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Fighting/catering difficulty change through chapters

Silly Bubbles

Illusionist
I think there’s a need to clarify/solve this issue once and for all, and also in one thread. Sorry but the more we discuss it, the higher the chances of settling on something as obviously it keeps being an emotional subject that keeps confusing a lot players. It’d be great if we could just purely focus on the main problems only.

There’s a number of issues that come with this topic:

1. Fighting/catering difficulty formula
So far, based on the posts I’ve read, this is agreed on. I like this post that explains it quite well, thank you @Far Reach :

2. The results of the formula for each chapter (especially past Ch15)
Again, I chose this post for explanation from the same player as their understanding of the formula is the most comprehensive that I’ve seen.

3. The gaming of the formula (eg how to reduce the negative effects of the formula)
This where the most disagreement is. There are two camps:
- park your city at the end of Ch15
- continue as normal and with right decisions you won’t even notice it

So it would be great if we could share our views on this topic, explain why we have chosen certain strategy and support it by actual results.
 

BlueBlou

Illusionist
Is it really difficulty, or is it cost?

To the best of my understanding, difficulty is when there is a change in the star level of the opponents you face, rather than in the number of troops you face. Difficulty wrt star rating is fixed for tournament linked to the province number you are battling. Difficulty, wrt star rating, in spire, is related to the chapter you are in.

One can almost say the difficulty for catering is also fixed if you look at the type of good that may be asked. You may see the spire asking for items that is available in the chapter pre the one you are in. Same for tournaments, except sentient goods are not asked for.
 

Far Reach

Conjurer
My analysis and conclusions:

The Tournament/Spire formula scales the sizes of both armies (when fighting) and also the costs of catering/diplomacy. This increases the troops and goods expended, but not the difficulty of fights themselves. We will consider how progressing through a Chapter affects tournament performance. For the purpose of the analysis below, I'll assume that the player fights (as opposed to catering) all of the provinces, and that they get all of their troops from the Barracks/Merc Camp or Training Grounds (as opposed to from instants or freebies from buildings). I'll also assume the troop production buildings are kept continuously active, and that the limiting factor in tournaments is running out of troops (as opposed to the battles becoming unwinnable).

In our scenario, the only downside of progressing the technology tree is increase both army sizes (and therefore our losses which are a proportion of these). The upsides are higher troop production (from upgraded buildings) and (for chapters 18+) upgraded troops. We'll leave the upgraded troops to later, and start off by just considering the other factors. For each chapter in turn, I will consider the benefit of being at the very end of that chapter as opposed to being at the very start of it.

In Chapter 19 there are 35 mandatory techs and the troop requirement is therefore increased by a factor of (1.0042)**35 which is about 16%.
In Chapter 19 upgrades to the three troop production building increase their speed from 550 to 690 and consequently the troop production rate by about 25%.
Even if we ignore the benefit of the troop upgrades, doing C19 increases our net troop production by a factor of 1.25/1.16 (about 8%). There is no doubt that C19 is beneficial to the tournament player.

The comparable figure for C18 (25 mandatory techs, speed increase from 500 to 550) is a factor of 1.10/1.11, or -1%. This is a small disadvantage, but doesn't yet account for the advantage of the troop upgrades.

For C17 (29 mandatory techs, speed increase from 450 to 500) the factor is 1.11/1.13, or a small disadvantage of -2%.

For C16 (27 mandatory techs, speed increase of 370 to 450 for TG only) the factor will depend upon how much one uses Training Ground units. For most players this factor is probably in the range of -5% to -10%.

Having a decreased net troop production will mean that we run out of troops sooner and will thus reduce our tournament score. The majority of the troops are used in the later provinces (which involve larger armies, and which also have the highest difficulty). I estimate that a -10% net troop production factor will equate to about a -5% reduction in tournament score (although this may vary according to the situation) .

