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Weakest or most challenging civs

Discussion in 'Rise from Erebus Modmod' started by Humanophage, Jan 22, 2018.

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Which civs are currently the weakest or most challenging? (pick 3)

  1. Amurites

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  2. Archos

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Austrin

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  4. Bannor

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  5. Chislev

    4 vote(s)
    36.4%
  6. Doviello

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  7. Elohim

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  8. Grigori

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  9. Hamstalfar

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  10. Hippus

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  11. Illians

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  12. Kuriotates

    3 vote(s)
    27.3%
  13. Ljosalfar

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  14. Luichirp

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  15. Mechanos

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  16. Sheaim

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  17. Sidar

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  18. Svartalfar

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
  19. Legion of D'Tesh

    2 vote(s)
    18.2%
  20. Other

    1 vote(s)
    9.1%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Humanophage

    Humanophage Chieftain

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    What civs would make for the most challenging game without playing them inappropriately (e.g., early war with Kuriotates or no coastal cities with Lanun)? My noob version (haven't tried all civs):
    1. Sheaim
    2. Luchuirp
    3. Svartalfar

    ***
    Why I'm asking:

    While I like AoE, every game that I have had so far has been too easy, and I have been playing on Deity without reloads or tech trade (on small maps, but I loathe micromanagement). The only way not to win, apparently, is to get really unlucky with barbarians early on (e.g., a pegasus that can attack within your borders, or an unusually experienced wraith). That is certainly underwhelming, as you get attached to a map and want to play till the end, but it is simply too clear that you have already won. I suppose the only solution is to switch to one of the losers in worldbuilder, but it appears convoluted.

    This thread suggests the following are the 'best' (presumably, all reasonably strong):
    1. Scions of Patria = Balseraphs
    2. Calabim
    3. Khazad
    4. Amurites = Lanun

    I tried the following:
    Mekara Order - absurdly overpowered, get a +50% anti-melee 2-speed slave-capturing unit early on, then can turn all slaves into strength 6 units;
    Lanun - a little better, but get too much food, and essentially free endless 4-strength units that can capture coastal cities;
    Khazad - widely considered to have the best economy, basically impenetrable defence, very powerful dwarven mines, outrageous prod;
    Mazatl/Cualli - even the AI usually manages to do well with these;
    Kuriotates - defending the huge territory of the early cities is a fun challenge, but the cities get too proddy and powerful early on, so you produce 350+ hammers pretty early on.

    The Sheaim were fairly challenging, and AI Sheaim are usually at the bottom. However, they required a lot of tedious micromanagement. The Svartalfar were also pretty tough, but probably because I got unlucky with my starts, as the AI performs well with them. The Luchuirp also seem fairly weak because the golem worker takes forever to build, and Mechanos tend to be weak when played by the AI (haven't really tried them). I also found some complaints about Chislev and Kuriotates on the forum, but the latter seem rather strong to me.

    P.S. Whoops, forgot the Dural in the poll.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  2. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    From my experience with the stable version difficulty is directly proportionate to how the civ correlates to your play style more than anything. And looking at the AI is not a good indicator because the AI is not fine tuned to play each civ differently enough for it to matter.

    Also, you should not be looking at civs in vacuum but instead looking at combinations of civilization, desired victory goal and other conditions. Like Kuoritaes + Cultural victory is going to be substantially easier than them with conquest victory.
     
  3. Humanophage

    Humanophage Chieftain

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    Well, take the Mekara Order. What do the Luchuirp have that is comparable to them, except maybe much later down the road?
    Money: Mekara wins - no upkeep for basic defence units is a giant boon;
    Hammers: Mekara wins - big early bonus from slaves in cities, early additional +25% hammer wonder;
    Workers: Mekara wins - cheap familiars (20 hammers) + abundant slaves vs. expensive golem workers (100 hammers);
    Combat: Mekara wins - strong fast early melee unit that also gets money from knocking down barbarians.

    It seems abundantly clear that the Mekara are strictly stronger, if played reasonably well.

