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Stability Collapse sudden, arbitrary and not at all fun

Discussion in 'Rhye's and Fall - Dawn of Civilization' started by Pavel Chichikov, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. MechatronicJazz

    MechatronicJazz Prince

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    I think it's also worth noting that if someone really wants to play ahistorically, they can edit the stability map via world builder (or create a modmod if so inclined). I think the stability system is generally a good way to encourage historical play without railroading, which is kind of the point of DoC. I do agree that a better notification system could be useful given that stability can sometimes be difficult to understand - though keep in mind I haven't played in a few versions, so my view on that may be out of date.
     
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  2. rmontaruli

    rmontaruli Prince

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    Well, but, following your example, i play as Carthage, i win the Punic Wars aganist Rome, i become the mediterranean ruler.
    In a scenary like this one, allowed and foreseen in the game (one of Carthage UHV is to defeat Rome), i should allowed to settle in Britain.

    Maybe some civs could modify their core not only when ages change, but also on other events.
     
  3. oioi23

    oioi23 Chieftain

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    Nothing is stopping you settling Britain as Carthage, you just need a big core city. I’ve had Spain, Italy and Britain all under my control in a Carthage game.

    Why would Carthage abandon their capital after beating Rome?

    But yes I do agree dynamic core changes could be nice but I reckon they’d be pretty difficult to implement
     
  4. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    First of all, I said this in the context of abandoning the Carthaginian core entirely in favour of settling Britain, full stop. That's just not Carthage anymore.

    You are "allowed" to settle Britain as Carthage, after conquering Rome or not, and I am sure your core population is able to support it. Should Carthage be able to capture the whole extent of the Roman Empire after defeating Rome? I don't see why, and I don't think the real life Carthaginians would have done so in that scenario.
     
  5. rmontaruli

    rmontaruli Prince

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    Ok, i misunderstood the point.
    OK Carthago to colonize britain.
    Not OK move their capital to London.
    I agree.


    For the some reason they left Sur to move to Carthago: better place.

    We have other examples in History of civs that move their Capital City after a conquest or other reasons:
    Persians, Mongols, Macedonians, Turks, Ottomans, Romans (to Costantinople), Moors (after Reconquista), HRE (from Aachen to Wien)...
    Cannot say what happened in India, but in India too capital city moved from a city to another during centuries and different dominations.
     
  6. Pavel Chichikov

    Pavel Chichikov King

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    Ok yes, its reasonable, I just remember me and a lot of other people having fun with stupid 'squatting' strategies back in the day. Speaking of Phoenicia in particular, it's not totally far-fetched, considering the tin-trade and (admittedly fringe) theories elaborating on the many mysterious similarities (probably coincidental, but nonetheless, bizarre) which serious linguists have noted between Celtic and Semitic languages, postulating their might have been some influence of the latter via merchant contacts.

    I guess I was expecting serious stability problems or some other penalty, but not just suddenly dying.


    Well that sort of thing is intuitive and not difficult to understand the mechanics behind. Things like getting sudden full-on collapse for moderate overseas expansion, or getting negative 'financial' stability despite making money whilst running 100% sliders isn't at all. Perhaps veterans already know the strange rules involved, but it's not fun to deal with arbitrary feeling mechanics, which either have no effect at all or simply kill the player instantly.

    Edit: Another collapse-run, just playing a casual game as Babylon, founding on Ninevah and imploding after just taking Jerusalem, Susa and an Egyptian city. I mean, I'm playing on Marathon here and it still seems impossible to roleplay Assyria within the timelimit before Persia without collapsing.
     

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    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  7. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    The only games like this I've seen all had the maximum -25 expansion penalty and survived due to positive other factors.
     
  8. kaltruhe

    kaltruhe Warlord

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    I think what Pavel Chichikov is frustrating is the user experience not the balance of game.

    In order to improve that,

    How about keeping some core cities or just the capital city when a player's Civ is collapsing? Just seeing 'Game over!' after hundreds turns of playing is something too painful for me.

    Or, how about picking one of living civilizations currently to further play like when a new Civ is born?
     
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  9. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    There are two arguments against allowing complete collapse during peace-time. First, the gameplay argument, which has already been rightly stated: stability management is opaque and complicated enough that it must be learned in practice, which shouldn't be punished with "out-of-the-blue" defeats; there's a reason why modern roguelikes don't use 20-hour campaigns. Permadeath is fun, but only if, soon afterwards, you get the chance to show that you've learnt something.

