Post by chevelle971 on Nov 5, 2005 17:41:29 GMT -5
It has nothing to do with being a good player at this game and winning right off the bat. Did I win right off the bat in civ2? Did I win right off the bat in AOC? No, nor did I whine about it and in fact I enjoyed it because part of what I love about new games is trying to find that way ahead and learning the strategies. The developers said it themselves, "There is no wonder in this game." The simple fact is that the game is built to hinder the player that gets ahead and it is built to stifle players who try to gain an advantage.
Post by chevelle971 on Nov 5, 2005 13:52:37 GMT -5
This is probably pointless because I doubt any of these will be changed because I have the feeling that those in charge feel the game is perfection in action. I also have the feeling that this game was made the way it was for the specific reason of appealing to beginner players. At least this way people can't say I didn't try.
First of all, if you're going to copy RTS games and try to turn this into a hybrid you have to adhere to the basic concepts of RTS games. RTS games work because there is a true balance between economy and military. The poor RTS games didn't have this balance and so it took most of the skill out of the games. In comes Age of Empires 2 The conquerors. This game was so successful (and still is even after 8 years) because it fulfilled certain qualities and requirements for a game to be great. It was easy for the beginning player to come in and have fun and it kept new players pouring in for years. It also, however, had the ability for people to rise above everyone else which in turn gave the beginners a reason to get better and in turn continue playing. I think civ4 tried to imitate this, and it's really not the first game to do so. Many of the beta tester claim they have this balance, but they don't. The reason being is because the economy doesn't factor in enough to the military upkeep. Culture is really nothing more than a way for the beginning player to keep pace in score (and maybe they also had the intention of trying to add another level thought to the game, I don't know). It doesn't take any skill to build your culture up, and it doesn't take any skill to do it while you're fighting. The key to age of Empires 2 success was that there was a real culture online of different tiers. You could easily identify newbies, bad rookies, rookies, good rookies, low inters, inters, high inters, experts, super experts, and a zillion levels in between. I don't think the developers and beta testers realize that the difference between the good players and bad players defines the depth of the game. You can talk on and on about the depth of the game and about how complicated the combat system is, but when you get right down to it it is no more complicated than AOC. In addition, AOC's upgrades added another layer of depth because certain upgrades for units worked at better times than others and they costed food and gold. Again, economy was playing a role in the military. This game doesn't have that and it really shows. Some might wonder, "why do we need different levels of players?" and this question was answered with the creation of Age of Mythology. Much the same way Civ4 has been dumbed down so was AOM in order to bring in new players. Building a healthy online community requires these different levels for some main reasons:
1. Every player needs a reason to continue playing the game once the initial wow factor has been worn out. If there is no wonder in a game and you feel like you know everything there is to know then the game is effectively dead and it is time to move on. As long as a player feels like there is something more to learn, something more to explore there is a reason to continue playing. Even 8 years after the game had been played AOC still had unused civs and unused strategies...a true sign of depth.
2. Good players only stay in a game as long as they feel they can gain a lead. If you are having to scrape and claw your way for wins against even low level players and your score is always within a couple hundred points, no good players is going to want to stay when he can go to another game and actually discover strategies that will allow him to gain that lead. I can't stress enough how important it is to a healthy online community to have different levels of players.
Some simple ways to increase the gap between players
1. As I said before RTS games work because there is a balance between economy and military. In this game there is not enough cost put on military units in terms of maintenance. If you really want to increase the skill on the military side make it so that early on you can only build so many units due to costs based on your economy. This will increase the importance of units early on and make countering truely skillful since now you must make every unit count. Civ2 had this effect and losing even 1 horseman early on could mean certain death.
2. Decrease the cost of expansion. ICS was killed by map size alone. How many cities can a duel map support? 10 if you're lucky? You can't build 1 space apart and land is much worse in this game so building on ice isn't going to help you. ICS was killed with the map sizes alone, adding in the cost of settlers and not growing was adding insult to injury, and adding the enormous costs for cities was a dumbing down tactic to keep the lesser player in the game. If you decrease the cost of city expansion (the gold cost only) then you allow a whole range of possibilities in play:
a. You've effectively sped up the early game by allowing a player to expand faster and thus get the game going faster.
b. Imagine rushing somebody early who sits in their city and keeps defending only to find a guy come in and start building on his resources? It would add in a whole new layer options to the aggressive player. In addition, the defensive player would then have the possibility of flipping these cities to culture. Again, more possible ways to play.
c. You add in a bunch of different early game scenarios. For example, an early rush with the high cost of units would severly harm your economy while the other guy could be expanding. Failure of your rush could mean the end of the game. Success of the rush could allow you to out build him and finish the game off with a better economy and larger army. More cities early could allow faster tech achieval thus adding in the more viable option of using tech superiority. A player could opt not to rush and at all and expand quickly (called a boom in AOC) at the risk of dying to the rush.
The whole key to RTS games was the ability to rush early while at the same time growing and expanding and continuing to keep up military pressure. It combined economy skills with military skills and if you didn't have both you couldn't win. Civ4 MUST have this if any sort of levels are to arise from players.
3. Remove the ability to see what is in someone's city. There needs to be the ability to sneak attack and the added option of faking rushes and faking unit stacks. AOC had this because you could set the waypoint to inside the building which would then show flags that a unit was inside. QUestion was how many units in side. Do you build pikemen to counter his knights or is he faking a knight rush and he's coming with archers? There needs to be these kinds of options in the game and these are REALLY easy to add. Even a mod could do this.
4. At first I was all for removing the culture bonus, but if you increase the value of the economy then there is no need to remove it because anyone hwo sits in their city all day is going to die. There MUST be a HUGE emphasis on economy in order to make rushing and fighting more difficult for the beginning player, but more fun and more options for the advanced player. Economy just doesn't play a large enough part in this game.
5. The point system needs to be tweaked. There is too much emphasis on land (which is mainly culture) and not enough on tech, and wonders. Wonders need to have more points in them because they are a worthy endeavor to build and it adds more level to the game. Again, the ability to build and grow WHILE fighting and rushing is what made RTS great. That was the skill, the ability to balance your empire with your military. A lesser player couldn't rush as fast as a better player. A lesser player couldn't expand at the same time as rushing. I think you guys tried for this balance, but you got so caught up in killing ICS and removing bad micro that you took everything out of the game that allowed people to get an edge. ICS was dead long before you decided to make cities cost an arm and a leg.
6. Remove the melee from catapults and turn them into bombard only again. In addition, double the cost of the catapults. This will make it so a smaller defensive player will have alot harder time affording catapults than the larger aggressive player. Someone with 10 cities should be able to better field an army than someone with 4 cities. If you do that then leaving the culture defense bonus in is just fine.
If you were to only take two things from this list to change make it the increased up keep up military units and the decreated up keep of cities. This way you can still rush, but you can't just sit there and churn out units without growing your empire. On the other hand, you can't just grow your empire without having some sort of military might or you'll get rolled over. Again, give true balance to the game. The combat system really isn't that bad, it's the fact that the combat system isn't truely being utilized because economy doesn't play a large enough role in the military. I URGE you to make these changes and soon or MP isn't going to make it. I've seen things like this too many times and civ4 can really be a good game with some tweaking. With all the bullnuts and whinning aside it really does have some great features to it, but it is incomplete and it needs to be refined.