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Pick Your Leader Challenge 1

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Dune Wars' started by davidlallen, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I think the solution here is to make happy and health harder to get, so that Golden Path *is* really valuable.

    The other benefit though of Quizarate obviously is for a religious victory, as it wipes all other religions when you expand it.
    Well, its possible to make it happen with a civic change; the default government civic for eg could prohibit a state religion, while all others allowed it.
    I don't support this, I'm just saying its technically feasible.

    But the culture and happy advantage from an early game religion is also nontrivial.

    Besides, in the early game before they have Fanaticism, there isn't any significant trade with other civs anyway. So what difference would it make?

    I'm not convinced that Tleilaxu are underpowered. But if they are, I don't think that reducing their xenophobia is they way to fix it, I'd tweak their other stuff. Like increasing facedancer power (lower EP cost for missions?) and maybe changing how gholas work and/or bringing them earlier.
     
  2. AnotherPacifist

    AnotherPacifist Deity

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    Well, I didn't have a state religion until my 2nd GA and that was late-mid game and I'm OK with my early happiness. Master Scytale is not lacking in culture at all (since libraries and universities are cheaper and he's creative to boot).
    Both the Fremen and Tleilaxu are overpowered if played by a human but underpowered as AI. The BG are similar, but at least the AI BG can be strong enough to take on the Corrino (as you see in my save) and vassalize Ordos. Almost all the games that I've played the Tleilaxu and Fremen are on the bottom. I would say the best balanced civs (for human and AI alike) are the Corrino, Atreides and Ecaz--the Great Houses.
    One way to make the Fremen stronger would be to make them much more aggressive in attacking.

    It's not just tech trading that kills the Tleilax, the lack of OB and foreign trade kills their tech later on also.
     
  3. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    We could implement that, possibly, but I think it misses the point of the Tleilaxu religion. As I understand it, the reason Ahriman suggested they should have the religion from the start and not be able to adopt other religions was specifically to make them isolationist. If the strategy for being successful as Tleilaxu is to postpone adopting the religion to avoid being isolated, it seems like a workaround. I would much prefer to give them a new ability, or increase the strength of other abilities, or something, in order to keep with the original isolationist theme.

    Tleilaxu have two abilities right now: plague, and axlotl tanks. Although they have a Face Dancer UU, it doesn't do anything unique yet. The general theme was "biological stuff". The user feedback on plague is that it is annoying to fight against, and several suggestions have been given to tone it down. There is no user feedback on axlotl tanks; the building is very late game and the effect is hard to notice, so it is not a success either. A few specific spy missions have been suggested for the Face Dancer, such as spreading plague.

    What would be "fun" for Tleilaxu to have, to compensate for isolationism?

    Missed this previously. What makes Tleilaxu *over* powered when played by a human? You have said that the AI is more severely limited by lack of tech trading. So, do you mean that Tleilaxu played by a human is not crippled like this, or do you really mean there is some trick to playing Tleilaxu that lets you win more easily than you win with other civs?
     
  4. AnotherPacifist

    AnotherPacifist Deity

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    The Face Dancers should be able to do something similarly amazing other than converting entire cities: I read in wikipedia that they replaced the entire Ix embassy with face dancers and were foiled only in their assassination attempt on Leto II by a Duncan Idaho ghola. Scytale tried to control Paul by offering a Chani ghola, but failed. Maybe lesser men would take the bait...
    So what if face dancers can return to the capital as with a heavily-promoted unit (preferably stronger than anything that the Tleilax can build, e.g. a Ginaz, Saudaukar or Fedaykin) whose loved ones they have promised to resurrect?
    Also, their "force friendship" should be much stronger (imagine the AI Paul Atreides accepting Scytale's ghola)--maybe +3 instead of +1.

    The human player as Tleilaxu has the benefit of an early religion (for culture) and can therefore get more great people quicker (GP initially), while he/she can choose not to adopt the religion and have good relations with other civs for tech trades/OB. That's what overpowering (may not work in higher difficulties when the AI hates you more to start with).
     
  5. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    Interesting point. So Tleilaxu has the advantage of more GP, regardless of whether it is human played or AI played. AI played, it has the disadvantage of always converting to its religion and getting isolated; but the human player can avoid this by simply not converting.

    Just to confirm, but do you find that Tleilaxu is easier to win with, as a human player? If so, what should we scale back so that the human does not have an advantage?

