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nerfing financial

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by Flamer123, Sep 12, 2007.

  1. DaviddesJ

    DaviddesJ Deity

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    Any of them. Depends what kind of challenge I want. (But mostly I'm not playing BTS now, until the patch comes out and I see what they do with it.)
     
  2. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    You misread me. I meant the type of argument: 'You must all listen to me because I play at deity level and you lowly players only at noble level and thus my opinion is far more valuable than yours.' I'm not saying that you used it at all, but I didn't like the way Mutineer suggested that his opinion was more valuable than someone playing at a lower level.

    The strength of an argument should be based on the strength of the argumentation, not some credentials.
     
  3. darrelljs

    darrelljs Immortal

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    Hatty.

    Roland, I agree with you that arguements should be based on numbers. However, the city upkeep is one dimension. Half cost Courthouses make a huge difference, especially with an aggressive approach.

    This discussion reminds me a bit of all those threads arguing SE vs. CE. They went nowhere because the game is too complex for static analysis. It would be difficult if not impossible to numerically show that +1 commerce on +3 tiles is more balanced than +1 commerce on +2 tiles.

    Darrell
     
  4. darrelljs

    darrelljs Immortal

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    Well, Aggressive is next to useless in a peaceful builder game, but your point is well taken. One idea I had back when I thought Financial was too strong was to make it boost the value of trade routes.

    Darrell

    P.S. Aren't you supposed to be finishing Justinian's Library?
     
  5. alcaras

    alcaras Warlord

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    Financial (and CE in general) is very vulnerable to pillaging of those tasty cottages... This has made me favor SE, as farms can instantly be rebuilt and function at 100% capacity, whereas towns might never make it back before teh game ends.
     
  6. Flamer123

    Flamer123 Chieftain

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    point well taken alcaras, however, pillaging pretty much happens exclusivley on MP games. In standard games against the computer ai, the computer rarely pillages ur land, no matter at which difficulty u're at.

    As for MP games, i have no experience in MP games to answer if financial needs nerfing there - my suggestion to nerf financial was solely based on standard games.
     
  7. Bast

    Bast Protector of Cats

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    Ramesses!!
     
  8. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    I agree that the courthouses are a part of the organised trait. It is an important building and it is very nice to get it half price. With an aggressive approach and the slavery civic, it can help you to significantly reduce the cost of your empire by reducing the upkeep of conquered cities.

    It is indeed very hard to compare traits mathematically. But if you don't try, then any discussion seems pointless to me. It would end up with something like:
    'Person A: I think financial is great.
    Person B: I think financial stinks.
    Person A: You don't know anything about the game.
    Person B: Yeah, now I've had a score of 100000 on emperor level.
    Person A: Yeah, you must have cheated.'

    I don't see the point in such a discussion.

    So here an attempt for a comparison between organised and financial. I'll try to be conservative in my estimates on how much commerce is gained by a financial leader. The numbers are usually higher for my games with financial leaders.

    Early game: cities are small, sizes capped at 6 due to happiness and health, average city size 4.
    Financial has on average a 1-2 commerce bonus per city from cottages next to rivers, some hamlets and coastal resource tiles or other resource tiles. Organised has a discount on civic upkeep equal to 1.5-2 per city (civic upkeep being equal to 2+0.5N where N is city size, 4 in this case. Noble difficulty level gives 80% civic maintenance cost, Deity 100% civic maintenance cost.).

    Mid game: cities are larger due to access to many luxury and health resources, size capped at 12 due to happiness and health. Courthouses, libraries, markets are being constructed. Average city size 10.
    Financial will now significantly grow its benefits as more cottages can be maintained per city and many will grow to hamlet size, an average of 4-6 commerce per city. This commerce boost is multiplied by bonuses from markets and libraries, resulting in a bonus of 5-7.5 science/gold.
    Organised has a discount on civic upkeep equal to 3-3.5 per city. Inflation hasn't reached meaningful levels yet, maybe the real discount is 3.5-4 per city. Organised gets a one time production discount of 60 hammer when building a courthouse and a few turns or extra gold because a comparable city from a non-organised leader would finish the building a few turns later. The only production bonuses could come from the organised religion civic and the forge so the bonus is close to 60 base hammers.

    Late game: cities are large, capped around 20 and average at 16. Factories, groceries, banks, universities, observatories are being constructed.
    Financial will now get a commerce boost on many tiles as most cottages will have far surpassed hamlet stage, an average of 8 commerce per city seems reasonable. The bonus from various science and gold buildings will surely surpass 50%. So a bonus of 12 science/gold is certainly attainable.
    Organised has a discount on civic upkeep equal to 4-5 per city. Inflation could be around 50-75%% now (BTS levels of inflation) so the real discount is something like 6-9 per city.
    Organised also gets a one time discount of 125 hammers on building a factory. However, the base hammer bonus is only 100 as the cities already have a forge. Because organised leaders also build the factory a few turns earlier, they will also enjoy a few turns of increased hammer production compared to non-organised leaders.

