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‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/25/2021 18:45:28

Level 61
With the addition of the new “4th boy” slot, I’ve been trying to find ways to incorporate active artifacts into my play. Most of the attention on these forums has focused on Triple Strike, Time Warp, and Supercharge Army Camp but I wanted to talk about another candidate, the Discount Hospital artifact.

I’ve recently completed my second ascension and have one Legendary and several Epic artifacts. I’m going to focus on this level of artifacts because I think it is of broadest interest to this board. I will also assume that most players are willing to upgrade 1-2 ‘workhorse’ active artifacts to this level but not more given the significant tradeoff between upgrading active and passive artifacts. Any conclusions here likely do not apply to other levels of artifacts for this reason (i.e. if you are newer and using multiple Rares or if you spending IRL money and have multiple Legendaries, this likely won’t apply).

Triple Strike (80% Epic, 160% Legendary)
Contextually, this can be worth 200B armies (Epic), 250B armies (Legendary) or more for a 16 hour cooldown cost. This is without question the highest ceiling among the active artifacts, particularly at the Epic level. However, it’s tough to find uses for this artifact outside of specific instances, namely later on large stages. Even on Europe Huge, you’re going to use this at most once or twice over a multi-day span - any other use would yield less than 10B armies per 16 hours and a different active artifact would be warranted. Conclusion: This should be part of everyone’s portfolio but an additional active artifact option is needed as a workhorse.

Supercharge Army Camp (120 minutes Epic, 240 minutes Legendary)
An early game darling, SAC at its best is a ten fold increase in base army camp production. It’s also a force to be reckoned with in Battles. Towards the end of stages however, boosting one of a dozen or more army camps is underwhelming. To quantify this artifact, we’ll consider an army camp producing 15k per second, meaning the artifact is worth a dismal 972M (Epic) or 1.9B (Legendary) at a 16 hour cost. Conclusion: This artifact ultimately suffers the same fate as Triple Strike, it’s too niche to be a workhorse. The key difference is that with Triple Strike, you probably already have the Legendary so there’s no trade-off. With this one, save the four Epics for something else.

Time Warp (120 minutes Epic, 240 minutes Legendary)
Time Warp is roughly a 11% (Epic) or 20% (Legendary) benefit at any point in any level. This is a slight overestimate because while the artifact is active you cannot reinvest, reassign smelters/crafters, capture territories, complete levels, etc. Where this artifact shines is in its versatility. While other artifacts have niche uses, Time Warp is universally a strong choice. If we assume 200k per second army production, 1M per second money production, and 5M per second mine/smelter/crafter production, the artifact can yield 1.4B armies plus $43B money at the Epic level. If we assume infinite mercenaries at $10, this could be worth 5.7B armies per 16 hours (Epic) or 11.4B per 16 hours (Legendary). In addition, you’re digging faster the whole time and can optimize digging completion windows around your real life. Conclusion: This is a strong candidate to be a workhorse artifact.

Discount Hospital (48% Epic, 96% Legendary)
Basically a free hospital upgrade at the Legendary level, this artifact can easily be worth $1T or more. Furthermore, it is useful at nearly any point in nearly any level, albeit of lower usefulness in the early stages of a level. The key question here is how it compares to Time Warp as a workhorse. Stated another way: does the top hospital upgrade cost more or less than 4 hours production on average? This is a tough one to quantify and I’m still collecting data here. However, my hypothesis and initial findings suggest that, yes, the top hospital upgrade typically costs more than 4 hours. Another key question related to this artifact is what to do with the excess funds freed up since money in and of itself doesn’t beat levels. Given the recent change to mercenaries and markets, in most cases this will mean diverting funds to army camps and mines earlier and more often, getting to steady state on top crafter recipes earlier and making up the “missing” 5% of armies missing on each level. Conclusion: I think this is the one. Time Warp and SAC are unquestionably better early in a stage and Triple Strike is unquestionably better late in a stage. However, given the constraint for 1-2 artifacts mentioned in the introduction, I believe this to be the best workhorse artifact in the game at the Legendary level.

