A probably controversial idea to make Longswords more viable

Really two ideas, the first rather mundane, the second i’m sure will be quite controversial.

  1. Decrease the food cost of the militia line. Whether you adjust the cost directly or increase the effect of supplies, I don’t have a strong opinion on. Probably not more than 10 food cheaper. Maybe only 5 food cheaper.

  2. Decrease the strength of the Knight slightly.

The knight is the primary point of comparison, and it’s just sooo much better. No upgrade cost whereas you need to upgrade MAA to LS and probably at least pick up supplies before it’s semi-viable. Knights dominate 1 on 1, have higher pierce armor, greater mobility, etc, etc.

If you decrease a knight’s hp by maybe 10, and make the Longsword a little cheaper, then perhaps it’d be competitive when resources are balanced. The knight would still have advantages, but then LS might be viable. Cavaliers could still have their 120. Perhaps that’d make knights too weak to camel civs, but you could balance by reducing the attack bonus of the camel rider. Leave the heavy camel rider just where it’s at. Pikes might be “too strong” then but the Knights don’t need to take that fight with their mobility.

Gambesons helps the militia line against crossbows, so I think the LS is doing ok with that matchup. They really just suck a lemon against knights, even when resources are balanced.

I think knights are generally considered to offer a huge power spike in castle age, so I think there’s a little room to take them down a notch without ruining the unit altogether.

I also realize then the Franks bonus of 20% more HP, would result in knights having only 108HP, compared to generic civs with bloodlines, having 110. Admittedly it’s still free, so not a bad bonus, but a less good bonus for sure.


I don’t even think there will be any sort of balance to Longswords. Historically, they ARE meant to be weaker and disposable soldiers, that’s how infantry have always been, and is still up to date in modern warfare. Civilizations that don’t have Cavalry have a much superior Infantry called Eagle Warrior, that is fast, resistant to arrows, and deal damage against horsemen.

Age of Empires time length mirrors the age where Knights were the most reliable military force, and I think that is fine tho, but there is something worth pointing out, Infantry is NOT the problem, since Pikeman are also Infantry, and they’re present literally every game. Longswords stop at Man-at-arms, when the Drush and Frush is already gone.

Obviously you’re supposed to mix in pikes with longswords vs knights civs. It’s not that much more of an investment since you already have the same blacksmith upgrades and production buildings. Just because you want to go all in with one unit, doesn’t mean it’s underpowered. You need to address the weakness of your army comp. If it was easy to just mass one unit and win, it would be OP

I would wait and see what’s the upcoming battering ram changes will do. With the tweaked stats, a battering ram fully garrisoned with long swordsman will be able to move just as fast as the long longswords.

Right now, archers are the principal weakness of longswords. But if they can just Garrison inside of battering rams whenever they need protection, they could force an enemy into a complete unit switch, especially in combination with gambesons.

I really don’t think they are very far away from being pretty spooky. I’ve already seen several Pro level games where they were used to great effect.


Not really… a heavy armored and highly tranied warrior is not weak or disposable… You are confusing them with peasent levies.

In an ideal game, militias should be tanky and cheap because they don’ t use horses
Knights are supposed to be expensive, faster, but THEY ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO SUSTAIN A MELEE FIGHTS, they rely on powerfull charges (ironically Coustelliers are the mos historical cavalry unit and many hated them)


I should totally make a medieval RTS set entirely in Europe that is an extremely historically accurate game, to the point it’s more of a battle simulator than a game.

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I think total war makes a very good game and it’s way more accurate

Even AoE4 does it a lot better too (although I like this game better, 20 years of nostalgia and balance adds a lot to my preferences)

There is a long road from infantry has no place on the meta to a battle simulator

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I’d love to see knights lose 10 hp.

Franks can suffer the indignity.


While you can mix pikes into your knights, that’s kind of irrelevant to the question at hand.

You could alternatively just mix in some pikes with your own knights to counter enemy knights.

The question of viability isn’t a question of “can longswords beat knights”. But in what situations, regardless of the rest of your unit composition and the enemies unit compostion, would it be advantageous to opt for LS instead of knights?

Presently the answer to the question is rarely. If you’re against Eagles, then yeah LS are going to be better even if they can’t force the engagement. Monks IDK. You’d probably have more LS than knights so any individual conversion is less of the proportion of the units you brought, but because they’re slower they’re more likely to be converted and for the monk to retreat to safety.

There are many reasons for this. Knights have superior stats to the LS, are better at raiding, better at maintaining map control. Even if they’re against pikes they can just maneuver around them. Knights have a better cost mix between food and gold compared to the LS in the context of a castle age eco. You have access to knights immediately upon advancing, whereas you have to pay and wait for the LS upgrade.

If 19 times out of 20 you’re working out the pros and cons of having knights or LS as the melee component of your army comp and you end up choosing knights, then knights are too strong compared to the LS. I’m not saying the LS should be the objectively better unit with or without balanced resources, but if LS almost always lose that cost benefit analysis when compared to the knight, then there’s little purpose for the LS.

