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So apparently, the AI has not been improved

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Kruos, Feb 12, 2019.

  1. Grotius

    Grotius Chieftain

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    I'd rather play a "quite fun" game that supposedly "isn't very good" than a "very good game" that isn't fun. lol.

    Anyway, I think Civ 6/GS is both good and fun. I get plenty of challenge because I choose not to win by combat. Also, in multiplayer it's a big challenge.
     
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  2. ChocolateShake

    ChocolateShake Chieftain

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    I'm curious @PhilBowles, which games do you consider to be strategically challenging or have a good AI, if any? I think it'd be interesting to review them. I personally can't think of any mainstream games that would fit that category as a single player experience at the moment, while still appealing to a wide audience. Multiplayer games are there for players looking for a tough challenge where decisions are severely punished, but they're stressful as a result. I do enjoy them but it's a different thing.

    The issue with adding difficulty is it reduces accessibility and can also affect creativity in playstyles, and single player games I'd say want to encourage both of those aspects.

    Finding more optimal paths to victory, role playing, or setting constraints seems to me like the best way to get challenges out of single player games. Civ is still doing great for those options. As you said it's quite fun, and though the AI is far from perfect I'd say its improved a lot from release and can punish players who underestimate it too much.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
  3. steveg700

    steveg700 Warlord

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    Well, I play with both hands tied behind my back currently, so if that's tailoring the experience, I'm doing it.

    But fighting with both hands tied behind my back isn't going to prove satisfying for me or quite a few others, and there is no other historical 4X game to move onto, so I remain and I lament the persistence of glaring deficiencies when the mood strikes.
     
  4. Ferocitus

    Ferocitus Warlord

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    Fair enough. The issues that rankle some people are still there after a year or more of persistence. I'm sure there's some solution to the Gordian knot you've tied you're own hands with. Maybe a mod of some sort? :)
     
  5. Trav'ling Canuck

    Trav'ling Canuck Warlord Supporter

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    My personal solution is to skip GS. I pre-ordered three copies of Civ 6 deluxe edition (one for myself, two as gifts) as I loved what the dev team did with Civ 5. Despite disappointment with the base game, I pre-ordered three copies of R&F as I still had confidence in the dev team. Now that I understand the game experience they're trying to create with 6, I'm comfortable sitting this one out.

    I still love the series. I'll still follow the evolution of Civ 6 with interest, including the upcoming patches and eventual third expansion. I'm genuinely curious to see how they evolve the game, both over the rest of the development cycle and eventually (presumably) into Civ 7. But I can enjoy doing that without firing the game up. There are other things I can play when I have time to sit down for a computer game.
     
  6. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Warlord

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    Very few games have especially good AI - but all I've ever demanded of this AI is that it can actually use all of the game mechanics. The inability to use aircraft remains glaring as an AI fault even though it is of rather limited gameplay significance. The AI needn't master the loyalty system, but it should at least be able to avoid being unnecessarily punished for it, by simple measures such as not forward settling and placing (and keeping) governors in low-loyalty cities where this would change loyalty pressure to positive.

    As far as challenge, any older Civ titles spring to mind - and in Firaxis' current stable, X-COM (although that's tactically rather than strategically involved, and there's a fair bit of RNG involved). In general I agree that strategically challenging games need to be multiplayer, such as RTS games and Magic.

    Accessibility is one thing, but at least nominally difficulty levels exist for that very reason - to cater to players of different skill and experience levels. I can't beat Civ IV at its highest difficulties, for instance, and I favoured playing Civ V at Immortal because Deity tended to demand relatively stereotyped, optimised play patterns.

    Where Civ VI has gone wrong in my estimation is in drastically lowering the difficulty at higher levels of play. The game should be a sandbox for those who want to play it as such ... but not at the highest difficulties. A strategy game, largely by definition, is a game in which you need to adopt a strategy to win, and deviation from that strategy should carry penalties. Civ VI is to other Civ games what Rome II was to the rest of the Total War franchise in that respect: more or less anything goes, and while it would be unfair to say no forward planning is required, the game is exceptionally forgiving even on Deity of changing course late or making non-optimal plays.

