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Why didnt firaxis ever improve AGG / PRO?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by bhavv, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    I guess I'm not that good but I'd rather get early Trebs than early Maces. I have always considered the siege-unlocking techs to be the most important military techs, because siege is how you can still crush the AI stacks even when hopelessly outnumbered. So I usually have cannons before riflemen and artillery before infantry. Usually I tech Steel long before any AI has it, which gives me a huge advantage.
     
  2. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    Getting early trebs give you a good early castle opportunity. You can get that+25% espionage opportunity with treb tech.
     
  3. Hauptman

    Hauptman Chieftain

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    Trebs are only important IF you are taking cities. Generally speaking I cant afford to expand much until rifles. Cities are way too expensive in immortal/deity.

    And forts is how I crush AI super stacks. Seige doesnt help there.
     
  4. Lexicus

    Lexicus Deity

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    Trebs are useless in the field.
     
  5. Pangaea

    Pangaea Rock N Roller

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    They're not useless, but catas are actually better in the field than trebuchets, due to their higher base strength. Just remember that city raider IS useless in the field, so use other promotions if you need to take down an AI stack outside cities. This is one of the reasons it's beneficial to preserve promotions until you know what you need.
     
  6. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    Catapults take more turns to lower medieval defense sometimes. Trebuchets often lower city defense quicker and get to withdraw more often than late catapults can.
     
  7. civfanchambers

    civfanchambers Prince

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    When trebs become available they are better for attacking cities, while catapults are better at attacking enemy units in the field. Save promotions for the time of attack. City raider when against cities, collateral damage for catapults on enemy units in the field.
     
  8. Strategist83

    Strategist83 King

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    This isn't even about Civ V, even the BTS AI is also pretty handicapped. The AI remains rather poor at handling siege units so it isn't great at attacking cities or dealing with large stacks. If you play on a difficulty level without massive AI bonuses the general picture is the AI will turtle up in its cities if attacked by a superior force (with defenders dispersed amongst its cities rather than massing in the cities under immediate threat), then helplessly wait to be brought down by collateral damage from siege weapons. A human defender would build siege units of their own to counter-bombard the attackers - the AI rarely does this.

    This is of course entirely true. Yet, as was pointed out it's somewhat countered by

    - basically, you shouldn't allow the FIN civs (or others with economical traits) to just run with the game. I haven't played Civ IV MP but if I did I would make a point to target the a FIN player rather than a PRO one, when viable. Having a strong economic ability paints you as a target. FIN even makes a player more likely to build cottages rather than other improvements, which are juicy pillage targets. Meanwhile, I would hate having to attack a PRO player controlled by a human, thinking opponent. Massive defensive boost, making taking any of their cities much more costly? Super-archers, walls and castles everywhere? Would you really invest massive hammers into an offensive army if all you can hope to accomplish is some pillaging, losing units and accruing war weariness in the process? Yeah, no thanks, I'd rather pick on somebody else where the chances of capturing cities are better. You can still pillage PRO lands just the same, of course, but pillaging is always dangerous as there's not just hammer investment, the upkeep and the lack of healing in enemy lands to consider but also the enemy building the exact formations that will counter your stack once you're stuck deep in enemy territory. The PRO trait gives an edge in this area since you can run with a lighter defensive force heavy on archery units until/if attacked and still be safe (enemy may pillage lands but taking PRO cities is much less an option) then build a stack specifically designed to counter invading stack if enemy ops for pillaging. The PRO player may lack in :commerce: but he has more :hammers: that can be applied specifically and more effectively against a threat. PRO players are simply bad, costly targets - which makes them more likely to be left alone, thereby an indirect economic advantage.

    Of course, PRO is a weak trait against the AI because, as mentioned, one of the main things the tactical AI isn't very good at is assaulting cities/dealing collateral damage, so the trait is overkill. Further, the AI fails to do things like target the FIN opponent with no defensive bonuses because that simply isn't how it's programmed. The Civ IV AI is a roleplayer - an AI with every reason to oppose you will still love you for arbitary reasons like shared religion or the favourite civic mechanic. I view this as one of Civ IV's main shortcomings because it makes games too predictable and makes the AI too easy to manipulate. I think Firaxis did the right thing with Civ V by having the AI 'play to win' more - it just didn't work out well for other various other reasons. A little roleplaying helps produce more of a narrative for a game and makes the world believable but in IV it drives the game entirely.

