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'We should have been more audacious' - A Civilization: Beyond Earth retrospective

Discussion in 'CivBE - General Discussions' started by Ari Rahikkala, Mar 6, 2015.

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  1. Ari Rahikkala

    Ari Rahikkala Chieftain

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    http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/...A_Civilization_Beyond_Earth_retrospective.php

    I think this puts the game's problems with presentation into perspective. Boring leaders? The designers had written a lot more, but all that actually made it all the way to be shown to the player was NO VILLAGE - because that's what had worked before. Bland underpowered wonders? They're cool in the Civilopedia but the designers were too afraid to give them the mechanical power to match. The thought was there, but without breaking any eggs, we didn't end up with much of an omelette.
     
  2. Acken

    Acken Chieftain

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    Kind of reflects some of my thoughts, a big missed opportunity.

    I'm glad they agree with me that a beta would have done a lot of good when it comes to balancing and feedback on systems.
     
  3. lilgamefreek

    lilgamefreek Chieftain

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    Sounds like it was an interesting panel. Glad to hear that this isn't the end of the road for their game design work and that they plan to learn from it, be it for BE or for a later game. Kinda wish I could've been at GDC this year for this.
     
  4. 4N4C0ND4

    4N4C0ND4 King

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    Interesting read, thanks OP for sharing.

    The good news is that they want to continue to put efforts in fixing the game!
     
  5. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    This is promising, considering how recent the retrospective was (also wasn't phrased as a postmortem, also encouraging).
     
  6. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Yeah, I think the Civilopedia and the website articles on the leader history actually show that they had a very good idea of what story and flavour they wanted to convey, so I totally believe that they had that vision they describe - they just chose the wrong tools to present it.

    I also think that's why Civ:BE was hyped so much and such a disappointment: all the PR material (like the wonderful announcement trailer) really showed us what it was supposed to be... but we didn't actually get that. In a way, I think that also shows that they are young designers with the creativity and ideas to have a vision and good pitch but were too hesitant to buy into it themselves.

    The fact that they recognise that in the retrospective makes me hope that they get another shot at fixing the problems, partially through patches and perhaps through a DLC/expansion for the things that might require a bit more budget for art and voice acting.
     
  7. tedeviatings

    tedeviatings Chieftain

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    I'm a bit disappointed they're mostly talking about things such as immersion and historical context and all that.
    Maybe it's the way to go and the main reason for people to be discontent. But if I'm annoyed with the diplomacy-system in BE I'd like to think it's at least 90% because it's annoying to be repeatedly offered really bad trades and at most 10% because it's not a familiar figure doing so. Same with wonders. I honest to god don't care if they have fancy backstories or if they match what the wonder does. Not worth? Won't build. This easy.
    I realize it's not like that for most people. But I had hoped they'd also address the part of problem people like me have with the game.

    I do, however, like the game and am happy to read they intend to work on it further. Although that was to be expected it's still refreshing to see it stated officially. Guess all the hate on the game and prophecies of doom got to me more than I care to admit.
     
  8. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    They might go more hand-in-hand than you think. The wonders are a good example: the new patch makes them more "awesome", at least some of them, and as a result they become more interesting mechanically as well.

    In a game, the fiction isn't just an info dump (after all, the Civilopedia already does that!), but it needs to be represented mechanically in some fashion. And I think this is one of the biggest weaknesses of Civ:BE - that only little of the fiction is presented in-game via the rules of the game.

    By improving that part, the rules will acquire another dimension that makes them more engaging even for mechanically minded players.
     
  9. rkade8583

    rkade8583 Realism Invictus Player

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    Strategic view. Just sayin'.

    I view their admitting that an open beta would have helped a lot as a huge personal vindication for me since I made all kinds of noise about that omission but, as it turned out, by the time I know about it, it was too late to do anything.