    Naturally, you would want to pursue the relevant strategies with a civ. E.g., if you are the Clan of Embers, it would be peculiar to be extremely peaceful. Even in the original Civ, which is pretty balanced, certain civs and traits were widely regarded as underpowered (especially in the more serious MP a la RealmsBeyond), while others were powerful. With the great diversity of AoE civs, this is bound to happen. However, if I start testing it all out myself, I'll burn out too early, whereas I want to capitalise on the atmospheric and storytelling element of AoE. I was already severely disappointed with my Mekara experience. In fact, the descriptions of some civs explicitly say that they are too strong (e.g., Archos). So I would be thankful for some suggestions.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  4. black_imperator

    black_imperator Emperor

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    You don't actually have to do that in worldbuilder, there's an option that does this , the High to Low challenge option.

    As for the general purpose of the thread, your particular playstyle and choices with options and objectives tends to matter when deciding what civilization is strongest or weakest.

    As for the AI part, the AI is particularly bad at handling certain civs due to specific mechanics permeating the civ ( Mekara, Dtesh), non-standard population gain ( Scions, Dtesh, Infernal) and general randomness ( Jotnar, Sheaim).
    Some options will also affect AI in vastly different ways. for example, playing without Tech trade strengthens the isolationist civs but harms the leaders more trading-oriented.


    Jotnar and Mekara tend to be examples of civs that are probably too strong in the hands of a player but too weak in the hands of AI (which is why they both have a rework coming at some point) .

    As for playing with a bit more challenge, i encourage you to set up all the barbarian options (Raging, Barbarian World, Mana Guardians, Dark Forests,...) This does make early and mid game more interesting.

    Finally, the comparison you've described focuses on early game, which is clearly in favor of Mekara in this case. Lurcuirp are more of a mid-to-late game civ, when they start getting all their golem toys.
     
  5. Humanophage

    Humanophage Chieftain

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    I do appreciate the additional challenge (I play with the forests on), but constant massive waves of barbarians mean perpetual war and exasperating whack-a-mole micromanagement. They invade more often and they destroy your improvements because you have no chance to prevent that, then you need to send your workers again, etc., and it happens every few turns. It amplifies the more mundane aspects of Civ. Besides, the AI often gets even more inconvenienced by them, to the point of getting wiped.

    It goes without saying that having a bunch of wraiths spawn in the middle of my civ will lead to a crisis. Rather, I'd like to find some civ that is a little less popular. I realise that any civ can be made powerful if played correctly, which is exactly what I want to do, but it has to be harder with some civs than others. So far, the only way to identify those civs seems to be to look at the linked poll and conclude that the civs that didn't get any votes or mentions are the most challenging or removed from the trodden path (since they are the 'least best'), but the issue is that they may simply be less exciting or less well-conceived.

    I like the story-telling RPy aspect of AoE/FFH2, so I am not too keen on switching, but I suppose I will have to resort to that.

    Thank you for the suggestions. I hope I do not seem unappreciative of the mod or capricious - I'm loving it so far, especially the first few games I had.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  6. black_imperator

    black_imperator Emperor

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    Honestly, i'm reviewing the civs right now. If you're really intent on winning, i don't think anything can really stop you. maybe, if you take civs that don't have a clear path towards a specific victory and no particular religious connexion like the Austrin or the Chislev, it might be a bit more challenging.

    Otherwise, i'd advise allowing tech trade between the AI, and maybe setting yourself some specific RP goals when you select a civ.

    There was a plan at some point for Historical victories like in Rhyes and Fall, and i may revisit it but it's a long way away
     
  7. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    That's just a thing with regular CIV that got carried over. The whole game is and always has been balanced on a reasonably dumb AI that cheats as you set the difficulty higher and higher so that the real difficulty was newer struggling against the AI defeating your master plans or hatching plans of their own but just against the game it self making your plans more difficult to execute.

    I mean seriously, when have you ever been genuinely outsmarted by the AI? Or just halted through means other than it cheating its way to more units, better cities etc?

