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Caravans

Discussion in 'Communitas Expansion Pack' started by Thalassicus, Dec 29, 2013.

?

How many land trade routes?

  1. 7 or more

    4 vote(s)
    5.0%
  2. 5-6

    11 vote(s)
    13.8%
  3. 3-4

    19 vote(s)
    23.8%
  4. 1-2

    37 vote(s)
    46.3%
  5. 0

    9 vote(s)
    11.3%
  1. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    @mystikx21
    Like you I also feel cargo ships should be most of our trade. The poll indicates most people currently favor sea trade about 4 to 1. I'm thinking of shifting that to something like 2:1. Ships will still be better, which is fun and historically accurate, but in a more balanced way.

    I've got some ideas of how to do the details. I've explored several options this past week through playtesting.

    @mitsho
    Yes, several techs currently buff sea trade.
     
  2. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I prefer sea trade by maybe 5 to 1 currently. It's really unbalanced. Eventually when I conquer a whole continent, then sea trade to a foreign continent is the only viable option. Land trade really needs a big buff to be useful. I've been nerfing sea trade by delaying it, but that's just a stop-gap measure.
     
  3. masaykh

    masaykh Prince

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    i have off-topic proposal :

    can something like convoy be assigned to trade-route?
    i tried to convoy trade routes manualy (land\sea) and in both cases it is almost impossible.
     
  4. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    I'm sorry but I just don't see the 'problem'. In the modern world Sea-trade is the way to go. Nations simply do not make money via land-routes the way they do via the sea. If this is to 'rectify' a problem then we should stop now, there is no problem.

    The late-game is not the time-frame for these modifications to happen. If you are going to change any rates it should be in the middle game when either land or sea are still viable options for an expanding empire.

    The way I see it is there are 3 distinct phases:
    1) Land-based trade only, either due to not researched sea trade yet or the seas are too dangerous.
    2) Either route is an option. You have a navy and can defend the routes but it is still a bit too volatile to risk it in all occasions.
    3) You control the seas and land and want the best 'bang-for-buck' you can get.

    When these phases start and end is still a fluid dynamic, the point is though, 'fixing' a perceived problem that affects only one time-frame with a 'solution' that hits them all isn't a good idea.

    Maybe I've misunderstood the options discussed, but please don't make hasty changes like I think is going to happen.
     
  5. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    In light of Expired comments, which I largely agree with, there's also other factors to it beyond the trade route value to consider for balance that we would upset by adjusting gold revenues from trade to these alternatives.

    If rivers are too weak, we could add freshwater tech yields to the pasture/camp/plantation/quarry to buff them a bit and make rivers more important for settlement. This works well with villages/mines/farms already and would help address balance for these improvements already. It's possible this might be gold as a yield, but it could be food or production and wouldn't automatically transfer value to the river city (it would still require improvement and growth to add value).

    Caravansaries are probably fine with the luxury gold bonus and cost adjustments and gold it already has. We don't really need to move more to it. The reason it isn't as valuable as it could be has to do with the value of caravans versus trade ships but even there it would only be useful in one or two cities at most.

    It's possible we could smooth the trade ship effects via tech bonuses out such that it starts at a 1:1 or 2:1 rate as one builds up a navy and finds harbors to trade with, but I'd say 4:1 in the late game is an acceptable outcome that we don't need to be trying to fix anything. I don't think this means we need to add gold to caravans as a result either.
     
  6. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    The game should be balanced between extremes, and a 4 to 1 ratio favoring one option is not balanced. It's even worse how 8% of people never build caravans at all. This is the worst balance outcome. If people ignore part of the game, it shouldn't be in a game at all, because it's adding clutter without improving gameplay.

    I'm very disappointed to discover we can't balance the sea modifier directly. It's unfortunately hardcoded in CvTradeClasses.cpp. It frustrates me when developers make mistakes like that. I'll have to balance things some other way.

