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Wonders - the good, the bad and the ugly

Discussion in 'Civ5 - Strategy & Tips' started by delra, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. delra

    delra Warlord

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    Having played for a while, here's my take on wonders and their usefulness. I hope it helps people who are starting with the game to get a grip of what they actually need - and what is only decor for their cities.Feel free to disagree and post about it. :)

    1. The good:

    * Stonehenge - it's enabled with Calendar and is on my immediate shopping list in every game. +8 culture effect diminishes over time but is huge in the beginning of the game allowing to quickly open new social policies and to grab more elite tiles farther away from the city. Must-have.
    * Great Library - 1 free tech might not seem be worth long work, but there's not much better to do at that time - and that 1 free tech is typically Iron Working for me. Something to have before you go colonizing and build cities where there's no Iron.
    * Angkor Wat - 75% cheaper (in culture) acquiring of new tiles by cities - this allows for speeding up expansion of cities so is best built prior to a major colonization effort. Cities grow much faster grabbing more tiles from competition and opening new resources earlier. Gold can do it too so don't kill yourself for this one - but if you have a few free turns before Acoustics, do get this one.
    * Sistine Chapel - +33% culture is a gigantic bonus noticeable even if you rely on city states to provide you with it.
    * Eiffel Tower - +8 Happiness - right when you start expanding and need it the most.
    * Cristo Redendor - -33% culture cost of adopting new policies. Awesome. Must-have.
    * Big Ben - -25% purchase cost in all cities allows to save a ton of cash.
    * Louvre - I typically dislike specialist-giving wonders but two artists isn't something I can easily come up with and two Landmarks boosts to culture in an otherwise useless tiles quickly pay for the wonder.
    * Pentagon - cheaper upgrades are a bliss late in the game.
    * Apollo Program - space ships, nothing to add.
    * Sydney Opera - a free social policy that late in the game = awesome
    * Manhattan Project - wanna nukes? :)
    * United Nations - for diplo victory.

    2. The bad. (more like average wonders that have limited uses only under certain cicrumstances)
    * Great Lighthouse - +1 movement of ships. AI doesn't build any ships in this game and their movement isn't really useful. Worth taking on big archipelago maps, great in conjuction with English movement bonus so it has its uses. Only very limited.
    * Oracle - 1 free social policy. This early in the game you get new policies quite quickly still, so it's not as crucial as if it would come late - and AI likes this one quite a lot so losing a race for it is very common.
    * Chichen Itza - 50% length of golden ages in the game - which are huge bonus nowadays and this wonder is very useful especially for smaller happier civilizations. I don't kill myself if I lose a race for it, but it's still worth at least a try.
    * Hanging Gardens - +3 happiness, +1 pop in all cities. Worth taking only if you mass-colonized very early in the game, something you shouldn't really do, but if you have a vast map with not many competitors and you went Egypt for example - this one will be cool for you.
    * Machu Picchu - +20% gold from trade routes. This kind of gold is typically under 10% of my total income so boost isn't really worth it, unless you have multiple cities very early.
    * Notre Dame - +5 Happiness. Why not, quite useful if you colonize too much too early or have trouble with happiness.

    3. The ugly.
    * Pyramids - 50% faster worker production? Meh. I either steal workers from city states or just purchase handful of them I need and am willing to maintain.
    * The Great Wall - 1 extra movement cost for enemy inside my territory is a joke, not a bonus, especially provided how horrid military AI is.
    * Colossus - +1 gold from water tiles worked by the city. Only if your first city looks like Rhodos or has a lot of whales, pearls and fishes - which it most likely doesn't.
    * The Porcelain Tower - building a wonder to get a scientist is pointless at best while you can manufacture him the normal way and build something more useful instead. Get only if there's literally nothing else to take.
    * Himeji Castle - +20% combat bonus in friendly territory. What for, combat Ai is horrid, you don't need a bonus to beat them in your own land where you can heal fast and aid yourself with bombardment from cities.
    * Kremlin - +50% defensive building power in cities. Except noone builds them - and noone ever defends back home rather taking the fight to enemy after initial wrestling.
    * Taj Mahal - Immediate Golden Age. Meh, I'd rather have it later in the game.
    * Brandenburg Gate - free Great General at a price of a wonder is a bad deal. Go conquer stuff and you'll get one much cheaper.
    * Statue of Liberty - +1 production from specialists in all cities. Who needs production, money can buy all...

    Quick summary: Be careful about your choices, many old classics suck in Civ5. :) Hope Sid does a wide rebalance sometime in the future.
     
  2. milk steak

    milk steak Warlord

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    I'm pretty sure the +1 SP from the Oracle can be saved. In that case, you can use that alongside the +2 free SPs in the Liberty (I think?) tree to get the final 3 SPs to win the game.
     
