Civilization Beyond Earth Details: Replacing Civ 5's Happiness System With The More Forgiving Health System

By Connor Sears , Updated Oct 17, 2014 04:48 PM EDT

We're in the home stretch: one week until Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth hits PCs. As the days wind down, let's take a look at the game's Health system, the new game mechanic that improves upon Civ V's sometimes-punishing Happiness system.

Civilization: Beyond Earth Opening Cinematic Introduces A New Beginning For Mankind

Beyond Earth's Health mechanic accomplishes the same goal as Happiness in Civ V: It makes sure that cities and empires can't grow too large too fast without spending time developing infrastructure. Different buildings within cities can be built in Beyond Earth to increase the overall Health of the empire. Different bonuses that players can pick up, whether through Virtues or another mechanic, might also be able to increase Health.

Like the system that came before it, negative Health has a detrimental effect on civilizations in Beyond Earth. These detriments are tiered. Any amount of negative health will cause a civ to take a percentage hit to science and culture. Falling to -10 Health will hinder production in your cities and make them much more vulnerable to enemy spies. Finally, a civ with -20 Health will have their growth cut in half.

Start Planning Your Culture Strategies With The Interactive Beyond Earth Virtues Chart

These negative effects seem much more forgiving than Civ V's Happiness, where merely getting into negative values severely held back a civ's growth. Further, it looks like negative Health won't affect a civ's military strength or cause citizens to stage an armed revolt like it did in Civ V.

Also new to Beyond Earth are bonuses for reaching excessive amounts of Health, finally incentivizing the production of more than just the bare minimum of the resource. Simply staying above negative values of Health will grant players increased Outpost growth. Reaching 10 Health will speed up cities' production and make enemy covert operations more likely to fail. Finally, reaching 20 Health will grant players boosts to both science and culture.

In Civ V, early-game Happiness is fairly easy to hoard if you start out near plenty of resources. Since Health seems to only be generated by buildings and special bonuses, it'll likely be more difficult to gather up a bunch of Health really early on. Being able to cultivate this resource over time, though, will be so much more beneficial to the player.

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth will launch for PCs on October 24.

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