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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. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Your logical fallacy is: http://www.logicallyfallacious.com/index.php/logical-fallacies/30-appeal-to-extremes

    We're discussing Apollo specifically in BE, not any theoretical game in the future where the difficulty levels can be completely reworked to suit an imaginary scenario you're making up.

    There is nothing stopping Firaxis introducing new difficulties. Do you think Firaxis should? Would BE benefit from the granularity provided by CiV's eight difficulty steps? Or was eight too many to make a meaningful distinction between each difficulty level? Would seven be a good compromise?

    You're the one who called Emperor "mid-range", not me. Let's not try and make your own logical faults other peoples' problems. You want to stay on topic? Start contributing, and stop spending the majority of your post trying to attack my character, please.
     
  2. Sherlock

    Sherlock Just one more turn...

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    Good post. We're all assuming CiVI has been in the pipeline for some time.

    But what if that's wrong? What if after the tepid sales of BE Firaxis says 'it's been a good run, but these games take too long to make and we failed with the last one'?

    A world without a new Civ game? It's a possibility I hadn't really thought about until now.
     
  3. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Well the only thing I got out of that post is that you argue in order to start a discussion ? It appears to be but do you have an opinion on the subject at least ?

    Do you really need me to make a 2 pages post on why I think Apollo was too easy in 1.0 ? I stated it was beaten multiple times on day 1 by new players, it looked like a piece of cake from previews and finally the developers ended up agreeing by buffing it in 1.1.

    Now what ?

    Or if I'm wrong and you actually have an opinion over CivBE's Apollo difficulty then please restate it.
     
  4. JokerJace

    JokerJace Prince

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    The power of a common enemy. ;) :goodjob:

    Moderator Action: It is, indeed, a sad state of affairs when we look at our fellow forum members as enemies. Is it no wonder that we cannot keep discussions civil?
     
  5. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    And yet the logic is the same. The only real difference in the exaggeration is the number of people who are affected. I made the rather extreme example to show you that the group of people who play difficulty X is determined by how difficulties are scaled and not by anything else. So when you say: "If we're talking about Apollo, then the amount of people playing Apollo matters. Not the pedigree of the three top players in the game, unless they're a majority representation of everyone playing Apollo and thus the playerbase in general.", then you're just talking nonsense. Players who are not on the extreme ends of a scale will find a difficulty on that scale no matter how you scale it, however, if that scale is not wide enough, then that's a problem, because people get left out on the top and (which is rather unlikely in this case) bottom of the scale.

    I think Civ 5 had a good system. I don't see any good reason why they decided to move away from that. They should go back to a system like Civ 5 had, add a difficulty below Apollo to make up for the gap that was left when Apollo got buffed (they could even re-introduce the old Apollo) and add another difficulty above Apollo for the people who exactly know what they do. That should roughly represent the scale we had in Civ 5, at least the upper half. Don't know about the stuff below that as I never played it in BE.

    Yes, I called it mid-range, because I consider it mid-range. You don't consider it mid-range? Okay. Well, you know that I do, it's just a word, it has nothing to do with the topic, so just ignore it instead of making a big deal out of that stupid word. That's why people can't discuss with you without the whole thing blowing up into a giant mess full of nonsense, because EVERY SINGLE TIME you pick up such nonsense instead of just focusing on the main subject.
     
  6. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    EDIT: Ryika responded while I was posting:

    1. The logic being the same doesn't excuse the example being fallacious. The logic here doesn't actually follow through because changes at the Apollo level could filter down to changes at the rest of the difficulties, otherwise the progression from Soyuz to Apollo could become too extreme, or from Gemini to Soyuz, etc. Altering, say, the Settler / Sputnik difficulty level doesn't impact the higher tiers too much because even considering knock-on impact, you're starting at the bottom of the pyramid and Settler is designed to be a cakewalk for someone who is completely new to the genre / series.

    2. Fair enough. I'd also be interested in hearing from the developers why this was reduced. Perhaps there wasn't as much of a difference between the middle four in CiV as they wanted?

