Stolen Pixels #230: The History of Civilization, Part 1

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Too bad they dont put the Portuguese in the initial 18 civs, probably in a expansion. And we all know why the Egyptians are overpowered, they are aliens who already knew all forms of government and are controlling humanity since its dawn. lol.

This has me seriously worried, since I am considering purchasing the game. Any news of a patch coming?

This article filled me with nerd rage, but then, you recently defended that so be prepared to have it unleashed...

Civ 5 might have some evolutionary leaps forward. But for every leap forward, they have taken three back, and the remaining is a dumbed down RTS-clone.

See, strategy games, and 4x's in particular, are dependent upon choices: Having a large number of different paths and choosing which/combining different elements is what makes a good 4x experience, and having many different strategies is what defines a good 4x. In civ 5, sadly, everything but the war aspect has been dumbed down.

OK, so let me count the ways:
First, all the diplomatic modifiers have been removed... People try to say that they are simply not shown, but I don't believe that; the civ 5 AI is a completely irrational psychopath that will declare war then five turns later give you all it's cities for peace.

Now, some will point to the introduction of city states as a diplomatic innovation, but what you fail to take into consideration is that all interaction with these is dependent upon a completely two dimensional slider where you gain affection by doing quests or giving money, and lose it over time. That's it.

Second, and most importantly, the economy has taken a massive dumbing down. All the improvements are only +1, with farms upgrading to +2 close to water and trading posts being +2 gold. And that's it. Compare this to civ 4, where tile yields got up around 5-6 for important tiles, there were many more improvements to choose among, and if that was not enough their yields differed widely with your level of tech, government etcetera. One or two good tiles could mean the difference between a great and mediocre city. Contrast this to civ 5 where everything is bland and samey, the only thing to really avoid is desert.

Not only that but they removed sliders and made science population-specific. In previous iterations, balancing money with science was a hard choice and one to build your strategy around. Now, gone. This is made worse by the fact that science is based on population, of all things, which means that no matter how hard you try you can't fuck up science. In civ 4 you had to trade science/money if you wanted expansion, via the city upkeep system. Not so in civ 5, where global happiness doesn't take distance into account - in other word, yet another strategic aspect taken out.

Third, the buildings are also massively dumbed down. this post explains it better than I, but essentially, you'll only ever want to build a very few amount of buildings. While that is alright seen in isolation, this means that the only thing to actually do... Is waging war.

Really, civ 5 is a warmongers dream. War weariness is out; science is indepenent on gold, meaning that going to war no longer hurts your science; very few buildings to build, and no diplomatic interaction with civilizations due to them being psychopathic...

Now, hexagons made wars better, but AI still cannot deal with ranged units any good. And certain civs like japan are ridiculously overpowered. In spite of units being able to walk on water, AI's cannot do naval invasions any good.

So really, the only realistic path is to build more units, then war. Hence the comparison with RTS's, cuz' this one doesn't have the builder aspect of 4x's at all.

Oh, and before I forgot: The difficulty levels on this game are laughably low. I am challenged by monarch in civ 4, but playing civ 5 on a similar level feels like playing on chieftain!!

PS The bonus to Egyptians is pretty mediocre; for comparison, the "industrial" trait in civ 4 gave 50% bonus, and in that game people had two traits... The reason why the Egyptians get all the wonders is that they have a higher priority on them; it is not really hard to get wonders before them. This statement makes me wonder whether you have actually played a civ before.

"Smaller empires are more viable now"
Agreed, definitely agreed. I'm so happy that wars of conquest are not practically mandatory anymore for your dominion to thrive. There are actually more ways to play.

Also concur on the "one-tile, one-unit" concept. Moving units is no longer just an exercise in repetition.

Yes, my game started to get a tad confusing..

First off, I don't remember The Great Wall of Sparta <.<

Secondly..

The Statue of Liberty has been built in Moscow!
Must I say more?

USSR:
Yes, my game started to get a tad confusing..

