Firaxis has released the first update for Civilization 6 - and it tackles one of the biggest complaints about the game.

I've been playing Civilization 6 and enjoying it a lot, but one of its problems is the wonky AI. Specifically, the AI always seems to denounce you, whatever your approach, and you end up in a lot of wars. Wars lead to hate, hate leads to suffering, and suffering leads to warmongering penalties, which can be tricky to deal with.

Here's the interesting balance change I'd like to highlight:

Reduced Warmonger penalties in most instances, and adjusted how this reacts to returning versus keeping a city. The last city conquered from a player now provides a heavy warmonger penalty, even if you have a Casus Belli against this player, because you are wiping out a civilization.

To me, this should help players cope with the AI's insistence that you are a warmonger, whether you sign a peace treaty or not, but the game will still penalise players who wipe out civilisations.

Another problem with the game has to do with the AI's ability to compete with the player. It makes curious decisions, such as a refusal to upgrade its units. Most players agree Civ 6 is military focused, and so it's not particularly rewarding - or useful - to go for other types of victories. In short, the AI comes across as unsophisticated.

So, the update goes into AI tuning. Here's the relevant notes:

  • Adjusted AI victory condition focus to increase their competitiveness in Science and Tourism.
  • Adjusted AI understanding of declared friendship.
  • Adjusted the AI approach to beginning and ending a war based on potential gain and loss.
  • Increased AI competitiveness in building a more advanced military.
  • Increased AI usage of Inquisitors. Especially Phillip.
  • Increased AI value of upgrading units.
  • Increased AI use of Settler escorts.
  • Tuned AI usage of units that cannot move and shoot, like Catapults.
  • Tuned AI city and unit build planning.
  • Improved the ability of city-states to maintain a strong military.

These changes all sound great, and will hopefully lead to more interesting single-player gameplay.

Meanwhile, there are loads of user interface improvements. It's fair to say Civ 6's UI isn't great, with loads of crucial information buried beneath menus that are easy to miss.

The patch aims to make Civ 6 explain itself a bit better, with more detailed tiles. Here's the relevant notes:

  • Added the number of specialists working a tile.
  • Added some additional icons for espionage, promotions, etc.
  • Added additional Civilopedia shortcuts, including right clicking a unit portrait.
  • Added the signature to the diplomacy action view/deal view so that we can differentiate between duplicate players. Also added multiplayer screenname in diplomacy.
  • Added Trade Route yields to the Reports screen.
  • Added City Center to the City Breakdown panel.
  • Added rewards and consequences to mission completed popups.
  • Updated the leader-chooser when beginning a new game.
  • Updated the end game Victory screen.
  • Updated the multiplayer staging room.
  • Updated city banners.
  • Updated Espionage mission chooser flow.
  • Updated to display what cities are getting amenities from each resource.
  • Changed resource icon backings to reflect the type of resource it is.
  • Auto-scroll to the first Great Person that can be claimed.
  • Improved search functionality in the Civilopedia.
  • Removed Barbarian data from player replay graphs.
  • ESC now closes the Tech, Civic, and Eureka popups.
  • When loading a game, the era blurb will be the current era of the saved game, rather than the starting era of the game.

Other headline features of the update include the addition of DirectX 12 support, and a new multiplayer scenario called Cavalry and Cannonades. There are two new map types, Four-Leaf Clover and Six-Armed Snowflake.

I'm going to keep playing and report back on how Civ 6 feels post patch next week. Head over to the game's official website for the patch notes in full.

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Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Deputy Editor

Wesley is Eurogamer's deputy editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.