    3. You were using mid-range as an example. Sure it's just a word but your sentence / paragraph hinged upon presenting Emperor as a "mid-level" difficulty, when it's anything but. I could write a whole lot more on this, including Steam stats. and percentage of game completion if it'd help me seem less of a pedantic arse. But only if you're interested.

    I posted to start a discussion. There's a difference, there. I wouldn't have posted if I didn't want a discussion.

    But I wasn't asking you for your opinions of Apollo. As you've said, as everyone's said, that's pretty clear at this stage. I'm asking questions that lead to solutions. What can realistically fix this?

    Like my questions to Ryika about difficulty levels - does BE have too few? There were complaints about the jump from Soyuz to Apollo both in terms of it being too small and it possibly being too large (post-patch), but I only vaguely read those threads. Would it be better with Soyuz > Apollo > XYZ? Or the other way around for aesthetic flavour, whatever XYZ ends up being (Armstrong, as a dumb example).

    An entire reworking of the AI to prevent handing out scaling bonuses isn't realistically going to happen. AI development is expensive, not just in terms of sheer research cost, but also computationally expensive even in a turn-based game where the AI players each perform a large amount of processing per turns (working out pathfinding, etc. has historically been the cause of significant performance issues in Civ - wasn't it Workers in CiV that hammered end-of-turn delays?). You're fantastic at the game, what would you think would suit the AI that isn't also infeasible from a developer / manpower perspective?
     
  7. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    1.) The argument was not fallacious, as I didn't try to use that to counter your point, but rather gave that example to make you understand that you're making an error when you assume that the amount of people happy with a difficulty tells us anything about how good the scale is designed. I even explained that in the paragraph below that example.

    2.) I don't know. Though I have to say that it seems to me as if most people who started with the game quickly got to Prince or King (or at least that's what most people seem to suggest to new people). And from that point on the progression actually seemed quite reasonable to me, so I'm not really sure why they did at all cut anything in the higher difficulties. Especially when they even introduced a new lowest difficulty that is, as the developers say, even easier than Settler was in Civ 5. Which I really cannot understand as even by rolling a dice for any action one would still win on Settler.

    3.) Again, that whole thing pretty much comes down to definition. It is a difficulty that most people should be able to win rather quickly and that's why I consider it mid-range. If we once again take it to the extreme: Even if there were 500 more difficulties below Settler I would still not consider Settler a high difficulty, although it would obviously be in the upper 1% (well, it would be slightly below, but still).
     
  8. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    1. But I never said anything about happiness with a difficulty level, at least over the past two pages that I can read. I could be getting mixed up here with the parallel discussions, so if there's anything of mine you can quote I'd appreciate it.

    2. A lot of people are coming here from CiV, which is a game with very similar mechanics. This isn't the traditional game sense you can bring across the Civ. games (I played my brains out with the original Civilisation and only touched on the sequels until CiV came around); this is a direct transplantation of game mechanics and familiarity of faction specifics (diplomacy, unit promotions, IUPT, etc). You can't tell me off for assuming and then base your reasoning on assumptions about trends :p

    That said, I didn't know Sputnik was meant to be easier than Settler. I used to play on those difficulties a lot, just to explore and enjoy the game. Quite relaxing on a second screen while programming or the like. It's only more recently I've really gotten into exploring the higher difficulties, possibly due to the sheer amount I actually enjoy BE.

    3. This is kinda an extension of 2. but I think the problem here is indeed definition. Or perception, whichever. You think it's a difficulty most people should be able to beat rather quickly, I don't think it should be. Heck, by definition beating something quickly should be a lower difficulty. If we ever want a solid progression level between AI levels, Emperor (or Gemini / Soyuz, for a BE equivalent), we don't want Emperor to be the starting point for genre-familiar players, do we?

    Like, as a completed unrelated example, FPS games typically have "Newbie" (for actual newbies), "Normal" (for familiar players or experience FPS gamers), "Advanced" for advanced players of that specific game, and "Insane" for the actual precise highest-tier level of skill. Unreal aside I guess, I never really got why there were so many difficulty levels considering the same weapons were OP / carried you through every bot tier.
     
