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Civilization V - Choosing The Best Wonders

Posted Tue, Oct 05, 2010 by Stow

Exerting dominance over the map as a Protoss is easy--all it takes is one Zealot.  One Zealot demands a response, can end a game, and can stop a rush almost singlehandedly.  This proves the might of the Protoss ground forces, and a Zealot is the most basic unit of all!  Whether you're looking to dominate Battle.net as the warriors of Aiur, or figure out a counter to their might, here's what to do (and what not to do!) with Protoss Gateway units!

You might recognize some of these!  I certainly hope most of you recognize this one!

Taking on any wonder  in Civilization V is a monumental task.  If someone beats you to it, you get a pittance of gold for your efforts, even if you were one turn from completion.   But even the wonders you don’t have any interest in yourself have a use in being built—you deny their benefits to someone who really needs them.  That said, there are wonders that are highly sought after and wonders that don’t measure up particularly well for their cost in their era.

Each wonder can only be built once in the world.  Anyone building that wonder when it is completed elsewhere will be compensated in gold for their efforts, but it’s a pittance compared to the time lost in production.  Building a Wonder is a dangerous tactic in multiplayer, since with the announcement to all players, you may find players probing your defenses to see if you are vulnerable from your time spent hammering away at the SIstine Chapel instead of a Forge.

 It’s time to separate the men from the boys… er, the Pyramids from the Hanging Gardens!

In no particular order-

Angkor Wat

Primary Effect : Culture tile acquisition cost reduced 75% in all cities you control

    Worth it? : An absolute godsend to sprawling empires.  This will claim resources and territory at an alarming rate, speeding all production types of a city for some time.  The earlier you get this, the better, because the bonus does begin to wear down as a city’s culture grows and grows and there is no gain to acquiring that desert tile nearby.

Big Ben

Primary Effect:  Gold purchasing costs reduced 25%.

    Worth it? : Purchasing is very, very expensive in Civ V.  Since excess gold is often thrown at city-states, the benefits of lowering purchasing costs are somewhere between lackluster and maybe worthwhile depending on how you use your gold.  If you need units in a pinch, you can still only buy one unit per turn from each city, limiting your ability to field an army on the spot with gold.  There are probably better options for your production.

Bradenburg Gate

Primary Effect: A great general appears near the city it is constructed in.

    Worth it? : Great Generals are either very hard, or very easy to come by depending on how you play.  They can single handedly turn wars around, so if you do not have one on your front lines of combat, this should be a high priority when Military Science is researched.  This wonder is also fairly cheap for the era, so that’s why the effect is also rather subdued for a world wonder.  Don’t care about the general?  Consider this a free golden age ticket!

Chichen Itza

Primary Effect: Golden Ages last 50% longer.

    Worth it? : An amazing wonder with the new system of golden ages based upon happiness and great people.  A wonder-churning civilization with the upgrades to great people production can basically keep a golden age going for the majority of the late game.  That leads to a game breakingly strong military, both from a production and scientific aspect.  Golden Ages are often times the only thing keeping your empire afloat gold-wise once your puppets and main cities begin constructing expensive maintenance buildings on a regular basis.

Cristo Redentor

Primary Effect : Culture Policies are 33% cheaper.

    Worth it? : If you’re going for a culture victory, this is basically required.  If you are not, skip this.  It’s a massive investment of production, and by the time the wonder is done you won’t get enough out of it to be useful.  If you can stockpile a few policies worth of culture before this is completed, you can get a free policy or two out of it, but that can be a risky venture with how strong policies like Autocracy can be when they become available.

Eiffel Tower

Primary Effect : +8 Happiness to the empire!

    Worth it? : A resounding no, unless you only have one city capable of producing happiness structures in a reasonable time frame.  It will crank out golden ages faster, but +8 to your contributions per turn don’t mean a lot when you need 1-2 thousand extra happiness to reach it to begin with at this point in the game.   If you are annexing cities as you go, this may actually become necessary to remain happy, so don’t disregard it entirely.

Himeji Castle

Primary Effect: +25% combat strength to units in your territory.

    Worth it? :  The only wonder that is direct combat related, but actually defensive in nature.  If you are going for any one of the peaceful victories and you feel that a bloodthirsty villain will conquer the world and then look to you before you can complete your objective, this will make your front lines that much harder to breach.

Machu Picchu

Primary Effect: +20% income from trade routes.

    Worth it? : An amazing wonder with a difficult restriction (city must be within 2 tiles of a mountain).  If you’re going for conquest, unit maintenance costs will get absurd at some point, and if you’re a domestic mastermind, building maintenance costs will get up there just the same.  Assuming you can keep your road network reasonable and connected, this wonder is worth every penny due to it helping generate much needed pennies.

Notre Dame

Primary Effect :  +5 Happiness to the empire.

    Worth it? : Another tough sell.  Realize that +5 happiness comes from one simple luxury resource.  If you get unlucky or cornered, this might become worthwhile.  If both of those happen, you’re also probably lacking in production and that can make finishing a wonder difficult to begin with!

The Pentagon

Primary Effect : Unit upgrade costs reduced by 50%.

    Worth it? : One of the latest wonders, if you are the first one to the Modern Era and get this, as well as have some gold on hand, you can turn all of your lesser infantry into mechanized monsters and overwhelm your opponents in a matter of turns.  Make sure you weigh the gold cost into account, since this basically doesn’t benefit any new units built at all—it’s a wonder designed to modernize your army.

The Sistine Chapel

Primary Effect : Culture produced is increased by 33% empire wide.  Also +2 to Great Artists.

