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Suggested revisions ahead of the RT expansion

Discussion in 'CivBE - Ideas and Suggestions' started by CelJaded, Jun 9, 2015.

  1. CelJaded

    CelJaded DENOUNCING!

    Jun 3, 2015
    United Kingdom

    First of all: I really enjoy Beyond Earth. There are enough 'quality of life' improvements over Civilization V (automatic unit upgrades, relaxed city health system, customizable loadouts etc.) to make it a pleasant distraction from your usual 4X game.

    But in every playthrough I end up frowning at the wealth of systems and gameplay elements that seem to be in dire need of an overhaul.

    Whilst I have little insight to offer in terms of fixing the "big" problems with this game (the orbital layer, restrictive affinity system, lacklustre espionage etc.), there are many smaller thoughts and pre-Rising Tide suggestions that I've compiled since the last patch that I'd like to share and hopefully get some thoughts on from the community.

    Since this is quite a large post, I've divided it into sections for easier reading.

    As always, any feedback is appreciated.


    • A minor quibble to start off with, but it's one that has bugged me since the very beginning: the main menu music doesn't loop. I don't know if this is perhaps a simple fix that can be done yourself, but it's always bothered me as half way through reading a few entries in the Civlopedia or setting up a multiplayer session for example, the game goes dead silent. It seems such a shame to waste BE's great music so get that track on loop!
    • Whilst on the subject of music, I always liked how previous Civ games let you set your choice of title screen (assuming you had multiple expansions installed) and associated music. I'm sure RT will look great and all, but it's nice to have the option.
    • Certain in-game assets (I'm thinking of military units mainly) won't take you to the Civlopedia screen when right-clicked. This is a really useful element of Civ V, but it's puzzlingly absent here.
    • There really needs to be some sort of warning notification that tells you when a unit/worker is close to death due to Miasma poisoning.
    • Sponsors don't have their ability names included on the game setup screen. PAC's ability for example is called Coodinated Workforce whereas Kavitha's is Missionary Outposts. BE desperately needs to leverage its theme and I think this small detail helps make it clear why the sponsors behave in the way they do.
    • The gap between the Soyuz and Apollo difficulties seems remarkably large. In vanilla I found Soyuz too easy and liked playing Apollo, but I find that level too aggravating after the patch. It feels like there needs to be more of an in-between.
    • Obviously there are a lot of bugged quests that need fixing... No more needs to be said about that really.
    • Quarries seem rather pointless at the moment; something is needed to distinguish them aside from the tepid Power Systems bonus.
    • There are quite a lot of features in the game that feel outright useless. The All-Seer satellite and relevant prerequisite tech are especially pointless and then you have the multitude of highly situational buildings such as biofactory and growlab. The Biometallurgy tech is another one that is notably weak.
    • Improvements such as domes and generators need tweaking to be more worthwhile. I seem to remember generators getting a science bonus from somewhere, but evidently not in the current build of the game. Reinstating this bonus might make them a more interesting prospect.
    • The choices and rewards from building quests should really be put into the Civlopedia- I keep having to look up online how to get the extra spies and the like.
    • The weakening of the tier 4 affinity units makes aliens and especially the siege worm a protracted hassle for a much longer portion of the game. Surely these units can be a bit stronger than this? They're practically worthless in comparison to the basic upgraded soldiers.
    • Something needs to be done about that awful 'crumbling' sound effect that seems to play over and over when factions are fighting on the map.
    • The vivarium building needs another line of text to clarify that its desert bonus does not apply to flood plains.
    • Chopping down forests takes far too long and the bonus for doing so is tiny. Either make it faster to chop or increase the production yield once chopped!
    • The fungus resource appears to be strictly worse than fruit and the like; is it just me? I can't stand seeing this stuff on my nearby hills.
    • Geothermal should be the resource required for wonders (not Firaxite etc.) as currently it doesn't do anything. The Civlopedia also needs to list the specific resource cost for wonders too (2 geothermal, 4 geothermal etc.).
    • Add in a dedicated option for One-City Challenge during setup
    • Reinstate the 'manual specialist control' check box from Civ V as it's extremely frustrating when your yields and health values are going down due to the automation.


    • A minor point, but in multiplayer team games it seems possible for your team to 'double-up' on bonuses such as the continental scanner and laboratory when using random setups. Could it be fixed to prevent this?
    • The game doesn't seem to prompt you to select new research during a multiplayer team game, meaning you can continue without researching if you don't manually set it before ending the turn. Where's the 'choose research' prompt?


    • ARC
    • Corporate Espionage is too dependent on luck; a factor I really don't enjoy seeing in civilization/sponsor abilities.
    • Assuming espionage works in a similar way for RT, I would consider giving them something a bit more reliable: +1 extra spy and a % boost to spy effectiveness instead of intrigue.

