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The game is too fast and too easy

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Pietato, Jul 23, 2020.

  1. Furycrab

    Furycrab King

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    I feel like threads like this need to start including saves, screenshots, or best yet, a twitch/youtube video of a recent game.

    Like I believe you, you stomped Deity, but how far did you go to do so. Is it with specific civs, specific victory condition, specific map settings, or specific opponents. What Game speed do you play on. Do you do any restart fishing? Do you do any sort of save skumming/pre exploring of your map? How far do you push diplomacy and trading? How far do you go to exploit any tactical weaknesses of the AI? Pillaging/Plundering?

    List goes on. Like this isn't meant to downplay anyone achievements, if you bent the AI to your will, that's still very good, but if you just go "It's too easy" but offer nothing constructive on how you did so in your most recent game, it be pretty difficult for the thankless guy working on the AI to improve. Give them something to work on.

    Reminds me when I was trying to learn things to improve my CiV game and I loaded up some guys Deity playthrough, and he Stole a settler and 2 workers, was constantly doing lump sum trades even with people he was planning on going to war, would use his workers to bait out the ranged units of the AI, and one game he suspiciously settled on turn 5 after moving to an out of sight range Natural Wonder. Like he wasn't exploiting, and I did learn some other turn order optimizations, but some of it was sorta pointless since I wasn't going to start playing that way.

    I don't know if this is exclusive to this patch since I didn't much like Apoc mode, but I noticed the AI is better at using siege units defensively or to just shoot down attackers, however there's definitely some broken stuff involving Secret Societies that powercreep the game, like I'm playing a Work Ethics, Tundra Faith Voidsinger Russia, and that's been pretty damn strong. It's refreshing and a lot of fun thought.
     
  2. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    As always you provide an excellent analysis, but I'd like to throw one more variable into the discussion, and that is: Area of Effect.

    We saw how effective decoupling Area of Effect was in the early change removed stacking of industrial zone bonuses. Now obviously since Campus doesn't currently have an Area of Effect, throwing that into the pot will only slow things down if the other handles are also tweaked - i.e. if campus gets an area of effect (which would most obviously be linked to a per-population effect), you'd obviously also have to increase tech cost to account for this new source of science. But the point is, if Campus (and Theatre Square, and Commercial Hub ...) gets an Area of Effect, this removes a lot of the incentive to spam Campus in every city.

    I fully acknowledge that introducing such a feature would be a radical change to the level that we are basically talking an entire new game - changes would not only be needed to be made to tech buildings and tech costs (and culture buildings and culture costs), but also to things like district limits and district costs, because more districts with Area of Effect will mean you'll overall be expected to build less districts per city. But I think it's still an option that's worth keeping in mind, if not for this game, then at least for future iterations.
     
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  3. lotrmith

    lotrmith King

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    I mean, no matter what the path to victory, if you're playing against other players and doing it better than them, you're going to win.
     
  4. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    This has been present for years.
    The developers very specifically wanted a playthrough to be shorter than in civ5 when they first made the game. I swear i read something about that in 2016 around making the game a little more accessible for people who can't just binge it all weekend, and make it more viable in esports-esque circles.

    They started moving away from that pretty fast, and a lot of things in the game sort of clash with that. Look at how many eras we have, or how production costs scale. (Longer game.) Then look at something like the gaps in units trees, especially at release (shorter game.) These clash with each other and their long running solution seems to have been giving a little ground back to content and systems to make the longer gameplay more complete.

    I don't think there is anything wrong with saying "a game should be about an hour per era" vs "a game should be about 30 minutes per era." You just need design that supports whichever direction that is.
     
  5. King of Prussia

    King of Prussia Warlord

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    Pacing has been an issue since the game released. It feels like i fly through eras. I can get through a whole game or most of a game in a single sitting.(standard speed) Increasing tech costs is a bandaid so you can enjoy the eras a bit more while having normal production costs.( i use a mod that does this) I wouldn't say it is just one thing that leads to this. It is a combination of different mechanics. While i like the planning of districts, you can get a ridiculous amount from just placing it in the right area. Add in policy cards and it gets crazier. On top of those high yields, add in % modifies and you can get some obscene yields for not that much effort. Of course this outpaces the AI. City states usefulness is meh. They need to provide some useful(strong) bonuses to be worth keeping them around. At the same time, they add on to the issue above. On a minor note, it would be nice if the CS made more units in the mid to late game after most or all of theirs were wiped out.
     
