Age of Wonders: Planetfall - Dev Diary #54: The Tyrannosaurus: Update Economy

Mr_Dias

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Can't say I like this streamlining. Lessening effect of city development just means that Player will have to produce even more units (minus 12 total buildings to make, right?) with even less money from individual cities (as there's no scaling specialization bonuses now) - so more incentive towards T1 spam. That "faster late game" at least allows players to produce T3-T4s in reasonable time, if their prices aren't correspondingly adjusted, there's even less sense in building them. And if prices are adjusted, where's the impact of economy changes supposed to be felt?
 

DragonZee

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Yeah, T1 spam might be still an issue. Maybe devs at Triumph should introduce a more radical change here: limit the number of each individual types of unit you can get? Like max 8 Pustules (or other single type of unit) or 15 T1 units overall per player?
 

Cainist

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Without knowing how everything is being rebalanced, I'm on board for the automatic sector leveling. What I'm really going to miss are the terrain exploitation buildings. I liked that they weren't tied to the sector's specialization. Having production focused mountains contributing energy has cool. I also usually counted on the production bonus from eco industry complex when playing amazon.
 

Ludomancer2

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The changes look great! It always seemed odd to me that the standard resource icons meant nothing until very late game. Now they're instant bonuses!
I also like that the sector improvement structures can provide unit bonuses immediately.

Questions: How will the sector level bonuses interact with Bronze / Silver / Gold structures and integrated dwellings? Will a sector with a Bronze Energy site and Energy terrain / climate bonuses start at a level higher than 3? Do Silver and Gold sites still always begin at Level 4 & 5?

Suggestion: More Faction / Secret tech interactions with particular climate / terrain types. Right now, we have "Amazons are good at Forests", "Assembly are good at Ruins" and "Dvar ignore penalties on Volcanic, can eventually exploit Mountains", but that's it. Even after the updates, terrain and clime don't "feel" all that significant. Maybe a Faction or Secret Tech that provides units with "flavour" differences depending on the clime in which they're fighting?

Ludomancer
 

Apoplekt

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Founding 10 cities in an area that has only space for 5 fully developed cities imho doesn’t sound like an optimised strategy (if that was your point). In the short term you’re at a disadvantage because you can’t spend cosmite on your units, in the long run you get the issue that you cities can’t annex new sectors anymore (all of them are already connected to other settlements).

I’d say with the update the positioning of cities gets rather more important - as you want to get access to as many high level sectors as soon as possible.

It's not about having cities that don't have enough sectors. It's also not that you can get good rewards choosing the wrong sector type (you can't). What this update does is make it such that it doesn't matter which sector goes to which city.

Previously, since sectors of the same type supported each other, there was a benefit in planning your cities such that the two fungal-plains (or arid-mountains etc.) went to the same city. The effort put into planning your city centers to cover both and not deny each other, reserving the sectors until that city grows, and even making the city stretch like a noodle for it, all resulted in a a city that is buffed reasonably more than a "just get whatever sector" city.

But now it doesn't matter with worker buffs removed; the sectors now give the same yields when attached to different cities. In fact, it might be better to put them on separate cities so that you have more workers to focus towards that one resource if you needed to. It is this reduction of planning complexity and rewards that I am lamenting, when I say 'you can cram cities without thinking'. I don't actually mean that it's ok if a city can't get 4 sectors.

---

On a side note, the worker changes also make it much harder to trigger "full worker" bonuses like the optimization control agency and the research centers. Previously a city with 2 lv5 energy exploits would have 8 energy slots to fill in order to get the bonus, which is reasonable. Now it'd have 14 which is quite hard if you still want workers for growth and happiness. Another reason not to build two of the same exploit I guess.

---

Maybe I'm not thinking about it hard enough, but because of the scaling cosmite cost of colonizers, I'm not too worried about people rushing to build a lot of cities - it'll just mean more cities for me, as they'll have a hard time defending against my fully modded units if they've blown all their cosmite on colonizers.

In the short run, yes. So it'd hold true if you are threatening to rush them. But that's a one-time cost versus a lot of extra yields (especially energy/unit production) they would be getting, and getting for lower effort than before due to free and immediate sector levels. If defenders' advantage is barely enough to hold you off, then they would outscale you hard (such is the no-downside-to-many-cities design of AoW). And situations where you might not be able/willing to rush them happen a lot depending on your game settings, such as on more spacious maps or low mobility ones like continents, or when a third player is present and waiting for some suckers to exhaust themselves fighting each other.

