Warpals – Civ: Beyond Earth’s Rising Tide Diplomacy Fix

When our Alec told us wot he thinks about the Rising Tide expansion for Civilization: Beyond Earth [official site], he grumbled about a nasty bug in its overhauled diplomacy system – a very playground bug. When you declared war on someone, your allies might not back you up. “Yeah, go on, I’ve got your back,” they’d say, “go on, ‘it ‘im!” Then you’d ‘it ‘im. Then your pals would turn their backs and start whistling as a Siege Worm thundered towards you.

Relax! That bug is now fixed, thanks to a swift-ish hotfix.

Developers Firaxis explain the problem and the stipulations of the fix:

“Previously, there were some cases where a player would go to war, but their allies would not join them in the fight.

“Now, when a player declares war, all the player’s allies will also declare war on the target. If you are at war, and then you form an alliance with a faction that has not yet met your opponent, your new ally will not join the war automatically, since they don’t have prior diplomatic contact. This change will not apply to existing save games with an active war or alliance, but will apply to all games going forward.”

The patch should automatically download on Steam.

Alec was a bit lukewarm on Rising Tide, recommending folks steer clear at least until patches fixed the wonky diplomacy. That wasn’t its only shortcoming, mind, and the expansion isn’t cheap at £25. Alec’s on holiday this week so he shan’t be sharing new thoughts, but perhaps he’ll return to Rising Tide and tell us what he thinks now diplomacy less wonked.

Am I putting him up to something, volunteering him to wrestle with the game then report back to you, while I plan to scarper when things get real? Who could say.

25 Comments

  1. thelastpointer says:

    If it weren’t for the steep price, I’d jump right in. But now I feel like a cheapskate :(

    • Xocrates says:

      The price thing is weird, because it seems to be an UK thing. The game is the normal expansion price of 30€/30$ in EU and US, making it one of the very rare occasions where the UK price is higher that the € price.

    • JiminyJickers says:

      It definitely is pretty pricey. Especially if you are in New Zealand. Luckily Humble Store sold it at the US price so it was a lot cheaper than the original was for me.

      I was a big fan of the base release, unlike most people it seems, so looking forward to getting back into the game with the expansion.

      • thelastpointer says:

        I’m in Eastern Europe (Hungary) so I can get the ‘The Collection’ package on Steam for 60€ (buying the base game and the expansion separately would be 40+30€). Seeing the reviews, however, I wouldn’t bother with it without the expansion, which is why I find this a bit expensive.

    • raiders says:

      You ain’t no cheapskate, mate.

      Me? I’m a cheapskate. When the game was 10% off at pre-order, I went to GreenManGaming and used their 25% off store-wide coupon. Ended up paying $20. No way was I going to give them $30 (nor $26), but I didn’t want to wait for a bigger discount. The base game needed…help.

      But after seeing the ridiculous diplomacy they installed (NOT mentioned in this article), I’ll wait for those 75-90% deep cuts on the next packs.

  2. pseudoart says:

    Despite my reservations, I did buy it. And I still haven’t completed a game in it. I’ve started several new ones. It’s just…. not very good, in my opinion. Everything that has to diplomatic interaction with the other factions is fairly annoying. I’ve started to just ignore them all together and say no to everything. I can’t be bothered to offer them deals myself, since they usually just say no.

    I also realized what I didn’t like about vanilla and its still very present now. Even after going halfway through the tech trees, it doesn’t really feel like your civ has progressed at all. There isn’t the gradual increase in abilities as the original Civilization(s) has. For the most part, you just unlock new buildings that gives more of the currencies and your old units become faster/stronger. The whole feeling of obsolete tech and gradual upgrades from Civ is missing entirely.

    I’m so “meh” with it that I don’t think I’ll get to finish a game unless some major patches are done, and even then, I’ll not sink in the 500+ hours in it as I did in Civ 5.

    • Xocrates says:

      What difficulty are you playing on? I never had any real problems with them accepting deals, though I see that coming up often enough to wonder if my difficulty setting is simply too low.

