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RFCE 1.3 Playtest Feedback

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall: Europe' started by gilgames, Apr 6, 2015.

  1. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    Ok, a small teaser.

    NOTE: Units are not done yet. I only placed some initial city defenders

    Spoiler :
     
  2. Xfactor

    Xfactor Chieftain

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    This screen makes me think one thing ... rip poland, HRE is gonna farm them :lol:
     
  3. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    I highly doubt that. Poland starts with Line Infantry, HRE with Axeman. ;)
     
  4. gilgames

    gilgames Priest-King

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    @Abisnthe do you have any feedback about CTD's ?

    @Merijn in 1200 does Kiev have any chance to finish uhv's?
     
  5. merijn_v1

    merijn_v1 Black Belt

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    In theory, yes. In practice, no.

    I deliberately didn't consider the UHV when creating the map. It would make the map very unhistorical and unbalanced.

    Also, most UHV aren't designed for the late start. Kiev is a perfect example for this. You need to plan ahead if you want to go for the UHV as Kiev. If you want to have a chance in the late start, I need to give a huge jumpstart, as the UHV date is very close to the starting year. That is completely the opposite of what the UHV is designed to be. And therefore no fun at all.

    That doesn't mean you can't go for the UHV. All UHV that are finished before 1200 are for free and some get a small jumpstart. Do expect some are harder.
     
  6. Lamabreeder

    Lamabreeder Chieftain

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    Hi,

    right now I am frustrated, disappointed and quite a bit angry towards a mod that bombarded me in its current state with nothing but pointless and completely random unpleasentness. And I am not talking about the technical difficulties like Crashes to Desktop or the complete absence of a player friendly simple download. These I am willing to endure for a promising and exciting mod. Instead I now have wasted four hours of my rare and precious free time for this one. One hour for trying to persuade Tortoise to install, three hours actual gameplay. Download time for the actual mod is not included. I am talking about revision 1157.

    But let me start at the beginning. I downloaded version 1.1 a long time ago but played only a nice, short game as Genua until plague struck when I was about to start some major assault, necessiating a rebuild of my army and many additional turns for my UHV. Since my computer then was very weak and time between turns was long, this was the end of my patience. With my current machine, this is not an issue anymore, and a few weeks ago I excitedly restarted this mod with a preparatory game as England which I played successfully until the onset of the Reformation. Then I switched to the main course and my favourite civ: Byzantium! The start entailed tedium in the form of barbarians, and annoyance in the form of a plague, but everything was scaled to be easily overcome. A short time later Byzantium was an unstoppable powerhouse, and I had lots of fun playing emperor, even though the challenge was a bit low, and the artificial challenges in the form of continuing barbarians representing Mongols, and the Ottoman start were still annoying, especially since the scale of the danger could not be deduced. Which is logical, since these challenges did not evolve naturally (like an AI civ or a barbarian city), but were placed by the hand of god, so to speak. I did win the UHV easily, and had lots of fun, and was content. There was, of course, a slight nagging feeling that things were a bit too easy. And I wanted to build colonies! With Byzantium! Obviously that required a new game in which I would not persue the UHV. But on the same map? With vivid memories of the early game harassment in the form of barbs and plague? Boring! No, worse: annoying!

    So I checked if there was a more current version of the mod - and there was! -, and I read the changelog. Things like the ability of naval units to enter cultural borders regardless, moving diagonally on water through landbrigdes (Hellespont etc.) and a reworking of minor asia sounded enticing enough for me to try the new version 1.3.

    The first view was slightly, but really only slightly, disappointing. No Nicaea, with the very weak argument that it would have been too close to Constantinople. Uhm, hello, and where do the Ottomans start then? Checked a map lately where Bursa lies? Nicaea is important for Byzantium, I can stomach it if you remove it a bit from its historic location. (Well, I can rename a later founded city manually if I want.) And then there is an ugly river artifact at the mouth of the river Evros on which Adrianople/Edirne lies. Well... The interior of Asia minor is actually even worse for cities than before, even though Iconium's position is improved, a city which historically was soon lost. Well...

