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Unique abilities vs. "Geography is destiny"

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by Phobetor, Jul 4, 2016.

  1. Phobetor

    Phobetor Chieftain

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    One of the main stated design goals of Civ VI is to make every game different by making the players base their decisions on geography and on the flow of the game. There’s Eureka moments, terrain bonuses for districts, varied and nontrivial conditions for building wonders, and probably some more features we don’t yet know of that aim at the same goal. This is in contrast to Civ V where a social policy, once chosen, was forever fixed in place, encouraging the player to choose their strategy early and stick to it.

    Unique abilities of civilizations contradict this design goal, making not only geography but also genetics destiny. Given the goal of making the player adapt to new situations I think it’s very odd that unique abilities seem to be even stronger now than in Civ V. England, for example, will get bonuses not only for their navy but also for colonizing other continents. No matter what their situation is they will have an extra incentive towards a strong navy and overseas colonies.

    Even in terms of flavor I find (strong, strategy-dominating) unique abilities off-putting. The Chinese didn’t build the Great Wall because the Chinese are naturally inclined to fortifications, they did it because they had a long northern border where they wanted to control and defend themselves from nomads. The incentive of the English to develop their navy was not in their genetics but in the fact that they are surrounded by the ocean. Back in Civ I and Civ II, I always thought wonders are supposed to be the game mechanic that represents the uniqueness of civilizations. The Great Lighthouse is not just one big lamp, it represents the maritime focus of the civilization that built it. But the choice of focus is not fixed in advance, the wonder gets built only if it is appropriate for the situation.

    Why aren’t strong unique abilities seen as the bad kind of railroading that the other parts of the new design are trying to avoid? Is it just the coolness factor of unique stuff?
     
  2. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    If every civilization acted randomly and had random bonuses, there would be no point in having different civilizations. It would be Beyond Earth.
     
  3. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    Giving each Civ a really unique feel adds tons of replayability. That's probably my favorite part of V.

    Not all the uniques will be as geography based as England's. We also only know a fraction of the Eurekas, districts and Wonders available. I've got a feeling geography will have a big impact even if you play the same Civ every time.
     
  4. Nick31

    Nick31 Prince

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    Ooooof. I just put on sunscreen. Because I felt that burn from my couch.
     
  5. CivScientist

    CivScientist Warlord

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    So, if the maps in Civ 6 are anything like they've been in the past 5 games, your civilization is going to have a lot of variety of terrain by the mid to end game. You might start out in a desert but your 5th city could well be in a forested tundra. The only way to prevent this is if Civ 6 dramatically changes the map generation scripts to have larger biomes and expansive strategies aren't easy to pull off.

    With that in mind then, I'm thinking terrain will play a big role in a cities destiny but perhaps not so much in your empire's. This could still be a very interesting mechanic, however, that has a big role in your game. If I'm right, your capital will be influenced heavily by terrain which in turn will set the tone for the rest of your game. If there's a return of something like national wonders a la Civ IV, your empire could have a dozens cities but only a few key ones whose terrain again decide the direction of your empire.

    Really, though, there are lots of ways Civ 6 could be setup where terrain plays a big role but other mechanics, such as leader traits and whatnot, are still major factors in the game.
     
  6. Primacide

    Primacide Settler

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    You know, I used to feel like the uniques were my favorite part of V, until I realized that despite 6000 hours in, I never once played about half the civilizations available - precisely because their uniques weren't any good. The Iroquois are a good example. I found that I played either top tier or one tick down.

    I actually have come to feel that uniques should add to the experience of the game, but not be very relevant to mechanics. I want my British buildings to look British, but I actually don't want a huge navy bonus - it steers you too much one way.
     
  7. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    I agree with you ... from time to time this topic comes up in discussion ...

    There is the known history and UAs, UUs, UBs are oriented on this history for flavour and immersion ...
    ... and there is the history you create when playing a game of Civ ... with its own geography, strategic challenges, etc.

    I would love to see a Civ game which allows a dynamic game mode where each civ starts without UA, UU, UB and can invest its effort into becoming better in certain things like the incas building so many farms on hills that they become experts in terrace farming or the british building so many ships that they become experts for modern age warships like Ship of the Line ...

