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What went wrong with Civ V and what CivBE should avoid

Discussion in 'CivBE - Ideas and Suggestions' started by Pyramid Head, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. Pyramid Head

    Pyramid Head Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Messages:
    79
    I will copy-paste a lot from another topic by Sulla with some good points.

    1. Useless messages.
    Germany denounces you! Babylon likes you! Russia feels thretened by you! City State X likes Player Y. And miriad other chaff messages that you could not turn off.
    2. Diplomatic AI.
    The long decline of Diplomatic AI started with SMAC. In CivV diplomacy could be easily ignored even on highest difficulties without significant harm to the player. All you have to do is to make some trade deal so caravans will make you some money but otherwise entire aspect of diplomacy could be ignored. AI stupidity in dealing with the player only added to the injury. The most humilating part is that SMAC had awesome Diplo AI that acted like a "real" person.
    3. Barbarian camp spawning
    Barbarian units can spawn regardless of line of sight. It is maddening to move next to a barbarian camp, and have a new full-strength barb magically appear out of thin air on a tile where you had full visibility. Immersion-breaking? There's a reason why barbs could only spawn in fogged tiles in past Civ games...
    4. Cities
    Even the weakest settlement right after building could beat entire armies of units. While with CivIV one of the main complains were doomstacks, CivV turned sieges and capturing cities into even more horrible and tedious routine. Not to say AI could lose whole army even if it has 10 times more troops than you.
    5. Godawful UI.
    CivIV - you could issue build order by ctrl+several clicks...from main map. CivV - to even enter the queue menu, you have to enter city screen, select queque and then click select what you want to build. Even in SMAC it took two clicks to set a proper queue. CivV failed to even recreate that. Not to say that to see how much turns left for workers to finish their tasks you have to hover our mouse for 5 seconds.
    6. Awful Diplomacy UI.
    You have to click between three different screens to see all of the information, and there are further scroll bars on each individual screen - you can only see information on three AI leaders at a time. With more than 50% of screen space not even being utilized, this is atrociously bad design.
    7. Meaningless Diplo screen transitions.
    Occasionally AI leaders will pop up in diplomacy simply to insult your civilization in some way. To complement you, to say something else that shifts you to diplomatic screen just to look at one like of text that carries no practical information.
    8. Global Happiness
    In every Civilization game, there is some kind of mechanic put in place to limit the expansion of empires. In the first three Civilization games, this mechanic was corruption, whereby every city would lose out on some production and commerce the further away they were located from the capital. The level of corruption ranged from nonexistent (in the original Civilization there was no corruption with Democracy for government, which was simultaneously overpowered and hilarious as a concept) to modest (the final patched version of Civ3) to catastrophic (in the original release version of Civ3). The whole point of corruption was that more cities would cease to be useful beyond a certain point, because they would be hopelessly corrupt. The whole concept never worked though; even if those extra cities were hopelessly "1/1" (one shield and one commerce), you were still better off founding them, and settler units were always cheap in Civ1/2/3. In the first two Civ games, the AI was feeble at expansion and it was easy to win even on the highest difficulty simply by out-expanding the AI civs. The Civ3 AI was programmed to be rapidly expansionistic, and therefore the Civ3 early game was always a mad rat race to see who could grab the most territory. Although that could be a lot of fun, the game mechanics meant that more cities was always better, without fail.

    Civ4 shook up the formula by eliminating corruption and replacing it with maintenance costs. Instead of cities being free and all of their infrastructure costing money, Civ4 reversed things and made cities expensive while their buildings would be free. When cities were initially founded in Civ4, they were too weak to pay their own support costs and had to be supported by the rest of your empire. In other words, every new city was essentially an investment - you would take an initial loss, and then as the city grew over time and built its own infrastructure, it would start to turn a profit and could support other cities in turn. Thus in Civ4 more cities were still generally better for your empire, but one couldn't build them too fast or in too marginal locations, which would result in economic stagnation. The Inca team in our Pitboss #2 game was a prime example of a civ that suffered from over-expansion, building too many cities too fast without adequate defenders and suffering for it economically and militarily. Infinite City Sprawl (ICS) was effectively solved in Civ4.

