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  • Exploit?

    Topic for discussion: Is it an exploit to gift a city to someone for the explicit purpose of keeping them alive?

    This came up in TTT with Hop gifting a city to daV. They may have since undone that but I thought this was a worthwhile discussion to have.

    My take on it is that it is not an exploit. There are any number of scenarios that could be envisioned which accomplish basically the same thing. I could have a Settler off on some distant island (or in a boat) somewhere ready to pop down a life line. Hell, I could even be playing with the complete kills game option on and park any unit in friendly territory to keep my nation alive.

    IMO, if you go to war with someone then you need to be prepared for this eventuality. These aren't AI players which will inevitably make peace with you. These are human players where if you start something then most of the time you had better be prepared to finish it.

    Nor do I see any exploit of the game mechanics taking place here. Gifting of cities can be done between two nations at any time and in a situation like this where no enemy units are anywhere nearby, there's no funny business with borders and such taking place.

    Thoughts?

    Bernout

    |TG-MD6|


  • #2
    Re: Exploit?

    Originally posted by Bernout View Post
    This came up in TTT with Hop gifting a city to daV. They may have since undone that but I thought this was a worthwhile discussion to have.
    They did undo it yes.

    My take on it is that it is not an exploit. There are any number of scenarios that could be envisioned which accomplish basically the same thing. I could have a Settler off on some distant island (or in a boat) somewhere ready to pop down a life line. Hell, I could even be playing with the complete kills game option on and park any unit in friendly territory to keep my nation alive.
    I disagree (do we ever agree on anything? ;)). Either of the two scenarios you describe - preparing with a settler in advance, or having complete kills on, are perfectly legit in my book (though I wouldn't want complete kills to be on). In those cases you have deliberately taken steps to ensure this scenario, and it isn't inconceivable for an aggressor to actually stop you, either before or after the fact (at least for the settler scenario). You need to actually move your settler to that distant island, which isn't instantaneous and not without cost.

    The gifting of cities is different. There is simply no limit - you couldn't repeat the settler trick again and again, while city gifting is repeatable practically endlessly. You can be gifted a city anywhere in the world, deliberately as far from the aggressor armies as possible - and just where that is could be decided in a split second, you don't need to send a settler out in advance.

    IMO, if you go to war with someone then you need to be prepared for this eventuality. These aren't AI players which will inevitably make peace with you. These are human players where if you start something then most of the time you had better be prepared to finish it.
    Of course you should be prepared to finish it. But city gifting like this would make finishing it impossible.

    For the record, this is considered an exploit elsewhere, for instance here is the explicit rule written for the CFC Multi-team Democracy Game:
    Gifting a city to an ally when it is about to be taken in war, or to somehow gain an advantage is prohibited. Gifting cities are only allowed as gifts of goodwill and should not be abused to deny right of conquest or to keep a civilization alive indefinitely and out of the hands of an aggressor.
    I think this rule is very well written, and exactly captures the spirit of the game.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Exploit?

      The question isn't wether it is an exploit or not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exploit_(online_gaming) Clearly defines exploit:
      In the realm of online games, an exploit is usually a software bug, hack or bot that contributes to the user's prosperity in a manner not intended by the developers.
      However the question is if this exploit should be allowed to be used. Since the TG gaming philosophy http://www.tacticalgamer.com/tactica...er-primer.html is in effect here.
      3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine, regardless of the level of advantage, if any, it gives over the opposing team.
      I would think it would be naturally to dissallow such exploits, along with stuff like crashing the game to avoid negative events(not enforcable!), gifting units during period of forced peace(AP) to an ally in war, gifting cities to bump units out of borders, gifting cities to break someone out of vassalage etc.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Exploit?

        Originally posted by oyzar View Post
        I would think it would be naturally to dissallow such exploits, along with stuff like crashing the game to avoid negative events(not enforcable!), gifting units during period of forced peace(AP) to an ally in war, gifting cities to bump units out of borders, gifting cities to break someone out of vassalage etc.
        Everything you've listed here I would completely agree with that it is an exploit.

        However, the basic act of gifting a city to someone doesn't fit any of the categories you've listed. It's not a software bug, hack, or bot and it's questionable whether the act of gifting a city to someone to keep them alive is against the intent of the developers. To me this comes across as more of a house rule much like you'd decide whether or not you want to play with complete kills on or not.

        And since I've intentionally kept the TG rules loose in this regard it's one of those issues we tackle as it comes up. Now daV decided to make it a non-issue but I think that was also due to the fact that it really was done at the last minute and out of normal turn order.