    • Shining Path feels really lacklustre to me. It comes with no innate culture boost (practically forcing you to take artists) and it usually only results in a single free virtue before the game is all tied up. Feels plain.
    • I like @LORD ORION's suggestion of +1 culture per city (in addition to the current bonus), but perhaps a science bonus per adopted virtue could work also?

    • From the best sponsor to the worst sponsor in the space of a single patch. Along with orbital gameplay, Cosmonaut Legacy needs a complete rethink. It feels far too similar to Russia from Civ V at the moment.

    • Even with the awkward trade system being what it is, this is a fine ability. It should really be reworded though as the two trade routes aren't 'free' so much as they are "early".

    • A nice and fairly underrated bonus. I don't think it needs changing at the moment.

    • For an ability called Guerrilla Mastery you'd expect a lot more than this...
    • It could use a unit maintenance discount, but then it risks being too similar to what we've already seen in Civ V.
    • Also, I'm not sure why your units can't get +10% ranged strength as well as melee? It is the most crucial form of combat after all.

    • Umoja looks good and plays well to me, even if the growth bonus is just window dressing (how much of your game is actually spent in positive health!?). You could easily limit the free Old Earth Relic to the first X cities if people still think it's too powerful.

    • Good, well balanced ability and my personal favourite.

    Seeding Options

    • Bust Artists down to +2 (instead of +3)
    • Refugees is a bad pick currently because of the reduced importance of food in BE. Would increasing the food yield here make it better?
    • Life form sensor is better than people generally give it credit for, but it could do with alerting you to newly re-spawned alien nests as the game goes on.
    • Fusion reactor is an inferior selection to practically everything else. Needs a rethink.
    • Hydroponics could easily give +1 population to all, or at least the first X, of your cities rather than just in the capital.
    • Weapon arsenal should give either 2 free soldiers or at least one veteran-level soldier.
    • Add a new option that grants a free explorer and +1 scouting module for explorers in general.
    • The ultrasonic emitter is far too slow to be useful and its status as a civilian unit means it's extremely vulnerable. I think it should be at least 2 movement and immune to alien attack- that way you can actually use it to bust siege worms; the only plus that it really has going for it. Needs a rethink really.


    I currently see wonders to be in these four categories:

    1) Some nice ideas shown, but the prerequisite techs are too far away, the wonders themselves are too expensive and thus don't provide enough of a benefit over the comparatively short play time of the game to be worth building.

    • Archimedes lever (just build a ranger instead)
    • Resurrection device (I doubt you'll spend enough time in positive health for this matter)
    • Nanothermite (nice idea, but... just build a ranger instead)
    • Daedalus Ladder (better than vanilla at least...)
    • Tectonic Anvil (great novelty value)
    • Holon Chamber (could make for a great mix of strategies if it didn't come so late)
    • Armasil (just build a ranger instead)
    • Xenodrome (such a nice idea, but I don't get where the benefit lies?...)

    2) Some nice ideas shown, but the wonders are too expensive or too limited to make investment in them worthwhile.

    • Markov Eclipse (the bonus on this one isn't very clear to me- Japan has it in Civ V and it's a pretty useless ability there, so what's the difference here?)
    • Stellar codex (this has only situational use until the orbital layer gets overhauled)
    • Precog project (can most units really survive long enough to make use of additional promotions? I've never had a troop get beyond veteran status personally)
    • Bytegeist (a free virtue might compliment this bonus nicely)
    • Mass Driver (just build a ranger instead)
    • Crawler (you'd save far more time simply constructing buildings without this)

    3) Complete overhaul needed because the effects are practically useless
    • Ansible (comes way too late and plays to the game's weakness of tying affinity points to technologies).
    • Quantum computer (one of the only wonders to offer a negative effect?...)
    • Xenonova (so much for generators being viable)
    • Promethean (poorly thought-out, poorly explained wonder that only works in one particular circumstance)
    • Ectogenesis Pod (useless)
    • Gene Vault (tried it once and it actively set me back. No good!)
    • Human hive (absolute worst wonder in the game at the moment- just build a surveillance web if you're worried about spies! Worthless.)
    • Deep Memory (useless)
    • New Terran Myth (useless)
    • Cynosure (useless)

    4) Solid wonders in need of a few slight tweaks
    • Master Control (reinstate the free network for the city which built it)
    • Panoptican (add a free defense perimeter to the city which built it)
    • Memetwork (like all wonders it should cost geothermal)
    • Drone Sphere (like all wonders it should cost geothermal)


    • Public security bonus increased to 0.5 or go with @LORD ORION's idea of +1 Health for each Rocket Battery, Defense Perimeter, Command Center and Node Bank
    • Liberation army should instead give either 2 free soldiers or at least one free veteran level soldier
    • Special service should really give added spy effectiveness instead of intrigue
    • Joint operations is part of the "orbital gameplay needs an overhaul" category

