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The RA Exploit Question.

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by snarzberry, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    Okay, I'm going to put a hypothetical situation to you. Imagine that on turn 70 of a game you sign a RA. 'Nice', you think to yourself, 'There's a tech coming my way on turn 100.'

    You're playing a fairly peaceful game and are teching through the top part of the tree. What you really want to do is get off this stinking continent and go out there into the world and find some new trading partners. Yeah, Astronomy, that's what you want. You eye it up, an expensive tech. You set Optics and Compass to research and on the turn Compass finishes you get a notification - 'Choose Research' it says. There are only two options listed. Horseback Riding for 4 turns of research and Astronomy for 29 turns of research. (yes, I know this is quite contrived)

    Out of the corner of your eye you see the turn count. It's turn 98. HBR is of utterly no use to you. In the situation you're in you wouldn't even care if you never researched it all game. It's Astronomy you want.

    Are you trying to tell me that it is exploitative to select HBR to research in this situation? Is there a player out there who would actually set Astronomy to research manually because 'that's the tech I want'? Is there a player out there who thinks that it is being exploitative to set HBR to research for two turns and then, after receiving Astronomy, setting Navigation to research?

    If you concede that this is not exploitative then you have to think harder about what that means. This is purposefully researching (or even part-researching) a tech that you do not want, in order to receive a tech that you do want from a RA.

    How many people make sure they 'back fill', or in other words, research all the cheap techs when they have some RAs coming up to expire? This is the exact same principle. And it is also this exact same principle, just extended, that is being used when players more carefully manage RAs to really optimize their outcomes.

    I think the entire RA system is poorly designed and I would be happy to look at ideas for alternatives if someone comes up with some. But we have to play the game as it is. I can't make myself not know that a RA is going to expire in 5 turns.
     
  2. elthrasher

    elthrasher Revcaster

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    I don't think it's exploitative at all. It's a stone's throw from saying it's exploitative to settle near good tiles or to attack cities without walls. It's making a good decision to achieve the result you want.
     
  3. vexing

    vexing knows

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    your extremely contrived example is somewhat different than specifically researching 25% into 5 different techs to get the 6th tech you actually want.

    clearly the system should be changed somehow.
     
  4. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    I don't think it's exploitative at all. If you are keeping a good eye on your teching, and beelining to something in particular (in the example you gave, perhaps Archaeology), then it's simply playing well, not exploiting. That you have to research techs you don't want does not indicate exploitative play, it just indicates you've given your decisions some thought.
     
  5. Polycrates

    Polycrates Emperor

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    Indeed. I'm not a fan of the way RAs work right now, but one good part is that they do encourage a bit of backfilling rather than just beelining. The easy change for the actual exploit would be that the RA could give you any tech you're not currently researching, regardless of whether you've sunk a couple of beakers into it or not. You sunk beakers into a tech and then changed your mind? Well that's your own silly fault for not being more decisive, and it's a minor penalty in exchange for getting rid of a pretty cheesy exploit. I've got no problem with the "exploit" in the OP's scenario, which is a very rare and extreme situation.
     
  6. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    Show of hands - who has researched Civil Service manually lately?
     
  7. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    Yes, haha, I know my example was extremely contrived. But that doesn't affect the point I was trying to make. You say that my little contrived story is somewhat different than another example of specifically researching 25% into 5 techs in order to get a 6th. What is it about this second example that you think is exploitative, which my example lacks?

    Careful management? A bit of effort? Foresight?
     
  8. vexing

    vexing knows

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    you're using the rules of the system in way unintended to your advantage.
    whether you want to call it an exploit or not is really just a semantic argument.
    do you also do a continuous luxury trade/pillage/repair cycle?

    how to fix the RA exploit is a difficult problem, but i do think the game might be better without the need to micromanage your research like this for optimal results.
     
  9. vexing

    vexing knows

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    i never said your example wasn't exploitative; it is.
     
  10. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    Fair enough if that's your opinion. But I'm not sure many people would agree with you. Is the way that RA's are intended to work that you sign them and then you're not allowed to remember that they're signed? Surely they are intended to be taken into account when you're making your decisions.

