Sid Meier’s Civilization: Beyond Earth takes place on an alien world and asks you to chart the course for the future of mankind. The guiding philosophy towards the evolution of humanity is shown though the new Affinity System. Each of the three Affinities, Purity, Harmony, and Supremacy, will have unique story and gameplay attributes.
Affinities play a central role in every game of Beyond Earth. Your faction always starts off human, but the decisions you make in the tech web will take your faction to the next stage of humanity. There are three very different Affinities that represent some post-human ideas the developers found to be the most evocative.
Affinities are leveled up by researching specific techs that are related to that affinity and grant a certain number of Affinity XP ranging from 12 for basic techs and 40 for more advanced ones. The amount of XP needed for a new affinity level is equal to the sum of all your affinity levels plus 10.
Specific Units[edit | edit source]
Choosing an Affinity will grant access to specific units which, by and large, can only be accessed by that particular Affinity. These units represent their Affinity directly, with Harmony units integrating alien and human technology, Supremacy units focusing on mass destruction and warfare, and Purity units focusing on human innovation and alien extermination.
Summary[edit | edit source]
Affinities affect the play of Beyond Earth in two ways. Philosophically, affinities are chosen to affect the game in both narrative and moral impact - not everyone wants to outfit his or her people with cybernetic implants. The nature of certain philosophies can come across somewhat cult-like or as a measure to preserve the values, history, and traditions of Earth across the galaxy. In terms of gameplay, the affinities can affect the current situation of the player, and can change the long-term results of a civilization with the same technologies and efforts with simple, small changes.
In Civilization V, units would gain experience through combat and eventually get a promotion. You could make your military more powerful by upgrading certain techs and advancing units like Warriors to Spearman. In Beyond Earth, upgrades are tied directly to your devotion to the Affinities in the game. As you progress down an Affinity, you gain unique upgrades you can’t get under the other affinity lines. Selecting an upgrade applies it to all units of that type. For example, any and all Marines deployed on the planet will receive the new upgrade as soon as you choose it. Upgrades can’t be revisited, so players have to think hard about what they’re willing to give up.
These upgrades help distinguish two factions who share the same Affinity. Two Supremacy Marines facing off will not be on equal footing. Based on the chosen upgrades, one faction’s Marines may have a lot more firepower than the other.
Origins[edit | edit source]
The development team has described the origin of affinities as thus:
Early on, we realized we were developing a game about an untold future, but it needed elements that were still familiar to the player. The three situations Affinities present to the player are fun, believable, and powerful outlooks as to what could happen to humanity in the not-so-near future. A fun aspect about Civilization has always been seeing the humble beginnings of your people and how they have changed by the end of a game. We always found that aspect of Civilization appealing and wanted to enhance that. In Beyond Earth, how your people change is almost tangible. You’ll see humanity is no longer human. The planet and other factions will influence you. You will change or you will be changed.