Category Archives: Civilization 5

3 Months? Whoops!

I haven’t felt like I’ve had much to say lately, and my gaming has been kind of in a rut and not very interesting, so… well, it’s been just shy of 3 months since my last post.  Such is life, no?

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Got my canister for the current Orb Vallis event. Now to find those pesky lava rifts….

I always at least log in to Warframe each day to advance the login counter, but I don’t necessarily play each day.  I still grabbed the new Hildryn frame when it came out last week.  My overall impression is “it’s fine, but doesn’t do anything that makes me prefer it to any other frame.”  Having its #1 be its exalted weapon is kinda kewl, as exalteds tend to be the 4th ability, but it’s just a Staticor-analog that pretty much requires you to do charged shots, and costs shields when you use it.  I’d rather just use a Staticor with no penalty, thanks.  #2 strips armor and shields from enemies and gives them to you as overshields.  Mag does this too, combined with a better overall CC kit.  #3 is a shield heal for your allies or a shield strip on enemies, all while draining your shields.  Most people have the Shield Charger mod on their sentinels so this is pretty useless.  And #4 lets you fly slowly around and CC mobs around you while doing some minor damage to them.  *grumbles in Nekros/Nyx/Nezha/Rhino/Excalibur/Mesa/and a lot more AE CC frames to boot so I think you get the picture.*  So yeah… she’s fine, but to borrow Brozime’s phrase about a different frame — “aggressively mediocre.”

I also tried out the new event.  It’s kinda boring.  Basically just a mobile defense mission in the Vallis where you don’t get a waypoint marker to your next spot to defend.  I soloed it no problem on the run I did, so I imagine doing it in a group will be really easy.  I just need to do it 14 more times within the next 10 days to get the amalgam mods and the Opticor Vandal.  Can’t say I care about scanning data hashes either, but there’s a map for that, so I suppose it wouldn’t take long to just fly around and hit all the spots.

The new “Wolf of Saturn” daily/weekly goals that replace the alert system are fine, and quite a few simply reward you for playing how you normally would anyway, and give you a bit better control over the rewards you get instead of being totally random and hopefully you’re signed in when an alert with the rewards you want comes up like the old system, so I think this is an overall positive.

My daughter got me to re-sub to FFXIV a couple of months ago.  I really only played it since then on a single Saturday.  I advanced the MSQ up until I hit a trial where I don’t have the gear level to enter and just didn’t feel like going back and running the new-to-me dungeons that would have the higher gear I would need, so that walled me off at that point.  I jumped on Blue Mage that 1st weekend it came out, but since you can’t really use it for anything other than an oddity, I didn’t jump in all the unsync’d extreme primal groups in order to get the last few skills to round out my book, so again, that was a single weekend for me, and I just haven’t felt inspired to jump back in since then.  My daughter’s logged in a few times to fly around, but she doesn’t actually play the game, just uses it as inspiration for stories she plays out verbally that sorta reflect what she’s got her character doing on the screen.

I bought the Civ6 expansion in spite of it not sounding like it would be very good, and after a weekend of going hard at it… yeah, I’m not impressed with it.  I won’t say more about it here as it deserves its own post, but the TL;DR is exactly the impression I got from their announcement videos — it’s just a bunch more to micromanage and not in a fun way.

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What’s that joke from World of Warcraft CSI fan fiction? “She was hardly wearing any clothing so either she was really poor or a really powerful wizard.” Something like that, anyway.

And finally…. not really sure why I did this, but I reinstalled Tera Online about a week ago and have been mucking about with it.  Since I’m more used to the non-tab-target type of controls anymore I’m enjoying the combat more than I did back when it 1st came out.  The new player experience isn’t how I remember it — it might actually be, but you know how memory is a fuzzy thing.  But anyway, it now only takes about a half-hour to get through that and you’re level 12 with a decent-ish skill kit when you’re dumped into the actual game world.  So where back in the day I was quitting after feeling like it was a grind to get a character to level 6 I’ve now got a Valkyrie to level 52 (in a single weekend and there was still also time for) and a gunner to level 31.  Yeah, leveling’s pretty quick it seems.  Running dungeons seems to get you about 3-4 levels at a time up until the upper 40’s when it slows down to only 1-2 levels per run.  But still…. if you accept the “don’t make a perfect party” option in the queue then you can usually get in to a dungeon pretty quickly and they only take about 20-30 minutes.  I still don’t like the Castanic Female running animation, but you’re mostly zoomed out so far you can’t really see it or you’re on your mount anyway, so… not a deal breaker.  The equipment looking more like S&M fetishwear as you level up isn’t really a selling point either, but as mentioned… you’re mostly zoomed out anyway, so not too big a deal either.

