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Scaling of Diplomatic Units

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by YukiN, Nov 1, 2018.

  1. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I built twice as many diplos at that single point in time by knocking off four envoys just before Industrialization, building each in one turn. I'm not sure I'm better off saving my gold (see below), but... I do follow your reasoning, and know this is inefficient.

    In the two games in which I recently happened to stockpile and promote envoys, I won a DV going away. I did this the obvious way: building a tech lead, beelining for Telecommunications, and preparing to fight last-ditch wars. (I said all this above.) I had gold coming out of my ears at Industrialization. I only got low when I promoted my fleet to Destroyers and Battleships. This is standard for me in a well-played Carthage game. So...

    How could I have spent my gold to reach that tech faster? I rushed every science building and picked up every science Wonder. Building a bigger military? Mine was more than big enough, given that all I needed was a fleet on two oceans to head off AI navies, and mine was both the best-promoted and most advanced (almost always one level ahead). It was pretty much whack-a-mole until Telecommunications (as it often is with a good Carthage game, where I conquer/vassalize my continent before meeting the other). Do you really think I worry about promoting envoys?

    If there's one area that could always be better buttressed, it's happiness, especially when I'm being steadily dogpiled. I actually feared running out of gold due to that. But often the answer to brief unhappiness was switching to Wealth — and guess what that did to my income.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  2. ColonelCarter

    ColonelCarter Chieftain

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    You shouldn't be able do this. If you've used every paper you have on Envoys, you shouldn't be able to upgrade to Diplomats, because they cost 2 paper, and you have no surplus.
     
  3. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    The first two promoted envoys go out to nearby CS, and the last two follow one or two turns later.
     
  4. ColonelCarter

    ColonelCarter Chieftain

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    So does it let you upgrade one because you're at zero, but then prevent the rest because you're at -1? So you expend the 1 Diplomat and upgrade others?
    If I'm understanding correctly, you're effectively having 1 diplomat active at a time (maybe 2?), which is no better than expending your Envoys as Envoys to free up your paper for Diplomats.
    It also feels kinda cheaty if you're going into negative paper, because no vanilla unit required multiple resources so there just isn't a safeguard to prevent upgrading a resource-costing unit at 0 of the resource.

    Also, even if you do manage to squeak out the +5 influence a Diplomat has over an Envoy for that 1100 gold upgrade cost, surely just purchasing normal units and gifting them would give that much for cheaper, right? (unless you're already doing that for every non-allied city-state)
     
  5. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I don't remember how it worked, as it's been over a week. As to what I'm better off doing in your opinion... I appreciate the advice, but have already explained why a more efficient ROI doesn't apply in my two cited cases.
     
  6. YukiN

    YukiN Prince

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    Right, let's move on from here. We can all agree that upgrading is unappealing except in corner cases. Does anyone feel that changing to era scaling would not be a meaningful improvement? If so, why? And do you feel the proposed change is detrimental or just meh?
     
    vyyt, phantomaxl1207 and CppMaster like this.
  7. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    1. Yay.
    2. I already said it earlier, but to repeat, I think an adjustment to the envoy/diplmat cost difference would be an improvemnt.
     
    phantomaxl1207 likes this.
  8. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    So what is the proposal? That we have emissaries all game that cost X production (scaling with era), cost 1 paper (does this scale?), and provides X influence (scaling with era)?
     
  9. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    Scaling doesn't make as much sense to me in this case as it does in others, because of the impact of the WC.

    If you take this into account, maybe scaling isn't as appropriate as dramatically increasing the hammer cost in the envoy-to-diplomat transition (as it is now) in tandem with a semi-commensurate boost in influence (more than there is now).
     
  10. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    My idea-
    Spoiler Costs scale with era, similar to missionaries :

    The current problem is that the techs that unlock envoys, diplomats, and ambassadors are unappealing because of these unlocks. This is the only example of a tech that has a negative effect for unlocking in the game.
    Its really counter-intuitive and its a really frequent question in the frequently asked questions tread.

    We do need costs to increase over time, but it just makes a lot more sense to attach a negative effect to era advancing rather than a specific tech. We do the same thing for food specialists eat.


    Spoiler New diplomatic units :

    So all of the units would have the same base cost (or very close base costs). What makes them different units?
    1. Movement speed. By giving later units more movement speed, we actually have a situation where I want to unlock them, rather than wanting to avoid unlocking them.
    2. Influence. Each new unit could give slightly more influence than the unit before it.

