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Strongest and Weakest Policies

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Thalassicus, Dec 29, 2013.

  1. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    I don't think we've done much with ideologies yet and at this point it may be best to consider them separately from policy balance since they are explicitly in conflict with the other ideology trees so balance is different than that of rationalism and piety, say. But they certainly have some disappointing ones by default and some that are quite good.

    I still think Piety and Wealth are the two trees most in need of work. Wealth should mostly be about gold, not production and piety has some picks in there that don't seem related to religion or faith generation on the way to getting/enhancing a religion to come off as incoherent still.
     
  2. teejing

    teejing Chieftain

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    Rationalism should be replaced by a spionage tree.
    As it is now you benefit from rationalism the most if you are ahead securing you the game, because science become more and more important late game.
    The spionage tree should act as a gap closer, helping you stay in the game if you are behind, further it might enable us to create strategies ignoring some science buildings or at least lessen their value since right now science/science buildings is/are too good.
     
  3. ShmooDude

    ShmooDude Chieftain

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    I actually rather like this idea.
     
  4. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    That makes it very narrow, potentially fatally so. The espionage related policy in the rationalism tree is probably seen as a throwaway pick right now (as are the espionage related buildings and wonders). An entire tree dedicated to this would seem like a serious adjustment from a tree that could be made simply less great at science. It's definitely possible we could make better espionage related policies/ideologies, but making an entire tree out of it seems unflavorful and ineffective. What civilizations have persisted and thrived on espionage rather than major philosophical or empirical shifts in worldviews (ala rationalism?). Its main utility in the game I usually find is manipulating minor powers for tourism and diplomacy, a function for which we already have a tree dedicated to, and then followed by manipulating city states, again an entire tree exists for this. The tech effects are pretty blah.

    I'd rather espionage remain spread out but effective as a pick somewhere rather than concentrated and ignored.

    Another effect to approach this as a problem could be to bump the upkeep on science buildings. That was what was done in VEM and earlier versions of GEM.
     
  5. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    upkeep on buildings is definitely too low.
     
  6. ShmooDude

    ShmooDude Chieftain

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    Well yeah, I wasn't thinking (personally) anyhow, exclusively espionage. But less straight science gains and more other stuff.
     
  7. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    I'd be fine if it was less powerful for science gains and I'd be fine if upkeep on science buildings in particular came up (possibly happiness as well). It's going to be hard to avoid the science gains though with a pick that lets you faith-buy scientists at the end of the tree.

    I'm not sure I'd want it to very much of something else. I already find wealth to be mixed up with production and gold rather than more about gold and trade and I found the default policy that added gold to science buildings was very strange as is the espionage pick currently.
     
  8. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    One suggestion is to make the Knowledge tree be the alternative tree to the Exploration tree. In the early game, you usually go with Tradition or with Liberty. Not both normally.

    Knowledge and Exploration could have the same style later on. Pick Knowledge for benefits to a small empire or Exploration for benefits to a big empire. Many of the policies in Exploration are very good for someone spamming cities all over the map. Make Knowledge (it could be renamed) the inverse of Exploration. Next to useless for huge empires but extremely valuable for a civilization with only 4 or 5 cities. Not sure what the specifics of it should be, but that would make it more situational and not always a must-have.

    Part of the problem right now is that the policy trees are just a lot more valuable than the later ideologies.

    Generally, the way that I'd like to see it play is like this:
    If you are a small and tall civilization, then early on you're picking policies in Tradition and probably cherry picking Piety and Honor. Then, you're getting Patronage and Aesthetics in the Medieval era. Once you get to the Renaissance and Industrial eras you're picking policies from Patronage, Aesthetics, and Knowledge. In the modern era, you're going pretty heavy into the Freedom ideology because its effects are really good (once ideologies are balanced).

