Elite Iron Age units in ROR, that previously shared the same skin as their non-elite model (legionary, centurion, heavy catapult…) have now a visual difference, the iron parts are now golden. However, I think it has some issues :
- gold doesn’t look that different from bronze ingame, making it look like you’re back to some copper alloy after having upgraded to iron (which is a superior material on many levels provided you can reach a high enough temperature in furnaces)
- gold plating for units is irrealistic. Some rich generals surely did that for themselves, but for common soldiers it would be ridiculously expensive. To give a point of reference, the elite Seleucid unit of phalangists, the best of the biggest of Alexander’s successor states, carried silver-plated shields.
But still, I like the visual difference, as the stats difference can be absolutely brutal (the legio has twice as much health as the long swordsman, for example). So here is what I propose :
- give the current iron skin to the elite upgrade
- for the non-elite one, make its metal parts in bronze (the weapon remains in iron as we’re in the iron age)
This will make the upgrade much more visible (units remain in bronze unless they are upgraded to the max which is iron), as bronze was only phased out quite late within the AOE1 timeframe. By the time of Caesar, some bronze helmets were still used, and the Romans had only started to adopt iron weapons a few centuries before as they were at a disadvantage against the Gauls.
- Bronze for non-elite, iron for elite (as proposed here)
- Iron for non-elite, gold-plated for elite (current ROR)
- Iron for both non-elite and elite (AOE1 CD and DE)
I think it’s fine, it shows that the elites are gilded. This was actually a thing back then, trimming and gilding the armor of elite soldiers as a sign that the nation could afford to do so. They are not wearing actual gold armor, that’d be junk.
I would say that the models of the final upgrades just fit their portrait, which is gold glowing:
Legionary of Iron age, vs. Hoplite of Bronze age
It’s true that you can’t really distinguish gold colored from bronze colored units in-game.
But once someone learn the Bronze age & Iron age units (skins/appearance), will eventually only use the color difference, between Long Swordsman and Legionary for exaple, as instant visual info about whether that unit is finaly upgraded; as intended.
I will stick with the portrait representation (current ROR), and maybe make the Hoplite a little more brown, like my avatar brown.
Iron is actually not that much better then bronze. It’s actually worse.
That might sound shocking.
But Iron is not steel.
Bronze is a lot more expensive then iron. You need two rare materials (copper and tin) instead of one very common one (iron).
In classical Greece the soldiers that could afford it did wear bronze armour instead of iron armour.
Their shields were also often made of bronze too.
Of course later the quality of iron/steel improved and in Hellenistic or even Roman times bronze disappeared from the armies, but it took until the Middle Ages until people figured out how to reliably produce steel (Blast Furnace technology).
AoE1 is mostly focused on early Iron Age though. Romans and Macedonians were only added later.
The Golden skins are a things that other games in the series do to, like AoM and AoE4 for example.
Also the last upgrades are super expensive so they are often not researched.
Phalangite costs 300 Food 100 Gold while Centurion costs 1800 Food and 700 Gold, 6x as much Food and 7x as much Gold.
Long Swordsman to Legion is even more extreme 160 Food and 50 Gold to 1400 Food and 600 Gold, nearly 9x Food cost and a full 12x Gold cost. That is exactly the cost of 40 Long Swordsman!
But I agree that the Iron Long Swordsman and Phalangites look better.
But maybe that’s good that way, since the Golden versions are so expensive.
I think the best solution would be to make the fully upgraded version half golden half iron.
Like iron armour and weapon but golden shield and helmet for example.
Or iron with golden trims.
Iron is not much better than bronze and some cases bronze can be better. What is better is steel and steel during ancient times was more like accidental and even if they did it, it was far more inferior than steel during late middle age.
There is another way they could have done for example Phalangite could have kept hoplite shield and Centurion would only have that scutum and if you want to make it more epic why don’t they just give him cape.
To make Legionary different from Long Swordsman would have been give him just scutum instead hoplon shield.
Ah this is one of those few things where I’d let realism slide. Gold is kinda the universal indicator of quality so when you see a unit with gold in the game you immediately know you got the best version of whatever you are looking at. Just let it be.
Imo it would have been better if they kept the elite units as in AoE 1 DE. Gold color in iron age looks way too much like bronze…which would make new players think it’s a bronze age unit when it is in fact not.