It's all a combined issue if you ask me. IMHO:
Maintenance needs to be higher, so that it's harder to cover.
Buyout needs to be cheaper, so that it's worth doing more than just covering your maintenance.
THEN and only then will wealth become an "equal ground" part of economy along with production an research.
And I guess it wouldn't hurt to have even more uses for money, as long as those new (and old but redone) uses are done right.
I think part of the huge ship upgrade cost comes from being able to upgrade a ship almost anywhere. Personally, I'd have preferred refits only taking place at planets/shipyards/starbases and at a greatly reduced cost.
That would be my preference as well. I've never liked that if you pay X you magically get an upgraded ship anywhere within your civ's borders. Ship upgrades should never happen farther then 3-5 tiles away from a shipyard / dry dock. Which would also give the developers room to cut the upgrade costs a good bit. In similar games, you always had to get your ship back to a planet with a shipyard before it could be upgraded. Maybe for refits you have to build a dedicated starbase within 2 tiles of a dry dock with a "refitting ring" on it.
EL allowed to upgrade any unit inside your own borders. They had reasonable upgrade costs and reasonable rushing costs. It all worked. Of cause CGIII can't just mirror that. GCIII's tech and progressions aren't tiered as much. AND the design is more complex. EL's upgrade 99% of the time was exactly that - an upgrade. GCIII's upgrade, more often then not is either a "getting the ship 2 turns more up to date" or a complete refit. (Or even an exploit, but that's a different matter).
IF we could separate refitting from updating that'd be a boon, imho.
I believe that adding a module or swapping a module for a more advanced one SHOULD be cheap and available everywhere inside the borders. But removal of any amount of any kinds of modules that actually decreases the total of any of the ships stats should actually cost you EXTRA and ONLY work at the shipyard.
In other words:
- swapping 2 T1 engines for 1 T3 engine on a colony ship while also adding range module - cheap and anywhere. You're just making use of more advanced tech here.
- swapping construction module for a colony module - costly an on shipyard. You're obviously re-purposing a ship. (and ACTUALLY fill it with population)
- swapping 3 T1 engines for one T2 engine and doing anything else - costly and on shipyard. You're still re-purposing a ship which is obvious because you've made it slower than it was.
As of right now, the game forces you to make an interesting/difficult choice. Its really only feasible to rush one ship per year currently. What you have to ask yourself is "is now the time for it?". Maybe you need to get a construction ship out to get to resources before anyone else... or maybe someone declared war on you opening a 2nd front you weren't expecting... either way-- you likely only have the credits to react in a limited fashion, so the game challenges you to choose carefully.
An easy adjsutment for all this is simply to make the rush factor for ships scaleable as well. It stands to reason that something which is only 3 weeks from being built (building or ship) would be cheaper to rush to completion (paying overtime of course) than somethign which still had 2 months to go.
You call that a choice, I call that a guess. The factors are too unpredicatable to make any resemblance of an educated decision. The only thing you're choosing here is your "favorite" approach. You can almost never say which one is more likely going to play out better.
Also, ship buyout scaling already WORKS. Just don't do it from ship management screen, do it on the selection panel when you select the shipyard on the map. In there it'll list the right amount of credits and deduce that right amount as well. I did that on several occasions and once again - IT WORKS.
And yet, if Stardock makes money much harder to get, there will be complaints from a whole other set of people who aren't as good at generating revenue.
Since when is stupidity a viable excuse for a failure?
I'm sorry if that sounded rough, but that's how it is.
Shaping the mechanics of the game to the standards of those who can't properly use those mechanics is among the worst things you can do to a game. (from the "art" perspective that is... sure, it's a smooth commercial move but let's not go THERE...)
If the majority is wrong there's nothing wrong in not listening to it. As long as it IS wrong.
I think it's a bit unfair to describe the adjecency system as 'silly', but I find it hard to disagree about how the results of that system force you to hyper-specialise otherwise you lose so much of that placed potential. To me this is another example of how the maths behind the various bonus mechanisms in this game haven't been fully thought through or tested to breaking point (which, alas, happens for too early in the game for GC3; given that nearly all 4X games eventually start to fall apart at the seams when pushed to the limits of exploitation).
Complete and utter nonsense.
First - nothing FORCES you to specialise. It's only a matter of efficiency.
A friend of mine barely does it and he's still struggling to find a challenge.
With that out of the way, it's efficient to specialise for two reasons.
1. You can freely move your output distribution in any position and swap any type of BASE output for another at 1:1 ratio.
2. Your planets can have DIFFERENT multipliers to different types base outputs.
As long as that works the only third component that we need to make the complete specialisation efficient is MATH.
( A + B ) * (C + D ) > A * C + B * D
So long as the statement above holds it'll be inefficient to split your base output into A and B and split your "multiplying might" into C and D.
The reason it works differently in some other 4x games is because they DON'T give you 1:1 rate of base output exchange. And quite a number of them doesn't give a damn about managing your "multiplying might".
Take C5 for example.
1. You don't get to chose what the tiles with the best yields actually yield.
2. Almost every damn city improvement that can be made is worth making.
These two points are exactly why specialisation in C5 doesn't work all that well. (Well, there are exceptions even there, but that'd be too much detail for a concept example)
Remove the adjacency bonuses from GCIII and all you'll accomplish is that it'd be easier to choose the planets specialisation, since you now have less factors to consider when determining the best 1 out of all possible, nothing else really.
i didn't like the happiness systems in civ 5 - the civ 4 economy based constraint felt much less gamey.
It wasn't even the gamey-ness which was the issue - Civ 5's happiness-based empire size limit mechanic, combined with re-introducing maintenance on buildings rater than a scaling per-city+distance measure, encourages building lots of small cities/planets and not developing them to their full potential. It re-introduced the 'Infinite City Sprawl' problem which Civ IV's maintenance mechanics had eliminated; the game actively punished you for building 'up' rather than 'out'. The punishment in GC3 is much less, because maintenance is very low... but you're still punished more for having a big population on a planet than you are for having multiple planets.
I followed C5's history of changes pretty closely, and I have to voice a partial disagreement.
At one point their system was working. But then they went and broke it again.
The primary factor in it's workings was... economy. Maintenance namely. Once upon a time building those happiness improvements REALLY costed you. It was actually in favour of tall empires a bit. But then they had to go and rebalance the numbers. THEN building those now MANDATORY happiness improvements stoped being such a notable detriment, and it all inevitably went down the drain.
The biggest part of their "tall vs wide" balance was the combined effect of "per city" improvements and "per empire" factors (such as luxuries).
It's a working concept and with the numbers set right it works right. But for some reason that eludes me to this day (ok, let's be honest, I suspect that it's something along the lines of BuckGodot's comment quoted earlier in the post), they went and ruined their own math...