  6. ashar26

    ashar26 Chieftain

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    I think if the devs go this path of not allowing for increased complexity in their initial design philosophy, I really need to consider if CIV6 will be the last until they change said philosophy. Truly I should have got this when I got bored with CIV5. If you are going to make it a 200 turn game on the most difficult setting where many of those turns offer nothing really interesting because development decisions were compromised at the outset, it's perhaps, for me, time to give another company my money. Where is the choices have meaningful consequences, more than what you don't choose? It's overly challenging to have interesting iterations of things like corruption, inflation, disease, devolving tech due to Dark Ages, etc. when your design philosophy is for players to have a relatively fleeting mobile/cell phone experience. Moreso, when you aren't willing to share that design with your playerbase as previously was done. You can say AI is difficult to do (From the research papers I've read, I think difficult here means complex data management that requires heavier investment than someone like 2k Games and Firaxis generally offer up), but if you don't make it a priority and offer it the resources necessary to make it "one of the best," then 'difficult to do' becomes a bit of a cop out. CIV 6 not being able to get something as fundamental as pathing right for so long is, for me a symbol of the wrong priorities, irrespective of personal preferences of the player. So once again we find that to have something meaningful in this post's issue, we have to turn to the modding community, except Firaxis have decided they don't want to share anymore, which is a serious bugbear of mine.
     
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  7. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    Well. This has been an interesting chat.

    I think my couple of post above were directed at asking whether it’s possible to tweak a few numbers or mechanics here or there to improve the pacing and challenge of the game, particularly around Science generation. I think there is, although I’m not 100% clear in my mind what those changes are.

    But there are also more fundamental issues, particularly with Science, that I don’t think can be fixed without radically change the game.

    I think others have more insight than me, but stuff I think is a problem (and repeating a few other people’s comments):
    • Campuses come extremely early, which means if you’re willing to place and lock in costs, they’re very cheap and you can start generating Science very early.

    • Set up for Campus and Campus buildings is minimal. As I’ve said, you get the tech early, you can place one in every City as a first District (and settling (or conquering) Cities is itself very easy). You can usually achieve at least +3 in every City because the adjacencies are so generous. You can chop in Campuses and their buildings (including universities). There’s no empire wide limits, eg no caps on how many Campuses you can have empire wide and no wide science penalties. The only aspects of Campuses that are gated are the policy cards, and of those Rationalism comes fairly early.
    • Campuses don’t demand much to generate Science. You get the adjacencies as flat yield, and the Buildings also give flat Science, ie you don’t need any population to generate the yields. There’s no significant gold maintenance or other costs having Campuses and Buildings. Really, the only ongoing costs is using up one policy slot on one of the Science Cards, and sometimes you might want to maximise happiness a little. You also later on need to get Cities to Pop 10, which can be a little tricky, but that’s not really a huge gate either.
    • There also lots of other generous sources of science, such as Pingala, Wonders (that can also be chopped in easily), Eurekas (many of which are easy to get), City States and some particular Great Scientists.
    I’m not sure many or even any of those issues can be fixed without massively changing the game in ways many people might not like. eg you could push back Campuses or maybe not have campuses, not have any flat science, remove chopping. But they are all massive changes to the game, and are not things Firaxis will want to do or could be modded easily .

    I mean, I could see how Firaxis could have really taken Civ in a very different direction, and made Science something that comes much more from developing your commercial economy and from trade. That might have been more historical too. Maybe you need to focus much more on Harbours and Commercial Hubs to generate Science, and need to establish and protect international trade routes. Perhaps Golden Ages would be much more important or policy cards or specialists. Perhaps “Science Districts” would only come very, very late. But that’s really not the game we have. The game we have, for better or worse, is one where you get Science by building Science Things. And your encouraged to build them early and build them often.

