Player's Guide to Complex Traits Introduction This optional traits set has been in design for over 3 years - ever since Developing Leaders was first introduced. It is designed to be equally valid for all trait options in play, with the exception of another trait set option of course. (Technically the Focused Leaders is still possible to play and it would not work with this option.) I would, however, strongly urge Developing Leaders along with No Positive Traits on Gamestart. I believe that the tiered design of trait selections, included for Developing Leaders in this set, finally unlocks the manner in which Developing Leaders was always intended to be more balancing. In this arrangement, power should ramp up as the game progresses, rather than imbalanced factors being introduced immediately at the beginning of play. I've done my best to make it possible for all traits to work just as well without Developing Leaders, but I just think it would work better WITH that option than without. To Play For this set to work, you will have to start a new game with the Complex Traits option selected. You cannot swap to this option in the worldbuilder because the trait capabilities on an existing game have already been assigned to the leaders that have them and will not be updated. Sorry. New game time if you want to experience this option. In fact, to see the pedia reflect the first tiers of these traits successfully, you must have the option activated and be looking at the pedia IN the game. Design Theory It's no secret that we've had long and heated debates over various values in traits designs on the forums here. That's why this is being implemented as an option. I know that everyone has their own opinion on how traits should be crafted. This represents mine. This is not to imply any disrespect towards other approaches. IF enough players feel this is a fairly ideal set, we could benefit in a lot of ways by making it our core set, because then we could spread out these traits across our leaders as initial default assignments. I may attempt to make a more simplified version for a core set at some point. I want to see how this works in play before attempting that. There could be some benefits to a simpler set, but much of what I wanted to make here required this more 'complex' approach. I'll discuss why in a moment. To give you a design theory overview, this trait set is intended to be a giant playground of strategic analysis. Each trait can be evaluated for its own benefits, of course, and held up against other traits until you find what suits your play style the best. All traits are intended to reflect many different strategic approaches to the game that I've come to understand are possible over the years. Some prefer expansionist priority playstyles, others prefer conquest, while others tend to turtle and let foes break their teeth on your powerful defenses, while others still will maximize their research to out-tech the board. I know there are players that prefer to play a socially engaged leader approach, others are builders, and some are peaceful cultural conquerers. I hope that every player type can find what matches them and suits their strategies perfectly within this set. When you start with this set of traits, it can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of them, and they all have a few more effects than you may expect of traits to have. Quite a few of those effects may even be new, never before seen abilities being introduced into play. I'd like to thank the other modders across this forum, in particular, Platyping, for inspiring quite a few new tag designs being employed here. So the best approach I can advise is to initially seek out a trait that sounds like it would harmonize well with your play approach. Get to know it and its nuances and don't try to swallow all of the trait details at once. After working with that trait, you may find that there are some unexpected benefits or penalties associated with that trait that you would want to enhance, combine with another ability, or attempt to counteract. And that's where this trait set gets fun. Certain combinations of various traits can blend in fascinating ways that can lead to incredible power being unleashed. You can't have it all, of course, but once you start looking at various interactions between selections, your imagination can really run wild as to what can be done here. Some AI leaders will naturally, and to some extent randomly, discover some of these powerful synergies, while others will simply find diverse benefits that cover more bases. So once you see some features of your first trait that you want to counter or enhance, start looking through the other traits selections to see which other traits could provide that. If you're playing with Negative Traits, you may find that although some of the features of a Negative Trait can be severely crushing - all of them should be pretty painful in their own ways - some of the positives can harmonize with aspects of your positive traits strategy, making it worth putting up with the downsides. Negative Traits here are designed to hurt, but if you adapt how you approach the game strategically, you should find you can compensate for any of them. That's much of the point of this whole set - to get you to play the game differently with each selection you make. Be aware of the challenges you are introducing to yourself with each selection and try to find ways to work with that hand ties behind your back. Everything about the design is intended to