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Some reasons why I have decided to stop playing this game.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by AndyRookie, May 2, 2009.

  1. AndyRookie

    AndyRookie Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    After having played the game for several week, I have taken the decision to quit playing it.

    There are several reasons for this. First, I overall sensed a lack of fun while feeling that I still need to learn a lot more in order to be able to play comfortably at noble. And once I succeed at noble, the learning will restart at the next level and so forth. The accompanying, tiny BtS booklet I bought over here in Switzerland fails to explain, IMHO at least, basic steps and does not outline a strategy behind the various concepts that enables the average gamer to win at medium difficulty levels. I found that I must return to this forum to ask for help just to be able to accomplish very basic tasks like settling on an island or get rid of angry faces in my city. I have seen that others here asking the same questions.

    Before writing these lines, I just started a new game. After 30 of 50 turns or so - I don't remember the exact number nor do I care - my scout had made contact with 3 other civilizations. Once again, as so many times before, I had to register that my score was hovering at the bottom of the stack, although the differences between the cultures were still slight, which I consider rather frustrating. Also, if I chose to play on a "huge" continent, with the intent to be left alone at the beginning, why the heck am I surrounded by so many other civilizations? While there surely is an explanation, I do not really bother to know it.

    The early game is clearly very important, and, perhaps, too crucial. At the same time, from an entertaining point of view, I find this stage very boring. I had to learn that expanding and bringing under control the resources surrounding my first cities did not guarantee me a steady rise above neighbouring civilisations on the scoreboard. However, later in the game, the ones left with fewer city is invariably at a disadvantage, so territorial expansion is important. I am either not intelligent enough or sufficiently interested in the game's programing logic, or both, in order to make the effort and understand the nuts and bolts of whether it makes a difference if I should develop misticism or archery at 3000 BC and in a specific geographic context or build a barrack, breed another warrior or whatever. Although in certain situations, the choice may seem obvious, to me, it all seems rather arbitrary, the most important factor determining my success being the initial placement at the outset and whether I was surrounded by many other civilisations or not.

    It's not the turn-based game-concept that puts me off. Some of you may know "Eastern Front" from Talonsoft or "The Art of Operational War" (both now being marketed by matrix games). I always enjoyed playing the former and, to a somewhat lesser degree, the latter. The level of complexity and abstraction that lurks behind the pretty landscapes in Civ4 BtS appears to go way beyond that. Mastering the game seems to boil down to calculate how many "hammers" the construction of this or that building or unit, whether you give your axeman a "city raider" promotion or 10% more strength and so forth. Again, the sort of choices you are forced to make and which appear to have an impact on the outcome seem to demand a level of attention and strict micro-managment that I am simply not prepared to meet.

    At the end of the day, it is supposed to be a game. I have always been a horrible chess player. However, I have done well at the two other games mentioned, at medium to difficult levels, and also when playing the "generals" version of command and conquer, where, unlike in Civ4, decisions must be taken under pressure of time.

    I have studied history and political science and have a full time job. During the time that I try to figure out the logics of Civ4, I could, for example, further improve my English or French, or learn an even more difficult language. If I find that a game's level of complexity is so high that I get the message that I am an idiot most of the time or that I am required to ask for assistance in forums, then it is, IMHO, not worth the time. A game should involve suspense, learning, but at the end of the day it should be fun. In my view, Civ4 is all about learning and effort, has little suspense and even less fun to it.
     
  2. Frodus

    Frodus Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2009
    Messages:
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    No one starts off winning at noble. Which is why we have settler, chieftain, and warlord.
     
  3. Naokaukodem

    Naokaukodem Millenary King

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2003
    Messages:
    2,997
    What i dislike the most in Civ4, is:

    - That planting a new city costs so much. The AI, as it expands nearly the same as the other Civ games, does not seem to suffer from that, especially on high difficulty levels.

    - That cottages take so much time to grow. The time they grew, AI took all the place left.

    - Tech trade. I find it so ridiculous that all AIs merely have the same tech advancement due to tech sharing between themselves.

    - How the hell can some players here beat the emperor level? I beat all previous Civs hardest difficulty levels, so i don't really understand.