    That said, I do think things could be made better with a few tweaks here and there. Changing numbers won’t fix these more fundamental issues, but it might incrementally help game flow.


    Yeah, I agree that’s a fundamental tension in the game - keeping the game accessible and fast, but also offering depth and challenge.

    The only real solution is to have different rule sets for different players. The game already does that a little. You have some limited control over difficulty at set up, eg difficultly, game speed, map size, number of Civs. Modding is also another way to facilitate different rule sets (and there are mods that make things harder / slower, eg making science slower, wide science penalties). And then game modes are now another way to enable multiple rule sets (it’ll be interesting to see what Alternate Economy does to the game).

    I wonder if Secret Societies, which basically just gives players massive buffs, is meant to preempt game modes that will make the game much harder. ie they gave players a game mode that gives them massive bonuses and buffs, because when the introduce game modes which make the game harder they want players to have the option to balance that out with the modes that increase their power levels.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  8. seankhan

    seankhan Chieftain

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    So play online game speed and deity.instead of the slowest game speed and deity.my 10 year old daughter can beat the game on marathon.Dont fool yourself into thinking your playing on the hardest level. The hardest level is online game speed and deity,and not marathon and deity.i mean who couldnt chop five warcarts on marathon/deity and capture half the map before walls are built.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2020
  9. HereticalAppendicle

    HereticalAppendicle Chieftain

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    I like this. Especially in relation to the problems with the abundance of gold that people have also mentioned in this thread. But scientific research (i.e. in the real world) is expensive, and so this would not only help game balance but also increase realism/immersion- scientific research ain't cheap, and thus the fierce competition for research grants and funding. So not only could you tinker with the (gold) maintenance/upkeep of Campus districts and buildings, but apply a (gold) cost to research as well. If you don't have enough money to research e.g. Rocketry or Nuclear Fusion, well, tough luck- time to save up. Force players to make meaningful choices with real trade-offs and opportunity costs instead of being able to have their cake + eat it too in the vast majority of situations.
     
  10. Sostratus

    Sostratus Deity

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    In theory the campus in limited by taking up a district slot, in practice you are paying a paltry sum and reaping science via its existence.
    1:c5gold: for the district, 1:c5gold: for the library, 2:c5gold: for the university, and 3:c5gold: for the lab.
    In exchange you get at least 2+4+8 = 14:c5science: for 7:c5gold:, before accounting for the district adjacency, rationalism, etc. That can easily become 30+ science.

    I too would rather see them be more expensive to deal with. In fact, i would say :c5science: science/:c5culture: culture/:c5faith: faith should be "Class 2 yields" and :c5food:/:c5production:/:c5gold: are "Class 1 yields." By which i mean the first three are treated differently; you need to support specialized citizens and infrastructure to get them while the second three are your basic primary yields that are more readily available. We cannot just say "oh +2 science (library) is totally the same as +2 production (vanilla workshop) this is fine."

    But that's tiptoeing into an alternate economic system by the time I am through with it.
     
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  11. acluewithout

    acluewithout Deity

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    I generally agree that Science and Culture yields should require more “support” to generate them, and shouldn’t just be generated as flat yields like hammers, food and gold are.

    But I don’t think you can put gold and faith into different yield classes. They are both designed to be spent freely although with different caveats / scopes. Using your nomenclature, I’d group Faith in Class 1 with food, hammers and gold.

    I’m really coming around to the view that the lack of pressure on Gold Maintenance really is a Feature, not a Bug, to enable players to basically just throw Gold around at will (as they can with Faith, more or less). My “perfect” version of Civ would require very careful balancing of gold generation and maintenance costs, but that really doesn’t seem to be the design of Civ. I’m therefore inclined to the view that maintenance costs generally shouldn’t be increased, because that would cut across the current design. If there is a “cost” to infrastructure, it should be something other than gold (eg food / population, happiness, etc).

    Either that, or if Gold Maintenance is gong to massively increase, you maybe need to create some sort of equivalent Faith Maintenance.

