Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

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Borgholio
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Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Borgholio »

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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by AniThyng »

AKA Alpha Centauri, Civ5 style, huh.

I liked the style of the intro, and I got the vague feeling they were going for a sort of "this is the natural consequence of a civ5 game thus the wonders are randomly placed". But I may be wrong.

Would be amusing if you could import a spaceship victory civ 5 game and gain some small bonuses based on how it turned out.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by madd0ct0r »

hex grid? heresy!
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Vendetta »

AniThyng wrote: I liked the style of the intro, and I got the vague feeling they were going for a sort of "this is the natural consequence of a civ5 game thus the wonders are randomly placed". But I may be wrong.
It felt to me more like "these are the social and ecological consequences that are causing us to abandon Earth". Especially since the narrator sounds a hell of a lot like Diedre Skye from the original ACen.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Purple »

I am cautiously pessimistic here. On one hand, SMAC is my absolutely favorite game of all time. On the other it's far more likely than not that this will end up resembling Civ 5. And we all know that can't mean anything good. So basically I expect to have my self built up only to have my memories be raped by Saurons war mace.
It has become clear to me in the previous days that any attempts at reconciliation and explanation with the community here has failed. I have tried my best. I really have. I pored my heart out trying. But it was all for nothing.

You win. There, I have said it.

Now there is only one thing left to do. Let us see if I can sum up the strength needed to end things once and for all.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Borgholio »

Am I the only one where who actually found Civ5 to be enjoyable?
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Purple »

Borgholio wrote:Am I the only one where who actually found Civ5 to be enjoyable?
Quick question. Were you a fan of the civilization series beforehand or did you start off with Civ5?
It has become clear to me in the previous days that any attempts at reconciliation and explanation with the community here has failed. I have tried my best. I really have. I pored my heart out trying. But it was all for nothing.

You win. There, I have said it.

Now there is only one thing left to do. Let us see if I can sum up the strength needed to end things once and for all.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Borgholio »

I was a fan of the entire series except for Civ3. That one didn't really sit right with me for some reason. I will admit it took a bit of time to get used to some of the changes such as hex tiles, but if anything it made the game more interesting than just creating a mega stack of doom and making a beeline for the enemy capitol.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Arthur_Tuxedo »

Purple, your hatred of Civ5 is hardly universal, so you might want to lay off the condescension. I've been playing the series since Civ2, and Civ5 with expansions is by far my favorite.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Lagmonster »

I've been playing Civ since its inception, and 5 - with all expansions in - is to me either the second best or the best of the series depending on what time of day it is. I'm entirely positive that Firaxis/whomever have the ability to make a top-flight game in this genre. Now they just have to do it.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Purple »

Borgholio wrote:I was a fan of the entire series except for Civ3. That one didn't really sit right with me for some reason. I will admit it took a bit of time to get used to some of the changes such as hex tiles, but if anything it made the game more interesting than just creating a mega stack of doom and making a beeline for the enemy capitol.
I can't say for sure but that's probably it. Civ 5 is another step in the progressive departure from Civ 3 that started with CIV 4. So if you did not enjoy 3 you likely will feel that it's a step in the right direction. Otherwise you will wish they had taken a step back. Kind of like the Heroes 3 vs 4 vs 5 thing. I know a girl who loved Heroes 3 and 5 where as I loved 4 which was a radical departure.

Or alternatively it might just be you randomly enjoying a game I didn't care about and me overanalyzing things. I tend to do that at least once a day.
Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:Purple, your hatred of Civ5 is hardly universal, so you might want to lay off the condescension. I've been playing the series since Civ2, and Civ5 with expansions is by far my favorite.
What's with the attitude man? Seriously. Do you have sand stuck in your underpants or something?
Just because you liked it and I didn't does not suddenly make us mortal enemies that can't have a reasonable discussion like I am doing with the other guy. And it certainly does not give you the right to attack me for expressing my opinion on the matter.


