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Player's Guide to Complex Traits

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Caveman 2 Cosmos' started by Thunderbrd, Mar 10, 2019.

  1. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    Yes, efforts were made in Complex Traits to balance for all options, including pure and no negative. No negative does have a few more balance factor issues in spots than most options introduce but they should still be minor enough to just mean a few traits aren't QUITE as valuable as others, perhaps not even to a noticeable extent still.

    TBH, not playing with Religious Disabling probably creates the greatest imbalance issues in Complex Traits but that can't be helped because it's either a trait has or doesn't have the ability to adjust the religious building behaviors and there isn't really an in-between on that. It just means that without that option, some traits aren't QUITE as valuable or penalizing as they normally are, but then again that doesn't keep those from being valuable enough to want or want to avoid, so it isn't THAT big a deal.

    You don't HAVE to play with Developing Leaders, but the gameplay should be a little smoother in terms of early game balance if you do.
     
  2. sorcdk

    sorcdk Chieftain

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    I have been experimenting with non-exponential trait gain rate, because I wanted a game where I got to play around with a lot of these traits and see how it would affect the game. I mainly looked into power functions, with exponents of 4 or 5, which tend to have kind of similar behavior for the first 5 or so traits (the new reduction in cost factor toward 2 make them look similar later on too), and overall it has the effect of making culture feel much more important, since you dont have to wait another order of magnitude for the next trait, while they still take a while before you get a bunch of them, because they ramp up in cost quickly early on, and the costs will have kind of stabalized a bit when you are past the early new types of culture increases. To ballance this I needed to figurer out how much culture I would likely have at a given point in the game, and from my tests I would have about 100 times as much culture as the science cost of the most expensive research I was researching/had researched (to up around 500 times in the game where I had a very easy time building everything), after I got past the early types of culture increases (good base culture, some % buildings, and a good amount of cities). I still havent gotten very far through the game with these games though, so it remains to be seen whether these numbers hold up later in the game, and whether I will have to use the failsafe mechanics I also put in (ensuring that you do not level up unless you have traits you can choose).
     
  3. DC0

    DC0 Prince

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    IMO Complex Traits are over-complicated. To the point where best choice is: choose 1 good trait, then choose any good trait and instantly cancel it with bad trait.
    There too many traits. Each of them is complex to the point of frustration.
    It took me ~45 minutes to read descriptions of all of them and plot preliminary path of progression.

    I suggest making them simplified. In vanilla game there were total 11 traits, each of them consisting of 3 modifiers max.

    In game there are 12 base resources: :commerce:, :culture:, :espionage:, :food:, :gold:, :gp:, :hammers:, :health:, :yuck:, :science:, happiness, and unhappiness.

    I suggest making 12 traits, 8 good and 4 bad.
    Each good trait would modify positively 2 base resources and negatively 1 base resource. In proportion like +10% good, -5% bad.
    Each bad trait would modify negatively 2 base resources and positively 1 base resource. In same proportion as above.
    IMO leader traits should not assign any free unit promotions.

    BTW, in current version Civilized+Excessive is an overpowered batch for early game.
     
  4. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    I look forward to your 'Simplified Traits' option.
     
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  5. TaylorItaly

    TaylorItaly Warlord

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    I am absolut other opinion than you here.
    I find the Complex Traits very well balanced.
    Ok,first time, one have to read a lot ,but , in my opinion , that is absolut ok,cause it is complex.
    I like it that way and will be very sad , if this option would simplified in any way....
     
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  6. JosEPh_II

    JosEPh_II TBS WarLord

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    You take the High road and I'll take the Low road, and we will see who gets to Dublin 1st! :mischief::D
     
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  7. TaylorItaly

    TaylorItaly Warlord

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    Even if you will be first ,i will have a great Overview from above....:lol:
    (Sorry ,i don`t know that Slogan ,or the meaning of it..)
     
  8. Harrier

    Harrier Deity

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    It's a Scotish song - "The Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomand.". Author unknown.
    It has something to do with the Jacobite (Scotland) uprising of 1745 against England. The meaning of the song has many variations.

    But:
    High road =- main routes controlled by the English.
    Low road = minor lanes etc. not patrolled by the English, so used by alleged rebels and peasants.

    Lyrics should be - ".... and I'll take the low road and I'll be in Scotland before you."

    Thus avoiding the English troops.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2019
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  9. TaylorItaly

    TaylorItaly Warlord

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    :)
    Thank you for that!!
     
  10. jshetley

    jshetley Warlord

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    I think the traits are fine. I see no reason to make major changes to them. They open up a ton of choices depending on what you want or need to do.
     
  11. DC0

    DC0 Prince

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    I'm sorry, I have no desire to improve this part of the game. I'll stick to my decision to choose 1 good trait, then choose any good trait and instantly cancel it with bad trait.

    And IMO Progressive is ambiguous name for that set of characteristics. More appropriate would be Humanitarian. But since it already exists, Humanistic, maybe?