    I'm not sure if you have read the discussion about axlotl tanks from a while back. The previous discussion is in this thread. This capability is in the game today. If you have a city with an axlotl tank, and you build a unit there, that unit *may* start out with a lot of promotions. The game looks for the most experienced living Tleilaxu unit of that unit type, and gives the new unit all of the experienced unit's promotions. This represents a ghola (clone) of the experienced unit's commander. You still have to pay the normal hammer cost, representing vehicles and equipment, but the ghola benefits from the promotions.

    So theoretically, late game Tleilaxu units should start out with high experience.

    Another implementation of gholas has been suggested, where a Tleilaxu unit can get a promotion called like "Another Life". When a unit with the promotion is killed, it immediately re-appears, with 90% damage, in a city with the axlotl tank. The unit loses that promotion, but keeps all its other promotions. I have not done this, because it bothers me that all the vehicles and equipment re-appear also without any hammer cost.

    Can we build either of these into something that would be fun?
     
  6. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Another thought: not adopting a religion gives no advantage in the very early game, because no other factions have any religion yet, so there is no different religion penalty.

    Also, when evaluating Tleilaxu strength, don't forget how *amazingly* powerful their shrine is. By design. Probably the best shrine in the game - by design. (Imperial is the weakest - again by design.)
    If anything, maybe we should drop it to 1 free priest.

    * * *
    Edit:
    City conversion should be a Reverend-Mother only ability. BGs are supposed to be the only ones with political espionage; that's their thing.
    Facedancers should mostly have assassination and powerful poison abilities.

    What if we made the poison city missions cheaper, so they were more spammable?
    Facedancers should not have a force friendship ability; again this should be Bene Gesserit only. BG are supposed to be the thematic masters of political manipulation, and the ability is supposed to represent how other the bene geserit will lend out Sisterhood and truthsayer advisors, wives and concubines to the emperor and powerful nobles (eg Jessica, Margot, etc.).
    I dislike the name "force friendship", I would have preferred something like "Truthsayer Advisors".

    How is this a human-player only thing? The AI tries to get GPs for a shrine too.

    If you're worried, possible solution: require that the Zensufi Temple has Tleilaxu Zensuifism *state religion* as a requirement. So you can't build the temple unless you adopt the religion. The AI will be unaffected since it adopts the religion anyway, all it would do is weaken what you think is an exploit.

    I prefer gholas as a form of immortality; one immortal unit (a la FFH) for each city with an axolotl tank.
     
  7. AnotherPacifist

    AnotherPacifist Deity

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    But you have to meet the other civs very early before they adopt a religion (Shai-Hulud is founded fairly early usually), so if you meet them late, you can't undo the religion change unless you take a turn of anarchy. And you need LONG periods of at least OB and trading before you can get them pleased, without giving them expensive techs cheaply.

    Why should facedancers not have a force friendship ability? Again, the Scytale-Paul example is one that "forces" Paul to hand over the empire. Maybe we should call give them a force capitulation while at war (really, really expensive but would make things interesting).


    I didn't mean it as a human-player only thing, just that both the AI and human can do it, while the human doesn't have the disadvantage of being forced to adopt a religion early on.

    BTW, I just started a new game and totally botched it based on the anti-historical (or anti-fictional) thesis that Harkonnen can found Mahdi (would be unstoppable early on with their promotions). You should correct it (along with the other things that BG cannot found).

    On another note: why is Atreides so isolationist? He doesn't want to OB with anybody until a long time has passed.
     
  8. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    I agree that "BG cannot found Technocracy" is present in the game but missing from the documentation. However, there is nothing in the game preventing Harkonnen from founding Mahdi. Are you sure one of the other AI civs did not beat you?
     
  9. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    It takes a long time before non-BG/non-BTL players get a religion.
    I always meet enemies before they get a religion; perhaps you are not doing much scouting, or are playing on a fast gamespeed?
    It takes a long time for Shai-Hulad to spread much too.

    Remember that the game plays best on Epic speed (faster and it takes too long to get around the big map).

    Why would you want to?
    All it would give you is open borders maybe... which you don't need, since you're probably going to want to go Mercantilism for a specialist priest economy.
    Open borders is not very helpful, and it is very against the Tleilaxu xenophobic style. Fluffwise, Tleilaxu would *never* sign open borders with any filthy powindah. Let outsiders wander around through sacred sites, polluting it with their presence? No way.

    And again, note the partial "fix" (to a problem that I think is nonexistent):
    The fix would be: discourage the exploit. Don't take away from the xenophobic isolationism.