    End game: Cities have reached their maximum size. Windmills and watermills have gotten a commerce boost from the electricity advance. Inflation has reached high levels. Average city size is 18
    Financials gets a further commerce boost from tiles with windmills and watermills and the last cottages in new cities grow to hamlet stage. An average of 10 extra commerce per city is not unreasonable. The gold/science bonuses will be something like 75-100% meaning that the real gold/science bonus will be around 18 per city.
    Organised has a discount on civic upkeep equal to 4.5-5.5 per city. Inflation could be around 100-175% now (BTS levels of inflation) so the real discount is something like 9-15 per city.

    Of course there are situational bonuses that could further help both traits. Financial leaders could build even more cottages then I assumed in these calculations increasing their commerce yield compared to non-financial ones. Organised leaders can poprush courthouses in newly conquered cities while non-organised leaders need bigger cities and more population to do the same. Financial leaders can beeline to pottery for cottages and organised leaders can beeline to code of laws for courthouses. It's hard to take those things into account, but I don't think they are that important.

    Disclaimer: This is a possible mathematical analysis of financial vs. organised. Since it depends on the number of cottages that you typically build, the analysis is far from perfect. It does give some insight in the difference between the traits. I'm not so sure about the inflation levels. I picked fairly high values of inflation but the next patch will reduce them again so maybe organised will then again decrease in its bonus.

    edit (after reading Flamer123's post): There is a delay before the civic costs start to rise because the first few population points don't incur a civic upkeep cost (total population, not population per city). During your very early expansion civic upkeep costs will remain 0 for a while. The length of the delay is sensitive to the difficulty level because of a rounding down effect in the formula. During this period, the discount of civic upkeep cost due to the organised trait is also 0. It is impossible to take this effect into account in a per city analysis because the delay in civic upkeep cost increase is based on total empire wide population.
     
  9. gettingfat

    gettingfat Emperor

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    No, I did not say that. I said when I have a bad day I want to play fin leaders "to have some fun", and still "I'll get rushed by those low tech aggressive leaders 1 out of 3 or 4 games". Basically playing fin leaders is more fun (for me, and probably quite a number of players ) because I don't have to worry about money as much, can tech faster and therefore can have a smoother game, it doesn't mean I can "crush the oppostion easily".

    So all your arguments that followed are founded on a misunderstanding.
     
  10. madscientist

    madscientist RPC Supergenius

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    To chime in, organized also gets you double speed lighthouses and factories also, not mentioned much in this discussion. The lighthouse gets you the extra food and thus work some better tiles faster. The quick speed factory allows to build other things faster that produce commerce, universities, airport etc..., plus you get the extra engineers for a further hammer boost.

    What I am trying to say is that organized gets you an edge in many different directions, cash/food/production.

    One the other hand, financial get syou an edge in commerce that can leveraged in other directions. Eps and culture are not mentioned. You get alot more form the culture slider with financial than a creative leader's +2 culture. Aside from the fast courtheoues,financial if the only trait that can give an edge in EPs. 10% on the Ep slider fo financial get ALOT of EPs while keeping the tech pace even.

    Ther is more to the organised/financial argument than just gold.
     
  11. Flamer123

    Flamer123 Chieftain

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    its going to be a long post so brace urself.

    The goal of this post is to compare the financial to organized trait on deity.

    I used my latest deity save games (I played as financial dutch in "the flying dutchman" thread that has recently opened up) as a reference to finding:
    M - number of cities
    N - sum population of all my cities
    Fin - added $$ due to financial
    Upkeep - Upkeep civic costs
    Org - $$ i would have gained had the dutch been organized.

    I had to do a dirty job of opening each and every save game i had to list all these, so though it's one specific game with one specific tiles/gameplay, it's a lot better than averages.
    the test went till the year 325 BC.
    The graphs are listed below.

    For those of u that don't want to look at the graphs, the bottom line is this:
    4000BC - year I founded my 3rd city - 1480BC - financial gains 150 gold (approximately 2.5 $$ each turn) while org gains nothing*.
    1480BC-625BC - I remain with these 3 cities, financial gains 3 $$ per turn, org would have gained 1 $*.
    625BC-325BC - i conquer/found 3 more cities - only at 325BC, having 6 cities, does the $$ gained from both traits balances out.
    325BC-late in the game - haven't tested, but mathematically the two traits gain pretty much the same amount of $$ as long as the financial player goes for cottage spam. For warmongers players that favor production cities, the org trait will be better, while for peaceful builders that favor buildings/economic cities financial will be better.
    Till 325 BC financial gained 218$$ more than what organized would have gained me.
    The majority of the $$ gained through financial was water tiles/resources - barely any cottages. that might depend on the gameplay i went for which was early rush so i favored production.
    had the financial trait been +1$$ only on a 3$$ tile as i wrongfully suggested, it would have gained less than organized, and it would have come with the shackles of future cottage spam compared to the unrestricted organized - thus it would have made financial sub-par compared to organized.

