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Netherlands Goodspeed
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07 Mar 2016, 21:14

Fellow Brit players,

First of all there aren't enough of you!

This post will attempt to detail the benefits of the "Virginia Company" (VC from here) card which makes British manors cost 88 wood instead of 135. It's an overview of my personal journey from "Haha, that card is terrible" to "Well shit", which underlined for me that confirmation bias is strong in not just the people that I disagree with, but in myself as well ;) Always stay critical, and always try to disprove yourself.
DISCLAIMER: Whenever I state something in this post seemingly as fact but it is not backed up by math, remember it is just my opinion. I will not put "imo" after every sentence.

Let me just state for the record what I will be trying to prove with this post: VC is a viable card in match ups where British do not lose to a rush.

This discussion is not new, and by that I don't mean that I have personally been spamming about this card for a while (which I have). I mean that countless threads have been made on a variety of forums over the years, and I'm sure that they exist here as well, asking about or aguing for VC. Mostly, and this is interesting, by low-ranked players. Not the establishment, if you will, but people who saw the tremendous cost decrease and wondered why no one used it.
I myself have always (and by that I mean 4+ years ago, when I was active) argued against it. I tested the card before, as I'm sure a lot of you have as well, and came to the conclusion that it's just not worth it. “It's inflexible. It's missing 3 villagers early on, which slows your military production. And even with 20 manors, it is still 3 vills behind a player who did not send VC but also maxed manors.”
These are the standard arguments you will hear from people arguing that VC is a bad card, and they are the arguments you would have heard from me if you had asked me 5 years ago.

In my and other high level players' defense: the reason why it has been overlooked for so long, I think, is that it only recently became viable. It simply did not fit into the meta (or on the maps, for that matter) before. This explains why low-ranked players were exploring it while high-ranked players were quick to dismiss it. Of course there's also the part where we ruined Brits by increasing manor cost and pop in AS FP 1.2, which made VC entirely not viable.
Brits, and this is surprising given the civ design, are even now often played relatively aggressively. Forward towers and early military production are a very common sight in Brit games. This is not because they are a "rush civ", but rather because:

1. They often get rushed (or used to anyway) so they need early military presence, or
2. ... they need to prevent the other player from doing an economic semi-FF unharmed.
3. Map control becomes vitally important later in the game as Brits which makes taking the map early on all the more tempting.
4. In a British mirror it is extra important to take map control early because it is easy to hang on to, which makes VC not viable in mirrors. Because most top level games these days are mirrors (although finally in the Winter tournament the rules prevented this), it is not worth it for top players to explore options beyond the auto-pilot standard build.

So that’s my theory about the reasons why VC was not used before. Now, on to the fun stuff.

There's a new kid in town, as trading posts gain popularity and the maps' resource balance is improved. That new kid is Greed, and by greed I mean economic play styles designed to end the game after 10 minutes, not before.
Brit players should be very excited about this. After all, the British boom is the fastest and cheapest in the game, which allows for some interesting new options. And I’ll say even more: I would not be surprised if Brits are currently one of the best civs.

For the past week I have been working on a program which mathematically simulates AoE3 and is able to quickly calculate the difference between build orders. Using this I am able to compare 3v build orders to VC build orders without having to test them ingame, eliminating my own poor execution and the uncertainties of your average AoE3 game.
Now of course I could have simply done the math for this specific occasion and detailed it here, but I am hoping (with enough time commitment) the program will evolve into something which is easily scriptable and works for all civs, and this is a great place to start. For now I am working with a very simple simulation of the British early game. Remember that due to idle vill time (walking from hunt to hunt etc), which my program doesn't take into account (yet), you will be slightly slower than the simulated times in a real game. A benchmark if you are going for a full manor boom: Your final manor should finish around 5:30.

For this simulation I am assuming Brits started with 300 wood and 200 food in crates. In this case Brits will build 2 manors immediately and attempt a 4:10 colonial age up. The program's starting conditions are based on (near) perfect early game vill micro which I tested ingame.

Starting position
Game time: 56 seconds
Vills: 10 (all gathering food)
Manors: 2
Food: 220
Wood: 30
Coin: 0
XP: 187

The script which the program executes (essentially the build order) is as follows. It is always automatically creating villagers unless aging up.
- Send the first shipment (VC or 3 vill).
- Age to colonial with the 500f politician.
- Switch all vills to wood.
- Build manors until colonial age is reached.
- Send 700 wood.
- Build manors until they are maxed. (or until x manors have been built, this is relevant later)
- Build 2 barracks.
- Switch vills to food/wood for longbow production.
- Build longbows.