Anyway… that’s what I’ve been up to for the last 3 months.  Happy gaming out there!

[Civ 6] Gathering Storm Expansion Announced

So a couple of days ago Firaxis announced that Civ 6 is getting its 2nd expansion in February.  They’re calling it “Gathering Storm” as they’re adding in random geologic and weather events.  Floodplains can actually flood, volcanoes can erupt, tornadoes can sweep the plains, dust storms in and around deserts, droughts will apparently be triggered if you cut too many forests, etc.  They’re also adding in an overall “world climate” section that you’ll have to manage, and revamp of how strategic resources work.

Here’s the announcement video.  It opens with a short intro from Sid Meier, but the volume is very low so he’s hard to hear, then it goes in to the 3 minute trailer, then finally cuts to the developers talking about it.  I didn’t watch the full hour, as by the half-hour mark I knew I didn’t care about this expansion at all.

As I watched the video, I kept thinking to myself “Hoo boy, just that much more to micromanage.”  Nothing really excited me about any of what they’re proposing at all.  And considering that in my “1st impressions” post about the “Rise and Fall” expansion I said that I felt it made the game worse and thus I had buyer’s remorse…

I can’t say that I’m looking forward to this expansion at all.

[Warframe] Maintenance Mode

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Nidus Deluxe – Standard

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Nidus Deluxe – Mutated

I’m nearly to MR 25 in Warframe now, and I’m to the point where new items to rank up are much more difficult to acquire anymore — either due to being hidden in relics, vaulted, or having semi-insane farming requirements… yes, I’m looking at you, Sibear and needing 30,000 cryotic…

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How does one have the highest damage dealt and no kills? Easy…. the only thing I shot was the capture target, but I didn’t get the final blow on it, so while I did a lot of damage… no kill credit 😉

As a result, I mostly during the week am logging in for the daily counter, and then playing a couple of hours on weekends, but I’m not really all that focused on it anymore.  Still love it when I play, just am playing other things again too.  Or clearing out my Netflix queue…  or both.

So anyway, I’ve been doing a bunch of Civ6 again.  I’ve been enjoying reading Syp’s accounts of DDO so much that I’ve reinstalled it… and promptly remembered why I never have gotten past level 7 in it, even with starting at level 4 with vet status.  The controls just feel so mushy.  Honestly, I don’t recall them feeling so mushy before, but my computer’s the same, so it must have been like that and I just got used to it.  Maybe the crispness of Warframe’s controls have ruined me?

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Yep, I got my Revenant

There was a “welcome back weekend” in FFXIV not too long ago.  I logged into that for my daughter to be able to run around as she likes to do, but I never so much as looked at my character during the 4 days I could have tried, so I guess I’ve “moved on” past that game.  Or maybe I’ll pick it up after its next expansion or something.  Time will tell, i suppose.

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And my Revenant mask too.

Is it weird that the game I’m actually “playing” the most right now is Idle Champions of the Forgotten Realms?  A game that literally plays itself with very minimal input from the player?  I mean… toss it on the 2nd monitor, watch a movie or something on the main one, glance over and click a few upgrades, then rinse and repeat.  Pretty chill.

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This is the build I’ve settled on with Revenant for now. Basically can hit 4 and never leave it, which annihilates mobs up into the 50’s easily enough. I like it, even if Brozime calls it “aggressively mediocre.”

Anyway, I’ve not really felt inspired to blog much lately, in spite of it being Blaugust, so… sorry it’s been a while.  Happy gaming out there!

[Civ6] Later Impressions of Rise and Fall

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Generic splash screen, becuz I didn’t take any screenshots in-game.

When I said I felt “done” with Civ6 in the last post, I kinda felt bad about that, so I created a new game — this time I went with Korea, as I’d seen somewhere that that civ is “overpowered.”  I did an Island Plates map and ended up with Pericles as a close neighbor that I immediately attacked his capital and took over in the Ancient Era, then finished exploring the island we shared and began settling it out.

And I have to agree — Korea is overpowered.  I was playing on Epic speed, so 750 turns instead of 500, but everything I did seemed to take the same number of turns as in a normal speed game, and tech came insanely fast due to their unique campus district.  So fast that I had actually completed the tech tree in 325-ish turns — not even halfway through the game turn-wise and I had the full tech tree.

Yeah.  THAT overpowered.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, I did a science victory for that game.

