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Does anyone use windmills?

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Fall from Heaven' started by Daverd, Jul 17, 2009.

  1. Daverd

    Daverd Chieftain

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    Does anyone use windmills? They seem very unbalanced to me. In order to make them at all worthwhile, you need a last-level dead-end tech (Machinery), and even then they don't quite keep up with mines or farms, which become more useful a lot earlier in the game (with things like Arete, Blasting Powder, Agrarianism, and Sanitation).

    I was thinking, a tweak that might help balance windmills a little and also add flavor to the game would be to give them +1 :commerce: for every Air Mana you have. Or if that's too powerful (which I don't think it is), maybe just +1 :commerce: for having any Air Mana at all. After all, mines have synergy with Earth Mana, so it makes sense that Windmills should have synergy with Air Mana, and in my opinion windmills need the boost.
     
  2. Taalen

    Taalen Chieftain

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    Well, :commerce: for each wind mana would definitely be way overpowered. I agree they could use a little something, though. Personally I practically never use them
     
  3. Worm4life

    Worm4life Chieftain

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    They do need a boost for the reason you stated. There's just no use for them. If you need food, farms provide plenty. Hammers: mines. Commerce: cottage. Windmills come too late and provide too weak a bonus for a watered down hybrid approach when any of the other specializations work a lot better.

    +1 commerce per air mana might be too strong though.
     
  4. Daverd

    Daverd Chieftain

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    I could go either way on the specifics of the boost, but my main argument is that windmills are very underpowered and I never find myself wanting to use them. And there's a great chance here for adding flavor to the game.

    EDIT:
    Additionally, there are plenty of other powerful strategies that involve exploiting a mechanic of the game. Windmills are a notable exception in that they stay about as useful as they were in Civ4 and, again, require a last-level dead-end tech to just put them on par with other improvements, ignoring that the other improvements have specific strategies associated with them that make them far better than windmills.

    It seems like the whole point of the mod so far is to provide exploitable mechanics. You could look at any particular path/strategy, such as aristocracy/agrarianism, or elven/ancient forests/guardian of nature, and say that it's overpowered. I think the fact that windmills *lack* such a strategy is the reason they don't get used. Quite frankly, if you get 3 air mana and rush machinery just so you can get a couple extra commerce out of your tiles, then I say more power to you.
     
  5. Honor

    Honor Immortal

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    I use them when playing the Sidar, for the extra food.
     
  6. mmmrrrr

    mmmrrrr Chieftain

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    I use windmills when I have to build a city without any grasslands or plains in city radius for strategical (resource or land grabbing) reasons and I want it to contribute a little bit besides just being there (no harm in building them really, right?). But I never have a specific strategy revolve around them.
     
  7. travathian

    travathian Chieftain

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    Given they require a hill and a late game tech, and a source of mana that not every civ will want/use, I don't agree. By this stage in the game a grassland farm provides how much food? And a mined plains hill provides how many hammers? They are all but worthless as is, and even this tweak would still limit their usefulness, but provide an avenue for someone to take if they so chose. Sure you could switch all your mana nodes to air and replace all your mines will windmills, but that is gonna take a helluva lot of worker turns before it pays off.
     
  8. Daverd

    Daverd Chieftain

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    Even just switching all your mana nodes to air would take a lot of planning. You can't switch the type of a node without the level 2 metamagic spell, and metamagic is the hardest type of mana to get. So, to make it work, there's the opportunity cost of sitting on all air mana in the early game when it isn't doing you any good, or waiting for the metamagic tech so you can switch mana types later on.

     
  9. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko WM junkie

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    they're good. mines give +2H , windmills give +1F+1H+1C . and food is often more useful than hammers. blasting powder and machinery are both endgame dead-end techs, and with those you end up with mines +3H and windmills +1F+2H+2C . which means that windmills are better. even if running arete, they are basically on the same powerlevel, since 2C has pretty much the same value as 1H. mines are not as good as you think. until you get blasting powder for example, lumbermills are better on a forested hill, you get the same hammers AND the health.
     
  10. kumquatelvis

    kumquatelvis Chieftain

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    I rarely use them because it requires removing the mine or cottage that's already on the hill. Perhaps if you got them sooner, when you were still trying to decide what to build?
     
  11. Worm4life

    Worm4life Chieftain

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    Mines are specialized, that is what makes them better than windmills. If you're making that city an industrial center then mines give you more hammers. Otherwise just stick a cottage on that hill. That cottage will be a town by the time you get machinery. Would you really want to tear down a town for it?

    It all really just boils down to them (and the tech that makes them useful) coming way too late in the game. At that point every worked hill tile should have either a mine or town on it. Who would go out of their way to research machinery so they can tear down all their mines/towns and put up windmills? You're not going to have many (if any) new cities to develop from scratch at that point, and would you go through the trouble just to put some windmills on those?
     
  12. Daverd

    Daverd Chieftain

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    Arete is an early game tech, and Machinery is most defniitely an end-game tech. Blasting Powder, while also an end-game tech, is something you will generally always want even if you aren't using mines exclusively or using an Arete strategy. Machinery on the other hand is not quite as clearly desirable.

    The point also remains that by the time you get Machinery, which is a questionable tech in the first place, all of your hills will likely have non-windmill improvements on them, and you will have to spend a lot of worker-turns replacing them and retooling your cities to be able to make use of them. In a game where city specialization is so important, that does not come for free. It's a lot of work for 2:commerce:, which is probably not terribly important if you're late enough into the game that you have Machinery.

