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Three tech trees (research/culture/faith) is lazy design

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by snapple232, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. snapple232

    snapple232 Chieftain

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    I already wasn't a fan of how social policies in Civ 5 vanilla worked. They were basically a parallel tech tree to the research one, which seemed pretty repetitive. Now in G&K they're adding yet another tech tree in the form of religion. There's nothing wrong with the basic design of accumulating points to unlock upgrades. But having three independent versions of that system at the same time in one game just seems completely unimaginative and uninspired.

    Sure, it works, and it's functional. But considering the large number of other systems in Civ 5 that use the same "accumulate X resource to unlock Y" model, it's just boring. It's like that's their go-to solution for every design challenge. "How should we let players interact with social policies? Accumulate culture to unlock stuff. How should we let players expand their borders? Accumulate gold to unlock stuff. How should we players develop their religion? Accumulate faith to unlock stuff." And so on.

    A large part of the replayability of the Civ series comes from how varied the gameplay experience is. Randomization of maps makes for highly varied experiences between games. But I'd argue that varied experiences within games is just as important.

    Civics in Civ 4, for example, were completely unique in their implementation relative to the rest of the game. No other system in the game worked that way. I'm not saying they need to copy Civ 4, but there are plenty of ways they could have designed social policies, religion, etc., without resorting to the frequent flier miles reward model.
     
  2. seasnake

    seasnake Conquistador

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    The biggest problem I have is that units and buildings should be multi-tech dependent. Being able to build Cavalry and Infantry but not Riflemen is silly. I wouldn't mind a more twisting tech tree like Civ IV, but I would really like to have units and buildings to require multiple techs where appropriate.
     
  3. snapple232

    snapple232 Chieftain

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    I don't disagree with that, but it's obvious you didn't read my post (or the title itself) for that matter :p
     
  4. TheMarshmallowBear

    TheMarshmallowBear Chieftain

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    I do enjoy the idea of policy trees, but the thing that it's lacking is proper opportunity cost within EACH tree. Atm, we only have 2 diffrent opportunity cost.
    Rationalism OR Piety
    Freedom OR Order OR Autocracy

    If there was a opportunity cost in. let's say that in Freedom, you can get a bonus strength in each city OR free units. Or, in patronage, a Double Amount of Bonus they get (Culture for example) OR a double amount of science that they get. Something like that.

    I also think if Policies were Tech dependant by default, it woudl be awesome.
     
  5. AriochIV

    AriochIV Analyst

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    Religion isn't a tree. It's more similar to Wonders that you build that give you exclusive bonuses, as once you select a Belief, no other religion can use it. You can also spend Faith on buildings and units. I think it sounds like a very interesting system.

    I've heard the complaint about Social Policies just being another tech tree, and I'm not sure that's really a problem. In Civ IV, religions and civics were all unlocked via the tech tree, but I always thought that was a bit silly... things like Monotheism and Monarchy aren't technologies, and really shouldn't have anything to do with your civilization's scientific capabilities. So instead now you can choose whether technology or culture is more important to you, and build structures that will generate the points you're interested in. It may not be inspiring from a game designer's perspective, but it's more realistic. What's wrong with that?

    What is your non-lazy, imaginitive, inspired alternative?
     
  6. Kurtbob

    Kurtbob Chieftain

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    I agree. Choosing one option in policy tree over another would definetly add some much needed opportuniy cost decision making to the policy tree. Choosing freedom over order or over autocracy is a no brainer by the end of the game, unless you play randomly or enjoy deviating from a game long strategy on a whim.
     
  7. seasnake

    seasnake Conquistador

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    Actually, I just have no problem with the Faith system or social policies, so I focused on the science tree which I think needs improvement. I thought the lazy design portion of your title referred to how these features were implemented and that's why I focused on the implementation of the one feature that I agreed needed work. I don't think social policies should be changed at all, system wise, merely balances and tweaks here and there. And the faith selection sounds excellent.