    Second, and perhaps more convincingly, there is the historical argument. While I'm sure that you can find some examples of civilizations at least possibly collapsing outside of war with a foreign power (such as the puzzling fate of the Minoans, the Classical Maya, arguably some dynastic transitions of power in e.g. China), I'd wager that this total collapse is extremely rare compared to a "collapse to core area":

    * While it is a stretch to consider Alexander's empire a continuation of Macedon (arguably it was a successor state of Persia more than anything, simply with a new predominant culture, but this too I wouldn't quite subscribe to), either the Antigonid remnant (which afaik kept to the ambition of restoring the undivided empire), Macedon "proper" (the most likely choice for DoC, given that the "Dachzivilisation" is Greece), or even the Seleucids (because they held Babylon, which may have been Alexander's intended capital) could be seen as the "collapsed core".
    * Rome during the Crisis of the Third Century suffered from overextension, with empires splitting off that could be considered "civ-sized" by DoC standards, but the core remained
    * European colonial empires generally collapsed-to-core (Spain, France, Britain). Even the loss of e.g. India never plausibly endangered the continuation of some manner of British state on the Isles. Likewise, even the independence of Scotland by referendum (not implausible in the future, I'd say) would most likely not cause England to splinter into city-states with Manchester under different sovereignty from London (yeah, I know about those "London could choose to secede from the UK" sentiments)
    * The Mongols also collapsed-to-core twice, first with the secession of the Golden Horde (or rather its predecessors) / Ilkhanate ~1260, then to the "historic core" with the loss of China 100 years later. It didn't cease to exist as a sovereign state (some subservience to Oirats aside) until the Jurchen conquest.

    Simply put, complete collapse due to overextension is implausible because no matter how small your "predominant" culture is in relation to the whole empire, it will always have its core area in which it will have an interest in a national state to continue business as usual, if perhaps with a change in political party or system. Even gameplay aside, collapse-to-core should be favoured in peacetime / civil war on historical grounds.

    Another argument is that polities that were distinct in sovereignty can be represented by the same civ in DoC anyway (Greek or Italian city-states, for instance) if their culture is similar enough (and there was certainly a lot of war between Italian city-states, e.g. the Guelph/Ghibelline stuff incl. the War of the Bucket "lol"), so using total collapse to represent a loss of central authority doesn't quite jive

    haven't played DoC in years, though (computer can't cope anymore), but think that this has always been one of the pre-eminent issues with RFC (!)
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
  10. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    I could imagine more collapse to core if the expansion rules became a lot less lenient, and access to balancing positive stability became a lot less generous. Feels kinda boring though.
     
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  11. Cypriot

    Cypriot Chieftain

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    There is a detailed stability manual in the civilopedia. However, nobody read it, but it is!
    USSR Now collapse to core area is for the great empires, if they didn't outlive their historical date of death.
    It's a gaming abstraction, and it's not the only. I think, that total collapse means not only a loss of central authority, but also that new government isn't admit by other civs as successor of the previous state.
     
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  12. Krugi

    Krugi At heart

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    The detailed manual of chess fits on one sheet of paper, everybody reads it, and nobody knows how to play competent chess just from reading that.

    The USSR collapsed to core. It was an imperialist predominantly Russian state. It lost territory claimed by non-Russian cultures, but a Russian state remained. The argument is not that peaceful collapse doesn't happen, it's that it usually doesn't result in total disintegration.

    That I called stability a "pre-eminent issue" doesn't mean I couldn't trivially manage stability back then. It meant that I found it not an engaging mechanic, at least, and ultimately played RFC in spite of it, even if I understood and appreciated its purpose of maintaining historic plausibility.
    Assuming that only bad players (bad by whatever measure) collapse at all, they likely won't find collapse-to-core boring, because the upside of being a bad player is that nothing will bore you, whereas good players won't be bored because they'll never see this game-over anyhow.

    The argument about total collapse representing limited international recognition is cool, I support it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
  13. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    Collapse to core is just usually not a significant pushback against ahistorical play.
     
  14. ozqar

    ozqar King

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    I also don't like how (or that) full collapses occur and do agree that collapses to core (or extremely, collapses to the capital), would be better. If it's an insufficient punishment for undesired gameplay, they could be combined with other things: some turns of anarchy and the loss of buildings, gold in the treasury, and culture in the cities. I think those things combined are much more apt at representing what we see as collapses than the situation now where everything just goes independent and the player loses the game. By combining those elements to different degrees (and the gradual loss of cities as they declare themselves independent), you can also provide many more levels of punishment and make that severe enough to pushback against ahistorical play.
     
  15. 1SDAN

    1SDAN Brother Lady

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    Also perhaps military units representing a certain % of the player's total military unit power/numbers disbanding or becoming barbarians/independent, that way you can't just pile your units in your core before a collapse
     
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  16. Steb

    Steb King

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    Okay let's chime in.

