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Which policies and tenets would you skip every time?

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Peng Qi, May 2, 2015.

  1. Peng Qi

    Peng Qi Emperor

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    Thread title! I'm learning to mod and changing around some social policies seems like a good place to get some experience, and I was wondering what policies and tenets the community hates.

    The more detailed version of the question is this: Which social policies would you skip every time if you didn't need to take them to finish out their policy tree? Which tenets do you never take?

    I'm not talking about "which ones do you think are a little underpowered." I'm asking which ones you would literally or almost literally never spend the points on if you didn't have to; the ones that are so bad that they might as well not even be in the game.

    I'll contribute my thoughts too, of course! These are the things I'd NEVER take:

    Policies
    Religious Tolerance- So you're rewarding me for FAILING to make my religion totally dominant? You'd think if I'm in Piety I should want other religions to NOT be in my territory.

    Consulates- Typically if I'm playing a city-state game I'm going to want to keep most CS influences to be significantly higher than the resting point. The only time I can think of that I'd take this is if I were stacking "minimum influence" bonuses so I'm always friends with every CS.

    Fine Arts- I play on Immortal so I'm usually struggling to keep my happiness balance positive. Spending a social policy on what will generally amount to +4:c5culture:/turn is almost never attractive.

    Artistic Genius- Really? That's all I get?

    Navigation School- The GAdm movement is really the only major benefit here. It's rare that I want a whole lot of GAdms, although I suspect I'd like this policy a lot if the naval combat AI were significantly better (or if I played a lot of MP), since instantly healing a bunch of wounded units would be pretty good...if I were ever sitting on a bunch of wounded boats.

    Sovereignty- You'd think a bonus that only gave you gold would be in the commerce tree. This feels out of place and it doesn't really kick in until fairly late in the game; it's basically just reducing the maintenance of your science buildings slightly.

    Freedom Tenets
    Covert Action- The benefit itself is mildly useful, but it's so weak compared to the other tier 1 tenets in Freedom that I can't imagine myself ever picking it over one of the others.

    Order Tenets
    Double Agents- It's pretty rare that I'm using my spies to protect my cities in the late game (I play on Immortal). Even if I was, I'd imagine that building a Constabulary, a Police Station, and the standard odds of catching spies would be enough. Maybe if I were WAY ahead on tech, but then I've probably already won the game anyway.

    Resettlement- Let's see...I could waste an entire social policy on making my settlers very slightly better in the extreme lategame when settlers are almost useless to begin with...or I could just send a worker with them to build some farms and they'll hit pop 3 in no time anyway.

    Autocracy Tenets
    All of these seem useful at least in certain corner cases.

    I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's opinions! Including the ones that tell me I'm wrong!
     
  2. Lanijon

    Lanijon Chieftain

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    Well since you asked. ;)

    A few of the ones you listed I would put into the "underpowered but still usable" category. With Religious Tolerance, all you need is a single minority follower, which you usually have, so you'll still get a benefit even if you keep your religion dominant. Consulates is a waste to the big players in the CS game, but otherwise it's pretty nice for a not-so-rich civ to have a good 15-20 turns of friend bonuses just 250:c5gold: or an election away. Artistic Genius' bonus comes not just in the artist, but in the ability to get easier theming bonuses or golden ages (especially if you're Persia or Brazil, or just won the World Congress and have a GW waiting :king:). And Fine Arts just kinda depends on the game. I've had it pay huge dividends personally.

    Anyway, these are the ones that suck the most IMO:

    Entrepreneurship (Commerce) - You generally don't even want Merchants since they'll hurt your production of Scientists and Engineers. Venice is the only civ who should even contemplate this policy.

    Commerce finisher - Do these count? Oh well. Like I said, you don't want GM's. 1 measly gold from trading posts is by far the worst of any tree finisher.

    Economic Union (Freedom) - It's rare that more than 1 or 2 other civs go Freedom, and it's a dice roll as to if they'll even be in range. Not to mention there's no guarantee that the buffed trade routes will be better than other available routes. Even if all the chips fell into place perfectly, it'd still only be 24 GPT at a time when you should be swimming in gold.

    United Front (Autocracy) - If I declare war, then it probably means I already have enough units to win. Way too situational and random to rely on anyway.

    Agreements:

    Navigation School - Naval combat is already so easy. Admirals are just redundant.

    Double Agents - If a civ is so far behind that they're stealing techs from you, then they're probably not a threat anymore. This is basically just the "be a jerk to the little guy" tenant.

    Covert Action - To me, this is the WORST policy/tenant in the entire game. Election rigging is already at a 100% chance unless another civ has a spy there, but it's incredibly rare for most civs to fight that hard for city-states. Even Greece doesn't always rig elections. I've literally never failed to rig an election, and trust me, I love city-states
     
  3. Peng Qi

    Peng Qi Emperor

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    I find that this is the same crapshoot that Economic Union has though. You need to have a nearby religion that has a pantheon belief that's useful to you. In my most recent game my neighbor took Earth Mother. I had one iron, no salt, and no copper. So for an entire social policy, I got +1:c5faith:/turn.

    The only times I've ever found this useful are when I'm playing as someone like Indonesia, who not only wants lots of religions in its cities, but will also likely have cities on other continents who are probably doomed not to be of the state religion anyway. Then I can buy non-state religion missionaries who have pantheon beliefs I like to propagate them in my cities.

    But even then it's pretty rare that anyone has a pantheon belief I'm willing to invest that much faith and time in.
     
  4. Lanijon

    Lanijon Chieftain

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    Oh, definitely, Religious Tolerance is by no means a great policy. In fact, it'll probably be a bust more than a hit, but the potential for it to be a hit is still there. I've had a big score with Desert Folklore before. And where it differs from Economic Union is that it has a higher ceiling. A good pantheon in the early-mid game will probably help more than some extra GPT on the final stretch.
     
  5. Amrunril

    Amrunril Emperor

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    While there are certainly substantial differences in power level between some of policy trees and individual policies, only a few seem almost entirely worthless. Here are some thoughts on which those are, as well as some attempts to defend policies I feel have been wrongly maligned.


    Religious Tolerance
    Getting followers of other religions in your cities isn’t too difficult, and as long as they remain in the minority, you don’t need to worry about them exerting pressure or (with a few exceptions) giving bonuses to the founder. That said, as much as I want to like this policy, it is highly situational and usually underwhelming.

    To benefit, you need to have a neighbor who has founded a religion and chosen a pantheon belief that you can benefit from. This isn't particularly uncommon, but it's not something you can take for granted either, and you have no control over whether or not it happens in any given game. You then need to have followers of that religion in your cities and for that religion to be the second most common. This may happen naturally, but more likely, you'll have to divert some trade routes and buy a few missionaries to nudge the pressures in the right direction. This is by no means an overwhelming investment, but it's not trivial either. And once you have found/created this ideal situation, your reward is the ability to spend one social policy to gain one pantheon belief-perfectly reasonable, but rarely overwhelming. In any other situation, the policy will give you either nothing at all or an assortment of minor bonus that are better than nothing but almost certainly not worth a social policy.

