0.81 Yor Playthrough ~300 turns
Galaxy settings: medium everything for the most part; 3 sectors; all AI’s added; “very slow” pacing & tech pacing.
So I thought I’d give the Yor a spin, since this is a faction that I’ve played a lot of during the GC3 era, I wanted to see how they felt to play vs how I recall..
All and all they play pretty well and have no glaring issues/problems. One of the most annoying things about the Yor in GC3 is that if you didn’t happen to find the appropriate resources in the early game you would just be completely screwed because you just wouldn’t be able to build pop. I like that this shortcoming has been addressed with the addition of domestic Durantium production on Iconia. The industrial bonuses associated with the Durantium cloud/mine/whatever are a nice bonus also, and fitting with the Yor thematically (production focused). Additionally, being able to build pop without special tech makes sense, to head off any tech card RNG vicissitudes (I actually cannot recall if tech was required in GC3, I believe it was).
I started near the edge of the map along with 4 AI’s in my sector: Arcean, Navigators (middle), Iconians, and Torians; with a starlane leading to a particularly dangerous sector on my doorstep (Krynn, Drath, Iridium Corporates, Terrans, Drengin – yikes!). Somewhere between turn 150-200 the Yor really started hitting their stride with their #1 production rank relentlessly starting to pull their other ranks toward #1 as well (by turn 300 I believe they were all #1 except for one); and it was at this point that the Yor had a huge military backbone (intimidating any aggression) and were able to start grinding out opportunistic low-risk plays to build out their foothold. They are a great faction for a conservative low-risk/high-reward playstyle (which fits my personal playstyle well). The game was more or less over by turn 250, and I was just spinning the turns, exploring the game, and looking for bugs – rather than attempting to win the game.
My impressions are generally that the Yor are fine, and I like them, but they don’t really have a good “hook” that make them particularly compelling, or that makes a player say: “oh man, this is a Yor-only thing and it makes me feel bad-ass to play,” or “oh, I’m starting next to the Yor, I need to be concerned because they are super scary in XYZ manner.”
To analyze this, I guess I’ll break down what the Yor lost from their transition to GC4 from GC3:
Movement: in GC3 base movement early game was much lower than GC4, so the fact that the Yor received a special ‘Mechanic’ citizen choice (+1 move) was really special. Especially if one selected the movement racial traits at game start (ie +2 move) a player would ALWAYS feel like they had great ships from game start, to game finish. Yor fleets could use this advantage in fleet design (I always skipped engines in lieu of combat stats – but you could also just make supid-fast ships). Thematically, this makes sense obviously – robots can probably pull a lot of G’s in acceleration/deceleration… They don’t get crushed to a bloody pulp, duh…
Income: One often overlooked perk of playing Yor in GC3 was their +99 Approval bonus. Robots are never unhappy. A player could always run the highest tax regime possible and largely skip the early game doldrums of break-even budgeting mediocrity, and by late game could have stellar books. I recall late games of 2000+ income/turn without any planetary income focused building at all. A player could just invest solely on production & research, and the money just didn’t matter. This is not the case in GC4, the only income benefit that the Yor received (as far as I could tell anyway) is that they have a very high pollution tolerance, and so the “Strip Mine” planetary action = free money. But it’s not nearly as cool and your planet(s) must be entirely built-out before this is useful, obviously.
Production: The Yor have always seemed to be an industrious species. The productive feature I actually liked the best in GC3 was actually removed during one of the balance iterations. But it was the removal of the pop cap on planets for the Yor. They were the ultimate build-tall civ. Production was still advantaged by the ability to ignore building: wealth, agriculture and approval (one now has to build approval in GC4), but the complete lack of pop cap made them a formidable late game force to be reckoned with, and this made them unique – especially before the pop cap was re-instated..
Discussion: So here’s my take. The Yor don’t feel special in a way that does them justice. They are the only Synth race, but being a Synthetic organism basically doesn’t really do much. The main difference at face value is that they get no organic pop growth. But having the opportunity cost of building pop out of production really doesn’t seem like a bonus, rather than a penalty. Other civs get “free” pop, the Yor have to slow down planetary build out just to attempt to keep up (which they really don’t, they are late game), it’s hardly something that makes them cool to play. Potentially later game they can pump out transports faster than other factions, but that’s really situational...
