Aaand it is time again to engage in some speculation about the future. This is much sooner than anticipated (only about 4 months since the time of the last preview). So let’s try to imagine how the next chapters are going to looks like. In particular, the rumors are starting to appear about Chapter 18 – despite the fact that most people (who even decided to play that chapter!) are not even close to finishing Chapter 17. Regardless, let’s take a look at what is speculated so far – of course, anything you find here is subject to change. Or it might be entirely made up. You have been warned 😉 So without further ado, let’s preview research tree in Elvenar Chapter 18.
POTENTIAL SPOILER ALERT! Now, if the intro above didn’t get the message across 😉 The following post is potentially a one giant spoiler for the upcoming chapter. So if you don’t want to spoil this until it hits actual beta or live servers, you should stop reading just about now. Or if you just don’t like engage in rumors and speculation, you should press that Back button now. You have been warned!
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So here is how research tree for Elvenar Chapter 18 looks like currently (you probably want to open the image in the new tab and zoom in for a preview):
And here is corresponding research for chapter 17 for reference (taken from the last preview, so a few things may have changed since then):
OK, so what do we have here? Here are some of the things that pop up.
Ascended Goods – a new goods tier!
Yep, it is happening. Regular T1/T2/T3 goods and sentient S1/S2/S3 (or T4/T5/T6) ones are getting other peers. Code-named ascended goods (so A1/A2/A3, or T7/T8/T9) are making an appearance. You may not see it first, but there is an Ascended Goods Production Boost tech in the research tree, and we’ve only seen a few techs like that before – one for each tier of regular and sentient goods. And for Chapter 18, we’re getting only boost for ascended tier 1, e.g. A1/T7.
Now, this is not exactly unexpected. We’ve seen indications that a new tier is coming, and here it is. It’s not without its mysteries, so far at least. In particular, it is not clear how we will have to produce these. Natural expectation would be that it would be another production in the manufactories, but so far we can’t say for sure.
There are several reasons why this might not be the case. One is that we have had 4 production slots in manufactories since, well, forever. The later levels produce 2+2 regular and sentient goods, so in order to be consistent with that setup manufactories will need to have 6 productions (or dropping some production times). This is not impossible – e.g. workshops have 6 – but so far there are no indications that manufactory productions are changing. Or course this might mean that it will simply be done at some later stage, this would make sense.
Another thing is that unlike all previous chapters, this chapter has all the manufactories upgraded by a single level. So all tiers will get L32 upgrades – not just tier 1. So if manufactory upgrades are consistent (e.g. manufactories would be able to produce ascended goods starting from L32), this would mean that you will be able to produce all tiers of ascended goods, not just tier 1 (and that’s the only one we will need in this chapter). This is not a problem per se, but would be somewhat unusual.
Still, decaying ascended goods produced with unurium vs seeds for sentient ones would be the most reasonable thing to expect. Though as always, it is possible that there will be some shenanigans with upgraded Trader (see below).
We’re getting another tier of goods, so another Advanced Trader upgrade (up to L7) is not a shocker. We do not know what it will do exactly, but most likely scenario is that it will simply allow trading of A1/T7 ascended goods. But there is also a possibility that the trader will be directly involved in the ascended goods production.
And unurium vs seeds conundrum is here to stay. You will need both for this chapter. You may only need ascended goods and unurium for the chapter itself (that’s for sure), but these also may get added to catering goods in the Spire and/or tournament, though most likely none of this will be happening in this chapter (unurium might get actually added already in this chapter).
Scouting and Expansions
There is no Advanced Scouts tech in chapter 18 again (the last time we’ve had one was in Chapter 15). So no reduced scouting costs and times. Well, with the new tournament setup, scouting in the end game has become largely irrelevant. Almost no one is hitting max provinces in the tournaments anymore, so scouting beyond 525/550 provinces would make little difference.
We’re getting 2 more research expansions – the same as in chapter 17. Both are optional and none require any exotic goods, so you can do these at your leisure. One you get to them, that is.
As anticipated, we’re getting upgrades to tier 1 manufactories in this chapter, that is a part of the regular cycle. What is not expected (unless you’ve seen our upgrade preview for Chapters 17-20 😉 ) is that instead of usual 4 levels we’re only getting a single one (L32) in Elvenar Chapter 18 research tree. This makes sense, as there were probably very few people who would ever perma-use intermediate levels. E.g. once you decide to go up from L27, you would likely go all the way to L31 ASAP, and not stop at L29 or L30 (L28 makes sense sometimes). So they effectively compressed 4 levels into a single one.
Another unusual thing is that instead of a single tier upgrades, we’re getting a single level upgrade to all manufactories. Yep, all 9 of them. That’s a lot of research 😉
Other Civilian Upgrades
We’re now used to residences, workshops and Main Hall upgrades to be split into 2 techs each. This is still the case, each of these buildings is getting L40 and L41 levels – separately. There are also 2 tech out there that give chapter-specific culture buildings.
