The Chinese Imperial official

This unit, the Chinese Imperial official is a niche unit that does have some useful functionalities.

The 20% increase in drop off is extremely functional throughout the game and once you have 6 or more villagers utilizing that dropped off point you’ll eventually pay for the original cost of the official and begin to gain effectively a more productive villager.

The second ability that is amazing is the ability to speed up the production capacities of buildings, currently 150%. Since the IO costs 150 food it is a cheaper military building both because food gathers faster than wood AND 150% production equates to 1.5 additional barracks (for example).

Now the last functionality of the IO needs to be severely improved!!! The ability to collect taxes!! The gimmick of having to collect the taxes instead of it being directly being deposited into your stockpile diminishes the perk that each villager drops off 1 extra resource (2 if inside the 100% tax buff). It is further diminished by the fact that each taxable location gets a 15 seconds timeout where no more taxes can be collected? Still worse than that is that the IO does NOOOOOTTTTT prioritize going to the highest tax pool FIRST???

These are my suggestions on how to fix the tax collecting clunkiness:

Change the IO to prioritize the HIGHEST and closest taxable location.

Next reduce the cooldown after tax collection.

And second to finally remove the necessity of the IO having to return to the TC in order to drop off tax. Instead replace that need with a short animation of something like the IO putting the coins in his purse. This could greatly increase the efficiency and the management of the official.

Finally introduce an Imperial upgrade (maybe via dynasty) that allows the tax to be auto collected at set intervals. Like every 30 seconds poll all locations and collect them all simultaneously.

As it stands alternating between collecting taxes when optimal vs applying the 20% eco drop off and being aware of the 15s coolldown per location, is extremely TAXING on the gamer!!! Other faction with gold gimmick/eco boosts are seemless and even some on efficient autopilot!!! (HRE prelate and relics; Rus bounty system; and English gold trickle)

EDIT
A little more into the mechanics of the IO. Since the IO can only be que from the TC making each IO displaces your TC from otherwise making a villager. Furthermore the IO cost 150 food compared to 50 food for a standard villager. So basically IF WE’RE TALKING ONLY ECONOMICS the IO has to more than displace the economic generation of 1 villager in order to eventually pay for the 100 food extra it costs AND has to continue to outproduce 1 villager in order to have been worth the investment.

Using the Standard gather rate of a villager of 40 resources per minute and that the standard drop off time of a villager is about 15 seconds means IFF you’re ONLY collecting gold with your IO you need 11+ villagers working in order to JUST collect taxes and have that IO eventually be a more efficient villager.

Alternatively if you JUST want to provide the 20% increase drop off then you need 6+ villagers to eventually pay for the IO extra one food cost over a standard villager then begin to be a more efficient villager.

At pro micro (aka watch Marine Lord do it all the time), you can maximize the IO’s output early game by doing BOTH the 20% drop-off and in between drop offs collect the taxes. Ideally with just 7 villagers and the ability to just collect 20 tax you can have your IO be worth 2.1 villagers!! This means you’d pay off the IO 100 food additional cost in 2 and a half minutes and continue to have 2 villagers worth after that (assuming you can keep up the micro).

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Thanks for explaining some of the details regarding the Imperial Official. The IO seems to be incredibly versatile, being able to boost economy, military, and also collect gold. I agree that micro-ing IOs are quite player intensive, and that tax collection does not work all that smoothly.

One thing that will help with making IOs easier to manage (and I hope this comes with the Spring Update) is to be able to assign a distinct hotkey to IOs and separate IOs from idle villagers. Right now, you can click an icon above the resources UI to cycle through them, or idle villager hotkey cycles through them, or assign a control group number to IOs (which takes up control groups from units and building groups)

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The official is a really interesting unit and I think they should start there if they ever want to buff the Chinese again. A lot of what you’re suggesting sounds pretty good. I just think being able to just collect gold without the need to bring it back to the TC should be a tech in the academy. And that’s how they should improve it in my opinion. Give more techs to the academy. Like an increase in tax generation or the auto collection you mentioned.

And there’s a very small thing that’s been bothering me from the beginning. Why is the range for collecting taxes shorter than supervising? Because every time an official collects gold from a building he’s supervising you have to wait for those unnecessary extra moments until you can give a new command.

But like I said there are many ways you can buff them. A cost reduction could help the Chinese early game too, where it’s needed.

