A try to analyze why x-bows and arbs upgrades feel too strong

That is maybe maybe ONE of the reasons. But even if you somehow changed it it wouldn’t help in all the other cases where you didn’t mass feudal skirms. Archers are inherently better due to the load on your eco as well as their flexibility against various targets

Do FU castle age knights really get countered by feudal spears? This sounds like nonsense.are they jap/boh spears v malay knights? I’m not even going to test it when we know knights can beat pikes nevermind spears

Xbow and ARB techs need cost increases.

Trash techs (pike, skirm) could easily do with minor cost reductions due to the way Arabia has been changed to favour aggression already, thereby offsetting the balance that already favoured the cheaper aggressive techs (xbow, cavalier etc)

It’s kinda balanced matchup. Generally I think the knight player has higher chances (maybe 2:1 or something like this) with all the options he has.
The play is more about “what is your best option in this situation to have a comeback”.

Disagree in Castle vs Feudal. Spearman doesn’t counter Knight. And knight/cavalry always has its advantage of running away from its trash counter.

I was about to say the same.

Not so true, FU Feudal Scouts used to deal nicely with Xbows (unless there were tons of Spears around), back when the melee pathing used to be smooth.

Powerspikes are essential in a strategy game, Age supiriority is a crucial componenet in this game. Currently, it is too strong I agree.

That’s not accurate. With enough Micro you can kill all Spears and heal your Knights. I remind you Spear dont even have Squires, microing against them is just too easy.
Besides that, it’s an unfair comparison. Xbows rely on mass, while Knights dont.

Again. The only way to solve this Archery-Range meta, is fixing Arabia (back to what it was in 19988-2019) and melee pathing.

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Nah I can’t really accomodate that.

Imo the first thing that should happen is a reduction of skirm pierce armor by 1 but a higher ROF and more bonus damage. Potentially skirms also get a small amount of archer armor, so they don’t counter themselves that hard anyomre.
Then feudal skirms could deal a bit better with castle xbows and castle skirms can deal a bit better with arbs.

If this isn’t enough we could start reducing the powerspikes a bit, but then in the exchange there must be a buff to FU xbows and arbs to compensate for the powerspike reduction.

this is kind of the point of xbow and arb: they spike hard when you get their upgrades, but then drop off fast, unless you keep them massed and together as one group

Is it really “the point”?
I think for a long time thought it’s really just a question of numbers with xbows.
And I think a lot of people still believe this or at least don’t think about that powerspike and the implications.

It’s probably also not relevant for most games until 1600 elo or what cause then other things usually decide. (Though I might be wrong with this assessment, at least I don’t think so).
And then ofc it’s also no wonder archers somewhat “underperform” in low and mid elo cause the players just don’t use the powerspikes they need to make them really work.

In my opinion it would only benefit the game if the powerspikes would be flattened a bit - the units a bit stronger in between, but the spikes themselves a bit smaller. I’m not against powerspikes. I actually like them a lot - I just think the xbow and arb powerspikes are a bit too extreme.

And I currently see some people here in the forum completely unnecessarily pounding on archer/xbows. And I doubt they are even at the level where archer civs start to be at even close level as knight civs. It’s really weird. They act as if archers into knights was never a thing before, which is absurd. Archers into knights was always a thing and there are a lot of reasons why this is and not scouts into xbows. And it is fine.

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this is my feeling about most balance discussions here. people reckommending sledgehammer approaches and massive overhauls to ‘problems’ they don’t understand and at best need a little tuning.

scouts into archers/xbow is a thing as well. Hera even has two different Scouts into Archers build orders (one for Huns, one for Chinese)


I thought about real scout play not 3 scouts with the free food you have and then archers. But I haven’t seen the builds.
I’m just a bit curious about chinese there cause I’m not sure how many scouts they can actually afford at this stage.
And Huns… Weird. As huns you want to transition in CA usually. Or knights depending. Imo you can open both scouts or archers but scouts + archers makes little to no sense to me tbh. From a strategical perspective it makes only sense with archer civs to do this cause it heavily influences your castle timing and therefore the transition you want to make. Especially with CA civs it’s really weird to make few scouts and then archers… Why not directly scouts into CA?