    There was a big drop in difficulty from Civ IV to Civ V, but the essential structure of the difficulty levels remained intact: as you progressed further up the difficulty ladder, you had to get a better understanding of the game's systems and play in progressively more optimal ways to succeed. I've literally beaten Deity in Civ VI without understanding certain mechanics, such as amenities, and without having any specific idea of tech progression, and that's with peaceful victories rather than through conquering the AI. That was admittedly early in the game's life and it is more difficult than it was at release, but I've still never needed to memorise tech progression or policy cards, or necessarily what certain uniques do and how to use them to best effect.

    If decision-making is going to be of reduced importance, at the very least I'd rather see fewer forced decisions and unnecessary resource buckets that exist more to give you something to do on most turns instead of clicking "End Turn" than to have any real game impact.

    Unfortunately this direction for Civ VI is either by design or a consequence of the fact that, as Firaxis proudly proclaims, only their own in-house 'expert' player plays the game on a difficulty as high as Emperor. Throughout the streams the devs talked about balancing disasters so they had a balance of positive vs. negative impacts, for instance, to the extent that even originally negative-only events like dust storms increase fertility in the final version. That might be fair enough, but ... the disasters have no real negative effects. This has been pointed out by game journalists, who for the most part are not experts in individual games. Climate change, RPS reports, just stops after a while and without having particularly impactful effects on the game.

    All that suggests to me that the devs either have a poor idea of balancing positives and negatives, or actively want most decisions and events to have more positive than negative effects, further reducing the strategic importance of making the right ones. The same was true in Rise & Fall: they discussed giving Dark Ages both upsides and downsides, but never apparently considered downsides to Golden or Normal Ages, while the Dark Age downsides ended up being trivial (granted, so for the most part were the upsides).
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  7. acluewithout

    acluewithout Warlord

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    I think the problem is challenge generally, not just the AI.

    RnF was clearly intended to add challenge via loyalty. And it did, briefly. People were really struggling with the new loyalty system when RnF first came out. But then people worked out you could just steamroll the AI and so the challenge disappeared.

    So far, it doesn’t look like GS has improved challenged given the way disasters and resources are implemented. The AI also seems to be struggling with resources and some balance changes appear OP (pillaging, Pingala) is also not helping.

    Part of the problem is FXS don’t really do anything to increase challenge between difficulty levels other than flat bonuses for the AI. It’s not practical to have different AI for each level; but at higher levels, FXS could tweak the game rules to increase challenge. EG make dark ages harder to avoid, give the AI discounts to resources or greater loyalty, tweak the impact Era has on loyalty, make some Eurekas harder .

    FXS need to treat each difficulty level as like a different “rule set”. Almost like mini-scenarios. So, when you play an Immortal game instead of Prince, the game is palpably different.

    FXS is scared of punishing its players. I get that. But they can manage that by walling more punishing mechanics behind walls and options. Making disasters optional is a baby step on that front - but fundamentally they need to look at what rules should govern Emperor, Immortal and Deity games versus say Prince. It’s just crazy all difficulties use the same rules.

    Look at the last patch notes. FXS are clearly trying to improve the AI. But it’s obviously hard to actually program good AI. Given that, making the game’s difficulty hinge only or solely on the AI is just maddness. FXS need to step back and look at difficulty overall.
     
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  8. pgm123

    pgm123 Warlord

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    I haven't made it to modern era yet because I'm trying out things, but I played an Egypt game and ended up in a war with Indonesia and ended up with solid naval combat. I'm not sure why she declined a surprise war against me unless it was because I was so clearly targeting her former city/free state. I wouldn't say it was a huge naval battle--I lost only about two ships--but it was more than I saw in Rise and Fall.
     
