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Thread: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

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    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    We’ve all suffered from the stupid way the diplomacy system works in this game. But I think I’ve just made an amazing discovery, which might allow us to play the game properly despite the way it’s been programmed.

    First of all let me explain the background to how I made this discovery.

    I am currently eleven years into my current Spanish Campaign and I've just about got things on an even keel. Trade is growing, technology is being acquired things are looking up for Spain.

    Suddenly, I click end of turn and I get message informing me that France, a country which I consider a close friend with mutual interests has declared war on me. It's the typical ‘dumb diplomacy' event that has had us all scratching our heads trying to work out how the hell this game works.

    So, anyway I was pretty damned annoyed and planning to post yet another ‘Dumb Diplomacy Thread’ on the forum. But I wanted some to get the screenshots below to prove that France had no reason to declare war on Spain. To do this I saved my game and then reloaded the autosave from the turn before.



    As you can see from the Above screen shot France has succeeded in engineering itself a national disaster in the making and is at war with just about everyone with no allies and very few friends.

    I cancelled our alliance rather than committing national suicide with them a few turns ago, but as you can see we are still friends, and more importantly Spain is still Frances main Trading Partner and the only one it is actually capable of trading with without defeating the British Fleet.



    So, Spain and its three Allies are just about the only friends that France has in the world at the moment and as you can see from the ‘Friend-O-Meter’ above we are getting friendly every turn by +35 points. [Incidently, a word of warning. You may notice that Spain suffered a -14 on the 'Friend-o-Meter' for Acts of Sabotage against France. Now in fact Spain has never committed any acts of sabotage on French soil, what we did do was blown up a Dutch shipyard in support of Frances naval blockade. However, it seems the 'Friend-o-Meter' considers any location occupied by a hostile force to be the property of that hostile force even if they aren't getting any benefit from it and are actually trying to prevent it being used. Which is pretty dumb, but worth noting if you think your helping a friend to destroy something he wants destroyed.]



    Meanwhile, Frances enemies, mainly Britain and Austria are getting more and more hostile towards Spain, even though Spain is not currently allied to France. I think the 'Friend-o-meter' is currently running at -44 for diplomatic relations between Spain and Britain.

    So, a logical diplomatic strategy for France would clearly be to petition Spain and its Allies to form a Catholic Alliance to counter the Protestant Alliance of Britain, Austria and the Dutch. That would have actually made sense and as the diplomatic situation worsened with Britian I would have been pretty tempted to stand with France against our mutual enemies. Instead, when I clicked end turn for Winter 1711 they France declared war on Spain, effectively screwing up my game, and signing its own death warrant.

    Totally Stupid! Totally Illogical! Totally Annoying! TotalCrap! Totalwar!

    And that would have been the end of this post had I remembered to take a screenshot of the French Declaration of War. But, I was so angry at the time that I’d forgotten to save it.

    So, I thought no problem, I’ll simply take my screenshots of the evidence that France had no reason to declare war, then I’ll end my turn again and take a screenshot of the declaration when it appears.

    BUT…..it didn’t.

    The turn ended and France did NOT declare war on Spain, and the game rolled on. In fact, I’ve done several more turns and France is still silent. They haven’t asked for an alliance, which would be the sensible thing to do, but nevertheless they haven’t committed diplomatic suicide either.

    So, what does this tell us about the ‘dumb diplomacy’ problem?

    Well for a start it confirms that it’s not based on any sort of logic, or threat assessment. If it was then the circumstances that triggered it would have triggered it again every time I ended my turn.

    Likewise, it confirms that this is not a scripted event. Because if it was a scripted event then the script would trigger it every time.

    It seems to me that what we are dealing with is a programmer with a sick sense of humour and a ‘God Complex’, whose basically having a laugh at our expense. At some point he decided to include a random ‘I’m gonna f*ck up your game event, into the program.’, which basically looks at the game and triggers a random declaration of war from whichever country is in the best position to cause the player grief, regardless of the logic involved or the players previous actions to avoid that event.

    If that’s true then obviously I’m disgusted that CA would allowed that sort of code to go live in a so-called strategy game. But the good news is that the solution seems to be just to reload your last turn and replay the end turn repeatedly until eventually the random trigger doesn’t fire.

    Then you can get on with the playing game.

    [Actually, thinking about it this isn't the first or only game I've come across where this sort of 'random screw the player code has appeared.'. I alsp play Warhammer Online and it has the infamous 'Rally Call' button which was supposed to indicate that your presence was needed at a crisis point in battle, and for ages players accepted the rally call only to find themselves pointlessly transported miles from their current quest location and dumped in a warcamp where nothing was happening, then having to waste hours traipsing back where they had come from. It has since been revealed that the 'Rally Call' button is another 'sick programming joke' and just randomly triggers for no reason at all. I can also remember a rather neat flight simulator where you got to fly a Lancaster Bomber on a dambuster mission. It was a really nice little simulation, except that some programmer thought it would be fun to trigger random barrage balloons that suddenly popped up in your flight path and destroyed your plane, and there was nothing you could do to avoid them, 30', 3000', 30,000' didn't make any difference what hieght you flew at. I even tried flying in the wrong direction and heading for Ireland and they still popped up. So this could be just another in a long line of programmer jokes at the players expense.]
    Last edited by Didz; 05-23-2009 at 09:52.
    Didz
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    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    a few points: that 'friend-o-meter' is not how many + friendship points you get per turn but rather your current standing.

