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Analysis of the Civilization Traits

Discussion in 'Civ4 Strategy Articles' started by Theoden, Jul 25, 2006.

  1. Theoden

    Theoden Chieftain GOTM Staff

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    Introduction


    There are eigth leader traits in the game, all with very concrete and tangible benefits. However, some of them give more and some of them give less benefit than what they look to be giving on the surface. I’m going to explain how much benefit each actually gives. This article will take the mathematical approach, as I’m measuring the magnitude of the traits’ bonuses, rather than subjectively comparing them.

    Generally for all traits


    Most of the traits have one or more city improvements associated with it that it gains double production speed of. However that doesn’t always mean the improvement is procued twice as fast, because the 100% bonus to hammers is of the base production. So if you already have a forge, building an improvement associated with your trait will make the total production speed rise from 125% to 225%, rather than 250%.
    Let’s say, for example, that you have the spititual trait, which gives half price on temples (80 hammers). With no other production enhancing improvements the spiritual trait will account for half of the hammers needed (40 hammers). However, if you have a forge the spiritual trait will only account for 100 / 225 = 44,4% of the hammers needed (35 hammers). As more production enhancers are added (e.g. organised religion, factory) the percentage of the hammers that the trait bonus contributes becomes increasingly smaller. While this may seem minor and insignificant, in the big picture it can total up to a significant amount of hammers.

    The Traits



    Aggressive


    Free Combat I promotion of melee and gunpowder units.
    To a melee or gunpowder unit with no experience this trait is worth exactly what it says: a Combat I promotion giving 10% increased strength and equal to what the unit could achieve with 2 xp. As the unit levels up however, this combat I promotion rises in value. Let’s say you have a unit with 17 xp giving it four promotions, and you want it to eventually have the commando promotion. With the Combat I promotion from the Aggressive trait you would be able to take commando promotion now (Combat II - IV and then commando), but without it you would only be able to promote your unit up to Combat IV. For the non-aggressive civ the experience required to get the commando promotion and have a unit as good as the aggressive civ’s, is 26 which is 9 additional xp. In this case the Aggressive trait is worth 9 xp. In other words, the actual value of the aggressive trait is the amount of xp required to get the next promotion for a unit, providing you are upgrading in the Combat part of the promotion tree or that the Combat I promotion is useful to the unit. This means that the value of the trait increases with more experienced units because the xp required for a promotion is n^2 + 1. To put it more simple, if you are upgrading along the Combat part of the tree, the latest promotion you have chosen is your actual tangible benefit of having the aggressive trait.

    Creative


    +2 culture per city.
    This trait is pretty straightforward magnitude-wise. It will always add 2 culture to the city’s base culture. This can be multiplied by cathedrals and a few wonders, but it should be noted that since the rest of the city’s culture production will also increase proportionally, the percentage of the city’s total culture that this trait is accountable for won’t change with the culture multiplicative improvements.

    Expansive


    +3 health per city.
    This trait is also straightforward. The bonus is always 3 health for all cities and is never subject to multiplications or the like. The tangible benefit is between 0 and 3 food depending on how your health situation looks before and after the trait’s bonus is applied. It can also make the difference between whether a city is eligible for We Love the King Day or not, saving an average amount of upkeep per turn depending on what the city’s upkeep cost is.

    Financial


    +1 commerce on plots with 2 commerce.
    Financial is a trait that requires more calculation. It adds to the cities base commerce and is therefore subject to modifiers. Improvements or civics that multiply the science, gold or culture output of the city will all increase the benefit of the financial trait providing you are allocating at least 10% of your base commerce to the category in question (science, gold or culture). Improvements or civics that multiply the base commerce (e.g. Bureaucracy) increase the benefit regardless of slider settings. In short, the benefit of the financial trait in absolute numbers is the base commerce it adds (number of tiles worked that produces at least 2 commerce) multiplied by any modifiers present in the city.
    Calculating its effect in relative numbers is relevant too though. In this case the multiplicative improvements and civics makes no difference as they are applied to all base commerce, not the just the commerce from the financial trait. What matters is a comparison between commerce before and after the trait is applied. The largest increase financial can result in is 50%, if all tiles produce exactly 2 commerce before it’s applied. If a tile produces, for instance, 5 commerce, the advantage of adding the financial trait will be 20%. As a tile’s commerce increases further the relative benefit decreases. Of course tiles can also produce less than 2 commerce in which case the benefit is 0%. In short, the relative benefit of the financial trait always lies somewhere between 0% and 50%, depending on how much commerce is being produced in the individual tiles.

    Industrious


    Wonder production increased 50 percent.
    The calculations about the actual benefits of the trait-specific building bonuses also apply to the industrious trait, as the wonder production bonus is applied in the exact same way. There really isn’t more to say about that as it’s already explained in that chapter.

