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Old 04-13-2012, 05:43 PM   #1
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I'm playing FOTS at the moment, but this really pertains to shogun 2 and ROTS as well.

As I see it, most economy buildings are too expensive for the marginal benefit they provide. The FOTS campaign lasts from 1864 to a deadline of 1876 - that's less than 300 turns, and that's only if you take extremely long to finish it (I've triggered Realm Divide around turn 65 in my current campaign). Most of the economy upgrade buildings (farms, markets, industrial chain buildings etc) take upwards of 40-60 turns just to pay for their construction cost if we assume a constant 25% tax rate. The single most outrageous example is the Ore Processing Plant, the highest level gold mine chain upgrade. It increases wealth to 2000 per turn from the previous level mine that yielded 1400, ie. a 600 wealth increase. The OPP costs 14000 to construct. 14000! Let's be generous and assume an impressive 33% tax rate. That means once the lengthy 10 turn upgrade to OPP is complete, we now gain an extra 200 income from the province. That means even with this great tax rate it takes 70 turns just for the silly mine upgrade to return investment. Basically, this is a building you will realistically never want to build since the game will be over long before the upgrade is worthwhile.

The OPP is an extreme example but all the structure costs are high. I find farms, for instance, to be rarely worth upgrading unless the soil quality is very good (and even if it is it will still take many turns for it to pay off). Economic upgrades always need to be viewed in the light that they are a tradeoff that lowers your potential military power until in the far future: The money you invested into that farm upgrade could have been combat units instead and those units just might have been what you needed to win rather than lose a crucial battle. It doesn't matter how well you've upgraded infrastructure if the enemy just takes over the province - or razes it to the ground! In that light, given how quickly the tide of battle can turn (well actually it doesn't since the AI is a pushover, but... yeah) it just isn't sensible that buildings take those 40-60 turns just to return investment. It takes just one well-placed sneak naval backdoor invasion to torch your 40000 infrastructure investment in one turn.
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Old 04-13-2012, 06:47 PM   #2
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I think you're missing the main theme of total war economy. The economy is more geared to offsetting unit upkeep rather than accumulating a cache of wealth.

Wealth per turn is all that matters, and as you increase your wealth infrastructure you gain more money per turn, thereby allowing more units to be fielded and maintained with which you capture more towns to increase wealth per turn and so on. Granted, the buildings can seem expensive, but paying back their cost is not important as long as your wealth per turn is increased positively allowing greater fiscal opportunities to field more soldiers. If you do not upgrade your economic infrastructure, you may have a much harder time offsetting that upkeep if you choose to just blow all your cash on 20 line infantry.

Thats my personal take on it anyway.

Last edited by Bosphorian: 04-13-2012 at 06:51 PM.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:06 PM   #3
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^ Also to make sure you're making a decent income after realm divide, since no one will trade with you.
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Old 04-13-2012, 07:15 PM   #4
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Post RD, don't neglect the opportunity for the occasional vassal, they are actually guaranteed trading partners. This was more useful in S2 and ROTS though, where RD truly was an economic train wreck.

I've found the economic piece post RD in FOTS is actually quite a bit simpler, after all, if I've managed the map properly, the whole island is already split up and pretty much fighting a civil war between shogunate and emperor forces. Given that we're either already there or headed there with RD, RD itself doesn't much matter. The clans supporting my cause traded with me before, and they trade with me after. And those opposing my side, have mostly refused to trade and typically already started attacking me even before RD, so no loss if they refuse to trade afterwards.
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Old 04-13-2012, 08:54 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Bosphorian View Post
I think you're missing the main theme of total war economy. The economy is more geared to offsetting unit upkeep rather than accumulating a cache of wealth.
On the contrary, you're the one missing the point.

I can see what you're getting at about the economy being about maximizing allowed upkeep but here's a better way of looking at it: If you invest in farms and infrastructure and I simply save up the money, then in 5-20 turns I'll have a very large treasury. I can use this to issue tons of agent actions against you, or I can simply use it to raise and field a very large army, drawing its upkeep from this large treasury - I can even afford to overspend for a while.

In 50-80 turns, your investment into farms will start paying off and you'll be able to outproduce me and field greater armies - but until then, I'll actually have more money than you, and I'm going to use it to build armies bigger than yours and use those to take your territories and that nice infrastructure you built for me. You need to survive for this lengthy 50+ turn period before you gain the advantage. 50 turns? Good luck.

