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Poll: Should Defensive Pacts be nerfed?

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by ElliotS, Jun 26, 2020.

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Poll: Should Defensive Pacts be nerfed? (We can discuss solution, only vote on if this is a problem)

Poll closed Jul 10, 2020.
  1. Yes

    19 vote(s)
    79.2%
  2. No

    5 vote(s)
    20.8%
  1. wobuffet

    wobuffet Barbarian

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    Not sure this is true. If it works like Declarations of Friendship, the AI will offer you a DP if it would rather have one than not. So it'll never accept your offer, true, but only because it will offer you one first if it ever calculates that DP > no DP.
     
    CrazyG likes this.
  2. Recursive

    Recursive Covets Lands That You Currently Own Moderator

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    I'll fix this to make sure as part of my diplo interaction logic rework, but I believe AI is programmed to make an offer to humans when a DP is desired.
     
    JamesNinelives and wobuffet like this.
  3. arthurF

    arthurF Warlord

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    I do think there should be a maximum defense pact, dependent on total number of remaining civilizations. It is just ridiculous to have 7 total players, and all the AI have 4 or 5 simultaneous defensive pacts.
    "realistically" as much as it is possible within a highly unrealistic game, these pacts should be determined by military strength. The weakest civs should be trying to cozy up to the strongest in hopes of delaying being conquered, at least as long as said strong civ has been show to be "reliable". Also, Civs that are not the strongest should be banding together in defensive pacts, in hopes of fending off the strongest. These competing strategies should make the game more interesting, but right now, even with 6-19-2, they seem to mostly follow one variant of a single strategy, and it really cuts the fun level for the human player.
     
  4. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    Have you actually seen an AI having 4-5 defensive pacts with only 7 total players? So far the max I've seen is 3 DPs for a 8-player game.
     
  5. Recursive

    Recursive Covets Lands That You Currently Own Moderator

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    I did fix an issue that was causing the AI to exceed the limit.
     
    JamesNinelives likes this.
  6. RyesDaile

    RyesDaile Chieftain

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    What is the limit currently and how long has it been in place?
     
  7. Recursive

    Recursive Covets Lands That You Currently Own Moderator

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    There isn't a "limit" per se, but the AI won't agree to make more Defensive Pacts than a certain number. A bug was causing the limit to be doubled - it would appear that AIs change grand strategy more often than I anticipated. :)

    The formula is (# of other valid players * Loyalty flavor / 40), minimum 1. Loyalty ranges from 1 to 10.

    It's been in place for months now.
     
    Tekamthi and JamesNinelives like this.
  8. Tekamthi

    Tekamthi Prince

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    fwiw i don't like the idea of hard limits. Seems to me the large blocks don't need to be eliminated entirely, just made less common... ie would be nice if some obscure situations led to large blocks in some games rather than every game (as is case in current 43-civ VP especially).

    if there needs to be a limit i'd make it so DP only possible between civs with adjacent borders or adjacent to owned vassal/allied CS, rather than a numerical limit. There will be friction between adjacent civs so DPs can be limited by in-game realities rather than externally imposed static numbers.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020
  9. Vhozite

    Vhozite Warlord

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    The problem with this is that sometimes it makes sense for civs not sharing a border to have a DP. Example:

    1 2 3

    Civ 2 is a warmonger sharing a border with 1 and 3. Civ 1 makes a DP with Civ 3 even though they don’t share a border to protect themselves. If Civ 2 declares they will face a two-fronts war and risk being shot it the back for being aggressive.

    Regarding DP numerical limit: I’m ok with DPs having a hard limit as long as it can be raised somehow with specific actions. A mentioned earlier, I think a good way to address DPs is to have the limit increase based on specific techs, policies, and WC resolutions. Right now it feels ridiculous when a Civ can start holding hands with 2-3 other leaders as soon as they research Chivalry.

    Example:

    Chivalry: +1 DP
    Dynamite: +1 DP
    Atomic Theory: +1 DP
    Imperialism policy tree: +1 DP
    Order Ideology: +1 DP
     
  10. wobuffet

    wobuffet Barbarian

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    My understanding of the DP limit was that you could only be part of 1 DP, but that DP could include any number of Civs (from just 2 to, say, 7).