    I'm not too salty. Admitting where you've messed up and vowing to unmess it up goes a short way. Actually delivering the goods (even if it's not strategic view) would go a long way.
     
  10. liv

    liv Warlord

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    Nice that they will say this. Honest feedback to us gamers is always good I think. I respect that.

    If they had really "been audacious" it would probably have caused a lot of complaining but it would have been more fun

    So now they are neither exciting the "casual" players who like wonders nor the super strategic players who like balance and complicated game mechanics

    Hopefully some of that can still be fixed.
     
  11. sherbz

    sherbz Chieftain

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    Interesting article. Nice to see they are accepting of many of the problems.

    I agree with many of their points though. In particular, i felt that BE lacked a narrative and a context. You got the opening sequence and then that was basically it apart from a few sub standard quest items. What you could gain access to with a bit more effort was the lore. But lore is only useful to enrich a world you are trying to create. It cant create the world on its own. Thats BE's biggest problem in terms of both the leaders themselves and the world in which they inhabit. In Civ you had the whole weight of history to fall back on as a context. In BE you had none of that. This includes wonders IMO.

    I am pessimistic for the the future of BE. I dont think they can do enough in future expansions to make it great. There is too much to do and some of the mechanics need to be drastically reinvented. Happy to be proven wrong on this point. But any expansions are a definite wait for me on full priced dlc. I think id only consider it on a 75% discount having been so disappointed with the full priced original.
     
  12. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Blackpilled Idealist

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    I can't rally agree with everything, especially on diplomacy. The problem wasn't that we don't have enough back story about the leaders, it's that we don't have good gameplay reasons to talk to them, except to sell them resources that they don't have the tech to use, which just feels like a cheap AI exploit, or bribe them into wars to keep them occupied. They took out Research Agreements and Happiness/Health resources and didn't replace it with anything useful. Trading research points is too expensive to be practical, favors are just another currency to be shortchanged, Alliances will now force you to declare war on somebody who is not the aggressor. They even removed the option to tell them to stop attacking a station for the player but left it in for AIs. And the AI now has more excuses to hate you. It's so bad that my first instinct is to restart every game if Kozlovs makes an early landing near my position, because I now that he'll denounce and later attack me if I dare to build an expedition, and if you start in an area teeming with aliens and want to expand you can prepare for chain denounciations if you clear them out to have room for an additional city.
    And the cherry on top is that you won't be able to ever make peace if you find yourself at war with two civs at the same time, and it's not even obvious if this is a bug or a concious -and very bad- design decicion.
    These things aren't new problems.
    Sorry for the rant, but Diplo was always one of the more important systems for me in a strategy game, and I would have expected much more from a sci-fi civ than AIs who behave more like barbarians than modern nations.
     
  13. tedeviatings

    tedeviatings Chieftain

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    To be honest the Civ V diplomacy is also basically just "Sell your excess resources", "Bribe them into war" and maybe "Research agreement if friendly". Maybe buy a luxury if you can afford and they have a spare but I rarely did that.
    They did not, however, ask you about so much [s-word this forum seems to delete upon detection]. "How about open borders for open borders" was not - upon my refusal - followed by "How about you pay me for open borders?" which is like the most ridiculous thing to ask the very next turn.
     
  14. Ashbery76

    Ashbery76 Chieftain

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    I think everybody kind of said that pre release and they did not listen.They just wanted Civ5 player sales and did not like take inspiration from Alpha Centuari in the slightest.
     
  15. GoodSarmatian

    GoodSarmatian Blackpilled Idealist

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    It wasn't good, but at least you had RAs and luxuries and later the World Congress. That's something. in BE everybody can be safely ignored. It is almost impressive how they could dismiss the smalll improvements that Civ V had over time and made it actually worse than Civ V vanilla.
     
