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[GS] So, how do people feel about Eras?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by acluewithout, Mar 21, 2020.

  1. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    How do people feel about the Era mechanics?

    I honestly can’t work our if I like them or not. A well placed early or mid game Golden Age and the right dedication can really open up the game if you’ve prepared for it. But golden ages can pretty dull outside of dedications or edge cases. Personally, I’d like Golden Ages to have a bit more of a downside so getting them was more of a trade off (currently the only trade off is maybe being more likely to get a dark age).

    I really enjoy Dark Ages, and the Dark Age Cards are very powerful and fun. I also like how golden ages and dark ages have a sort of rhythm, where golden ages are about expansion (extra loyalty and certain dedications), and dark ages are about consolidation (reduced loyalty and certain dark age cards that really encourage consolidation).

    Earning Era Score can sometimes be fun at the edges, eg holding off clearing a barb camp or taking a T1 government to guarantee a Dark Age. But often it feels a bit repetitive (sigh, time to gold buy a galley), or quite RNG, although I do also like how Era Score does buff certain mechanics through the back door - eg City States and Suze is more important, which makes CS quests (even for non-science or culture CSs) more important and Amani is more important, etc. Meh. Yeah, overall it’s okay.

    I feel like the number of dedications are too limited. We should be choosing out of 5 dedications not 4, with the fifth maybe being tied to diplomacy. I also don’t like how you always start in a neutral era. Don’t know how to fix that - I guess you could randomnly start in a dark, normal or golden age, but perhaps that would be too rng.

    I also really can’t stand the Medieval Era auto World Congress. I just inwardly grown every time the WC just pops up asking me which unit should get +5. But that’s more a gripe about how the WC has been implemented.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Sostratus

    Sostratus Emperor

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    I like eras mechanic and the world era system. It gives us a very handy measuring stick with which to tie all sorts of possible mechanics together. I do wish era score and score victory could be tied together in a future game in a balanced way.

    Anyways, I like dedications from the standpoint that you sort of set a limited target for yourself. But I think the way golden and dark ages “reward” you in the next era is backwards.
    What I would rather see is something like you have dedications at the start of an era, and at the end of an era there is some group of permanent bonuses - like how social policies worked- that depend on what you achieved in that era. And some kind of “era score” reward that ties to score victory.

    It wouldn’t really work in Civ6 but I think the idea could be okay. I ultimately would like to see the era system used as a series of mini games where players can compete on various fronts. That way the game can stay a bit snappier and avoid “click next turn for 100 turns” because you always have some new, changing subobjective to help you get your ultimate victory objective
     
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  3. Lily_Lancer

    Lily_Lancer Emperor

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    The era system is not very good in my opinion.

    1: The world era does not reflect the actual era, spaceports are usually built in the Medival or Renaissance era, however Great People follows the world era, this makes funny scenes that when Da Vinci is imagining airplanes people around him are actually building spaceports and preparing for a moon launching

    2: The dark era is so good. The negative side of dark age policies seems to be a joke since you can use the policy for 1 turn and substitute them thereafter. (For example, Inquisition)
    How about forcing to take a random dark age policy as dedication at the beginning of a dark age?(It seems that allow selection this will still be too strong, random may be a better way)
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2020
  4. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    Don’t disagree with any of that.

    That said, I’ve had some long post previously about how I think the system should work, but I’ve sort of come around to the view that the current system is about right but could maybe use a few common sense tweaks.Looking at the Era system, I think there is a bunch of stuff FXS could do differently, but a lot of it would have trade offs in terms of ease of implementation and balancing.

    I think a key improvement would just be having a Fifth Dedication. Four really is very narrow. There’s a mod on steam that does that, although the implementation is a bit kludgey.

    Beyond that, I could see maybe having more policy cards leveraging Era (maybe Golden Age Cards) and, like I said, perhaps Golden Ages having more of a negative (eg maybe part of just more complex empire management mechanics). Or maybe Wonders you can only build if you have a Dark Age or Golden Age (surprised we don’t have Wonders tied to particular governments).

    Side bar: I like how Wonder add to Era Score, which sort of makes all Wonders a bit more valuable. I think that’s actually a bit like your suggestion about each Era being a race to do certain things.

    1. Agree.

    2. I don’t think of the negatives a negatives. I think of the cards just being situational depending on how the positive and negative work. eg No Settlers isn’t actually a negative for extra trade yields, it just makes the trade yields more situational.
     
