- Jan 15, 2010
- St. Louis Metro East
- Basic Beliefs
- Atheist, Secular Humanist, Pastifarian, IPUnitard
I picked up the expansion mid-week last week, and have had the opportunity to play through one game. I dialed back to Warlord difficulty to get used to new mechanics (I normally play at Prince or King), and played a standard game with Wilhelmina on the new archipelago map. I am not sure I am sold on the loyalty mechanic, especially when it comes to playing on an island based map like archipelago. I never had any problem with loyalty in my own cities, probably because every civ was so isolated from each other. When it came to waging war, however, loyalty became a supreme pain in the ass. I had two civs join together and declare war on me in the mid-late game. One of them was a fairly close neighbor, while the other was half the map away, and I had a friendly relationship with everyone up to this point. I have no idea why they declared war at that point, but these things happen with Civ, so I decided to give the close neighbor (Greece) a bloody nose, and capture their capital while I was at it (their capital was one of the closest cities to my empire).
The initial attack was tough, as we were pretty evenly matched, but with my massive Dutch navy, and a budding air force, I was able to pick off a coastal city to serve as an initial staging area for my invasion. After taking that city, my plan was to knock off the next city up the coast (Athens) to enlarge the staging area, and then plunge inland to take on the landlocked capital of Sparta. I had Athens on the ropes just a few turns after taking the first city, when that initial city suddenly became a Free City. I had started installing a governor a turn or two after taking the city, but the governor did not have a chance to even get settled before this city flipped. First thing that irked me was that the flip itself was bugged. I had most of my navy still within the borders of the city I had taken, including two aircraft carriers loaded down with bombers. I had also moved a fighter plane into the city after taking it. When the city flipped, the fighter disappeared from the game and one of my aircraft carriers had both bombers removed from it, while the other had all both bombers still attached. Of the two bombers that went missing, I found one at my next closest city, the other had been removed from the game along with the fighter. I reloaded a couple turns back and made sure my aircraft carriers were not in the flipping territory, and got my fighter out of the city before the flip, to make things less annoying. Still, I had to deal with a flipped free city, but was not too concerned.
I adjusted my tactics, finished taking out Athens, and then went on to the next coastal city beyond Athens, as I still needed more room for staging units. I got a governor in Athens immediately after taking it, and also set off a general there that was supposed to increase loyalty for the city by 2 every turn. Since I was in a Golden Age, I thought this would solve the loyalty problem in Athens. It did seem to mitigate it a bit, as it took a few more turns for Athens to flip than the previous city, but it did flip just as I was about to take the next city. This frustrated me a great deal, so I razed the third city as soon as I took it. Then I went back to the first city, took it again and razed it. Athens was important to me, it was a large city with a lot of land, and right next to Sparta, so I took it back and tried to keep it happy. By the time I took Sparta, however, I had to deal with Athens flipping about 3 more times. Of course, you can't raze a capital, but if you could, I would have razed everything and walked away, I was that pissed at this new mechanic. Instead, I sued for peace, and got Gorgo to cede both Athens and Sparta. This, and installing governors, was all it took to resolve the loyalty issues, I kept both cities until the end of the game, which I won with a Science victory.
So, I am not all that enamored with the new loyalty mechanic. City flipping is buggy with regards to what happens to your units, and I think the mechanic in general will be an extreme pain in the ass when it comes to going for Domination victories. I feel that this is the primary victory that multiplayer games go toward. It might not be as much of an issue maps with more land (and thus closer civs), but it seems like they are trying to discourage Domination play, which can only serve make nearly all multiplayer games 500 turn slogs to victory.
End game spying was a bit different as well, they seem to have tuned the AI a bit when it comes to spying. Getting to a Space Race victory has always been rather uneventful for me, even at King difficulty the AI would never really go after my spaceship builds, and I would sabotage the hell out of theirs. In this game, the AI civs hit me from all angles as I was closing in on the victory. My governor that provided space race bonuses was targeted constantly, and I could only count on having him for 2 or three turns before he was neutralized again. My space race projects were sabotaged over and over again, even with a counterspy watching the launch pad at all times, the counterspy only blocked one out of about 5 sabotage attempts. In addition to those two angles of attack, I had to deal with about a half dozen uprisings in my second largest city during that end game run, all were orchestrated by spy operations. Fortunately, I put them all down before they got anywhere close to my spaceport.
Wow, that was a lot longer than I intended, and I didn't mean for it all to be negative. I like the dark/golden age mechanic, and governors are decent as well, though I think the limitation to 8 governors might be a problem on larger maps, and the time it takes to establish them in a city is not helpful when it comes to waging war. Next game, I think I will try a domination victory on a map without oceans, and see if my feelings on loyalty remain the same.
It takes a while to get used to.
For example, there are government policies that affect loyalty. One military policy will give you extra loyalty for having a military unit garrisoned in that city. A couple of other policies will increase the loyalty bonuses from governors.
Keep taking cities, and be prepared to go back and re-capture cities that flip on you. Eventually, you'll get enough cities that the loyalty works in your favor and against the opponent (provided there isn't another civ exerting pressure on you both).
I generally play on continents on huge maps, so I will only bother with invasions of civs that share a border with me. That way the loyalty from my own cities helps with the early stages of the invasion. I have yet to try invading another continent yet.
Addendum: the military governor (Victor the Castellan) can transfer to a new city in 3 turns instead of 5. That can be a critical piece of information during the early stages of conquering another civilization's cities.
He is generally the best governor to send to a newly conquered city (or your own new cities as well), not only because of the 3 turn transfer, but also due to the promotions you can load him up with. It is worth noting, however, that he is the governor I was transferring to the conquered cities on the archipelago map where I was having loyalty problems.