  9. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Can fix what ?
    You're aware that this whole thing started out of a comment I did about 1.0 right (that I'd expect Madjinn to have warned them the game was too easy) ? Something that has been acknowledged and somewhat fixed. Which is the number 1 reason why I did not understand what exactly you're trying to make a discussion about and which looked like arguing just for the sake of it.

    So are we talking about Apollo then or Apollo now ?

    Well we'll agree that who cares about names. I'm always in favor of more potentially beatable difficulties. Even if there's just 10 guys beating the last one consistently. Something like Civ4 is reasonable difficulty progression for example, I think Civ5 is too easy since BNW and CivBE is maybe around the same, I don't play CivBE anymore so it's hard to judge exactly.

    We'd probably agree that having 20 difficulties would be ridiculous. 8 in classic civ works well imo to give enough variety. But I'll maintain that extremes... should be extreme. Then you try to give more or less a good progression from one to the other, doesn't really matter if it's 6 or 8. If you're afraid of big jumps then put more rather than less.
    If we take CiV as an example, the progression is just weird. For example levels 1 2 3 are ridiculously easy while there are huge gaps going from 6 to 7 and 7 to 8. So if it were up to me the 8 levels would become something like 2, 4, 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5. Shrinking the firsts, expanding the lasts. Newbie level should be the first one. Not the first three. My anecdotal example is my gf that had never played a TBS in her life and could get through level 2 on her first try and then it's been a while she keeps playing at 4 because that's where the challenge is at for her. Level 1 never saw a play and 3 felt redundant from her perspective. From mine level 4 5 6 were all the same and I felt 5 redundant while I broke my teeth on 7 and 8 the first times (well it was harder in GK days though). Nowadays Deity is on the too easy side since BNW changes that made the AI more passive and a worse techer.

    And I'll agree that an entire overhaul will never happen. However some tweaks are possible. Better aggression, assessing easy preys, more able to stop running aways and imminent victories...
    But to me the AI would also benefit a lot from better balance. An AI isn't able to know what is crap or not.

    Both of these apply to Civ5 also by the way.

    Balancing can be done with help from players at least. But it's a big job (until a point) that requires both a frame for players to test tweaks and a constant dialog. But I feel CivBE is too low budget for that kind of stuff anyway.

    All this requires work for sure. Will the devs do it ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ (or get the money to do it). But meanwhile (some) people will keep saying the AI and balance is crap.
     
  10. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    Oh right, sorry for not being clear. I was talking about Apollo now, because given comments on it it's still not fixed to the level that people want it to be. The problems revolve around defining that level, examining CiV, etc, a lot of the stuff you did in the rest of your post.

    It's interesting to see we have very similar opinions on the difficulty scaling, in CiV as well. Certainly BE has felt easier than CiV, but for me it's hard to separate it out from "I enjoy this game more", more time with BE will hopefully change that.

    The definite issue is that this exponential curve with regards to difficulty progression - maybe that's what Firaxis were trying to address with the shrink to six in BE, but evidently that didn't work out at the top-level. I mean, I understand the science behind it - you're less familiar with the game if you play at the lowest difficulty, so it's going to take you X amount of time to go to the next difficulty. The idea is that as you get better at the game, you still want X amount of time before jumping to the next difficulty, so the gap between those difficulties has to increase.

    Personally I'd completely redo that, and have a "Sandbox" setting where people can literally just mess about. It's not like Settler is a far cry from that anyhow. Maybe even include a debug menu and some modding functions, manpower considering, but that's just a pipe dream. Then the difficulty settings actually start from something vaguely usable. Normal / Chieftan / Mercury and increment sensibly from there.
     
  11. tedeviatings

    tedeviatings Warlord

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    Yay us. It took us about 1.5 pages but we're finally at the point where we're discussing things instead of just bashing our heads in about minor details (for whatever good or bad reasons).

