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Problem the whole Civ series suffers from

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Olleus, May 19, 2017.

  1. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    I think you are going less against the current than you say. You are of course right, a better player should win. But the questions are:
    How big a difference in skill level is required to win 100% of games?
    Which skills in the game matter the most?

    The first question is important because not all (or even a sizeable minority) of Civ games take place in a 1v1 mirrored map. There is a lot of randomness involved. You want there to be some uncertainty in the outcome. A tiny difference in advantage (from skill or luck) at the start of the game leads to a bigger difference in power at the end of the game. The important thing is how much this difference increases by. If it is too small, then early skill (or the map) doesn't matter enough. If it's too big, the game is decided way before the end, and we never get to see the late game. From your description, Civ4 hit the sweet spot in the case of closely matched players, probably in part because of the very mechanics you describe. But most people who play Civ don't want to find human players that are close enough to their skill level and play an entire game on quick speed in one sitting. They want to play epic/marathon, in their own time, vs an AI. This AI's 'skill' can be tuned via difficulty levels, but it can never be fine grained enough to match the player exactly. Furthermore, the randomness inherent to the game makes such exact matching of early advantage impossible in practice. So we need the threshold at which early game advantage translates to automatic win to be significantly higher. Not disappear altogether, but be higher. This is done by reducing snowballing.

    The second question also comes into this. With steep snowballing, early game skills matter the most because no level of skill later on in the game can ever catch up. This makes the late game not matter and kills ton of the interesting features that Civ has. Again, we don't want late game skills to overpower early game skills, just to balance it. If nothing else it kills replayability if your initial build order makes-or-breaks the game more than anything else.
     
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  2. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    Well, the issue is what criteria is used to define "stronger". Improving research, production, city expansion, population, economy, and many other factors contribute to an empire's strength.

    Now, this can be countered by including achievements that small-tall civ's can pursue. These can involve reaching milestones in a single city, such as population, amenities, city defense strength, number of buildings, number of tiles improved, multiple wonders, etc. And, like I said, you could even provide achievements for achievements that are accomplished specifically when a civ is not the strongest or highest-ranked in an area, such as resisting an invasion from a stronger civ.
     
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  3. king of nowhere

    king of nowhere Warlord

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    You bring good points, which ultimately lead to the fact that different players like different kinds of games and it's impossible to please anyone.

    regarding the "early game optimization vs late game optimization", the argument is ill-defined. by the time one has a bigger empire with twice as much production of everything, then he has won and there's no realistic way to get back, save for intentional suicide of the stronger player. in that case, late game decisions are really made irrelevant. however, if better early game decisions lead to a 20% more production of everything, there is still enough margin to recover. And among players of similar skills, that's the kind of differences that are usually to be expected.

    I admit I am not much of an expert of Civ6 balance; I have a much greater experience with civ4. So I don't know how skewed is the civ6 balance. but here are a few things about snowballling that most of us can agree
    1) if snowballling comes from MUCH better play, then it is not a problem, and in fact it should stay there.
    2) the treshold for snowballing should be high enough that random factors like starting location do not automatically translate to a victory. it should also be low enough that consistently good decisions can snowball in the face of consistently acceptable decisions
    3) great differences among players should snowball. Small differences should equalize.

    I think the most important point is 3). To address it, I think flat bonuses are the best way. in the case of civ4, it was a tech bonus up to 20% if you lagged behind in tech; that way, with a small difference in research you coul still stay close to the lead. they'd be a few turns ahead, and with skill they could use that to their advantage, but it certainly wasn't an auto-win. but if someone had a tech advantage greater than 20% over everyone else, he'd keep on growing. Good thing: small advantage is equalized, past a certain point it snowballs. Same for war, you needed 20% to 80% more army than the other guy to kill him, depending on terrain, promotions and somesuch. Good thing; a slightly greater army can give you more room to try manuevers, like sending some of it to your alllies on the other side or embarking some of it and trying to open a second front, but it does not guarantee victory, while an overwhelmingly bigger army is an insta-win button.
    As long as those checks are in place and balanced reasonably well, snowballing is a healty mechanic.
     