The era score was still completely opaque to me, but I managed to be “normal age” for the 1st era change, and then “golden age” for the rest of the game, I assume due to all my fast advancement in science.

After that game, I decided to go to an old favorite with Indonesia, this time on an Archipelago map.  I hoped for Auckland as a city-state, but I hoped in vain.  On the other hand, Nan Madol was in there, which also synergizes nicely with Indonesia wanting to build everything in coastal tiles, so I ended up having culture coming out of my ears in spite of never building any culture districts.

This game was more of a see-saw on the dark vs golden ages.  Moving from a dark age to a golden age actually makes it “heroic” so you get to choose 3 of 4 dedications, which can be nice, but when you’re in a golden age, a dedication doesn’t give era score (unlike in a dark or normal age) so that’s why it’s so easy to fall back out of golden — even right back to dark.  I got to the point where I’d “only” see saw from golden to normal and back to golden, but it’s still an obvious design decision on the dev’s part that seems to punish you for getting a golden age, in spite of the (very small to the point of being unnoticeable) bonuses you get while in a golden age.

We’d gotten into the Medieval Era and I had some Jung units that I’d bought with faith (go go Indonesia cultural powers!) and I’d gotten a great admiral that had turned one into a full armada.  I’d just unlocked fleets, so I had a 2nd unit in a fleet and both these guys were out exploring, along with the caravels that I’d upgraded from my initial galleys.  I was suzerain of Armagh, a faith city-state, and was getting some really nice bonus faith from them each turn, so when Kongo declared war on them and my ships all happened to be within a turn or 2 of being able to move on Kongo… I declared a protectorate war.

Konga didn’t even have walls on most of his cities, so my Jung armada was 1-shotting their health to nothing, then a caravel could come in and take the city.  Since they were halfway around the world, I knew with the loyalty mechanic I’d never be able to hold the cities, so I just razed them instead.  I just did this to “outer fringe” cities, but this knocked him from 6 back to his 3 core cities.  These 3 did have walls, and I knocked one set out, then he sued for peace.  I accepted.  And then next turn he sent enough envoys to Armagh the he became suzerain, so of course he wasn’t going to attack it anymore.

I actually didn’t care.  Suzerain of Armagh can build a monastery improvement, is all — I only cared that I had 6 envoys there for all the faith that that gave me in my shrines and temples each turn that I could use to buy more naval units.

A bit later, my 2 nearest neighbors — Pericles and Amanti…  um… Nubia… declared a joint war on my.  Pericles was slightly closer, so I decided to go after him 1st, since Nubia didn’t even have any ships that I could see — plus all my cities had walls and bombards in them by then, so I wasn’t worried about needing sea units to defend them.

Since I forgot about loyalty for a bit, instead of going for Greece’s closest city, I went around to the far side of his island and took Athens, figuring that losing his capital would weaken him more overall,  but since it was in the middle of his empire, the loyalty from all the surrounding Greek citizens meant that there was no way could I hold it.  It said that I had 5 turns before losing it, so I tried to send the 3-turn military governor and get its monument repaired, plus immediately went back and took the city between Athens and my borders.  This slowed the loss to 7 turns, but it still turned independent on me.

From this I learned that if you’re doing a war across water, to have any hope of hanging on to your gains, you must steamroll the opposition to reduce their loyalty pressure.  No “take this city and consolidate my gain, then advance” anymore.  Nope, it’s “take them all as fast as possible so their loyalty becomes yours.”  So I swept through and took everything Greece had, then went back and re-took the independent Athens as well.

That meant I’d just added 6 new cities.  And I was still at war with Nubia, who was a little farther away.  I decided “sure, why not?” and went after that civ also.  Now that I knew I had to steamroll, I made sure I had units in place and ready to go, then swept through her landmass also.  She had built the Statue of Liberty wonder in one of her central cities, so taking that actually made the war a lot easier as that wonder makes all cities within 6 tiles of it 100% loyal to you at all times, so the loyalty pressure on the cities that I’d taken, but before fully mopping her up suddenly became a non-issue.

About at this point Kongo and Egypt declared a joint war on my, since they now hated me for my warmongering.  So they got the same treatment.  Egypt was closer, so she got sewn up 1st, then that took me close enough to Kongo to be able to maintain loyalty pressure there, so I could now take and hold cities on his landmass.

After this, Norway, who’d been my friend the whole game now hated me, though since I now controlled about 90% of the world, he knew better than to attack me, at least.  But since it’d been a long game, I assembled my fleets at his capital, then declared war and took it and got my 1st Domination victory.