        Originally posted by Niklas
        The gifting of cities is different. There is simply no limit - you couldn't repeat the settler trick again and again, while city gifting is repeatable practically endlessly. You can be gifted a city anywhere in the world, deliberately as far from the aggressor armies as possible - and just where that is could be decided in a split second, you don't need to send a settler out in advance.
        So you're saying it shouldn't be allowed simply because it is easy to do? ;) I could look at all the city trading that you and Oyzar do and call foul on that just as easy; if that's not taking full advantage of the game mechanics (borderline exploit) I'm not sure what is. Although it would require some forethought, your very argument also says its ok for me to have a city gifted in the middle of somebody else's friendly territory far away as long as I do it before some arbitrarily set time frame or event (such as a DoW). And then you could really split hairs by asking how many times it needs to happen before it is clear that the intent is only to keep the person alive.

        Now, I'm not saying that I necessarily support the idea of gifting cities in this manner; I'm really playing more of a devil's advocate here. In all honesty, if you look at the general idea of gifting a city to someone it doesn't strike me as realistic or even necessary to be in the game at all. I'd be just as happy coming up with a general rule that just flat out denies city gifting completely in MP games. Well, except perhaps where the cultural %'s suggest that the act would be more of a liberation of the city as in SP.

        It's interesting that its taken this long to even come up for discussion. :) Given that I'm assuming it won't be much of a factor in the rest of the game. However, it would be good to hear what everyone thinks and then come up with a general ruling to put this issue to bed for the rest of the game.

        Bernout

        |TG-MD6|

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Exploit?

          This is a team game - gifting cities to keep your partner alive is completely acceptable in my book, I'd feel like a traitor if I didn't do it. Gifting to a neutral to avoid capture is a very different thing along with some other situational dodges that have been worked on occasion.

          I gave 2 cities to Arabia to keep them alive when they were overrun early in the game. Didn't do much good though since the whole of my island was a dump anyway :)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Exploit?

            In my opinion, gifting cities to your partner is completely acceptable. This is a team-game, after all, and the team should be allowed to do with their cities (or units or whatever) what they want.

            I was on the other side of IanDC's gifting cities to Arabia, and I suffered from the 'We yearn to join our Motherland'-effects as we could not kill them off without Astronomy. But I completely accept it!

            Same goes for 'normal' city-gifting between teams for some diplomatic or strategic reasons.


            But gifting a city to prevent it from being conquered or gifting a new city to another team just before it is destroyed, is an exploit and should be forbidden, in my opinion.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Exploit?

              Originally posted by ChrisFromLux View Post
              In my opinion, gifting cities to your partner is completely acceptable. This is a team-game, after all, and the team should be allowed to do with their cities (or units or whatever) what they want.

              I was on the other side of IanDC's gifting cities to Arabia, and I suffered from the 'We yearn to join our Motherland'-effects as we could not kill them off without Astronomy. But I completely accept it!

              Same goes for 'normal' city-gifting between teams for some diplomatic or strategic reasons.


              But gifting a city to prevent it from being conquered or gifting a new city to another team just before it is destroyed, is an exploit and should be forbidden, in my opinion.
              In this case it was not a gift to a partner - which I believe is acceptable to all. But nor was it to stop a city being conquered. It was to keep a civilisation alive for a few more turns as his last city was about to be eliminated. And it wasn't a new city if that makes any difference :p

              I certainly thought it a bit of a cheesy move. But not a huge exploit or I would not have done it.

              I have had considerably worse done to me in the last game (TGS). Having got the better of an opponent with the help of Rifles vs Muskets (fair and sporting huh :D) he gave half his empire and half his army to two other civs on my continent after I captured most of the rest. Leaving me with with the choice of fighting two new opponents or accepting just half the gains.

              In a way the game itself has a certain degree of bad sportsmanship built in. Not this game in particular, which has largely been fought one team vs one team, but most games have gang ups all the time. Either to pull down a leader or so everyone gets a piece of an unfortunate victim. Hardly sporting but no one complains! And how often in a tech trading game do people give techs to opponents of their opponents? The whole ethos of the game is not to fight fair but to fight at the point of your biggest advantage as possible and to harm your opponents if and when you can.

              In this case I could see the disadvantage that my act had on the Leaders. They would have continued to suffer from some war weariness. Plus Bernout/Snarlin and possibly others :p would have been able to upgrade to some slightly better (but still obsolete) units. But these did not seem to be in any way game changes (but so what if they were - who fights fair?).

              This was not some huge exploit of the game system or of some vassal rule. And providing a home for a government in exile does not seem an outragous move even if in Civ that has consequences (war weariness etc.). But I don't have a problem with this being house ruled as illegal if thats what people think. Nor in this case do I think much harm was done by O/N knocking out DV/Morgan a few turns earlier than they would otherwise have done so. After all I consider this game to be in the bag for them :)

              I think it should be ruled on at some point though. Had my opponent in TGS not behaved like he did I think I would have won the game. So the gifting of cities is perhaps something that future games should have explict rules (or lack of rules) on.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Exploit?

