It’s been written already – but I got so frustrated again last night, that I’m writing it again. This is a strategy game, and given that I’m playing against an AI, not a human, I don’t accept “surprise” attack as an AI tactic. “surprise” attack to me, is an excuse from the designer for a badly written diplomacy system.
What’s so frustrating is that a basic workable solution seems so easy.
Just give us more info!
Don’t just write in red or green what the AI likes or doesn’t like. Writing tells us nothing of value. Give us points in the plus or minus so the player can assess the threat!
Take my last game, a huge map, spawned on a continent next to India. Lots of space. My normal tactic, given the state of the AI is military, military, military. However, India wanted to be friends, we had a declaration of friendship. I gave him resources. I went to war against Askia when he asked. Is this a chance for a more peaceful tactic I wondered. I didn’t build my army up, instead I built improvements and settlers. Come medieval I had a choice to make. Rush to the military techs, or go for education and banking. I decided to abandon my usual routine and went for banking. Mistake.
About twenty turns into medieval Ghandi told me he wasn’t happy about my cities close to his borders. I checked our diplomacy screen. We still had many more likes than this single dislike. How seriously should I take the threat? I had no idea. I chose to accept more green writing than red means “still not hostile”. He remained friendly, continued to trade etc. so I went about my business, didn’t build rush an army. Then, you guessed it, 10 turns on, “Surprise! I’m declaring war on you!”
This is so frustrating! It’s a strategy game! I don’t want SURPRISE EVERY SINGLE GAME, EVERY SINGLE CIV! I want to be able to assess realistic threats and prepare for them. Currently the game just doesn’t give us the tools to do this. And yet it’d be so easy to fix! Please, please fix this Firaxis. I love so many things about this game…but this is the one thing that keeps driving me away.