I’ve not completed any other games since then.  I’ve started a couple as the Dutch, but haven’t gone past about 200 turns yet.  The games are saved, so I’ll get there sooner or later.

Overall, I think I prefer not having the loyalty mechanic, nor the ages, so I guess that means I still prefer “vanilla” Civ6 to the Rise and Fall expansion.  The new mechanics just force you to play a certain way, rather than let you make your own choices.

For what it’s worth, the Rock Paper Shotgun review of the game has noticed this same feeling in the game now, so I know I’m not alone in it.  From that review:  “Everything from the tech boosts that work like mini buffs and achievements to the focus on using the unique qualities of your chosen nation encourages a correct way of playing. There is so much feedback and positive reinforcement for ‘good’ choices that without even realizing it, I’m sometimes locked into a specific way of playing that’s defined more by the map and the city states around me than it is by my own choices.”

So anyway… I won’t say I’m feeling buyer’s remorse anymore, but I’m still not really seeing the expansion as an improvement on the original game either.

Happy gaming out there!

[Civ6] Rise and Fall 1st Impressions

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Generic splash screen, becuz I didn’t take any screenshots in-game.

I’ve only played a few hours, as Warframe was calling me back to it, but I played a little way in as Wilhelmina of the Dutch.  I picked the “True Start Europe” map which put me right next to France, and fairly near Poland, though at least I didn’t have Germany “right there” so I wasn’t too hemmed in.

As it was, I rush-built a bunch of warriors and took out Paris in the Ancient era so I avoided any warmonger penalties, then started worrying about settling my cities.  Oddly enough, the TSL map isn’t really ideal for the Dutch to be able to build their polders near Amsterdam — you actually need to settle up into Denmark and then you can “polderize” the North Sea pretty well, though.  For production you have to head southeast into the forested hills of Germany, and Philip of Spain is pretty well trapped behind the Pyrenees, though he can take out the Lisbon city-state for an additional city, and if you’re not careful (like I wasn’t) he can sneak a settler up into southern France as well, though he eventually just starts colonizing North Africa.  England and Scotland both were pretty well stuck in the UK, and the last 2 civs I got on my seed were Alexander of Macedon and Jadwiga of Poland.  Jadwiga’s spread out a lot as she had a lot of space to her east, and tbh, I’ve still not uncovered the map far enough to be sure of Alex’s holdings.  I’m allied with him, but that doesn’t give shared visibility anymore, so … whatever.  I’ve got some caravels in the Med, so I should be able to see at least some of it soon.

The governors seem kinda fun.  Toss “The Steward” in your primary production city as he bonuses that up nicely, and so far for all the rest I’ve sent them to the fringes to keep the loyalty points up, but otherwise haven’t really worried about their bonuses much.  The loyalty system seems designed to keep empires from forward-settling too badly, becuz if you settle far from your borders then they lose loyalty and can flip (without combat) to the civ that they’re closer to.

I don’t really like the Era Score mechanic they’ve added.  It seems pretty opaque — you don’t know what you need to do in order to gain more score, and sometimes things seem a bit random, like I threw down a mid-game city between Amsterdam and Paris (so I could grab a dye resource that was just out of reach of either) and that got me 4 points — 3 for “boldy settling” near London, and then 1 more since it was close to the Cliffs of Dover natural wonder.  Or sometimes you get a point or 2 for a certain tech or cultural discovery, but nothing indicates beforehand that this would happen.  It also seems designed to have you either “always be normal ages, else see-saw from golden to dark, then back again” which is just annoying.

And there’s still no way to disable that most loathsome espionage feature that I have always despised and always turned off in every prior Civ game that I’ve played becuz I hate it so much.

My beloved CQUI makes the game crash on launch right now too until it gets updated.  The default UI has some improvements, but CQUI is still vastly superior to it.  I especially miss my “overlap” lens that CQUI provides.  Much easier to use that to see the best spots for the “ranged districts” or wonders than to have to manually count out from each city.

Overall impression — meh.  The era score mechanic is too opaque to be engaging, and seems more designed to limit forward advancement “too fast” than it is to actually reward you for doing well.  In short, the game now feels like it’s “you will play it how the developers have decreed” rather than as “a series of interesting choices.”

I actually have a touch of buyer’s remorse for the purchase.  I don’t think that’s a good thing.  I don’t intend to play it again until the CQUI is available for it again either.  Too many of its amazing features aren’t in the default.

Happy gaming out there!