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Firaxis have posted the next in their series of brief Civilization 5: Brave New World videos. Sorry, what I meant to say was, "Firaxishavepostedthenextintheirseriesof..." Because, blimey, they're really speeding through these explanations of the expansion's new features. This time around, we're treated to a quickfire burst of info on trade routes.
The developers have also provided some cryptic answers to a community Q&A, teasing some of the unannounced facets of the expansion. Of particular interest is their response to a question about one of the two factions that have yet to be revealed: "It’s a Civ with such a unique play style that no civ ever before has ever been designed this way. It’s not just outside the box, it’s in an entirely separate hypercube."
For a slower and more methodical look at what the expansion has planned, check out our hands on preview, and new units guide.
Brave New World is due out July 9th in the US, July 12th in the UK.
Shacknews - Steve Watts
It's a testament to Civilization 5's thoughtful, historically-based gameplay that the addition of international trade routes is a major pillar of the upcoming Brave New World expansion. Firaxis has talked quite a bit about the new ideology and cultures, so it's time for trade to have its day in the sun.
The revised system is said to help you expand more smoothly and actually pick your own paths to determine your trading partners. A new trailer shows off the feature. Check it out below, and for more detail on the broad scope of Brave New World, read our interview with lead designer Ed Beach and senior producer Dennis Shirk. The expansion drops on July 9.
Firaxis are breaking every rule in the trailer-making guidebook with this Policies & Ideologies featurette for Civilization 5's Brave New World expansion. For starter's it's called Policies & Ideologies. That's not what you call a trailer. You call a trailer "HYPER-BALLS ACTION SHINDIG," or something equally preposterous. At the very least, you add in a bombastic dubstep drop over blood-spattered bold text.
Confession time: I prefer this. Ideological choices that have an effect on diplomacy and abilities? Expanded and revised social policies? Oh, talk politics to me, Mr. Civ 5 Narrator.
Brave New World is due out July 9th in the US, and July 12th "internationally". For more on the expansion, see our hands-on preview here, or read Advisor T.J's guide to the new units and leaders.
Shacknews - John Keefer
The Civilization 5: Brave New World is bringing a new ideology system to the game, as well as adding some social policies. A new trailer for the expansion goes into a bit more detail on how these will make it easier to become ruler of the known world.
Two new social policy trees have been added: aesthetics, which has a more cultural leaning, and exploration, focusing on discoveries on the high seas. The video also looks at the three ideologies that unlock once you enter the Modern Age.
The expansion will be out for PC on July 9.
There are already an absurd number of possible empires in Civilization 5. The vanilla game came with a not-inconsiderable eighteen, DLC gave the option for another seven, and the Gods & Kings expansion raised the total by a further nine. Then there are mods, letting you play an astonishing range of leaders, from Stalin to Adventure Time's Princess Bubblegum.
As well as expanding the cultural victory path and bolstering democracy, the Brave New World expansion also increases the number of countries that can vie for dominance across your hexagonal world. Two more civs have just been announced: Indonesia, led by Gaja Mada, and Morocco, fronted by the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur.
Brave New World will add nine new civilisations when it's released in July. Here are the seven that have been revealed so far:
Casimir of Poland
Pedro II of Brazil
Ashurbanipal of Assyria
Maria of Portugal
Shaka of the Zulu
Gaja Mada of Indonesia
Ahmad al-Mansur of Morocco
With two leaders yet to be announced, who would you like to see added?
Shacknews - Steve Watts
Firaxis has announced two more of the nine cultures being added to Civilization 5's Brave New World expansion. Indonesia and Morocco will join the set, joining Poland, Brazil, Assyria, Zulu, and Portugal, with two civilizations still remaining to be revealed.
Indonesia will be led by Gajah Mada, the Prime Minister of the Majapahit Empire from the 14th century. They'll get a bonus for taking to the seas, as your first three cities formed on new continents get two luxury resources from the Spice Islanders ability. It also replaces the swordsman with the Kris Swordsman, who gets a random upgrade after the first combat, and the Candi replaces the Garden, complete with a faith bonus.
Morocco is led by Ahmad al-Mansur. It is centered around the new trade route mechanics coming in Brave New World, since they get bonuses to gold and culture for each external trade route from the Gateway to Africa ability. Cavalry is replaced by Berber Cavalry, which gets combat bonuses on home turf or on desert. The Kasbah improvement grants extra defense, food, production, and gold to desert tiles as well.
