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Why is it boring? Too long between rewards.

Discussion in 'Civ5 - General Discussions' started by Solo4114, Feb 8, 2011.

  1. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

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    So, I went back and started playing again. This time, playing as Oda on Chieftan, on a standard size map. Not an earth map, just a randomly generated one. The game was still boring, but by playing a combat-heavy game, I could see where things got interesting if you were busy killin' stuff. At least initially. It's still pretty easy to steamroll the AI, but I'll get to that in a bit.

    At any rate, I compared this experience with having also recently started up a Civ 4 Vanilla (patched) game, and INSTANTLY gotten into it. I think I've figured out a few reasons why Civ5 is boring as compared to Civ4.


    The single biggest reason why any playthru of Civ5 is going to be more boring than Civ4, I think, is a slower rate of "reward." When playing long-term games like Civ, you aren't always dealing knockout blows to the AI, or even fighting successful single battles. The game, however, "rewards" you by letting you accomplish this or that. You discover a new tech, complete a tile improvement, build a unit, build a building, move a unit into position, etc. All these little things act as rewards. They're incentives to keep playing and clicking "next turn" and the primary reason why, like lab rats, we keep clicking next turn over and over and over again.

    Put simply, it is the "rewards" of accomplishing a task in Civ that conditions you to say "one...more...turn...."


    Civ5, however, draws the time between each reward out in the extreme, at least by comparison with Civ 4. Put simply, EVERYTHING takes longer to do. Buildings -- even basic ones -- take 20 turns to complete. Units take 20 turns to complete throughout the game. Tile improvements take at LEAST three turns to complete even in the modern age. Population growth takes ages. Even the simple task of moving an army into position can take a long time, due to the lack of roads (itself due to the cost of maintaining roads). What's more, the tasks undertaken often yield comparatively lower practical results. Yes, you can build Notre Dame, but...for +1 culture and +5 happiness (or whatever minimal benefit it offers)...why would you? You'd do better to build a cheap Circus. Or bribe a city-state. Now, it's true that all this does speed up towards the late game (industrial/modern era), but even then, many elements of the game still take forever to complete. Even combat -- unless there's a serious disparity of force -- takes at least 2 attacks to kill any given unit.


    Compare this to Civ4 which can start slow, but reach a point where you're cranking out bombers every 2 turns or so, completing roads on the SAME turn, researching techs quickly, etc., etc. You can move armies near-instantly with railroads, build new buildings rapidly, etc. The game is, quite simply, a hell of a lot faster. As a result, you get more frequent "rewards." You accomplish more and accomplish it faster in Civ4 than in Civ5. Moreover, by dragging out the time between rewards in Civ5, the designers allowed the game to lose steam. You have to MAKE yourself click "next turn" much of the time, instead of making yourself NOT click "next turn" as in previous games. The addictive factor is considerably lower.


    Can this be modded? Sure, but it won't necessarily solve all the problems under the hood. Still, I'd have to say that it strikes me as particularly odd that the designers would've gone this route if the aim was to bring in more "casual players." Casual players, I'd think, are the people who'd MOST benefit from the rapid reward approach of Civ 4. It'd keep them playing longer by getting them hooked early. Maybe the theory was that allowing too much to happen too soon could "overload" the casual player, but I think that takes a rather dim and indeed insulting view of such a player.
     
  2. Duraska

    Duraska Chieftain

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    I agree, I always seem to start losing interest in the game around the medieval era...
     
  3. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

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    Yeah, even expansion seems problematic. Typically, I'd do some expansion during the medieval era, if the map permitted it. As it stands, the best way to expand after your initial few cities, is to build up an army and start puppeting AI cities. The puppeting is another element of the deferred/delayed/denied reward factor.

    Rather than getting another city you can play with to give you more opportunities for "rewards", you end up with an automated city that's basically out of sight/out of mind. You can annex it, sure, but then you'll have to deal with the unhappiness hit, plus screwing yourself out of any national wonders you might've been prepared to build. Not that there are many national wonders worth a damn anyway, but that's a separate point about the practical benefit not matching the investment costs.
     
  4. jacyp

    jacyp Winter Lover

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    The most important part of your post is quoted above.

    MODs can be the solution to a lot of problems of the game, but only if they are balanced. If not, they will just turn the gameplay into a circus.