    First, I rated Civ4 very low on a website. Something like 3 or 4/10. Being stuck in Monarch level seemed ridiculous to me, and i was bored. But then, I started to streamline more my single player games, as i was still playing in multiplayer. Result: I beat Monarch three times a row.

    So now I have to say that i hope it does the same with Emperor difficulty level. Currently, I am losing all my games and desesperate. I really do not see how i could handle them more efficiently. I am a multiplayer gamer, so I know how AIs are vulnerable in ancient times, so i try to rush them, but it fails most of the time because I don't have the appropriated ressources, Iron not to name it. By the time i get catapults, AIs have longbows. Well, maybe not, but the marging is thin. Not to mention religions, that i barely never choose not to be in disregard with a powerfull civ, and having to defend instead of attacking.

    OMG, what a headache this game!
     
  4. Ghpstage

    Ghpstage Chieftain

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
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    2,940
    Location:
    Bristol, England
    The micro heavy requirement is true of any game with difficulties as hard as Civ4 deity, but you barely need to consider any of it till at least Emperor.
    The micro used in generals online can get quite extreme too.
    But even offline would you attack gatling tanks with nothing but rifle infantry? or stand still while artillery is firing at you? :lol:


    The game is an empire building TBS, making decisions based on how you forsee it impacting your civilization in the future is kind of the bread and butter of this type of game. (indeed any RTS you won't get far on C&C Generals without a supply building!)


    Again an effect of the game being an empire building TBS. Similarly in generals don't you have a huge advantage if you have control of the most supplies? In both games you can always attack to claim the land yourself.
    The difference is, in Civ 4 you have options to allow you to win even if you aren't the biggest.

    Many people won't ever go passed noble as that's what they enjoy.
    Personally I find playing a game thats too easy boring,I like to challenge myself so I'm attempting to move onto Immortal, to each his own!
    The game itself tells you what you need to transport things and most other stuff even without bothering with the Civilopedia.
    (On the galleys tooltip it says :Cargo space 2)
    The manual is pretty poor. I will agree there.
    It should at least give a section on the commerce slider mentioning how cottages can be used with it, and another section with more info on specialists. It seems to take people quite a long time to grasp these few things, especially if they are new to the series.


    Well I'll tell you anyway! The "Play Now" will give you (I think) the default number of Civs dictated by map size.
    The Custom Game option that will allow you to do many things, such as 1v1 Huge maps, team games, no war games, no city razing option, no barbs and many other things.


    In the end playing a game is about having fun, most here like the macro/micro decisions involved in this game. If you don't, then this game probably isn't for you.
    The Civ 4 learning curve is too steep though IMO.
     
  5. Belisar

    Belisar Defender of Byzanz

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Messages:
    1,244
    Civ4 is a complex game but the basics are relativ simple.

    Although a bit dated, I recommend the excellent walktrough from Sullla
    http://www.garath.net/Sullla/civ4_walk_1.html
    to get familiar with the game.
    He has a good understanding of the things which are important and which can wait for later.

    You must realize that there are many options and nuances of the game where you really can get "into the deep" but that are irrelevant for learning the game.
    It is, however, very satisfying for us "veterans" (playing Civ games for 15 years) to still learn a new thing here an then :)
     
  6. AndyRookie

    AndyRookie Chieftain

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    The micro used in generals online can get quite extreme too.
    But even offline would you attack gatling tanks with nothing but rifle infantry? or stand still while artillery is firing at you? :lol:


    I can't remember that you are required to select among different "promotions" for your units in C&C. This is used as a means to insert a layer of complexity in Civ4. To me, this requirement appears artificial, confusing and unecessarily complicating. I can't remember to have ever experienced the sort of frustration in one of the C&C games or Eastern/West Front. The latter were accompanied by fairly thick manuals with tables including strength and movement points etc. I never had to resort to these, however, but could always play decently at medium difficulty levels using my intuition and what little knowledge I have about WW II weapons. There were certain pecularities to like "disrupted" units, headquarters movement & (invisible) supplies, direction of attack & armor piercing effects. I was never particularly interested in these concepts but focused on achieving swift movement, concentration of force and bold breakthroughs during what I deemed were critical phases of the game. I never found my judgement of the enemy's strength and intentions to be so wrong as in Civ4. At any rate, I thinnks of warfare of one of the most boring, tedious and badly simulated aspects in Civ4. The economy interferes too much IMHO. I'am not keen on having to check my cities every two turns and see whether the mood among the population has worsened, which in turn compells me to search for an appropriate remedy. In Civ4 I feel relegated to the role of a beancounter, longing for the end of the turn. In a way, I am under the impression that there is too much occurring at the same time and beyond my control, and still, I feel that, by and large, not much of interest is happening during a turn at all.