    Organised


    Civic upkeep reduced 50 percent.
    The benefit of the organised trait seems to be straightforward as it simply halves your civic upkeep expenses. However, the amount of gold that this trait saves you cannot be calculated just by looking at the remaining half that you are paying, because inflation factors in. By multiplying the upkeep that you appear to be saving with (1 + inflationrate) you will know how much gold this trait is actually saving you.
    Another aspect of the organised trait to consider is the difficulty level. At lower levels the civic upkeep is relatively low and increases with difficulty level. As such the organised trait generally saves you more gold on the higher levels. The inflation rate is also higher on the harder difficulties, further increasing the benefit of organised on these difficulties.

    Philosophical


    Great People birth rate increased 100 percent.
    This is perhaps the most discussed trait regarding the actual benefit. There are countless threads on this, but I’ll go through the non-subjective facts anyway.
    The philosophical trait’s bonus works just like the trait-specific building bonuses and is subject to the same calculations regarding how much of the total output that it contributes. As with the industrious trait I won’t go into detail about this as it’s explained in the first chapter. The only difference is that the possible production enhancers are the Parthenon, the National Epic and the pacifism civic.
    Other production enhancers aside, the philosophical trait produces 100% more GPP (Great People Points), but that doesn’t mean it produces 100% more GP (Great People) during the course of a game. This is because the cost of getting the next GP increases each time you get one and as such, getting a certain amount of extra GPP is worth less the more GP you have already produced. Through calculations which I won’t bother you with it appears that the philosophical trait results in 50% more GP during the course of a game, all other things being equal.
    If you look at the amount of turns it will take to produce a certain amount of GP however, the philosophical trait accomplishes it twice as quickly. This is because we are talking about a predefined amount GPP, in which case the 100% extra production results in achieving the GPs twice as quickly.

    Spiritual


    No anarchy.
    The spiritual trait appears to be a relatively easy trait to calculate the benefits of. It simply saves you the amount of hammers, food etc. that would have been wasted during the anarchy turn(s). It isn’t as simple as that, however, as cities will have to spend the turn after the anarchy to produce what they would have done during the anarchy and as such they are essentially wasting their latest turn. To put it simpler, your cities’ development are delayed by the amount of turns the anarchy lasts and because of that the penalty of the anarchy period is actually the latest turn(s) in the game. It isn’t your whole empire’s development that’s being delayed though, as units can still move, you still receive gpt payments from other civs etc. during anarchy. In short, the spiritual trait is worth more than just the amount of hammers, food etc. wasted on the anarchy turn(s) itself. It is rather worth what you would be producing at the end of the game.

    -Theoden
     
  2. Theoden

    Theoden Chieftain GOTM Staff

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    Update plan: The new traits from Warlords (edit: and the addition suggested in post #3) will be added once I get back from vacation. :)

    Feel free to post feedback, comments or point out mistakes. ;)
     
  3. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Chieftain

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    That's sort of true, but there's also a time value to money and hammers: i.e., 1 hammer in 1000 BC is worth a lot more than 1 hammer in 1900 AD.

    Also bear in mind that the Spiritual civilization will generally take advantage of the trait to switch civics much more often. E.g., the Spiritual civilization may switch back and forth between Slavery and Caste System, or switch into Vasselage and Theocracy for war, and then back to Bureaucracy and Organized Religion for peace, etc. So it's more able to choose the best civic for its current situation, which can be a big advantage.
     
  4. Theoden

    Theoden Chieftain GOTM Staff

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    I know about the theory of interest in civ and also thought about it while writing the article but decided not to include it. As you point out however, it's quite important to mention it regarding the spiritual trait, so you've convinced me that I should probably include it. :)

    I'm aware of that and the same goes for other traits (you'll build more cities with organised etc.), but that is beyond the focus of this article, as I'm evaluating the traits from a purely mathematical standpoint. I leave the part about how you use the traits and how they influence your gameplay style and decisions for other articles. :)
     
  5. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Chieftain

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    Well, as a mathematician, I would have to say that if you don't try to account for adaptation, you can't really say that you're measuring the benefits of the trait. Because adaptation is such a big part of the value of most traits.
     
  6. Zombie69

    Zombie69 Chieftain

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    Especially the spiritual one.
     
  7. VoiceOfUnreason

    VoiceOfUnreason Chieftain

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    Well, I can't tell for sure where this article is going, but I'm not impressed by this start.

    The bonus buildings are part of the trait, and should be part of the evalution, unless you are going to suggest that the build bonus on a granary is exactly balanced by the bonus on a university (or even more fun, the bonus on a bank). Furthermore, the locations of those buildings on the tree changes the relative values of the techs, which really needs to be considered.

