Confession of a Gold User – How to use gold appropriately.

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  • Confession of a Gold User – How to use gold appropriately.

    Confession of a Gold User – How to use gold appropriately.

    I love CON. It’s a wonderfully designed game with lots of delicate balances woven into an intricate economic, diplomatic, and combined arms military simulation.As a former senior military officer, I appreciate how well the designers have integrated the importance of reconnaissance, intelligence, combined arms strategy, morale, resources, economic strength, and decisions on research, tactics, diplomacy, and unit types.The fact that the game also incorporates nuanced and balanced differences in three doctrines (Eastern Western and European) is remarkable.I want to see this game continue to improve and flourish, so I am happy to “confess” that I am a massive gold spender because I understand that my gold spending habits help this game survive and prosper.When I say massive gold spender, I am talking about something on the order of >1,000,000 gold in a single game, and occasionally three+ times that number.I’m not going to make an argument to defend my gold use beyond the fact that gold use provides revenue for the game to be developed/maintained. Everyone will do whatever they feel comfortable doing to play the game the way they want. It’s a polarizing subject with strong feelings from many in the community. I am quite sure I will be flamed extensively for even writing this article. What I intend to do with this brief article is describe some tips or advice on how to use gold effectively, how not to be a total jerk about it, show respect others playing the game we all love, and still give yourself a fun and exciting challenge.


    First, let me debunk a myth that gold spending ensures a win. I have lost games that I spent large amounts of gold in because the other team was better organized, communicated with one another, better led, exercised skilled diplomacy, and in some cases, they just played better than I did with superior tactics.The secret to winning CON matches is to have an active and competent alliance. If you have a player or 2 that go inactive for a few days at a time, you will probably lose. If you have players that make bad decisions about what to build, where to focus their research, lack a plan of any kind, attack without a purpose, don’t understand stacking, and have no concept of combined arms strategies using air, land and sea power, then you will undoubtedly lose. If your team works independently vice as a unified organization, then you will probably fail. A player’s rank is the best indicator of the abilities of your teammate's understanding of the game mechanics, but rank alone doesn’t give insight into decision making, teamwork, and diplomacy. The very best way to increase your chances of winning games is to enter a game with people you play with regularly, then you have a massive advantage and probably win every game—these are the kinds of guys I have lost to no matter how much gold I spent.

    There are a few problems with spending large sums of gold in a game, and this is the core of the discussion I wanted to have. The first is that many in the CON community will malign you for obviously spending stupid amounts of gold, calling it a “pay to win.”The second the risk of ruining the fun of others playing the game if you don’t play with at least a modicum of respect for others. And finally, there is an element of reducing the challenges inherent in the game by using gold to reduce those challenges. Let’s talk about each a bit with the objective of improving the choices we all make spending gold.

    Let’s face it; gold use is going to draw fire from other players that either can’t afford it or refuse to do it. Many want to believe that they are losing games because gold users are “ruining the game”, when in fact their tactics are terrible, they are not working in an alliance or are part of a dysfunctional alliance, and oddly the most obnoxiously anti-gold also seem to giant jerks. Good players understand that gold is not going to win the game alone, and a team of 5 good players in a coalition with the right tactics is probably going to win 80% of the time regardless of gold use (20% of losses will be because there was another coalition better than they were in the same game). For this, my advice is to use gold in measured and discreet ways. Be reasonable and recognize that maxing out a research line on day 1 is probably not going to make any friends, and friends/diplomacy in this game is what wins games.


