Yes, but that is exactly what is missing for me. Like I've said earlier about the play styles. You are looking at it purely from a technical gameplay point. Like an instrument used to win. And city-states became that instrument. For me the flavour has been lost. Like after a hundred-year war with Montezuma I don't just want to win and kill him off. I want to humiliate him and turn him into a lapdog. ))
I was looking at it purely from the terminological point
And Civ 4 vassalage system is one of the most fun and satisfying mechanic in the whole franchise, no doubt about that. To overpower your foe and make them do what you say is one of the best things in civ4
With troop feeding it could feel a bit exploity, but stronger opponents on higher difficulties in Civ4 kinda justifies that.
In Civ6, well, maybe diplo victory and all that new favour currency could be reviewed and reworked into something more interesting? This new DV is also most boring and uninspiring victory condition.
So through ample trading, reaching high level alliances, aiding in multiple emergencies, you could fill some victory bucket, at which point the civ would agree become your client state or part of your block, and then you'd win diplo when you win in such way the majority of remaining civs? To prevent exploiting via elimination of non-aligned civs, your unjustified aggressive actions could alienate the civs you've already won over to your side and make them defect your block or even switch sides?
idk, the diplomatic game in Civ6 still feels very bland in comparison to Civ4 and AI inability to war efficiently just adds to it. The whole world declared on you on emergency, so what? In the end you'll only get benefits from that. When there are no worthy foes, any victory over them feels empty.
I'm in a Civ4 game on Monarch now (I remember winning several Immortal games in a row, now I got kicked in my teeth even on Emperor) and there was more diplo tension and camp picking in that one game than in all Civ6 games I've played combined. On top of that, small Mayan civ of 5 cities came within 15 turns of winning culture, much faster than my spaceship would launch, and he got picked over me as the UN SecGen in the last election. So I rushed to congratulate Pacal with some tactical nukes, ICBMs, and modern tanks supported by mech infantry. I did not want to do this at all, he was my buddy and trade partner for a long time, but what else could I do? Realpolitks, pal, nothing personal. Excitement, emotions, machevellian machinations all game long. Where's all that in Civ 6? You win mid game, and then just snooze on until somebody wakes you up with "You've won!" Oh, wow...