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  4. king of nowhere

    king of nowhere Warlord

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    I don't like that because it is too random. To win means to be the biggest baddest on the map; winning or losing based on some arbitrary condition that has little to do with power (one of the many ways that "power" can manifest in this game) is terribly unsatisfying to me. The way culture victory works is already borderline
     
  5. OnceAKing

    OnceAKing Warlord

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    I haven't had the opportunity to read the whole thread so my apologies, I had these ideas leap to my head.


    While I agree the late game is a problem, I don't think adding background and invisible mechanics is the best way to resolve the issue.


    I think, that while real life doesn't always translate to good game play, in this instance I think it can.


    Civil War and Rebellion - While being a god like figure is one of the selling points, I think intrinsic tension within an EMPIRE should be as difficult as it is from the outside. I think the spectre of civil war and Rebellion should be ever present throughout the game play.


    Colonialization - this has shown up in many forms and is an annual requests from fanatics. I think Civ6 sets up well with this, considering the cultural gameplay that's been added since 5 and the continents in 6. Make it so that continents can increase the likelihood for rebellion. Make it so that cultural differences can also exhasperate this problem. Perhaps make it so early game pantheons are based on region rather than empire so that this can illustrate a type of culture that has no border or empire allegiance but can be a factor towards civil war.


    Coalitions - Hitler was a snowball. As he grew in strength, a coalition formed across a variety of government types and cultures to beat him back. Simply put. If someone is close to a domination victory a coalition should be prompted to start a multifront war against him.


    Scientific Leaps - Exponential scientific growth discoveries are often prompted by exesistential threats. Things like plague, flooding, holding empire together, beating back a warmonger, climate change, asteroids. These exponential threats spur scientific innovation. These type of events should be added to flavor the game and spur all sorts of Civs to reach for science victories. For example, in real life, America was well on it's way to a science victory but threats like cyber warfare and global warming have prompted many civs to innovate and arguably surpass America in various categories. Not because of the American impending victory, but because of extrensic threats.


    Economic Trade and Corps - another favorite in the community. Trade impacts the why, where and when of warfare in the modern age. For example 2 superpowers like America and China won't do open warfare mainly because of economic MAD.


    Assymetric Warfare - Korea, Afghanistan, Vietnam are just a few examples of how massive empires can get derailed fighting what amount to city states. Don't overpower it but make it so that assymetric warfare is viable as a DEFENSIVE tactic against a snowball civ. Especially if you add cold war mechanics of clandestine support from third parties and trade and economics.


    Example. If real life followed civ rules, a civ like Assyria should have snowballed into 1 of like 4 superpowers in today's age. Yet it's real life equivalent is a quagmire of war for all major parties in the world. Let's look at what factors have prevented snowballs in our current time and apply them To game mechanics.
     
  6. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

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    Well, I mean I think the main reason is that leaders aren't immortal and don't have complete and utter control over the entire civilization's actions. Real Civs aren't playing with an "end game" in mind most of the time. Nobody ever researches iron working with the mindset that it will lead to mechanized infantry one day. One start would be random tech advancement (in the fashion of Alpha Centauri) but people would hate that.
     
  7. Tacgnol

    Tacgnol Warlord

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    Not gonna read the entire thread but, that kind of thinking literally just punishes success and makes the late game more of a slog and winning even slower and more boring.

    Kind of like Civ 5's happiness system that directly punishes growth and expansion, and makes the game IMO the least fun of the entire franchise even if it does limit runaway expansion more than IV or VI.

    There needs to be a reward for doing well, and being able to dominate the last few civs in the game with bombers and tanks against their knights provides that. Especially for kids, who are much more of the game's market than serious adults who want a full-game challenge on Deity.
     
  8. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    I am in favour of having civs forming alliances against players who have a large lead, human or AI.

    It happens with multiplayer games quite often.
     
  9. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    According to this article, the median age of Civilization gamers is 31. So definitely not kids.

