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To Upgrade or Not??

Discussion in 'Civ4 - Strategy & Tips' started by shahreevar, Jan 6, 2006.

  1. shahreevar

    shahreevar Prince

    Jun 16, 2005
    LA LA Land
    i am still learning this new Civ, so i have some comments, and finally a question in regards with Upgrading units.

    i am specifically concerned with the process of upgrading units into Modern ones, generally this means infantry. in civ III, it was much easier, i.e. cheaper, to turn ancient, outdated units into modern ones. ofcourse having high amount of $$$ and Leo's workshop helped alot. in civ iv however there is no half price upgrade, and so its really expensive to do so. in one game in particular it would have cost me somewhere around 20000 $ to turn all my foot units into infantry.

    so now, i am forced to do many things i previously didnt have to think about. things such as the building of a particulr type of unit, its relative utulity, and long term usefulness.
    i also have to choose between which particular unit in a certain type (e.g. which one of my longbowmen to choose) do i upgrade. collectively this means that there will be many cases of Disbanding.

    so my question is, what do you do? what is your suggestion?
    i know this is a very general question, but i'd like to know a general path to upgrade.
    and how oftern do you upgrade? do you mass upgrade?(is this recommanded??)
  2. Wodan

    Wodan Deity

    Jun 3, 2005
    In transit
    Some things are beneficial to upgrade, such as a unit with city defense skills to Machine Gunner (which can't get those skills). [Actually, this is pretty much the only time I personally use MGs... they're generally inferior to Infantry as new builds, so I hardly ever build them, period. But, with city defense, they can be monsters with their first strike.]

    Generally, I use obsolete units as garrisons for my interior cities. The populace demands a garrison, but they don't care if it's a Gorak (warrior) or a Mech Infantry.

    As the game progresses, I increase the number of units I have in border cities. These units are naturally new builds and my best units.

    If I hit unit maintenance, I start disbanding (unless I think a war is coming soon) or else giving those units to an AI on the other side of the world who is friendly and/or fighting someone I don't like.

    I'm half convinced that giving obsolete units to an AI will max out their own unit maintenance and cause them to go with Vasslage, slowing their research, or with paying higher maintenance. I don't think the AI is smart enough to disband in large numbers. Giving a single AI 12-15 Goraks seems like a good idea.

  3. shahreevar

    shahreevar Prince

    Jun 16, 2005
    LA LA Land
    the ones i keep:

    >high Xp units
    >defenive unit (only ones with both city1 and 2, only rarely the ones with city one)
    >always keep units with strike promos (infantry+1st strike=dead enemy)
    >siege units
    >mouted units with high xp
    >city raider 2 and higher

    then again this depends on how much money i got!!
  4. HiroHito

    HiroHito Prince

    Feb 12, 2002
    I start some futile war to get rid of useless units, destabilize my foes and enrich myself.
  5. Jarrod32

    Jarrod32 Warlord

    Nov 17, 2005
    North Central US
    As a previous post mentioned, when they are about to go obsolete, you can start a war and use 'em up. Pillage with them until they're destroyed. I do like upgrading highly promoted units...especially when - as another poster mentioned - the upgraded unit can't normally get a certain kind of promotion. For example, City Raider macemen turn into City Raider riflemen, and can eventually turn into City Raider Infantry...and a City Raider III Infantry is a powerful attack unit...

    I usually keep older units defending interior or 'back side' cities, while trying to keep enough gold on hand to quickly upgrade those units where/when needed.

    I suppose it depends on your circumstances. If you have a lot of commerce, but are low on production (island map?), you may want to upgrade more. But if you are short on commerce, and have high production, it probably makes more sense to build new.
  6. Finite Monkey

    Finite Monkey Warlord

    Nov 15, 2005
    I'm a big fan of the 100% tax for 1-2 turns and a massive upgrade all at once strategy. It isn't always useful but it can free up some city production for more important things.
  7. Jantis

    Jantis Chieftain

    Dec 2, 2005
    I've found it better to at least keep my border units upgraded. Not simply for the war-based defense, but there is a perception by neighboring empires and if they see you still defending your cities with longbowmen when they have varying levels of gunpowder units, they will sometimes take that as some sort of invitation (because you are 'weak'). Internal cities are not such an issue, but I will quickly upgrade border-town units if for no other reason than to show some strength.
  8. Mordraken

    Mordraken Chieftain

    Jan 5, 2006
    I am very new, and am not very good, but I look at it this way:

    If I have a bunch of archers and macemen/swordsmen defending cities when I can upgrade them at about 200-300 gold per unit (edit - upgrade them to infantry for example), I have the opinion (assuming 10 cities with old units) that spending 4,000-6,000 gold to upgrade them will be more expensive than turning two dedicated towns to producing upgraded units (say 3 turns/unit = 30 turns of production from your top 2 cities) and then redeploying those units.