    For Civ5 you could make a mod and add all UUs and UBs to the techtree as additional optional techs to research ... (maybe with dynamic costs like 10 turns instead of fixed costs like 200 light bulbs since science production usually is increasing during the game.) ...the UAs could be granted like social policies or via wonders you build ... civs will only spent resources on optional UAs, UUs, UBs if they are beneficial in the current situation/geographical context, e.g. if there is no desert around you, there is no need to research Desert-Farming ...
     
  8. Callonia

    Callonia Deity

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    I think Firaxis needs to hire a geologist to help them design their maps. They certainly have the budget for it.
     
  9. MIS

    MIS Prince

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    I think uniques are replayability
     
  10. Primacide

    Primacide Settler

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    I think you're right in that they add immense replay value, except that some civs had uniques that were so powerful that you were penalizing yourself if you didn't choose them. I'm lookin at you, Poland. Be honest: you replayed babs and Poland way more than any other civ. ;)

    I really like the idea posted above: add a route to unlock your uniques in game instead of at the outset. If you are a landlocked England, you can choose to deviate from the scripted path. Too bad you wouldn't be able to compensate the player in some other way, but civs would quickly lose their identity of it were a mashup of possible uniques.
     
  11. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    It'd be amazing if every civilization had an RPG-style "skill tree" but with unique bonuses/units/improvements, unlocked by appropriate actions or conditions in game.

    For example: England may go into naval focus and get sea dogs, or if its inland instead go into military direction ans get longbowmen, or into economic "english industrial revolution" focus.

    Every civilisation thus could be a little differently handled each game. One time Shoshone would prioritise defensive powers, another time nomadic bonuses etc

    Or India, could invest into pacifist bonuses (inspired by Gandhi and jainism), military path (Gupta, Mughals, Sikhs) or monumental architecture.

    In the end each civilization would be able to unlock all or most of its bonuses in every full game, what would matter however would be priority of getting those bonuses.
     
  12. historix69

    historix69 Emperor

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    I rather thought about one skill-tree for all civs ... a lot depends on geography and resources ...
    no iron -> better concentrate on longbows
    no horses -> no need to research chivalry/cavalry unless you have elephants, camels, etc.
    no water -> less priority for navy
    no oil -> better concentrate on trade or guerilla instead of tanks and planes
     
  13. King Jason

    King Jason Fleece-bearer

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    Being Honest, I never played those civs again after the first time for precisely that reason. Overpowered civs aren't really fun.
     
  14. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    Being honest, I have never ever played any civ more than one time, because there are so many of hem and each session is comparaticely so long than I found it kinda "a waste of time" to again take the same civ instead of trying something fresh.

    After all, I have other games and real life too :p
     
  15. Eagle Pursuit

    Eagle Pursuit Scir-Gerefa

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    Power doesn't make civs fun. Civs that promote unique playstyle are fun, even if they aren't the strongest.
     
  16. Red Pearl

    Red Pearl Warlord

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    I hope they try to make the civs balanced.
     
  17. Socrates99

    Socrates99 Bottoms up!

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    :) I'm actually the opposite. I had to play every one in V but I never cared to in IV, not unique enough. After that I honestly avoid any Civ considered top tier. Denmark became one of my most played civs because everybody poohpoohed it. Dunno why, just like the challenge I guess.
     
  18. qwerty25

    qwerty25 Prince

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    I think a meld between the tech tree and tech web would maybe help civs be more about their nearby land. There could be certain duplicate techs and one could choose which to learn. Like reseaeching elephants vs horses for war elephants or horseman

    Sent from my LG-H850 using Tapatalk
     
  19. AriochIV

    AriochIV Colonial Ninja

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    Balance in a single-player game can be overrated. I had fun working over the rest of the world as Rome.
     
  20. Primacide

    Primacide Settler

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    Funny you say that - I think Rome in CiV is a great example of a civ with good uniques. It gave the civ a definite flavor. You felt very Roman when your legions were building roads in your empire, but this unique ability didn't mess with the core direction of your empire or give you a huge edge in an important mechanic (still lookin at you, babs). At the same time the bonus was pretty cool.
     

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