I know knights are more “fun” cause they’re more mobile and better at raiding, but I’d think that somewhere between 20% to 40% of the time you advance to castle age and your choosing between knights and LS, you should end up deciding that in this given instance, based on the matchup, the map, your strategy, etc, you’d prefer to go LS.

Just to make the point as clear as possible, imagine if in castle age, instead of the knight, you immediately had access to the Paladin. Properly balancing the Paladin in relation to the LS wouldn’t be a question of “well remember you can make pikes against them”. You’d never ever ever have reason to make LS. Even if the enemy army was 100% composed of pikes, eagles, camels, and monks, your paladins would probably fair better than LS and could choose whether or not to even engage in the first place.

To a lesser extent I believe the same is true with the knight. There are some situations where it makes sense to go for LS instead of knights, but I feel too often the opposite is true.

True but if you commit to Longswords and your civ has a bonus like Malians then they do have the advantage over knights. Better at taking out buildings with Arson and after Supplies you can mass them up in much bigger numbers than knights and take out TCs. Only 45 food + 20 gold each

The thing is, I don’t think you can really think of longswords as a gold unit, even though it does take gold. Nobody has a problem with pikemen or skirmishers only being used for specific cases, and never as an opening.

Knights and crossbows are power units, longswords are for specific purposes. And honestly, I think people don’t use them as much as they should, even based on their current stats.

I remember a very specific case just recently, where I believe it was liereyy playing against Hera, where he was using about 10 long sorts, but kept retreating, and ultimately didn’t even manage to destroy a single stable.

But the thing is, he could have destroyed that stable, if he was willing to sacrifice some of his units to do it. And if he had destroyed that stable, then Hera wouldn’t have had the production capacity to pump out the Scouts he immediately needed to win the game.

I guess my point is, longswords are cheap counter units, but people treat them like power units that need to be preserved at all costs. People really have no concept of just how ridiculously strong they are now with gambesons. It only takes like 11 normal longswords to destroy a fully garrisoned Town Center. They can’t be countered by trash. They can destroy more than their value in terms of wood, and force your enemy to make an unfavorable composition switch, people just have to be willing to let them die.

And that’s why I’m saying we need to wait and see how the upcoming battering ram changes play out. I could easily envision a meta where battering ram long swordsman pushes become common, because if they counter with archers, you can just Garrison them inside, and if they counter with villagers or scouts, gambeson’s means the long swordsman can live long enough to kill them.

There are definitely some civs that have better than average LS in castle age. Malians, Vikings, Japanese, Goths, Romans when paired with Centurions (though they don’t get supplies but they do have very good armor thanks to a civ bonus). For those civs they likely would choose LS over knights more often than other civs. Perhaps I’m forgetting some civs with good infantry bonuses that would be in effect in castle age, but 5 of 43 civs is 11.6%. And I wouldn’t go so far as to say LS would be the better choice 100% of the time, only that it is more likely than with other civs. Celt infantry are a little faster. Slavs and Malay also have good infantry but they don’t really come into their own until imperial. Malay do get free infantry armor upgrades, which helps in castle i suppose. IDK if that makes their LS top tier but definitely better. Teuton infantry does get +1 melee armor in castle, but so do their knights. so as a comparison it’s a wash. Again, maybe I’m forgetting a civ or two, but those five above I think have relatively favorable LS to knight comparisons.

Let’s add Celts and Malay to those first five I mentioned just to present this in the best light possible, even then that’s only 7 of 43 civs with meaningfully above average LS. Still if 16% of the time you’re only less unlikely to chose LS doesn’t really address the central point IMO.

Admittedly LS do have an advantage with buildings. However It doesn’t matter if the LS do more damage to my enemy’s buildings, if they’re lying dead half way to my enemy’s town.

I don’t think, even with their cheaper cost, a player in castle age can typically leverage that into a sufficiently larger number such that they have greater utility in enough circumstances when compared to the knight. I think that isn’t an issue in imperial when you aren’t creating villagers and gold is harder to come by, you can more easily afford the higher proportional food cost of the militia line. But in castle age it’s the opposite, food is hard to come by as it’s split between a lot of priorities and gold is comparatively fast to gather.

I think the economy a player is likely to have in castle age is as important a determinant in the viability of the LS as anything else. a knight is just a more convenient cost mix than the LS in castle age. while I think there might be room to adjust the price of the militia line, doing so does affect balance throughout the rest of the game (or in the case of buffing supplies also affects champions in imperial). Changing Knights however, (and keeping cavalier and paladins the same), mostly only affects the castle age, where the alternative is the LS.

I will admit that perhaps the pros just haven’t had enough time after gambesons and some of these other castle age infantry buffs. Perhaps you are correct that LS are strong enough right now and they just need to be used correctly. How the pros currently play isn’t some reality detector about the state of the game.