    When you do spend gold and clearly have an advantage with unit numbers, strength, and composition, don’t be a 500 lbs. gorilla and just smash everything in sight. Recognize that the other players are an essential part of what makes this game great. ALWAYS be respectful no matter what happens or what is said in-game. Try to allow as many people to come along with you to the end. Be super-nice, especially to the jerks! I am 6’2” and weigh 220 lbs., am a combat arms soldier, I am fit and athletic with 30 years of skills in Judo and hand to hand combative techniques, so my instinct is to reach out and choke the life out of the bad guys. But I have learned that a better and more sophisticated approach is to be a gentleman to everyone whenever you have the option to do so. If you can, it's OK to take the “jerks” out first because they are probably making life miserable for everyone, but do it in a gentlemanly and fair way. Make friends with others. My objective was to allow everyone to learn and grow as a player. Still, some will just resent the fact that you spent gold. I just finished a game where I made friends with New Zealand early and we cooperated together until the end of the game. I helped to defend him against an overwhelming South American coalition that was going to kill him off, and it allowed him to play longer and learn more. He thanks me for a fun game and said he would look to play with me again in the future. BUT, in that same game, I have a similar arrangement with Chad and at the end of that, he said I was a player that was ruining the game and he would never play with me again.*sigh* So this is what a gold user can expect many of the players. In the end, just be nice to everyone no matter what is said and done in-game, and recognize that its other players that make this game great. If you only had to play against AI it would be a very dull game—we want other players because they will always be far more challenging, unpredictable, require us to be diplomatic, and give us the best gaming experience overall. Yes, even the jerks can help us have fun even if only because of the help you to be OK with the occasional ICBM landing on a capital—something I otherwise would never advocate using.


    The impact on the game challenge with excessive gold use is also worthy of some consideration. Spending gold can help to compensate for lack of understanding of game mechanics or help overcome bad tactics/strategies. But it's not going to win the game by itself. I used gold early in my CON career to understand the game mechanics and experiment with different approaches, tactics and strategies. But I found that no matter how much gold I spent, I was never felt the level of a game challenge was low. The nature of a game with other players with widely different skills and abilities, and the potential for anyone to have been able to spend gold also, made me always feel challenged in every single game I have ever played. I never felt that any game won was easy. A few months ago I was playing Chad in an African coalition that was quickly picked apart by a very proficient EU coalition comprised of players who regularly play together. I decided I was going to prepare a good defense, and Chad is actually a remarkably good place for defense because of its terrain and river systems (except the coastal cities are vulnerable to shore bombardment as I soon discovered). This EU team rotated its leader in between games and the leader for this game was a nasty person who was Spain. Spain talked smack, was vulgar in his comments, insulted people…basically the kind of guy I despised. The rest of the EU team was super nice. My coalition melted before their relentless and superior tactics, and I started to set up a defense around my home cities using my understanding of terrain and combined arms strategies (and of course game mechanics). Spain opened his attack on me with an ICBM on several cities that I was well-prepared for. When the airstrikes and ground attacks came, I managed to beat them down so badly they eventually ask me for peace because the losses they were taking were putting them at risk from other coalitions. I made my territorial demands, offered a NAP, and insisted that their Spanish leader (the biog jerk) agree to them. Every one of the team members said they didn’t like how Spain played and that the respected me for being so nice about it and playing well—several invited me to play with them on another game, and they agreed that they would not be including the foul-mouthed and rude Spanish player again. Eventually, even the Spanish player was respectful to me because I won him over by just being nice no matter what he said. Now, I didn’t “win” that game, “losing” to the superior coalition, but I did learn a ton and it was one of the more memorable and fun games I have played.


    So in summary, gold use is essential to keep the game alive and healthy, but it is also essential to have good players. Winning isn’t everything, and you should always strive to balance the challenge with your gold spending. And above all else, be nice to everyone no matter what is said or happens in-game, especially if you happen to be able and willing to spend gold to give yourself a competitive advantage. I humbly await the face meting anti-gold flaming, but hope for some intelctual and honest discussion. :thumbup:
  • For some, gold use is not part of their CON game, so I will spend a moment to summarize the ways I have been using old in the game. This is not exhaustive or particularly creative study, just what I found to be useful and a few lessons learned (I would love to hear from other gold users on more creative uses for gold use).

