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The CIV IV random showerthought thread

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by Fish Man, May 24, 2017.

  1. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    I have a bunch of random thoughts about certain aspects of IV, but I don't know where to put 'em, so here I am I guess. Some of these are suggestions, some of these are observations. Either way, feel free to read or comment.

    1. Does anyone ever notice how peculiar it is that the "default" melee units for the ancient and medieval eras are in reality units that one rarely ever saw in the battlefield historically? Axes, while used, were pretty rare throughout as they were cumbersome and required a bit more skill and strength to use, I would imagine. At any rate, the almost comically large axes in the unit models and combat animations were nowhere near as large as real-life battleaxes; if they were, they'd be almost impossible to hold. Maces, on the other hand, were pretty much never used in medieval combat, period. They were simply too unreliable and cumbersome, and required too much skill or strength to use effectively. Instead, AFAIK people used spears, pikes, swords, daggers.

    2. I feel the samurai and berserker are, simply put, weak UUs. Samurai gets up to 3 first strikes but none of that matters when facing mounted and at any rate first strikes don't do much if there's a large gap between attacker and defender strength, AKA city garrison longbowmen. For berserker, the 10% city attack is laughable, almost never enough to push over a jump point, and who even does amphibious assaults in medieval era? A suggestion I have that both makes sense and balances these UUs is this: require only metal casting instead of machinery for both. Think about it - why would you need machinery to know how to make katanas or train crazy axe-wielding maniacs? Not requiring machinery would also allow these units to come into play quite a bit earlier, especially with some oracle + GP shenanigans possible, at the narrow window of time before AI gets longbows. Facing archers with 8 strength units is a significant advantage, maybe the one that Toku needs to make himself not crap.

    3. What if mounted units received flanking bonuses for every friendly unit, on an adjacent tile, also bordering the enemy unit that's being attacked? Maybe to make it not OP it could be limited to applying only once per tile, and 5% per tile at that, maxing out at 15%. If that makes mounted units too OP, maybe give it to the flanking promotion to actually incentivize it, or even give only when certain non-mounted friendly units are nearby. This also helps split stacks and add just a tad of tactics into a strategy game without overdoing it (this is overdoing it).

    4. I feel like Oracle is overrated, especially on higher difficulties. First of all, sometimes you just plain won't get it, wasting quite a bit of hammers and even beakers (I mean, who needs priesthood that early...). Secondly, sometimes you'll be forced to build it so early you'd have to get something suboptimal with it (code of laws or metal casting comes to mind, both perfectly viable but usually undeniably worse than CS). Finally, it's a HUGE hammersink if you're not industrious and/or have marble. 150 hammers could've been used to settle a city and give it a worker, fund 10 extra turns of research by building wealth, build an army of axes to take the pyramids and a juicy cap, etc. Finally, the opportunity cost of researching relatively useless religious techs is that you don't get currency, mathematics, or even BW early, greatly delaying your infrastructure. I'd rather have 100 bpt on turn 100 than 40 bpt with civil service, to be honest.

    So, any thoughts about my thoughts? Am I just wasting my time here or do the things I say hold some merit? Most importantly, what are your showerthoughts that you find mildly interesting or have been dying to share?
     
    Last edited: May 24, 2017
  2. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Samurais are good units. It's just that medieval war is generally tedious and Japan has no special tools to jumpstart to that era anyways. The best thing to do with them is to get those promotions and upgrade them to riflemen. If Japan got an earlier UB instead of that awful Shale plant maybe things would be different.

    Mounted units are already sorta overpowered already.

    Well, much like anything you build early game, Oracle isn't a good idea without a plan. You're basically taking some small unnecessary techs to gamble for a boost. Not to mention CoL or Metal Casting don't actually do anything for you in of themselves. You already underexpanded to make the oracle, so courthouses (which aren't good anyways) have no use, you're still better off whipping, and forges might be nice if you're industrious. But that's about it.

    But there are of course, a few gimmicks.

    One of them is to oracle construction, but that requires you to be very aggressive and have soft targets. (ie NOT Sitting Bull).. And there's also the engineering bulb. And finally, there's the oracle theology for AP shenanigans but it really depends on who is going for it so early.
     
