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Upgrading=Expensive

Discussion in 'Civ4 - General Discussions' started by BriantheBold, Dec 27, 2005.

  1. ZippyRiver

    ZippyRiver Prince

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Messages:
    454
    Look at your given situation and each unit. I am new-2-4 also and frankly do not know what units get which upgrades and which promotions are not available to each sucessor. it will take several games before it becomes second nature. No big deal. (for now) When I get a new tech, I like to build one unit in my unit factory and see what types of upgrades are (not) available to it. This helps me decide which of the obsolete units get upgraded first.

    Here is a sweet example of one such upgrade. I had back in my core cities a couple of early archers with city 3 promos. They missed out on the longbow upgrades (as did a lot of them) because during that time period upgrading was prohibitively expensive. As my front moved and my old garrisons didn't, I ended up finding out about this upgrade. I was finally able to build machine guns, but my longbows were not eligible for that upgrade. And machine guns are not eligible for the city defence promotion. But archers are... Yes, it's an expensive upgrade but not having to "replace" all those core garrisons made the ones I did upgrade worthwhile. You are right about having your cities losing valuable production turns to replace something already in place.

    Another thing I noticed about one of the skip-a-few upgrades is total cost. I don't remember which unit is was, but I will use the archer for an example. Say you have a number of archers sitting about and you get the tech for longbows. Not long after you get the tech for musketman. OK>>>> The cost of upgrading an archer to a longbow added to the cost of upgrading the longbow to musketman, totals more than just upgrading the archer to musketmen. (REMEMBER, this is only examplatory, I don't remember what the longbow upgrades to). It certainly appeared that the cost of upgrading that archer was "too much" but when you look at the life of the "core" unit, it's not that bad. If someone is willing to upgrade archers to longbows, and later on upgrading thier longbows then they should have no qualms about paying the big bill when skipping an upgrade. I do NOT know if the skip a upgrade discount is there with all units, but certainly with some it's present and something to have a watchfull eye out for. (from one noob to another).

    There is a monster setback in upgrading though. Ok, maybe not that big of a monster but frustrating nonetheless. When you upgrade a unit, only a maximum of 10 experience point carry over to the next unit. So if you have a unit that is 25/27 exp, WAIT to upgrade it. You only need 2 more exp points to get the next promo but if you upgrade it you will need 17. 17 is a LOT of sucessfull battles. The next level iirc is 36, an even harder number to achieve but your unit already has chestfull of medals and getting another one is not worth sending that old of a unit into 9 more battles. It's better to upgrade right after a promo than right before. This also means you do not want to upgrade any units you have saved up exp points on without promoting. Nab the promo, then upgrade.

    New VS Old also has you looking at experience levels. If you can build units with 8 exp points and you have some old 6 point units, don't bother with the upgrade on those, use them for fodder. Or as I like to view it, they have to earn their right to be upgraded. If they make it to 10 points, they get the upgrade. If they get fodderized, so frickin what. Just make sure that when foddering units that you have enough good units with them to finish the job, otherwise your fodder equates to promotions for the enemy (which is never a good thing). A nice combo to have is a stack defender, a number of fodder units, and a couple of old big exp units. The stack defender of course is not usually involved. Send in the fodder units against the AI and weaken them, hopefully enough that your old 26/27 or 16/17 becomes the favorite in winning. Then finish off the enemy with that one. It's gets rid of the chump units and allows you to get in one last promotion before upgrading your elite unit. Now when I talk about what you can build VS what is already there, I am NOT talking about your unit factory. My current game I can pump out units with 12 exp points in that one city but 8 point units can be built in most of my other cities. So 8 points is the fodder guide, not 12. It's a real PITA to try and have one city replace every old garrison in every city. What a nightmare. Let each city build it's own garrison as you want your 12 point units heading for the front.

    So this leaves you with a number of things to look at when deciding to upgrade or not.
    1. Can I afford to upgrade this paticular unit at this time?
    2. Does it have promotions that are not available on a future upgrade?
    3. Does it pass the fodder test?
    4. Is it a near-elite unit that needs to see a couple more battles first?

    Should you upgrade that unit? It depends....
     
  2. BlackMage

    BlackMage Warlord

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2005
    Messages:
    208
    Location:
    Atlantic Beach, Florida
    I demand Leonardo's Workshop to appease me!
     
