I am a massive Civilization IV fan. I bought the game on release and played it off and on rather frequently for years up through its two expansions. It is hands down one of my favorite videogames of all time. Needless to say, when Civilization V was announced, I immediately preordered the game without any question or hesitation, and, though I loved it in its own way, it always seemed be missing something.
Don’t get me wrong, Civ V is a good game. With the only exception being city-states, I have loved every change Firaxis made from Civ IV, especially combat. The combat in Civ IV was the worst part by far, as it required exploiting a mechanic called ‘stacking’ where you would just create epic lists of various unit types that roam the world as a single unit.
But like everyone else, I have missed the religion component – a component we are finally going to get in Civ V’s first expansion: Gods & Kings. Now, I am sure you’ve read a few previews already, but only recently did I find Well-of-Soul’s aggregated list of changes and new additions in the upcoming expansion. I would like to point out a few big changes beyond “OMG There is religion now” that have me ready to buy this expansion on Day 1.
9 New Civilizations: In a world of DLC (Civilization V not excluded), it seems rare that any game ever gets a significant amount of content at once anymore. The value of the expansions of old is spread out over numerous downloads these days. However, as a true expansion, Gods & Kings adds an amazing 9 new civilizations. As a point of reference, the original game launched with 18 civilizations and all of the DLC since then, when combined, have added 7 civilizations.
Changes to City-States: For me, city-states are by far the weakest addition in Civ V, so any changes that can improve them are instantly welcome. Gods & Kings adds two new types of city-states, one for religion that generates faith and one called mercantile that provides unique luxury goods. More importantly though, you can finally bully city-states with a large military, and force them to cave into the interests of a military superpower rather than have that same superpower bend the knee for paltry rewards.
Beliefs: As a part of the new religion system, Beliefs function as a loose equivalent to the base game’s social policies, but can only be chosen once per game. This is easily my favorite change, and represents a lot of the excitement I have for this upgraded religion system. A lot of the fun of founding a religion in Civ IV was the uniquely-my-own context it gave the game. Not everyone founded Islam in Atlanta and spread it to every end of the planet with the exception of a fairly resilient Hindu Germany, but I did. With the addition of Beliefs and the ability to rename any religions you found, I think we will be getting that same magic back, only radically improved.
These are only a few major additions that really get me excited. To be honest, everything I have seen mentioned about this game has me excited. From the addition of Great Admirals, to the Espionage system, and even to the combat changes.
It is exciting to see Civilization V brought more in line with its predecessor, but most of all, it is exciting to see a true expansion again. I love how Borderlands and New Vegas handle their DLC, but most other games aim more toward nickle and diming the consumer, with less and less content being added each time. I also hate it when DLC is a time-exclusive for the consoles, even if it is only a few weeks. Expansions don’t have those problems and I am damn glad of it.
Civilization V: Gods & Kings will be out on the 19th of this month. Preorder it on Steam now for 10% off: http://store.steampowered.com/app/16870/