As you may have noticed, this is the build order which gets the most possible amount of value out of the VC card but, surprisingly, it's also a build order you can easily get away with in many match ups. As for the results of the sim:

3 vills first
- Colonial age at ~4:10 with 6 manors built during transition.
- Last manor starts building at 5:30 - 5:40.
- Vill count at 6 minutes is 39.
- 2 barracks are done by 6:10.
- Longbow count at 7:00 is 13.
- Longbow count at 8:20 is 35.

VC first
- Colonial age at ~4:10 with 7 manors built during transition.
- Last manor starts building at 5:00 - 5:10.
- 2 barracks are done by 5:30.
- Vill count at 6 minutes is 36.
- Longbow count at 6:00 is 8.
- Longbow count at 7:00 is 23.
- Longbow count at 8:20 is 45.

(If anyone would like details on how I implemented the math, as I'm sure some of you will want to poke holes in it, feel free to ask)

Above shows that the VC boom is about 30 seconds faster. Keep in mind I did not implement the second colonial shipment just yet, but due to the faster XP gained from the manor boom the VC build gets this shipment significantly faster as well. Of course, the VC build is still 3 villagers behind and this is a deficit that will stay for the duration of the game.

So if you can get away with a greedy build, which you often can in the current meta, the discussion is now about +3 villagers versus a 30 second faster build order. Given the nature of British and their relative weakness to early fortress timing attacks, I have a very easy time making a case for the faster build here. We shouldn't forget that +3 vills may seem like a lot, but because the British economy is so big this is only a 6-7% increase. It will pay off over time, but it will take long to do so. A 30 second faster build on the other hand can be the difference between losing to a mid colonial or early fortress timing attack or holding it off with an easily winning economy.

But ask yourself, how often do you really max manors before 7 minutes if you sent 3 vills? Not often, you can't really afford it because it slows you down a lot having to chop all that wood, so the +3 vills wouldn't even come into play until way later. You may argue “why not just build 17 manors instead of 20, save 405 wood and have equal vill count compared to the VC build?” The thing is you’re still slower. Slightly, but you’re still slower. Let’s throw in a couple of graphs:

Image

And to reflect relative vill counts instead of manors built (adjusted the VC graphs 3 to the left, meaning the 3v build saved 405 wood):

Image

We mostly need to be looking at the second graph, because this represents the actual vill counts that you end up booming towards. The VC graphs have been adjusted to the left in order to compensate for the -3 vills. Keep one thing in mind though: In the second graph the VC build is always ahead by 81 XP compared to the 3v build due to the XP gained from building the extra 3 manors.

The data tells us that the builds turn out about equal if you build less than 13-14 manors with 3 vills first (equivalent to 16-17 with VC first). However, 3 vills quickly starts falling off if you want to boom to 14+ manors (or 17+ with VC). This is due to the 700w being spent on manors and the player being unable to build their barracks in a timely fashion.
Not only does the VC build produce significantly more units in the given time frames, it also starts building units quicker. The VC manor boom ends sooner so it will have the barracks up before the 3v build, even if the 3v build chooses to build 3 less manors to compensate for the lost time.

And for the record (this will be obvious to most of you I hope), if you build less than 9 manors (chosen arbitrarily) before 6 minutes, which is equivalent to less than 12 manors with VC, this can’t be considered a boom and the 3 vill build is always superior. That’s the reason the graph starts at 9. We are looking at the best boom builds for Brits here, not the best rush.

So with the data out of the way, let’s dig into the strategy a little more. This very fast boom opens up some interesting options. Brits can now think of going 1 rax (build the rax slightly before 700w so you are prepared for cav) 5 pike 700w 5v 700g semi-FF against opposing semi-FFs and not lose to a 9 minute timing attack. Against colonial-focused build orders, they can try to get away with a fast boom and rely on minutemen + longbows and vills to tank in order to hold any 6-7 minute timings. 23 longbows instead of 12 at 7:00 is a big difference, and 5-10 pikes at 6:20 compared to zero can absolutely decide a game against a cav semi-FF. This goes to show how important speed is.

And there’s 1 last argument that I know will be coming which I should get ahead of: “If your opponent scouts VC he will just rush you and you wasted a card.”
But there’s an important factor you may be missing if you were thinking this: Rushing sucks. If you went VC and you scout a rush from your opponent, you are actually happy. Yes, 3 vills would’ve been better, but if you had sent 3 vills they wouldn’t have rushed. Remember that by rushing, your opponent is sacrificing his own economy as well as hurting yours, and with good wall + longbow laming he is not going to break you. Then if the rush is over and you feel comfortable behind your cozy wall, you immediately switch gears and max manors. This way VC wasn’t all that bad in the end, and meanwhile your opponent opted out of his economic semi-FF just to stop you from booming to 40 vills at 6 min. Of course there are some match ups where a rush will actually kill you, and those are the match ups where VC is not viable. Which match ups are those? I’ll leave that up to you.