Troop Upgrades: Each of C18 and C19 provides upgrades to three of our 15 units. The upgrades include 10% bonuses to attack and defence, and additional bonuses against favoured enemies. These upgrades will both reduce losses to those units, and also improve our army power (helping us win battles more easily). It is hard to precisely quantify these benefits, but I consider that they far outweigh the -1% net production factor for C18.

Conclusion:

Chapter 16 makes tournaments slightly harder and might reduce a player's tourney score by up to 5%
Chapter 17 makes tournaments very slightly harder, but a player is unlikely to notice (relative to an end of C16 player)
Chapter 18 makes tournaments slightly easier, and may provide extra help in niche situations
Chapter 19 makes tournaments easier and might increase tourney score by 5-10%

An end of C19 player will have somewhat easier tournaments relative to an end of C15 player.
 

AsterObelix

Alchemist
My analysis and conclusions:

The Tournament/Spire formula scales the sizes of both armies (when fighting) and also the costs of catering/diplomacy. This increases the troops and goods expended, but not the difficulty of fights themselves. We will consider how progressing through a Chapter affects tournament performance. For the purpose of the analysis below, I'll assume that the player fights (as opposed to catering) all of the provinces, and that they get all of their troops from the Barracks/Merc Camp or Training Grounds (as opposed to from instants or freebies from buildings). I'll also assume the troop production buildings are kept continuously active, and that the limiting factor in tournaments is running out of troops (as opposed to the battles becoming unwinnable).

In our scenario, the only downside of progressing the technology tree is increase both army sizes (and therefore our losses which are a proportion of these). The upsides are higher troop production (from upgraded buildings) and (for chapters 18+) upgraded troops. We'll leave the upgraded troops to later, and start off by just considering the other factors. For each chapter in turn, I will consider the benefit of being at the very end of that chapter as opposed to being at the very start of it.

In Chapter 19 there are 35 mandatory techs and the troop requirement is therefore increased by a factor of (1.0042)**35 which is about 16%.
In Chapter 19 upgrades to the three troop production building increase their speed from 550 to 690 and consequently the troop production rate by about 25%.
Even if we ignore the benefit of the troop upgrades, doing C19 increases our net troop production by a factor of 1.25/1.16 (about 8%). There is no doubt that C19 is beneficial to the tournament player.

The comparable figure for C18 (25 mandatory techs, speed increase from 500 to 550) is a factor of 1.10/1.11, or -1%. This is a small disadvantage, but doesn't yet account for the advantage of the troop upgrades.

For C17 (29 mandatory techs, speed increase from 450 to 500) the factor is 1.11/1.13, or a small disadvantage of -2%.

For C16 (27 mandatory techs, speed increase of 370 to 450 for TG only) the factor will depend upon how much one uses Training Ground units. For most players this factor is probably in the range of -5% to -10%.

Having a decreased net troop production will mean that we run out of troops sooner and will thus reduce our tournament score. The majority of the troops are used in the later provinces (which involve larger armies, and which also have the highest difficulty). I estimate that a -10% net troop production factor will equate to about a -5% reduction in tournament score (although this may vary according to the situation) .

Troop Upgrades: Each of C18 and C19 provides upgrades to three of our 15 units. The upgrades include 10% bonuses to attack and defence, and additional bonuses against favoured enemies. These upgrades will both reduce losses to those units, and also improve our army power (helping us win battles more easily). It is hard to precisely quantify these benefits, but I consider that they far outweigh the -1% net production factor for C18.

Conclusion:

Chapter 16 makes tournaments slightly harder and might reduce a player's tourney score by up to 5%
Chapter 17 makes tournaments very slightly harder, but a player is unlikely to notice (relative to an end of C16 player)
Chapter 18 makes tournaments slightly easier, and may provide extra help in niche situations
Chapter 19 makes tournaments easier and might increase tourney score by 5-10%

An end of C19 player will have somewhat easier tournaments relative to an end of C15 player.
Your analysis makes sense for me :)
But you are only looking at the consequences of research progress.
Because improving wonders and adding expansions will increase costs too (not difficulty, I agree with you on that).