    As to how difficulties should behave in my personal opinion (for simplicity assuming a 6 difficulty scale):
    Starting difficulties:
    (1) = If you don't know anything you go here.
    (2) = If you know the genre a bit you go here.
    (3) = If you were good in a similar game you go here.

    Starting difficulties, in my opinion, shouldn't be about being very hard, they should be about players familiarizing themselves with the mechanics and stuff. That said it's no use if you can't lose no matter how bad you play, so while the player it's designed for should have the advantage once he knows the game - it should be possible to realistically lose before that.
    Also I think the difference between (1) to (3) might turn out to be really minor, in which case I'd advocate merging them for less redundant difficulties.

    Playing difficulties
    (4) = Reachable for everyone given "moderate" knowledge and patience.
    (5) = Reachable for everyone given some dedication to the game.
    (6) = Reachable for everyone given dedication to the game.

    So ideally (4) to (5) would be where the casual players go and have fun. Everyone who really tries should be able to get to (6) in time, but I feel it should be hard enough so that even people who are good at similar games have a challenge. Maybe it would be more suitable to roll (2) and (3) together and introduce (7) as the (6) for veterans - cause veterans will naturally progress faster.
     
  12. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    Well anyway I don't think difficulty is the most urgent matter. You can't balance difficulty in a game that still has to receive a lot of work to interest challenge hungry players. The current difficulty is acceptable. Raising it wouldn't really interest me much aside from boasting on steam forums I guess :D

    I'd be more interested in playing a game I find deep and interesting first rather than hard. Once I'm hooked, give me the challenge.
     
  13. thecrazyscot

    thecrazyscot Spiffy

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    The nice thing is that with patching it could be back to being "audacious". I fear though with the slow pace of patches we won't see that any time soon. Here's hoping they open up the DLL so that modders can make this the game it really should be!
     
  14. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    Agreed though I'm getting the sense that this is missed by a lot of people in a rush to condone the game in the state is was released in.

    Not to excuse the launch state of the game whatsoever, but there are opportunities here to make it better. The age of persistent patching and DLC's has drawbacks but one huge strength it has is to make a game appreciably better over time - as happened with Civ V.
     
  15. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    The only issue I will swing the shame stick on is the lack of beta testing.

    Firaxis has been around the block, it's not some upstart indie dev team.

    It knows how amazingly good it's fan base is at finding issues...with several civ games as evidence to that fact.

    Many of the issues I found with the game I noticed after 1 4 hour play session...and I'm not the most hardcore player by far.


    That is the one thing that is inexcusable to me. So many things were obviously bad at first glance, and could have been very easily fixed with a beta review
     
  16. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    If difficulty levels are simply giving quantitative bonuses to the AI then isn't adding more difficulty levels practically a no-brainer from a development perspective? Also, is it possible to mod more difficulty levels in?
     
  17. Ryika

    Ryika Lazy Wannabe Artista

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    Yes, and it's quite easy to do, too. If you have some very basic understanding of modding you can find the code in:

    Sid Meier's Civilization Beyond Earth\assets\Gameplay\XML\GameInfo\CivBEHandicapInfos.xml
    (Or you can use my Apollo Difficulty (Legacy)-Mod as a template)
     
  18. Gort

    Gort Emperor

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    This would be a less bitter pill to swallow if the patches didn't come out so very slowly. Firaxis are cultivating a reputation as the company where you wait for the second expansion before expecting a good game, all thanks to shoddy (or ignored?) testing and glacial patching.
     
  19. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    r.e. difficulty levels: the bonuses aren't necessarily the problem with the higher levels, I think Acken touched on stuff r.e. aggression and tactical ability.

    You also can't scale bonus resources infinitely, otherwise you enter a legitimate no-win scenario that no amount of superior tactics will defeat. Higher-level AIs are already basically immune to Aliens (Aggressive Aliens as a game option simply makes the game harder for you in this respect for a slight-to-moderation additional challenge) and receive numerous other bonuses including starting units. Scale these upwards much more and the AI will be able to rush your capital from game start.
     
  20. Callonia

    Callonia Deity

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    Finally, Firaxis said something at last.
     
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