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Specialists

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Thalassicus, Jul 21, 2011.

  1. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I think a great part of this discussion is it's providing lots of source material for a strategy guide on the 3 economy types! :beer:
     
  2. Txurce

    Txurce Warlord

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    I've already gotten something out of the preview version, so I look forward to the full thing!
     
  3. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    For several months I've received feedback great person rates should be higher and other yields lower for specialists, so v117.1 beta does this.

    Great person rates are close to vanilla now. (Most specialists still produce 0:c5greatperson:, those who will not create a great person.) Policies which boost 'normal' yields now affect specific ones instead of all specialists, which means specialists can gain +1 yield from policies (was +3 in vanilla, and +4 in v117).

    +1:c5culture: Artists with Mandate of Heaven (Piety).
    +1:c5gold: Merchants with Mercantilism (Commerce).
    +1:c5science: Scientists with Secularism (Rationalism).
    +1:c5production: Engineers with Populism (Order).

    Each policy also gives +2 yield for the associated Great Improvement.

     

    Attached Files:

  4. Seek

    Seek Chieftain Supporter

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    Will you be leaving Gardens as buildable everywhere? That's an extremely powerful building, and a hammer cost increase or spreading the added 50% increase out over multiple buildings/policies may be warranted.

    Also, can we rename the Garden to something a little more appropriate? The only thing I can think of atm is City Park, which is kind of lackluster - anyone think of something better? City Commons, maybe?
     
  5. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I'm not too concerned since Vem :c5greatperson: rates are approximately equal to vanilla with these numbers. The Garden has a wide range: undeniably powerful in cities which will produce a great person, but useless with just 1:c5food: in other cities. Not many structures have such a broad range of effect.

    That said, this is similar to hard/soft counters for units. I like Spears with 25% defense and 50% vs mounted, instead of 0% and 100%. I'd be okay with a 50% garden and other bonuses somewhere else. Maybe a policy that enhances opera houses? I want the bonus to be something that rewards investment - like a building.
     
  6. Txurce

    Txurce Warlord

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    Opera houses sound good. Was there a name for where Socrates hung out for his chats? That could work as a replacement name. Even "The Gardens" would be better.
     
  7. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Chieftain

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    Ooooh, now I want to test this out! I think it looks good, and I think making Gardens must haves for producing GP but useless otherwise is a fine way of making specialists more about GP if you want them to be, but they can straight up produce yields if you specialize them that way (through policies).

    Although I am curious, what does the Freedom branch do now? The same?
     
  8. Jaybe

    Jaybe Chieftain Supporter

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    With a Garden being so productive, it's going to have a heavy maintenance cost, somewhere in the 2..5 range, right?
     
  9. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I think this is a very good change. The policies may now be a bit weak, its hard to tell yet, but I think this is the right way to go. I guess I worry that +2 yield to the appropriate specialist type might be too strong.
    I'm guessing the answer is no, but is there any possible way to get the policies to boost the special abilities of the great people, not just their great improvement yields? It would be cool if Mercantilism could boost the effect of the great merchant gold/cs ability, if secularism could boost the science yield from great scienists bulbing, etc.
    As it is, using a specialist economy tends to encourage focusing on the improvements, rather than the abilities.

    I'm unsure about +100% GPP from gardens. I really think that the right place to fix GPP yields is on the specialists themselves, not on the supporting buildings.
     
  10. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    Click Here for details on the Freedom tree's new arrangement.
     
  11. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    The unlock is very weak. +10% culture in cities with a world wonder is probably the weakest policy in the game. A late-game unlock should be much better than that.
    If you want to keep the effect, then I would boost the effect to 33%, at least. Even then though it is fairly weak and has weak synergy with a specialist-tree.

    I don't like the idea of putting a city state oriented policy in Freedom. Frankly, no policies should affect city states except Patronage. There is no particular synergy between city state-oriented policies and specialist-oriented policies.