I think Hera just loves his scouts. And he complains a lot about scouts not being “viable” at the same time. Probably he chose Huns and Chinese to make special buildorders for that cause they are maybe the single 2 civs where few scouts + then archers makes the least sense. And you need probably extremely tight builds to have a chance with that at the highest level.
Looks like Spanish Archers to me.
Probably the next one will be gurjaras :smiley:

This could maybe influence it but for different reason than you think.
We have currently kinda long feudal plays and not only that but they actually favor archer play in a way that it’s just more natural for archer players to macro up to castle behind it.
The thing is with scouts you usually want a shorter feudal to get to knights (or ca) asap. But with the current castle age timings you can’t make few scouts to get the better timing. And full scout play isn’t really that good cause of the food eco you need for that.

Arabia has become more feudal heavy and this naturally leads to archers being more meta. At least with the current scout design.

I already though about a civ bonus that replaces scout food cost with gold, but I don’t think a single civ would change anything here.

Probably we just need a new idea for a scout design to make it more competitive under the new more feudal heavy arabia gameplay. One Idea I already proposed was to make stables buildable in dark age. This wouldn’t make scouts better but you can hit even earlier with them and possibly “buy” enough time to get up to castle earlier. This then would also reduce the xbow powerspike issue cause then it’s more likely for cav civs to hit castle age earlier. But that doesn’t “solve” the issue with the powerspike.

Maybe it’s better to indeed give scouts 1 range like steppe lancers cause then they would become very dangerous in masses, justifying the high food cost (less dps in the exchange ofc + hussar must be nerfed heavily (too much HP for that)).
I will probably at some point make a thread about why I think this is currently the best “solution” we have for scouts becoming more useful. There are a lot of factors involved which curretnly cause Scouts to feel a bit underwhealming. And many of them could be reduced heavily by that 1 range.

And yes even the xbow powerspike could possibly be reduced by 1 range light cav.

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Well yeah most contributions in this forum are bad that’s nothing new.

But why do you write a paragraph about players misconceptions just to give the example of scouts into archers was never a thing but archers into knights has always been? That statement is absolutely false (if anything it’s rather the opposite).

Ofc it makes sense. If you open scouts and go ca in castle age you have no military from mid feudal to early castle apart from a couple of scouts. That’s why for a very long time people playes scouts into archers into ca as the standard cav archer transition as you have military to defend in late feudal age and xbows to pressure in early castle age. Nowadays you see the straight scouts into ca more often but that’s because most people actually play cav archer as 1 tc all instead of adding tcs behind.

Why do you always wanna change basic units that have been proven to be perfectly balanced? Just accept that meta changes. Couple of years ago it was the other way around and scouts were meta. Maybe they will be so again in the future.

And if you want to change the meta so badly look at the factors that lead to the current one in the first place which are first and foremost map scripting and pathing.

No it’s not you’ll only exacerbate the problem. If you give them range no one is gonna wall early on and since cav with 1 range needs to lose pierce armor to be balanced everybody would go full archers even more so than now.

Scouts are a perfectly fine unit. The reason you don’t see them is because everyone is drushing these days. Drush gives you early game control and prevents the opponent from walling. And archers are simply a better follow up to drush. Especially when you have these rather thin woodlines (also one reason why the early castle age xbow play is so strong atm). Combine that with horrible melee pathing, the current market abuse meta and you got your explanation why you don’t see a lot of scout openings right now.

Castle Age Crossbow
From 5 attack + 5 range to 7 attack + 7 range is a massive 40% improvement. Scouts into knight is even bigger improvement but you can’t upgrade your scouts to knight and also knight cost more than scout.

Imperial Age Arbalester
Almost of not all Imperial age units die to Arbalester in less shot than their parallel units in Castle age to xbow.
Knight 40 shots vs xbow and Cavalier 35 shots vs Arbs
LC 27 shots vs xbow and Hussar 24 shots vs Arbs
LS 15 shots vs xbow and Champion 14 shots vs Arbs
CA 14 shots vs xbow and HCA 20 shots (only exception thanks to PT)
Skirmisher = not even have an Imperial upgrade.

It’s actually even more than that if you factor armor in - feudal skirms take triple the damage from xbows + bodkin ;).

fast Imp Arbalest is actually stopped very nicely by eco lead 4-5 ranges full Skirms.

i think that’s intentional. ecos are bigger in imperial age and pop limit becomes relevant so faster unit turn-over is necessary. bonus damage of halb>pike>spear grows massively, similar for camel riders. blacksmith upgrades cancel in feudal and castle age, but attack is bigger than defense in imp etc

I appreciate your long and elabortaed replies, but you’re going too far with your imaginitation.

At 2019 Xbows meta was under control, people used to go also Cavalry before DE came, and not just Cavalry, plenty of Unique Units, and even some old-fashioned Pike+Siege push. All of them at early Castle Age.

