Last month I received an e-mail from Tatiora as I believe she is known on these forums gifting me a beta key for Gal Civ IV… (I once made YouTube videos and Gal Civ III was one of the key games I covered.)
*For various reasons I wasn’t expecting too much from Gal Civ IV Beta. I was expecting to check it out for maybe an hour for nostalgia reasons, but I’ve been playing it a ton recently for I don’t know how many hours (Epic Game store crap UI) and have been really enjoying it, that’s not to say things are perfect even for a beta but it has led me to step out of semi-retirement to post here once again.
FYI my YT channel has been mothballed for a few years now (time flies) and I’ve been on a complete break from posting there or anywhere else where I used the “Macsen” username.
Gal Civ IV has changed that, whether I make future videos I don’t know but I do want to leave some feedback, so here goes...
The 10 BIG Changes list which was recently posted seems a good place to start but there’s a lot more I’ll add after that.
1. Sectors, really good idea, though I don’t subscribe to the bigger is always better philosophy. Potential for strategic points which Gal Civ’s open maps really lack.
2. Leaders, are actually really fun adds character and are massively important it turns out. Issues so far the names suck, the artwork is growing on me but is a long way from the barter screens quality. Trait variety is good, more is better. Some need better clarity also some seem to be ideologies with different names e.g. cruel/pragmatism, confusing.
3. Policies, UI could use some work very long list perhaps some should be obsoleted. Good idea overall I like them.
4. Prestige Victory, great idea in principle yet to see how works in practice. End game slog is a huge 4X issue.
5. Control, love it great idea. #PrintMoney #InviteLeaders
6. Core Worlds, seems a great way to cut down micro without changing the system entirely. Very important micro removal change, excellent! Don’t know if there is a cap on Core World Governors perhaps there should be. e.g. one per total sectors on map +5.
7. Combat, very little changes from GCIII so far had to refresh memory on battle roles... GC III wiki, no in game info. Important to have quickish battles that are still entertaining. I would like to see encounter zones and space terrain/bottlenecks playing a part personally. Room for a lot of improvement.
8. Missions, keeping the story without the campaigns seems a great idea to me, I never played the campaigns and from memory was vocal about it in my videos. Why play a worse version of the game than the sandbox…
9. Ideology, good change, potential to be really good. The old Good, bad, ugly, sorry neutral system sucked. 9 times out of 10 you’d pick the same course because it was simply better. Ideology though similar has the factions which are connected. I think Stardock need to increase the bonuses based on ideology linked to factions and add faction events. Make the factions more interesting as well, pretty generic currently. Has the making of something good not quite there yet. Still can’t minimize events to make informed decisions, long term series issue…
10. Economic System, I like the pops good idea, it’s so much better than Gal Civ III’s early wheel system it's not even funny. Tax I’m not sure works that well. It seems best to run at a loss most the game, approval very important. Not too much micro which is the key thing.
Ok so for more of my own thoughts in general. I think Stardock has definitely listened; there has been a drive to reduce micro which really plagued early versions of Gal Civ III especially and really nail down certain key features e.g. economy.
*I do think Stardock maybe plays things a bit too safe though and are arguably just remaking the same game with each iteration with only small changes certainly in comparison with e.g. the Civilization series and their 33/33/33 philosophy i.e. Keep third the same, update a third and a third completely new. Gal Civ IV isn’t totally different to III, II or I in the way Civ VI to V or IV is for that matter imo. Smaller budget than Firaxis I’m sure.
The core of the GCIV is really fun though some of the new changes have helped the game especially but there are issues I’ve had with the series for nearly two decades that I still wish were addressed…
The UI for starting conditions is nice but it’s impossible to get an idea with the settings how long the game will last, how many core/habitable planets there will be. How many roughly/exactly sectors there are. Will your home sector have more than one exit point? Why can’t we add more traverse point per sector? There has never been enough info here in the entire series, a long term issue for me. With Gal Civ III I used to mod the maps so I knew roughly how many habitable planets there would be so I knew how long the game would last.
Hate the barter system in 4X games, always have and Gal Civ series has one of the worst. I like the nice videos of the aliens but would prefer a new treaty system entirely rather than trading individual items. It feels like buying wine, beer and crisps from an off license not running a Galactic Empire. Boring, I need a drink after spending five minutes bartering. Things have been done over the four games to make it better inc. persuasion/threat in GCIV but it's time for a bolder change imo.
The lack of space features, terrain etc. About three years ago now I wrote a plan for what my version of Gal Civ IV would be like and space terrain was a key feature with tech and combat integrated into it. Perhaps I’ll post it on here eventually, I did e-mail it to Taitora last year but I suspect it ended in her junk folder.
While the sectors have made things more interesting the lack of features on Gal Civ maps is a problem, things haven’t changed much since Gal Civ 1. We don’t even have binary or trinary stars in the game yet. There is scope for massive improvement in this area. I feel Stardock just lack imagination based on the lack of changes over two decades. There’s a lot they could do to make the “space terrain” more interesting!!!
I could go on further with things I dislike or think could be improved (I’ve more) but that wasn’t my main intent when posting so I’ll leave it there for now and this has already turned into an essay. *Overall I think the Gal Civ IV beta is in a better state already than Gal Civ III was post release up until arguably Crusade. Lots of promise but long term I would like to see more radical changes e.g. space terrain, better diplomacy, combat changes and a streamlined engaging informative tech tree.
Overall really looking forward to Beta 0.8 and seeing how the game develops in general.