    If you're going wide and peaceful, then you'd want liberty and piety. You might dabble in Patronage in the classical/medieval eras. In the mid-game, you're investing heavily in Wealth and Exploration. Knowledge would be next to useless. Late game you'd want Order.

    If you're a conqueror then Honor should be a high priority early. Liberty or Piety are lesser priorities. Tradition is useless. Patronage can basically be skipped. Aesthetics skipped. Focus a lot on Wealth and some on Exploration. Autocracy would be a must-have once it's opened.

    That's ideally how I'd like the game to be played. No policies that are always picked or always ignored. Make everything situationally very good or next to useless.
     
  9. ShmooDude

    ShmooDude Chieftain

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    I pretty much agree with most of this, was gonna look over what is in the base game, what we have now, and see if I could do a write up as I would do it and see what people think as soon as I have time. Might be good, might be bad, might spark other ideas. =D
     
  10. ShmooDude

    ShmooDude Chieftain

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    Some small refinement suggestions for first 4 Trees (ones available from the start), all 4 openers become culture related (only piety wasn't). All give different methods for happiness. Not a lot of changes here.

    Tradition:
    Opener: Unlocks Terracotta Army (if this wonder was only available later in the game then it'd make sense for liberty as a land grab, but given how early it comes in the game, it makes more sense on tradition to really get your borders out early)
    Culture summary: 3 in capital and 1 per culture building
    Happiness summary: 1/10th population and 1/2 capital population

    Liberty:
    Opener: Unlocks Pyramids
    Culture summary: 1 per city and new cities increase cost less
    Happiness summary: 1/20th population in non-occupied cities and 1 per connected city

    Honor:
    Opener: Unlocks Statue of Zeus
    Culture summary: 2 per Barbarian Strength killed; 2 per Garrison
    Happiness summary: 1 per Garrison and 1 per Barracks/Arena (swap positions? since barracks are available earlier would probably work better as a policy and arena one be the finisher)

    Piety:
    Opener: Unlocks Stonehenge; 1 Culture on Shrines and Temples; No longer increases National Happiness
    Culture summary: 1 Culture on Shrines and Temples (from opener); +3 from Holy sites
    Happiness summary: 1 per religions building.


    I would also suggest adding back in some prerequisites to these. I took some of the weaker/lesser used policies (at least early game) and put them as prerequisites for some of the more powerful, snowballing policies.
    Tradition: Landed Elite requires Aristocracy and Oligarchy
    Liberty: Collective Rule requires Republic and Citizenship
    Honor: Spoils of War requires Discipline and Professional Army (maybe; Honor is kind of the least snowballing tree; its kind of the anti-snowball where you hinder other civ's progress)
    Piety: No change necessary
     
  11. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    Piety has +5 happy on the opener too (although I'd be fine with eliminating that). Nevermind saw it. Good riddance :)

    The other question is the other effects. Happiness and culture are basically broad effects.
     
  12. jwerano

    jwerano Wonderstacker

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    I feel that being forced to pick policies that you do not want in order to get policies you do want makes the game less fun. Policies have been a lot more enjoyable ever since Thal eliminated prereqs in all the trees. I hope we can balance trees without resorting to this approach.
     
  13. mitsho

    mitsho Deity

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    I prefer less links to more as well.

    With the Rationalism question: It theoretically is the better way to make science spread out more over all the trees since it is basically the one yield everybody wants. But a huge reconstruction takes time and effort and there is the real danger of a tree being too niche (i.e. like we first thought of Exploration). So yes, why not go the easy and fast way? Depower some of the better policies in there and maybe put one into another policy tree. And yes, increase the basic faith cost of Scientists, why not?

    We need to be careful when adding culture to piety's opener although it does make sense and seems flavourful. But often, players will combine them which increases the overall amount of culture around. Also the proposal ties it to buildings which skews the concept even more towards wide and makes Shrines really powerful in comparison to their cost and other buildings. If we go that way, I'd prefer the opener to be: 1 faith + Gain x culture when adopting a Pantheon and each time you gain a Great Prophet. This is not tied to buildings, is an active ability and is sufficiently distinct from the other openers way of getting culture (2 passive per-turn (wide and tall) and 2 active 'instant' (combat and peaceful).
     