    It just seemed silly to spend time talking about what I liked since it seemed that the crux of your first post (which yes, I did read) was talking about flaws in having these three similar systems (blue, pink and white trees, so to speak). My comment was that the blue tree (tech) should be reworked and its effects should be fixed and it would improve that and solve any lingering design overlap.
     
  8. TheMarshmallowBear

    TheMarshmallowBear Chieftain

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    Here's my view
    RESEARCH
    - Could mirror the Civ 4 tech tree, which I loved, here it's not as exicitng and often repeats (I find myself choosing the same tech order each game, making it quite boring) In Civ 4 there wasn't as much similairity.. or at least it was more subtle

    POLICIES
    - I don't have much complani, but they should provide more Opportunity Costs within each Policy Tree, which would make them more unique and more strategic.

    FAITH
    - With the limited information there actually seems to be "little" opportunity cost, because each set of beliefs is available to few places (The Follower beliefes won't be available in the Founder beliefs). So I'm happy with it... So far
     
  9. seasnake

    seasnake Conquistador

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    Well, you were less wordy but you pretty much said what I was going for. Well done.
     
  10. MrBlondeGotShot

    MrBlondeGotShot Chieftain

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    While the ability to change unlocked civics at any time was certainly a unique system, the civics were still originally unlocked by progressing through the tech tree. You still needed to accumulate X in order to get Y. The difference with the CiV social policy system is that now you need X and Z in order to get Y, where Z is culture. I'm not saying this is good or bad, I'm simply pointing out that the two systems are actually more similar than you are making them out to be.

    Also, the idea of a "tree" system and a "collection/reward" system are not mutually exclusive, though both do apply to civics and SPs. The results of both systems, together or independent, is that they force players to make long-term decisions. If I want to unlock SPs, I have to focus on accumulating culture and keeping my SP cost low. To do that effectively, I will have to sacrifice other aspects of my civilization like science, economy, military, etc. If I want to get the UN as quickly as possible, I will have to sacrifice some military focused techs.

    I am curious as to what kind of systems you would like to see used in place of "trees" and "collection/reward."
     
  11. anandus

    anandus Errorist

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    Maybe I'm understanding you wrong, but aren't you doing that all the time in the policy tree as you can't get it at once?
    "should I choose the free worker or the free settler?", "should I choose Constitution, Civil Society or Universal Suffrage?", etc.

    Of course they're not mutually exclusive like whole branches are, but depending on your game it can be exclusive for quite a while.
     
  12. black213

    black213 Chieftain

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    I'm pretty sure all of the social policy trees will be reworked, so Order and Autocracy become good choices too.
     
  13. JtW

    JtW Chieftain

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    I disagree with the OP. Rather than lazy design, it's elegant design. Having all three separate makes them easy to distinguish and to manage. And honestly, I cannot imagine a system where you don't have to 'collect X to unlock Y' - all computer games work that way.
     
  14. Babri

    Babri Emperor

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    Did u actually played cIV. Health was copy paste of happiness, corporations was copy paste of religions, research & gold use the same sliders etc. CiV systems are quite good, the only problem is that there are no disadvantages, just bonuses. New diplomacy might do provide that disadvantage in form of relations with other civs based on ur religion/SPs, but I would certainly more such variables like random events.
     
  15. Optional

    Optional Chieftain

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    I think and hope the Religion system will work out different from the policy tree.
    The policy tree is indeed just another tech tree, I don't mind that observation.

    My main gripe with the policy tree is that almost everybody chooses the same policy every time, meaning always going Liberty for the free settler and worker, whatever the game is. If people do the same thing every time blind folded, that points to a problem for me.
    Also hoards of players go for the Great Library every time - a free library and a free tech, while other wonders of the same time do almost nothing for you - and going for the Hagia Sophia and Education is also a staple.
    If players are doing the same thing every time it means the game is one dimensional and lacking depth. The tech tree has a at least still a little bit of resource dependency about it - need iron and horses for some units - which can shake things up a little bit, but the social policy tree is extremely bland.