    Because Tlielaxu flavor emphasis is designed to emphasize biological warfare.
    If Tleilaxu can do this, their flavor is less interesting, and they are less distinct from Bene Gesserit, and Bene Gesserit are less special.
    One set of political manipulators, one set of bio-terrorists.
    Which Atreides leader?
    There are no AI parameters that care about length of time. Some AIs are less interested in opening borders than others though (Ecaz are happy to, Fremen and Tleilaxu are less willing to); they have slightly different thresholds for when they will open.
    I can totally see Feyd as a mahdi figure. That was kinda the Baron's plan all along. Why shouldn't Harkonnen be able to found Mahdi? And why shouldnt' Harkonnen be able to found the military religion?
    Harkonnens have bloodlines for the Kwizatz Haderach too....
     
  10. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    Please note this is one person's opinion, not a generally accepted fact. I never play Epic.
     
  11. AnotherPacifist

    AnotherPacifist Deity

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    Yes, I made sure first by tweaking my science to get it 1 turn earlier, and when that didn't work, I looked in WB and found that indeed, BG (the civ that did found it) didn't have Jihad but had Fanaticism. Here's the save right before the failed founding.

    Also, I was 3 turns to Faith and founded Shai-Hulud...again (look in the logs for proof).
     
  12. AnotherPacifist

    AnotherPacifist Deity

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    If you read any of my writeups for the RFC and RoTK mods, I love to play anti-historically, and not just for strategy. E.g. a totally French USA, Incan domination, Khmer spaceship, Chinese conquest, a small faction like Kong Rong conquering China, and why not an open-minded Tleilaxu and an honorable Beast Rabban as Mahdi founder?:)
     
  13. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Sure. In vanilla and most mods I play normal, but I don't think that works well here.
    In Dunewars, everything is much more spaced out, and there are no roads or railroads, so travel times are much longer relative to unit construction and technological progress. Epic speed adjusts for this.
    The AI is also weaker on faster speeds, because it spends so much more time shuffling its stuff around with transports.
    I recommend Epic here (and only here) because I think it gives a better gameplay experience.

    I think that's not really the intention of this mods design. I think we're more interested in making something that replicates canon flavor, rather than something where anything is possible.
    Dune just wouldn't be Dune if the Bene Gesserit were building cyborgs, Beast Rabban was trying to terraform Arrakis, and the Fremen owned most of CHOAM.

    There's nothing wrong with that as a mod design forum, but that's not what we're doing here.

    If you want to do that kind of thing, play a different mod. The FFH design is more like that, but personally I think that detracts from the flavor of the factions. If the Sheaim are Good and bring in the angels, or if the dwarves make a demonic pact and try and end the world, or if the Lanun are followers of the Way of Leaves, it just feels weird and inauthentic.

    But we're trying to be true to the feel of the Dune world.
     
  14. AnotherPacifist

    AnotherPacifist Deity

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    Playing according to canon is good, but you need a scenario-map for that flavor (RFC as an example). Otherwise, a random map with different resources call for flexible playing. E.g. if you're Harkonnen and were induced to play Arrakis Paradise when you have plenty of water and land, or Fremen happened to get CHOAM and spread its religion far and wide, there should be nothing wrong with it.
     
  15. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    I strongly disagree with this. The mod should be fun and give reasonable results for any play style and scenario. We are not simply re-creating the events of the books. I think AP's play style will give us a number of valuable insights and help with balancing for combinations I did not expect.
     
  16. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I disagree. I think a flavorful mod can work just fine on random maps; as the Dunewars map does.

    If you make every faction able to do everything, then the factions lose individuality, and become basically all the same. Its ok if you can't do everything with a particular faction, as long as it means that the factions actually play differently.

    There are still enough options in the tech tree to be able to have a significant amount of flexibility within each game to play the faction in different ways, all we rule out are the things that would tend to destroy immersion in the Dune universe, like Bene Gesserits using Thinking Machine robots, or the Tleilaxu abandoning their religion and buying up CHOAM Directorates.

    Nobody has been complaining about an inability to do non-canon things; if anything they've been complaining the opposite, wanting a more-canon setting.

    I agree that we want a lot of flexibility, but I think we gain a lot by prohibiting certain bizarre combinations. If the Tleilaxu did not follow their own separatist religion, they would not feel like Tleilaxu.

    If the Tleilaxu founded the Quizarate, it would just feel wrong. If Fremen built up an army of tanks, it would feel wrong. If House Corrino Sardaukar could ride around on sandworms, it would feel wrong. If Leto Atreides was letting bio-plagues loose in enemy cities, it would feel wrong.