    • The 3rd level synergy bonus is the worst of all four trees as it's part of the "orbital gameplay needs an overhaul" category
    • Gift economy is shaky considering external trade is so unprofitable. It could probably use a science bonus too
    • Settler clans to give +2 food in every city
    • Hands never idle needs a complete rethink along with the whole concept of specialists in BE

    • This whole tree needs a drastic rethink as it's only really helpful once your empire has developed and it really doesn't help the early game at all.
    • I agree with @LORD ORION's suggestion that Field research offers +1 free explorer as well as the bonus science from expeditions
    • Applied Metasociology is the worst virtue in the game currently and part of the "espionage needs an overhaul" category. Agents decrease intrigue in cities more than enough without this "bonus".
    • Cohesive values doesn't actually do anything for you... It just makes subsequent picks "cheaper", but wouldn't it be better to have a cool bonus now!? It feels like one that's "in the way" of you getting to the good stuff and that's never a good thing.

    • Liquidity could be bumped to a 25% discount or instead offer a 15% discount on all purchases instead of just units
    • Superior engineering and entrepreneurial spaceflight are part of the "orbital gameplay needs an overhaul" category
  2. TabeticClown

    TabeticClown Chieftain

    Jun 17, 2013
    I really hope someone from Firaxis reads this.
  3. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars King

    Dec 10, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    I agree with a lot of what you've written. There are a handful of points that stood out to me in particular:

    The fact you can't actually see what the Sponsor abilities were seriously bugged me. Had to go into the files to find out what they were. Which while not necessarily difficult, is certainly odd as a the name of the specialization definitely plays a huge part in the character of sponsor. Though with the diplomacy changes and "Dynamic Leader Traits" I'm still curious as to if it will affect Sponsor UAs.

    I think the Civilopedia should be comprehensive. So I fully support adding specific resource cost to every unit and building in the game.

    Regarding Game Set-Up. From the comments I've seen, it seems that a lot of people just want stronger effects all around. I'm not an experienced enough player to say whether or not its a good thing. Its just an observation.

    Moving on to Wonders, most of them are not very wonderful. I don't agree with you on every point. But I definitely agree that a lot of them could be more interesting. I'm a fan of pushing them towards specialized niches, making some wonders more attractive to different players and playstyles (Which needs attention.)

    Health... still needs something. Early game, I find it hard to manage. Later in the game, I usually have tons. Provided I don't play on Apollo. (Again not a good player.) I'm kind of a fan of Machiavelli24's approach with the New Horizons mod, specifically the Virtue changes. That being said, I'm a fan of the Virtue system's concept of Synergy Bonuses.
  4. CelJaded

    CelJaded DENOUNCING!

    Jun 3, 2015
    United Kingdom
    I agree fully.

    The idea of vertical/horizontal synergy bonuses for virtues is very nice, but the crucial health bonuses are buried too far down to allow you much room for experimentation on higher difficulties.

    The new horizons mod is a good one, indeed. I would also recommend checking out @lilgamefreek's Social Engineering mod which overhauls the virtue screen with plenty of new ideas and new artwork etc.

    P.S. I updated the list above to include a quick thought about specialists (which also need a big rethink) and the frustrating lack of the 'manual specialist control' check box from Civ V.

    Not sure why they forgot to include that tbh. :confused:
  5. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Aug 30, 2013
    I think the biggest problem with health is that each pop can give +1 health but will only give -0.75 health. That's a cool design at first, but at the same time it means that with little extra health from other sources the health issue basically solves itself.

    In my personal balance mod I've changed it back to -1 health per pop, changed the biowell to +2 health, but removed the bonus food - that leads to a scenario where you basically want to build all health buildings and "fill up" the rest of the population with biowells as much as needed (without just spamming them mindlessly), while virtues provide the health needed to counter the base-unhealth from cities and only slowly during the later parts of the game actually generate enough health to stay in double-digits positive health.

    Making negative health bonus a bit harsher may also change the gameplay to a more "smother" expansion-timing, instead of the rush-settling that we have right now.
  6. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars King

    Dec 10, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    lilgamefreek's Social Engineering is awesome. I really like the hard choices it presents. But when it comes specifically to the Health management, I like Machiavelli's system. The stacking synergy bonuses to help control Health is great. A more... integrated? system to govern the well-being of your citizens. And I think thematically it makes more sense; as you're building your society up, your people will become used to and feel better about their society.

    Among many other things, Specialists need help. I don't think anyone thinks they're special enough. Would be nice to have more options to upgrade them. I don't think I've ever tried to manually assign a specialist. I know the slots are in the Buildings tab on the bottom left.
  7. Velasti

    Velasti Warlord

    Sep 26, 2014
    They're not that special, but if you don't build some tile improvements, they can be useful. E.g. if you have poor food production, then grower specialists make sense.