Oh on that note. I also like the character of Jar Jar and find him to be funny. Just FYI.
It has become clear to me in the previous days that any attempts at reconciliation and explanation with the community here has failed. I have tried my best. I really have. I pored my heart out trying. But it was all for nothing.

You win. There, I have said it.

Now there is only one thing left to do. Let us see if I can sum up the strength needed to end things once and for all.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Borgholio »

So if you did not enjoy 3 you likely will feel that it's a step in the right direction.
I think if I had to put my finger on it, Civ 3 just introduced a few new features that didn't get polished until Civ 4. I'm looking mainly at the concept of national borders that expand over time and unit bombardment.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Arthur_Tuxedo »

Purple wrote:
Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:Purple, your hatred of Civ5 is hardly universal, so you might want to lay off the condescension. I've been playing the series since Civ2, and Civ5 with expansions is by far my favorite.
What's with the attitude man? Seriously. Do you have sand stuck in your underpants or something?
Just because you liked it and I didn't does not suddenly make us mortal enemies that can't have a reasonable discussion like I am doing with the other guy. And it certainly does not give you the right to attack me for expressing my opinion on the matter.


Oh on that note. I also like the character of Jar Jar and find him to be funny. Just FYI.
I hardly think what I wrote constitutes an attack, especially by SDN standards. I was (rather politely) calling you out on your implication to Borgholio that only people who have not followed the Civ series would prefer #5 to previous entries.

That said, if I had felt like insulting you for having a conflicting opinion, I would most certainly have the right, so long as the attacks came after a substantive argument. This is SDN, after all, not Mr. Darcy's tea room.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Spekio »

I found Civ 5 to lack diplomacy, my favorite playstyle.

Does brave new world expand on that? Because Gods and Kings did not, IMO.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Purple »

Borgholio wrote:
So if you did not enjoy 3 you likely will feel that it's a step in the right direction.
I think if I had to put my finger on it, Civ 3 just introduced a few new features that didn't get polished until Civ 4. I'm looking mainly at the concept of national borders that expand over time and unit bombardment.
Honestly I always felt that vanilla Civ 4 (as in without the expansion packs) was actually a step back from Civ 3. They did not so much polish these things as they got rid of them. Now by the time BTS rolled around yes, Civ 4 had become the superior of the two.

This said, what really killed 5 for me was that they did the lazy thing and addressed the combat balance issues in a completely wrong way. Huge stacks of doom were always an issue in Civ 4. But 1 unit per tile was the worst possible solution. I always felt that rather than doing what they did and restrict the players tactical options they should have done things the way they were done in SMAC and restrict the number of units you can have at all via measures such as maintenance. Things that Civ 4 mods had been doing for years by that point.
Arthur_Tuxedo wrote:I hardly think what I wrote constitutes an attack, especially by SDN standards. I was (rather politely) calling you out on your implication to Borgholio that only people who have not followed the Civ series would prefer #5 to previous entries.
An implication that you invented. As I was merely asking around. Buy I digress.
That said, if I had felt like insulting you for having a conflicting opinion, I would most certainly have the right, so long as the attacks came after a substantive argument. This is SDN, after all, not Mr. Darcy's tea room.
Maybe next time you can also have an argument handy so I can't complain. And while we are on arguments you need to learn the difference between a leisurely conversations and a debate. You also need to learn to assume people are intelligent enough not to start heated debates around issues of personal taste as these lead to nowhere.

Tell you what though. Let's just stop here.
It has become clear to me in the previous days that any attempts at reconciliation and explanation with the community here has failed. I have tried my best. I really have. I pored my heart out trying. But it was all for nothing.

You win. There, I have said it.

