Were "stacks of doom" really that bad?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Blitzscream, Feb 25, 2011.

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  1. Misotu

    Misotu King

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    I don't remember the Civ IV patch, particularly. I mean, I do, but I don't remember it affecting me particularly, so it may have been huge but it didn't mean re-learning the game (unless I'm getting really old, which is always possible). Having read the summary of the anticipated V patch, sounds to me like the game is about to change radically. Which is probably a good thing, given the way things are right now :lol:

    With 1upt vs SoD, I'm sort of in the middle. As a peaceful builder, I never built stacks of doom, nor did I face them very often (although if I did the game was, ahem, often over :lol:). I quite like 1upt for fighting. In a way. But it seems very artificial, and it also seems very stupid that you can't protect a badly-injured unit at all. It is a pain in the neck the way "goto" commands go wildly wrong if a unit gets blocked. It is a pain not being able to stack workers. It's unrealistic to prevent more than one unit from garrisoning a city. I'd be interested to see a limited units per tile system - 1 doesn't seem to work awfully well but I'm not a warmonger so what would I know?

    Social policies are ok I suppose but I think one tech tree is enough in the game - I find myself paying more attention to SPs than to tech, which is probably a reflection of the way research just ZIPS by, despite the fact that I am currently not allowing myself any tedious research agreements. I much prefer the way civics work, with benefits and downsides to the choices.

    Civ IV religion I like very much. It is fun. I like its randomness, I like the diplomatic effects, I like the opportunities and disadvantages that come in its wake. I really don't understand the objections to it - I have read them and they seem largely to be of the "too simplistic/not realistic" variety or suggesting that they make the game too easy. Not in my experience - religion is the one thing that makes my peaceful games dangerous, because I can't control the way it works or the alliances that spring up and dissolve. I can only assume that there are much better players out there who have got converting the whole world to Buddhism down to a fine art :lol:

    I agree with you about espionage, but to be honest I generally ignore it. It is occasionally irritating, since the AI is rather good at destroying space ship parts with spies, but on the whole building courthouses and the odd espionage facility is sufficient. Spies are cheap enough and seem quite effective stationed in bases as counter-espionage agents if I find that I am becoming a target of espionage missions. I would be quite happy if espionage disappeared from IV, but I don't feel strongly about it, and I know some people are able to deploy it quite rewardingly so more power to them is what I say :)

    The Civ IV patch may well have been massive, but I'm not sure why this is a big deal. IV was more playable before that patch than V is now after its patches, to be honest, so your assertion that V patches have appeared more quickly seems irrelevant really. I am still playing V in the hope that it will eventually be a good game, but really it was not fit to be released and I think Firaxis/2K were taking the piss when they launched it in its present condition.

    Just my opinion, and I know there are people here who disagree. :)
     
  2. sketch162000

    sketch162000 Warlord

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    Another excellent post. I never understood complaints about stacking that reduce it to some mindless exercise. For my part, it was kind of difficult to build and maintain a successful Stack of Doom. To build as many units as would nullify the rest of the game was a very specific objective for me, and it would have required many sacrifices on another front, namely, building up my empire. Was it just me?

    In my experience, stacking only became a problem with the computer-controlled Civs, probably because they had enough bonuses to make SoDs easier to build. That was the primary reason that I was initially excited about the removal of stacking in Civ V--I hated it when the AI would roll up to my territory with some unstoppable force. But as I played with 1upt, I came to realize that the problems with Civ IV's combat system were not inherent to stacking itself, and the switch to 1upt was akin to killing a cockroach with a shotgun.
     
  3. Drumheller

    Drumheller Chieftain

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    I think the model of military maintenance cost is a good solution. Limiting by tile is annoying and unrealistic. Maintaining a military around the world is very expensive (realism) and can lead to unhappiness at home (realism). So increasing maintenance costs and unhappiness as a military size grows is my opinion on a good way to balance stack size.
     
  4. Oerdin

    Oerdin Deity

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    No. No, stacks of doom were not that bad and certainly not as bad as some people make them out to be. They were a minor trade off to allow the AI to efficiently & effectively move units around where as with 1UPT the AI seems completely unable to organize armies and move them across the map in an efficient manner.
     