    @mystikx21
    Adding 4 bonuses to a tech is not possible because techs can only show 5 bonuses, and most techs already have 2 or more bonuses. Even if we spread them out, it would add 8 clutter to the tech tree without affecting our balance of choices on resource tiles. We only have one choice of what to build on resource tiles, so there's no options A and B to balance. If we want to buff resource tiles it'd be better to buff them through non-tech means.
     
  7. ShmooDude

    ShmooDude Chieftain

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    Probably through the trade buildings. Maybe double the Caravanasary's land trade bonus?
     
  8. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    I was thinking the same thing. It sounds like people get the caravansary for the luxury bonus, but not the trade bonus, so increasing the trade part by 1-2 gold points probably won't overpower the building.
     
  9. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I agree with Expired Reign's comments for a desired trade route strategy. Early trade routes should be almost exclusively land routes with a gradual transition to sea routes in the game. That's the effect that I've been playing with in my own mod by delaying sea routes until later in the game. In the ancient era, classical era, and medieval era trade is exclusively by land. In the renaissance era there's a shift to sea trade routes as barbarians are gone from the seas by then.

    Incidentally, this also gives a lot of value to caravansaries. I haven't been experiencing any problems with caravansaries not having value. They are quite valuable. Land trade is the only possibility. The role they play of extending land trade routes is critical to being able to get a trade route to decent foreign cities.

    It's a very easy change to make for anyone who wants to try it. I admit that it would be paralyzing on an island map, so don't play it that way.
     
  10. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    The goal is a challenging decision between the options of land and sea. Forcing people to use caravans by removing the other option doesn't solve the underlying problem that the choice is imbalanced. It's better to fix problems instead of hiding them. :)

    Removing sea trade also causes a problem by making ships less important. Trading one problem for another improves the game less than solving a problem directly.
     
  11. EricB

    EricB Prince

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    I would prefer to have sea trade available early in the game, but have it be no more profitable than land trade. So, land trade would be preferable early since it's easier to protect, but sea trade is viable too if you want to go that way. This could be achieved by a new unit, basically a sea caravan. Then, a cargo ship could become available at Astronomy which is more powerful than the sea caravan and replaces it.

    When I think about how it could be done, creating a new unit is actually pretty easy. It's just a matter of adding a new row in an existing table then modifying some existing data in other tables. The most difficult part would be the art. Initially, you could just use the cargo ship art but with a new name for the new unit.
     
  12. mystikx21

    mystikx21 Deity

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    I'd rather have clutter and balance through tech than additional bonuses on buildings say. I suppose it's possible we could drop some policy effects on such things too. I at least understand the objection or resistance to the idea, I'm just not persuaded by it negating the importance of offering some balance at all anywhere.

    It's not also no A or B choice. You can just ignore the tile and build something else on it for one (and in some cases, that might be advisable for villages or mines, particularly for bonus tiles rather than resource tiles).

    Consider: A mine for iron gets a bonus because of the iron and the barracks and then mine related bonuses. The pasture (non-horse) gets the cow and stable and pasture related bonuses. There are fewer bonuses for the cow though for pasture-related bonuses. You can get more mine bonuses both on policies and on tech such that even a regular non-iron mine is potentially better yield wise for much of the game. That's the concern is the value of bonus tiles isn't much of a bonus.

    As far as doubling the caravansarei, that might help, but I'm not sure it really means much for the overall balance of trade routes. 4-1 to me still says people would use the caravan, just not as much. That isn't that threatening as a problem.

    Part of the reason people would build it for the luxury bonus instead of the trade is trade isn't always as profitable from just anywhere (for one thing you can't have trade routes from everywhere), while luxuries tend to cluster sometimes in places that aren't trade heavy.

    I'd still say it's more important to have an AI that can really go after the sea routes. That might be a different order problem though. The early trade ship with some kind of trade route "nerf", if we can't get at the naval route modifier, might be one way out of the mix for now.
     
