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badosu

When are tech upgrades worth it?

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I noticed some good players don't make upgrades in good timing even when unharassed so I thought about discussing what would be the ideal ones.

These are my raw calculations, it might be different depending on conditions (excess resources or being attacked). Also, not taking account ptols particularities.

Starting the discussion with P1: wood and food are the ones you'll want to take, unless playing with slingers and taking stone, great hunt or extra berries, but the basics apply:

If you have 30 gatherers, 15% bonus equals to having additional 4.5 workers, which assuming a mix of women and men (2 men, 2.5 women) equals 225 food, 200 100 wood. For their first gathering run, these workers would have brought you 45 resources. So for an investment of 250 resources, offloading the recruitment buildings (since you don't need to queue as much), you would get a 130 resources payback. Taking into consideration a generous 10% tax for walk time (if wood, food negligible) about 100 resources payback.

Considering that the upgrade compounds with the scale (you get more benefit with more workers) I would put this as a ceiling when you would want to get the upgrade, having 30 workers gathering that particular resource. It could be argued that if you are not making mercenaries, you could even write off the metal cost, but I digress.

This is assuming also that the upgrade happens instantaneously, otherwise we could take into consideration using 250 resources to build 2 men and a women or 5 women (if you could balance wood for food) which on their first run would bring about 20-50 resources (taking into consideration queue time). Even with these factors into consideration taking the upgrade seems to be a positive return.

So in raw terms, between 40-60 pop in P1 would be the ideal timing to get both upgrades, food and wood.

Stone and metal does not seem to be good upgrades to take in P1, unless unbalanced food for stone, but one could argue that taking cav could be a better option in some cases, if slinger/merc civ and having more than 10 men on stone/metal could also be worth it.

Basket upgrade (5+ res cap per gatherer) seems to be a worthy upgrade for P1 only in maps with sparse wood, timing could be 100+ pop and only if a lot of excess resources since it's a costlier upgrade, calculations for the return on investment are tricky for this one.

This first post is just about P1, but it's worthy to mention that if you are not taking P3 upgrades for wood and food as soon as possible and you are not planning a decisive timing attack in 1v1 or having to defend an all in, you are in heavy disadvantage (assuming a balanced matchup). One must take into consideration that having a higher rate of gathering means less men required to mine resources which can be in the front lines, defending while managing eco, or building fort/expand. This is not as relevant in P1 but for P3 the scale is too high to ignore.

Edited by badosu
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Not an easy question....

17 hours ago, badosu said:

If you have 30 gatherers, 15% bonus equals to having additional 4.5 workers, which assuming a mix of women and men (2 men, 2.5 women) equals 225 food, 200 wood. For their first gathering run, these workers would have brought you 45 resources. So for an investment of 250 resources, offloading the recruitment buildings (since you don't need to queue as much), you would get a 230 resources payback. Taking into consideration a generous 10% tax for walk time (if wood, food negligible) about 200 resources payback.

Mmmmm...

I got lost at "225 food, 200 wood", I would have put 100 wood there ...

then I got more lost around the "230 resources payback", I have tried adding and substracting all possible numbers mentionned previously but i don't think i can get the reasonning nor the same result.

 

I guess to really understand what players do/should do, the relative value of military versus eco would be the main explanation. Maybe having a few more military rather than a better eco is worth it if you think it will bring you a high return (less risk of losses or you might get a good advantage over the enemy out of it). Then you might deviate from the optimal threshold that you are trying to evaluate for the best economic boom.

 

Focusing on a free boom, a tricky part of the question that you are assuming away is on the relative value of ressources.

For example, the value of metal in the very beginning of the game is close to 0 since you would only use it for upgrades. Should it be included in the cost of the upgrade in your computations since you have no other use for it in early game?

The value of food in terms of wood (how many food units i would be willing to trade for 1 unit of wood) is also critical. At the beginning, during the first few minutes of game, you want food fast (high demand) while wood is less of a constraint (you need it mostly for houses only). Food will help you to increase your population faster (since women are trained faster than men and cost half of the total amount of ressources) but you also have some good supply of fast food (berries, chicken, hunt...). As long as your supply of fast food is good, it put a downward pressure on how much you value some extra food, and you should therefore develop relatively more your wood production since there are no source of fast wood income.

Since the wood upgrade only really cost wood which has a low value outside of its use for houses (and metal is "free" in early game), this should be when you get 200 spare wood not needed for houses production. Your priority in early game is getting more units first, upgrades come after.

 

Maybe another way to make some computations that will prove that what I usually do in game totally makes sense...

The +15% is actually most of the time equivalent to a +0.1 increase in gathering rate for any unit. For wood, women gathering rate goes from 0.6 to 0.7 and for men from 0.7 to 0.8. But with women nearby, gathering rate for men increase also by an additionnal +0.1. So you might formulate the trade-off as a choice between having 4 men with +0.2 extra gathering rate instead of 4 women (cost 200 wood) or increasing the gathering rate of all units by +0.1 (i assume that i might be dead before metal become usefull for me, so its value is 0). My answer then to this question would be from the moment that you have more than have 8 units and the opportunity cost of using 200 spare wood is nul (it won't slow down your growth if you use it). The second part of that rule will then be dependent on which civ you have and therefore should be the main criteria.

 

In my opinion, just make that wood upgrade when you get your 200 spare wood for a free boom.

eae?

 

Edited by faction02
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Thanks for the correction @faction02, I fixed the numbers.

I agree with the questioning regarding the relative value of each res type and having mil vs eco, this is assuming not heavily harassed.

With regard to the bonus impact, I assume that the computations are performed in floating point values instead of integers, the +0.1 for example would be just for display, but would require confirmation.

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