    I started the game, not expecting big differences from version 1.1 with regard to gameplay. And I was half-right. Individually the differences were not that big, but the synergies of all negative factors combined stopped the fun altogether (at least for me!). I will make it very short. I had 13 turns plague while under constant barbarian assault on all fronts and the Arabian spawn. The Bulgarian spawn came so close after the end of the plague which affected all my european possessions that there were too few defenders to stop them. It is possible the AI would have taken only Adrianople (which would historically be accurate, but so would be the Fall of Byzantium...). I would have taken much more as Bulgarian leader with what Bulgaria had and Byzantium hadn't. This wasn't fun anymore. So I quit.

    ---

    I am not a newcomer to Civ4. And I did even "cheat" in the form of moving units from plague cities into neutral territory to save as many as possible. I did not build anything else than military units, except for workers in Alexandria and soon-to-be-arabian cities. This was actually my second game in 1.3 with Byzantium, but I stopped the first game even earlier, when I accepted the early loss of a swordsman, only to lose Thessalonica a short while later as a more or less direct consequence of this. Lesson learned: 1.3 does require better than optimal gameplay, where optimal gameplay is where you do the right things but still can lose units (reminder: because not all battles have 100% chance you may actually lose an early unit without having made any errors! Guaranteed wins were there for a reason!).

    ---

    I will now generally talk about barbarians and plague, pointing out the limits of employing barbarians and arguing very strongly against the RFC concept of plague, and will instead propose a proven alternative implementation.

    Barbarians are low level substitutes for challenges that you are unable to incorporate easily into the regular flow of the game. They have validity to a certain extent and are fun to a certain extent. Remember, we are trying to play a strategy game here. A strategy game has the implicit contract that you as a player are roughly able to foresee, ideally by deducing or calculating, what you are up against. Barbarians are a violation of this contract because they can appear out of nowhere, practically everywhere. This is acceptable to a certain degree if the player knows what to expect and if he can dispatch them with moderate means. The vanilla Civ game is a prime example of a perfect execution of this theme. It begins to be critical if barbarians start as a significantly more severe threat - the barbarian events from the vanilla Civ game are a prime example for this kind of offense. Barbarians as substitute for outright civilizations, i.e. the Seljuk Turks or the Mongols who invade Byzantium in the east are a more critical offender. They are acceptable only insofar as the player of RFCE is expected to have a rough historic understanding and knows which threats happened where at which times, and thus expects some kind of threat for instance when historically the battle of Manzikert is lost. However, this does not signify how strong this threat is expected to be. I mean, the battle of Manzikert was lost for the Byzantines, the Seljuks beat them severly. If Byzantium is a powerhouse in my game, how strong must the Seljuks be?! I was very relieved when in my game in 1.1 the stack was laughable. And very annoyed, when unexpectedly more stacks turned up the following turns. Umm hello, there was ONE battle of Manzikert, I would expect the Seljuks were clever enough to bring their friends in one big army (which, of course, they did). And when this army is ahistorically beaten I would not expect a rematch too soon. But okay, I can file this under information for the second playthrough.

    I would have found it more satisfying, however, if the stack had been bigger, but there would have been only one. (And I would have gotten an advance warning, i.e. 3 turns prior to this, like the crusade against Constantinople 1204.) This way there would have been a real threat, and the fall of a city or two would have been more likely while at the same time I would have been able to exactly assess what I would have been up against. This rinse and repeat as currently employed is dumb and only fun in a more horizontal context.

    Plague. Plague however in its current form is a completely stupid, unfunny, disruptive and illogical idea for Civ for historical as well as game mechanic reasons. This idea also does not get better by being incorporated officially in Civ 3 (as, luckily, only optional component for scenarios). Or by being praised with the argument that all those killed off units make the game go faster. How sad and pathetic is that? That is like praising a city for its train station - which enables you to leave said city.