    Civ5 replaced city maintenance with global happiness as the empire limiting factor. Instead of each city having its own happiness meter, the empire as a whole shares one global rating. If that rating drops too low, then cities stop growing and eventually no more settlers can be produced. The idea was that players would have to balance vertical growth of a few highly developed cities against horizontal growth of many small cities. The developers clearly intended players to build a small handful of cities (roughly five to ten on a standard-sized map) and based the happiness mechanic around that assumption.
    There's just one problem: global happiness is a complete failure at stopping expansion in Civ5. It simply does not work. Civ5 reverts back to the old system of empire management, in which more cities are always better for your empire. Remember, there are no sliders for science/gold/culture in Civ5. Science is based mostly on population, with the basic formula of 1 population point = 1 beaker/turn. Gold is also largely based on population; much of your income comes from internal trade routes between cities, which are entirely based on population (trade route formula is gold/turn = 1.25 times city population). Most of the rest of the income comes from working trade post tiles, and more population means more citizens working those trade posts. In other words, unlike Civ4 where planting additional cities will increase your costs and slow down science (at least initially), in Civ5 the exact opposite takes place. Your gold and research will go up from having more cities, regardless of the quality of the terrain involved. There is no tradeoff between expansion, warfare, and research. Expanding and warring will INCREASE your beaker count. An extra city will always be a net positive in terms of gold and research.
    Global happiness was supposed to encourage small empires of large, vertical cities. Instead it does exactly the opposite, pushing players into mass spamming of tundra iceball cities. Why not? Once that spot has a colosseum, it's pure profit for your empire. The developers themselves have realized how badly they screwed the pooch on this one, backpedaling in the patch and changing the rules so that a city can't produce more happiness than its own population. If you have colosseum in a size 2 city, now it only produces +2 happiness instead of +4. This changes very little (since it's easy to grow your cities to size 4, and now you can simply cap them there to get the full benefit) while making the mechanic itself much more confusing. Unhappiness is now global, since your population always contributes to unhappiness, but the buildings that fight unhappiness work locally. Also, while a colosseum is limited in how much happiness it can provide by the local city, wonders are unaffected by this rule, as are luxury resources. Uh huh. When you need to start bending the rules like that to cover up mistakes, I'd say it's a sign of shoddy design work. Global happiness is a failed game mechanic.
    9. Penalties
    This is a bit of a broad statement, so let me explain what I mean. The most important thing to keep in mind when designing a game is that it should be fun and engaging for the player. Sure, you can go ahead and make that indie game with the deep existentialist plot that investigates man's place in the universe... but if it's not fun to play, no one is going to care about it. In general, it's not a good idea to penalize players too much. When players are confronted by decisions, it's better to let them pick between different good options, rather than forcing them to choose the lesser of two evils. You could have the player pick between a sword (more damage) or a shield (more protection) but not let them have both. The key thing is to have meaningful, balanced decisions where the player chooses between several different "good" alternatives. Getting back to Civilization terms, you can have Montezuma and an army of bloodthirsty Aztec warriors, or you can have Gandhi and the path to spiritual enlightenment. Both are good options, and if a game is sufficiently entertaining, players will want to return to it again and again to experience different, alternative paths to victory. (This is pretty much the hallmark of the Civilization series.)