Now there is only one thing left to do. Let us see if I can sum up the strength needed to end things once and for all.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Borgholio »

Huge stacks of doom were always an issue in Civ 4. But 1 unit per tile was the worst possible solution.
Yeah I can see your point. One aspect I liked in Civ 4 was the ability to turn a few units into an "Army" unit. Would have been better to limit the stack of doom to a few units which then you could turn into an army group for convenience sake. So it's be mid-range...no unlimited unit stack but more than just one.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Purple »

Borgholio wrote:
Huge stacks of doom were always an issue in Civ 4. But 1 unit per tile was the worst possible solution.
Yeah I can see your point. One aspect I liked in Civ 4 was the ability to turn a few units into an "Army" unit. Would have been better to limit the stack of doom to a few units which then you could turn into an army group for convenience sake. So it's be mid-range...no unlimited unit stack but more than just one.
That's about it. Civ 4 moders have done great things to this effect. If you want a taste check out The History of Three Kingdoms mod. They basically added hero units that can form armies of 2-5 subunits and give bonuses to them in exchange for experience that the hero unit can use to become a better general. What I would do is basically combine that with a progressive unit maintenance cost. As in 2 units cost more than 2x 1 unit.

Thus you could pool as many units as you wanted and create stacks of doom with your entire army. But to do so would suddenly become a strategic gamble since you can only have that many units total. It turns a negative feature into a positive one and a strategic challenge. Rather than just replacing it with a game of shuffleboard.
It has become clear to me in the previous days that any attempts at reconciliation and explanation with the community here has failed. I have tried my best. I really have. I pored my heart out trying. But it was all for nothing.

You win. There, I have said it.

Now there is only one thing left to do. Let us see if I can sum up the strength needed to end things once and for all.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Simon_Jester »

I think a lot of the complaints about Civ V don't revolve so much around the hex grid or any of the other "radical departures." They revolve more around the way that they changed the game to (in effect) force a different playstyle on you.

There have been complaints about how the AI can't handle the new "one unit per tile" restriction, making its troops easy prey for the more competent human player, at least on a unit-for-unit basis. That the diplomatic AI seems irrational, warring on its friends and being effectively impossible to befriend. That the AI in general is weak and has been given rather crude hacks to basic game mechanics, like a game out of the '90s, because it's not smart enough to handle things.

There have been complaints about how the happiness mechanic works to restrict (or not restrict) overall empire size, which cycles back to complaints about the AI.

There have been complaints about the game creating too many ways to actively screw yourself over by doing the wrong thing (say, because they now charge money for buildings again, and there are more buildings that fail to contribute effectively to your economic growth).

There have been complaints about how the map often randomly generates bottlenecks that can be held almost indefinitely by a couple of units, resulting in entire empires being trapped banging their heads against a wall by the unit per tile restriction. Also about it being very hard to create an maneuver armies of the size that Civ players are accustomed to- because the total number of tiles on the map is quite limited, and each individual tile is supposed to be important.

In traditional hex-based wargames with one unit per tile restrictions that's manageable- mainly because there are typically a thousand or more hexes, on a relatively open map- and only a few dozen units on each side. There's plenty of maneuvering room. Civ V runs into problems there.

They can't have too many tiles, or there will be more cities than the human player can keep track of without being bored out of his skull.

So to allow any maneuvering room at all, they need to keep army sizes minimal. But to do that they have to ensure that there's no way to spam enormous masses of units, something that was very much possible in previous Civ games.

If this were primarily a tactical wargame that'd be fine- most tactical wargames make it hard or impossible to beat the enemy by having superior numbers, using various systems to restrict the total size of your army.* But wait- Civ sells itself as an empire-building game! That's why it has engine components to model things like technology, population growth, exploration and discovery, diplomacy, and other things that a tactical wargame doesn't bother with.

And in an empire-building game, restricting the size of the player's army is a problem. There's no arbitrary "use the units we gave you in this scenario," no arbitrary 'prestige' mechanic to explain why you can't just whistle up a new tank unit to replace the one you lost. It's your empire, you can damn well build more tanks if you want to.

So in an empire-builder, restricting the player's army requires restricting his ability to build that army. Which in turn means restricting his ability to build stuff in general. Which is a problem, because of, well, the "building" in "empire-building."