The cool things they had in GC3 are absent in 4: they no longer get any kind of cool ship/fleet ability like they had with the potentially awesome movement bonuses from GC3; the re-imposition of approval constraints on the Yor robots hard-nerfs their income (and also industrial output, if they aren’t happy) and imposes not only low taxes, but sacrificing build tiles for approval structures; and again, their production is nerfed by both approval and pop-cap constraints.
There is also the issue of their Synth-specific weapons bonuses being uninspiring, but I feel like that falls into the general weapons-balancing discussion taking place elsewhere, so I’ll set this aside. I will comment though that thematically at least, robots should do better than others at long & drawn out wars of attrition. Robots never get tired of fighting, right?
My (tentative) Proposals: Go big or go home, right?
Remove pop caps - either no cap, or a soft cap. I’d proposed (in the distant past) increasing build pop cost above cap something like 2x cost (ie durantium) for up to 2x cap, 4x cost for up to 3x cap, 8x for 4x, etc. Or have it tech-gated. Or just remove it entirely. In GC3 pop was the base unit of production, whereas in GC4 pop is only a % modifier to output – thus sky-high pop in GC3 meant insane base production that was almost impossible to balance. But the % citizen modifiers in GC4 make this much less problematic. The cap should be abolished one way or another.
Approval should just be pegged at 100%. The 1984 movie The Terminator is one of my favorite movies. I don’t watch it because I want to see Arnold whining about his lame girl-problems or whatever, I watch it because he’s a cyborg and he’s a badass. The Yor are supposed to be badasses too. Approval does not compute. There’s a great quote in this movie where Kyle Reese is describing the Terminator to Sarah Connor: “that Terminator is out there: it can’t be bargained with, it can’t be reasoned with – it doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear…” That’s supposed to be the Yor, right?
Ship movement is a lost cause with base movement now much higher in GC4 than GC3 (which I think makes the game more fun!). But the Yor could get another trait that makes them scary in space instead – after all, you’re fighting murderbots. I haven’t really thought about this, but it could just be something like Synths get: “Relentless Adversaries” : Synth fleets get one extra free round at the beginning of combat. Or they could get insane fleet regen, etc... I'm open on this, but a ship filled with vacuum being operated by robots seems like it should be scarier than fighting air-breathers... right?
As with ALL of my posts, I’d LOVE to hear other peoples’ thoughts on the above. GC4 is coming along GREAT, and I wouldn’t be playing/writing if I didn’t find it enjoyable.
one thing i thought that the yor were very good at was production. they have the +50% manufacturing policy, which is huge, and on top of that they get to ignore pollution, so there's no downside for them to just build a bunch of manufacturing buildings, unlike every other race. i thought that the only race that could produce ships as fast or faster than the yor were the mimots...
and yeah, once kinetic gets balanced they are the default best race with kinetic weapons, so there's that
Nice little summary. I haven't played the Yor yet, so it is nice to get a little perspective on where they are at.
Since I haven't played them yet, I can't really comment much on balance stuff you mentioned; but there are a few things your post gave me thoughts about.
While I don't think the pop cap should be eliminated, maybe they could have a bit larger population. They are robots, so yeah they should be able to pack more in there without penalties. Letting them have a MUCH larger population would not be a good idea though, those percentage bonuses do start to add up a LOT. I'm not sure why so many people seem to think the percentage bonuses don't matter much...
Oh and the "soft cap" idea really doesn't work, just like it doesn't work for the natural growth rate of the biologicals. Just dump people onto colony ships or constructors, then let the colony grow at a faster rate with the lower population, then decommission the ships to dump the people back on the planet. Boom, max out population easy cheezy.
I was completely unaware that the Yor are affected by morale now, I guess I just assumed they were always at max because, well, robots... I agree it just feels like they should always be considered at max morale. They are machines, so they should be pretty damn efficient at all tasks they are assigned (programmed?) to do.
The ships having a natural regen sounds like a good idea to give the synthetics a little extra flavor. Not like super fast, but a little something extra to show that those efficient machines don't care about being exposed to the vacuum of space while keeping the ship flying.
Just my two cents since you asked for it. Happy Sunday !
That's a great point, I forgot about the policy. I guess there was never a reason to revisit that one in my game, hah! And yea, their production is really good, but at some level it is balanced by their lack of diplo..
Well, they're less problematic than the core production mechanic in GC3, I think is what I was getting at.
But yea, no pop cap at all might end up being too insane with the exponential %^x growth, but a soft cap of exponential durantium required for linear pop growth might be open-ended but self limiting enough that it works...