    Not balanced around MP, but at the same time I think it is more accurate to say it is balanced around MP than SP. Basically, it is balanced around the assumption that the parties involved are all able to play the game. The AI is just an AI and has its limitations, thus is not fully able to 'play the game'. PRO is clearly more valuable when the threat of losing cities is much more real, as is AGG when it is equally more difficult to attack.

    This has been the balancing system for all the Civ games (a good thing, too, since it's the right way to do it). Firaxis never balances around AI deficiencies and I hope they never will. Because the AI is never perfect and can't play the rules it breaks the system and causes players to call out various things as being unbalanced, whether it's PRO/AGG here or 'useless' mounted/melee units in Civ V. Things likely aren't 100% perfectly balanced but more often than not balance complaints are due to how the AI is unable to fully operate some game system.
     
  9. karadoc

    karadoc AI programmer

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    I doubt Firaxis made a conscious choice to not buff those traits. The fact is that there are heaps of bugs and problems in the final version of the game that Firaxis failed to correct. Some unfixed problems are quite serious, such as common OOS problems; and the fact that pitboss server crashes if someone launches a spaceship. And there are countless of examples where incorrect numbers are used in the AI, or displayed on-screen to the player. (I know, because I've been fixing stuff like that for years in K-Mod.)

    So... I'm thinking that Firaxis probably stopped working on the game because it was "good enough" rather than because it was carefully fine-tuned and polished.


    As for buffing those traits... I sometimes consider giving them reduced unit upkeep costs or something like that; but I've held off on it because I'm generally not dissatisfied when I get those traits anyway - except when it's Tokugawa. I'd generally prefer to have Agg or Pro rather than Imp... so maybe it's Imp that needs improving. (Imp is fine on low difficulty ratings; but on higher levels the faster settlers are less useful, because high upkeep means you usually can't afford to quickly build lots of cities anyway.)
     
  10. Kallikrates

    Kallikrates Prince

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    One should also consider that maybe not all traits should be equally useful, and that there are also players below immortal. AGR is useful on lower levels (and or epic/marathon I guess, I never play slower speeds) where one can do extensive rushes/wars with early units.
    There are also some nice synergies, e.g. the Zulu UB. (There are also some annoying lacks of synergy like with the Mongols or Babylon: AGG with an archery UU)
    Also siege warfare changed in BtS, so some aspects of these traits might be just leftovers from Warlords.

    Still, PRO is disappointing because the AI might be too dumb to attack cities effectively but it is not too dumb to pillage and wreck your infrastructure. So one has to attack them and cannot just hide in cities. (Of course one should ideally always be the one starting a war but nevertheless when one is backstabbed hiding with PRO archers etc. behind walls is a last resort not the best countermeasure.)

    For me PRO is basically a treat for the AI to annoy the human player and make some rushes or generally conquest much harder/more expensive. Sitting Bull's Longbows are a pain even for currassiers. The AI also loves Chichen Itza and a combination like Gilgamesh's CRE/PRO makes him practically unrushable.
     
  11. traius

    traius His own worst enemy

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    I know how I'd change AGG and Pro. I'd give AGG combat 1 for all units but archery units (including naval and air), and PRO drill 1 (no CG) for all units but mounted and helicopter, but I'd give AGG Mounted, Melee, Siege, Gunpowder and Tank units +10% when attacking, an additional +10% if attacking outside of your own cultural borders, and a 10% bonus when attacking cities. Pro would get 10% when defending with anything but mounted or helicopter, an extra +10% if in a city or fort tile (including others' cities, but importantly here, attacking or defending), and another +10% when fighting inside your own borders (again, attacking or defending). The second bonus would get an extra 10% for walls and another +10% for castles, making attacking a pro leader in the classical to medieval times a very risky proposition. This would give protective units hiding in cities a strong bonus while striking out from the city tile they are defending, which is a critical part of an active defense. It would also mean longbows could strike out from castles for a protective player and be very strong. AGG gets the generally more useful bonuses, PRO gets the larger numbers in a more niche set up (but in the hands of a human, would mean that luring an AI stack intp your territory would be devastating).
     