However pros are playing a ton of games. They’re highly competitive and they’re constantly trying to find any edge to win. LS historically haven’t been competitive, and there hasn’t been any seismic shift in the meta. If there’s a way to use LS advantageously a good portion of the time they’d be the ones to figure it out and at least so far they don’t seem to have figured that out yet.

Maybe a bit more experimenting, testing out the new battering ram changes, and LS will be just fine. I’m not holding my breath, but you never know with balance changes and a shifting meta how things will play out.

I don’t disagree, but I would point out that historically speaking, The Meta has been so focused on agility, I would expect it to take a little bit longer for even the experts to adapt to an entirely new style of play.

After all, even they can fall into traps of habit. I’ve watched quite a few of their games, and I am fairly regularly surprised to see them be surprised about some unexpected result or civilization bonus they had forgotten about.

A perfect topical example is a recent game where Viper went Persian longswords, which is about as counter meta as you can get, but the truth is, Persians have fully upgraded infantry in the castle age, and it actually ended up being the move that won the game. Or when Hera didn’t know that crenellations allows garrisoned infantry to fire arrows.

There are many aspects of the game that simply haven’t been relevant for so long that even the experts don’t really know about them. So unlike the more meta options, it will take longer for things to settle into their proper place.

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Too many techs. Supplies and gambisons should be baked into longsword upgrade

Arson should give an additional +1 vs buildings on top of what it already has now to justify the high cost

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Higher proportional food cost vs. what? Knights? It’s not that difficult to afford if you just set your eco up correctly. 45 food per unit after Supplies isn’t that bad, honestly.

What about dismounted Knights?

Longswords and milita line are fine, stop spamming topics regarding militia line. Now we see the use of the milita line almost every game even in pro tournaments.

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This would be ridiculously OP. Militia line has had a ton of buffs, it doesn’t need anymore. Play more 1v1 and you’ll see how strong they are already. Malians longsword play with rams is super strong.

yes knights. knights are the primary melee alternative to LS. It takes approximately two LS to have the same melee utility as a knight.

So to make a “knight’s worth” of melee utility by creating LS, you have to pay for two LS. So even after supplies (which itself has it’s own cost) LS cost 45F20G. So two of them cost 90F40G.

90F40G is more food and less gold than the knight’s 60F75G. 50% more actually.

Farmers collect food slower than miners mine gold.

That and 5-8 villagers can mine from a single mine which is a 100w investment. Conversely the same 5-8 villagers must spend 300-480 wood to get their farms going. That’s 200-380 additional wood that has to come from somewhere.

Referring again to the wiki article, woodcutters gather approximately .39 wood per second (presumably walking time not included). by castle age you’ll definitely have double-bit axe, and I even think it’s reasonable you’ve picked up bow saw. .39 * 1.2 * 1.2 = .56 wood per villager per second. That’s 360 to 680 villager seconds of additional work required to set up that eco.

That’s the same as if the player making knights decided to idle 5 villagers for 6-11 minutes. And that wood investment has to keep being paid periodically depending on your farm upgrades. admittedly you’d eventually need to build a new mine, but you can typically get more gold per mine than food per 8 farms. if you have horse collar and heavy plow (which have their own upgrade costs) you have 375 food per farm x 8 farms that’s 3000 food. Conversely if you have only three gold squares that’s 2400 gold. So only in the worst case scenario for gold and the best case scenario for food can it be shown that the above wood investments required to start up that eco would produce more total food (not faster just eventually more) than gold, and remember the investment to start up that farm eco is still 200-380 more wood). And all of that assumes farmer and miners collect at the same rate which they don’t. Seems gold miners are approximately 19% faster than farmers.

Suffice it to say that is disadvantageous to produce a food heavy unit, at least in castle age. When food becomes easier to gather, wood is easier to cut, farms need less reseeding, gold harder to come by, and you’re no longer creating villagers, that calculus is greatly altered, in many cases flipped entirely. But that describes imperial age, not castle age where the comparison between LS and knights is relevant.

To make the point as clear as possible if food collected not marginally slower and used reasonably more wood, but instead was collected at 1/10th the rate and required 10x the wood as gold, not being able to produce enough food wouldn’t be a matter of my eco not being properly balanced. It’s a matter of going with a strategy that requires more food which is empirically less efficient to gather therefore disadvantageous. It’s a matter of the cumulative villager seconds up to any point in a game and how efficiently a villager can turn their work into a given resource.

If conversely there was 20-30 boar/deer sitting around your TC just waiting to be hunted then yeah, it’d be better to produce a food heavy unit as food from boars not only collect faster than gold but have less wood investment than a gold mine. But obviously that is not the case in any game.

To summarize, villagers gather gold more efficiently than food from farms and requires less investment to setup. This confers a disadvantage to the player producing a unit comp that is heavier on food than their opponent. LS being heavier on food than knights to produce the same utility are in comparison economically disadvantageous.