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SP>PBEM or Meditation on Psychology of Civving.

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Tigranes, Apr 26, 2013.

  1. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Some people play Civ-franchise because they are Gamers. They are into PC games and happen to give Civilization a try. They will return to gaming, which may or may not involve civving.

    I am interested in understanding Civvers, those people for whom Franchise IS the main or only game they play for at least few years. My love affair with Civ goes back to Civilization I. All these years I have seriously "cheated" in this affair only once with not very famous MMO NavyField.

    Now, after some years of Civving an average Civver ends up posting on forums like this one and gets in interaction with other Civvers. And then I see an interesting pattern. Most Civvers prefer solitaire, aka SP. They just do. This might be because the way this game was made. This might be because the way the game was marketed. This must be the philosophy behind the very essence of 4X turn based strategy. I mean, as a rule, you start playing Civ as a Single Player. By the time you become Civver -- it becomes your habit.

    Sure, there is a Multiplayer too, but being alone is so much more convenient. You are in control of the pace, you don't need to depend on any other human being, you can even cheat and make some internal deals with yourself. You play Civ to escape stress and have fun, risk of getting just a little stress with humans overwhelms the benefit of getting more fun from winning or loosing against the other humans.

    As the time goes by and you stay serious about the game -- your grievances against the AI grow. I don't even talk about Civ5 vs Civ4 grivances. One simply gets enough of Solitaire experience but loves game too much to move to the other hobby. So then comes the modding. You are not happy with AI? Mod all you can or watch and participate with others who do it. This alone can easily occupy few more years of your affair with Franchise.

    However there comes a point when you realize that even improved and very, very differently looking Solitaire is still a solitair. You just don't get that sportsmanship-like feel when you win over AI. You feel the need of humans while still playing your favorite game. PBEM being the least demanding form of Multiplayer should be attracting vast numbers of Civvers who went through all the stages of Civ-refinement. And yet it doesn't... :dunno:

    Take a look at Statistics of our Forum subsections to see the distribution of Civving population:

    Spoiler :


    If we imagine Bell-shaped curve -- modding clearly will be the mean value. If you consider yourself as a point on that curve -- where on that curve do you see yourself now? Do you experience gradual interest in winning or loosing against humans, not just AI? What are the reasons that you are not populating the PBEM niche? Is it because of what game offers to you or because of what you want from the game?
     

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  2. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Properly Paranoid Proletarian

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    I actually am populating the PBEM niche, so I'm not sure how to answer that.
     
  3. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Nah, you don't count :D I am reaching out to the wider audience. You can see yourself -- 49 people were watching this General subsection, versus 5 watching our little closet :pat:
     
  4. Timsup2nothin

    Timsup2nothin Quad B

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    I'm a gamer. I may qualify as a civver also, since I always come back to playing civ franchise more than anything else I play. Always being defined as the last say 20 years. But I do drift out for periods of time when another game catches my attention.

    So I'm unreliable. I got in a democracy game once and felt bad when I wandered off playing...something...something which has long since been shelved quite probably forever. I don't think I want to flavor my gaming experience with responsibility to other players.

    And you guys probably would agree I shouldn't. I'll bet if I read through a few pages in the PBEM forum I'd find plenty of complaints about people who started games and then flaked.
     
  5. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    I can understand all these feelings. But, still, don't you ever come to enjoy the difference between AI and human opponents?
     
  6. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    The problem with PBEM is the same problem you have in Madden leagues. You play very few turns/day, but are expected to keep up with a turn/day. This turns into a relatively large commitment for what is actually a very slow-played game. While the speed is an issue for someone like me who completes games in < 3 hours consistently, the commitment issue is real for pretty much everyone. Don't want to play that day? Can't get to the computer easily? Tired of civ and want a week off from it, or at least from long diplo chain talks by email? Too bad, you're in this game for the next 2-3 months!

    But it's fair to the other players to play it out, although it really does make for a serious barrier to entry to a lot of people IMO.
     
  7. Ataxerxes

    Ataxerxes Deity

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    As TMIT noted there is the commitment factor. I wouldn't want to feel I was slowing down the game for other people and I'm not sure I'd want the commitment of having to get back to the game quickly when I'm involved in something else. I'm somewhat of a casual gamer. I'd also worry about being too good or bad for the game (probably too bad).