    Let's start with the historical reasons, and I will not stop short by refering to an authority in the form of my gf who happens to hold a doctorate in medical history and teaches at the university. Yeah. I asked her if plague historically had any effects on warfare, and she answered, yes, very many, lots more soldiers died by plagues throughhout history than by actual combat. I then narrowed the question if the plague had any significance for military action, like, did it cause one side to have a military advantage over another. The short answer: No. Plague affected all sides.

    Let's continue with the game mechanic reasons. As you remember, I mentioned that we play a strategy game. Intrinsically tied to the already mentioned foreseeability is the contract that you can plan your actions in advance and then execute them with a certain degree of certainty. RFCs plague interferes here with the enormity to completely obliterate plans and actions from many turns ago mainly by killing off units with many turns build time and reducing the productivity of cities to virtually nothing. To make things worse RFCs plague does not hit everything but only some cities and there residing units and other cities and units are spared or only affected later, possibly after having made a conquest that strategically speaking was impossible before. And the distribution pattern of the plague is random, of course. To make matters worse barbarians are not affected. Combine that with a spawning civ with fresh units and at war and you have a first degree fun killer. And a dice game. The fact that plagues are timed is not a grace saver either.

    If you want plagues, please, do it right. There are a number of ways plagues can work... just... not the one currently employed. My idea would be to make plague affect everything and to have "only" economical consequences, hurting city sizes, productivity ect. That's still an offense to a strategy game but at least some degrees lesser than the tactical nuke thrown by god that it currently is. Or you just compare a similar idea from a very good mod named Fall From Heaven II. When the Armageddon Counter hits 30 an event called The Blight occurs. It hits all cities worldwide and gives them unhealthiness equal to the size of the affected city which is reduced every turn by one until it reaches zero. Having played this mod inumerous times I can attest that this event is disruptive but in no way the fun killer RFCs plague is, especially since it hits everything and does not kill off stacks which you took half the game to build.

    ---

    I want to close with the assessment that I have vented enough steam for now to feel significantly better and that I am not unaware of the efforts and difficulties a developer, maintainer and programmer goes through, being the first and last myself. As a player, however, I will fall back to version 1.1 and wait until a number of players find consensus that 1.4 or whatever is a really nice new version. Simply downloadable somewhere.

    Thank you! and hopefully I have not shattered too much porcelain.
     
  7. Panopticon

    Panopticon Utilitarian

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    In brief, I agree that the difficulty level has rocketed upward since the last stable version.
     
  8. Chep

    Chep Emperor

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    regarding the Plague:

    I am one of the few people who actually prefer the current plague mechanic to the "weaker" DoC-version (doesnt kill units) or some of the other suggested alternatives.

    Yes, it can make or break your Byzantium-game (and a few others as well, if you get really, really, really unlucky) but then it is at the start of the game and random, so just go back a few turns or start over if it hits you in your Balkan-cities too close to the Bulgarian spawn.

    You can easily reduce the effect of the plague by stationing a worker in each city, when you notice it spreading (most bigger cities can build a worker in 1-3 turns). the plague will kill the worker and damage your military units but not kill them.

    What I don't like about the plague:

    - It lingers, for no apparent reason, I remember games where Leon (my capitol as Spain) shrunk from size >11 to ~2-3 despite not having any excess unhealthiness for several turns before that. It just seems excessive sometimes.

    - the interaction of the plague with the new stability mechanic is just mean
    1. you get a stability malus for having the plague in a city (since it is usually no longer healthy)
    2. you get a stability malus if you get surprised by the plague (since not having a military unit in a city that still is - overall - happy gives you another malus on top)


    @panopticon the difficulty is only really increased for small civs (or when you start your game since you're usually small then) or when expanding rapidly. this in combination with the often not-obvious stability fluctuations (oh, some of my cities grew, now I am descending into anarchy? Oo) exagerate the harshness of the new difficulty level.
    yes, it is definitely more difficult now than in previous RFCE-version, but imho it just feels too punishing for things that don't seem worthy punishing. (or to put it differently: let your people starve, it will make them happier and raise your stability...yeah).
    I don't want to go too deep into it right now though, since I feel there is already enough on the developers plate and that they chose this direction (this is still under development after all) for some reason.
     