    BTW, have anyone analyzed how AI fares with these complex traits? Does it evaluate anything? Or simply randomly selects traits?
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
  12. DC0

    DC0 Prince

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    But they are not. As I wrote above, Civilized (good) + Excessive (bad) is an overpowered batch for early game. You get +25% to World Wonder build speed at the expense of 5% more experience is required to promote units. But you get +15% attack against non-animal barbarians. Commerce penalty from Excessive is compensated by Civilized. In my game I had 0 income per turn. Immediately after Civilized I got +12 income per turn, immediately after that I got my income per turn reduced to +6 by Excessive. But overall, I got my income per turn increased to +6 by this batch.
    And I have a LONG WAY to go in my game to get first international trade route or to get +7 commerce on tile.
     
  13. sorcdk

    sorcdk Chieftain

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    I have to say that the one thing I dislike is the bonuses/penalties to researches, and how they are implemented. It is hard to see how a given research is affected, once you have several traits that affect it, and you can easily lose track of what your actual research rate is, you might just happen to be selecting researches that you have bonuses/penalties to, so it might be higher or lower than shown. Considering that research rate is a very significant indicator of progress in a game, then this obfuscation leads to much less satisfying gameplay, at least for me. Therefor in the later games I have been playing with it, I have commented out all those tech bonuses, though that does change balance, since not every trait has an equal amount of tech bonuses. I have a lot more negative details about their implementation, but I think this is enough for now.
     
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  14. TaylorItaly

    TaylorItaly Warlord

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    On which Difficulty do you play?
    On Deity and SVN that 6 Gold are only 3 Units worth of Maintance.
    I like how every Trait , Good or Bad , allways have a +Moment and also a - Moment.
    I don`t recall the name right now , but my first choise was Good Civic which extends GA for 20% , but cost 20% Exp for units in the Capital.
    Now i am near classical and i think i have to move my Capital , because i lost so much XP on the units in Berlin.
    But the first 3500 Rounds that was a good decission , so i like the System....
     
  15. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    1) Your suggestions are worthy of their own set is all I'm saying, one which I would find entirely uninteresting myself and I feel many others would as well but I also recognize that some prefer dumbed down games.
    2) Your decision is a valid strategy
    3) Progressive basically means Humanitarian in the sense that a Progressive stands for/fights for human rights. That's what it means. So it sounds like it's striking exactly the right tones and you just didn't understand that this is what Progressive means as a political term. If you're looking for the concept of the old Progressist, this is not it, that's now called 'Innovative'.
    The AI selects traits that are in line with their personalities and therefore has a good chance of making some very powerful combinations of selections that naturally work together.
    Congrats on finding one of the MANY strong combinations of traits. There are easter eggs of combinations all over the place so just finding one powerful combination is not to be construed as 'imbalanced'. That's the point. This is a set for those who enjoy finding such combinations and exploiting them and along the way finding the AI has incidentally discovered a few of their own. Personally, I think there's stronger than what you've found, but you know, there's a whole metagame in studying these traits and finding various power combos in that study but one of your complaints is that this trait structure has that at all. There's a reason I made it an option - I figured there would be people that feel as you do and therefore I didn't want to force this advanced system on anyone. That said, I think MOST players of C2C PLAY C2C because they ENJOY complexity to begin with. It's kinda the whole point of the mod in every corner of it.
    You could probably end up with that if you had the right resource pop up too. And again, there are numerous other arguably as good choices. Some traits can get you a good head start but aren't as strong as others down the road. Nobody previously has mentioned how cool Civilized can be yet so I think it's neat you're showing that it measures up to some of the ones others have found and pointed out had great power to them. I think under some ways of looking at it, it can be a little lackluster as well. (And I would almost never want to accept any penalty to my XP% required to level but that's just a playstyle choice, like everything else here.)
    Interesting - I find that to be one of the strengths of the system - that it 'obfuscates' just how effective your base research rate actually currently is. It makes it much less static and forces you to consider whether the time it's taking to research a tech might be altered because of how in line with or against the traits you have that tech may actually be. This may actually cause you to consider different pathing through the tree than you might normally choose, thereby enhancing the 'different game experience with each game' aspect this trait structure has as a goal. Not all traits modify techs - you could always try to veer away from those that do?
     
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  16. DC0

    DC0 Prince

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    I appreciate your comprehensive response. And I appreciate even more the work you do with other modders. C2C is the best and is more that I ever dreamed about.

    But it has a problem: constant changes. You make changes so dramatic my games go broken. Actually, I was never able to enter Classical era. I had to start all over again.
    And in this particular case I have very interesting starting position, where I have only 1 AI civ on my Australia-like continent and the whole HUGE continent only I can reach via coast. From the other side it is only reachable across the ocean.
    So I've started the game with Complex Traits out of curiosity only to realize later that's not my cup of tea.

    The question is: if I turn this option off via World Builder, while having 3 traits already assigned (and most probably AI civs already have 3 traits, too), will it break my current game? I guess it will.

    Will I be able to start from turn 1 after I turn this option off on turn 1? I still have initial save.
     
  17. TaylorItaly

    TaylorItaly Warlord

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    Can`t you go to Worldbuilder ,just save.
    Load that save as Custom Scenario and make all the options you want and start it ?
     
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  18. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    You'd probably be best to just start over.
     
