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Where I whinge about Civilization V
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Topic by: Cyrris
Posted: Oct 7, 12 - 10:45 PM
Last Reply: Mar 15, 13 - 10:06 PM
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Author Where I whinge about Civilization V
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He Leg
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I am not sure how many people here still play this game, or how many bought the expansion pack. However, a new patch was recently announced (not yet released... ETA is "Fall") which addresses a whole bunch of problems I have with this game.

Some of the major ones for me are:

    New peace deals. Now 9 AI levels instead of the previous 5 (so one new level added between each of the earlier ones). Peace levels are now:
      0: White Peace (give up nothing)
      1: Armistice (1/2 gold, 1/2 of max GPT)
      2: Settlement (all gold, max GPT)
      3: Back-down (all luxuries, all gold, max GPT, open borders)
      4: Submission (all resources, all gold, max GPT, open borders)
      5: Surrender (one city)
      6: Cession (1/4 city value, 1/2 gold)
      7: Capitulation (1/3 city value, all gold)
      8: Unconditional Surrender (all but capital, all gold)

    Peace deal code now prioritizes both cities that are close to winner's capital AND cities that were originally built by winning player (previously it was distance only).


I didn't know there were 5 set tiers of peace offers previously, but it now makes sense, as they were never as willing as Civ4 AI opponents to be flexible in the surrender arrangements. At least if they remain fairly set, there are now more options.

And it looks like, if I am reading that last line correctly, that if you strike a deal and they give you some cities, they will give any cities of yours back to you before offering crappy ones of their own on the other side of the world. So that's good.

    Added ability to liberate cities that are not owned by their founders or originally owned by the player. The player will receive a diplomacy bonus with the liberated player for liberating up to three cities. This liberation is not part of the "recalled to life" resurrection of a once annihilated civ. This functionality only runs if the city liberated is owned by a player that is alive.


I am probably going to end up drawing comparisons to Civ4 a lot in this, and here is no exception. This was always an option in Civ4 and it made no sense to not have it in Civ5. I'm glad it's back. It still appears somewhat less flexible though, as in Civ4 you could liberate a city that say, Germany had owned for a thousand years even if it was originally Egypt that founded it. This appears to be return-to-founder only.

The other good news is that liberation goes further with the AI using it for victory progress:

    The AI will now liberate cities and resurrect players. There are notifications when the AI resurrects players and cities. An AI will resurrect another (non-human) player when they are trying to win a diplomatic victory. An AI will return a city if the original owner of the city has a defensive pact with the player and they are both at war with the previous owner of the city, or, the AI and the original owner have a declaration of friendship and the AI is going for a diplomatic victory.


Here are a couple more I am happy with:

  • "We attacked your protected City-State" statements are now triggered by damage done (ex. killing a unit) rather than simply being at war. As a result, the statement should no longer be triggered by a quick succession of DoWs (such as those done automatically by a CS changing allies).
  • The AI will no longer ask other players to join in a war when they are already involved in at least one.
  • AI will now consider annexing cities it has conquered.
  • The AI will not consider annexing if it is trying to win a culture victory or their empire is currently unhappy.


They've also decided to let the AI pillage improvements (before it seemed to only be barbarians that would do this?) and pillaging a tile now gets your unit 25 health back, which could make things interesting.

Finally, they believe there will be some performance improvements. Given that my laptop only just manages smooth frames on medium detail, I am hoping I notice.

It's a really big patch overall, but it's still disappointing to see that so many fixes they have applied since Civ5's launch have been to return to ideas that Civ4 already had long before. I am struggling to believe that there was such a brain drain over at Firaxis just from Soren Johnson leaving.

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In Reply To #1

I am one of those people who actually prefers Civ 5 to Civ 4, particularly after Gods & Kings. I liked Civ 4, and played a few hundred hours of it, but there was a lot about it that was annoying and/or plain stupid.

Having said that, the fixes in that patch all sound pretty promising. Hopefully the patch will fix the issue in multiplayer where selecting a unit which is in an area with a lot of non-friendly (ie, neutral or enemy) units causes the game to lock up and in some cases drop. My housemate and I had to start playing our LAN game as an online game because the online game has longer timeout periods (there was something of a naval buildup owing to a territorial dispute in an archipelago game.). I suspect that was due to some dodgy pathfinding code, so hopefully it's included in the fixes to that.

Also, the healing-when-pillaging is going to totally make Denmark overpowered in the pre-gunpowder game (their melee units can pillage without spending movement).


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Sorry, it's Alpha Centauri for me.

