I was curious how much Medical Corps effects the performance of Dravidians Battle Elephants, so I rigged up a test in the editor. I pitted 5 groups of 8 battle elephants against 12 persian knights, and tried it with each different upgrade, and then together.
The results below show the number of battle elephants left alive at the end of each of the five tests.
- No Upgrades: -5 -5 -2 -3 -4
With no castle age upgrades, the battle elephants lost heavily against Fully Upgraded persian castle age knights, with between 5 and 2 enemy knights remaining. Not entirely surprising, considering these were completely unimproved battle elephants. I won’t record the number of knights remaining for further tests, I just thought it was important to show that it was a pretty major defeat here.
- Armor Upgrade: 2 3 3 3 1
With just the castle age cavalry armor upgrade, the battle elephants now won, though by a relatively fine margin.
- Damage Upgrade: 2 2 2 0 3
With the damage upgrade instead, they now won generally, but did lose in one case due to bad pathing. If I had to guess, higher damage tends to work better in cases of good pathing, but in cases of bad pathing tends to lead to very negative results, hence the one total loss.
- Medical Corps Upgrade: 0 0 0 0 0
With just Medical Corps, all 5 groups lost. I didn’t count the number of knights remaining, but it is clear that getting it as your first upgrade doesn’t outweigh either of the blacksmith options.
- Damage+Armor: 3 3 4 3 5
With both damage and armor upgrades, the battle elephants now did very well against knights, with almost half their number surviving. Dravidians Battle Elephants clearly have some decent potential in the castle age.
- Damage+Medical Corps: 4 3 1 4 3
Again, we seem to be seeing a tendency towards bad pathing being punished, and this does not seem to perform quite as well as both blacksmith upgrades.
- Armor+Medical Corps: 4 5 4 4 3
This seems to do a bit better than damage and medical corps, likely because they tend to multiple each other’s value. This combination seems to do roughly as well as armor plus damage.
- Damage+Armor+Medical Corps: 7 6 5 6 5
Finally, taking all of them together sometimes results in the death of only a single battle elephant, and does seem to create a fairly significant difference. It seems likely that keeping even one unit alive a bit longer can quickly cause the enemy to become outnumbered and turn a minor victory into a major victory.
I think this shows fairly accurately how players can expect Medical Corps to impact their strategy. While it definitely shouldn’t be prioritized before armor upgrades, it can nonetheless make a significant difference even in relatively small numbers of elephants.
Lastly, just out of curiosity, I added one more battle elephant(Making the fight equal in terms of cost), and tested fully upgraded dravidian battle elephants against fully upgraded persian paladins. The fights were surprisingly even, with the battle elephants winning in 2 cases with 2 and 2 elephants left, and the paladins winning in 3 cases, with 3, 2, and 3 paladins left. In ten tests, the battle elephants won about half the time, which is surprisingly good considering they are lacking both the elite upgrade AND the final armor tech. Really shows the power of Wootz Steel; a tech which, notably, costs less than the elite battle elephant upgrade.