    The only difference between regular civ and FFH and its derivatives is that instead of having basically one generic generalist civ for all with a tiny bit of flavor thrown at it FFH has different civs that excel at different aspects of the game and at different stages. And honestly that's the fun of this mod. Having to adapt to a whole new play style for each civ is what keeps the game fresh.

    But overall there just are not going to be any "hard" civs the way the OP wants. Because once you figure out the play style for each CIV and how to best optimize them the AI just won't be able to beat you. Even if you pull the most outrageous combinations like Kuoritates conquest victory. And this is not something you can rebalance by changing the civs because it's just always going to be that way because that's just the CIV formula.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2018
  8. legionof1

    legionof1 Chieftain

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    I will second that most civs when played properly are not weak by any means even when played off focus(conquest kuroiates, good sheaim, ect). There are however some standouts as being maybe too strong generally.

    1: Kazad, Pretty much a no brainer powerhouse. Once your past the early game the vault mechanic+dwarf forts provides immense hammers, and coins. Not to mention territory defense. Only victory type they struggle with is Altar, since they are only average at great people and have a great natural tendency towards engineers. I would suggest curbing the power of the dwarf forts for kazad buy removing the food bonus only they get. They already get them sooner and faster then anyone else.

    2:Ljosalfar, the power here comes from the elves+FoL combo yielding exceptionally productive tiles, and a ton of bonus health and Happiness. Their cites can easily become the largest in a given game which means you can throw specialists at anything you want to do, usually making up for your lesser amount of hammers. Marginally weaker at offense given lack of standard siege, but fireballs and excellent archers can cover the gap.

    3: Balseraphs. The power here is there exceptional culture, and the sheer chaos Loki can produce on a map. Loki can defeat entire early civilizations by himself, either by suppressing culture thereby allowing you to flip cities to your control for 2-3 free extra cities, or getting giant monsters from exploration that then kill early civs. Beyond that they are rather average but wiping out a few early neighbors with just one unit provides a very strong early game. And hey Civ is all about the snowball. Even without loki the exceptional culture power can strangle hold your neighbors out of critical territory.



    I do wish to point out that without slaves and captured workers the mekara are really behind at improvements. Familiars have the slowest work rate of any worker unit. They are orders of magnitude slower. Even a single road will take 10s of turn to build. Yes a Golem costs 5 times as much but it works more then 5 times faster, golems are in fact the fastest worker without promotions. The mekara basically must snowball on slaves to be able to improve there territory. Also i will point out that mekara also have a weaker end game, being blocked from knights, war chariots, arqubus, and either druids/paladins/eidolons. If you can't snowball on the slaves/shapers army combo mid game your effectively done in by the necessity of the number of extra units you must produce to keep up.
     
  9. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    I do not know how things have changed in the SVN version but talking from the last stable version I would definitively NOT nerfing anything. Nerfing things is generally a bad way to balance in my view as it provides balance by removing uniqueness. When you have a civ that has a mechanic you feel is overpowered the response should not be to remove or cripple said mechanic but to think of a fun and interesting way you can add to everyone else to provide a counter.

    After all the whole fun of FFH is that every civ is massively overpowered in its own unique way. It's balance through arms race vs balance through blandness. And that is how it should be.
     
  10. EugeneStyles

    EugeneStyles Prince

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    I don't think I entirely agree with that... then, everytime you accidentally make a new mechanic too strong, you have to go an give every other civ a new thing, and if one of those is slightly too strong you have to give everyone else a new thing, infinitely forever... I think it's better to include weaknesses and tradeoffs with every new powerful mechanic. It's not blandness, having unique weaknesses can be just as fun and interesting as having unique powers.
     
  11. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    The key word here being unique. Which is what I am trying to articulate. English is not my first language so bear with me for a moment.

    The key thing about balancing is that balance is achieved not through making things too weak to break the game and carefuly but by designing intelligent counters to it.
    And a counter is defined in this context as something that the opposing player has to consciously decide to do and spend time and resources on.

