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Let's Talk Grain: Production, Consumption and Sustainability

3 Replies
Lockdown51
12 October, 2016, 4:57 AM UTC

Dear Nice Lady (your avatar is a lady so I'm going to say lady) who manages the forum and has to reply to all of us plebs,

Hi! It's me again! Guy who recently complained about unit training speed. There is a TL:DR at the bottom.

So I think those that have played for a while have figured out that grain is just a number. You have to play that way actually since grain production from farms is actually very pitiful.


Let's look at the farms for a moment. At perfect maximum output a lvl 25 farm only generates a poultry 1000 grain per hour. Do you have any idea how long it will take to get up to that level of production? Epochs. Actual epochs of time will have passed before you can get to that level. But let's imagine you somehow have made it to having 6 lvl 25 farms. Congratulations, you now have an amazing output of 6000 grain per hour. You can get a boost to it some more with items you can buy and with your Coalition bonuses and with your Dominion bonus. However, the resource boost and the Dominion bonus are only sustainable options for wallet warriors, and the Coalition bonus is out of your control so I will not count it for the purposes of this post.


6000 grain per hour sounds pretty nice. Until you realize that grain is the scarcest and most valuable of all the resources. And it also sort of doesn't matter, which I will get to in a moment. So, 6000 grain per hour minus whatever grain your troops eat. What's that you say? Troops eat? As a former troop IRL, I can say that yes, troops eat. We get grouchy otherwise. That means your grain production is not actually 6000 per hour. It's something less. Which sort of sucks since Wood and Bronze have a maximum output of 4500 each with nothing sucking away the output.


6000 grain can support 6000 swordsmen or 6000 javelins or a combination of the two. Let's assume you do a 50/50 split so you have 3000 swords and 3000 javs. Now your grain production is at net 0. You can't get any more grain because all your men eat it all. Okay seems fair. But you want to build something and the builders also want to eat something too. Damn those ancient greek union mandated snack breaks.


Anyway, you have to get more grain. Where can you get more grain you ask? Well, Persian Positions is an unreliable source so we will discount that. You can't besiege cities for grain for some reason. I know the Forum Lady likes to use "IRL" as a justification but Forum Lady, ancient armies got a lot of their food supply from the surrounding country side. It is only in the extremely modern era that armies have even attempted to be completely self sustaining on their own supply lines. So make grain collectable from sieges. Here is your IRL reasoning. Right now, your city has to feed the troops, right? If the troops are sieging a city they are getting their food from the surrounding countryside. If they are getting their food from another source they don't need to eat the food from your city. You should be seeing a net gain in that situation.


However, that is not the case so sieging won't get you grain. This leaves raiding as the only real way to get grain. Okay, that is fine. This is a war game after all. Also the expending of resources is necessary. 1st off this is a business and the devs do have a right to make money off of it. Having troops die off gives incentive to people to buy either time boosts to train troops faster (the train times are still too damn slow) or to buy better troops outright. Things like Champions who will wreck your day. Or you can buy Grain, (and Wood and Bronze) directly from store. The prices aren't bad admittedly and thanks to the tournament system you can make a decent amount of Drachma. So kudos on that.


Still this post is about sustainability. At maximum effort from the Academy, you get a tiny 8% grain consumption reduction. That is pathetic. Sad. Depressing. Insulting. Do you know how many scrolls it takes to get that minuscule discount? 80. 80 scrolls. At 0.1% per scroll it is just sad. Especially considering the time to reach lvl 80 in the Academy. It's not just the 80 levels themselves, it's 132 scrolls just to unlock the grain consumption tech. All told that's 192 scrolls and countless hours, nay days, for a small reward. It's like climbing Everest and being given a medal that a 3 year old cut out and colored for you. You get something but the reward is found severely lacking.


Now now Forum Lady, I can already hear you typing away so let me stop you and save you a bit of text. Yes we can get a very nice, fat, juicy grain consumption reduction by building a Temple to Demeter. 89% when maxed out. It is locked behind several layers of agreements and you have to pray to the Gods to get lucky in which article of agreement you get each day, but eventually you can get it. Yes you can buy an article a day (can you buy more than one?) that is targeted at the agreement. But for who are not figuratively throwing money at their screens, it's at least 12 days for that agreement alone, not to mention the fact that as mentioned, the article you get is random based on what is next in the agreement tree. It can take a while and it largely out of you control.