    +10% city defenses and +10% production for specialist-slot buildings is weak and uninteresting. If you want to keep the effect, I'd boost the production bonus to at least 15%.

    I think I would keep some of the old effects; keep the artist-boosting policy in Freedom, rather than Piety, and *maybe* keep the production-boosting policy, though I'm less sure about that. Piety doesn't need a specialist booster.

    But I think we've gone from too strong to too weak here.

    Autocracy seems ok, though I still think the +50% strategic resources might still be a bit underpowered.
     
  12. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Chieftain

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    I'll comment on the Freedom tree there then.
     
  13. Txurce

    Txurce Warlord

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    As I just wrote elsewhere, I don't see how one can go from too strong to too weak on an overall tree (as opposed to finding some changes unsuitable, as you do the CS-related ones). Would you bypass this tree altogether in most cases now?
     
  14. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    That makes no sense to me. Thal severely nerfed almost every single policy. So yeah, its easy to go from too strong to too weak.

    Also, overall tree balance isn't the only thing; the effects of each policy choice matter too.

    Yes.
     
  15. Atlas627

    Atlas627 Chieftain

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    I would actually ignore this tree as well, it is just not worth the "wasted" policy picks to get to the good policies (which are the food and happiness from specialists).

    I don't even use specialists for a specialist economy, I use them for GPP, and I still think the food and happiness policies are 2 of the strongest in the game (I don't use them that much, but I still think they are strong). Sadly, now the rest of the tree seems really weak or odd. The opener is negligible, the CS bonus is odd and doesn't synergize particularly well, and the bonus to city defense and specialist building construction is also weak in my opinion.

    What policy branches are supposed to be for what conditions?

    Playstyles

    Tradition - Tall
    Liberty - Wide (or at least fast expansion either wide or tall)
    Honor - Conquest

    Victory Conditions

    Piety - Culture
    Patronage - Diplomacy
    Rationalism - Science
    Autocracy - Domination

    Further support for playstyles

    Freedom - Tall
    Order - Wide

    Flexible

    Commerce - Gold (usable for everything)


    Right now it looks more like Piety is about happiness, Freedom is about specialists (because the other tall stuff is weak), and Commerce is about...nothing in particular? I think we should make the trees more like vanilla, but balanced (and less stupid. Like keep the fix for Ceremonial Burial, and don't have the stupid 8 free unit policy in Freedom, etc.)
     
  16. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    I agree with this.

    I don't agree with this though. I think most of the VEM trees are pretty good as they are, much better than vanilla.
     
  17. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I like flexible options. If the Patronage tree is the only tree with CS bonuses, there's not much of a choice when we invest in citystates.

    A good example of where I applied this philosophy is in vanilla Elizabeth was only good on water maps, and the best leader on water maps, so there wasn't really a choice involved. My fun playing that leader increased a lot once she was good at things other than naval warfare, and her standing in the polls also improved substantially.

    This is the same reason why I spread the specialist-boosting policies around several trees. An example of an end goal is if you consider what trees to select when pursuing a conquest victory. The Honor tree is obvious, but our choice of supporting trees is much more varied. Liberty, Piety, Commerce, Autocracy, and Order all have policies useful for this victory path. This means 6 out of 10 trees are valuable for conquest games, and since we typically can only fill out 3-4 trees in such a game, we have a lot of flexibility. :)

    This is inaccurate if you are referring to the Freedom tree:

    • Unchanged effects
      • Specialist :c5food: bonus
      • Specialist :c5angry: bonus
      • Specialist :c5greatperson: bonus
      • City defense bonus
    • Sidegrades
      • Exchanged +10%:c5production: for specialist buildings with +10%:c5culture: from wonders.
      • Exchanged +2 yield per great improvement with +50% :c5goldenage: golden age duration.
      • In a typical tall empire of 6 cities with 5 specialists per city and 10 citystate allies, the production bonus per city is unchanged at 5:c5production:.
    • Reduced
    All the bonuses support the tall-empire focus of the tree.

