Some balance thoughts

zeofig

Warlord
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
146
I've played around 5 games to completion and many more partial games in the past few months on immortal and standard settings (no events), Communitas or Oval maps. I have a few thoughts on some balance issues. I would like to hear if others agree.

Ceremonial Burial
This belief is way too strong. The culture it provides is enormous, and the faith makes it snowball. The more faith you earn, the more cities you convert, the more faith you get. Just converting your own cities and some CS will easily get you to a second or third Prophet, which allows you to convert a neighbour even if they have a religion. If your neighbours have no religion, or if you score either of the theology wonders, things get even faster. This is exacebated by the AI generally being unable to defend against prophets. CB then synergises extremely well with For the Grace of God, and decently with many other beliefs. You can compare the numbers on CB to Transcendent Thoughts: TT yields 2-3 times the value of CB per city, but only triggers per era. You can easily get quite a lot of GPs per era, and their rate keeps increasing into the mid-late game, at times reaching one GP every few turns. In other words, CB totally outclasses TT, and reaches high numbers of cities much more easily due to the big faith yields. Holy Law is similarly outclassed. TT and HL both feel good in appropriate games, it's just that CB in insane. Of course CB requires you to be playing a GP strat to be effective, but for any tradition game I would choose CB over any other belief 100% of the time. I had a number of games where I was completing the third policy tree when the AI was completing their second. I think the concept of the belief is fine, it just needs smaller numbers, possibly combined with removing era scaling or changing the faith yield to something else.

Authority
Authority is great and can help you all game as you grind through the AI's army, and has interesting economic gameplay with tribute and border expansion, but there are many games when it is very weak as an opener. It especially has problems when you have resources which require many techs/workers to use. As authority, you really want to get horsemen, or perhaps triremes or spearmen, ASAP to kill units and get tribute. This is quite constraining since authority gets no early science bonuses, which I believe is its basic problem. You can find ways around this depending on the start, but in many cases you would do far better with progress. There are quite a few civs which mitigate the problems of authority, by having a strong early UU or tribute bonus, or other things like Russia's border yields. However for many civs it's a very inconsistent opener. This low science problem continues to medieval in a lot of games, and I would find myself wishing I'd gone progress as I watch every AI pumping medieval units while I'm still 12 turns from Steel. The bonuses from Imperium and Dominance are good, but limited and circumstantial. Having a militaristic CS to bully helps immensely but they are not too common. My suggestion would be to give authority some more science in some way, perhaps combined with a small nerf to something else. Something like the Ottomans' siege workshop science when producing units would fit thematically, or perhaps simply a flat science bonus of 10 when producing units, perhaps scaling slightly with more policies. This would add a lot of flexibility.

Some more minor thoughts:
Apostolic Tradition

This used to be very powerful as it gave culture. Massive food in the capital is cool, but I would only bother with it as tradition since the capital wants to work so many specialists. And as tradition, well there is ceremonial burial. The faith bonus of 2 per follower per tech is tiny.
Co-operation (and "on growth" strats in general)
I've tried these a couple of times and could not get them to work well. I would like to hear others' thoughts - maybe I was doing it wrong.
Abode of Peace
Seems very weak. The faith/gold is tiny, and minimum influence bonuses seem, to me, entirely useless. The quest reward bonus is nice, but rather low compared to Statecraft and Austria
Menin Gate
The bonus to improvements is cool. However 2 culture and GAP on own unit killed is tiny. Bonuses when your own units die feel quite underwhelming as the player will generally not lose a lot of units at most stages of the game, and this bonus would be small even if it was per enemy unit killed.
AI and Unit Upgrades
I feel that the AI doesn't upgrade its units aggressively enough. I often mow down dozens of AI swordsmen/spearmen when they could be upgrading them for a much stronger defence. Perhaps the AI lacks gold, but since the AI gets arbitrary bonuses anyway I would be happy to see it get some amount of free unit upgrades per turn, if that is technically possible.
 

azum4roll

Deity
Joined
Jul 17, 2018
Messages
2,045
On the last point, Authority AI in particular prefers buying Free Companies over upgrading existing units. Unless they have a Tercio UU then they buy Free Companies and immediately upgrade them.
 