  5. TheDanish

    TheDanish Prince

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    I think the main problem with SoD in cIV was the fact that the AI couldn't utilize siege effectively to take down your SoDs. I'm don't play multi, though, so I have no idea how much of an impact collateral makes in that setting, and if it forces players to split up stacks.
     
  6. lschnarch

    lschnarch Emperor

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    The "siege" weapons (actually, they were more some kind of field artillery) didn't constitute a good design feature in Civ4.
    In many cases, the AI either didn't use enough or too much of them.
    In short, they suffered mainly from the same problem as ranged weapons in Civ5: the AI hadn't much of a clue how to make proper use of them.

    But they weren't at least not as often as in Civ5 used as melee units.

    Actually, any kind of ranged weapons should be used in the context of limited stacks and providing support fire for attack and defense. That is something which you could teach the AI with not too much effort.
    As proven in the last three games (III, IV and V), Firaxis is not able to program a decent AI, especially not if it comes to more or less "independantly" operating "ranged" weapons or their respective equivalents.
     
  7. Nicol.Bolas

    Nicol.Bolas Prince

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    SoD are fine, since combat in civ is strategic, not tactical
    the decisions in this kid of game are not supposed to be about selecting targets for arrows

    also the open field srgument doesnt make much sense.
    most conflicts indeed do take place in vicinity of cities, towns
     
  8. Ricci

    Ricci Prince

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    This heroic description of the SoD system shouldn't come along without it's analogous for 1UPT:

    Find a choke, or resemblance of a choke, and get n units to guard it, kill 100*n enemies in the process. Upgrade and repeat.
     
  9. Ricci

    Ricci Prince

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    Because we now have:

    - Battlefronts spreading through entire continents (wide ones)
    - Various cities shooting arrows from behind their walls into a single tile against the enemy
    - Arrows crossing seas reaching offshore landmasses
    - Numerous pathfinding problems leading to dullness and absurd choke exploits
    - ...
    - ..

    Specially the first two are so horrendous for me I simply cannot play the game and enjoy, but now I am getting personal.
     
  10. Thorite

    Thorite Chieftain

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    I have to say there were many times that I really enjoyed SOD. Admittedly, the times I enjoyed it most was when I was up against a stronger opponent and that happened very often before I gained enough Civ4 experience.

    I would go on a pillaging campaign with the hope of beating them later with a tech advantage. I spent alot of time dancing around their empire with a weak stack trying to pillage where possible. Almost always an enemy stack was following me around and both of us (AI) were waiting for something (reinforcements, pillage opportunity, or me to step off defensive terrain. This kind of game really reminded me of some historic battles like when Ceasar chased Pompey, then Pompey chased Casear, then Caesar chased Pompey.

    Its true that later, i stopped waging war in such an unprepared state. A prepared army can march right up to a city for a city based battle. Still, you're often making strategic decisions of whether to take every last troop to max the chance of taking that city or to keep a back up reserve.

    Anyway, stacks are loads of fun if you play the game in an emotional state! Play as a emotional-wreak zealot who simply must declare when someone insults them. You probably won't win the game, but it'll be a lot of fun. More than 1upt can currently offer anyway.
     
  11. brxbrx

    brxbrx Worthless loser

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    I like being able to see all the units in a stack.

    I like not spending fifteen turns trying to dent this enormous monstrosity heading towards my cities

    I like not having to micromanage production to compete with the AI
     
  12. skallben

    skallben Diplomat

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    SOD=terrible
    Almost all of both sides army wiped out on a single turn.
    Major advantage of hitting first with siege-spam.
    Slow.
    etc.
     
  13. OKScientist

    OKScientist Chieftain

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    I do not expect the 1UPT system to work satisfactorily any time soon (and, by that, I mean within a decade or something). I also do not like the idea of tactical combat in Civ, but this is just me (and quite a few others!).

    Yeah, SODs had their problems, but in the end they kind of delivered. Not a perfect system, but good enough.