  3. delra

    delra Warlord

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    I'd need to sacrifice a short game to test it because normally it is hard to get it with other stuff to do and AI bee-lining for it. :) But it seems like a good point. Keep them coming.
     
  4. milk steak

    milk steak Warlord

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    Agreed.. It seems like you have to pick either Stonehenge or Great Library. I'd go with the GL personally.
     
  5. Newti

    Newti Chieftain

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    For me the best and most important wonder is Chichen Itza.
    You can time and chain golden ages pretty easy to match up with key techs, and making them last 50% longer is huge.
    Right next after that is the Taj Mahal. I found that the AI has low priority on that and even on Immortal I can get it pretty late. This is only after 2 games on Immortal tho.

    Also if I am not going for culture I cant be bothered to build any of those heavy culture buildings like Sistine or Redendor. Just not worth the hammers imo. Unless you are playing Sim City style :).
     
  6. taltamir

    taltamir Chieftain

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    I totally disagree with a lot of this.

    *Apollo Program - useless except for science victory...aka, useless.
    *Manhattan Project - Don't want it.
    *United Nations - diplomacy sucks.
    *Louvre - 2 free artists. Excellent... use both for golden age. monuments kinda suck later on... by the time you can get this their +5 culture each is insignificant... convert into golden age.

    I will build the above three, but only because I am a completionist.

    *Great Lighthouse - +1 movement of ships. AI might not be building all that many ships, but you should build a few, and this is a nice bonus to them... not awesome like Cristo Redendor, but its not bad.
    *Oracle - 1 free social policy. Useful at any time. Helps you get an edge.
    *Chichen Itza - 50% length of golden ages in the game. One of the best wonders in the game. Golden ages doubles production and gold earning... I try to stay in golden age as long as possible.
    *Hanging Gardens - +3 happiness, +1 pop in all cities. That extra population is AWESOME... a population unit produces science, and works the land or building for money, hammers, etc... the bigger your empire, the better this is.
    * Machu Picchu - +20% gold from trade routes. This is indeed average... but it is still extra gold.
    * Notre Dame - +5 Happiness. Average, very average... Every city can build several non wonder buildings that give +4 or higher happiness each. cheaply and easily... I build this, but its "regular building" quality item.
    * Pyramids - 50% faster worker production. One of the best wonders in the game... I have MASSIVE worker fleets that I build AND I steal every worker from every other civ, methodically... it still takes too long to improve everything and you need as many as possible as soon as possible... 50% is a HUGE boost to their productivity.
    * The Porcelain Tower - gives a great scientist... use it to instantly research a tech... hopefully a weapon tech that would have taken a REALLY long time... every scientist should be converted to a free tech ASAP... the greater the tech gap between you and the enemy, the easier they are to conquer... A REAL tech victory isn't building a ****** space station... its steamrolling their crossbowmen and swordsman with your armored infantry (I have done that). 20 armored infantry can conquer MANY cities per turn and capture MANY workers per turn when faced with crossbowmen and 15 defense cities.
    *Taj Mahal - Immediate Golden Age. Epic win, golden age is awesome... it means ALL your cities build much faster and you make money... this INCLUDES speed of constructing wonders.
    *Brandenburg Gate - free Great General. Another good one... you should convert ALL your great generals into golden ages ASAP!
    *Statue of Liberty - +1 production from specialists in all cities. Excellent, the larger your empire, the larger the bonus.

    Why golden age? Golden age gives massive boost to manufacturing and money... money can be used to buy military units (and conquer more neighbors) or to buy new buildings (accelerating city development). Manufacturing can be used for building buildings, and for building military units... accelerating developments. (oh, and worker and settler units of course).

    More settlers and workers means more better cities, more units means conquering more cities...
    More cities equals more money, culture (leave them as puppets) and very importantly, research! more research means you have higher tech... higher tech is AWESOME... if you out tech the enemy you conquer it more easily (which gives you more cities, which give you more money and more research...)

    its an ever increasing cycle... if you got an advantage, press it. A golden age lets you press that advantage. its not something permanent like a monument, university, or factory... but those don't offer THAT much of a boost, and they only boost one city instead of your entire empire.
    the general building (a fort) or worthless crap, and the 33% boost from having a nearby general when fighting is ok, but its better to have more units and better tech instead (from golden age)... by the time you get to REALLY good tech units they travel a lot faster then the general too...
     
  7. aryah

    aryah Chieftain

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    but I presume he doesn't lengthen the size of the GPP 'bucket' needed to get the next one, so it's always +1 great scientist to however many you would produce normally, is that correct? Nor does he empty the currently accumulating bucket.

    if so, its basically another great library at a later stage, which should be decent.
     
