Fall Patch for Civ5 Brave New World

Firaxis has just released patch version for Sid Meier’s Civilization V, or rather for Brave New World since most changes are specific to that expansion. I’ve updated my own Civ5 Patch Notes accordingly, this time with extensive reordering and reformatting since the official post was somewhat disorganized. Firaxis also published the Scrambled Continents Map Pack as a separate purchase, for continents with known outlines but randomized interiors.

The 39.6 MB patch contains nearly 200 listed changes, mostly balance & bug fixes for Brave New World. Disappointingly, this still doesn’t fix all issues – in my first test game, I saw that archeologic dig sites were still announced with two icons per site, and the Hermitage theming bonus seems newly broken. Most of my annoyances with the original BNW release are still intact, too: there’s just a pamphlet instead of a real manual, the new culture and trade route systems are hampered by laborious UI, and the computer players are less challenging on King than on Gods & Kings’ Prince level, despite enhanced cheating. Still, the patch does improve many things, including the following:

Added Bonuses

  • Tourism was made useful outside of culture victories. Starting with “Familiar,” growing tourism influence now grants a variety of increasing bonuses: extra science from trade routes, stronger spies, and lower unrest and population loss in conquered cities.
  • Archeology is also somewhat more useful, with the possibility to unearth Great Works of Writing, and a diplomatic bonus for creating landmarks within the territory of another empire or city-state.
  • Germany and Japan received badly needed boosts. Germany gets the Hanse building, providing a 5% production boost across the empire per city-state trade route. Japan gets multiple bonuses: extra culture from fishing and atolls, Zero fighters without oil, and samurai that upgrade to riflemen and build fishing boats (!?).

Diplomacy Changes

  • The AI’s diplomatic penalties for the human player’s “warmongering” are now divided into four levels, build up more slowly, and are halved when fighting a common enemy.
  • Diplomatic victories now require 2–9 more votes, depending on the map size. This makes it slightly harder to coast to an automatic victory by being peaceful and nice to city-states, but in practice it’s easily offset, e.g. by researching Globalization. You still don’t need to convince other leaders to actually vote for you.
  • Influence on liberated city-states was finally fixed. You used to get a mere 60 points, meaning they’d immediately drop out of ally status unless you had been previously friendly or you bribed them. Now the liberator gets 150 points, and previous influence by all other empires is drastically reduced.

Better AI Behavior

  • The AI should now accept fair deals and suggest complex offers to human players – I got lots of luxury offers for gold and strategic resources, for example.
  • The AI should amass only half as many military units before finally daring to attack. Units should no longer wander away from their formation, but may embark to bypass congested land passages.
  • The AI should be more reluctant to settle worthless spots, and take more care to eradicate nearby barbarian camps. Moreover, a bug was fixed in the routine used to retreat AI units to safety, so hopefully there will be fewer AI civilians lost to barbarians.

Some badly needed bug fixes include free buildings provided by social policies, which now remain operational if they had already been constructed. Losing the aqueduct bonus was a real nuisance. In the “more stuff” category, we have three new pantheons, three new city-states, and 19 new Great Works of Art. Multiplayer also received numerous fixes but Pitboss still requires a dedicated server, meaning you can’t host a Civ5 multiplayer game on the same machine you’re playing on. It’s not clear if that will ever change.

There were two remarkable changes regarding science victories. I’ll quote the AI fix in full: Don’t consider capitals to be “medium cities”. This change allows AI to start Apollo Program far earlier in Information Age starts where few cities are “Large” until 30+ turns in. In other words, the AI was so remarkably bad at science victories because it was delayed by a heuristic restriction… Bizarrely, the patch offsets this fix by doubling the costs of all spaceships parts – to increase the value of the Space Victory tenets. I would have preferred to cut down on the overabundance of ideology tenets, instead of changing another part of the game that worked quite well, and making it even harder for the AI to win.

All told I’m still not really happy with this expansion but since everyone else seems to love it I don’t expect we’ll see any significant further changes.

2013-11-19: Update was quietly pushed out on 30 October, and fixes a few things not mentioned in its very brief change list. Dig site notifications are sometimes correct now, and the AI seems a bit more active in attacking the player. It still cannot handle the peaceful victory conditions, though, and falls short of its overall strength in Gods & Kings.

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