May 17, 2013
The evil Assyrian Empire has finally showed its hand, proving what a threat it is to the world. The once mighty Zulus have fallen to their advancing armies, as have my long-time Swiss allies in the city-state of Zurich. In vanilla Civ V, we may have been left without recourse this far into the modern age. But this is a Brave New World, and I have a plan.
The second expansion for Civilization V most prominently features major overhauls to diplomacy, culture, and trade. While the previous expansion, Gods & Kings, put its emphasis on the early to mid game, Brave New World's new features are most strongly felt in the post-Renaissance eras, as the new World Congress adds a complex and exciting diplomatic layer to the often drawn-out tail end of each world's history.
The new trade route system, of course, is something you'll want to get in on early. In the press build we were given, I was able to play as one of the new civs, Morocco, which gets bonus gold and culture for each civ or city-state it has a trade route with. So, in addition to the base gold output, bonus science, and religious pressure, I found it in my best interests to expand and diversify my trade as much and as early as possible.
Since culture got a major overhaul, I set my sights on the new cultural victory condition, which could sort of be described as Pokemon with great historical works of art, music, and literature. Your ultimate goal is to make your culture "Influential" in every civilization on the board. Well, every remaining civ. There's still the option to bomb those who are slow to catch on to kingdom come. This is accomplished by expending Great Artists, Writers, and Musicians to collect Great Works, which are put on display in various wonders and culture buildings in your empire.
Great Works generate Tourism, a new resource that could be described as the offensive equivalent to Culture (which now, in addition to its other effects, acts as a passive defense against foreign Tourism). The interesting part is that most wonders with slots for Great Works have a theming bonus, allowing you to generate extra Tourism for specific kinds of great works. For example, Oxford University generates bonus Tourism if it's filled with two Great Writings from different eras, and different civilizations other than your own. This requires you to swap your great works with the AI, or in later ages, send Archaeologist to plunder ruins that maybe don't exactly belong to you.
Your Tourism will slowly tick up your influence from Unknown to Influential (and, if you want to go totally overkill, you can eventually hit Dominant at 200% influence) in every civ you've met. The rate at which this happens is determined by their Culture (higher Culture score slows it down), whether or not you have Open Borders, trade routes, shared religion, and shared ideology.
Around the tail end of the mid game, the World Congress will be founded by the first civ to meet every other civ on the board and hit a few tech prerequisites. Unlike the UN in vanilla Civ V, this system doesn't merely exist to elect a World Leader and seal diplomatic victory—though it does gain that ability down the line. For instance, I was able to use the world's general ill will toward warmongering Assyria to place them under an embargo, cutting off all of their international trade routes and crippling their income. When the time came for the Great War to liberate the Zulus and my allied city-states, this had a very visible effect: their armies were outdated, their defenses under-staffed. I won the war in legislation before I ever fired a shot.
The World Congress is still an imperfect system, however, as it's far too easy to snowball. Whichever civ meets everyone first gets to be Host, and the Host automatically receives double the base number of delegates (read: votes) in each era. It is possible to vote to replace the Host, but since the Host has the most votes, this doesn't usually happen. It's also fairly simple to push through reforms that give the Host additional delegates based on religion and ideology, at which point, everyone else may as well not cast a ballot. On top of this, the other civs don't seem upset when one civ is totally dominating the World Congress, the way they take note of a particularly dangerous military conqueror. I wasn't even going for Diplomatic victory, and I almost achieved it anyway.
Brave New World goes a long way toward making Civ V feel like a fully fleshed-out and diverse experience. Like Gods & Kings before it, it adds a lot of optional depth that can be ignored without disaster, but presents new roads with high rewards for those who choose to follow them. The late game slog that often left one civ so far ahead that nothing could be done hasn't been totally fixed—especially relating to Diplomatic victory—but there is at least a lot more to do in the later eras, making them much more diverse and fun to play.
You'll be able to take your first steps into this Brave New World on July 9 in the US and July 12th everywhere else. Be forewarned: Assyria is the new Greece.
May 15, 2013
You may remember Sid Meier from such games as Sid Meier's Civilization, Sid Meier's Civilization II, Sid Meier's Pirates, and... well, you get the idea. While he's currently taking a vacation from PC development, instead creating the iOS strategy game Ace Patrol, he has had some things to say about the oft-PC centric Kickstarter, and its role in the game creation process. Specifically, he worries about the potential inflexibility of the platform with regards to backers' expectations.
Speaking to GI.biz, he said, "I think you kind of lock yourself into a lot of ideas early."
