fealty feels a bit lacking as a tree, but that's mostly because the other two medieval trees have a clear emphasis on a victory type and Fealty doesn't. This criticism might also be levelled at Industry, but it feels more acute with Fealty, because military bonuses from Imperialism are just generally useful to defend yourself with, and more Science from Rationalism is always useful too.
  • Fealty gives major bonuses towards Religion. I think it's great that we have a tree that focuses on the faith game, but it doesn't feel like it leverages into some other victory path like Domination or Science. Actually, religious power mostly directly contributes to cultural and diplomatic bonuses, which are covered by the other 2 medieval trees in more overt ways.
  • Overall I don't have any real recommendations for Fealty -- I still pick it if I'm not aiming for diplomatic or cultural victories -- but sometimes I think it feels too much like a 'spare' policy tree, that only exists for if you don't really care about anything else.
  • I think in order to really fix the underlying issue with fealty might require adding a religious victory. But I don't see that happening.

Spoiler Statecraft :

No comments, really. I think Statecraft does a good job at being what it is: the Diplomatic and espionage tree

Spoiler Artistry :

  • I haven't had enough time with the new Artistry tree to get a very good feel for it, so I'm still looking for other players' feedback here.
  • Overall, I think the tree is really wide now. The scaler and the building bonuses are huge; it's a lot of yields per city. I think that gives Artistry an interesting blend of tall, GWAM-oriented bonuses and ultra-wide per city bonuses. I'm thinking the needle might have moved too far over to favour wide play now though.

Spoiler Industry :

  • A pretty great tree for what it is. No real complaints. Combines really well with other bonuses for gold cost reductions, and it's fun to stack this tree with trait bonuses like Babylon's
  • The tree is a little unfocused, but it's got the goods.
  • The opener might be a little too strong. Maybe we should move 1 of those 2 free trade routes to the finisher?

Spoiler Imperialism :

  • This tree is a bit funny. It has policies that give weird, special bonuses that unlock abilities with really narrow usefulness, like increased radius on GGeneral Auras and the ability to upgrade units in foreign lands. And then it has other bonuses with huge yields. And the two policies are cleanly separated, so there are policies with no yields, and policies with tons of yields.
  • Martial Law is pretty bad, I have to hold my nose when I pick it just to get past it for Exploitation. It's definitely the least interesting policy in the tree, and its bonuses are weak, augmenting tiny things like saving a bit of gold on unit garrisons, or augmenting the most worthless building in the game (constabulary). In contrast with the other tier 1 policy, Colonialism, Martial Law is downright ugly. If the garrison bonuses were taken off of Authority, I think they would have a good home here.
  • The finisher is weird.
    • The bonus that gives -3% Needs reduction for each plane in a city is unuseable when it unlocks, because planes unlock much later, and you only have 2 slots for planes per city when they come out, so the bonus is hugely delayed and negligible until you get Airports.
    • This is one of the last places in the game that still has a % needs reduction, and it's a circumstantial, weak, and obtuse bonus. I don't know about other players, but I am never moving planes around for the increased city CS and needs reduction.
    • I think the +:c5strength: CS for each plane in a city would be re-homed to Autocracy's Air Superiority lvl 3 tenet. That tenet provides the air slots needed in all cities to actually make this bonus meaningful, and it also unlocks an oil-free plane to fill those slots with. The % needs reduction ability can just go back into the toolbox; I don't think it has a place in the game now that everything else works off flat unhappiness reductions
    • Instead of the bonus to cities for each plane, I would give planes a +20% attack bonus on the finisher. This would mirror the +20% defense bonus that the Opener gives to all ships, and it would be the only combat bonus given to air units via a policy.

