Are pantheons worth doing?
User ID: 940073
Post ID: 592796
2 April, 2019, 3:48 AM UTC
Recently, one friend asked, “Are pantheons worth doing?” I replied, “It depends. Are you attacking or defending? If attacking, it can be one of the best strategies in the game. But if you are defending, it is one of the worst strategies.” The next text said, “Defending is bad!? Why!?”
Pantheons (pans) are places located in the center of the world map. They are held by Persians at first but can be captured by a player or a group of players from the same coalition. After capturing, defenders must station defense units to protect them from attacks by other players or Persian units.
Often coalitions use pans to get points for events (EG, Pan, PVP, XP tournaments). They also can be used to get coa achievements, special bonuses, and unit rewards. Holding pans can help increase the rank and reputation of a coa, too.
Atm, Plarium has made pan offense a much better game strategy than pan defense.
In fact, PL has made pan defense one of the worst strategies. To understand why, let’s look at some reasons.
1: Losses from upgrading and maintaining pantheons.
Let’s begin with basic pantheon upgrades. After a pan is captured, defenders have the option of upgrading it. However, there is a cost.
Cost to upgrade (lvl1 to lvl5): 7 million resources.
(3->4 20kx100 contributions=2mil)
As a base value, we use 1 defense phalanx unit (Thureophoros). 1 Th = 5k resources. (*These units are often used for event rewards). So, 7mil res. for a full pan upgrade = 1400 Th. resource equivalent. When divided between 100 coa members, the cost to get a pan to lvl 5 is 14 Th equiv. for each player. (14 Th equiv. = 70k res. cost to each pan defender for the pan upgrade).
This means, pan defenders must always begin at a loss. (-14 Th equiv. to get the pan fully upgraded, before any interaction or reward is gained). By contrast, pan attackers can use those res. equiv. to build offense units (EG, Promachos 1=10,610; 70k Th res. equiv. = 6.6 Promachos res. equiv.)
So, EG, pan defenders = 0 units to start. But, Pan attackers = 6.6 Promacho units to start (res. value equiv.)
Next, let’s look at maintaining a pan.
If the pan is attacked and successfully raided, more defense player resources are needed to upgrade it again. This is an immediate loss in resource equiv. to defenders. But, attackers can use the res. equiv. to build more offense units. This adds to game imbalance between pan def and pan off. It means, defense players must spend more resources to rebuild the pan, but offense players can use equiv. resources to build more units to attack. Defenders must also use more resources to rebuild def units lost in the attack. If this cycle continues, pan attackers (offense) can exponentially get stronger, while pan defenders (defense) can become exponentially weaker. This is an important reason why pan offense is effective as a long-term strategy while pan defense is one of the worst strategies.
2: The Myth of Orichalcum
Next, let’s look at orichalcum (‘ori’). When a coalition controls a pan, it may start generating ori. The higher the pan upgrade, the more ori can be created. However, the number of ori 1 pan can hold and make each day is limited. EG, at lvl 1, only 3k max can be held at 1 time. For lvl 5, 30k max can be held at 1 time. Research indicated pans replenish ori fully about four times per day. But with 100 coa members as a base, this provides each member with only 120 ori (at lvl 1) or 1200 ori (at pan max lvl 5) per pan per day. Also, in the example, ori cannot be collected from a low lvl (1) pan, so spending resources to upgrade the pan to a higher lvl is required to collect ori.
Ori can be used to upgrade regular units to veteran units. Any benefit? A vet unit has less grain consumption (33%-50% less, depending on the unit). That may be useful, but only if the player has a very large army. A player would need to upgrade many thousands of units to see any significant change to overall grain consumption. Also, most players will lose units quickly from normal game play, including vet units. So, this bonus may be not significant enough for most players to see any real value.
