It isn’t just the AI, and Rob Zacny hits on a bunch of little reasons that add up to an unsatisfying experience.
Interesting, if accurate:
That’s quite a difference. Any reports on whether 2K was disappointed with Civ6 sales? It looks like a disaster compared to Civ5, provided that these stats are any kind of accurate indication. (And comparing a new game with one that’s quite a few years old now and has been on sale frequently.)
Peak players and stuff like that isn’t really going to tell you much other than give you a general sense of popularity compared to other games since (as you mentioned) Civ IV has been on sale multiple times over the years.
Sure. But Civ5 has been played by 585,000+ players in the last two weeks, while Civ6 pulled in a little more than half of that number. I’d like to know what the figures were like for Civ5 back in the day, even though we don’t have much to compare with (since Civ4 wasn’t originally released Steam-only).
Unfortunately, I don’t think Steam Spy nor SteamCharts would have early Civ V data, since neither site was up then.
Hah. Good point. ;-)
Still, would have been interesting to have had the data.
They really need to throw the whole Objectives diplomacy straight into the garbage.
Arbitrary benchmarks that mean the difference between loving you and declaring genocide on you. The United States will never take hostile action against you if you never industrialize your lands…excuse me what???
Worse, it doesn’t take into account any context. “I hate you because your empire is small.” Jesus dude, it’s only turn 18! How big am I supposed to be by then!!! Ditto for Norway hating you because you don’t have a navy by turn 20!
Even worse than that, they will still hate if the objectives clash with universal demerits. “I like you because your empire is large! I hate you because you expanded!”
Making it worse is the fact that these stupid arbitrary objectives have so much more sway over traditional relations builders like trading and tribute. “Sure we’ve had peaceful relations with mutually beneficial trade for ages, but you don’t have a large spy network ARRRRRG I hate you!” declares war
The problem with AI in 4X games covfefe
This early-objective nonsense is an example of how little the devs care about their own work. It’s not an AI programming issue to stop Marie from objecting to your lack of spies in 3000 BC. It’s having the most trivial concern for your audience’s experience of playing the game, which obviously is missing here.
But of course you’re correct that the “agendas” are not sensible in the first place. Just to begin with no one in all of history has ever objected to their rivals not having good spy services, not having good military training facilities, or not grabbing enough land.
Counterpoint: the Orange One
So, is Civ IV (or an earlier version) still the best of the series?
Civ IV is far and away the best… as long as you have the Fall from Heaven mod installed. :)
Fall from Heaven 2 to be specific
I would almost recommend Endless Legend over Civ 6 at this point. Civ 6 clearly lifted the whole city development model from EL. I eventually stopped playing EL since, for all its economic stuff and illusion of Civ strategic development, it was a rush game where the first to hit tier 2 equipment won.
But since the mid to late game doesn’t matter in Civ 6 either, EL is starting to look like the better game (literally too, the thing is still gorgeous to look at).
Even in a multiplayer game, Civ 6 is decided by who rush builds a great general + swords first, or knights/crossbows, which is another flaw in the game how huge a jump each military generation is and how cheap it is to instantly upgrade your old units. The superior strategy is to intentionally leave the swords/knights/crossbow tech one turn away from completion so that warriors/archers don’t become obsolete and unavailable. Build a bunch of the cheaper old units, then complete the research and instantly upgrade all of them and blitz your opponent.
You’ll get many opinions on this, depending on where you ask. In this forum, a LOT of people hate on the most recent two iterations of the series, yet they have plenty of supporters elsewhere. My take;
Civ IV provides a very interesting and challenging approach to the game, and is by far and away the best of the “stacks of doom” versions, and I prefer its approach to border growth (fluctuates back and forth with culture). FFH2 changes the setting and adds some distinct flavor which makes it a favorite for most players.
Civ V got a good bit easier (“brain dead AI, blargh, blargh”) largely thanks to 1UPT (one unit per tile). That said, some aspects of the game are superior to Civ IV. Mods are more plentiful (Steam Workshop and elsewhere) which allow you to tweak til your heart’s content, but nothing that compares to FFH2 imho.
Civ VI got easier still, inheriting the limitations of the AI with 1UPT and then introducing more layers and mechanisms which players can leverage their skill over opponents. Once again, however, some of these new systems and mechanisms add aspects to the game that are better than its predecessor. However, this doesn’t mean the overall game is any better.
The real question is what are you looking for in a Civ game? Do you want a real challenge? Stop at IV (and use FFH2 for more fun). Do you want a more sedate, casual experience? V does that extremely well. Do you want more complex systems and more lip service to growth and exploration? VI is good for that.
If you’re a Civ IV-type of player, there’s no reason to ever move on unless your tastes change. If you’re a Civ V-type of player, VI may give you an interesting alternative experience and IV will also be fun to play once in a while if you don’t mind a step back on graphics.
I just installed that last night! Never really played it before so I am looking forward to my first experience.
Diplomacy that isn’t shit.
So go play Europa Universalis instead.
The CBP (Community Balance Patch improves V quite a bit over vanilla, at the expense of some arguably unnecessary complexity.
… and if you aren’t a Civ-style player, don’t play Civ ;)
I kid, because I did used to love the Civ series. I played a ton of 4, and a good amount of 5. But once I got deep into Paradox games…
I tried going back to Civ IV recently, chronicled in the Classic Game Club. I… actively disliked it. What magic it once had for me was gone. I simply can not enjoy playing Civ games anymore. Or, more accurately, I can not enjoy them as long as the diplomatic game is so horribly underdeveloped and poorly implemented. All those things people note about vacillating between adoring you, and hating you, having Teddy declare war on you because you are at war on his continent (never mind you are the defender), the arbitrary cutoff between binary states, contradictory objectives? All that would make me hate the game.
So it’s not that I’m not a Civ style player. I would be. It’s just that Paradox ruined the diplomatic fumbling of Civ by being so much better that I can’t enjoy Civ until that gets fixed.
I’m not holding my breath. I basically wrote off the series when I replayed it.
Basically, the AI is trying to emulate someone who’s deciding to play Civ as a roleplaying game rather than a strategy game to win.