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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. JokerJace

    JokerJace Prince

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    I'm a starter at CiV. Can you tell me, what SoD stands for?
     
  2. Infantry#14

    Infantry#14 Emperor

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    I am a Civ4 player and I can understand most of OP's issues. However I disagree that those issues are problematic but simply playing with different set of standards and rules. Instead of complaining about those features, why not change/adopt to the new playing style. Appreciate what the game offers and not what it lacks.

    If there is one thing I what in CBE, it would be a better UI. As an example, I agree with the OP that there are a lot of unnecessary popups (CityState X wants Culture or City State Y wants a trade route). There should be an icon indicating new City State information is available. By clicking a button or pressing a hotkey, the menu opens up all the City State info for that turn and previous turns.

    Also, do something about the 1upt UI. When the number of units gets big, it's too much micromanagement in managing units.
     
  3. Seek

    Seek Deity Supporter

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    Stack of Doom. Where there are dozens of units in one stack and it's practically impossible to defeat.

    EDIT:
    This. BE is not going to be Civ 4 in space, nor will it be Civ 5 in space. I'm excited for what it will be bringing to the table that is unique and fun. It will certainly have issues, but every game does at release.
     
  4. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    This is very much untrue. SMAC/X's planetary council was nice at the time, but had options we all see replicated in Civ 4 and 5 (apart from ocean level manipulation, but that's tied into the overall terraforming system of SMAC/X).

    The SMAC/X council had a massive flaw: votes scaled with population. You know what also scales with population? Production - i.e. military. It rewards Infinite City Sprawl, which military victories already do.

    Compare the BNW congress: it has votes that scale with many different things (city state allies, wonders, previous results, world religion/ideology), allowing small nations to "punch above their weight". It was integrated into espionage, allowing you to predict voting behaviour. You could have multiply proposals at the same time, trying to propose something so bad that another proposal would sail through etc. Additionally, there are a lot more interesting proposals, allowing you to boost or penalise a certain victory condition, which is rather neat, giving diplomacy a genuine use beyond "get the votes to win".

    There's a lot more space for interactivity and strategy in the BNW world congress, especially as eras progress.
    It did since the launch of vanilla, though, Firaxis capped the local happiness and added the stadium as happiness building, plus the world congress projects and religion give you further ways to influence happiness.

    Plus, unhappiness matters a lot more, rebel uprisings are dangerous. The concept saw no change, no, but a lot of details going into it and how it plays out have changed. If you dislike the very concept of global happiness, yeah, but... that's a playstyle thing, no? If you accept it as concept, it works rather well now. Additionally, the number of cities now increases research cost. That is a huge additional limiter against over-expansion. Additionally, gold income was moved from tiles to trade (mostly, apart from special resources). Meaning more cities =/= more money. Trade is easily the main income source and the number of trade routes is capped - over-expansion is a lot less profitable as a consequence (and the trade-offs become a lot more apparent).

    Saying the vanilla criticism still applies (which it did, I admit) shows profound ignorance of the new dynamics in BNW.
     
  5. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    Sorry, but this is just wrong.

    You can defeat SoDs and you can block them. To defeat one, you typically need ~2/3 of its strenghts for your own SoD, and to block it you need around 1/2 (both values of course are just rules of thumb).
    And yes, from time to time you will lose a battle, although you did your best. But that is just due to the nature of random results.

    The reason why most people complain about SoDs is just that they didn't prepare for one to show up (they may have put their production into other things, may not have some kind of surveillance and whatever).

    However, SoDs didn't harm the AI in regards to pathfinding and additionally allowed to make the (very weak) AI stronger by giving it production bonusses.
    In an 1upt environment, both options don't work (successfully), as the AI is hampered by still being very weak, by having problems to find the best path/deployment AND can't make use of production bonusses.

    SoDs (especially the way they were set up in Civ4) may not be perfect, I will give you that. Yet, in comparison they are superior to the 1upt system.
     