  3. Dark Helmet

    Dark Helmet Chieftain

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2005
    Messages:
    63
    At first I wasn't too pleased about the expensive upgrade costs, but now not so much. As a matter of fact, I actually kind of like it. Keeping your military modern shouldn't be cheap in my opinion and I have changed my game-style to take that into account.

    I think someone said the same earlier, but that reinforces my belief that the strategy is sound -

    I alternate between buildings and military units in my core cities and circulate my more modern troops to my borders while my older ones in turn, filter back in towards the interior of my empire so they can be upgraded whenever I decide it is neccessary (if ever). I wind up with roughly 10 units on every border city with at least 2/3 of them modernized - this isn't counting the countless older (but still useful) troops deeper in my nation...my neighbors are quite nice to me ;).

    Upgrading can be an expensive pain, which is why I never stop making new units. Creating a finite number of soldiers early on and telling yourself you will upgrade them to keep them in good shape will not work...well.
     
  4. salty

    salty Prince

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Messages:
    447
    Some people spent 1000 gold pieces to upgrade their computers so they could run the game.
     
  5. Nilrim

    Nilrim Warlord

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2005
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    255
    Location:
    San Diego

    Only 1000, they got off light :)
     
  6. Smidlee

    Smidlee Deity

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2003
    Messages:
    3,348
    upgrading seems to cost the same as hurry production with the same amount of product so to me upgrading is balanced. If you got a few high production cities and have less cash then upgrading probably not worth it especially these cities have nothing else better to produce. Yet if most of your cities is producing mostly cash (a lot of towns) then upgrading is the way to go. I would turn down my research for a few turns to quickly upgrade my standing army especially if I'm at war since it helps end it quicker.
    So IMO Firaxis seem to have the upgrade cost about right so it isn't alway the obvious choice.
     
  7. Pfeffersack

    Pfeffersack Deity

    Joined:
    May 10, 2003
    Messages:
    2,930
    Location:
    Germany
    Great Merchants are the best way to get the necessary gold.I upgrade as much as possible, because it is the only way to get enough units and to be able to build civil stuff, too.Moreover, you can use upgrading to get units with promotions they normally cannot get (f.e. City Attacker on Infantery).

    The AI upgrades frequently at least, on the higher levels (Prince and above) - they only pay a part of the costs and they are smart enough to use hidden treasuries to upgrade there units when they notice you are building up your army.
     
  8. flytyer

    flytyer Master Fisherman

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2005
    Messages:
    265
    Location:
    Knoxville, TN
    I still like to upgrade because my units keep all their combat promotions. I think if your units have promotions, then it is worth it. But if they have no promotions, then I would build a new unit insteead. Just me...
     
  9. DocZulu

    DocZulu Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2005
    Messages:
    2
    LMAO!

    Yeah, I'm guilty, but it only cost me about 100 bucks. :)

    Nice discussion, folks. I lurk a lot but I appreciate what you have to offer. (I'm not very good at the game so I don't feel like I have much to say.)
     
  10. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2005
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    Location:
    Texas
    Up through mid game, I usually upgrade just the select few assault units with 3 or more generic promotions (City Raider III or Combat for examples). Otherwise it's cheaper just to delete a unit and build a new one from the barracks/heroic epic city.

    I usually don't keep older units around for the specific purpose of cannon fodder, since a 0 xp Warrior costs the same to maintain as a new 4/5 xp Axeman. Also, if you throw some old units against a city before your newer ones attack, you have to make sure to kill everyone, or they recieve free experience (and possibly a promotion).

    It just depends on the situation at hand and what you expect your plans will be in the near future. Sometimes it's useful to keep a few of the slightly out of date units around to soften up targets to kill.
     
  11. whitecrow

    whitecrow Chieftain

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    Dec 16, 2005
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    I use old units (even warriors) as garrison in rear cities and even border cities. They still can make cits happy and they can be upgraded anytime I want. I usually keep some cash reserve to upgrade 1-3 old units in case of emergency.

