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Why do people want "balanced" civilizations?

Discussion in 'Civ6 - General Discussions' started by comatosedragon, Apr 2, 2019.

  1. NukeAJS

    NukeAJS Chieftain

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    That was an interesting read generally speaking but there are some really key differences between Civ and Magic beyond the obvious. I'm going to make a second post that will directly reference this.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2019
  2. S1AL

    S1AL Chieftain

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    That article was dishonest when it was first printed. Magic has bad cards because they need filler for 15-card packs. This has only become more obvious over time as all of the playable cards have shifted to uncommon or higher rarity.

    Note, particularly, that Garfield did not apply this to his later "living card games".
     
  3. Pietato

    Pietato Warlord

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    You can add mods or something for your increased 'challenge', instead of wanting to screw over entire civs.
     
  4. Sostratus

    Sostratus Chieftain

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    I think that meaningful choices generate fun in a strategy fun. From that standpoint, you want some civ balance (not knife edge, but kinda close-ish) so that there are real choices. Plus, as others have touched on, a designer doesn't necessarily want a civ's unique design to fall flat. The niche should exist and be practical.

    Arguing against balance efforts (and it's certainly valid to desire other areas of focus) is a bit along the line of thinking that fixing exploits like the release's unit selling, or the recent chop overflow fix, should stay in the game. But why do developers like to fix those exploits? Because they let players shunt core design aspects.

    There's a call for "civ v civ" balance in this mostly single player game because the gameplay itself is "specific civ v the rest of the game," and the devs have to pick a power level to tune that challenge to. People do want civs to be within some band of each other. No one would honestly suggest they add a civ with the ability "wins the game on turn 100" or "loses the game on turn 100." Paring back from that extreme, people can say "these civs are too weak [strong] and don't interact with the gameplay in a fun way, unlike the stronger [weaker] civs. If they were brought up to par, I would have more fun choices."

    More fun is a good goal.
     
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  5. ShakaKhan

    ShakaKhan Chieftain

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    As someone who would prefer some balancing to be done, more like some tweaking and reconsideration to be done, I don't think that every civ needs to have the exact same level of power or potential. Actually I don't think they even need to be all that close in power or potential. In fact, it would be good if there were some civs that were more Alpha to the rest of the field of civs being Beta for the sake of new players or players advancing in difficulty level.

    Instead, what I would prefer is if each civ had it's own different approach to the game, optimally each being unique while not shoe-horning any civ towards a specific victory condition, but at the minimum each civ designed to give the player at least a slightly different experience than other civs could provide. In the Sid Meier series of game, I feel this accomplishment was best exemplified in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri (SMAC.) There were only 7 civs (factions) in that game, but I feel that there was a much better degree of diversity in that game with it's 7 choices than there is in this game with more than SIX TIMES the amount of available selections. Honestly it's been over a decade since I played it, but as I recall:

    -The Spartans and the University had very simple and universally applicable bonuses that were great at obtaining an advantage in one or more elements of the game and then leveraging that advantage towards multiple victory considerations. They were great for learning the game or learning a new level of the game.
    -The Hive had some very potent advantages at the cost of a very potent disadvantage. They were great at learning how to tailor powerful advantages to overcome some glaring shortcomings.
    -The Stepdaughters and the Morganites had extreme advantages in certain areas of the game, so strong that learning how to leverage those bonuses could lead you to a landslide win in any victory condition that you wanted. But you had to take a COMPLETELY different approach to the game to utilize these. This is the best example of my point about how different civs should be able to provide you with a totally different experience.
    -The Peacekeepers and the Believers had lesser advantages that arguably did not compensate for their disadvantages. However, they were also designed to utilize certain game elements to maximize their potential, and they were more geared towards a specific type of victory (particularly the Peacekeepers.) These two are the best example of how I don't necessarily feel that all the civilizations need to be equal, but rather provide a much different playstyle, approach, and gaming experience for the player.

    Taking that into consideration and then looking at some of the civs in civ6 that people argue need a buff, civs like Phillip's Spain, Jayvarian's Khmer, and Tamar's Georgia don't really offer a different experience. Unlike the Peacekeepers and Believers of SMAC, they don't offer advantages that are different but provide interesting changes in strategy, but rather inferior ones.

    The latest permutation of Civ6 is nearly 20 years after the release of SMAC, and more than likely is consequentially that much more complex and feature-filled. However the developing team is that much more likely expansive. If the larger field of developers put the amount of care and thought into each of the civilizations that they did with the SMAC factions, this would be a much, much better game.
     