  13. Zarggg

    Zarggg Chieftain

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    I very rarely use them unless a City State is asking for one, or I need some extra gold. Of course, my level of play is far more basic than that of others here.
     
  14. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    I think the whole 'Sea vs Land' trade debate is off the mark.

    We shouldn't be moaning about the lack of income from caravans compared to cargo-ships anymore than we would with archers compared to crossbows! They serve the purpose of the time and CAN be phased out when it is prudent to do so.

    Do I agree caravans are not as lucrative as cargo-ships? Yes.
    Do I prefer cargo-ships to caravans? Absolutely.
    Do I think caravans need to boosted to make up for the difference? No.

    Imagine you had an archer with dozens of promotions that made it a super soldier, quite capable of taking out any unit it came across right up to the Medieval era. Would you still send it in against infantry and dragoons?
    This how I view caravans, they are good for a while and only get used later as a stop-gap because of trouble on the seas.

    Even if we changed the unit somehow to be like a convoy of B-double semis rolling along the highways, the income generated from a fleet of these trucks comes nowhere near what is gained by one super-tanker or container ship! It just isn't logistically feasible to generate that sort of income by land transport.
     
  15. Dunkah

    Dunkah Emperor

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    Is it possible to have Caravansarries produce a free Caravan?

    If they were mostly free, I would use them much more frequently and build Caravansarries more often as well.
     
  16. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Interesting where this goes. I was just about to rectify my earlier statement.
    Caravans appear MORE viable for lategame the longer I play :D

    Simple reason:
    If you heavily focus trade on one single city (getting all money-related buildings and nat. wonders/wonders ASAP), then the difference between land and sea melts away because some of the modifiers are fixed numbers, not percentages!

    This of course requires a well-placed trading city (close to many other cities over land) and the luck to capture a wonder or two.



    In my current game, I can expect about 20% less gold per land trade route compared to sea trade routes. Considering that ships cost 3x as much and can't always be protected well / need more frequent rebuilding, I'm not so sure the balance is off. Don't forget there's no income at all while rebuilding them!




    An aspect that surely needs buffing is internal caravans. The 4 food or production they give are not much after the eary game, and there's no way to boost this.

    In fact, since each trade route not used for gold generation is more of a loss the more the game progresses, internal trade gets less and less attractive every turn. Even pre-gunpowder, those 4 food I transfer might easily mean a loss of 15 gold and some science.

    I suggest increasing the base food/prod from caravans to 6, and to add mechanics to adjust the value as the game progresses.
     
  17. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    @ExpiredReign
    Caravans and cargo ships both appear in the ancient era in the unmodded game, and have almost identical cost. I do not believe Firaxis intended cargo ships to be an upgrade of caravans.

    @mystikx21
    We made barbarians less likely to target trade routes because some people considered it frustratingly difficult to protect them. Did this make cargo ships too easy to defend?
     
  18. Tomice

    Tomice Passionate Smart-Ass

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    Aren't they 3x the cost? I remember 150 vs 450 instabuy gold.
     
  19. ExpiredReign

    ExpiredReign Deity

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    Not a direct upgrade no, but as to their usage, they certainly appear so. Perhaps along the lines of archers vs siege units, both CAN do similar tasks but one is decidedly better.

    At any rate I am not making a hard and fast comment here that they are useless, just not very useful in comparison to the other.
     
  20. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    In the unmodded game both types of routes have nearly identical costs and unlock times, telling me Firaxis intended them to have equal value:

    75 :c5production: Caravan - ancient era
    100 :c5production: Cargo Ship - ancient era

    120 :c5production: Caravansary - late classical era
    120 :c5production: Harbor - early medieval era

    I think they underestimated how much psychological effect that 200% sea modifier would have on people. We might need to pay a lot of money to build a navy to protect cargo ships, but that gigantic modifier makes people nearly ignore land trade. I suspect overall profit is similar after including the maintenance cost of ships.
     

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