    I'll give you an example.
    Example:
    Say you want to introduce a new espionage mechanic like that in vanilla BTS. You do that, and it turns out that one of its features is super easy to abuse. Like for example it's far too easy to steal technologies via spies and you find it just breaks the game.

    Bad Fix:
    Nerf the technology stealing ability of the spy heavily so that it can no longer be abused.​
    Good Fix:
    Look into the ways you have to counter spies and either improve them or add new ones.

    And these should not be overpowered in their own right. The point is NOT to tip the balance the other way round. This is an error often made by game developers. And it leads to the sort of arms race you described and the sort of idiotic ever developing meta of what's OP this week that you see in so many games.

    Rather, it should be tuned just right so that it takes a mechanic that could previously be abused and turns it into a tactic that the player can implement, but that can also be countered if the opponent detects it and knows how to react.
    See the difference? In one case you just removed a fun mechanic from the game. In the other you opened up a whole new group of strategies that your players can play with.
     
  12. legionof1

    legionof1 Chieftain

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    I grant that nerfing is not always the best option. But how would you propose introducing counterplay too the civs i mentioned?

    In the first 2 cases it is the sheer production tile for tile that makes them strong. Not alot of interaction opportunities(wars or raiding) that dont play into there defensive nature.

    The Balseraphs do have counter play but it is both micro intensive(something the AI is incapable of) and takes away lots of production time to keep the effects in check compared to the Balseraphs causeing the effect for minimal effort.

    In fact all of the 3 i mentioned are examples of low interaction but massive power. They are more or less equivalent to OTK burn combos in card games. Often the only choice is to beat them before they assemble there combo. But they can still and are even rewarded by pointing all the burn at your board instead and win cause you run out of steam.
     
  13. PPQ_Purple

    PPQ_Purple Techpriest Engineer

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    Sadly I am unable to provide specific input on account of the fact I do not have specific details. In particular, I can't comment too much because I don't play the SVN version (my project forces me to stick with the stable one so that I am sure any crashes are of my own doing) so I don't know it's particular balance issues nor do I know the long term balance plan black_imperator has, other than knowing for a fact he has one because I got a peak at his future unit roster that's like twice the size of what we have now. So I imagine that's not the only thing he is doing. So I can speculate but it would not be really useful.

    But I can say one thing. Overpowered means something is broken to the point where nothing else can catch up. And honestly I don't really feel that is the case in this mod. At least not in the conventional sense. Basically yes, both of your examples are of something that easily runs away once you get it going. But the point is I can keep on naming examples. Like Calabim ubervampire spam (vampiric units leveled up to stupidity), late game Mechanos riflemen spam etc. And I feel that these balance each other out relatively nicely. At least in the stable version.

    The AI just needs to learn how to play better. If that is even possible.


    As for Loki, that is something I can talk about, assuming he did not change much. And primarily because I don't remember him being overpowered. Like yes, he could flip a fresh zero culture city fairly easily. But that's about it. And honestly I always felt that this ability is not overpowered but a good and fun thing even when it happened to me. And it's not like he could go into the middle of your empire and start stirring up trouble and next thing you know ten turns later your big cities are changing sides.
    Has something changed? Can he now actually flip proper cities easily?
     
  14. legionof1

    legionof1 Chieftain

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    As i mentioned before the problem with kazad and Ljosalfar mostly has to do with the lack of interaction possible. Both get significant defensive advantages and get the best tile production in the game leading to exceptional economies. Early rushes can kill them with great difficulty but those are about the only interaction possible. If there was some more ways to interfere with production along the lines of pelmoc or more land false flag units(without going esus which often gives it away anyway) they would be more in line with the general pack.

    Merely outproducing your opponents from behind cheap/free extra defenses is not interactive.

    Loki hasn't changed but stealing an AI's settler production for yourself gives you effectively double the expansion speed and territory in era of the game when nobody really has the ability to wage aggressive wars. Coming out of the first 150 turns with 3-5 extra cities that you didn't pay for is a pretty hefty snowball. They are closer to balanced because of mid-game unit weaknesses, and that cultural leaders nullify loki culture manipulation.
     