The practical result of this is that the game imposes a new restriction that in and of itself would not be a problem. But because of how the "one unit per tile" restriction interacts with the "there aren't actually that many tiles in play" constraint, you are forced to say "armies must be small or gameplay becomes a mindless carpet of useless combat units unable to reach the front." Which in turn means you have to rewrite the whole game for small armies... and very few people started playing Civ because they want a small polity.

*Though if this is a tactical wargame, where's the tactical AI?


EDIT: I'm really hoping that this new game does NOT use a close copy of the basic Civ V engine, the way SMAC used a clearly recognizable derivative of the Civ II engine. The problem is that Civ V has some serious problems that flow out of severe structural flaws, and if they don't fix them they will get a bad game no matter what else they do. No amount of retuning will fix things otherwise.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Brother-Captain Gaius »

I never understood the hate for Civ 5. Having played since Civ 2 (possibly my favorite, but that may be nostalgia), I think a combination of it being significantly different from the old fundamentals (hexes, single unit per tile, tactical abilities, culture trees), and it lacking some of the depth it has since gained from its expansions contributed to a sort of "meh" feeling at release. Now, though, it's probably my most-played Civ title except for Civ 2, because the differences really aren't the bad kind of differences and the expansions have built the game up to its predecessors' standards.

So I don't really see the problem with Alpha Centauri: Civ 5 Edition. As long as they hit the core features SMAC did -- interesting science-fiction technologies and environment, lovingly-crafted "story" elements like factions, leaders, voice-overs, their little quotation excerpts, etc., and designable units -- then it can be as Civ 5 as it likes for all I care.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Siege »

The thing I liked about SMAC was the sheer force of personality of its leaders, because that was a great way to hide some of the AIs more irrational decisions. The Spartans were militant survivalists and Corazon Santiago was crazy violent, so it kind of made sense that they'd try to take my stuff by force no matter how many planetbusters my University had pointed at their cities. It wasn't strictly rational, but neither were they, so it felt consistent. Likewise for when Deirdre Skye got her hate on for my research, or when Sheng-ji Yang threw hordes of dudes at creepy alien fauna. No Civ game I've ever played - and I started with the very first one - has ever actually had good AI, but at least in SMAC the craziness always felt like it flowed from leader personalities and faction characterization.

No Civ game since has managed to match that. Now that its expansions are out I really enjoy Civ 5, but its world leaders never feel like more than a bunch of stats behind a portrait. They aren't personalities, and two or three unique units per nation aren't enough to really distinguish one from the next either. So if there's one thing I'd really like this game to do it's to bring back the character-driven nature of the people the player competes against. Beyond that they can just copy the Civ5 engine for all I care, it works fine for what it does. I personally appreciate having to think about the position of my artillery and what troops I'm going to need before sieging a well-defended capital, instead of the old solution of blindly throwing doomstacks at a problem until it goes away.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Simon_Jester »

Brother-Captain Gaius wrote:I never understood the hate for Civ 5. Having played since Civ 2 (possibly my favorite, but that may be nostalgia), I think a combination of it being significantly different from the old fundamentals (hexes, single unit per tile, tactical abilities, culture trees), and it lacking some of the depth it has since gained from its expansions contributed to a sort of "meh" feeling at release. Now, though, it's probably my most-played Civ title except for Civ 2, because the differences really aren't the bad kind of differences and the expansions have built the game up to its predecessors' standards.
I think the criticism is that they kind of... didn't live up to the potential of the radically new gameplay.

The example I harped on above comes to mind- wargames with "one unit per tile" tend to have something like 7-10 spaces of open land between strategically interesting points, and very few 'bottleneck' tiles that a unit MUST pass through to get from point A to point B. A typical Civ map just doesn't have that kind of maneuvering room, so the hex-based wargame element becomes sort of... cramped.