    Also, in the event that the hills had lumbermills, you will need to tear down the forests anyway to put up windmills. Your point about lumbermills vs. mines stands, but I don't think it applies to windmills.

    Also, logic and theory aside, do you find yourself actually using windmills? I agree that they seem decent on paper, but it never works out in-game that I ever want to actually build any.

     
  13. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    Questionable? I consider any tech that gives a free Great Person a priority. If I don't need the Great Person then I'm still denying it to my opponents by researching the tech first.

    Some civs don't have access to arquebusiers, and so for them Blasting Powder isn't as useful an investment. For those civs Machinery might be a better choice, and replacing mines with windmills might be worthwhile. Arete is a nice civic, but most civs are probably not going to be using it, so considering it's +1 :hammers:/mine as part of an analysis of the worth of windmills isn't very objective. A good improvement strategy used for the Khazad running Arete probably won't be as good for the Ljosalfar running Guardian of Nature, but that doesn't mean that the bonuses on specific tile improvements are unbalanced.

    :commerce: -> :gold: -> larger army, unit upgrades
    I consider the ability to support a large, fully upgraded army to be important.

    Windmills are not a specialized improvement, since they provide distributed bonuses. If you always specialize your cities then specialized improvements will naturally be a better choice. They are useful with a more generalized improvement strategy, which is favorable when you are running a 50% :science: / 50% :gold: economy.
     
  14. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko WM junkie

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    yeah, in the endgame I often switch most of my mines to windmills unless I'm using Arete. it's not like my workers have something better to do at that point of the game anyway, plus the additional food comes in handy when at huge populations growth gets slower and slower.
     
  15. Daverd

    Daverd Chieftain

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    :hammers: also -> larger army, and the conversion rate from hammers into units is a lot better than from money into units. And why not just support your army and upgrades with the 10,000+ gold that you are giving up in order to put the research points into Machinery, and get +10 :) from a gambling house while you do it? How many turns would it take to recover the cost of Machinery from the extra commerce from windmills? Assuming you build 25 windmills, which seems reasonably large to me, and each one is giving you an extra 2:commerce: over an alternative improvement, then 10000 / (2*25) = 200 turns for you to recover the cost of researching the tech. This does not include the time spent actually getting the windmills built, or the cost/upkeep paid on the workers doing it, etc. The free Great Engineer would help you recover only a small portion. Crossbowmen are decent, but if we're talking about huge late game armies, 4 extra units is not much of an impact.

    So yes, I would say that Machinery is a questionable tech.

    I haven't been doing that. If you do consider the Arete bonus, then mines are equivalent to windmills (assuming 1:hammers: = 2:commerce:, which Gekko said earlier), and then the cost of researching Machinery has absolutely no payoff and is a waste of time and commerce. No, I've been officially looking at the numbers as though the Arete bonus is not there, but I have also been recognizing that its strategy is available far, far earlier than Machinery's. By the same token, not every player uses Air Mana, either, and making windmills a little more dependent on the player's strategy would make them more interesting to the game. Nobody seems to be arguing that Earth Mana makes mines too powerful.
     
  16. Dumanios

    Dumanios MLG

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    In my Khazad/Luchu starts,I usually end up half Mines/Windmills.
     
  17. Emptiness

    Emptiness []

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    There's a limit to how many :hammers:s will translate into more units. Additional :hammers:s are less useful than more :commerce: once you reach the point that a city is making one unit per turn. If a city is making a unit every other turn then extra :hammers:s will eventually build up to kick out a unit in a single turn, but the commerce might still be a better investment (depending on how much need for additional units you are currently experiencing).

    You make a good point about the :gold: cost of researching Machinery, but the same could be said about other techs as well. For example, if all one does is build Mines and Farms and drown one's foes in waves of melee units then there are a lot of techs that can be skipped, including the entire Divine and Arcane research trees. That fact does not mean that the Divine and Arcane paths are underpowered.
     
  18. Daverd

    Daverd Chieftain

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    That's true only if any of the :hammers:s that carry over get thrown away, otherwise every single :hammers: is being put into a unit cost at some point or another. The waste occurs only if a a city is producing one unit every turn and still has :hammers:s to spare. Hopefully you are building the most expensive unit available. If you are doing that and still wasting :hammers:s, then I could see turning some mines into windmills. But I think that's probably pretty rare, and that situation shouldn't be the reason that windmills go untweaked.

    I was expecting the response to be more universal that people don't use windmills, but apparently that's not the case. I still think they're underpowered, but I'll accept that people use them, even if I think it's not worth it myself. At any rate, I've made my case for windmills having an opportunity to be both more interesting in terms of player strategy as well as game flavor. It's ultimately up to the makers of the game, if they read through all this.
     
  19. [to_xp]Gekko

    [to_xp]Gekko WM junkie

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    maybe you don't remember how incredibly useless them, lumbermills and watermills ( which sadly got the axe ) used to be before they got changed in 0.40 patch R or something. they're a hell of a lot better now, I tell you :D
     
  20. Daverd

    Daverd Chieftain

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    Yeah I just started playing in the past couple months. It did seem weird that watermills were missing from the game. They could have had affinity for water mana. :(
     

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