    • Freedom - tall
    • Order - wide
    • Autocracy - conquest

    The base yields of specialists were lowered elsewhere, but the :c5greatperson: points increased, another sidegrade. I do not feel there were substantial direct nerfs to specialist play. I just rearranged things so it's more challenging to stack bonuses. Let's take time to try out the current arrangements, and if things need further adjusting we can do so during the next beta cycle. :)
     
  18. Ahriman

    Ahriman Tyrant

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    That doesn't make sense to me.
    If you are going to conquer a lot, you should take Honor. You don't have to, but you'll be better off if you do. If you're going to have a tall empire, you should pick Tradition. You don't have to, but you'll be better off if you do.

    So yeah, its fine with me that if you're going to play a heavily CS-oriented strategy, you should pick Patronage. That is what patronage is for. The whole point of policy trees is that different trees support different strategies.

    Adding city state strategies to other trees doesn't add flexibility - you should still pick Patronage if you're using lots of city states. Instead, it reduces flexibility, because it means that I can't usefully take those other trees unless I'm using city states. It locks me in.

    The food policy is changed, no? It used to be half food for specialists (ie -1 food required per specialist), now it is 1/4 (ie -0.5 food per specialist). The production policy was not replaced with one of equal power, the new one is weaker.
    So you have weakened at least 3/6 picks.

    It is absurd to assume the presence of 10 city state allies (more than half of the city states in the game, on standard settings!) just because I'm using the Freedom tree.
    With a Tall Specialist Empire I will usually have more than 5 specialists per city (sometimes much more), and much less than 10 city state allies. What if I have 8 specialists per city and 4 city state alliances?
     
  19. Seek

    Seek Chieftain Supporter

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    The food and happiness policies in Freedom were the ones that arguably most needed the nerf. The tree was enjoyable as the "specialist tree" and now - as Ahriman and others have mentioned - it is somewhat directionless. I think Freedom was just a little too powerful before, and needed a smallish nerf to the food/happiness policies or a later era-unlock. Switching the way the specialist-boosting SPs work (as you have) would've a fine start without redistributing the policies.

    I also preferred the CS production SP in Order, both flavor-wise and because a wide empire will generally have more income to devote to allying CSs - gold is often at a premium when playing small and tall. As Ahriman noted, this is potentially a very weak policy.

    One solution would be to make Freedom more small-focused with more Tradition-like Capital-only effects - off the top of my head, have the specialist-boosters only affect specialists in the capital (if possible) with the 117 tree for example.*

    *I'm not proposing this as I haven't thought it through enough.
     
  20. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    Overall would you say 1:c5food: or 0.5:c5happy: is more useful? I've been having a hard time deciding which effect to put deeper in the tree. We cannot alter the effect of those two specialist policies without the game core only Firaxis has access to.

    One primary goal with policies is for every tree to be somewhat useful for most strategies, and most useful for some strategies. Policy changes in the past few months generally work towards this goal. For example, early Piety policies are somewhat useful for most strategies (+3:c5happy: and +1:c5happy: per-building), while later Piety policies are most useful for some strategies (specialist, culture, and tall-empire games).

    If I understand the second part correctly, do you feel when one policy is not useful, the tree as a whole is not useful? I do not believe this is an accurate hypothesis if you consider these questions:

    • The specialist-enhancing policies generally appear early in their respective trees. In a game where we do not use many specialists, are the Piety, Commerce, Rationalism, and Order trees useless?
    • In landlocked or pangaea conquest games the Merchant Navy policy is not useful. Does the Commerce tree have no value in landlocked conquest games?
    • Reformation and Free Religion policies are not useful for a militaristic game. Does this indicate the happiness-boosting policies earlier in the tree are not useful for conquest?
     

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