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  6. japanesesamurai

    japanesesamurai Chieftain

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    Yes exactly. I played TW for the first time two weeks ago (Shogun 2). I pocked a faction with difficulty normal. I lost 3 times in a row within 90 minutes. (I had no previous experience with TW). Next day I pocked an “easy” labeled faction, and well.. the game was easier.
    Its the same with Paradox games like EUIV.
    Its a good mechanic but maybe not for everyone. I like game over screens. Reminds me of Ghouls and ghosts on NES :)
     
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  7. japanesesamurai

    japanesesamurai Chieftain

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    Also, this game is developed with an iPad and iPhone crowd in mind.
    Quick n easy
     
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  8. Nobody

    Nobody Gangster

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    Every civ should be exactly the same except for cosmetics.
     
  9. UWHabs

    UWHabs Warlord

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    Yep, I'd agree with this.
    Coastal cities suck (see thread), so any civ with a big bonus to the coast makes it harder to leverage.
    Gunning for a religion sucks, so any civ that relies on religion yet without an actual bonus to founding one are just in a tough spot (Georgia/Spain)
    Forts and walls are useless. I'll sometimes build ancient walls because I want to be able to fire on an enemy, but 99% of the time I'd rather have an archer than walls, since the archer can defend multiple cities, and the AI doesn't often pose a threat.
    Any civ with a UU not on the regular upgrade path has to hard build them, making them much less useful.

    I do also think there are some other balance issues which are more annoying than actual balance. For example, having a unique district is a 50% cost reduction, but having a UB you have to pay full price still? Japan has a late game UB which gives +4 culture, yet Canada and Sweden have a late UI with one builder charge, that you can spam in every city, that gives +8 or +10 culture?

    Some things I like, though are civs like the Khmer. While they are by far not the strongest civ, they at least give you enough bonuses to go down a different route in planning your cities, and can make it fun to play. Sure, they could use small tweaks, and will never be the #1 civ, but they're not the worst (usually), and can be fun to play. That's what i want.
     
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  10. SephiBBZ

    SephiBBZ Chieftain

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    :D :D :D

    I can tell you that many people play... Only online. This is the real game. Computers with computers, humans with humans. Do you think some chess players are playing against the IA? There is no point to do this. If you see a game like something funny well it's normal, personally I'm interested by the challenge, the competition, there is no satisfaction for me to crush the IA.

    But I can understand that some players are just doing this to have fun without any interaction with anybody. Again, personally even when I play against computers, it is with a friend in the game, so we are playing together, I'm not alone with computers, for me it would be an absolute non sense.

    So yeah for me, more the game is balanced, better it is.
     
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  11. Ziad

    Ziad Warlord

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    While there are definitely variances in effective power, people here often exaggerate just how powerful they are using inapplicable or incomplete metrics.

    An example is talking about how terrible civ X is at religion because Russia, as if Russia is always against you and as if a Russia focused on faith cant be counterplayed in other ways.

    I dont think there are any overpowered civs in the game and I dont think the difference between civs is that substantial. The main reason people would view it otherwise is due to their own gameplay paradigms, as the simpler a bonus is the less relevant the player's abilities are in exploiting them.
     
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  12. Phoenix1595

    Phoenix1595 Lord of the Two Lands

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    I agree with others that variety is the spice of Civ. Having civs with different playstyles allows players to learn how to play the game differently, and how to adapt to your civ’s shortcomings. Otherwise, there would be no need for Firaxis to come out with a bunch of new civs every year.

    I have played Civ since Civ1. I remember then when each Civ was literally the same as the next one, except for color, city lists and leaderhead. Even the backgrounds were the same as other civs, depending on your government. While I loved civ1, the series’ growth in diverse playstyles and flavor have really made it flourish. I would not go back to the old ways, even if it means I lose a ton of production as Mali or can’t establish a religion as Kongo...
     
  13. ShakaKhan

    ShakaKhan Chieftain

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    Same here except I miss building the palace.
     
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  14. Wizard-Bob

    Wizard-Bob Always remember to Find Your FUN!

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    Me, too! :goodjob: For me, a sandbox type player, GS has hit a home run with the variety of "stuff" to tinker with.
     
  15. Phoenix1595

    Phoenix1595 Lord of the Two Lands

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    That was a great feature, but one the designers seem to have moved on from.
     