So by failing to work out a way to give the player the maneuvering room a proper hex-based wargame requires, by not changing the basic relationship between cities and tiles, they made the tactical side of the game an inferior wargame.
So I don't really see the problem with Alpha Centauri: Civ 5 Edition. As long as they hit the core features SMAC did -- interesting science-fiction technologies and environment, lovingly-crafted "story" elements like factions, leaders, voice-overs, their little quotation excerpts, etc., and designable units -- then it can be as Civ 5 as it likes for all I care.
As long as the AI is capable of executing its own strategies competently (not sanely, but competently), and as long as the game balance doesn't create a perverse incentive by favoring six tiny cities over one huge one, I'm happy.
Siege wrote:The thing I liked about SMAC was the sheer force of personality of its leaders, because that was a great way to hide some of the AIs more irrational decisions... No Civ game I've ever played - and I started with the very first one - has ever actually had good AI, but at least in SMAC the craziness always felt like it flowed from leader personalities and faction characterization.
This is actually a very good point. I agree with it 100%... with the caveat that the game AI may not act rationally, but should at least be capable of implementing its own decisions. An AI that decides to attack you should be dangerous on the offensive; its armies should be hard-hitting and should not be easily stopped.
Beyond that they can just copy the Civ5 engine for all I care, it works fine for what it does. I personally appreciate having to think about the position of my artillery and what troops I'm going to need before sieging a well-defended capital, instead of the old solution of blindly throwing doomstacks at a problem until it goes away.
Put this way.

Previous Civ games were "grand strategy" games. You won wars by setting up an economy that could handle massive war production. And by making intelligent decisions about how to prepare for the war and who to attack under what conditions. It was not a game about operational or tactical-level decisions like "we'll put this cavalry division here to outflank the enemy army there." Intelligent management of your units made a real difference but was not as decisive as intelligent management of your economy.

Civ V tried to preserve the grand-strategy focus, and rightly so because it's a game about civilizations, not army corps.

However, they had a "wouldn't it be cool if" moment and decided to create a more detailed tactical/operational wargame aspect to the game as well. That was a good idea. I've seen it done and liked it- I have fond memories of some '90s games that combined economic management and tactical battlefields like Lords of the Realm II and Caesar II.

The problem was one of implementation. Hex-based wargames are a surprisingly challenging thing to program good AI for- it's easy to make an AI that can defend on a hex-based map, that can park around a static point and secure that point. But it's relatively hard to design one that will attack efficiently and make good use of terrain on the offensive, or in a mobile defense.

Also, as noted earlier, if you're going to add a whole new tactical combat element to the game, you will probably have to rethink the role of unit movement and space on your map. Civ V tried to avoid really doing that,* because messing with the basic spatial relations of the map would mess with the grand strategy element. So there's a conflict that undermines the quality of the game, in the eyes of people who thought "hex-based tactical combat" and expected good hex-based tactical combat.

*Changing from hexes to squares is... not a huge change, really.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Siege »

I'll agree that the AI in Civ5 isn't particularly challenging: the game becomes several factors more intense when you're playing against humans who actually know how to park their cannons where your cavalry can't get at them, or how to embark an army to circle around a peninsula to attack you from the rear. If this new game has a better AI in it that competently execute manoeuvers like that, all the better.

It has to competently execute actual tactics though. Going back to ye olden days when the AI could be credibly threatening, but only when it had either massively out-teched you or formed its own no-skill doomstacks would be a step back. I really appreciate that units in Civ5 are actually individually important. One legion or one unit of modern armor is actually a big deal and can turn the tide of a war if it arrives at the right moment, instead of being pretty much meaningless without a whole bunch more of the same stacked into the same space. You talked about players being bored out of their skull earlier; many times in earlier Civ games have I been exactly that because I had to sit and wait for dozens of turns until my cities were done building my army stack up to critical mass. I'll happily thank Sid Meier that element is gone from the game.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Arthur_Tuxedo »

