First Civilization VI Update Launched

On November 17, Firaxis put out its first update for the recently released Civilization VI, dubbed the Fall Update. The entirety of the patch notes can be found here, but I wanted to go over some of the ones that most caught my eye.

  • “Cavalry and Cannonades” scenario added.
    • Civ VI has been out for less than a month now, and it’s nice to see gameplay scenarios coming out this quickly. I don’t expect it to continue, but for those who have finished all of the scenarios already, it’s a nice addition. Now if they’ll just add Empire of the Smoky Skies….
  • Added the ability to rename cities.
    • This seems like it should have been a launch feature, but it’s at least nice to see it come so quick. Customization is fun!
  • Added UI to show the next tile a city will grow to.
    • An awesome change, especially if you micro-manage cities. Knowing what tile you’re getting is a huge help, especially when you’re considering your tile purchasing options.
  • Reduced Warmonger penalties in most instances, and adjusted how this reacts to returning versus keeping a city. The last city conquered from a player now provides a heavy warmonger penalty, even if you have a Casus Belli against this player, because you are wiping out a civilization.
    • The AI is temperamental in Civ VI, and although the warmonger-hate may be a lot closer to what would happen in real life than Civ V, it doesn’t really lend itself well to a video game. If this can stop me from being universally hated for declaring a completely justified war, I’m all for it. A high warmonger cost for conquering the last city of a player is nice too, I like having tangible reasons to not completely wipe someone out.
  • Reduced border incursion warnings if the troops are within their own borders.
    • I think I mentioned this in my review, but the AI seems extremely crotchety about troops near their borders. I moved troops near an ally’s borders to get to an enemy we were in a joint war against, and got denounced for it. It’s especially annoying when they settle a useless city right next to you and then call out your units that are hanging around doing nothing in your own territory. Hopefully the “reduced border incursion warnings” are enough to change that.
  • Adjusted the AI approach to beginning and ending a war based on potential gain and loss.
    • The AI seems all over the place in peace deals (and deals in general). As much fun as cheesing can be, it’s going to be a much better gaming experience to not be given everything they have because they lost a warrior.
  • Increased AI value of upgrading units.
    • This is awesome, because I see a lot of AI units that are many eras behind. It still doesn’t address the problem that sometimes units aren’t upgraded because strategic resources can be a son of a gun to find, but it’s nice nonetheless.
  • Fixed an exploit that allowed ranged and bombard units to gain experience when attacking a district with 0 hit points.
    • Another cheese here, although one I didn’t use. It was a pretty unfair one that allowed human players to get infinite experience from a city that couldn’t fight back, and it’s nice to see it go.
  • Fixed an issue where AI would counter gold changes with the change desired, rather than the total amount of gold desired.
    • I’ve probably run into this, although I’ve never realized that’s what was happening. It explains some insane (and often self-sacrificing) deals the AI tries to make.
  • [Multiplayer] turn timers are always disabled on the first turn of a new game.  This happens regardless of the advanced start or turn timer type selected.
    • I don’t play multiplayer, but this was a feature in Civ V, and I’m a bit surprised to learn that it didn’t carry over at launch. Turn timers are pretty short at the start of the game and get longer and longer as the game continues, and there can be a lot to do on turn 0 (Civ VI actually starts on turn 1, but whatever). It would not be fun to have to settle late because you’re planning out your capital, which is almost always going to be the best city in your empire.
  • Updated the leader-chooser when beginning a new game.
    • Leader traits are much more visible now, taking up about a third of the leader selection screen, rather than small boxed when a leader is hovered over.
Civ VI new leader selection screen
It is now much easier to see a leader’s traits when choosing who to play.
  • Auto-scroll to the first Great Person that can be claimed.
    • A minor change, but it was always a hassle to find which great person you had just earned.
  • Updated to display what cities are getting amenities from each resource.
    • Amenities could be a bit hard to keep track of at times, and it’s nice to know which ones you have and where.
  • ESC now closes the Tech, Civic, and Eureka popups.
    • I can’t tell you how many times I’ve researched a new technology or civic, pressed escape to close the window (sorry Sean), and opened up the in-game menu. This was one of my biggest ease of use changes, after auto-unit cycling (see below), and it’s nice to see it added.
  • When loading a game, the era blurb will be the current era of the saved game, rather than the starting era of the game.
    • I am a bit tired of hearing “from the first stirrings of life beneath water…”, so this is a nice addition.
  • Auto Cycle Units is now available in the Options menu.
    • I played with auto unit cycling turned off in Civ V, because it was pretty annoying to have the camera shooting around the map.  Civ VI decided it was going to turn that annoyingness up to 11. Not only would it override the units you chose manually, it would give you just enough time to select a unit before jumping to the next, often leading to accidentally sending a unit halfway across a continent. This is probably the only time the insanely slow movement turned out to be a good thing, your units wouldn’t go very far in that turn.

These aren’t all the changes, and not even all of the ones that I liked. They’re some of my favourites however, and I have my fingers crossed that Firaxis can put out some more good ones in the future. Come one, movement system change….