    • Economy: Primarily buying resources with gold to construct improvements to resource production.Generally, I have used this to purchase Industrial and to a lesser extent Local Industry, but also things that give modest increases to resource production.Some additional lesser understood improvements: Airfield give +5% to resource production per level; Naval Base gives +5% per level at L2 and up.Airfields are extraordinarily important because they improve your mobility across the battlefield so you can react to where the threat is or concentrate your forces for a planned assault.I try to build an airfield in every home city. I also spend gold to put more resources into reserves when I have build cues so that I can continue to produce while I am AFK without running out of resources.
    • Research: Speed research of unit to be higher level and therefore improved capabilities. Rares are the most crucial resource for research, and essentially gold use will compensate for the lack of this resource.Research is possibly the most powerful of all uses of gold because units with higher levels have more abilities and strengths.It is also much more expensive!My advice is to use this sparingly to focus on something that is consistent with your chosen tactics.For example, if you intend to use and airborne tactics then you would want to accelerate research for AIR ASSAULT+RECON+ARTY+AA+SAM to a level they can air assault.Another example is quickly researching Stike Fighters or FF/DD. It helps to have a good understanding of what tactics you want and what units it will take to pull it off; otherwise you are just wasting gold on stuff that you don’t understand how to use effectively.
    • Units: Using gold to build units is an obvious use of gold, but if you throw out too many units too fast, you overwhelm your resource production abilities with upkeep costs. Eventually, this will mean the only way forward is increased use of gold.I have learned that you really do not need a lot of units and making too many units is counterproductive. BUT, upon occasion, I have quickly used this to build a bunch of units to address a defensive breach, or build units necessary to specifically address the weaknesses of the enemy tactics (i.e., if the enemy has a substantial Navy of mostly DD and CG then I may choose to buy a stack of 5 naval strike fighters, a unit I don’t regularly use a lot due to powerful FF anti-air capabilities).
    • Morale: This is an important and less understood part of the game that impacts your production and can lead to loss of control of cities in revolt.By far, the most common use I have for gold this way is to immediately throw in gold on a newly captured city so that I do not have to leave troops in it to prevent a revolt. You can also use gold to go to any city or province and LOWER your enemies’ morale to impact his resource, or even trigger a revolt so he loses control. For 500 gold, you can get a 10% increase/decrease in morale, and doing this sparingly is a cost-effective use of gold. I also have used it to prevent un-garrisoned cities from revolting when I have overextended myself with wars, caused too many civilian casualties, or have upon occasion using airborne to capture cities but have not captured the adjoining provinces, which all contribute to lowering morale and increasing the chance of a revolt.Probably the most common use of gold for me in this category is using gold to stabilize the morale of a city as I hope from one city to the next using air assault units—this works very well when you have already crushed an enemies resistance, but not a great tactic otherwise (you also have to be willing to spend gold on additional airfields to keep extending your range). And finally, when I find myself overextended on upkeep, I can artificially raise morale in key resource-producing cities to improve resource production to a positive number to buy me some time to fix my resource limits (usually this is resolved in the long run by capturing more cities or building Industry). One final note, I have also used gold rarely to help shore up a teammate’s morale because I didn’t want to lose the VP or lose access to an important airfield, or some other tactical/strategic reason—usually they never knew.
    • Buildings: Buildings and improvements to them are expensive, and you need higher building levels to be capable of building many units.Obviously, getting your Barracks to L2 with an Industry to L1 is going to permit you to buy some basic armor units, but occasionally you may need to accelerate to something significantly higher to defend against another gold spender. For example, if you see ICBM’s launched on day 2 or 3, you know you probably need to build TDS quickly or you are going to get nuked sooner or later, so you would choose to build at least one Barrack L5 to be capable of doing this.
    • Accelerated Production/Research: I probably spend the most gold in this category. Usually, I only have a little time to play, so I want the units I need to play with immediately.
    • Intel: Intel is an extraordinarily powerful feature available to gold and, in some cases, is a bit of a game-breaker.I have used gold to sabotage players' home cities, lower morale, collect intel, show all units, build counter-intel units, and build intel units. The gold for sabotage is just mean, and I feel like of all the things you can do with gold; this is just unreasonably mean spirited.I did this one time on my 3rd game, where I was frustrated with a collation that was good, playing well and overwhelming me. I spent the gold to wipe out their home cities production for several of their countries.They were pissed about it (rightly so). I understood that it was an abysmal choice and I vowed never to do that again in any future game. I rarely use gold for these except to occasionally reveal all units, especially if I am in clean up mode and trying to end a game quickly. Recently I was in a game as Venezuela and I invaded Chad. I was hitting his home territories and was not finding any units. He didn’t seem to be reacting to me. I got suspicious and thought he was planning a counter-invasion, so I used reveal all units and saw that indeed he did send everything he had on transports to invade my home and I was able to follow up with air attacks to end his “Hail Mary” attempt. It is a power and expensive option at 15,000 gold, but I use it almost every public game at least once.

