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Promoting up the Drill line when Protective

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by vormuir, Oct 7, 2009.

  1. vormuir

    vormuir Prince

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    The Drill line of promotions gets better as you go up, yes? Drill 1 is pretty worthless, but Drill 2 is much better, and by the time you're at Drill 4 it's competitive with Combat 4, maybe.

    But Drill 1 sucks so much that you'd never waste a promotion on it. But on the other hand, if you're Protective, you get Drill 1 free.

    So it becomes tempting to promote up the Drill line. But is it worth it?

    1) Say you have 2 xp and can have one promotion. Which is better: Drill 2, or Drill 1 and Combat 1?

    2) Same question, but with 5 xp: which is better, Drill 3, Drill 2 and Combat 1, or Drill 1 and Combat 2?

    "Better" here means simply who's more likely to win in a straight matchup. I realize there are plenty of complications here (the increasing collateral damage resistance, for instance, makes Drill 2 through 4 more attractive) but let's keep this simple for now. Drill 2 unit fights a Drill 1 / Combat 1 unit, who wins?

    Thanks in advance,


    Waldo
     
  2. vicawoo

    vicawoo Chieftain

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    Combat will win one on ones, except maybe drill 4 vs drill3 combat. Simply put, drill 2 and 3 average 1 extra first strike. Units with equal combat strength do 20 hp damage each, so that's 5 hits. Combat 1 means you will do more than 20 damage and takes less than 20 damage, so you can take 6 hits. Even if the "first strike" always connected, the combat unit still takes 5 more hits, and has better odds of doing so.
     
  3. obsolete

    obsolete Deity

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    Not so fast. Drill I is ok, if you're in an AW game. Because you EXPECT to rapidly accumulate promotions, you're basically setting up that unit for the later drills.

    Also, the AI doesn't judge Drill correctly. You can TRICK an AI in certain spots to do bad attacks against drill units.
     
  4. TheLazyHase

    TheLazyHase King

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    Also, drill tend to fare better against weak opponent. For example, after suiciding some cats, to kill the garrison you will have to do a lot of battle with (hopefully) better strength.

    Battle 1vs1 with the same unit may no be the best way to choose. You'd better seeing what do you want to do with your army.
     
  5. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    I wish there was an easy way to get drill 4 siege units. Even with the Spanish, it's pretty difficult.
     
  6. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Drill often appears terrible because the game readily gives you the survival odds but not other relevant info... like the chance to survive a battle without taking damage or the chance to deal any damage whatsoever.

    The Drill line does a few things better than anything else:

    - live through collateral damage
    - win already favourable fights without taking any damage
    - pick off wounded units
    - deal at least some damage if outclassed (not 100% sure)

    The first benefit is less strong than it should be because the best defender code overvalues first strikes; if your Drill units are the first one to defend against siege units it won't matter that they take less collateral damage.

    The second one is especially useful if you are fighting a hardcore warmonger who outnumbers you 10:1 and throws waves of obsolete units against your fortified troops. Whether you have 99% or 99.9% odds in the first round of combat doesn't matter. Whether you take damage to make it easier for the next attacker does, and Drill beats even the best situational defensive promotions in this.

    The third one will become apparent during cleanup after siege units did their dirty work. Not only will Drill units have a good chance to win the battle without a scratch, their chances of winning at all will also often be better than those of Combat or even City Raider units.

    Unless I misunderstand the combat system, the fourth one is simply the flip side of superior Drill defenders having a better chance to win unscathed.

    *

    Because Drill units defend even when they shouldn't, it's an all-or-nothing affair for me. Either the majority of my units will be promoted along the Drill line and I'll take a ton of siege and some anti-mounted units with me...

    or I'll have less siege and a diverse army that will include pretty much everyything EXCEPT Drill.
     
  7. pi-r8

    pi-r8 Luddite

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    Iranon- do you ever use the drill line if you're not protective? If so, do you find you get enough experience to make it to drill 4? And what about all the first strike immune units that the AI loves to build, like knights?
     
  8. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Quite often, yes. Drill offers me exactly what I want: Capable defenders, capable cleanup troops. They might suck in fair fights, but if I fight fair I'm probably doing something wrong.

    Getting a good number of units to Drill IV can be a pain, getting some of them there is almost trivially easy. Both stems from the same dodgy code that overvalues first strikes - the unit promoted highest along the Drill line can be considered the top defender for a very long time. If 3 promotions are achievable but 4 aren't, I sometimes pick Woodsman instead depending on the terrain I expect to fight in.

    Units immune to first strikes tend to be mounted. If I'm defending, there are plenty of hard counters that work (instead of being ignored because the code thinks first strikes are cool).
    On the attack, I will mostly rely on my own mounted units or siege, for their ability to damage multiple opponents.
     
  9. michmbk

    michmbk Emperor

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    Try the drill line with Zara's oromos - oromos plus siege are a lot of fun.

    I don't use drill a lot, but occasionally it is worthwhile - like iranon said, it's useful with siege and can make for a faster war than promoting along the combat line.
     
  10. kochman

    kochman Deity

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    Not to butt in, but I do. For example, in my city with the heroic epic... I always put GGs there to boost the beginning XP, especially with a charismatic leader.
    I was popping out tanks with 4 promotions out of the box... Drill 4. These tanks kicked ass. I had a single tank repel an entire stack of doom, having conquered a city... it was a small one, but about 10-12 units (rifleman/cavalry I want to say)...
    I was sure the tank would die. When it didn't die, and I looked at it in the next turn... it had sustained ZERO damage!