  6. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    To me, the problem with the SoD has always been that a) they're incredibly boring (the optimal strategy is always: bigger stack) and b) they are tedious (if the enemy fields 50 units vs. your 40 units, might as well just have 5 vs. 4 units, especially if they occupy the same space).

    1UPT solves both problems, but brings its own share of issues.
     
  7. Seek

    Seek Deity Supporter

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    @Commander - I was just defining the term for the guy. Sorry if the definition was inaccurate, that bit about being "practically impossible to defeat" was how I have always interpreted the "D" in "SoD" - if it were easy to defeat it wouldn't be very "doom"-ish would it? Again, I apologize if that definition caused any confusion.:)
     
  8. Pyramid Head

    Pyramid Head Chieftain

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    1. Civics could be chosen at will. Policies could not be changed.
    2. Random events could be switched on and off and had beneficial as well as bad ones.
    3. Health penalized players for settling in high-profit areas, like flood plains and served as a balance mechanism.

    1. Congress failed to serve as a new Planetary Council or Apostolic Palace. Mostly due to non-existent diplomacy.
    2. Yet culture victory was a natural option for small civs and always a bad for big ones. Which was not an issue for CivIV
    3. Still Massive expansion mostly overweights expansion penalties.
    1. Which exactly IS penalizing for building infrastructure.
    2. Civ5 could not even able to come close to specialized cities of CivIV with building upkeep system.
    3. It does not serve as a limiting factor - it completely axes entire strategy branch for wide empires. A "lazy design".
    4. IMO - "lazy design" once again, forcing people to have less cities.
    5. Maybe, but it's a very situational strategy.
    It's not a problem that all this penalties were implemented - the problem is that they were implemented in a "CivV way" - unfinished, raw and unbalanced. Should devs put some efforts into tweaking and adjusting all this features, maybe then CivV would be a somehow decent game.
     
  9. manu-fan

    manu-fan Emperor

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    What does any of this have to do with BE? This thread should be locked.
     
  10. Pyramid Head

    Pyramid Head Chieftain

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    Well, I tried numerous times and simply could not find anything worthy of appreciation in CivV. Yes, with G&K and BNW. Compared to CivIV it's unspeakably tedious and boring gameplay.
    The reason I created this post. Devs stated that they are going to build CBE on CivV and I fear that they are going to carry all CivV flaws along. They already stated that we will see 1UPT and I fear in the worst case CBE will be dumbed down even further.
    Stacks of Doom was and is a horrible mechanic but even now they are far more interesting than primitive CivV combat.
     
  11. Camikaze

    Camikaze Administrator Administrator

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    Moderator Action: Nothing in this post has anything to do with CivBE. Please ensure you observe the moderator action from earlier in the thread.
     
  12. dashwinner

    dashwinner Prince

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    This guy is still at it?

    Massive expansion mostly overweights penalties? Which version and at which difficulty did you ever play to make all these assumptions?
     
  13. Commander Bello

    Commander Bello Say No 2 Net Validations

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    No, 50 vs 40 does not equal 5 vs 4.
    I know that Sid himself has said so (well, he was talking about 20 vs 10 and 2 vs 1, to be correct), but it's still wrong since it leaves out things like different composition of the army (stack) and different promotions.

    I agree with you that fighting a big stack with another stack was time consuming. This could have been easier, no doubt, and belongs to the weaknesses of the Civ4 set up of stacks - which doesn't mean that this could not be changed in an improved system.

    And yes, 1upt has quite some issues of its own.

    Anyway, I would have preferred if Firaxis would have taken the chance to learn from both extremes and tried to find a solution somewhere in between.
    Chance missed, unfortunately.
     
  14. player1 fanatic

    player1 fanatic Fanatic

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    As I said earlier, the biggest problem with first two posts is that it was taken out of context.

    It was part of opinion peace by avid Civ4 player Sulla, early after vanilla Civ5 was released (with couple of addendum after a few patches), all way before even G&K was released.

