... or, why some might wanted to skip this advancement step if they could
I'm no big PvP-Player in general and as I go stuck in Campaign at some point, I was rarely logged in the last months/year. But around two weeks ago I discovered the Idle-mode and I love it (made it to Siege of Feldmere today). I really like to over-analyze those type of games, so I focused on the Statistics advancements mainly. And for the amount of APs these advancements cost, I was expecting to get something out of them. I can't judge Level 4 yet, but I'm especially looking forward to having the techs visible right from the start, and Level 1 and 2 gave some useful information (seeing the upgrade-differences and the ore-stats in particular respectively; the other stats were "fine... I guess"), but I was a bit disappointed by Level 3. If I knew what I got and this would've been possible, I would've skipped Level 3 and instead saved up APs to acquire Level 4 statistics directly.
I'd like to explain this in more detail, so that it gets clearer what the differences are between what I was expecting (or what I wanted this to be) versus what I got from this. I'll do this in a column by column fashion. I will mainly focus my argumentation on smelter, but the same applies to crafter.
Recipe: Well, what should I say about this, other than: It's essential to know the recipe's name in order to know what each table row is talking about.
Cost: First of, bad wording: Smelting a bar or crafting an item doesn't cost me anything (the facility has no money per second operation costs). Having the smelter (or crafter) and recipe did cost armies (and indirectly money in order to upgrade the army camps/purchasing the mercenaries) but it isn't possible to estimate the cost of a single bar (or item). What you can indeed calculate is the "Ingredients' value", so I'd suggest a rewording. Second, someone might make use of this number, but for me, it is pretty much useless. If you could buy ores from markets (which based on forum info isn't the case) knowing the tipping point of value/price per ore (when smelting would become profitable) would be interesting in order to judge whether buying ore and selling the bars would make you (enough) profit (to make up for what you can do with the smelter otherwise). So instead of
[value per ore] * [number of ore ingredients]
, I'd rather prefer
[value per bar] / [number of ore ingredients]
, but I see that this would be impossible for recipes with more than one ingredient. So, I guess it's a trade-off, but I don't need it.
Profit: This again is perhaps not the ideal word here (same argumentation as above), but I'm fine with it. What I miss here is the value of the smelted bar or crafted item. Sure, this number is available, but only on the "Alloy/Item" tab (or by summing up Cost and Profit manually). And shouldn't advancements be about ease of use? And switching between tabs all the time is hardly ease of use. But ultimately, I think I wouldn't need the value of the product that much.
Profit per sec: I like it! Although I rarely sell stuff when I still need them for techs, so I'd say the last 10-20% of a map is when I might select recipes by their profit, before that I select recipes by the techs I want to acquire next.
Can make: Well... Not that great! I mean, I can easily estimate this good enough that I wouldn't open the stats in order to see this number. What I purchased the advancement for was to see how many smelters (if any at all) I could operate 24/7 with one recipe without taking care of it (e.g. for my downtime, I'd rather let a smelter operate on 100% efficiency on a lower value recipe than 50% on a higher value recipe in the two hours the game runs after I logged out, again because value isn't so important to me, I don't sell much most of the time). So instead of
[number of ores in stock] / [number of ore ingredients]
what I wanted was
[ore production per sec] * [smelting time per bar] / [number of ore ingredients]
(with at least one decimal) especially because
[number of ores in stock]
is a constantly changing number. For more complex recipes this would be harder, I guess, as this might also include the output capacity of a smelter to calculate the number of crafters able to be fed, but as I said, this was what I needed this advancement to be.
In-progress: Good info, but until I have a map with 5 smelters or more, I think I can see this info at first glance from the "Smelter" tab.
Techs need: This is where Level 4 statistics will really shine. For now, this is a very useful information in order to know what I can sell without having to re-smelt/re-craft before acquiring a tech. The only problem here is, that I can't see the number of bars I have in stock already (again, I have this number after switching tabs). Why should I care that I have enough tin ore to smelt enough tin bars to acquire all techs that cost tin, when I already have all the tin bars I need? It doesn't need another column here in theory, but the number should be given like it is everywhere else:
I know that these stats were included based on community feedback, so I would like to discuss this with all of you in order to eventually further increase the usefulness and every player's fun with this game-mode.
TLDR: I'd ask for three changes essentially: rewording of the "Cost"-column, an additional estimation of the facilities to parallel operate on one recipe without running low on ingredients (if this estimation is way off because of a supercharged mine being active, so be it, just use the current ore income as it is), and adding the in-stock-number of bars/alloys to the "Techs need" column. Everything else is open for discussion.