pineappledan

Deity
Joined
Aug 9, 2017
Messages
7,685
Location
Alberta, Canada
Authority
Authority is great and can help you all game as you grind through the AI's army, and has interesting economic gameplay with tribute and border expansion, but there are many games when it is very weak as an opener. It especially has problems when you have resources which require many techs/workers to use. As authority, you really want to get horsemen, or perhaps triremes or spearmen, ASAP to kill units and get tribute. This is quite constraining since authority gets no early science bonuses, which I believe is its basic problem. You can find ways around this depending on the start, but in many cases you would do far better with progress. There are quite a few civs which mitigate the problems of authority, by having a strong early UU or tribute bonus, or other things like Russia's border yields. However for many civs it's a very inconsistent opener. This low science problem continues to medieval in a lot of games, and I would find myself wishing I'd gone progress as I watch every AI pumping medieval units while I'm still 12 turns from Steel. The bonuses from Imperium and Dominance are good, but limited and circumstantial. Having a militaristic CS to bully helps immensely but they are not too common. My suggestion would be to give authority some more science in some way, perhaps combined with a small nerf to something else. Something like the Ottomans' siege workshop science when producing units would fit thematically, or perhaps simply a flat science bonus of 10 when producing units, perhaps scaling slightly with more policies. This would add a lot of flexibility.
I disagree with this
What would be the point of making authority good at everything with no downsides or risk?
Apostolic Tradition
This used to be very powerful as it gave culture. Massive food in the capital is cool, but I would only bother with it as tradition since the capital wants to work so many specialists. And as tradition, well there is ceremonial burial. The faith bonus of 2 per follower per tech is tiny.
Co-operation (and "on growth" strats in general)
I've tried these a couple of times and could not get them to work well. I would like to hear others' thoughts - maybe I was doing it wrong.
Abode of Peace
Seems very weak. The faith/gold is tiny, and minimum influence bonuses seem, to me, entirely useless. The quest reward bonus is nice, but rather low compared to Statecraft and Austria
All of these are rebalanced in my more beliefs mod. I would suggest you try that out.
Menin Gate
The bonus to improvements is cool. However 2 culture and GAP on own unit killed is tiny. Bonuses when your own units die feel quite underwhelming as the player will generally not lose a lot of units at most stages of the game, and this bonus would be small even if it was per enemy unit killed.
The yields on death are so tiny as to be completely insignificant, and that is on purpose. It is there purely for flavor.
I didn't want players to feel rewarded for getting their own units killed. If you know what the Menin Gate is, you will understand my decision to provide something on military unit death.
 

Legen

King
Joined
Sep 13, 2015
Messages
998
Ceremonial Burial
This belief is way too strong. The culture it provides is enormous, and the faith makes it snowball. The more faith you earn, the more cities you convert, the more faith you get. Just converting your own cities and some CS will easily get you to a second or third Prophet, which allows you to convert a neighbour even if they have a religion. If your neighbours have no religion, or if you score either of the theology wonders, things get even faster. This is exacebated by the AI generally being unable to defend against prophets. CB then synergises extremely well with For the Grace of God, and decently with many other beliefs. You can compare the numbers on CB to Transcendent Thoughts: TT yields 2-3 times the value of CB per city, but only triggers per era. You can easily get quite a lot of GPs per era, and their rate keeps increasing into the mid-late game, at times reaching one GP every few turns. In other words, CB totally outclasses TT, and reaches high numbers of cities much more easily due to the big faith yields. Holy Law is similarly outclassed. TT and HL both feel good in appropriate games, it's just that CB in insane. Of course CB requires you to be playing a GP strat to be effective, but for any tradition game I would choose CB over any other belief 100% of the time. I had a number of games where I was completing the third policy tree when the AI was completing their second. I think the concept of the belief is fine, it just needs smaller numbers, possibly combined with removing era scaling or changing the faith yield to something else.

This belief used to have only faith scale with era. There was a patch that made both scale as part of a bugfix, as implied by the original tooltip, leading to the current situation.

I remember it being strong even when only faith scaled with era, which was how many Byzantium strategies made the civ shine at around Medieval. With the culture also scaling with era, any civ going Tradition can shine with this belief, doubly so if the civ has bonuses to faith and/or GP generation.

I think the belief can lose the era scaling for both culture and faith, as it was already very strong with only faith scaling. The base numbers may need a small buff after that, though, as I'm not sure if the belief is on par with the rest without the era scaling.
 

zeofig

Warlord
Joined
Jul 6, 2016
Messages
146
On the last point, Authority AI in particular prefers buying Free Companies over upgrading existing units. Unless they have a Tercio UU then they buy Free Companies and immediately upgrade them.
I've seen this problem with all kinds of AIs

I disagree with this
What would be the point of making authority good at everything with no downsides or risk?
Is that what I'm suggesting? Maybe we should add a faith bonus too to cement things

All of these are rebalanced in my more beliefs mod. I would suggest you try that out.
While modsmods are nice, these (minor) issues remain in base VP which is subject to balance discussion regardless of modmods

The yields on death are so tiny as to be completely insignificant, and that is on purpose. It is there purely for flavor.
I didn't want players to feel rewarded for getting their own units killed. If you know what the Menin Gate is, you will understand my decision to provide something on military unit death.
Well, it still looks a little funny since there are virtually no insignificant but just for flavour bonuses in VP otherwise. But perhaps it's just my historical illiteracy making me think that.