You nailed the basic thought though that in Futurama Bender lives in a closet whilst the biologicals live in much larger abodes..
Yea, that was the whole micro game in GC3 where you could build pop on a planet, then shuttle them to an over-populated planet and drop them off. There was no penalty, but it was really tiresome to do, but this was fundamentally a problem with the +99 approval they got, whereas normally the population would eventually rebel if they got overcrowded enough.
This might simply be one of those "if this is a viable strategy for winning, then you've already won the game" sorts of things. As it never got nerfed in GC3 and was never a strat that won a player the game (probably?)..
Yea, it definitely surprised me that they needed to be made happy also..
Yea there are prob a multitude of compelling ideas about what the "you're fighting robots in space" little perk could be - that's def not a bad one..
Thoughtful reply, thanks!
One comment on this, now that it's been on the back of my mind for a bit. The % bonuses do not compound, I'm pretty sure. The way that the (in this example) production modifiers are presented on the planet mouse-over are:
Base production * (every % modifier added together) = output.
Thus if there's a 20 of 5% bonuses, it's not [Base*1.05^20], but rather [Base*(1.05*20)].
I'd have to log into a game and look at how this is calculated, but as x--->∞ this leads to a pretty big divergence, if true. So adding each extra pop would only at 1x the % to base input, and wouldn't compound. Thus wouldn't lead to extreme outcomes..
One comment on this, now that it's been on the back of my mind for a bit. The % bonuses do not compound, I'm pretty sure.
No, they don't compound. Percentages are summed and multiplied by the base. The problem is that if you have a bad starting position, you're completely boned. In my current game, I'm the Manti and I share a sector with the Mimot. How many planets did I end up with in my sector? 4. There's just not enough of a base there for the percentages to amount to anything. This is why I think each citizen should give one yield of its type. If you don't have a lot of worlds to settle then at least you can grow tall and it's worth your time. It is still better to grow wide but it is more of an investment - you're sacrificing a yield for something that is more important long-term.
The game might still be winnable but only because the Mimot are locked into a forever war with the Fenstron Hunt next door. I might be able to declare war on them and steal some colonies but I'm very far behind technologically and I'm not sure I can pull it off. It will be interesting.
OBSERVATION: The AI Mimot colonized a number of planets in an adjacent sector without any core worlds (or potential core worlds) in that sector. The decay for each of those is 100%. Unless the Mimot can acquire a core world, it seems like a pointless exercise. It might not be realistic, but it might be better for gameplay for there to be a decay floor so those colonies always do something. Alternatively, maybe the AI should be able to turn a poor world into a core planet just to have a base of operations in that sector.
OBSERVATION: Not having early access to Promethion is brutal. It is very expensive on the open market and if you don't have it, your options for boosting research are extremely limited.
One of the effects of the GC3 population based production system (where each 1B population = 1 raw production) was that it meant that there was actually a real opportunity cost of taking 1B population and sending them off-planet on a colony ship or whatever. Because Raw Prod was the base unit of: Production, Research, Wealth, and Influence, getting the -1 to all of these was actually fairly significant.
I can see why Stardock went away from this, replacing Raw Production with the various production feeds from colony worlds, but it did take away that element of opportunity cost in depopulating your planet.
Thank you for the write up tidi.
And I think they went too far. One Raw Production per population is massive. One of a single type? Not so much. It's just currently I don't feel that population are really worth the effort needed to maintain them beyond what is needed to feed your colony ships and constructors.
The Yor already have no expectations and higher than normal approval (base 60 instead of 50). Im going to bump their base approval further so they are more content.
I also like the Yor as the tall (big planet) civ. I might block them from having overcrowding penalties and the pop max peanlty.
Yea, saw that in the 0.91 patch log. Nice! Definitely a move in a direction that should make intuitive sense for everyone. Thanks.
One thing to have on the back-burner (ie for an expansion or DLC). GC2:ToA added sort of massive, flavorful attributes to each civ ("racial super ability" I believe it was called: 'super isolationist,' 'super organizer' etc). This added a lot to the game. A lot of my 'go big or go home' musings have been along this line.
But it would be a definite game improvement for each civ to get a single or small suite of buffs that makes them lopsidedly unique in a specific way. People would also love them for custom civs also btw. I could re-create my "Julie Mao's Pimp Ships" faction that only had awesome and fast ships, but sucked at everything else!
Thanks again Derek!
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