As long as I'm only improving "fighting wonders" I'm not worried that will have a negative impact on my tournament score.
But can I keep ignoring "non fighting wonders" in the later chapters (chapters 16-19) ? Because I want to make some progress in these chapters too.

And I have only 70 expansions now (I'm in chapter 13). But can I keep that at 70 while still progressing through the game ?
That are questions I have at the moment.
 
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Silly Bubbles

Illusionist
My analysis and conclusions:

The Tournament/Spire formula scales the sizes of both armies (when fighting) and also the costs of catering/diplomacy. This increases the troops and goods expended, but not the difficulty of fights themselves. We will consider how progressing through a Chapter affects tournament performance. For the purpose of the analysis below, I'll assume that the player fights (as opposed to catering) all of the provinces, and that they get all of their troops from the Barracks/Merc Camp or Training Grounds (as opposed to from instants or freebies from buildings). I'll also assume the troop production buildings are kept continuously active, and that the limiting factor in tournaments is running out of troops (as opposed to the battles becoming unwinnable).

In our scenario, the only downside of progressing the technology tree is increase both army sizes (and therefore our losses which are a proportion of these). The upsides are higher troop production (from upgraded buildings) and (for chapters 18+) upgraded troops. We'll leave the upgraded troops to later, and start off by just considering the other factors. For each chapter in turn, I will consider the benefit of being at the very end of that chapter as opposed to being at the very start of it.

In Chapter 19 there are 35 mandatory techs and the troop requirement is therefore increased by a factor of (1.0042)**35 which is about 16%.
In Chapter 19 upgrades to the three troop production building increase their speed from 550 to 690 and consequently the troop production rate by about 25%.
Even if we ignore the benefit of the troop upgrades, doing C19 increases our net troop production by a factor of 1.25/1.16 (about 8%). There is no doubt that C19 is beneficial to the tournament player.

The comparable figure for C18 (25 mandatory techs, speed increase from 500 to 550) is a factor of 1.10/1.11, or -1%. This is a small disadvantage, but doesn't yet account for the advantage of the troop upgrades.

For C17 (29 mandatory techs, speed increase from 450 to 500) the factor is 1.11/1.13, or a small disadvantage of -2%.

For C16 (27 mandatory techs, speed increase of 370 to 450 for TG only) the factor will depend upon how much one uses Training Ground units. For most players this factor is probably in the range of -5% to -10%.

Having a decreased net troop production will mean that we run out of troops sooner and will thus reduce our tournament score. The majority of the troops are used in the later provinces (which involve larger armies, and which also have the highest difficulty). I estimate that a -10% net troop production factor will equate to about a -5% reduction in tournament score (although this may vary according to the situation) .

Troop Upgrades: Each of C18 and C19 provides upgrades to three of our 15 units. The upgrades include 10% bonuses to attack and defence, and additional bonuses against favoured enemies. These upgrades will both reduce losses to those units, and also improve our army power (helping us win battles more easily). It is hard to precisely quantify these benefits, but I consider that they far outweigh the -1% net production factor for C18.

Conclusion:

Chapter 16 makes tournaments slightly harder and might reduce a player's tourney score by up to 5%
Chapter 17 makes tournaments very slightly harder, but a player is unlikely to notice (relative to an end of C16 player)
Chapter 18 makes tournaments slightly easier, and may provide extra help in niche situations
Chapter 19 makes tournaments easier and might increase tourney score by 5-10%

An end of C19 player will have somewhat easier tournaments relative to an end of C15 player.

Thank you very much for a very detailed analysis :)
It aligns with my personal experience so that's great :)
 

Silly Bubbles

Illusionist
As long as I'm only improving "fighting wonders" I'm not worried that will have a negative impact on my tournament score.
But can I keep ignoring "non fighting wonders" in the later chapters (chapters 16-19) ? Because I want to make some progress in these chapters too.

From my experience you don't need many wonders to keep progressing through chapters. I only had two maxed AWs in Ch16 (GA, MH) and a low level MM.