  8. evanbgood

    evanbgood Chieftain

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    A lot of the problems with the "ugly" wonders seem to be problems with military AI, not with the wonders themselves, so they still could be useful for someone having defensive trouble. I've heard a few people say they have problems when doing non-military victories, so, oddly, military wonders would be better for non-military victories.

    In theory, the great wall can be used to further scramble an enemy's chances, whether smart or not. Friendly territory combat bonuses can also be quite useful if used correctly. I found them best as anti-counter attack bonuses, where I could make a line straight for an enemy city and conquer it without bothering with troops surrounding it or troops who were about to reinforce. The moment a city flips, all the territory becomes bonus land, including the sea which can help a lot with naval invasions.

    Many of those wonders also seem to be situational. Like Colossus. Though the obsoletion factor makes it a bit less useful, I've used that thing to amazing effect on a city with 3+ fish tiles. Improved fish tiles with a seaport can be one of the most powerful tiles in the game, so if I was in a situation where I had a costal growth/gold city with plenty of access to fish, Colossus has turned a pretty good profit. Similarly, the great lighthouse can give a minor, but still noticable, boost to early game scouting races and (I'm 90% sure about this) I think it applies to embarked units as well, which can be much safer if they're faster. Of course, without a lot of water, it becomes less useful, so, situational.

    I also put pretty high value on any "freebie" wonders, like the Taj Mahal, Oracle, Sydney Opera House, or the Porcelin Tower. Not just because they offer a free great person, tech, or social policy, but because those freebies don't count toward the ever-rising total for those things. For example, a free great scientist won't make it harder to get future great people, while manufacturing one on purpose will increase the number of points required. Even golden ages, which I've managed to pretty successfully spam in some games, can be extended very easily by these freebies. In the case of social policies, that's one free social policy towards victory that you'll never need to invest in later in the game.

    And of course, almost all wonders have good boosts to culture and great person generation that can't be ignored, even if the primary effect of the wonder is only mediocre. For cities with high production, cheap and fast wonders make building "bad" wonders much more useful because of this. In addition, there's always the fact that if you have it, someone else doesn't, which can only be a good thing.

    So, like everything else, I think it comes down to play style and situation, and yes, there are certainly some wonders that are simply better than others. As always, experiment, experiment, experiment!
     
  9. taltamir

    taltamir Chieftain

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    those are some good points... I have used my territory in combat often... go to war with an AI and he throws EVERYTHING at you... set up at the border to kill him on your side of the border so you get the bonuses... set up your artillery on your side of the border for the bonuses...
    It doesn't always works, but a sizable amount of time you use it.

    Isn't colossus just +1 to every water tile IN THIS CITY ONLY... that is a big one... the difference between a meh wonder and a good one is whether it impacts your entire empire or just one city.
    And fish or no fish, your coastal cities will work all the coastal tiles in their area sooner or later... so +1 food from them is great.


    Absolute truth!
     
  10. Teejvan

    Teejvan Chieftain

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    The Oracle is a must have if you are planning a Culture victory. Not only is it a free Social Policy, it's a Social Policy that doesn't increase the count. It's saving you nearly 3000 culture off the last Social Policy you need before you can build the Utopia Project.

    Also, The Great Library is a brilliant way to slingshot your way to Civil Service so that you can get the improved bonuses from City States, very useful with the Maritime ones.
     
  11. Show

    Show Chieftain

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    For oracle, 1st you can keep the policy in bank if you want and 2nd it doesn't increase culture cost to the next level, it's an independent bonus so 1 more policy at any point in the game is worth the same. It's worth as much culture as the following policy would cost you once game ends(even more if you got more than 1 free policy), probably is worth more culture than Stonehenge gets you in an entire game depending on the size of your empire, map speed and focus on culture
     
  12. delra

    delra Warlord

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    All good points guys. I started quite a worthwhile discussion here. :)

    The grudge I had against Oracle is that I can either get Philosophy or get Iron Working - and I much prefer Iron before I start my next cities so I don't settle that one tile too far. So I spend my Great Library tech on Iron (which then costs like 25 turns) rather than Philosophy. Guess I could go Monument -> Stonehenge -> Great Library (free philosophy) and start building Oracle right after the Library while I delay settling new cities until Iron is researched in the meantime. Then I'd grab a new city or two (depending how lucky I am with ruins and barb hunting to earn for purchasing settlers) and in the meantime going for Currency would be viable as I start building more units after Oracle is finished to get that Mint thingies that give me the shiny stuff I need.