  14. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    We should really keep the additional faith on the piety opener! It is a way of getting a pantheon for civ's without any religious bonus. I often take this policy first when starting a new game, the extra hapiness is just an bonus. An overpowered and nerf-worthy bonus, however ;)

    What about +1 faith/turn and 10 instant faith without any other bonus?



    EDIT: I'm a fan of less links as well. Links should only exist in select cases when it's really necessary.
     
  15. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    I'd be fine with this. I'd prefer if piety has culture, and I think it could have some, it's somewhere in the tree instead of the opener's current happiness (move something faith-based there so it's obvious the tree is about religion), and remove the golden age effect (and move it somewhere else, aesthetics would be fine as it would synergize better there). I like the idea of culture per great prophet over culture on temples and shrines (you can already get that as a belief anyway, so it is boring to overlap).

    I'm also fine with fewer links, and I think using links as a way to balance weak policies is a flawed idea. The way to use links is to prevent us cherry picking very good or generally good for anything policies (like happiness) and ignoring the rest of the tree, not to balance weak policies versus strong. If policies are too weak or too ineffective, they should be changed or improved, not just linked to stronger policies.
     
  16. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Exactly. Though if we want to "hide" an effect that is good for everyone and want to make it only available for let's say tall players, we can also put it on the finisher.
     
  17. Babri

    Babri Emperor

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    I think it is generally agreed here Wealth is very unbalanced right now. Some policies are way too OP while others are completely useless.

    Here is an idea : Trade deals general x% more gold. For example if you sold a luxury for 240 gold, you'll get additional gold, if x=25%, then you'll get total 300 gold instead of 240. Could be a bit tricky for per turn gold deals though.

    Another idea is to give +1 gold on luxury tiles,mint,markets etc. We can also bring back the cheaper road maintenance back.
     
  18. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I'm in favor of removing the happiness from the Piety tree as well. It doesn't belong there. You can get happiness from a religion if you choose. There's already too much happiness in the game and expansion is too easy. The primary trees for happiness should be Liberty and Exploration. Marginal amounts in Honor and Tradition. None in Patronage, Piety, Wealth, Aesthetics, or Knowledge.
     
  19. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I've been working on changing the Knowledge tree. I don't like having a tree that just supports Science. Science is useful for everyone all the time no matter what strategy you are employing. You never neglect building libraries and universities for example. I would prefer if all the policy trees were situational. Sometimes very strong for particular strategies, and sometimes next to useless for other strategy. So with that in mind I've been overhauling the tree.

    Here's what I've been testing so far:
    Opener: +3 science on national wonders.
    Sovereignty: +2 free Gatling Guns. +50% production for building Arsenals and Military Bases. +2 food on Arsenals and Military Bases.
    Scientific Revolution: +1 food on farms.
    Humanism: +50% Great Person rate. +1 free Great Engineer.
    Free Thought: Double yields on Great Person tile improvements (academies, custom houses, etc).
    Secularism: +2 Science per Specialist (unchanged from original policy)
    Finisher: +1 free Great Scientist, +1 free Great Engineer, +1 free Great Merchant.

    The tree is designed to be good for small empires with large cities. It's unlocked when a civilization reaches the Renaissance Era. It's meant to be an alternative to the Exploration tree, which is clearly for large, spread-out empires. The early trees of Tradition and Liberty are designed in the same way, and Knowledge vs Exploration is a continuation of that design.