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He Leg
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In Reply To #2

Aside from the stack of doom, what annoyed you in Civ4? By the time Beyond the Sword was released I thought it was a very solid game. I will agree that Gods & Kings was a great improvement for Civ5, but a lot of the improvements (bringing back religion, espionage) were throwing back to Civ4 a bit.

I've not bought any DLCs for Civ5 so I've never experienced Denmark. That's an interesting problem though.

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I really like civ V but it hasn't grabbed me since I stopped playing shortly after its launch, probably because of the AI. This patch looks like a nice point to return to it though, perhaps if the expansion goes on sale too. Assuming the AI is markedly better anyway!


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In Reply To #1

Why play Civ when you can play MOO 2!

*MmmoooooooOOOOOOOooo00...*

/milks nearest cow.

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In Reply To #4

I realise you said "apart from the stack of doom" but I'm totally going to mention it anyway, because at time it was almost game-breakingly bad. I know Civ has never technically been a 'war game', but warfare is still a massive component of the game and Civ4's combat model combined with it's unit stacking meant that warfare required almost no strategic thinking and absolutely no tactical thinking.

In combination with some of the AI behaviours, particularly the Civ 4 AI's apparent total disregard for the distance between them and you when deciding to declare war and the "I'll just build dozens of seige weapons and a couple of spearmen" behaviour the AI favoured, it just made the game massively frustrating.

Civ 5's whole warfare and combat model is just so much better, with hexes and no stacking and less units (in combination making strategic movements important), the 1:1 relationship between resources and units (making each unit more important, and making strategic resources much more important targets for expansion), the addition of ranged units and the fact that unless you're a late-era superpower.

There were other things I didn't really like in Civ 4 though. The implementation of religion was horrible, because it essentially decided the course of an entire game's diplomatic relations in the first era or two, because of the inevitable "Not the same religion"->"Dislike!"->"War!" spiral. Gods & Kings implementation of religion is so, so much better, but I actually think that no religion at all in vanilla Civ 5 was preferable (from a gameplay perspective) to Civ 4.

Corporations (which I think were added in BTS?) always seemed like a totally pointless addition as well, though I always wondered if I was somehow missing the point of them. It just seemed as though they always had a detrimental effect, and added another fiddly bit of micro-management without actually adding anything to the game that wasn't already present with religions.

I know there were a couple of other smaller things too, certainly when I went back to play it a while ago due to a lack of access to Civ 5 I got annoyed and quit fairly quickly. It had more stuff than Civ 5, but a lot of it was either over-simplisitic or pointlessly fiddly. I don't mind micro-management where it adds to the game, but sometimes it felt like it was there to create the illusion of depth rather than creating actual depth.

Having said that, there are some things I miss from Civ 4, particularly cultural flipping of tiles and cities (though again, it felt a little too simplistic in Civ 4, somehow). The random events were good too. Also the fact that multiplayer actually worked properly was nice.


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He Leg
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Ant991 wrote:
I realise you said "apart from the stack of doom" but I'm totally going to mention it anyway, because at time it was almost game-breakingly bad. I know Civ has never technically been a 'war game', but warfare is still a massive component of the game and Civ4's combat model combined with it's unit stacking meant that warfare required almost no strategic thinking and absolutely no tactical thinking.

In combination with some of the AI behaviours, particularly the Civ 4 AI's apparent total disregard for the distance between them and you when deciding to declare war and the "I'll just build dozens of seige weapons and a couple of spearmen" behaviour the AI favoured, it just made the game massively frustrating.

Civ 5's whole warfare and combat model is just so much better, with hexes and no stacking and less units (in combination making strategic movements important), the 1:1 relationship between resources and units (making each unit more important, and making strategic resources much more important targets for expansion), the addition of ranged units and the fact that unless you're a late-era superpower.



It's interesting you say this. Having read a fair bit on the CivFanatics forums, one of the biggest gripes about Civ5 is the tactical AI's inability to make effective use of the one-unit-per-tile system. While it has been improved over time, they still put ranged units in bad places where their melee units should be, they're terrible at navigating choke points, and the only real way they can take you out is by swarming you if the terrain allows for it. Admittedly, Bismark did just that to one of my cities the other day, but it was the first time in a long time I'd been put on the back foot and I was being careless.

Maybe I never thought the Civ4 stacks were that bad because I rarely played on maps bigger than standard, so stacks rarely got that ridiculously big. However I would always make use of (and received) plenty of collateral damage which made stacks a sometimes risky proposition. The tactical AI in general seemed better (actually, it got worse in BTS, I should mention). Perhaps it was because the AI had such greater flexibility of movement, I am not sure. I certainly liked the change to hexes as well, and while I appreciated the elimination of the stacks of doom, I don't think the replacement concept was executed very well with the AI.

