Add Counter System To Naval Combat

What makes AOE better than other RTS games is the counter system. For example calv beats archer, archer beats spear, spear beats calv. It’s not just a race to make an army, but you have to think about when to make which unit then micro them in battle. This principle is not extended to the water in any of the AOE installments. This makes water games quite lame. To paraphrase a recent Hera comment “water fights are just if my ship beats your ship than I win.”

I think every civ should have three basic warship types that counter each other. We already have Galleys (or civ equivalent) and Demo Ships so just one more should complete the triangle. Suppose we add Boarding Ships that grapple a nearby ship and either slowly destroy it to make it easy, or it captures the ship and leaves it at 1/4 health to make it realistic. With this, Galleys beat Demo Ships because of their low armor, Demo Ships beat Boarding Ships because they are cheaper, and Boarding Ships beat Galleys. Obviously, civs would have their own versions, like the Chinese Junk would be a cheap and fast Galley equivalent. Also, some civs could have special ships that would fit into this triangle without breaking it, like say a Byzantine Fire Ship that, like the demo ship, does well against Boarding Ships but fails against Galleys. Just, it does not fail against Galleys as bad as a Demo Ship would.

Further Solution:
The other problem with all AOE games is that once your navy is destroyed, it’s hard to rebuild it without having it get picked off. To solve this, I suggest every civ have a Sea Tower that, like the Dock, can only be built on the coastline. It has more range than a normal tower, and does extra damage to ships. But is quite useless against land targets. This would allow a safe area to rebuild your navy. It would out-range all enemy ships until they get to the Imperial Age and make the Bombard ships which would be its counter.

Additional Dynamic:
What if there was a fourth type of ship that every civ had that shot ballistas, and the galley line only shot arrows even after upgrades. This other ship would fire at longer range and would be the glass cannon that you try to protect behind your main line of ships. This would make navel battles even more dynamic.

Best of all, for all the land map only people, this should not ruin anything on your end :wink:


I kinda agree with you, your ideas are pretty good but I am afraid they could add a bit too much complexity into the game.
I still have hopes that they are still working on naval combat since maps like boulder bay or island maps are still off the map pool. Which kinda sucks as I actually miss these maps.

Absolutely agree with the concept of coastal outposts, similar to land town centers, providing a certain range of protection in the early days. In addition, it is requested that as the times change, we can develop and increase the field of vision of the archer ship, which allows the archer ship to play the role of a scout at sea in the later era without completely losing its use.

As for the demo ship, I don’t have any other ideas for now, but hopefully, if possible, it will be replaced by another new ship that is good at fighting ships but not archers. Rather than self-sacrificing units, players prefer to have a unit that will last forever. This is my point of view.

In any case, AOE4 already has basic triangular relationships and simple environmental concealment settings in naval battles, which is already better than many other works. As long as it is improved a little bit, then maybe one day, we can see the AOE4 naval battle system that players like appear.

I like your ideas very much. In extension, (I proposed in other post), it might use a water depth mechanic, where the huge bombard ships cannot enter into shallow / narrow rivers. I believe this could allow some interesting and fun map designs, and maybe also allow you to rebuild / maintain some kind of fishing eco, safe in a river, while the high seas are controlled by your opponent.

Maybe the transport ship could be extra strong against the shore towers? Not for realism, but rather to allow any invasion / counter-play. Otherwise all naval games will end up in wonders maybe?