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Are civs in a25 more unique/specific?


bad player
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I was thinking the same for a while !

The game seems to be more and more tailored only for hardcore competitors who expect perfect balancing between all civs : something which is impossible without making them completely similar.

This withdraws most of the game diversity except graphically and, to some extent, the interest to play different civs to get a different playing experience.
The game becomes quickly annoying for casual playsers and generally not hardcore competitors players.

I believe the game is not played only by hardcore competitors.

Maybe the generalizing civs movement was intentend to get a sens of balancing before re-adding diversity to the game to take it out of its competitor niche market ?

Edited by Locynaeh
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I agree that the civilizations lack a distinct feel outside of graphics. I guess this is because of multiplayer balance that you do not go with more original concepts?

I remember that Age of Empires Ⅱ (sorry, not the best example of civilizations diversity outside of a couple exceptions) provided an option for that: by default all civilizations would use their own technology tree, but you could enforce a default tech tree for all players if you wanted to play a very balanced game.

Another option would be to provide civilization "sets", a bit like what Battle for Wesnoth proposed through "eras": you can chose to play with a core/balanced set, perfect for multiplayer, or with a full/extended set, including civilizations with more interesting gameplay quirks.

I guess what is important to remember is that there are players who have much more fun with imbalanced gameplay. Playing human against AI is imbalanced anyway, and can not be balanced by playing very similar civilizations, so in my opinion the game could be much more engaging in such modes by embracing the imbalance instead of trying to level it.

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vv221 proposes good alternatives to solve the problem which could please everyone.

I like both solutions. Maybe the "set" solution is the simplest at the moment ?

The "tech tree" solution would the most interesting in the long run I think.

Edited by Locynaeh
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2 hours ago, Yekaterina said:

Imbalance will inevitably arise from diversity.

That’s right, and points out at the core issue: some players favour balance, other favour diversity.
I for one would play much more often if there was more diversity between the civilizations, but I understand that other players want (almost) perfect balance.

Since we can not have both at the same time, I think there is roughly three choices:

  • (easy choice) Focus on balance, at the cost of diversity
  • (easy choice) Focus on diversity, at the cost of balance
  • (hard choice) Provide both experiences, and allow the player to chose one

I am of course all in favour of the hard one, but if I were to chose between the easy ones I would without any hesitation advise cutting the balance in favour of fun original gameplay (I guess you would disagree on this one ;)). A perfectly balanced game means that I have very low incentive to try multiple civilizations, so it reduces a lot the time I’m willing to spend playing 0 A.D. before switching to something else.

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3 hours ago, Yekaterina said:

In terms of uniqueness, they are similar to A24 and less diverse than A23. However they are extremely well balanced in A25. Imbalance will inevitably arise from diversity.

Champion cavalry has entered the chat and would like to have a word.

Edited by nani
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Yes, not everyone puts balancing above everything else. I would also go with the hard option, except it involves a lot of discussion among players. Diversity means some civs will be favoured more than others on certain maps. For example the mauryan worker elephant is OP un Belgian Upland or Anatolian plains. 

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4 hours ago, vv221 said:

you can chose to play with a core/balanced set, perfect for multiplayer, or with a full/extended set, including civilizations with more interesting gameplay quirks.

I saw that in the mod selection menu, there is the option to chose for cute ponies with ponies ascendant or for the mod delenda est. Especially Delenda est seems good if you want diversity.

On 21/09/2021 at 2:04 PM, bad player said:

so im curious now if civs in 125 are more unique?

In a25, civs are a little more unique than in a24. However they are mainly the same. Every faction is now affected by their own team bonus, which has substantial impact on some of them. Athens and Sparta received a technology for hoplites. The real benefit of A25 is that suddenly mercenaries and cavalry become very viable. One disadvantage is for me that units tend to stack a lot and it is difficult to see how many there are in a certain spot.

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4 hours ago, Yekaterina said:

However they are extremely well balanced in A25

If taking this as a fact we should conclude any mention of OP is either to have an excuse when loosing or an attempt to hamper any play that doesn't fit into the narrow scheme of what should be legit in the individuals view.

If imbalance were an issue we would have mirror matchup settings (civ/map) seen implemented long ago.

Also usually cries of imbalance start the day after a release, making it clear there can hardly be any substance to such claims.

If balancing was taken serious, ranked games (and maybe others) should be collected and the data evaluated properly. I'm sure statistics will show a different picture in many cases than what people expect.

I also second @vv221 claim that all civs playing the same reduces the replayability of the game. This should be obvious to anyone.

I would even go as far as to claim imbalance may be desirable for you can easier find an interesting matchup if you can have civ selection slightly favor the weaker player. Well, ofc, if there are millions of players this point becomes moot.

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53 minutes ago, LetswaveaBook said:

I saw that in the mod selection menu, there is the option to chose for cute ponies with ponies ascendant or for the mod delenda est. Especially Delenda est seems good if you want diversity.

