Strategy question: Gold or Experience

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Strategy question: Gold or Experience

Postby Magepunk » Apr 9 2007, 2:17

I've been playing homm series for years, picking exp from the chests. And now some strategists tell me, that taking cash is better. Like, wtf? Why?

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Postby Banedon » Apr 9 2007, 5:21

If you pick the gold, you can climb the TeCH tree much faster, reaching powerful late-game creatures earlier. That's the obvious answer, but the real reasons lie with why not to take the experience. More experience is always a good thing, but there's a huge experience gap between a level 20 and a level 21 hero, for example, that'll take a huge number of treasure chests to even. This is where the experience is irrelevant while gold could have played a deciding factor.

Suppose two players play, me and you. You take experience, I take gold. We meet in a final battle where you, courtesy of the experience, are level 21. However, because I took gold, I reached the (say) Emerald Dragon dwelling a week before you did, thus having an extra two Emerald Dragons on the battlefield EDIT: while being level 20. Which would affect the battle more? Obviously the dragons. If the battle had been fought a lot earlier (say, at level 6, when you taking experience could make you level 8) then experience can play a bigger factor, but the later the battle the more important gold gets.

Bottomline: take gold all the time, unless you are very sure you do not need the gold.
Last edited by Banedon on Apr 9 2007, 6:30, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Magepunk » Apr 9 2007, 5:45

hmm....and what about small maps? (I don't really like those, but still...) and wow...i've never thought about it this way.

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Postby arturchix » Apr 9 2007, 6:07

This is an old discussion, like the whole Heroes series - gold or experience, black dragons or titans? :)

There is no single correct answer, everything depends on the current situation and the amount of resources you already have. In small maps and/or at harder difficulty where starting resources are limited and/or the enemy player is aggressive, the player probably should go for gold. In bigger maps and/or the player has a good amount of resources, go for experience. Usually I mostly choose gold from the smallest chests and experience from the biggest chests, and after my heroes have advanced over level 20 or so, I always pick gold.
Bottomline: take gold all the time, unless you are very sure you do not need the gold.

Can you also say: take experience all the time, unless you are very sure you do not need the experience? :tongue:

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Postby Magepunk » Apr 9 2007, 6:19

Gah. Such discussions make my head hurt and feel nostalgic for HoMM1, the true game, with the funniest graphics and no n00bish secondary skills or unit upgrades or even mana. Yup.

Oh, and Titans own everything.

And now i'll have to rethink my style of play again...

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Postby Banedon » Apr 9 2007, 6:38

There is no single correct answer, everything depends on the current situation and the amount of resources you already have. In small maps and/or at harder difficulty where starting resources are limited and/or the enemy player is aggressive, the player probably should go for gold. In bigger maps and/or the player has a good amount of resources, go for experience. Usually I mostly choose gold from the smallest chests and experience from the biggest chests, and after my heroes have advanced over level 20 or so, I always pick gold.


I disagree. The smaller the map, the more important it is to take Gold. With Gold, you can establish map dominance early and never let up. You can choke your opponent, who will be unable to hit back (despite having the higher-level hero) because your army is that much stronger. Sometimes a difference of a single level giving, say, Master of Ice to a hero with Circle of Winter will have a significant difference, but more often than not you want a larger army (you have no guarantee you'll be offered Circle of Winter anyway).

On the other hand, in bigger maps, it is still important to take Gold first so you can send your hero on a mission from which he won't return. What tends to happen (at least in Heroes III; I've not played that many XL maps in Heroes V [and even then I play only Heroic, when this isn't really practical]) is you equip a hero with an army that can handle most neutral stacks at the start of the second week and get going. This hero's mission is not to defeat your opponents but rather to flag mines, capture neutral castles, seize artifacts and resources, explore the terrain and so on. Gold is very important because your opponent will be doing exactly the same thing. If you miss the onset of the second week (for example, your hero starts adventuring on Day 3, Week 2 because you did not have the resources necessary to build Master Hunters) you will be disadvantaged simply because your opponent moved faster, and has claimed more of the map as his own.

And oddly, I find that I tend to take experience after level 20. The reason: by that time the economy is in free-flow and I do not need the gold at all. Of course, this isn't always the case.

Can you also say: take experience all the time, unless you are very sure you do not need the experience?


You can, but my point is: when in doubt, take the gold.