    The extremely situational nature of this policy is made worse by its placement within the Piety tree. Because it’s 3 policies into Piety, there are plenty of games where it isn’t an option even if there is an appealing pantheon nearby. And because it’s a prerequisite for Reformation (the primary reason for taking Piety in the first place) you can’t really skip it when you don’t have an appealing pantheon nearby. I think that an excellent solution to this issue would be to switch the positions within the Piety tree of Religious Tolerance and Mandate of Heaven (the discount to faith purchases). This would put mandate in line with reformation and the faith boost from shrines and temples (which it seems to synergize well with) and put Religious Toleration off to the side, where it could be more easily taken or ignored depending on its value in a specific situation.


    Fine Arts
    I completely agree about this policy. If you have enough excess happiness to make this attractive, it probably means that you aren’t expanding/growing your cities enough. There are situations in the late game where ideological tenets and mercantile city states may give you a large boost, but by this point even +20 :c5culture: per turn isn’t worth a policy due to exponentially increasing costs.


    Consulates
    If you take this early enough, you’ll get most of the city states to the higher resting point before you gain too much influence through other means. The benefit will drop off eventually, once you start allying with most of the city states, but in the meantime this will dramatically improve the benefits you gain from completing quests. I would actually consider this quite a strong policy (though not nearly as strong as it was when protection pledges increased influence resting points by 10 instead of 5)

    I think that Merchant Confederacy (+2 :c5gold: from city state trade routes) is the real dud in patronage. City State Trade Routes don’t give science and usually give less gold than trade routes with other civs, so it isn’t really worth sending trade routes there unless you have a specific reason to do so (Treaty Organization, Moroccan UA, quests, embargoes), and this policy doesn’t do much to change that. But even if you do have a reason to send every single trade route to a city states (you are in Patronage after all), unless you’re playing Venice the most this policy will ever give you is +20 :c5gold:, and through most of the mid game you won’t get above +10 :c5gold:. This just isn’t worth a social policy except when it comes along with the Patronage finisher. As a comparison, Exploration has a policy that gives +4 :c5gold: from every sea-based trade route (and you’ll use these almost exclusively if you have the option), and Commerce has a policy that gives +2 :c5gold: to every land-based trade route and also cuts road and railroad maintenance in half. Either of these policies gives a dramatically larger benefit without requiring a major shift in how your trade routes are allocated.


    Commerce finisher
    +1 :c5gold: from trading posts is weak in most games, but for a wide puppet empire, which is probably what commerce is best for, it can be a substantial boost (that said, it does pale in comparison to +2 :c5happy: from luxuries, which is always the last commerce policy and feels like the “real” finisher). Buying merchants probably isn’t the best use of faith in most situations, but at least it doesn’t impact your production of scientists and engineers.


    Navigation School
    Another policy I agree about- you rarely need more than one great admiral for the combat boost, and while the mass heal sounds powerful, it doesn’t fit well with naval combat’s emphasis on focus fire. Also in Exploration, Merchant Navy (+1 :c5gold: from lighthouses, harbors and seaports, +4 :c5production: and +4 :c5culture: from East India Company) isn’t worthless, but it feels underwhelming compared to the production, happiness and gold bonus surrounding it.


    Sovereignty
    This does feel somewhat underwhelming and maybe a little out of place (bear in mind, though, that this is base gold, so it does get increased by markets and so forth, and it does increase trade route yield). However, I would be very hesitant about improving this or changing it to another science bonus, because of the overall impact on what’s already a very strong, arguably overpowered, policy tree.


    I also agree that some of the ideological tenets are weaker or more situational but, I don’t think this is as urgent a problem as it is in the policy trees. There are plenty of strong options to choose from, and in the absence of specific prerequisites, you don’t need to choose the “weaker” tenets unless you find a situation where they are strong.
     
  6. Delnar_Ersike

    Delnar_Ersike Prince

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    Just wanted to give a little heads-up as to why the AI rarely goes Freedom: one of the most important calculations that goes into the ideology selection is how much happiness the AI could get from the ideology. The AI does not recognize that Universal Suffrage generates happiness (by removing unhappiness caused by specialists), whereas it recognizes all other happiness sources, since they are from buildings.

    This is going to be a long post, so I've split it up into labelled sections.
    To make things interesting, I'll add in possible [simple] fixes to the end of each policy item I mention that is bad, should the policy actually be salvageable.

    Agreements for flatout bad social policies:
    • Entrepreneurship: Great Merchants are not only bad, but they push back the counters for the most useful GPs. Fixed by splitting apart all GP counters into their own section, or by making Great Merchants a useful unit (maybe allow them to spawn a powered-up Cargo Ship or Caravan instead of a Customs House?).
    • Fine Arts: Too little culture gain for its culture cost. Fixed by either increasing its ratio (200% of happiness added to culture?), or by making it give science from culture instead of culture from happiness.
    • Artistic Genius: A Great Artist for a policy that isn't even actually free, ie. it pushes back your counter? Nope. Can't think of any fixes either.
    • Merchant Confederacy: +2 gold for CS trade routes is nothing. This is the same gold bonus as Caravans from Commerce, which also provides you with half off road maintenance and also generates +2 gold from routes to other players, and half the gold bonus from Treasure Fleets, which also generates the extra gold from routes to other players. Fixed by either increasing the gold amount to ludicrous levels, increasing the gold bonus from Friendly and/or Allied CS's, or by giving it a weaker version of Treaty Organization (maybe +1.5 per turn capped at +45 in total from this policy alone).
    • Covert Action: This only has an effect if you and another player without this tenet are both trying to rig the election of the same CS. Rigging CS's is already such a waste of spies (20 influence is nothing compared to stealing techs, stopping someone from stealing your techs, or giving a tourism bonus in addition to providing you with surveillance) that you'll maybe have 1-2 spies at most rigging elections if you're the top science player, and chances are very little that both you and another civ (usually 2nd or 3rd in science) will be rigging the election of the same CS and for the outcome to actually matter (if they're far behind in science, you can win any victory type other than DV even if you lose the CS). Fixed by making CS election rigging provide a huge influence boost (100?), or by changing Civ5's espionage system, since it's quite one-note and uninteresting as it is.
    • Economic Union: In singleplayer, the AIs don't usually go Freedom (see first paragraph for explanation as to why). In multiplayer, trade routes to other players, whether they're Freedom or not, is an incredibly risky proposition because those trade units are instantly destroyed when the other player declares war. The gold amount is fairly low as well, even if it would work; other policies that increase trade route gold give about the same amount without the restriction of only applying to routes running Freedom, ie. they apply to CS trade routes, too. Fixed by changing how broken trade routes are handled on war declaration for multiplayer as well as giving the recipient a gold bonus as well, tweaking the AI's ideology selection algorithm for singleplayer, and allowing players to get the gold bonus from routes going to CS allied to Freedom players as well.
    • Resettlement: You're not founding new cities once you've got your ideology unlocked, plain and simple. Fixed by making this a Liberty or Tradition policy instead of an Order Tenet.
    • United Front: By the time you pick ideologies, the game is already at least halfway over. CS military gifts happen maybe once every 30 or so turns, so if you enter into a 150-turn war, you'll maybe get 4-5 extra units per military CS ally over the course of the entire war. Not only will these units be random, they also won't get those sweet promotions that Autocracy lets you get by training military units. You'll already be pumping out one unit every 2-6 turns per city, so the CS gifting is wasted. The only time I ever see this being useful is in the extreme scenario where the game contains 15 militaristic CS, and you're allied with all of them... but you've already won the game at that point. Fixed by removing the militaristic CS limit (eg. all CS gift military units like militaristic CS in addition to militaristic CS giving units twice as often) and by allowing CS unit gifts to be chosen (eg. through request) and/or receive the unit XP of the city at which they are gifted.

