Super-Upgrades: standoff breakers or money pits?

Basics - Be civilization-specific - No super upgrades? - Use tribute! - Iron Age upgrades page


Posted by Vostok on Sunday, 11 January 1998, at 7:47 p.m.

There are several improvements in the iron age which are hyper-expensive, like heavy-horse archers, Centurians, Legions, Heavy Catapults and Heliopolises, my question is, are they worth it?

CenturionFor the cost of many of the questionable upgrades, like helepolis and heavy horse archers, you can build dozens of the regular units. Is the improvement worth the huge food and wood investment for a slight improvement?

The only one with noticable benifits to me is the Centurion, with enough armor and hit points to make it essentially invulnerable. But even then, I have NEVER used super-upgrades and won at least one game just from having more cash left at the end of the game.

Heavy Horse Archer Helepolis Heavy Catapult Upgrade to Legion
Heavy Horse Archer
90 HP, range: 7
requires Chain Mail for Achers
55 HP
fire rate x2
requires Craftsmanship
Heavy Catapult
150 HP
damage radius: 3
requires Siegecraft
160 HP
requires Fanaticism
1750 800 1500 1000 1800 900 1400 600
Cataphract Upgrade to Centurion Ballista Tower Juggernaught
180 HP
requires Metallurgy
160 HP
requires Aristocracy
Ballista Tower
200 HP
requires Ballistics
200 HP
+1 damage radius
requires Engineering
2000 850 1800 700 1800 750 2000 900

Be civilization-specific

Posted by Leo Brum on Tuesday, 13 January 1998, at 4:02 a.m.

PriestThe unit that has more punch per upgrade is, in any Civilization, the Priest. All those upgrades have a purpose and really accomplish something different and new qualities for most of them.

But, of course, Priests and the respective upgrades are way over the top for most scenarios.

Then, what's left? For me, two things generally get a share in my investments: Heavy Catapults and the Choson Legion.

Legion Being Civilization-specific, the Choson Legion might not appeal to non-Choson players. But those 240 hit points, coupled with a pretty nasty punch and decent foot speed, allied to CHEAP unit cost (35F/15G) makes this the best value for resources in the whole game. A group of 10-15 is havoc for any nice setup and "game over" is a sound heard in the background by the visited one...

Heavy Catapult The Heavy catapult (mainly the Sumerian one) is a fantastic demolisher of buildings and units, also a wood burner, if you need to cut through wood, or deny it to the opponent. Not to mention the swift dispatch of enemy towers....

Priests, Choson Legions and Heavy Catapults, all can DECIDE the game, forcing a sad ending of their opposition.

Why should they not be worth their cost?... For these, I reccommend a general "Ok" rating.

As for all the other super-units:

In conclusion, i would not reccommend a "Ok"/"Not Ok" attitude for most super-units. I would always analyze the situation at hand before deciding.... Who wants to spend 60F/40G on each expensive unit that costed thousands of Food and Gold to upgrade, only to see it "converted" and turning back in anger?...

I reccommend that, as an item of strategy, you decide FIRST: is any of these units going to be the mainstay of your army this game? If so, you will want to funnel the investments as much as possible to:

  1. Get it ASAP
  2. Make sure that the resources deviated to build the super-weapon were not needed to guarantee your survival elsewhere....
  3. Make sure that the loss of initiative that the build effort brings will be a) not fatal b) overly compensated by the power gained from the new unit(s).
  4. Avoid costly investments elsewhere.

    But, in the end, it's your opponent who will determine if you will ever have time to reach this stage - if he seizes the initiative while you are distracted with the creation of your toy, well, then no toy...

    No super upgrades?

    Posted by Vostok on Wednesday, 14 January 1998, at 3:41 a.m.

    I agree that every situation dictates how effective units (and civs) will be. Its never a bad upgrade if you win.....

    Still, I have a contention that if you or your opponent has enough resources to even consider a super-upgrade, than something might be wrong. It could be two defensive players unwilling to commit the large number of troops to an assault, or perhaps both players have invested considerable effort in creating a comprehensive defense. (as a side note to me one of AoEs best attributes is its powerful defensive system). What I have found is that on random maps, your opponent (and you) will be forced usually to go 'abroad' to look for gold and stone. So oftentimes skirmishing can decide the game ecenomically. Thus you never get the resources to even think that far ahead.. (ps my kind of game :-))

    Defeating an opponent straightfowardly, by simply invading and destroying their base, is in this game nearly impossible. Unit after unit on both sides fall, all the while new forces are being frantically created. Its kind of like football. If a team is good enough to get ahead by 30 points at halftime, it's VERY unlikely that the other team, no matter what they try, will win. On the other hand, two teams neck and neck will probably decide the game with a last minute field goal, instead of a crushing defeat. If your THAT much better than your opponent, you could have beat them in any age....

    Use tribute!

    Telcontar's two cents: When playing with allies, use tribute to pay for the upgrades! Thus you have only to pay half of the costs, which makes super-expensive upgrade such as a juggernaught possible. And for a Phoenician player, this upgrade is well worth its price!

    Another thing that can become important is the unit limit - if you cannot build more units, the super unit upgrades are the only way to improve your army. Of course some upgrades are better than others. Helepolis

    The Helepolis upgrade doubles the fire rate and is deadly if you have many (> 10) ballistas; Heavy Catapults can be used to take down trees, which hurts your opponent severely (one shot takes down more trees than the catapult costs). Of course you almost never get more than one upgrade, so think twice before getting it. Usually you should try to get one special upgrade with a tribe bonus on it for some players in your team.

    More about the Iron Age upgrades can be read at the Iron Age upgrades page.

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