Upgrading buildings is a key feature of the game. Given the standardized look and architecture of the buildings available to tycoons in the Starpeace Online worlds, the IFEL has decided to carry urban planning one step further. When you build a new facility, it comes with plenty of empty space, in order to be able to increase its performance when needed.
Whenever one of your facilities' is performing to its maximum potential and there is still need for more of what it's providing, a question will arise. Should I build a new facility? Or should I upgrade it? Almost all facilities in the game are upgradeable, and in the majority of the cases, it's better to upgrade than to build a new one.
Advantages of Upgrading
Upgrading a building doubles its performance, so in a sense, upgrading is exactly like building a new facility next to the old one. But there are other advantages. To begin, upgrading is generally cheaper.
Upgrading a facility takes half the Construction Force as to build a new identical facility. Moreover, when you build a new facility, you have to engage a Construction Force, the cost of which can vary enormously depending on the supplier. Instead, upgrading entails the automatic engaging of the Construction Forces at the price set by Trade Centers. Construction time is halved, and the facility can continue to operate while the upgrade is being worked on. In addition, upgrading a building won't increase your land tax (based on the squares your facility occupies on the map), and will save you a lot of time in micromanagement (think about having to manage 10 factories instead of 1 factory 10 times bigger).
Notice that upgrading a building will multiply the needs of the facility too. So a level 10 factory will employ 10 times the workforce and require ten times the service hours.
Depending on the type of facility, the max level of upgrading is different. Factories can be upgraded up to 100 levels, stores, residential properties and civics properties up to 20 levels. In the case of commerce, a bigger store attracts more people, so upgrading it increases the desirability of that outlet. At the same time though, bigger stores waste more if they are not run properly, so they will waste more if they have a low efficiency. When civic buildings like hospitals, fire stations and police stations are upgraded, their coverage, along with the number of persons they can take care of increases slightly.
Headquarters can be upgraded too, if needed, up to 5 times. Note that HQ hire more people as your company grows. At a certain point, though, it will stop hiring, that is when you have to upgrade it. After the fifth time, the only solution is to build another one, but that will be needed only when your company is really big.
As you can see, the advantages in upgrading are many, but there are some cases in which the right thing to do is build a new facility, coverage being the main one.
Some facilities provide their services only up to a certain distance in squares. In that case, instead of upgrading a facility, it could be more convenient to build another one far from it. Another example effective example of location is with stores. People generally go to outlets closer to their house, unless the price or quality is significantly different. Starpeace Online inhabitants are no different, if a particular type of commerce is missing from an area it could make better business sense to build a store there, rather than upgrading one further away.