    My own additions to flatout bad social policies:
    • Oligarchy: Not only is unit maintenance not usually an issue for Tradition players so early in the game, but the +50% ranged strength bonus only applies to outgoing city attacks. Outgoing city attacks already modify the city's strength by 2/5, so the +50% boost on paper is actually a +20% strength bonus (2/5*3/2=3/5). This is approximately equivalent to your cities having an extra ranged attack promotion; in fact, it's worse, since cities can't end up having Logistics or Range promotions, can't move and attack a key target 3 tiles away, and automatically kill their garrisoned unit when taken. Since only one, maybe two cities can chip into big fights, you're essentially giving up mobility of one or two of your ranged units for +20% strength bonus to your city's ranged attack. Let's be honest, the only reason this dud is ever picked is because of the policies it unlocks, never for the effects themselves. Fixed by making it increase city strength when defending against ranged attacks as well (it would be too powerful if it worked against melee attacks).
    • Military Caste: Just... ugh. You're forced to garrison one of your units per city, thereby sacrificing their much-needed offensive capabilities if you're going for Honor, to get a Mosque's worth of Culture and Local Happiness without the Mosque's faith generation. When the effect doesn't seriously cripple your offensive capabilities, its yields are too insignificant to be worth it. The only reasons this is ever picked are that it is the only proper culture and happiness generator in the tree (opener doesn't count) and for picking up Professional Army later. Fixed by turning it into a temporary culture and local happiness buff each time a military unit is produced in the city.
    • Creative Expression: In singleplayer, you make Great Works for tourism; otherwise, you'd be spending you Artists and Writers on Golden Ages and flat culture. In multiplayer, you don't make Great Works. This policy increases Great Works' culture without increasing their tourism. Remember that you're also spending culture to unlock this tenet, so in order for this tenet to be worth it, you'd need to earn more culture from this policy between the turn of unlocking and the game's last turn than the tenet's cost plus the extra cost of all policies you unlock after this one. If my math is correct, you'd basically need to be in a position from which you could win with or without this tenet to actually make it pay off, so it's useless. Fixed by either changing the way Great Works work, or at least by having the tenet also increase Great Works' tourism.

    Bad policies for multiplayer (ie. policies that rely on AI stupidity to function):
    • Cultural Exchange: By the time you unlock this policy, you've gone far enough into Aesthetics to give away that you're going for a culture victory. Open Borders and allowing other players' trade routes are already a finicky thing at best in multiplayer, especially if they know you are going for a cultural victory, so this policy has no actual effect in practice (nobody's going to had you a cultural victory on a silver platter by letting you get your tourism bonuses). Fixed by changing how tourism bonuses work.
    • Aesthetics Finisher: I'm talking about the theming bonus effect, not the fact that you can purchase writers, artists, and musicians with faith. Nobody in multiplayer will be willing to trade Great Works to hand another player a cultural victory. This means that the theming bonuses of Great Library, Globe Theatre, Louvre, Oxford, and Hermitage are impossible to achieve. The second problem is that Great Works are not an effective way to win a cultural victory in multiplayer: to win, you need to generate tourism so unexpectedly and at such a fast rate that your opponents cannot react in time, and this usually means deliberately not generating any Writers, Artists, or Musicians until you get ideologies, choosing Autocracy and the Futurism, and then rocketing up your culture by generating all your Writers, Artists, and Musicians right afterwards. Building up tourism slowly through Great Works telegraphs your moves, as does getting more than one point in Aesthetics (enough to make it show up in the unlocked policies list for other players). Fixed by changing how tourism works in Civ5, especially when it comes to Great Works and theming bonuses.
    • Exploration Finisher: Hidden Antiquity sites are just not worth it. First of all, Archaeologists are unlocked by archaeology, which is a highly non-essential tech (getting it means not getting essentials like Flight and Atomic Theory as quickly). Other players will never let Archaeologists into their borders, so you'll be stuck with sites in your neutral territory or your own; on a small-size map, this means you're only going to get access to around 25-33% of these sites. Each hidden antiquity site has a 30% chance to be like a free Great Writer so long as you can get an Archaeologist to stay there for long enough, only you do not get the tourism boost from Futurism: combined with the 25-33% figure from before, this means roughly 1-2 of hidden antiquity sites will give you the Great Writer bonus. Even if you magically got yourself archaeologists and Archaeology without any side-effects, 1-2 Great Writers' worth of culture points barely even covers the cost of a new policy in the lategame, not to mention how Great Works are nearly useless in multiplayer (see my notes on Aesthetics finisher). Above all, it doesn't fit Exploration's theme: all of Exploration's other policies emphasize naval play, and this one is purely for people chasing cultural victory. I can't think of any real fixes, this one needs to be replaced.
    • Scientific Revolution: The only good thing about this policy is that it makes putting off completing Rationalism for its Free Tech finisher much easier. If we assume that Rationalism was not the essential policy tree that it is, this policy would actually have the exact opposite effect of what is intended: because everybody knows that you'd be receiving more beakers from research agreements than them, they would never offer or accept research agreements without added compensation on your part. This isn't the only effect that suffers from the same problem: Porcelain Tower and Netherland's UA both cause the same issues (players are less likely to accept what were previously equal trades because they know you're getting more out of it than them). Funnily enough, the fix for this also already exists in Civ5 as Sweden's UA with DoF's. Let me clarify: the problem is fixed by having both players receive the bonuses instead of just one. Though it'd be an equal trade on paper, you will receive the intended bonus because everybody will want to make deals with you over anyone else since they'd get more out of trading with you, and those bonuses are much more powerful when concentrated on one player than when distributed over many players: if 5 other players DoF Sweden for the GP rate bonus, they might receive 10% each, but Sweden gets 50% from having all 5, and that 50% is much more powerful than the spread-out 10% bonuses.
    • All non-Futurism Tourism Tenets (Media Culture, Cultural Revolution, Dictatorship of the Proletariat, Cult of Personality): The reason these are terrible is because Futurism is really the only way to win a cultural victory in multiplayer when you couldn't have won with another victory type. Futurism is an Autocracy tenet, so all Order and Freedom tenets are essentially garbage. As for Cult of Personality, it's a level 3 tenet, and usually if you're unlocking level 3 tenets after having gone for a Futurism strategy, you're probably not going to win with culture because the other players have had enough time to react to your shenanigens. Fixed by changing the culture system and/or nerfing Futurism.