Spoiler Rationalism :

  • This tree was hit very strangely by the change to unhappiness. The scaler used to have a % needs reduction for all needs, but now it has -1 flat unhappiness in the opener and the finisher.
    • As a result of that change, the opener is arguably the strongest in the game
    • Meanwhile, the scaler is only 2% :c5science:science per level, the weakest in the game by far. Compare to Artistry which gives +1:c5science: Science and +2:c5goldenage: GAP on the scaler.
  • Rationalism is a LOT of +%:c5science: science bonuses. There are 22 discrete boni in the whole tree and 4 of them give +%:c5science:science. It's strong, sure, but the tree is quite monotonous.
    • One of these bonuses gives +%:c5science: science for each Great Work in a city. Thematically, this bonus doesn't make any sense on Rationalism. This is the tree of Empiricism and the enlightenment. These were intellectual movements that reacted against the received wisdom of older texts, and called on people to rely on their own senses to acquire knowledge about the world. It was specifically the Renunciation of the old works that made Rationalism what it is.
    • This % GW bonus would be more suitable for something like Industry. The discipline of economics was just emerging at this time, and it was highly reliant on the dissemination of great works. Many of the tracts of economics written in those years by figures like Mills, Bentham, and Smith, form the basis of Classical Economics, and still hold up as required reading for those disciplines into the present day. I don't know if Industry needs anything more like this, but it's the place where I feel a % yield per GW bonus is the strongest, thematically.
  • Rationalism is the only Industrial tree with any bonuses for :c5goldenage: Golden Ages, and for Great Works. Those are also the main bonuses for Artistry. Rationalism only has 1 of each kind of bonus, but they also happen to be 2 of those repetitive +% :c5science: bonuses, on top of being overlaps with Artistry. This has caught my Sauron's eye; this is the kind of stuff that I just got done overhauling to keep Artistry and Tradition separated too.
  • All of rationalism's policies are focused squarely on yields, with the exceptions of the GAdmiral bulb and the :c5unhappy: flat needs reductions. The GAdmiral bonus feels pretty out of place with the rest of the tree, given that the finisher doesn't let you purchase GAdmirals, and there isn't much in the tree that would encourage or augment naval combat. It feels like an Imperialism bonus, except Imperialism already has quite a lot of fiddly non-economic bonuses like this one, and doesn't need more.
  • Overall, Rationalism is a very boring tree. It's almost entirely composed of +yields bonuses, and most of them are for the same yield type. The tree is so homogenous that the things added to try to spruce it up just look out of place.

Spoiler Freedom :

Freedom used to be quite meat-and-potatoes, but now it has some really special stuff like self-determination. Otherwise, I appreciate the straightforward approach to bonuses on 1 of the ideologies, especially the T3 bonuses. Freedom gets the job done. not much else to say.

Spoiler Order :

Order has come under quite a bit of scrutiny by myself and others.
  • It has a CV focus, but no T3 CV policy. This will be rectified in the next patch (hopefully, at least. There is a proposal with a new T3 CV policy design that has been approved but not implemented)
  • The tree also has a domination focus, but only 1 overt military bonus: Patriotic War. This policy is carrying a lot of the tree's emphasis, but it's too strong right now.
    • Maybe this policy should be a T2?
    • The T34 should be weakened a bit. Tanks are good. Unique tanks are really good.

Spoiler Autocracy :

  • Autocracy is the ideology tree with the most special abilities. It's the weirdest of the 3 by far, as a result, and offers a lot of cool tools.
  • If there is one shortcoming to this tree, it is the names.
    • 'Autocracy' is the only name for a policy or ideology that is explicitly a type of government, rather than some quality or attribute. It would be like is Progress was called "Republic". It sticks out like a sore thumb. I would rename the ideology to something like "Strength".
    • 'Commerce Raiders' is a bland, and rather imprecise term. It's something that the Axis powers did, but it's not a unique concept to them. I would rename the policy something like 'Mare Nostrum', which would not only be something overtly Fascist, but overtly Italian-Fascist. We don't have any policies named after Italian Fascism yet. Maybe I would look at shaking up the bonuses to better suit that name as well.
    • 'Iron Fist' is a bit Hokey. The policy is all about extracting value from puppet governments you have set up. What about 'Co-Prosperity Sphere'?
  • As mentioned in the Imperialism section. I think that the Air Superiority tenet would be a good home for that +:c5strength: City Strength per airplane bonus (but dump the % needs reduction). This is already a policy that guarantees you enough slots in cities to make use of the bonus, and a new air unit to fill those slots with that is free from that strategic requirement. Air Superiority lost quite a bit of power when we weakened the airport building a while back; I think this would work as compensation, and fit Autocracy's general weirdness.
 
