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PolyCast Episode 240: "Embrace the Confusion"

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by DanQ, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    Enveloping you. The two-hundred-and-fortieth episode of PolyCast, "Embrace the Confusion", features regular co-hosts Daniel "DanQ" Quick, "Makahlua" and "MadDjinn" with returning guest co-hosts "CanusAlbinus", "OneCrazyCanadia", Lotfi "ZTZaorish" Kerzabi, Daniel "dacole" Cole, "DarkestOnion"DarkestOnion, fuzzyfractal42, Scott "AlphaShard" Dirk. It carries a feature-length runtime of 78m10s.

    The summary of topics is as follows:

    - 03m23s | News (Part 1 of 2)
    On the heels of Civilization: Beyond Earth -- Rising Tide being released, a retrospecive panel from Firaxicon 2015 that has a disconnect between title and content.
    - 11m38s | Rotational (Part 1 of 2)
    Speaking with the first two of rotating guest co-hosts about CivBERT, "OneCrazyCanadia" and "ZTZarosih" (17m17s).
    - 24m12s | News (Part 2 of 2)
    The reviews are in for Civilization: Beyond Earth's Rising Tide expansion and they are "generally favourable".
    - 24m12s | Rotational (Part 2 of 2)
    The next and final four guest co-hosts rotating through to discuss CivBERT are "daolce", "DarkestOnion" (35m17s), Andrew "fuzzyfractal42" (54m22s) and Scott "AlphaShard" Dirk (64m11s).
    - 68m20s | Contest
    A record of the five listeners during the episode's livestream recording who won a copy of Civilization: Beyond Earth -- Rising Tide by completing the sentence "[o]n my first turn in [in this expansion], I'd...".

    - Intro/Outro | Miscellaneous
    Counting game, sound effects and missing a beat.

    Recording live before a listening audience every other Saturday, PolyCast is a bi-weekly audio production in an ongoing effort to give the Civ community an interactive voice on game strategy; listeners are encouraged to follow the show on Twitter, and check out the YouTube channel for caption capability. Sibling show RevCast focuses on Civilization: Revolution, ModCast on Civ modding, SCivCast on Civ social gaming and TurnCast on Civ multiplay.
     
  2. legalizefreedom

    legalizefreedom Inefficiency Expert

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    Enjoyed this. I like the idea of the mini interviews.
    I'm also glad to see most are generally optimistic about BE going forward.
     
  3. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    :)

    Given how well this structure worked, and was received, to acknowledge and reflect on the release of Beyond Earth last fall we decided to follow suit with Rising Tide this year. Glad to hear that this is history repeating itself! :D

    Same.
     
  4. Westwall

    Westwall Chieftain

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    Did you ever ask Maka about BERT diplomacy?

    And the fact that it's still fairly nonexistent?
     
  5. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    Hi Westwall.

    Pardon? By "Maka" are you referring to Maki/Makahlua? If so, why and if not to whom are you referring?
     
  6. Westwall

    Westwall Chieftain

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  7. DanQ

    DanQ Chieftain

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    ^ Ahhh. (I had only gone back to the most previous episode comments discussions in an effort to refresh my memory.)

    Yes, that has been covered.
     
  8. Westwall

    Westwall Chieftain

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    Okie doke, I'll listen again.
     
  9. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    I must say that one diplomacy option I don't miss is effortlessly bribing rivals to go to war with someone else.

    It always felt like an extremely cheap trick to keep the player safe without any effort or military investment.

    Though generally war AI has been historically weak.
     
  10. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    Overall, I am definitely happy the addition with Rising Tide. The early game feels better with the artifacts and Explorers remain relevant for longer. I won't repeat the concerns about the bugs and balance as I think that has been more than covered. With a whole lot of love, I feel the game can and will become something amazing, where right now its just a decent game. However, I would only recommend this to people who have base BE and really enjoy Sci-Fi. My bias towards the futuristic and human development keeps me coming back where Civ V (while a more refined game) fails to hold my interest.