So let’s be hopeful we can get one of those in the summer patch after new nerfs in spring

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Really nice thread.
One idea I was thinking is what would you guys think if the devs replaced a villager for an imperial official on the start of the game? Starting with 5 vills and an IO rather than 6 vills. That could give the Chinese a really good boost on early game since you ate saving 100f at the start.

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I think one of the things I struggle with with the Imperial Official is that it’s really, really hard to get a good understanding of how much impact they are having. It would be so nice if the post game statistics would detail things like the amount of tax that was collected, or the amount of bonus resource generated due to supervision/inspiration.

This could be a way to buff their early game. I just fear you could pull off some really cheesy, annoying strategies in dark age then. You would have to start with a bit less resources then. Maybe 50-100 less food. But I would still take it.

It speeds up production by 400% (4x) or in other words it reduces time taken to produce unit by 75%.

Before the last patch it was 200% so it turned 1 building into 3. Now it’s 150% so 1 building becomes like 2.5

finally some sense and good buffs for chinaaaaa!! im all in with this, devs, add this to the list of chinese next buffs.

I like the auto tax collection!

I waste so much tax because my lumber camp and mining camp are a million miles away from my TC!

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One way to help Chinese early game would be to get rid of the cooldown on tax collection.

They should just rework Tax mechanic and move it completely away from Imperial Officers.
Imperial Officers will never be effective, if they are collecting taxes due to walking time and collection cooldown and all it leads to is that it makes Chinese harder to play optimally.

I would prefer If they would allow Imperial Officers to supervise every drop-off & production building, so they are consistent in what they do. This would require to change/reduce/create special supervising bonuses for buildings that cant be supervised currently, but it would be worth it as it would provide Chinese more options.

Suggestion for reworked Tax:

  • Use same influence area as Abbasids, each building extends influence area of starting TC.
  • Each building in influence of starting TC generates passive gold once per Tax collection interval.
  • For example we can use something like 1 gold per minute for each 50 resources building costs as base. We can increase it or decrease it until we reach satisfying and meaningful value.
  • Landmark can provide special bonus or dynasties can generate different resource as secondary tax.
  • Tax can still be generated by research and production, providing one time bonus for next tax collection interval. Probably reduce the amount generated so it’s not too much.
  • Allow Imperial Officers to supervise Imperial Academy to supervise tax generation / reducing time interval between collections for each IO supervising Imperial Academy.
    I think it would be good to encourage Chinese to build large base as they already have increased construction rate and 8 landmarks.

Collecting taxes at the right time is actually the highest resource per min an Imperial official can return. If you want a brain-dead high efficiency tax collection do not gather any tax until each of the taxable locations are multiples of 20 (if you can only carry 20 otherwise multiples of 40). It turns out if you collect 20 gold per 15 seconds cooldown you are gathering gold at the same rate as 2 base villagers on a gold mine (40 gold/15s is double so that’s 4 villagers!!) And the truth is if you let the gold pile up per facility you can likely get a much much higher rate than 40gold per 15.

For example say you have just 3 drop offs around your starting TC, your IO can only carry 20 gold, and you have 20 total villagers working for at least 3 minutes. If your vils are split somewhat evenly you’ll end up with 240 gold amongst your 3 drop offs. We’ve already assumed the drop offs were around the TC which means it takes 3 seconds or less to walk from one drop off to the TC. Now let’s also assume it takes 10 seconds to walk from the TC to the next drop off (very unlikely unless the drop off is on the opposite side of where you started).

Starting at the mill you’d collect 20 gold and walk 3 seconds to the TC. THEN you’d wrap around the TC to head to the lumberjack camp (10s walk), collect 20 gold then walk 3 seconds to the TC. NEXT you’d walk another 10 seconds to the gold mine collect 20 gold and walk 3 seconds back to the TC. Lastly you’d walk 10s from the TC back to the mill where you started. That’s a total of 60 gold collect in tax in 39 seconds. So we have 60 gold/39 sec which averages out to 2.3 villagers on gold. Further good news!! If each drop off site has at least 60 gold tax when you first started and it took 39 seconds or more for one go around THEN it would require 3 full round trips to collect the 60!! Which means you’ll accumulated at least 2 more round trips before your IO starts averaging less than the 2.3 villagers on gold.

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I used to have the same opinion abt a research to auto-collecting tax around the imperial academy back in November. But now I think that it is fine as it is, playing chinese requires the ability to utilize IO at the right time, one of them is tax collecting.

But due to the recent nerf I think now is a good time to buff the chinese landmarks ingeneral and also reduce the cost of 2nd landmark by like 15-25%.