Oh, Civilization: Beyond Earth [official site], how sad you make me. You work so very hard to make me love you but… well, maybe you’re fundamentally unlovable. The Rising Tide expansion, that was a good try. You became more alien, less like your dad trying to wear a spacesuit, but gosh, you made a pig’s ear of Diplomacy, didn’t you? Bugs and bonkers design decisions queered the pitch.
But maybe it’s not too late. I hear there’s a big new patch intended to address one of your biggest problems; what flowers are you bringing to my door this time?
There were, for me, two main issues with Rising Tide’s revamped diplomacy system. One of those – that AI allies would not come to your aid in the event of war, but would automatically drag you into any of their conflicts – has been mostly fixed by a patch which arrived around a week after launch. The other seemed more fundamental – that the game would make its own decisions about what each side offered come peace negotiations, creating bizarre situations such as demanding that your struggling enemy gave up half his cities to you purely to broker peace, even if you didn’t want or need them. Or vice-versa.
Much as we lamented how little Beyond Earth originally broke with Civilization V tradition, switching things up so that the player had no control over one of the most important aspects of their campaign was, frankly, mad.
The new patch replaces this system with a revised one known as Spoils Of War. It’s a sort of halfway house between new and old, in which the leader who has ostensibly won the war can pick from a buffet of possible reparations from the other. I.e. technologies, yields, and cities – exactly what, and how many, is dictated by how many War Points you’ve scored. So long as the spoils add up to the same or less, the other party has to accept the deal.
However, more than likely the other side will have scored a few War Points too, and they can similarly spend it on nabbing some of your stuff, if they can afford it. All told it’s more like a shop than a negotiation, which I worry only amplifies my sense that Rising Tide overlays perhaps too many overtly game-y systems onto the base game – but it does sound better than the like-it-or-lump-it approach of the expansion pre-patch. Most importantly, to my mind, you can now request little or nothing from your bested opponent, rather than be forced to be a greedy conqueror regardless of your play style.
The system works a little differently in multiplayer – the bested player can accept or refuse the winner’s terms, but must offer a counter-proposal in the event they reject the deal. There’s more on how this all works here. It sounds like an improvement all-told, as much as I’m worried that it’s just making a vast number of different points systems more and more intrinsic to the game.
TL;DR version: you can now pick and choose what you want during peace negotiations.
The patch brings with it assorted minor fixes, but highlights to my mind are the melding of land and sea trade vessels into a single amphibious unit, which gets rid of some pointless busywork, and these two bug-splats for Diplomacy:
o Fixed an issue that prevented AI allies from joining a war if they hadn’t met the opponent and the war started before the alliance was formed.
o Fixed an issue where some AI leaders would send communiques inappropriately while at war.
That will hopefully help reduce the madness I experienced about who’d go to war and why, and that mortal enemies kept saying chummy things to me even while their tanks were at my gates.
More things are listed here, and hopefully this isn’t the end. It’s a shame Rising Tide wasn’t quite the redemption song we’d hoped for, but at least the devs seem to be responsive to its issues rather than entrenching into design decisions which frustrated people.