  5. The googles do nothing

    The googles do nothing Prince

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    I enjoy the getting the banner notice that I earned era score and I mostly enjoy scrambling to get those last two or three points to get a golden age, however something feels off with each era starting and ending at the same time for all civs. I would be interested in trying a game where eras are tied to technology advancement, as well as having more punishing dark ages with more damaging natural disasters. I think those ideas will only happen in mods.

    p.s. GA dedications are one more reason to go wide.
     
  6. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    The idea of eras is good on paper, and some of it also works in reality, while other aspects fails, and fails badly.

    My biggest objection to the current system is how a dark age is actually beneficial for you in many circumstances, and how in all circumstances a normal age is the worst that can happen to you. That's just silly, feels gamey and is imo. plain bad game design. I understand that the developers didn't want the dark age to be so punishing that you could never recover from getting one, but the combination of some extremely potent DA policies where the downsides are often not that significant and the possibility of opening up a heroic age after a DA is just an extremely unhealthy combination.

    Imo. the heroic age needs to be completely reworked asap. to stop people from being so motivated in going for the dark age, and the dark age itself needs some tweaking to make it more painful apart from just the loyalty, which is rarely a big issue if you are not ensuing a conquest campaign. What exactly needs to be made of the heroic age I'm not quite certain, whether it should be removed completely (probably the easiest fix) or could be implemented in another form or another way.

    Another objection I have to it is how the dedications are generally poorly balanced, and how you are always choosing from the same dedication in each game for the same era. One of the really good features of Civ6 imo. is how the great people shuffle in order between games, and this is something I'd like to see more of to add more variability. Also there are certain dedications that really need adjusting - most obviously the one that lets you buy Builders and Settlers with faith is extremely OP, and another one I think needs tweaking is the renaissance dark age dedication where you get era score from discovering new continents and natural wonders, which gives you the easiest heroic age ever if you play continents map and haven't done extensive exploration in early game.
     
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  7. blackcatatonic

    blackcatatonic Queen of Meme

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    Dark Ages should be reworked to present a real challenge - something you actually want to try to avoid, not think of as beneficial. At the moment the only difficulties you get with Dark Ages is loyalty which can be managed relatively easily. Cities should starve, production should slow drastically. It should still be possible to navigate your way out of one successfully, but it definitely needs more 'oomph' than some loyalty penalties, benefit/cost policy cards and a shadowy graphics tint.

    Heroic Ages should be reachable from a Normal or Golden Age if you massively overshoot the GA points threshold for the next era.

    I think it should also be possible to lose era points - only under a few situations, but if you, say, lose a city, miss out on a Wonder with <5 turns left or lose a large amount of population from a natural disaster (provided you could reasonably have mitigated it), then that should make it harder to get a Golden Age.
     
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  8. Chefofrats

    Chefofrats Prince

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    As is often the case on this forum, some posters forget that most players play casually, to have fun, and nothing else, which is perfectly understandable. This means that Dark Ages can't be too punishing, as that would discourage playing altogether. And anyway, the loyalty penalty matters - posts complaining of loyalty issues crop up here regularly.

    The only real issue in my opinion is the fact that Normal Ages provide no other bonus than points towards a future age type, and as such are worthless in and of themselves. Perhaps Normal Ages should provide half of Golden Age bonuses, while Dark Ages would provide none.

    Anyway, I'm OK with how Ages work now. The system is not perfect, but it is OK.
     
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  9. bengalryan9

    bengalryan9 Prince

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    There are certainly some silly things about it... seems like every time I conquer a big chunk of my neighbor's territory, I end up in a dark age and they end up in a golden age immediately after. What are their people celebrating, losing 3/4 of their empire?

    I think the fact that a lot of players actively seek dark ages tells you a lot about the mechanic.

    I also agree dedications could use some balancing.
     
  10. blackcatatonic

    blackcatatonic Queen of Meme

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    I am a casual player (never played anything higher than King). I have never had a loyalty problem in a Dark Age that I couldn't solve. There is a whole gulf of middle ground between Dark Ages being what they are now and too punishing.
     
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  11. Mahi

    Mahi Warlord

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    To be honest I don't care for it much. The Dark Ages often comes when it's most inconvenient and Golden Ages do not make much difference - except the dedication that allows you to buy settlers and builders with faith (which may be a bit OP imo).

