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Civilization VI: Rise and Fall wants to solve a problem. That problem is perpetual growth, and it plagues many 4X games. Whether your aim is world conquest or cultural hegemony, victory in Civilization and many of its cohorts depends on domination. However peacefully you try to play, you’re often straight-jacketed into a utilitarian-psychotic view where all resources and people are just raw material to be assimilated, Borg-like, until the whole map is monochrome.
But as the early excitement of exploration and expansion ebbs to late game stagnation, the fun runs out. Historically, stagnating empires tend to fragment and collapse. But in Civilization VI, like many games, you’re the star of the show and there’s nowhere to go but up.
Update: Firaxis has confirmed that the spelling errors are a mistake. In a brief statement sent to PC Gamer, the developer wrote:
“We’re aware of a community-reported bug that has a minor impact on AI behavior. We’ve also made sure that everyone knows that I goes before E except after C… or other weird exceptions. Thanks to all who helped bring this to our attention and there will be a fix included in our next update.”
Original story: There's a story going around that sounds too improbable to be true: that Civilization 6's AI leaders have been acting strangely all this time because of five misspellings in a data file. The likelihood that Firaxis wouldn't have noticed such an obvious error for so long seems minuscule. And yet, inside one of Civ 6's loose data files, Leaders.xml, are the following five lines:
<Row Item="YEILD_PRODUCTION" ListType="DefaultYieldBias" Value="25"/><Row Item="YEILD_SCIENCE" ListType="DefaultYieldBias" Value="10"/><Row Item="YEILD_CULTURE" ListType="DefaultYieldBias" Value="10"/><Row Item="YEILD_GOLD" ListType="DefaultYieldBias" Value="20"/><Row Item="YEILD_FAITH" ListType="DefaultYieldBias" Value="-25"/>
In each line, 'YEILD' is a misspelling of 'YIELD.' That wouldn't matter if it were misspelled everywhere, but 'yield' is written with the correct spelling in every other instance across all of Civ 6's data files.
The misspelling was noticed by Something Awful forum user Straight White Shark (though they say in the thread that they weren't the first to pick up on it), and I've verified that the 'YEILD' lines can be found in a fresh Civ 6 download, though it isn't clear whether the mistake was always there, or if it was introduced in an update.
Shark and other Civ players believe these table entries are meant to set the AI leaders' default priorities, which are then modified by their various preferences and agendas. The effect should be that, by default, each leader prioritizes production and gold over everything else, and gives the least priority to faith. Popular theory has it that these misspellings are causing the default values to be ignored, explaining why some AI civs seem to put too much energy into religion.
By running two automated 151-turn games using the same Civilizations, each starting in the same spot on the 'true start' Earth map, Shark did find that fixing the misspellings created a noticeable difference in the AI leaders' priorities—they produced less faith overall, and more buildings and science.
I have been able to create reproducible results with the same basic methodology. By using the true start Earth map, I can run identical games using the Autoplay mod and produce identical end-of-game graphs, provided I don't change anything between tests. When I fix the typos, though, the graphs change. For example, Pedro II produces less faith-per-turn at the end of 100 turns when the typos are fixed.
To confirm that I was definitely making a difference, I set faith to 1,000 and all other yields to 0. When I did, Pedro II's faith-per-turn skyrocketed within 50 turns, and the other civs in my test trended up too. Even Queen Victoria built a Holy Site, which she didn't do in any of my other tests. I tried the same thing with the typos uncorrected, and the graphs reverted back to 'normal,' as if I hadn't changed anything from my first baseline test. With the misspellings in place, the lines don't do anything.
It's possible that the misspellings were introduced in a recent patch, and weren't there all along. It's also possible that Civ 6 is actually behaving as intended despite the misspellings, as different default values might be set elsewhere, making these five lines obsolete. But who would take these lines out of commission with typos, rather than by commenting them out?
I've reached out to 2K to find out if Firaxis is aware of the misspellings, and whether or not AI leaders are truly supposed to deprioritize faith, and just haven't been.
If you don't want to go editing the xml file yourself, you can download this mod on the Steam Workshop to try playing Civ 6 with the typos corrected. For more data, a few players are testing variations of the typo-corrected values on Reddit.
With so many famous historical figures to choose from, how does Firaxis decide which characters to include in each installment of Civilization? Ghandi's a given, obviously, but even then the surprisingly nuke-happy pacifist doesn't represent every aspect of India. In a panel at the recent PC Gamer Weekender, Firaxis' senior producer Andrew Frederiksen, and the DLC's lead designer Anton Strenger, explained how they came up with the cast of characters for Civ 6's Rise and Fall expansion.
This time around, they wanted a cast that would fit with Rise and Fall's Dynamic Empire's system, which sees empires rising and, well, falling over distinct historical eras. The team picked figures who would embody this theme, but who would also meet fan expectations, and sometimes surprise them, which sounds like a delicate balance to achieve. They wanted a diverse cast from a variety of historical periods, who would also look rather good standing next to each other in a cast photo.
As Fraser noted in his positive review, Rise and Fall introduces several new or returning civilizations, including the Cree, Scotland, Korea and the Netherlands. Naturally, the inclusion of new civs allowed the team to geek out and research the historical figures who would be the most appropriate figureheads for each civilization.
Frederiksen and Strenger discuss the base game's strengths and weaknesses in the full panel, below, while explaining their reasoning for the changes made for the recent Rise and Fall expansion. Ultimately, they wanted to improve Civ's capacity for emergent storytelling, something that lead to the creation of the Dynamic Empires system.
Civilization is at its worst when you’re winning. Success breeds complacency as you click the end turn button and acknowledge the news of great accomplishments with the practiced apathy of a regent signing papers on behalf of an infant king. There is an inevitability about your empire’s march through history and it’s easy to feel like a passive pawn.
Rise and Fall, the first major expansion for Civ VI, attempts to address this by introducing global crises, dark ages and citizen loyalty. It gets about half of the job spot on; the fall is much better than the rise.
The beating of a million drumsThe fire of a million gunsThe mother of a million sonsSid Meier’s Civilization
The looping march through history continues today with the launch of Civilization IV: Rise And Fall, the first full expansion for 2016’s turn-based 4X strategy sequel. Rise And Fall rolls with the ebb and flow of history, with different Great Ages bringing new challenges and bonuses, alliances that grow stronger over time, era goals, ’emergency’ pacts uniting civs against powerful opponents, and more. And obvs it also adds new civilisations, units, wonders, and so on.