Session #6: Recursive's Voting Record

Recursive

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I was debating doing one of these. Being the current lead developer, my opinions may have disproportionate influence on the voting despite the fact that balance is not my strongest suit (that's part of why I hired the Magi to assist me in making those judgement calls).

However, someone pointed out that people will be able to see my votes anyway, so by explaining why I voted a certain way, people will have a better base of understanding from which to make their own decisions. This logic seems valid to me.

(Also I can steal all of @Stalker0's hard work by copying and pasting his thread links. :lol:)

Please take my opinions with a grain of salt, not as gospel. I don't promise to do this for every session going forward.

--Don't like 6-01. Too powerful, especially with Freedom's Draft Registration granting the units full XP. I like reducing randomness in such a way that the AI can understand, and it has @ilteroi's Yea vote, so I will support it in the interests of having tactical AI that can play the game better. I understand Stalker's concern, but I think the AI could be taught to use this, and it'd be fun to see it in action.

--Yea to 6-02a. I agree with the original proposal's rationale that we should be consistent with the tech tree gaps, but I also like the idea of taking it from Corporations. Those are still plenty powerful (founder and office bonuses) even with 1 of their 2 free Trade Routes removed, and it makes the game a little more balanced for civs that don't found one vs. civs that do. I'd rather not add an extra Trade Route to everyone, though. That feels like needless complexity for a lategame already crowded with units.

--Weak Yea. I think pdan's rationale makes some sense, but I don't feel too strongly either way.

--Nay. Polynesia already has enough mobility bonuses without every tile being a canal. It's also really weird that a line of head statues would let ships sail through them. At least Feitorias are a major structure. :lol:

--Yea, I guess. Might catch my eye when I want to buy something.

--6-06: Too boring a reward for such a difficult quest, inconsistently useful depending on your supply limit, and doubly nerfing it by also making it once per civilization feels uncalled for.
--6:06a: My favorite proposal if we want to keep the XP bucket, as the reward feels substantial enough without being overpowered. I prefer 6-06e, but I support this over the alternatives and the status quo.
--6:06b: Too weak in early eras (10 units would give you 9 to 11 XP each, which doesn't feel like much), too overpowered in later eras.
--6:06c: Makes Citadels hurt you, and also all the problems from 6-06d.
--6:06d: Incompatible with acquiring the city by trade. Both conquest and Heavy Tribute would require you to pack in all your units around the city, which feels silly and unfun, although the 7 tile radius is at least better than 6-06c.
--6:06e: This feels like it'd be very fun compared to the status quo, and the AI does have some ability to handle high level units properly.
--6:06f: The reward is too weak, but I plan to add in this change regardless of which proposal passes:
Target city has additional requirements of needing to be founded/acquired for at least 10 turns, and has at least 6 population.

--Yea. I don't fully get why this design choice was made. Yes, it has balance implications for Poverty, but why have buildings that pay for themselves? We can fix the side effects in other ways if they're a problem.

--Don't care.

--I like proposal A. It's AI-friendly, feels realistic, indirectly makes Inquisitors more important.

--Weak Yea, largely due to Stalker's point about realism. I do have concerns about the gameplay effects, but I'd be willing to try it out.

--Don't care.

--Sure.

--I don't like dysfunctional Great Merchants, so the status quo is unacceptable. I think the OG proposal may be too powerful, but a and b both seem reasonably balanced.

(6-14) Galley Buff Proposals
--Yea to all. Better early melee vs. ranged naval ship balance seems good, as does having a stronger tool to take out early Barbarian Galleys, which can otherwise be fairly problematic, depending on the map layout.

--Any result is okay with me. I'll let the community decide.

--Weak Yea. Feels weird, but I can't think of a better solution.

--Yea. This is how I always wanted it to function.

--Yea. What it loses in realism, it gains in gameplay benefits by making Diplomats significantly more consistent and useful.