    Penalties in an empire building game are generally something to be avoided. You want to reward players for doing well, not punish them for failing. There's a reason why the Civilization games have Golden Ages and not "Dark Ages" in them - the latter would not be fun for most players. (The Civ3 design team actually implemented a whole "Dark Ages" concept in the testing stages, and took it out of the game because it simply wasn't fun.) Worst of all are penalties that accrue to players randomly, for things that they had no control over. I'm looking at you, floodplains disease and plague from Civ3! There will be some players who enjoy that sort of thing, but most people won't find it to be very amusing. These sort of things should be avoided when designing a game. (Note that penalties are different from challenges; there's nothing wrong with having a challenging game design. The Ninja Gaiden games are extremely challenging, but they are generally not punitive in their design. You just have to be really, really good to win.)
    Civ5's design suffers from way too many of these penalties, in which the player is actually hurt for doing something good. The classic example of this is road maintenance, something new to Civ5 with no previous precedent in the series. In past games, there was never a cost associated with building roads. It was understood that the "cost" of building a road with a settler/worker unit was an opportunity cost, because the unit in question couldn't be building a farm or mine or whatever while it was building a road. In Civ4, for example, building lots of roads early on with workers is a very weak play, because roads only increase unit movement and do not boost tile yields. Civ5's decision to penalize players for building roads is simply baffling, especially since roads are still mandatory to connect cities for trade routes. The game might as well be laughing at you: "Haha, you need this road to connect your cities, but it's gonna cost you!" This design decision alone essentially cripples any chance of Civ5 Multiplayer succeeding, because any competent online player knows that you can never have only one road link to each city. But building the necessary road network you need to be safe carries a crippling economic burden in Civ5 - the player is literally getting slammed for good play! Furthermore, Civ5's One Unit Per Tile design cries out for extensive road networks to make moving units around and positioning them easier. Instead, the design forces exactly the opposite outcome. I can't tell you how many times my units have been out of position just because I have only one road to move them along. It's incredibly frustrating! Worst of all, the designers apparently made this decision for aesthetic reasons, because they didn't like how "road spam" looked in the previous games. That's possibly the worst reasoning I've ever heard for a design decision.
    It's not just the roads that are at issue, however. There are penalties all throughout Civ5's design which help make the game not very fun to play. Upkeep costs for buildings are another giant problem, one which shouldn't be in the game. Civ4 had the right idea in making cities cost money but the buildings inside them be free. Maybe it would be a waste to construct a barracks in a city that never trained any units, however at least you'd only lose out on opportunity cost (you could have spent that time on the barracks building something else). Those barracks wouldn't *HURT* you just because you weren't using them. Many of the buildings in Civ5 are actually worse than useless, doing virtually nothing while adding to the player's expenses. It's actually possible to cripple your empire with too much infrastructure in Civ5 if you load up on too many pointless buildings like gardens, stables, and so on. While this may be realistic in some senses, it's not at all fun and represents somewhat of a trap for newcomers. One of the secrets of high-level play in Civ5 is that you do better by *NOT* constructing most of the buildings in the game, which is surely a failure of design.
    Expansion is also rife with further penalties. You want to expand your empire rapidly, because it's the only way to compete with the AI on the higher difficulties and maximize your gold, science, and production. Yet the game simultaneously penalizes you for doing so, by increasing the cost of social policies and making it all but impossible to get additional golden ages. It also makes it impossible to build the various national wonders in the game, with the ridiculous "must have a monument in EVERY city" requirements. This is simply the wrong way to go about Civ5's design, creating all of these penalties for expansion (which are really silly to begin with - why are you penalizing players for expanding in an empire building game?) The correct way to implement these ideas is something along the Civ4 model: the national wonders in Civ4 (Oxford University, Heroic Epic, etc.) allow a small empire to be competitive with larger ones, but the larger empires are not prevented from building the same things entirely. It's simply impossible for a large empire to win by culture in Civ5; in Civ4, the large empire simply has few advantages over a small empire in winning by culture. Big, big difference. The right way to do this sort of design is to create subsystems in which small and large empires compete on even terms (Civ4 cultural victory). The wrong way to do this sort of design is to penalize/exclude large empires. See the difference?
    Anyway, you get the point. There are tons of things throughout Civ5's design that actively penalize the player for doing something good. Want to connect cities? Pay for it. Want city infrastructure? Pay for it. You want to expand your empire? Tough luck getting more Golden Ages, bub. While it's true that every game needs to have tradeoffs, these aren't ones that are fun or meaningful. They're just a pain in the ass.
    10. Inscrutable and Meaningless Diplomacy
    The diplomatic side of the game was completely overhauled for Civ5, and not in a good way. In the first three Civilization games, the AI would declare war on the player randomly due to periodic dice rolls. The AI was specifically programmed to gang up on the human player in Civ1/2, which was sort of a necessary cheat to make up for the weak AI in those games. Civ3's AI did not target the player in particular, instead warring rabidly with all parties over and over again. You could generally avoid conflict by giving in to AI demands, but sometimes they were simply coming for you regardless. It was never really possible to form a true friendship with any of the competing AI civs. They were always apt to stab you in the back at any point in time, no matter what your prior history had been. Reworking diplomacy to be more logical was therefore one of the major design goals for Civ4, ideally making it possible to form alliances during the game with other civs who shared common interests. Although Civ4's diplomacy had plenty of its own pitfalls and goofiness, it was actually possible to form lasting friendships with the AI through shared religion, civics, open borders, and the like. If anything, the game probably made it too easy to make friends, allowing the player to run a skeleton army and tech in peace much too often. Nevertheless, the system as a whole was a major improvement, highlighted by the inclusion of diplomatic pluses (+) and minuses (-) which revealed how and why the AIs felt the way that they did. Perhaps the system was a bit too manipulative, but at least players weren't stuck in the dark, and had the information to make intelligent decisions.

    Civ5 had an entirely different design goal when it came to diplomacy. The developers specifically stated that they did not want to make diplomatic information available to the players, instead wanting the system to be full of surprise and mystery. Here's what Jon Shafer said in an E3 interview: "Our goal was to make diplomacy feel more like interacting with other players or world leaders, rather than a system to be min-maxed. No longer are diplomatic modifiers shown since this used to give away pretty much everything your computer-controlled rival nations were thinking. That's one way of doing diplomacy in a strategy game, but we wanted there to be more mystery in the interaction. Some leaders will work behind your back, and showing the numbers would either give everything away or provide a misleading sense of security." And in another interview: "One of our early goals was to improve the diplomatic experience in the game. In particular, we want there to be a sense of mystery to it, where the player doesn't know exactly what to expect from the other players."

    If that was the goal, then mission achieved! The other AI leaders certainly do act in "mysterious" fashion, although in a strategy game I wouldn't exactly call that a compliment. The occasion sneak attack is a good thing, so long as it's relatively rare. When every AI leader is sneak attacking in every game - as is the case in Civ5 - then you have a genuine problem on your hands. The release version of Civ5 had absolutely no feedback whatsoever on why the AI acted the way that it did. I remember quite a few threads on the forums where people were replaying games over and over again, trying to figure out why the AI was taking the actions that it did. Not a good sign! In my own experiences, the AI appeared to war continuously without fail in game after game. Our Deity succession game saw six different AIs declare war on us before the 0 AD calendar mark. I lost my Immortal Egypt game to an AI dogpile of war declarations, none of which provided me with any feedback whatsoever. After 150 turns of peace, suddenly all my allies hated me. I think they got mad because I razed some Arab cities, but who really knows? The game sure wasn't about to tell me. It felt like a relationship with an overbearing girlfriend: "Well, if you don't know what you did wrong, I'm certainly not telling you!"

