First strikes are inferior to combat promos except when your unit is already several times stronger than the foe, in which case you may come out unscathed anyway. It is easy for many units to gain immunity to first strikes, via inherent ability or flanking II. Drill II with its -20% collateral is just pathetic. -20% collateral is not going to save you, -60% might make a difference, but then you gave up 3-4 promos to get there. The first strike chance from drill I is almost worthless in itself. It's worth half a strike and less than half a combat promo.
First strikes are not necessarily inferior to combat promos. I agree that Drill I in particular, and to a lesser extent Drill II and III are weak, but Drill IV just as strong, if not stronger than Combat 4. You don't have to use it only when you are much stronger than the defender. It's true the perfect time to use it is when you are stronger than the defender though. The best way to use them is after sufficient collateral damage has been dealt to city defenders (this means the technological edge is not necessary). A reminder that generally Drill promotions are earned at a faster
rate than combat promotions. I don't mean this loosely. PRO drill units reach Drill IV very quickly if you use them for attacking (remember attacking is twice as xp profitable as defending). It might take 3 battles for a unit to reach Drill IV, but 6 battles for a unit to reach Combat 4, so in all fairness the two promotion lines should not be compared promotion for promotion anyway. The faster xp earning ability of drill units is usually ignored however, because people do not use drill troops to attack. It's very easy to regularly take 3xp from very safe battles with Drill IV units (I'm talking odds in the high 90s), whereas CR3 units or C4 or C5 units will earn typically 1 xp, sometimes 2xp for the same battle odds. Your drill IV unit can get that next specialist promo faster than the normal city attacker units.
The first strike chance opens up the weak drill line and promos like cover and shock, but combat I also opens up those promos. And combat I is always useful, not only in cities.
See it seems you are going back to assumptions again. You say "combat I is always useful, not only in cities." It seems by that you are implying that Drill promotions are not useful outside cities? Perhaps you were referring to the CG promotion. Did you forget CG promotions work in forts? Try building a fort in an important strategic location in a MP game then chuck CG3/D1 (that's only two promos for a PRO leader) units in there and see what a human player tries to do to it. That little tactic will establish control of the immediate area. It can be argued that area control like this is much more important in MP than SP. The forts 25% defense cannot be bombarded like a city's.
It's not normally a problem. I put one defender in there and rarely have to recapture. One reason for this is I typically target their stack of doom in the initial assault with my SoD. I typically settle great generals till I can produce CG3 units in the heroic epic city, and I typically have only 2 or 3 cities build military units. This is really nice because I can also produce CRIII units right off the bat. Imperialistic will allow you to get level 4 units of all types by the early-mid game. Charismatic will make it so it requires one fewer settled GG, and also applies to all types.
IMHO, the point here is more that the AI is not very effective in war. If the AI had the smallest amount of extra intelligence to not have its SoD wiped out so easily, this probably wouldn't be a criticism of PRO.
I agree that IMP and especially CHA are nice traits. I don't believe IMP outdoes PRO though. You may have more settled generals but they only give 2xp each, and only in one city. PRO will give you the promotion without raising xp needed for each promo. Besides, as I keep saying, Drill IV units gain xp so fast they would catch up very quickly to the IMP leader's units that might come out of the factory with 2xp or 4xp more.
For aggressive, you can get medics faster. I typically get my medics from my original warriors who go woodsman. The combat promo really does make a big difference in their survivability against lions and bears, and later I have several woodsman III/ medic I healers.
How hard is it to get a medic? Seriously I think super medics are way over rated, even the simpler W3/M1 ones. I do agree though that the ability to get W3/M1 from a 17xp unit rather than a 26xp unit is a nice perk for the AGG trait.
Those promos would be better used on woodsman/guerilla/shock/etc. Being stronger than your foe makes it so you are more likely to hit than them in each combat round, which is why all other promos dwarf first strikes.
You seem to make a leap of faith here. I could have said, with just as much justification, having more rounds before battle to deal free damage to the other combatant means first strikes dwarf other promos. What I'm trying to say is that you should say why
it is that being stronger in combat rounds is preferable to having a few more immune combat rounds, rather than just saying it is so.
It's true that Drill promos are not as good as the specialist promos on specific tiles. But Drill promos (I'm mainly talking about Drill IV when I talk about drill promos) give you the benefit on all these tiles, and against a range of units, meaning you need fewer stack defenders (possibly, it depends on your stack composition).
