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a year ago Aug 03,2023, 13:00:15 PM

Resources and Economy Preview

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After last week’s look at how naval battles will change in the next update, it’s time we turn our attention to how we will handle strategic and luxury resources in the next update, and touch on some of the changes that should make control of the oceans more appealing.


 

Resource Deposits: Riches of the Land 
Before we delve into how strategic and luxury resources will work in the next update, we need to say a few words about what they won’t be: a stockpile-based system. We know many of you were hoping that we could switch to a system in which you produce and consume resources every turn and your stockpile changes accordingly, with consequences for running out, but changing from the current access-based system to a stock-based system would be such a fundamental change that it would have taken too much of our attention away from other tasks.

So, if we are not switching to stockpiles, then how are we handling resources in the upcoming patch?

While we are sticking with an access-based system of strategic and luxury resources, we are aiming to increase its granularity and diminish the effect an abundance or scarcity of any given resource will have on your economy. To that end, resource deposits on the map will now usually yield more than one copy of each resource. This not only generates some variation in the (strategic) value of different deposits, it also allows us to add some effects that increase the yield of deposits so you can improve your economy without exploiting new deposits. The higher number of resources in your economy also ties into some changes to the trade system that we will discuss next week.


Strategic Resource Requirements: Supply and Demand

Of course, with easier access to strategic resources from horses and copper all the way to oil and uranium, we’ve had to increase the resource requirements of units and infrastructures. Won’t that just leave us at square one, though, where you are just a single copy of a resource short of building that cool Emblematic Unit you just unlocked? That’s why we are also changing the resource requirement system: Now a single copy of each of the required resources will be enough to unlock construction, but falling short of the requirement will make it inefficient as each missing copy increases the industry cost. 

 

Luxury Resources:  People-pleaser

There’s been no shortage of feedback about luxury resources since the game’s release. Some people found that access to luxury resources made stability both trivial and volatile, as it was as easy to gain massive stability bonuses as it was to lose them. Others found that an abundance of a few select resources could catapult their economy to new heights. The general consensus was that luxury resources in Humankind were very, very powerful. 

Obviously, leaving them untouched as we increase the number of copies of each luxury was a no-go, but even tweaking their power might not suffice. 

To rein in the growth spike an abundance of any specific resource can give you, but maintain resources as a valuable goal for expansion, trade, or even conquest, we have split the effects of luxury resources into three categories: 

  • The diversification effect: This effect is earned with the first copy of a luxury resource you have access to and does not stack. Generally, this bonus will offer a moderate boost to Food, Industry, Money, or Science, as well as a stability bonus to your cities. 
  • The cumulative effect: This bonus stacks per copy of the luxury resource you have access to, but only offers a smaller boost to FIMS than the diversification effect does. 
  • The wondrous effect: Earned by controlling the luxury manufactory of a resource, this effect is a stacking percentage bonus to the appropriate FIMS yield. 

Of course, the “manufactured” resources like Weapons or Pharmaceuticals do not have Wondrous Effects and do not necessarily follow the pattern outlined above. 

 

Internal Trade: Shipping and Handling

So, how do you take advantage of these new resource effects? 

The first step hasn’t changed much: You still build a resource extractor on a deposit in your territory, even if you can later upgrade its yields with infrastructure. However, this extractor no longer supplies your entire empire directly. Instead, all your resources must first be taken to your capital by way of domestic trade routes, from the extractor to its administrative center and then territory by territory to the city center of your capital. 


All goods flow to Byblos


Resources will only affect your empire if this path can be traced without interruption, so you might lose the benefits of faraway resources without losing control of the deposits, especially if they have to cross neutral or foreign territory. Since many ocean regions cannot be claimed, resources found outside your home continent are particularly vulnerable to poaching. 

 

Hang on a minute...


Poaching? 

 

Well, you’ll just have to come back next week to learn about that

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 1:06:08 PM

Okay, these changes are really nice! I love the "going back to the roots" approach for luxuries, since they seem to behave a bit like in ES1!


Looking forward to testing this stuff when it comes out. Keep up the great work on this! Personally, I quite like the changes.

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 1:22:26 PM

Even though the resource system is not going to stockpiling, this is a good change.

Is stockpiling a possibility in the future, though?

Wald

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 1:26:52 PM
Walderschmidt wrote:

Even though the resource system is not going to stockpiling, this is a good change.