    The one topic that I'd like to talk about more is Affinity. The changes to Affinities and the addition of the Hybrids are some of the most refreshing and frustrating, in my opinion. The Affinity Wheel bonuses are a nice shift from the previous affinity bonuses. They provide a slightly better outline of the Affinity philosophies (emphasis on slight).

    • Harmony can send trade routes through miasma granting earlier access to more trade routes. More Xenomass per each source. Miasma immunity. And science from Biowells. These play up the "adaptation to planet" mindset. Making the most out of what is available. Not fighting the world.
    • Purity gets a bonus to fighting aliens followed by 3 upgrades to improvements. This implies Purity's resistance to the planet and their desire to change it to suit their wishes.
    • Supremacy has the least focus out of the 3 Core affinities in my opinion. They get more expedition modules, their former orbital coverage, less unit maintenance, and production from nodes. So... science and stuff. Oh and efficiency.... yay.

    Anyway. I think that this thought process is what the affinities need to help define them.

    As for Hybrids... Hybrids make me feel very conflicted. On one hand, I enjoy the new options and the art is absolutely immaculate. But on the other hand. they're too easy to come by, the units have a ton of strength (and make Core Uniques look pretty stale by comparison) and don't last until the late game. Firaxis, Will and Dave in particular (obviously), kept hyping up the Hybrids as "their own answers, not just a 50-50 combination of 2 core affinities; yet in terms of how you get them, the affinity perks, and their military units, they suggest the exact opposite. They don't have a full list of base units; they're missing Missile Rovers, Submarines, Carriers, and Tacjets. Which feel a bit awkward when you have 2 Core affinity units combined with the Hybrids. They end up feeling supplementary and exactly like half and half mixes.

    As for the themes found in the Hybrids, I love Harmony-Purity. The Super-Human sci-fi trope and the bronze idealized units. Beautiful. The intersection of Harmony's learning from and caring for the planet and Purity's idolization of human form and heritage. I hope that they push the Hybrids with future patches and expansions. They left plenty of room for improvement.
     
  11. Westwall

    Westwall Chieftain

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    Too bad artifacts are too few and far between. Too often I've gotten no more than 5-7 before the game simply stops giving them, making me miss out on all those bonuses and buildings and wonders and lore.

    Dumb.
     
  12. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    @DefiantMars

    I fully agree that Affinities feel like they need to be more fleshed out, and I think the game is in desperate need of something to push players to commit to an affinity.

    Hybrids in particular are in a strange state of an incomplete unit list, no city or leader graphics, imbalanced easy access to two affinity's perks overcompensated by a crippling ineptitude in victory conditions.

    This loading screen is a wondrous look into what Purity-Supremacy cities could look like, and I'd love to see such images for the other hybrids as well as in-game graphics.

    Not to mention the potential for Hybrid victory screens, like these. (Zoom for full resolution.)

    They very much feel half baked, though I'd love to see them completed.

    Generally unique units could afford to stand out more, and even some of the fun supportive Hybrid abilities seem to fall short.

    The Drone Cage's heal feels very weak as, while unupgraded, a tiny 10 hp heal that requires them to take no other action.

    Similarly the Golem doesn't feel useful since it seems to obstruct both allied and enemy ranged fire. At very least it feels like it could use a resistance to ranged attacks.

    Though I feel like it isn't well fleshed out in lore, I like the Purity-Supremacy hybrid most with it's ideal of creating sentient AI's to serve humanity.

    I personally like to think that they would have a focus on making AI's more human-like, as opposed to pure Supremacy wanting to make humans more AI-like.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    @Westwall

    In my opinion it feels like Artifacts come too often from Nests and Resource Pods and too rarely from things actually requiring expeditions.

    I got an insane amount of Old Earth Relics early on my first water playthrough due to pods and high movement, but felt choked in a land-based game.

    It feels like expeditions should practically always yield an artifact, with no lame "only one of each in the world" rule or any other rubber band limit.

    At the same time I think they would feel more satisfying to get and be more balanced if Aliens attacked expeditions, and they took soldiers to defend.
     
  13. Westwall

    Westwall Chieftain

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    I didn't even know that was a thing.