    There is nothing wrong with trying to improve a "merely OK" component of the game, but the effort failed. IMHO, Firaxis should try to "restrict" SODs with financial and resource-related arguments.

    Just a quick and dirty example: Use SODs, but make each additional unit even more expensive than what it was in Civ4. Also, limit the number of producable units by a metric of available resources.

    Civ4 kind of had that system (the financial part, at least, as the number of produced units did not depend on the number of available resources), but maybe it could have been balanced better to avoid snowballing once a civ got large and powerful.

    In short, I think that the Civ4 system may be balanced better, and that's the direction Firaxis should be working on. 1UPT will not work, imo.
     
  14. eraofdiversion

    eraofdiversion Chieftain

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    But the "failed" 1upt is still much better than SoD.

    Civ 4 was like sim city with terrible combat added on....no strategy other than "build a huge stack" lol
     
  15. freeluos

    freeluos Chieftain

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    If you didn't asked yourself what kind of units you needed I do believe you would require huge stacks.

    If I have to choose between 1upt or sod I would choose sod. It's an incredeble dumb model but atleast Fireaxis is capable to program a little firepower into them (though the modders had to finish the job). 1upt can't be modded unless the source code can be downloaded. And that is a no go because then steam is history too :) .

    To avoid sods penalties should be applied (movement, strength, etc (not yet invented by Fireaxis)).
     
  16. Nicol.Bolas

    Nicol.Bolas Prince

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    stack of doom represents your civilizations power and your management abilities.
    just as research or wonders might represent it.

    civ5 takes this the opposite way and makes hex combat the mainstay of the game
     
  17. lepruk86

    lepruk86 Chieftain

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    I started with Civ IV (late adopter of the series) and so my opinion is worth far less than the true pros of the game but anyway.

    I kind of feel both systems are flawed.

    I do think you could potentially have a stacks with the limited resources you have in Civ V. The other possibility is maybe allow 3 unites to be stacked creating unit combos or something.

    I don't know; I am not a huge fan of either system but I think 1UPT is slightly better (and oddly less realistic tbh).
     
  18. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

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    There are plenty of ways to limit stacks which do not require breaking most other aspects of the game. Sadly, Firaxis did not use any of these other methods.

    Seriously, check out EU3. EU3 caps your army size by several methods:

    1 - Money. If you can't buy new units, you can't make a bigger army. Duh. You also have to maintain said units.

    2 - "Morale" which ties to how well the units will fight. I might have 200,000 troops, but if their morale is low, they'll keep losing battles to smaller, better equipped armies. Maybe they won't be destroyed, but they'll lose battles. Plus, stacking too big an army lowers morale without a general present to shore things up.

    3 - Unit strength. All units are 1000 men large. As the unit takes losses, the unit becomes less effective. If you stick your troops on ships for too long, stack 'em all together in too big a pile, etc., you start losing men (desertion, disease, whatever). Sometimes it's better to have several smaller stacks spread out across different provinces rather than one huge stack.

    4 - Manpower. Your empire has a finite number of troops that it can field at a given time. As your empire begins to thrive, you can field more troops. However, your reinforcements (Which arrive monthly) are also drawn from this same pool, so there's a balancing act between building as many units as possible up front, and waging a longer campaign with some reserves. Generally it's better to front-load some and hope to take fewer losses, but throwing EVERYTHING into the initial fight is a bad idea. Your manpower grows over time, but it takes time to replenish.




    You want to know what the REAL problem with stacks is? One which was "solved" in Civ 5? Production.

    A well run empire can crank out an infinite number of units with relative ease, assuming it's got the gold to maintain them. Still, if you go into full-on war mode in Civ 4 and drop your sliders to 100% gold, you can maintain a pretty damn big army. Without effective limits on production, you can end up in a situation where a 3-city civ can have the largest army in the world. Unlikely, sure, but still technically possible.
     
  19. SammyKhalifa

    SammyKhalifa Deity

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    If Civ had used 1upt the whole time and just changed to stacks for this version, there would be more problems and more complaints than we're getting now.
     
  20. rschissler

    rschissler King

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    This makes no sense, whatsoever.
     
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