This is an option of course, but not a good one in my opinion: I played 0 A.D. for more than 10 years, but learned only recently about the ability to download mods.

Keeping in mind that I am what you could call a "technical" user, so I’m at ease with downloading/enabling mods. But more casual players will often be stuck with the vanilla game, with its focus on balance tailored for fair multiplayer games.

My case is that the multiplayer players are usually the ones who have the best knowledge of the game and its options, so if there is a switch to flip between diverse/casual and balanced/hardcore it would be in my opinion a good move to set the default to what would be more fun for the casual players.

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A24 was less diverse than A23, but the idea that A25 is less diverse than A23 is mostly wrong. I guess the idea comes from the fact that nonexistant bonuses were removed from the history page, https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2720. The only actual existant bonus which was removed is the Gaul and Briton population bonus, https://code.wildfiregames.com/D2950. It's also true that every civ getting a stable removed the uniqueness of the Persian stable, but I think that's an acceptable casualty for better gameplay. 

From A23 to A25 most civs have gained actually existing bonuses, only exception being the Britons who haven't yet gotten anything. The gameplay is far more diverse than it was in A23, which was just infantry spam with an occasionaly early rush. The Carthaginians might not have gained any direct bonuses, but they've also gained the most identity with the mercenary changes.

I also don't get from where the notion that the competitive community is pushing for the game to lose civ diversity and how the competitive players are the reason that not enough civ differentiation is done. If there's no one there to make patches nothing will happen.

Edited by ValihrAnt
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39 minutes ago, ValihrAnt said:

I also don't get from where the notion that the competitive community is pushing for the game to lose civ diversity and how the competitive players are the reason that not enough civ differentiation is done.

My remarks on this topic are not limited to 0 A.D., it is my experience with all strategy games allowing both single player (or human vs. AI) and multiplayer (mostly human vs. human) that there will be two distinct groups of people with clashing visions on where the focus should be between:

  • balanced choices (civilization choice should not bring an obvious advantage/disadvantage), symmetrical gameplay, fair games based on skill
  • diverse choices (including "easy mode" and "hard mode" ones), asymmetrical gameplay, game results can rely in part on luck

We obviously can’t have both at the exact same time, this is why I tried to suggest options allowing to switch between one approach and the other.

Of course I am not saying people are advocating *against* diversity in the civilizations ;) But this lack of diversity is in my understanding a consequence of the push for balance/fairness. Because it is too tedious to balance wild deviations from the civilizations baseline, such deviations will be dropped if we do not think of the more relaxed solo or coop play against AIs.

---

EDIT: Just to avoid confusion, I am talking here about *lack* of diversity compared to what 0 A.D. could be, not *loss* of diversity compared to some older release.

Edited by vv221
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13 minutes ago, vv221 said:

EDIT: Just to avoid confusion, I am talking here about *lack* of diversity compared to what 0 A.D. could be, not *loss* of diversity compared to some older release.

Ah, ok. So there was some misunderstanding then on my part too.

14 minutes ago, vv221 said:

Of course I am not saying people are advocating *against* diversity in the civilizations ;) But this lack of diversity is in my understanding a consequence of the push for balance/fairness. Because it is too tedious to balance wild deviations from the civilizations baseline, such deviations will be dropped if we do not think of the more relaxed solo or coop play against AIs.

From what I know and have seen, the lack of diversity doesn't have any greater reason than noone simply going out of their way to implement it or lead the implementation of it. I just recently started making some patches with the goal of implementing economy bonuses for civs and a problem that I encountered is that there isn't any design plan for how different/assymetrical the civs should be, what should be their playstyle (or should civs not be nudged into any playstyle), about how many bonuses, unique technologies for each civ should be targeted.

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1 hour ago, ValihrAnt said:

A24 was less diverse than A23, but the idea that A25 is less diverse than A23 is mostly wrong. I

there are some big caveats here, though, which I would contend make all the difference. See celts building pop bonus, stables, ptol eco buildings now have a cost (although still technically unique it is less so), all civs have rams, all civs have siege factories, multiple civs lost universities, lighthouse changed and as a result is now unused, cav health tech was propagated to all civs which devalued Persian and sele civ, Maury ele is less helpful now, Athens lost p2 champs, Sparta lost champ types, Roman army camp while still unique is also less capable and therefore not used as much. There are more but that is what I can come up with without having to think. I know some of these might be coming back, but there is no doubt that a lot of the game is fundamentally different now. For some civs like mace their uniqueness has basically been almost totally eliminated. The diversity isn’t as bad as it was in a24, but I don’t think it is anywhere near where it was in a23 (as imperfect some things were in a23)
 

I agree that the game should put back in many of the unique aspects that are most noticeably and used

Edited by chrstgtr
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10 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

all civs have rams, all civs have siege factories

And we no longer have the problem of ele civs often being completely unable to push with pointless stalemates.