                Originally posted by Hoplosternum View Post
                I have had considerably worse done to me in the last game (TGS). Having got the better of an opponent with the help of Rifles vs Muskets (fair and sporting huh :D) he gave half his empire and half his army to two other civs on my continent after I captured most of the rest. Leaving me with with the choice of fighting two new opponents or accepting just half the gains.
                Note that the rule from the CFC MTDG that I quoted above explicitly rules out this as well. I agree with you that this you describe here is no better, and potentially far worse, than what you and dV were planning here. Though I think you severly underestimate the effect of war wariness, not to mention motherland unhappiness, when you say that this is not a big exploit.

                I also think that your characterization of diplomatic wheeling and dealing, tech gifting and shifting alliances and whatnot, as being unsportsmanly is a bit off the mark. I consider that a core part of any MP game, much like in games like e.g. Diplomacy. The question to me here is rather one of mechanics that may be used to serious, even unbalancing detriment for an opponent.

                I tend to agree with Bernout that some of the things me and oyzar have done internally could be considered borderline (and we wouldn't be alone). I guess it depends on how you view the setup of the game. If you view each team as a nation consisting of two parts, then nothing we've done is any strange. If you view a team as two nations cooperating, but each developing separately, then gifting cities, units etc. back and forth might be considered an exploit.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Exploit?

                  Originally posted by Niklas View Post

                  I also think that your characterization of diplomatic wheeling and dealing, tech gifting and shifting alliances and whatnot, as being unsportsmanly is a bit off the mark. I consider that a core part of any MP game, much like in games like e.g. Diplomacy. The question to me here is rather one of mechanics that may be used to serious, even unbalancing detriment for an opponent.
                  Well I perhaps did not express this the way I wanted to. I am not complaining about such things as they are indeed the heart of such a multiplayer game! Simply that they are aimed at hurting your opponent and giving you maximum advantage. Is giving a city to prolong your war weariness and to boost my upgrade options (plus keeping a valuable advisor in the game) worse than giving someone else an advanced tech to someones opponent? Even if worse in affect is it exploiting the game mechanics? Both are aimed at hurting the aggressor for some perceived advantage of the giver.

                  Originally posted by Niklas View Post

                  Though I think you severly underestimate the effect of war wariness, not to mention motherland unhappiness, when you say that this is not a big exploit.
                  Perhaps, but the move was not meant to be to your advantage :) Also there are ways out of wars other than complete annihilation of your opponent. I can see why thats your prefered option but if others make it difficult that does not make those actions an exploit :p Make peace with that nation. Or threaten/bribe the other nations not to continue doing this. It may be to your advantage to completely wipe out a nation but that doesn't mean that you have to, there are other ways of dealing with the situation.

                  -----

                  I am to a degree playing devils advocate here. I had reservations about the move and was not unhappy about reversing it. But most of my internal objection was due to the lateness of it. So I have a question for you (and everyone else). If this had been done several turns ago would you have objected? What if now myself and Munro were to trade an inland city a piece so that neither of us could be easily eliminated - would that be unfair?

                  And in this case you seem to assume that the city gifted was far away and so hard for you to find/get to. It wasn't. One of the principle bonuses to me (but perhaps not the chief disadvantage to you :p) was that Snarlin, Bernout & myself would have been able to upgrade units there. So it had to be close by. The point was not to try and stop you winning by trying to exhaust your nation to allow someone else to win. But to give Bernout/Snarlin & myself the best chance of survival. So while the move was a bit suspect in my view it wasn't some lame attempt to hurt you with no benefit to myself.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Exploit?

                    Originally posted by Hoplosternum View Post
                    If this had been done several turns ago would you have objected? What if now myself and Munro were to trade an inland city a piece so that neither of us could be easily eliminated - would that be unfair?
                    I'll repost the rule from the MTDG, which I think captures my view on this perfectly:
                    Gifting a city to an ally when it is about to be taken in war, or to somehow gain an advantage is prohibited. Gifting cities are only allowed as gifts of goodwill and should not be abused to deny right of conquest or to keep a civilization alive indefinitely and out of the hands of an aggressor.
                    Emphasis by me. The question here, to me, is in the intent, which makes it a question of conscience. You shouldn't gift (or accept) a city to (from) someone else if the sole intent is to deny conquest (or avoid being conquered). I certainly agree that the timing makes it worse, and that if you had gifted a city to da Vinci some 20 turns ago with the purpose to be able to upgrade units there, I wouldn't have complained as much. It's still a grey area though - couldn't you upgrade in one of his existing cities? If the answer to that is that you couldn't since it would probably be conquered soon, then we're back to deliberately keeping a civilization alive. The difference is not enforceable any more than not killing the game to avoid bad events is enforceable, so it becomes a matter of playing honestly - what would your own concience say? If you know you're doing it to keep someone alive, you shouldn't.