    As for your others points, they've been discussed in depth in this thread and you're welcome to read through it. As a a quick summary: it isn't about punishing players and preventing rewards, but about making rewards happen at a steady pace through the game. Rewards stop being rewarding if you're flooded by them. Having to fight tons of knights by tanks is certainly not a reward in my book.


    As for the idea of having the AI gang up in the late game, I believe it was coded to do this in Civ3, and players hated it. Similarly to vanilla Civ5 where the AI were players competing to win rather than world leaders behaving historically. Ideally you'd want historically sensible behaviour to be similar to game winning behaviour, but that is a whole and other design challenge in its own right.
     
  10. DJ_Tanner

    DJ_Tanner Emperor

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    To be fair, that source has a very serious self-selection bias. They do not use a random sample but rather people must opt into taking their survey. To the extent that bias exists innwho is willing to take a survey or interested in their personal "gamer motivation profile" these results will be biased in the same direction.
     
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  11. Olleus

    Olleus Deity

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    Sure, but this is far from the only source that says stuff like that. A quick google gives a long list of research that puts the average age of PC gamers around 40. I struggle to believe that a game like Civilization will lie significantly below that mean. A little above it seems far more intuitive.

    I'm not saying that this is scientifically-rigorous, double-blind, peer-reviewed research, but at some point we need to accept that the popular image of all gamers being 14yo boys is just not true any more.
     
  12. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    There is absolutely no doubt the average Civ fan is older than the average Nintendo fan (even including those who grew up with the NES into the mix).

    @Kimiimaro once stated that he's 15.5: https://forums.civfanatics.com/posts/14751503/

    What are your thoughts about younger Civ fans?

    Me, I believe that the likes of Kimiimaro are important for the future of the Civ series, as he represents a new generation of Civ fans.

    By the way, I'm in my late 20s, which is still younger than the average Civ fan (and am also a Nintendo fan since the early SNES era).
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
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  13. king of nowhere

    king of nowhere Warlord

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    i expect that a complex game like civ will appeal to the more intellectual gamers, which generally are older and more mature.
    as for the ganging up, maybe not the whole world declares war on the player, but stuff like making the AI more inclined to do research agreements and alliances with others who are lagging behind would not be bad
     
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  14. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    I'm 20 but I already knew the series around the time III came out (though I never played III myself; we always played II).
     
  15. shaglio

    shaglio The Prince of Dorkness

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    I haven't paid too much attention to it in Civ 6, but one of my biggest gripes with Civ 5 was that, when an AI Civ wanted me to join them in a war, it was usually the Goliath asking me to gang up on the David, rather than the David asking for help. It'll have to investigate how this plays out in Civ 6.
     
  16. God of Kings

    God of Kings Ruler of all heads of state

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    It's great that there's quite a good number of younger Civ fans here in CFC.

    Me, I began with Civ IV.
     
  17. Kimiimaro

    Kimiimaro King

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    I'm relatively new to Civ. I found some video on YouTube. It was leader defeats from Civ VI. It was interresting, so I was trying to find something more about it. I found out it's strategy game where you have empire, policies, technologies, etc. etc. And I like both strategy games and history, so I installed Civ VI in my computer. It was lagging... But it was working. I was playing the game and kinda getting bored of lagging with these cartoony graphics. One day, I was on YouTube, an I found Civ V leaders DoW and defeats. And then G&K. And BNW. And Sejong. And once again, I was searching about Civ V and installed it on my computer. It was running, it wasn't lagging, it had more nations and better graphics. And I liked it more than Civ VI. I'm currently thinking of getting Civ IV, since lot of people are saying it's the best Civ game...
     
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  18. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    Civ IV is the best game, but with your emphasis on graphics, you probably won't like it.
     
  19. Kimiimaro

    Kimiimaro King

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    I don't care about graphics that much. I was upset with Civ VI it was lagging. If Civ IV has cartoony graphics, ok, I'll accept that, as long as it won't lag. Main is the gameplay for me.
     
  20. Leyrann

    Leyrann Deity

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    Imo V is the worst game, at least out of the last three. Then again, I don't have lag with VI.
     

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