    I think other people have different preferences, or play the game differently. I can't be bothered doing academy spam, satellite spam or terraforming spam because the AI is so impotent I don't need the economy.
  8. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Aug 30, 2013
    "I don't need to play efficient, so really bad options are okay." is a really bad argument though. That may work for you, but other people want options that are somewhat balanced - a Grower gives +2 Food, eats 2 Food, so all you really get is +1 Science and 0,25 positive Health if you have enough Health buildings (or -0,75 health if you haven't).

    That's a really horrible deal, if you think about it. A Building with 4 Grower Specialists basically translates into: Gain 4 Science. (Gain 1 Pop.) Lose 4 Population. :lol:
  9. Velasti

    Velasti Warlord

    Sep 26, 2014
    Growers give +2 food and +2 energy. You can't count unhealth, because ceteris paribus. Population generates the same amount of unhealth irrespective of whether or not it is on a tile or a specialist, and you can't say "lose 1 pop" per grower, because that holds true for any placement of citizens on any tile.

    Irrespectively, it depends on what tiles are available to you. In my current game, adding grower specialists keeps food the same while increasing energy. A civilian comes off a +1 food tile to go into the +2 grower slot. I have 27 from terrain, 2 from buildings and 7 from trade routes before, for a total of 36, with 22 eaten by citizens, giving me income 14.
    After, I have 26 from terrain, 2 from buildings, 2 from slots, 7 from trade routes, for a total of 37 and 22 eaten by citizens, giving me income 15.

    Sorry, the maths checks out

    I agree it doesn't give a massive bonus, and it should probably be increased because it's easily outweighed by different tiles surrounding the city. As it is, it does what it's supposed to do.
  10. DefiantMars

    DefiantMars King

    Dec 10, 2014
    Honolulu, HI
    Instead of flat out increasing the yields of specialists, I'm more keen on the idea of giving the player ways to increase it as you play. Be it in Affinity, techs, building quests, more virtues, a wonder. I'm not sure what the end state should or could be, but something to make them more appealing (if you decide to pursue it) would be nice.
  11. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Aug 30, 2013
    Growers don't give +2 Energy, unless you pick a virtue in a tree that's usually not considered to be very good. Don't lecture me on what I can and can't say and then randomly take some virtues into your equation and sell them as a baseline. :D

    And yes, a pop eats up the same health no matter what it does, but that does not change the fact that I need to take the +0.25(or -0.75) health into the equation when I want to evaluate if it's worth having that additional pop just to "sustain itself. The idea behind that is that Specialist Slots don't just appear out of nowhere and when I invest 255 production and 1gpt (which can almost always be ignored, because it gets paid back by the trade connection) to sustain 1 pop , then having +0.25 or -0.75 on my global total health in addition to the +1 Science the pop creates can be a game changer in the decision whether or not that's a good deal.

    But all that really only counts if you NEED that additional Food to sustain a pop that, just as the specialist slots, somehow appeared out of nowhere. Because in any other situation it would just have been better to build an Academy on one of the worked tiles - even if it's snow - and be done with growing the city. Having to invest 255 hammers for 1 pop should never even come into the equation. (And you'll never reasonably get to use more than 1 Grower Slot in that situation, because the city that was stagnating before will then just stagnate with the 1 self-sustained pop added).

    Well, unless the city is stagnating at exactly 9 Pop with only 0 Food tiles available for 1 pop I guess. Then it may be worth actually getting the Mass Digester to bring and keep it to 10 pop to get the additional Trade Route. Or if you're going full Prosperity and have to get the +2 energy per Specialist anyway.

    But that's really the problem, isn't it? You not only have to build a strategy around Specialists, no, your area must also be really, really horrible to make the Specialist Strategy seem a somewhat decent option - trying to work with Specialists when the area is "decent" or better is just gimping yourself. And that only really covers Growers.

    Scientists? Always inferior, because of their investment costs.
    Artists? Well, unless you play Supremacy you just don't get any. And even with Supremacy they come so late that they don't pay back.
    Engineers? Well. I actually changed my mind about them recently. They're okay-ish at boosting really-low production areas onto a level that is "acceptable" (or temporarely boosting production in any city) and you get 2 for free from the Autoplant. Still haven't quite decided if it's really worth getting the Autoplant, but it's a close decision.
    And I almost forgot Trader Specialists... they're super-useful! ..if you've already messed up and are willing to sacrifice all your growth to not disband units.

    Well, if they're "supposed" to have an extremely niche role that basically never comes into play, then sure. But then I have to say that I disagree heavily with the design.

    But I personally don't think they're supposed to fill that extremely niche role. I think they thought Specialists are viable the way they are - and to be fair: Artists, Scientists, Engineers and sometimes Growers would all have their roles. I think their theoretical potential is better than it looks when you first see them... but at the same time the opportunity costs - or just the readily available alternatives (mainly for Artists) - destroy that theoretical potential rather quickly.
  12. Velasti

    Velasti Warlord

    Sep 26, 2014
    I didn't realise that a virtue had affected it. Scanned through the virtue trees before I posted, didn't think anything I had taken was affecting it.