    Using something like that, is highly irrelevant today, after changes that were done with Civ5 in couple of last years.
     
  15. joncnunn

    joncnunn Senior Java Wizard Moderator

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    My top list of Civ V mistakes would be:

    1. Requiring 100% of self built cities to have buildings in order to build national wonders instead of a flat number.

    2. If we are going to have one unit per tile & cities also have range of 2, minimum distance between cities should be much bigger.

    3. Making the mechanics such that someone's military unit (or even their own civilian unit) can interfere with your own civilian unit movement within your own territory even when not at war with them.
     
  16. Chapel

    Chapel Chieftain

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    Not really missed. This is using the CiV engine. They have Civ 6 to tinker with all of those mechanics that "everyone" hates. Now maybe we can focus a little more on Civ:BE instead of vanilla CiV?
     
  17. poom3619

    poom3619 Ping Pang Poom!

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    OP, do you realize you sound like someone who never play BNW and criticize it?
     
  18. Aeson

    Aeson orangesoda Retired Moderator

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    In my opinion, the problems with 1UPT:

    a) Increases clicking. Compare moving 5 1UPT units 10 tiles to 50 non-1UPT units 10 tiles to the target. You end up clicking 50 times on the 1UPT units because GOTO with 1UPT is like designing your second floor with only one floorboard and no lights/windows. It might work for a while, but sooner or later you're going to break your neck. Without 1UPT you can move 50 units (or 500 ... ) with one shift-click. The only time you need to reclick is if something so drastic has occurred that you want to reassess where you're headed. (As it should be). This lets the player focus on strategy, rather than micro-management. (I'm the biggest micro-manager ever, but I understand it's no fun for most people.)

    b) Closely related to a, as it's also a pathfinding issue ... it wrecks the AI. Soren Johnson said that pathfinding was the hardest programming problem he's ever faced. 1UPT takes a very difficult issue and makes it virtually impossible (within the hardware/funding limitations of the game). All the people who say the problem with Civ V was the poor AI, not 1UPT, are missing that it was 1UPT that doomed the AI.

    c) Economics had to be slowed down. 1UPT means there can't be as much stuff. Less stuff inherently means less stuff do to, fewer choices to make. For those who just wanted less stuff, there already were settings for that (smaller maps, faster speeds).

    d) The "problem" 1UPT tries to fix isn't actually the problem people think it is. Players who don't want SODs ... just don't make them! I very rarely had a SOD and my stacks in general only happened if units happened to be on the same path at the same time. This held true in my GOTM medal games, my HOF high score games, my MP games in playtesting ... even in games where I had several hundred military units moving on the board for the entirety of the conquest phase of the game. That's because having the first unit(s) waiting for the last unit(s) is counterproductive in almost all cases. The AI may have a stack of doom, but that's even easier to deal with than if they didn't. Seriously, Catapults (collateral damage). SODs were absurdly stupid against an intelligent player in Civ IV release. Catapults had a cost:benefit advantage over even their counters at release, and the larger the stack the more in favor Catapults would find themselves. (This after we got collateral damage nerfed by 50% right before release even!) CivBE has the advantage of having a technological tree that would allow collateral damage from day one as well. SODs are better addressed in ways that introduce interesting chioces to the game, rather than "you shall not stack" from the Devs.

    e) I wasn't in Civ V playtesting because I had to turn down the invite ... but from what I've heard, 1UPT seems to have been a result of an unwillingness to listen to the fan-base. It was untouchable ... nevermind how the community would accept it. Civ IV is still played by a lot of people because it was largely a result of Soren welcoming input from the fan-base. That's how you get a game "right", by building the game the fans want, in a way that stands up to scrutiny of the most involved of those players ... rather than trying to force the game a designer wants down everyone's throats.

    f) Sid recently said (and has many times in the past said) that a game shouldn't try to force a player to do what the game designer feels should be done. Soren was always adamant about not having a "one right way". These are the types of ideas that made Civilization the best (IMO) game series ever. There's a certain amount of "force" necessary of course whenever designing game mechanics. There's always going to be "good" and "bad" strategies ... but 1UPT is clearly an extreme amount of force, more-so than any other rule change the Civ series has seen that I can think of. It takes choice out of the equation entirely. Do I stack? Do I build counters for stacks? For the first time in the series there was no need for those types of questions, the game designers already answered them.

