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Fix Bronze

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Marlowe
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« on: October 28, 2008, 10:24:38 pm »

I had a fortress recently where I had no iron, but vast amounts of copper. This led to me searching everywhere for tin to make bronze. I didn't find it (next time, I'll make sure I have a granite layer somewhere) and made do with copper plate and masterwork bone accessories, but it got me looking into what bronze actually IS compared to what it is in the game.

The first thing I realised is that 75% effectiveness is way too low. Reports vary on how bronze measures up to Iron, with Wikipedia bluntly stating that it's actually better and others admitting it may be a bit softer but not by much. The historical imporatnce of the "iron age" is really more about numbers than weapon effectiveness; tin is scarse and iron is common. An iron age culture could simply field more well-equipped warriors than a bronze age one.The real game balance factor here is that 75% just is not good enough compared with the 66% of pure copper. It's not that worth it looking for tin when you can just use the copper as is for only a 9% hit. Since you can't reduce copper much further without it becoming uncompetitive verses masterwork leather/bone (it's MUCH easier to get legendary bone and leathercrafters than armourers), the bronze needs to be better, even a boost to 90-95% doesn't seem unreasonable.

The second thing is that bronze isn't 50% tin like it is in the game, it's between 8-20% tin with 12% being a good working average. Making people smelt tin one-for-one with copper to get bronze makes it really difficult to get enough to produce armour in useful qualities. Since DF smelters don't seem to be able to deal with more than 4 bars at a time, it seems that the most appropriate fomula would be 3 copper +1 tin = 4 bronze.
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forsaken1111
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2008, 10:31:16 pm »

Currently (as far as I know) DF cannot track parts of a bar for smelting, so as you said the only way to get remotely close would be 3 copper + 1 tin bar. That would be annoying but workable in my opinion, but it would be a lot easier if they could track tenths of a bar or something.
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Marlowe
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« Reply #2 on: October 29, 2008, 01:36:41 am »

One problem with my suggestion is that it would mess up the balance of Bismuth Bronze. BB is currently 2 copper + 1 tin + 1 Bismuth = 4 BB. It simply allows you to save a bit on tin when you have some bismuth lying around. If the Bronze formula was changed to 3 copper + 1 tin then BB (and Bismuth in general) would be pretty pointless.

However, I was quite surprised to look up Bismuth Bronze and discovered that it's actual formula is 52% copper, 20% nickel, 12% Zinc, 5% lead and 1% Bismuth. In short, it doesn't contain any tin at all and is very similar to nickel steel (aka, "that stuff that wasted all my zinc I could have used to make brass"). It doesn't sound like a weapons-grade metal either. I submit that Bismuth Bronze as it exists in the game is essentially a fantasy metal and can be changed to a fantasy formula, like 3 copper + 1 Bismuth.
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