  16. Karmah

    Karmah Chieftain Supporter

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    An alternative to 'absolute' balance would be to patch regularily and alter the balance so that the OPs civ change over time , thus creating a meta with each patch.
    It's quite appealing in its dynamicity because you create OPs and make other that counter them very good choices too.
    It's the approach taken by most MP based games since warcraft. It's not bad , makes you revisit civs with each patch. But that 's still a disruption of the current civ model. And probably requiers a more developped MP experience of the game too. Which could be good , because more MP dev means less to do on the AI dev front.
    Just food for though , can't say I reflected nearly long enough to find everywhere 'it would not work for civ'.
     
  17. FenrisWolf456

    FenrisWolf456 Chieftain

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    I don't follow: why can't/aren't you playing Canada in a similar way. If anything, Canada is an even later game civ, so why are you not working to expand your territory so that you are set to plant all those sweet cheap National Parks? I mean, this seems as much fun as trying to set up cultural districts on your borders to eventually do some city flipping as Eleanor (maybe more, but then I really like exploring and building up an expansive empire). I'd even argue that Canada is even more dependent on what you do in the early game. If you're not actively planning ahead and getting those cities settled in a timely manner so that you're set to focus on the culture war of the late game, then it seems like you're not going to do very well.

    On the flip side, how are you playing as Eleanor that you are devoid of denouncements that you can't do as Canada? (Or is this another online aspect? In which case, what can a dev do if players game the system?).

    But I do agree with your initial idea, that there are different kinds of balances that need to be examined and catered to. But then that is something that just won't be fully achieved. For example, some people just really don't like how Religion works in the game, even going so far as to turn off the victory condition. So a seemingly balanced civ, that happens to be heavily favoured towards Religion, will fall rather flat for these kind of players. Similarly, a civ fully devoted to Domination is seen as rather dull for the city-builder type player. So a civ like Macedonia is balanced in that it's fully capable of winning the game, but it's not terribly appealing to a player who greatly prefers peaceful play (so doesn't seem balanced for enjoyment purposes).
     
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  18. Navelgazer

    Navelgazer Chieftain

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    Balance isn't a huge issue for me, but I feel like Civs should still be able to play against each other. MP is its own issue, of cours,e and the nature of the game there will always favor Civs with any ancient-era advantage over those with even very strong late-game advantages (which is why Brazil, which has a strong avenue towards cultural victory and probably the single strongest-for-its-age UU in the game, is considered weak - it has no early advantages, its UA doesn't kick in until a great person of any particular type has already been earned, and its jungle start gives it an early disadvantage.)

    As I play almost entirely in single player, for me the balance I want is for civs to either have broadly applicable strengths, or very powerful but niche strategies. Civ VI has mostly done this. The outliers (Maori is broadly very powerful, Georgia's niche is underpowered, as is Spain's, England is listless, especially under Victoria) just show how relatively balanced the rest of the game really is, in my opinion.
     
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  19. Imaus

    Imaus Chieftain

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    Not really? We just go back to Civ III or so days where civs are basically blank slates to expand on with in-game choices. The leader-trait-UU-UA-UB situation kicked off in IV, V, and here; it can always be dialed back.
     
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  20. Arianrhod

    Arianrhod Chieftain

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    One other facet is that whether or not a civ is "balanced" and whether or not a civ is "fun" tend to be linked. A weak civ generally revolves around aspects that are not fun to use. A strong civ generally revolves around aspects that are not fun to counter. Even if we accept that balance is not strictly speaking important, "fun" still is.

    Mechanics that "are not fun to use" may be this way for a variety of reasons. They may be too weak to change a player's strategy. They may arrive too late relative to their strength to have a noteworthy impact. They may revolve around an aspect of the game that is itself undertuned and not feasible to make use of. They may be counter to the rest of what the Civilization is trying to accomplish. Whatever the cause, civilizations that have too many of these things tend to be both weak and not fun.

    It is possible for a Civilization to be both "weak" and "fun". I feel that the Khmer are a good example: not a single one of their bonuses offers anything truly substantial, but they have a clear design philosophy and a clear method to victory that is semi-unique to them, and are mostly held back by the fact that they rely on not one but two awful districts. Still, you have some idea of what to do with them throughout the game, which is more than can be said for Georgia (defend against the AI using absurdly overkill walls until winning Diplo/Score Victory????) or England (world's worst Frigate rush but you can steal the AI's nonexistent navies).

    But most civs that are "weak" are not "fun". And they are not "fun" because the game mechanics that govern them are broken, or because their benefits offer no meaningful reason to play them (aside from "difficulty"), or because they are designed with a hodgepodge of boons that were applied with no logical endgoal whatsoever, or because everything they have comes too late to matter. And no, I'm sorry, but nobody plays Information Era starts.
     
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