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Tech tree balance minigame

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by YertyL, Dec 9, 2013.

  1. YertyL

    YertyL Chieftain

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    So here's a fun little game I came up with while pondering what a balanced tech tree might look like:

    Take a look at the BNW tech tree: http://www.civfanatics.com/gallery/files/2/2/3/0/2/0/techtree_clean_original.png
    and compare techs in the same column. Being roughly equally priced, they should, in theory, be roughly equally powerful and attractive to research first, depending on what strategy you follow (tall, wide, military, religious etc.)

    Then, for funzies, list the cases where this is not the case in the most ridiculous way.

    For me, that is (sorted by era):

    -Iron working, followed pretty closely be engineering
    -Civil Service outshines everything else in its column, though not too drastically IMO.
    -Steel. Of course I will beeline this before education
    -Metallurgy. This is also pretty damn ridiculously underpowered.
    -Steam power.
    -Combustion, except maybe for very specific scenarios on pure water maps. In this column, plastics dominates everything else anyway.
    -Combined arms, though not as harshly as
    -computers. I honestly can't remember the last time this was not just a roadblock to robotics.
    -End techs are pretty hard to judge, since they is mostly only reached for a science victory. Nukes + Xcom do seem to somewhat obsolete nuclear fusion and stealth though.

    What are your thoughts on this? And, more importantly, what would you suggest for fixing it?
    Personally, I would
    -nerf archery units and city attacks, thus indirectly buffing the iron, horse and defensive building line. Severely nerf or completely kick out the increase of ranged city strength based on tech. Tech should help your cities be stronger, after you have actually researched and built something that contributes to city strength, not simply on its own. Imagine if the upgrade warrior -> swordsman -> etc. simply happened on its own based on tech era!
    -moving the pikeman from civil service to Metal Casting might be an interesting change
    -move lumber mill production bonus from Sci.Th. to steam power
    -move infantry from Plastics to combined arms

    I am still not sure what to do with computers and metallurgy though. Some buff to the universally hated lancers would be nice, and a general nerf to city ranged strength might lead to building arsenals and military bases for a different reason than "I misclicked that icon" and "I knew I had won anyway and was bored".

    EDIT: Moving cannons from chemistry to metallurgy is something that feels like it would contribute to balance as well. The production bonus is already pretty powerful on its own.
     
  2. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Moving Pikemen from Civil Service to Metal Casting would do a world of good to balance the lower part of the tech tree. The fact that you get a perfectly capable melee unit that can easily hold its ground against any unit from the lower part of the tech tree (which is supposed to be the offensive/war oriented part of the tech tree) when beelining Education is one of the major blunders of the game imo.

    I believe that this simple change, along perhaps with a slight cut of one point strength for the Composite Bowman, would make it much less easy to focus only on the upper part of tech tree for the first half of the game and still survive. This is relevant for this discussion because the only way the science techs are no-brainers over the war techs is that you can survive without the war techs.
     
  3. YertyL

    YertyL Chieftain

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    Yes, splitting the tree up into military and non-military techs is OK, as long as you need at least some of the military techs. This is also what I cannot understand about plastics.

    I would still strongly favor a nerf to default (without defensive buildings) ranged city strength. IMO, passive players should at least be forced to keep up tech- and production-wise with archery units and defensive buildings, plus maybe spearmen/pikes/lancers. Tech is powerful anyways, it does not need to add to defensive value without any investment whatsoever. And ATM even the most passive player never builds anything beyond walls, with the exception of Neuschwanstein-castles.
     
  4. rawrtrav

    rawrtrav Chieftain

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    I'll do what I believe to be the worst one for each era:

    Animal Husbandry - Ancient
    Yaaay horses...wait, I can't actually build any horse units? Oh, okay. Pastures are nice but at the early point of the game I'd be more focused on getting my luxuries up, so mining trumps it. Pottery is obviously op, and archery is op because ToA.

    Engineering - Classical
    Great Wall is a pretty bad wonder imo, I mean it becomes obsolete! Normal walls are plenty good enough for this point in the game, especially if you have a composite bow in there too. Aquaducts, I cannot remember the last time I actually built an aquaduct - <3 Tradition. Bridges over rivers are good, but they're not good enough to save Engineering when most other techs in this era are pretty crucial.