    I do however generally agree that the science you get from the Campus and it’s Buildings is too cheap. It’s particularly apparent when you compare the Campus to Theatre Square, where you really need to invest in Wonders and Great Works to get any significant Culture.

    I think one possibility might be to make the yields of Science Buildings more situational. eg perhaps Universities give very little base science, but the science increases based on number of Districts in the City (which would be a backdoor population requirement), or Golden Ages (so you need to get those to boost science and make universities worthwhile), or they give science as a % of Gold or Faith or based on surrounding buildings (eg per Lighthouse or Workshop within 6 tiles) so the science is more based on your overall economy, or science output is based on your Government Tier (linking Science even more closely to Culture) or if you have a Governor (creating basically a soft cap on how many good universities you can have).

    You still have the problem of how powerful the Campus and it’s adjacencies are (it’s not just the buildings). Without pushing back the Campus in the tech tree, I think the only other options are to severely curtail its adjacencies and that’s not fun. Maybe a solution would be to curtail the Rationalism Card? Maybe also nerf the Theatre Square Card to for consistency? You could maybe keep the cards, but instead just make them +50% Science in Cities with Governors or something else much more restrained.
     
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  12. Bitterman

    Bitterman Warlord

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    Why not? I get this is probably not this game's philosophy, but why wouldn't existential threats work in the late game? Isn't that what makes the early game so interesting? To make decisions which have real impact on your empire. You take bad decision half of your empire fall, you make it good then you preserve it.

    And if you lose and don't want to start over again, then load from a few turns before and problem solved.
     
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  13. lotrmith

    lotrmith King

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    Couple things about execution of something like this and why it's a bad idea (imo):

    So an "existential threat" has to come from within the game world as it exists through the course of play, or it needs to come from without. On the realistic end, you have something like nuclear war. On the fantastic end, you have aliens invade. Somewhere in the middle is natural disasters.

    It also needs to be random, fixed, or the product of the natural course of the game. Random is natural disasters. Fixed would be, say, aliens invade at year 2050. Natural would be Global Warming.

    You pair these circumstances up and you don't end up with a meaningful mechanic in any combination. A random alien invasion that tears your empire up wouldn't be popular... you'd reload, restart, and 'good games' would happen when aliens don't invade or they invade your rivals, and 'bad games' the opposite. There are already problems with the existing combinations. First we have advanced knowledge of where they are likely to occur long before historical knowledge would have existed (droughts from forest clearing, inactive volcanoes knowing they could become active, sea level rise locations). Then we get upset if they are too devastating, so the standard setting limits their scope and effect.

    What then? Can't have friendly AI suddenly go nuclear. Policy cards that give benefits but foment unrest? That's just another cost benefit analysis. If it's random, same problems. If it's fixed, you just figure out how long you can run it for.


    I think the other solutions proposed have more merit: Make managing wide empires harder. Amenities more important. Output tied to population. Religion affects loyalty and happiness (but everyone gets one). Specialists. War weariness more impactful.
     
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  14. kaspergm

    kaspergm Deity

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    I definitely agree there are some "easy picks". Just to mention a few:
    • Campus should only get minor (+0.5) adjacency from mountains. You can throw in a standard (+1) adjacency from jungles instead. This has been discussed at length elsewhere. Point with this change is that jungles can be chopped, so linking the adjacency stronger to jungles leaves you with the choice of keeping them for the bonus or chopping for the yield. Same goes with Holy Sites and mountains/forests (should have +0.5 from mountains and +1 from forests).
    • Flat yields from University should go down to +3. There's really no good explanation why it starts at +4. Both the Factory and the Museums only provide +3.
    • Change the Great Scientists that add +X yield from ALL of a specific building to only work locally at the place of activation.
    I'm not saying these changes will fix every issue with the game, but they are all small changes that can be easily done and which point in the right direction.
    The whole idea of flat yields is strange. We don't get flat yields from tiles before we work them. Why do we get flat yields from buildings before we work them? Imagine how different the game would be if you only get yields from buildings - that be in campus, theatre, industrial or holy districts - once you allocate citizens to work as specialists. We're definitely into the realm of "a whole new economy", but it would be much more logical and much more balanced. I reckon the idea of population limits for districts is to reflect the point that you need a certain population to sustain each district, but it doesn't seem to hit balance very well. If you actually needed to allocate 3 citizens just to work at the Library and University (and additional citizens for the Research center), things would look very different, districts would be much less spammable, and as an added bonus, those high-yield farms would actually be much more attractive to work.


