What changes have been made from Civilization 4 to 5?

I’ve read the surprisingly light Wikipedia article on Civ 5 and it seems to be lacking coherent comparison of features between it and its predecessor. I’m also reluctant to bring down the 4Gb demo on a whim…

Please could I have some clarification on the following:

  • Do I need a harbor in the capital to make trade routes from other harbors work?
  • What is a theming bonus?
  • In Civ5, is there any point to immediately annexing a city?
  • Finding the map seed of a Civilization V game
  • How do I build a courthouse in a captured city?
  • Is it possible to set up and watch a game between just computer AI opponents?
    • Has the speed of conquest been slowed down even further?
    • Are wars any easier to end (and avoid re-igniting) diplomatically?
    • Are there still culture-related borders?
    • Is the AI as aggressive as the article seems to indicate, or is it possible to have stable diplomatic neighbours?
    • This one’s rather subjective, I’m afraid: With regards to improvements, is this an XP to Vista kind of upgrade, or Vista to 7? By which I mean are they generally look driven, or core gameplay driven improvements?

    Let me know if this should be a community wiki, or needs clarification.

  • What strategy to use in Civilization IV when you start in an inaccessible area?
  • When are submarines visible?
  • How much unhappiness is generated from cities and citizens?
  • What is a good benchmark for the cultural win strategy?
  • Formula for diplomacy in Civ 5?
  • “Choose production” bug: game stops map scrolling and doesn't respond to orders, but shows tooltips and animations
  • 5 Solutions collect form web for “What changes have been made from Civilization 4 to 5?”

    Some of these are opinion only, but here’s my take on it:

    • Has the speed of conquest been slowed
      down even further?

      It takes longer to capture cities, if that’s what you mean, but I think the hex-based, 1UPT, ranged units, and the fact that a unit doesn’t necessarily die at the end of each combat (both sides can survive, for example) makes CIV V’s combat strictly superior.

    • Are wars any easier to end (and avoid
      re-igniting) diplomatically?

      Kinda speculative; this is difficulty and AI leader personality dependent.

    • Are there still culture-related
      borders?

      Yes.

    • Is the AI as aggressive as the
      article seems to indicate, or is it
      possible to have stable diplomatic
      neighbours?

      Again, depends on leader + personality + difficulty level. Stable diplomatic neighbors are possible, however.

    • This one’s rather subjective, I’m
      afraid: With regards to improvements,
      is this an XP to Vista kind of
      upgrade, or Vista to 7? By which I
      mean are they generally look driven,
      or core gameplay driven improvements?

      Personally, I would say Windows XP to Windows 7. Both looks and core gameplay.

    Arstechnica has a good writeup on the changes between Civ 4 and Civ 5, and it also talks about the previous Civ’s and their expansions:

    http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/09/the-history-of-civilization-20-years-of-wonders.ars

    Are there still culture-related borders?

    Yes. Borders will expand when your city gains enough culture. However:

    • They expand one hex at a time. Which hex you get next is chosen fairly intelligently by the game. You can see which hexes are being considered on the city screen outlined in purple.
    • You may also purchase hexes of your choice one at a time with gold. The price varies between hexes between $50-400. (The numbers are a quick estimate, worth researching further.)

    The rest of the questions seem subjective to me, although I believe you could reword a couple to be non-subjective.

    Since asking this question I’ve played Civ 5, so I thought I’d answer my past self as only a future self can answer a past self:

    Q. Has the speed of conquest been slowed down even further?

    A. No, @Raven Dreamer’s answer is accurate. More consideration is needed before making an attack, but the increased depth of attack (ranged played a big role in sieges) means the well-planned decapitation of a civilisation can be performed in only a few turns.

    Q. Are wars any easier to end (and avoid re-igniting) diplomatically?

    A. Friendships with world leaders are both easier to keep and make, but also fickle. A long-standing friendship can be created, and wars can be ended sensibly, but a change in allegiances between other world powers can suddenly change your political environment.

    Q. Are there still culture-related borders?

    A. Culture is no longer obsessed with borders; policies (like character perks) replace this goal. Instead it is used (as a side-effect) to claim unowned land for cities and civilisations.

    Q. Is the AI as aggressive as the article seems to indicate, or is it possible to have stable diplomatic neighbours?

    A. Again, friendships can be made, but are by no means permanent.

    Q. This one’s rather subjective, I’m afraid: With regards to improvements, is this an XP to Vista kind of upgrade, or Vista to 7? By which I mean are they generally look driven, or core gameplay driven improvements?

    A. The whole game feels like it’s been reconsidered. The interface is similar, as if it had been rewritten with the same interface goals, rather than with adding features in mind. The messaging system of blocking essentials and optional notes integrates very well with the game; allowing you to set your own pace and choose what you want to deal with first. I would say it’s an XP to 7 improvement.

    P.S. You’re going to love the city-states; such a mischievous addition to an otherwise straight-laced game.

    The biggest change, the one that I think really affects the gameplay, is the removal of stacked units. Now…

    • Terrain matters. A stack of 50 units won’t just run over you, putting a fort in a mountain pass can really mean something (see 300 for reference!).
    • You can flank around an army, taking out it’s ranged units with cavalry and fast moving offensive units. Similarly, a good defence can be put in place with a few strong units – it’s less the quantity, more the quality now.

    I was a massive fan of Civ 4, but since Civ 5 came out I’ve not touched it.

    We love Playing Games, especially Video Games.