Why was maintenance made more crippling than Civ 3's corruption?

Green172

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It's agreed that maintenance is much more crippling to a player's empire than corruption was in Civ 3, but I want to know why it was made that way. Is it because the map is a lot smaller than civ 3's, so an early conquest of another civ was made less viable for gameplay concerns. In Civ 3 when I destroy the first civ I meet, I don't feel like I have the game in the bag yet. But in Civ 4 most of the time you kill that first civ it feels pretty easy to snowball, I'm more confident that I'll be able to win the game. Otherwise was it made a more defiant mechanic to really entrench the idea that trying to play Civ 4 like Civ 3 will rapidly lose the game for the player.
 

Lennier

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I find it the other way around. Civ IV has a number of ways to overcome maintenance--techs that give additional trade routes, buildings that lower maintenance, the ability (with Currency) to build wealth, and finally the State Property civic which reduces maintenance to very manageable levels. It basically forces you to be small early, but lets you get huge late. Something of a "let everyone have a chance" effect.

Civ III's corruption felt (to me) as a mechanic that served to limit your civilization's size. Beyond a certain size, additional cities would be unproductive (and State Property just lowered the producitvity of all your cities with each additional city beyond a certain size.) More of an overall limitation on your size.
 

pigswill

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Its been a while since I played civ 3. One of the things that put me off civ 3 was the corruption mechanism as at a certain point additional cities were just unproductive. In civ 4 you can overexpand and city maintenance can cripple your economy, however with a growing economy the economic collapse is a temporary rather than a permanent phenomenon. One approach in civ 4 is expand until economy crashes, grow cities until economy recovers then expand again. Playing civ 4 like civ 3 is not a good idea, play civ 4 like civ 4.
 
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If I remember correctly, they're not really comparable mechanics for serving the same function of limiting expansion, because corruption in Civ 3 was still always a net positive. Even if a city yielded very little due to corruption, you still claim the land and deprive the AI of it without any risk of going under for it, whereas in Civ 4 your city maintenance can cause your research to outright collapse and your armies to disband.
 

ArchGhost

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Never played Civ3, but I believe the way Civ4's maintenance works is discourage players from doing the whole "carpet the map with cities" thing from Civ3 (where it was very much worth it to do so, as the previous poster mentions) as a go-to approach. Civ4's maintenance encourages steady progression and development, which throws the player into conflict with the AI as the land dries up...especially as the difficulty increases and they largely ignore costs and just take territory as fast as they can.

You certainly can still spam cities in Civ4, but not from the get-go, or you will pay. You will crash hard without proper development of tiles, key economic techs or civics,and the strike mechanics act as a check against just pushing through anyway --eventually, you won't even be able to keep a settler long enough to put down more cities.

I remember being quite surprised reading about Civ3's corruption and how you don't actually get punished in terms of net losses. More cities simply yield more, even if the corruption makes the gain very little. It's entirely possible to settle cities in Civ4 that do nothing but act as an economic drain that other cities have to prop up.
 

Bibor

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It's agreed that maintenance is much more crippling to a player's empire than corruption was in Civ 3, but I want to know why it was made that way. Is it because the map is a lot smaller than civ 3's, so an early conquest of another civ was made less viable for gameplay concerns. In Civ 3 when I destroy the first civ I meet, I don't feel like I have the game in the bag yet. But in Civ 4 most of the time you kill that first civ it feels pretty easy to snowball, I'm more confident that I'll be able to win the game. Otherwise was it made a more defiant mechanic to really entrench the idea that trying to play Civ 4 like Civ 3 will rapidly lose the game for the player.

Wouldn't neccessarily say it's "agreed". Also, "game in the bag" is a very broad definition :)

Wholehearted recommendation for this article: https://forums.civfanatics.com/threads/the-curious-cat-city-upkeep-explained.138473/

I personally never liked the corruption mechanic. Why would something on the other side of the world cost so many more turns to build? Upkeep paid in gold makes it possible for core cities to finance fringe city development, which is so much more realistic and fun gameplay-wise.
 

Slaughter

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Never played Civ3, but I believe the way Civ4's maintenance works is discourage players from doing the whole "carpet the map with cities" thing from Civ3 (where it was very much worth it to do so, as the previous poster mentions) as a go-to approach.
I remember, Civ3 early game was essentially everyone and his mom spamming settlers until the land ran out. Then the fighting started.

In Civ4, you usually build 3-5 cities then stop for consolidation a bit, then expand up again until you run out of land.
 
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I remember, Civ3 early game was essentially everyone and his mom spamming settlers until the land ran out. Then the fighting started.