The free and immediate sector levels make cityspammers recover their opportunity cost much faster. So I'd say that if you build one less city than your opponent and use the colonizer costs to get rush units, your strategy has been slightly nerfed by the update; your rush's chance of success is still the same but your opponent's reward for surviving is higher.
 

NINJEW

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In the old economy it takes like 15 turns before any amount of sector investment pays off, and then the dividends after that aren't exactly inspiring. The optimal move is to just make every sector an energy sector (or sometimes tech sector) as that's a better production to energy conversion than straight "produce energy." Food sectors and production sectors are suboptimal in like 70% of cases, youd be better off just not exploiting the sector frequently and spending the production on units instead, which won't take until after the game has ended to pay off. Legitamently the resource nodes were a better indicator of whether a sector was worth expanding to than any terrain/climate combination could possibly represent.

Ultimately for as silly as lategame cities could get, it took so long to get there that putting your resources towards short term bonuses would have a higher economic yield for the majority of the game anyway (even on larger maps, if you were fighting multiple opponents blitzing your nearest neighbor and taking their cities will always give you more econ than spending 80 turns building your super city).

In the new economy the decision of which sector to take will actually be a decision worth making if you're optimizing your gameplay (if you arent, feel free to play exactly as you did before I assure you it will be just as effective and be very similar). I also suspect that food won't be a garbage tier resource anymore, given that a new sector actually represents a pretty huge boost to econ now, and that'll make the city management game both more streamlined and more engaging. So, good stuff all around
 

Apoplekt

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@NINJEW
You are absolutely right about a lot of things. (There's a 'but' coming, of course.) The worthlessness of early game sectors is indeed a problem that makes the opening feel stale, and also encourage energy sector spam even on sectors that don't make sense. Pre-update, aquatic sectors need 10 turns to make back their production cost in other yields, and land sectors need an amazing 30 (20 if you also produce the first sector upgrade). This is the problem they are trying to fix here by boosting the power of sectors at the start of the game. But does this end goal really have to be achieved by cheapening the late-game city planning?

Why, instead of boosting the power of level 1 sectors, should the sectors start at level 3 instead? That significantly reduces the amount of improvement you can do during the course of the game, and fails to differentiate players which took the effort to plan and develop their cities, and ones that don't. The difference between a sector on turn 3, and one on turn 50 is... 10 more yields. Just 50% more, and 2 more slots.

The food/production << energy/research issue is a bit more prickly. I intend to agree, but my reasons are different. Sectors of different types are numerically identical, you'd expect that the choice between them should be relatively balanced and a difficult consideration. For production, this isn't the case (by far) because the city center has 60 production innately, for free. Any extra production you make will look comparatively small next to this, and next to energy, which the city doesn't produce by default. Not only that, the costs of all units and buildings are balanced around that 60 free production! So any extra production you tack on will be a drop in the bucket compared to those inflated production costs.

For food, the city center also gives you 20 for free. It isn't as much as production, but the catch is that food is never your end goal. Food gets you more pop, which gets you more sectors, but to sacrifice a sector now for another sector later is counterproductive, so food sectors are mostly a no-go. You can't get 2 extra sectors out of it, because zero-food, zero-water cities are plenty capable of making it to 3 sectors on their own, so the most you can get is one sector. This goes for both the old and new systems, so I'm not going to go further on that.

Thing is the extra pops, too, are basically worthless without per-worker buffs. Each worker consumes 4 resources, and produces 5. A net change of +1 is pretty much nothing, instead of using workers to make and maintain more workers (i.e. putting them on food and happiness), just put them to work on useful things. The new system locks you into +1 forever, whereas the old one let you go up to +5 with 2 lv4 sectors, and potentially more from terrain buildings like wind farms.

So I could argue that under the new system, investing into food is even less useful than before. If you make a food sector, you gain the 4th sector that merely replaces your 'wasted' food sector. If you put workers on food, they very barely outpace their own consumption (1 food worker/1 happiness worker yield 5 food/5 happiness and eat 4 food/4 happiness).

---

If you want to see more food and production sectors (and workers), cities' free yields need to be toned down a lot (maybe 10 food, 20 production) and the costs rebalanced around the new, lower yields. Then, workers need to give 7-8 yields of their resource baseline (the 4 main ones at least, maybe not happiness), so that they can outpace their upkeep, and so that having more of them actually does something. Per-worker buffs from sector level should also come back so that workers remain relevant as their sectors become more powerful.

