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My Rant about Strategic Resources

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  • #31
    As I posted elsewhere, my 'problem' is not the features of Civ3. I think we got the game we wished for and quite of few folks are not happy that they got their wish. Civ2 was far, far too easy and the AI ludicrous, but that's how some wanted Civ3 to play and they complain that it is not too easy to win (which means it becomes 'work'); thus winning is fun, work is not. Having said that, the criticism that I have is not with the game, but in the way that I play it. I am a very meticulous, anal retentive strategy gamer. Each and every turn, I analyze all of the city's productions to see if they need to be adjusted. I carefully track each and every unit's movement to ensure maximum success. Therefore, features like governors and goto are absolutely the most asinine elements I can ever think of for strategy games. But I fully recognize that many like them and therefore, there must be a place for them.

    What this means is that while they purposely made the game longer by stretching out each age (again, another one of those wishes), they made a standard game impossibly long for my style of play. So instead of whining about it (or calling Firaxis names because my way should be the only way), I will 1) play other games more suited to my playstyle, 2) wait for the scenarios or 3) adjust the maps, number of AI civs and make editor changes to help me play the game faster. That was what I meant in changing the approach to playing.

    And specifically regarding the point about strategic resources allocation predicting the end results, either 1) you think of ways to change your predicament, or 2) don't expect to win every game and start a new game (that's the key difference between Civ3 and Civ2, the rest are details).


    • #32
      I should be able to win every game I play. If I screw up and lose, that's on me. If the game arbitarily deals me the "you lose" card, that's not a challenge, that's not fun, that's just the game designer's revenge for the time I reaver dropped him in MP starcraft.

      There's this trend in stategy gaming these days where designers seem to have decided to make the games harder by introduction completely arbitary calamities to the system.

      I hate it.

      Would you play a chess game that every 20 turns randomly removed one of your pieces from the board?

      If you want to make a game more challening, improve the AI, make units more expensive, alter the victory conditions, more power too you. I have no problem with hard. I have a problem with arbitariness.

      Empire building games are about long term cause and effect. Your decisions shape your empire. If I don't build an army and get invaded and conquered, that's my fault. I lost because I failed to anticipate the consequence of my actions.

      If the game arbitarily renders my army useless and I get invaded and conquered, that is the game cheating in order to make me lose.

      And that's exactly what happens if I don't get oil and rubber and my neighbors do.

      Is anyone here old school enough to have seen 2001 a Space Odyssey (sp?)?

      Hal, the computer on the space ship, is programmed to let the humans beat him at chess precisely half the time they play him. If he played to his full potential, the humans would always lose and get frustrated, so Hal delibrately loses half the games.

      Strategic resources are the same logic in reverse. A good human player will never lose to the AI. The designers don't like this fact, so they program the game to give you an unwinnable calamity every now and then. CIV III automatically kills you about 20% of the time. No oil, no rubber, no coal on a high difficulty game = you lose.


      • #33
        But that's the point. You cannot program a very complex, multi-variat game like Civ with an AI that approaches human decision making. Therefore, conditional parameters must be built in. They did this because WE asked them to. It didn't have to be a strategic resources model but really anything (or a combination) of elements pertinent to an abstracted, empire-scale game. Whatever they have chosen to implement, it would have been criticized for not causing the player to win each and every time. My response is to 1) play at the easiest levels, 2) make some simple adjustments in the editor in your favor or 3) wait for MP. To expect to win at the higher levels against a human-like AI is not feasible.


        • #34
          Players will always find a way to win every game. That's the point really, if you can't win the game, its not a game.

          Designers need to stop taking that personally and just work on making good games. Some of them seem to get mad about it though, and cheat so that the player, nomatter what they do, sometimes loses.

          You see this in CIV III with strategic resources.

          You see in in EU II with the infamous stability killing events.

          And I'll go out on a limb here and make a statement I'm sure will get me flamed.

          We all say we want a super smart AI that will beat us.

          We really don't.

          We want an AI that is just a tiny bit dumber than we are, so we can be challenged and still win.

          The truth is, very few walk away from a game where they lost going "cool, I got my ass kicked. I'm glad I had that experience". People walk away from games they *almost* lost and nonetheless pull out a win on feeling satisfied.

          Players want to win.

          If I wanted to lose a lot, I'd go to Vegas.


          • #35
            I actually don't disagree with that (which is why I love to play the historical City Building games), but don't make the mistake of speaking for all gamers or all civers. There are many that loves to work at losing, and Civ3 can definitely offer that. There are those, like my friend war4ever, that have found ways to beat the AI at every difficulty level in each of the victory conditions.

            So you have 4 camps,

            1) those who find the game too unwinnable (esp. with the wrong mix of strategic resources) and hating it,

            2) those who find the game too hard and loving it,

            3) those who find the game too easy to win and are now bored with it and

            4) those who find the game too easy and look for ways to have fun with it (the Civ2-syndrome).

            That is the ultimate a game designer hopes for and it appears we have already reached that with Civ3.


            • #36
              I'm not complaining that it's unwinnable, or that it's too hard. It's not. I am just saying that I think as it is, sometimes games are unwinnable and too much luck goes into playing a game. I think some luck is always there, but when your only iron runs out three turns after you used it.... hey, that's really bad.

              It happens, but given the other problems with strategic resources as many have outlined above.... I think improvements can be made.