Civilization 5 vs Civilization 6 – clash of civilizations


After several years of ‘Are they going, aren’t they?’ Civilization V and Civilization VI finally changed places on Steam’s “Most Played Games” list for 2019. After a slightly disappointing launch and a little controversy over the price of expansions, the latest release of the main 4X game series de Sid Meier finally overtook the previous entry by a decisive margin.

The new strategy games dethroning the predecessors are in most cases inevitable, but in the case of Civilization, the timeline took a little longer than expected. Even after the release of the two main DLCs, the fifth Civilization game still held its own for two years in the Civ VI lifecycle. Even today, it averages 15,000 players, with a peak of 23,000.

While Civ VI now comfortably beats Civ V’s player count, it took a while to get there. So what was it that gave Civilization V such enduring appeal in the first place? First of all, a bit of history. Sid Meier’s Civilization V – the fifth entry in the legendary strategy series created by Sid Meier – was released in September 2010 and received universal critical acclaim.

Urban legend has it that Civ v had an unpopular reception among fans, but major outlets actually gave it scores over 90%. But because it was a drastic change from Civ IV, it ended up dividing the playerbase much like the split we see now between Civ V and Civ VI, except everyone got over it. much faster.

Over the next two years, Firaxis released two expansions for Civ V which widened the reach; add appropriate diplomacy, religion and culture to the game; and turning it into a 1.5 mile deep 4X experience that catered for a wide variety of playstyles. Fast forward to October 2016, and Sid Meier’s Civilization VI launches into generally favorable reviews. A few points below the scale of the previous game, but still in the upper 80s and lower 90s. Fans, however, are significantly less impressed.

The end result was a prettier game … but one that still fell short of Civ 5 and its expansions.

Unlike Civilization V, which drastically changed the formula and the in-game world map of its predecessors, Civilization VI was more of a tweak of the same formula. While the game itself was in a better state of content at launch than Civ V, the game has changed or removed a lot of features – like the United Nations or appropriate trading systems – that were fully integrated into the previous game. The end result was a prettier game with a new district system and a fully integrated religious system right out of the box, but still didn’t live up to Civ V and its expansions.

Price was and still is the biggest barrier to Civilization VI’s appeal. Once the game was launched and deemed insufficient, the world was faced with the option of getting the all-new Civilization VI for £ 40, or the vast, excellent and battle-tested Civilization V with all of its DLCs and updates for £ 10. . . The idea of ​​paying four times for something that was considered a slight upgrade at best was daunting, and many veteran players who had already shelled out big bucks on Civ V were reluctant to spend any money on it. which could be considered a downgrading.

Rich Scott Jones standing in front of a civ 6 artwork that shows a volcano and a town in the valley below

Civilization 6 vs. Civilization 5

The change itself was also the problem. Every new or revised mechanic is meant to stoke dissent, but some fundamental changes ended up at odds with how the series’ playerbase expected to play their game. instead of food to regulate growth effectively suppressed players’ abilities to shape their own civilization, adding hard doors to progression in the form of quarters and tile spaces that could only be unlocked over time at the time. instead of brute force through proper management.

The lack of significant penalties for more cities – a critical part of Civ V’s strategy – meant that every culture was now able to thrive without regulation from the first round, which then turned Civ into a mix of capitals. , from main and satellite towns to an infinity of towns micromanaging dozens of small towns. Essentially, one of the main issues with Civ VI is that while it caters to more playing styles on paper, in practice it caters to fewer.

A Vietnamese lady with a spear looking angry and pointing behind her

The mechanics and design philosophy of Civilization V offered deeper differences between empires, from the Egyptians’ flat 20% bonus to wonder builds, to the English’s +2 movement bonus on naval units. In Civ VI, the Egyptians get a slightly lower 15% bonus to wonders that * only * apply to tiles near rivers – making them true to their story but ignoring 90% of the tiles on the game map – and the English receive a rather boring boost for archaeological districts that only really make a difference at the end of the game (and even there, it’s marginal).

But none of it comes close to Venice – Civilization’s most unique civilization, and the stark difference between the interpretations of the two games. In Civ V, the fan-favorite Veneza faction represented by Doge Enrico Dandolo cannot found or annex cities. Its expansion is limited for most of the game, leaving players with just one city to weather any storm. To compensate for this, Trade Route locations double in size, allowing Venice to store money in fantastic amounts and eventually purchase City-States with the use of the Venice Merchant Unit.

A personalized version of the civilization of Venice, showing abilities and information

The need to build tall instead of wide presents a unique experience in Civ V, and Venice can easily stand and even roll other Civs when played correctly thanks to its lack of expansion penalties, its capital super developed, and its gigantic overflowing boxes. Civ VI, on the other hand, doesn’t have a culture that even comes close to it, and the game directly punishes tall building over the overwhelming incentive it presents to expand with expansion.

The general expectation was that Venice or factions like it would eventually come into the game, and once Civ VI went on sale and had some proper DLC under its belt, it would be a real contender – but that didn’t happen. is never produced. When the first and second expansions finally arrived, they continued the launch trend of asking the price of a full game for what was essentially minimal content. Four years after launch, potential Civ VI players are considering + £ 100 if they’re not willing to wait for a sale.

A civ city 6 on the prairies.  There is a river and an aqueduct coming from a nearby mountain

King of 4X

In recent years, Firaxis has stopped supporting Civ V. Multiplayer games – ranging in stability from reliable to infuriating – have deteriorated further since the launch of Civ VI. It got to the point where many reluctantly decided to switch to the new game for a more stable environment for online gaming. It helps that since the release of the Gathering Storm expansion in February 2019, Civ VI has seen a lot of sales. It even offered a 71% discount at one point and was recently offered for free through the Epic Games Store. All of this helped ease the transition.

Now, Civilization VI sits well above Civ V in Steam player counts. It’s actually the 24th most played game on Steam at the time of writing, and the highest strategy game on this list. There were rumors of a third expansion for a while (more than Civ V received), but instead it looks like Firaxis has gone for a “season pass” model where they’ll roll out a wave of smaller DLCs. over a longer period. The New Frontier Pass is almost complete, but so far it has offered a constant stream of new civilizations, new rulers, and new game modes, along with other smaller content.

Buy now: Get Civilization 6 Today

One thing is for sure: while Civ VI has finally overtaken its predecessor in terms of player base, it may take an inevitable Civilization 7 to finally unite the two warring sides of the Civilization community and finally surpass the legacy of Civilization V. .

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