    Playing Spain on VH I never canceled my alliance with France (rather joined them in all wars with joy) and still in 1745 they have neither canceled their alliance nor attacked me.

    I find that 'random' declaration of war quite sensible actually. Things do go wrong in international relationships in unpredictable fashion (in real life). I feel, that programmer you're angry at has coded it quite well this time around (not in the previous TW series). I, for example, have not canceled my alliance with France and I suspect, France randomly declaring war on me is quite unlikely (but still possible) whereas your cancellation of the alliance might have just made the odds of such occurrence (DOW by France) a bit higher. It's not assured 100% that they will declare war on this turn or that, but they just might.

    Also, notice that French public is not 'very friendly' to you but just 'friendly'. Something is brewing.

    Imagine this situation: Shaking his wigged head, French King Louis is re-reading your alliance cancellation letter for the fourteenth time. In storms his remote cousing, Duke Pierre screaming and shouting about an arrogant Spaniard who just had seduced his daughter. "Oh, non... Your Daughter, Pierre!?? Oh, non.... A SPANIARD!???... Oh, non.... We MUST go to war this instant! Honor demands it!"... See, things happen...

    When you pressed the re-load-the-turn button, a different reality took place. Pierre got a heart-attack from the news about his daughter; the French King just shoved your letter under his desk and life went on.
    Last edited by Slaists; 05-23-2009 at 04:17.

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    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    I stand with Didz!

    If a friendly nation has some reason to backstab you and can actually profit by it, that would be devious but smart.

    If a friendly nation declares war with nothing to gain except a quick end that is just stupid. Well that is what keeps happening. It is no surprise any longer it has just become another tedious event in the game.

    Now the dissatisfied protectorates are another matter. Protectorates seem to be declaring war on allies and trade partners. Most of the time this can be ignored as they are always the aggressor, when it is only a trading partner. But when it is an ally it becomes more of a problem. I took over Rhineland when they declared war on Spain in a French campaign. As Sweden, Poland keeps declaring war on all my trade partners but I have no allies so it is not more than a slight irritant. Poland as a protectorate of Austria was sabotaging and assonating everything they could but it was not worth the trouble of putting an end to them. In another campaign they actually declared war on me when they were a protected region. It was not more than a quick death for them though. Still I find this interesting and even a bit funny.

    I donít think there is much scripting in the game. Most of it is just random stupidity and needs to be curbed. I liked the older diplomacy better from that stand point. Let those who hate you declare war and not your friends. At least make it a rare occurrence and not just what you expect to happenÖ


    Education: that which reveals to the wise,
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    the vast limits of their knowledge.
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    Merkismathr of Birka Member PseRamesses's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    But the good news is that the solution seems to be just to reload your last turn and replay the end turn repeatedly until eventually the random trigger doesnít fire. Then you can get on with the playing game.
    Yup, Iīve noticed this too but thank god I ALWAYS quick save at the end of each turn!

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    Senior Member Senior Member Oaty's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    You may notice that Spain suffered a -14 on the 'Friend-o-Meter' for Acts of Sabotage against France. Now in fact Spain has never committed any acts of sabotage on French soil, what we did do was blown up a Dutch shipyard in support of Frances naval blockade. However, it seems the 'Friend-o-Meter' considers any location occupied by a hostile force to be the property of that hostile force even if they aren't getting any benefit from it and are actually trying to prevent it being used. Which is pretty dumb, but worth noting if you think your helping a friend to destroy something he wants destroyed.][/COLOR]
    That is not entirely true. When I played my first campaign I was a sabotage freak against Sweden. Now I had a sabotage of about ~-50 with Sweden and ~-10 with all other factions. Factions don't like the fact you are using the darkworld to wage war

    Edit forgot to add that if you want to stay out of war leave no less than 5 units in the city when you border a faction. 5 units isn't a guarantee but chances are slim and a full stack narrows it slightly.

    That's the reason DOW's occur early game in AI vs AI because noone except 1 province and small factions have 100 percent defended territories
    Last edited by Oaty; 05-23-2009 at 08:40.
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    kwait nait Member Monsieur Alphonse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    I don't like the system where factions declare war because they hate you. That is absolutely absurd. Wars were fought over land or over trade rights not because the people of England disliked Germans or French. These wars that the AI starts have no purpose. They fight for nothing: war to fight war. A war should be fought over a region or over a trade node. Peace treaties always handed over some land or a fort in Africa or America(a trade node). This system of national standing also affects trade treaties. I can't get a trade treaty with a faction because they don't like me: rubbish.

    I think that the AI should have three priorities:
    1. Self preservation: small nations should look for an ally to help them. When a faction is becoming to powerful: ally against it.
    2. Greed = more land: land gives you money, resources and prestige.
    3. Greed = more money: trade brings in more money.
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    The Red Tezcatlipoca Member Xipe Totec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    The real world is never wholly predictable. I doubt if the Spanish allies of Napoleon expected him to put his brother on their throne, and push them into alliance with England and Portugal. It may have come as a surprise to Germany and Austria-Hungary when their ally Italy not only failed to support them in WWI, but declared war on them instead.