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A question that has crossed my mind when thinking about the policy trees is when should the player be choosing their victory condition? Right now we have a very mixed bag: arguments around Authority almost sound like you should be committing to Domination in the Ancient era, Diplomacy and Cultural victories seem like they start in Medieval, and Rationalism sort of says you start stacking for Science in Industrial. I think making this a little more consistent would be the best way to level the playing field for Victory conditions (at least in terms of timings).
 
There have been quite a few shakeups with policies and tenets with the changes to Tradition and Artistry, and the overhaul of the happiness system to rely almost entirely on flat happiness reductions. I thought I would take a few minutes to write down my general impressions of the policy and ideology trees as they are now.
Spoiler Tradition :

  • The recent change that added +1 working range to the capital on the finisher is a really special, nice touch. I underestimated how fun and cool this was going to make Tradition. It has a few little technical hiccups, like you can unassign and try to work a neighbouring city. and that breaks that city's ability to work its own city tile afterwards. Something should be done about that, but it's for the most part a really great addition.
  • I think I went too far with the +1 :c5production: to GPTIs. Tradition not being very big on production was one of its main weaknessesthat set it apart from Progress and Authority, and I think this does too much to shore up that deficiency.
  • I don't know if it's warranted, but I miss the +5% :c5food: growth scaler. The current 3% scaler is very small, and I wonder if we couldn't re-emphasize Tradition's :c5food: food focus?

Spoiler Progress :

  • I think Progress has been shown a bit too much love recently
  • The addition of the +25%:c5production: towards settlers was unwarranted, and it blurs the lines between itself and Authority, which up until now had the only Settler-related bonus
  • We could stand to pull a few things off Progress, like only giving the +1 movement to workers and fishing boats, and no other civilian units. That would re-emphasize Progress' focus on infrastructure and sharpen the tree by taking away its bonuses for settlers/Great people

Spoiler Authority :

  • Authority is, for the most part, a pretty great tree, in my estimation. It does its job as "the unit tree" pretty well.
  • There have been some discussions about moving the yields on settle forward to the 2nd left policy (Tribute), and moving the Tribute :c5culture:bonus back. I think that would resolve some timing issues with how Authority feels disincentivized to settle new cities until it has 3 policies. I think that would be a fair change; we gave Progress retroactive yields on tech unlocks to resolve a similar problem there, after all. Just swapping those two bonuses would make the tree feel more natural.
  • Some comments have been made that the garrison bonus conflicts with how the rest of the bonuses in the tree want you to move units around. I think that's also fair, but I don't want to lose that garrison bonus entirely. Imperialism also has a bonus for garrison units in the tree; maybe we could move all the garrison bonuses there?

Spoiler Fealty :

  • Fealty feels a bit lacking as a tree, but that's mostly because the other two medieval trees have a clear emphasis on a victory type and Fealty doesn't. This criticism might also be levelled at Industry, but it feels more acute with Fealty, because military bonuses from Imperialism are just generally useful to defend yourself with, and more Science from Rationalism is always useful too.
  • Fealty gives major bonuses towards Religion. I think it's great that we have a tree that focuses on the faith game, but it doesn't feel like it leverages into some other victory path like Domination or Science. Actually, religious power mostly directly contributes to cultural and diplomatic bonuses, which are covered by the other 2 medieval trees in more overt ways.
  • Overall I don't have any real recommendations for Fealty -- I still pick it if I'm not aiming for diplomatic or cultural victories -- but sometimes I think it feels too much like a 'spare' policy tree, that only exists for if you don't really care about anything else.
  • I think in order to really fix the underlying issue with fealty might require adding a religious victory. But I don't see that happening.