--OG. The community seems to think it's consistently too powerful (especially for Aztecs), and I think the counterproposal doesn't really accomplish that.

--6-20 Goddess of Wisdom Change: I like it on its own (and with 6-22 which doesn't change the position of Forges in the tech tree), but I agree with pdan that moving the Forge earlier makes it function adequately as there's a Specialist option on the top and bottom of the tree.
--6-21 Manufactory Buff Change: Nay. I'm already likely going to be messing with the adjacency bonus code, so I'd like to implement the "counts for all adjacency bonuses" proposal while I'm at it, and if this passes I can't do that.
--Any of the 6-22 proposals: Yea. I think +2 Production to Mines is too powerful. Slight preference for pdan's design.

--Yea to A. +2 Faith and Production to Quarries and Stone Works feels like it could get out of control with the right settings, and three yields to the Palace feels weird in the status quo. azum's proposal feels more balanced.

--Fine with any result. Slight preference for 6-24a as it seems more well thought-out to me.

--Nay. After discussion in the thread, including adan himself changing his mind, I think it'd be too powerful.

--Yea. I feel like removing the described distortions would be good for longterm balancing. I also think we could balance the removal by adding a direct combat bonus VS humans on the highest difficulties if that's necessary.

--Don't care.

--A, C and Nay. I trust azum4roll's judgement when it comes to map generation, but having War Elephants be a City-State gift and thus removing the weird exceptions for them also seems okay with me. I'm also fine with the status quo, as I don't think it's too much of a problem.

--Nay. If we choose a spy system that keeps coups, they're risky, and thus the reward should be worthwhile. This reward is too weak.

--Yea to both proposals. I like the idea of spreading it out. I also may add more Coal to the map as a change outside the VP Congress, as the community seems to have a consensus in favor of it.

--Nay. This is too strong for Wide.

--Nay. OG is too weak, counterproposal is too strong.

--Yea. I like anything which increases strategic decision-making.

--Reluctant Yea. I would like events to be fun and balanced, but I don't think we currently have the resources to make that happen, and the current system doesn't feel like a good addition to the mod.

--Nay. Feels too strong for Wide, feels too powerful relative to other Artist GP.

--C (my own proposal, a tweaked version of the azum model) + the option to turn off Spy Missions that I will implement. I wrote a lengthy explanation as to why I think this is the best model and base for future changes:
Thank you for the summary @Stalker0, I thought it was informative and neutral.

The only things I'd note are that if any of the azum model proposals passes, I will include an Advanced Option to disable Spy Missions, and also, the azum model doesn't remove travel time, only establishment time.

As the designer of proposal C (a tweaked version of azum's model which notably has no cooldown for the steal tech mission), my reasons for proposing it are as follows. These are my opinions and you are free to take them as you wish:
  • Currently it seems to me that half the community likes the concept of powerful spies with a lot of options, and the other half wants much less micromanagement.

    I feel that azum's model of passive benefits (constant Science siphon, the reworked intrigue system, and the reworked rigging system) is the most interesting and useful of the three. Tech stealing (KISS) is often useless when you're ahead of the pack, forcing you to either use diplomats or go for counterspies when it comes to major civs, which removes a lot of strategic decision-making from the game. Science siphons still give you at least some benefit even when you're ahead. The KISS model does retain coups and rigging, so spies as a whole are by no means useless in KISS, although I'm personally not as compelled by having this be the main attraction because I find the combination of options and additional intelligence the azum model offers for major civ spying (even when in the lead) to be more fun, and I like variety.

    On the other hand, the Intelligence model gates a lot of information that I feel shouldn't be hidden, while being nearly useless to the AI as they're unable to remember the information after leaving the city, and have much weaker incentives to stay there than in the azum model.

    Crucially, the passive benefits in staying in a city for a while are useful even if you don't actively do spy missions, which adds an additional layer of strategic choice and allows the system to still have benefits to players who aren't super involved in the spy game, but still want to do the occasional mission. You can keep your spies safe if you want to and still get benefits from it, instead of being forced to risk them on a mission that might kill them. That just feels better.