    I like a bit of Machiavellian randomness in my diplomacy. At times it is agonizing when you are overstretched and a very friendly ally suddenly turns on you. It happened to me once in a GB campaign when France started a war very early and my closest ally UP stabbed me in the back. A frantic scramble for trade route survival ensued, but in the long run it gave me the opportunity to grab all of the Dutch colonies and trade spots in revenge, and sell a lot of dismasted fluyts!
    'I go forth about to destroy ... I am seen in the golden water; I shall appear unto mortals; I shall strengthen them for the words of war!'

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    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaists View Post
    a few points: that 'friend-o-meter' is not how many + friendship points you get per turn but rather your current standing.
    Well I don't think it really matters whether its +35 per turn or +35, the point is that there was no logical reason for France to declare war on Spain, and at least three very good reasons not too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaists View Post
    Playing Spain on VH I never canceled my alliance with France (rather joined them in all wars with joy) and still in 1745 they have neither canceled their alliance nor attacked me.
    Good for you. We obviously have different playing styles. I chose not to get embroiled in a dumb and unecessary war. As you can see it damaged my reputation with France by a massive -22 points but not enough to make them unfriendly. Basically, the French need me far more than I need them and the 'Friend-o-meter' still reflects this fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaists View Post
    I find that 'random' declaration of war quite sensible actually. Things do go wrong in international relationships in unpredictable fashion (in real life). I feel, that programmer you're angry at has coded it quite well this time around (not in the previous TW series). I, for example, have not canceled my alliance with France and I suspect, France randomly declaring war on me is quite unlikely (but still possible) whereas your cancellation of the alliance might have just made the odds of such occurrence (DOW by France) a bit higher. It's not assured 100% that they will declare war on this turn or that, but they just might.
    Well I think thats covered perfectly by the 'Friend-o-meter' and the obvious situation that France is in. I'm sure no sensible human player would would declare war on its most powerful neighbour and sole remaining trade partner when its surrounded on all its other borders by enemies and blockaded by a powerful British fleet.

    The fact that it didn't happen after I reloaded confirms that it was a 'Random' event, but I fail to see anything that could be considered 'sensible' about it. In fact, to my mind its 'total non-sense' which was why I took the trouble to go back and check.

    Surely, if there was any sense behind it then it would have happened again.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slaists View Post
    Imagine this situation: Shaking his wigged head, French King Louis is re-reading your alliance cancellation letter for the fourteenth time. In storms his remote cousing, Duke Pierre screaming and shouting about an arrogant Spaniard who just had seduced his daughter. "Oh, non... Your Daughter, Pierre!?? Oh, non.... A SPANIARD!???... Oh, non.... We MUST go to war this instant! Honor demands it!"... See, things happen...

    When you pressed the re-load-the-turn button, a different reality took place. Pierre got a heart-attack from the news about his daughter; the French King just shoved your letter under his desk and life went on.
    Yeah! very funny. We can all invent excuses after the event to justify the situation. I do it all the time when I write AAR's but this is a 'dumd diplomacy' issue potentially game breaking problem, and the fact that it appears to be totally random is an important discovery if it can be corroborated. Anyway, unless the French postal service takes over two years to deliver the letter the timing of your story would have been a bit off. I've blown up Rotterdam harbour at least four times since they started their war to try and keep the Dutch off their backs, so that letter would have been old news by now.
    Last edited by Didz; 05-23-2009 at 10:12.
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    Loitering Senior Member AussieGiant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Since the dawn of time wars have been fought for a variety of reasons.

    Some rational, some irrational, some ridiculous, some absurd, some reasonable, some understandable.

    To say otherwise is to ignore history to such an extent as to be laughable.

    Those who want total predictability should not look for satisfaction in this game as I'm sure CA are more than aware of the historical fact mentioned above.

    While some greater level of understanding for the causes of DOW would be nice I don't want or expect them to be totally explainable.

    I find so many of the discussions here to be about people wanting the game to behave the way they want it to behave.

    Certainty is very comforting, because it's very easy to predict, and therefore very easy to manage and finally very easy to beat.

    With a simple pop up explanation this random event, which may seem absurd, could be explained, and while the player may not like it, the explanation has been given.

    So without trying to confuse people too much in one post, it does however seem ridiculous that France would declare war on Spain.

    Then again the Sun King may have just gotten out of bed on the wrong side that day.

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    Member Member Smurflor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    I think most people agree that slightly more 'realistic' declarations of war would be nice, but after several years you already own more provinces and are more powerful than any other nation. So under the proposed solution of 'they shouldn't declare war if they're small and just signing their own death warrant', no country would ever be in a position to declare war on the player.

    The game is total war, not a simulation... I just feel people take it a bit too seriously when the game does something a little stupid. I'm sure someone will mod the diplomacy to suit you in the future, but for now just live with it - and if you really need to justify the declaration of war, just assume that one of your princes / ministers had an affair with the friend/enemy leader's wife, and they didn't take too kindly to it. Problem solved!

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    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Monsieur Alphonse View Post
    I don't like the system where factions declare war because they hate you. That is absolutely absurd. Wars were fought over land or over trade rights not because the people of England disliked Germans or French. These wars that the AI starts have no purpose. They fight for nothing: war to fight war. A war should be fought over a region or over a trade node. Peace treaties always handed over some land or a fort in Africa or America(a trade node). This system of national standing also affects trade treaties. I can't get a trade treaty with a faction because they don't like me: rubbish.