    I prefer turn-based games by far, but they are more of a solitaire-type game it's true. Sometimes it's good to have the computer available to wait for you. The only game I really play competitively with others is bridge. I'm a duplicate-playing life master.
     
  8. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    I'm on the other end of the spectrum; I'm full-on competitive in most games I play. I'm quite good in Gears 3, as "good" as most people can get in Call of Duty, was solid for a long time in starcraft II, good in old classics like warlords 2 and worms, working on getting back into the HOMM series (HOMM V let's play!), and I am also a fan of Demon's Souls and Dark Souls (playing more Dark Souls than anything else at the moment).

    I also play League of Legends and some DOTA 2.

    In most of these games, I'm either competent or significantly better than that. In a few games I can be downright nasty :).

    But what most of these games have in the competitive sense is relatively fast start-to-finish times without a huge commitment to play them. There is way more depth to Gears 3 for example than most give it credit for (and tons of bad players who play it don't even realize), but it doesn't take as long as even a blazing timer civ IV game (which takes hours), nor does it have civ IV's depth (few games do).

    That's the issue with civ IV MP, along with its skill equalizing factors (especially spawn position in non-mirrored maps, but even then just spawning next to someone awful will give you a runaway position).
     
  9. happyturtle

    happyturtle Mrs GrumpyOldCivver

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    The only form of multi-player game I can stand is a succession game. Real-time MP is just not compatible with my play style. I want to play for half an hour here, an hour there, take a break whenever I want.
     
  10. 6K Man

    6K Man Bureaucrat

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    I got Civ1 in 1995. Played it sloppily for a few years, until someone introduced me to Civ2, sometime around 1998 (?).

    I muddled around with Civ2 at King level for a couple of years until I discovered Apolyton. From there, I quickly learned how to win at Deity. I participated in a lot of forum games &#8211; succession games, comparison games, democracy games. And then I had my fill of it for a while, sometime in 2004, and stopped participating.

    I got Civ4 in 2006 or so. Upgraded to BtS as soon as it was available.

    I&#8217;d call myself a Civver more than a gamer, generally. I don&#8217;t play other PC games. I own a couple of gaming consoles, but hardly ever use them. In terms of Civ-like games, I owned CtP about a decade ago but never got into it. Never played Civ3.

    At this point, I play Civ4 in SP mode exclusively. I&#8217;ve played and enjoyed a few mods &#8211; faves are LoR and K-mod &#8211; and if I could be bothered to get a better home PC, I&#8217;d try C2C and other &#8216;epic&#8217; mods. I don&#8217;t play PBEM or online because I don&#8217;t want to make the time commitment.
     
  11. BornInCantaloup

    BornInCantaloup Agent of Chaos

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    This was an interesting OP. Maybe a little bit too interesting or personal to get the answers it deserves.

    Agreed! The Civver is a savage little being. A sure megalomaniac and a dictator in disguise. Actually, Civving is a fine activity to cleanse oneself of his domination urges. Rule a Civ: no need to rule the world.

    I'm a Civver myself. I've been a gamer (teenage) but that has passed. I have a few other games installed but they're not meant for playing. Mostly, I enjoy other games from a game theory perspective: they enrich my Civving experience :lol::D:goodjob: Starcraft: Broodwar is n°1!
    e.g.: I've gotten my hands on Europa Universalis 3 a few months back. I've been mostly interested in the interface (very poor) and game features (very rich - not quite Broodwar level, don't be fooled). I've never intended to complete a game of EU3 and probably never will. I've done quite a bit of reading, however, to understand various rules & stakes.

    I'm a Start & Tips dweller. Not much of a starter anymore but... oh well! We all use the startagy we can get.