  16. sherbz

    sherbz Chieftain

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    Yes - herein lies the problem. I think they treated the whole community as though they had never played civ 5. When most, if not all of them had. I have never come across someone who has said that civ 5 diplomacy is good. Vanilla was totally awful. And it was only made slightly better after 2 expansions. But IMO it is still noway near good enough. Civ 4s was basic, but functional. In BE it is worse than civ 5 vanilla because they have taken bits out for a start, and you also have no idea that Brazillia is going to be a war monger because he isnt a nut job that has the history of Shaka to back it up. You might as well have digitised the personality of pong and inserted it. Because that is what we got with BE.
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Part of the problem of being able to ignore everyone is the lack of difficulty though. If AI Civs were able to win reasonably fast (and that should ideally translate into: "If the player wasn't able to win superfast" ;)), then developing relationships and manipulating global politics would at least become important. Would of course not fix the "nothing to gain"-issue though.

    I actually like the fact that you don't exactly know what to expect. Starting next to Shaka and you know what to expect - every single game. A midground between "all leaders are basically the same" (= current BE) and "all leaders have a personality that is absolutely predictable" would be the best thing. And of course, part of the lack of personality are also the texts and the animations.
     
  18. Velasti

    Velasti Chieftain

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    This is totally true. I disagree with the "our leaders just need more history" too.

    I think the issue is that all of the leaders are unrealistic - look at Hutama for example.
    He makes his fortune trading food. So the mechanic should be focussing on trading food and production for energy. If I was Hutama, I would be focussing on getting the most out of the planet, I wouldn't be focussing on energy.

    Now remember that might makes right - so if I was Hutama I would be focussing on having a robust Defence Force. I wouldn't be aggressive, but I would still be focussing on having a strong military to defend my economy.

    The other thing is that all of the civs are relatively inflexible. E.g. I always see massive naval fleets, but the majority of the fighting is taking place on land, and naval fleets in Civ BE are useless for city capture

    It would be nice to have more mechanics that traded stuff for other stuff, and have those trades be non-trivial. At least with Civ V you had respect for the partners providing you with luxuries.

    I also preferred the City State system:

    1) it's really quite frustrating to have the "no-settlement" zone around stations.
    2) It gave you something to interact with the AI over. E.g. Atilla would go and conquer city states, so you want to defend the city states from Atilla. You'd be competing with Elizabeth for city states.

    With stations, it would be cool to have them build stuff around them. E.g. Tier 1 had one tile, Tier 2 had the next 6 tiles, Tier 3 had the next 12 tiles, and then those tiles were improved in some way (e.g. lots of manufactories)

    And then you can buy additional services from those stations. So while anyone can trade with them, one civ in particular has the greatest partnership with the station, and so can get stuff (like discounted improvements and industrial buildings from STET mining, for example)

    The point being so there's an actual mechanic to interact with other Civs around Stations. Currently the only reason to interact with other civs is to prevent them from killing the station.

    I like the health system as it is in game, and yet it would be great to have additional sources of health to trade and interact with other civs, etc.
     
  19. JokerJace

    JokerJace Chieftain

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    Happy to finally hear some of their thoughts on BE. It worries me though, that they exclusively see problems in the game's atmosphere. For example it is true that the wonders were pretty dull and not awe inspiring at all, but 75% of them were also a complete failure gameplay wise. Diplomacy also feels bland of course, but it also didn't add any value to the game's mechanics, because there was rarely any reason to engage in diplomacy. Bland leaders, yes, but also a lack of diversity which devaluates replayability and so on and so on...
     
  20. Velasti

    Velasti Chieftain

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    I use an AI mod, and I play domination. The other victories are actually pretty cheap.

    This game is so much faster compared to Civ V - you can muck around, play non-ideally in Civ V, and play a game that lasts the full 500 turns. To me, turn 350 seems like late game. If someone hasn't won by then, no one has been trying.

    (and I'm playing Domination - I have 4 capitals, but I've basically broken the back of anyone who could stop me from steamrolling the rest of the players.)

    This is despite South America having its own continent.
     
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