    The latest patch has added a little bit of transparency to the process, while keeping the same underlying system in place. (Note that this is essentially an abandonment of the original design goal of "surprising" the player.) As I said above, the problem is that this transparency reveals the AIs to be totally nuts. They get mad at you for expanding. They get mad at you for settling near them (or not - sometimes they say this when you aren't even remotely close!) They get mad at you when THEY settle next to YOU. They get mad at you for building wonders. They get mad at you for having a large army. They get mad at you for having a small army. They get mad at you for going to war. They get mad at you for not going to war to support them, and then they get mad at you again when you do join them in their conflicts. They get mad at you for trying to win the game, and in fact the AI is specifically programmed to dogpile the human player when he/she gets close to victory, in the old Civ1/2 ☺☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ manner. Wow. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

    It's essentially impossible to form lasting friendships with the AI civs in Civ5. Maybe you'll pull it off sometimes, but it certainly isn't the norm, and probably had more to do with pure luck than anything else. Even more problematic than the inscrutable diplomacy is the lack of any shared interest with the AI civs. Assuming you could make friends with these AI leaders, would you even want to do so? Past Civilization games offered many incentives to buddy up with other empires. Tech trading was always the paramount reason, but there were other factors like map trading, resource exchanges, open borders trade income, and so on. In Civ3/Civ4 there was always the United Nations and diplomatic victory lurking at the end of the game too. Of course the UN was mostly a big joke in Civ3; still, you did have to pay at least some attention to what was going on, because the AIs would vote for the other guy if you were at war with them. Obviously the UN was a much bigger deal in Civ4, and it was very possible to lose via diplomacy if you had irritated too many other civs.

    Compare the same diplomatic situation to Civ5. What can you really do diplomatically with the other AI civilizations? Tech trading was axed entirely from Civ5, removing the single biggest incentive to work together from past games. Map trading is also gone. You can still trade for Open Borders, but they no longer have any effect on trade routes, and thus have only a minor importance now in the gameplay. The only exchange of any consequence that remains takes the form of resource trading, and indeed selling resources to the AIs for gold has become a staple of high-level Civ5 play. This has created a further problem, however, as Civ5 foolishly returns to the Civ3 model of "anything purchasable with gold per turn income", allowing players to trade 30 turns of a luxury resource for a lump sum payment and then immediately declare war to break the deal. Or you can trade 50 gold/turn for 1000 lump sum gold, and declare war to avoid paying anything. You can even sell cities to the AI for thousands of gold, then use the gold to cash-rush an instant army and retake the same cities back once more. Exploitative, much?

    And tell me this: why shouldn't the player act this way? There is no incentive to work with these AIs whatsoever. They will never vote for you in the United Nations (aside from that silly "liberation" feature, after they're already dead). They are always ready to backstab you. They've been specifically programmed to attack when you are getting close to victory. You might as well treat them like dirt and exploit the hell out of the broken trading mechanics, since the AI is clearly out to get you. The whole thing is a colossal step backwards, reverting back to Civ3 or even Civ2 days. I guess that the city states are supposed to make up for this, but they are not a satisfactory substitute to me, and the whole "buy your way to magical maritime food + UN victory" gameplay is extremely shallow and simplistic. It's been said that the AI "plays to win" in this game. Well, I don't actually think that's actually true. I think the AI is simply very poorly programmed, and acts in haphazard or random fashion. There's no functional difference between an AI who acts for reasons that can't be understood and an AI who acts due to random dice rolls. And if there's no incentive to work together with the AI, no possibility of common ground, then there's no real diplomacy at all.
     
  2. Pyramid Head

    Pyramid Head Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2010
    Messages:
    79
    11. One Unit Per Tile
    Yes, the largest change in Civilization 5 is ultimately its largest design flaw. This will be a controversial point, as I know a lot of people really enjoy the new combat system, but it has to be said: the One Unit Per Tile restriction is the core problem with Civ5's design. Everything is based around this restriction. Everything. It determines how city production works, it determines the pace of research, it explains why tile yields are so low. Civilization was completely rewritten from the ground up to make use of the One Unit Per Tile limit on gameplay. Luddite has written the best summary of how and why this system doesn't work, so I'm going to let him explain further before I continue:
    ***********
    "I believe that these problems stem directly from the decision to make civ V a one-unit-per-tile (1UPT) game. 1UPT allows a lot of flexibility in how you arrange your army; however, it only works if your army has empty space to move in. It requires an army smaller than the map. 1UPT led to small army sizes, which led to lower production and faster science, which led to the broken economy system that this game has now. The combat in civ V was based on panzer general, but that doesn't work well in a civ style game. I tried to explain why that is in this post: (In PG, England is about 500 hexes. That's enough room for very large armies to maneuver around in (and even so, things get pretty congested when you're fighting over london). In Civ V, England is only 6 hexes! What am I supposed to do there? That's not even enough room to build a proper city! The English channel is only 4 hexes and one hex wide, so you can shoot across it with archers. Poor Italy has it worst though- only 2 hexes for the Italian peninsula! And the mediterranean is only 1 tile wide! Now that's an earth map, but the same sort of problems happen on any map I play. Tight spaces, bottlenecks, absolutely no room to maneuver. Civ V warfare is just a traffic jam.)