This belief used to have only faith scale with era. There was a patch that made both scale as part of a bugfix, as implied by the original tooltip, leading to the current situation.

I remember it being strong even when only faith scaled with era, which was how many Byzantium strategies made the civ shine at around Medieval. With the culture also scaling with era, any civ going Tradition can shine with this belief, doubly so if the civ has bonuses to faith and/or GP generation.

I think the belief can lose the era scaling for both culture and faith, as it was already very strong with only faith scaling. The base numbers may need a small buff after that, though, as I'm not sure if the belief is on par with the rest without the era scaling.
Yeah I like the sound of no era scaling but a small buff to base numbers.
 
Last edited:

DeAnno

King
Joined
Feb 22, 2011
Messages
670
All of these are rebalanced in my more beliefs mod. I would suggest you try that out.

IIRC your mod does not address the Ceremonial Burial issue at all actually, and none of the Founders you add scale with era to compete with it either (except the Earthly Paradise gold, but frankly that is not very relevant on this scale.) As it stands now CB should be the automatic first pick for any Tradition civ, including with the New Beliefs modmod, and it's a glaring weakness of the AI that it doesn't do this.

I think what Authority could really use is a tool near the end of the tree to help catch up if you find yourself in a deep hole. A bonus against units an era or more ahead of the unit fighting would be nice (like Swordsman vs. Knight for instance), but I dunno if such a thing is feasible.
 

pineappledan

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Alberta, Canada
@DeAnno I didn’t say anything about CB. You’ll notice it’s not in any of my quotes
 

Zanteogo

King
Joined
Nov 13, 2015
Messages
949
In my option the three policy openers are pretty balanced as they are now and should probably be left alone.

I think the issues come in where people think you need to fully complete each tree before moving on to the next. This is sometimes a good strategy, but I will often find myself mixing them. Often unless you are playing a really early war civ, your best going for a mix of progress and authority. Sometimes I will only take dominance in authority for the healing and science on kill and ignore the rest. If you open and go with full authority, you need to go all in warmongering because your ability to win is now based on you either destroying your neighbors or forcing them to vassals. If you fail they will start to out tech you, practically when the AI bonus really kick in during the late eras.

If I HAD to pick on opener that was weakest, I would probably go with tradition. It is built for tall empires, and tall empires have some pretty big downsides, such as when you lack resources late game to make units, or lack the bulk of a mass of cities to create religious pressure. (Plus a tall empire is kind of boring to play, lets be honest)

Though again, I would just leave them as they are as they are pretty close to being all useful, depending on what civ you play and how.
 

myeong1129

Chieftain
Joined
Feb 5, 2014
Messages
40
Ceremonial Burial
This belief is way too strong
I totally agree with this one. Current yield of ceremonial burial is just too much. Yeah and Holy Law also.

Authority
Authority is great and can help you all game as you grind through the AI's army, and has interesting economic gameplay with tribute and border expansion, but there are many games when it is very weak as an opener.
Agree with this one too. For Civs that has great mobility UA (Iroquois, Denmark, Songhai) it is still useful, but not to anybody else. When you play dominance civs other than these three, starting with Progress you will feel far more easier. For those who think Authority is not weak I would like to suggest you to play military civs with Progress. Trust me you will never go back to Authority. I wont say it's particularly due to the small science though.

I think the biggest problem is that the majority of Authority's yield source is inconsistent. City conquest, unit killing, acquiring barb camps and CS bullying all are definitely not a consistent source. All those became even harder to claim nowadays I think, since tactical AI kept on improving.

I feel now AI is more aggressive in destroying barb camps no matter which policy it took. It is better in saving its units than before too. Also it seems to know the spot to found the city that is the safest from siege units and naval melees. Not sure if I only feel this way, but it became far more difficult to conquer the city in early game.

But none of the authority's early policies give clear merit in those activities such as competing for barb camps, bullying more CS, or fighting against other civs (since Honor's usually picked as the finisher of Authority and only martial advantage before classical era is healing 15 HP for killing units). Yields aren't good enough to compensate its harsh inconsistency too.

Thus it heavily relies on Civ's UA. Above three civs could fully use Authority's potentials, as their fast movement helps to claim relatively more camps and CS bully yields, relatively consistently. But for all others, Authority's just a policy that has inconsistent and small yield with no big early warfare bonus when compared to Progress. Tried many games and it was way better to take progress, start war in classical era, spam units with gold, and finish war in medieval with a vassal.

Simply increasing the yield amount will definitely make Authority too OP. Even more OP if taken by those three civs above. So to balance it I think it's better to add a new consistent yield source like building bonus, and lessen the yield from inconsistent sources like unit killing or city conquest.
 

Legen

King
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Sep 13, 2015
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998
Authority also benefits form having an Ancient era UU, like the Celtic Pictish Warrior or the Aztec Jaguar. These come with higher CS for bullying and, sometimes, with a mobility promotion.

Authority is designed around employing lots of military units, and rewarding that. If it needs more consistent yields, rather than building bonus, I think it is more appropriate to reduce unit maintenance costs.

If I HAD to pick on opener that was weakest, I would probably go with tradition.

I find the 2 :c5food: food from the opener insufficient for the tree's needs, there's a very noticeable difference between heavy and low food starts with it. The rest of the opener is fine as it is.
 

Zakuzelo

Chieftain
Joined
Apr 25, 2014
Messages
68
Honor has to be weak because the strategy it's supporting is so strong. Winning wars and eliminating neighbors early on is really, REALLY good, and if you can do so then you probably should. If Honor was stronger it'd make the best early strategy there is even better.

It's still a weird tree, though.
The other two openers support themselves in various ways. Tradition gives pop in the capital, then gives you stuff to do with those citizens. Progress rewards growths and techs, then helps you get both with infrastructure and science. Honor wants you using an army for various things, but doesn't do much to help you accomplish those things and nothing at all to help you actually get that army. And to a degree I think that's fine, it's clearly supposed to be a more active tree than the other two, and that first paragraph's still a concern, but it's still very strange. All the time I hear people saying they started next to Attila and needed to pick Honor just to survive, and I never understand what they're talking about. This tree doesn't help you win fights, it makes those wins better.

One point of Honor I will say I outright don't like, though, is the garrison half of Discipline. +2 culture and +1 happiness is great, but I don't want my units sitting around at home, I want them out fighting and tributing. It goes completely against the rest of the tree.
 

stii

Emperor
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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
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I do wonder if honour should be a tier 2 policy as it is a bit weird.(changing the values of stuff obviously) It scales far better than the others but is weaker early on as killing lots of units is either impossible or means you are winning easily anyway.

You can avoid this a bit by just taking honour as your second policy anyway.
 

stii

Emperor
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Oct 3, 2010
Messages
1,119
. All the time I hear people saying they started next to Attila and needed to pick Honor just to survive, and I never understand what they're talking about. This tree doesn't help you win fights, it makes those wins better.

I think in general what people mean by this is that you need to pick honour to survive without being crippled.

You will need to make more units than normal but other polices will get nothing from that and get further and further behind. While honour at least gains a benefit from setting up a defensive wall and picking off units over time. And it does give a buff to units eventually.
 

andersw

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Feb 11, 2008
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sweden
I've played around 5 games to completion and many more partial games in the past few months on immortal and standard settings (no events), Communitas or Oval maps. I have a few thoughts on some balance issues. I would like to hear if others agree.

Ceremonial Burial

Authority


Some more minor thoughts:
Apostolic Tradition

This used to be very powerful as it gave culture. Massive food in the capital is cool, but I would only bother with it as tradition since the capital wants to work so many specialists. And as tradition, well there is ceremonial burial. The faith bonus of 2 per follower per tech is tiny.
Co-operation (and "on growth" strats in general)
I've tried these a couple of times and could not get them to work well. I would like to hear others' thoughts - maybe I was doing it wrong.
Abode of Peace
Seems very weak. The faith/gold is tiny, and minimum influence bonuses seem, to me, entirely useless. The quest reward bonus is nice, but rather low compared to Statecraft and Austria
Menin Gate
The bonus to improvements is cool. However 2 culture and GAP on own unit killed is tiny. Bonuses when your own units die feel quite underwhelming as the player will generally not lose a lot of units at most stages of the game, and this bonus would be small even if it was per enemy unit killed.
AI and Unit Upgrades
I feel that the AI doesn't upgrade its units aggressively enough. I often mow down dozens of AI swordsmen/spearmen when they could be upgrading them for a much stronger defence. Perhaps the AI lacks gold, but since the AI gets arbitrary bonuses anyway I would be happy to see it get some amount of free unit upgrades per turn, if that is technically possible.

Yes CB is super strong, my goto, if I can grab orders warmonger play generates all GP's needed.
Its also one of few that provides culture.

Yes authority is a bit weak, I've started to mix a lot more with progress.
Stuff like 3 auth -> 3 progress -> 1 fealty
The easier happiness means we can delay right side happiness policys for longer.
I mostly tribute early on (or when playing zulu who dont have penalties), later Im usually either at war with cs or allied.

Co-op was always an AI only pick.

AI and Unit Upgrades, I agree but AI doesnt seem to be out of gold either.
 
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