Spoiler Statecraft :

No comments, really. I think Statecraft does a good job at being what it is: the Diplomatic and espionage tree

Spoiler Artistry :

  • I haven't had enough time with the new Artistry tree to get a very good feel for it, so I'm still looking for other players' feedback here.
  • Overall, I think the tree is really wide now. The scaler and the building bonuses are huge; it's a lot of yields per city. I think that gives Artistry an interesting blend of tall, GWAM-oriented bonuses and ultra-wide per city bonuses. I'm thinking the needle might have moved too far over to favour wide play now though.

Spoiler Industry :

  • A pretty great tree for what it is. No real complaints. Combines really well with other bonuses for gold cost reductions, and it's fun to stack this tree with trait bonuses like Babylon's
  • The tree is a little unfocused, but it's got the goods.
  • The opener might be a little too strong. Maybe we should move 1 of those 2 free trade routes to the finisher?

Spoiler Imperialism :

  • This tree is a bit funny. It has policies that give weird, special bonuses that unlock abilities with really narrow usefulness, like increased radius on GGeneral Auras and the ability to upgrade units in foreign lands. And then it has other bonuses with huge yields. And the two policies are cleanly separated, so there are policies with no yields, and policies with tons of yields.
  • Martial Law is pretty bad, I have to hold my nose when I pick it just to get past it for Exploitation. It's definitely the least interesting policy in the tree, and its bonuses are weak, augmenting tiny things like saving a bit of gold on unit garrisons, or augmenting the most worthless building in the game (constabulary). In contrast with the other tier 1 policy, Colonialism, Martial Law is downright ugly. If the garrison bonuses were taken off of Authority, I think they would have a good home here.
  • The finisher is weird.
    • The bonus that gives -3% Needs reduction for each plane in a city is unuseable when it unlocks, because planes unlock much later, and you only have 2 slots for planes per city when they come out, so the bonus is hugely delayed and negligible until you get Airports.
    • This is one of the last places in the game that still has a % needs reduction, and it's a circumstantial, weak, and obtuse bonus. I don't know about other players, but I am never moving planes around for the increased city CS and needs reduction.
    • I think the +:c5strength: CS for each plane in a city would be re-homed to Autocracy's Air Superiority lvl 3 tenet. That tenet provides the air slots needed in all cities to actually make this bonus meaningful, and it also unlocks an oil-free plane to fill those slots with. The % needs reduction ability can just go back into the toolbox; I don't think it has a place in the game now that everything else works off flat unhappiness reductions
    • Instead of the bonus to cities for each plane, I would give planes a +20% attack bonus on the finisher. This would mirror the +20% defense bonus that the Opener gives to all ships, and it would be the only combat bonus given to air units via a policy.

Spoiler Rationalism :

  • This tree was hit very strangely by the change to unhappiness. The scaler used to have a % needs reduction for all needs, but now it has -1 flat unhappiness in the opener and the finisher.
    • As a result of that change, the opener is arguably the strongest in the game
    • Meanwhile, the scaler is only 2% :c5science:science per level, the weakest in the game by far. Compare to Artistry which gives +1:c5science: Science and +2:c5goldenage: GAP on the scaler.
  • Rationalism is a LOT of +%:c5science: science bonuses. There are 22 discrete boni in the whole tree and 4 of them give +%:c5science:science. It's strong, sure, but the tree is quite monotonous.
    • One of these bonuses gives +%:c5science: science for each Great Work in a city. Thematically, this bonus doesn't make any sense on Rationalism. This is the tree of Empiricism and the enlightenment. These were intellectual movements that reacted against the received wisdom of older texts, and called on people to rely on their own senses to acquire knowledge about the world. It was specifically the Renunciation of the old works that made Rationalism what it is.
    • This % GW bonus would be more suitable for something like Industry. The discipline of economics was just emerging at this time, and it was highly reliant on the dissemination of great works. Many of the tracts of economics written in those years by figures like Mills, Bentham, and Smith, form the basis of Classical Economics, and still hold up as required reading for those disciplines into the present day. I don't know if Industry needs anything more like this, but it's the place where I feel a % yield per GW bonus is the strongest, thematically.
  • Rationalism is the only Industrial tree with any bonuses for :c5goldenage: Golden Ages, and for Great Works. Those are also the main bonuses for Artistry. Rationalism only has 1 of each kind of bonus, but they also happen to be 2 of those repetitive +% :c5science: bonuses, on top of being overlaps with Artistry. This has caught my Sauron's eye; this is the kind of stuff that I just got done overhauling to keep Artistry and Tradition separated too.
  • All of rationalism's policies are focused squarely on yields, with the exceptions of the GAdmiral bulb and the :c5unhappy: flat needs reductions. The GAdmiral bonus feels pretty out of place with the rest of the tree, given that the finisher doesn't let you purchase GAdmirals, and there isn't much in the tree that would encourage or augment naval combat. It feels like an Imperialism bonus, except Imperialism already has quite a lot of fiddly non-economic bonuses like this one, and doesn't need more.
  • Overall, Rationalism is a very boring tree. It's almost entirely composed of +yields bonuses, and most of them are for the same yield type. The tree is so homogenous that the things added to try to spruce it up just look out of place.

