One thing I’ve noticed is that because the early stage materials are so plentiful, the ones with time gated uses quickly lose value. For example, even with the lower ore rate, iron ore became so plentiful by the end of the test that I had thousands I didn’t know what to do with.
This was not a problem with low level consumables like grain -> rations because rations could quickly be consumed by expanding the base, so a player is always in want of grain. edit:(also grain still has use for “advanced” tech tree items as its used in beer, while iron ore only has the 1 time gated use)
I think it is important that if the low level material trees are easy to produce, then there must be ways to spend them quickly.