    The game is an empire building TBS, making decisions based on how you forsee it impacting your civilization in the future is kind of the bread and butter of this type of game. (indeed any RTS you won't get far on C&C Generals without a supply building!)

    There is too many choices to be made, too many variables. If you take a wrong decision, once you recognise that, it is most often too late and that, for example, you should have set up another city down south instead of constructing a library in your capital. As I've said, to me many decisions and consequently, the outcome, seem arbitrary. If some more experienced player gave me advice, I might perhaps improve my game. However, that's where I say it isn't worth it if I need to ask others to fare decently at medium difficulty levels after several weeks of playing. I leave it to the more intelligent of society to enjoy the game.
     
  7. Yxklyx

    Yxklyx Chieftain

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    869
    It just seems that the game's not for you. I can't stand Command and Conquer and all those similar games.
     
  8. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
    Overall, games are much like any other form of entertainment: some will appeal to others and not to you, and vice versa. You may simply be encountering a personal preference.

    However, I assume that since you said you've played other, similar games (though I'm not familiar with the ones you mentioned) that you are perhaps thinking that there's something you're missing, and that you'd like to give the game another chance. (If that's not the case, I'm not sure why you bothered posting. Just to vent?)

    In any case, here are a few tips that may help you enjoy the game more if you give it another chance.

    • Advanced Start: This option is available in via the Custom Game menu. It allows you to start with more of the surrounding terrain visible, and gives you some points so you can purchase some more techs, buildings, improvements, or units. This may alleviate some of the early-game boredom you complain about. It does for me, especially at Marathon speed.
    • Other Custom Game options: If you want more room to expand and build, you can reduce the number of civilizations on the map. You can also tweak the map settings to help with this. For example, I find that playing Archipelago maps with low sea levels and snaky continents gives me plenty of land, but with several strategic choke points so I can deter (though not entirely prevent) rival civs from settling land I regard as rightfully mine.
    • Score: It is entirely normal to have the AI out-scoring you well into the mid-game and even beyond. You can't let that bother you. This game has such an extended time-line--hundreds of turns!--that many of your strategies may take a long time to pay off. But pay off they will, if they're good strategies and they're well-executed. If you'd like to experience some early-game success to encourage you, drop down a level and play there until you feel like you've mastered it.
      (By the way, the best way to get a high score is to play as a warmonger. The more territory, cities, and population you own, the higher your score. Plus it's fun! :ar15:Happiness is, indeed, a warm gun...)
    • Guides: The guide included with the game does indeed suck. As for strategy guides available in stores, save your money; there's better stuff available for free on-line--such as this site's War Academy (including my own strategy guide for beginners :D; link in my sig). Going by what you wrote, your English is excellent (I should know, I used to teach it), so you should have no problem understanding the many strategy guides available around here.
    • Choices: Sid Meier once said that Civilization is designed to be "a series of interesting choices", and that is indeed what it is. That inevitably involves a certain amount of micro-management. If that sort of attention to detail bothers you, this game may not be for you.
      Assuming that the amount of micro-management doesn't bother you, the choices are not arbitrary as you conjecture. What you need is an overall strategy to guide your choices, to help you prioritize. To me, the game breaks down into a hierarchy of goals. Your overriding goal is to win the game, and there are several victory options to choose from. Once you choose a victory option, you will then have a number of subsidiary goals that logically follow from that choice, and those will break down into more lower-level goals, and so on, until many (though not all) of your choices start to become rather obvious.
      For example, suppose you want to win by domination. You need to own a large amount of territory and population. You can't really obtain that just through peaceful expansion, so you'll need to conquer other civs. So now you have your first subsidiary goal: you need a strong military. This leads to other subsidiary goals, such as researching military technolgies, obtaining access to strategic resources so you can build certain types of units, and building enough units (of the right types, with the right promotions) to successfully conquer rival cities (and hold on to them). A secondary goal will be maintaining a robust enough economy to support the extra maintenance of both the conquered cities and all your military units. This forces you to balance your choices and this is what makes the game challenging. ("Yes, I could research towards Engineering for Trebuchets... but I need Currency for the additional trade routes and markets first...")
      Eventually, what you find yourself pursuing are sets of "mini-goals"--often simultaneously. The ones you achieve will start to add up towards your overall goal of victory; the ones you fail to achieve (such as a World Wonder you're beaten to by a rival) simply add to the challenge by making you adjust your other lower-level goals to compensate.
    I could go on, but I hope that's enough to make you reconsider and give the game another chance. These layers of complexity in Civ are what have always appealed to those of us who love the game. Either you love that about it or you don't. The complexity of the game means you not only have to play it repeatedly to get better; you also have to some research outside of the game itself to understand how to play it. Again, this appeals to some people and not others. I would encourage you to give the game another try, but ultimately, its appeal to you, or lack thereof, may come down to a simple personal preference, as I first asserted.
     