    We are not hardcoding many restrictions, and we are not trying to force players to recreate Dune history exactly, but we are trying to create a world that *feels* like DUNE, and not just like a generic sci-fi world that has some Dune terminology.

    If you want to personally role-play an openminded Rabban through your human player choice of civics, fine. But I don't want Rabban as an AI to just behave randomly, I want him to behave like a grasping brute.

    I do not think we have to allow every possible combination of religion/faction/strategy/whatever in order to "be fun and give reasonable results for any play style and scenario".

    * * *
    Its strange. In my games AI Fremen often perform quite well, and AI Bene Gesserit nearly always do very badly.
    Ecaz, Ordos and Atreides usually do well.
     
  17. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    I don't believe I am quoting out of context, but I certainly agree with the last quote.
     
  18. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    Let me clarify. If you want to make up your own non-canon role-played story as a human player, then that's fine; do whatever is most fun for you as a player. I don't have to play that way if I don't want to.

    But if this makes AI controlled players non-canon and weird, then that detracts from immersion badly. Personally, I am not really interested in playing a flavor-theme mod where the AI factions do not feel at all like their fictional counterparts.

    Since there is no easy way to make it impossible for the AI Bene Gesserit to found and adopt Technocracy while still making it possible for a human player Bene Gesserit to found and adopt Technocracy, we block it. And so forth for other things.

    We don't need to block more than is necessary to make the AI play in a generally thematic way (either historic or plausible alternate historic).

    But I think we also have a better mod if we design factions so that they favor an in-flavor playstyle.

    For example, if you want to trade a lot as a Tleilaxu player, fine... but you will have to work much harder at diplomacy, and gift the other players a lot more techs in order to be succesful. We should encourage (not force) Tleilaxu through to favor a particular playstyle which is individual and thematic, as we do through how their religion works and their shrine. It encourages them to run an isolationist priest-specialist economy, stacking up a lot of settled great prophets (=Tleilaxu Masters) in one or two cities.
    We don't hard-code a block that stops them from making diplomatic agreements with other players, but it is more difficult for them to do so.
    Similarly, we encourage Atreides to build air units through the pilot school, but don't force them to. And we encourage Ix to build vehicles.

    The game is more fun if different factions are encouraged to play differently; otherwise we have little faction differentiation and the game gets boring, and has much less replay value.
    We want a game played as Tleilaxu to feel different from one played as Bene Gesserit, but we lose that if every faction can be successful with every playstyle.

    * * *

    I think that these discussions are best done through specific examples; if you don't think we have common ground here, I'd encourage you to disagree and make your point using specific examples.
    For example, I do not think that it would be OK to let *every* faction found Mahdi, because then the Fremen AI player would almost never do so, and the Fremen player would be left without a religion; which is already a risk, and because Ordos Mahdi or Ixian Mahdi would just feel non-Duneish.
     
  19. davidlallen

    davidlallen Deity

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    Somehow we have gotten onto different pages. AP submitted a game where he was playing Harkonnen, was first to research Jihad, but failed to found Mahdi. This may be a bug, but the religion design does not prevent Harkonnen from founding Mahdi.

    We seem to agree that Harkonnen should be allowed to found Mahdi. I will investigate the bug. What are we disagreeing about here?
     
  20. AnotherPacifist

    AnotherPacifist Deity

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    I thought the majority of succession games that capture my attention (at least initially) was how it was that some outlandish conditions force you to abandon usual playing styles. Yes, it would be good initially to play in context and use each civ's particular strengths for victory. But if I were to replay a mod over and over again (and I have done so with RFC and HoTK), I want to challenge myself and play out of context.

    For example: After the nth time winning RFC's UHVs it's time to try spaceships, so I did it. When I ran out of spaceships, I went for domination, and then I got inspired by blizzrd to go for conquest (much, much harder than the others). Of course I can't just use the usual strategies that Rhye wanted us to use for each civ, so that called for some tactics like squatting, multiple Olympic Parks/golden ages, killing civs at spawn and some bizarre city-founding (all outlawed or made much more difficult to do subsequently by Rhye). In fact, I think a few of his patches were specifically anti-AP. I hope not to incur the same wrath here. :lol:

    So an Fremen religious victory with Quizarate or Technocracy isn't a bad idea, it's just outlandish (and much harder to do probably) and that's what interesting to me.
     

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