@Simon_Jester: I do agree with the criticism of Civ V's war system vs. a real wargame, but still feel that it's leaps and bounds better than Civ IV's maddening stacks of doom. This is probably one of those personal tastes and preferences issues that cannot be resolved logically. However, while I prefer Civ V's basic approach, I do think both philosophies could be improved. Civ IV's could benefit by being more like Civ II's, with zone of control to prevent an entire doomstack army from snaking around any forts or "defenses" (quoted because there is effectively no such thing in Civ IV), and collateral damage for opposing stacks that are out in the open (although probably not so drastic as Civ II's "lose one unit, lose them all"). Ultimately, I wouldn't have such a problem with the infinite stacks approach if you could just force an attacker to actually attack instead of snaking all over your territory razing improvements and forcing you to go against their giant defensive bonuses (assuming they're smart enough to park their stack in rough terrain) to get them to stop.

Civ V's one-unit-per-tile approach could benefit from a greater number of smaller tiles to prevent the issues that you mentioned. This would lead to more variety in weapon ranges (especially with direct vs indirect fire), and would also have to mean that larger cities would take up more and more tiles, which could be interesting in and of itself.
Purple wrote:Tell you what though. Let's just stop here.
Agreed. You clearly didn't mean your post in the way that I took it, and I didn't mean mine to be as acidic as you took it, so there's really nothing to argue about.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Tribble »

There used to be mods available where you could set UPT. I usually set it ~3-5, and the gamplay was much better. Instead of a carpet/stack of doom you actually had lines. And the A.I. would play a lot better too, to the point where it was actually a challenge.

Why Firaxis doesn't simply give players the option of choosing the UPT limit is beyond me. I mean, that's the obvious solution isn't it? Simply let the players decide! Their refusal to include a simple option like that (they told me it couldn't be done when there were already mods which it proved it could) annoys me more than the actual limitation itself.

The real disappointing aspect was Civ 5's diplomacy. All they had to do was take Civ 4's diplomacy and tweak it a bit. Instead... well, there is no such thing as diplomacy with the A.I. in Civ 5. You could outnumber the Civ 10-1 in cities and units, been allies since turn 1, granted every request, joined every war, shared the same religion, signed every treaty, shared resources, it doesn't matter... they will declare war at you at some point. And even though they started the war, they will hate you for it afterwards. Forever. Even if all you did was eliminate the units which attacked. The best way handle diplomacy in Civ 5 is to simply wipe out all A.I.s on your continent as soon as possible.

Now I don't mind the occasional back stab as the point of the game is to win, but Civ 5 seems to take it to a ridiculous level. I miss the days where it was actually possible to form a meaningful relationship with my neighbour.

And again, I don't dislike Civ 5, I simply fail to see the reason why they have yet to fix the freakin' obvious. Let players decide the UPT and bring back Civ 4 diplomacy and you would have a fantastic game, instead of just a decent one.
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Re: Sid Meyer's Civilization - Beyond Earth

Post by Purple »

Tribble wrote:And again, I don't dislike Civ 5, I simply fail to see the reason why they have yet to fix the freakin' obvious. Let players decide the UPT and bring back Civ 4 diplomacy and you would have a fantastic game, instead of just a decent one.
This. It's not that the game is bad but that it could have been so much better. As for me, I am a member of the moding community. I know first hand just how much better it could have been if only they had taken some very basic logical steps.


There is one final thing to consider when combining CIV5 and SMAC into a single package. In SMAC a large part of the difficulty and strategic challenge was that you newer could assemble a huge army for fear of depleting the pool of defenders you needed to react to a sudden mind worm invasion. Now imagine that done in a 1UPT setting and you get nightmares of a newer ending game of shuffleboard.
It has become clear to me in the previous days that any attempts at reconciliation and explanation with the community here has failed. I have tried my best. I really have. I pored my heart out trying. But it was all for nothing.

You win. There, I have said it.

Now there is only one thing left to do. Let us see if I can sum up the strength needed to end things once and for all.
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