    With also sophisticated trade systems lacking in Civ 5 the game can easily become become a boring slug, with every game playing out more or less the same way.

    I actually hope the religion system can restore some depth and address some disbalances that are in the game right now. For example, when Stonehenge gives faith and the religious bonuses are strong, some people might decide to build this instead of the Great Library. There seems to be more resource or terrain dependency in the religious system, we can hope that this brings some variety to the game.
    Three tech trees is indeed not great, I personally rather had more intelligent trade systems, but don't forget people had asked the developers for a religion system, so they're answering a call.
     
  16. aatami

    aatami Kuruth Urfarah, kuruth!

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    Was going to write a longer post, but this pretty much sums up already what I was going to say.
     
  17. Buccaneer

    Buccaneer Chieftain

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    I can't imagine how anyone thinks that Civics were better than Social Policies. There were very little choices and consequences in choosing Civics, even to the point for many, you just get to the choice ones each branch and stay on that forever. You can even get to the point where you can switch off at will, if you wanted. In other words, very little decision making. Contrast that to Social Policies. All nice wonders-like bonuses (even though I would like to see a little more negative bonuses scattered throughout). In a strategy game, what better mechanism is there than having to decide one tree to start with over another or even better, having to choose one tree at the expense of another? For example, the left side of Rationalism is awesome but so is Organized Religion in Piety. You can't do both.

    If you want to see very lazy design mechanics, look at the way religion, espionage, corporations and civics were implemented in Civ4.
     
  18. TheMarshmallowBear

    TheMarshmallowBear Chieftain

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    Nope, You will eventually get all three of them. My point was (which what you quoted was a reply to) is the pernament opportunity cost.

    You can get only One bonus over the other, you can't get them both.

    Rat vs Pty, and Ord vs Auto vs Frdm don't give the same opportunity cost since you actually already know what you're gonna pick.

    Btw, does anybody thing that if the Policies also brought something negative to the mix it would make them better (i.e picking Rationalism could slower your Culture gain in one of the policies?)
     
  19. Louis XXIV

    Louis XXIV Le Roi Soleil

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    I don't think so, no, but this is a widely debated subject. I think the fact that you have to work to acquire them means it makes sense to give them bonuses. Nobody speculates that wonders would be better if they had penalties. For example, what if Stonehenge gave you science penalties. It would give a cost associated with them, but why?

    Culture takes time to acquire. You have to choose which policy you want to get before the other even if you eventually get both and that does make a difference, especially early. For example, I usually find myself choosing between production bonuses for wonders or a free settler and that's not an easy choice.
     
  20. CivilizedPlayer

    CivilizedPlayer Chieftain

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    The idea that the social policy system and religion are both "tech trees" isn't really accurate. Yes, they both require you to build up a resource and then get rewards from it, but beyond that they're significantly different.

    For starters, culture is technology dependent. The culture buildings and policies are both unlocked through science. So describing them as two seperate "tech trees" isn't very accurate, as they are both intertwined. Another important point is that the tech tree is more or less linear. You can choose whether or not you want to research Astronomy right away, but sooner or later you're going to have to go back and research it, otherwise you can't research other things you need down the line. On the other hand social policies are not in any way linear. By the end of the game, at the very best, you will only have around half the policies researched. You've got to choose which benefits you want. Another difference: social policies provide passive benefits, while the tech tree allows you to create new buildings and units.

    Basically, although they have a similar basic structure, their purpose and implementation are very different from each other. And while I'm intentionally not saying much about religion, because we don't know much yet, I will say that it also appears to be unique. Beliefs are exclusive to your empire, and provide bonuses based (at least initially) on the terrain of your empire. Furthermore, it's only a serious feature in the first 2/3rds of the game, and gradually loses importance. In other words, it also sounds pretty different from the tech tree and social policy system.
     

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