Is stockpiling a possibility in the future, though?

Wald

I'm afraid not. That would require ripping out and redoing too many core systems of the game, and is just not viable at this point.

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 1:33:13 PM

I'm relieved to see we won't be having a stockpile-based system implemented. As much as I'm sure there would be benefits to such a system, not having it makes trade routes more involved and interesting, while also mitigating the annoyances that come with having a deficit of a resource, which always bothers me and makes such systems feel like a burden to pay attention to, rather than inherently rewarding.


I'm curious about how Access will impact the game, but I'm glad that deposits can be improved in a meaningful way now, too. It did seem like there was some, quite literally, untapped potential to them before.


The extra required production on units or districts in place of outright punishing players for missing resources feels like a good solution, too.

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 2:10:04 PM

Yeah, I understand the strategic value in a stockpile system, and how fundamental it is in a lot of games, so players immediately understand how that sort of system works. But it doesn't make a lot of sense in a game like Humankind. For one, civilizations whose unique units that require special resources are at an immediate growth disadvantage over those whose unique unit doesn't require a resource that has a finite supply.


That said, I'm also quite happy with the proposed systems. Especially the simplified and added relevancy of trade routes. I always felt they were an afterthought in most of my games, and something that could really be built on.

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 2:54:10 PM

TBH I am a bit sceptical about these changes. That deposits now give more copies of a resource is fine. That you can increase it with some infrastructure is very nice, but if you now just get more (copies of) resources and the requirements of units increase the same way, there is not really a difference to how it was before. That missing resources can now be "replaced" with extra industrycosts is really nice, but that could have also be done with the old system (with less copies).


I think the real benefit of this change would come, if you would not only increase the numbers of copies with i.e. infrastructure but if there were also some (powerful) actions that would also reduce these avaliable copies. So that you really have to decide what you "spend" these resources for. With (powerful) actions I mean i.e. civics or special/unique/limited units which give global effects, but decrease the number of copies, so I have to decide: Do I want this nice effect but might need to use more production for my units due to missing copies or is it more important to build my units as fast as possible?


Some examples (they might not really make sense but they transport my message):

- Civic "Armor piercing ammunition": All ranged units (with guns) get +5 combat strength against vehicles. But -1 Iron and black powder per deposit.

- Unit "General": Can only have one per army (and max 3). Strong unit that also increases the combat strength of all other units in the same army. -10% for all strategic resources.

- City effect "Production Boost": While active increase cities production by 50%. -100% of copper and horses while active.


For now it feels nice but not really game changing. As long as I "just" increase and increase and increase my number of copies of resources, there is no real challange or decision making. But having more options to (temporarily or permanently) "spend" these resources would add a lot of value to the game. 


Another point is the part with internal Trading route. There might be some additional changes to that as well next week, so the following part might already be outdated by then, but I still want to give some feedback on that based on what I got/see here.


While reading the section I first thought "wow, luxuries are now not longer available globally. That's awesome." But with the following "they will be send to the capital with an trade route. And then they are globally available" my enthusiasm disappeared as quickly as it came. As said, I don't know how trade routes in general might change, but for me it sound like "global luxuries" with (unnecessary) extra steps. My first thought was, that I get the luxuries benefits only in the city where it is produced/sent to. And that I can create internal trade routes to send them around. So for example, when I create a new city I can "boost" it, by sending it some industry related luxuries. I would have loved that.


Of couse, that doesn't mean that this way is wrong, but here as well I am a bit sceptical about how much of an impact it will have on my general gameplay, gamestyle or decision making. We will see.


I am really looking forward for the trading changes. I wish and hope it makes some of my points obsolete. But either way, I will be the first one who tries the new update.

Updated a year ago.
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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 3:52:41 PM

Interesting, definitely need to see how it plays, but I was a little bit worried we could be going back to stockpiles and I agree that the per-access system makes the trading more interesting rather than nation-scale barter, so glad to see that's not the case.


I'm also in favor of one-copy needed per unit, but I'd go further with the nerf per missing copies, rather than keeping it at the production level. Maybe CS penalty could work? It could make increased/decreased requirements for EU an interesting mechanic and maybe even warrant giving access to a generic version of a unit.


Love to see changes to the Luxuries, I'd still like to have an ability to wrestle for Wondrous Effect control outside of outright taking the Manufactory by force (or diplomacy, by some miracle), but seems like good changes overall.