    I think that the AI should have three priorities:
    1. Self preservation: small nations should look for an ally to help them. When a faction is becoming to powerful: ally against it.
    2. Greed = more land: land gives you money, resources and prestige.
    3. Greed = more money: trade brings in more money.
    You are so right!

    Dislike or hate plays a part but something to gain is key!

    If a nation has nothing to gain and no way to win, why go to war? It usually only results in you having a region you really didnít want. When they are threatened with being wiped out they should offer peace and trade, or what ever to survive. Some will except it if offered but they should be seeking it rather than just excepting the offer if it comes.

    I hope something is done. Just aggression for its own sake is not interesting. The game should have more depth than just war.

    If they hate you then let them conduct an undeclared war with agents and sabotage. That would be better than just a quick death.

    If the player is strong then let a coalition go to war and not just some pathetically weak state which will only be gobbled up.

    The Native American tribes went to war over trade also! But they can not trade in the game!!!

    It definitely needs some rework.


    All of the unwarranted belligerence just is a distraction and makes the game feel cheap and half hearted.


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  12. #12

    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieGiant View Post
    I find so many of the discussions here to be about people wanting the game to behave the way they want it to behave.
    So true. Also, mentioning the words "this game is broked" or similar whenever someone encounters something they do not like about the game design {gnashes teeth, wails, posts on teh innernetz}...

    If I was feeling altruistic, I'd explain that the reason this invades my olfactory equipment so is that there are quite enough things actually broken about the game thank you very much without the need for people to go around wasting the developers' fixy-time with cry-wolf broadsides about what exactly they think should happen when you press "End battle" or something.

    But I am not feeling altruistic. Not aimed at anyone, by the by, just agreeing with Aussiegiant.

    Back on-topic: I don't mind a bit of randomness, meself. But then again I quite like subjugating digital people, enslaving their populaces, burning their cities & dragging the sons of their rulers through the streets in chains, so what do I know?
    Last edited by Turbosatan; 05-23-2009 at 10:51.

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    Loitering Senior Member AussieGiant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking View Post
    You are so right!

    Dislike or hate plays a part but something to gain is key!

    If a nation has nothing to gain and no way to win, why go to war? It usually only results in you having a region you really didn’t want. When they are threatened with being wiped out they should offer peace and trade, or what ever to survive. Some will except it if offered but they should be seeking it rather than just excepting the offer if it comes.

    I hope something is done. Just aggression for its own sake is not interesting. The game should have more depth than just war.

    If they hate you then let them conduct an undeclared war with agents and sabotage. That would be better than just a quick death.

    If the player is strong then let a coalition go to war and not just some pathetically weak state which will only be gobbled up.

    The Native American tribes went to war over trade also! But they can not trade in the game!!!

    It definitely needs some rework.


    All of the unwarranted belligerence just is a distraction and makes the game feel cheap and half hearted.
    Did you even read what I posted FK?

    Who says you need something to gain as part of declaring war.

    Can you explain the aggressive, totally belligerent expansion of Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire? There has been examples of aggression for aggressions sake in many wars.
    Last edited by AussieGiant; 05-23-2009 at 11:35.

  14. #14
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by PseRamesses View Post
    Yup, Iīve noticed this too but thank god I ALWAYS quick save at the end of each turn!
    What is the Quick Save again?

    I obviously need to starty doing the same thing. I was just lucky this time that the game autosaved at the end of Winter 1711.

    Ok! forget it. CTRL+S (I actually managed to find something useful in the manual/pamphlet ;))

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieGiant View Post
    Did you even read what I posted FK?

    Who says you need some to gain as part of declaring war.

    Can you explain the aggressive, totally belligerent expansion of Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire? There has been examples of aggression for aggressions sake in many wars.
    I don't agree. There is always a reason for going to war, its just that in some cases 'history', and even the people involved don't have access to that truth.

    However, in this case the situation is a bit more simplistic. ETW is a strategy game, purchased by people who like to play strategy games, therefore, a totally random 'screw the player' event is a bad idea, and there are enough threads on this forum to confirm that the customers aren't happy.

    Incidently! I'm interested to note that having given the finger to the programmer with the 'God Complex' who programmed this routine, not only has France not declared war on me but my 'friend-o-meter' rating has risen to +43. It seems the negative values gradually degrade over time.

    It's a shame the 'Friend-o-meter' is given such a low-profile in the game. Someone obvoiusly put a lot of effort into programming it and, when you actually take the time to study it, the 'Friend-o-meter' is doing a pretty good job of monitoring the ongoing diplomatic situation. However, its annoying having to hover over the faction name to be able to see it. In my opinion this information ought to have a prominent place on the diplomacy panel, or at least be available as a consolidated report for all factions, and it ought to be the single driving force behind the diplomatic engine. That way players would be encouraged to use diplomacy more effectively and be able to rely on it working.

    There are a few anomalies I notice, such as earning a -22 penalty for blowing up an enemy building when another faction is in residence. And I've just spotted this one on the Dutch tab.