In Civ4, you usually build 3-5 cities then stop for consolidation a bit, then expand up again until you run out of land.

Between the two models, the latter is much better. :)
 

Slaughter

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Between the two models, the latter is much better. :)
Yeah, Civ4 model's really makes more sense. Plus, it also prevents barbarians from essentially disappearing like five minutes after gamestart because the entire planet is covered in cities by then.

Plus, its a pretty good at preventing ICS and other issues with expanding too hard without any sort of penalties.
SMAC and 2 were somewhere between 3 and 4 in that aspect. SMAC was more punishing because its equivalent to barbarians, the native life, was more dangerous than plain old barbarians, and the xenofungus was a thing.
 

MrCynical

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It's agreed that maintenance is much more crippling to a player's empire than corruption was in Civ 3, but I want to know why it was made that way.

Definitely wouldn't say that's "agreed". One of the major issues I found with Civ 3 was that beyond a certain point all cities were just one production/ one commerce filler. You just ended up with a bubble of actually productive cities around the capital, and a second around the forbidden palace. Everything outside that bubble (a fairly small one on most map sizes) was near dead weight.

Civ 4 maintenance put a brake on expansion by making cities a net cost initially, but as they developed they became actually worth having. Expansion was worthwhile in the long run, which I found a much better approach.
 

f1rpo

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As for the designer's intentions, the Civ 4 (base game) manual talks at some length about "infinite city sprawl":
On page 91 in the PDF:
Civ 4 manual said:
In the first version of Civ III we turned corruption up significantly to – in our minds – once and for all kill ICS. We were both right and wrong; the change did put an end to building as many cities into as tight a space as possible, but it was also the number one complaint raised against the game. Gamers simply didn’t like having their production taken away from them – there was nothing fun about founding a city and then finding out that it can only ever produce one shield per turn.
 

Quintillus

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Corruption in Civ3 affects the opportunity-cost of infinite city sprawl, while never making expansion a net negative. However, building another super-high-corruption city may not provide as much benefit as building, say, a Library, or a Swordsman to try to conquer a neighbor, or a Galley to go scout for other civilizations.

90% corruption cities isn't really fun, though, just as going bankrupt from expanding too quickly in Civ4 isn't really fun. Both are less unfun than the humungous penalties from negative happiness (also caused by expanding too quickly) in Civ V, IMO.

Which one is worse, corruption or maintenance? Eh, depends on your playstyle. I find Civ4's maintenance less fun in the early-mid game and Civ3's corruption less fun in the late game. Basically each of them is less fun when you notice them the most.

I wonder if a less unfun mechanic, which would still limit city spread and keep barbarians relevant, may have been limiting the number of Settlers a civ can build at a time, similar to how Civ4 limits the number of missionaries that can be built at once?

It's also worth noting that it's possible to mitigate corruption to a significant degree in Civ3, too, even without modding. In my current game, I'm using the Communism government, and while it often underperforms when switched to from Monarchy or Republic, when planned for it can be very powerful at reducing corruption. The usual problem is if only a small core is developed, it will lose more productivity than the outer areas gain, resulting in a worse economy, hence why it requires somewhat careful planning. But done right, it can be powerful in a similar way to State Property in Civ4. In my game, I control about 40% of the world's landmass and corruption is low across the board thanks to Communism + Courthouses + (where useful) Police Stations.

Specialist economies can somewhat sidestep corruption in Civ3, too. Corruption doesn't apply to yield from specialists, so (in a Monarchy/Republic) lots of irrigation + scientists/taxmen/civil engineers can result in decent commerce and building production even in far-flung cities. Drafting allows bringing in a decent number of troops from these cities as well, or police officers can be used to get a middling amount of military production for non-draftable units. The tradeoff is it isn't an intuitive style of play and requires more overhead.

The other tradeoff is that by making maintenance purely based on city count/distance in Civ4, the maintenance per building aspect of Civ3 was lost. This added a more realistic consideration of whether a building was worth the benefit. Is that Barracks in the Tundra really worth 1 gold per turn to maintain? We could build a Stock Exchange in that provincial capital, but if it's only going to provide 3 gold instead of 5 due to its 2 gold per turn maintenance, maybe we'd be better off training some Artillery? Perhaps most commonly, how productive does a city need to be to make it worth building a Factory that then has to be maintained? It's not a huge part of the game but it's somewhat of a counter-point to the argument that it's more realistic for new cities to have to be supported by existing ones (which I also agree with at least when looking at a short-term, brand-new-colony angle. Maybe not from a 100-year-old city angle).
 
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