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 4:20:03 PM

Lots of positive changes here but I want to express concerns about the every resource has to go back to the capital by domestic trade routes.  


Putting aside economies don't bring everything back to one city to then distribute it all back out, wouldn't this be better (albeit more difficult) if those resources could only be built at cities they could link to via trade routes, versus an all or nothing with the capital?  I get this is to increase some naval action but that's a pretty all or nothing approach.


Also what will be required for the domestic trades routes to cross foreign territories from an agreement perspective?
And will you be able to change transport options of a trade route if you want and be notified if you lose access?

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 4:32:35 PM

Very excited to see these changes. This also makes your empire more susceptible to raiding if you spread too wide.


I also like the idea of decreasing CS on limited resources in addition to higher industry cost.


I see a lot of mod potential in these changes. 


One thing I'd like to see as well is that not all the resources are fed into the capital, but that all cities have to be connected from the capital to get access to the buffs of the luxuries and strategic resources. This can give an additional dynamic to foreign struggles to choke out a city as the stability drops.


Edit - grabbed from the discord from Cat:

"The alternative was a near unreadable trade network that could hardly ever be disrupted, I'm afraid. It's not the most realistic, but I think this option will offer the better gameplay interactions"


So the Web will probably not happen.

Updated a year ago.
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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 4:57:32 PM
The-Cat-o-Nine-Tales wrote:
Walderschmidt wrote:

Even though the resource system is not going to stockpiling, this is a good change.

Is stockpiling a possibility in the future, though?

Wald

I'm afraid not. That would require ripping out and redoing too many core systems of the game, and is just not viable at this point.

I'm truly sorry to hear that.

Wald

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 10:06:05 PM

Giving relevance and the ability to determine where trade routes pass is a really great improvement. Have how to improve deposits too. But I'm concerned about the option to spawn troops and buildings only with the minimum of each resource, being compensated by the increase in the cost of industry, if this increase does not grow at a high rate, such as exponential, it will only strengthen the weight of the industry in the game. Remembering that at the current moment, the industry is already a snowball, so a change that perhaps gave relevance to money and diplomacy, could do exactly the opposite.

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a year ago
Aug 3, 2023, 10:49:58 PM

Regarding  the Strategic Resource Requirements  change it  sounds near identical to how ENC implements a variable cost depending on the avialability of strategic resource, but the big question is, how much more will units cost with the minimum amount stratic resouces and how will it be represented in the game.

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a year ago
Aug 4, 2023, 10:59:58 AM

Let me take a moment to address some of the questions, speculation, and possible misunderstandings.


Let's start with the Carthaginian War Elephant in the room: All resources being taken to the capital and then taking effect across the empire.

We know that thematically this is a bit weird. It makes little sense for immersion that all goods are shipped to the capital, rather than directly between cities, and that from there they take effect immediately. However, as already quoted from Discord by Doc98, this "centralization" was a consciously made concession for the sake of both clarity and gameplay effect (though as far as I am aware, there were also some technical considerations at play.)

On the gameplay side, shipping everything to a central location creates clear expectations, potential vulnerabilities, and a readable map of the trade flows. Resources shipping freely between your cities would in most circumstances lead to a spiderweb of connections (and reducing the "unreadable trade route spaghetti" was an explicit goal for us with this rework), and would make interruptions to your domestic trade from outside factors much less impactful, as most cities would remain supplied unless the disruption happened at the source of the resource. (That said, I don't think it is possible to completely shut down an empire's resource network just by sieging the capital. As far as I know, there are systems in place to prevent that, but I'll need to double check.)

On the technical side, as far as I can tell (but I may be wrong, as I have not had an opportunity to ask the gameplay programmers about this), applying the resource effects based on local availability (either from local extraction or after shipping from the capital or another city) would have required big changes in how strategic and luxury resources are tracked and applied by the game, which would have increased the time needed to implement these changes, possibly to the point of no longer being feasible.


Another factor in choosing this approach was the amount of time and attention that would be required by players to manage trade. As supply and logistics aren't core concepts to Humankind, did not want to encourage players to spend a lot of time on precisely micromanaging multiple trade routes between their own cities. All trade flowing towards the capital allows us to automate the generation and pathing of trade routes while keeping a fairly small, readable and vulnerable number of trade routes. And as a player, when you want to claim a new territory to exploit its resources, you only have to consider what path they might take towards your capital, rather than all your other cities, making it easier to decide if it is safe to do so.