    Usually bad policies (ie. policies that only work under very specific circumstances):
    • Honor Opener: It works on large, land maps that people are slow to settle and/or with raging barbarians turned on; it maybe works if you have the BarbIE mod or another mod that makes barbarians prominent throughout the game. It might work if you're going for a cheesy strategy of keeping your happiness at -10 and farming the spawned rebels for culture, but that's assuming any such strategy actually works (it probably doesn't unless you have a large army, in which case you're better off killing other players than trying to farm culture). Otherwise it's not worth it, even if you're Germany or Ottomans. The extra strength against barbarians is kind of redundant when they have weaker units anyway and cannot heal; the poor military AI (eg. the AI cannot move and attack with ranged units on the same turn) is amplified on barbarians, since military actions are the only things they can actually do. The icing on the cake is that some of the actual barbarian-specific AI functions are also buggy, eg. when barbarians are seeking improvements to pillage, they do not recognize improvements that are built on luxuries or strategic resources. The reason I know this can be found in my signature.
    • Military Tradition: +50% experience earned could be useful, except that you're spending a policy point for it. Also, since experience is always earned in integer amounts, if units earn an odd number of XP from an attack, the actual XP earned with modifiers is floored instead of rounded: for example, ranged units normally earn 3 XP from attacking IIRC, so with this policy they would earn 4 XP, since the actual 4.5 XP is floored to 4 instead of being rounded to 5. The bonus also doesn't work as well with military buildings, since the extra XP they give on unit creation has no effect from this policy. It's just so ineffectual considering the fact that it costs a policy point and doesn't unlock anything other than the Honor finisher. The fact that it isn't completely useless all the time is why I didn't include it in the other lists. Fixed by changing it to be a -% XP needed for promotions, like the first half of Zulu's UA.
    • Religious Tolerance: The problem isn't necessarily that the bonuses of the secondary religion's pantheon are so insignificant, it's that you have no real control over the actual bonus: in one game, you might get Desert Folklore secondary on a city with no desert tiles, in another you might get Earth Mother secondary on a city with 4 salt tiles and 1 iron tile. Even when you're playing against human players and they don't choose stupid pantheons like Goddess of Protection, you're at the mercy of the passive pressure their religions generate, since that's what is most likely going to result in your secondary pantheon effect. Fixed by letting all present religions' pantheons' bonuses apply (instead of just one religion's) and/or by also unlocking all faith purchasing options of the secondary religion.
    • Consulates: Only useful if you're combining this with Papal Primacy and Pledge to Protect for permanent Friendly status and/or if you don't have any CS allies but still plan on going for a Diplomatic Victory. Otherwise, resting influence is rather useless, especially if it costs you a policy point (Pledge to Protect is free, Papal Primacy is technically free if the 2-3 good Founder beliefs are already taken when you found your religion). Fixed by having Influence decay scale with influence in some way, so having a higher resting point slows down influence decay if you're already at a high influence.
    • Cultural Diplomacy: Only useful if you only have access to key strategic resources (uranium, coal) through CS allies and need that doubled quantity enough to not be willing to capture the CS for its strategic resources. The luxury bonus would be OK if it weren't for Commerce's Protectionism giving the same happiness boost, but to all luxuries, not just ones you receive through CS allies; given the importance of Rationalism and Ideologies, you don't usually have time to complete both Commerce and Patronage, and since you have to choose between the two, Commerce's luxury bonus is flatout better. The policy doesn't even apply to the innate happiness you get from Mercantile CS's, only to the luxuries they'd gift if you're allied. Fixed by having CS's provide you with flat happiness instead of happiness boosts to luxuries, both when Friendly and when Allied, with Mercantile CS's giving twice the happiness.
    • Mercenary Army: This one's the most useful out of the borderline useless policies IMO. It's useful if you're Poland, if you have a giant gold income in the earlygame and rush this policy, if you need a few Lancers with Free Pillage, or if you're running a mod that slows down tech progression but keeps hammer costs the same. I still consider those cases to be niche enough to include this policy in this list though. Unless you rush this policy and have the gold income to really spam Landsknechts, these units usually become available (both policy-wise and gold-wise) around the time that Pikemen are being phased out in favor of Crossbows. Their primary value comes from the fact that they keep their Free Pillage and City Raider promotions on upgrade; the only problem is that they upgrade into Lancers, and Lancers are, well... pretty much useless for combat unless you're Poland. This means that unless you're Poland, you'll only really use your pillaging lancers to rampage your opponent's economy; 2-3 of these units is therefore enough, and spending a policy point just to get a couple free pillagers is questionable. Fixed by making lancers better, by changing the tech tree around to make lancers unlock much more quickly, and/or by increasing Landsknechts' combat strength to be along the lines of Longswordsmen while keeping their lower cost and cavalry bonus.
    • Navigation School: The problem with this policy is Great Admirals. Specifically, Great Admirals have a movement speed of 2, while Frigates and all later ships have a movement speed of at least 5. Even with this policy, Great Admirals cannot keep up with the faster fleets they are supposed to support, and since naval engagements end a lot quicker than land ones, the fight is usually decided by the time Great Admirals finally catch up. Fixed by having Great Admirals' movement speed increase with eras (2 ancient, 3 classical, 4 medieval, 5 renaissance, etc.) or with techs (compass increases by +1, astronomy increases by +1, navigation increases by +1, etc.).
    • Merchant Navy, Sovereignty: I grouped these two together because they are both here for the same reason: they are only useful if you are running a really successful Liberty empire with the affected buildings being present in at least 10 cities or if you have a custom civ with two UB's, both of which would give gold from the policy and have a lower maintenance than the original buildings. Otherwise, the effective maintenance reduction these two policies give is negligible. Merchant Navy has the added negative of affecting buildings that aren't as high priority as Sovereignty's, so the player is less likely to have them built in all cities; this is sort of made up for by the boost to East India Company, which may be a terrible National Wonder, but at least it means +4 hammers and +4 culture in one city. Fixed by increasing the gold given to at least 2.
    • Space Procurement: If you have the gold and tech to buy spaceship parts, you also probably have the gold and the tech to buy Stealth Bombers and XCOMs, so you might as well just get those and win a domination victory than spend an entire policy point on this tenet. Still, I guess this policy is still useful for large maps with a lot of players where you'd really need to buy a metric ton of Stealth Bombers and XCOMs to win a Domination victory. Fixed by altering the tech tree, creating a non-nuke counter to Stealth Bombers, and/or creating a non-nuke counter to XCOMs.
    • Lightning Warfare: This one is only in the list because of Civ5's tech tree. By the time players get around to unlocking armor units to take advantage of this policy, they should already have the tools they need to counter armor units and would be researching their prerequisite tech only to unlock XCOMs and Stealth Bombers. Great General movement is useful, but Great Geneals start to become less important with the rise of air units (who don't get Great General bonuses) and XCOMs who will usually paradrop 20 turns away from the nearest Great General. Fixed by changing Civ5's tech tree to unlock armor units earlier and by changing Civ5's combat system to have cavalry/armor occupy a less auxiliary role compared to ranged units and blockers.
     
  7. Peng Qi

    Peng Qi Emperor

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    One of my long-term mod project goals is to completely overhaul tourism and culture victories completely (since essentially everything about them is broken right now), but since I'm still a total noob when it comes to modding, I see that as being a very long way off.

    (Oh, and you missed the obvious fix to Mercenary Army: Make Landsknechts upgrade to Musketmen or Riflemen.)
     
  8. RuleroftheHex

    RuleroftheHex Chieftain

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    First off, I'd argue that Consulates is good. If you take Patronage in the Classical Era, you can get to Consulates quickly. I see Consulates as a 250:c5gold: boost with ALL CSes, not just ones that are known. It makes allying a CS that much easier. And, stacked with Papal Primacy, you can be permanent friends with a CS that follows your religion. Overall, it's not stellar if you already are allied with half the CSes, but if you've only allied or even met a few, it's great.