Spoiler Freedom :

Freedom used to be quite meat-and-potatoes, but now it has some really special stuff like self-determination. Otherwise, I appreciate the straightforward approach to bonuses on 1 of the ideologies, especially the T3 bonuses. Freedom gets the job done. not much else to say.

Spoiler Order :

Order has come under quite a bit of scrutiny by myself and others.
  • It has a CV focus, but no T3 CV policy. This will be rectified in the next patch (hopefully, at least. There is a proposal with a new T3 CV policy design that has been approved but not implemented)
  • The tree also has a domination focus, but only 1 overt military bonus: Patriotic War. This policy is carrying a lot of the tree's emphasis, but it's too strong right now.
    • Maybe this policy should be a T2?
    • The T34 should be weakened a bit. Tanks are good. Unique tanks are really good.

Spoiler Autocracy :

  • Autocracy is the ideology tree with the most special abilities. It's the weirdest of the 3 by far, as a result, and offers a lot of cool tools.
  • If there is one shortcoming to this tree, it is the names.
    • 'Autocracy' is the only name for a policy or ideology that is explicitly a type of government, rather than some quality or attribute. It would be like is Progress was called "Republicanism". It sticks out like a sore thumb. I would rename the ideology to something like "Strength".
    • 'Commerce Raiders' is a bland, and rather imprecise term. It's something that the Axis powers did, but it's not a unique concept to them. I would rename the policy something like 'Mare Nostrum', which would not only be something overtly Fascist, but overtly Italian-Fascist. We don't have any policies named after Italian Fascism yet. Maybe I would look at shaking up the bonuses to better suit that name as well.
    • 'Iron Fist' is a bit Hokey. The policy is all about extracting value from puppet governments you have set up. What about 'Co-Prosperity Sphere'?
  • As mentioned in the Imperialism section. I think that the Air Superiority tenet would be a good home for that +:c5strength: City Strength per airplane bonus (but dump the % needs reduction). This is already a policy that guarantees you enough slots in cities to make use of the bonus, and a new air unit to fill those slots with that is free from that strategic requirement. Air Superiority lost quite a bit of power when we weakened the airport building a while back; I think this would work as compensation, and fit Autocracy's general weirdness.
I like these kind of general check-ins once in a while, I think its good practice. My notes on the notes:

Tradition: I agree, I think we could revert the +1 prod on GPTIs for tradition, it does feel a bit excessive. I have no strong feels on the growth scaler, not sure if 3 vs 5 will make that much difference in the long run.

Progress: Also agree.

Authority: There seems to be a lot of disagreement on what (if anything) to change with Authority, I think its the one that still needs the most discussion. That said, I think doing a few simple swaps is an easy start to moves the needle without a lot of work, and then we can reevaluate.

Fealty: I will echo these thoughts. Ultimately fealty is great if your going hard religion....everything else is questionable. Is fealty actually "better" than statecraft/artistry in any way other than religion? Eh....I'm not sure.

Statecraft: agreed, its pretty solid right now.

Artistry: My jury is still out on this one.