      That said, they generally will refuse the most powerful agreements until you have a higher relationship with them. And given that the most powerful ones are really fucking powerful I don’t blame them.

      I also bounced off the game early on, having to restart 2 games due to screwing up massively while learning the new stuff and unlearning some of the old one, though after playing long enough to play a full game I grew quite fond of it, as it does improve most of the problems I had with the base game. The only real problem I have with it right now is the peace negotiations thing, which is dumb but (to me) not game breaking.

      That said, if your problem is that you a lack of sense of progression, I doubt that’s something that can even be changed, not least of which because I don’t think that’s a problem most people had.

    • Drinking with Skeletons says:

      Interesting. I’m finding the diplomacy to be a flawed but refreshing change from the traditional Civ model. There’s still some obtuseness, but it’s much easier to know what the AI thinks of you.

      The tech web is also a nice change of pace. Don’t get me wrong, I like the traditional Civ tech tree, but the rigidity means that one game is much like another. I like that I can specialize in certain paths, and it makes the playthroughs a bit more different from one another than I usually experience in Civ.

    • Chris Cunningham says:

      Precisely this. The only way to combat this is to sufficiently immerse the player in the new tech / world. This is why Alpha Centauri had such a staggering amount of multimedia and story content. Even by halfway through your first game, you’d gotten enough of a feel of the factions and the world through the Datalinks entries and the odd cutaway to be enveloped in it. With this it’s literally just a case of waiting until you have enough red points to get hovertanks or whatever.

      • melancholicthug says:

        I’ve got yet to see better world-building (in the ‘lore’ sense of the word) in games than AC had. I’m still amazed of how deep and ingenious it was.

  3. Kabukiman74 says:

    You can um up the whole expansin with a few words: They tweaked and added some minor stuff, while completely messing up the diplomacy system.

    Seriously, this system is worse than the diplomacy system of DOOM…;)

    Just recently I had a game where I fought a war of attrition with a leader on the other side of the planet. When he sued for peace, I had to take 2 crappy towns from him as spoils, which messed up my health, dragged me into a new war with the second nation present there and which I couldn’t defend because of their remote location with NO option to just settle for peace without taking spoils (or suggesting something else but these backwater hellholes). The only option would’ve been to raze these towns, an action which would mess up my rating with the other leaders.

    It makes me wonder who designed this and if they even spent a single cent on playtesting this…oh, I forgot, these days testing is done by paying customers…;)

    • Osmedirez says:

      Oh my lord no. Nonononono. So I’ll wait till they patch that broken diplomacy system before I would consider paying for this very very poor design choice.

    • thelastpointer says:

      Not to be offensive, but is it possible that this system has some implications you’ve missed? Like making you think about alliances more or something?
      Just wondering, this really doesn’t make any sense otherwise…

      • Xocrates says:

        I suspect that may be the intention, but it still feels weird.

        You’re encouraged to ally with the other factions in order to get better rewards from the diplomatic agreements, but this does mean getting dragged into the AI wars – this is fine, and honestly a clear improvement for the game – but the peace system essentially means that there is no point in asking the other side for peace since the mandatory terms will never be accepted.

        As such there are essentially two options: Ignore the war (if you can) and wait for the AI to propose a “white peace”, or go to war and essentially having to wipe them out.

      • Kabukiman74 says:

        Don’t think I’ve missed a thing. Diplomacy in “BERT” works like this:

        -You collect points from your capital depending on the buildings you built there and from allowing other factions to use your traits (eg. getting +3 points/turn for allowing them to get +2 culture/kill).

        -with enough points you can:

        -buy stuff in your towns (like with gold)

        -ask to use other leader’s traits, see above, greater bonusses -give/cost more points

        -improve your own traits or change them for something else, cost increasing, 4 traits 1 of them depending on which faction you play (traits give decent bonusses for yourself and open up options you can “trade” to other factions)

        Trading traits sucks a bit, since factions can only be asked for use of their trait with no way of adding anything to sweeten the deal.