    The existing 20 units can either be sent on suicide pillage missions (great suggestion!) or mobalized to a frontier town to delay any capture (giving the enemy an extra 20 units they have to defeat before capturing the city).

    That's my personal opinion. That said, I have recently been in the position that I have not had anything to produce in my top cities since they have already built everything they can, and after 30 turns I probably would have researched a tech that gives me more to build...

    That and I rarely have much surplus cash with which to upgrade....
  9. Harry_P

    Harry_P Chieftain

    Nov 6, 2005
    Another thing to consider when looking at the upgrade question is how long it takes to gather an invasion force. One of the major complaints that people on these boards are always bringing up is that by the time you build an adequate army for invasion you can find them obsolete before they get to the battle. Upgrading can get around this.

    One of the strategies I always like to play with is to start building Knights as soon as I get Guilds and then either slow the reasearch for 2 or 3 turns right before I get Military Tradition or go for Economics and use a Great Merchant to pay for the upgrades. I can amass a huge amount of Cavalry and attack right after I research Military Tradition. Upgrading like this gives me a much larger window to carry out my wars while maintaining technological parity or superiority.
  10. BlizzardGR

    BlizzardGR Prince

    Jan 6, 2006
    I suggest you only upgrade experienced units and a few key-defenders because the cost is way too steep to be worth it.

    On the long run it's better to produce new units and retire the old ones (either disband, send them on suicide missions or just garrison them to keep the order in your inner cities) .

    You will spend much more money, if you upgrade your entire army, than you would ever have to spend for maintenance if you keep some of your oldies!

    Well, that's my opinion anyway! ;)
  11. Invisible Rhino

    Invisible Rhino Prince

    Apr 16, 2004
    Phoenix, AZ
    Oh yeah it is!
  12. Dreef

    Dreef Chieftain

    Nov 23, 2005
    Employing a "rolling" upgrade tactic can be usefull to get an offense off the ground. I will sometimes bring the older units along with my advancing army and use the pillage funds to upgrade replacement troops to keep the ball moving.

    Move on and take a city losing 1-2 troops in the process. Spend the 200 gold pillaged to upgrade 1-2 more. Rinse and repeat. Expensive but, if you are production poor, it is a viable alternative.
  13. garner_adam

    garner_adam Chieftain

    Jan 7, 2006
    Washington, United States
    I usually upgrade a few units in order to keep my power rating up. Get too "soft" and some one might consider carving you up.
  14. Beanzy

    Beanzy Prince

    Dec 31, 2002
    I recently had this problem in a game I was playing... I had a horde of longbow cit defenders (with excellent promotions), and it would've cost around 8,000 to upgrade them all. At 0% reserach, I was getting 350 gpt, and I really wasn't in the mood to turn off research for that many turns... so I think your best bet would be to upgrade border town garrisons and then use one of your good Great People factories to pump out a Merchant or two.

    Granted, this would only make sense if you have time to spare, if your cities are too busy to build military, and if you're upgrading for defensive reasons. All in all, I miss Leonardo... even if I didn't build it often, it was comforting to have. ;-)
  15. Draetor24

    Draetor24 Chieftain

    Nov 24, 2005
    I hardly never disband units unless it was a huge financial burden. Later in the game, when I am very rich and I need units for a war, I can stop research for a few turns to accumulate massive gold to upgrade units I need. In the meantime, I garrison the weakest units inside my borders, and put my strongest on my border cities.
  16. Aurelius321

    Aurelius321 Warlord

    Nov 4, 2005
    Cleveland, OH
    I am a veteran of Civ 1-4 and have always been a fan of either of two stratagies... depending on my financial situation at the time.

    1) If I am rich than I'll just turn off research for a few turns to save up 4k, which I them use to upgrade whichever old defender of which I have the most quantity.

    2) If I am having money problems I'll just upgrade enough units to properly defend my border towns.

    In Civ4 I've noticed that the AI is a tad more keen making your it's ***** if you have a weak military... So even if I am going for a cultural/diplo win I will still keep a good military up.
  17. Amourek

    Amourek Chieftain

    Dec 4, 2005
    When I have obsolete units, I only upgrade the high XP units. As for the rest, If I can't find a military use for them, I give them to an ally.
  18. Sahkuhnder

    Sahkuhnder Delusions of grandeur

    Nov 27, 2005
    Vegas Baby! Yeah!
    As a side note that may be of some value, units can also be upgraded in the territory of any permanent allies you may have.

    Sometimes you may wish to upgrade a unit that is far from home, especially naval units. If you have any permanent alliances with an AI your partner may have a far off (usually useless) colony on a barren frozen rock somewhere. Just zip your ship into that cities cultural boundary and you can pop a quick upgrade in much less time than the trip back to your borders would take.

    A galleon upgraded to a transport makes a fine attack unit as it can now easily destroy your enemy's more primitive frigates. A caravel upgraded to a submarine is also now a deadly weapon. Sweep the seas of your foes while you have a tech advantage as the AI can be slow to upgrade its units. ;)

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