XP and Export are redundant

For those who don’t know, Export is a mechanic unique to the Asian Major civs introduced in The Asian Dynasties. It’s a special resource that gradually accumulates as your economy grow. You can, using the Consulate, set a certain percentage of your villagers’s production of food, wood and gold to be converted into export and then use those export points to hire European mercenaries and special bonuses.

This mechanic makes a lot of sense for the time period and adds another interesting layer of strategy “Do I focus on my regular economy or my exports?”, but I fell that it’s very underutilized and could be expanded for all civs and change how shipments are earned.

I propose that the Export mechanic replace XP for all civilizations as the currency for earning shipments. The more export you produce, the more shipments you can call from your home city or the Consulate. Such a major change will obviously require a lot of re-balancing, but if done well I believe it could accomplish the following:

  • Gives the player more control over their shipments earning rate. Instead of earning XP by accomplishing miscellaneous activities, you can now directly shift a part of your production to earn shipments, shifting your production to internal to external as the situation demands it.
  • Make the game a bit more historically authentic, “exports” as a currency makes sense in the colonial context that the game takes place. Colonies usually exported raw goods such as gold, silver, spices and sugar to their metropolis and then imported manufactured goods and colonists from Europe. But what is “XP” even supposed to represent anyway? Prestige? Influence? It feels a little out of place compared to the rest of the game’s mechanics.
  • Opens the door for a lot of new gameplay possibilities and civ interactions. While XP is used strictly for Colony-Metropolis relations, Exports can be used to represent many different types of international relations.

Some ideas on how to implement such a change and how to use it:

  • For a start, simply replace XP by export on XP sources like trading posts and treasures.
  • For the Asian civs, keep the consulate as it is but make Exports to be used both for the consulate shipments and the home city shipments. Export production will need to be increased, for balance, and you will need to choose very carefully when to order the powerful but expensive European shipments or when to order your regular shipments from the Home City.
  • For the Native Americans, you can do something very similar to the Asian civs, but instead of picking between 4 or 5 European allies, give them the choice of 2 European allies and 2-3 Native American allies with new unique bonuses.
  • Also, it could be a interesting way to get rid of the awkward Gold situation for the Haudenosaunee and the Lakota. Simply completely remove gold as a resource and replace it with Exports. Instead of the awkward “Tribal Marketplace” near mines, just have them completely ignore mines and simply generate a higher amount of export from food and wood sources or turn the “Tribal Marketplace” into a building that generates export over time like the a bank or a factory.
  • For the Europeans, they will be more limited in the early to mid game. From the exploration age to the industrial age, they will be just able to use their exports to get shipments from their Home City(at a somewhat faster rate than the other civs). Then they’ll have a choice, advance to the Imperial Age and unlock The Capital building(and all its sweet upgrades) or Revolt! and unlock the Consulate. From the consulate, the revolting civs will be able to pick a new ally(that isn’t the old metropolis) and order shipments from there as well as their new home city.
  • If necessary, each civ can have a special export producing building to speed up things. The before mentioned Tribal Marketplace is one, special Estates such with luxuries such as Sugar, Silk or Coffee could work as a source of export as well.
  • What about customization options and progression? Well, that’s simple, don’t change it at all. We can keep XP as a way to measure progress and unlock new cosmetics for the home cities, in the background, while exports takes their role as the currency to get new shipments.

Jesus, this post got a little out of hand, so I’ll wrap it up. I know it’s very unlikely that these changes will ever be implemented, but hey, it’s fun to discuss new changes to the game.

TL;DR: Exports are a better resource to earn shipments than XP, here’s how we could replace it.

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Why would you want to change this? XP has been the central mechanic of the whole game.

This goes directly against the design of the game. XP is made in a way to reward RTS players for being fast and decisive, building lots of stuff and taking good fights. What you’re proposing is just removing all of that and make it another resource. There is a reason the game already has 3 resources and this one is different.

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It is a fact that many people and developers overlook it, but XP is a resource, and cards are also a resource that should be carefully consumed at critical timing. That’s not a bonus.