Castles would be good if they didn't go obsolete so fast. Engineering and free market are not that far apart due to the liberalism race and the secondary race to get the great merchant, which I normally use for my first golden age to switch to free market. I do build a few castles, especially if I have an espionage city. Without stone or protective they won't break even in some cities.
The castles can go obsolote fast but only if you make it so. If you're not prepared to change your strategy, ie. going for Engineering a bit earlier (most people leave it late) and waiting for economics a bit longer, then of course they will go obsolote fast. If you're going EE, you should be going for Nationalism before
you even think about economics IMO.
No it just wouldn't add much to financial and people would view financial the same way they do now. Like adding a bucket of water to the ocean, really.
Yes, well it's not really my point. I don't wish to debate that. You are one of the more rational posters - not everyone is so.
lol, if you attack with crossbows or longbows I guess. And if I'm attacking with gunpowder units, they're upgraded CR units.
Are you forgetting siege? I and most people (I assume) usually use siege at the beginning of the round of atacks on a city. A few people round here (like TMIT) argue that often the strongest CR units should be used before the siege units. In any case assuming you use siege first or somewhere near first, you can ensure Drill IV units have a very easy time taking down cities. You said a couple times Drill units are only strong when there is a tech lead. They are in fact very strong when the units are slightly damaged. Having the defenders slightly damaged (from a few siege units) makes those drill units have an easy time taking down those defenders without taking a single hit. So in this way medics are pretty much unnecessary. I admit I use CR troops along with these drill units, sometimes using the CR ones directly after the siege, then using the drill troops. But only a fool would blindly choose drill over CR for attacking cities. Combat 1 doesn't make a CR3 unit much better so AGG doesn't really do much if this is your city attack strategy.
Main point to take away from this: Use drill troops when the defenders have taken at least a little bit of damage from siege or CR units. They won't have the problem of defenders popping up that ignore the counter promos, since nothing counters drill promos (yes I know most mounted units do but mounted don't receive defense bonuses either).
It's not that it's not touched, it's just that the AI usually doesn't have a lot of veteran units so they're not going to come out ahead in hammers when they attack anyway. Then I just bring my stack of doom back to smite them, or move units from nearby cities if it's a medium stack. The settled great generals in the heroic epic city are pretty key for me, and the other warmongering traits are better for achieving that, charismatic and imperialistic especially, but aggressive has its own strengths. You're going to build more barracks than walls, the barracks don't go obsolete, and the combat I promo is always useful.
So is the argument that PRO is weak or the AI is poor? Or both? I think these facts rely on the ineptitude of the AI. I don't judge the PRO trait from these facts, I judge the AI. I have to agree that some of the tactics (or lack of tactics) the AI employs makes using the PRO trait less interesting than other traits. But in MP this can very easily change.
EE gets powerful once you start getting jails, which is around the time castles go obsolete. I do build a castle in a city I have a great spy, but a few techs later its obsolete.
As I said before, if you choose to take Economics fairly quickly then that's your choice - no one is forcing you to. Personally if I'm going for EE or playing a PRO leader (I normally go EE these days regardless) I will have jails long before I have economics, and I will not head for economics too quickly.
Here's the paradox though. For drill to shine, you need to have units that have a 2:1 or better adjusted strength ratio. But to have that, you need a tech lead, or promo lead. You would have been more likely to have a tech lead if you had an economic or semi-economic trait. Protective will only help your economy for the brief lifespan of castles.
I don't know where you pulled the 2:1 from. Even as little as about 1:1 can be reasonable sometimes. Let's suppose the city has a fortified (25%) mace with 60HP. Your Drill IV longbow has 92% odds against that guy, and will take 4xp if it wins. 4xp is a lot for such a safe battle. This is a strength ratio of 1:1 by the way. Keep in mind PRO Drill IV longbows only need 10xp so they are almost disposable, so the odds are not too worrying. As soon as you have a city with enough xp (from MIs etc.) to build Drill IV things, any units that you plan to have promoted with drill promos should be built there. Drill IV is what makes the drill promotion worthwhile at all. Here I was talking about using a longbow for attacking, even though longbows are widely considered defender units. Using longbows for attacking is, again I admit, a bit quirky but using drill gunpowder units is a lot more sensible, and more effective than using longbows. This is mainly because longbows are around when strong city attackers that can take CR promotions are around (macemen).