Content of the article: "Number Crunching the Wood Elf Update – why Legend is completely wrong about the Wood Elf economy"
Legend's stream got me scared about Wood Elves (who are my favourite faction in lore) so I thought I’d do so maths to see how bad things were. To my surprise, I found completely the opposite result – the Wood Elf economy is way, way better than it was pre-update. Wood Elves can now pack a substantial amount of economic heft into a very compact and defendable empire. They get more money and cheaper armies – and also less reason to actually build armies. In no way are these changes a nerf!
Glade Buildings – old
Previously, each Glade settlement had two sources of income:
– The main chain (max 140)
– The Grape Vines building (max 1200)
In Athel Loren you could boost the grape vines by 80% with adjacency bonuses. This meant your income per Athel Loren region maxed out at 2,300 before any outpost modifiers.
Since the non-Athel Loren regions couldn’t get the grape vine modifiers as they weren't adjacent to anything, this meant that outside of Athel Loren, the max was 1340. There were 4 occupiable regions (Oreon’s Camp, Lothern, Gaean Vale, Laurelorn). So the overall income you could get just from forests was:
– Athel Loren = 4x 2,300 = 9,200
– Non Athel Loren = 4x 1,340 = 5,360
– Total = 14,560
Glade Buildings – new
Now each settlement has several income chains, not just one.
– The main chain (max 500)
– The Hunting chain (max 500)
– The Grape Vines chain (max 1000)
– The Artisan chain (max 500)
This adds up to 2,500. This is a minor buff (+200) for Athel Loren when fully maxed out but almost doubles the potential base income of non-Athel Loren regions.
And the amount of non Athel-Loren regions has increased from 4 to 7 (Lothern’s status is unclear, so it could be 8, but I won’t include it). So the new numbers are:
– Athel Loren = 4 x 2,500 = 10,000
– Non Athel Loren = 7 x 2,500 = 17,500
– Total = 27,500
So on base forest income alone, the potential base Wood Elf economy from forests has almost doubled in size. The extra base income from the new buildings available across all the new regions is worth the base income from 250 outposts, or 32 buffed ports.
Ok, so what about stacking modifiers from outposts? Haven’t we lost that?
No, not really – it's just moved. In the streams we can see that each forest main settlement chain adds 1% global income per level. So each settlement can add up to 4% to your total income. Since there are 11 fully occupiable settlements, that’s a 44% potential increase in base income.
On top of that, healing Laurelorn gives you an additional 12% modifier to all income, bringing us up to a potential +66% to all income. There’s also several buffs in the tech tree to various buildings (I think it was +10% to each type). So we add another 10%, giving us +76%. And there may be other bonuses we haven't seen yet from landmarks etc.
(In contrast, the only tech that gave economic boosts in the old system gave you +20% for everything. This was obviously really good, but as we'll see doesn't make up for the difference)
(In the old version of the campaign, you could get another +10% factionwide from controlling various capitals. We’ll ignore that for now as we don’t know whether this is still a thing.)
So new Wood Elves, just from Forests, can get an income of 27,500* 1.76 = 46,570.
For comparison – in the old Wood Elves, getting this much income this would require you to max out all the forests and control around 100 outposts, even with the maxed tech tree.
So in terms of settlement income, your economy is likely to be stronger right up until the point where you have conquered around 1/3rd of the whole map. After that, you'd be richer in the old system (but only in terms of income – there's also an upkeep component I'll come back to).
Razing and sacking
This is much less clear. It definitely seems that the base income Wood Elves get from razing has gone down substantially. However, we’ve seen one of the new outpost buildings gives +50% income to razing in adjacent regions. If you can surround a juicy target with a couple of those before you go in for the kill, the potential income could be even higher than it was before.
I suspect the average raze value is lower but there's potential for some really big numbers with a bit of careful setup. IMO this is a good thing but I guess you could disagree.
Also it looks like the Wood Elf 'occupy' outcome now also grants you similar cash to sacking (it didn't previously). Not sure how much of an effect this will have.
Previously, you could get -25% global upkeep reduction via the Oak of Ages. IIRC this was the only global upkeep reduction available. Now, Athel Loren grants you up to -20% upkeep. So slightly less but pretty close.
On top of that, there’s two techs that offer wide-ranging upkeep reductions: an amber one that gives you -15% for all Tree Spirits, and a normal one that gives you -10% for all Elves. Again, these will scale very well in the late game.
The new merged Wood Elf garrison buildings also give you upkeep reduction to local armies (I think it’s 5%/10% but I can’t find where they were shown to check). We’ve also seen upkeep reduction on some offices as well as on existing character traits. With Athel Loren maxed out and the correct Amber skill, you can do a defensive stack of Treemen that gets -45% upkeep while in the forest. Make Durthu the leader, and that goes down to -75% – give him the Quartermaster skill and you're getting very close to a free stack. Alternatively, a Wood Elf character in the Master of Scouts office + the Quartermaster skill will be hitting -65% upkeep reduction for some solid units (e.g. Deepwood Scouts) during a Wild Hunt, going up to -75% if they’re on home turf.
There’s also the fact that with few regions to control, you need fewer armies. This is hard to quantify though.
RecruitmentAnother area worth looking at is recruitment cost. One of the new outpost buildings gives you -50% recruit cost locally and -1 global recruit time. Stack this with the -20% recruit cost you get from Gryphon Wood and you'll be able to globally recruit most Wood Elf units for less than recruiting them locally, in a single turn. And between techs and forest health bonuses it looks like it'll be quite trivial to rack up 10+ global recruit slots. I'm not sure upkeep is even relevant if you can just summon a full stack in a couple of turns, for very little cost, and then just teleport it across the map.
TL;DR – the Wood Elf economy is almost certainly much stronger than it was before. Your forests make way more money and your armies will be much cheaper to recruit and maintain.
The only place where you might start to lose out is in the very, very late game where you've conquered over half the map. But the new Wood Elf win conditions mean you almost certainly don't need to do this.
Legend is obviously a very a good player, so I’m not sure how he’s managed to get this so wrong. The increased Lord/Hero upkeep will make the early game a bit harder (especially since Legend likes to stack heroes), and he had a really bad start on stream (losing Orion on turn 2), so maybe he’s just extrapolating based on bad luck and a lack of familiarity with the new playstyle?
Imo the key to the new Wood Elf campaign is going to be to rush a second glade as early as possible and hope your garrison will be able to handle any threats for a few turns, then use the income from the new forest to defend the old one. This is very different to the old way where you basically camped Athel Loren until you could get enough alliances for Amber.
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- I played a full vanilla Wood Elves (Orion) campaign. Here’s my thoughts on them for those interested in a new perspective.
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