That's my point. The time to return investment is far too large for almost all the economy buildings. 40-70+ turns is just unreasonable.

A much more reasonable building is the basic lvl 1 Cottage Industry building. +560 wealth at an investment cost of 1200 - with the 25% tax rate again, that's ~10 turns to pay for itself. I can see 10, 15 or 20 turns to pay itself back but 50? 70? On buildings that take up to 10 turns just to construct? No.

Originally Posted by 3asytarg3t View Post
Post RD
No worries. I'm making 24185 koku a turn. It's Winter, 1868. Obviously not an indepence-game, though.

Last edited by Apheirox: 04-13-2012 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 04-13-2012, 09:52 PM   #6
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You're not taking into account the factor of growth. The more provinces prosper, the more income they generate the next turn. So it's never actually a truly flat rate of return. That extra 2000 wealth will grow over time, assuming growth remains positive. So it's in reality not just +200 per turn, it's adding a small bit every turn. The lower the tax rate, the faster your towns' growth rate. In the long run low taxes benefit you.
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Old 04-14-2012, 04:25 AM   #7
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Town growth is nigh irrelevant. Those '+2 to town growth' or whatever bonuses are completely insignificant compared to the base bonuses. Again, the game only lasts slightly less than 300 turns, and that's only if you're taking an excessively large amount of time to win. If the game lasted 2000 turns, you'd be right. It doesn't.

Running low taxes is never beneficial unless your whole empire is unhappy due to some special event. Low taxes mean less income which mean less money to invest in infrastructure and smaller armies with which to defend the empire.

Last edited by Apheirox: 04-14-2012 at 04:28 AM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:49 AM   #8
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I think you need to play a game like Victoria II where you have a very lengthy time span to play around with and massive control of your nations economy.By your posts you seem to be more into the economy aspect of Total War but are clearly missing the point even though you insist other wise that does not make you correct.

I have been playing Total War since Rome and generally speaking the economy system is the same throughout the Total War series and your taxes and what you build does have an effect.If it was very easy to earn lots of money then Total War would be very easy because you would have a large treasury which would make creating large armies and fleets very easy and therefore make the game very easy because you would either be able to spam lots of very cheap units and just over whelm.The economy is set up the way it is to make it more challenging to to play the game.I cant speak for others but when I start having a huge surplus of money the game starts to get boring because I loose the challenge of having to manage the strain on a smaller budget a sizable military is.

Your statements are only showing everyone else that you misunderstand the economy system in Total War by a long shot lowing taxes increases growth which means more money generated in a region over time.And you are complaining when you claim to have 24000 a turn by 1868 that seems a little bogus to be honest if that where true why would care if the econ stuff was not a return(even though they are) you have tons of money I do not care really because my goal is to improve my clans regions not purely just to have a large bank account.

Total War is about fighting battles in real time(yeah I and most others will auto resolve the clearly lop sided ones)and the campaign modes map and province management are about planning each region to support in some way your military force(have stables in one,warrior monks in another,so on so forth)the agents are an aspect of them game but still the bread and butter of Total War is the real time battles all other aspects of the game add to the playability if Total War where just a series of battles and nothing else I do not think it would be as popular.

If you are more interested in economic matters then you should really try Victoria 2 I think you would really enjoy that game and will fill a void that Total Wars economy does not fill.One game can not satisfy every need I like what Total Wars does from the military battle stand pint Victoria 2,Europa Universals 3,and Hearts of Iron,fill the void of greater detail in the areas of nation management that Total War does not cover.You are expecting something from a game that has a different primary focus.

Last edited by Yokozunayojimbo: 04-15-2012 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 06:03 AM   #9
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I had 24000 surplus a turn due to playing as Satsuma, surrounded by allies and vassals. I decided to disband some of my army and just build the economy simply to avoid finishing the game too soon since I wanted to try unlocking the various late technologies. Then I just launched a lot of agent incursions into the enemy lands on the other side of the map. I had so much money I could simply buy every single army I encountered. I finished the game on turn 132, Hard, Domination victory. - that's early 1869. At that point I was making just short of 50000 koku per turn even with paying the upkeep for all the AI's armies.