    Also, on the topic of Religious Tolerance: no one tells you that you must take it every game. There are times where it's incredibly useful, and times where it's not that important. But, when you're in Desert and your neighbor takes Desert Folklore, you can use that when they missionary-spam your lands. You could probably generate, with two desert cities, around 20 FPT from that alone. Same goes for Earth Mother (to a lesser extent) and Dance of the Aurora. There's a lot you can do with that policy.

    Finally, Space Procurements is a REALLY good tenet for an SV. Stealth Bombers and XCOMs can't take over the world as fast as you can go to space with this tenet. It has shaved 30 turns off of my Deity SVs. Whereas paradropping XCOMs into a Carpet of Doom isn't really a viable plan, having a lot of gold saved for buying SS parts as soon as you can get them is. You really don't need to counter the XCOMs or Stealth Bombers, you just need to counter the power of gold in the late game.
     
  9. Amrunril

    Amrunril Emperor

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    I still think that Consulates a strong policy. Suppose, for instance, you complete a CS quest by clearing a barbarian camp. This will give you a boost of 50 influence , causing you to be friends with the CS for 20 turns. If you instead start from a resting point of 20 influence, that 50 will put you at 70 influence, giving you 10 turns as an ally and 30 turns as friends. Even without factoring in the patronage opener, that more than doubles the benefit you get from the quest. Obviously, this isn't worth a social policy if you're only completing one quest, but over the course of the game you'll be clearing camps, building wonders, acquiring new resources, finding new civs and (hopefully) winning culture/faith/science races, which will make for a lot of city state bonuses to increase.
    And "if you don't have any city state allies but still plan on going for a diplomatic victory" describes most diplomacy games in the classical and medieval eras. You may have one or two allies, but that leaves many more to benefit from this policy. You can, as RuleroftheHex suggests, think of this as a 250 :c5gold: boost with each of them (and this boost is reapplied if, for whatever reason, you drop below 20 influence later on).

    The problem is that its position within the policy tree makes it almost impossible to take situationally. If you weren't planning to go Piety anyway, you're not going to invest 3 social policies in Religious Tolerance, no matter how good the pantheon you want is. If you want a reformation belief, you have to take Religious Tolerance even if every pantheon it could conceivably give you is useless. As I suggested earlier, I think switching its position with Mandate of Heaven would be an excellent solution.
     
  10. RuleroftheHex

    RuleroftheHex Chieftain

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    In general, Reformation Beliefs aren't worth getting into since on Deity most of the good beliefs are gone by the time you hit Reformation anyway. You know by a certain turn whether or not to go deep into Piety, which is why you don't really need to care about Religious Tolerance and its placement. Generally, if your neighbor has a strong religion but you can't benefit off their pantheon belief, it's simply time to abandon Piety as a whole. Of course, that's from personal experience, but still.
     
  11. Peng Qi

    Peng Qi Emperor

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    I don't think it's fair to say that something isn't good in general because it isn't good on deity. A lot of things aren't good on deity.
     
  12. Delnar_Ersike

    Delnar_Ersike Prince

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    Good luck, you'll need it: culture and tourism bits exist in the game's XML and Lua files in addition to its DLL, so any mod that completely overhauls it will need to touch on all three aspects. Plus, you'd need to differentiate it somehow from space victory in the sense that both culture and space victory types are for builder styles that revolve around Great People, teching quickly (culture needs wonders and Internet in SP, first Ideology for MP), having good production, and not using military units. To contrast, Diplomatic victory is a builder type that rewards completing CS quests and having a lot of gold, Domination is the only conquest type.

    That's a semi-fix. Landsknechts upgraded to Lancers can be used as solo pillagers due to Lancers' high movement speed. Landsknechts upgraded to Musketmen or Riflemen cannot. Sure, you'd get more long-term use out of the second option, but neither of those units can make as much use out of the Landsknecht's Free Pillage promotion. They can definitely make more use out of the plunder promotion (the gold pillaged from cities is equal to the damage dealt to that city, and lancers have -33% city attack strength), but I consider Free Pillage to be more useful.
    A way to address both would be to have Mercenary Army also give you access to a "Jaeger". Jaegers would essentially be Musketmen (Riflemen?) Landsknechts: they'd have the same stats as Musketmen (Riflemen?), but with the two unique Landsknecht promotions plus the whole half-cost, gold-purchase-only dynamic. Granted, this is only simple in a gameplay sense (make the policy let you buy Musketmen mercenaries in addition to Pikemen mercenaries), you'd actually need quite a bit of work to create new unit models and icons for Jaegers.

    Balls, I knew I forgot to mention something: Consulates is also much less powerful in Multiplayer, since other players can just warblock you from getting friendly with CS's. They'll probably be more likely to do so if they see you having gone a few policies into Patronage and/or if your religion has Papal Primacy, since both are dead giveaways for this style of play. Remember that Papal Primacy also only works with CS who have the same religion as you... which tend to be CS nearer to you, who you will generally want to be allies with, not permanent friends. As for the 250 gold boost every 20-30 turns, that's roughly 8-13 extra gold per turn. You'll probably get more gold from Commerce's opener, and that gold can be spent on anything, not just CS influence.
    I guess the policy is more useful in singleplayer (especially Deity): in multiplayer, warblocking is just so prominent that you can rarely make longterm use out of this policy. I'd still include it in the list, as it's generally OK in SP, but has extremely niche use in MP.

    Missionary spamming? Ah, right, high difficulty singleplayer. I'll get to this topic in my Space Procurements reply.

    Switching it with Mandate of Heaven would ruin a lot of Liberty strategies though: being able to faith purchase Pagodas for 160 faith instead of 200 is most useful when your faith generation is still low, so if Religious Tolerance were swapped with Mandate of Heaven, it would make Mandate of Heaven the useless policy (by the time it kicks in, the faith purchase reduction isn't as useful, since that -20% is really only one or two turns' worth of faith generation anyway).

    Space Procurements might be powerful when your opponent is cheating on happiness, unit maintenance, and hammers to be able to produce those carpets of doom... but when they aren't, it isn't.

    This is where I start talking about using Deity singleplayer as the baseline vs. using multiplayer as the baseline with Prince singleplayer as backup for when something relies on AI stupidity.

    The points you made about Space Procurements, Religious Tolerance, and possibly even Consulates all rely on you treating Deity singleplayer as the "baseline" game, ie. everything in the game should be balanced for Deity singleplayer. The problem is that Deity singleplayer strategies and policy worth relies entirely on the bonuses the AI gets at Deity. The instant the AI no longer gets hammer bonuses to produce carpets of doom, Space Procurements' value suddenly vanishes in the face of XCOM + Stealth Bomber. The moment the AI no longer spams you with missionaries and Great Prophets and/or it no longer gets ludicrous faith generation bonuses, the added value of Religious Tolerance vanishes. On the other hand, any AI that programmers will make will have some sort of inflexibility that doesn't let it counter a strategy that any human player could easily counter, eg. warblocking CS's when the opponent has Papal Primacy + Consulates + Pledge on CS's.
    This is why I subscribe to the notion that well-made strategy games should always be balanced for multiplayer, even when most of your players will never touch multiplayer. Balancing for singleplayer leaves you at the mercy of difficulty level bonuses and the AI programmers, while balancing for multiplayer makes sure that when your opponents are on equal footing, any and all gameplay options are viable in some strategy or another.