Open to any input or feedback from this board, I am intending this as a discussion.
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/25/2021 21:21:38

Level 25
I'm not experienced enough with the later levels to do the math. But I found two other active artifacts that could very well compete with some of the mentioned ones:

Field Hospital (24% Epic, 48% Legendary)
This artifact can probably compete on the same level as Triple Strike. TS just has different conditions than FH. For TS you are targeting a single big territory with three claimed neighbors. For FH you are targeting a single claimed territory with (depending on the rarity of the artifact) 2 to 3 large neighbors. In the end the number of saved armies is roughly the same. As I said, you might be able to use one artifact where the other one falls short, and vice versa. A Legendary TS gets you one territory for free, a Legendary FH with two equally large neighbors gets you 96% discount (of the cost of one of the large territories). An Epic TS gives you a discount of 80%, three equally large neighbors gets you 73% discount (of the cost of one of the large territories). Sure, with TS you would always target the largest of the territories so the FH numbers are always a bit lower than what I calculated. But if you have more than 2 or 3 big neighbors next to one claimed territory, FH will win in comparison. And you don't need three claimed territories already. The downside: TS is the reward of one of the hardened levels, you have to upgrade FH yourself. But that shouldn't count as a negative, all the other artifacts listed have to be upgraded yourself, too. Still, not an artifact that you would use every time 16 hours are passed. Just like TS.

Inspire Mercenary (24% Epic, 48% Legendary)
If you have a working strategy to clear all levels efficiently, this might not be applicable to you. But if you have a tendency to needing more money, this artifact could be the missing building block to a good strategy. Sure, this artifact doesn't provide any benefits that you wouldn't have without it. It doesn't make more money or armies out of thin air. It "just" allows you to get half a merc camp per 16 hours for free (on Legendary, Epic might be too weak for this artifact). So, in a way, it provides additional money. And it scales with the level. Find a little merc camp at the beginning of a level and get half of those, find a very big one down the line and also get half of these with a later activation. In this regard, it is more consistent than SAC. But if you have sorted out your economy and generate enough money, you will find a better artifact. But... if this artifact is only for "the beginners" (those that haven't figured out how to make enough money), still has to be Legendary to be worthwhile, it probably is the wrong call for everyone.

EDIT: Please, could anyone check the numbers for IM? On a second glance, it might actually be compatible, because the amount of saved money can be on par with what others of the listed artifacts provide/save.

I'm not at all experienced with the Market Raid or Cache artifacts to estimate their ROI, so these might be usable, too. But I assume that TW will beat them all, in overall benefit. And TW is more versatile, it gives money AND armies at the same time.

So, everything considered, I don't have a better solution at hand than Discount Hospital, just an alternative to TS, which most players won't consider as Legendary TS is free. ;)

Edited 8/25/2021 21:28:12
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/25/2021 22:16:28

Level 61
The problem with Field Hospital (and Quadruple Strike and Damage Territory) is that these are redundant with Triple Strike. I agree that having one of these for the niche end-of-Europe-Huge use case is justified but you still need a workhorse for the other 95% of situations where the 16 hour window elapses.

Inspire Mercenaries is an interesting one. There are definitely times when half of the top merc camp would exceed four hours production and therefore it seems like it would be a better option than Time Warp. The problem is that grabbing a late-stage merc camp and using an artifact to run through it without hospital infrastructure in place is double-edged. You’re not getting full-value from the camp.

In contrast, grabbing a late-stage hospital and using the artifact to upgrade it earlier than would otherwise be possible is unequivocally good.

The Discount Hospital artifact reduces the number of armies needed from army camps while the Inspire Mercenaries artifact actually increase the armies needed from camps (compared to using this camp later with hospital infrastructure in place).
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/26/2021 03:38:08

Tulsi 2020 
Level 61
Time warp is the only artifact that gives you more artifacts. I hope to get one as insane.
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/26/2021 11:40:02

Level 56
Below are the effects of some artifacts (in billion armies per 16 hours) at the end of my playthrough of several revision 16 levels.

# Orbis Veteribus Notus
Triple Strike (Legendary): 1.91
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 3.39
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 4.68
Time Warp (Legendary): 5.72

# Scandinavia and the Nordic Countries
Triple Strike (Legendary): 4.43
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 7.39
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 8.83
Time Warp (Legendary): 15.48

# Asia - Population Density
Triple Strike (Legendary): 4.13
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 7.70
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 9.93
Time Warp (Legendary): 12.69

# Africa
Triple Strike (Legendary): 4.05
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 13.18
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 13.63
Time Warp (Legendary): 23.54

# Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire
Triple Strike (Legendary): 6.86
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 25.65
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 16.60
Time Warp (Legendary): 35.88

# Australia
Triple Strike (Legendary): 6.50
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 18.59
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 17.12
Time Warp (Legendary): 38.28

# Netherlands
Triple Strike (Legendary): 7.58
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 26.41
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 28.71
Time Warp (Legendary): 31.49

# China
Triple Strike (Legendary): 12.45
Discount Hospital (Legendary): 28.48
Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary): 23.78
Time Warp (Legendary): 22.49

So, for me, at the end of a level from Orbis Veteribus Notus to China:
* Discount Hospital (Legendary) is consistently better than Triple Strike (Legendary);
* Discount Hospital (Legendary) is better than Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary) on 3 levels;
* Discount Hospital (Legendary) is better than Time Warp (Legendary) on 1 level.