The point of that game was, however, that I held back. I could have won at least 30-40 turns earlier had I simply stopped building any infrastructure and just built up a giant army and invaded from the sea. Even with my sitting back doing nothing it still only took 132 turns to win, however. If a building takes 80 turns just to pay itself back when the game could have been over in 100, something is wrong. That is the point of this thread.

Last edited by daelin4: 04-16-2012 at 11:12 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:57 AM   #10
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The way I see it is, I don't really look for any building/investment to pay itself back, but rather generate that little exta income so my upkeep can be more and more sustainable. As long as I don't have a problem with upkeep and taxes then I think the investment served its purpose.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:14 PM   #11
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I understand what they were trying to do, but they really went overboard with the prices of high end buildings. Some of them genuinely aren't worth the cost. They should either lower the price or add global effects (a la vanilla S2) to justify the cost.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Niscimble View Post
Some of them genuinely aren't worth the cost.
It's not just some of them, it's almost all of them - with notable exceptions such as the first level Cottage Industry building. If you are genuinely trying to win, optimal strategy is to avoid building the majority of the economy buildings, farms included. It's always better to build military and/or agents instead and use conquest to fuel your economy. Let the enemy build the stupidly over-priced buildings for you!

It wasn't even correct what I first posted about the Ore Processing Plant being the worst - the Mint, that is, the alternate max level Gold Mine chain upgrade is even worse from a purely economical standpoint. You pay 10000 koku to upgrade wealth output from 1400 to 1700. Even if we assume a generous tax rate of 33% it still takes 100 turns for it to pay itself back, and then we aren't even factoring in the fact it takes something like 10 turns just to construct - I'm pointing out, once again, that the game can never possibly last more than just short of 300 turns. The OPP is still a worse building, though, because it creates modernization unhappiness (which is an equally idiotic aspect of the economy - there's no conceivable situation where you'd want these modernization points it provides since you'll certainly always have modernization maxed by the time you could possibly want to construct the OPP, so the modernization is just a liability that eats up the entire eco boost gained from the building due to having to garrison more heavily).

Last edited by Apheirox: 04-15-2012 at 01:54 PM.
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Old 04-15-2012, 01:53 PM   #13
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Trade is still really important. Stuff like coal, iron and tea can really exponentially increase your income with trade. I would say getting tradeable goods like those seem as or more important than upgrading all your buildings and farms. Definitely after RD you should make as many vassals as you can just to trade with them, it's an easy way to make lots of money without having to take over provinces, repair their buildings, then upgrade their buildings.

Gold mines always seem kind of overrated to me in all versions of S2, people gush about how much $$$ they make but when I take them and upgrade them they never seem to add to my income a lot. Also I guess in FOTS there's no metsuke-style units to max out your tax income in a province. Geishas add to growth which helps but the effect is slower.
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Old 04-15-2012, 08:05 PM   #14
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Yes, trade is king, and vassals are often well worth it. Trade is arguably even better than in both vanilla and ROTS, especially considering how easy it is to have good relationships with half the map. If you can sell all resources most trade building upgrades pay for themselves in just 5-10 turns, and it gets even better with technology. Another thing that's really useful that I think most people overlook is looting. There are negatives to using it, but in many situations the advantages far outweigh those. Cashing in an instant 18000 koku instead of occupying a settlement that yields just 300/turn and is exposed to enemy attack is very useful.

Honestly though, the economy just proves the developers don't really understand their own game. Even the third time around with FOTS they still don't have a working system.

Last edited by Apheirox: 04-15-2012 at 08:10 PM.
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Old 04-16-2012, 08:04 PM   #15
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Another function of upgrading buildings is to boost (or in a few cases lower) your modernisation rating. Particularly if you have a small empire you may have to upgrade some expensive buildings to unlock the highest research tiers.

In general, even though your criticism is mostly valid, I agree with Yoko you might want to switch to a different game. The fact that you went through the trouble to actually do the sums and post in this forum about it shows you are way more involved in the economy than most TW-players (who are mainly in it for the fighting).

Right now it seems you are not enjoying yourself and getting very worked up about something I'm afraid the developers won't change anytime soon. And judging by your other posts there is a slew of other issues, small and large, that you find annoying as well. I'm assuming your complaints are mostly valid (you seem to do the research), but if I disliked that much about a game I'd consider calling it a day.

Last edited by Batavorn: 04-16-2012 at 08:11 PM.
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