    For me it seems pretty random whether you gain enough Era scores or not to reach the Golden Age. It's an annoying factor, when you are in a middle of a war and you suddenly end up in a dark age, crippling your loyalty.
     
  12. Boris Gudenuf

    Boris Gudenuf Deity

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    I started out dead against the entire Era system: too artificial, too Euro-centric in their aspects and titles, and in the implementation in Civ VI, the terms Dark and Golden applied to Eras is Meaningless since a 'Dark Age; is usually anything but.

    I've come around a little bit. Part of this is from following the announcements (and speculating) about the new Humankind game, which is apparently basing the entire game around Eras, in that you change your entire Civ (Faction) each Era and so have, as one Poster wanted, a Mini-Game in each Era with potentially an entirely different set of aspects to your playing style.

    But to make 'Eras' work, IMHO, requires several changes (which I don't realistically expect to see in Civ VI):
    1. Eras should be specific to each Civilization. That is, the world does not march lock-step into a New Era, but falls into it one at a time - sometimes, in fact, dragged into it kicking and screaming, as happened to many countries entering the Industrial Age or impacted by the advent of somebody else's Colonial Era - as in, being turned into Colonies, which is rarely pleasant in the short run.
    That means that 'Era lengths' should be indeterminate and it should be possible to practically skip some Eras (Medieval, for instance) because the conditions just don't apply.

    2. A Dark, Heroic, or Golden Age should require a major change in playing style and aspirations. It should NOT be Business As Usual with a few modifications or even Dark Age Preferred because it gives you unique Benefits. For play balance, (i.e., to make the game enjoyably playable at all) the 'Ages' might even be divided by Aspect. That is, you could be in a Dark Age politically, in which it is hard to maintain loyalty and trade among all your cities, but Technologically there are even boosts of some kind - like the wider spread of iron working and primitive steel technologies during the 'dark ages' of the European 6th - 9th centuries CE or the frequent adoption of advanced military weapons during 'Dark Ages' full of threats. Likewise, a Golden Age might be a delight of Amenities and Loyalty, but a Dead Zone of Technology or Exploration because everybody is too content to bother with anything New. (That is, you can obviously still explore the map, but getting a newly-founded city to grow might be really difficult because nobody wants to move there from the Nirvana that is your original set of cities)

    3. The kind of Age you move into should be very difficult to predict. The idea of 'working towards' a Dark Age is absolutely ridiculous and has aspects of what I consider the worst elements of Civ VI: Too Much Control by the gamer and thus, Fantasy Elements of gameplay - which are unavoidable in any game of this scope, but should be kept to the absolute minimum unless you are intending it to be a Fantasy Game.
    Realistically, since the gamer presumably knows the rules and knows 'what it takes' to start a Golden or Dark Age, there should be a large element of Randomness or Chance to it. Yes, you can keep all your people ecstatically Happy and Loyal and this would (should) be a basic criteria for a Golden Age, but what if their Expectations rise as a result and they want/expect More Amenities than can possibly be provided? Or Barbarians threaten (without actually doing that much damage) and Panic takes over? Or possibly, a criteria for a Golden Age would be to defeat an enemy invasion completely - and the enemy has to declare war on you, so you might try to 'manipulate' him into a declaration, but you run the risk of NOT defeating him or just going into a stalemate that produces no Golden Age but gradually reduces your own population's morale and risks sliding into some form of Dark Age.
    Basically, make the whole process far more of a gamble so that the gamer cannot play with the absolute certainty of getting the 'Age' he wants, but must be prepared to work with and take advantage of the Age He Gets - and that should require some radical changes in play style with each Age/Era.
     
  13. AsH2

    AsH2 Warlord

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    They could change and tie ages to alliances (and evolve the latter from being plain subcriptions of "binomial coefficents" to something that may fluctuate both in amount of members and in level of effect).
     
  14. Casualty of war

    Casualty of war Warlord

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    I wish Era Score rolled over in excess of what threshold you reached. Maybe not one for one, but I always feel silly when I am slow rolling meeting another Civ or seeing a Natural Wonder or clearing a camp. I'm also not crazy about missing a threshold and having those excess points go to waste.

    I wish there were more Era-specific cards to plug in to give each Era a more distinctive feel, rather than just win-more. Ones that deplete, expire over time as you use them would be interesting too.
     
