Just 4 suggestions to improve the general balance, independent of each other. A single poll is at the end, please do not vote for more than one option per suggestion.
1. Reduce starting stone to 150.
Since the release of DE, there has been a slight trend towards more defensive play. On serious pro games, you rarely see the players go for an extended Feudal Age or Castle Age. There are various reasons for this; Defensive civs being more viable, quickwalling nerfing early aggression, stacking problems leading to more archers being played, pro players having really good defensive capabilities etc. The biggest problem with this is that the military gameplay in Feudal and Castle Age is more sophisticated than in Imperial Age because it’s not that much about Unit spam. Also, it feels a bit like the early and midgame doesn’t matter that much, even when playing ladder because the game will go to the lategame either way and every early advantage will even out by then.
Giving each player 200 starting stone simply means that each player will go for a 3 tc approach almost every game which plays out very defensive. It means that the stone cost for TCs is irrelevant because palisades and buildings do the job stone walls do just fine and you can’t go for a Tower + 2nd tc. The 3 tc approach is the best use of your starting ressources.
Reducing the starting stone to 150 would make the 2 tc approach the standard, this would give the following benefits:
- more options as it would mean the aggressive 1 tc approach, the flexible 2 tc approach and the boomy 3 tc approach all have their place in the game
- because of the flexible nature of the now meta 2 tc approach, players have more freedom on how they want to play the midgame which means more strategic decisions and more diversity in strategy
- more Stone Walls and Outposts because building a single one of these no longer means you can build 1 tc less
2. Remove the "archer stacking"
It is no secret that melee Units, while being very strong before the release of the Definitive Edition, have been superseeded by the archer line. The biggest reason for that has been the pathing, which has been improved in the last patches, but there are 2 more differences in how archers and melee units interact in DE. Luckily, these difference should be easy to fix (from a technical perspective). One is that units stack much more, you can have 20 units in the same small spot. This helps archers over anything else and it also brings the problem that it gives false information when there are more units in one spot than it looks like. We know from the Steppe Lancers nerfs that this is easy to fix, so please fix it for all the units.
3. Let military Units block vills. Let Cavalry push through archers.
We know that in AoE2, each unit gets an ID when created and the units that have been created first will block units being created later and can’t be blocked by later created units. This is very unintuitive and inconsistent from a gameplay perspective. My suggestion is to change how the ID is given to let military Units block vills all the time. This just makes sense, why should a woodcutter force himself through heavily armored swordsman or a group of archers. Then Cavalry should logically force their way through other units except pikes. They can do this in the older versions of the game, I don’t know how it works there technically but that doesn’t matter. Maybe also let Infantry force their way through Archers.
4. Increase CA accuracy and decrease their frame delay a bit
Cavalry Archers are a generic unit that we don’t see to often, even when a civ has all the upgrades for them. The reason is that they need so many upgrades to even begin being useful. They need Thumb Ring because their base accuracy is horrible and when you get Thumb Ring you normally need to get Ballistics too. They need Husbandry to outrun Knights and Bloodlines is another essential upgrade for them. They are bad in low numbers because of their frame delay. Increasing their base accuracy would mean Thumb Ring and Ballistics isn’t as important for them as it is right now thus making it easier to go for them and decreasing their frame delay would only make them minimaly better post-imp while making them useful in lower numbers.
- Reduce the starting stone to 150
- Keep the starting stone at 200
- Increase the collision box of all military units
- Do not do that for all the military units
- Let military units push through Villagers and Cavalry through other non-pike military
- Keep Unit-ID generation as it is
- Only do that for some unit groups but not for all the unit groups suggested
- Increase CA accuracy and reduce frame delay
- Reduce CA frame delay OR increase their accuracy
- Keep CA as they are