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Postby arturchix » Apr 9 2007, 7:09

I disagree. The smaller the map, the more important it is to take Gold. With Gold, you can establish map dominance early and never let up. You can choke your opponent, who will be unable to hit back (despite having the higher-level hero) because your army is that much stronger. Sometimes a difference of a single level giving, say, Master of Ice to a hero with Circle of Winter will have a significant difference, but more often than not you want a larger army (you have no guarantee you'll be offered Circle of Winter anyway).

Hum, you disagree with what? Didn't I say go for gold in smaller maps? ;)
If you miss the onset of the second week (for example, your hero starts adventuring on Day 3, Week 2 because you did not have the resources necessary to build Master Hunters) you will be disadvantaged simply because your opponent moved faster, and has claimed more of the map as his own.

But we are talking about big maps, aren't we? I could agree that in medium or small sized maps it should be important, but in big maps where mostly your enemy is miles away? Of course, it depends on the situation but at least I in such case always go for experience, since there's no need for an aggressive start.
And oddly, I find that I tend to take experience after level 20. The reason: by that time the economy is in free-flow and I do not need the gold at all. Of course, this isn't always the case.

In skirmish maps, possible, in campaigns - very unlikely as you can start the next scenario at level 20.

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Postby Gaidal Cain » Apr 9 2007, 9:02

I take gold when I need gold and XP when I need XP :D


(seriously- on most maps, I go for gold in 1000/500 chests, and take XPmost of the time in the others)
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Postby Banedon » Apr 9 2007, 10:05

But we are talking about big maps, aren't we? I could agree that in medium or small sized maps it should be important, but in big maps where mostly your enemy is miles away? Of course, it depends on the situation but at least I in such case always go for experience, since there's no need for an aggressive start.


There is a need for an aggressive start because your opponent will be /should be going for an aggressive start. If you take experience, you'll have early-game bragging rights of 'my hero's higher level than yours' but all the other stuff like 'my army's bigger than yours' or 'I own more towns than you' will be your opponent's. Early-game it's important to take gold regardless of map size.

In skirmish maps, possible, in campaigns - very unlikely as you can start the next scenario at level 20.


Campaigns don't matter :) Unless the campaign is of extraordinary difficulty, you can do anything and still win.

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Postby danijel1990 » Apr 9 2007, 10:13

Go for the gold, exp CAN'T make much diference. I mean if I buy a new hero and give him the strong army with my gold I will surely defeat high level hero (even if he has better stats:)). That's my opinion but, everyone has their own thoughts ;)

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Postby arturchix » Apr 9 2007, 10:42

There is a need for an aggressive start because your opponent will be /should be going for an aggressive start. If you take experience, you'll have early-game bragging rights of 'my hero's higher level than yours' but all the other stuff like 'my army's bigger than yours' or 'I own more towns than you' will be your opponent's. Early-game it's important to take gold regardless of map size.

That's not a fact - playing a big map means player's first encounter with the enemy is quite far away, so you can do basically what you want. In small maps an aggressive start is necessary because the player can encounter enemy very early on. Taking experience has a simple benefit - gain skills that allow you to progress faster. Logistics skill - explore more, magic skills - kill neutrals with spells. With gold you can hire only as much troops as they are offered in the town, no more. Taking experience from most of the biggest chests the player still should be able to follow his plan with a slight delay and hire all of the starting troops, while the gained skills from the experience can allow the player take on more neutrals than with less experience, simple. :) Especially effective this is in Heroes IV.
Campaigns don't matter :)Unless the campaign is of extraordinary difficulty, you can do anything and still win.

Why don't they matter? Many players play only campaigns so they pretty much matter. ;) Of course, it depends on the scenario - the player can't just do anything in scenarios and still win, there are also small sized maps that require aggressive play, which is quite usual for campaign maps which tend to be small most of the time.

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Postby Banedon » Apr 9 2007, 11:42

That's not a fact - playing a big map means player's first encounter with the enemy is quite far away, so you can do basically what you want. In small maps an aggressive start is necessary because the player can encounter enemy very early on. Taking experience has a simple benefit - gain skills that allow you to progress faster. Logistics skill - explore more, magic skills - kill neutrals with spells. With gold you can hire only as much troops as they are offered in the town, no more. Taking experience from most of the biggest chests the player still should be able to follow his plan with a slight delay and hire all of the starting troops, while the gained skills from the experience can allow the player take on more neutrals than with less experience, simple. Especially effective this is in Heroes IV.


No. You're not taking gold because you'll be fighting your enemy soon. You're taking gold to establish map dominance. Let me mention one of my first, serious, multiplayer games in Heroes II.