    -------------------

    That said, I think CivBE can still be a great game even with 1UPT. Some things about Alpha Centauri (one of my favorites ever) were horribly unbalance. The AI was completely inept, much moreso than the AI in Civ V. (Which I think can handle 1UPT better, even with realistic constraints.) But the flavor of the game, the ambiance, was enough to keep me playing game after game for ... until Civ III came out.

    I hope CivBE recaptures that. I'll definitely pre-order. But I think it would have been possible to make a better 4x game without 1UPT than with it ...
     
  19. Lord Tirian

    Lord Tirian Erratic Poster

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    Interesting, I didn't actually know that Sid said that! :)

    Of course it's not the same thing, things are only the same if they're literally the same. The question, however, is whether it's a reasonable approximation. And in that regard, Civ5 did do its homework, so to speak:

    Promotions and stack composition are secondary to the main issue if you vary numbers: statistics, i.e. whether you're firmly in the realm of Poisson statistics or starting get a sufficiently high sample size to get some approximating a Normal distribution of events (i.e. roll 2 dice and averaging vs. rolling 20 dice and averaging).

    Civ5's battle rounds are much more fine-grained than Civ4's meaning you get much closer to the "average" (that's also why Civ5's combat odds are less "percentage of winning" and more "HP left" and tend to be very good at forecasting the outcome), meaning it does a rather good job at simulating a full stack of units with one unit.

    The same is true for promotions and unit composition: there are more small, specialised promotions now (and XP is handed out a lot more liberally, e.g. for ranged attacks, for surviving etc.), meaning it is also more "fine-grained" to allow for more small changes within one unit to simulate a stack where only a few units get promoted at a time.

    (yes, unit composition is not simulated as well, which is the main reason why ranged units have such a high range to take that into account - I just want to point out that Civ5 did consider the statistics of 50 vs. 40 and 5 vs. 4 and so on.)
     
  20. PhilBowles

    PhilBowles Deity

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    Agreed - while it's important to know about denouncements, you've just had the character tell you so...

    I've always disagreed with this, but diplomacy was at its best in Civ V in G&K. BNW added core mechanics that either ignore it (such as caravans and great work swapping), or follow the Civ IV path of giving you blanket positive modifiers for doing what you were going to do anyway (such as adopt an ideology), so that it's too easy to manipulate the AI's relations with you without ever opening the diplomacy screen. The blanket effect these modifiers have on all AIs also dampens the impression earlier versions of Civ V gave of presenting different AI personalities - they're still there, but understated, and don't really amount to much more than how warlike they are and how likely to backstab you.

    I still find lux/gold trading and research agreements valuable commodities (though, ironically, I think lux/gold trading should be incorporated into the new trade system rather than diplomacy), but diplomacy has indeed gone back to being the passive exercise of previous Civ games (SMAC was an exception rather than the pinnacle - from memory I think diplomacy was weak in Civs 1 and 2 as well as the subsequent releases).

    That's mainly an AI rather than a design issue, but one of Civ V's core issues is that the design throughout is not very AI-friendly. The city strength mechanic should probably stay in place of garrisons for defence, but I'd encourage a system where you need defensive upgrades in order to allow the city to shoot, and its offensive ability (and perhaps range - archers on walls shouldn't fire as far as cannon produced from an arsenal) scales with the level of upgrades rather than the city size. That way the city strength stat would be purely defensive, like the melee combat strength stat of an archer.

    It's possible to queue in Civ V?