    *note - roughly, the formula for upkeep on deity is 0.5*[(M+1)+(N-10)], thx a lot to Roland Johansen's article. organize pays half upkeep. until u have 3 "mature" cities, u only pay upkeep due to the (M+1) term, cause ur total population is around N=10 pop since each city is capped at 4, and whipping is favored.

    I think the style of my gameplay was pretty standard, so this analysis will hold for most games, but u can disagree, so here's how i played:

    founded 2nd city on 2400 BC, 3rd city on 1480BC, alphabet on 1440BC which i traded for IW, pottery, etc. improving resources and roads takes time, so other than my capital most tiles were unimproved. from 1440BC till 700BC produced swordsman to rush, so i highly favored production tiles. 625BC captured french capital, 475BC captured 2nd french city, then sued for peace, 325BC founded a city with settler. happiness tiles were only added after i captured french cities - +2 happiness starting from 325BC.

    I'm still processing my thoughts on the power of financial, so i'd like ur comments.

    The graphs are in bad quality, so if any clarification is needed for them, let me know
     

    Attached Files:

  12. Flamer123

    Flamer123 Chieftain

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    Roland Johansen, I think you are mistaken about ur analysis of early game upkeep costs of organized. I think you forgot the -10 in the (N-10) - financal is clearly advantages early game.
     
  13. Flamer123

    Flamer123 Chieftain

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    By the way, can anyone write a mod that will sum in game the $$ gained cause of financial/organized? this way people will simply run their standard game and at any time they'll see which of the traits were more advantageous to them and at which time.
     
  14. Unconquered Sun

    Unconquered Sun Emperor

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    Economic traits aren't very popular for winning deity.

    HC's wins have nothing to do with Fin and all to do with quecha. Move quecha to another leader and noone will play HC on deity.

    Liz is the solid example of economic traits game on deity, however part of the strategy is again focused on a classy UU.

    The most popular and unaffiliated with specific UU/UB deity winner trait seems to be creative.
     
  15. Roland Johansen

    Roland Johansen Deity

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    You're right, but the effect is hard to take into account in a per city analysis. I edited my post to account for the effect.

    I don't know how you calculated the effect of the organised trait in your graphs, but I hope you didn't forget the rounding down effect in the calculation of the civic upkeep cost. It causes the effect of the organised trait to be larger than halving at the start of the game.

    By the way, I noticed that we play very different. In my last game at immortal level, I haven't had a war and it is already 1400AD and I have some 20 cities (huge map). These were my expansion dates until 0AD:
    4000BC
    2560
    1925
    1225
    875
    650
    575
    460
    380
    275BC
    25AD

    So I guess that I expand more. But I also make sure that every tile that I use is improved (very different from your description) so that I can maintain this expansion without going bankrupt. This probably means that I build far more cottages during the early game than you do.

    It's hard to analyse the differences between the traits as they are very dependent on game style. Especially during the start of the game. In the end, everyone will have improved his land. It is still dependent on how they improve their land of course.

    I forgot to say, but thanks for the early game graphical analysis. It does show the effect of the delay in civic upkeep cost. Can you say at what difficulty level it was as the delay is level dependent (and also very dependent on expansion speed).
     
  16. Winston Hughes

    Winston Hughes Wrathful Warlock Retired Moderator

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    A few comments:

    1) For me there's no question that Financial is one of the strongest traits, but I don't see it as the best by any means. Personally, I find Spiritual and Philosophical to be stronger, not least because they're much more flexible.

    As Unconquered Sun points out, with Financial anything but cottage spam is a complete waste of the trait (watery maps being a partial exception). This generally makes it incompatible with wonderspam, trade (as demonstrated by Snaaty) and SE strategies.

    2) Not to denigrate the many fine efforts made to demonstrate the superiority of this or that trait/strategy/unit/etc., but I don't think mathematical comparisons really prove anything in a game as complex as civ. There are myriad opportunity costs involved in any choices we make in the game, many of them unquantifiable, and these can never be properly accounted for. And so much depends on an individual's playing style that any comparison will always be limited, to say the least.

    Edit: Sorry, I should've added here that this doesn't mean these comparisons are pointless. A lot of interesting stuff can come out of them. I just meant we should remember that they are never conclusive.

    3) I'd say that the highest difficulty levels are the worst to look at when comparing the strength of different traits/strategies/etc with a view to making them more balanced. Why?