    Clearly this was a decision made early on, since it's such an important part of the game. At the same time, they wanted to keep the "civ" feel to the game, where you settle new cities, build improvements and city buildings, and go in to the city screen to adjust your citizens. Combined, this meant that they had to limit the total number of tiles in the game, and so they tried to force army sizes to be very small. A typical civ 4 army of ~50 units would be incredibly annoying to manage in the Civ V style, so they wanted to encourage armies of only 5~10 units. I hope this succession game showed how clunky warfare becomes in this game when the army sizes get large (I enjoy the early wars with small army sizes). The AI can't handle it, and the player doesn't enjoy it.

    In order to do that, they had to limit production. You can see that in the decreased yields- production and food yield have been decreased compared to civ 4, whereas the food required to grow a city was greatly increased. The early units like warriors don't take very long to build, but the cost of units quickly increases. The high upkeep costs for units, buildings, and roads factor in to this as well (see my sig: Civ5 is the first Civ game that is about NOT building instead of building. Don't build troops since support is so high, don't build buildings because support is too high, don't build roads because.... yada yada yada). The idea was, I think, that every new military unit would take about 10~20 turns to build, just enough to replace your losses while you continually upgraded your original army. As a result, your army size would stay almost constant throughout the game.

    Also, it's worth pointing out that there's two ways of effectively decreasing production. Either decrease hammer yields while increasing costs- which they did- or to make science go faster- which they also did. The beaker cost of techs decreased, great scientists became more powerful, and research agreements were added. All of these accelerated the tech pace, giving less time to build the units/buildings for each technology, which effectively decreased production.

    So now the developers are stuck with a game that has greatly reduced production values. That's fine, except for one thing- what do they do in the early game? They can't expect us to just sit around clicking "next turn" for 40 turns waiting for our worker to finish, or 100 turns for a library to finish. It's bad enough that it already takes up to 15 turns to finish that first worker. So, they had to make the early stuff a bit cheaper. You can build a warrior in ~6 turns, and you can build a horseman or a library in ~10. Even a coloseum only takes ~20. The idea was that a small city was efficient enough to produce the early game stuff in a reasonable amount of time, and as the city grew, it would produce the later stuff in the same amount of time- keeping army size constant while the cities grew and built infrastructure. There would be no massive increases in the power of a city with its size (like civ 4 had) because if a city became really powerful, it could create huge armies which would break the 1UPT system. If large cities were only modestly more powerful than small cities, the army sizes would stay small. That's pretty much what I discovered when I tried a game limited to just 3 large cities.

    What the developers overlooked was that we're not limited to just a few large cities- we can build as many small cities as we want! Granted, we're limited a bit by happiness, but there's a lot of ways to solve that little problem (like keeping the city size small). And since small cities are so efficient at building the early game stuff, and large cities never become vastly more powerful, the many small cities with their trading posts (even without any multipliers) will quickly outproduce the large cities with their mines, despite their forges and workshops.

    The game is in an awkward situation where large cities can't be too good because it would imbalance the middle and late game, but small cities have to be good or else the early game would be boring. And of course science is shared between all cities, so the more cities you have, the faster science goes, without any corresponding increase in city production. The result is what we've got now- a large number of small, undeveloped cities can produce a collossal amount of gold and science, which allows us to outtech even a large deity AI, while producing anything we want.

    I know a lot of people will suggest balance tweaks to fix this. But I don't think this can be solved adequately without somehow addressing the issue of 1UPT at civ scale. You can't give an incentive to make large, developed cities better because that will just make that late game even faster and more unit-clogged than it is now. You can't make small, undeveloped cities weaker because than the early game will just be excruciatingly slow and boring.

    So what do we have now? Thanks to 1UPT, we've got a game that tries hard to limit production because large armies break the 1UPT system. To limit production as the game goes on, large cities increase their production very slowly relative to science. This means that small cities remain competative throughout the entire game. This, combined with the many loopholes in the happiness system, allow an empire of many small cities to massively outproduce and outtech an empire of a few large cities, so the 1UPT is broken anyway with a massive clog of advanced units, early in the game. In my opinion, this is not fixable without severe changes to the game, such as bringing back stacks or greatly increasing the minimum distance between cities."
    **************
    This is such a devastatingly effective critique of Civ5's problems, I just had to use it here. Very well said, luddite! As he said, Civ5 absolutely has to limit the number of units on the map, or else they begin to clump up together and form traffic jams, getting in one another's way uselessly. When this system breaks down in the lategame, or when playing on high difficulty level, the result is the infamous "Carpet of Doom" scenario (http://www.garath.net/Sullla/Civ5/La...rpetofdoom.jpg), with a unit on every tile and 90% of them standing around in the back completely uselessly. So the game must limit production, therefore crippling tile yields compared to Civ4 and making all units/buildings vastly more expensive than in prior versions. But this isn't fun either, because it takes forever for the player to build anything, and anyone who is not going to war is going to be bored out of their minds. It also creates the problematic dynamic between small and large cities that luddite pointed out, with small cities much too good compared to large cities. The design team is trying to fix this with patches, but they aren't having more than modest success, because these problems are inherent to the design of Civ5's One Unit Per Tile restrictions.