    I do agree that the game would be more interesting if some games, you see little DPs and some games you see big ones.
    Intuitively, defensive/turtle-minded Civs should be open to big multi-nation DPs. Perhaps less defensive-minded Civs should prefer keeping their DPs smaller?

    One competitive concern: Suppose Egypt is leading in Techs/World Wonders/etc. but not in military strength. Rival Civs — say, India — should be generally unwilling to form a DP with that Civ. That's because from India's point of view, its best chance to win is if someone (whether India or someone else) wages war on Egypt and takes it down a peg.

    Interesting suggestion! I wonder if it would be difficult to make transparent/easy-to-understand though.

    What if DPs can only be made with adjacent or adjacent-to-adjacent Civs (i.e., "2 or less Civs away")? So, just blocking the halfway-around-the-world ones.
     
    Vhozite likes this.
  11. Vhozite

    Vhozite Warlord

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    Yeah DPs shouldn’t be possible across continents separate except in very rare cases, or at the very least the AI should be less willing to make them.
     
    usadefcon1 likes this.
  12. Tekamthi

    Tekamthi Prince

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    Your explanation makes sense but the premise is off... my suggestion did include options to DP non-adjacent civs via adjacent CS, or vassals... i agree this would make overseas DPs difficult regardless, but still would be solveable in-game via capturing other cities or making other CS allies etc.. on the other hand, there's no way to move a static limit via in-game means, and this aspect I think is worth some careful thought before adopting
     
  13. arthurF

    arthurF Warlord

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    Current patch, that limit is definitely exceeded. And yes, to azum4roll. I am playing a game right now on 6-19-2 (epic/immortal) where that exact thing is happening. Total 7 players, several AI have 4 simultaneous pacts.
     
  14. Zanteogo

    Zanteogo King

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    I actually like defensive packs and how they work to a degree. Small weaker civs SHOULD be forming super packs to stand against stronger ones.

    In fact, most games would just become clear runaways be the third era if DP's didn't work the way they do.
     
  15. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    I think DPs are more likely to lock smaller civs out of the game than they are to stop warmongers, and smallers civs are not valued as well so they end up just benefiting the top non-warmonger civs who don't really deserve them anyway.
     
  16. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN King

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    But its valuable for the smaller civs to make defensive pacts - I've seen the neighboring AI offer a declaration of friendship or defensive pact because breaking the pact would be backstabbing and have severe diplomatic penalties.
     
  17. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    I mean in theory and many cases, yeah. But I think I (and juding base on the poll a majority of players) have seen plenty of real cases where DPs don't work as intended. A mechanic intended to allow weak nations to team up and stop a great foe from overtaking them is instead often used by two leading civs to secure their paths to victory and reduce their competition from 7 to 1 for example.

    There are more elegant ways to handle the problematic warmongering runaways that don't have the unintended side-effects of freezing less threatening AIs out of the game, making mid-game smaller-scale tactical wars needlessly tedious/impossible, and even occasionally making it totally impossible to do domination. (It should be difficult, but sometimes 5 nations will just decide to form a MASSIVE block and make the game unwinnable, which is pretty BS.)

    Also the fact that you can't declare a coalition war is a big problem because it means conflicts can never truly be coalition vs coalition.
     
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  18. CppMaster

    CppMaster Emperor

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    Do you mean with more than 1 ally? Because you can ask someone to join you in attacking.
     
  19. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    Correct. Assume a fairly common situation with two coalitions of 3, and none of them are giant military powerhouses. Even if your coalition really wants to go to war, you can't declare as 3, and since you can't tell your allies that the odd man out promises to follow, none your AI allies could ever decide it's a good idea to break the stalemate. (Because whenever you request they will care about your power + theirs, vs 3 enemies.)

    The fact that such an option is impossible is why I think we shouldn't allow DPs larger than 1 unless we're totally okay with massive stalemates.
     
  20. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    I get locked out of war completely very often by defensive pacts if I'm small.

    I think later in the game more than 1 is fine, around the time of ideologies big alliances aren't a problem in my experience.
     

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