    Chivalry - Medieval
    Knights, okay they're decent but to be honest they're not as good as Longswordsmen , Crossbowmen or even the Galleass, the other three late-medieval units. Knights are made even more obsolete by the fact that you have to get Civil Service before Chivalry, meaning the AI has already spammed Pikemen and set up a seemingly impenetrable phlanx. Alhambra is a wonder that the AI seem to rush to, and seeing as I tend to beeline to Education, Acoustics for Rationalism and then Physics (<3 Notre Dame), Alhambra is already close to completion 99% of the time. Castles are meh until Neuschwanstein.

    Economics - Renaissance
    Seriously, a windmill and a bit of extra gold? That's what you're giving me here? No thanks. If it wasn't for Public Schools and Factories needing economics, I would consider this to be the absolute worst tech in the game.

    Steam Power - Industrial
    I like ironclads, I do, but they're not worth an entire tech just for them. Every other industrial tech seems to offer you a boost in some way, whether that be food, production, culture, science or military xp, then it's just...a big metal boat. This should have been stuck with something else, maybe railroads come come in at Steam Power and the Railroad tech be taken out of the game?

    Ballistics - Modern
    Just wtf, don't even need to say anything else. The absolute worst tech in the game.

    Computers - Atomic
    I have never built the Great Firewall. I have built helicopters a few times for lolz. Almost as bad as ballistics, but at least it has a wonder, even if it is a pretty useless one.

    Globalisation - Information
    If you haven't already won a diplomatic victory by the time you're getting to this, then you've done something wrong along the way I'm afraid. I suppose if you do make mistakes then this could be reasonably useful, but overall I'd prefer to keep my diplomats as spies in City States, even for a diplomatic vict
     
  5. Zaimejs

    Zaimejs Emperor

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    I was just looking at the combustion column... how depressing. None of those are things I really want when I play, and yet, almost no invention has been as important to the modern world than the internal combustion engine. It was a game changer, but in this game it gets you big ugly tanks. I miss highways...

    It seems like they ran out of imagination for the advancements of those technologies. Plastics? Everything is made of plastic. Whoever discovers plastic first should get a big economic boost... think of all the happiness plastics have brought us through toys and all the other conveniences of modern life. But instead you get the Christo Redeemer?

    Electronics... hugely important. But all you get are two giant ships.

    Almost all of those techs are based on war mechanics without any new buildings or anything boosting the world. Meh. If nothing else, combustion should get you tractors for another food boost on farms or pivot irrigation.

    Dynamite should be changed to Explosives and give a boon to mining as well as allow tunnels and roads to be built on mountains.

    It's kind of fun to look at the whole tech tree to see some positives and negatives.
     
  6. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    AH gives pretty much free production in already decent food tiles if you have cows/horses. Also, it gives a freakin' TRADE ROUTE. I'd say the lackluster tech here is sailing: it's so for from the tech path not even another unit trade route makes its useful until much later, unless you have a coastal start.

    Engineering is kinda bad, but bridges are absolutely vital for transportation. On the other hand, iron working unlocks a unit which requires a strategic resource already unlocked in BW and yet which is useless as it's weaker than the pikeman.

    Longswordsmen suck since they're not on the path to ANYTHING (at least chivalry leads to printing press for WC) and require iron, which is often not worth improving. Also knights can escape, move, and easily capture cities without taking bombardment damage (great for dealing with x-bows).

    Agree with economics sucking, it gives pretty much nothing banking won't unless you're Dutch with polders.

    Steam power unlocks a unit which can effectively deal with frigate spam for the first time, and also gives +1 embark movement. I'd say it's pretty important, but less so than other industrial techs. The worst tech in this era depends on what VC you want: if you're going SC and ignore archaeology, then that's useless. Other than that, steam power is still worse than anything in its era.

    Why is ballistics bad? It gives 2 valuable defense units which help deal with the AI getting infantry and bombers at this time. Without it, you'd have to deal with modern era units by building Gatling guns - not a viable strategy. On the other hand, combustion does not lead to anything and unlocks 2 useless units.

    Computers is bad; so is globalization to a lesser degree...just what you said.

    So the worst techs in each era are: Sailing, IW, steel, economics, archaeology, combustion, computer, globalization.
     
  7. GoStu

    GoStu King

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    I'll do a more in-depth discussion later, but has anyone else noticed the ridiculous fact that the Internet doesn't require Computers? I've won CV's a couple times with only the Internet tech: I don't have any idea what my people were getting the Internet ON though.

    I don't think any other civ had computers either, so I'm not sure how they were getting the Internet bonus either.
     