Any other benefit? A vet unit can get +5% strength bonus to off or def. (EG, 1 Th base value = 400 def, so vet bonus can add +20 def pts. New base total after ori upgrade = 420 def). That may be useful, but only if players can upgrade many thousands of units to see a significant change in overall def unit strength. In the example above, 1200 ori can only upgrade 30 Th max per day (1Th costs 40 ori to upgrade to vet status, if academy is upgraded to max. ori vet cost reduction lvl 50, if coa ‘Hammers of Hephaestus’ achievement is lvl 10). If players do not have max academy and coalition ori reduction cost upgrades, then the ori cost will be much higher (50% min. fewer units or less than 15 Th, in this example). So, what is the total def gain? In the example, each defender would get only 600 defense points max total (30 Th x 20 def pts), or less than 300 defense points max total without the correct ori upgrades. Surprisingly, that is less def strength than just 2 Th units. Because of this, any gain from ori to overall player defense strength is very low. Defenders risk losing thousands, millions, billions… in defense strength to hold a pan, but get very little overall def increase from pan ori defense vet upgrades. Another reason pan defense is one of the worst strategies in the game.
3: Pan interactions
Let’s begin with pan def bonus. First, pans lvl 1-4 do not get any additional defense bonus from the pan itself. So, players contribute resources to upgrade it, but get nothing in return for def stat improvement. This means, at that lvl, defenders pay in, but get nothing back. Second, reportedly pan lvl 5 can get a 25% bonus added to unit def. However, during many attacks, this feature was checked to see if it was true. From the data collected, it was not. At no point did pan def units show +25% in the on-screen unit stats or in the pan def unit screen for any lvl 5 pan. Also, after the attacks, calculations were made to see if pan (lvl 5) 25% bonus was added, using the PVP-PT per unit base calculation method (algo provided by a former mod). In the examples reviewed, no extra 25% def bonus from the pan itself was detected. True, it is possible the method contained an error, or calculation mistakes occurred. However, we have used this method for other events with high degree of accuracy (EG pvp pts earned from emporium exchanges). More likely, either pan lvl (5) +25% def bonus does not exist, or it had a bug and did not show or work correctly during the attacks. If it exists, then this bug may be similar to another bug detected multiple times for the Phylarch defense bonus (+25% at max lvl), posted before on the forum discussion board. In that case, the defense activator did not give defenders the correct bonus or event results. These reoccurring defense bugs almost seem deliberate, to reduce defense player stats when they are not paying attention to result data. That means, fewer points, rewards and units gained from defending pans. More reasons why pan defense is not an effective strategy.
Next, let’s look at new additions to the game, Elysian units. Pezo (Elysian light infantry unit) has a new upgrade skill, ‘Defense Bonus Increase.” At max lvl 10, the bonus is +14%. It means, if activated, defense players at pans can get +14% def power. However, Dimacha (Elysian cavalry unit) has a new upgrade skill, ‘Enemy Defense Bonus Decrease.’ At max lvl 10, the bonus is +18%. It means, if activated, offense players attacking pans can reduce pan unit defense power by 18%.
In total, that is a difference of 4% in favor of the attacker. So, pan defenders will automatically get 28.5% less defense bonus (4/14 = 28.5%). Another way, attackers will automatically get 22.2% more offense bonus (4/18 = 22.2%). What does this mean? After these upgrades are completed, if activated, attackers will see much better results than defenders for event points earned, rewards gained, and # of units lost, on res. or gold value equiv. This will also add more to game imbalance.
Now, let’s look at timing and use of bonuses. Pan defense players have many disadvantages. First, if the coa has more than 1 pan, defenders usually must spread def units across them. That dilutes total defense power for each pan defender. True, as a coa, a combined defense can be very strong at a pan. However, for each defender, a divided army generally yields a lower PVP-PT ratio, which means fewer individual rewards at cost during tournaments. Also, a spread defense means defenders will need to get, upgrade and put more pan def guardians across the pans for the guardian bonus. Often pan def guardians will not be the same grade, lvl, def strength across all the pans. So, it is likely a def guardian used will be weaker than 1 very strong pan offense guardian used in an attack. By contrast, attackers can concentrate their offense units into 1 very large attack (1,2 or 3 players), raising the PVP-PT ratio, using 1 very strong pan offense guardian. True, there is a 33% chance attacker’s guardian will not work (fire, water, earth calculation). But the advantage goes to the attacker with the superior force, with a 33% chance of winning (+25% bonus, pan defender guardian is stunned) or with a 33% chance of tying (no bonus, but pan def guardian stunned after pan is successfully attacked by a larger army). Also, pan defenders often make a big mistake with guardians. If def players send an equal number of guardian types to a pan (EG 10 water, 10 fire), then there is no dominate affinity. Because of this, pan defenders risk losing the 25% pan def guardian bonus automatically. That is a big advantage to attackers, especially if they hit with 1 very strong guardian together.