  3. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    The Oracle is situational and not worth pursuing in every game, but it's certainly not overrated. Worst case scenario you have to tech Myst-Med-PH yourself, which on immortal/normal speed would be 307 beakers, and you spend 150 hammers without marble or IND. If you Oracle something like Currency, that's 307:science: and 150:hammers: for 650:science:. Hammers yield you more than twice what you would get from building research. If you happen to have Myst as starting tech, maybe trade for some tech, or have marble and/or IND, the payback is still a lot greater. And that's for oracling Currency. Now, if you can Oracle CS, even in the worst case scenario that's effectively 1000 beakers for 150 hammers. I can't think of anything else you can build in the game which would have that good immediate payback. And this is not even taking into account the effects of getting the oracled tech earlier, possible trade value of the tech you grab, or the early Great Prophet which can give you an early Golden Age or maybe bulb Theo for even more trade value.
     
  4. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    But oracling CS is all but impossible on Immortal. Even on Emperor the oracle can go around 1000 BC or earlier and to have the techs necessary for CS (maths and CoL) by then one needed a crazy cheesy 2 gems or gold etc. start, that is have an extremely good starting point, so the oracle won't matter all that much anyway. Oracling CS is a mad gamble on anything above monarch, I'd say. Of course, people have done it because one can be lucky and nobody builds the oracle until 500 BC or even later. But the oracle can still be worth it even for MC or CoL both of which are possible with a 1500 BC or earlier oracle. It's actually quite cheap as far as wonders go... I think the biggest point against the oracle is the tech path and that it tends to go often so early that one can only get something like CoL and not even hook up marble if one has it, I've been screwed by the AI with very early GL and Mids occasionally but those two are decent bets on Immortal (if one has stone or IND for the mids). The oracle only is a good bet if made high priority as it is usually the second or third wonder built by the AI (SH, Wall, Oracle). The biggest point against any ancient wonder is that it can go very early but sometimes it doesn't so one is pissed off that the 'mids are only built around 0 when one did not even try because it seemed to risky. It is slightly better with the classical wonders like the Library, I think. But all this is well known, so I don't think that the Oracle is overrated in general.

    All medieval units have an extremely small window on normal speed and higher levels. But the berserkers are good on some watery maps, even on Emperor, maybe not on higher levels. And they keep their amphibious property when upgraded. It's a decent UU, I'd say, but shares the general problem of all medieval units: come too late, become obsolete too quickly and are usually dependent on help from siege because longbows are so incredibly strong as city defenders. But the game is not only made for normal speed/immortal or deity, so if one has fun ripping apart archers with amphibious assaults on Noble, that's fine. And berserkers certainly work for that.
     
  5. elitetroops

    elitetroops Deity

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    I think there are three different ways to use the Oracle:

    1. Basing your entire strategy on Oracling tech X. Usually for some specific slingshot, planning to Oracle a late tech like CS no matter what. Most suitable for HoF type games where you are prepared to reroll if you fail, since the Oracle is never guaranteed.
    2. The planned "safe" Oracle. Early on you evaluate the map and work out some strategy that includes building the Oracle at a somewhat safe date. A bit less risky.
    3. The opportunistic Oracle. This is when you notice that the Oracle is still available quite late, you could tech to PH in a few turns and with some whip overflow here and a chop there complete the Oracle that same turn. I like to do this a lot. It's not a very big investment if it fails, but always a nice gain when it succeeds. In some cases it can even happen that the Oracle is available late and you know nobody is building it yet, in which case you can do this in less of a hurry.

    In any case the Oracle can be very valuable when you succeed. The potential risk of failing does not make the Oracle overrated, only a bit dangerous to aim for, depending on how well you can evaluate the situation.
     
  6. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    I like the opportunistic variant :D The only trouble is that there usually is a lot of other stuff to do around that time. I was way to enamoured with the oracle in earlier times and usually followed your 2. Only when I got to Emperor and sometimes Immortal I realized that it was crippling to always or usually try to get CoL (or occasionally something else) with the oracle. I still think that a fairly safe CoL is often not bad in many situations. Ideally one would chop the oracle in the 2nd city (although mostly I have to use the capital) and the 3rd city would found Confucianism, thus possibly saving monuments. And the missionary can go to the next city for border pops. There are also cases when one can profit from an early switch to caste (e.g. if one also has the 'mids :D). Courthouses are usually irrelevant so early. CoL is also good for trading and one needs it anyway on the path to CS and PHIL.
     
