Ok, here’s a thread that will gather information and detail the issues with the current promotion system in the hopes that someone somewhere will consider patching it to make the game more enjoyable. This is not a complaints thread about specific unit uselessness (Mostly, but there's some obvious ones), but rather a thread that will show all of the various issues with respect to upgrades, promotions, etc of the various unit lines.
edit: Note: A lot of this information is spread around various threads already, or random posts, but it seemed appropriate to gather everything into one common thread to show how everything is tied together. I'm sure there's a mod for some of these things, but the whole system needs a fix, and I'd rather the 2K/Firaxis devs add the fixes to the core game now vs. waiting til the code SDK comes out to do it for them.
Suggestions can be made, questions will be asked to see what people expect. And well, if 2K/firaxis won’t make the changes, a mod will eventually come out (post-code SDK release) to handle the system changes since not all of the issues can be dealt with via XML (that I have found yet).
I'll try to keep things compiled by unit types, then we’ll get into the deeper issues. There are some basic issues when it comes to counters, and when units obsolete.
This thread will also a compilation of the various ‘corner cases’ where the promotion/upgrade system fails to address doubling up ‘special’ promotions to generate super units. (as well as all of those 'negative' promotions that stick around but shouldn't)
This is a minor issue, so it might as well go first. The mechanic, in general, used by the game is that a unit obsoletes when the next unit in the line is available; unless that next unit requires a strategic resource. Here are some units that break the mold:
Warrior (UU Jaguar – Aztec)
- upgrades to Swordsmen
- Obsoletes at Metal Casting.
- Very first unit of the game. It follows the 'doesn't obsolete due to next unit requiring a strategic resource' requirement mostly. Given that Metal Casting is the very next tech after Iron Working, and doesn't provide a new unit, this leaves you with nothing to upgrade to anyways (since the next unit in that path is Longswords which also need iron). If you never find Iron, you can never upgrade your units into the riflemen and above paths; which have no strategic resource needs. So that early Jaguar rush, or a planned upgraded Mohawk Warrior or Legion rush, leaves you effectively out in the cold with units that you might as well delete if you can't get some iron.
- Might be hard to code, but allow warriors to upgrade to Spearmen if you have 0 Iron available. This fits with the goody hut upgrade system.
- Allow warriors to upgrade to Musketmen if no iron is available. (keeps you on the warrior path without diving into the anti-mobility line)
- Have Warriors obsolete at Gunpowder. At least this way, you can safely expect to be using a new basic melee unit.
Swordsmen (UU – Mohawk Warrior – Iroquois, Legion - Roman)
- upgrades to Longswordsmen
– Obsolete at Gunpowder, not Steel
- Basically, there's no use of waiting til gunpowder to obsolete this unit; except to allow Iroquois and Roman players/AI to spam the Swordsmen a little longer before upgrading them to Steel.
- Should obsolete at Steel to be consistent.
Horsemen UU (Companion Cavalry - Greeks)
- upgrades to Knights
- Obsoletes at Metallurgy
- This is one of the weird ones. It obsoletes at a counter to Cavalry/Knights (Lancers), which breaks the normal mechanic.
- It should obsolete at Chivalry to be consistent.
Lancer UU (Sipahi - Ottomans)
- upgrades to Anti-tank Gun
- Obsoletes at Combustion
- the Lancer breaks the general rule of unit upgrades. It obsoletes at combustion, and not when Anti-tank guns appear (at replaceable parts).
- It should obsolete when the anti-tank gun appears (replaceable parts)
-- Note: see below for a possible change to this which would leave the Lancer obsoleting at combustion
- No upgrades (except by goodie hut)
- Obsoletes at Scientific Theory
- Just adding for completeness. There's really no reason for Scouts to obsolete at Scientific Theory. (what, we start thinking scientifically, so scouting is bad??) but there it is.
ok, now that that's done, on to some 'bigger' issues.
Unit upgrade paths by type
- and promotion/upgrade path issues/changes.
- Aside from the previously mentioned lack of Iron issue, this upgrade path is fine. I'll have a special section about the Rifleman "catch all" situation.
- Would be nice to have infantry given the choice to upgrade to paratroopers, but not that important.
This set of units is just fine (now) aside for the ranged combat issues, (different thread) with one glaring oversight. With the addition of the +30% attack vs. cities for catapults/trebuchets and +10% vs. cities for cannons/artillery/rocket artillery, we now have the option to get +40% vs. cities before getting the siege promotion. Basically, upon upgrade, trebuchets turned cannons keep the +30% as well as getting the new +10%. Preference is to drop the +30% vs. cities upon upgrade to cannons.
Chariot Archers (+UUs)->Knights
The most obvious issue here is the Chariot archers keeping their penalties when upgraded to knights.
The other obvious issue is that ranged units become melee units but keep the ranged promotions. They either go away (+range, indirect fire) or get stacked (seemingly) with melee based promotions. (terrain related mostly)
- There's no clear solution for this except for a conversion of the terrain promotions into their melee counterparts. (being one promotion away from logistics before upgrade, then having to do it all over again before getting it is bad) The purely ranged attack promotions should be deleted from the unit upon upgrade.
One issue that isn't obvious is that the slinger does not get the -attack vs. city penalty as archers/crossbowmen have. I haven't checked the Longbow or Chu-Ko-nu UUs yet to see if it's consistent.
The upgrade paths are fine, though there are some 'issues' that should be addressed. I've provided some 'solutions' for people to consider.
- Ok, Stealth bombers still get no upgrades. There's no reason for that as only missile units have that setup. It's not a missile.
Issue: Anti-Aircraft guns (radio) can be used before Flight is researched. Destroyers get the Anti-Aircraft promotion before either of these units even are conceptualized. This makes no sense, even historically. There's no reason to conceptualize shooting things into the air without a reason for wanting to shoot things in the air.
Solution: Move anti-aircraft guns to Radar. This is historically more accurate as Radar systems were needed to make anti-aircraft guns even know where the fighters/bombers were. In game, this also makes sense as the counter to fighters/bombers should come in contemporary tech positions. As Radio and Flight are the pre-reqs for Radar, this works. This could also help solve the issue of the AI spamming AA guns everywhere before anyone has an aircraft as well as using them for Infantry replacements.
- Side note: the base CS of the AA unit should be cut down, given the description that it was vulnerable to infantry attacks. (which are the same strength) Other option is give it a 'weak vs. melee' negative promotion if the CS is required for the calculations vs. Air units.
Solution: Destroyers get the Interception promotion after Radar (or Flight) is researched. (Embarkation is an example where this sort of idea already exists)