                    Quoting Bernout's opening post:
                    Originally posted by Bernout View Post
                    Is it an exploit to gift a city to someone for the explicit purpose of keeping them alive?
                    Yes - if the purpose is to keep them alive and out of the hands of an aggressor, regardless of whether the perceived gains for the giver is just to see a rival suffer or something more tangible like upgrading troops.


                    Btw, do you really believe that da Vinci would have accepted a peace from us at this point, when by his own words his sole reason to keep living was to give us war wariness? :p There's no question that total conquest was the only way.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Exploit?

                      The reason to undo the gift was that without a clear policy in advance, and such disparate positions on the subject as we see here, it was not worth having a real (rather than this academic) argument over the issue.

                      Perhaps the way to look at this is not whether it is an exploit or not, but treat it like a game option ... on in some games, off in others.

                      If you want a game that de-emphasizes warfare, maybe you want this on.

                      If you want to restrict vassal options, then maybe city and unit gifting needs to be restricted as well, as they are in some sense workarounds to vassal agreements?

                      So an argument over whether this is absolutely right or absolutely wrong seems futile to me.

                      What matters for this game is going forward, is it on or off?

                      dV

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Exploit?

                        Originally posted by Niklas View Post
                        I tend to agree with Bernout that some of the things me and oyzar have done internally could be considered borderline (and we wouldn't be alone). I guess it depends on how you view the setup of the game. If you view each team as a nation consisting of two parts, then nothing we've done is any strange. If you view a team as two nations cooperating, but each developing separately, then gifting cities, units etc. back and forth might be considered an exploit.
                        That's exactly right. I find it very ironic how some people have this "anything goes" mind set because 2 players are on a team, yet if you transfer that very same action to a neutral 3rd party it all of a sudden becomes an exploit and forbidden. ;)

                        Personally, and this of course affects my view points on these things, I fall into the teams being considered 2 individual nations category. I vaguely recall we discussed this in the game format topic but I'm too lazy to go back and read exactly what was said. It is yet another irony that Oyzar ended up with a partner that he wanted that is in his timezone and enjoys the tight coordination he was looking for. Next time I need to come up with a better system of doing subs. :row__536:

                        Oh yes...before I forget don't even get me started on the gifting of units! :icon11: I generally lean towards wanting a more "realistic" type of game as if we were running real nations and the abuse that feature gets drives me crazy. As I mentioned in my CC2 embassy, that was one of the things that disappointed me the most in that game.

                        Originally posted by da_Vinci
                        What matters for this game is going forward, is it on or off?
                        Before I reply to that, let me commend you on the handling of this situation. In effect, you put the community ahead of your own in game situation and indeed made this a more pleasant discussion. In fact I think I'll go give you some +rep right now. :)

                        I'll wait a bit longer before making a call on how we handle things going further since some people haven't responded and may not check these forums fairly often.

                        However, based on what everyone has said thus far I think it seems fairly safe to say that we'll likely end up going with this type of gifting not being allowed. The MTDG rule that Niklas loves to quote seems to capture the spirit of the issue quite nicely.

                        Bernout

                        |TG-MD6|

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Exploit?

                          Why look at it as a game option when there is already such an option chosen at game start?

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Exploit?

                            Originally posted by Bernout View Post
                            It is yet another irony that Oyzar ended up with a partner that he wanted that is in his timezone and enjoys the tight coordination he was looking for. Next time I need to come up with a better system of doing subs. :row__536:
                            Indeed, handpicking subs for a game where the setup pairs you with random partners just skews the setup even further.

                            Oh yes...before I forget don't even get me started on the gifting of units! :icon11: I generally lean towards wanting a more "realistic" type of game as if we were running real nations and the abuse that feature gets drives me crazy. As I mentioned in my CC2 embassy, that was one of the things that disappointed me the most in that game.
                            I would love to play in a game where unit gifting was partly or completely disallowed.

                            Before I reply to that, let me commend you on the handling of this situation. In effect, you put the community ahead of your own in game situation and indeed made this a more pleasant discussion. In fact I think I'll go give you some +rep right now. :)
                            I couldn't agree more. :)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Exploit?

                              I think city swapping between teams is borderline exploit, but tbh it has set a precident here so it's bit off to complain about a similar situation that is not to your advantage.

                              However unless it is specficily disallowed at the start then it should be allowed.

                              Next game i'd suggest the rules quoted by Niklas be implimented.

                              Comment

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