    As you can see the Dutch really hate Spain, and with good reason I've been helping myself to all their trade fleets and trade ports round the world and I keep blowing up their only trade port in Amsterdam.

    But I still get 'An enemy of my enemy is my friend +5', which doesn't make a lot of sense.

    It's true that I am at war with both the Pirates and the Barbary States, so we do share two common enemies, but I'm certainly not their freind. In fact, the Dutch only have two friends at the moment Britain and Venice. Britain hates Spain (-44) though not as much as the Dutch, but Venice is quite friendly (+26).

    So, perhaps this ought to read 'A friend of my friend is an enemy +5' which would make a bit more sense.
    Last edited by Didz; 05-23-2009 at 12:46.
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    Loitering Senior Member AussieGiant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    I don't agree. There is always a reason for going to war, its just that in some cases 'history', and even the people involved don't have access to that truth.
    There certainly is always a reason to go to war. The point is those reasons can be wide, varied and range from explainable to the average person to totally inexplicable to the average person.

    If you refute this Didz, then it's going to be a long, detailed and painful experience.

    And as I mentioned in my post. A simple pop explanation by CA would give you your truth. I'm pretty certain that if the pop up explanation was that the Kings Bishop or astrologer said it was an opportunistic time to declare war, you'd be less than satisfied.

    Yet there are numerous examples of this as a reason for nations declaring war on each other.

    Again I'll say this. Many posters here seem to think that "their" version of what is correct and incorrect should be therefore how the game behaves.

    International politics and by extension war as an aspect of politics is so very far from predictable.

    Why? Because you are talking about humans and their interactions with each other. There should always be a degree of uncertainty, because that is what humans have in common with each other.
    Last edited by AussieGiant; 05-23-2009 at 11:46.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieGiant View Post
    Did you even read what I posted FK?

    Who says you need something to gain as part of declaring war.

    Can you explain the aggressive, totally belligerent expansion of Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire? There has been examples of aggression for aggressions sake in many wars.
    In fact I did not read what you had posted.

    I started the post and was interrupted by family matters. When I posted you had already made your comments.

    I do not entirely agree anyway.

    There are examples of stupid wars. But usually those starting them have some advantage where they hope to win. Suicide is not a reason… Not when it is national.


    Edit:

    The examples you site were in a much different time, of course and were mostly about Alexander’s ego or the greed of Rome.

    Greed is a good enough reason as is ego but both were strong enough to accomplish what they set out to do.

    I think if there were AI coalitions to stop expansion or some conceivable hope of a victory some might have a justification.

    The game takes place in the Age of Reason. Not in the age of idiotic wars.

    Sorry to say it was better when Savoy took France…even if it was just because they could.
    Last edited by Fisherking; 05-23-2009 at 12:29.


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  17. #17
    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieGiant View Post
    Did you even read what I posted FK?

    Who says you need something to gain as part of declaring war.

    Can you explain the aggressive, totally belligerent expansion of Alexander the Great and the Roman Empire? There has been examples of aggression for aggressions sake in many wars.
    I agree with your point, but I just wanted to note that Rome was a bad example. If one studies Rome's expansion closer it would rather appear it was guided mostly by protectionist instincts: protect trade (Punic wars), protect this province or that, protect grain supply (capture of Egypt), protect new provinces against externa threats (expansion to the Alps and into Germanic territories), etc.

    If we look at the Roman Republic, if I remember correctly, the Senate had made it a law that no wars can be started by Rome without a casus belli. Augustus upon returning from the east (where he was securing existing Roman provinces from Parthian threats by capturing MORE provinces) declared that Rome has "expanded enough; the existing province count is 'just right'". At the same time he had plans (not realized in his time) to expand in North-Eastern Alps and Germanic territories to secure land trade routes from Italy to Rome's Adriatic holdings.

    If anything, Rome's expansion (discounting Britain's conquest) was one of the most rational in the history.

  18. #18
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by AussieGiant View Post
    There certainly is always a reason to go to war. The point is those reasons can be wide, varied and range from explainable to the average person to totally inexplicable to the average person.

    If you refute this Didz, then it's going to be a long, detailed and painful experience.
    I don't. I agree that the reasons can vary widely, only recently we have experienced a war that so far has killed over a million people and the basic reason my country was involved was that Tony Blair knew he needed a war to boost his popularity in the public opinion polls or he would lose his grasp on power. You don't get much more varied than that.

    However, I don't think even Blair thought the war would be the disaster it has been. I think he actually believed Bushes fantasy idea that it would be a quick surgical strike, that he would be hailed as a hero of democracy, get to parade around Iraq have his pictures taken being worshipped by its newly appointed overlords and walk into another five years of power just like Maggie Thatcher did after the Falklands War. Both he and Bush got a nasty surprise, Bush even made the mistake of declaring the war over. So, yes the reason for a war can be very varied but even Bush and Blair didn't think they would lose out, by starting one.

    However, all that is irrelevent to the discoveryI've made and I think you are missing the point. This is a strategy game, and most of us bought this game because we wanted to play a strategy game, and no matter what the reason nations do not go to war unless they think they can gain something from it, even if what they hope to gain is actually based upon a political fabrication.

    What I've discovered is that none of this applies to the 'dumb diplomacy' problem. Which is just the result of a programmer have laugh at our expense. The good news is that there is a way to give this little git the finger and carry on playing the game properly.