Regarding the diplomatic relations that allow domestic trade to pass: As long as you are on neutral or better terms, trade can pass through. The default relations and treaties when first meeting an empire allow trade routes to pass, but any pressed demands will suspend the trade routes until the crisis is resolved. And obviously, open war also stops trade.


I know that right now, the increased number of copies of each resource seems like it is the same as the old system, just with bigger numbers. However, these bigger numbers were important to allow the resource-boosting infrastructures, as even a +1 bonus would have been too powerful in a system that at most required three copies of a resource. And as mentioned in the blog, it also ties into some of the changes and additions we'll be discussing next week.

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a year ago
Aug 4, 2023, 11:46:15 AM

Will there be a new borders treaty that explicitly allows or disallows trade routes to pass through one's land/waters?

Wald

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a year ago
Aug 5, 2023, 5:17:57 AM
The-Cat-o-Nine-Tales wrote:

Let me take a moment to address some of the questions, speculation, and possible misunderstandings.


Let's start with the Carthaginian War Elephant in the room: All resources being taken to the capital and then taking effect across the empire.

We know that thematically this is a bit weird. It makes little sense for immersion that all goods are shipped to the capital, rather than directly between cities, and that from there they take effect immediately. However, as already quoted from Discord by Doc98, this "centralization" was a consciously made concession for the sake of both clarity and gameplay effect (though as far as I am aware, there were also some technical considerations at play.)

On the gameplay side, shipping everything to a central location creates clear expectations, potential vulnerabilities, and a readable map of the trade flows. Resources shipping freely between your cities would in most circumstances lead to a spiderweb of connections (and reducing the "unreadable trade route spaghetti" was an explicit goal for us with this rework), and would make interruptions to your domestic trade from outside factors much less impactful, as most cities would remain supplied unless the disruption happened at the source of the resource. (That said, I don't think it is possible to completely shut down an empire's resource network just by sieging the capital. As far as I know, there are systems in place to prevent that, but I'll need to double check.)

On the technical side, as far as I can tell (but I may be wrong, as I have not had an opportunity to ask the gameplay programmers about this), applying the resource effects based on local availability (either from local extraction or after shipping from the capital or another city) would have required big changes in how strategic and luxury resources are tracked and applied by the game, which would have increased the time needed to implement these changes, possibly to the point of no longer being feasible.


Another factor in choosing this approach was the amount of time and attention that would be required by players to manage trade. As supply and logistics aren't core concepts to Humankind, did not want to encourage players to spend a lot of time on precisely micromanaging multiple trade routes between their own cities. All trade flowing towards the capital allows us to automate the generation and pathing of trade routes while keeping a fairly small, readable and vulnerable number of trade routes. And as a player, when you want to claim a new territory to exploit its resources, you only have to consider what path they might take towards your capital, rather than all your other cities, making it easier to decide if it is safe to do so.


Regarding the diplomatic relations that allow domestic trade to pass: As long as you are on neutral or better terms, trade can pass through. The default relations and treaties when first meeting an empire allow trade routes to pass, but any pressed demands will suspend the trade routes until the crisis is resolved. And obviously, open war also stops trade.


I know that right now, the increased number of copies of each resource seems like it is the same as the old system, just with bigger numbers. However, these bigger numbers were important to allow the resource-boosting infrastructures, as even a +1 bonus would have been too powerful in a system that at most required three copies of a resource. And as mentioned in the blog, it also ties into some of the changes and additions we'll be discussing next week.

Really appreciate the insight and explanation. It would be nice to see the tax building to increase from the basic 3 to some percentage of income. Since much more commerce will be seen in the capital.

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a year ago
Aug 5, 2023, 6:42:27 AM
blackbutterfly wrote:

Poaching?


Don't you mean plunder (by pirates)?

I hope not, burn for lump sum is just an annoying system, IMO. Makes you renew your trade routes all the time, even if you're not directly involved, and if you do it you end up annoying everyone whose trade routes you didn't even want to target. I do hope that 'poaching' suggests we'll be able to attach ticks to the trade routes to suck revenue out of them and directly harm only people we have beef with, and/or be able to properly blockade enemy ports.


We'll learn soon enough.

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