    Ahh but that's the thing isn't it... Prosperity tree isn't considered very good by this forum... unless you were on this forum a couple of months ago, when it was all the rage.

    I'm not sure how strong your memory is, but I recall being on this forum and suggesting the merits of virtues in trees other than Prosperity, and being loudly shouted down by people who fixate on their current play style as being the "best" play style.

    The theory-crafting of the community is all well and good, but I don't really care about whatever consensus has been arrived at. I've been ahead of the curve before.

    Stop lecturing me.

    None of this is relevant, because I have already proven to you that the grower slot is not merely sustaining itself. If it was just sustaining itself, then putting population into that slot would not yield a surplus. The health numbers are irrelevant, because I'm not talking about "one extra pop", but about existing pop which is reallocated. Your argument is beside the point.

    You're also wrong on the numbers. I don't know why you're talking about stagnation and sustaining and so on, because, as I have already demonstrated, putting the citizen from a +1 tile into a +2 grower slot is yielding a surplus of food.

    Check my numbers.
    Without grower slot: 36 food income, 22 eaten by citizens. 14 surplus.
    With grower slot: 37 food income, 22 eaten by citizens. 15 surplus.

    Instead of theory crafting, play the game. The displayed numbers in the interface appear to be wrong. The grower slot appears to be only consuming 1 food. If it was true that the Grower specialist consumed both of the 2 food it produced, than I should have seen no change in food production, and both numbers should be 14.

    I am not suggesting that you're playing a "Specialist" strategy. That isn't even strategy. Why would you ever play the game with the strategic goal of getting specialists?

    Can you please just acknowledge that you play a very hardline min-max gameplay style? They don't have a very niche role, they just have a role that doesn't fit into the way you play the game.

    The issue is that the AI cannot provide a strong enough challenge to the player to force the player into a position where it matters whether or not they are squeezing out a couple of extra production/energy/culture/food/science per turn from their cities. The player never loses tempo and so the player can plan whether or not they build autoplants. Specialists have a valid role. It's just not useful for a play style where you speed away to victory as early as possible. I don't do that, because it's boring and I know I'll win every time.

    (Think about what would happen if you got Supremacy Tier 4'd in one of your cities with all of your beautiful tile improvements, if the AI went through and sat on tiles and pillage them, etc. There's an argument that you shouldn't allow that to happen - but that's the point. In an actual strategy game, you get pushed onto the defensive from time to time, you lose tempo, you lose the initiative, you actually have to react)

    That is your issue. You're too good, and the AI sucks too much.

    Quite frankly, the design of the entire game is wrong. You shouldn't be saying "build your strategy around getting specialists". I build my strategy around increasing my economy (CEFPS) and specialists are a means to a particular end.

    Your opponents should be unpredictable and dangerous, not this placid doormat that allows players to win in the 200s once they've learned how to eco effectively, or in other words, once they've learned how to play the game.
  13. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Aug 30, 2013
    Prosperity was the best tree back in 1.0, when Trade Routes were insane and Prosperity gave you the bonuses you needed. Industry was always considered to be "okay", but when trade route yields got nerfed and inverted - and trade depots couldn't be rush-bought anymore - industry pulled ahead, because it provides the best solution to the now much lower production (especially for smaller cities) and was the key to get cities to the level where they need to be. So it seems like you were not only ahead of everyone else, but also ahead of the changes that made your argument correct. :D

    And I already told you that extra population doesn't just come out of nowhere. If you don't have a tile to put that "one pop" on, then where do you think the other pops that you want to put in these specialist slots are supposed to come from? :confused:

    The only scenario I can think of where that situation is if you re-allocate tiles so that one city can grow and block tiles that another city was using in the process.

    No, you're wrong about the Specialist consuming only one food, I assume that happened, because when you remove a Specialist from a building it gets automatically assigned to a tile that has food, so I assume that's what caused the false observation.

    And yes, I did test that Ingame. I literally put a Mass Digester into a Level 1 city, put the Pop on a 2 Food Tile, memorized the number, then put that specialist into the Mass Digester - and the number stayed exactly the same. ;) There are mods that bring back the 50% food consumption perk from Civ 5, but it's not in the unmodded game.

    The rest of your math is correct though, but missed the point of what I was getting at. The extreme example: If you have a city with 6 pop that produces a total of 2 surplus food and all the other tiles around are snow tiles, then you have 2 possibilities:
    - Put the new pop in a Specialist Slot and get +1 Science from it (and keep your +2 Surplus).
    - Build an Academy on a Snow Tile, Put the new Pop on it, get +3 Science (and have a Stagnating City).

