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The “Fall 2017” update for Civilization VI has finally made it to Linux

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The folks at Aspyr Media have brought over the last big patch for the addictive strategy game. There’s plenty of changes in this one and new civilizations in the form of DLC.

I’ll mention it right at the top: there’s still no cross-platform multiplayer as of this update.

Putting that aside, this latest update makes a few important changes to Civilization VI [Official Site]. Perhaps most notably, religion has seen a reformation of sorts with new units, pantheons, rules and balancing passes that have changed up how that aspect of the game develops. I noticed from a quick game that it’s now much easier to tell apart the different religions of missionaries and see how trade affects the spreading of faith. Likewise, in a similar vein, a lot of the game’s UI has seen a lot of changes for the better. The diplomacy screen has been overhauled and there’s all sorts of small touches that make it simpler to understand the information the game is throwing at you.

The Khmer and Indonesia are also now in the game as part of a DLC pack. It also adds both a new wonder, Ankor Wat, as well as a natural wonder, Ha Long Bay. Like with the other DLC thus far, there’s also a new scenario included with special rules but, as of the time of writing this article, it’s not selectable on the in-game list. I contacted Aspyr about that omission and I’ve been told that they’ll look into it. Hopefully it’s just something that was overlooked and easily fixed (Update: it has been fixed).

You can see all the changes in the patch and DLC in these release notes.

At the risk of editorializing a little, I have to also mention just how long it took to get this update on Linux. The original Windows release was way back in October of last year, meaning that it’s taken just under three months for Aspyr to deliver the update. Even accounting for end of year holidays, it’s my opinion that they dropped the ball on this one. I know that software development is complicated and that sometimes things don’t go the way you plan for, but I honestly hope that Aspyr take care not to make it a habit.

It’s difficult to recommend Civ 6 to friends and other people when there’s long periods of time where Linux and OSX users are behind the much needed balance and new content patches. The previous "Summer 2017 update" also had a delay of about a month and a half. With so many games competing for your attention these days, why should you buy a game when it’s not clear when your platform will be getting the support you’re supposedly paying for? Add to that the fact that cross-platform multiplayer with the biggest chunk of the market, Windows gamers, still isn’t ready after nearly a year since the Linux release and it’s an even harder case to make.

I hope that going forward, Aspyr are a little faster on the uptake and that they improve the port’s performance while they’re at it. At the very least, I’d like a little clearer and regular communication other than vague statements like that they’re “making sure it lives up to our standards” every once in a blue moon. Linux gamers are used to being patient and can often be very understanding, so long as you’re clear on what’s happening and why. We’ll see what happens ahead of the release of the upcoming Rise and Fall expansion next month. I hope it won’t be as long a wait.

You can grab Civilization VI on Steam.

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16 comments
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14 12 January 2018 at 6:31 pm UTC
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Because of the Humble deal right now, I'm fairly tempted to grab this game. But lack of cross-platform neuters it. I think I'd be better off getting Civ V even though it's getting on the old side.
apocalyptech 12 January 2018 at 7:06 pm UTC
Sure, if crossplatform multiplayer is a requirement for anyone, Civ 6 would be difficult to recommend in its current state. For those of us only interested in singleplayer, though, I've been extremely happy with it. I've put in ~120 hours on Civ 6 so far, nearly all of which during the time that Windows folks had the Fall 2017 update, and I've been having a great time regardless. Sure, it's a shame that Civ 6 patches take awhile in general to make it to our platform, but I'd personally have no trouble recommending it to someone (again, so long as crossplatform multiplayer isn't a requirement).

Let's all keep in mind that Aspyr's also got to play with the hand they've been dealt. The very fact that crossplatform multiplayer appears to be so hard may speak to the overall challenge of getting this codebase ported. How much of their previous porting work can be automatically merged, and how much requires manual tweaking? How far ahead of the patch did Aspyr even have the code to start the porting process? Since we can only guess at basically all the factors here, I'm inclined to give Aspyr the benefit of the doubt, given their pretty great history with other ports.

14Because of the Humble deal right now, I'm fairly tempted to grab this game. But lack of cross-platform neuters it. I think I'd be better off getting Civ V even though it's getting on the old side.

Civ 5 remains quite fun, of course, and if I'm being honest, I'm one of the folks who would say that Civ 5 in its current state is a better game than Civ 6 in its current state. As others have pointed out, modern Civ games tend to only really hit their stride after a major expansion or two. But yeah, I'm sure you wouldn't regret a Civ 5 purchase. It's still awesome!
ElectricPrism 12 January 2018 at 9:54 pm UTC
Our appraisal of Civ 6 was that the "graphics upgrade" really seemed like a "graphics downgrade" considering that they made everything so toy and blocky looking and took out the grunge look that befits RTS recreating year 0 human civilization.

Anyways, I'm sure the downgrade was strategic so they could launch on iOS and Android more easily costing less GPU resources.

I bought a copy when it was on sale. After the hype train left and we didn't get multiplayer on all platforms It's more of a -- well if we get 1-2 hours of entertainment out of it that's $5.50 an hour.

So if you got a extra 12$ and are looking for something to do, yeah why not.

Plus, I sortof like to buy all the top Linux games even if I don't like them just because it pumps money into the platform and I may change my mind as I play them.

Plus taking a gamble is fun. For example we bought FFXV on Xbox and were extremely skeptical we would enjoy it or that it would live up to the FF name. We paid $25 and are 120 hours in. So that's 20.8 cents per hour of entertainment.


Last edited by ElectricPrism at 12 January 2018 at 9:57 pm UTC. Edited 2 times.
BTRE 12 January 2018 at 11:31 pm UTC
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Added a small update note to the article. The scenario now properly show up after a second, smaller patch.
slaapliedje 13 January 2018 at 7:49 am UTC
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ElectricPrismOur appraisal of Civ 6 was that the "graphics upgrade" really seemed like a "graphics downgrade" considering that they made everything so toy and blocky looking and took out the grunge look that befits RTS recreating year 0 human civilization.

Anyways, I'm sure the downgrade was strategic so they could launch on iOS and Android more easily costing less GPU resources.

I bought a copy when it was on sale. After the hype train left and we didn't get multiplayer on all platforms It's more of a -- well if we get 1-2 hours of entertainment out of it that's $5.50 an hour.

So if you got a extra 12$ and are looking for something to do, yeah why not.

Plus, I sortof like to buy all the top Linux games even if I don't like them just because it pumps money into the platform and I may change my mind as I play them.

Plus taking a gamble is fun. For example we bought FFXV on Xbox and were extremely skeptical we would enjoy it or that it would live up to the FF name. We paid $25 and are 120 hours in. So that's 20.8 cents per hour of entertainment.

Really? Did they dumb down the graphics?
voyager2102 14 January 2018 at 2:55 pm UTC
When I got CIV6 I was a bit disappointed at first but since then this has turned into appreciation. It is a different game than 5 in more ways than the civs before it differed from their predecessors but the changes mostly make sense and provide more depth to the game than was previously available. I luckily play multiplayer all the times since the biggest problem of the game IMHO is the bad AI at the moment which in turn is probably due to the increased depth of possibilities as compared to previous versions. I would also have a hugh problem with the missing cross platform multiplayer which really shines a bad light on Aspyr at the moment but since the people I play with are on Linux or Mac now it does not matter to me personally right now and I understand the financial rational why patches might be delayed sometimes. Once we achieve cross platform compatibility however that will become more of a problem again. I hope they're going to do better with the big extension!
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