Cheers, and commence the naysaying!
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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07 Mar 2016, 21:26

Great post.
VC isn't viable vs india, russia and very risky vs azzy/otto/sioux I'd say.
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New Zealand zoom
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ESO: Funnu
Location: Ramadanistan

07 Mar 2016, 21:28

Yay!
sudmakmak wrote:This patch Keshik don't have buff anti cavalry = noob patch2.0
and don't have nerf hard japan = noob patch2.0
because all more noob player at this patch = noob logic.
or they maybe have boyfriend.(japanese boyfriend fuck your ass them)
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Italy Garja
ESOC Maps Team
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07 Mar 2016, 21:30

Does the model factor in the time that it tkaes for villagers to actually build the manors?
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United States of America SirCallen
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07 Mar 2016, 21:37

Gs this is exactly what I need in my life, thank you.

Interesting points, I guess I'm gonna be giving this a shot.

I have just one question, what do you think of the 300w start and building a tp and manor, shipping 3v then VC? IIRC, you still get 700w almost immediately upon age up.

Also can you teach me british or smth.
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Switzerland Method_man714
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Posts: 508

07 Mar 2016, 21:41

I was won over by your mirror vs hwaorang. But i feel you might just be alot better than he is.
I chose this avatar so i cant see the haters
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Netherlands Goodspeed
Retired Contributor
Posts: 5201

07 Mar 2016, 21:44

Garja wrote:Does the model factor in the time that it tkaes for villagers to actually build the manors?
Yes
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
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Netherlands Goodspeed
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Posts: 5201

07 Mar 2016, 21:56

sircallen wrote:Gs this is exactly what I need in my life, thank you.

Interesting points, I guess I'm gonna be giving this a shot.

I have just one question, what do you think of the 300w start and building a tp and manor, shipping 3v then VC? IIRC, you still get 700w almost immediately upon age up.

Also can you teach me british or smth.
The TP start I'm not a fan of because you are giving up the 4:10 age up which is important if you want to boom. You're already 25 seconds slower than usual right there. I have tested the build and found I didn't have as much stuff as with the normal VC build, but it may be a strong semi-FF due to the extra XP.
I would simulate it and generate you some data, but I haven't yet implemented anything beyond 700w let alone fortress age. It would be a bit pointless to simulate a TP start in those conditions ;)

I don't get on ESO much but add me and whisper when I'm on, I might play :)
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
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Netherlands Jerom
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07 Mar 2016, 22:01

Im meh. Seems good in theory but in practice I'm not really sure how good it really is in the "greed" meta at all, and even if it's specifically good in this greed meta that does not at all imply that people have to play greed blindly. You can scout, and if this build become the main then the greed meta against brits would specifically die out. I am not quite sure, but I think it's possible to determine what you are up against before you make crucial build order decisions.

"When life give you incompetence, participate in the betting" - Jerom, winner of autumn betting, 2016
"but wer eyiu playig a gainst someone as magnificent as jerom? thats wha ti thogutb jerom is a beaaitful human being"- Mr_Bramboy
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Brazil Buckethead
Dragoon
Posts: 357

07 Mar 2016, 22:12

I did not read yet, tbh
But H2O proven that this card is bad a time ago in stream vs you
3vill boom vs VC boom
H2O was outgathered you about 1k~ resources, had +600 resources in bank and end the boom before you.
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Canada Mitoe
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07 Mar 2016, 22:16

Still not convinced. :P In my opinion, the only time VC may be worth it is with Aizamk's variation, where on a 300w start you build a manor and TP and ship both 3v and VC in age 1.

Goodspeed wrote:Because most top level games these days are mirrors (although finally in the Winter tournament the rules prevented this), it is not worth it for top players to explore options beyond the auto-pilot standard build.


Also this made me sad because you actually believe it to be true :( The meta, even in mirrors, is always changing. I'm pretty sure every mirror in the last half-year has evolved into something substantially different from what it was before.
Netherlands blackwidow
Dragoon
Posts: 265
ESO: MASTERdutch

07 Mar 2016, 22:21

Jerom wrote: Im meh. Seems good in theory but in practice I'm not really sure how good it really is in the "greed" meta at all, and even if it's specifically good in this greed meta that does not at all imply that people have to play greed blindly. You can scout, and if this build become the main then the greed meta against brits would specifically die out. I am not quite sure, but I think it's possible to determine what you are up against before you make crucial build order decisions.


