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Scout Experience Promotions

Discussion in 'General Balance' started by ElliotS, Nov 21, 2017.

?

Do you consistently pick the XP promotions and think it's a good idea?

Poll closed Nov 28, 2017.
  1. Yes

    1 vote(s)
    6.3%
  2. No

    15 vote(s)
    93.8%
  1. crdvis16

    crdvis16 Emperor

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    I'm surprised at the number of people that don't bother with Trailblazer II. I find that there is always plenty of Desert/Snow to explore and moving through it quicker means I get it done faster. I hardly ever take Survivalism with my initial scout because I plan on just avoiding danger and the extra movement from Trailblazer I/II allows me to do that just fine. My first scout is almost always Trailblazer I, II, then movement/sight. The only exception would be if my scout gets stuck somewhere and needs to tank for a bit to survive.

    As for the +exp promotions that unlock later, I agree that they are mostly inconsequential. If the scout unit is promoted enough to unlock them then at that point it already has all the promotions I want anyway.

    As a side note, the AI LOVES to drop paratroopers all over its enemies lands and pillage like crazy. It's a tactic the AI does really well, and they even seem smart enough to specifically target important strategic resources. I often don't do the same because I usually assume I'm going to take the lands that I'm pillaging, which means I'll be the one having to repair the damage (not to mention, missing out on healing my front line units when THEY do the pillaging if needed) but I like that the AI does this so well.
     
    vyyt and Tekamthi like this.
  2. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    Trailblazer I is incredibly good, turns your scout into a freaking Ferrari!

    TBII is never use, but it’s heavily map dependent I agree.

    The survivalisms I use quite a lot. If my first pathfinder has to be a barb Slayer I go survivalism first.

    Survivalism 3 I love once I have military academies. I can stamp out paratroopers that can use enemy roads and can take a beating while I pillage.

    The xp ones I have never used
     
  3. phantomaxl1207

    phantomaxl1207 King

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    I'll agree on TBII; it doesn't even work with Flood Plains.

    I like TBIII. It's not more useful until you get more Movement via the Explorer or Scouting III however. Use it to bait out an attack and retreat to cover as the Explorer will be at Red Health afterwards.

    When I go 2 Scouts, I have one TB and the other Survive routes.
     
  4. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    My proposed changes:
    Trailblazer 2: Gains ignore ZoC.
    Trailblazer 3: +1 Movement

    Give all scouting units +2 XP per turn in major civ territory and +5 XP from pillaging non-roads, or roll the promotions into their respective T2s.
     
  5. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    So just ignoring the double movement in desert/jungle? Very few people actually use it, so I guess it doesn't really matter.
    +1 movement, plus double movement on forest/jungle can be crazy fast...

    I prefer xp bonuses added in their respective level 2 promotions, so you need to have survived a few combats or discovered a little bit of the world, or be in renaissance to benefit from extra experience.
     
  6. vyyt

    vyyt Deity

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    I think the desert/snow movement promotion should not require the forest/jungle one as prerequisite. You should be able to pick either as your first promotion depending on the surroundings of your starting area.

    But I can already imagine a coding annoyance with this: what to do with the following promotions (such as the extra sight)? I s it possible to have a prerequisite of EITHER desert/snow OR forest/jungle?
     
  7. Stalker0

    Stalker0 Baller Magnus

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    I think the +1 movement is too much. Honestly I don't think we need a trailblazer 3
     
  8. ElliotS

    ElliotS Warmonger

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    I don't know if you would need to remove the desert/snow. I was saying just add the ignore ZoC.

    I think rolling the XP promos into level 2 promotions would be best, if a bit wordy.
    I think it would be balanced.
     
  9. Tekamthi

    Tekamthi Prince

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    I wonder if this could not be exploited by human? an army of 3-move, no ZoC recon units might be too easily achieved here I think, and the result might be untouchable to AI's standard unit mix in rough terrain

    this choice may favor human, too.. i think the terrain choices in vanilla promos were changed in VP for such a reason, though I wasn't really tuned into the discussion back then

    my solution here would be to just give enemy territory xp for free to new scouts and later units, pillage xp to new explorer and later units. this addresses OP concern. maybe neither of these free promos to new paratroop, since these units are already sufficiently useful. no other changes to avoid scope creep and new imbalances.

    edit: reflecting a little further, I agree TB2 is not such a good choice most of the time, when compared to other lvl 2.. consider small flank attack % bonus maybe? would at least make sense in context of the extra movement.. could balance around survivalism def vs TB atk bonus
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
    vyyt likes this.
  10. Workerspam

    Workerspam Prince

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    I'm surprised more people don't use TB2. I usually take it on at least my first pathfinder for two reasons:
    1. After taking TB1 it's the fastest route to extra sight
    2. Deserts and snow are where barbarians are usually the thickest; the ability to make a hasty retreat keeps my pathfinder alive
    After the two sight promotions I'll often take TB3 for the ZOC benefits if my pathfinder is still off exploring new territory; a trapped pathfinder or scout is a dead one.

    As for TB1 I'll often take it first even on pathfinders I'm planning to transition to the survival line. Until I lay down roads those TB1 scouting units are my best movers through forest and jungle. They are often the first line of defense for surprise barbarian attacks or declarations of war and best choice to check that potential settling locations remain barbarian free.
     
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  11. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    Giving those xp promotions as free promotions is good, too. As you say, it avoids power creeps.

    Let's be clear. Only pathfinder gets xp revealing tiles, only scout get xp for staying in enemy territory, and only explorers get xp for pillaging, or is it cumulative?

    There's an option to make tb different. Tb1 gives 1 sight. Double movements in forest / jungle is a level 2 promotion that requires tb1, and double movement in desert/snow is another level 2 promotion that requires tb1 too.
    This leaves tb2 for something useful like retreat from melee, or chance to avoid ranged damage.
     