    I am now at 1715 in my game and France has remained happy and silent in its own personal war of self-annihilation. Not very clever for France but at least I've managed to avoid going down with them.

    The bottom line is that if you are happy to be shafted by a geek with a god complex then thats up to you, but a lot of people on this forum have expressed disatisfaction with the diplomacy system, and it seems most of these problems can be justifiably blamed on a geeks bad sense of humour.
    Last edited by Didz; 05-23-2009 at 14:32.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    I don't. I agree that the reasons can vary widely, only recently we have experienced a war that so far has killed over a million people and the basic reason my country was involved was that Tony Blair knew he needed a war to boost his popularity in the public opinion polls or he would lose his grasp on power. You don't get much more varied than that.

    However, I don't think even Blair thought the war would be the disaster it has been. I think he actually believed Bushes fantasy idea that it would be a quick surgical strike, that he would be hailed as a hero of democracy, get to parade around Iraq have his pictures taken being worshipped by its newly appointed overlords and walk into another five years of power just like Maggie Thatcher did after the Falklands War. Both he and Bush got a nasty surprise, Bush even made the mistake of declaring the war over. So, yes the reason for a war can be very varied but even Bush and Blair didn't think they would lose out, by starting one.

    However, all that is irrelevent to the discoveryI've made and I think you are missing the point. This is a strategy game, and most of us bought this game because we wanted to play a strategy game, and no matter what the reason nations do not go to war unless they think they can gain something from it, even if what they hope to gain is actually based upon a political fabrication.

    What I've discovered is that none of this applies to the 'dumb diplomacy' problem. Which is just the result of a programmer have laugh at our expense. The good news is that there is a way to give this little git the finger and carry on playing the game properly.

    I am now at 1715 in my game and France has remained happy and silent in its own personal war of self-annihilation. Not very clever for France but at least I've managed to avoid going down with them.

    The bottom line is that if you are happy to be shafted by a geek with a god complex then thats up to you, but a lot of people on this forum have expressed disatisfaction with the diplomacy system, and it seems most of these problems can be justifiably blamed on a geeks bad sense of humour.
    Hear, Hear !

    Things that donít affect game play are fine.

    A very occasional surprise would be one thing, though in the game as it stands it is endemic and ubiquitous. Damn their eyes!


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  20. #20
    Loitering Senior Member AussieGiant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Well Didz, I'd have to say your point is theory at best and until CA confirm or deny your preposition it will remain only a theory.

    More than likely there are random DOW coded to provide a level of uncertainty which is something that all strategy games are looking to represent, because with all strategy there must be a certain level of unpredictability. Strategy is a human endeavour and therefore unpredictability is an advantage and regarded as a positive attribute. Sun Tzu is a good read on this topic.

    I certainly see your point but I believe we are unable to find common ground as you say:

    This is a strategy game, and most of us bought this game because we wanted to play a strategy game, and no matter what the reason nations do not go to war unless they think they can gain something from it, even if what they hope to gain is actually based upon a political fabrication.

    I say, that as a strategy game which is attempting to portray real strategy as attempted by people, then completely rational behaviour, which therefore would lead to very predictable behaviour is not ideal.

    With that statement alone I can therefore not agree that the reason nations go to war is because they solely have something to gain. That can certainly be one of the reasons, but there can be other less obvious and therefore less clear reasons for declaring war on other nations.

    This discussion is getting pretty theoretical at this time...which is a good thing, and I really do get the approach that there should be an explanation and perhaps something to gain by a DOW.

    However, I'm sure Hitler thought he had something to gain, and to him it was very clear. To others it was maybe less clear and to even more people it was perhaps beyond comprehension as to what he could hope to gain from declaring war on the whole world.

    In the end it's all about perspective. To think your perspective is right and another perspective is wrong is not accurate in my view. More importantly, to assume you understand anothers perspective is wholly unrealistic.
    Last edited by AussieGiant; 05-23-2009 at 15:52.

  21. #21
    Senior Member Senior Member Fisherking's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Isnít it said that everyone is right from their side?

    It is just a matter of which direction the game should take.

    The best example of an Idiot war I can think of was when Argentina attacked and took the Falklands.

    Their government was very unpopular and they took a gamble to shore it up.

    They managed to occupy the islands, though. They didnít sit in their capital and look across at the enemy. They didnít send a raiding part of one cannon to Surry. They didnít blockade Bristol.

    They wanted the islands and they took them, betting that they were too unimportant to waste lives over.

    We know how it turned out and the Argentines had a change of government afterwards. They didnít continue a hopeless war until Argentina was a British possession.

    Can you see some of the differences to this and the game?


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  22. #22
    A Livonian Rebel Member Slaists's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Didz View Post
    The bottom line is that if you are happy to be shafted by a geek with a god complex then thats up to you, but a lot of people on this forum have expressed disatisfaction with the diplomacy system, and it seems most of these problems can be justifiably blamed on a geeks bad sense of humour.
    I personally do not see as a geek's bad sense of humor but rather as a reasonable CA attempt to bring in some healthy randomness. OK, maybe in the end it has turned out to be not as healthy as some would like, but I, for one would definitely be darned bored, if ETW AI factions declared wars ONLY if the friend-ometer was at a certain point.