But that's meta though, if a certain build gets played alot, people will find a way to adapt.
If VC will become the new meta for brits, people will be adapting to it, which forces the brit players to adapt aswell. It's all part of the meta system. I think that because the original post states that VC only just got viable, meaning all of this is for the current meta, you're not meant to start looking ahead and think about how it will do to its straight up counters. Because if you look at a build that way, nothing works unless it is unbeatable, which a build pretty much never is.
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United States of America Ikilled4penguins
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07 Mar 2016, 22:24

Great read, thank you.
Side question: when people mention "meta" in this context, is this referring to prevailing fashion/popularity?
Netherlands blackwidow
Dragoon
Posts: 265
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07 Mar 2016, 22:26

Buckethead wrote:I did not read yet, tbh
But H2O proven that this card is bad a time ago in stream vs you
3vill boom vs VC boom
H2O was outgathered you about 1k~ resources, had +600 resources in bank and end the boom before you.


Does this really mean VC isn't viable in all cases though? This just tells you it isn't the best way to go in a brit mirror.
As mentioned in the OP:

Goodspeed wrote: In a British mirror it is extra important to take map control early because it is easy to hang on to, which makes VC not viable in mirrors. Because most top level games these days are mirrors (although finally in the Winter tournament the rules prevented this), it is not worth it for top players to explore options beyond the auto-pilot standard build.
Netherlands blackwidow
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Posts: 265
ESO: MASTERdutch

07 Mar 2016, 22:30

Ikilled4penguins wrote:Great read, thank you.
Side question: when people mention "meta" in this context, is this referring to prevailing fashion/popularity?


Meta is pretty much the trend of playing a certain way yes.
Example:
The majority of people play 600w 4v 4v in japan mirrors, that makes this way to play 'meta'.
No Flag umeu
Gendarme
Posts: 6837

07 Mar 2016, 22:32

Mitoe wrote:Still not convinced. :P In my opinion, the only time VC may be worth it is with Aizamk's variation, where on a 300w start you build a manor and TP and ship both 3v and VC in age 1.

Goodspeed wrote:Because most top level games these days are mirrors (although finally in the Winter tournament the rules prevented this), it is not worth it for top players to explore options beyond the auto-pilot standard build.


Also this made me sad because you actually believe it to be true :( The meta, even in mirrors, is always changing. I'm pretty sure every mirror in the last half-year has evolved into something substantially different from what it was before.


or when you go cree craftmanship victoria company full boom ff :D
I kissed a girl and I liked it
Popped her cherry with my chapstick
I kissed a girl just to try it
I hope my wife don't mind it
It felt so wrong, it felt so right
Don't mean I'm in love tonight
I kissed a girl and I liked it
I liked it
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United States of America Ikilled4penguins
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07 Mar 2016, 22:37

blackwidow wrote:
Ikilled4penguins wrote:Great read, thank you.
Side question: when people mention "meta" in this context, is this referring to prevailing fashion/popularity?


Meta is pretty much the trend of playing a certain way yes.
Example:
The majority of people play 600w 4v 4v in japan mirrors, that makes this way to play 'meta'.

Thanks!!
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Brazil Buckethead
Dragoon
Posts: 357

07 Mar 2016, 22:42

blackwidow wrote:
Buckethead wrote:I did not read yet, tbh
But H2O proven that this card is bad a time ago in stream vs you
3vill boom vs VC boom
H2O was outgathered you about 1k~ resources, had +600 resources in bank and end the boom before you.


Does this really mean VC isn't viable in all cases though? This just tells you it isn't the best way to go in a brit mirror.
As mentioned in the OP:

Goodspeed wrote: In a British mirror it is extra important to take map control early because it is easy to hang on to, which makes VC not viable in mirrors. Because most top level games these days are mirrors (although finally in the Winter tournament the rules prevented this), it is not worth it for top players to explore options beyond the auto-pilot standard build.


You dont understood what do i mean, one of the reasons perhaps because my English is sucks :P

Full boom (max manor) with 3 Vill is better than Virginia Company (regardless of MU you are playing)
The because i said above:
H2O was outgathered GoodSpeed about 1k~ resources, had 600~ resources in bank and end the boom before GoodSpeed.
This happened in a stream a few months ago.
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United States of America SirCallen
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07 Mar 2016, 22:46

@blackwidow But honestly this goes to goodspeed's point about rushing. If opponents adapt to VC by rushing, then you've forced them into colonial play which is something brits always want, and something I'm very comfortable with. The reason brits seem to struggle in the tp ff meta is because they simply cannot make it to fortress fast enough. Even against a semi ff they are slow (have to send 700w 600w before 700g and then no fast age up).