    Lame.
     
  14. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    I won't deny, that "good idea, flawed execution" seems to be the recurring trend with Beyond Earth as a whole. But I understand the nature of iterative design and the challenges of getting stuck in your own head. Unfortunately how you think a design will work isn't always how everyone will use it.

    I'm not trying to absolve the Devs of their design shortcomings, but as an aspiring designer I can empathize. Personally speaking, I prefer to provide positive feedback alongside negative feedback, in addition to suggestions on how to improve. Mono-syllabic remarks of general disdain do little to promote healthy design.
     
  15. Westwall

    Westwall Chieftain

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    I think we're way past being patient and coddling the developers.

    An 'atta boy to excuse every time there's an obvious oversight or a mechanic they clearly didn't put through enough rigorous testing doesn't exactly promote healthy design either.
     
  16. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars Chieftain

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    Did... did I not just explain my position? I am saying can relate to their challenges and I know that designs you think are a good idea can falter and crumble when held up to a larger audience. That is not excusing them. Do I think there should have been Beta testing? Hell yes. But I'm not letting that upset me. All I'm saying is that you could offer suggestions than simply saying things are bad. I want so see this game succeed. Saying things like Lame and Dumb does not contribute beyond letting people know you have issues with a subject. Providing root cause analysis and offering course of actions is far more beneficial to good design.

    ________________________________

    Artifacts: Yes there are definitely flaws in the system. I'm averaging more that 6 so far in my starts. But I am playing on the lower difficulties. I agree, the cap on the Artifacts is disappointed and suddenly not getting any more during the mid game is odd and off putting. This cap was probably meant to prevent players from getting too many of the powerful artifact set bonuses. This implies that the sets are strong in the Dev's collective eyes and I can see why they limited it. HOWEVER I agree that it is frustrating when my artifact sources suddenly just dry up, despite the fact that I'm conducting expeditions everywhere well into the mid game. I'd like to see the cap vastly increased if not removed altogether. If it was 1 per player not 1 per world, I think it would reduce player frustration.

    A tempered response, not a coddling response.
     
  17. Galgus

    Galgus Chieftain

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    Removing the cap, making expeditions either always or most of the time grant artifacts, and reducing how often pods and nests grant them would help a lot.

    Generally I think rewards should be balanced around Warp Spire and Drone Sphere, which two OP ones are above and most are below, particularly many of the Alien rewards.

    Finally I think it would be nice for each Artifact to have it's own reward possibility, determined by a recipe system.
    __________________

    I think the gathering should be balanced by a need to have units to defend expeditions from Aliens.

    I'm really not a fan of their current approach where Aliens rarely interfere in expeditions, making escorts mostly needless.

    Mechanics that both encourage peaceful players to have an army and promote active play with an army beyond conquest are good for the game in my opinion.

    Both for making the game more interactive and for lowering the need for strong defender's bonuses, since building an army would no longer be a pure setback in peacetime.
    _________________________

    Aliens and Affinities seem like the two mechanics with the most potential and the least fulfillment of that potential.

    I think the devs would have benefited from a "peaceful aliens" setting so that they would not need to worry as much at players complaining when they die to Aliens.

    Before the release of Beyond Earth, it sort of sounded like playtesters were actually losing to Aliens occasionally.

    Eventually the Aliens should be an asset for Harmony, but I think that should be a more dramatic, mid-game moment.
     
  18. WiseGreen

    WiseGreen Chieftain

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    Hence the need for outside feedback, aka beta testers/early access. If the people testing the game are the same that are designing it, iterative design and feedback cycles morph into an echo chamber very, very easily.
     
  19. Westwall

    Westwall Chieftain

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    I think I made it pretty clear that I didn't favor the game's "one of each" rule and that I think all artifacts and their the potential benefits should be attainable for all factions actively looking for them instead of the current system.

    It sounds like your belittling those who occasionally express their frustration with "one word comments" as having no other contribution despite obvious evidence to the contrary.
     
  20. DutchJob

    DutchJob Chieftain

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    Occasionally?
     

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