    As such, when I say policies are useless for singleplayer, I'm always considering Prince AI: if the value of certain strategies that work in multiplayer decreases at higher difficulty level singleplayer, it does so purely because of the yield and resource cheats the AI gets. Just like how Diplomacy isn't balanced for games where one player starts with three times the amount of Supply Centers and armies, or DotA isn't balanced for games of 3v7, I find it counter-intuitive to balance Civ5 for when at least one player has a huge inherent advantage over everyone else, regardless of whether or not they are being directed by a poorly programmed AI.
    As popular as Deity is for showing off higher skill levels of play, it really should be ignored when it comes to balancing the actual game in favor of multiplayer and Prince singleplayer, where nobody gets any yield bonuses and the AI is left to flounder with its poor algorithms.
     
  13. Peng Qi

    Peng Qi Emperor

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    Yeah, honestly I feel like culture victory is utterly redundant and pointless and feels really shoehorned.

    If we wanted it to be relevant and distinct, a cultural victory would be one that's theoretically possible by an empire that's technologically lagging, which is the opposite of what it is right now. Basically, the two major open victory niches are:

    1. Non-tech related victory.
    2. Expansion-related victory (like C4 domination).

    Cultural victory could be a combination of these and fill an empty spot; if tourism were primarily earned through early-game buildings that needed to be spammed and whose strength ramped over time, rather than ramping with the acquisition of policies or techs. Even here, it's arguably not a "fun" victory type, since it's not so much about interaction as it is about planning.

    All cultural victories are the Civ equivalent of combo decks in MtG. Your opponent either kills you or the pieces you need come together and there's nothing he can do to stop you at that point. It especially frustrates me that they added even more victory types like this to Beyond Earth. It's like they don't want their players interacting.
     
  14. Amrunril

    Amrunril Emperor

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    I've never thought of grabbing Mandate of Heaven early as being particularly attractive, though I'll admit that it's not something I've experimented with much. I'd think that in most situations increasing your faith from shrines and temples would get you a lot further ahead than cutting your costs by 20% (especially if you're playing wide and have already taken the Piety opener), but maybe in some cases where you're getting most of your faith from pantheons or city states it would be an attractive choice.

    How prominent is warblocking in multiplayer? There are definitely lategame situations where you'd want to do it to lock in city states, but in the early and mid game it doesn't really seem worth it. You're also blocking yourself from your opponents' city states (and if you're doing this because they went patronage, they probably have more than you), and you're forgoing the possibility of trade routes with them. This seems like a pretty big sacrifice to set back only one of your opponents.

    For what it's worth, with regard to the MP vs. high level SP discussion, most of my balance observations are based on experimenting in hot seat mode. This means each civ is starting on level footing and playing for the win, and high level AI bonus aren't a factor. I do, however, gravitate primarily, though not exclusively, towards more peaceful builder strategies (and I may subconsciously take it easy on civs trying new strategies that I want to see), so these games are probably less cutthroat than genuine competitive multiplayer.
     
  15. RuleroftheHex

    RuleroftheHex Chieftain

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    Space Procurements charges 3000 gold (thereabout) for each part. That makes for roughly 2-3 XCOMs per SS part. That point aside, SV and DV aren't really related. While you could theoretically take a DV after playing scientifically, it's much easier to pay about 18000 gold and win scientifically, using your city production to make units should they truly be necessary. Also, once you choose our Ideology, you simply cannot change o another one unless there is pressure for it. Say I pick Freedom aiming for an SV, but then I change my mind and go for a DV. DVs are much harder without Autocracy to back them, especially in the late-late game (XCOMs) or with Gandhi. (Curse him and his nukes.) So really, it's hard to simply switch Victory types after Ideologies.

    On the topic of Reformation beliefs and other things that are useless for Deity...
    Reformation beliefs are usually not worth the effort, even on lower difficulties. This owes itself to AI stupidity: even Babs goes Piety quite a bit. In general, you aren't guaranteed a good Reformation even on King. In MP, you might not benefit very much off a Reformation, because other players don't care one bit if you can convert barbs with missionaries or purchase Public Schools with faith, because at the point where you've gone down Piety enough for a Reformation belief, they could have gone down Honor and built a force enough to obliterate you. For the most part, other things not viable on Deity aren't viable in MP either. Just as Exploration is terrible in Deity SP, it can even be worse in MP. Most other policies/tenets mentioned on his thread aren't viable in any circumstance, SP or MP.

    As for Consulates war-blocking, that strategy shouldn't work on anyone who's gone down Patronage, because Philanthropy+Consulates means cheap allies, meaning you can maintain moee than just a few. Also, while you're in Patronage, you can use Scholasticism to get the tech edge, MP or SP, which would make war-blocking even less effective than it is in the first place.
     
  16. Delnar_Ersike

    Delnar_Ersike Prince

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    From what I can tell, it's essential for strategies that either involve Piety starter or Liberty Collective Rule into Piety. Pagodas essentially end up functioning like Monuments, and the only way you can get that ball rolling is if your first two or three Pagodas are 20% off. Once you've brought your faith generation up to speed, that -20% isn't as vital anymore, and yeah, the +1 faith from shrines and temples does give you more faith later. The reason +1 faith from shrines and temples is not chosen first is because you'd need to get 40 bonus faith from that policy to be on equal footing with Mandate of Heaven Pagodas, and that doesn't really end up happening in time (you'll maybe get an extra 6-7 faith per turn when you need those Pagodas up ASAP for happiness to keep your ICS going). The policy also comes in handy with Jesuit Education, since lategame faith costs are so high anyway, -20% faith off of three research labs is equivalent to one extra GP from faith. But yeah, if Mandate of Heaven were unlocked after Organized Religion, the discount wouldn't come quick enough to matter as much; that policy can be quite useful, but only if rushed and only if you need Pagoda happiness ASAP (eg. you're Liberty in an area with only 1 or 2 unique luxuries).

    Warblocking becomes more and more prominent the higher the other players' skill level: it's not because more skilled players are more aggressive, it's because more skilled players are usually the ones able to adjust their strategies the most efficiently to get the most out of warblocking. Even people who tend to turtle and try to zoom up the tech tree to XCOMs and Stealth Bombers will do it. Warblocking the person on the other side of the map is standard practice, especially if their policy trees indicate that they're going Patronage (note: if you only select Patronage opener, it doesn't show up when other people look at your social policies, so it's often a good idea to only get the opener so that you don't reveal your hand to the other players). The way it's usually done is by paying a city-state for influence (or donating a unit) in order to ally it, then quickly DoW the original CS ally to make sure they can't get it back; such a move can be quite devastating for low happiness empires reliant on the luxuries provided by CS allies and/or mercantile CS's.
    Unlike in SP, you're also not the only one going for CS quests, so unintentional warblocking is much more prominent: basically ever CS ends up being allied to someone, and if that person ever declares war on you for any reason, you lose the friendly benefit from the CS (assuming they don't cleanse your religion from their allied CS to remove Papal Primacy).