The VC build simply gives them enough eco to compete with age 3 timings in age 2 and age behind it while still making lbows in a defensive position.
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Netherlands Goodspeed
Retired Contributor
Posts: 5201

07 Mar 2016, 22:49

Buckethead wrote:I did not read yet, tbh
But H2O proven that this card is bad a time ago in stream vs you
3vill boom vs VC boom
H2O was outgathered you about 1k~ resources, had +600 resources in bank and end the boom before you.
I don't think that's accurate. Besides, the math disagrees.
I have been working on and off on a program which mathematically simulates AoE3 and is able to quickly calculate the difference between build orders. Using this I am able to compare 3v build orders to VC build orders without having to test them ingame, eliminating my own poor execution and the uncertainties of your average AoE3 game.
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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07 Mar 2016, 22:55

Goodspeed wrote:
Buckethead wrote:I did not read yet, tbh
But H2O proven that this card is bad a time ago in stream vs you
3vill boom vs VC boom
H2O was outgathered you about 1k~ resources, had +600 resources in bank and end the boom before you.
I don't think that's accurate. Besides, the math disagrees.

I made the same tests and vc was better.
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Netherlands Goodspeed
Retired Contributor
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07 Mar 2016, 23:00

umeu wrote:
Mitoe wrote:Still not convinced. :P In my opinion, the only time VC may be worth it is with Aizamk's variation, where on a 300w start you build a manor and TP and ship both 3v and VC in age 1.

Goodspeed wrote:Because most top level games these days are mirrors (although finally in the Winter tournament the rules prevented this), it is not worth it for top players to explore options beyond the auto-pilot standard build.


Also this made me sad because you actually believe it to be true :( The meta, even in mirrors, is always changing. I'm pretty sure every mirror in the last half-year has evolved into something substantially different from what it was before.


or when you go cree craftmanship victoria company full boom ff :D

victoria company
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Brazil macacoalbino
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07 Mar 2016, 23:41

@goodspeed
Does all this math consider market upgrades as well? If so, at what time are they researched?

I've always thought this card was very interesting. But after years hearing people say it's bad, I just gave up on using it... Now I may give it another try :D
"Anything can happen. Just throw all of your points on the underdog (...). They are looking more like overdogs this tournament. Haha. A joke." - GS

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France Kaiserklein
Jaeger
Posts: 4267
Location: Paris

07 Mar 2016, 23:54

Goodspeed wrote:The TP start I'm not a fan of because you are giving up the 4:10 age up which is important if you want to boom.

I just tried on Arkansas and I was able to click age up at exactly 2:40 with early TP. I have to admit that I had 300f start instead of 200f. But, on the other hand, I took absolutely no treasure, I didn't macro as well as one could have, and the early TP on that map is not very good, especially since I spawned on the side where you can't get first xp. So I'm quite sure you can get 16 vils age up with early TP around 4:10 more or less every game, with both 200f and 300f starts.
Wouldn't this build be better (on a map with a decent early TP) since you get 3 vils + VC + a TP ? Also you build 1 less manor at start, but let's not forget that this manor will cost only 88w instead of the 135w it costs when you don't TP.
kickass_OP wrote:lbs vs cavs no is good

look wrote:Detail, garja was cattle for slaughter in my hands.

look wrote:I have something in particular against Kaisar (GERMANY NOOB mercenary LAMME FOREVER) And the other people (noobs) like suck kaiser ... just this ..
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Netherlands Goodspeed
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08 Mar 2016, 00:14

macacoalbino wrote:@goodspeed
Does all this math consider market upgrades as well? If so, at what time are they researched?

I've always thought this card was very interesting. But after years hearing people say it's bad, I just gave up on using it... Now I may give it another try :D
2, I skipped market because it doesn't really change anything (both builds would use it). As for when to build it I'm not exactly sure to be honest, would have to do some math. The question is which is worth more, a couple of manors or HD/ST. Research times also need to be taken into account.

@Kaiser +100f is a big deal, and so is -1 vill from discovery until max manors. I like to age early consistently and I wasn't able to do that with the TP start. Also keep in mind a TP isn't as significant for Brit as it is for other civs. They get a lot of XP from building manors. I could be wrong though, I'll know for sure when I get a decent simulation going. I posted about this build first because it's simple to implement and easy to compare to 3v first. Also it works with food and gold starts too. But I have big plans when it comes to build order testing ;)
The thing with TPs is you have to account for potential missed treasures and I have no idea how much that would be on average.
Whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

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