evoke your creativity. If you're looking for a set that makes it very clear what the best practices in trait selections are going to be for you, this is probably not the set you'll want to play with. It is my hope that by causing you to play in different ways with various selection strategies, you'll find that C2C gains a whole new level of replayability. As you look deeper and deeper into this set, you'll probably see entire approaches to trait selections that create entirely new game strategies to employ. This should make it possible to play again and again with extremely different experiences each time. Generic Value One of the primary goals of this set was to make all selections roughly equal in face value. To achieve this, every tag was given a generic valuation. I know we're comparing apples to oranges in a lot of cases, but even apples and oranges have price tags giving them a generic comparable value in the market. I used a similar approach to all tag values, giving all a numeric value guideline. Therefore, I created each trait like an RPG character using a point spend method, purchasing varying benefits and penalties and making them total to the same overall value amount across all traits of the same tier. Thus, ALL non-Developing Leader positive traits should be roughly as positive as they are negative in comparison to one another. The same can be said across all negative traits. Then Tier I positive traits on Developing Leaders should all be equally as positive as each other, and equally as penalizing as each other. And so on. Obviously, positive traits are given a strong amount of positive benefits, and a small amount of offsetting negative penalties. Negative traits are also mostly bad, but have the same measure of good bonuses in them as a Positive trait has penalties. If I've cost out the value of various ability values effectively, the trait selections should roughly all be extremely balanced. Then it just comes down to unlocking greater benefits with synergistic selections between various traits, and playing to your strengths and weaknesses to get the most out of the benefits and compensate the best for your penalties. Symmetries and Asymmetries Another objective in design here was to design the traits set like a series of funhouse mirrors. MOST positive traits have an opposing equivalent negative trait, with many of the benefits being inversed to penalties and most of the penalties inversed to benefits. There are a lot of asymmetries applied in this design as well, so you cannot usually assume that the negative spectrum of a positive trait is going to be exactly the perfect inversion of details. Still, it should help to comprehend the traits individually if you have familiarity with the trait's opposite. There are 'trends'. There are also some positive traits that don't have an opposition trait, and currently one negative one without an opposing positive. So it's all about making a standard common mold, then breaking it with some infrequency to give the map of the trait design some character. You'll also find there are reflections of other trait designs across various traits. Some standards are applied to certain groups of traits. For example, there are 'commerce specialty' traits that all have very similar design approaches. There are also 'military traits', 'personality traits' and so on. One very obvious example of a positive mirroring is the Aggressive Trait compared to the Defensive Trait. You'll find that in many ways they are opposites, but not inversions, of the other. And again, while you will see a lot of comparable reflections between positive opposition designs like this, you'll also see some degree of asymmetry to shake things up as well. In fact, the deeper you analyze this set, the more you'll find some fascinating parallels and design spreads that may not have been obvious at first. It's in these observations that you'll also find some strong synergies in trait combinations. It also helps to understand the WHY questions you might have about some trait capability assignments. It might just be an ability is there on a trait because the trait is echoing another trait related to it in some manner. That said, I have also, in the pedia descriptions of the traits, often given rationales for WHY the tags were assigned to a trait as they were, usually allowing for the really obvious reasons to go unmentioned. Deepening the Simulation I'm also hoping that this set really represents the FULL spectrum of influential Leader personalities. All the human foibles and strengths should be reflected in this set. With familiarity with the full collection, it should be capable of enabling us to paint the real world leaders throughout history with even more accurate reflection than ever before. This set is also designed to show how every facet of personality can be both a benefit and a hindrance in various ways, though each does lean more towards being one, overall, than another. Even overall 'bad' personality features do have some 'good' results for the leader. And no personality is without flaw either. Obviously, all of that is only visible when playing without the Pure Traits option (which would keep all positive abilities off of Negative Traits and all negative abilities off of Positive Traits) and all the more apparent with Negative Traits in play as well. There is a great deal of philosophy about human nature and how it relates to cause and effect subtly afoot in the assignments of trait details. I've tried to stay fairly politically neutral