    Do you think managing RAs belongs in the same category as trade/pillage/trade?
     
  11. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Is it entirely unintended?

    The alternative to guiding it is to get a truly random tech. But random results would not be good, because there results would vary wildly and lead to different advantages and disadvantages across the board. If you can actually control if, you aren't susceptible to these disadvantages.

    No, but I do think that is exploitative. :p

    Micromanaging to get better results is part of the game. There's no point in having micromanaging if you can't get better results from it. There is something to be said for not making good results reliant on micromanaging, but you should be able to ensure those good results if you choose to put more effort into that part of the game.
     
  12. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Deity

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    How is that different than putting a filler into the production while waiting for a tech to finish to you can use your GE on the new tech's wonder?
     
  13. vexing

    vexing knows

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    RA blocking is clearly not as severe of a case of using the rules of the system to your advantage, so i guess it depends if you're categorizing by severity.

    i'm about 99% sure the mechanism that allows blocking was put in place so folks would not get the tech they were about done with and be like wtf?

    maybe the fix is to eliminate the blocking check altogether when more than one tech has been partially researched.
     
  14. gethe

    gethe Chieftain

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    Think of it this way, you are researching Horseback Riding because you know you have another set of scientists who are working on Astronomy. Just because they don't show up on the research tree doesn't mean they aren't there.
     
  15. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    I agree it's flawed. There is an opportunity here when RAs are adjusted or changed in whatever way to make small empires competitive with large empires. I think most people agree that even after the last patch playing with as large an empire possible, with as many cities possible, is still the most powerful way to play. Well RAs are tailor made for small empires and could be tweaked to make vertical growth more powerful.

    I'm not sure how to implement it. It seems very gamey to just have the cost scale with empire size. Perhaps the AI's willingness to enter into RAs with you could decrease the larger the size of your empire became.
     
  16. ImperialGuard

    ImperialGuard Prince

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    I would have to go with the "exploit camp" on this one.

    We're manipulating the tech tree, based on how we know RA's tech's are determined.

    We know that researching one turn of a tech will disqualify that tech from being the RA tech, so we block all the techs we don't want, so that we get the tech we do want.


    I think a simple rule of thumb for "is it an exploit?" is .... does the AI play that way? No? then we're exploiting a game mechanic and have an unfair advantage.

    ...Course maybe using the CivV AI as a yardstick is not such a good idea :rotfl:
     
  17. ImperialGuard

    ImperialGuard Prince

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    From a "realism" perspective (if there can be such a thing in a Civ) .... I find it amusing that we sign a RA with another civ, and have no idea what we are researching until a tech "pops out".... you would think during those 30 turns our scientists had decided on a direction for the research, and not on turn 30.

    I think you should have to pick the tech for the RA when you sign the RA.
     
  18. Polycrates

    Polycrates Emperor

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    In a way, though, this is perhaps closer to how technological progression actually has predominantly occurred throughout history - pretty much blindly and impossible to really direct or predict by imperial fiat. Kind of reminds me of the "blind" research mode in Alpha Centauri, where you could either choose a tech focus (social/military/environmental/something like that) and get a random tech from your focus, or "double blind" where you'd just get a completely random tech. "Blind" mode was probably closest to how actual research functions even now, and they were actually really fun because they forced you to make the best of what you got and tailor your strategy to the cards you got dealt, rather than just following set tech paths.
     
  19. snarzberry

    snarzberry Emperor

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    You're absolutely right it is weird.

    But, if you have to choose which tech the RA is for then I'm assuming you're only allowed to pick from the pool of currently available techs? This would severely reduce the power of the RA, if they stay 30 turns in length that is. Paying money to wait 30 turns for a tech you can research now isn't that attractive, but might still make sense sometimes.
     
  20. Selous

    Selous King

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    the way RA works at the moment is just silly, you should just pick from a selection just like a free tech
    or this!

    at the moment u could get a pissy little tech like HBR or snavel Astronomy, all down to pure chance ... that is total BS

    if your are exploiting this or not is irrelivent, very poor game design imo
     

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