The patch notes for the upcoming Civilization 6 Spring Update break down a wide range of changes coming to the game, which 2K games said will include "balance changes, AI adjustments, multiplayer changes, and bug fixes." Highlights include a Harbor buff that "will bring the strength of the various districts in line with each other," and a reduction in warmonger penalties, "so they only hit with their full strength if you are truly wresting valuable cities from your opponents."
The changed warmonger penalties will impact both your Diplomatic status and City Populations. With a few very specific exceptions, the hit to your Diplomatic status will be reduced by 20 percent if you declare war on, or capture a city from, a player you have previously denounced, or 40 percent if you take the city from someone you're already at war with. Captured cities will also suffer a reduced population loss if the city's population after it's been taken is lower than the average population of all the cities in the game.
The AI is also being tuned to improve to improve its performance on various fronts, and a handful of bugs (and a terribly awkward reference to Australian Prime Minister John Curtin as "President") have been fixed. A multiplayer issue that caused the online games list to fail to properly show all available games has been taken care of, and the list will also now show results from additional regions.
There's no hard date on the Civ 6 Spring Update yet, but 2K said it will hit the PC sometime this week, and don't forget that a couple of Great guys—Cyrus and Alexander—are on the way in an upcoming Civilization and Scenario pack, too. Full patch notes are available on Steam.
Yesterday, 2K announced that Persia, led by Cyrus the Great, would be one of two new civilizations added to Civilization 6 in upcoming DLC. Today, it unveiled Cyrus' partner in that expansion, and he's pretty great too. His name is Alexander, son of Philip, and he's the ruler of Macedon.
Macedon's unique Hypaspist units are elite, shield-bearing soldiers who carry a spear and short sword into battle, while the Hetairoi—better known as the Companions—are a fast, heavy cavalry unit that's "widely regarded as the world's first shock troops." For a unique building, Macedon gets the Basilikoi Paides, where noble sons and young boys taken as political hostages are raised to "serve, honor and protect the king, and to serve Macedon’s interests above all else," and the unique "Hellenistic Fusion" ability grants it a bonus every time a city is conquered.
As for Big Al himself, he's all about the fight. His ability, To the World's End, grants reduced war weariness, so that Macedon can stay at war with its neighbors for longer stretches without suffering unduly for it.
Ironically, in the same sense of the term as Tomyris' appearance in the Persia teaser, Alexander was ultimately unable to reach the world's end: His army refused to follow him into India, and he was forced to turn back at the Beas River. He died three years later, in Babylon, at the age of 32.
Macedon and Persia will be available together in an upcoming Civilization and Scenario Pack, scheduled to come out later this spring.
It seems a little odd to me that the Persians weren't in Civilization 6 right from the start, but better late than never, and today 2K announced that the Achaemenid (Persian) Empire, with Cyrus the Great at its head, will be added to the game in an upcoming Civilization and Scenario pack.
The Persian unique unit is the famed Immortal, a replacement for the Swordsman unit, which boasts a ranged attack and strong defense in combat, while its unique improvement, the Pairidaeza—Persian Gardens—provides culture, gold, and appeal, with bonuses for adjacent tiles. I won't even try to spell its unique ability (related to satraps, as best I can make out), but it gives Persia a free trade route, and bonuses to internal trade routes, when Political Philosophy is unlocked.
As for Cyrus, he brings the Fall of Babylon ability to the table, which provides bonus movement to Persian units following the declaration of a surprise war. He also suffers reduced diplomatic penalties for declaring surprise wars, a handy trait if you're the sort of ruler who gets along well with others but really can't be trusted.
2K said Persia "can be very successful with sneak attacks," but it also used an image of Tomyris of Scythia when talking about Cyrus' military acumen, and she, you may recall, reportedly cut the man's head off and dunked it in a bucket of blood when he messed with her. Kind of mixed signals on that point, then. On the other hand, Persia can also be grown into a wealthy and powerful nation through the more peaceful application of Wonders and the Pairidaeza, so maybe that's a better way to go.
A release date hasn't been announced, but 2K said Persia will be one of two nations included in an upcoming Civilization and Scenario Pack. Based on previous releases, you can expect it to set you back $5, and it will be free if you own the Civ 6 Digital Deluxe edition.
Whenever a developer decides to throw Australia into the pool of cultural insensitivity that videogames can sometimes be, I get a little scared. The trepidation is caused as much by patriotism as it is by the opposite of that: I don’t want my glorious nation to be represented by a slouch-hatted cattle drover whose key trait is ‘mateship’, but on the other hand, leave us alone we’re boring!The latest Premium DLC for Civilization 6 brings the great southern land into the fray for the first time in the series’ quarter-century history. At the helm is our 14th Prime Minister, John Curtin, who’s perhaps best known for leading the country in its defense against the Japanese during World War II, and having been the only PM to go to jail. He was no doubt chosen due to the former of these two facts, as Curtin’s unique ability triggers a production boom whenever war is declared on Australia, or when it liberates another civ’s city.