    And eventually they all become mech inf. when I'm swimming in gold coins. :)
     
  12. calyth

    calyth /bin/sh of a man

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    Nov 8, 2005
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    Well somehow upgrade cost for Civ 4 seems to explode if the gap is more than 1 or 2 generations.
    In Civ 3, upgrading one unit to a generation better cost 30, 2 is 60, and there's a clear upgrade cost associated to it. In Civ 4, it's pretty fast that upgrade cost skyrockets to like 200-400 if you want to get your infrastructure in.
    I constantly find myself wondering if the AI would attack because I can't quite afford the money to upgrade, and sometimes even with a great merchant, it's not enough money to pull it off.
     
  13. jonoerator

    jonoerator Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
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    Another thing also relevant to the upgrade cost dilemma, is that after building the Kremlin, with the relevant civics, you can hurry the production of a unit, for less cost than you can upgrade. This seems very counter intuitive, as presumably hurrying the production is the cost for the total build of the unit, whereas when upgrading, the cost should be less, as part of the necessary resource is already available (ie something is not being built from scratch).

    I wish that the Kremlin also decreased upgrade cost, as well as hurry production cost.
     
  14. calyth

    calyth /bin/sh of a man

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    The hurry production cost is paid to the difference between the finished product and the current amount of hammers you've put towards that product.
    It isn't that surprising that hurry costs may be less than to upgrade, depending on when you hurry.
     
  15. Chopperhead

    Chopperhead Prince

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
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    Location:
    B.C. Canada
    I always upgrade my units as Im very good at getting rich with my economy. last game I had over 20 000 and making about 170 gold a turn and this was in the 1800's so ya i can afford to upgrade my units. I upgraded all my catapults to cannons musketment to redcoats and whatever else to grenadiers cost me like 12 000 but it didnt matter as i dont have any other use for my money at that time.

    so ya you have to have a strong economy to be able to upgrade them all but still if you do have a good economy then it's not that expensive.
     
  16. Corbeau

    Corbeau Jack of All Trades

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2005
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    Location:
    Seattle, Washington, USA
    I've been playing a game on Noble, Great Plains script, as the Mongols. I went vassalage+theocracy to build an army and conquered a neighbor with it. Then I went back to peaceful civics, rebuilt my economy, and upgraded all my old high-experience units to serve as my new defense force (that just conquered another neighbor, actually :) ). The key was that I only had to go to wartime civics once to have an elite fighting force for the entire game.

    So yeah, you can't do Civ3-style mass upgrades very often. But if you build your econ for it (and slow down research for a few turns) you can upgrade a core fighting force. Just don't bother upgrading green troops, as there's really no benefit to doing so.
     
  17. Saint_Saturn

    Saint_Saturn Chieftain

    Joined:
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    Since upgrading units is such a costly choice in Civ4, my decision on if to upgrade units (and if so, which ones), ultimately is determined by my current situation and ensuing tactics. If I am in a time of relative peace, with few neighbors, or at least neighbors who are above 'cautious', then I generally leave my units un-upgraded. I can then use that excess money for better uses, such as allowing me to up research scores and to create lots of specialists in money-heavy cities.

    I do tend to upgrade the majority of my units though in certain conditions. If I am getting ready to launch an offensive (or preparing to defend), I will upgrade my units to a reasonable level so as to not be moving an army of fodder around. When I see roving axe-barbs coming near my cities, I make sure that all defenders are at least as strong as well. Lastly, if I think that one of the neighboring civ's is getting a substantial army, I tend to shift the majority of my army to the border cities as a deterrant; but how good of a deterrant is an army full of spearmen against tanks? In this case as well, I make sure they are upgraded suitably.
     
  18. jonoerator

    jonoerator Chieftain

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2005
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    Yep, I understand that. However, with the Kremlin wonder, the Hurry production cost, on a unit for which no hammers have arleady been put towards (ie an unstarted unit), is still less than the cost of upgrading a unit.
     
  19. panzooka

    panzooka Prince

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    i upgraded a warrior to mech infantry, costing about 500 gold, not too much i guess
     
  20. nemo2

    nemo2 Chieftain

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    Dec 5, 2004
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    Location:
    Pa., USA
    I have done massive unit upgrades when the AI starts to make too many demands. Although I don't have proof that it works this way it seems that I get less demands when my army is considered more powerfull. I use the number of demands as a barometer that indicates the AI thinks that I am too weak. I drop the research down in favor of gold then upgrrade some spearmen to musket which seems to stop the demands and possibly prevents a war.
     

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