You can also see that finale of the chapter is similar to Chapters 16-17. So instead of the usual final AW tech there are again two AW research items for each of the two new AWs. It is not clear yet what these AWs are going to do.
There are again 4 possible Squad Size upgrades in this chapter – the same as in chapters 15-17. Two are optional and two are mandatory. And again, with the new tournament setup, this is largely irrelevant. You can take the optional ones if you want, or leave these be. It doesn’t make significant difference at that stage.
As far as military producers are concerned, we’re finishing a switch to a new normal. In Chapter 17, for the first time we’ve got upgrades to all 3 military producers and armories – and we’ve got 2 levels for each. Well, in Chapter 18 we’re also getting upgrades to all the military producers and armories, but we’re getting just a single level for each. Just like with manufactories, we can expect this to be the setup for the future chapters.
But wait, there is more! 😉 As you may or may not have heard, 4* military unit upgrades are coming. Unfortunately for us, these are mostly coming to the enemy units – presumably once you go high enough in the provinces. I’d expect starting from province #16 if the current pattern holds. Well, Chapter 18 will allow us to get some 4* units of our own. This would be Barracks light range unit (Elite Archer II for Elves), Training Grounds heavy range unit (Senior Orc Strategist II) and light melee from the Mercenary Camp (Venom Drone Rider II).
That’s not amazing. Drone Riders are one of the least used units, and in the new tournaments even more so. Barracks light range might be somewhat useful, but at the same upgrade levels specialist units from TG or MC are usually a better bet. Which leaves us with SOS. OK, SOS are great, but fairly narrow specialists. These are also expensive to produce – need orcs for regular production. So I tend to use SOS in a very limited fashion, and 4* upgrade is unlikely to change that. So yeah… Literally any other MC unit upgraded to 4* would be quite useful. But of course, we’re getting Drone Rider upgrades first….
Mercenary Camp upgrade also comes as literally the last research in the chapter. Of course it does 😉
Now, lets preview resource requirements for the Elvenar Chapter 18 research tree. There is no one single set of requirements as a lot depends on how much Portal Profits you’re going to deploy, what configuration of settlement buildings you’re going to use, what are your production boosts etc. There are also different ways to produce the same settlement resource (different inputs etc). So treat the following table with a big grain of salt. Some numbers might be even wrong (especially highlighted ones) 😉 But, at least for chapters 15-17 these were reasonably accurate for my setup. So, here it goes:
These numbers include necessary intermediate production required for research, as well as settlement construction / upgrades. This does not include regular building upgrades that you unlock in a particular chapter. These also do not include optional Squad Size upgrades in chapters 15-16 (because you were not supposed to be touching those back then ;)), but it does include all SSUs for chapters 17-18. T1-T3 requirements for chapter 15 are empty not because there are none, but because I never bothered to calculate these. Those were never an issue even with fairly lean manufacturing. I also ignored decay.
So, what do we have here? They bumped minimum number of provinces to unlock Chapter 18 from 480 to 520. That’s pretty much expected, so just make sure you have enough provinces to proceed.
Now let’s look at total KP requirements. And from that perspective, Chapter 18 looks almost the same as Chapter 17. It is still higher, but not materially so. At ~5K, it is still way less than shocking Chapter 16 (at almost 7K), but significantly higher than 3.5K of Chapter 15. Still, KPs turned out not to be a binding constraint for Chapter 17 – it was guest race production. It seems that this would still be the case for Chapter 18 as well.
Just for comparison, most of the chapters from 14 backwards were about 2,000 KPs.
Let’s take a look what can we do with Portal Profits here. In chapter 15, you could have used up to 1500-1800% worth of Portal Profits at L4 portal. In chapter 16, you could only drop up to 1000% worth of PPs – potentially less than that if you have Vortex of Storage AW. Chapter 17 may have very big range of values for deployed PPs, but my original estimate that you can use about 3000% worth of PPs checked out.
Now, for Chapter 18, PPs are not super useful again. Check out guest race production post for Chapter 18 (coming soon), but it seems that you can use ~1400% worth of PP at Portal L4. And you can’t use any of the capped goods directly in research. In fact, capped goods are basically at the beginning of the production chain for this chapter. And the way production is setup, it probably makes a lot of sense to skip producing capped goods as this way you would be able to skip placing some buildings completely.
And this amount of PP should be perfectly sustainable for this stage of the game.
OK, mana numbers make no sense to me as it is, which is about 55-60mm (!). That’s not including any regular upgrades (manufactories etc). There has to be some kind of mistake either on my part (but I double and triple checked my estimates), or in the current implementation. Because it is more than tripling requirements vs Chapter 17, and in Chapter 17 even with pretty high mana production it turned out to be close to being fully utilized. Triple that would point to 6-12 months worth of mana production just for the chapter. It makes no sense.