throughout it all so if you really feel I haven't please point out where you feel I failed in this The modifiers from these traits ARE supposed to be considered to be the side-effects of the style in which the Leader governs his or her nation. There is also the presumption that many people either support or idolize the leader and see that figure as a role model for their own behavior. How one leads, others follow. I realize there's some simplicity in this as a leader can easily be very different from the character of his people, but this set assumes there's a natural harmonization taking place between the public and the ruler. Option Interactions Speaking of options, there are a lot of interactions with other game options that are very noteworthy to keep in mind here. Some traits are a little more or less balanced based on other options that may be in play. Options that influence traits include: 1 City Tile Founding - If this is in play, no trait will give an initial amount of starting culture to a newly founded city - some traits can do that in this set. Revolutions - There are quite a few traits with Rev modifying tags and those tags don't operate when revolutions aren't on. Usually, those were assigned a 'free' value so in many cases it's just going to slightly sway the overall benefit of a trait, though there are a few traits that use them heavily. Religious Disabling - The ability to have all religious buildings active is a very powerful one and a few traits do turn this ability on, regardless of your civic selections. Some also turn it off. If civics have this capability off AND traits are actively disconnecting non-state religious buildings, they will be destroyed rather than simply inactive. Obviously, this stuff can strongly adjust the value of some trait selections depending on if this option is on or not, but I've tried to make these traits highly valid either way. There are probably more but these are the most profound balance adjusting options against this trait set, aside from the usual trait options themselves. Also keep in mind that our leaders aren't assigned the full spectrum of these traits so if you start with default leader traits (Not using the Start with No Positive Traits option), not all of them will be well represented. All are VERY Welcome to Discuss! I fully suspect that this set should lead to a lot of strategic tips and tricks discussions, players pointing out what they feel are the strongest power combinations and the worst to avoid. We may try to challenge one another to select negative traits we can hardly imagine being successful with. I know you're probably going to want to challenge a few design choices and I'm prepared for the feedback, but be equally prepared if I reject a suggested edit because I see deeper reasoning for why it's set that way than what may be obvious. That said, I'm not pretending that this will be a perfect design out of the gate - I'm sure there will be some adjustments to be made from here. I also know that some of you won't find this to be your cuppa tea at all. And that, too, is fine, though it would help to get a little feedback as to why so as to weigh in on discussions on whether to make this a core set or not and if we need a different set for the core, a simpler one perhaps, or just leaving what we have in place as the core, all voices matter on that subject. I'm reserving the next posts so I can include a forum display of the information found in the pedia on these traits. This puts them all up for discussion and gives you another way to refer to this information and another platform that may or may not make it easier for you to study the structure of the design. Furthermore, these Google Sheets are where the traits were initially designed and you can look at how various abilities are valued. This then means there are four sources of data for each trait: The page on the design sheet the trait is on The pedia description (that will also be posted here in this thread) The pedia help hover that the traits tags auto-generate The XML itself If you find any discrepancies, feel free to point them out so I can correct them. Sometimes that may mean an actual change to the XML or a debug, but it can often mean a simple correction on the design sheet and/or description layout. Even the manner in which various tags are given generic value is up for discussion and potential adjustment. Traits interact with nearly every layer of the overall game design, so this may bring up a lot of interesting discussions. Obviously, I can give much deeper reflections on various elements of design here. So I'll be looking for your questions and comments. I'll let y'all explore it out from here. For reference, the Google Design Sheets: C2C Traits I (Military) C2C Traits II (Religious) C2C Traits III (Yields & Commerces) C2C Traits IV (Personalities I) C2C Traits V (Personalities II) C2C Traits VI (Properties, Health and Happiness) EDIT: Strategies for combining Traits (Link to Strategies List Post) Immediately after presenting this trait set, even before the DLL that came with them was debugged enough to allow for the set to be properly played, I got this reply,which you can refer to in this thread if you like: Here's a big part of what this set is about. It is possible that some strategies may need to be dialed back a little. Surely we don't want any element of the game to overwhelm all others. He's right that this COULD be such a strong strategy that it would be hard to imagine not winning with it. As I said in response: To