This guide will provide a few instructions on how to write an effective strategy part, and what is expected, and what should and shouldn't be included. Considering the huge upcoming patch, it is important that we are on the same page. By reading this blog post, you may find the answers to the following:
- Who can contribute.
- What should be considered for the Strategy and what should be left out.
- Why certain strategy parts are kept almost entirely, some are kept with some modifications and some are removed completely.
Note: I will try to be as clear as possible on what is expected, so I will provide some examples from the past, which were written by real people and could still be seen from the articles' history. If you see your writing as an example of what should be avoided or what makes little sense, please don't take it personally.
Part 1: Who can contribute
This part is very simple, the quick answer to that, as well as the answer to "who can contribute to the wiki as the whole," is everyone. However, considering the readers should be the priority of any strategy part, these are the expected "qualifications" (if you must) that the contributors should have:
- Have some levels of experience with the civ/unit/building/etc that you are talking about.
- Believe it or not, it is very easy to tell if a person is just guessing how certain things should work without having any real experience with them. The writing in that case will often lack details, since that person cannot know the ins-and-outs of the interaction quirks/caveats related to the matter.
- If you don't own all DLCs and expansions, that is ok, but please focus on things you are familiar with. Naturally, just like in real life, the people who seek advice (in this situation, the readers) would prefer to have it from the people who either know what they are talking about or have extensive experience with the matter.
- If you are new editors or ones whose mother tongue isn't English, don't worry too much about templates, displays or grammar. Of course, you should still try your best, especially if you plan to do this for a long time, but there will be other frequent editors or admins who can accommodate you.
Part 2: What should be included and what should not
This is of course the main part, this will give you somewhat of an idea what is expected in a Strategy section, and why certain written strategies will get either rewritten or removed.
1. Most important criterion: It has to make some logical sense
Sounds very obvious, but it is not always the case. Given that different people play the game differently, when the strategy is concerned, it should be about how you can optimize your gameplay, or make the best out of bonuses. So if you say, "I build 10 Scouts every game and rush my neighbor with it," that's one way to play the game, but that is a very poor strategy, if that can be called "strategy" at all. When it says "it has to make logical sense," what it really means is you have to be able to defend your logic if challenged. The argument that "Because I spend time on it, it has to be kept" will not cut it. Use the Talk page, or a message on each other's wall to discuss why certain parts should be kept/modified/removed, or if your ideas were modified/removed due to a misunderstanding, and how they should be understood instead.
A few examples of illogical strategy written in the past:
- Build Sabum Kibittum en masse for war: Considering how tight Babylon's build order in the early game is to maximize the number of Eurekas, and how fast they unlock new advanced units, this not only doesn't make sense, this is the opposite way of how to play the civ. Not to mention countering SK is extremely easy: don't build cavalries, build melee and ranged units instead. Anyone who has had 1 game with Babylon knows this isn't ideal.
- Build Torre de Belem to get free Granaries for new cities on different continents. Two major questions for this argument:
- How many Granaries will make it worth spending over 900 production on?
- How can you have many new cities on other continents sitting around and producing nothing while waiting for this Wonder to be finished?
The easiest way to overcome this is, again, to have some experience with the topic you are trying to teach others about. Both arguments above can easily be avoided if that is the case.
2. Be specific
Provide details to back up your arguments. These details can be any of the following:
- Comparisons to other abilities/bonuses of the same trope.
- Ba Trieu's strength bonus is stronger than Menelik's strength bonus because Vietnam can plant Woods to create an ideal fighting environment, while Ethiopia cannot summon Hills, and also the number on Ba Trieu's ability is higher.
- The Mekewap is a lot stronger than the Hacienda, because it is unlocked right from the beginning of the game, provides more Housing, more yields, scales very well and has looser placement restrictions.
- Specifying the situations where the abilities/bonuses can shine the most or where they don't matter as much. Examples:
- As strong as the Kilwa is, it is stronger on larger maps and a lot weaker on smaller maps.
- The Nubian Pyramids are always underwhelming, regardless of situations. Ask "What do strong improvements have but this improvement doesn't?" Answer "Late game scaling, strong yields with little investments, relaxed placement rules, etc."
- Portugal should always build the Venetian Arsenal to crank out Naus: not really, it depends on the map, since it is pointless to have more Naus than spots to build Feitorias. This idea wasn't deleted, but was modified to be more specific in terms of which situations Portugal should try to build the Arsenal.
- If possible, considering the investment required to activate the bonus/ability.
- If the ability is available from the beginning/very early on, consider how long the ability will stay effective. Does it main its level of power throughout the game (like the extra movement of GC) or will it taper off quickly (like the Ziggurat)?