  7. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Showerthoughts should perhaps be kept private :D

    One thing that always frustrates me is when I'm building some warriors, hook up copper, and then they turn into spears instead of axes. Both axes and clubs are swinging weapons... :trouble:

    Many UUs are underwhelming so berserkers/samurais aren't unique here. At first I thought you meant prerequisites should be just MC, but I guess you meant CS+MC? The former would make them incredibly powerful. Oracle MC, and you've won the map.

    Don't think the Oracle is overrated, particularly on lower difficulties where it's perfectly feasible to Oracle CS. On higher levels you can easily lose the Oracle, and you can forget about getting CS. But as mentioned, it's a fine thing to go for if the game allows it, particularly if you can trade for some of the pre-requisites. I find it's most problematic on continents-type maps, where you don't know if some nutter like Isabella is present, who can grab it stupidly early. Therefore I tend to prefer the "opportunistic" approach. I rarely set out to grab the Oracle, but if after some expansion and development it's still available, it makes sense to at least try. The worst is if you don't get to start on it, but if you do, it's a win-win situation as you won't have the ability to build wealth that early, and 100 :gold: or whatever is going to help you tech for quite a while.

    The most fun situations is when you haven't planned for it at all, then you notice it's 1000BC, it hasn't gone yet, and you have a chance to snag CS with it... :yumyum:
     
  8. Yin Cognito

    Yin Cognito Chieftain

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    True, I don't play at higher difficulties than Noble (not because I can't, but because I like getting "fair" treatement in the game - although I almost always play on the highest difficulty all the games, including the previous versions of Civ, as a "rule of thumb") and yes, I play with the Industrious Qin Shi Huang, but I strongly disagree with the Oracle being overrated.

    First of all, it is the second cheapest wonder in the game (on par with the GW and slightly more expensive than the cheapest of them all, the Stonehenge) - if you think the Oracle is hammer intensive, you might as well give up on building any wonder in the game. Secondly, You don't have to research Priesthood for it - you can just trade for it, assuming you discovered Alphabet before. The way I do it assumes I built the Pyramids the turn when discovering Alphabet (chop intensive, I know, but worth it, for the Rep and the science from it). Then, I use the 2 turns of anarchy on marathon (and the turn when I actually switch to Rep, so 3 turns overall) to trade for the techs I don't have. I almost always get Priesthood in the 3rd turn (in my games, Mansa Musa or Gilgamesh generally have it), so I can research for CoL instead of Currency once the anarchy is over. Then, it's only about "synchronizing" the discovery of CoL with the completion of the Oracle (the so called Oracle slingshot), to get CS as a free tech from it. For me, the Oracle requires only 2 chops to build it (and the 2nd chop is only used for "synchronizing" stuff - e.g. to build it 5 or 6 turns earlier than without chop no. 2).

    I can do this almost all the times on Noble and playing Ind. For higher difficulties and not Ind, you would need 2 things to go your way, IMHO:
    - not having a rival civ build the Oracle before you do
    - have enough forests or a hammer rich city as your Oracle's "city of origin", so to speak
    - preferably, have marble ... but then most of the wonders need marble or stone to "boost" their production anyway

    Lastly, the benefits are rewarding anyway. A free tech is always great, and it's among the greatest returns a wonder (or a tech) can have, on both the short or the long term. The way I see it, only a free Great Person comes to equal the free tech benefit of a wonder or tech. Couple this with the relatively low cost of the wonder (the 2nd cheapest overall, in terms of hammers) and you get the idea... the ROI is strong on this one ;)

    P.S. The Pyramids/Alphabet "slingshot" is optional, you only need to get Alphabet earlier, after all. I only mentioned it to show how I personally do the Oracle slingshot.
     
    Last edited: May 25, 2017
  9. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Marble's generally not a factor for oracle since that requires masonry which often times is a detour..