    Well, firstly because these are surely the least widely-used difficulties, and re-balancing the traits for these levels may well unbalance them at the levels on which most players compete.

    Secondly, my impression of top tier players is that they tend to stick fairly rigidly to a particular playing-style (including starting moves, build orders, tech paths, etc.). As a result they tend to overemphasise the value of whichever traits (etc.) lend themselves most easily or effectively to their own style of play.

    4) One thing about Financial which I think makes it a valuable part of the game is its ease of use, making it perfect for beginners. This is not to say that experts can't get more from it, but that learning how to make the most of Financial is one of the easiest ways to get a grasp on maximising benefits from the interaction of traits, buildings, improvements and civics.

    The flipside of this is that many players come to rely on Financial, and fail to appreciate that other traits can offer equal or greater benefits if used effectively. This was certainly my experience:

    Spoiler :

    Working my way up from Noble to Prince (on vanilla and Warlords), I was convinced that Financial was much more powerful than any other trait - when I played a Financial leader winning was almost always much easier.

    But when I started trying to beat Monarch things got difficult. My old approach was no longer getting me the tech-lead I had relied upon on lower levels. However, when I started learning to leverage traits like Organised, Philosophical and Spiritual :)culture: Oh Gandhi, you came and you gave me a Plan B :culture:) Monarch no longer seemed so dangerous, and soon I was beating it quite comfortably.
     
  17. uberfish

    uberfish Immortal

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    I like financial on deity, but that's because it fits my playstyle. I would never play a financial civ again by choice if it was +1/+3 though since the whole attraction of economic traits is to recover the economy from early expansion FAST. Waiting 10 turns for river and 30 turns for non-river cottages to get a bonus and not having the strong water tiles isn't worth a trait pick.
     
  18. Dairuka

    Dairuka Prince

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    Financial isn't overpowered in anyway; it's a crutch to help players who have trouble managing commerce, and a meager boon to the players who can properly manage a CE/Water Tile + Colossus economy.

    I'd rather have Organized for cheaper Courthouses and faster Rapid Early Expansion.
     
  19. popejubal

    popejubal Emperor

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    It's been my experience that the AI pillages as much as it can on its path to your cities as Barbarians. I haven't had any problems with Barbarians in a long time, so this may have changed in BtS. I've also seen that the AI civs pillage quite a bit as well. My allies pillage when they attack an enemy civ with me and they pillage my land when attacking me if I let them into my land.

    The pillage factor still isn't a problem for me, though, since most of my wars tend to be wars of conquest where I attack my neighbors. Pillaging my land isn't a problem when the fighting isn't on my land. :)
     
  20. Flamer123

    Flamer123 Chieftain

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    First of all, i think i was wrong in the suggestion to turn financial to +1 on +3 tiles. i think that would make financial the weakest of the economic traits.

    Unconquered Sun, u're right that a whole lot depends on the civs UU and UB, but i'm trying to talk about the effects of traits solely.

    Roland Johansen, the game i used was a fractal deity game on standard map. land was really tight, so 6 cities by 325 BC was pretty good. I've rarely played on maps that i can freely expand to 20 cities with no war.
    I am interested in ur tech path though - can u tell me what u usually go for after alphabet? i usually go for the aesthetics/literature line and thus can't afford that many cities this early on. i find that the ai techs currency/COL/monarchy so fast it's better to trade aesthetics for them than research them myself but i might be mistaken and that alone would improve my gameplay. if u can, even post 10 save games of that game every 10 turns or so.

    Winston Hughes, about making the traits in deity in equal strength, my logic was what works for deity must work for immortal which must work for emperor, and so forth.
    For example, if the majority of times only culture victory is an option for playing deity, then culture is too strong on all difficulties, cause it can surely be won on immortal. I want it possible to win on all level of difficulties with the same ease/toughness with whichever tactic i choose once it's mastered 100%.

    anyway, back to the point of the fiancial trait, what i noticed is, it's a civic that helps the most in early early game - till 1500 BC it's the only trait that helps cause even libaries aren't usually built by that time for philosophical trait to help out.it will help in any level to produce and maintain 1 extra city/rush compared to other traits. is that crucial? depends on the level of difficulty - i usually play on cramped maps on immortal/deity - that's why i probably value financial so highly - that 1 extra city might mean the diference between winning and losing. if I start on a map that i can freely expand to roughly the same #cities as the ai, i usually restart the game at 1AD cause i found it's much easier for me to win in this situation.
    but the analysis i did helped me understand that financial is the best trait only in this situation that i apperently force myself - had i had room to expand and found more cities, i would think phi/org/fin all have roughly equal strengths weakneses and types of games - i would actually prefer phi/org because of their lack of restrictions to CE - only in my choice of really crampped maps did financial really shine, but that's no reason to nerf it.
     

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