For days an idea has been buzzing around in my head. I don’t know why. All of a sudden it was there. It is rather the continuation of an old question that I had asked myself in my late childhood and for which I could never get a hundred percent answer.
But as if my subconscious had been chafing at this question for years, the solution might have come to my mind or at least I might have come a little bit closer to the answer and I would like to hear your opinions and ideas about it.
As always in advance: Sorry for my bad English.
Why do villagers of the Palmyrians cost 75 food? Just because of the +1 armor? And is that so strong?
Okay, first of all - before some people say: “Just look in the techtree, idiot!” I want to digress a bit to better explain my thought processes and maybe make it a bit clearer why I’m writing half a novel about it.
Back when the expansion pack “Rise of Rome” came out, there was (unlike the main game) no enclosed Techtree. So you were forced to find out a lot of things by playing and observing the game. And when my father and I played Palmyrer for the first time, we noticed the curiosity immediately and were deterred.
Of course even then the parallel to Sumerians, whose villagers have 40 HP by default, caught our attention. So I let both villagers fight against each other. Both really hit at exactly the same time, the Sumerian was victorious in the end by one (!) hit. “Wow!”, we thought, “We pay 25 more food for one armor point, which is worse than 15 extra HP I get for the standard price. Why???”
Well, at some point we tried it for a few games anyway, and found that, economically speaking, it was amazingly unnoticeable. So we thought that Palmyrer must have some kind of bonus.
Well, since the Definitve Edition, of course, there’s also the certainty. So there it is written. From nebulous conjecture, certainty has become certainty. But is it really as strong as it reads? Is the price really justified?
I am definitely not a Palmyranian-Main. Perhaps there are some here who can make more competent statements. But here are my thoughts:
I think not.
Of course the values read well for now. 25% better performance, 1 armor and now you start with 50 more food (in contrast to the old game), which seems to negate the initial disadvantage.
But in such cases, I always try to look at it from two sides:
One is the mathematical side (and I’m happy to be corrected here too, because I’m anything but good at math) and the creative side, which tries to create variety.
Let’s do it mathematically, in a very simple way:
The cost is 75 food, instead of 50. That’s 50% more I pay. But the benefit I get in return is only 25%. So, by my logic, it’s a losing proposition.
Now some will say: “Yes, they have armor!”
But that’s exactly the mistake. The same mistake my father and I made. And that’s what I realized at once.
The villagers don’t cost 75 for food because, among other things, they have +1 armor. They have +1 armor because they cost 75 food.
And now we come to the creative side of the game makers:
Someone had the idea (I’m saying, of course, I can’t know), “Hey, we’re going to make a people where villagers work better than others. And so that that’s not too overpowering, they are more expensive. That makes things a bit more interesting.”
Then one of them said, “Yeah, that sounds cool. Let’s do it. But what if he gets rushed? Any villagers loss is more painful than the other races.”
So what they meant was that it could happen that the Palmyrans could be rushed by stick rackets. Or even by Sumerian villagers. Both units are cheaper and have more lives than Palmyrian villagers. So they are at a serious disadvantage.
The first one replies, “Then we’ll give them another suit of armor!”
That’s the idea behind it. The armor is to protect against being rushed.
That’s a nice thought. But apart from the fact that we have already noticed that Palmyrans are still at a disadvantage, I have never experienced or seen a rush by stick rackets. Because this is usually not very strong and also cost-technically inefficient. It is better to create villagers for the money.
In Tool Age it looks different. And that’s the crux of the matter. Because already in this time the one armor point is obsolete. Axe fighters are already too strong for the villagers to compete with them - especially if they have already developed the first attack and/or armor improvements. But axe fighters are not necessary at all. It is even more efficient to target the villagers with archers. And also here the armour is of no use at all - in contrast to +15 lives.
Of course, the longer the game goes on, the more noticeable the bonus becomes. In addition, this idea came up in times when the maximum population size was 50 (single player). It should probably be possible to earn the same amount of money with fewer villagers and thus build more troops. But this was done with the significant increase of the population limit. In my opinion it makes no difference in the endgame if I have 40 instead of 50 villagers and can build 10 more troops.
My suggestion for improvement:
If you’re doing something like armor for villagers, then the expansion levels for attack, armor and armor against arrows should also apply to villagers, especially for Palmyrians. This would have the consequence that the villagers would really be better protected and you might even be able to operate militarily with them. A kind of militia troop.
Conclusion: Mathematically, the higher price doesn’t make sense to me. The one armor sounds nice, but in the end it’s useless. The basic idea behind it is simply not coherent and therefore the high price is not more justified.
Thanks to all those who have read this!