Firaxis made some bold claims earlier in the year that "modability" for Civilization 6 will "make us go nuts" - and while the game does have some nice mod support, that statement seems a little overblown. So what was all the fuss about?
The Civilization games have always had great mod support, and this one is no different - one of the main features is Steam Workshop integration, which allows players to grab and install mods simply and easily, without having to leave the game interface. There is also a development toolkit bundled with the game, allowing mod creators to start tinkering right away.
But one of the major new additions to the game is support for multiplayer mods - something that was possible with the previous game in the series, but only with a lot of danger, peril, tinkering and headache. In this game, it's as simple as flicking a menu option, and away you go.
The way this works is very nice, too. Mods are automatically pushed to other players within the multiplayer session, meaning players don't need to have the host's mod choices installed when they join your game - they are just there, and just work. This is pretty excellent and something that I really want to see come to other games in the future.
Ed Beach, one of the lead designers for the game, explained a little bit about their approach to multiplayer mods during their official launch livestream. He explained that allowing mods in multiplayer was a way of reaching their own internal goals for what they wanted to make online sessions shorter, while still maintaining the feeling of meaningful victory.
By allowing players to set up their own scenarios and specialised victory conditions, mods allow online games to be much shorter while still retaining the same sense of achievement and difficulty. There are even three mods bundled with the game as examples of how this can be achieved;
Hallowed Ground in a scenario set in the Medieval period, where the person who manages to gain the most religious followers after the turn limit wins - another example, Global Thermonuclear War, is a Cold War scenario which involves an arms race, and a lot of nuclear weapons. Finally, there's an "Ancient Rivals" mod, which tracks four metrics to determine the winner - tiles explored, tiles pillaged, Wonders constructed and Civics adopted.
Of course, this is all optional, by disabling the multiplayer mod option, you're free to partake in the standard game, just as before - but if you fancy mixing things up a little, it's easier than ever to be able to switch the option back on.
Civilization VI is available now on Steam.
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