Ancient Ruins Balance - which reward is the strongest?

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by JamesNinelives, Oct 29, 2020.

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Which reward from an ancient ruin is the strongest?

  1. Science

    26 vote(s)
    40.0%
  2. Faith

    20 vote(s)
    30.8%
  3. Culture

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Territory

    2 vote(s)
    3.1%
  5. Gold

    1 vote(s)
    1.5%
  6. Production

    2 vote(s)
    3.1%
  7. Unit Promotion

    5 vote(s)
    7.7%
  8. Map that reveals land

    4 vote(s)
    6.2%
  9. Population

    5 vote(s)
    7.7%
  1. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    Following the discussion here, I'd love to get some more data on how people feel about the balance of various rewards from ancient ruins. If we can establish that one or more of the rewards are considered by the community as stronger than the others, perhaps that will help us determine where to go from here!

    If you consider two or more stand out as being stronger than the others, feel free to share that in the comments as well.

    Edit: added link to general discussion.

    Moderator Action: Moved to General Balance. - Recursive
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2021
  2. Histomen

    Histomen Chieftain

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    I feel like the free tech into something like trapping or horses or even the once in a blue moon finding of iron working when you already had mining can sometimes give you some really high yield situations. having 7 spearmen on epic by turn 60 with spain running tutelage can really fudge someones day up.
     
  3. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    Can you change the poll to multiple options?
     
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  4. brutalz

    brutalz Chieftain

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    Isn't there one that gives you a free citizen? That would be the strongest, then Science/military upgrade

    The map is definitely the weakest by far, useless pretty much
     
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  5. Drakle

    Drakle Emperor

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    A poll isn't really the best way to rank them.

    Exp is absolutely the weakest. So easy to get EXP normally.

    The population can be strong, except when it happens right before one that would happen anyway, that is annoying.

    The territory is basically the Shoshone UA, but its strength really depends on what is in the second tile ring.

    The culture is pretty weak in comparison to the others. Particularly later.

    The production is okay. So is the gold.

    The unit upgrade is pretty solid. The best chain is the scout upgrade, and the map reveal which is multiple level upgrades for the scout.

    The science is very strong. As is the faith.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  6. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    I've added that now! :)
    I though about that when making the poll, but I decided that at least to begin with I want to make sure everyone has an equal voice.
    That's true! I'm not trying to rank them though. What I'm trying to determine is simply which one people consider to be the more impactful.

    I'm doing this because there are a lot of different aspects to the discussion about ancient ruins, which means there are a lot of different kinds of information to process. I'm trying to keep this metric to something simple and straight-forward. It's not intended as an overall representation of people's views, just one specific aspect of that.

    Don't forget the general discussion thread on ancient ruins can be found here. I don't want this poll to replace that discussion, I just wanted to gather people's views on a specific area related to it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
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  7. Zuizgond

    Zuizgond King

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    Free tech.
     
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  8. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    Note that faith is not available before turn 20, and it gives different amounts depending on whether you have a pantheon or not.
     
  9. looorg

    looorg King

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    Are we talking long term or short term? Most of them are insignificant in the long term but are quite nice in there here and now. But it all depends on what I'm playing, what I need etc. But I'm never sad when I get free culture. A tech that reveals a resource on the map is also nice but it's not or rarely game changing and I don't really value it highly but early it mostly gives little boosts if it's tiles I can work or I guess it's highly influential in city-placement.

    But I'm not sure I have one preference over another. It all depends on the situation, but since you can't chose which one you get (unless you play that civ that can -- can't remember which one it is now or if that was only in 3&4 mod) you just take what you get when you get it and sometimes that turns even good rewards worthless -- such as getting an extra pop right before you were to get one anyway etc.