    Worth it? : Two amazing bonuses for passive empires.  The worst part about this wonder is that everyone wants it the moment it becomes available.  Try and trigger a Golden Age right around the same time you can create this to have the best shot at it.

The Statue of Liberty

Primary Effect : +1 production from all specialists in your empire.

    Worth it? : If your empire is a developed economic powerhouse and you complete this, congratulations, you win.  Each city will get a large boost in production from this, and creating more specialty structures will only increase your specialist count and production as a result.  Puppets love to make economic buildings, so this is one of the wonders that truly benefits them as well.

Stonehenge

Primary Effect : +8 culture in the city that builds it.

    Worth it? :  This adds up quickly and can get you early social policies before anyone else.  Picking this up, going straight down the Valor tree and then going to war early is a powerful strategy that shows that a purely cultural wonder can now be used offensively as well.

Sydney Opera House

Primary Effect : One free social policy

    Worth it?  At this point in the game, one social policy could unlock Total War or one of the other game changing options available to you.  It’s the equivalent of +3-5 thousand culture instantly!  Go for it!

The Taj Mahal

Primary Effect : Instantly stats a golden age.

    Worth it? : Golden ages are serious business in Civilization V.  Completing this will give you a stepping stone to prosperity for a long time.  Take it if nothing else is available for your high production city to do, as the results do wear off unlike most wonders.

The Colossus

Primary Effect :  +1 gold per water tile in the city it is built in.

    Worth it? : It really depends.  Water cities do not thrive if they don’t have a good production source nearby, which you need in order to produce this wonder at a city it’s good at.  If you can meet that requirement, you’ll be pleased as your coffers skyrocket when this is completed!  Take it if you can make it in an applicable city.

The Forbidden Palace

Primary Effect: Amount of Unhappiness from the number of cities in your empire is reduced 50%.

Worth it?: Much of your problems late game will be from a massive horde of people, rather than cities.  Your puppet states will handle themselves with culture and happiness buildings,you’re your empire will swell with food and rise in the 15-25 population range.  As such, population is your enemy for happiness, and not city count.  Skip it unless you’re conquering a huge world.

The Great Library

Primary Effect :  One free technology.

    Worth it? :  If you plan it right, you can pick up a huge technology with this wonder.  Going straight down iron working can get you to Longswordsmen while the rest of the world is running around with Spearmen.  It’s still good if you can get it without that, but it’s much more effective while planning a tech ‘slingshot’ to pick up a big tech early on.

The Great Lighthouse

Primary Effect: +1 Sight and Movement to naval units.

    Worth it? : If you foresee yourself doing all engagements over the seas for the next 100-200 turns, getting this will save you time and ships.  Never underestimate the power of naval bombardment in Civilization, regardless of the era!

The Great Wall

Primary Effect: +1 movement cost to enemy units moving in your territory

    Worth it? : Garbage unless you keep a pathetic standing army, at which point it might help you rally forces in time to stop your city from being razed.  It really doesn’t do nearly enough.  Armies already have trouble marching through your territory as is, and the best this wonder can do is stop a chariot from moving two spaces to capture your worker out of position.  Meh.

The Hagia Sophia

Primary Effect:  +33% Great People generation for your empire.

    Worth it? : Powerful on paper, the worth of this depends on the development of your cities.  If you are waging all out war and only building military, you aren’t exactly generating a lot of great people that aren’t generals.  If you are peacefully building up your cities however, you’ll find a lot of use as Great People spring up much more often.

The Hanging Gardens

Primary Effect:  +1 population in all existing cities upon completion.

    Worth it? : Great for a population slingshot of sorts if you have a rapidly expanding empire.  Having a production city build this, while every other city builds and settles a new town right before completion can vastly propel your nation in income and sciences, which will snowball bigger and bigger as the game goes on.

The Kremlin

Primary Effect: +50% boost to the effectiveness of all defensive structures.

    Worth it? : Remember that defensive structures only increase your city’s strength by about 25.  Adding this will increase it by another 12 roughly, and that’s only in cities that have outfitted themselves with every defensive structure in the game.  It’s a terrible investment for the cost unless you are expecting the game to go into the future era, and on defense at that.  Your cities will need that defense then!

The Lourve

Primary Effect : +2 great artists.

    Worth it? : Great Artists are one of the biggest annoyances in the game to be up against.   You mind your own business, and BAM, suddenly half your territory is gone to another country.  It’s way more fun to do this yourself than being a victim of it. Be sure to get this to avoid having that happen!

The Oracle

Primary Effect:  One free social policy

    Worth it? : It’s just an early opera house, so make it count by choosing a key policy with lasting benefits early.  Freedom and Honor policies love this wonder.

The Porcelain Tower

Primary Effect: +1 Great Scientist

    Worth it?: It can be worthwhile to store your first two Great Scientists, then use them all in rapid succession to advance along one branch of the tech tree to a powerful military technology.  This will give you one of them that much faster, but at 400 hammers to build the value is still questionable.

United Nations

Primary Effect : Enables votes every 10 turns for a diplomatic victory.

    Worth it?  : Does every city-state embrace you as an ally? Buy them off and win it easily.  Obviously this is required for the diplomatic victory, so it’s hotly contested for those who desire conquest, not diplomacy.  And by contested for, I mean producing this will make them beat you down before you can win the world over.

Remember that all hope is not lost if another empire builds a wonder before you!  You can always march in and take the town that completed it for yourself, after all.  Empires always did excel at making the land they come across their own, whether it contains open fields or legendary pyramids.
 
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