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Three Moves Ahead Episode 117 – Patchwork

May 19th, 2011 by Rob Zacny · 10 Comments · Podcast, Three Moves Ahead


Elemental and Civilization V come in for a follow-up appointment with Julian, Troy, and Rob. Have the major changes that have been patched into these games translated into major improvements for the player? How much post-release support should players reasonably expect, and what can developers accomplish with it? What flawed games have become great with patching?

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Destrin

    How much post-release support should players reasonably expect, and what can developers accomplish with it?

    At the very least I expect to get the features I bought the game for in the first place. Despite all it’s patching Civ V multiplayer has barely been touched and is still very broken in places, this makes me very sad since I only really play Civ multi.

  • kabutor

    If you ever get Brian Reynolds on the show, you need also to speak about Colonization wich was such a great game..

  • tareq

    im very much in support of revisiting relatively older titles for a second look after the relase of a number of patches.

  • Otagan

    I’ll cast my vote in favor of an Alpha Centauri podcast, as well, especially if Brian Reynolds is available. That game is an absolute classic and I would love to hear an entire episode dedicated to it.

  • Tom Chick

    “Double Dunkirk in reverse”! Awesome.

  • Anders

    Elemental:War of Magic has without a doubt become great with patches.

  • skm742

    My college roommate’s time logged in WoW was the equivalent of 7 months, don’t worry about those 226 hours, it could be worse.

  • goodold

    I never play the shiny new fad of the week and only buy games on sale after several patches, so i’m absolutely for more coverage of “old” games (is that anything a month old now?). But i realize i’m probably a minority though

  • Severian

    Good podcast, thanks for revisiting these games guys. I am strongly in favor of professional reviewers covering patched and updated games more — esp. big-name titles that originally attracted a lot of attention, but were deficient in some clear and explainable way. Both Elemental and Civ V are games that I’m attracted to, of course, so I’m a bit biased I suppose.

    Personally, I have enjoyed Civ V from the outset, and my primary source of frustration has been the AI. It is certainly improving, but has not yet been able to offer me a challenge at King (my preferred difficulty level). I agree that the naval AI is particularly worrisome. It also concerns me when I see a rival civilization with 1000’s of gold in its coffers – why isn’t it spending that money to kick my ass?

    The economy is better now, I like the shift to stronger production and slower research as the game goes on. I also feel like it’s more challenging to maintain a happy civilization, which is a pleasant change. The end game *does* need help, and I wish that cultural victories were more… interesting. I enjoy building up a cultural power, but if you play a Civ V game without ever going to war, you can’t use any other word to describe it other than BORING.

    I suspect, along with you guys, that Civ V won’t *really* hit its stride until the 1st expansion. I hope it’s a good one.

  • penlin

    Good show. I also like seeing what’s happened with patches. Towards the end of the podcast, there was some discussion/disappointment that the patch had not fundamentally changed your view of the game.

    I wonder if this is because the game design has made a game unfixable? I am a big fan, in theory, of Civ V’s one-unit-per-hex and tactical combat innovations. However, it requires an AI that is maybe an order of magnitude better than past versions of Civ. As great as the idea is, was it just too ambitious? Is it realistic to expect it to really get fixed in a few patches?

    Along the same lines, I find I’m pretty disillusioned with strategy video games these days. There is a cycle of having a honeymoon period with the novelty of a recent game only to give it up when the worts in the design or AI start to show. Then it’s on to the next game … and inevitable disappointment.

    I think there is something to be said for a pay-as-you-play or subscription model for a strategy game. I would like to see a developer really spend the effort to take Civ V design, which I think is pretty good, and put the months (years?) of effort into making a killer AI to play against. If someone can play today’s flawed Civ V for 226 hours, how long could you play a really polished, almost perfected version? I would pay subscription fees for that.