  8. bbbt

    bbbt Deity

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    I'd do something to nerf tech specialization by simply making it that say, each unresearched tech from previous eras actually makes current era techs take longer - making it a little more of a balance between keeping up a baseline and pushing to the next tech. I'm pretty sure this was done in some prior civ implementations.
     
  9. rawrtrav

    rawrtrav Chieftain

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    Again, that trade route comes too early for the way I play the game. I struggle to get trade routes out until the Classical era at the earliest because I'm too busy building up the basics and maybe trying to get Stonehenge/Hanging Gardens if possible. Hanging Gardens provides more food than this trade route, where as Sailing also provides Cargo Ships and a trade route AND triremes AND access to more lux resources, which is why I'd place sailing above AH.

    Colossus is OP though and takes Iron Working above Engineering in my personal opinion. Free cargo ship and lots of gold per turn is essential at this point of the game, if you can get it.

    I suppose I have to agree a bit, but I tend to prefer using longswordsmen to knights. Their ability to upgrade to musketmen pretty quickly gives them an advantage over knights. I'm just not a big fan of horse units, and I'd much rather have iron in my borders than horses. <3 Frigates.

    Boo to economics!

    This was a difficult one for me. Ironclads are a really good unit for this point in the game, don't get me wrong, but it seems like everything else in the Industrial era is supposed to 'revive' your empire and point it in the direction of one certain victory condition. Archaeology is very very useful for CV, Scientific Theory for SV, Industrialisation for anything really, Military Science for a Dom, Fertiliser for anything science related, and Dynamite is very useful for Doms. Electricity and Biology both unlock new strats, so I'd say they're pretty important for that. Looking at it again, I suppose I might say Rifling is the worst in Industrial, but I use riflemen more than I use ironclads so I went with Steam Power.

    Honestly, I can safely say I have NEVER built either of those two units purposely. I've upgraded one or two here and there sure, but at the point I'm getting this tech normally, I'm 10+ techs in the lead after just popping all my Great Scientists on the way to Satellites, and I'm not in a position where anyone wants to DoW me. Maybe if I played the game a different way I'd see it differently, but I like SVs so ballistics is pretty useless to me, just a stepping stone to Hubble Telescope :)

    At least we agree on a few :goodjob:
     
  10. Ninakoru

    Ninakoru A deity on Emperor

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    I think ,the major problem is how science dominates everything, and to get science you have to actually "play science" (focus on growth and prioritizing on the science techs). That's why all techs with science buildings are so damn good.

    A good solution would be:

    Make science more linear instead of the current exponential nature. Actually you get about 40-50% science boost with each science building upgrade/NC. If the science growth is more linear, wouldn't be so critical to go NC/Education ASAP.

    Give some specific behaviours some science rewards, so playing science doesn't monopolize the science itself. A few examples:

    - City gets a 15% science boost while is building a military unit. (domination would benefit more of this).

    - Each point of faith in city: +1% science in city, upt to 15%. (If you go hard on religion, there's your piece of the science cake.

    - Each two points of global culture: 1 point of science. (If you go for a culture victory you will benefit more on this).
     
  11. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    They should definitely reimplement the feature that was back in one of the old games and which has now re-appeared as Assyrias UA: When you capture an enemy city, you may obtain knowledge of a technology the target has discovered but you don't know of. This both makes sense from a realism pov. and from a gameplay pov., because it means you can focus on military and then conquer technologies from the other civs.

    Obviously civs who focus on technology will be able to defend themselves better because they will have access to more advanced weapons, so that will be the challenge for the war player who focuses entirely on war techs, but at least that way you wouldn't be double penalized for going war. As it is now, early war will leave you outteched extremely fast and unless you eliminate all other players by brute force, you'll have very little chance of catching up with them, and that is a very unfortunate mechanism because it effectively removes conquest as an option for all but total-war games.
     
  12. Talcove

    Talcove Slayer of Spies

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    I've been thinking for quite some time about the merits of moving Monuments to Pottery. This way one could get a scout up and running before the culture starts rolling in, giving you time to explore your surroundings and figure out which path (Tradition or Liberty) would be best (Tradition, of course). It would also force you to choose between a Granary and a Monument - an interesting choice, I think.
     
  13. Santa Maria

    Santa Maria Warlord

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    no I think it's good as is, you have choices from the beginning, it wouldnt make sense to wait for the monument, cause it would delay your policy too much, 1st policy on turn 25 is too late and it would make the culture ruin too valuable.
     