I don't agree that Civ4 required no strategic or tactical thinking. It did, however, require less. I've also still got Civ5 AI declaring war on me from quite far away, with no intention (or ability) to trek the vast distance to actually do anything.

Quote:
There were other things I didn't really like in Civ 4 though. The implementation of religion was horrible, because it essentially decided the course of an entire game's diplomatic relations in the first era or two, because of the inevitable "Not the same religion"->"Dislike!"->"War!" spiral. Gods & Kings implementation of religion is so, so much better, but I actually think that no religion at all in vanilla Civ 5 was preferable (from a gameplay perspective) to Civ 4.

Corporations (which I think were added in BTS?) always seemed like a totally pointless addition as well, though I always wondered if I was somehow missing the point of them. It just seemed as though they always had a detrimental effect, and added another fiddly bit of micro-management without actually adding anything to the game that wasn't already present with religions.


Religion was a bit unbalanced in terms of diplomacy but one thing Civ4 did do well was, despite the religious aspect, diplomacy. You could really side yourself with other nations with long-term alliances by fighting with them, liberating their cities, trading favourably, and a raft of other measures. In Civ5 I feel like anyone around me could turn around and declare war at any moment, having been faking it the whole time. There are no real allies. I know this might be more accurate for certain periods of history but now it's as if there could never possibly be two nations who just get along all the time and always help each other. Like you know, we have today.

In Civ4, being friends meant they'd sometimes give you resources. I liked that, and often returned the favour if the AI was really helpful. They'd be inclined to declare war on people who declared on you, even without a defensive pact. In Civ5, a declaration of friendship just means they'll come and grovel to you about needing a resource, or wanting you to denounce someone. You get nothing material out of it, ever.

I know the designer of Civ5 wanted the AI to feel more like they're playing to win as a human would, but what we've ended up with is a bunch of AI players who feel even more like emotionless robots at the diplomatic level than their predecessors did. For me, Civ is role playing the leader of a nation, and Civ4 was a lot better at that, without sacrificing the ability of the AI to still play to win if they wanted to and felt they had a chance.

Corporations were indeed a completely irrelevant addition in BTS, and I only used them because I had to, to remain competitive. They were just cash cows which were really unnecessary.

Quote:
I know there were a couple of other smaller things too, certainly when I went back to play it a while ago due to a lack of access to Civ 5 I got annoyed and quit fairly quickly. It had more stuff than Civ 5, but a lot of it was either over-simplisitic or pointlessly fiddly. I don't mind micro-management where it adds to the game, but sometimes it felt like it was there to create the illusion of depth rather than creating actual depth.

Having said that, there are some things I miss from Civ 4, particularly cultural flipping of tiles and cities (though again, it felt a little too simplistic in Civ 4, somehow). The random events were good too. Also the fact that multiplayer actually worked properly was nice.


Culture wars were fun in Civ4, and were one of the reasons I liked playing smaller maps (so it became more crucial) but I like in Civ5 how borders are rather set like they are in real life, and to flip them requires something a bit more drastic than just pumping out music and movies. Like, a war. Or a citadel.

Despite my complaints, I couldn't go back to Civ4. Civ5 is still progress overall, it's just been executed so poorly and is taking a very long time to fix up. I like City States, I like that there is only happiness, no health, I like that all land units can embark so I don't need to build transports. These are things I probably take for granted now. However I just can't fathom why the game was released in the state that it was, both technically and with respect to some of the conceptual implementations, when they had so much learning material from Civ4 to use. It seems so much of it was discarded.

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Cyrris wrote:
It's interesting you say this. Having read a fair bit on the CivFanatics forums, one of the biggest gripes about Civ5 is the tactical AI's inability to make effective use of the one-unit-per-tile system. While it has been improved over time, they still put ranged units in bad places where their melee units should be, they're terrible at navigating choke points, and the only real way they can take you out is by swarming you if the terrain allows for it. Admittedly, Bismark did just that to one of my cities the other day, but it was the first time in a long time I'd been put on the back foot and I was being careless.


Personally, I count having a better system which the AI isn't quite so proficient at as being the better of the two evils. Strategy AI is incredibly difficult to get right, so it doesn't bug me that it's not perfect because it's been improving consistently. I've taken to playing on the difficulties which give the AI bonuses (I forget which one I actually use now), because it allows the AI to compensate for a lack of 'skill' with more readily available units to make up for mistakes.