    That's only 25 turns after all, getting Iron after Philosophy, it'll handicap me a bit - but only a bit and a free policy might pay me back for it. For example that Patronage thing that defaults relations to 20 allowing to bribe to an ally for 500 in one go. I'm going to do that run today.

    I still consider all the "free specialist" "free golden age" wonders useful only if I have all the good ones already and there's nothing else to work on. And early specialists I still think are better spent to improve that stupid single desert tile rather than an instant tech or a golden age - unless that tech is something an era forward which I badly need, Acoustics for example.
     
  13. jaycuhbbb

    jaycuhbbb Chieftain

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    Disagree with a few.


    But it's free and doesn't cause your next social policy to be a higher cost (I believe) therefore you will always have one more social policy than you otherwise would have... so it is worth it if not quite good.
    With tiles so weak in this game, golden ages are required. With the Taj, GAs only costing one great person infinitely, this wonder, rationalism social policy, Persia's trait, etc. it is quite possible and a good idea to spend 100+ turns in a golden age per game. This wonder is a MUST HAVE. Also, Taj Mahal seems to give an abnormally large golden age so it is also a very good wonder.

    As far as The Great Library, it comes perfectly in time to -> Civil Service (+1 irrigation) and projects you to the next era which is useful once you start acquiring city-state allies.

    One thing that I have always loved about Civ... there are uses for all wonders/units/abilities no matter how seemingly useless, in certain situations.
     
  14. Shillen

    Shillen Deity

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    I'm not a big fan of wonders in this game. Hammers are scarce and I'd rather build infrastructure/units, even though infrastructure costs maintenance. I don't feel like I get the benefit out of wonders that I got in previous civs because of the lack of other buildings in my city due to my wonder building.
     
  15. Thalassicus

    Thalassicus Bytes and Nibblers

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    Only two I disagree are bad:

    • Hanging Gardens - Science is tied to population now, so this directly boosts your science output. Ironically, this is more valuable if you have lots of big cities instead of lots of small ones (opposite of IV) since later population points are so hard to get in V, and there isn't a hard threshold of the unhappy/happy boundary for cities like in IV.
      Problem is, the AI's seem to rush to Hanging Gardens, never can actually build it.
    • Taj Mahal - The golden age provided by this is insanely long.
     
  16. Shillen

    Shillen Deity

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    Hanging Gardens comes too early in this game to make the population bonus worth it. You're lucky if you have 3 cities at that point and none of them are big.
     
  17. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

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    On epic speed as babylon, I had the Chichen Itza and Taj Mahal, and it gave me 27 turns of Golden Age.

    Porcelain Tower and Brandenburg Gate are must haves for Babylon because they provide double the Great Scientist points. Plus the free GS doesnt add to your GP timer, and the Great General gives you another Golden age.

    Oracle is a must have. It is more important than Great Library, though both are must haves for me as I play Babylon now, and they give +4 GS points early on in the game. Stonehenge too.

    Important Wonders for me:

    Stonehenge
    Great Library
    Oracle
    Pyramids if available and not taken by an AI, not really for the bonus but because Great Engineer points are very hard to get and this adds to the point from Stonehenge
    Chichen Itza - 2 Great Engineer points and 50% longer GA's, MUST HAVE!!!
    Porcelain Tower - Free Great Scientist, and +4 GS points as Babylon

    Himeji Castle and Kremlin - Even if the bonuses arent that great, they each give +4 culture, and more GS and GE points, and I want those.

    There is more to building wonders than just the base bonus provided, having a Great Person farm popping out 10+ Great Scientists and 5+ Great Engineers over the course of the game is very very powerful.
     
  18. slobberinbear

    slobberinbear Ursine Skald

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    I have mixed feelings on this. On the one hand, I agree with you that hammers are scarce and units (settlers, workers, and warriors) are key to early expansion. But with the right start and nearby marble, and possibly aided by a golden age, you can build wonders pretty quickly without interrupting your expansion horribly.

    But yes, Civ V is helping me break my Civ IV wonder addiction.
     
  19. Namel

    Namel Chieftain

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    Do Pyramids make it cheaper to produce a worker. Or does it make it faster for worker to improve land?
     
  20. bhavv

    bhavv Glorious World Dictator

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    Wonders are maintenence free, and most of them apply to all your cities which makes them worthwhile to build.

    Hagia Sophia is like having a free Garden in every city. Sistine Chapel is a huge maintenance free culture boost, Stonehenge gives the same bonus as 4 monuments without the maintenence cost.

    If anything, the slow build rate and maintenance cost on building gives me more reason to build wonders in Civ V. Its really not to hard to dedicate your capital to building wonders, and using other cities for anything else. One City Challenges are also a good time to build lots of wonders.
     

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