And I have only 70 expansions now (I'm in chapter 13). But can I keep that at 70 while still progressing through the game ?
That are questions I have at the moment.

You need as many expansions as you can get to make the progress easy. The biggest benefit of the expansions is their flexibility of use. You can use them for military buildings to improve your fighting, for production to make catering easier, for settlement to go faster through the research etc.
Personally, I spend diamonds only on expansions and use the space for whatever I need the most at different stages of the game.

I played with MinMax spreadsheet to compare the impact of expansions to the impact of AW upgrades. One regular expansion is as bad as 5 AW upgrades and one premium expansion is as bad as three AW upgrades at the stage of the game that the spreadsheet is preset at. So the expansions aren't as detrimental as it might look.
 

FairyElina

Spellcaster
The information is very useful @Silly Bubbles . Is it possible the experienced players to compare also the tech tree research. So 1 regular expansion is as bad as 5 AW levels and as how many researches?
 

Silly Bubbles

Illusionist
Is it possible the experienced players to compare also the tech tree research. So 1 regular expansion is as bad as 5 AW levels and as how many researches?

These are the effects on fighting/catering difficulty of the formula based on the latest version of MinMax spreadsheet (using preset values, Ch 16):

1% production boost: 0.13% increase
One mandatory research: 0.45% increase
One AW level: 0.18% increase
One non-premium expansion: 0.88% increase
One premium expansion: 0.58% increase

Just a note, all of these increases can be offset by the benefits that they offer.

So, one regular expansion is as bad as two mandatory researches.

Link: https://minmaxgame.com/tournament-and-spire-requirements-2020/
 

schadenfreude

Conjurer
These are the effects on fighting/catering difficulty of the formula based on the latest version of MinMax spreadsheet (using preset values, Ch 16):
The formula has changed, though I don't think the variables of how the game determines "advancement" has changed. Probably just how much they influence things. Everything is slightly cheaper now, both troop cost and catering costs. You can tell by punching your numbers into the MinMax spreadsheet and comparing what the spreadsheet spits out with what you see for that encounter in the Spire and Tournament. Unfortunately, MinMax seemed to have retired from the game so I don't know which math wizard is going to reverse engineer the new formula for us.
 

Silly Bubbles

Illusionist
The formula has changed, though I don't think the variables of how the game determines "advancement" has changed. Probably just how much they influence things. Everything is slightly cheaper now, both troop cost and catering costs. You can tell by punching your numbers into the MinMax spreadsheet and comparing what the spreadsheet spits out with what you see for that encounter in the Spire and Tournament. Unfortunately, MinMax seemed to have retired from the game so I don't know which math wizard is going to reverse engineer the new formula for us.

Really, the big problem was that someone DID come up with the formula. If there was no formula, nobody would overanalyse the impact of it. It's not really that difficult to see that progress improves the Spire and tournament results. It's not as big improvement as it was before the formula change but it still is. Of course, if you don't optimise your city you'll make things harder for yourself, all it needs is common sense and keep improving your city.
 

Laurelin

Sorcerer
Really, the big problem was that someone DID come up with the formula. If there was no formula, nobody would overanalyse the impact of it. [...]
... Ignorance is strength bliss? Hmm.

In fact, I've been wondering now for a while - especially when I read some of your comments offering advice to other players about how the 2020 Formula works and/or about using MinMax's online calculator : are you using the calculator without altering the default figures to match your own City data (the pre-set figures are there only by way of example, and aren't very useful in themselves), or are you making a copy of the spreadsheet and using it with your own City data - which itself will, of course, slightly alter every time you make a relevant change to your City?

It isn't clear to me, just from your posts, whether you know that you can't simply transfer your own results to everyone [or perhaps anyone] else's City. I am no mathematician, as I often say, which is why I'm always extremely grateful whenever those who are more maths-capable kindly offer their advice and assistance in allowing us to optimise our Cities - which can't be done without knowing how the game's mechanics work.

