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[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!

[FFXIV] Bonus Item Screenies

I did the Easter event back when it came out.  The way my Roegadame sits on it though… all of her outfits seem to have skirts of some kind, and the way she sits on the egg makes them “fly up” and look silly.  The only outfit that wasn’t too awful was my gathering gear, but even it had some of the skirt thing going on —

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Flying Easter Egg Mount

Frankly, I’ve not played much since then, mostly just an occasional login to say hi to the FC, but that’s about it.  Just waiting for Stormblood to come out…..

But I did buy a 60-day time card on Amazon in order to qualify for the promo, so here as some screenies of that:

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The new Dragoon glamour stick. and of course the MSQ outfit becuz it’s pretty kewl looking too.

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I glamoured my monk gear to be the new eastern garb. Dalamud Red dye, in case you care. And yes, this is the new cloud mount. I reallllllly like it!

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Applying the time card put me over the threshold for the next veteran gear reward, so here’s the barding I got, this time on my daughter’s character.

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My daughter’s character in the Eastern Garb with the cloud mount also.

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This sounds like a fun game, just like it says

As to what I’ve been filling my time with….. still mostly Civ6 and Pillars of Eternity.  On this playthrough I’ve done the White March 1 and 2, plus I think I’m nearing the end of Act 3.  The group of 6 is all capped at level 16, so…. shouldn’t be much longer to finish, and then perhaps try again on a harder difficulty with a different group makeup.

I’ve also recently bought Stellaris, since it went on sale on Steam this past week, including the new “everything” bundle in the sale.  Haven’t gotten very far yet, but it seems fun so far.

I even reinstalled Morrowind — amazingly still had my disks from when I bought it back in 2002.  and of course I’ve done a bunch of graphics mods to make it not look so 2002-y anymore.  But after I got it modded, I haven’t really played it much yet.  But soon…. soon……  I played it almost exclusively for about 2 years after it came out, so I’m sure a lot of it will come flooding back to me once I get past Balmora.  Until then, I’ve got no problem taking my time getting back into that world.

And of course, watching tv with the wife, reading books, and my wife and I even saw Guardians of the Galaxy 2 last weekend, so….. always plenty of stuff going on, even when I’m not playing a specific MMO each day.

Happy gaming out there!

[FFXIV] So This Happened…

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There it was…

Yep… I got my final job to 60.  Go me!

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Yep, they’re all 60 now

But here’s the thing….  When I play games I like to feel like I’m advancing.  And now that I’ve got everything to 60, where do I go from here?

Gear grinding?  Well.. I could, but… I’m already at i260 on my preferred job, and i257 on my backup job, and I don’t care to do the things that would be necessary to go the last little bit to i270.  And all the other jobs… I don’t really care to play them other than to level them up and most of them are in the i240 range from all the i245 dungeon gear drops from the latest expert dungeons anyway, so it’s not like they’re really that far behind.  And given how gear levels worked when Heavensward released, I’m thinking it’s likely that Stormblood will want gear in the i230 range when its progression begins so… I’m there.  No need to grind gear.

Relic?  Nah.  That’s a big grind that I never have cared to even start.

Diadem?  Never done it, so it could be interesting, I guess.  But… I also don’t know what I’m missing by not doing it, so I can’t say I really care either.

PVP?  You’re aware of who you’re talking to right?  Not. Going. To. Happen.

As I’m sure you can tell, I’m in a state of deep apathy about FFXIV until Stormblood comes out.  And blogging too, it seems.  These screenshots are dated March 15th.  Yikes!

I’ve only been logging in about once a week lately so my FC won’t kick me for inactivity (well, they wouldn’t for 90 days, but I like to make my presence felt at least once a week), and it’s really  just been “log in, say hi to everyone, send the retainers out, log back out.”  I did the Easter event on my character and on my daughter’s so we both have the flying egg mount that shoots the chocobo chicks out the front, but that took all of 15 minutes for each, so… not a big deal, really.

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I liked this armor look enough to shell out to buy it, in spite of my apathy

And even though I’ve been logging in a lot less, I’ve not missed it either.  I expect that will change in June, but until then….

I’ve been playing a lot of Civ 6 — it’s vastly improved since it 1st came out with the various balance patches they’ve done on it.  And I’ve got a better feel for the pacing of the game, so I don’t always feel like I need to do ALL THE THINGS and if I’m not doing ALL THE THINGS then I’m so far behind, so it’s a much more enjoyable pastime now.