- If it isn't available from turn 1, it means it requires some levels of investment, ask yourself "Is it worth the investment?" or "Should you go out of your way to leverage this bonus?" or "Should you beeline this tech/civic to unlock the bonus as soon as possible?" This helps you avoid exaggeration like these examples:
- Arabia gains 1 Science per foreign city following their religion and a free great prophet, allowing them to win a scientific victory or a religious victory without building a single holy site and campus: 1 Science per foreign city after you have to expend Faith to convert them is negligible, it is only a welcome bonus for Arabia because spreading Religion is something you want to do anyway, being able to found the last religion is barely even good, cuz you will lose out good beliefs. Being able to win a scientific victory or a religious victory without campuses and holy sites is wildly exaggerated with nothing to back it up (if there is even existing evidence for that at all).
- Vietnam's extra yields to buildings are a small reward to something you may want to do anyway, it is not something you want to needlessly expend production on to leverage.
- You don't need to beeline Radio to unlock the Film Studio, since its effectiveness depends on other civilizations, not you.
3. Be realistic
When an argument is made, consider asking this "How likely can this be achieved under normal game settings?" or "How much of what I just say depends on luck/chance, and how much of it depends on my actions/decisions?" Examples:
- Robert the Bruce's ability is extremely powerful because it effectively doubles your production output of all cities: this statement doesn't take into consideration how likely this bonus can be activated, which leads to unfounded exaggeration.
- Vietnam's power spike is in Medieval Era, so you should invade them in Ancient and Classical: literally the opposite of what you should do, since the "advice" doesn't take into consideration how realistic it is to invade Vietnam when they always have at least a +10 CS bonus.
- If you fail to get a Religion as Spain, try to get another person to spread their Religion to you: HOW? How can you "get" them to spread their Religion to you? How do you expect to get your opponents to give you your winning conditions when you fail to get them yourself, not just in Civ but in any competitive game?
- Arabia doesn't need to build a Holy Site because AIs love building Holy Sites and you can just conquer an enemy city in the early game and activate your Prophet there: Nobody has ever done this or will ever do this, and that includes the person who wrote this.
4. What should never be included: Exploits
There is nothing strategic about exploits, full stop. Bug exploits, if applicable, should be in a separate section, called "Bugs." Any instruction on bug exploits put under the Strategy section will be deleted without any exception. Few examples from the past:
- Pantheon exploits (fixed)
- Nalanda exploits (fixed)
- Barbary Corsair's unlimited raiding in Barbarian Clans mode (not fixed)
What about the "gray areas"? Like Soothsayer + Great Bath combo, or Matthias + Amani combo? These can be unbalanced in terms of gameplay, and the repetitiveness may suck the fun out of the game, but there isn't anything about these interactions that scream that they are unintended. However, being able stack Pantheon bonus an unlimited number of times in 1 turn, or being able to unlock all techs in 1 turn, or gaining an unlimited amount of gold is clearly unintended.
5. What should be considered and moderated: Claims on behalf of the community
Claims regarding how certain game elements are considered should be backed up by link/references, for example:
- YouTube videos of well-known YouTubers/streamers with vast experience in the game (PotatoMcWhisky, TheSaxyGamer for Civ6, or FilthyRobot for Civ5)
- The CivForum, especially polls or elimination thread games.
Refrain from making claims like "This is widely considered to be bad" without evidence. If it is hard to gather evidence for this, maybe, instead of saying "Georgia is widely considered to be terrible when it was first released," simply put "Georgia was very underwhelming when it was first released," and then back it up with your own gameplay experience to show why it is the case.
Does this mean parts that lack some of these criteria will now be more likely removed or heavily modified? No. It is not any more or less likely, it is just that now you have a better idea why. We will still try our best to look for those "golden nuggets" and incorporate them into the articles. If your ideas lack specificity, we will provide it. If there is a better way to express your ideas, we will try them. However, "ideas" like "Arabia can win a Religious Victory or a Scientific Victory without Holy Sites and Campuses" or "Tell your opponents to give you a religion if you don't have one" cannot be kept, because there is no level of mental gymnastics can make them logical.
This is not an ego contest on who is smarter than whom, it is about providing readers the best experiences. This is my personal philosophy, I'd rather we have no strategy section written at all, so that the readers know they need to seek advice elsewhere, than have a really poorly written, illogical one, that the readers may mistakenly buy into just because it is featured on the wiki.
If there is any question, like "Can I upload the strategy for announced but unreleased content?" or "Can I make a page for leaked but unconfirmed content?", or any concern at all, please comment below.