  14. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    Does that mean I'm a noob for often building a scout before the monument? :mischief:
     
  15. georgie

    georgie Warlord

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    No. Most people build scouts before monuments.

    Moving monuments to Pottery is a terrible idea.
    A) It would make culture ruins incredibly OP. If you got one of those and picked tradition, you would have your first two SP before anyone has monuments.
    B) It makes tradition even more of a no-brainer. You just had to wait X amount of turns (35 culture for 1st SP on the speed I play) to get your first SP. You probably haven't gotten your monument up yet. Are you really going to go liberty and not get your next Policy in another X/2 ish turns? If Monument was in Pottery, Tradition would be the ONLY route you could go for culture in the first 30 ish turns. (Forgive me if my numbers are off. I usually play on Epic or Marathon and haven't been able to play much in a while.)


    EDIT: I just realized Santa Maria said exactly what I said in the second half of my post.
     
  16. Teproc

    Teproc King

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    Hm, this looks fun, although a bit dumb, since techs differ depending on map types and civs (Chivalry is pretty much the most important tech in the game if you are the Mongols or Arabia for example).

    Ancient 1 : Pottery is a bit overpowered and almost always the opener, but the rest is fine. I guess AH is the weakes since I don't think you ever open with it, but that line is ok.

    Ancient 2 : Lots of techs, but pretty balanced. The Wheel is maybe the weakest, just because it's the only one along with Writing that doesn't help improve luxes.

    Classical 1 : Yeah, Construction and not much else. Really all of the other three suck, and Construction is maybe the most important tech in all of Classical (maybe Philo). Horseback Riding is probably the worst.

    Classical 2 : I actually like Engineering because the trade route is really nice at this stage of the game. When I think I can afford to detour on my way to Education, I do it. Currency sucks though. I don't like Markets, and you don't need them that early most of the time. Philosophy is a little OP

    Medieval 1 : Civil Service OP. Guilds is pretty lame. The other two are fine. Metal Casting would probably be OP if it was on the way to Education.

    Medieval 2 : Education and Machinery obviously OP. Physics is good, Compass is ok, Steel is pretty lame but not as much as Chivalry.

    Renaissance 1 : Easily the most balanced column in the tech three.

    Renaissance 2 : Architecture, Navigation and Chemistry are good, Economics is ok because of the trade route but still a bit weak. Metallurgy sucks.

    Industrial 1 : Scientific Theory and Industrialization are very strong of course. Archaeology is maybe too CV centric, completely useless otherwise. The rest are pretty balanced, Fertilizer can be a lifesaver, but it's probably the weakest in general.

    Industrial 2. Dynamite > everything else of course. Biology and Electricity are both strong though, important resources and decent buildings. Steam Power sucks.

    Modern 1 : Flight > the rest, but the rest is pretty balanced I think. Refrigeration is kind of like Archaeology though, pretty skippable if you're not going for CV.

    Modern 2 : Plastics is way too good. Labs AND a very good unit ? Combustion is a little on the weak side.

    Atomic 1 : Penicilin sucks and Combined Arms is meh, the other two are good.

    Atomic 2 : Rocketry is too good, Apollo should probably be elsewhere (in terms of balance). Nuclear Fission is good. Computers and Ecology are really weak.

    Information 1 : Satellites is definitely the winner here, but it's pretty balanced overall, except for Telecommunications.

    Information 2 : Globalization is somewhat unnecessary, but it's nice to have in Venice/Austria games. I really dislike Particle Physics, a science that only does that is pretty lame. At least the Internet has a cool effect, and it's obviously a must have. Nuclear Fusion isn't that bad, but Stealth is so much better.

    The really outrageous one to me is Plastics. Education and Scientific Theory are very good, but they didn't add anything to the science bonuses at least (unless you count Angkor Vat...). Having Infantry as Plastics makes it so you don't have the Education vs Machinery and Scientific Theory vs Dynamite choice you have for the other two.
     
  17. rexman07

    rexman07 Chieftain

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    Sounds like you might want to try upping the difficulty level mate. :thumbsup:
     
  18. JimBobV

    JimBobV Warlord

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    From their advanced streaming headsets, obviously. It is the future.
     
  19. Talcove

    Talcove Slayer of Spies

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    There is another way: move monuments to pottery, and not have ruins give culture until you've discovered pottery/built a monument. I still think that delaying monuments until you have a general understanding of your surroundings would be a good idea.
     

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