  12. reddishrecue

    reddishrecue Deity

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    Agg and pro look fine the way they are. Btw isn't tokugawa agg pro? There can be so many other leaders made from the old left over personalities that weren't used and mixed together to make other new leaders in different geographical regions in earth that can further divide large empires more into smaller empires with their own uniqueness and their own leaders that have different personality combinations that differ from the current personalities and the leaders that already exist.
     
  13. Lennier

    Lennier Emperor

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    Yes, Tokugawa is AGG-PRO. That, combined with his AI personality (extreme isolationism), makes him one of the worst-playing AIs. The AGG-PRO traits, so-so starting techs (fishing & the wheel), and late UB (Shale plant) make him one of the hardest to play as human.
     
  14. diegovelasco45

    diegovelasco45 Casual civ4 emperor lvl

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    I didn't win for a long time on emperor until I played Toku. I was experimenting with getting early Code of Laws into caste system for a Great Merchant Civil Service Bulb (that was a mouth-full).

    I got Civil Service and Machinery early enough, Used another merchant for money to update 10 or so axes into Samurais and wrecked Charly. After vassaling him I put all my effort into economy to get to rifling. With tons of CR3 Samurais transformed into Rifles (they also had PRO and AGG promotions), I smashed the rest of the world .

    A few years ago saw In a TMIT youtube video how he used japanese rifles and drafting to win a deity game, that's where I got the Idea.
     
  15. TheMeInTeam

    TheMeInTeam Top Logic

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    Trebs are generally junk in high level Civ IV. The reason is that they take ages to bombard castles and can't effectively attack unless they do so. It gives the AI with its bonuses time to stack up dozen + defenders (faster speeds make it even worse), and the collateral isn't strong enough to overcome that. Against many cities you'll be attacking at coin-flip odds with trebs, and even with marathon's unit cost discount that hurts, to say the least. On more normal speeds it's even worse.

    For most of Civ IV's early existence, upgrade + draft rifles were meta SP play, then later people started using cuirassers/cavalry more often instead, with some play in cannons too.

    Interestingly, if you don't start with fishing you CAN bulb to engineering fast enough to make use of trebuchets.

    Protective is junky though, you can use it but it's not a strong trait. I have no idea why Firaxis nerfed it and bugged all overflow in general in the process.

    Of course, if you're teching well nothing really answers tactical nukes, not to mention the abuses of gifting them.
     
  16. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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    Tbh, actually all pre-Gunpowder units are too weak and war pre-Gunpowder is not very funny. There still are possibilities to make it work though, like going for an all-in HA or Elepult rush, and even Maces + Xbows can cause damage. Trebutchets against Castles is horrible and it's usually way easier to fast-tech to Cannons, still, even Trebutchets can work if one's empire is strong enough to produce enough of them, preferably 10+ with 5+ XP to spec Accuracy.

    Players going to war earlier and earlier is a sign that the playerbase got much better in term of skill. Draft-Rifles are really the easiest choice to win, followed by Cannons, Cuirrs and Cavs.
     
  17. sydhe

    sydhe King of Kongs

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    On the other hand, playing him as the leader of the Native Americans against the AI is fun. The aggressive trait makes Dog Soldiers more attractive, and the archery units are strong as well. You can get units up to 10 XP very easily.
     
  18. Seraiel

    Seraiel Deity

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  19. Lennier

    Lennier Emperor

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    sydhe has a point; PRO does nothing for melee dog-soldiers, while Toku's AGG at least gives them a promotion. But you give up the faster GP for that.
     
  20. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

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    I just had a nice boxed in Gilgamesh game. I had horses and later Iron, so I HA rushed Wang Kon, sicced a remaining 15+ HAs into Julius prior to bulbing engi and then sending in trebs / xbows / pikes.

    I had two GGs settled in my capital to produce accuracy or CRII trebs. But as I mention many times, this is the only case when I get to use Pro well.

    One thing that was fun is seeing Julius try to reconquer his cities with praets vs CGIII Xbows behind castles. Poor praets.
     

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