    Of course, I also need to make the obvious and most important criticism of the One Unit Per Tile system: the AI in Civ5 has absolutely no idea how to play the game under these rules. This sort of tactical combat requires more calculations on the AI's part in order to maneuver intelligently, and the combat AI has proven to be a dismal failure at meeting this test. Killing AI units at a rate of 10:1 is routine in Civ5, and I achieved a 37:0 kill ratio on one of my succession game turnsets (against Deity AIs!) Clearly, when the AI is unable to wage wars effectively and present a credible threat to the player, it undercuts the goals that Civ5 is trying to achieve. Game reviewer Tom Chick of 1UP (the only professional reviewer who had the balls to write on release that Civ5 had significant flaws) pointed to the game's AI in naming Civ5 as his most disappointing game of 2010: "This was the most disappointing game of the year because it brought to the Civilization series a really cool new feature -- tactical combat -- and then utterly neglected the AI needed to make it work. From there, the game fell apart entirely. Imagine a shooter where the AI enemies can't aim their guns or a racing game where the other drivers can't steer. The other questionable decisions -- watered down diplomacy, no religion, that strained policy tree -- all take a back seat to the very simple fact that Civilization V simply didn't work as it was designed."

    That raises a very good question: why can't the AI handle this tactical combat system better? Yes, it's more involved that past Civ games, but it's not *THAT* much more complicated. I have read innumerable apologetics for the Civ5 AI, arguing that we shouldn't expect too much from it as it strides into this bold new frontier. However, that's simply not true! AI for tactical wargames has been around for decades; I remember some hexagon map PC games based around older tabletop board games that were released back in the 1980s. This system is supposed to be based around the Panzer General games, and the first one in that series was released back in 1994. Seriously, how hard can it be to program an AI that doesn't mindlessly walk its ranged units right into entrenched defenses? I saw better AI stuff in Advance Wars for the Gameboy Advance, and I'm not even kidding about that. This isn't a good system, but that's no excuse for how poorly the design team did.

    The Civilzation series had to give up so many things to put the One Unit Per Tile system in place. It meant giving up the ability to stack workers, which was a staple of early game play and created many interesting decisions. (Do I pair up two workers together to get one improvement done faster, or split them up to improve two different cities at once?) It took away the question of stack composition, balancing melee against mounted against siege to get the proper proportions to take down an enemy city. (What units is the enemy building and can you counter them? Do you have enough spears to prevent flanking? And so on.) Speaker has argued that combat in Civ5 is significantly less intelligent than in Civ4, because in the former game all you have to worry about is what unit to put on each tile. In the latter game, with stacking, you have to consider how many units, and in what combination, to place on each tile. Personally, I don't think that Civ5 has improved combat at all over Civ4. Anyone who believes that Civ4 combat consists of "walking all of your units together in one big invincible stack" is a fool who has never played against other humans. Try reading this page on India's defense in the Pitboss #2 game to see just how shortsighted that opinion truly is.

    Civ had to give up a lot to get One Unit Per Tile, and what did it get in return? An AI that can't play its own game. Crippled production and ridiculously long build times. Traffic jams and the Carpet of Doom phenomenon. Human-controlled units that never die. It's especially hilarious how the developers have tried to "solve" these problems in the patches. Horsemen too powerful, and the AI cannot use them effectively? They get nerfed into the ground. AI doesn't understand how to use Great Generals? Their bonus gets nerfed. AI can't use Flanking bonus? Nerfed. AI can't make use of Discipline combat bonus? Nerfed. AI can't defend its cities? They get their defenses massively boosted. For all of the talk about how Civ5 was going to bring us this awesome tactical combat system, it sure looks like the patches are doing everything possible to water down or remove those very tactical elements. Yeah, let's do everything possible to cripple the human player to make up for the fact that the AI has no clue how to play this game. Gee, that sure sounds like fun, doesn't it?

    The fact of the matter is that Civ5 is trying to masquerade as a tactical combat game. But it isn't a tactical combat game; the Civilization games are empire-building games, and combat has never been more than one element among many. The designers of Civ5 tried to turn the game into something that it isn't, and they ended up breaking the game in the process. We ended up with a very mediocre wargame mashed together with a subpar empire-builder. I give them credit for trying - they had good intentions, and they were going for something genuinely new. It just didn't work, and we're left with a messy game that plays rather poorly.
     
  3. The Observer

    The Observer Chieftain

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    I actually prefer the one unit per tile, and do not consider it a flaw at all. You have use more strategy in your attacks/defenses. The stacks of doom of Civ IV got a tad bit frustrating and it ruined it for me. Perhaps there will be an army option where troops combine strength, instead of stack?
     
  4. Evie94

    Evie94 Warlord

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    One Unit Per Tile is confirmed, I think in the Gamespot release. The Devs seem to love it, like most of us, though there is limited stacking with Satellites.

