It's been much more quite here than on the Steam forums, let's open a discussion here....
There's criticism on the diplomacy and the AI declaring war... So I started to ask myself, what diplomatic tools are missing? And my conclusion was that the diplomatic tools to avoid a war actually exist. In order to avoid war as a player, you have three diplomatic tools at your disposal:
- Praise the player you fear, so the relation gets better, , so the relation gets better, and as a result less chance of war
- Offer the player you fear presents, so the relation gets better, and as a result less chance of war
- Forge an alliance, so the AI is aware it will declare war on multiple players and you will be perceived stronger, and as a result less chance of war.
My impression is that the people who are annoyed at the AI's declaring war do not use these tools enough.
I think the answer is that the game gives the player no information that allows the player to decide that using these diplomatic tools make sense. Let's take praising as an example. You can do that very often as a player (every turn?). However going to the diplomacy screen every turn and praising the players you fear is repetitive and boring work and most humans will quickly give up on. There is information about a poor relation, but a poor relation by itself by no means means a high chance of war.
There is almost no information that a war is eminent and that the player must resort to diplomatic tools to avoid it.
Can this be solved?
What if the following message would appear when the conditions for a war are almost met:
This is Missy McDee from the Pandora Wire Service, bringing you the latest news and weather, 400 hours a day, 28 days a year.
Unnamed sources report that faction_XXX is spreading a propaganda amongst its citizins against faction_YYY. Their millitary forces are also in a high state of readyness. Is a war unavoidable? Or would it still be possible to find a diplomatic solution?
A report like this would serve as a warning to a player, but it would be also a clear message to the player that it is time to start using the diplomatic tools that the game has, thus I think there would be higher chance players would actually be using the diplomatic possibilities of the game.