So anyone who knows what they’re doing go ahead, re-check the mana numbers and let me know if you come up with a significantly lower estimate. I’ll probably put up ballpark estimation into the post on guest race production. But having said that, I won’t be entirely surprised if that number turns out to be accurate.
Moving on to seeds. Seeds requirements were pretty consistent over the last 4 chapters at 4mm or so. Extra complication is that you have to share trader production between seeds and unurium, but you’ve seen this before in Chapter 17. Basically, if you managed previous chapters, you’re probably going to be fine on seeds in Chapter 18 as well.
This time around seeds are not just for sentient production – you’ll also need some raw for research. But still, seeds requirements are reasonable for the end game.
Just make sure you can effectively share the trader between seeds and unurium.
Orcs requirements are higher than in Chapter 17, but are still reasonable. 0.5mm is doable at this stage, and it is still 2-5 times lower than Orcs requirements in Chapter 16.
As usual though, keep in mind that upgrading buildings and AWs will still need some non-trivial amounts of orcs. I did not account for these in this summary. But you don’t strictly need these for completing the chapter.
Regular goods requirements are roughly double vs Chapter 17, but are still lower than for Chapter 16. We’re talking about 3-6mm of each tier now. Usually, regular goods in those amounts are not an issue, especially for people who hoarded stuff along the way. As regular goods do not decay, it is not difficult to make a stash when or if you need it.
One caveat though is that these numbers might be understated, at least for T1. As we don’t know how T7 goods are going to be produced, the inputs into that process are not accounted for. In all likelihood, it will still need either T1 and/or S1 as an input, and that means that total T1 requirements would be higher than listed in the summary table above. Watch this space, as soon as there is more information out there we’ll update the summary.
Sentient goods requirements were pretty consistent since Chapter 16, at about 3mm per tier. This is still roughly the case in Chapter 18, so if you’ve done alright on sentients in previous chapters you’re likely going to be OK. Just keep your seed production sufficient.
The caveat for regular goods also applies here. It is possible that ascended goods production will require sentient goods as an input. If that turns out to be the case, we may need to have higher production capabilities for the sentients. Watch this space, as soon as there is more information out there we’ll update the summary.
As I mentioned already, we’re getting a new good type – ascended goods, tier 1 to be exact. You will need about 2mm of that combined in order to complete that chapter. But because right now it is hard to tell how exactly these are supposed to be produced, it is hard to tell if it would be a problem or not. Well, if 55mm+ of mana turns out to be true, then nothing else likely will matter much 😉
It is also entirely possible that ascended goods production won’t be a problem per se, but getting enough inputs (e.g. unurium) will be a binding constraint. We’ve seen something like that in early sentient chapters. This is especially true considering that so far there is exactly 1 way of producing unurium, and there are no effective ways to rush this production.
And last – but not least – unurium. So by now we know what it is, and how it is produced. Current listed requirements are just about 1mm for the whole chapter, which is just a half of what we’ve seen in Chapter 17. But again, this number is likely understated, potentially by quite a bit, depending on how ascended goods will be produced.
Still, even at 2mm in Chapter 17 unurium was not the biggest problem. Large cities, especially ones going negative pop, had no issues overproducing unurium (at the expense of seeds though). Smaller cities, especially the ones relying heavily on event buildings, may have struggled somewhat with unurium. This pattern is likely to continue into Chapter 18, unless we get some amazing buildings that juice up unurium production (something like Festival Merchants).
I know that for Chapter 17 it was possible to run Trader 100% on unurium, and get all necessary seeds from other buildings. That’s with relatively low base unurium production (~50K a day with maximum collection bonuses). It was mostly enough for that chapter, even though it was blocking in a few cases early own (later on guest race production was blocking way before running out of unurium).
In Chapter 18 a big chunk of this 1mm is right at the beginning of the chapter, so unurium might be an issue. And the reason why raw unurium is not required in the later research might be due to need for ascended goods at that time where unurium will be an input. Probably.
So again, it is hard to say at that point whether unurium will be a problem or not. So far everything points out in a direction that there will be other constraints (e.g. mana, guest race productions) so unurium won’t be a primary issue. Also a lot will depend on if we’re going to get any additional production capabilities.
We will see how it plays out…
So this is it for now. Let me know what you think about this preview of Elvenar Chapter 18 research tree in the comments below. Certainly let me know if there are other things that you know about the chapter. I will make another post about guest race production cycle. You can also check out previous post on new buildings / upgrades that are coming up (all the way up to Chapter 20).
Stay tuned! 😉
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Thank you for this overview, I’m moving into Ch18 in two days time.