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  19. DC0

    DC0 Prince

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    Thank you all for advises.
     
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  20. sorcdk

    sorcdk Chieftain

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    The problem with the research bonus isn't so much that the idea is bad, but that it just doesn't work so well in practice. There are 3 main problems why the goal does not work as nicely:
    1) There can easily be too many bonuses/penalties to manually keep track of, and there is no interface to count it up for you (at least in my version).
    2) Because of how the research is structured, you often end up with some amount of beelining, which causes 2 problems:
    - 2a) Because the bonuses you are interested in have the most effect in the later part of a beeline, you cannot just shift tech to test how much you bonus you would get at the point where you should be taking the strategic decision of which path to go down
    - 2b) Since the techs tend to be quite varied over a given beeline in type, you usually only get bonuses to a small subset of the techs in the beeline, making the gain much more marginal.
    3) The obfuscation runs counter to the idea of varying tech paths based on traits, since that requires that the playing can see that another choise would be better in this situation. What is worse, is that the impelmentation and specifically 2b means that the obfuscation can be larger than the effect, which makes this problem even worse.

    My suggestion is to change it from changing the total research output to changing the cost of a specific research. This would stabalise the research output, thereby reducing the obfuscation, and it would be much easier to see from the research screen how a given tech path might now be cheaper/more expensive because of your traits.
     
  21. TaylorItaly

    TaylorItaly Warlord

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    I read your Text 3 times ,but i really don`t understand what you want or mean.
    If you don`t like Complex Traits . then don`t play with them!

    But ,when you finished that research , the bonus would be useless.
     
  22. Thunderbrd

    Thunderbrd C2C War Dog

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    Making it harder to keep track of is really the point. I suppose that can be really annoying to someone that wants to maintain a master level capacity of oversight on every decision. I can understand that. Then again, I feel that if I can reach that point, the game quickly stales with the reliability of expectations.
    Causing rerouting through the tech tree is again, really a big part of the point. It adds character to the different paths that doesn't exist (at least in the same way) without the traits you've selected, forcing changes to strategy to be considered.
    You can still see, when you select to beeline on the tech tree, the total amount of turns to get to the end... I'm not sure I'm seeing how this is a problem.
    Which would mean then that if you are the type of player that just goes for what he feels is ultimately the best target to go after, then overanalyzing it beyond that point is not really necessary. Just means that you'll have a few unexpected hills and valleys along the way depending on what traits you took. If what you are going after as a priority tends to match with your playstyle, for example if you prioritize getting as much production as fast as you can and you also choose traits that enhance production, you're likely to also be, by nature of the similarity or relationships, getting to achieve those tech goals faster. If you're selecting your traits according to the overarching strategic values you bring to the game, you should be benefiting most towards making that strategy work even better for you. Part of the purpose of the complexity of the traits is to make this less about analysis and more about choosing your strengths and weaknesses and giving you the opportunity to play to your strengths and hopefully you have ideas on how to minimize or mitigate your weaknesses. The analysis tends to come naturally through experience so I'm inviting more intense and regular play experience to get you to the point of the mastery that deep familiarity brings. Once you reach that mastery, again, any game tends to stale a bit and you may go looking for other games to master.

    AKA, the climb is more important than reaching the peak. If it's a short trek, it doesn't mean as much. The things you are struggling with are the very things that give the system some value. Not everything should be immediately obvious in design. Very little should be really. A great game is a box of secrets that can never be completely mined out of all its mysteries. I planted a lot of mysteries in this garden and many of them are even obfuscated from me because it will take years of playing to master a complete understanding of all the little ins and outs of my own design.

    There again, when you start to gain familiarity through multiple playthroughs, you'll start feeling the landscape better. I wouldn't expect myself to even see how the changes should cause course corrections for ideal optimization of play. At least not at first. It takes a while to master a trait selection and how to make it work the best for you. Once you have that down, there are many other mountains to climb, represented by other traits and figuring out how to best play with them. It's specifically not meant to be easy to master. But once you start being able to recognize the techs that are adjusted and how that may mean a different path may be better to take for various reasons inspired by those cost differences, then you really begin to feel like you're learning something. THAT is what I want players to eventually feel, after earning it thoroughly. Such a feeling of mastery can only come from a rich system that doesn't give up its strategic depth easily.

    I know I'm a little strange in that I value difficulty but to me, the very things you are saying are a problem are the very things that I feel give the system deep value.

    This is more limiting to the outer extremes, particularly in bonuses. If you ended up building to -100% the cost, through this and possibly other sources of modification, then you'd make the tech free. Modifying the research output is much more malleable.


    I get what you're saying about the averaging out of the bonuses over a long beeline since there's lots of different types of techs along that way, but it does have a greater impact for players that don't beeline as far and select according more to where they are then the far reaching goals they want to achieve. If you're beelining along far paths, then this is just a nice bonus now and then and won't really make much of a difference in your decisionmaking. And that's fine too.

    C2C (and the entire Civ franchise) thrives on interesting decisions. You have the choice here of making shorter path choices to see if you can optimize your achievements by making the best use of your tech mods from traits VS just raw beelining and letting those mods be incidentals along the way.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019

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