Balancing mana upkeeps

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Home Forums Age of Wonders 3 Discussions Balancing mana upkeeps

This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Hiliadan 3 years, 3 months ago.

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    Currently, 2 types of units engender mana upkeep: summons originating from a spell, which adds a mana upkeep to the spell owner; and units which evolved from such summons, and which keep a mana (and not gold) upkeep, even though they’re not linked to a spell any more. (and there are also Cadavers with 2 mana upkeep)
    Currently, there are significant discrepancies between mana upkeeps, depending on the spell or the unit, etc. and things are a lot murkier than for gold upkeep which depends only on units’ tier.

    Furthermore, Volunteer works only on “real” upkeep and not on spell’s upkeeps so only evolved units (and Cadavers) benefit from it.

    Gladis wrote his opinion about mana upkeeps:

    All summons of the same Tier should have the same Mana Upkeep-
    These could be (suggestion):
    T1: 9 Mana (Spy Drone, Wisp, Greambeak Crows, Cherub, Wild Animal)
    T2: 12 Mana (Phantasm Warrior, Hell Hound, Eldritch Animal, Zephyr Bird)
    T3: 22 Mana (Node Serpents, Evolved Elementals and Evolved T3 Spiders/Serpents/Siren
    T4: 36 Mana (all Class Summons, Angels [Arch Angel, Fallen Angel, Chthonic Guardian] and Evolved King Serpents)
    The odd Summons I recognized so far and therefore should be changed to the upkeep listed above (current Upkeep in brackets):
    T1: Lost Soul (10 Mana), Kobold and Dire Pinguin (6 Mana)
    T2: Baby Kraken (9 Mana) and Lesser Elementals (15 Mana)
    T3: Feathered Serpents and Elementals (18 Mana)
    T4: Phoenix, Obsidian Dragon and Bone Dragon ( 32 Mana)

    […] Discussing the Upkeep costs of Summon Spells which can summon units of different Tiers:
    1. Water Nymph (T2 [Mermaid] or T3 [Siren]: currently 9 Mana (Secret Spell)
    Chances seem to be 50%,so the Upkeep should be in the middle of 12 (T2) and 22 (T3): Let´s say 16 Mana.
    2. Fantastic Creature (T2 [Obsidian Wyvern, Fire Wyvern, Frost Wyvern, Gryphon or T3 [Watcher]): currently 16 Mana
    Isn´t the chance for a Watcher twice as high than for the others? Anyway, 16 Mana seems fair to me.
    3. Gargantuan Animal (T3 [Dread Spider Queen, Hunter Spider Queen, Vampire Spider Queen, Mature Reed Serpent 2x, Mature Shock Serpent 2x] or T4 [King Reed Serpent, King Shock Serpent]): 28 Mana
    This is very nasty, need this checked by Zaskow probably. If the chances listed are correct, it means you have 7/9 chances of summon a T3 and 2/9 chances to summon a T4.
    Let´s do some maths:
    7 x upkeep of T3: 7 x 22 Mana = 154 Mana
    2 x upkeep of T4: 2 x 36 Mana = 72 Mana
    Total devided by 9: (154 + 72) / 9 = 25 Mana, so I would say 28 Mana is ok



    T1: 9 Mana
    T2: 12 Mana
    T3: 22 Mana
    T4: 36 Mana

    I’m not sure about these values.

    9 mana for a scouting T1 seems good, even though I wonder if we wouldn’t be better at 8 or even 7.
    But 12 mana, or just +33%, for a T2 compared to a T1, it’s not appropriate. A Phantasm Warrior for instance is much stronger than a Wisp, yet its upkeep is almost the same. I believe it should be close to double the upkeep. It’s probably a good idea not to do x2 for each tier like we do for gold because it would doom summoning players as soon as they lose their cities, whereas players with gold-upkeep armies can still survive for many many turns. So maybe +75% and put the upkeep of T2 to 16 if we keep T1 at 9. But otherwise, I would say: 7 mana and 12 mana.
    22 mana for T3, it’s almost double the current upkeep of T2 so seems fine, but it’s only 2.44 the upkeep of T1. I would do a further +75% compared to T2 too.
    36 mana for a T4 makes it similar to the gold upkeep of a T4. But a T1 is at 4 gold or 9 mana, so should a T4 have the same mana upkeep than a T4 with a gold upkeep? Nothing is less sure!
    In the end, I’d suggest:
    T1: 7 mana
    T2: 12 Mana
    T3: 21 Mana
    T4: 38 Mana
    (+75% each time, using 7 mana for T1 as a base, rounded)

    And I believe there should be a much bigger overall discussion of mana, going together with this, including a reduction of CP cost of non-summon strategic spells, an increase in their mana upkeep, and a reduction of mana income from Temple and Great Temple. The aim would to limit mana overflow late game, without changing much the early game (which is quite mana-constrained).