The fact that many F2P games nowadays conceal much, even all, of their underlying functionality has always been problematic for me, and I'd guess also for others who are more used to some of the more in-depth [and not online] strategy games of past decades. After all, it's difficult, even impossible, to strategise effectively without considering the outcome of one's in-game decisions, and for me at least, pretty graphics alone do not a satisfying game make - and where competition is a factor, as of course it is in Elvenar and most other F2P games, knowing [enough about] how the game works - and thus what will actually happen if we change X or Y aspect of our Cities - becomes even more relevant, IMHO.

The fact that Elvenar does not allow the removal of placed Expansions, nor yet the retraction of completed Research, is of particular note when it comes to being aware of, and accounting for, how these elements of the Formula will affect our own particular City strategy in the longer term - and although it's possible to delete AWs (as many large-City players reluctantly did, when the Formula was introduced, in an attempt to mitigate its sudden and in some cases dramatic effects), it can take months or even years, and thousands of KP, to level them up, so I for one would rather not build an AW in the first place unless I'm convinced that its benefit(s) will outweigh its associated increase in Spire/Tourney costs. YMMV.

Back in 2020, when the Formula was new, and was the most hotly debated topic (ever) on this and every other Forum, I recall that CrazyWizard, as one of the game's top Tournament and maths-adept players, calculated that the Formula's effects can cause two differently developed Cities in the same Chapter - even if visually apparently similar - to end up with Spire/Tournament Squad Sizes/Catering costs which can differ by up to 400%.

As CrazyW himself said, this is an extreme - but still real - example of why the Combat Formula was then, and still is now, so very controversial, in comparison with the game's other, and typically less variable, underlying mechanics which are based upon individual Cities' level of advancement.
 
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Silly Bubbles

Illusionist
@Laurelin
You are free to use any information you like. I have never disputed this formula but I’m strongly against the way it was recommended to game the formula (to stop progressing) as it confused a lot of people and it’s not the only or best way to game the formula. It’s not that difficult to use elvenstats and see that players do improve their tournament score even when they’re progressing though chapters, upgrading AWs and placing expansions. What you want to do with this fact is up to you, I just wouldn’t recommend to others to do something that is not supported by actual results.
 

Silly Bubbles

Illusionist
I am no mathematician, as I often say, which is why I'm always extremely grateful whenever those who are more maths-capable kindly offer their advice and assistance in allowing us to optimise our Cities - which can't be done without knowing how the game's mechanics work.

Just out of interest. You say that you're no mathematician so how do you know which formulas are correct and which are not? How do you what calculations make sense and which ones don't? How do you know which person is right and which one wrong? How do you know how to use those formulas? How do you know how to interpret them?
Additional tools are great but I wouldn't give a blind person a chainsaw. I think that logic and common sense are much easier to understand for even non math people so they know why they should believe what someone says and not just blindly follow someone's fancy calculations that they don't understand.
 

Jake65

Necromancer
As a relatively new fighter I find these discussions and differences of opinion very interesting.
As one progresses through the game you discover more provinces which, assuming you can complete them all in a tournament, will by default increase your tournament score.
My real point of interest is 'at what cost'?
If one could distill the troops or goods cost down to a common coins/supplies cost per tournament point then I think this would give a far more accurate picture of whether fighting is easier or more difficult after a change/upgrade.
 

Jake65

Necromancer
P.S. I'm not offering to figure it out, this is very much @Sir Derf territory.
Carrot dangled.. ;)
 

Sir Derf

Immortal
For whatever reason, I have never felt the bug to do Semi-Pointless Math (tm) related to fighting/catering.
 

Jake65

Necromancer
For whatever reason, I have never felt the bug to do Semi-Pointless Math (tm) related to fighting/catering.
Probably wise :)
 

m4rt1n

Immortal
Just to say here I have completed ch20, upgraded my AW's and continuing to do so as far as possible and placed all available normal expansions and as many premium as I have earned diamonds for and still find the tournament the same to play and do at least 30 provinces weekly every week to 6 rounds.
 
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