‘Civilization 6’ Patch: Firaxis Should Fix AI And Diplomacy (And It Can)

Trajan of Rome. (c) 2K Games

Civilization 6 came out in late October to generally rave reviews and record-breaking sales, making the new installment the most successful Civilization launch to date. And here at iDigitalTimes, we mostly loved the thing, and gave it five stars out of five. In a lot of ways, the game approaches the heights of the epic Civilization IV, but it certainly still has its flaws. Consensus suggests the biggest are the AI and diplomacy. This should be where Firaxis focuses its efforts—and, thankfully, that’s totally doable.

The First Civ 6 Patch Should Fix AI And Diplomacy

Civilization VI Great Wall
Civilization VI. Photo: (c) 2K Games

Civilization 6 is a grand strategy game crossed with a tabletop board game, which is a very cool thing. And, pretty much across the board, it improves on the core systems of Civilization V and added a bunch of cool new ones along the way. But the game is by no means perfect—it isn’t very geographically diverse, the AI is quite weak, and diplomacy still feels harder to control than it did in Civilization IV (although it’s a big improvement over Civ V).

Luckily, the AI and diplomacy issues are just the sort of thing that Firaxis can fix over time. With AI, the company has a history of improving its computer players’ skills over time; it’s hard to fully teach the AI the game while still building it, so it’s not like Firaxis had years before release to perfect the AI. There’s plenty of tweaking the company can make over time.

As for diplomacy, the system in Civ VI is much more sound than it was in vanilla Civ V, which had an extremely arbitrary-seeming diplomatic platform. The underlying principle behind it was that players should be surprised by the AI, so the arbitrariness was there by design. Civ VI’s core diplomatic idea is that AI civilizations all have specific agendas and treat their rivals accordingly. There are numbers behind it and you can see those numbers. It works a lot better. The current issues with the system are matters of degree—the AI can be a little too aggressive about enforcing its agenda, too slow about reacting to changes, and too cautious about other kinds of threats outside of the agenda system.

All these issues are easily fixed and Firaxis reads the reviews and knows that AI and diplomacy are high on players’ lists of complaints. Those issues should be top on the company’s list of issues to fix now, right behind a few of the game’s bugs and interface issues. And all that stuff is easy to do. Civilization 6 just came out, and it’s already great. It will only get better.

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