    There are a lot of MODs out there today that does things like: make your cities grows faster; make an improvement more powerful so people don't always irrigate.

    Let's stick with only these 2 examples.

    If you make your cities grows faster, you will solve the problem that many people complain about the city taking too long to grow. But what will balance this?

    If you are complaining about the game, chances are that you will complain also about the happiness system change. There are many things tied to the new way happiness is dealt with: city grow, new cities being settled, science (since it depends directly on population) and the general capacity of your empire to generate gold and production (since both depends on working tiles and that depends on population).

    Let's get back to the example. If your cities grow faster and you change the improvements so they give more gold and production to balance irrigation you will have:

    - Science increasing quicker that it was design to.

    - More people working tiles and giving you more food/gold/production overall resulting in:
    1. More food = even faster pop (hence, science) grow;
    2. More gold = research agreements spam and even faster science breakthroughs, also more gold = buying happiness buildings for instant happiness increase and finally more gold = buying science buildings for instant science increase. Bottom line is: with more gold you can get almost everything faster, since gold has so much uses now. So if you mess around with the gold, you will be messing around with almost everything else in the game.
    3. More production = faster construction of all the buildings you can also buy above.​

    All of these effects are made worse by increasing the gold/production output of improved tiles.

    - If it's easier to keep your happiness high through the quick or instant construct of happiness buildings and since you'll achieve the techs that allows this buildings much faster, ICS becomes the stardard strategy of the game and since ICS consists in more cities, all written above will apply several times and by now I think it's easy to see that a snow ball has turned into an avalanche.

    So, at the end of the day you will be left with a game with no challenges whatsoever, no thinking necessary to play it.

    And all this was caused by what? The new happiness system. It became the only limiting factor for many things that were spread before, for the sake of simplification of the game.

    Before (Civ 4) we had separated things limiting the city grow: happiness, health, location of the city (since you couldn't irrigate everything, like we can now) and tech advance (since some techs could give you the ability of better explore a sea tile, or a food resource, or could improve irrigation). And you could take care of this limiting factor in different ways: trading resources with neighbors; constructing all kinds of buildings; acquiring new resources settling a new city (but also weighting if it is worth it. Today, it always worth it); sacrificing your gold for science, or trading techs, to achieve the tech that would give you that building or improvement that increases happiness/health.

    So if you want to make a MOD to "fix" some complaints today, you'll have to think about almost everything in the game, cos it's all tied up in a way that isn't always intuitive, and it comes down to the new happiness system, like, 90% of the time. And it's rare to see such effort, cos it's time consuming. The only example I can give is Thalassicus' "Balance - combined" MOD.

    Other MODs will sure pop up after the full SDK is released, with new features that are impossible today. What bugs me the most is to see that many people who dislike Civ 5 do it for the wrong reason. They don't want balance, they want to crush the AI everytime, only faster. And that reflects in the majority of MODs we can see. The vast majority don't give a damn about balance, they just want to pop buildings faster, pop armies faster, grow cities faster... they just want the reward you talked about in the OP.

    But a reward's value is directly proportional to the effort made to achieve it.

    That's why Civ 5 is so childish compared to Civ 4. In Civ 4 the game made you care about and monitor several aspects that were influencing your empire and, more important than everything, it made you chose between several different solutions the one that were more adequate to you. Sometimes you had simply no choice at all available, you had to create a choice. You had to make decisions, your decisions had weight in the game, and that's what created the "reward". The fact that you made a decision amongst several available ones and the decision you've chosen solved a problem of your civilization.

    Now your only decision is when you want to win the game. No thought required. ICS, steam-roll the AI, win. Every time.

    We still have the rewards in Civ 5, they can still come quick. But they just don't have the value that they used to in Civ 4.
     
  5. Smote

    Smote Emperor

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    Set game speed = Quick. Set map size = small/tiny. It sounds like exactly what you want.
     
  6. kamex

    kamex Emperor

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    Boring on Chieftan??? No way!!!??? :O

    Try turning the difficulty level above chimpanzee level! :D

    No seriously though, I've found that if you step the difficulty up to a level where you can't comfortably win, the game always becomes more engaging.
     
