Economic Upgrades Very Low Utility

Has anybody else seen Age of Noob’s video analyses of the value of various economic upgrades? He makes a strong case that other than wheelbarrow, most of the economic upgrades are quite weak; castle age economic upgrades are of questionable / niche value, and imperial ones seem probably not worth getting at all under nearly any circumstance.

Does this seem like a problem to anyone else? Do we think this is an intentional design choice, or an issue that should be addressed in future updates? Having expensive “trap” technologies in the game doesn’t strike me as a good or useful thing.

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To be honest, how on earth would I, a regular player analyze this without the help of someone like the dude in the video? It would go over my head, if I see ‘‘15% increase in production’’ I press it thinking my villagers will be able to pay back that price in less than 5 minutes. I’m really not pleased with this even if it was intentional.

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Agreed; this is pretty confusing. I think the idea is that the resource is extracted [x]% faster from the map by the villager; in practice, though, considering villager positioning / walk time, the actual benefit that you see in terms of increased resource gathering could be (and according to these analyses, in fact does seem to be) substantially lower.

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This is how I have always understood these upgrades, but I agree they seem useless sometimes.

The upgrades, as far as I know, don’t affect the time it takes to travel to a drop off point. It just means that a villager will mine gold or chop wood 15% faster. Of course travel time will eat into a true 1:1 15% increase in resource production.

All that being said, I almost never get the Imperial upgrade for any resource collection, so this video definitely confirms my usual play style. Sure, I’ll grab the Feudal one and maybe the Castle one if the game is going long, but I’d rather have 3 bombards (3000 resources) in the field than spend 3000 resources on collection upgrades in Imperial.

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I do think that revamping eco costs will help diversify play and strategy more. It should be looked at for sure.

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The devs clearly didn’t do the math on many upgrades and landmarks. Or, if they did the math, they didn’t do solid play testing, instead relying on numbers on paper.

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Those % bonus upgrades are useful when you have maxed your villager production or are trying to outscale your enemy from a pocket position.

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I agree the upgrades may be worth it in long games (or team games), where resources can become quite scarce at the end. In 1v1 or 2v2 all-ins, you see players (Delhi excluded) completely forgo economic upgrades other than wheelbarrow and pro scouts.

I do enjoy these analytical videos from @AgeofNoob3936 and @SpiritOfTheLaw1. They are well-explained, concise, and includes ‘rules-of-thumb’ at the end that are useful for players at all levels. The developers would really benefit from these analyses that he is essentially performing for them on his own time, for free. Unless these techs were included deliberately as a trap for players, their bonuses should really be tweaked to be useful in some sort of scenario.

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It’s a delicate balance, in an ideal world all the upgrades are worth it but there would also good reasons to not take them if you’re going for a timing attack. I think the feudal age techs hit the sweet spot, everything after I’d consider adding more % points to or reducing the cost of.

This was my argument for why the game ought to have shipped with a scenario editor, as that’s how we analyse these and lots of other questions in 2 DE, such as how cost effectively one unit trades with another unit.

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I think the 15% resource gathering upgrades should be cheaper (and adapt it to the French).

You’d rather spend those 1000 resources gaining map control or pushing into your opponent’s base with X more military than waiting 13 more minutes for it to pay back itself, let alone give you any advantage.

In other words, your decision of outscaling your opponent’s pocket by researching an Imp eco upgrade means that - pound for pound - you are 1000 resources weaker for the next 10-15 minutes. In the long run, you’ll lose a lot more games than you win because your opponent will push their advantage and win the game before you begin getting a measly 90 more gold per minute after waiting 10-15mins, and that’s IF there is any Gold left on the map by that time.

So this means that if there are only 3 small fresh gold viens left on the map (which is still 12000 gold), and you somehow control all three, you won’t even get your investment back. There needs to be 4 small gold veins or two large ones untouched and controlled by you, mine ALL of the 16000 gold, just to get a few hundred additional gold once you subtract the 1000 resources it costed you to get Cupellation.