  9. CivUtd

    CivUtd Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Location:
    UK
    I've only had it a couple of days and it definitely seems to have a hell of a lot of complexity that the manual isn't very helpful with. Something that's bugging me right now:

    If you play on Normal, then things are built quickly, but the time goes by too quickly and so does research. But if you play on Marathon, it takes far too long to even build a simple unit. The problem is, I'm happy with the speed that the time/research passes with Marathon, but not how long it takes to train units. I don't mind things like Pryamids taking forever to build: that's probably how it was in real life. But if it's a basic unit like a Worker, why does it take 30 turns to build? You end up doing nothing but clicking end turn for ages! I really want to get into this game, as the scope it has is massive.
     
  10. Joecoolyo

    Joecoolyo 99% Lightspeed

    Joined:
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    茨城県
    Well, this game does have a very steep learning curve, since there are a lot of thigns going on during the game. But for me at least (I started out with CivIV Warlords (never played any Civ games before that)), it only took 2, maybe three games before I got a handle of the basics. After that is just learning from you mistakes, and moving up levels (I first started on Cheiftain, which I recommend for new players, and slowly moved up towards Noble, which I believe is way to hard to start playing if you have never played the game before, the earlier levels are there with their bonuses to help you get a grasp of the game before you start moving up to the point in which you get negative stuff against you).

    Oh, might I recommend the excellent War Academy articles, they helped me understand a lot of the more complicated aspects of the game and learn newer ways to tackle the easier concepts.
     
  11. Sisiutil

    Sisiutil All Leader Challenger

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    I have two suggestions: First, try Epic speed, which should give you a good balance between build/research times and unit movement and relevance; and second, try out Advanced Start as I suggested above so you can have a couple of Workers, exploring units, and maybe even an additional worker tech or two so the first few turns aren't spent twiddling your thumbs.
     
  12. ranger101

    ranger101 Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    67
    To OP:

    1. I wouldn't play a Large map to start, stick with Medium.

    2. If you find the AI trades too much, you can click no tech brokering. AI excessive tech trading bugs me as well, though I play on Monarch/Emperor. In any case, once you play more often, they figure out the tech tree i.e. what the AI generally (and even individual civs) likes to research, techs they covet, techs they won't trade.

    3. Try playing a financial leader when you 1st hit a new level. Play weaker leaders at a level you have already mastered.

    4. Regarding expansion, you need some form of commerce to do research and cover maintenance costs. So you need to work special resources, cottages or coastal squares and/or run a scientist specialist in a library or with caste system. Roads/sailing facilitate trades as you get connected to other cities. Later on, commerce adds +1 trade routes, courthouses reduce maintenance costs. Once you focus a bit on generating commerce and reducing maintenance, you should be able to easily expand vs. the AI.