  9. QManNL

    QManNL Chieftain

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    I have to admit, and I've subtly brought this up before IIRC: I don't really play for the challenge; I play because it's fun for me, for whatever reason. I sort of just accept that many of the UHVs are unobtainable for me even though I'll try my damned hardest, using what I know, to achieve them. My strategies and playstyles have changed very much over the, gosh, 5-ish or more years that I've been playing Civ IV, and I've grown a lot (in that sense) by taking the advice of some SoI players (which, by the way, it would be really nice to see a full-fledged strategy thread for this mod). Although, even if I know what to do, there's still the challenge of seeing it through.

    Naturally, I have my own qualms about certain aspects of any mod, but that's just part of the game. I stress out over city placement because I like to maximize the usable tiles while minimizing overlap, not being in a horizontal or vertical line, and being adjacent to river or coast; for this reason, some pre-placements (like the location of Ras, Serbia, comes to mind), agitate my OCD. This isn't something that would differ too terribly much from many other mods or even just playing a game of Vanilla BtS, so this is easier to accept.

    What's more difficult to accept is when game mechanics feel too hindering or compromising, like the horse archer raids on Kievan Rus. Since the focus of the UHV is on colossal growth, I have a difficult time managing to get enough defenders to keep my land from being pillaged. It seems, more often than not, the horse archers kill whatever spearmen I have stationed, requiring me to make more spearmen when I should be focused on building churches and courthouses. In other civilizations, like Poland and Byzantium, the combination of plague and Mongols is an overwhelming obstacle to your kingdom's stability. Byzantium, in fact, never seems to get a break (which I suppose is true, haha).

    So yeah, I'm kind of with this guy, but I have a suggestion... maybe instead of weakening all of your troops, the plague kills a percentage of them and then leaves about 3 turns later. I know this might not necessarily apply to all of Europe, but in a book about Vikings I've read, "The Last Pagans or The First Europeans?" it states that although the plague didn't kill as many Norwegians--in fact killing a somewhat uniform percentage as with most everywhere else in Europe it seems--the Norwegian population was already so low anyway that it took a great deal longer for the economy to recover, and in my opinion, the combat reduction of random individual units is more arbitrary than just eliminating a global percentage, which would be much more realistic. Lastly, perhaps do a quick review of barbarian combat, because I doubt this Lamabreeder guy and I aren't the only ones who find this excessive. Oh, and the UHVs don't need to be harder than they already are :p
     
  10. gilgames

    gilgames Priest-King

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    @ Omannl There are some uhv's which sould be harder then this. Like Hungary's. I just made it on emperor..bah, too easy. But i cant manage the kievians. 1 of 3 is always failed. I admit there is need to arrange some barbs too. but most of the uhvs are doable on monarch. there is no guide for them, but if you check the old feedback thread, you can find many good tips how to...also you can ask us here about anything related to the mod and the strategies too!
    +1 i hate plague kills any unit....
     
  11. Chep

    Chep Emperor

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    Kiev really has trouble with the new stability, went for a "Kievan Food Challenge" record game with them, but gave up after my stability - despite being in a Golden Age - never went above -5.
    Adding Novgorod to the mod without any changes for Kiev doesn't help them much, either. (for example I think it should count if you vasallize them towards the "controll 10 provinces")

    Haven't played Venice, Germany or England lately, but traditionally those 3, Spain & Hungary are amongst the easiest to win with (which is fine, since you will need some civs that just are there for having fun, or to learn the mod for newer players)
     
  12. QManNL

    QManNL Chieftain

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    Ah Chep, I agree with you. I might have exaggerated a bit; I have had success with Spain and Venice at least, and I've gotten pretty close with Cordoba and Hungary on Viceroy lol. England though? I've always lost Caen/Normandy about 10 turns after spawn, and after losing that foothold in France it's pretty hard to recover the strength to take them down. I probably haven't made a serious enough attempt though (it's not like Norway where you can just send a couple of ships and ferry over half a dozen berserkers; France's troops are more on-par with your own).