    Yes, that is how bad the UI is. And for goodness sake fix Fortify so that one of the game's most common actions is not hidden in a unit's submenu.

    The diplo web needs to return as well - it's not too hard to modify it to incorporate city-states (just add a CS icon of the appropriate colour and type to the side of the leader it's allied with).

    I think there should be an option to turn this off, rather than removing it altogether - in moderation it does add character (but the AI is currently inclined to do it rather too often, and there isn't enough variation in the lines it uses to warrant that). It does serve some purpose, as a warning of deterioration or improvement in relations.

    I agree that global happiness has had its day, but for different reasons. Despite the excessive length of the above section, it oversimplifies the mechanisms Civ games use to limit expansion, because it ignores the time and space dimensions.

    The constraints aren't about placing a fixed limit on expansion in terms of number or size of cities (Civ IV maintenance certainly didn't - after a few turns your income stabilised and you could set off again), they're about pacing expansion so that you don't overexpand too early and so build up too many powerful cities from the game's start (while denying territory to everyone else). In Civ IV, you could potentially have infinite numbers of cities eventually - but in practice by the time you had a few up and were waiting to afford the next, all the available territory would have been claimed by someone else.

    This is one area where Civ V falls down that's more important than the mechanisms used to constrain expansion: global happiness is a relevant constraint in the early game; post-BNW, financial constraints are a bigger one (since every building has maintenance) - the latter is the reason I'd prefer to remove global happiness since the BNW economic system does its job, and generally better and more 'realistically' (and having negative income in the early game - especially if you have aggressive neighbours - is much more of a penalty than unhappiness or a few percent temporarily added to the tax slider in Civ IV). But there is almost always free territory available because the AI is typically much slower to expand.

    A more important issue than global happiness is the other you raised: population=beakers. Expansion isn't just about constraints, it's also about motivation for expansion. Civ V doesn't suffer because it doesn't penalise expansion, it suffers because the reward outweighs the penalty. So you have a system that both encourages expansion and gives you the space to do it in - fiddling with the method used to constrain expansion isn't going to help so long as both of these remain the case.

    This is a curious perspective, since the common complaint - especially from players who prefer Civ IV - is that Civ V lacks meaningful penalties (which I agree with you that it should eschew in favour of trade-offs), where previous Civ games were built around them (such as Civ IV's health system, a novelty which was nothing but penalty, and all prior games' happiness system, the Civ III population cap-without-aqueducts, etc. etc.).

    This mischaracterises the maintenance system. Road maintenance is akin to civic or city maintenance in Civ IV, a trade-off where you get the penalty only if you choose to build the improvement/city/select the civic, and in doing so gain the attendant advantages. A strict penalty would be one which simply accumulates or is fixed by itself without providing attendant benefits - such as the Civ 3 cap on population growth without building a structure whose only function is to remove that cap.

    This opportunity cost is still there, however in Civ V roads have a persistent bonus - they provide income when connecting to other cities. A one-time opportunity cost that only really applies in the early game, as in Civ IV, is not an appropriate trade-off by itself (and arguably wasn't in Civ IV, where roads connecting other cities provided free and persistent trade income). It's the same reasoning behind buildings - building a granary instead of a lighthouse presents an opportunity cost, but the resulting structure also has a maintenance cost.

    This is a key reason, which you neglected, why the BNW economy is an effective constraint on expansion.

    The argument you're making here can of course be made for building maintenance, for the corruption and city maintenance systems in past games, and for past games' happiness and health systems. Expanding cities and growing populations are both examples of good play being 'penalised' by these constraints. Selecting civics other than Despotism etc. is good play in Civ IV, however you're being penalised for doing so by maintenance costs. This is a typical feature of Civ games - the novelty in Civ V is merely in applying the same logic to roads that the prior games apply to most of their systems. And while I agree that it's not an ideal form of game mechanic, it's not a Civ V novelty that should be excised from Beyond Earth, nor indeed is it a feature that wasn't in the original Alpha Centauri.