"I really enjoy the luxury of changing my design and evolving over time," he continued. "I’d be a little concerned with Kickstarter if I committed to X, Y and Z and I found out down the road that Z didn’t work very well, I kind of promised to do this. I think it's great for people who want that indie environment, but there are advantages and disadvantages to each situation."
In this area, Meier noted the benefits of Firaxis' relationship with publisher 2K. "They do all the stuff I don’t want to do; they allow me to make games and really focus on that part of what it takes to get a game out there. I get to design games, I get to program games, I get to work with the artists and the sound guys and do the fun stuff. They worry about testing it and publishing it and promoting it and selling it – whatever it takes to do that I would be really bad at, they do."
"So more power to Chris Roberts and the Kickstarter," Meier finished, "but having a great publisher is a real asset and allows me to focus on the things that I can do and not worry about all the other stuff that needs to be worried about."
Is there some truth to Meier's concern? If you back a project, do you expect to get exactly what the original pitch promises?
I've never played a game of Civilization V from the Ancient Era to the Modern Era. I start out intending to, but then there are no fish or whales off the coast of my starting territory, and Gandhi builds the Great Wall before I can, and Dido founds a city near the inlet where I was planning to put a city, and it's the worst thing that has ever happened to me so I start over.
Here's another confession: after 40 hours of Skyrim, I haven't completed more than a few main storyline quests. Instead, I've created character after character, because I’m indecisive and terrified of commitment.
If you're a serial restarter too, let's work on it together with some help from one of the internet's most plentiful resources: banal relationship advice. By slightly reworking advice for the romantically cold-footed, I've developed a plan to help us stop starting over.
Get over the honeymoon phase
I love the initial exploration and discovery in Civ V, and designing RPG characters is my favorite part of playing RPGs, because I become obsessed with the idea of what’s ahead of me; all the potential scenarios I can imagine.
And then it starts getting serious. Oh no. I'm doing more work but I'm getting fewer rewards, and shockingly, the game hasn't molded itself to my imagination’s grand specifications. My glorious naval empire turns out to be a few coastal cities and some boats. My cunning thief is a mute skeleton murderer. My space pirate is mining space rocks. And none of those things ever want to cuddle anymore.
...Except my EVE Online character, maybe.
My fantasies gives way to actual game mechanics. It becomes a Serious Relationship, and it's harder, but ultimately more rewarding. That initial passion is nice, but it doesn't compare to the stories I get from a long-term relationship, when I actually start to care about a character's progression.
So don't be afraid to care. It leaves you open to be hurt—like, say, when an unmet civilization builds the Great Lighthouse first or when an actual pirate suicide ganks you—but that's OK. You can raze their cities and starbases later.
Stop dating playing as the same character
This may be my biggest problem: I almost always choose rogue, thief, or some analogue in RPGs, and I’ve built this concept map in my head of all the things they should be. No one game can deliver all those things, and my disappointment leads to futile re-rolling. As long as I don't get too far, I can't be disappointed, right?
There's an easy solution: don’t keep playing the same character hoping they’ll be a more perfect version of the last. When I try a warrior or mage class, I’m more willing to let the game inform what I can and can’t do, because I haven’t built such a rigid ideal. In Civilization, where I love seafaring nations, my longest and most interesting game was played as landlocked Germans.
Let your characters be imperfect. Let them be who they are, because they will never be exactly who you want them to be.
I've had more fun as Mr. Purrface than with any of my "serious" character builds.
Don't use rough patches as an excuse to flee
When I contracted vampirism in Skyrim, I almost rowed against the current back to a previous save, but I'm so glad I went down that river instead (if not very far). Building a narrative as I go is always more rewarding than trying to overlay my ideal story, and that's especially the case when things don't go according to plan. Tragic stories are inherently interesting, and failure isn't something to undo. Remind yourself of that.
Note: In actual human relationships, contracting diseases should be avoided. Other than that, this analogy is perfect.
See a therapist—you have unresolved issues from your childhood
OK, this analogy isn't perfect. I may have coasted through my psychology elective, if you must know.
The point is: serial restarters are missing out. The goal of these games is to start down a path and react to its twists—to let it challenge us—but instead we're caught in a loop, trying to find a perfect path where there is none. If you identify with this problem, pit the brunt of your willpower against it by vowing to keep playing regardless of the outcome, or use in-game mechanics—XCOM's Ironman mode, for instance—to force your own hand.
From now on, I'm going to be a one-character man. Well, probably not, but I'm going to try.