Rationalism: The tree is fine to me. I don't consider it boring, it just does its job. Its not flashy because it doesn't have to be, it gives me one of the strongest yields in the game in abundance, out teching my opponents is the exciting part, getting the new toys quicker, having a tech advantage over my enemies when I kill them, that's the fun part, rationalism helps you get there. I have no issues moving the GA/GG bonuses out of here, they are quite strange and I just never notice them when going this tree.

Industry: I think the tree is rock solid. I think the opener is fine, it is a strong opener, but industry's tier 2 is a bit weak to me, so it wanes power from opener to tier 3 and then goes back down again. Every tree has different power spikes, and i have no issues with industry's.

Imperialism: It is a weird mishmash of bonuses, and is the most situational of the industrial trees. For the niches I need it for (heavy monopoly plan, sea focused expansion, heavy aggression), its fine but I find I generally use one part of the tree in a given game and not other parts. The finisher is weird.

Freedom: hehe I have tried to use self-determination like 3 times but the AI never cooperates and takes enough CS!

Order: No idea, the recent change is pretty huge, really can't say anything till the dust settles. I think the T34 tank is fine by itself but I think the armor plating II shouldn't go to modern armor. the upgrade is the problem, its crazy strong.

Autocracy: a few collection of things that makes late game warring fun.
 
Rationalism: The tree is fine to me. I don't consider it boring, it just does its job. Its not flashy because it doesn't have to be, it gives me one of the strongest yields in the game in abundance, out teching my opponents is the exciting part, getting the new toys quicker, having a tech advantage over my enemies when I kill them, that's the fun part, rationalism helps you get there. I have no issues moving the GA/GG bonuses out of here, they are quite strange and I just never notice them when going this tree.
Certainly not flashy, but the happiness changes have made the tree off-kilter. The scaler is the weakest of any policy by a good margin, while the opener is possibly the strongest.
 
I admittedly play more in the first 200 turns than the second 200 turns so I'm going to comment on the first 6 trees.

Tradition: I would support trading the +1 hammer on GPTI out for +5% Growth scaler, it's a more thematic bonus and this concentrates things to have less chaff. +4 range is cooler than I thought it would be, you get fun tiles every so often from it.

Progress: I think this still struggles a bit for its identity, as is it feels very much like a middle point between Authority and Tradition with a couple bells and whistles. In a way I see it as the monopoly rushing tree because of the worker focus and for that I think the settler boost should stay, if only to give it some vestige of being its own special thing (and also to make left first more palatable). I think if you want to pick away at anything on it maybe pick at the +3 food on the science policy, feels like it's stepping on Tradition's toes a little bit to me and it's kind of a good policy anyway. I think you should give it something small back in recompense on that policy but I'm not sure what, maybe something idiosyncratic and small that just helps Progress feel individual.

Authority: It definitely feels a lot better with the new barbs, mostly I agree with what's already been said. TBH I think maybe you could take the actual free settler away and boost the size of the science/culture scalar on new cities instead, to make it feel more different from Progress. Also a free settler feels lame if you want to not go left first. Maybe bring back a free GG or something somewhere from the old past idk.

Fealty: I actually quite like Fealty, I feel like the Monasteries are a big steroid if you have the Faith to exploit them in particular and it's an interesting reason to maybe dip. If the tree has a biggest problem IMO it's Divine Right (the left policy), it's a very boring policy that doesn't do very much at all, and does it in a bland unresponsive way. It's a culture policy you can choose instead of the cooler culture policy rofl. I might like to see the tree completely the same except that one policy totally refurbished. Maybe something nice for the Holy City (or holy cities if you conquered an extra why not) to give tall Fealty something, the way we gave wide Artistry a lot of toys?

Statecraft: I love this tree too it has a lot of definition and a distinct weakness in its culture generation to make up for it. If spies ever become truly fixed I might want to see a comparative advantage in using them to rig elections here somewhere, but as it is all I ever do with spies is rig/coup anyways so whatever.

Artistry: This one is basically new and I probably want to see more before I make strong opinions, seems fine so far.
 
