Polytopia’s latest diplomacy update has polarized fans. After all the updates that include easy to ignore tribes, we have been met with a monumental and unavoidable change. What are the fans saying, and how does this change Polytopia for good?
As you are probably well aware, the diplomacy update does not only add the ability to offer peace and see what other tribes are thinking of you, but it adds two completely new units. The former inclusions are fine, and something the fans have been after for years. But the new units? That’s where the problems arise.
Is the game now all cloaks and daggers?
The new units, the Cloaks and the Daggers, are part of every tribe, and are easy to operate. If you can succeed in placing your Cloak, who is invisible (yet extremely vulnerable), into an enemy capital city, then five Daggers will spawn around the city. These Daggers aren’t exactly powerful, but their ‘surprise’ attribute which immunises them to counter attacks are the fan’s biggest problem.
Out of nowhere, five units can spawn right behind your front line and wreak havoc, harassing your straggler units and potentially capturing unguarded cities. Fans have left reviews, labelling this sudden turmoil as ‘unbalanced’ and ‘excessive’, with former fans stating their hatred and detest for the game, demanding there be a ‘classic mode’ without diplomacy or to get rid rid of the update all together. Midjiwan has responded to these statements, asking players to either ‘hang in there’ or outright stating that he prefers the game this way.
The viewpoint of those opposing the update is clear. What has been claimed to be ‘better than chess’ and deemed a great strategy game has been exposed to some opaquity to the once crystal clear game state. Being invisible, you never know when the Cloaks may strike. At worst, they can unhinge your game, leading to your loss seemingly out of nowhere. At best, they drag the game on by another couple dozen turns as you keep having to stave them off.
It is easy to see why fans have renounced the game, their crystal clear strategy game gaining an element of surprise. One could indeed say the game has degenerated from wit and strategy, to cloaks and daggers.
So the update is game-changing. But in a good way.
Among the upset faces, the update has received a lot of good reviews, with Polytopia youtuber GullYY calling it ‘AWESOME’ and standing up for the update, alongside the five-star reviews celebrating the success of the update. I, myself, am an advocate of the update, no matter how much I agree that the game isn’t as crystal clear as it once was.
My playthrough highlighted the almost unfair advantages of the Daggers. Thanks to unoccupied settlements, I managed to infiltrate a Cloak and spawn a mini army that took the settlement and caused general chaos whilst my main army was occupied dominating the bottom of the map. However, I did not see this as a problem. In fact, I think this is a solution to a hidden and controversial problem.
The game pre-update could be considered too predictable. When someone is winning, it is clear that they will win due to their economic advantages. A player could dominate through brute force and expand rapidly, and very quickly you and other settlements would be hard pressed finding ways to take the empire down, to no avail. Even in cases of a huge battle between two giant powers, as soon as someone tipped the scales and occupied the tie-breaking settlement, it was very often curtains for the opposition. I know this, for some, isn’t a problem, but a strength, as a clear game is a fair game. But this problem manifested through people quitting online games early due to the obviously winning force that was futile to go against.
This update revitalizes Polytopia, allowing for odd-defying wins. The new units allow for more unpredictable games. And all you have to do is keep soldiers back and defend yourself. Besides, were you really shifting all of your behemoth army every turn? Didn’t think so.
So, does the update ruin Polytopia?
It ultimately depends. The new units don’t add so much turmoil that the game is unplayable as long as you expand cautiously and defend your lands, which was a missing element before the update.
But if it really does upset you, then I would suggest getting on board or turning away – the developers have stated that it is there to stay.
What do you think of the update? Put your thoughts in the comments below.
Like strategy games? You can check out my beginner’s guide to Noblemen 1896.