First off, I don't remember The Great Wall of Sparta <.<

Secondly..

The Statue of Liberty has been built in Moscow!
Must I say more?

LIES.

Statue of Liberty was build in the middle of the desert near in Medina.

Okay, fine already. I will get it. Sheesh. Hilarious as always Shamus.

Calatar:
I used the gold to buy science buildings, so I ended up with Giant Death Robots in the 1800s.

Like this? :D
image

AC10:
Wow if someone has every wonder by 2,400 BC they've got to be cheating lol.

Or Playing as Egypt, fast expanded like crazy and spent all money on Wonders and culture to get up the tech tree as soon as possible.

Not G. Ivingname:

AC10:
Wow if someone has every wonder by 2,400 BC they've got to be cheating lol.

Or Playing as Egypt, fast expanded like crazy and spent all money on Wonders and culture to get up the tech tree as soon as possible.

No way, if you've maxed out the tech tree in Civ V by turn 40 there is something massively strange going on.

Great comic as always. And are the factions really that unbalanced?

The egyptians sounds badass...Building all the wonders of the world.

Evilsanta:
Great comic as always. And are the factions really that unbalanced?

The egyptians sounds badass...Building all the wonders of the world.

Wonders have a powerful effect, don't cost a damn thing to maintain and can give you a big boost in early game. Egypt can build wonders 33% faster than other civs (even more with the rigth cultural bonuses) but that's a very specific talent. If Egypt starts in an area without much production then they're not going to get those wonders out no matter how big their bonus is. Other civs have far more reaching and useful abilities. Japan's in particular stands out as crazy overpowered (all their units can attack at full strength no matter how damaged they are, making their archers death on legs). My personal favourite is the Arab empire which gets the unique 'bazaar' which doubles any luxury resources nearby. Kaching.

Tiamat666:
Civ2.. the memories...
and generally just sitting there waiting for my Dragoons and Tanks to roll over them.

lolwut

OT: Hilarious as always. Still not sure if I want to get Civ 5 though.

Well

Civ looked always like a fun game, but a difficult one to get into. I, for one who jumped on the bandwagon quite late, welcome the dumbed down Civ.

It's probably why I can clock on 40 hours in my first four-ish days of getting it.

I'm in the middle of a game on an archapeligo map and some of the city placements are just absurd to the point where they die just as fast/easily as America does in the comic.

Are we going to see a part 2, or is this a similar case to The History of the World Part 1 or Loaded Weapon 1?

Tried the demo for 15 minutes. Couldn't get into it, despite (because of?) being a huge Civ 4 fan.

Got the "seriously?!" achivement on my first playthrough.

I love Civ, and I want to Civ5 to be good too, but the more I play the more I doubt they played or tested the gameplay during development, at all.

Will wait for a mod to fix these flaws, or a patch, because, DAMN. Not fun the least :/

The real joke of the comic comes when people go play it because of the comments he made.

Songhai walks all over the egyptians with the extra army they've built, and then sits down fatly after getting triple pillage from your rich tombs.

Egypt's biggest perk? A building that makes them EVEN MORE enticing to conquer.

I loved the ship one, it made me lol.

I could see the history channel adopting that slogan too.

3rd pannel is awsome ^_^

@ OP - 'I'm caught in the one-more-turn cycle, which hasn't happened to me since Alpha Centauri.'

What a load of crap. Are you telling me that Civ 4, the best game in the series imho didn't want you to play more?

Finally, SP is returning again to what i loved it for, when i began reading it. Or perhaps, i just dig this kind of sarcasm :)

Um but I thought Egypt's run as a super power didn't last past the bronze age? Didn't they get crushed by the "sea People", them and the Hittites.

Well i am really getting into civ 5 and the comic strip was funny as.Just time the AI dont is rather random as one time we had a me (england) in as controling europer and america controlling asia.In the middle of stood china that had the middle eats and parts of the surrounding area.To chinese has been a pain in my ass since the start so when the americans said do you want to declare war on china i was up for it.

