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On normal speed, I've seen the decay rate for my city-state relations vary from 1 to 2.5 (without the social policy modifier).

I think it is based on how nice I am to all the other city states, but haven't really figured out the exact formula. Is it based on their personality (Friendly, Hostile, Neutral, or Irrational)? Does pledging to protect them help?

2 Answers 2

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The default rate is 1/turn, for hostile city states it is 1.5/turn.

It can be reduced by 25% with the patronage social policy and by 50% with the Greek unique ability.

Another factor is the social policy "United Front" from the Order tree, it increases the rate of decay for other players by 33% (thanks to Raven Dreamer).

If you conquer too many city states they will band together to defend against you (you'll get a notification about that). At this point, influence with non-hostile city states will decay 100% faster. Curiously, influence with hostile city states decays at the usual rate, so they are actually cheaper then. Beware that you don't need to attack many city states to trigger this event, 2 city states on normal size/Prince triggered it already. (Thanks to Sean)

I've checked some other factors using FireTuner, and neither map size, difficulty level nor current era seem to influence the decay rate.

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  • It's based on more factors though. I've seen it vary from 0 to 2 without Patronage.
    – user56
    Commented Oct 24, 2010 at 9:27
  • I've never seen a rate bigger than 1.5, I usually play at king difficulty level. I'm certain about the modifier for hostile city states, but I don't know what else plays a role. Commented Oct 24, 2010 at 9:32
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    Don't forget United Front -- if one of your opponents picks that up, you get another +50% decay per turn. Commented Oct 24, 2010 at 13:58
  • @Raven That probably accounts for the higher values some people are seeing. Commented Oct 24, 2010 at 15:35
  • Default applies to both friendly and irrational then? Commented Oct 24, 2010 at 15:46
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Fabian is mostly right, but base decay increases if you start taking out city-states. In this game, Copenhagen is neutral so their base should be 1, but I've already conquered 3 other city-states and received a warning about how the rest are worried. I'm playing as the French so no Greek bonus, but I do have the Patronage policy.

So, to sum everything into one answer:

1/turn base
+50% from Hostile city-state
-25% from Patronage
-50% from Greeks
+33% from another Civ w/ United Front
+100% from angering city states

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