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by  Hiliadan.


    Yes, the 7 Mana upkeep die T1 seems ok, too.
    On the other hand, I always summon many scouts but didn’t had a lot of trouble most of the time. Maybe the 38 mana for a T4 is too much though.
    Maybe rather 7-12-20-34? 34 would be the middle of 32 and 36.

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by  gladis.


    I am for an equal upkeep for units with the same tier. Regarding the costs it hard to say if 7, 12, 21, 38 is better than 7,12, 20, 34 or even slightly other changes.

    Isn’t it possible to link the upkeep to the unit so that spells which can summon units with different tiers won’t need a special upkeep?


    tier 4-32



    What are the class/faction ways to reduce mana upkeep (as compared to Volunteer)?

    Although the building of the upkeep cost per tier has not to be backed by any formula (it could be hand tailored/adjusted in the end), the latter you propose is nearly a geometric serial (+75%), rounded up and starting with 6: 6 – 11 – 20 – 35.

    I’d question the fact that all the units of same tier should cost the same upkeep:

      This simple and simplistic rule works well for produced units because they were adjusted with this cost in mind (production costs, unit stats and abilities, even building prerequisites). Then, there is the Volunteer trait, and RG bonuses. All this aspects form a balanced whole. Then, there are the Inns and places when you can purchase for gold boosted units that you can’t produce.
      You could say that’s is the same for summoned units (replace the Inn by various Dwellings and Flying Circus), except that currency is always mana. Upkeep costs could be different (for same approximate military value and tier) between a summoned animal and an invoked outwordly being, between an intelligent creature and a mindless one, etc.
      Sorting units into tiers is very handy to approximatly assess the strength and cost (victory points, gift value if you are allowed to give units, AI decisions and autoplay) of an army. But this should end here. Production costs have (are) not to be the same for a given tier, because they reflect availability (training, equipment, faction’s war culture). Likewise, upkeep costs could be different (hardy troops living on the field vs praetorian troops maintained at the academy, yet having possibly same military value, hence belonging to same tier).

    To summarize, homogeneizing upkeep costs is very practical and not a necessity. A in-between way could be a main, simple tier-based scaled cost, on top of which small specific costs would stack. For instance, +1 mana for magical, +2 mana for elementals (bond harder to maintain), +2 mana for machines (no need for a bond, but real maintenance needed). Ideally, the upkeep cost could even depend on alignment and terrain (try to keep bound a water elemental on volcanic or dry terrain).




    Regarding the proposal, we have the following discussions:
    T1: 7 mana (was usually 9-10)
    8 (and 6) has been proposed but otherwise 7 seems to make consensus?

    T2: 12 Mana (was 9 to 12)
    Seems to make consensus.

    T3: 21 Mana (was about 28)
    20-26 was suggested.

    T4: 38 Mana (was about 36)
    gladis argued it was too high. I don’t think so, it’s end of game units and you usually overflow with mana at this point. They also pack a lot of punch and should be much more costly than T3 to maintain.
    32-34 was proposed.

    Then we indeed have the issue Gladis mentioned and that I quoted in the first post, about spells summoning different tiers of units. We can’t associate the upkeep to the unit as it’s linked to the spell. We could break the link between the spell and the unit (as it has been done for evolving summons) but then the cost of upkeep wouldn’t be doubled when the Leader is in the void and there might be other unintended consequences.

    I suggest we calculate the upkeep of the spell based on the weighted average of the mana upkeep of the units it can summon:
    1. Water Nymph: 50% T2 [Mermaid] + 50% T3 [Siren]
    2. Fantastic Creature: 80% T2 [Obsidian Wyvern, Fire Wyvern, Frost Wyvern, Gryphon] + 20% T3 [Watcher] (figures to check)
    3. Gargantuan Animal: 7/9 T3 [Dread Spider Queen, Hunter Spider Queen, Vampire Spider Queen, Mature Reed Serpent 2x, Mature Shock Serpent 2x] + 2/9 T4 [King Reed Serpent, King Shock Serpent]

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