  9. Shorlin

    Shorlin Chieftain

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    Yeah.. poor old AI feels like its struggling with the new mechanics. Expansion is fun as a sandbox but I think a patch or two is needed.
     
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  10. pgm123

    pgm123 Warlord

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    I think the AI isn't building walls anymore for some reason. I noticed this before GS, though. Maybe it was in a previous patch and I wasn't paying attention.
     
  11. steveg700

    steveg700 Warlord

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    I haven't tied my hands. Firaxis is the only game in town, so until they have a competitor, it's worth pointing out where they have a ways to go. Maybe a year or more of persistence doesn't do it. Maybe more people need to be agitated. Sounds like an argument for escalation as much as letting'em off the hook. At some, it's just the principle of the thing.

    At any rate, I seem less rankled than some of those who complain about complaining. Maybe they should just let it go. I guess it's just the principle of the thing for them too.
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2019
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  12. steveg700

    steveg700 Warlord

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    AI is building walls definitely.
     
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  13. Aristos

    Aristos Lightseeker

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    Yeap. And I confess I am having much more fun than I expected. 150 turns in, early still, but haven't seen a big AI blunder yet (in fact, I lost a city to Hungary... recovered it after a bitter war, but wasn't easy). We'll see how it progresses...
     
  14. Fluphen Azine

    Fluphen Azine What is Fluphen Azine?

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    Sounds like you got the Cure!
    Any chance you can refer me to your doctor or at least tell me what medication they prescribed you?
     
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  15. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Chieftain

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    Here's your improved AI tested

    As a reminder, here's how it used to be on CIV:Warlords Deity

    Turn 1: The AI declares war on you. The AI has already planned and moved its forces next to your shared border
    Turn 2: AI forces cross the border and move next to your city
    Turn 3: AI captures the city
     
  16. Rambo919

    Rambo919 Chieftain

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    I remember that Civ4 AI was bloodthirsty as hell.
     
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  17. Infixo

    Infixo Warlord

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    The linked post contains 2 examples when it is a human who starts the war. These are simply wars that AI doesn’t want, so I am not surprised by its behavior.
    Wars started by AI on purpose look quite differently.
     
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  18. Isengardtom

    Isengardtom Chieftain

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    I have a feeling Diplo AI is definitely better.

    The way they attack / use builders and such probably not
     
  19. Uberfrog

    Uberfrog Warlord

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    Indeed. If the AI decides on war, Steps 1 and 2 happen just like in the good ol' days. Step 3 is a bit debatable, but the difference between Civ IV and Civ VI is 1upt and highly effective defences (and bombard) in walled cities. There's a heck of a lot more decision-making needed from the AI.

    The tactical AI sucks and we all know it, but the idea that those "tests" prove anything is highly debatable.
     
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  20. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Warlord

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    Or simply use the tried and tested method of scaling, as most older games did (not just older versions of Civ): in a Civ context, production, gold, tech and culture costs for the player would increase with difficulty level. So a tech that cost, e.g., 120 bulbs on the default difficulty might cost 180 on Emperor, while the AI plays at the costs found at the default level. In the early Civ games an equivalent result was achieved by keeping costs the same but giving the AI a production modifier (not just a flat bonus X science or whatever).[/QUOTE]

    It's pretty typical in Civ VI (and Civ V) for the AI to move an army near your city before declaring war - in fact it can be a bit too choreographed and easy to play around (and you can 'confuse' an AI that's about to attack by giving it gifts or otherwise adding positive diplo modifiers so that its programming will instruct it not to attack. Often it will just leave its units on your border doing not much).

    The only stage it struggles with is "AI captures the city", which is down to the game mechanics making this much harder than in Civ IV (though easier than Civ V with its too-high intrinsic city defence), at least when players are controlling the city - the AI has no trouble capturing city states.
     

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