Second, unless a timed friendly pan exchange happens, pan attacks can occur without warning. It means, defenders may not be on line to respond or adjust defenses. Also, defenders usually do not have max defense items or bonuses activated when the attack occurs (EG, dominion activator, phylarch defense bonus, defense item, special city schema bonus activator). Similarly, if pan defenders activate these items, there is a risk they will expire before an attack occurs. True, some items may be extended on time (EG, dom activator), but most require players do that manually. Other items would be very expensive to activate all the time. By contrast, attackers can coordinate an attack at 1 specific time together, with all offense bonus items and activators on. This is both stronger and more cost-effective. Defenders most likely will not have all bonuses and activators on at the time of the attack. That is a big disadvantage to defenders and adds to game imbalance. Also, defenders can expect fewer event pts and rewards, with bigger losses on res. and gold value equiv. compared to attackers with full bonuses and items activated.
Third, currently there are no special items in the market for ‘pan spy protection’ or ‘pan full protection’. By contrast, attackers can buy and use ‘spy protection’ or ‘full city protection’. Attackers can also use ‘hide units instantly’ or ‘special city schema’ items that give other types of protection. This gives a big advantage to attackers, who can hit a pan with max effect and remain protected in the city. Defenders, however, cannot use these items for pan defense, adding more to game imbalance.
So, are pans worth the risk? For attackers, pan offense can be very rewarding if planned well. Plarium set it up this way, and new game changes make this strategy even better. For defenders, however, the risk can be very high with poor results expected. For most game situations, the best strategy is to ‘maximize rewards, minimize losses’. Sadly, defending pans is generally the opposite of this strategy. Pan defender losses can grow exponentially due to pan resource upgrade requirements. Pan defender losses can exceed recovery rates by a disproportionate amount, too. Pan defender losses can occur randomly at any time, often during low quality reward events or when no reward events are active. Pan defenders often cannot take full advantage of bonuses or items due to bad timing and known bugs, too. Pan defenders must also face attackers with potentially greater % bonus gains and special protection items that pans do not have. Together, this means pan defense has a high risk, low reward profile. For most players, it is also neither sustainable long-term nor rewarding as a net positive strategy, on res. or gold value. Heavy coining may be required to maintain a def net neutral position, but that is something only very high-level players can afford. Even in that case, pan def can yield a net negative result on res. or gold value at cost.
So, overall, are pans good for business? Yes, absolutely!! Good for game balance? No, not really. Good for game interaction? Depends which side you are on. Play smart, good luck.
**Please post your comments below, attacker and defender perspectives welcome. Also, if you have suggestions how to make game play for more fun, strategic and rewarding, post and let Plarium know!!
User ID: 604215
Post ID: 592868
2 April, 2019, 9:16 AM UTC
Awesome synopsis KJM
There is another advantage to giving your troops vet status.
For the people with massive armies - vet troops use less command points when you assign them to an action.
An example is Agema units ... an Agema horse unit use 4 command points against the max force limit you can send on an action ... A vet Agema uses 3.
This means the people with enough units to max out their force limit can send 25% more Agema to a target in a single attack, add this to the extra combat value that vet troops have can make a massive difference to a battle.
Some units such as Psilos the difference in command points is more extreme ... a psilos uses 1 command point per unit, vet use .5 per unit.
For units such as these you can double the number of troops that can participate in an action that has a force limit.
User ID: 940073
Post ID: 592883
2 April, 2019, 10:09 AM UTC
Good point. That force limit adjustment can make a big difference to overall results, especially when coordinating as a group.
Thank you for mentioning that!
User ID: 7834857
Post ID: 592898
2 April, 2019, 10:48 AM UTC
Hello! Good research, I'm impressed!
From my side, I should admit that it's absolutely up to each player or each team which style of playing to choose - defensive or offensive. I think both of them have certain benefits.