    I like randomness and I like being able to affect probabilities one way or another, but not being able to know the outcome 100% which actually is never the case in real life unless we are talking about death and taxes.... You get likelihoods in life, not assurances. Getting a good education, for example, is likely to help you out in life(improve the likelihood of your success), but it's not a 100% guarantee, etc., etc. If anything, I would welcome randomness (in faction characters, for example) having a boost in future patches.

    But that, of course, should only come after the CAI get's fixed. For example, that French diplomatic situation you are showing is largely due to the bug that AI factions currently are unable to make peace with each other. CA has acknowledged this problem and according to their patch notes working on fixing it.

    I see inter-AI diplomacy as being fixing priority #1 and then #2: the economic AI should be fixed so it actually would be able to build proper armies and fleets. So, the next time you upset the Sun King by canceling alliance (for whatever reason) you'd have 2-3 French linemen stacks marching across Pyrenees the very first turn Louis gets out of his bed on the wrong foot.

    Actually, it's not that hard to fix as it seems. Imperial Splendor mod, for example, has supposedly managed to make AI factions as rich in the end-game as the player faction, by tweaking AI's development priorities. If a modder can do it, it means just that CA never really tried...

    Last edited by Slaists; 05-23-2009 at 16:41.

  23. #23
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Fisherking View Post
    The best example of an Idiot war I can think of was when Argentina attacked and took the Falklands.
    The Falklands War was a perfect example of a war motivated by a desire to retain personal power.

    On the Argentine side Galtieri he had only been in office four months and already his popularity had sunk to an all time low and he was barely clinging onto power. He needed to do something desperate to try and boost his popular support before he got the boot and he honestly believed that Britain had lost interest in defending their possession of the Falklands Island because at the time the Conservative Government had their own problems at home and the Foriegn Office were giving out all the wrong diplomatic signals. He actually thought if he acted decisively and caught Britain off-guard they would accept the fait-accompli and at least limit their response to diplomatic pressure, whilst his populatity at home would soar through the roof and he would go down in history as a hero of Argentine people.

    Unfortunately, whoever advised him was a total and utter prat. Under normal circumstances the plan might have worked, but in fact what he failed to take into account was the fact that his opposite number Maggie Thatcher was in exactly the same situation he was. Her popularity with the British people was at an absolute zero, 'get the bitch out' level after the disasterous introduction of the Poll Tax which was universally hated by everyone. Her own party vultures were circling and getting ready to fight over her bones.

    Thatchers political career was about to 'crash and burn' and the only issue was whether she would take the Conservative Party with her. She was about to go down in history and biggest bitch since Marie Antoinette and so when the Argentine invaded South Georgia it was like someone had just come along side the Titanic in a luxury yaght. She had nothing to lose and the decision to jump was a no brainer.

    In fact, there was no way that war was ever not going to happen and the American's and Peru were just wasting their time trying to negotiate a settlement. A settlement wouldn't have saved either Galtieri or Thatchers political careers, there had to be blood spilt and one of them had to be able to claim total victory.

    Indeed when a peaceful solution looked like a real possibility it was Thatcher who issued to personal order to sink the Belgrano and force Galtieri to stick with the programme or lose everything.

    Thatcher won, she got five more years of power as a result, and has gone down in history as a great woman with a lecture circuit in the US that kept her in corsets till she was too old to care. And all it cost was a few thousand lives.

    Galtieri lost becuase his advisers were stupid and didn't look beyond the ends of their noses before telling him to go for it. He was removed from power and ended up standing trial on human rights violations, and with mismanagement of the Falklands War.

    He was cleared of the civil rights charges in December 1985 but (together with the Air Force and Navy commanders-in-chief) found guilty of mishandling the war and sentenced to prison. All three appealed (this time in a civil court) while the prosecution appealed for heavier sentences. In November 1988 the original sentences were confirmed and all three commanders were stripped of their rank.

    Galtieri served five years in prison before receiving President Carlos Menem's pardon in 1991.

    Unfortunately, Tony Blair was more lucky even though the amount of blood on his hands is about 100x greater and mostly that of innocent civilians. He ran off and prostrated himself at the feet of the pope he was so scared of what might happen to him, but it seems that the establishment in this country protect their own and despite a lot of posturing he actually got away with it.

    It was obviously the 'Thatcher Effect' that Blair was after when he agreed to join in Bushes private little war. And just like Galtieri he got the whole thing completely wrong. Thanks to him our grandchildren will still be paying the price for his ambition.
    Last edited by Didz; 05-23-2009 at 17:28.
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  24. #24
    Heaps Gooder Member aimlesswanderer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    I agree Slaists, there need to be some degree of randomness, but it should not be insanely, suicidally random to often. Yes, they most definitely need to fix the AI and its inability to make peace with other AI factions, and its inability to build a decent military. We can only hope...
    "All things are born from darkness, and all things return to darkness". Nausicaa of the Valley of Wind


  25. #25
    Loitering Senior Member AussieGiant's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    I also believe Slaists requested fixes would do a great deal to solve the situation.

    Nice executive summary on the Falklands War Didz. It's been a while since I studied that excellent little skirmish.

    It might be as easy as the:

    "Ends justify the means."