The Aussie portrayal in this game preys on both my fears: it is at once dripping with stereotypes, and grossly incongruent with the history books. There is something unnerving about sending your ‘Diggers’, fresh from bumming around an ‘Outback Station’, to storm the beaches of a distant land at the request of an overly-powerful ally. On the other hand, it’s even more peculiar to play as some Anglo-looking brutes romping around Canberra in the year 4000 BC, eventually researching mass production, signing off on extensive foreign trade agreements, and rising to the height of modernity well before Australia was even due to be colonised in 1788. However, this goofy dissonance is a cornerstone of the Civilization series and shouldn’t be taken personally. The joy of this game doesn’t have to come from some attempt at a realistic play-by-play of historical events—atomically-aggressive Gandhi should have made this clear by now. Instead, it can be found in the forging of your own civilization from a melting pot of randomised events and bad decisions, and the specialities that come with your chosen civ can just as easily be exploited as ignored. In fact, it’s fair to say that the region in which your first settler is randomly plopped is probably going to be a more significant factor in your complete annihilation at the hands of Montezuma (that leafy bastard) than your civ’s strengths and weaknesses will be.The perks and uniquities of any particular civ is more akin to the playable races found in Skyrim, where there are obvious advantages to choosing a sneaky Khajiit if you want to pickpocket your way across the province, but with a tiny bit more effort you can become a cat with a battleaxe. See what you miss out on when you play by the rules?
Now that we’ve dealt with historical purists who only play videogames to get off on the gritty realism, let’s talk details. Australia’s unique unit is the Digger, a burly alternative to the standard infantry of the modern era, who excels at fighting on foreign soil and coastal tiles. This makes for some supreme Gallipoli-style shore assaults (except more successful), as well as a pretty handy boon when defending your own coastal cities—which you will have a lot of due to the extra housing Australia’s unique ability provides.
While there are rich rewards for founding a city on the coast, especially if it happens to be surrounded by sheep, cattle, and horses, Australia is also able to make use of its vast sunburnt plains thanks to the Outback Station tile improvement. This dusty domicile is at its dinkum-est when within range of a cluster of pastures (which themselves set off a ‘culture bomb’ when improved—much better than it sounds) or more outback stations. So when you see some precious resource in the middle of the desert surrounded by shit-all else, it may still be a viable settling location. Alongside conquering the globe with your regime of mateship, there’s a new scenario to play that goes by the name ‘Outback Tycoon’ (okay guys, we get it). This is a purely peaceful scenario and is surprisingly fun in spite of this. It was a pleasant change to be forced to focus on economics and expansion and not even be given the option of conflict, considering my generally bloodthirsty approach to the game. You can choose to play as the premier of Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, or Western Australia, and each have their own leadership bonuses like any other civilization, although they are a little less powerful. You set off from New South Wales in the year 1814 AD and immediately begin the process of exploring and settling the vast continent—and it truly is massive, complete with aptly located natural wonders and resources. You then have 60 turns to blossom into a booming business state, with the dollars that you rake in every turn counting as your score.Generally I find that you’re either a scenario person or you’re not, and even though I’m in the latter camp, this was by far one of the better and more involved scenarios I’ve played in strategy games over the years. It felt genuinely specialised and non-tokenistic, with relevant civic policy, research, worker units, and even these adorable messages that would pop up and tell me that my explorer has permanently lost a movement point because he was “harassed by dingoes”.
The pleasure you get out of this DLC will boil down to how seriously you take it, and how seriously you already take the Civilization franchise. For some of us, it may be a little ‘too real’ having to decide if 2017-Australia should support and expand its mining industry in order to satisfy international trading partners, even if it means sacrificing some of the globe's last remaining national parks and all hope at conservationism—all while a fiddle and a didgeridoo slowly drone through a somber rendition of . But for others, they’ll just nuke France then go to bed.Oh, and the flag is a kangaroo.
Since its arrival last October, Firaxis and 2K's Civilization 6 has launched a host of updates, a catalogue of player-made mods, and its Australian Summer DLC—which sees the land Down Under enter the fold for the first time in the entire Civ series. If you're yet to experience any of that, it's also now launched a free demo.
Downloadable via Steam, players who do so will assume control of China's Qin Shi Huang and play out 60 turns in charge of The Red Dragon. World domination can be levied by way of the Crouching Tiger Cannon, a ranged gunpowder unit; and the Great Wall improvement, where early game defence and gold transitions to culture and tourism—however you should consult Civ expert T.J. Hafer's full rundown over here.
Here's how T.J. summed up Civilization 6 in his review last year: "Sight, sound, and systems harmonize to make Civilization 6 the liveliest, most engrossing, most rewarding, most challenging 4X in any corner of the earth."
Alongside the free demo, 2K is running a Publisher Weekend Sale which will net you discounts on Civ 6's full release, as well as the likes of XCOM 2 and Mafia 3. More information on that can be found this way.