  7. Morningcalm

    Morningcalm Keeper of Records

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    Another huge issue created post-patch is how hard cities are to take, and how hilariously vulnerable and short-sighted (LOS wise) siege weapons remain (your warrior has just insta killed a catapult. And you were expecting game balance? Heh!).

    This has the effect of making early warfare a dull mudslinging contest with no one winning, but everyone knee-deep in....poo.
     
  8. sketch162000

    sketch162000 Warlord

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    You never realize how fast everything happens in Civ IV until you dragged on for a few hundred years in Civ V. When I first started migrating back to Civ IV I was getting my tail kicked all over the place because I just couldn't keep up. Funny that Civ V is supposed to be the game for people with short attention spans...Marathon games take a lifetime in V, and yet there is absolutely nothing to do...
     
  9. Smote

    Smote Emperor

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    It really does. A nice loss gives a world of motivation.
     
  10. UrbanX

    UrbanX Absolute Monarch

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    the game has become boring to me too, maybe because I've played so many hours of it. but i bet the combat on that level has to be fun. no?
     
  11. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

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    The combat is somewhat entertaining. I'm at the modern era and am currently steamrolling Alex. Had some artillery destroy his pikemen in a single shot. That's mildly entertaining, sure.


    I think, however, that some folks are missing the point here.

    My point is not "It's boring because it's easy." Rather, my point is "It's boring because nothing is happening." The complaints from people about how "All you do is sit and click 'next turn' in this game" are coming for a reason, and the reason, I think, is as I've described it.

    Yes, you can make the game be more productive. But it is -- by DESIGN -- slower. The game itself imposes limits on how fast you can do pretty much anything, and by comparison to Civ 4, those limits are striking. In Civ 4, early on, yeah, you can take 60 turns to build a settler. But, you can also knock that down to 5 turns (or however many) by building a worker, chopping out a second worker, and then having them double-team another forest tile or two. You can do SOME of that in Civ5, but even chopping this or that out, the game will still be slow.

    I find that the only thing that moves quickly is science, and I have a sneaking suspicion that science moves quickly to forcibly obsolete units that much faster so you never have time to build up a huge army -- you're instead spending your time (and gold) upgrading your old one.

    I suspect that, at higher difficulty levels, the slowness factor would still be there. Indeed, it might even be amplified, although you'll still probably have to fend off more attacks from the AI (which, from what I've seen, is not exactly a tactical genius).
     
  12. noncognosco

    noncognosco Warlord

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    I think we have identified why you think the game is boring.
     
  13. Solo4114

    Solo4114 Prince

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    I think you have conveniently ignored the substance of my post.

    Also, I think you're wrong.
     
  14. noncognosco

    noncognosco Warlord

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    Nothing of interest is happening because you are so far ahead of the AI because you are playing at too low a level. Seriously try a game at Emperor or above and see if you find it more stimulating.
     
  15. SuperJay

    SuperJay Bending Space and Time

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    Even if you're correct and Solo4114 only ever played on Chieftain, increasing the difficulty of Civ 5 does not add features and depth to the game. It just gives the AI more bonuses.

    (As an aside - I can see you just registered here, so welcome aboard. I'd caution you from making such sweeping assumptions about your fellow Civ fans based on one line of one post.)
     
  16. Soronery

    Soronery Prince

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    It does add depth to the game as you need to take things(trades,diplomacy, combat maneuvers, ect..) into account on higher difficulties that you could basically ignore otherwise. I suggest the OP play on deity/quickpace/pangea. If he still finds it boring then maybe the game is not for him.
     
  17. Smote

    Smote Emperor

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    If enemy tanks started rolling in, I think you would be more interested than you are currently shooting pikemen with artillery.

    I would find playing basketball against a bunch of 4 year olds boring too.
     
  18. Celevin

    Celevin King

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    Can we get past the damn difficulty level and talk about the argument? I play at Immortal/Deity, and I'm finding build times so long that they're killing the game for me. There. Discuss.

    And no, switching game speeds isn't a solution. It takes too long to build a unit/building compared to the tech pace.
     
  19. jtb1127

    jtb1127 Deity

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    Go look for some mods. They spice up the game.
     
  20. Nares

    Nares Emperor

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    I found it to be like going to my local card shop to play in a M:TG tournament, only to find the oldest competition to be fourteen years old.

    Smote's above statement that he found it to be like playing basketball against four year olds is a similar expression.
     

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