    So, the next time you upset the Sun King by canceling alliance (for whatever reason) you'd have 2-3 French linemen stacks marching across Pyrenees the very first turn Louis gets out of his bed on the wrong foot.

    If this was the situation, then it all becomes mute as to why the war began...the real issue is:

    "How the hell do we prevent the French Guards from pillaging all of Spain?!"

  26. #26
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Well it seems to me that someone has done a lot of excellent work in the background producing quite a nice factoring system to keep track of what the other factions think of you and why. Just a shame it doesn't seem to make much differece to game play.

    I've been monitoring this quite closely since the random French Declaration of War and my reputation with France has risen steadily from the +35 it was then to somewhere around +88 the last time I looked.

    Interestingly, I still have a -5 on most of the Factions Friend-o-meters for breaking an alliance even though the alliance wasn't with them, so thats worth noting for future reference.

    Anyway, it seems that what other Factions think of you is quite well handled. What we seem to lack is any sort of routine that assesses what Factions think of themselves. There doesn't seem to be a system of sensible goals for each faction which drives their overall strategy,or even something like CIV4's (Builder, Expansionist, Aggressor) type motivation system, although of course that ought to be based upon the Head of States traits rather than the nation, and so could change over time. (Thats would actually give the assassins something useful to do)

    More importantly, the AI factions never seem to do a proper Opportunity/Threat Assessment of their own position in relation to the other Factions. Nor, do they review their own performance and the performance of others to determine if their current policy needs to change.

    As far as I can see, we are still looking at the basic reactive and short-sight faction attack system that existed in the very early TW games where all it does is check whether there is a nearby city with weak defences and tries to Ninja it if there is, regardless of the consequences.

    The only good news, so far is that I haven't seen a Faction trigger a war by performing a pointless blockade on a friendly port. That was a feature of MTW2 as I recall, (or was it RTW.)

    What is needed is something like the opening move script used in chess programmes that gives each faction a clear set of initial objectives (from a selection of different possible openings, and then constantly monitors the effect and modifies that strategy as needed)

    It would also be nice to see a full implementation of the Friend-o-Meter system so that it influences foriegn policy according to your relationship with them.

    Likewise the game needs a Threat-o-Meter that so that Factions correctly assess the danger they are in and from whom and used the results to influence their reactions.

    Plus a How-Goes-The-War monitor that assesses their own performance, particularly in a war and encourages them to make peace or seek an alternative solution is things are clearly not going well. Nations do not go down fighting, they go down desperately seeking a way to avoid going down.

    And a State-Of-The-Nation-System that assesses ways of improving the factions situation both by dipolomatic as well as military means and ensures that actions that are taken are goal oriented and viable. e.g. 'A successful nation first secures victory then goes to war, only an idiot goes to war hoping to secure victory.'

    Add finally the factoring in the Head-Of-States personal influence based on his traits would add an element of interest to the state of the other nations governements which is completely lacking at the minute.

    If CA did all that then we would be getting close to a decent campaign game. The good news is that most of it has already been done by other designers, so all CA really need to do is play a few other games and pinch the best of their idea's.

    As far as Random Events are concerned, then I agree that they should exist. In fact, personally I'd dump all the meaningless crap about Blackbeard's Parrot Dying and Mozart's Constipation which is a complete was of data storage and replace these within meaningful Random Events that actually affect the game play. However, these events should influence the political and diplomatic situation they should not include 'screw the player' events, such as random declarations of war, unless of course the event just happened to tip your relationship over the edge.

    In the meantime, I'm really pleased that I've managed to find a work around for something which was very much a game killer. Just wish I'd discovered it before I abandoned my Dutch campaign in disgust.
    Last edited by Didz; 05-24-2009 at 13:39.
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  27. #27

    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    May I just interject to mention that "Friend-o-meter" is my new favourite word?

    Thank you.

  28. #28
    Member Member Didz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    Quote Originally Posted by Turbosatan View Post
    May I just interject to mention that "Friend-o-meter" is my new favourite word?

    Thank you.
    Your welcome, though I actually stole the idea from the 'Pope-O-Meter' which was a vital aspect of MTW2 and showed what your reputation and standing was with the head of the Catholic Church.
    Didz
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  29. #29
    The Red Tezcatlipoca Member Xipe Totec's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    As GB conquering India I have more of a 'hate-o-meter' with the Mughals at -536. They are certainly not 'very friendly' and won't be getting any more sets of Wedgewood from me.

    On that point I have usually found most countries can be bought off with china plates if you time it right. A few times I have seen the writing on the wall when a half stack started wandering my way and by then it was too late to stop the inevitable DOW. Those gifts would have been better spent on raising troops or stocking up the warchest.
    'I go forth about to destroy ... I am seen in the golden water; I shall appear unto mortals; I shall strengthen them for the words of war!'

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  30. #30
    Hope guides me Senior Member Hosakawa Tito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dumb Diplomacy: I think I may have discovered the solution.

    I'd like to know how some of the calculations on the "Friend-o-Meter" work. Especially the "acts of sabotage". Some factions I've tried to negotiate trade deals with show negative numbers and I know for a fact I've never committed nor attempted any sabotage against them. Does it just calculate any sabotage any where, sabotage against allies and/or trade partners, or what? Is it bugged and not working correctly?
    "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose." *Jim Elliot*

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