    I also really like the value added to diplomats and the pile of new intelligence granted by them in the azum model - it feels like taking the best element of the Intelligence model, while still retaining the current 'vision' of spies. Some of it, I could train the AI to make good use of, but even if I don't, Diplomats provide useful benefits in the form of consistent XP, vote trading (which I suspect will be further empowered, as the "irrevocable vote commitments" proposal seems likely to pass), and intelligence to humans. Unlike the Intelligence model, Diplomats have more incentive to stay in a city longer, making it easier to train the AI to use this feature. The removal of coups feels like the right direction to me as losing a spy to City-State RNG feels bad, but there's still a nice benefit for keeping your spy there longer.

    With the option to disable Spy Missions I will add, I think the combination of the azum model and the option is the best hope we have of making the largest number of people in the community happy - both those who like powerful spies and those who like simpler spies - and the best base from which to make future changes.


  • Being able to pick your mission at execution time (and as much as cooldowns will allow, picking an opportune time to strike) rather than having to wait for many turns, gaining no benefit from doing so in the interim and potentially failing, immediately removes some of the most frustrating issues with the current system. This also eliminates the issue with sending a spy to sap a city, only for it to be already conquered in the time it takes for your spy to complete the mission.

  • Civs have limited tools to catch up or hinder a runaway civ other than war. Having spies be powerful makes them a useful counterplay element and an active part of strategic decision-making. You could say they're the "blue shell" of VP. Yes, they can be annoying, but they help give the world a fighting chance. At the same time, this system is still valuable for civs that are winning, offering several options. My counterproposal specifically also buffs Security for players of lower difficulties, making it less punishing for them.

  • azum's model makes all elements of the spy system have value and feel fun - spies, counterspies, diplomats, and City-States (although admittedly City-State spies are less interesting, they provide a powerful tool for DV). Security also feels like a meaningful investment, as the sooner you invest in it, the more substantial the benefits are. I personally feel excited by this proposal as, while it will certainly have its rough spots in the beginning, the various components all feel worthwhile in fundamental design.

  • My counterproposal specifically fixes two issues I see as rather glaring with the azum model. First, the cooldown on stealing tech, which is a mission that doesn't hurt the city owner; having no cooldown on this mission helps make sure that spies will usually have something to use their points for other than their passive bonuses, even if there are a lot of them in the same city. Second, it adjusts the sabotage city defenses mission, which I see as too powerful even with a counterspy mission to block them (see my proposal for the details).

While no model is perfect, and I have my biases (I like powerful and versatile spies), those are my reasons for supporting this model, and I think it goes the furthest towards making the largest number of people happy, which is a goal to strive for!

I also have to agree that this is a really important vote, so please give careful consideration to the available options, and remember that you can cast your vote for multiple options at once!


--Don't care.

--Nay. This would make WLTKD too frequent (remember that resources you already own can also be selected) and is already the case prior to Astronomy. It also weakens the power of trade between civs, which I think is a step in the wrong direction.

--Yea to all proposals. I think any of these changes would be a step in the right direction.

--Nay. Early Culture is intentionally weak to make early Tourism worthwhile. This feels too strong.

--Yea. While I think there are some flaws (in particular, I'm concerned about how strong Wolfpack is), it gives love to a fairly barren and imbalanced promotion tree, a lot of detail has been put into it, and I feel like it's a better starting position for future edits than the status quo.

--Nay. I don't like any of these. OG proposal is the closest, but the double movement through regular tiles in addition to tiles with features is too powerful. The others feel overcomplicated and difficult for the AI to use. I especially don't like proposal C, giving a 20-turn temporary promotion feels bad and weird.

--Nay. While I agree that the problems the proposal aims to solve are in fact problems, I have to agree with Stalker that it's too strong in current form.