        There doesn’t seem to be any way to selectively improve relationships. You will be spammed with (random?) popups of faction leaders liking/disliking your actions/developments. If someone seems to like you enough, they will offer to improve their standing (neutral to cooperating for example, which will increase traded trait bonusses and open borders, again you must open borders, no option foe “partial cooperation” there). By the way, I have yet to find an option to offer improved standing myself (the only option beside trading traits available being to declare war in the diplomacy screen) – seems like only the AI can initiate that.

        So, as you stated already – the whole system doesn’t make much sense and is, at least in my opinion, a massive impairment compared to the base game or the CIV family in general.

        • Xocrates says:

          Hum… you totally can request to improve the standing yourself. You just select to option to change the standing and click on the standing you want.

          • Kabukiman74 says:

            Hmm…must’ve missed that. Will start a new game later and try it again, so far I was unable to find this option.

        • Kabukiman74 says:

          Missed a small diplomacy option – wars. When going to war, both sides will accumulate “war points” which will allow the side with the higher amount to dictate peace terms. However there is no way to define this – if you have enough points, you will get an enemy city as war spoils, but you have no influence which one. Even worse, you can’t even refrain from taking it, if you’re having a winning streak, you will be offered more and more stuff you don’t want, the only option to get back to “white peace” seems to lose enough units to let your enemy catch up…

          • thelastpointer says:

            Can’t you give the cities back? Sorry, but I still have a hard time believing that this part is so messed up.
            Actually in SMAC my favorite thing was to give a few advanced units (or cities even) to my “enemy’s enemy” at strategic positions and watch the tide turn on that front. It was not always an effective tactic, but it always greatly enhanced the game when I was in a roleplaying mood.

          • Xocrates says:

            @thelastpointer: You cannot.

            The new Diplomacy system is in replacement of – not in addition to – the civ style diplomacy system. The only things you can do are the preset agreements and change your standing towards the other faction. It’s simply not possible to negotiate or give stuff away.

            The diplomacy in the base game was thin enough that the loss of negotiation isn’t that a big deal, except for the peace deals which are just bizarre.

            Honestly, this is a feature I do not expect to survive the first major patch.

  4. Kabukiman74 says:

    “Can’t you give the cities back?” – Well, when you decide to agree to peace, the cities you win will behave exactly as if you had conquered them. In case of 3rd parties you can liberate them (did this in my first game), however if they belonged to your former enemy, the only options are the ones you have when conquering leaving “Raze” as the only option to get rid of an unwanted city.

  5. Kabukiman74 says:

    Another small issue I have with the expansion is that it massively seems to favour the new, swimming cities.

    Especially strategic resources seem way more abundant out at sea and a swimming city can move to include them in the working radius, something a land based city can’t do. The only drawback – city limits don’t grow with culture, a negligible disadvantage since you can get 3 new hexes with 1 move action and are also able to acquire hexes with gold (as usual).

    You can also use this offensively, moving your heavy fortress towards the enemy (although slow with, 1 hex/turn max speed, slower when production is low) I have yet to see the merits of land-based cities in the expansion (besides some land-only buildings/wonders)

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the basic ideas of most stuff in the expansion, however it does need a lot of polishing. I’d say at the current state it feels more like an early access product although it is not sold as such.

    • Xocrates says:

      There are more drawbacks than that. They have noticeably lower defense and I believe aren’t quite as productive.

      They’re fine once you already have one or two cities set up to support them, but going full aquatic can screw you up. Besides, not only does moving take time (1 turn is when the city is already decently developed) but you still have the 3 tiles max distance for workable tiles, so moving too much won’t help.

      Personally, I prefer to take coastal cities where I can.

      • Kabukiman74 says:

        I think the great advantage is with founding new cities/outposts. I usually move my “front town” away from my main area, vacating the old, usually already well developed spot for the new outpost. This removes one of the usual problems of your border towns (low production/defense). Btw. the lower defense is imo easily offset by building defense buildings and the fact that, as a floating city, you are pretty safe from enemy ground troops. Considering coastal cities – I think it’s worth going one step further, making it floating and thus mobile.

        • Xocrates says:

          Hmm… that moving the old city and plonk the new one there seems quite clever. May need to try that.