    While the resource rewards are nice, they offer a certain amount of turns of boost. I probably value Culture the most since it's the one that is hardest to get high in the start even tho it's the smallest amount of the once available. Also you can never really have enough of it. Anything that grants earlier access to the policies is something I value greatly. I think I should value faith higher to since it gives a pantheon earlier, but then it also depends on if I want to build Stonehenge in which case it's kind of pointless to get the minor faith boost.

    Science is the least valueable. As the system and play is now it just doesn't matter much as you will fall behind badly behind the AI and getting this little boost does more or less nothing. But it's good in the way that it might grant a tech that reveals a resource that might change up your play. Faith is ok. Gold usually brings you many turns closer to buying something, or prepaying for a building so it's quite nice. Production is also nice if you get it at the right time. So resourcewise I think I value them in the order of Culture > Gold > Production > Faith > Science.

    Territory could be good if you have a lot of good tiles that was previously a tile or so away but now get in range. But it's very situational. But I'm never sad when I get the territory boost, that said I'm never sad when I get any free thing from a ruin. But mostly it just saves gold or culture that would have had to be spent or acquired.

    Population is very situational, could be great. Could also be utterly infuriating as it comes at the wrong time and if you are already got Tradition then it's pointless as you more or less will never have that many good tiles to work.

    Unit promotion can be nice, it's quite nice on the scouting unit. As you remove a lot of the risk from barbarians and it becomes somewhat useful. Same as with the XP boost you get from the map reveal. It's nice at the moment. But in the long run it might not matter as much but it's a very nice boost at the time you tend to get it. Sort of like having one warrior turn into a spearman can be great for the initial rage barbarian protection.
     
  10. Zanteogo

    Zanteogo King

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    The tech is the most powerful, through it's very difficulty level dependent. On higher levels it's less powerful because the AI just gets tech super fast. On mid and lesser levels it can be game changing though.

    Faith can be crazy good. Can be the difference between founding a religion or not. The amount of faith you gain if you pick these up after a pantheon is established is nuts, though it's rare to still find ARs this late in game unless your a civ that has abilies to get a pantheon early.

    The unit upgrade, if your scout gets it, is nice because it puts it on par with your warriors but with good mobility. It allows you to take out barb camps with your two starting units. Not so great if your warrior gets it though.

    Gold, culture and land around capital are ok. The land increase doesn't effect gold and culture cost of future tiles wich is a tad powerful, though if you get it as America you might want to restart because you just lost a crazy amount of potential production.

    Experience, population and map reveal are mostly garbage.

    I believe you can get a free settler if playing the easiest difficultly level still? Used to be a vanilla thing for sure. It's obviously the most powerful, but most people won't play this level.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  11. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    Both, I guess? Just how much you value the reward in whatever way you tend to value them. For context, I play Shoshone a lot so I'm often in a situation where I get to choose between the rewards. I agree that it's often situational. I also tend to look at the rewards mainly for recon units as that's how I get most of my ruins (excepting civs that have spearmen UUs like the Celts).

    My personal preference tends to be divided into phases. On Epic speed,
    Turns 1-20 I value 1) recon unit upgrade, 2) map as recon unit, 3) territory as this saves a lot on tile purchases 4) free tech, 5) production/gold/culture 6) others. I find that getting a map or scout upgrade early means I can keep my starting unit alive and usually results in finding at least 1 other ruin anyway, so these are the most valuable to me. The xp reward for military units is probably the least valuable IMO - the only one that feels bad to me.
    Turns 20-145 I value 1) faith 2) recon unit upgrade 3) tech 4) territory 5) others. My priority during these turns is usually founding a religion. Many of the ruins discovered during this phase are off-shore, so a free tech can potentially mean multiple extra ruins.
    Turn 145-200 1) tech 2) territory 3) others. After founding a religion I'm usually trying to grab land so that's most important to me.
    Turn 200 onwards 1) recon unit upgrade 2) territory 3) others. Free techs tend not to be available from this point, and my economy is at the point where gold, production etc. is usually a marginal increase. Sometimes a scout that finds a ruin can be upgraded to an explorer though, and being the first civ to be able to cross ocean tiles can be very valuable.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
  12. LifeOfBrian

    LifeOfBrian King

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    Faith - might be difference between getting the pantheon you want or not, or founding or not founding, or whether you found sooner or later.
     