    Also, this has zero suggestions for BE, just a list of what you hate about Civ V vanilla, clearly not having played BNW, as you talk about a lot small cities with a trading post spam, a strategy which has been superceded by Tradition 4-6 since at least GNK and definitely since BNW.
    No mention of the limiting factors for expansion or religion, despite the fact that they are valid criticisms
    No mention of the new trade systems


    Maybe rename this to 'Civ V Vanilla sucks: anything aside from Civ IV in a Civ game is a cardinal sin'?
    You need to do an Elsa my friend: http://youtu.be/moSFlvxnbgk
     
  5. Blitz Spearman

    Blitz Spearman Warlord

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    If I read correctly, in points number 8 and 11 you talk about building lots of small cities with trading post spam as if it is a dominating strategy in Civ V that bypasses what the devs intended. I think most players agree that this is not true at all, as 4-cities Tradition is one of the strongest strategies around. You also never mention the science penalty for building new cities. And finally, you don't even mention the religion system, that has a couple of flaws worth addressing.

    Sorry, but I have to ask. Have you ever played Civ V after vanilla?
     
  6. Windsor

    Windsor Flawless

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    Wow, some of those points should have a TLDR.

    But I'm almost certain BE will use 1upt. They're not going to bother reworking the entire combat system just for BE. So 1upt + unit customization. Prepare for a terrible AI :)

    On AI/diplomacy I'm equally sure that we will see AIs that have much stronger personalities(like in Civ4 and SMAC). The theme not only allows it, but almost makes it necessary since you can't fall back on history for atmosphere.
     
  7. Pyramid Head

    Pyramid Head Chieftain

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    1UPT confirmed but at this stage of developement system could be adjusted to be at least somehow tolerable and manageable.
    And yes, I played BNW, which tried to fix a lot of things but failed ultimately. It managed to get a bit of interest but not for long. And I fear that CivBE will repeat a lot of mistakes of CivV
     
  8. Boygor

    Boygor Chieftain

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    Wow, you are posting this wall of text all over the internet! tldr
     
  9. Evie94

    Evie94 Warlord

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    Actually he's copypasting it, (read: plagiarizing) he admits it at the top
     
  10. Boygor

    Boygor Chieftain

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    I suppose its unfortunate that I love Civ V :) Sure it had flaws what game doesn't?
     
  11. FuRRie

    FuRRie King

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    This is just a wall of text, which most people won't even bother to read.
    AND you mention you mainly just copy-pasted from someone else, so its not even your own opinion.

    yeah, tl;dr basicly.

    Stating flaws in a game is easy, come up with suggestions to fix it.
     
  12. Callonia

    Callonia Deity

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    Only thing I agree with is Civ 4's superior maintenance system for expansion over Civ 5's bad happiness system.

    Seriously, Civ 4 felt like heaven to me after coming from horrible game called Civ3's corruption model XD Then Civ 5 felt like going back to civ 3 ugh.
     
  13. JanusTalaiini

    JanusTalaiini Prince

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    Totally agree with your points here, especially the 1upt rule. It's a great mechanic in a tactics game, but falls flat in a game on the strategic level. I can't tell you how many great people or workers I've ended up losing because I'm only allowed to have one of them in a city at a time (those must be some small cities; "sorry, you'll just have to do your best with those attacking barbarians, I'm in here so there's no more room!"), and being unable to move my armies because apparently you can only physically fit nine or ten tank divisions in a region the size of Mexico get old extremely fast.

    That said, the previews look great so far - if 1upt is the biggest problem, I'll likely enjoy the game quite a bit in spite of it.
     
  14. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    The long decline of Diplomatic AI started with SMAC. In CivV diplomacy could be easily ignored even on highest difficulties without significant harm to the player. All you have to do is to make some trade deal so caravans will make you some money but otherwise entire aspect of diplomacy could be ignored.


    What? In Civ5 if you declare war to the entire world you will be screwed by lack of trade/embargo/world congress resolutions/denouncements. The stupidest possible tactic on high difficulty levels is to not care about diplomacy. Also, there is possible to befriend every single civilisation in this game with proper situation/strategy - I had games when my best buddies were Montezuma, Shaka, Catherine, Bismarck, Genghis Chan and Attila.

    I mean, Civ5 doesn't have very good diplomacy but it isn't the worst possible. There were many strategy games with godawful diplomacy, like Medieval 2: Total War (hey, alliances which don't mean anything!)



    CivIV - you could issue build order by ctrl+several clicks...from main map. CivV - to even enter the queue menu, you have to enter city screen, select queque and then click select what you want to build. Even in SMAC it took two clicks to set a proper queue. CivV failed to even recreate that. Not to say that to see how much turns left for workers to finish their tasks you have to hover our mouse for 5 seconds.


    Well, personally I got Civ4 after Civ5 and HATED Civ4 UI.


    About 8) - BNW effectively kills infinite city spam, to the point expansion is restricted TOO MUCH :p


    Civ5's design suffers from way too many of these penalties, in which the player is actually hurt for doing something good.

    (...) roads


    1) I would say this is rather gameplay mechanic than unreasonable penalty
    2) I also hated road mess in previous civ games :p


    There are penalties all throughout Civ5's design which help make the game not very fun to play.

    Speak for yourself.


    (...) building maintenance


    I have never ever met with the statement such 'in order to win on Immortal you have to NOT build buildings'. Also, I like building maintenance. And how many 'useless' buildings are in Civ5? I would never say Garden or Stable is useless (and they are one of the lower priority structures).