---

Ultimately for as silly as lategame cities could get, it took so long to get there that putting your resources towards short term bonuses would have a higher economic yield for the majority of the game anyway (even on larger maps, if you were fighting multiple opponents blitzing your nearest neighbor and taking their cities will always give you more econ than spending 80 turns building your super city).

In the new economy the decision of which sector to take will actually be a decision worth making if you're optimizing your gameplay (if you arent, feel free to play exactly as you did before I assure you it will be just as effective and be very similar).

I feel like you are making some wrong assumptions here. (Pre-update) Even if you heavily prioritise econ upgrades over units, maxing a city won't take 80 turns, more like 60, and most of the 60 turns were spent waiting for research, not actually building upgrades, which means the city was still being useful in the meantime. You aren't just beelining econ and never making use of the buff city until you hit max. Plus, most of the synergies come online at level 4 which can be achieved with T6 research, meaning turn 40 or so on normal speed.

Blitzing your neighbour isn't always a good option, if there are oceans/mountains between you, you are simply too far to walk, or if a third player is waiting for that to happen. Or if the race matchup isn't good for your core units. (e.g. Indentured attacking into a human Assembly player who then puts arc retaliation on their scavs, that's a bad day right there.) Or if it's a very hard AI and they have triple your army fully modded by the time you reach there. And there is always the chance you fail for any reason and be completely crippled.

Also, I don't know why you would assume I don't optimize, considering both my previous posts were about the update having removed the way to extensively minmax city planning. Unless by 'optimizing' you mean ignoring econ for the most part and just throwing more cities and more core units.

---

By the way, to everyone I've replied to, sorry for the long posts. I get excited when people engage with me (without being toxic), even if you aren't agreeing.
 

Mr_Dias

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@NINJEW
Thing is the extra pops, too, are basically worthless without per-worker buffs. Each worker consumes 4 resources, and produces 5. A net change of +1 is pretty much nothing, instead of using workers to make and maintain more workers (i.e. putting them on food and happiness), just put them to work on useful things. The new system locks you into +1 forever, whereas the old one let you go up to +5 with 2 lv4 sectors, and potentially more from terrain buildings like wind farms.

So I could argue that under the new system, investing into food is even less useful than before. If you make a food sector, you gain the 4th sector that merely replaces your 'wasted' food sector. If you put workers on food, they very barely outpace their own consumption (1 food worker/1 happiness worker yield 5 food/5 happiness and eat 4 food/4 happiness).

Yes, that's the main issue here, good catch. New economy, without efficiency buffs, just makes it nearly useless to get new pops
 

HousePet

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and fails to differentiate players which took the effort to plan and develop their cities, and ones that don't.
I disagree that the new system is missing this.
Players that aren't matching Exploitations with Terrain will be starting with Sectors at levels less than 3 and will not be able to get them to level 5.
This has just shifted the reward for planning from late game to early game.
 

Sinsling

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@NINJEW


I feel like you are making some wrong assumptions here. (Pre-update) Even if you heavily prioritise econ upgrades over units, maxing a city won't take 80 turns, more like 60, and most of the 60 turns were spent waiting for research, not actually building upgrades, which means the city was still being useful in the meantime. You aren't just beelining econ and never making use of the buff city until you hit max. Plus, most of the synergies come online at level 4 which can be achieved with T6 research, meaning turn 40 or so on normal speed.

Blitzing your neighbour isn't always a good option, if there are oceans/mountains between you, you are simply too far to walk, or if a third player is waiting for that to happen. Or if the race matchup isn't good for your core units. (e.g. Indentured attacking into a human Assembly player who then puts arc retaliation on their scavs, that's a bad day right there.) Or if it's a very hard AI and they have triple your army fully modded by the time you reach there. And there is always the chance you fail for any reason and be completely crippled.

Also, I don't know why you would assume I don't optimize, considering both my previous posts were about the update having removed the way to extensively minmax city planning. Unless by 'optimizing' you mean ignoring econ for the most part and just throwing more cities and more core units.

---

By the way, to everyone I've replied to, sorry for the long posts. I get excited when people engage with me (without being toxic), even if you aren't agreeing.
80 may have been an exageration, but the gist of the point is still there. Turn 40+ is much later than what a turn 18 rush would accomplish. That's including the added turns from having to walk around/through mountains most times and I basically exclusively play very hard ai to provide build benchmarks for my mp games. That's before even trying to determine how long it takes for the investment in to all those different structures to make returns approaching or surpassing what you would get out of simply building to attack from turn 1.

I suspect what the new, faster economy will do is narrow the window in which a rush is fatal to someone doing a boom, which isn't a bad thing in my opinion because right now the gap between rush/boom is so big that it is laughable.
 