    International trade routes are an extremely bad idea in multiplayer: even if you don't intend to war your opponent, your opponent can just war you out of nowhere, and you'll instantly lose your trade units. Even if neither of you war each other, international trade routes are much more easily pillaged because they usually cover much larger distances than internal routes. Plus, food and hammers from internal trade routes are usually much more useful than gold (main exception being of you're going for a gold purchasing strategy and don't need hammers as much): 6 food per turn in a city is more valuable than 21 gold per turn from an international trade route, not to mention 6 hammers per turn in a city that's rushing to build an important wonder. The science you'll get from trade routes is only useful in Ancient and Classical, where that +1 or +2 science can mean a 10% beaker boost if you're only generating 10-20 beakers per turn. Religious pressure from international routes is pointless in most circumstances: if they don't have a religion, missionaries are a much faster conversion option, and if they do have a religion, chances are that they will be reinforcing their own religion's pressure with internal trade routes.
    The only thing a player will lose by warblocking is the possibility to trade luxuries and research agreements. Oh yeah, and you don't want to warblock someone who's got an army large enough to win a war, but that's a known given. You can also think of the hammers the warblocked civ has to dedicate to military units as an added benefit, since the aggressor can time their warblock, while the victim has to react to the unexpected turn of events.

    SV is too slow and too easy to counter in Multiplayer: you need two non-essential techs, Particle Physics and Advanced Ballistics, which have their own non-essential requirements. Building Apollo Program also means painting a target on your head, not to mention sacrificing a load of hammers that could be used to make bombers to upgrade into Stealth Bombers the instant Stealth is researched. If you wait until you've got all space techs unlocked to finish Apollo Program, you've probably spent the previous 50 or so turns building bombers and useful buildings non-stop, which means you could just as well use those military units to win a domination victory. Basically, if you can win SV in multiplayer, chances are you can win Domination victory as well, and domination victory snowballs in a way that SV does not (the extra cities you get from defeating another player give you more hammers and more tech to keep snowballing).
    Oh yeah, and space parts can be nuked. It doesn't matter how fast you can build space units, your opponents will be sitting there with their fingers on the trigger to nuke your space parts. They won't nuke XCOMs because by the time they see your XCOMs, your XCOMs will already be in their territory.

    Above all, you have to remember that multiplayer games are usually quite fast once people get Plastics: even if you get free tenets, between having to fill out Rationalism for Great Scientists and getting key tenets (like Barracks happiness or +XP from Autocracy, +Science from factories from Order, or +15% military unit production for Freedom), you often won't get the chance to reach level 3 tenets quickly enough. Picking up Space Procurements early means delaying filling out Rationalism, which means delaying your Great Scientists, which means your opponents will have key techs before you do.

    Unless you're aiming for a cultural victory, you won't be picking ideologies for victory types either: sure, Autocracy's Gunboat Diplomacy is useful, but not when you're already warring the CS's allies, so you're only getting influence from your own allies, so Clausewitz's Legacy is almost always better, especially because you'll often be picking up your level 3 tenet so late that Clausewitz's Legacy will last you for the rest of the game. You'll be picking ideologies based on free tenets, possible happiness, possible hammers, and possible science, with Total War's +15 XP functioning as an extra bonus to ensure all units you create come out triple promoted. Autocracy isn't always necessarily picked because people want to go DomV or DV: it's often picked because of the ludicrous amount of happiness you can get from it, especially with Prora. Freedom isn't picked for SV, it's picked for State of Liberty's ludicrous, empire-wide hammer boost. Order isn't picked specifically for SV or DomV: it's picked for its quick happiness (Socialist Realism), the fact that Worker's Faculties generates more science than any other tenet in any ideology if you don't have a lot of academies, and Five-Year Plan's excellent hammer boost.

    If you've only played Deity Singleplayer, I highly recommend you give multiplayer a shot: unless you're playing with newbies, chances are you'll be surprised how much of what you know from singleplayer Civ5 is a facade when faced with people who can and will war you at any time to ensure that you don't win.
    You've never tried Liberty on multiplayer, I see. Reformation beliefs are important, nay, vital to any Liberty player in order to catch up to Tradition players' lategame science. This is because Liberty players need to make full use of the fact that Faith is the only yield in the game that rewards wide play, so they need to convert their faith to science if they want to keep up with Tradition players' huge, centralized science. Jesuit Education and Glory of God are the two important beliefs: the former's benefit is obvious, the latter's benefit comes from being able to purchase Great Scientists without having to fill out Rationalism. This means you not only make up for getting policies slower as a wide player, but you also free up the policy points you'd have spent on Sovereignty and Scientific Revolution to get an extra tenet or two instead. As an added bonus, Glory to God also lets you purchase Great Engineers to make sure you're not always beaten to Prora, Statue of Liberty, Hubble, or any other important lategame wonder by a Tradition player. Sacred Sites is also a neat little gimmick that is often hard to pull off because everyone will know what you're trying the instant you select it, but I thought it's worth a mention. If you can keep a barbarian camp alive in your backdoor, barbarian conversion is a great way to speed up your timing pushes if you know you can't beat the other players at the science game. All in all, Reformation beliefs are essential in MP.

    Exploration is also quite useful in MP, but only the opener and the first two tenets. The opener is useful because it lets you DoW someone and take their coastal cities without any warning due to how ludicrous your naval units' movement points are, especially if you are England and/or have Great Lighthouse as well. +3 hammers on coastal cities is essential to any coastal Liberty strategy, as is +Happiness from naval buildings.

    Going down on Honor is pointless because the bonuses you get are not worth the increased cost of all social policies thereafter: getting opener and warrior code, maybe Discipline too, is all you can afford, and really need, before Rationalism unlocks and you need to dedicate your policy points to filling it and ideologies out ASAP.

    But it does work. In fact, it works extremely well. Really, you should try playing against veteran MP players (I'm sad to admit that I don't consider myself one).

    Cheap allies don't mean jack when people aren't spending gold to buy city-states in the first place unless they plan on warblocking immediately afterwards. Remember, you're not the only one going for CS quests in MP. Plus, while you've unlocked Consulates, the other players have gone down commerce and are making enough extra gold for your cheaper allies not to matter: you might be able to spend 250 less gold to maintain ally status, but they're making that much extra gold from Commerce over the amount of time it would take for influence to decay below ally status. It's why Patronage opener's slower decay is vastly more powerful than Consulates' resting influence boost.

    Scholasticism's "tech edge" is nothing: 25% of what city-states produce is huge on Deity because CS's get the same beaker boost as Deity AIs, but in multiplayer, it's maybe 5-8% at best, and it's not even consistent. You'll probably get more science out of Mercantilism's beaker boost.
     
  17. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    I understand the argument about balancing around MP in a game that is designed to be played in MP. Sadly when it comes to civ5, I'm probably not the only one that thinks MP feels like an afterthought. As a result expecting SP to be good by fixing the balance of multiplayer sounds like a lost cause.
    When I looked at the NQ mod being made I can agree with a lot of its changes... for MP. Some of them would make no sense for SP because the AI and some game mechanics have never been thought to play in a pure competitive mindset as MP does. And at that point it's like wishing for another game, one designed around 8 people competitively fighting for a win but that's sadly not Civ. Expecting balance to work in both MP and SP while having vastly different mechanics is impossible. Either the balance has to also be different or the mechanics the same, hence a different game.

