|No, no, it's not quite like that.|
So now we are getting to the part where I skip the token positive remark and straight up bitch about how this sucks and that sucks and it all sucks.
Well, the diplomacy in CivV sucks. The recent patches make things better. The diplomacy still sucks, but at least it's bearable now.
There's very few choices. You have on the diplomacy screen.
First there's the declare war. The AI loves this. For the AI, declaring war is a friendly gesture, like shaking your hand or waving and saying sup.
Then there's pact of secrecy. This is like declare war for AIs who were unfortunately born without a spine, or the ability to build military units. It happens, folks.
Nobody knows what the PoS (har har funny backronym) does. Everyone does it anyway, all the time. Except you, your PoS offers never get accepted by AIs, whether large or small, friendly or pissed. When the AI asks you for a PoS against another player, and you accept, they say, "excellent! We now have a pact of secrecy!". I think a few turns later, they say it has run its course and end it. At no point do they say "since we have a PoS, let's do..." They don't care if you trade with the target civ. They don't care if you are allied. They won't be any more likely to declare war on the target. If you refuse, they don't care. It's just utterly pointless. They all do it anyway, and you can't stop them.
There's the opposite, pact of cooperation. Occasionally friendly Civs offer it. They might as well offer me a backrub, since the PoC does nothing. It won't make trade easy, they don't care if I get attacked, they won't lend me money if they didn't before.
The patch added a denounce function. It's basically like shouting, "hey everybody, you know what, France is a big jerkhead and his feet smell!". Never had it do anything.
The trade screen, well at least it works. You get all the basics, trading gold, trading gold per turn, trading resources and cities, declaring mutual war. The problem is, the AI is loco. Let's say you want to sell a tech. You ask for some techs which have about 95% of research point cost put together. Surprise, they refuse. You ask them what they'd like, they say "never in a million years lol". Then you remove a tech to slant the deal in their favor so much it's not even funny, and they greedily accept.
You might say it's because they think their techs are strategically valuable. Bullshit. I'm giving the stone age fuckers renaissance tech in exchange for archery and its ilk. Yeah, getting those archers 1 turn early sure will lead me right to success. Newsflash, stone age fuckers: My score is 4 times what yours is, I've already won.
You decide to sell a resource. Selling resources is the only thing the diplomacy screen is good for in CivV. You ask them to offer a price, they give retarded shit like open borders for 30 turns and want to pay some gold up front and some per turn. What the hell do I care about your borders, AI? I already explored everything you see, and this game encourages sparse cities anyway so your territory is swiss cheese if I ever need to reexplore it for some reason. Why can't I just fill in 1 gold coin for them, then have them modify that as they will?
Anyway, suppose you are very lucky and the AI decides to grace you with a rational answer. (what the hell, AI? Why do you have to be so uncooperative? This is for your own damn good, it's not like I can't find any use for that extra luxury) They name a price. It's actually half the price they are willing to pay. Derp.
Maybe this sounds fine to you. Bargaining, right? Thing is, you can start at some number you know they won't pay, like 10k for a luxury, and then decrement by 1 until they accept. There is no drawback to this, except having your soul crushed by the tedium. They won't get mad at you for insulting their intelligence. In fact, this is the best way to settle deals, and your only alternative is to memorize and guess what the AI pays for resources, which is vastly less efficient and arguably more work.
Oh, you could just trust the AI and have it rip you off half the time, and flat out refuse trade the other half.
Goddammit! Either make the AI suggest fair deals, or introduce a penalty for offering unfair ones! This just forces you to do a very tedious task every time if you want to trade in this game at all (and trust me, you do).
I wish they added trading communications with other civs or map trades, but whatever. It's not a big deal. Though then again, neither is adding it, so why do didn't they? Maybe it would make a mess of their AI code or something.
You can ask people to not settle near you. Nothing ever comes of it, either they refuse or they say ok and do it anyway. Unlike the AI you can't say "wtf we had a deal bro" and have the entire world hate him for not keeping his word.
The AI sometimes bitches about you massing troops near its borders too, and your options come down to "dismiss dialogue with no effect" versus "dismiss dialogue and make the civ a bit angrier". They don't ever seem to declare war over it in either case. You can't complain at the AI at all, of course.
Anyway, those are your choices, pretty much. Oh you can also have one sided deals in the form of demands or gifts. You can give, say, all of your gold to an AI. When you ask him for something afterwards, he'll be like, "gold? What gold? Anyway sorry but your offer is no good, it just rips you off too little". Then sometimes, AIs you don't give a fuck about, and who have no hope against you, demand stuff. You can refuse and they get mad. You can accept and they get slightly happy, but not that it matters- alliances in this game are impossible to form, and even if you do manage to con one of the assholes into it, they are probably too weak to be any good.
Oh, by the way, the AI never accepts your demands. You can have 19 cities to his 2, be an era ahead, have a much bigger army, surround him completely, and he will still act like he's hot shit and refuse to just hand over your 29 fucking gold coins. It's 29 coins, you fucking prick. Is it worth getting wiped out in 5 turns over? Really? They'll accept if they are friendly, maybe, but then their status drops back to where it was before you gave them 5-10 times as much stuff as what you're asking.
Sometimes the AI insists that you declare war with them on someone else. You can just ask for 10 turns to prepare, then be like "lol whatever bro" and they don't care. If you do declare war, even though your ally forced you into it, the world will assume and act as if the conflict is your fault.
Did I mention? In this game, everyone gets mad at you for declaring war. They never get mad at other AIs for declaring war whenever they damn well please. There is no effective strategy to goad AIs into declaring war on you. You basically fight them all or not at all, and if you choose the latter the AI will declare war anyway.
Strong economy? Weak economy? More troops? Less troops? The AI doesn't care. It thinks war is like a game of chance- you throw the dice and if you win, you win. In fact, that's how it wages the war: Just throw random units, much as one would throw dice, in your general direction. Why won't these goddamn small AIs just give up and hand their cities over to me? Why can't they form an alliance against you, the superpower? This really isn't difficult.