Mark Gritter (markgritter) wrote,
Mark Gritter

Yet Another Civ Patch?

I noticed that Steam was downloading another update for Civ 5. It looks like they've attempted to fiddle with a lot of game balance issues again.
* Capstone benefits for completing Policy trees, cheaper policy costs. (Meh, pointless fiddling but might make culture victory a little easier.) Some of policies seem to have slightly increased bonuses.
* More unhappiness per city (3 vs. 2), less happiness from luxuries, Colosseum, Theater, Stadium. Annoying since you can't just spend cash like in previous versions.
* Nerfed a lot of bonuses: Marble only gives 15% wonder bonus instead of 25%. Workshop and windmill bonuses reduced 5%. Many wonders have smaller bonuses too.
* Too many tech/combat changes to even summarize.

This smells an awful lot like they are still trying to make the limits-of-growth idea work. It also looks like people weren't actively pursuing culture so they had to bump the relative benefit vs. production increases and wonders. I wish they would quit fiddling with things.

I'm reminded of how MUDders complained about class imbalance. (Is this still a thing with WoW? I'm certain it must be, but I don't track it.) Once you provide multiple paths to 'victory' it's almost guaranteed that some will work better than others, for reasons that were not always clear when you did the initial design. I think the proper response is not to always try rebalancing but to admit that some players are always going to be optimizers, and some players will try something suboptimal just for the fun of it.

The Civ 5 model of per-civilization bonuses + tech tree + large vs. small empires + multiple policy tracks + multiple victory conditions just has too many axes to reasonably believe you can balance all possibilities. And if that's not the goal, then it's even less clear what the constant fiddling is trying to achieve--- just smack down whatever strategy seems to be dominating in multiplayer?

And, as a fairly casual player, this doesn't make me feel like there's a new game I'm eager to play. It makes me feel like the limited mastery I've achieved as to what works is constantly being taken away.
Tags: design, games, rant
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