    This isn't really the appropriate thread for this but I've been having too much fun with SoI lately. I finally got that Antioch win I've been dying for. Yemen is pretty easy. Armenia is my favorite (if there's ever a map extension to the Caucasus, I'll play the heck out of them). So naturally, my recall of RFCE is pretty rusty right now.
     
  13. Chep

    Chep Emperor

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    I never really enjoyed SoI nearly as much as I did RFCE or DoC. Don't quite know why.

    Also with England (in the old RFCE-version):
    you need to get Chivalry before France. Since you start with a few armored Lancers you might be able to get some early victories (Bordeaux or anything west of Paris is usually not too well defended), but if you don't, dont worry and just try to keep them down by getting Germany/Burgundy to harass them, while you stay at peace with them.
    Expand through the Isles quickly and then build up your Armored Lancers(to be upgraded into knights).

    All I remember after that is in the end I had a similar empire as I did with Spain.^^

    Now with Scotland in the mix it might be more difficult, dont know if the stability maps also got reduced.
     
  14. QManNL

    QManNL Chieftain

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    That's interesting. Thanks for the tip. It should've been obvious that I'd need to unlock a particular unit to get a military lead, but I seldom play the English anyway. As for the different modmods, I find that I binge on them. Like I had that huge RFCE kick that lasted from April until early June, then I binged on SoI. I wonder when I'll go back to playing RFCA... RFCE and SoI are definitely my go-tos though.

    On another note, I enjoy the music in these modmods quite a lot. I'm grateful that the modders didn't neglect this aspect of the game. There's no problem if I steal them from the assets folder to listen for myself, right? If so, too late haha :p
     
  15. gilgames

    gilgames Priest-King

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    Taste's are different. For me i.e. soi is so-so but RFCA is unplayable...and unbalanced....

    But England: I stack all my troops to caen or near and take paris and if i can hold it long enough...
    France auto collapse, if not then make peace and they collapse 100 years later...and all the land is yours to take. If they take it back? you screwed!!! :p

    Scotland gives you an extra trouble only and lots of cities to raze...also mainly you can leave them to be...
     
  16. Chep

    Chep Emperor

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    I just started an England-game.

    Seriously this mod is no longer any fun at all. All my cities are happy & healthy, I only own 2 cities in my core, 1 in Wales, the one in Northumbria, Edinburgh, Dublin and Caen, and yet my stability is -9 and some of these start declaring their independence from me in ~1100AD.
    I mean besides the fact that I can't just vasallize the scots, France is always really strng in this version and I have to conquer lots of provinces that are unstable for me...
    If I already start collapsing before I can even start thinking about going for France, the game really stops being interesting for me.
     
  17. Panopticon

    Panopticon Utilitarian

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    This is pretty much my experience of new RFCE too.
     
  18. youtien

    youtien Lyricist

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    Rather than using stability points to limit human player conquest, we should rework on combat system or unit maintainence.

    Without stability system, one can easily conquer the map with your SoD or even with a little more than initial army.
     
  19. gilgames

    gilgames Priest-King

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    Dont blame stability! its nice, only the way its been coded recently is a bit wrong.
    I use 1110 svn. All the new civs, but old way stability :D
    Btw i just finished a game, Spain-Emperor. IT was so easy, spain need more difficult uhvs !!!
    1, you do it, becouse its so evident to mop up iberia and stick with Catholicism is obvious.
    colonies? yes of course. by this time you reached what you could and end turn a lot.
    and for the 3. one you have to do absolutely nothing....
    it was fun till 1200....


    ps: oh the rest of the game (AI's were really interesting to see them...)
     
  20. Xfactor

    Xfactor Chieftain

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    Sometimes in my Spain games France goes super-France and changes to protestantism so its not always as easy, Also Germany + Austria( if Hungary collapses early) expands alot.For the other 2 they are very easy i agree. Cordoba gets sweeped by barbs quite often and the colony UHV is easy to do, except in some situations where france surprises you with a stack of doom and goes for your cities
     

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