    Or I could agree if it were the philosophy for a new game. Where the game is set for balance in MP and the AI for SP aims to emulate human behaviors. But Civ5 is too far from that.
     
  18. RuleroftheHex

    RuleroftheHex Chieftain

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    Acken brings up a fair point. I don't play MP because it feels like the Firaxis ran out of funding for CiV, so they told the devs to make MP in 15 minutes. It's so poorly implemented that I really don't bother. Honestly, you can't have a mod that would buff Consulates for both MP and SP, because it's just right on SP. Also, for Scholasticism vs. Mercantilism, Patronage wins again. Basically, unless you've gone wide, Scholasticism from 2 CSes should be better than Mercantilism. Also, Scholasticism scales better than Mercantilism, because CSes generate increasing amounts of science.

    Well, on the thought of Consulates, the Commerce/Patronage argument is solved by the fact that Commerce is a different playstyle. Commerce's opener is more generalized, and is usually weaker than Patronage opener. That said, Patronage suits a DiploV only, unless you're planning to go CS-heavy. Commerce fits all. So, by the argument that Commerce is better, it's really not. It just doesn't reveal your Victory type.
     
  19. Delnar_Ersike

    Delnar_Ersike Prince

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    To be fair, you could say that higher difficulty levels are also an afterthought: I know for a fact that higher difficulty AIs don't always know how to make use of their actual bonuses (been looking at and tweaking the AI's source code for about 6-7 months now). The AI flavors set for the various techs, policies, and wonders are also an afterthought: for example, the AI has a higher flavor priority for Writer's Guild than National College (and it's not like Firaxis didn't know either, NC's were powerful since vanilla).

    My argument wasn't necessarily that MP is the be-all, end-all for settling whether or not a certain policy is balanced; it was that judging a value of a policy based purely on game modes where your opponents have certain advantages over you is a bad idea, as the value of the policy becomes closely intertwined with what advantages your opponents have. If we create a custom difficulty type, for example, where the AI can build all wonders instantly, the value of Aristocracy plummets; it would be unfair to judge the value of Aristocracy based on how it holds up in that difficulty type. If we create a custom difficulty type where the player cannot work specialist slots, it would kill the value of Secularism, the entire Aesthetics tree, and Freedom. If we create a custom difficulty type where players can only found new cities after Industrial Era, the value of Resettlement becomes immense. If we create a custom difficulty type where road and railroad maintenance is doubled, the value of Wagon Trains greatly increases.
    Deity is nothing more than a combination of such custom difficulty types. Granted, they're not as flashy as the ones I described, but they still have similar outcomes in terms of policy usefulness. I wouldn't advise you ignore MP for policy balance purposes, but if you do, make sure you only consider the effectiveness of policies at Prince difficulty (maybe King).

    In any case, whether or not a certain policy or tenet could be important in Civ5 MP is not always self-evident. For example, I used to think that waiting around with Great Scientists after the first academy to do a massive bulb after plastics was always the way to go until a few painful lessons involving artillery timing pushes and cavalry sniping made me realize I was wrong.

    The science boost from Mercantilism is much greater in practice than on paper. For one, it would be your cities generating the extra science, not an external source, so science produced by financial buildings are affected by all buildings, policies, and wonders that increase city science output (Universities, NC, Research Labs, Worker's Faculties): university + Free Thought + Research Labs gives a 100% science boost (I think the modifiers are additive), so Mercantilism would effectively be giving +2 science per building instead of +1, with an extra +0.5 in your NC city and an extra +0.25 with Worker's Faculties. More importantly though, the lower purchase cost means you're able to purchase more science buildings and hammer buildings to speed up the construction of science buildings. In fact, you'll probably get more overall science out of constructing Research labs five turns quicker than your opponents than you'd get out of the flat science yield from financial buildings.
    It cannot be understated how big of a target is painted on your CS allies saying, "Steal me so your opponent's policy bonuses are nullified!" if you go deep into Patronage. People will snipe your CS allies and warblock you from getting them back a lot more often than you'd like; it's so bad that in some cases, you'd actually end up getting more CS bonuses by only choosing Patronage opener than by even completing the Patronage tree, simply because people don't actively try to steal away your CS allies when they don't know you're dedicating policies into Patronage (going opener only is standard practice enough that even revealing this by building Forbidden Palace isn't enough to cause people to target your CS allies).

    Comparing the openers of Commerce and Patronage is an apples-to-oranges comparison. However, comparing Commerce opener to Consulates and/or Philanthropy is an apt comparison because all three end up translating into pure gold advantages: Commerce is a simple gold boost, while Consulates and Philanthropy are effectively gold boosts on gold that is spent on CS influence. If you get more bonus gold from Commerce opener than the gold you save from Consulates or Philanthropy, then Commerce opener is a better policy for the tasks that Consulates and Philanthropy address.

    In most multiplayer games, anyone not playing as Poland will rarely get more than 1-3 policies in policy trees other than Tradition, Liberty, or Rationalism, simply because of timing: you'll usually finish your starting tree around mid-Classical to early Medieval, after which you'll only get 1-3 policies before Rationalism unlocks in Renaissance. The biggest exception I can think of is liberty empires picking up Reformation for the much-needed belief (4 policies in), usually also completing Piety after picking up a few Rationalism policies if they get Glory to God and have 4+ holy sites. Going even as deep as Scholasticism simply isn't an option most of the time, especially since you'd be giving up a Rationalism policy that would be better for your science (versus picking up Mercantilism, which works if you're going for a gold purchasing strategy with Big Ben and Skyscrapers/Mobilization).
     
  20. Acken

    Acken Deity

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    This is where I disagree (the rest of what you said being an illustration of my saying that SP and MP are vastly different). I wouldn't ignore MP, I just think that in a game designed like Civ5 you're forced to do a separate balancing because the game wasn't designed around MP. We have two very different environment where one will never balance the other unless the mechanics themselves are changed. A lot of mechanics don't make much sense in a MP environment like RA, Venice or tourism with open borders. SP was designed like other civ games, with competition being set aside for player immersion. So that in that scenario the previous features work for the player.

    If there was a chance to make a redesign so that SP and MP play similarly and that the AI is only an emulation of a player then I'd be enclined to agree that balancing one would probably be enough. But Civ5 isn't that and is not even trying to be (and never was). In SP it's the player experience that matters, giving him the civilization builder experience with friendly Gandhi and angry Shaka. If the AI was entirely an imitation of human behavior that wouldn't work in a civ game. This is where the differences from SP and MP come from even if AI programming had been stellar.

    It's a bit like some stuff in world of warcraft where you had a vastly different experience between Pve and Pvp and trying to give a single set of tools to players to match both was impossible.

    Imo, there is a way bigger difference in gameplay between Prince SP and MP than between Prince SP and Deity SP. I wouldn't necessarily balance everything around deity or prince either, I'm fine with some policies being better on one than the other like Scholasticism or Reformation sacred sites. That is part of the SP experience. However there are some stuff that would benefit both like making wide a bit better and improving some of the AI decisions like you do.
     

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