    Winning/Losing vs AI: mostly indifferent. Getting the upper hand, now that's exciting! Perfecting mechanics, that's exciting, too!
    Winning/Losing vs Human: unless very particular conditions are met, I'd feel bad, almost ashamed, of winning against humans. So I guess I'd rather lose. Why can't we all be friends ??? :love:

    Specific conditions to play vs humans: a very competitive environment. And by very, I mean very; probably a little more: competitive enough that there can be no mercy, no pity involved: almost war! That would go along with frequent losses, which is fine by me: helps keep things balanced, or real. Trouble is: I have mixed feelings about competition and, while I can grow sharp teeth, I mostly dislike that fact. Usually, I don't carry my teeth around with me. Self-challenge I will always value the most. Of course, competition can be a fine ground for self-challenge but it is not required.
    See Starcraft: Broodwar for a competitive player vs player environment.

    Multiplayer Civ... Mirror maps, quick speed, blazing timer.
    I do admire those who play that way. And, if I were to play multi, it would first be under those settings (or close; start with PM to 2Metraninja and get info?).
    Trouble: time-trap. Commitment. Would the specific conditions I demand be met in a satisfying fashion? I don't even wanna know :p Would I get a sponsor and a T-shirt? :woohoo:
    Others need theirs, too, way before I get mine (T-shirt). To me, those conditions would be an additional incentive to try & reach the highest level and a legitimate reason to play versus humans. Not assuming much about my own level/capabilities, here: the environment is in question. Environment creates the level and, thus, can justify the competition. Competition for the sake of a higher level, for the sake of the Game, that can be fine.

    Succession games are fine to some extent, too. Haven't played many but "team" sounds much better in my ears than "opponents" or even "rivals." However, see above: time-trap, commitment, competitivity.

    PBEM is Play-by-e-mail (had to figure it out). No offence intended but I sort that in the casual gaming (like the S&T gaming). So you can gather I'd hate winning a PBEM game. I wouldn't be very interested in losing one either... Overall, not very interested :dunno:
    To me, S&T fits the bill to "play with people." Shadow a game, see what others do, how different a game can go. Not the exact same thing but pretty similar in my view. Note: I don't roll maps in solitaire anymore. I play maps from the forum only.

    Hope that contributes to satisfy your curiosity for Civvers' psychology :)
     
  12. tdy99

    tdy99 Prince

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    I went through a PBEM phase and enjoyed it. The delays pissed me off though and I hated having to wait a week - 10 days to make a move. Also the game was going to last like 20 years at the pace we were going and I knew we'd never finish it.

    I too prefer single player. I am a builder, and not terribly competitive. My main joy in this game is just seeing my cities grow and thrive. I rarely ever win.
     
  13. Qgqqqqq

    Qgqqqqq Emperor

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    On a unrelated note, Sevenspirits has just released a well balanced map script that doesn't involve mirroring. Check it out!

    Anyway I play multiplayer at realmsbeyond, and I definitely enjoy the human opponent more (anyone thinking of trying a pbem should try a duel first, as it gives a taste without needing to commit).
     
  14. Tigranes

    Tigranes Armenian

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    Nice to see you posting here! remember Earth 2010 game you played 1 turn? We finished it in less than a year and it was a pretty epic struggle. The units you have renamed lasted until the very last turn, every time I saw a US ship or regiment -- I was like tdy99 did that :)
     
  15. Macksideshow

    Macksideshow Prince

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    I am a fairly faithful civ only player and I still really like single player but I would also love to get into multiplayer. My experience with multiplayer was it was difficult with my internet connection, I didnt like simultaneous turns or the oppressive turn timer. I only vaguely think I know what PBEM is and there isn't enough information out there or promotion of it to draw me in.
     
  16. Imp. Knoedel

    Imp. Knoedel Properly Paranoid Proletarian

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    victim spotted Hello there! PBEM stands for Playing By E-Mail and it´s pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Basically you send a savegame to the player after you once you played your turn, (s)he does the same with the player after her/him etc. until it is your turn again. Depending on the number of involved player it can take days until you receive the next turn, and accordingly most PBEM games last several months if not years. The obvious advantages over live games are that you can take as much time as you want to micromanage everything every turn and that you can have really complex diplomacy with your fellow players. You should definitely give it a try.

    Also you might want to join the game that might or might not happen in 5-6 hours. I´m certain the other players won´t mind if we play without a turn timer.
     

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