    You can't beat that with a bat.
     
  11. Yesod

    Yesod Warlord

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    Since siege is the best way to attack a city (unless you beelined rifling), I'd say that drill is the best promotion for cleanup troops. With drill, you don't really need a Great General medic. Of course, that only applies if you've got enough siege in the first place. I like trebuchets and crossbows in the medieval ages.
     
  12. bestsss

    bestsss Emperor

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    Konchman, cavs do ignore 1st strikes and drill (except the 10% bonus of drill IV), you must have a great deal of luck
     
  13. mirthadir

    mirthadir Emperor

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    Drill is inferior in a fair fight to combat or CR. However a fair fight is something to avoid. The real game winner is drill + air/naval power. A good stack of drill rifles, cannon/arty, and fighters (using carriers for massing) can run all the way to capping a major AI without ever stopping for healing. A few hard counter units (formation MGs/rifles) can eat most of the FS immune units, pillaging/taking horses is also an option. Drill is a strong alternative to stopping to heal and more quickly gaining territory/vassals and more quickly getting the goodies back out (vassal tech being a HUGE boost).

    My personal best land unit ever was a leadership (event) CGIII/DI MG (upgraded from a CH grenadier). I declared war on Shaka on a distant land mass with his hoards of old worthless units. Due to geography I took a mostly worthless hill city behind a river bend. I eventually I had CV/DIV/CGIII/GIII (I think). Shaka was far more valuable to me alive and throwing his worthless troops (high unit prob + killed another AI + BC PS) against my machine gunner of doom and cranking out more mil academies for my 3 promo war machine than actually taking out his territory.
     
  14. TheWilltoAct

    TheWilltoAct I am observe

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    I'm going to be a bozo and remind you that your tank would have healed during the interim turn. And maybe that city even had a hospital? Or a medic!?
    Carry on. :lol:
     
  15. capnvonbaron

    capnvonbaron Democratia gladii

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    WoodsmanIII is not to be undervalued for the first strike:

    Spoiler :


    Held off an AI Death-stack of 30+ units, complete with a crap-load of siege, almost singlehandedly while fortified for only one turn on a jungle tile. Too bad the guy I trounced was the last vassal I needed to win. I coulda had real fun with this guy :( But the destruction of the enemy stack was a large reason the war only lasted a few turns. He was the #2 score leader and cap'd after only 5 turns at war :king:

    btw he was Combat1/Woods3/Medic1/Leader before the war. I suppose I should've upgraded him along the Drill line instead of the combat line, huh? Well, lessons learned :p
     

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  16. Calouste

    Calouste Deity

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    Unlike most other horse-based units, Cavalry doesn't have first strike immunity, unless they have Flanking II.
     
  17. Belisar

    Belisar Defender of Byzanz

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    Like most of the promotions, Drill works best if it is used to specialize units, in the case of Drill it can be used to create effective mop-up units that take little damage, very effective for example in fast tank warfare or in siege-heavy combat.
    This unit specialization should take place, wheter you are pro or not, in other words you are playing your dealt hand as a whole and not just a single trait.
     
  18. kochman

    kochman Deity

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    Why would it have healed? It had moved, and was out in the open, no medic promotion, no march... and no other unit with it...
    It wasn't in a city.
     
  19. PieceOfMind

    PieceOfMind Drill IV Defender Retired Moderator

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    The drill line is very useful to Protective civs or any civ with a UU that starts with Drill 1.

    As has already been mentioned, drill troops are more specialised in their roles than your standard combat promoted soldiers. Iranon summarised the benefits nicely in post #6. One thing I'd add though is that the more first strikes a unit has the faster it tends to accumulate xp. If you really love micro then you can use Advanced Combat Odds (or do the calculations in your head, based on Arathorn's combat explained article) to fight battles that will give you enough xp to exactly reach the next promo most of the time. e.g. 7/10xp so you pick a unit that will earn 3xp from combat. To earn at least 3xp from combat you need to ensure your modified strength is not more than 1.33 times the defender's.

    If you are fighting a backwards civ, using drill doesn't only save you time and health, it also will net you more xp, earning you more great generals in the long run. City raider units are great and all but they don't earn xp very fast if they're fighting at good odds.

    And Iranon you are right that almost always drill on the attacker will give you the best odds of the defender taking at least one hit. This is the logic behind putting drill 1 on a catapult. I consider trebs, on the other hand, less disposable so will usually go with city raider to give a material increase in survival odds. For cats, city raider might mean roughly +0.5% chance of surviving - better off going with drill.

    And you also mentioned something I don't see people mention often, and that is that the odds display doesn't really show you the things that first strikes help you most with. e.g. odds of surviving unharmed and odds of making at least one hit to the defender, not to mention the xp you'd earn from victorious combat. All these are features of Advanced Combat Odds though. :)

    EDIT...
    Here's a little example of where using drill is neat. Using outdated units to finish off defenders in an amphibious landing. This rifle has been damaged by fighters and possibly another unit that died. I could give the samurai either D3 or C2/D1. Drill here will get you better odds, better xp, and better odds of surviving unscathed. The picture is not always this rosy but after a while you get a feeling for when drill works well.

     

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  20. Iranon

    Iranon Deity Whipping Boy

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    Thanks for confirming that Drill does indeed increase the chance of throwaway units to deal any damage at all... and for a lot of other good information!
     

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