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  12. Tekamthi

    Tekamthi Prince

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    I was thinking cumulative? although entirely speculatively.. either/or is fair game for discussion.. i like the aspect of "new and improved" that cumulative implies, as well as the "catch-up" this might provide to new recon vs veteran in later eras. cumulative free promos in this way is probably the most subtle change from VP status quo (ie all units can still get what they could before, some just get for free)
     
  13. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    For my 2 cents, having them be cumulative is the only thing that makes sense. If pathfinders lost their xp on exploring when a ruin upgraded them I would re-load game.

    I wouldn't do scavenging though. it's situational, marginally useful, but when it is then you would be getting 7XP per turn with almost 0 risk. I would leave it on the skill tree, but on both lines, then move spotter to a default promotion on Explorer & Zepp

    Pathfinder - Recon
    Scout - Recon
    Explorer - Recon and Spotter
    Zeppelin - Recon and Spotter

    I don't play on the harder difficulties, so I prefer the TB line. It's more important on the low difficulties, where the barbarian bonuses are higher, to be able to map the continent quickly, and less important that the scouts survive. This is one case in which the deity players really are playing a different game than the rest of us, and their opinions need to be considered with a dollop of salt.

    I'm surprised to hear that people take the ZOC on TBIII though, if I take that then the scout will never be able to get the vision and movement. The opportunity cost is too high. Frankly, it's not high enough value, especially in comparison to Survivalism 3.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
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  14. Moi Magnus

    Moi Magnus Emperor

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    I think it is already the case for the medic and cover promotion on melee units: they are both on drill and shock.
     
  15. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    This conversation reminds me of the last one (before tu_79 posted), where my fear was that some of these promotions clearly benefit the human even more than they already do. Essentially they create a human-centric super-specialist. That could be fun, but it's not what VP is about.
     
  16. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Maybe I am misunderstanding where the conversation is headed? I think adding spotter to mid-game recon units is primarily a way to encourage players to use them by giving them a role in an army. Caravels largely take over scouting duty at that point in the game, so Explorers/Zeppelins have very limited value. The increase in CP for pikeman has only exacerbated this.

    Giving Scavenger to unit would not help redefine the Recon unit's role because pillaging is primarily done for the heal anyways. Even in cases where you're pillaging to be a nuisance mounted does the job better. Scavenger is fine as a situational pick, but spotter as a default could actually make some players pick up an explorer for their army.

    I don't see the AI build these units anyways, so it partially makes discussion of AI's ability to use/not use explorers a bit moot. If the AI makes the choice to have 1 more soldier unit then that's perfectly valid; it's a choice that many players would make as well. As is, though, the usefulness of explorers and Zeppelins was always suspect.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018
  17. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    I could be misunderstanding it also. But responding to your points:
    • adding spotter would encourage players to use them
    • scavenger would attract me
    • that the AI doesn't build doesn't make the AI discussion moot -- it underlines the fact that the scout line quickly becomes an advantage for the player, because the AI knows it doesn't know how to use them, and so avoids them.
    • explorers are good for exactly what their name implies -- exploring the much larger post-Compass map.
    • I agree that Zeppelins fall into the latter phase of the line -- where it's a full-fledged military unit -- but a pretty crappy one. Buffing it seems in order, within its mission (to observe long distances). But when it becomes a paratrooper, that promotion should logcally be lost.
     
  18. tu_79

    tu_79 Deity

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    This thing that saying AI is not able to use spotters efficiently rest to be tested. It may fail when some promotions are better used in one terrain than in any other (well, it may fail 50% of times), but a fast moving unit, with high chances of avoiding combat, and a great sight, surely can have a place in any AI army. Because the options are: very mobile so it avoids direct combat, or slightly stronger so they don't die in one single hit.
     
  19. pineappledan

    pineappledan Deity

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    Except Caravels do the job better. Like, Waayyy better. Explorers would only be useful in the case where you had access to large landmasses which Caravel sight couldn't penetrate, but there are several things which prevent that from being something worthwhile:
    • closed borders on already settle landmasses making exploration impossible
    • Exploring settle landmasses only being valuable because of the potential coastal cities opened up for trade; which a caravel is better equipped to do
    • simply meeting another civ and exchanging embassies gives you knowledge of their capital/s location and their power base. Exploring beyond that is perfunctory
    • At medieval, you probably have a source of horses. Mounted units are barely any less efficient as scouts, but they are a hell of a lot better at defending themselves and clearing any barbs you may encounter, so why not just use them?
    That leaves the edge case of a large landmass which you have managed to get to first, and outside of scenarios and pre-planned map settings that happens very little. Honestly, the only benefit of exploring settled continents, once you have mapped out their coastal cities and the capitals, is finding all the natural wonders. So that becomes the Explorer's role: getting you 1-2 extra global happiness before satellites, and they are only marginally better at this job than any mounted unit.
    Zeppelins should be given the ability to see submarines. That is probably the greatest contribution of military airships; being an uncounterable submarine detector.
     
  20. Txurce

    Txurce Deity

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    You're saying why they should use them. I agree. But as you know from your own lengthy experiecne, they tend to disappear after Classical. Very mobile isn't going help the AI much, and will help you a hell of a lot more. Stronger could help the AI, but would turn them into terrors in human hands. Again, I speak from experience. What I do a third of the time feels borderline exploitative. It's just so much fun that I can't resist. I'm okay with scouts becoming medics for a while, before they come back into direct military use as paratroopers.

    I am talking about the large land masses known as the other continent, which exist in all my games. I agree that exploring them is often not essential. But it is worthwhile, in terms of simple intelligence. I do it as far as OB will take me, which is pretty far, since I never play Domination.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2018

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