Certainly not flashy, but the happiness changes have made the tree off-kilter. The scaler is the weakest of any policy by a good margin, while the opener is possibly the strongest.
I continue to be underwhelmed by those changes to be honest. The rationalism opener certaintly has the best straight up one, but I don't feel like its suddenly solving my happiness or anything. Its...nice, not amazing.
 
I can only comment on the trees I used most.

Progress/Authority: Which one should be the expansion tree? The settler movement bonus should be moved there, and the settler production bonus shouldn't exist. The expansion flavour currently goes to Authority (which is why Shoshone loves that tree), but I think currently Progress fits that better. On the other hand, what would be left in Authority if we take expansion away from it? Maybe passive economic value through having units?

On Progress alone: The civilian movement bonus can go for everything except Workers, Work Boats, and Settlers (if it's decided to be the expansion tree).

Industry: I take this if I'm a trade civ (Ottomans, Portugal, Morocco, Venice), building civ (Babylon), have a lot of lumber mills (best non-resource tiles in the game), or not wanting to go for domination/science victory. Basically 80% of the time. Finishing buildings much earlier means you can use that time to train diplomatic or military units, and work processes for raw yields if you run out of paper and reach the supply limit.
 
Depending on game options/map rolls/civ rolls

Previous patches progress was my go to as I couldn't get on with authority nor tradition (talking prior 2019) found that settler spam was strong with the 3rd progress policy (culture when building buildings) but now progress seems bang average if there's no special starts if I take ancient worship /holy law/ cathedrals /x/x (x = any other religion take) stands good stead into the medium trees -, Only if I have non remarkable start

Some legendary starts ( when stars align or i give good map options/game options) Japan/aztec/celts with authority raging barbs is now excellent unfortunately statecraft wouldn't be good I'd have to be ar war / leave gaps to allow barbs to spawn possible segway into fealty or artistry

Or Russia tradition (border blob) with expanse/ angkor wat now that's OP I went artistry then rationalism then order instead ( I went more cities due to reliance on border blob) and finished way earlier than I've ever done. - possibly wants nerfing.

Freedom seems meh I've took it probably 5% of the time my go to tree is order

I'm not too much of a domination fan I find the order can grow at home whilst being in limited war with neighbor my goto tree is order

Fealty is bang average at times I'd probably use it when I'm progress where's there's nothing remarkable to use average everything to maintain a wide religion playstyle

Statecraft i've linked it with trad/progress starts if I had more city states in the area on a bang average start.

Artistry often take with trad rarely take it if I'm wide. Very powerful trad

Industry is a goto for me for bang average start or I've had a few aggressive neighbours and can't maintain a gold average with excess units either to protect a trad/artistry tall civ or to maintain a average start

Rationalism is a meh tree for me i probably open it if I was wide on a niche gamestyle but I find its the weakest of the three later trees needs looking at IMO

Imperialism I seem to use this if I'm following an military civ /aztec /celts/ if I have a map dependent pangea for example. But again not a tree that I use often

Shock !! autocracy I haven't ever used at all in my 5000 hrs of civ ;) call it a hangover from vanilla I find late on that I'm concentrating on a peaceful victory or I find that warfare is dragging i late game and prefer an infrastructure strengthening to defend against this. - needs to be more attractive if waring

order is the most likely id take has loads of infrastructure buffs and heal after taking a city I'd take order 80% of all my playthroughs

Overall I often go progress/fealty/industry/order as I feel bang average starts

If I feel fancy and go out and have some extra options tempting to go I other trees but the late military trees aren't effective for me and freedom had so much potential in vanilla needs a look in IMO order is sound for any playthrough
 
My main concern is probably that as a wide warmonger player 3 picks in rationalism is far superior to any other choices.
Its a 20% science increase in my capital from gw's, its a free tech, its a lot of need-reduction/happiness, its a science boost on jungles and its a science+production boost on strategic tiles.
No other tree comes near in regards of science boost.
 
Tradition : Not much to say, it works well and in the right direction. I think there is a good balance.

Progress : This is the branch of expansion for me and more than the 25% faster build speed of settlers, I would give one settler free then the others should cost less food (Tradition can often spawn a settler before Progress which is not really normal).