    It's a bit counterintuitive, but even if you see stone, don't think it'll be much help for say, stonehenge.
     
  10. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    The default units are strange and both the huge axes and the chain+spiked ball maces are largely fantasy weapons but this does not matter as it is not supposed to be realistic (there is nothing realistic about most of the specific "counter" units, except maybe pikes vs. mounted). I agree that it is annoying that the warrior changes into a spearman. The reason is that hunting unlocks spears and therefore obsoletes warriors if one has metal but it is still stupid because the axe is the "standard melee unit" for the era.
    I also find some other auto-changes or unavailable upgrades and promotions fairly strange. Why can no unit be upgraded to musketeers (would be cool for the Ottomans)? Why can musketeers only become rifles, not grenadiers? Overall, grenadiers were made somewhat useless and only serve as counters to rifles with the introduction of military science. In vanilla and warlords one got grenadiers with chemistry which was considerably earlier than rifles and quite cool... And why can machine guns get only so few promotion types (but shock? who expects maces to attack machine guns???) but all kinds of units can be upgraded to mgs and then would keep e.g. CG III...
     
  11. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    Yeah, I meant CS + MC. I think that's fairly balanced, no?

    I mean Oracle is overrated at difficulties above monarch, such that you can't always get the "optimal" tech (CS) with it so you're forced to get something worse like MC which while making it powerful does not translate into the game-breaking advantage that people make it out to be.

    If I find copper or a production-rich expo site, I might cottage my cap, get a library, run scientists until I pop a GS for academy, Oracle in second city, and then CS right into a juicy science cap. That's ideal, though not always possible.

    Also, on the subject of grenadiers. I really wished they kept them at chemistry and completely removed the crappy dead-end military science tech, or at least gave it something to make it worth getting (idk, another experience building? free great general instead of fascism? why not both?). That would make a lib cannon rush significantly smoother, and make them sometimes the first 12+ strength unit you can get, making them actually viable.

    A crazy idea on improving agg/pro: for agg, speed up production of melee and gunpowder units by 50%, and for pro, make walls/castle give +25% commerce, in addition to current bonuses. Maybe adjust those percentages a little for balance, and combined with MC samurai we can make Toku actually viable for once (or maybe this is just crazy OP... :crazyeye:).
     
  12. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    I agree with all you said, except upgrading to musketmen - because the base gold cost of upgrading is not insignificant, the less hammer difference between two units, the less efficient it is to upgrade them. And at any rate, there's not much of a difference between maces and muskets in attacking cities - yes, there's +1 strength and ignores fortifications, but 9 strength units are still going to die horribly to longbows with cultural defenses, fortification, and city garrison promotions unless you bring a couple siege, in which case you would've done anyways with maces.
     
  13. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Grenadiers get crapped on by pinch Curraisers, much less cavalry. Granted when you attack with these things you wouldn't need to take pinch yet.

    The main problem with them that they don't even really counter rifles. They only get the bonus if they attack first, which makes them useless at defending against rifles and stomped if there's mounted thrown in the mix.

    Basically, Mounted is too strong due to flank attacks which will destroy their siege even if they can't win heads up, and thus becomes your defacto choice because it's actually not even too weak against it's alleged counters. In fact, pinch cav + airship holds its own against infantry in the open field. Better than rifles, in fact. Better stop at the machine guns though.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  14. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    It seems we all agree that Grenadiers have basically become obsolete/useless in BtS.
    (I have no clear idea how this could be changed: Give them the bonus vs. rifles both in attack and defense but cavalry would remain far stronger.)
    It is true that musketmen are fairly useless (at least for attacking cities). But the UU replacements are not and it would be cool if one could upgrade. Because then one could get Janissaries with inherited promotions from swords or maces who can be drafted, ignore walls and have an additional 25% against the defenders they will face.
     
  15. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    Tend to agree that Grenadiers are pretty underwhelming. But wouldn't got as far as useless. The AI tend to go for Military Science somewhat soon, and if you're waging war with Cuirs and have crashed the economy, it's rather different to suddenly be facing Grenadiers on the defence rather than Longbows/pikes/maces, or even muskets.
     