    PS: On a smaller scope and definitely within the "small handles that can easily be tweaked" - imagine if the maintenance cost of districts and buildings scaled with the number of districts in the city. I.e. first district and buildings has normal maintenance cost, second has double, third has triple, etc. But of course such a system would only make sense if another change is made that actually encourages tall cities, otherwise you'd just have even more incentive to spam cities and only build campuses.
     
  15. Bitterman

    Bitterman Warlord

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    Yeah but that's what I'm saying. In my opinion something as simple as making every conquered city in your empire get a malus in Loyalty and/or Ammenities or yields the further one goes into the tech tree or world era would be a very good step in the right direction. For the "existential threat" to work properly it has to be:

    1) You have to have some clue why and when its happening (either exactly or by probability) so you can plan properly in advance.
    2) Everyone will get it at some point in the game.
    3) The outcome depends on your choices.
    4) The choices have to be somewhat risky.

    There you have it.

    Or there could be something like a Global emergency starting in the atomic era: two blocks by 3rd tier government must fight against each other no matter what. The emergency ends when one block discovers and uses the atomic bomb against the other. Cities ocuppied during the war must be returned to their original owners.

    I mean there is certainly room to make ir more interesting, is just that the devs don't want it. They want easy cheesy game, yield porn, war stomping, op uniques, infinite bonuses and what not. The possibility to lose goes completely against that philosophy. They want a chill game and I get it, is just that it gets boring past renaissance.
     
  16. Smity2k1

    Smity2k1 Warlord

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    So many good ideas in this thread. Would love to see a balance mod that incorporates a lot of these.

    I'm already in the camp that has enjoyed smoother difficulty, extended eras, 7 ages of pace, etc. over the years and it seems like many of the ideas in this thread would continue to progress towards my idealized balance and pacing preference.
     
  17. steveg700

    steveg700 Deity

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    With Secret Societies, we saw Firaxis' willngness to shower the player with goodies that have no strings at all attached. I just can't frickin' believe they'd just hand out four free governor promotions for doing something everyone does anyways. Maybe offer one after unlocking all the societies.

    When you add more stuff, and the game isn't adroit at using its own mechanisms, this ultimately further advantages the player. Especially when the AI has pretty basic problems with valuing food over production, with not using governors to prevent loyalty-flips, avoiding policies that are well-known must-haves, and so on.

    Of course, the adversaries to course correction can be found here in this forum. The tier-listers, the speed-players, the diety-only-players. Among them you will find those who welcome mana from heaven wherever it might fall.

    That leaves others inventing house rules to make the game longer and more challenging. If the AI doesn't take Rationalism, then I guess I'm not going to take it. Of course, there's only so far one can go: I'm going to maximize adjacency bonuses, despite the AI failing to do so. And I'm not going to prefer farms over mines. Just gotta find the difficulty level where the AI bonuses compensates for some of their bad choices.
     
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  18. lotrmith

    lotrmith King

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    That's just a nerf to warmongering unrelated to war weariness that benefits early warmongering civs and punishes late ones.

    If it's calculable, you just plan around it. If it's random, it's unsatisfying.
     
  19. Bitterman

    Bitterman Warlord

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    Well is a strategy game after all. You should be able to plan around things to a certain point.
     
  20. lotrmith

    lotrmith King

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    That's why I think adjustments to amenities, maintenance, etc is the way to go. You strategize the map, not the random events. It also provides a better metric for a difficulty slider compared to what we have now, where the primary difficulty in, say, Deity is overcoming the AIs advantage in early free warriors and settlers. Rather, the difficulty would be in ability to execute a game plan with limited resources, land, etc.
     
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