  15. Calavente

    Calavente Richard's voice

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    I totally agree.
    you just have to look at magister's modmod and see it works : when every civ, every religion and every tech line is OP it becomes balanced!

    I voted (as hardest to win) for:
    -Grigory; currently they have no special units, the adventurers are fun but not game breaking (earlygame) and lacking religion make you miss on those sweet dwarven mines that I always get.
    -Chislev : same thing : they don't get much, their UB and UUs are fun, especially in early game, but they don't scale with the game, and mid-late game I find them lacking.
    -Sidar : they are great, honestly, but you have a harder time to expand; and thus is more difficult to lead. Maybe target a cultural victory ?

    Re Dwarven / Ljos :
    no real way to counter their OPness.. but they have a hard time to get to your lands.... and when you come on their land... with Pyromancing Archmages, they become much softer.
    ie: they are mid-game civs : either you crush them real early game, or you wait till you get your shiny tier IV units that they can't get (khazad), or you burn their forests....
     
  16. legionof1

    legionof1 Chieftain

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    The kazad only miss out on archmages and marksmen. There knight unit has higher base strength, dwarven shadows cause collateral dmg, though i will admit there beastmaster replacement is weaker from not being an upgraded unit.
     
  17. black_imperator

    black_imperator Emperor

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    Something i have wanted to use with the Khazads to give a bit more challenge is the fact that there is still a large portion of them in the Underhome, most of them in dire situation. It means that there either is a very small number of dwarves at the game start (it's more an advance party than a tribe) or that there's still a large population to care for that isn't really productive at game start.

    I haven't found a good mechanic for it yet ( though something that is likely is to link the food needed to gain population to vault prosperity) so it's still in the early idea phase for now.
     
  18. Nor'easter

    Nor'easter Emperor

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    The Dwarven Mine series of improvements, eventually upgrading to a Dwarven Fort, is not unique to the Khazad. Anybody who adopts Runes of Kilmorph can produce Soldiers of Kilmorph, who can build Dwarven Mines. The Khazad get +1 Food from them, but that's their only extra benefit.

    It's not just the Ljosalfar, but the Svartalfar also do pretty well with Fellowship of the Leaves. If you know you're going to go to war with them, then one way to counter them is to give your units the Woodsman promotion. Or if you have Fire Mana, give your Arcane units the Fire I promotion so they can burn down the Elves' forests.

    As for Loki and the Balseraphs, the first time he flips one of your cities you declare war, take the city back, then go in and wipe the Balseraphs out. That's how you counter Loki.
     
  19. legionof1

    legionof1 Chieftain

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    There is a distinct build speed advantage as well since kazad's regular workers can build the improvement, when soldiers never get worker promotions. Also the kazad fort commander being base 6 str in direct combat effectively buffers off 95% of barbarian problems.

    Yeah if only the AI did that. Being forced into very early wars to the death, can be crippling to development. The theme here with all 3 is the low interaction options against civ that are pretty easy to play.
     
  20. Gangrin

    Gangrin Warlord

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    I agree that there are standouts when it comes to being too strong but not these three, IMHO. Khazad are mediocre-to-good, Bals are mediocre, Ljos I consider one of the weaker civs in the game. Three strongest civs are in no particular order:
    1) Malakim
    2) Illians
    These two are kinda the same: they got auto-terramorphing that provide immense economic benefits to your Civ, provide bonus to fighting in your lands and makes your territory generally undesirable for enemy - and you don't actually need to work for this. Add to this rather strong UUs, lack of blocked units and buildings, and you've got an economic powerhouse that is great at expanding AND defense with no downsides. Ljos and Svarts are nowhere near that powerlevel.
    3) Grigori.
    Last time i checked sidequest feature works on ANY unit, not only on adventurers; meaning your every single unit can get to 100xp without ever fighting (or for more dramaticism - the second you've got a fort you are able to mass-produce kings Leonidases and Merlins).
     

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