These days it’s all about Xbows and mass TC’s.

And again, just reverse some of the changes that killed the balance we had, Arabia is way too deserted which leads to a boring pseudo-aggressive prolonged Feudal Age, and the melee pathing, which is just awful, especially against players who micro their Archers.

There’s no need for out-of-the-box innovative ideas in this regard, just take a look at games from 2019-2018. MbL staple was Pike push, Viper used to go for Unique Units (early castle age, pre-boom), Hoang used to do his Hoang push (these days he goes for Archery Range sadly), Lierreyy used to go for Fast Imp Arbs low eco, so many different styles that used to be so viable.

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thats the point of arabia, an open map with a lot of early agression. If u want post imp fights just play blackforest.

Strategies evolve to become more efficient and it doesn’t mean the game changed a lot. In adition, players also get better and better, even a top player of early 2000s can have a bad time vs a 1800 rating right now.

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I’m an “Arabia only” kind of a player.
Check this post for further information.

It’s very sexy to think of us as participants of a super-intelligent evolution that’s beyond of our understandment, we basically perfect our style and gameplay to it’s current form. That’s a cute thought.

Far from being reality. We have evolved our playstyle, but to a minor degree, too minor to explain the HUGE shift in meta.
We’re rather just heavily influenced by the vast changes of the environment. Both DE’s poor pathing and the drastical changes in Arabia.

It’s also far less reductive than this “open vs closed map” discussion. It’s not about the degree of openness but the manner. Check the link above for an example of the recent TR Arabia, where they made an Arabia which is much more similar to what we had for 20 years.

Less woodlines, more trees per each woodline.
Another link you should check.

Just that. There are several reasons why scouts just don’t work as they used to.

And they probably also don’t need to, but a well targeted tweak that would re-enable scouts as competitor to archers in feudal.

How do thicker woodlines make scouts more viable?

The thing is more complicated and I will take me some time to get deeper into it. As I said there are a lot of factors involved. And currently Arabia generation is actually kind of fine. I think it’s at the best state since DE. Probably even the best we ever had.

The game has evolved and will never be as it was before de. And especially scouts have issues with how the game developed. Just one example: mini walls around your res.
Do you really think these mini walls will disappear magically?
And it’s only one of many points why scouts can’t perform as they used to.

But is it really necessary to bring them back to that? Despite not even possible?
In my opinion there is nothing wrong about thinking how scouts can get some new utility that somewhat offsets the disadvantages they have because of these game changers.


  1. By making Archers less viable, current woodlines are 4 tiles thick, it takes 1 Archer to shut down the whole wood economy.
  2. Being less vulnerable to Militia opening, instead of being enslaved to walling a quarter of the map through a chain of tiny woodlines, you can have compact base in a shorter time.
  3. By making Trush stronger again, Towers are more effective and justified when there is one bigger source of wood rather than multiple tiny ones spread all over. Compact bases are heavily punished by a Trush.
  4. Better setup for a Knight play on Castle Age, you’re no longer commited to a Skirm-defence to protect your lumberjacks and therefore a smoother transition to a pure-Stable play on Castle Age.

You have to think big, wholistically, the approach of just buffing a certain unit is very reductive and childish, you forget this game has too much variables which all should be addressed. Besides that, you have plenty of evidence and tools to use by just taking a look at the rich history of this game. 2019 and below.

“fine” / “the best”
How these superlatives lead to a relevant discussion…

I’ve researched the Arabia subject for months, I think we deserve more than just the intuitively “it’s fine”.

More like Devolved. Melee pathing is too awful to claim anything too positive regarding this DE version.

LandMadness. Scouts are the meta there. You can still “mini wall” there, yet it doesnt affect the scout dominance. Thick woodlines, and most importantly the inability to fully wall. Just like we used to have, big chunk of wood and nothing but that. Check TR Arabia which is very much at the middle point between AOC Arabia and the current Fragmented-woodlines Arabia.

And, it’s not just about Scouts vs Archers, it’s the overall poor meta, single-dimensional meta. You can no longer go for Trush (as a core strategy) due to how distant resources are from each other, vast empty space and tiny woodlines just lead to an Archery play and mass Town Centers on Castle Age. You barely see any 1TC Arbalester play, despite how “OP” (not) Archers are.

Then don’t play DE. Literally, everything you say makes it seem like you should just be playing Voobly or something, rather than being toxic and trying to ruin the game for all the people who actually accept DE.