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The critique of Humankind's basic economic and city building system: the root of balance issues

Discussion in 'Humankind - General Discussions' started by Krajzen, Sep 1, 2021.

  1. fortydayweekend

    fortydayweekend Warlord

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    I know the devs say that but then they gave us a dozen complicated overlapping optimisation problems to solve, and a history-generating machine that doesn't make any sense so ‍:dunno:
     
  2. KrikkitTwo

    KrikkitTwo Immortal

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    My suggestion to make pollution more gradual and more managable



    Changes:
    If a Forest/Woodland is chopped/removed it adds 20 pollution to the Global pile
    Coastal Water/Lake/Dry Grass/Prairie tiles can gain "Blight" which sets food value to 0

    Local and Global Pollution have the same effect... you take the effect of whichever is worse in a particular territory

    Local Pollution is triggered by the pollution per turn from a territory and all its adjacent territories

    Fusion power gives -50% to pollution from Districts+Infrastructure (not the cleanup from forests)

    Effects stack (so pollution level 2 has the effects of 0, 1, and 2 added up)

    Pollution Level: Local Trigger, Global Trigger: FIMS+District Effects; Terrain effects

    0: not level 1, not level 1: no District Effect; -1 Pollution per turn on Territory, 1% of Tiles per turn lose Blight if they have it
    1: 100 poln/turn, 30k total poln: -10% Total Food Production, -2 Stability per District: -1 Pollution/Forest, 1% of Forest Tiles lost per turn
    2: 200 poln/turn, 60k total poln: -20% Total Food Production, -3 Stability per District: +1 Pollution per turn on Territory, 2% of Eligible tiles gain Blight
    3: 300 poln/turn, 90k total poln: -20% Total FIMS Production, -3 Stability per District: -1 Pollution/Forest, 2% of Forest Tiles lost per turn
    4: 400 poln/turn, 120k total poln: -30% Total FIMS Production, -7 Stability per District: +3 Pollution per turn on Territory, 4% of Eligible tiles gain Blight
    5: 500 poln/turn, 150k total poln: -50% Total FIMS Production, -10 Stability per District :5% of Forest Tiles lost per turn, 10% of eligible tiles gain Blight per turn
    [Game Ends if Global Pollution is at level 5 for 20 consecutive turns ]
    So by level 5 even if it not game ending (just level 5 local pollution).... -130% food, -100% IMS, -25 Stability per district, +3 Pollution per territory, -2 Pollution per forest, 8% of Forest tiles lost per turn, 15% of eligible Tiles gain Blight per turn


    How to deal with it.... There is the standard Build the Poln reducing Infrastructures and Forests, but you also get some additional tools on the way through Civics


    Local Pollution Civic (Triggered by one of your Territories reaching Level 1 Pollution and in Contemporary Era)
    INDIVIDUALISM, Build Through Pollution: -25% cost for Districts and Infrastructure
    COLLECTIVISM, Reduce Pollution: +25% cost for Districts and Infrastructure, Your Territories are no longer counted for Local Pollution [Pollution Regulation Civic]

    Pollution Regulation Civic (Triggered by Reduce Pollution Choice)..how you reduce pollution
    LIBERTY, Caps and Taxes: +1 $ and +1 Sci on Districts that produce pollution
    AUTHORITY, Mandated Regulation: +3 Stability on Districts that produce pollution

    Global Pollution Civic (Triggered by Global Pollution reaching level 1, And making a choice for the Local Pollution Civic)
    Build Through Pollution Choice Options
    WORLD, Geoengineering: Enable Geoengineering projects to be built [Geoengineering projects take up 7 tiles like space projects, are repeatable, can be built on ocean/mountain tiles, but not on each other... each one raises the thresholds for global pollution levels significantly... ie Level 1 is 30,000+5,000 per Geoengineering Project placed, Level 2 is 60,000+5,000 per Geoengineering Project Placed, etc.]
    HOMELAND, Adapt: Ignore the District & FIMS effects of Pollution levels 1 and 3 [so level 4 only has the effects of 2 and 4], No Blight added on your Districts/Exploitations

    Reduce Pollution Choice Options
    WORLD, Zero Emissions: -5 stability per district in Pollution positive Territories, -50% pollution from non Maker districts, enable cities to be set to "Zero Emissions", which removes any infrastructure that causes pollution
    HOMELAND, Adapt: Ignore the District & FIMS effects of Pollution levels 1 and 3 [so level 4 only has the effects of 2 and 4], No Blight added on your Districts/Exploitations



    Pollution Grievances are Triggered When
    1. A neighboring civ's territory adds local pollution to one of you're territories that is Level 1 or higher
    2. A civ is a top Global Polluter And you have made a Global Pollution Civic choice

    Severity of Demand depends on level of Pollution
    0-2: Money
    3: Change to a Pollution Reduction/Zero Emissions Civic
    4,5: Change Civic+Most Polluting Territories

    You can only "see" pollution in territories adjacent to yours until you have adopted a Local Pollution Civic OR the Global Pollution has reached Level 1 (after that you can see Global Pollution levels as well as pollution from any territory you have vision on.)