I played Necromancer. One of my friends played Knight. The map was Terra Firma, a very huge XL map. I hung around my small corner of the map, happy to climb the TeCH tree slowly and I had Bone Dragons in play when my friend's main hero had only Swordsmen. Easy victory? No: my friend gave his main hero Rangers, Pikemen and Swordsmen then sent him off on a killing spree. He had 6 castles to my one, and who won doesn't need detailing.

You don't need to gain levels to get Logistics; you can learn that skill early. Since it's an XL map, you should even prioritize it. You won't need deadly combat skills for a good while, provided of course you have a decent army (like my friend's Rangers / Pikemen / Swordsmen combination). You're right that there's a limit to the number of creatures you can hire - the growth per week. But you missed that you can build new dwellings, giving more creatures. Gold's needed not only to recruit creatures but also to build the dwellings.

As for Heroes IV, gold is even more important because you have to scramble up the TeCH tree now. Heroes make or break your army, yes, but the Tier 4 creatures are still very important, and they raise the speed of your army in general. You need them fast, and to do that you need gold. There're also armies you cannot beat without some powerful creatures of your own. Only time you can reasonably take experience over gold is when you're doing a Might Superhero strategy, but even then, in the first few turns, it might be better to take Gold so you can fuel your Barbarians with Potions of Immortality and Arsenal equipment.

Why don't they matter? Many players play only campaigns so they pretty much matter. Of course, it depends on the scenario - the player can't just do anything in scenarios and still win, there are also small sized maps that require aggressive play, which is quite usual for campaign maps which tend to be small most of the time.


I can't recall any small-sized campaign map that requires aggressive play. In fact, I don't recall any campaign map in Heroes 5 that forces you to move quickly (unless my own playstyle has evolved to the extent that i move fast enough even noticing it).

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Postby Jolly Joker » Apr 9 2007, 11:56

I agree with GC, at least in general.
I always take money for 1000 gold chest. The higher the difficulty because the more important it gets to take the money. That said, you usually cannot afford to take each and every chest with your main hero which means you'll take money on more than those. Depending on the layout of the map and on how many 2000 or 1500 gold chest the secondary hero opens for money I tend to go for experience on the 2000 gold chests (except in dire need) and decide depending on situation for the 1500 gold/1000 experience chests.

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Postby Metathron » Apr 9 2007, 11:57

An important thing to note is what difficulty level the player chooses. IMO, choosing gold over experience on easy/normal is a total waste. On hard, and especially heroic, picking gold is a must.
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Postby arturchix » Apr 9 2007, 12:40

Banedon, that’s why I in the beginning said there’s no single correct answer – there are too many factors involved like the game difficulty, map size, layout and other things to tell that the player will always have to pick gold or always pick experience from chests. Like Metathron mentioned a good example - picking gold on easy and probably also on normal level will be a waste because the player already has enough gold and resources to build capitol, dwellings and hire troops and in this case extra gold will be of no use, while extra experience can make a significant difference. Maybe it depends on the playing style, at least I prefer picking experience. And multiplayer requires different playing strategy than singleplayer because player knows how the AI thinks, while it’s hard to predict how will play a human enemy. The only two basic rules I follow is taking gold from the smallest chests and in most cases – experience from biggest chests. The rest depends on the situation, and there always are exceptions.

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Postby Campaigner » Apr 9 2007, 12:50

I always play on Expert or Impossible and Hard/Heroic and therefore gold is a must so you can get out and claim stuff quickly. I would take some experience in a map where I knew I'll meet my opponent(s) early so I get some much needed skills (Archery/Offense/Defense|Attack with BattleFrenzy and Archery/Expert *Magic with an secondary ability if appropriate/Expert Sorcery and Arcane Training) to tip the scales in my favor.

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Postby ThunderTitan » Apr 9 2007, 12:54

You take the gold for creatures and town development and the exp for hero development. The question you have to ask yourself is which one is beneficial at the time (lvls or units).
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Postby Starbatron » Apr 9 2007, 19:16

Well put TT ;)

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Postby Zamolxis » Apr 9 2007, 20:30

ThunderTitan wrote:...The question you have to ask yourself is which one is beneficial at the time (lvls or units).

And when I need both, I usually go for experience for the "big" chests (1500 exp will most probably push you up 1 lvl) and for gold when I have a "small" chest (1000 gold might be just what I need to build sth or hire a good number of low lvl creatures in the 1st week, while 500 exp might bring me nothing).

Of course I also check how much experience do I need exactly for the next lvl - sometimes 500 being just what you need to jump from lvl. 11 to 12. :)
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Postby ThunderTitan » Apr 9 2007, 20:39

I meant considering those factors at each chest. That covers your example.
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