Controlling 4 Gold Veins in mid to late imperial to mine them all with 20+ villagers, waiting for 15 minutes to get anything back, just to get a few hundred extra gold that late into the game?

It’s just a really tough sell mate, no matter how you look at it.

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This.
The thing that holds the upgrade back is not the fact that players didn’t take movement time into consideration that mutes the bonus (they prob build their farms close to tc/mill and rebuild lumbercamp alrdy cause of it), but that it’s just a high investment for certain stages of the game.

It needs serious cost adjustments, cause rn how I perceive it (just short of 1600 to 1700+ player), if I take eco techs it’s wheelbarrow in late feudal (if, that’d be the only early eco I consider playable for but I tend to skip that for tighter timings in tech or expo as well quite often), first eco tech in mid castle and second eco tech in imperial.
It’s always smarter to invest in expansion or agressiom for dmg or killing blow for the majority of the game rn.

Ofc another way to approach this would be to increase the rate, but since it scales exponencially it could bring slight more imbalances to the game due to too strong stacking with civ bonuses in the long run.
And it doesn’t make the investment any smoother ofc since it’s still an insane paywall for developing eco scenarios.

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the game is more than 1v1s. it’s trivially easy to get max supply in teamgames, and the upgrades have a role in those situations (especially the cheaper ones)

as people learn how to play, games tend to get longer, and you can look at return over 10 or 15 or 20 minutes instead of just 5

spending on more villagers will be better than the expensive upgrades if you have the pop space, but that’s because TCs are too easy to make relative to how large the rush distances are. some civs can rush to make that a risky investment, but a lot of them can’t deny TCs very well.

but the utility is there in 1TC or 2TC games. whether the design/balance supports those types of games remains to be seen

I just did a bit of testing. The lack of a scenario editor has stopped me from doing much of this kind of testing, but I wanted to look into forestry, as that SHOULD be a no-brainer to get immediately.

I just started a game and made a lumber camp with one villager, recording the game. I allowed the villager to collect 10 wood a couple of times, then got forestry and allowed them to collect 10 wood again.

I then played the video back and timed how long it took to get from the villager having 1 wood to 10 wood.

Without forestry 12.71 seconds

With forestry 11.65 seconds

So it simply doesn’t do what it claims, it doesn’t double the rate of chopping down trees.

One way or another, there is a bug. Either it doesn’t have the effect on the rate of chopping trees that is intended, or they have MASSIVELY changed its effect while forgetting to update the description.

One way to avoid tooltips being incorrect like this is they should ALWAYS be generated from the game data rather than being independent text. Like “Changes rate of chopping down trees from x to y” where x and y are taken from the actual values that the game uses, so if they change, the description automatically picks up the change.

By using map editor. For example (in AOE2) , I have once discussed about how different eco upgrades and civilizations works on chopping woods. I solved this by map editor, use different civilizations with different technology level in the same situation (like let 2 villages chop 8 trees completely and count the time used) , I can easily figure out the better choice.

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That tech just works when chopping down the tree. Before village need chop 4 times to make a tree collectable, and after chopping 2 times can make a tree collectable. The movement of chopping DOWN gets 100% faster.

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Just theorycrafting here, so do absolutely ignore this if you want, but what AoE folks want out of a scenario editor is different to what Relic traditionally offer in their WorldBuilder (which is a map-focused tool, and a very good one, but specifically for maps). There’s more sandbox utility in the AoE scenario editor? It’s not something I ever played with myself (ironically, my AoE days were before I started modding games).

This could explain the delay (and prioritising any changes to modding tools pre-release will inevitably, regardless of what people prefer, take a backseat to actually getting the game out).

As usual, my line ends up being “a lot’s going to depend on what Relic are able to offer with their modding tools”. I’m confident, but confidence isn’t a guarantee!

The AoE editor lets you place units as well as map elements, so it’s very easy to test x of one unit vs y of another unit. I believe the campaigns are created using it, so it has to support everything in the campaigns - starting units and upgrades, triggers for events etc, as well as static map features.

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Interesting, never knew the map editor can be used for that :thinking: