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Iron as the naval strategic resource

Discussion in 'Community Patch Project' started by crdvis16, Sep 12, 2019.

  1. crdvis16

    crdvis16 King

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    I think the iron requirement for navy starting in the Industrial era with ironclads/cruisers is bad for game play. I think it would be best to give cruisers a coal requirement and then all subsequent ranged navy an oil requirement and leave melee navy without a resource requirement throughout the game.

    To me, ideally, strategic resources should follow a form where they are initially very advantageous (maybe within an era or two of being discovered) and then become somewhat less important or ubiquitous and maybe given some sort of secondary role. I think that works well for game play and is also maybe historically accurate in many instances. Strategic resources typically gave people distinct early advantages until those resources became somewhat freely available or were overtaken by the new resource of the following era.

    I think iron does well in this manner as the initial stronger melee unit resource followed by the siege resource. Access to iron gets you the superior swordsmen/longswordsmen for a couple eras until it obsoletes and everyone's melee is the no-resource Tercio. The iron gets re-purposed for cannons and the subsequent siege from then on which is fine as a means to simply use up the iron for something. Typically you only feel like iron is scarce during the swordsmen/longswordsmen period and by the time cannons roll out it's become somewhat ubiquitous. Civs that need a LOT of cannons have probably conquered their way into enough iron even if they didn't have iron initially. Other civs that might now want cannons who didn't get iron in their initial areas can likely trade for it (since it might be less coveted by those who have it) or get some via Ironworks or even targeting CS alliances if needed. You don't need much iron for a modest amount of siege.

    I think making cruisers/ironclads ALSO require iron puts too much strain on it as a resource. It makes it have another large power spike well after its initial discovery and this secondary power spike might be even more important. You can typically make do with spearmen/pikemen and likely scrape together enough iron for some cannons but with cruisers/ironclads both using iron you can be effectively locked out of a navy. I also don't know if this is very historically accurate. Certainly civilizations that had access to iron enjoyed some huge advantages early on with their armor and weapons (consistent with swordsmen in that era) but were countries or empires ever really limited in their navies due to iron in the Industrial era? Wasn't it pretty ubiquitous by then and not a limiting factor?

    If you drop a resource requirement on melee navy and switch cruisers to coal and battleships to oil you end up with the strategics generally following the, in my opinion, ideal model of high advantage followed by ubiquity and/or a secondary role:

    Horse = strong initial mounted units (probably up to knights/heavy smirmishers), relatively weaker later mounted units, and then only a secondary resource for agribusiness.

    Iron = strong initial melee units and then a relatively ubiquitous resource for just siege.

    Coal = strong initial advantage with seaports/trainstations/factories and cruisers and then ubiquity from coal plants.

    Oil = strong initial advantage for battleships, tanks, and planes, maybe ubiquitous once you can access more oil in the ocean? Or it never really becomes ubiquitous which could match our continued reliance on it up to today...

    Aluminum = not sure how strong of an initial advantage it gives (often the units that use it are late enough in the game that a domination game might be all but decided) but recycling plants eventually make it ubiquitous if it is needed

    Uranium = never becomes ubiquitous but is so late game that maybe that's OK
     
  2. Deljade

    Deljade Chieftain

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    I agree the strain on iron is too great right now, depending on the map (some times you don't have to make a huge navy and others you just get too much of it) but I wouldn't make melee ships free. I think cruisers running on coal then oil and ironclads/ destroyers needing iron is a nice compromise. Alternatively change the resource of the siege unit, but to what. Though I don't think iron should become completely ubiquitous even in the late game. Swedish iron was of extreme strategic importance in both world wars. And it's okay, in my opinion if not all strategics follow the same pattern, why would we want that?

    Is balance like this considered with standard resources or maybe strategic balance? I very often get games where I'm totally missing a strategic like horses or coal in my core cities and often got to improvise, which can be really fun
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  3. azum4roll

    azum4roll Prince

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    Amount of strategic resources on the map depends on the mapscript used. If you're using vanilla mapscripts like Continents, resources are distributed according to VP's AssignStartingPlot.lua (or something like that). Communitas uses a modified distribution that doesn't give as many strategics so you will most likely lack iron for ships.
     
  4. Rafs

    Rafs Warlord

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    I personally find it's ok right now, although some scripts can sometimes spawn very small amounts of iron, so I understand the frustration. The problem for me is if you make naval melee unit free, they must be much weaker, right now they are pretty powerful. Same goes for ranged navy.
    I don't mind if the iron is the "bottleneck" because iron and horses are revealed very early, so you can plan ahead and know you will be needing those, so you settle with that in mind. Also iron tends to spawn on OK places (unlike OIL). With coal/oil/aluminum you can make wild guesses, but not planning, so I can't say I'm fond of a unit requiring coal (it's already very contested with factories/train station/seaport).
    Mind you, this is all from a Huge map POV, as in my experience when ironclad required coal I was always coal starved, and wished I could build corvettes since I had no coal.
     
  5. crdvis16

    crdvis16 King

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    I think right now iron is too bottle necked and coal is too easy. If you don't naturally have coal you can always build some coal plants and right now you only need it for seaports/train stations/factories anyway.
     
  6. Bhawb

    Bhawb Prince

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    If you have to wait to build coal plants to pick up the industrial coal buildings you're pretty screwed honestly.
     
  7. Deljade

    Deljade Chieftain

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    I had an immortal game recently where there was 0 coal in my 8 core cities (huge map) and my 2 islands as well as none of the AIs cities that were next to me, massive desert might be the reason.
    Had to rush electricity to get some power plants to even begin factories and train stations, also didn't get slater mill as the lead was still contested at that point. Even with that late industrialisation I still finished 5 policies and like 20 techs ahead of the second player.
    So I think what you said there was wrong. As long as you improvise well (rushing electricity isn't something I do) these kinda scenarios are easy to manage.
     
  8. crdvis16

    crdvis16 King

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    I've lately been only really concerned with building trainstations/seaports in core cities and factory in capital. The coal for that is pretty minimal. So if I'm tradition I probably only need like 4-5 coal? If I'm wide or aggressive I need more but I should have a much higher chance of coal access in that case. After that, if you need more coal for military (if coal gets used for navy again) then you could rely on coal plants to make up any short falls I guess?

    I just know that in my previous game as Sweden going full on warmonger I had tons of coal but was completely strapped for iron all game long. It seemed weird game play wise and historically for iron to be so valuable all game and coal to be so easy.
     
  9. Revolutionist_8

    Revolutionist_8 Prince

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    I strongly disagree. I really like that all strategic resources are needed throughout the game and not just for a specific period, in my opinion it greatly enchances the 'economic-strategic' aspect of the game. You have no luck with iron, you say? Well, tough! Time for some colonization! :D (or allying CS-s) If fighting for resources isn't authentic then I don't know what is! :D

    Not to mention that you need (or rather, can use) a bunch of coal: Factory, Train station / Seaport, that's 2 per City minimum. Although I admit that with Coal Refineries it's a bit too easy to get Coal. I'd either make the spawn slightly less abundant, or give Coal Refineries a bit more punishment maybe :think:

    You phrase historicity quite a lot, but don't forget that Iron can represent other resources as well, for example steel or other alloys. And maritime industry really likes to use those! :)
     
    vyyt likes this.
  10. Bromar1

    Bromar1 King

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    What if coal refineries were to give +1 Coal and +1 Iron instead of +2 Coal? Change the name to just 'Refinery' or something
     
    usadefcon1 and burleigh like this.
  11. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Interesting idea!
     
  12. crdvis16

    crdvis16 King

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    I definitely like the conflicts that get created by resource scarcity. I just think iron is out of whack in being too scarce and too important and coal maybe too abundant. All of the others feel about right to me.
     
  13. Kim Dong Un

    Kim Dong Un The One & Unly Supporter

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    There are a few other ways of acquiring strategic resources (aside from simply conquering more land), and we risk making those features inconsequential if every single resources becomes ubiquitous. Hexon, Zealotry, Commerce Raiders / Third Alternative (tenets) all lose value if every civ can maintain the same military.

    Also, recall that Zebo recently mentioned the switch aided the AI when transitioning / upgrading it's army between eras.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2019
  14. Padre19

    Padre19 Warlord

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    Industrial district improvement.City adjacent, kill worker, gold maintenance, give some iron.
     
  15. Omen of Peace

    Omen of Peace Warlord

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    Changes in strategics in the same unit line are AI-unfriendly IIRC.
     
  16. phantomaxl1207

    phantomaxl1207 King

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    Should Mine Field be changed to Coal?
     
  17. Kim Dong Un

    Kim Dong Un The One & Unly Supporter

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    @Gazebo, I'm tossing out an idea for a slight Industry shuffle (minor buff). I think we can incorporate a way to address this reported iron shortage a few players have had issue with since the requirement on ships, while giving Industry more food for thought. Please feel free to critique and provide additional suggestion.

    Industry and Order currently have no advantage when it comes to strategics, but Autocracy has two tenets that increase them. My tweak would give Industry / Order a touch of strategic flavor. As an Industry / Order civ, players will have the intended production powerhouses they desire, while having access to a reasonable amount of resources as a base to work with, regardless of initial strategic balance. This is stemming off the opinion that Rationalism / Freedom is built for tall, and if you have no iron, tough; trade for it with all your excess gold. Also, I have no sympathy for Imperialism players that fail to acquire their own iron through the necessary force. Strategics should remain so, and my changes add another layer when selecting Industry over it's more popular peers.

    My initial gripe when choosing Industry - quite a rare occurrence these days - was that I'd often tech seaports / stations before being able to utilize Mercantilism's "100% production speed towards seaport / train station". I'd like this moved into Division of Labor, similar to Fealty's production bonus toward castles / armories coming with Nobility at the start of the tree. Regardless if anyone else agrees with my other tweaks, I feel this is a necessity. Hell, consider placing it in the opener if you need to. Let me know what you all think of the rest. Basically a few swaps, but additions are in bold. I didn't touch the opener / finisher. You'll find the changes keep the theme.

    Free Trade:
    • Great Merchants are earned 50% faster.
    • +5 Gold from international trade routes.
    • Gold investments in buildings reduce their production cost by an additional 10%. *Moved from Division of Labor. You could keep/swap the poverty reduction here, but I figured the investment bonus is more impactful near the tree start, keeping some incentive to go left side early.
    Division of Labor:
    • Forges, Windmills, Workshops, Factories, Stations, and Seaports generate +3% Production and Gold each.
    • 100% production speed of seaports / stations. *Much more valuable from the start, a la castles / armories from Fealty's "Nobility".
    • +1 Happy from workshops. *Moved up from Entrepreneurship for potential unhappiness relief due to poverty reduction being moved further back in tree.
    Entrepreneurship (requires Free Trade):
    • +25% Yields when you expend Great Merchants and Great Engineers for their instant Yield abilities.
    • +1 Gold and +2 Production from every Mine, Quarry, and Lumbermill.
    • Build factories in half the usual time (taken from Worker Faculties tenet). *I've never taken Worker Faculties for the same reason as above; most of my factories are already built and it's a waste (to be honest, this applies for most of the policies / tenets that boost production speed of a certain building because I've already prioritized them). This allows players to fully utilize the feature while staying thematic, representing business / manufacturing boom from a plethora of aspiring entrepreneurs.
    Mercantilism (requires Division of Labor):
    • Markets, Caravansaries, Customs Houses, Banks, and Stock Exchanges generate +1% Science and +3% Culture each.
    • Unhappiness Needs Modifier for Poverty reduced by 15% in all Cities. *This policy might feel a bit light now compared to the rest, but the empire wide poverty reduction is still potent enough alongside the only science and culture aspect of this tree.
    Protectionism (requires Entrepreneurship and Mercantilism):
    • Receive two additional Trade Routes.
    • Yields from Internal Trade Route increased by 33%.
    • Ironworks provides +5 additional iron. *The number can be adjusted, but I figure 5 is a good number to start. It's nothing crazy, but not trivial. Think of it as better refining techniques to extract more resource, allowing for the construction of better units to help "protect" home soil. If Ironworks received a default bump of +1 (so 3 total), this change would bring an Industry civ 8 total iron as a base. If you've no iron within your lands, is 8 iron enough to feasibly contend with and spread between ships and siege? Probably not, but it's worth a try. Ultimately it's the players job to acquire more through other means if need be.
    Worker Faculties (Order) now:
    • Factories increase City Science Output by 10%.
    • Factories no longer require coal. *Coal refineries provide enough coal (15) to cover a port / station + factory in seven cities. In situations which coal becomes scarce, this allows players to build factories - at twice the speed if paired with Industry - empire wide, including puppets, while enabling excess coal to be used for nation wide seaports / stations, or to be sold off (even used for ships if that change is ever reverted). Combined with the science boost, I would actually choose this tenet now...
    *Edit: I meant to post this in the Policy thread
     
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  18. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    I really don't think Coal is too abundant at the moment, at least not in terms of natural distribution. Certainly being able to build so many coal refineries makes it easier to aquire long-term. Maybe the number you can build can be reduced? I wouldn't mind naval units going back to being a mix of coal and iron though.

    I do feel that as a later-game resources coal should be more important than iron though. Iron is useful all through the game, whereas the late-game resources only have the later period to be impactful. In that context, I think it would be more interesting to have the ranged units require the later resource though - iron for the melee units and coal for the ranged line.

    My main observation though is that if you don't have iron right now you don't have a navy. No iron means not a single ship. That seems very unbalanced. I personally haven't had issues with not having iron, but it feels strange that after a certain point in history you just can't field a navy without it. Other strategic resources help you build stronger units which is great - but right now iron is the only way to build naval units for a good chunk of the game and it feels odd. I fought a few battles with land ranged units vs. ships and the naval units have a definite advantage (even without scoot and shoot) because water is easier to move around in, and naval units have higher movement speed. Maybe things will be a bit better with the nerf in the latest patch, guess we'll see.
     
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  19. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I do agree with this. Personally I think ranged ships should be the strategic ones, with melee being generic. Everyone can field a navy to counter other navies, but strategies give you the powerful ranged ships that can really take cities and bombard units. Seems reasonable to me.
     
  20. JamesNinelives

    JamesNinelives Prince

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    Another note on the subject that just occured to me (as I get to this point in the game), Mine Fields seem a very poor use of iron at the moment. Not that they aren't cool, they just aren't as important as actual ships.
     

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