One thing that does annoy me with the AI though is how un-aggressive it is most of the time, not in terms of starting wars but fighting them. I usually play on the largest map size, but dump loads of extra AI players in (sometimes up to 20 players including myself) because it makes for a more dynamic campaign, but I very often see two AI civs go to war, one clearly winning and sometimes even about to take a city with no chance of even losing any units in doing so, then they declare peace with no territorial changes. It'd be nice to see them try to deal killer blows sometimes, because as it is it's very rare for any AI civ to become a powerful challenger unless they lucked out with a massive uncontested start area.

Quote:
I don't agree that Civ4 required no strategic or tactical thinking. It did, however, require less. I've also still got Civ5 AI declaring war on me from quite far away, with no intention (or ability) to trek the vast distance to actually do anything.


My issue in Civ4 wasn't that the AI on the other side of the continent/world would declare war on you, it was that it would declare war on you with no warning at all, rock up with one giant stack of doom which would be all it needs to do serious damage and then do a decent job of fighting a war without any possibility of reinforcing it or anything, which IMO shouldn't really be possible in the pre-modern era. Civ5 generally requires a steady stream of reinforcements, which makes it far less viable to do that.

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In Civ5 I feel like anyone around me could turn around and declare war at any moment, having been faking it the whole time. There are no real allies. I know this might be more accurate for certain periods of history but now it's as if there could never possibly be two nations who just get along all the time and always help each other. Like you know, we have today.


At launch this was really bad, yeah, although I've found the diplomacy AI has massively improved over time, since G&K it does seem possible to form a steady alliance (I'd quite like some sort of group alliance/coalition type deal though). The extra feedback stuff they've added in (denunciations, particularly) really helped in that regard.

Quote:
In Civ4, being friends meant they'd sometimes give you resources. I liked that, and often returned the favour if the AI was really helpful. They'd be inclined to declare war on people who declared on you, even without a defensive pact. In Civ5, a declaration of friendship just means they'll come and grovel to you about needing a resource, or wanting you to denounce someone. You get nothing material out of it, ever.


This is probably my biggest gripe with the diplomacy, and although it's gotten better since G&K (it seems that they only now ask for luxury resources you have spare?) it is still really stupid.

The other thing that seems really stupid is that the AI never has any spare luxury resources, presumably because the AI players trade amongst themselves, but they never offer to trade with the player, so you have to catch them at exactly the right time in order to swap luxury resources with them. If they can trade amongst themselves, what's so difficult about considering the player as a trading partner at the same time?

Quote:
However I just can't fathom why the game was released in the state that it was, both technically and with respect to some of the conceptual implementations, when they had so much learning material from Civ4 to use. It seems so much of it was discarded.


I expect it was just a matter of deadlines and resources, really. There were a lot of bugs that shouldn't have been in there at release but were, and some features that should've been there but weren't, but as a software developer I know that just happens sometimes. Hopefully they (or 2K) will have learned from the mass of negative publicity those issues got the game at release time and delay future releases until they're in a more polished state.


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Edge Damodred wrote:
Sorry, it's Alpha Centauri for me.


I so miss that game.

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He Leg
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In Reply To #9

Yes, I believe they now only ask for resources you have spare. Which is still annoying if you've just forgotten to trade it off somewhere - but yes, it'd be better if other players offered to trade with you.

I certainly understand the position that publishers put developers in to get releases out the door. However there is a difference between a few bugs being present and things being completely unfinished. I mean, the rivers weren't even shaded correctly like other water bodies on release, or for months after.

I for one am hoping that Civ6 does not come out any year soon. I'd much prefer them to be working on an Alpha Centauri II, because that would be awesome. However I am not sure how it would work with EA owning the rights to that trademark.

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In Reply To #10
Give Endless Space a try you Alpha Centauri lovers.


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He Leg
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OK so the patch has landed today. The good news is that it is backwards compatible with previous save games - excellent for me since I was in the middle of a huge epic map, and having a much more interesting game than I've had in years.

The performance improvements are actually very noticeable on my laptop, but the trade-off in pre-loading textures on tiles does get a bit annoying. I am not sure if this is only more noticeable on a huge map though, I will need to try a small one later and see if it's as noticeable.

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For anyone interested - Firaxis has announced the next expansion to Civ5, titled "Brave New World".

Looks like some interesting new features will be in there, but I think a bit more needs to be revealed before I'd be OK plonking money down on it. Scenarios don't add any appeal to me, so it's all about what is added to the core game. New Civs and Wonders are all also fairly unnecessary to me (though no doubt people would be up in arms without them) I'm more about gameplay changes. The new international trade routes design looks like a good one.

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Where I whinge about Civilization V
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Topic by: Cyrris
Posted: Oct 7, 12 - 10:45 PM
Last Reply: Mar 15, 13 - 10:06 PM
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