  13. Grassland Farm

    Grassland Farm Warlord

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    I've mostly played with Ruins turned off - I only regret that this causes part of the Shoshone's "power budget" to be removed without compensation.

    I'm not good at estimating balance from my observations, but my uneducated feeling is that Unit Upgrade can be somewhat silly. I've once had a Spearmen being upgraded to Pikeman (I was doing an Authority spear-tribute-spam) when I was like, maybe not even close to entering the Classical Age?
    In most cases it'll be a Pathfinder upgrading to Scout, which might not stomp a war by himself but is still an impressive upgrade able to clear out Brutes with ease.

    Most likely the real answer is culture/faith yields that get you a policy/pantheon earlier and causes snowballing.
     
  14. azum4roll

    azum4roll Emperor

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    Speaking of unit upgrade ruins, impi still upgrades to lancer.
     
  15. InkAxis

    InkAxis King

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    Sorry, this is a bit of a pet peeve of mine, but you should really set it to accept multiple votes. It's more fair as it doesn't split the vote and it shows the community consensus more which seems to be what you want.

    Anyway, I usually play without ruins, and also without tech trading, events, etc. But with these new discussions about them I'm actually trying them out and realized I turned them off just because of vanilla and what I'm used to. It's good to see these underutilized features being discussed.
     
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  16. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    I understand. Honestly, it's something I'm of two minds about. I love to be able to give detailed and nuanced feedback myself!

    On the other hand, the poll so far actually seems to have done exactly what I was hoping. In this particular case I didn't want everyone to agree with one another. I wanted to know if - when push came to shove - people really did have fundamentally different views. Instead it seems that two of the options do stand out relative to the others - which is good IMO. If there were votes all over the place, that would suggest that I was probably missing something big in my understanding of how ruins shape people's experience. In which case I would hesitate to propose a solution before I had a better idea of what was going on.

    From here I'm probably going to suggest that making relatively minor changes (e.g. adjusting the yields so they feel more balanced) would improve people's experience in this area while still keeping ruins fun and interesting :).

    Edit: I'm going to create another poll with the subject line: "Which (if any) of the ancient ruins rewards would you want adjusted?" with multiple answers available, including 'none'. How does that sound?
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2020
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  17. andersw

    andersw Emperor

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    I dont use it anymore so dont remember the yields (turned it off way back in vanilla).
    Isnt territory downright bad if you play authority or russia? or do you get border expand yields from it?
    Any early game culture to shave off a few turns on the first policy is huge for me.
    All early game gold is really useful, Id likely place it second after culture.
    Early faith depends a bit on how much you need it but can be great, in certain games even higher than the aboves but hard to say, depends on the founding race.
    Pop most impact on a starved hill start, prod is nice (how much?), science probably most impact for some sort of rush strat otherwise you'll catch up anyway on early techs.
     
  18. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Emperor

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    It gives you border expand points :).
     
  19. andersw

    andersw Emperor

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    So if you somehow manage to first get the tribute policy, most likely an island hut found a bit later would be really strong.
     
  20. tothePAIN

    tothePAIN King

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    I think Ancient Ruins are fine as is.

    Tech and gold are particularly impactful and can affect my strategy but everything outside of xp and upgrades can be very welcome.

    Gold is useful for an earlier worker, shrine, monument etc. An early worker can be huge.

    Free techs wont stop the AI from catching up once they get their founding bonuses but they can enable access to certain wonders early or allow for rushing certain techs or UUs. I played Songhai and got Animal Husbandry for free, which meant Mameluke Cavalry came online earlier. Absolutely huge.

    The faith pantheon is also strong but unusually to get because it's only achievable after turn 20
     
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