    Numbers might need tweaking, but hopefully it should be a condition where you are normally between levels 1-4 throughout the Contemporary Era,

    Lower Difficulties could raise the thresholds and/or add additional Pollution reduction per Territory
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2021
    Victoria likes this.
  3. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    The premise of the OP is correct but the rest is a bit exaggerated. Attaching many territories gets very expensive for example. Some things are very valid like the power of production and snowballing in general but there seems no RCA.
    Laters posts are better talking about for example using stability as a limiter but the better ones are where they are indirectly saying the problem is with linear benefits. 5 people digging a hole does not make the hole digging 5 times faster, there is natural degradation with growth and specialism.

    To me stability is a good solid mechanic dealing with this that they will tweak but I doubt it will resolve all issues.
    The Khmer are mentioned and are a good example of a per population mechanic on a UD that grows as your empire does while others just give a set amount that later is trivial. Another is a % value like on the Egyptian pyramids also grows with your civ. put these two together and you naturally snowball as long as you keep growing your population.

    Another good example is in my last game I had 6 pieces of sage pretty early. These alone helped me snowball, not from the stability so much but from the food production. Civ only allows the first to have an effect, HK allows all to equally affect. But surely it’s a middle ground, I have tonnes of sage and a little bit more will help but not as much as the first couple. The regression is part of standard statistics and affects many things.

    Everyone is different, the world is full of fantastically diverse ideas and beliefs. The more the game can cater for, the better in my view. If things can be smoothed and balanced it would not affect your play but it would affect mine. At the moment it is just ludicrous how quickly I can max science. Yes I can adjust my play, but you want me to change who I am? (Which is not so much a min-maxed but more a fast player) There is something to be said to making the game accessible and beatable to all, certainly early in its cycle, and I accept that but this wonderful forum is for dissection and both positive and negative criticism.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  4. Siptah

    Siptah Eternal Chieftain

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    That's a great post @Victoria !

    I still don't know why the FIMS effects should stack from a gameplay point of way. It's super powerful and hard to balance because, naturally, some luxuries will be better than others at the certain points of the game. Imho stacked stability (that still could be reduced to -3) and the monetary and diplomatic benefits from trade routes itself would be enough incentive to trade as much as you can. No need for +18 food for each main plaza or +20 production from dyes or +12 science from papyrus compared to the % yields that are super later one, but almost useless in the beginning.
     
    Victoria likes this.
  5. Victoria

    Victoria Regina Supporter

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    Yes 2% of 20 science is not a lot but I also got 2 papyrus at 5 science at the start, what a boost!
    Being able to slot scouts as science specialists in a town at the beginning when you are using sage to feed everyone is really what it’s about. People get tied up with the late game % mechanics while those early ones to me are insane if you put them in a chart. It is also the flexibility, rush the science to get your chariots and roads for fast attack then swap specialists to production. It is these differing strong tactics at the start that rock.
    Also being able to transition a Baray’s production powers to science later, there is such strong mechanics all over the place…. So many toys up front!
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2021
  6. Leucarum

    Leucarum Emperor

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    One question for balance vs AI that I have is that HK seems to try and resolve a few balance issues with caps/roadblocks. E.g. the cap on building number cities, the gating of techs to eras. It seems to me that the human is much better at playing around (or leveraging abilities/mechanics to circumvent) the caps than the AI is. My experience so far is that this makes the balance shift away from the AI?

    My feeling is that the caps also may contribute a little bit (not a huge amount) to why holding off on the neolithic till you have scouts to convert to pops is so good. The alternative approach to growing your empire has so many speed bumps (influence) and road blocks (city caps) that civs who advance early won't have a way to catch up to those who played the exponential scout growth game...

    To be sure it's refreshing to be encouraged to play tall for a bit after civ6, but I wonder if some of the balance issues are self-imposed from trying to set up tall play?
     
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  7. Shadowhal

    Shadowhal Warlord

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    I wonder if part of the solution could be to require influence upkeep for more things.

    What if City and admin centres didn't give influence but cost it on a regular turn. What if civics cost influence (per population?) to maintain, similar to ES2?

    Combine that with negative influence adding a penalty to stability and that could address a few issues like adding a more meaningful brake on expansion, giving more uses to influences and needing less extreme absolute sums of influence for late game actions.
     
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  8. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    That sounds really good!
     
  9. Karmah

    Karmah Emperor Supporter

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    And don't forget that they have a very strong lever to pull : events. This basically means that whatever Amplitude wants to shift the meta toward , they can introduce events that can slow down or accelerate any path if the conditions are tweaked right? In this case they is already a strong correlation between your empire overall stab and the events you get.
     