    By keeping production costs the same as previous units, these become true benefits, rather than underwhelming compensations.
     
  11. Galbias

    Galbias Prince

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    Yeah, given that there are already a bunch of things tied to advancing through the eras (some good, some bad), diplomatic unit production cost seems like a fair thing to do. I liked the idea of influence from each unit declining but that was partly to counter the 3000+ Influence you would frequently see, and having the Influence decline at a higher rate the more Influence you have already does a good deal to fix that, I think. This way would be simple and easy to understand while also being consistent with the idea that era advancement changes some things.
     
  12. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    It's not an insignificant amount of new code, though - wouldn't it just be easier to bring production costs in line with expectations?

    G
     
  13. YukiN

    YukiN Prince

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    Pretty much what CrazyG said. I would include a paper cost increase in one of the eras as well.

    Three problems right now.
    1) There is a noticeable balance problem for the techs involving diplo units. They are avoided as "bad" techs
    2) The jump from Envoy to Emissary is particuparly large, exacerbating 1
    3) There is a design problem because techs being a downgrade is unintuitive and goes against the design of the rest of the tech tree

    Solving 3 with helps resolve 1 and 2 as well. It also requires the most work as it digs the deepest. 1 stems from 3 and can't really be solved on it's own.

    For next patch, just adding a diplo unit in Renaissance to resolve 2 would tide us over if we need to discuss this more. It's the lower hanging fruit, but starting from design is the better long term solution IMO.

    Diplo-unit costs also cannot be reduced too much as the scaling give civs that are behind a fighting chances (important IMO) and controls influence inflation (personally not that concerned because of parity even if it looks ugly). The best marker we can attach this scaling to that we can think of is era.
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2018
  14. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    Basically the core problem is that we need the amount of hammers spent to get X influence to increase over time, but without linking it to a specific tech. I think era advance is a pretty smooth to do that, I don't think you can adjust the costs of the existing units and get the same thing done.
     
    ElliotS likes this.
  15. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    Can't you make the influence boost more commensurate to the production cost, so it's closer to a moot issue?
     
  16. CrazyG

    CrazyG Deity

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    No. If envoys cost double what an emissary costs, but earn double the influence, you get this big influence inflation problem. End game would have all city states having 1,000's of influence.

    What's important is the influence you get relative to hammers spent. That amount needs to go down over time (unless you want 1,000's of influence in every city state).
     
  17. Gazebo

    Gazebo Lord of the Community Patch Supporter

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    What would be the base scaling value ? 100?
     
  18. YukiN

    YukiN Prince

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    Is there something wrong with using Missionary or current diplo-unit values?
     
  19. CppMaster

    CppMaster King

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    Why exactly it's bad to have 1000 influence in CS? Is it because it'd be too easy to have friends and allies? Why not just scale threshold for Friendly and Ally statuses and maximum negative influence with the highest era in the game? Then influence from diplomatic units could just be proportional to production cost and techs that unlock new diplomatic units would actually be beneficial.
    I guess influence rewards from quests and passive generation from trade routes should also increase with era.
    What's the downside?

    //Edit: scaling with population of CS also makes sense.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
  20. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    Basically, friendly and allied status. They're done in the tenths, but with influence scaling, diplo units increase in the hundreds.
    Comparing them to missionaries is fair. Without the extra cost for missionaires, they'll be spammed everywhere. To much unit management for people and for PC memory.

    Diplo units are restrained by the availability of paper. This change is what made diplo spamming bearable. But the requirements for paper only increase with the advent of new diplo units. So, crazy idea here:
    ******************
    1st. Make paper requirement for diplo units increase with era.
    Ancient-Classical, require 1 paper each unit. [...] Modern, require 4 paper each diplo unit.

    2nd. Make national diplo wonders give more paper at key technologies.
    Thus, delaying the diplomatic tech is pointless, as paper is hard to get by and it could result in diplo units not being able to produce due to the lack of paper.

    3rd. Make better diplo units very expensive.
    This is a boost to wide play. Wide civs have more gold, so they can purchase diplo units very often, while tall civs are usually better producing them, which means precious production turns invested in diplomacy. The technologies cannot be avoided, since it would make it impossible to produce units.
    ******************

    As it is now, tall civs have spare paper, thanks to extra great diplomats and diplomatic wonders. They could sell it to wide civs, or negate them the resource.
     
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