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  16. Lennier

    Lennier Emperor

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    Yes, but they'd be much more useful if they got a defensive bonus against rifles as well. That would make a couple in your stack good defenders against them and complete the rock-paper-scissors of the early industrial era. Without the defensive bonus, they'll go up against cavalry when attacking.
     
  17. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    With "useless" I meant for interesting strategies the human might use.
    You are of course right that the AI can make one's life harder by going for military science fairly early. I also remember that on one of my first attempts at immortal I was isolated or semi isolated and suddenly Ragnar turned up with amphibic Grenadiers he had obviously upgraded from his berserkers and easily took coastal cities (I gave up that game because I was not at all prepared for such an invasion, I think I did not even have rifles yet but they would not have helped much).

    I guess there would be some possible changes that would make Grenadiers more useful. Maybe give them 25% against all gunpowder. That would make them good against muskets and one can get them somewhat earlier than rifles.
    The problem here is that both cuirassiers and upgrading them to cavalry is such an obvious and strong way to go that it is easier/better to go for rifling instead of chemistry and military science. Or go back to the vanilla/warlords way, scratch MS and make them available with chemistry which would then be a serious alternative to cuirassiers and probably better in some circumstances because steel/cannons are so close with chemistry.
     
  18. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    The thing is for 100 hammers you could build a Cannon or a grenadier. Thus, if your opponent has gotten rifles, you are going to use cannons, not grenadiers to deal with them. Adding 6 cannons vs a stack of rifles will do more than adding 6 grenadiers. They're both going to be useless for defending your stack anyways. And if you're attacking earlier than riflleman then you're just paying for a 1 move Cur hat does better against pikes. and gets defensive bonuses, which probaly won't be good for fast conquests.

    Cavalry also has more staying power, owing to infantry and machine guns having bonuses vs gunpowder, meaning grens and rifles get destroyed especially with the lower base strength, necessitating you to spend gold to keep them relevant. It is not until tanks until they start getting wrecked and chances are the game is over already.

    Honestly, I have been thinking that I am actually hurting myself by switching to rifletery instead of more cav spam since I do panic a bit when my 2nd or 3rd conquest gets rifling

    Part of the problem is the nature of the combat system. In a cannon war, the other units that aren't cannons are used to guard the cannons and to wipe things out after things have been weakened after siege has done its work. So the bonus against rifles doesn't really matter except against skirmishes. I'd rather them get a defensive bonus against rifles.

    In the end, it may not be just as bad as a unit as there are just much better options. Nerfing the other options would work but that would make the game harder as this is generally the era where the human gets its biggest edge over the AI.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
  19. Fish Man

    Fish Man Emperor

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    Moving on from the "grenadiers suck" discussion...

    People agree agg and pro are pretty weak. What if they were buffed in the following, more sensible and less OP ways -

    Aggressive: -50% whip unhappiness duration, and also decrease chance of revolt in cities that are getting overwhelmed by culture, because the people are too scared of your crazy warmongering to complain. This is in addition to the existing aspects of the trait.

    Protective: Walls and castles both give +10% commerce. The walls bonus becomes obsolete at gunpowder; the castles bonus never disappears if you've built a castle. Castles also give +10% culture, helping to turtle a culture victory and also being realistic, as a lot of castles are now historical heritage sites and tourist destinations. These bonuses would actually give players reasons to build these buildings. Again, this is in addition to existing aspects of the trait.

    I think these bonuses will make the game more interesting without making the traits blatantly OP or unfun to play against. Thoughts?

    OK, now for a less serious suggestion:

    Navy seals should act basically like spies, being invisible to enemy players and having the commando promotion (in addition to their current traits). This would actually make them relevant, as you can city-snipe by just sneaking a stack of seals into enemy territory with America in the late-game, especially into inner cities while the AI pulls its defenses to counter your diversionary attack. This'll be the ultimate cheese strat, like the nuke-Xcom capital sniping strat in V, except they literally never see it coming :crazyeye:.
     
  20. Archon_Wing

    Archon_Wing Vote for me or die

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    Aggressive I think could have less war weariness. Protective, I think walls and castles should obsolete much later than they do, but yea buffing walls and castles would buff protective.

    I was thinking that protective should give people more weariness, but that would make fighting certain civs too painful.
     

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