    It seems like the game is a bit biased now towards large, wide empires over small, tall empires. National Wonders are meant as a game mechanic to help level the playing field. Too many of these national wonders are available too early in the game in my opinion. It makes it too easy for a wide empire to quickly build those national wonders, then expand rapidly (as a wide empire does). This way, they get the benefits of both tall and wide, which is poor game design. For that reason I've also modded some of the national wonders and when they are unlocked in the tech tree. All of the national wonders are unlocked in the Medieval and Renaissance eras. Heroic Epic is unlocked with Physics (an offensive military tech). National College is unlocked with Education instead of Philosophy. National Epic is unlocked at Theology and also requires a Theatre in every city instead of just a monument. Those 3 are the early national wonders. The other ones remain where they are.

    In short, national wonders should be built only by tall empires. Otherwise, they can easily be overwhelmed by their larger neighbors. The opener policy of the newly designed Knowledge tree is meant to be a dud policy for wide empires (who won't have many, if any national wonders). The policies in the tree concentrate on things that are very useful for a tall empire. Specialists, lots of stuff with great people, great people tile improvements, defense buildings to create mega fortress cities, a couple defensive units. The food on farms is very powerful for a tall empire. The tree is overall very strong, but it's a late tree so that's okay.

    I played a test game with Babylon going with a tall empire strategy. Those policies were very useful. It was awesome having all these academies (since Babylon tends to have lots of them) with each one yielding 16 science. The extra food on farms helped the cities grow really large. Grassland tiles were netting 5 food with a farm. 2 food for being a grassland, 1 more from having a farm, 1 more once Civil Service or Fertilizer is researched, and 1 more food from the policy. The extra food for Arsenals and Military Bases is designed to make those buildings worth having. I never seemed to ever build them. You would only need them for a pretty large city, which is what tall empires have so I put some bonuses on them in the Knowledge tree.

    Also, I think the Wealth tree needs some work too, but I'm not sure exactly what yet. It should probably be a counterweight to the Aesthetics tree, which is also unlocked in the Medieval era. It's probably okay as a gold, production, and military tree. The Aesthetics tree is for peaceful, culturally empires, so maybe Wealth should be for more aggressive expansionist empires. I do tend to use the Wealth tree most when I'm playing wide and aggressive. The one policy that stands out needing to be changed is that Mercenary army policy. I never, ever use Landskenects (spelling?) Maybe that policy would be better being a more general military policy.
     
  20. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    In general I don't really find a huge problem with a "science" tree, in the same sense that I wouldn't have an issue with a "religion" tree or a "commerce" tree, so I'm probably more uncomfortable with these ideas for changes than some. I also don't find this "I would prefer if all the policy trees were situational." to be an adequate summary of having the trees more roughly aligned with the overall strategic goals of peaceful/wide/tall/aggressor, or that this needs to be the base goal of policy design. I'm fine with trees that have something for anything, but also more narrowly tailored effects that can be very powerful.

    I would agree that the current rationalism tree doesn't fit this. It has duds and it has supercharged effects alongside each other, which is not a happy medium.
    Some thoughts on these though.

    1) Science on national wonders is probably fine as an idea to move this to be a tall-centric tree, it's just feels a little weak.

    2) We shouldn't put much of anything on arsenals and military bases to encourage building them, but the major problem here is that this is a really weak policy for the same reason the liberty tree free walls one is a little weak: Defensive buildings are only of so much value, and probably not at all in many places. We don't need to encourage them to be of added value with marginal effects making them more useful in a general way. They're already doing what they are supposed to where they are supposed to, deterring attacks by making it hard to capture your cities and allowing you to kill the invading army easier to win the war.

    3) Is this an overlap from another tree or just an in general effect to be moved here? I don't mind, as I see food and science to be roughly (but not exactly) exchanged. I'm just making sure that we don't have that many yield bonuses in the policy trees or that they're diverse if available (science, culture, or faith on villages for example).

    4) There's a good synergy between these next two. I'm not entirely sure I like them, but they'd fit well in a tree. I don't like the finisher though along with this. (also, doesn't this overlap with the Freedom ideology?)
     

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