    You have exactly the same opportunity cost in Civ V, and with longer build times (and now, often, more buildings available at any given time) it's more pronounced than in Civ IV, but as above a one-off opportunity cost is rarely sufficient penalty for a long-term benefit. I for one don't miss the struggle to find reasons not to build any and every building I could in every city when short of other things to build in Civ IV.

    They don't add to your expense if you aren't building them; why would you build a 'worse than useless' building? There's also an interaction between this and other game systems - as above it's a key constraint on expansion that underpins the game's economic system, and there are also resource-linked buildings that provide incentives for settling specific resources that provide maintenance-free building options (such as circuses).

    The whole point is that you shouldn't - it's an incentive to specialise. 'Great People Factories' are the only cities you'll want a garden in, and there's rarely much reason to build a stable outside a military city. These aren't even buildings that have associated National Wonders (not that I'm a fan of the way the National Wonder mechanic works in Civ V - it's nice that they're a bit more distinctive than they were in Civ IV, but 'build X Ys' is a very awkward way to do that).

    You do better by not constructing most of them in most cities. Sorry, but I find it a bewildering argument that it's a failure of design if a game has features newcomers have to learn rather than one in which novice strategies work at the highest levels (as it is Civ V has attracted a lot of criticism for precisely the opposite reason).

    Yet another reason global happiness is obsolete. Civ V suffers somewhat from having a lot of features added to it that improve elements of the basic game, while at the same time the core elements these replace have not been reworked or removed, resulting in a lot of redundant systems as a result (another, more minor, example is the fact that it has both a trade economy that factors in gold boosts from resources and gold-for-lux trading in diplomacy).

    The issue here was much like the issue with ideology and shared religion in Civ V: Most of these are not diplomatic considerations, but are simply things you do anyway that the game rewards you for doing. You're not usually going to decide on civics in Civ IV with the primary motivation that the civ next door hates bureaucrats; the penalty simply isn't steep enough and because diplo modifiers are purely additive, you can overcome it easily with existing bonuses from open borders, years of peace, and trade. You might choose a state religion that way, but since religions don't meaningfully differ from one another in Civ IV this is pretty much cosmetic. Trade just gives you free money so you want it for that more than for free diplo boosts. Open borders is the only one that's actually a diplomatic consideration, and it's one with no downsides.

    I much prefer the Civ V model of trying to actively involve the player in directly interacting with other civs, but what we ended up with was a diplomatic system light years ahead of those in prior Civ games combined with an AI largely incapable of using that system - and, as you note, some of the modifiers are ridiculous and in some cases counter-immersive (I particularly loathe "You built Wonders they coveted").

    You mentioned taking something from Sulla; was this his very old review shortly after release (the comment that 'the latest patch' added transparency suggests it may be). This is not a criticism that's been meaningful since G&K, and it's rather too easy to make lasting friends in BNW (though when ideology hits that will completely screw up the system by forcing you to go to absurd lengths to remain friends with someone who's been a lifelong ally but just happens to have a different ideology). Even in vanilla it was far from "essentially impossible" at least as high as Emperor (the level I played at back then), when I did it routinely.

    You're rather overselling the way the past games handled this. You could tech trade with civs that had pretty much neutral relations with you, and if you traded well to begin with you'd soon be far enough ahead that the other civs had little worth trading, rather confining relevant diplomacy to the early game. The only reason for actual alliance was diplo victory and the UN.

    In Civ V, civs don't seem to allocate votes (or agree to vote-trading) based on their relations with you at all, and diplo victory relies less on other civs than it did in G&K. In short, none of the games give you very much incentive to maintain alliances - Civ V forces an artificial situation where you need friendship for research agreements or lump sum gold deals, but while it works fairly well it's not an ideal fix.

    They're very important for spreading cultural pressure and necessary for exploring the map - moreso than they were since map trading is indeed gone.
     

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