    I agree with the following statements:
    - A collapse should be a very harsh punishment, game-ending in most cases
    - The way it currently happens is not fun, for several reasons.

    What reasons? One is that it's too sudden. Your empire seems to be doing really well and the next moment you have lost the game. Of course, your empire wasn't actually doing well. But there are generally no warning signs: no separatist uprisings, no temporary loss of control of faraway regions, no disorder in cities, no diplomatic incidents. The collapse of the USSR didn't just happen: there were many developments in the years before that led to it. Sure, the player should keep an eye on the stability indicator, but it's not great for immersion if that's your only hint that the empire is on the verge of collapse.

    Second reason: The collapse mechanism isn't doing a very good job of abstracting real processes. What does it even mean for literally all of a civilization cities to become independent? Independent of what? Isn't there at least one city in the lot that can claim to be the cultural and/or political continuation of the previous empire? Sure, we sometimes want civilizations to disappear entirely. But it might be more fun if, in many cases, a weak rump state subsists. If the collapsing civ is AI, it means you could still interact with at least one of the independent cities. If it's the player, it provides better immersion as you can really count your losses, compare with what little you kept, and reflect on how bad you mismanaged your empire—as opposed to just exiting the game and doing something else (see third point below).

    Besides, I believe that most times, a total collapse is basically a civil war. But the game currently does a terrible job of abstracting that. Such a bad job that no war occurs. There are no armies and no battles. The reorganization of the civilization into new, small states is instantaneous (unlike multistate wars, which are usually campaigns lasting several years or even decades). So, perhaps a total collapse should involve losing all colonies and unhistorical territories, AND have a rebel/barbarian army spawn close to your cores cities. The army should be sufficiently threatening that you're not actually likely to be able to resist it, unless you take some extraordinary measures (diplomacy, drafting, abandoning a city to save the others, etc.). In most instances, this war is bad enough that you will lose the game, but at least you have a few turns to try to salvage what you can or decide to give up.

    Third reason: What's annoying about losing the game is that it's tedious. You are immediately escorted out of the game screen. You have to go through a bunch of "final score" screens (which are not interesting since you have no final score!). Then your hall of fame fills with meaningless lost games. Many people will probably go to an autosave to try to do something differently and avoid the collapse... but if they fail, they'll get another round of final score screens and hall of fame junk.

    It feels almost like getting fired in a cavalier manner from a job. Sure, your performance was poor, so you knew it was coming. But if your boss kicks you out with no warning, doesn't let you say goodbye to your colleagues, and immediately confiscates your work-provided phone, then he's not being a good boss.

    So yes, punish the player for bringing their glorious civilization to collapse. But at least let them choose to quit the game, instead of forcing it down their throat.
     
  17. brett0007

    brett0007 Warlord

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    This 110% im still haunted by a byzantium game a while where I took Rome back to get the name change, later on in the game on the same turn I age advanced I culture flipped an independent Baghdad and collapsed from overextension and outdated civics. the kicker was I'd already changed civics and was on cooldown. I got screwed hard by the game mechanics... I get punishing ahistorical play but on the same token, I wasn't expanding like crazy, I owned two foreign core cities which I developed because I didnt plan to expand and I was still within the time byzantium existed historically. It just made it feel unfun. I'd put work into the playthough to build a decent empire, I got blindsided by the game mechanics with no reprieve, I'd wasted my time. I'd have far rather had Italy, Ottomans, or Egypt re/spawn, at least then could have reassessed my plans/wrote off a part of my empire or put down the rebellion. I'd like one chance to rebuild/survive and then if the same thing happens again so be it.
     
  18. Leoreth

    Leoreth Friend Next Door Moderator

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    Critique that goes into the direction of "this could really be fleshed out more by like 500%" isn't very useful. It's not wrong, but it's not constructive.
     
  19. Steb

    Steb King

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    No I'm just asking to flesh this out by 450% so it's fine

    But really, I took the time to write up my thoughts about this to make it clear to myself—but the main point, I think, is the last: losing immediately and being forced out the game is annoying, and it would go a long way to just have a sort of two-stage collapse (e.g. lose all faraway territory, and then fight an army at your doorstep) that at least gives you a bit of time to react.
     
  20. brett0007

    brett0007 Warlord

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    Then my suggestion would be twofold, allow one collapse to core as a warning and second if any core areas are held and it is appropriate they respawn as a civ, this is mainly for later game where a collapsing civ leaving a ton of independents in another civs core makes no sense. Eg a successful ww2 prussia collapses and leaves, France Poland and Russia as independants.
     
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