    The analysis seems to have completely missed the fact that Spiritual is game changing. Philosophical I think may be as well, though it would be nice to see a well researched analysis that presented evidence to support/refute that view. The others I tend to dismiss as being variations of better/faster, but maybe the real differences just haven't been presented in a recognizable form (example: financial is normally described as better, rather than different).

    In short, I'm in David's camp on this one - if you aren't going to consider how the traits are used, what's the point?
     
  8. jafink

    jafink Chieftain

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    I actually found this really interesting. Keep up the great work.
     
  9. William III

    William III Chieftain

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    I would be interested to see your calculations. What are the GP generation formula's? Is it 100* 2^n, where n is the number of GP's already produced?
     
  10. MrCynical

    MrCynical Chieftain

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    This simply isn't true, since it makes no allowance for things like building the National Epic (and there's really no reason why a civ would ever not build it), and running Pacifism. The boost is nearer 20% than 50%. In general the vast majority of your GP are produced in one city, which will have the National Epic. Bonuses to GPP production add, they don't multiply, so if the city has a 100% boost from the Epic already you're only going from a 200% to a 300% boost.

    No, it's not that simple. The first ten cost 100, 200, 300 and so on. After that though the spacing increases to 200 GP points (1200, 1400...). Then after another 10 the spacing increases to 300 GP points, and so on. There's also a game speed factor, but that's not very relevant to trait analysis.
     
  11. Pete2006

    Pete2006 Chieftain

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    Isn't all this info already in the rule book that comes with the game? What's the point of this thread?
     
  12. 50_dollar_bag

    50_dollar_bag Imitation Louis Vuitton

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    The Spiritual trait also has the bonus of being able to improve relations with other civs if desired. For example switching to another civs favourite civic when being asked to avoid the rep hit or voluntarily switching to another civs favourite civic to increase relations when asking for a war declaration. Same applies to religion. The switch may of course be undesirable but in 5 turns to can switch back very easily.
     
  13. dh_epic

    dh_epic Cold War Veteran

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    This thread could really use the benefit of those building discounts. Expansive is pretty average until you realize it has two of the best building discounts in the game.
     
  14. Enkidu_Warrior

    Enkidu_Warrior Shaman

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    I really appreciate the perspective offered by the OP. Looking at things in terms of proportional gain is interesting.

    However, I agree that a mathematical approach must include the value of cheaper buildings, which should also include the benefits of completing those buildings earlier (for example, half-speed granaries result in how many more population per city by end of game, which results in how much more hammers/commerce, etc.?)

    To be honest, if anyone can work through all these calculation, I'll be impressed.

    EW
     
  15. Zechnophobe

    Zechnophobe Strategy Lich

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    The greatest advantage to Spiritual is being able to move into and out of War on a moments notice, especially late game. The benefits of the war time civics is very high when one is actually in war. However if it takes you 3 turns to switch over, you'll have lost by then already.

    Secondarily, you can use it to slip into Nationhood if you are playing the Tech Race build, and suddenly need to make good on your production of Infantry. (I *can* build Rifleman, but I *have* archers.... better switch to nationhood before I get conquered!).
     
  16. podraza

    podraza Chieftain

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    How about the time value of the hammers saved with Creative? Without the need to build any early border boosting buildings, you save quite a bit of early game hammers to put towards other uses.
     
  17. jafink

    jafink Chieftain

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    I usually end up buildinf Libraries in almost all of my cities fairly early, so I think the main gain for me is the ability to work tiles that are 2 away from the city soo quickly. But thats just me:)
     
  18. drkodos

    drkodos Chieftain

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    Library is 90 hammers. That's a lot of hammers to spend for just the 2 culture in an early city. The 25% beaker boost is nice, yes, but if the city is small and producing less than 4 beakers, it doen't really give you any boost to science. I like waiting until I have 10 beakers or so being produced before I spend 90 hammers on the libraries, and even then only put them in cities that have good to great science production.

    For the same 90 hammers, one could get:

    (pick)

    - 6 Scouts or Warriors
    - 3 Chariots and a Scout
    - 2 Axemen and a Warrior
    - 3 Workboats
    - 2 Praetorians

    And a partidge in a pear tree.



    Real men of Civ love their units.
     
  19. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Chieftain

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    Or 1 Knight. Just think how useful that would be, in 2000 BC.
     
  20. jafink

    jafink Chieftain

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    I agree that 90 hammers can get you many other useful things, but the main reason i build libraries is for the science, so even if i am creative i still build libraries in almost all of my cities. But yes, if i am trying for a very early war i wont build libraries, but that doesnt happen that often.
     

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