add to that, any trait strategy is made stronger by selecting other traits that would go along with it to fit the concept. As I said above, selecting traits that would boost capture chances, for example, would enhance the power and efficacy of the Slave Empowerment strategy. But what else? Most slaves are settled into one major mega city, usually the capital. Perhaps a trait like Preeminence, which primarily empowers the capital, might be a great trait to pair with this strategy as well? Furthermore, it would be beneficial, if you were going to develop out this strategy, that you would identify all the traits that Empower Slaves and list them, as well as identifying which are the strongest at doing so. There are also traits that should NOT be selected to go with this strategy, right? Anything that erodes the approach would defeat the point. You can't select negative traits that are diametrically opposed to positive traits you've selected and vice versa so you're a little safer there, but that's not to say you can't find some other traits that would run counter to the strategy you're building. It's a good idea to identify them and list those out under your strategy profile as well. Identifying the negative traits that work well with this approach would be helpful in general, but when you do, and you settle on some 'best selections' for this play style, you would want to take a moment to identify the big detractors to the strategy. There WILL be some - it's unavoidable. When you list those out, however, you can start to get an idea of how you should adjust your game play to minimize the impact of those penalties. So identify your primary drawbacks. Either try to avoid compacting those with negative synergies that really bring some pain - look at the list of previously identified good choices to combine and make sure they stay as valid as they appeared, or figure out how you're going to play to avoid it being a problem, or find selections that can counter those penalties that you plan to take when you can. For example, you may find that your strategy is going to lead to a LOT of increased Anarchy time when you change civics. So rather than trying to then find ways to counteract that, which you COULD if you can squeeze in some more trait selections, you could just decide that you're going to only change civics during Golden Ages. So they need to be frequent. Hmm... which traits would enable me to get a lot of Golden Ages... So now you're looking for other matches that will solve your primary problems, or at least a full awareness of what those problems will be so that you can play in a way that diminishes their impact. I explain all of this because I think the most fun thing about this set is the metagame of analysis as you look at the potential the traits have. For those who agree, I wanted to really open up this thread for feedback and discussion on various trait strategies that you find emerge for you. I want to list off the strategies that have been proposed here and start tracking some details in these strategies, like what traits to combine, what to avoid, red flag penalties to address, trait selections to address them, other opportunities that the primary trait selections can lead to and how to capitalize on them. As we list off these strategies, and arrange the tactical observations beneath them, new poster observations can continuously add to this list and to the details on these strategic approaches. So I'll keep many of these Reserved slots open for continued compiling of Selection Strategies and their details. Challenges (Link to Challenges List Post) Equally as fascinating is how painful the traits can become. While we track Selection Strategies, I'd also like to list off Challenges. Challenges would be issued by commentators on this forum thread to other players. I think it's plain to see there are some traits you probably would never want to select, just because they cut too hard to the core of your ability to develop your empire. I'm interested to see if some highly skilled players would be capable of surviving games with certain mega-bad combinations. So if you can find the worst of the worst selections one can make and define why that selection could completely cripple you, I want you to issue that combination as a 'Challenge'. We'll track the Challenges that have been issued and any player that successfully plays a game with those challenges selected can come in showing their savegame and how they've done and we can add their name underneath the Challenges listing with a brief description of how they fared and the difficulty and some other game settings they played on. In a sense, this is a new way to play a harder handicap Part of the Strategies and Challenges listing and detailing is all about studying what really works and what really does not. This will be important information when I go to apply these traits to leaders, even if its only with some manner of modular edit that only works when the game option is in effect. Another is to find out if and where some balance editing is truly necessary. I'm sure many of you will quickly find something you feel is OP or too painful. Let's find out if they really are. And the third goal is to prepare for deeper AI strategic development for Leaders playing the game differently according to selections they make. After a body of discussion builds up on these, and numerous other mod goals are accomplished, this is a big future project I'd love to make be the absolute cherry on top of the C2C experience.