  15. jasper

    jasper Chieftain

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    Dark age having no unique advantages means it be a snowball effect. 2 or 3 bad things happening means you not only lost out when those bad things happen but now the game gives you a dark age and you suffer even more cause of the age. Being penalized twice now means youre more likely to get another dark age cause of the reduced means to make something positive happen.

    I disagree and think its great that dark ages have their own unique back to the wall advantages. It makes things more interesting when something is not a total loss. Instead, a loss is a loss that opened the door to some thing new.
     
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  16. Chefofrats

    Chefofrats Prince

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    Less than 15% of players have won a game on King or higher, according to Steam stats, so we can assume playing on King is not casual.
     
  17. Galvatron

    Galvatron Warlord

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    What do they play then? And how many people actually finish their games? And what's their lose ratio? And how many people have lost on a given difficulty?

    It was like a year before I won a game of civ, but I was playing on immortal for almost three whole time, and I'd definitely consider myself Hardcore.
     
  18. Chefofrats

    Chefofrats Prince

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    Settler or higher 41,9% of players
    Chieftain or higher 36,5%
    Warlord or higher 34%
    Prince or higher 30,6%
    King or higher 14,8%
    Emperor or higher 9,1%
    Immortal or higher 6,2%
    Deity 5,1%.

    The most common achievement is building 6 improvements - 85,2% of players have it.

    So it would seem roughly half the people who actually launched the game later finished it at least once. Of those who won on Settler or higher, only 35,3% did so on King or higher. Also notice the huge drop between Prince and King wins, much greater than between any consecutive two of the lower difficulties.

    The other stuff you asked about has no Steam stats, sadly.

    As for myself, I played quite a few games on all the lower difficulties before getting to King, where I feel most comfortable as a player concerned with roleplaying aspects of the game rather than maximum efficiency. I remember the noticeable increase in difficulty between Prince and King. I also won games on Emperor, Immortal, and Deity, but I did not enjoy them at all - having to exploit game mechanics rather than simply play my chosen civilization spoiled my immersion, and therefore my fun.
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2020
  19. blackcatatonic

    blackcatatonic Queen of Meme

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    Without getting into the nitty-gritty of what exactly constitutes a 'casual' player, the main point of my post was to say that surely we can make Dark Ages actually feel a little bit more like Dark Ages without making them overly punishing? I also don't see why it couldn't be something that scales with difficulty level, or possibly toggled on/off.

    Undeniably something isn't right if the system encourages you to go for a Dark Age because a Normal Age is actually worse.
     
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  20. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    Agreed. It’s a really fun mechanic.

    Monumentality does feel very powerful. I can’t ever seem to bring myself to pick the other Dedications. Probably worth a tweak.

    Agree and agree. Although I suspect if you rolled over points you’d never ever have Dark Ages, which is maybe why it doesn’t work that way.

    I think the whole ages thing might have worked better if you actually bought ages with Era Score, rather than being rewarded with them. So, if you didn’t have enough Era Score, you’d have to take a Dark Age. But if you did have enough, you could either buy a Normal or Golden Age, or save your points and take a Dark Age for an era.

    Lots or people have said they wish Dark Ages were tougher, and I can see why. But I honestly don’t think it’s the right approach.

    First, I just don’t think “Dark Ages were bad” is historical. The real Dark Ages just weren’t that bad. It was just a name historians gave to a particular period of time (and largely mostly focused on europe), and was mostly just a reference to the lack of records from that time. See Wikipedia link here.

    Second, I don’t think that’s the most fun design. If Dark Ages are just bad, then you’ll want to always avoid them. If you always avoid them... then you never really get to play with them. So the mechanic basically becomes a dead letter (at least for good players).

    I much prefer the current mechanic which mean sometimes I’m actively trying to get a Dark Age. That’s much more dynamic then just “Dark Age bad, must build Galley and clear two barb camps to avoid”. Yes, there are still times want to avoid them, because my cities are a bit shaky or I want to war but only grab a few cities, and so there’s tension trying to avoid one happening. But I in other games I have a different tension, which is trying to manage era score to actually get a well timed Dark Age and then lean into it.

    I could probably live with Dark Ages being a bit tougher, if only because I just wish the game was more difficult overall, but I really don’t think Dark Ages specifically need to be harder to be meaningful or that it adds much in terms of gamepla if they are harder. What I would prefer instead is maybe the bonuses and minuses being via Dedications rather than Dark Age Cards, just so the decision feels more concrete, and maybe Golden Age Dedications having some trade-offs too so they weren’t just always good.
     
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