So to get a steady supply of grain you have to raid. With your 3000 swordsmen. Well, 3120 with your 8% from the academy. Let's even be generous and say hoplites instead of swords because they have the same grain consumption and better carrying capacity. 3120 hoplites who all survive the fight to carry away 102,960 worth of resources. Sounds impressive. Except for a few things. That amount is split between Grain, Wood and Bronze. So 102,960 becomes 34,320 resources of each. But that even that has limits. Yes there is the galley trick, but that caps you at 70k combined resources and you can't even prioritize a resource over the others. And you are limited to those 70k resources from a player per week. Or basically 10k per day, which can potentially be only 3333 grain per day. And if they have a high enough acropolis you get nothing. You lose sir. Good day. That's all folks.

On top of that you are limited arbitrarily by the devs to 10 raids every 25 hours. Forum Lady I've seen you say that you guys (devs) don't limit player interactions (specifically in that one thread where someone was complaining about a bigger coalition beating up their smaller coalition) and frankly that is a bald faced lie. You do limit player actions. In many many many many many ways. So at least own up to it. Say "For game balance reasons" things are the way they are. At least then you aren't lying. And don't use the IRL argument. It's weak. Admit to being arbitrary. For example why is Grain the only resources with an active drain on it? Well because IRL troops have to eat. Fair enough. Then why no drain on Wood and Bronze? IRL buildings needs to be maintained. IRL weapons get maintained and replaced all the time. See? Arbitrary. Or just say game balance. Sounds less mean.

Another sources of Grain apart from Raiding is Emporiums. They are death traps. Extremely slow loading speeds means that your troops are stuck at an Emporium for hours if not days. In that time they will be kill. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when. So either you do tiny little dinks that don't get you enough grain to do anything or you lose a massive chuck of your defensive army. And to add insult to injury the defeated troops don't even bring back anything with them.


Now back to Grain. Basically, beef up the grain consumption from scrolls and lower the Temple of Demeter to compensate. Why? Because you can get to the scrolls tech faster and more reliably than you can the Agreement with Eleusis. It gives the player way more control over their Grain, which is what this post has been about. Giving players, especially early players how don't have a lot of well anything, more control over Grain would be a great help. As it stands can and will build troops faster than their ability to sustain those troops given the games current set up (even with the glacial troops building speeds). This leads to people having to raid more (or buy) to get grain. Alternatively, it also makes people leave the game because of how brutal grain management is. Especially early game.

I have an army of about 6000 men. I'm running a 6000 grain per hour deficit. I have 30 lvls of grain consumption scrolls done for a pathetic 3% reduction. This should be more. Much more. I'm Gods knows how many days away from even seeing a Temple to Demeter. Balance this. Between Demeter and the scrolls you can have a 97% reduction which is great. It is just horrifically placed and implemented.

By having the disproportionately huge bonus on the temple, which again is locked behind the powers of the all powerful RNG, you are taking away player choice. You have the scrolls, which is a system completely controlled by the player in their progression of the academy tech tree, give out a tiny benefit. A very tiny benefit especially considering the deliberate amount of time and planning the player does to get there. This belittles players actions. It really does. 8% is insignificant next to 89%. Balance it out. 80 levels in the academy so have it be something like 0.5% per level. That way the academy gets you 40% and Demeter gets you 57%. Player actions are rewarded and the temple is still highly valuable.

TL:DR: Change the Academy Grain consumption to 40%. Nerf Temple of Demeter to 57%.

Sincerely,

The guy formerly known as the guy who complained about Unit Training Speed recently
UTC +7:00
Drag-Theseus
Moderator
12 October, 2016, 7:45 AM UTC

I'm not Lady so I won't speak much lol

I will say only..good analyze.. and if you have any suggestions, you can write them in Topic Suggestions 
I'm just Time Lord....
UTC +7:00
Alyona Kolomiitseva
Community Manager
12 October, 2016, 8:12 AM UTC

Very well said, Lockdown :)

Actually you're right that ancient armies always could find some food around them, in the near villages or somewhere else. 

But as you said, it's not a real life. It's a game. Of course it would be really cool if our Units could find some supplies while being on a raid mission. But our game mechanics has certain limits. And one of them is that one type of Resources is used to maintain your Units. However, they still wouldn't die even if you're out of Grain. 

You will be limited a bit (can't build, can't boost Units training, etc), but you still won't lose your Units.

As for the consumption issue, it's difficult to max the bonuses you've mentioned, I agree. But it's possible. no one says that you need to build a huge army in the first few months of playing. 

By the time you grow your army you will have enough Scrolls for the Temple of Demetris Agreement. Step by step you will upgrade it along with your City. And finally some day your Units won't starve anymore.
Plarium Community Manager. Please note that I will be unable to respond to your private messages, review your tickets, or check your account information. All technical issues should be directed to our Support Team at plrm.me/Support_Plarium
UTC +2:00
blazegatti
12 October, 2016, 9:43 AM UTC
wow that info was very useful thank you!
UTC +7:00
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