    • Health: You can use gold to heal a unit’s health. Generally, I try not to lose units whenever possible, so occasionally, I do use gold to heal units after combat, especially air and navy units. I also use it to heal my coalition member’s units occasionally, and I ask if they are ok with it before I do (a very few say no, most are grateful).
  • In fact I don't have problems with gold but
    1- there should be some limit to buying resources like u can buy (double ur resources production ) cards instead of buying resources themselves but this is not the major problem.
    2- The major problem is reveal all units this feature kills tactical possibilities if u r facing gold user as u know he most likely wont fell for it and I'm talking about high risk high reward tactics
    else I don't think It's really unbalancing
    3- also you should consider hospitals for income in 64 long maps long rot but high roi
  • LtGen, thanks for spending the gold. I agree spending gold will not guarantee a win. And let us be real it even gives a touch of real life to the game. Nobody expects the USA, Russia or China to check their oppositions military and economic strength and size down accordingly. Let face it like in real live CON has (economic) superpowers. For me I like the extra challenge a gold player brings and I take pride in being able to force the opposition to spend gold.
    Nukes don't conquer cities, boots do :evil:
  • Duinenstuiner wrote:

    LtGen, thanks for spending the gold. I agree spending gold will not guarantee a win. And let us be real it even gives a touch of real life to the game. Nobody expects the USA, Russia or China to check their oppositions military and economic strength and size down accordingly. Let face it like in real live CON has (economic) superpowers. For me I like the extra challenge a gold player brings and I take pride in being able to force the opposition to spend gold.
    Definitely agree. The jerks who use gold are bad, but then again, there are no-gold jerks too. Often, a little research focus can give a solid anti-goldspammer defense, and when you can force the jerks to use their money to support the game and still win... well, that's the best outcome you could hope for, especially in public games where there are a lot of high-ranked noobs.
  • Blue Tortoise wrote:

    Good stuff. I got into a game of flashpoint with a guy, he'd joined 7 games, already won 5 of them. He's the US in this one and he's already sending nuclear ICBM's on day 5 or something. I'm not proud of how much gold i spent to teach that guy a hard lesson with a solid AA screen lol.
    yeah never do nukes except on apoclypse map as was open research and they started you with 16 warheads. so i figured i had to be able to use them before hit. but before fired any I had 2 TDS in each homeland city as no one was going to hit me back....lol. But I didnt even realize we had nukes till like day 6 so was behind the curve.

    Even then just used nuke CM' mostly for emergencies... like one guy had a 9 stck of levl 7 rocket launchers coming at me. But same match my coal partner was obviously pooring gold and tried an approach on nuking cities and trying to air inf to take cities which worked fast/early but he could nt maintain stuff. I had to tell him to stop nuking people or the whole world would turn against us. But I have not seen gold alone win games. I might buy a $5 - 10 early just to get resources (which seems much better economically than speeding stuff up)
    but if players get hooked on gold its tough to get off it...its like crackcocaine...lol
  • Hi LtGen,

    First, thank you for your financial contributions to the game and for your willingness to open up this discussion. As mentioned by Germanico, the discussion will have to be shut down if it becomes the anti-gold rant for which you seemed prepared, but I don't think that necessarily means we can't do exactly what it seems you are trying to do, which is to bridge the gap a little between a certain style of gold use and those who see it differently.

    I do have a question, though, if you don't mind. You mentioned the amounts of gold that you sometimes use in a game, and it seems to me like a significant amount. I noted that you said you participate in gold usage because you want to help support the game, which is great for the game and for all of the players who enjoy it, but what are your... let's call them "self-interest reasons" for using gold in your games? This question may be more clear if I approach it from the opposite angle: It sounds like you enjoy the challenge, strategy, and mechanics of the game, so why not play without the advantage of decreased times, additional units, etc.?

    I ask because I think it may help some people who aren't in your position or don't current share your philosophy to understand what the motivation is for you to choose this route rather than simply letting things play out otherwise.

    The post was edited 1 time, last by PerigeeNil ().