    Now, you would need 2 additional pop to get even with the Science that the Academy produces (and you would need 3+ to make up for the science that you lost while you were generating these additional pop when the Academy already produced). This just won't happen, because 2 Surplus Food doesn't get you anywhere, even at 3 pop. Of course, the total surplus of a city may vary, but a Grower always generates +2 Surplus, so its influence does not change - you're always better off just building an academy. (And yeah, I was ignoring Energy costs in that example)

    I don't understand the problem here to be honest. Are you nitpicking my words? :confused: To make Specialists somewhat worthwhile you need to both, get techs that have specialist buildings and the virtue that gives them extra-energy. So yes, of course you have to play a "Specialist-Strategy". Doesn't mean you're going at it with the idea: "I want to make specialists worthwhile. So I'll get this, and that!" - but yes... if you pick things that improve specialists, then that's a "Specialist-Strategy" in my mind... what... exactly is wrong with that? :confused:

    Oh, sure, I can totally admit that I'm trying to min-max rather heavily here. But that does not change anything about the fact that Specialists, in general, are not very good and also don't provide any cool gameplay that other things don't also provide. Specialists right now are just the "weaker version of that other thing". It's like having 2 Buildings, they cost the same, they're on the same tech, mutually exclusive and one of them yields +4 Production and that other one yields +4 Production but also costs 3 Titanium and, if you have 6 unimproved Forests around your capital you get +1 Bonus-Production. So it has its niche, right? But seriously, what exactly is that building for? And I'll keep that example here:

    Sure, you may pick that other Building that costs you Titanium in every single city, even if you don't have somehow kept 6 unimproved forests around your capital, because in the end, yeah, it doesn't really matter, you're right. But how does that validate that second building? It doesn't.

    Specialists are a lot like the second building, and they're also very different. Their design is: They're limited. And you have to invest tech + production to actually get them. So it's just not a reasonable design to make them WEAKER than all the other choices. They should be stronger - not much - than what is available in abundance and they should be stronger because of the investment costs.

    Because then you actually have the choice: Invest and get bonuses in the long run or ignore.

    With "hardcore-theorycrafting" one of the options will still turn out to be the superior one, but the choice to not go for the most efficient thing and instead take a risk, choose the other solution to open up options that you didn't have before or just do it to change the flow of the game - right now the choice however is: Invest and just lose tempo without really gaining anything or ignore.

    And that's the problem.

    Won't quote or go too deep into the rest of your post because this one is already stupidly long, but yes, I agree with you on that. The things you mentioned are much deeper, core issues that the game has... but still, that does not validate bad design. I'm not saying Specialists have to be fixed asap or anything like that.
  14. Simplicity2

    Simplicity2 Chieftain

    Jul 18, 2007
    There are some things about CivBE that I find infuriating and if they don't get fixed in the next expansion, I think I'm going to have a hard time playing it.

    1) Stations. I hate *everything* about them. Part of this is psychological. I don't feel bad about city-states because they;ve had that land since turn 1, and they give important bonuses. But stations? They plunk themselves down on previously empty prime real estate in every game I play. And they give garbage. IF I want to risk trading with them... which I don't.

    2) Soulless textboxes granting passive bonuses. Every building, I get this: "Our scientists have determined that food is crunchy. We can chew it to make sounds +1 culture or swallow it whole to spend less time +1 production." Compare these to quests in Endless Legend. Or Legendary Deeds. Or GalCiv3's gorgeous choice graphics. It feels like amateur hour with every building, and I hate it.

    3) Soulless characters. I'm hoping the diplo upgrades do something for this. Hopeful.

    4) Endless trade refreshes. Is this really the best use of my time? Finding previous route over and over and reclicking it?

    Anything else?
  15. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Aug 30, 2013
    You do realize there's an auto-renew since the latest patch? ô.o If all you're doing is finding the previous route anyway, then there's no reason not to use it.

    My main complaint is still that games are too short.
    And the poor balance overall.
  16. Browd

    Browd Dilettante Administrator

    Aug 5, 2012
    Washington, DC
    Moderator Action: Merged with existing thread in Ideas & Suggestions.
  17. Velasti

    Velasti Warlord

    Sep 26, 2014
    No you're retconning. In the discussion I'm thinking of, anything that was not Prosperity was considered to be completely useless.

    Those changes didn't affect the fundamental game so much, only nerfing the vocal min-maxxers.

    What are you talking about? This is Ceteris Paribus. All other things being equal, to translate the Latin for you. The issue at hand isn't how many population you have, the assumption is that you have a city with a given pop, and you are allocating the pop for that turn most efficiently.

    Stop doing this:


    What you are doing is moving the point of argument to something you can win at. We're not talking about where you are allocating your future pop, we are talking about where you are allocating your EXISTING pop on any given turn. This isn't 'extra pop'. The point at hand is whether or not moving a pop from a tile will improve the food production of a city.

    Are they snow tiles? No they could just be any fairly useless tile, e.g. +1F Sea Tiles.

    What are you going to do in Rising Tide if you can't build tile improvements on coral reefs?