Sadly my arms wasnt so i pressed the wait 10 turns button and turned my empire quickly into a war machine.I build up and bit quicker than expected so attack on 9 turns and then the americans attack the other side on the 10th.Due to me being clever with which techs i build i have musketeers vs the chinese crossbow troops but even then i was suprised how fast i push through quickly.I snatch up 4 cities and find myself turning up where the americans seem to be loosing to the chinese around bejing there captial.

So i thought better help them out so i wipe them out taking bejing as their last city.Suddenly the americans turn around and say "our allaince is ended as you am too much of a war monger".I was like what? you asked me to help you destroy the chinese and stopped you being counter attacked.It was really weird lol

H0ncho:
Really, civ 5 is a warmongers dream. War weariness is out; science is indepenent on gold, meaning that going to war no longer hurts your science; very few buildings to build, and no diplomatic interaction with civilizations due to them being psychopathic...

No, not really. I'm playing as Rome. I usually main Rome because legions always let you pummel and grab a lot for a window of time. Since civ 3 my armies have been mostly legions and catapults. The new inclusion of the ballista seemed tailor made for my style of play no less. "Sweet", I said "legionaries and ballistas should let me pummel everyone in the classical to medieval eras". And they did. But I ran into a problem. War weariness may be out but now you have indestructible capitol cities that are forever miserable and drag down the over-all happiness of your empire. And the bigger they are the less happy they are. Yes there's no war-weariness. Instead you get people that are unhappy forever. Okay, let's build court-houses to curb that. Well court houses take forever to build in the ruined shells of cities that you've created and they're expensive to run. It's pretty easy to wind up watching your massive war machine grind to a halt after killing even a few city-states.

The more enemy capitols you control the more the unhappiness, the more the unhappiness the slower your cities grow, build, make money and even the worse your soldiers fight. Even roads cost gold now, they never did before, they could only MAKE you gold. Now I'm founding trade routes only to find that the route cost more to run than it makes. It's aggravating. To survive I have to specifically NOT make war. But that's all Legions and Ballistas are good for. And what was war weariness before? You could declare peace then the very next turn start a war with someone else and weariness would be at zero. It was never a deterrent. And this is coming form somebody who has always played with an aggressive military. This new system of un-happiness is a deterrent. At least for the era I'm in. The era that my special units are supposed to be helping me kill things I'm being forced to sit on my hands.

But yes the computer IS psychopathic. They've taken some real steps backwards in respect to the AI from civ 4. Religion was a revolutionary addition to civ, it helped form a great basis for early factions and now it's gone. I liked being able to see the reasons leaders hated or loved me and a nice quick over view for how many turns our deals had left. If i could see "You signed a pact with our enemies -3" it would be a lot more helpful than wondering why some one suddenly hates me.

Yeah.. if anyone were to complain about 'nerfing' anything, some of the token advances in this game could use a fix. I know I managed to get Egypt to the Medieval age easy enough in the Demo.

I still have Civ 2 running on my XP laptop. It works fine. There are no patches for the Indeo video format, so you just have to do without Wonder movies, and the video advisors. They were the bestest and worstest parts of the game, so not so awful.

I played Civ 5 during the free Steam weekend several months back, and decided to buy the game. But I haven't touched it since. Your comic has reminded me that I own the game, and I should probably play it sometime. But not for a while yet.

If I have an itch to play a history-based strategy game, Europa Universalis III rips my flesh away and gives me awesome dermal implants. There are some mild issues with how the AI behaves. War can get you more lands, but it is always a setback to your finance and sciences. You have a few ways to go about diplomacy, but it still feels limited given how important relations with your neighbors are. In my current game I started as the tiny province of Bourbonais. It was necessary to destabilize France, Burgundy, and Brittany, but all my former rivals are now small fry. So long as the Holy Roman Emperor and Castille leave me alone, Europe is wide open for me now. Mwahahaha.

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