Tombles

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On a side note, the worker changes also make it much harder to trigger "full worker" bonuses like the optimization control agency and the research centers. Previously a city with 2 lv5 energy exploits would have 8 energy slots to fill in order to get the bonus, which is reasonable. Now it'd have 14 which is quite hard if you still want workers for growth and happiness. Another reason not to build two of the same exploit I guess.


The bonuses for "Get +X when all slots are filled" have been removed and replaced with different bonuses (they're now +X per colonist in slot instead) since yes, it was almost impossible to use them with the new economy.

I know I included a screenshot of one in my post, it was an old screenshot. Sorry for that!


How save game compatible is it though? I'm just over 100 turns into the final mission and still have a bit of a ways to go before wrapping it up I think. Will we be able to roll back the update to continue on or should I just be able to continue on with maybe my economy change up.

Save games should be compatible with the update BUT your empires income will change. Whether it goes up or down is hard to say though.
 

Goozmania

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I've got about 120 hours into this game, and I didn't even know the economy worked like that LOL.

I wish someone could point me to some in depth write ups (perhaps with pictures) of some of this game's systems... Up until I read this, I already thought exploiting based on the environment gave instant bonuses, and assumed that the followup research just added more bonuses.
 

Apoplekt

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(they're now +X per colonist in slot instead)

Fantastic, thanks for clarifying. That's one big part of my consternation that turned out to be unnecessary. I'm still miffed that same-sectors buffing each other is no longer a thing, since specialization can't have multiple copies. (Except the research ones, if they both have the same effect?) We are also no longer able to stack the per-worker bonus with the full-slot bonus since the latter no longer exists. But I guess I shouldn't say too much until the full patch notes are out. (soon?)
 

Yavor

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All of these are welcome changes! I can't wait to start a new scenarion with these! As always, thank you for your hard work, dear Devs!
Please keep the dev blogs going, as this was a rather extensive post, which could have been broken down into several smaller ones (keeping our hype up ;) ).
Have an awesome update launch and, Tom, see you in the stream! :)
 

DragonZee

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This was mentioned already, but I did get a feeling that "Food" was the most useless resource before as it is relatively an early game mechanic (late game you can boost new colonies with the share mechanic by specializing a single city to be your resident food factory), and specializing cities in it was only if there were related structures nearby. Hope this will be fixed with the update somewhat.

The thing about +X slot mechanics is huge as it changes the approach to "bonuses" and reduces the micromanagement. Good that it was clarified. I wonder if you guys tweaked the auto-management option to reflect this changes.

When it comes to planning cities, I think same-sector building is a valid strategy, but to be honest I usually "stretched" my cities whenever there was an interesting structure there. What I mean to say that from my perspective the changes either won't change my approach or I still don't realize what those imply.
 

Vjeldan

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These changes sound really interesting. Im very curious how the start of the game will feel now.

How does this new system work for the initial sector of a colony? Will the colony itself get any bonuses from terrain too?
 

DragonZee

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I'm also curious about the start game: new economy, new customization options for maps (no colonizers, prompts, NPC AI), balancing, secret tech unit from the get go etc. Cool, I've been saving that custom made Celestian Amazon leader for the next gameplay session :D
 

orangelex44

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Feb 29, 2012
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Yes, that's the main issue here, good catch. New economy, without efficiency buffs, just makes it nearly useless to get new pops

Not really. Pops equal sectors, so for that alone they'll continue to be extremely valuable. However, aside from that what pops really are is flexibility. They may no longer be the majority of your income, but they're still be your only way to adjust for what you need IMMEDIATELY.


Why, instead of boosting the power of level 1 sectors, should the sectors start at level 3 instead? That significantly reduces the amount of improvement you can do during the course of the game, and fails to differentiate players which took the effort to plan and develop their cities, and ones that don't. The difference between a sector on turn 3, and one on turn 50 is... 10 more yields. Just 50% more, and 2 more slots.

Because the real improvement in going from 3 to 5 is not the raw sector income, but in what you get from the specialization buildings.

So I could argue that under the new system, investing into food is even less useful than before. If you make a food sector, you gain the 4th sector that merely replaces your 'wasted' food sector. If you put workers on food, they very barely outpace their own consumption (1 food worker/1 happiness worker yield 5 food/5 happiness and eat 4 food/4 happiness).

I mean, this seems like your're arguing against your own point. If putting pops on food is barely enough to grow, wouldn't that imply that food sectors have become vitally important to give you access to more sectors in a reasonable amount of time?