--Yea to OG. I hate not being able to have a given City-State type in my game. There is plenty of randomness with the map generation. Thankfully, if proposal A passes it'll be easy to code, and my CustomModOption will still work.

--Weak Yea. I like having guaranteed variety in quest probabilities, especially if it's in combination with the balanced traits as described.

--Nay to the pressure reworks. It feels premature considering there was already a significant nerf in the most recent versions. It would hurt India in particular as well, as they can't build Missionaries.
--Yea to the Notre Dame change. It's a cool concept which is thematically appropriate for the wonder and I'd like to see it in the game. Note that it will be implemented as +30% base pressure according to azum4roll.

--Yea. Variety is the spice of life.

--Yea to b as it seems the most well thought-out and individualized to each improvement, doesn't mess with the text, and doesn't require a specific Ideology. Nay as well, since I'm fine with the status quo.

--Yea. Stalker makes a good argument.

--Yea. Seems alright, brings it in line with other improvements.

--Yea to A (making Laborers separate). Laborers are a last resort option for a citizen. Having them get buffs without Urbanization feels cheesy.

--Weak Yea. I think it'd make it a more compelling choice, but I don't care much.

--Yea. I'm not sure this solves the issues with War Weariness, but based on the points explained in the TL;DR, it at least is a step in the right direction to make any future changes from.

--Any result is acceptable to me, I have no strong feelings for any of these proposals.

--Yea. In combination with the buff in 6-57, I think this is a good change. Heavy Tribute should be expensive Influence wise.

--Yea. Less janky than cutting off global quests only for one civ, and feels appropriate in combination with the nerf in 6-56.

--HELL YEA! I'm tired of seeing every City-State be afraid of me at game start.

--Yea. Everyone agrees that tribute Gold is too much right now.

--Nay. You already can't sell the city until 45ish turns have passed, and I'd rather work around this by making the AI smart enough to handle it. That said, I wouldn't be too upset if it passed.

--Yea. Feels cool, and feels powerful enough to be worthy of a UA without being boring.

--Weak Yea, largely because it makes no sense to me to have a multiplier on a building available at game start.

--Nay. No reason to iterate through all building classes every time the tooltip is hovered over for the sake of something that's only relevant for the three American World Wonders. Waste of time and resources. This should be modmod territory.

--Nay. It already has a lot of abilities, I don't see why the buff is warranted.

--Nay. I agree with Stalker that the building shouldn't be considered in a vacuum. The current Byzantium balance feels fine.

--Yea, mainly because it seems cool and the Celts could use some love.

--Yea. Losing the instant 40 Influence feels painful as it's kinda fun, but I do think this gives Siam more consistent power throughout the game that isn't as susceptible to RNG. I think it's a step in the right direction, design wise.

--Weak Yea. The proposal to remove the AI's % XP bonus against other AI players seems likely to pass. If this proposal passes, it would help the AI regain some of that lost advantage on higher difficulties, because they have a discount on total unit maintenance. If unit maintenance is too high after this, I feel like we should raise Gold sources rather than nerf maintenance costs.

--Don't care.

--Yea! I like including more history in the game - Civ is how I learned about some aspects of world history - and adding more City-States has no real cost in my eyes (other than I might have difficulty sponsoring it, and am not 100% sure I can). I respect Hinin's research in compiling the list of a City-State for each civ! Additional City-States also help with the pool reduction when the No Policies or No Religion game options are enabled, which turns off Cultured and Religious CS respectively.

--Yea. Not as in-depth as I'd like, but a step in the right direction.

--Yea. I agree with Stalker's position: it might have issues, but it's a step in the right direction to balance future changes from. I don't like the binary requirement everywhere. This is also one of the best options to allow more pledges by more civs overall.

(6-73) Keep or Revert Change to Bowman/Atlatlist Promotions
--Yea. While the outcome may have been illegitimate, the change was good in my opinion. The new promotions synergize better with the Mayan and Babylonian kits.
 
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