  10. bc1

    bc1

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    Hello Krajzen,

    good analysis

    I do think simple fixes can be made, such as limiting the number of districts to city population

    but yes Amplitude does need help with the game rules and have them verified by competent play testers
     
  11. Elhoim

    Elhoim Iron Tower Studio Dev

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    Without even having to playtest that suggestion, the current game population fluctuates quite a lot with unit creation/militia death (generating situations in which you would be building districts without the requirement), and also the current system actually bases population cap on number of districts, not the other way around, so that would also have to be changed. What would be the limiter of population, for example? If there's no limit except food generation, you are again at the same situation in which the districts can be endlessly spammed. As a matter of fact, the first Open Dev was district cap based on population with food as limiter, but didn't work quite fine. So another system to limit pop would have to be created. As you see, it's not as clear cut as it first seems and easily solved with a single suggestion, but a more complex system may have to be developed.

    And again, the same could be achieved with the current system of stability as limiter by adjusting the numbers, sources and expenses, no need to re-invent a whole new system with a whole batch of issues.
     
  12. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    In my view there aren’t consistently enough per-pop bonuses (ie sometimes you get lots of per pop EQ/cultures, but very possible not to get any). This ends up making farmers play weird, as they always consume more food than they produce, they are just a way of sustaining higher city pop. Early on this works to grow population until you find non-farmer ways of keeping up the food, but it’s the area where it most feels like it’s districts, not pops, doing the work.
     
  13. fortydayweekend

    fortydayweekend Warlord

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    At the moment industry is the main driver for all other yields, because it lets you build districts and infrastructure which give you most of your yields. Food is secondary because it gives you workers, which let you top up whatever yield you need more of.

    If you made districts need population, you'd just be making food as important as industry, it wouldn't be a fundamental change.

    Adding a money maintenance cost to some buildings would make more sense as that would bring another yield into importance and add another bottleneck to the food/industry ones. It'd be nice to feel some pressure to research writing and build a couple of market quarters early on, at the moment the only reason to get writing is on the way to Philosphy +1 city cap.
     
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  14. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    In my last game I got a lot of milage out of the writing infrastructure, since going 4x6 to 6x8 doubles science output without increasing district cost.
     
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  15. fortydayweekend

    fortydayweekend Warlord

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    It's useful for sure but were you in a position to research writing, build the infrastructure, and then run 6 researchers before you had discovered all the other ancient tech? I normally find my cities are too busy building horse ranch, granary, irrigation, EQ, maybe another district, and a few units.. that by the time I feel like I need more room for researchers, I've already discovered everything other than fishing/masonry/writing.
     
  16. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    Ah, no to that. I think any investment in science beyond slotting researchers is not going to pay off until classical, but mostly because you can always beeline your ancient EU in the time it takes to get the production online to build it. But it definitely helps get Carthage to mounted warfare.
     
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  17. Jkchart

    Jkchart Emperor

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    I think this is the perfect response and sums up all of my feelings. I sympathize with Krazjen’s post but also I don’t feel like I see the same magnitude. Yeah there’s balance issues, but attaching territory gets stupidly expensive. You can’t use all of the land right away in a territory/exploit it because of how quarters are placed. Also, Population/agrarian cultures are…quite strong. Not only builder.

    i do agree with many other posters that stability needs to be made more impactful, especially late game. There are SO MANY bonuses for stability by that point of the game that it makes the whole idea of it moot outside of sieges, and even that seems to be fairly unimpactful because a city will fall before then.
     
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  18. Cuneiform

    Cuneiform Warlord

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    I agree, its like some players are treating it like some sort of Animated Spreadsheet.

    We saw the same thing happen with Civ6, whether its game setups with minimal Civs to Land ratios, or constantly reloading to get themselves a good starting position, or reloading whenever the AI takes one of their cities. Its as if they personally are allowed to make gameplay mistakes and get a 2nd chance, but the AI must be perfect at all times.
     
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  19. Haig

    Haig Deity

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    Bad balance of the yields and snowballing mechanics are one of the main problems that the game is quite boring and lacks replayability(imo).

    You can build too much of everything and there arent enough choices to be made, lack of builders simplifies things as do the vast areas of cities where you spam districts like mad. Then its just filling the famestar buckets against bland and dumb a.i. empires without identity.
     
  20. Taefin

    Taefin Prince

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    I certainly wouldn’t mind the AI getting some rubber banding. I agree the game gets boring when it becomes mostly about spamming districts when the goal is just to get fame stars. But the combination of building up to get both fame stars and a military edge on the AI has added the replayability for me. Admittedly it’s mostly a replayability of the first three eras. An option to increase AI production or decrease their unit cost when things got lopsided for the player might help keep the end game more fun as much as a much more complicated AI improvement. I’d appreciated much larger regions to reduce the portion of the world that gets covered in districts. Sure, some empires will get crowded in parts of their territory, but it should be 3-4 turns of movement between most city centers to allow for battles in open land. And I suspect it might make cities feel less sprawling. Of course I’d ask make the curve on district cost more aggressive to slow down later growth in addition to this.
     
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