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The imbalance patch: Break VI to make it better

Discussion in 'Civ - Ideas & Suggestions' started by GhostSalsa, Dec 18, 2016.

  1. GhostSalsa

    GhostSalsa Emperor

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2012
    Messages:
    1,010
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    I finally realized what I think Firaxis should do to make VI into a winner: They should recklessly patch the game overnight, to unbalance all of the game systems at once so that VI is almost unplayable / unfinishable above Prince.

    I'll list the breaks they should introduce below. If you are skimming ahead, please note that this is not a laundry list of my suggestions for improving VI. It is not what I think would make the game "really cool" and perfect — for now the game already has too many such cute ideas in it. It is a template for making the game broken, so that it can get better (more fun) later.

    Now let me explain why you should listen to my good plan. It is because I really, truly understand what is wrong with VI. What is wrong with VI is that I don't like it. Scientifically speaking, I've touched the game; I've picked it up, and smelled it, and given it a shake: and it feels like a loser to me.

    Thank you for reading that I am glad it is out of the way. If YOU really like VI, and are sick of all the haters!!!!! that is ok, you can read this thread with your happiness with VI as your frame of reference. You don't need to understand or agree with why I or anyone else thinks VI is doomed to failure, to consider if Firaxis should break apart the game you like right now and make a better one.

    The plan

    My plan holds that Firaxis should release a patch that causes imbalance, likely bugs, and general chaos of the type to make distributors probably ask for heads to roll. They should release a patch that drives everyone here crazy.

    Firaxis should release a patch tomorrow to:

    -Take out denouncements (obviously warmonger hate itself doesn't need to go per this proposal, because it is already broken) But also: takes out whatever makes AI fear warmonger hate in any era
    -Reduce AI agression to almost 0 on prince and below, leave it same for King and above. Leave the game playable for beginners obviously.
    -Current barb spawn rates x .25 on Prince and below, x .5 on King and above. Don't hassle beginners with barbs and don't hassle the AI with them.
    -Introduce "tag conquest": AI-owned great generals conquer enemy cities merely by touching them, on Emperor and above. Human great generals do not. Hello unstoppable runaways in every game that can stomp you off the map at any time

    Take out any little cool smart clever ideas that aren't meaningful trade-offs yet:
    -Scrap religious warfare and religious victory. So what if the UI and documentation still refers to it, just kill it and focus on the game.
    -Take out agendas
    -Take out Eurekas
    -Take out district adjacency bonuses. These three things, just bin them.

    Make growth king again for now:
    -Make all districts cost 0 hammers and increase population requirements (Add -1 to every current district per pop level)
    -Add maintenance cost to Districts, extra instances of a district cost less maintenance.
    -Set internal TR maintenance to 5+5x gpt where x is number of internal TRs you have. What even is that math? A 5th internal TR is 25gpt??? That's some really stupid math and definitely not balanced
    -Doubles housing capacity (halves housing required per pop). Doubles Tech costs by Industrial (also, Eurekas gone) and Civics costs
    -Adds +3 housing, +2 production, -2 needed amenities, to all coastal cities. Not for realism, just gameplay. Overkill but the game needs to get us on the water and refine the details later. Make us go crazy for the coast

    Firaxis should release a patch tomorrow that does not seek to fix the game balance in anyway, but instead to pare the game itself down, chop it up and create something wild.

    Why Day-1 playability does not matter.

    VI released as playable. But I don't like it and want to play it. Will this be fixed by patches? Well, what precedent to I have to believe it will?

    Let me inspect precedent. That is definitely science for sure. The only version of V I wouldn't load up to play right now and sink 20 hours into, was first year vanilla. Firaxis did an incredible job patching and expanding what was a crazy, primitive mess into something exciting and elegant, that is still played a ton. Other players preferred the community mod, but this mod essentially presented them the same fun product I liked but with improved tuning against optimal and rote play. A do it yourself mod for V was already available, called just play fun and badly.

    Contrast that with BE, which released as stable, complex, sophisticated, and pretty balanced. And not fun. I won't introduce the discussion of why, but observe this: Patching incrementally toward more balance did not improve reception of BE, it did not grow the brand.

    I hold this to be tru: A primitive mess can be fixed and built-upon. An intricate, boring math problem cannot have fun reverse-engineered onto it.

    Which of the 1000 interconnected tiny perfect systems should they patch to make me want to play it? I don't know. You don't know. I guarantee Firaxis doesn't know. I, once again a scientist, guarantee that Firaxis can't do anything to a balanced and boring game to make it thrilling, except 1) instantly fix the AI to better than V-BNW level or 2) Just unbalance the game.

    What are the stakes of the current approach?

    A crazy patch is obviously a huge risk. I hold that small patches, and preserving the current path, is equally a risk. Distributors and the game media may be happy with the game right now, but I ask Firaxis themselves this question: do you even like the game? Are you having fun playing it? If the answer is no, Step back from tweak tweak tweak mode and ask yourself, do you expect your team's project to still have support for expensive expansions a year from now, if you do not even enjoy playing it?

    Break the game. Leave Prince playable, and relaxing, but not necessarily balanced enough to finish every time. That's ok because even new players care more about the start of the game. Most players who are upset when the game piles against them too much, are only talking about early game.

    For everything else, pile on the player. Just bury them. Optimal players are not happy if the game is finish-able on Day 1. Because they are playing on Deity, or their previous personal best level. If they can last more than 200 turns on the first day, the game is too easy, too "balanced by design," and the choices inside do not matter. This is the problem we have with VI.

    VI should never have been designed for balance. That is why there is no game in the game yet. Because an intelligent person's pretty clockwork of growth limits and bonus synergy is not what makes a fun game tick.

    Life with the broken game

    Imagine if tomorrow, we were given a game that no one could beat for weeks. Imagine how much time you would spend playing a game where the AIs have runaways by turn 200 who can take your cities just by touching them.

    Then when someone of the thousands of very smart players finally beat it, what they did is the game. Now we have the core strategy of VI, the new central meaningful decision, as V had "growth is king." Now refine, re-add balance and stability. Tweak and debug it, add features with the understanding of what people love about the game, rather than these features we have now which were designed around an on-paper idea.

    Then VI will unseat V in steam plays, and I will like it. That is the plan.
     
  2. Hail

    Hail Satan's minion

    Joined:
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    - take out agendas
    - take out eurekas/inspirations
    - double district adjacency bonuses
    - double the costs of techs/civics from Classical and later

    the internal TR maintenance numbers are too punishing. only the first and second internal TR will be viable.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2016
  3. diamond geezer

    diamond geezer Warlord

    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2003
    Messages:
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    Location:
    UK
    A cunning, eh, Baldric? LOL. Maybe you should write your own game and see how many copies you sell.
     

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