The AI still makes really weird decisions at times though.  Like this city for example:

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Really?

And this past week I’ve gotten hooked on Pillars of Eternity again.  I’ve always felt a bit like I’ve shorted that game due to not playing through the 3rd Act, much less the expansion areas, so I did some studying up on it on how to build better characters, maybe make a better party, that kind of thing.  And I’m running through it fresh and doing a lot better this time.  I decided to try the highly defensive “3 paladins, 3 chanters” thing and it’s working quite well.  I’ll admit to modifying it a bit, so I’ve got 2 chanters and my “main character” is a rogue to add a bit more damage dealing capability.  But anyway, the only “knockout” I’ve suffered was when fighting a dragon.  One of the paladins folded up quickly (I assume he failed a saving throw since the other 2 were fine), but the chanters did their thing and it all worked out.  And this group is about to start Act 3 now, so I’m just as far as I was before, so… time for new content that I won’t vaguely remember as I’m running through it!

Happy gaming out there!

[FFXIV][CivVI] So….close……

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So…. close…..

My goal of getting every class/job to 60 is almost complete.  Maybe 3 more days of Moogle quests should see me through!

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i260 Warrior Axe get!

And beyond that… what’s exciting about “ran an expert each day to cap tomes, bought another gear piece for my tanking set, etc?”

Okay, sure — Little Ladies’ Day was cute, and you can see in the top picture that I got the outfit, but that took all of… 15 minutes?  And I eventually plan to craft complete sets of level 50-58 gear for both Monk and Caster so that I’ll have them available at Stormblood’s release for Samurai and Red Mage to use as they catch up to 60 and then can start sharing the “real gear” that I’ve already got, but that’s still a ways off.

So, since Civ6 just released their latest update,I’ve been playing a lot of that over the past week instead.  Information on the balance passes made on the game since the 1st few weeks is kinda hard to find, but I managed to suss it out.  The biggest change is that buildings that give a bonus to anything within 6 tiles don’t stack anymore, so clustering 3-4 Industrial zones in between your cities or mutual adjacency bonuses and then the massive production boost from having 4 factories and power plants is no longer a thing.

On the other hand, it means that if you build in a square like that, you only need the 1 industrial zone, so the other 3 cities can do the entertainment or culture districts (that often get left by the wayside) for a more balanced overall output.

Harbors and commercial districts still grant a trade route, but only the 1st district built in a city does, so no more annoyingly massive trade networks from building both.  And the current meta is to spam out commercial districts to get all the traders you can still, but only 1, maybe 2 harbors in your high-production cities for building your navy up.  They also made counterspy missions take longer so you’re not constantly having to re-assign the spies.  That’s a nice quality of life change.

Of the new Civs released, it seems Australia is the new Morocco — their Outback Stations make the desert give food and production.  Couple that with Petra and there’s your mega-city that Morocco could get with Petra plus Kasbahs.

Fun little quirk of the new “True Start Locations” earth map.  Egypt and Arabia start within 1 tile of each other, though Arabia’s settler is across the Nile from Egypt’s warrior, so it’s not easily reachable. But Arabia’s warrior starts literally on top of Egypt’s settler, so it means that Arabia can declare war on Egypt 1st turn and not only eliminate the AI player by taking its settler, but then also have 2 settlers on turn 1.  You can also select the civs you want to play against.  England, Japan, and Australia are trapped on their islands for quite some time (Japan tends to not really ever leave and just sit stuck with only 1 city on a small crappy island), plus you can pick Brazil, Aztecs, and US for the other 3 and boom — Arabia now has completely unfettered access to Europe, Africa, and Asia for as long as you can manage to keep pumping out settlers.  Or you could if you wanted to play as Arabia, anyway….

But yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to gaming wise.  And now for a slight screenie dump:

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I did Little Lady’s Day for my daughter’s character too. She loves the dress and the new dance.

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Lava Scorpion Arena pre-fight. You can see where the lava will come up and destroy the outer edges, so pre-positioning is easy.

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The telegraph that the lava is coming

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Lava in place

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Post fight the lava is gone again, but as a nice touch, the devs now have the ground being burned looking. I thought it a nice detail, anyway. Enough so that I took this screenie progression so I could share it…

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One of the NPC’s in the crowd watching the Songbirds. I did a double-take when I 1st saw her, and though some player was being tasteless and trashy. Somehow that it’s an NPC makes it worse in my mind. 😦

Happy gaming out there!