    You're not confused, you know exactly what it is you're doing. You're shifting the argument to a domain you know you can win, but in doing so, you're moving it away from the original point at issue. So please stop doing it.
    Once again, you subtly change the argument.
    First, I didn't "remove a specialist from a building.", I removed a citizen from a tile, and placed him into the building, when all tiles were locked down.
    My observation is correct, and you go onto prove that with your in-game test.
    A population is producing 2 food, and consuming 1 food.
    You change that pop into a specialist slot, and it produces 2 food, and consumes 1 food.

    So the number doesn't change

    As I have already pointed out, if the Specialist consumed two food, then in your example, you would have gone from +2 food produced, -1 consumed, to +2 food produces, -2 consumed, for a net-change of -1.

    So why didn't you see the food production number decrease by 1? Why did you make this observation:
    All you have done is proved:
    My test was based on a +1 food production tile going to a +2 specialist. My number that didn't change was the food consumed by citizens, irrespective of whether they were laborers or specialists.

    The rest of your post is beside the point of the original argument, and I'll reply because I derailed that, so it would only be polite.

    I see that as an accident. I.e you were pursuing some other strategy, and you made specialists worthwhile by accident. It's not a "specialist strategy". The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

    But that isn't the point at issue. The point at issue isn't whether Specialists are excellent, but whether Specialists have a useful role to play in the game. And they do.

    It's just that your highly aggressive min-max playstyle means anything that doesn't fit into a calculation intensive playstyle "is useless".

    Again, the point at issue isn't whether Specialists could be improved, but whether Specialists are currently useful. Specialists are currently useful, and I agree with you that they could be improved.

    And now there is a similar point, which is whether Specialists are Useful and whether they are Worthwhile

    In the past, Specialists generated Great People (and had more or less the same yields), so they had the options which you're talking about making them worthwhile. The developers took GP away, which make them less worthwhile, but they are still useful.

    Yes, Specialists in the current game are situationally worthwhile, but they aren't as mindnumbingly unuseful as your Situational Second Building (I'm sorry, 3 titanium for 1 production, if I have 6 forests, and if not, then just 3 titanium for a flavourful building?)

    Situations is the wrong word - this is dynamics vs statics. I.e. The static situations where specialists are worthwhile are predicated on dynamic properties of the system changing. If you design your City to be Static (based on the knowledge that the City will be static), then, yes, of course Specialists aren't going to be worthwhile (and therefore, not useful). I design my cities to be dynamic, even if forced dynamism isn't part of the game, and so they are useful. For me, they are worthwhile because Ill dynamically change the system as I go. You play to be static, and so there is no external motivation to be dynamic.

    Edit: Just to clarify, your SSB is basically static. It depends on things the player can't control.

    As I have already pointed out, Specialists would be very much worthwhile if, for example, all of your tile improvements got wiped out by a Supremacy Level 4 attack, or if you had a hostile neighbour who was regularly wrecking your stuff... but the AI doesn't do that. The situations where Specialists would come to the fore don't happen, and it takes away from the game as a whole, because the designers seem to be designing the game for those scenarios and then the AI doesn't make them happen.

    Nevertheless, that doesn't stop specialists from being useful the rest of the time.

    The point is that Specialists aren't unworthwhile because of the properties they have, they are unworthwhile because the system doesn't have the dynamism to bring them to the fore. They're still useful.

    It just stops them from being worthwhile, if, for example, you're playing Civ BE the way it actually is, rather than what it could be.
  18. CelJaded

    CelJaded DENOUNCING!

    Jun 3, 2015
    United Kingdom
    Moving away from the topic of specialists for just a minute, what do people think of my more general suggestions?

    Specifically the smaller requests like looping menu music, more comprehensive Civlopedia entries and displayed sponsor ability names- am I alone in thinking these small enhancements are worthy of proper consideration on Firaxis' part?

    I'm curious as to whether anyone has thought about these because, perhaps rightly so, the more pressing concerns to do with game balance and direction are usually at the forefront of discussion.

    I'm just wondering if these smaller enhancements are just getting missed or perhaps people don't value them in the same way I do.

    What does everyone think?
  19. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

    Aug 30, 2013
    Well, the discussions I remember were differently, but maybe different people had different opinions. Don't think we have to go into too much depth about that, as it's an empty discussion that will lead to no important points anyway.

    You were talking about relocating existing population. If you didn't have tiles with decent food yields before getting the specialist slots, then how exactly did that city gain the additional population that now out of nowhere needs to be relocated?

    No, you're just wrong here, and it doesn't get right just because you repeat it. Each pop consumes 2 food. Here's the proof:
    Spoiler :

    And it doesn't matter if it's in a specialist slot or if it's working a tile.

    Already covered most of that above and why it is not a good thing to just focus on getting maximum food in the last post - the thing about academies. This is not Civ 5 where stacking population is the most important thing.