Authority : I would remove the free settler which is not necessary in my opinion, played by AI, Authority builds cities very slowly, preferring to accumulate units to go to war. Authority gains are too combat-based (hence the usefulness of barbs) it should be more army-based. No happiness bonus due to garrisons but rather a reduction in unhappiness per military building in the city. And especially gains related to military supply rather than killing units.

Fealty : overall not bad but often a default choice. It would be necessary to reinforce/change Divine Right which is a bit strange but above all to set up a religious victory in VP to give all this dimension to this branch.

Statecraft : very good, no problem, it does what it is designed for.

Artistry : I really like the new version, much more fun to play than the old one.

Industry : I like it but every time I take it, I think to myself, couldn't I have done better with rationalism?

Imperialism : A real surprise bag with lots of useless stuff, some can be used but when? Only one use for me, if I have lots of cities with a majority of sea tiles.

Rationalism : Can be boring but so effective! Surely small adjustments to make like removing bonuses on GW but overall it goes straight to the point.
 
Industry : I like it but every time I take it, I think to myself, couldn't I have done better with rationalism?
The trick with industry is it’s a lot more subtle than rationalism. Rationalism has the big GS bulbs and the free tech, it feels powerful.

Industry is more the steady train. All of your buildings get online quicker and produce yields, more trade for more yields over time, Broadway is a big pickup later. It’s slow and steady but industry doesn’t have any weaknesses either. It’s for science, it’s got culture, and it’s got so much production you can pivot anyway you need to go.

I like rationalism for my isolated plays where I feel confident in my position and just want to push ahead. Industry i find better when I’m in the pack and I may have to throw my weight around in a few different directions

 
The trick with industry is it’s a lot more subtle than rationalism. Rationalism has the big GS bulbs and the free tech, it feels powerful.

Industry is more the steady train. All of your buildings get online quicker and produce yields, more trade for more yields over time, Broadway is a big pickup later. It’s slow and steady but industry doesn’t have any weaknesses either. It’s for science, it’s got culture, and it’s got so much production you can pivot anyway you need to go.

I like rationalism for my isolated plays where I feel confident in my position and just want to push ahead. Industry i find better when I’m in the pack and I may have to throw my weight around in a few different directions
It's a very good analysis, I felt it a little like you but without formulating it, which you did :).
 
I'm in a game going into that era now and one thing I tend to notice is Rationalism does feel rather top heavy at the moment, Industry too, both have a great 3 starting policy run and the rest of them feel more lackluster. Feels very much like Top Rationalism + Right Side Industry is just the "good" solution though it doesn't get you finisher benefits.
 
Though Industry's finisher is also dynamite. Rationalism's finisher is meh.
 
Yeah I sort of feel the two options are full Industry just purely for the finisher or half-and-half. But there are a lot of dud policies in both trees.
 
I sort of disagree with that. The only two real dud policies -- at least strictly pertaining to power -- are Divine Right and the Imperialism Finisher.
 
I feel progress is really strong atm. The happiness opener seems better now with the new happiness system. It's basically got everything. I dont really like the food on connections as that feels like traditions thing but I'm okay with it.

I too feel like fealty needs an identity. Feels kind of empty to me. I would say the same about imperialism.
 
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Progress' thing is it makes cities stronger, while Tradition makes buildings stronger. It's a fine but important distinction, but I think it's interesting how Progress doesn't have a single building bonus, but limits itself to either automatic city yields, or city yields that are dependent on non-building conditions for the city, like a :c5trade: connection.

Tradition buffs buildings (and gives a bunch of free ones), Progress buffs cities and infrastructure (bonuses to workers, etc.), and Authority buffs units.
This is why I feel like Progress has its fingers dipped in Authority's pie by having that +1 movement be given to all civilian units. Workers and fishing boats are fine, because that directly contributes to the speed that infrastructure is built. The +1 to all civilians, however, makes diplomacy faster, because your emissaries move quicker and cycle paper faster, spreading is faster because missionaries move quicker, and it affects settlers, which is clearly something Authority should be doing, if anyone should be doing it, since Authority has the free settler and bonus yields on settle.
 
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