    5. I played some of the Talonsoft games (ACW), but for some reason never got into The Operational Art of War. I think I have read the manual twice, but everything seemed so opaque in that game.

    6. There is nothing wrong with sticking at lower levels if you are having fun.

    7. Some games you get boxed in; if that happens, feel free to take on the AI.

    8. Your English is fine, no doubt better than many college students in N.A.

    9. You will get better if you play more.
     
  13. JonathanStrange

    JonathanStrange PrinceWithA1000Enemies

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    Don't give up on us!! Try the game at a smaller scale, have fun, make mistakes, follow your own strategies, perfect play doesn't matter, other people's seemingly complex and often contradictory advice isn't necessary for kicking butt.

    I have your (the OP's) feelings but with OTHER games: there seems to much to learn and I just want to relax NOW, there appears to be so much relevant details that I feel I'll always be forgetting something, and (if its a shooter or RPS game) everything happens too fast to analyze. There were a number of great games on my hard drive that I rarely touched mostly because I dreaded having to master another set of esoteric and often arcane relationships and jargon. So I just say, "Not today...today I relax"

    Yet, one by one, I'm playing them and finding out that I enjoy 'em even if I've not mastered them at all. Some of them are so fun, that it stopped being a chore to learn more about them and so I have.

    CivFanatics forum can seem like one has to be a ... fanatic but quite the contrary: let the cognoscenti argue about different strategies/tactics that will enable one to shave a turn off their production or get their already winning empire a further marginal increase in power. I just use the forum for tidbits of info and for making my own little-regarded comments. Then I scoot back to the safety of my dining room and play Civ.
     
  14. Shackel

    Shackel Still a Settler D:

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    Wait, you hate it because it's too hard at Noble?
     
  15. troytheface

    troytheface Chieftain

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    lol. and has a small essay on the matter.

    i suggest any of the Attacko guides. not hard, no steep learning curve and the goal is fun, not cottage building.
     
  16. AndyRookie

    AndyRookie Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Yes.

    If you have an IQ of 140 and are able to amuse yourself at deity level, that's fine for you.

    As for me, I don't see any incentive as to why I should subject myself to a drawn-out and rather frustrating learning process. If this is required, I'd rather invest my time and energy into activities that bring benefits which go beyond proficiency at a particular PC game. When it comes to having fun and relaxing, I'll have to set my sights onto other products.

    Enough said.
     
  17. Shackel

    Shackel Still a Settler D:

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    Go down a few levels, then.

    It's not supposed to be extremely easy, nor is it supposed to be extremely hard. Play your way up from Settler.
     
  18. CivUtd

    CivUtd Chieftain

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    One other question. I have always been a realism and historical accuracy nut, so seeing Christianity founded in 14000BC and Spearmen walking around when the technology of the day amounted to sticks and stones just grates a bit. I've seen some mods floating around claiming to be 'realism' mods. Do they make the game that bit more historically accurate? Surely it shouldn't be too hard to have parameters that state that Christianity can't actually be founded until AD? Basically, until a certain event happens, or a certain time period starts, some techs are unavailable. If so, if anyone has a link to the best mod for this sort of thing, could you please post it here?

    Also, are there any mods that situate cities in realistic locations? Right now, I have York to the south of London, to the north west is St Petersburgh and to the south east lies Vladisvostock (spelling?)
     
  19. Shackel

    Shackel Still a Settler D:

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    Will, CivUtd, it's the fact that the entire game is mostly based off of building up your civilization at your own speed, one of the most funnest(and most challenging) things is the massive tech race.

    Is it realistic? No.

    Should I be waiting until 1945 A.D.(Over 2000 turns in Marathon) to use a nuke? Not really.

    It's one of those Gameplay > Realism moments that every strategy game has to have once in a while.
     
  20. CivUtd

    CivUtd Chieftain

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    Fair enough, I suppose. :)

    Actually, come to think of it, this game strikes me as one that, if it always played out exactly to history, would become extremely boring after the first playthrough, so maybe chucking everything up in the air and seeing where it lands is a good move.

    @OP: Just take a bit of a break from the game. Maybe you'll discover other things you like about it when you return to it.
     

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