    You want to expand your empire rapidly, because it's the only way to compete with the AI on the higher difficulties and maximize your gold, science, and production.


    Rapid expansion is the worst possible strategy in BNW. On the other hand, total lack of expansion ends badly - in my opinion this is quite good design.


    why do you want to penalize expansion in empire building game?


    I could write so much about that...
    There are two reasons I didn't like 4X games before Civ5:
    1) Stacking
    2) Unlimited, primitive, unrealistic and TEDIOUS expansion


    Look at historical empires. Look at all these giant empires which collapsed because they were overextened and unstable. Mongol khanates, Napoleonic empire, Third Reich. Expansion is one of the way for an empire to go but
    1) It has to make sense
    2) There were many nations in the history which were powerful despite being 'small'. Japan, England [oh yeah it created colonial empire - while being geographically very tiny state], Netherlands, Portugal, Vietnam, Egypt [limited to Nile river for 80% of its history], Phoenicia [changed Mediterranean forever while being ridiculously small], Israel [changed world culture forever despite being insanely small and unsignificant :p ], Venice and its trading empire, Great Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Poland, Burma - here you have many states from the history which managed to survive, remain very sophisticated for centuries or be very powerful while being rather small.

    Yet Civilization III says 'the only way of creating remarkable culture is to grab as much land as possible! no matter where, no matter how, let's settle everything because new cities are always useful!'
    I hate that.

    I love attempts at balancing it in Civilization 5 and enabling two ways of creating superpowers: wide empires and tall empires. Currently in BNW tall empires are a bit OP compared with wide but still, I really prefer it to Infinite City Spam. It is unrealistic, annoying, primitive and tedious as hell [I hate the artificial pressure to expand everywhere - I look at you, Starcraft]

    And this is why I like the ICS penalties in Civ5. Expansion - YES (in multiplayer players who expand too slow lose). Insane expansion - NO. Strategy - YES.


    Meaningless Diplomacy


    1) I wouldn't call it meaningless and saying 'each AI can betray you' is ridiculous myth said without knowledge about Civ5 AI and AI personalities.
    2) It is not very good but also not very bad.
    3) I prefer it WAY MORE to the diplomacy taken from Civ III - cheating numbers - or older Paradox games - cheating numbers [LET'S GIVE THIS NATION GOLD UNTIL IT WILL HAVE X RELATIONS WITH US SO WE DON'T HAVE TO MAINTAIN ARMY AT ALL]
    4) It can be managed and understood.
    5) I agree it should be improved.


    One Unit per Tile


    1) From what I remember, something like ~80% Civ Fanatics like 1UPT system, including myself

    2) This is taken from one anti - Civ5 website which was making prophecies like 'nothing can fix Civ5 and this game will die soon' -> Civ5 is the best selling game in the franchise and on top of the Steam lists 4 years after release.


    3) The argumentation 'AI will never handle 1UPT so let's return to old and disliked traditional stacking' doesn't convince me.

    One guy has recently released Smart AI mod. Guess what it does? It improves combat AI to the point it is pretty good. And yes, with 1UPT system. Includes such shockingly sophisticated fixes like 'enable AI to move and attack in the same turn'.

    Obviously this forces us to ask another question, why Firaxis didn't enable AI to move and attack in the same turn despite great complaints on combat AI :lol: But that's not the point. The points is, combat AI in 1UPT CAN be vastly improved.


    And as I said, overthinking the entire 1UPT - city yields system doesn't change the fact that Civ5 with such 'broken' system is, I will repeat, the best selling game in the franchise and on top of the Steam games lists 4 years after release :p
     
  15. Teproc

    Teproc King

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    I admit I stopped halfway through, because it is obvious that you don't actually understand Civ V. That's fine if you don't like it, but don't go around making claims like "diplomacy doesn"t matter on high levels", "the game keeps punishing you" or your contradicting points about expansion in Civ V.
     
  16. I_pity_the_fool

    I_pity_the_fool Warlord

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    He's copying and pasting something written in 2010 without bothering to make any adjustment for changes that have happened to the game since. He's basically wanted to moan for the past 4 years, and the release of another civ game has afforded him another opportunity for it.
     
  17. Krajzen

    Krajzen Deity

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    Teproc - yeah, I had the same impression: Pyramid Head doesn't really understand Civ5 game mechanisms.


    I am definitely not the High Guru but I have spent over 1000 hours with this game, beaten Deity scenarios, made long lasting friendships with AI WARMONGERING Civilisations, played at least few dozens multiplayer matches with very good players (sometimes I even managed to win :lol: ahh I am still proud of this sweet Legion Rush in ancient era...), explored most of Civ5 files and hidden rules, started modding it and half of this complaints seem to be ridiculous
    for me.
     
  18. BSPollux

    BSPollux Deity

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    All points in the opening post are wrong. Truth is closer to the exact opposite of what the poster wrote.

    This is an obvious attempt to cause unrest, nothing more.
     
  19. FuRRie

    FuRRie King

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    Goon thing we have plenty of people who give good counter arguments :D
     
  20. Evie94

    Evie94 Warlord

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    Can we close this now, and maybe discuss BE, not some half baked, 5 year old criticism of Vanilla Civ V?
     

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