  • PerigeeNil, that's a great discussion to have, and a big part of the motive for writing my post. I see some folks spending big gold and just rampage across the map, crushing everyone, talking smack, and in general just not being nice or fun. Mostly, my gold use is to add fun to the game for me and others) with unit variety and allow me to operate in multiple theaters with unit quantities that can support it, or experiment with different tactics. I very rarely make nukes of any kind as I find them not very useful or fun--if I make them its usually in response to another gold user behaving in a way I feel I need to counter. The key is to have fun, and be respectful of everyone else in the games you are playing. Their are plenty of rude people with and without gold use, but if you happen to have the resources to allow for using gold then at the very least show some class an be nice about it and not ruin the fun for everyone else. Finally, I do play games without gold or very little gold, especially when it is clear that the others in a game are not using gold either (zero gold alliance matches are a lot of fun!). The objective is to have fun, and being a 500 lbs gorilla that is bashing everything in sight with insurmountable masses of military forces isn't particularity fun for the most important part of the game (other players!), and as you point out not very challenging. Balance and respecting others is what I am fundamentally advocating for. Yes, spend gold, support the terrific dev team for this wonderfully designed and balanced game we all love, but do it in a way that brings credit to the game.
  • I personally dont get those people that throw their weight around like that, because if you discourage other players, the game won't be very much fun or last very long without a player base. That's actually one of the things that really hooked me on this game in the beginning, it seems the majority of the player base is civil and willing to try and educate the newbies.
  • I see. So one of the major points I pull from this is that you like that it allows you to have greater unit diversity, experiment with combinations/tactics, and operate on a larger scale (in multiple theaters at once) than what you might be limited to under the conditions that a lack of gold would allow. Is that correct? (This question isn't a setup, and I don't have a follow-up planned; I'm just trying to make sure I understand clearly.)
  • A civil conversation about gold usage. My god. It's a jewel

    I do have a question, though : ultimately, why to bother (from a gold perspective) to improve the economical basis of your country (through gold, that is). You can't gold population, and you can't gold "time output". To the contrary, the more you gold resources to improve economical basis, the less value you have per "gold resource" click.

    For example, if you needed like 2 000 Gold to increase by 5% a output of 1 600, you basically increased the output by 80 per day. Hence, it's roughly 40 days to generate "normally" what you could have had with a single click 40 days before.

    Isn't it a "net loss" compared to everything you could Gold in comparison ?

    I won't complain, though : this would be the most fair gold use one can imagine.
    Running an online alliance is pretty much like running a small company, except you need to find other way than money to keep your employees productive. May they play or work, they are humans.
  • i must have missed the part about increasing a cities production vs buying the 4k at one time. Never even occured to me, if I do it its pretty well always the 4k at one time if i can't get what's needed off the market. Which obviously is much much easier in the early days. Darned components though, never can seem to have enough of those laying around lol.
  • Blue Tortoise wrote:

    i must have missed the part about increasing a cities production vs buying the 4k at one time. Never even occured to me, if I do it its pretty well always the 4k at one time if i can't get what's needed off the market. Which obviously is much much easier in the early days. Darned components though, never can seem to have enough of those laying around lol.

    I almost never use gold, although I do use it occasionally to speed things up around the map. For me, I just stock up on a ton of components in the market basically as soon as the game starts and I end up having a surplus. The hard part from there is balancing that with everything else, because an unbalanced investment creating one surplus creates another deficit, for me generally electronics at first and then supplies mid game.
  • Stratieon wrote:

    Blue Tortoise wrote:

    i must have missed the part about increasing a cities production vs buying the 4k at one time. Never even occured to me, if I do it its pretty well always the 4k at one time if i can't get what's needed off the market. Which obviously is much much easier in the early days. Darned components though, never can seem to have enough of those laying around lol.
    I almost never use gold, although I do use it occasionally to speed things up around the map. For me, I just stock up on a ton of components in the market basically as soon as the game starts and I end up having a surplus. The hard part from there is balancing that with everything else, because an unbalanced investment creating one surplus creates another deficit, for me generally electronics at first and then supplies mid game.
    yeah im same way early ill buy most resource if low price whether need or not and resist urge to sell my surplus (except gas usually end up way too much) as tempting to get $$ to buy something else but you know in a week you are going to be scrounging for components and mkt will have dried up like they usually do. So Buy low and sell high work it like the stock/commodities mkt . But absent that buying the 4k resource for supplies and Rare helps keep research slots active and up to date. much more economical than buying them individually at time of builds with gold it seems?? $5 bucks can give you just the right boost imo and I look at it as an admission/entertainment fee; but thats usually the extend of my gold buying.