11 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

multiple civs lost universities, lighthouse changed and as a result is now unused,

https://code.wildfiregames.com/D3350 would argue that the library being completely unique to Ptolemies increases differentiation. I didn't actually realize the lighthouse was changed, it's effectively now an outpost on steroids. The value can probably be changed to suit the bigger maps, but the idea is certainly an improvement over it being banned on every naval game.

15 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

cav health tech was propagated to all civs which devalued Persian and sele civ

And they got a new unique tech that affects their champion cav

17 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

Maury ele is less helpful now

The worker ele? Don't see how it being nerfed reduces diversity, although iirc I saw a patch returning its old behaviour.

18 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

Athens lost p2 champs, Sparta lost champ types

That's true, I forgot about this. Would like the P2 champs to come back as they were a really cool trait and the new tech doesn't make up for it.

21 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

For some civs like mace their uniqueness has basically been almost totally eliminated.

Is simply being able to build a siege workshop the kind of uniqueness we want though? Its such a basic building that I think it's far better if every civ gets a siege workshop and mace get a unique tech for their siege, on top of the crossbow produced from the siege workshop.

26 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

The diversity isn’t as bad as it was in a24, but I don’t think it is anywhere near where it was in a23 (as imperfect some things were in a23)

I far prefer the diversity of a25 to a23. Just compare the types of units and strategies we see now, it is no longer an infantry spam fest and there are also cavalry and champions involved now.

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2 hours ago, ValihrAnt said:

I far prefer the diversity of a25 to a23. Just compare the types of units and strategies we see now, it is no longer an infantry spam fest and there are also cavalry and champions involved now.

I don’t intend to debate the merits of each change. But what I can say is that something like the globalization of siege factories made some civs less unique because things like Mace’s “quick siege push” strategy or Persia’s mass cav with health bonus is now no longer unique.
 

While I agree a25 has more players playing with more strats this diversity seems to be a function of unit balancing and upgrade changes, which is distinct from civ diversity where I think we can still improve. 

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Most competitive players are not playing the game often, so it's not being built for competitive players. The fact that we don't have such diverse civilizations is because there is no design plan and someone to command it. I've even started working on it, but it takes a lot of time, and unfortunately I don't have my free time to spend on it anymore, Besides that the part of 0.ad community is extremely ungrateful. You spend hundreds of hours working on various improvements, to find two or three problems/errors and post on the forum all the time when the new alpha is bad. I said several times that a24 was a work in progress and that a25 would be much better, but they continued to talk a lot of crap. Well the "end" result of the work is an alpha25 much better than alpha24 and 23 as I said. Lack of patience is a problem, especially for those who don't move a finger to help with anything.

Basically the alpha 24 - 25 was mostly build by me and @Nescio (gameplay/balance), but we're not working on it concretely anymore, so if no one else is interested in this, players are destined to play with these civilizations / gameplay / balancing for many years, like that how was a23 sling + ram.

Edited by borg-
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40 minutes ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Check out my "Every civ is my Favorite civ" thread for some Mace ideas. You like them?

It looks fine. It's probably pretty good boost, but it doesn't look "special" in the same way that celts' building pop bonus was "special" or mace's siege workshop was "special" in a23.

It's the totally unique civ aspects (like the celt house bonus) that I think are the most fun, but are also the most difficult to come up with (in fact, in a23 not all civs had something like this).

I very quickly scanned your other civs and something like the helots for Sparta would be more in line with what I am thinking of. Or even Maurya getting 2 heros. 

One thing I think about that would fit this, would be a civ that is almost just a raiding/nomadic civ. But that becomes very difficult to articulate into a particular bonus. 

Edited by chrstgtr
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38 minutes ago, chrstgtr said:

It looks fine. It's probably pretty good boost, but it doesn't look "special" in the same way that celts' building pop bonus was "special" or mace's siege workshop was "special" in a23.

Mace had a dmg bonus vs Athens/Spart and a dmg debonus vs Romans.  This in effect made Macedonian silver shield bearers better than maxed-out spartan spear champion - effectively best spear champion IG.

Romans had a defensive bonus - as long as they fought on their own territory units had extra armor (I believe).

Mace/Rome got a kick in the gut going from a23 to a24, effectively.  They were also unique in sense of multi-building siege capability as not other civ had that.

Edited by Dizaka
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1 hour ago, chrstgtr said:

It looks fine. It's probably pretty good boost, but it doesn't look "special" in the same way that celts' building pop bonus was "special" or mace's siege workshop was "special" in a23.

Aww, I thought being able to upgrade Barracks and Stables to Royal Barracks and Royal Stables was pretty unique. :(

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1 hour ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

Aww, I thought being able to upgrade Barracks and Stables to Royal Barracks and Royal Stables was pretty unique. :(

It just seems similar to familiar techs (ie, champ research tech now and the old merc upgrade tech). 

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