I do not think Discount Hospital (Legendary) is a good artifact to get though. It has to compete with Hospital Discount (Legendary), and in my opinion, Hospital Discount (Legendary) is much better.

Edit: Add the effects of Inspire Mercenaries (Legendary) suggested by Phoenix.

Edited 8/26/2021 11:58:53
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/26/2021 14:14:08

Level 61
What’s your methodology here? Are you calculating the theoretical impact of each artifact every 16 hours and rolling up? Even this would be tricky because of how time warp works…
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/26/2021 14:17:10

The Forbidden Koala 
Level 61
Add 2 week cool down for active artifacts and it goes even further away

It's great to see people caring about this, but its more complex

Edited 8/26/2021 14:18:50
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/26/2021 14:19:47

Level 56
The method can be found in the thread below.

To calculate the effect of Time Warp (Legendary), I simply use money/armies produced over 4 hours.
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/26/2021 15:03:06

Level 61
Inspire Mercenaries is much worse than your analysis shows. Using mercenaries without hospitals in place is counterproductive.

This game is a race to get the 100% of armies needed to complete each stage. 15% comes from base mercs, 22.5% comes from additional (AP) mercs, 25% comes from joint strike, an additional percentage comes from hospitals and the rest have to come from army camps. If you blow your mercenaries without hospital infrastructure in place then you’re reducing the number which are saved by hospitals and adding to the number which need to come from army camps.

I understand that acquiring bonuses and territories faster means you can upgrade army camps faster but you’re robbing Peter to pay Paul. The correct order should be hospitals, then mercenaries. Analysis which simply takes the derivative at an arbitrary point in time doesn’t account for this.
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/26/2021 15:18:00

Level 56
My data is taken at a point (at the end of a level) when I only need to wait for money to upgrade hospitals and purchasing mercs. One benefit of getting mercs early is that we can start to drain the draft pool early. Note that I only intend to purchase/inspire mercs, but not spend them on territories immediately. Therefore, the calculation reflects correctly the effects of artifacts with my play style.

Edit: If we consider the effects in the middle of a level, then the data may or may not give us a different conclusion. On one hand, we can argue that upgrading hospitals early allows us to save many armies. On the other hand, we can argue that inspiring mercs early allows us to get good recipes early, hence boosting money generation and upgrading army camps/mines/hospitals, or conquering hospitals early, hence saving many armies. It might be very difficult to tell which one is better.

Edited 8/26/2021 15:35:16
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/27/2021 01:59:29

Level 62
You're not (entirely) wrong but not (entirely) right either. Hospitals are supercalifragilistic important, 100% agree, but by having LOTS AND LOTS of mercs and expanding aggressively but selectively asap, it means more bonuses, more territories, more army camps, more army caches, more Techs, more drafts (b/c more mercs+army camps+army caches+Techs), more markets, MORE HOSPITALS, more hospital upgrades, more merc camps and thus more mercs, now loop back to start.

And by having this "MORE" phenomenon, you can selectively expand while your hospitals are upgrading, and once you have them all and they're all done upgrading, preferably you also have the +50% cache Tech for levels which have it, then release the dogs, open the gates of Harmony, go wild with intent to finish the level. At this point all you are doing is getting money to buy mercs, earning money & armies from remaining caches and drafts, then buying more mercs with said money and repeating until you can clear the level.

Aggressive selective expansion is the key.

Choosing AP Advancements that align to this strategy make it even more effective as you progress.
‘Discount Hospital’ Active Artifact: 8/27/2021 03:30:36

Level 61
@functor: The idea of buying but not using mercs is certainly interesting and I’ll admit I hadn’t considered this. It “feels” wrong to eschew exponential growth for linear growth but I suppose feelings don’t matter here and the numbers do seem to check out. There’s definitely situations where I believe you are right and Inspire Mercenaries would out-compete my Discount Hospital suggestion.

I also agree that the real question here is whether any active artifact can beat out Time Warp, outside of niche situations like 200B territories and the very start of a level. Time Warp is still the incumbent and the watermark right now. I still believe Discount Hospital is a contender!

@krinid: That was a lot of words which say nothing about active artifacts. Maybe you could suggest what you are using as a “4th boy” active artifact to contribute to the topic?
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