    Well, if there's no tile left that can build a tile improvement, then getting additional population in that city is very, very low priority anyway. It's still not worth wasting 255 production so you can, somewhere down the line, get +1 science from that additional pop that the mass digester may have squeezed out. I mean going to pop 10 requires 168 food - so that mass digester would need 79 turn to accumulate that 10th population if the alternative is a snow tile. If any ocean tile is available toe "bonus-pop" the mass digester gains you needs 168 turns. It's just not worth it.

    (Already went through all of that above - see screenshot, you're wrong.)

    Alright, so you ARE talking semantics.

    No, Grower Specialists are EXACTLY as lacking as that building that I dreamed up there. You're trading 255 production for +1 science maybe somewhere down the line, if the game takes really, really long, then +2 science.

    No. No, just no. Man, you're thinking a lot about that, but you're still missing the key problem that makes Grower Specialists useless at their core. The few situations where Growers COULD indeed be useful just don't happen. I mean taken to the extreme your argument comes down to: "If a city that has nothing but ice tiles need to sustain 8 population, then grower slots are really good." ...YEAH. That's right. But you'll never HAVE a city that has 8 population and nothing but ice tiles. It just can't happen - just as the examples that you mentioned can't happen.

    And no, I'm not trying to ridicule your argument, I'm just trying to show you that it's the same thing. You cannot assume a situation where the city already >has< additional Population and then somehow loses the tiles they were working without explaining how the hell that happened. I mentioned the only situation I can think of in the last post (moving tiles between cities), but again: In this case working an academy is the efficient solution. No tiles free for academies? Well, then there's no reason to use growers, because the additional pop will also have no tiles to work and the investment would not pay out.

    And that's really the problem about the examples you have given. Either the situation you presume doesn't make sense. Or the payout you get from using Growers is so little that it's better to set up an Academy (or whatever advanced tile improvement you prefer). And if you can't even set up an Academy because there are no free tiles then that pop is still better used to give +1 production while you use the 255 production you'd need to build the mass digester for other stuff - if you don't need anything else, then that's still 64 raw science that you get much faster than the additional pop could give you.

    But yeah, other Specialists have more things going for them, I'm not even arguing against that.

    If in the example above it were Scientists instead of Growers, yes, then the deal would look a lot different. The problem however is still that the Institute is basically the only Multi-Scientist Building along the way, so in efficient victories you'd need to give up the free endgame tech from the building quest, which means that getting the building early on is basically out of the question. The Xenonursery is great though - if you meet the requirements and have a low-food city with Xenomass (which... won't happen often, but every now and then).

    Artists are once again mostly useless in "Mainstream"-Strategies (because you already get all the Culture-Production you need early on and additional Virtues have extremely steep uphill-costs). They may have more use in strategies that get less Culture than they need for all the virtues they want (although it's questionable if the virtues will be worth the loss in Tile Yields and there would probably be a better solution to solve that issue).

    Engineers - good for quickly maxing Production for a while if needed for whatever reason. And you even get 2(4) for free on good buildings that are on good techs, that's the best thing about them. (edit: And of course in the "No tiles available"-Situation Engineer slots are the most available, good option to put additional pop in)

    Traders are just the most horribly scaled Specialists and should never, never, never, never be used. But they have some utility if everything goes to and you need some additional turns to fix it. They're damage reduction, and again you get 2 for free on a building that you want anyway, so the opportunity/investment costs for making the slots available is 0.

    Growers however? Nope.


    Ah, right. I'm sorry.

    I think most of your points are very reasonable and I agree with them. Especially the point that building quests should be visible somewhere (which is something that I was against in the past, but I changed my mind) - some building quests are just very important and to really evaluate a building that information needs to be readily available.

    Manual Specialist Control is also something that would be really useful, just as a "Stagnate City Growth"-option. Although the latter one probably has not as much use as it had in Civ 5 it would still come in very handy.

    Sponsor Abilities: I personally think they should be more powerful than what you mentioned, so Sponsors actually feel a lot different from each other - but of course, that would make balancing Effords a lot harder (and it would make my mod obsolete, so keep them grounded!). Your solution for Africa would not really work though, as the huge bonus have it that they don't have to build the relic early and get that culture rolling while being able to build something else. Later Relics just aren't as much of a deal. It's an awkward solution to this, but I think just making the Old Earth Relic cheaper (something like 30 Production, no Maintenance by default) to reduce the bonus passively would reduce both, the strength of Africa AND the Artists-Loadout at the same time.

    Attached Files:

  20. CelJaded

    CelJaded DENOUNCING!

    Jun 3, 2015
    United Kingdom
    I suppose you're right, it's just as a Brit, I'm a sucker for a good freebie! Funny really how such a cheap little building grants such a massive boost in the long term.

    I like not having to worry about building the OER when playing The African Union (similar to how Tradition in Civ V let's me ignore the need for aqueducts and monuments), but the effects are very noticeable in terms of establishing an early virtue lead, especially when combined with artists. Could be a tricky one to balance without making the building cheaper as you said.

    Slight tangent, but do you think a future sponsor ability could get away with a free clinic in every city?

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