Add deep fish to Shoals in ranked ladder

Shoals can be a good map. Concentrated resources spread in different locations implies strategy richness. T90 has a dedicated video on it:

What bugs me is that the version we use in 1v1 ladder only has shore fish in the lake, which cannot even be taken by villagers! Still every game I play everyone goes for water. You simply cannot give up map control to such a massive area and it’s not very realistic to control both gold mines on the sides, is it?

This is so stupid. Is there any other example where you get little rewards (in terms of resources) except space? Kawasan is the only one that’s remotely close. But berries are still collected faster than shore fish by fishing ships, and you make villagers anyway, while you almost never want to make fishing ships only to collect shore fish.

What do you think and what strat do you go for on this map?

I haven’t looked enough into this map to know, but I would generally support replacing the default aoe2 maps with their tournament equivalents. It feels like designers didn’t care too much about balancing the default maps initially. That’s fine, because they weren’t really planning on tournaments or extreme balance.

However, the meta and map balance on tournaments has evolved so much by this point that those maps are generally more fun. Just take tournament kawasan vs default kawasan or regular black forest vs Rage forest. The only exception to this I can think of are arabia and arena, because devs care enough about those.

Just to be clear, I am not talking about tournament exclusive maps here. I am talking about default aoe2 maps and their tournament variants.


I hate this map with a passion. Stupid tiny piles of gold and even the “big gold” on the sides is stupidly spread out into tiny pieces. I’d honestly rather play islands and I hate water maps.

I mean, the devs changed Arabia to be more like KotD Arabia while the tournament was happening, so there’s already precedent for doing so with other maps! I’m curious as to why only Arabia has been the map that has gotten a tournament map in the rotation, though. Someone from other threads mentioned licensing, but surely if they already can do it, they can do it again, right?

In my totally-humble opinion, the Rage Forest map(s) (since there’s been a few versions) are in all ways an improvement upon the normal BF map, whereas I do remember quite a few outcries over KotD Arabia being too open and unwallable.

(There are still minor issues with it, f.e. extra res locked out by forest, but that’s present in standalone BF generations as well and the map as is could absolutely be replacing the normal BF map.)

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I make fishing ships, they are still extra economic units.

But I didn’t make military ships yet.

What do you think and what strat do you go for on this map?

I don’t like the map much, but I m not sure about deep fish being an improvement. I like that going for fishing ships isn’t a Nobrainer and that water is less important than on Mediterranean and Baltic.

What is different about Rage Forest?

Is Arabia supposed to be wallable?

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There have been several variations with larger woodlines that have made the map more wallable. KotD’s Arabia, from what I can remember, was very extreme in its forced aggression, as it was sometimes hard to even make good TCs on, as you’re surrounded by hills and very few, sparse woodlines. I don’t play Arabia much so someone else can give a more accurate opinion, I’m mostly speaking from what I remember other people complaining about.

The map has gone through few iterations, the current version aims to have equal numbers of lakes for both teams, and I think it also changes the size of each player’s map so that you don’t get those few very cramped generations, which in return can generate sometimes more open variations.

There are few problems with it, f.e. equal number of lakes does not always mean equality as some may have forward lakes and some may have very safe lakes, and sometimes the extra res/lakes are trapped behind forest. But this in my opinion happens on normal BF anyway, so I don’t see why Rage Forest cannot be used instead of normal Black Forest, as it’ll still be ‘more fair’ in the end.

I think many complain about Arabia because so many play it. Different kinds of players want it to be good for them. Thats why I ask about the map identity. Is it supposed to be the open map or supposed to be the average map for everyone? I think it would be better if it has a clear identity like Serengeti or Prairie, and get rid of the 50% playrate for Arabia.

There are few problems with it, f.e. equal number of lakes does not always mean equality as some may have forward lakes and some may have very safe lakes, and sometimes the extra res/lakes are trapped behind forest.

Trapped ressources behind Forest is clearly a feature of Black Forest and should be always the case imo. I would program it in a way that at least one relic and also some Gold and stone is always behind Forest. It makes the map special. It should also be fair, but you can make it fair.

On Black Forest fishing ships are a good choice, so I think economically it makes sense on Shoals too. And there is the Sea tower for protection. It does not need to be deep fish.

A map with very different tournament version is Atacama. But Four Lakes Atacama should not replace Atacama because it has a very different identity. It would be nice to have both in ranked.

I’m not quite sure what the complaint is. It’s still profitable to make fishing ships, especially under a tower. The opponent is in the same situation as you. The fact that there are no deep fish makes this map unique.


Relics and extra stone/gold are fine (though I think relics should also be accessible), extra lakes are not. But that’s also for more tournament play, where those advantages matter. Having one trapped lake means you’re one lake down from the enemy, having trapped gold/stone means the only time when it’ll be relevant is when you already have Onagers to cut to it. Lakes are important from Dark Age onwards already.

Well, maybe the identity is that you need to be adaptive depending on whether the map generation is more open or not! And when the identity was that it was only super open even though from what I can remember previous map scripts for Arabia (before KotD Arabia became baseline then) everyone was happy with how the Arabia was generated. :person_shrugging:

But this is sort of off-topic all around. I think if there are lakes that have only shore fish in a 1v1 map, it’s relatively worthless to make fishing ships as they don’t pay off as well as for example, in Black Forest, where you can protect them more.

Deep fish sounds like a good solution to me.

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iirc Shoals originally was used for Empire Wars (I think for one of the Red Bull tournaments). When we redesigned the map for TTL Season 2, I swapped out lots of the Shore Fish for Deep Fish. We felt like that makes the map play better for the standard game start. I also made several other small tweaks and bug fixes, such as ensuring players always have 1 deep fish near their tower. I don’t think the script in DE has been updated since it originally was added.


Interesting, so the version used in RBW is without deep fish too? Would like to see how they played out.

As I already explained, the unworthy yet necessary investment. As an analogy, imagine palisade cost increased to 5 wood and takes 9 sec to build. You would still have to wall. But it would be disgustingly stupid.

It’s both. Open doesn’t equal unwallable. Arabia’s identity is its richness in strategy variety.

It probably has to do with memb and the pull he has with the devs. On the flipside though, that variant of arabia wasn’t popular with the players at all. So, I doubt if the devs will pull that move again.

As @Nerathion pointed out, the water on either side is similar in rage forest. It also has better balance in other resources like hunt, and is generally a bit more open. Black forest has issues where the map isnt split 50-50 in some cases. I’ve played games where one side has only like 30-40% of the map. It isn’t one thing, rage forest just gets a lot of small aspects correct more often than black forest does.

Depends on the resources imo. One side having more gold and stone trapped while the other not having that issue is a problem. Trapped boars are useless, and I don’t think trapped relics should be a thing.


you are misunderstanding the whole concept of hybrid maps if you are comparing the fish gather rate to villager gather rate. the fish are letting you have a partial second town center before castle age. low efficiency & limited quantity is necessary to make it somewhat fair for the civs that have no water/early bonuses. before extra town centers, both players will have the same quantity of land villagers, so comparing boats to villagers is useless because it’s not like anyone is idling their TC in order to make the boats

some amount of fishing economy is good because it lets you avoid a non-game even if your resources got stolen or if the first feudal fight didn’t go your way or if you want to play age-of-empires instead of age-of-deer-pushing. But when winning water is too important, then the civ balance becomes a problem

tourney spectators need to realize that the real game doesn’t have civ-drafting / banning. just because the game got hundreds of balance patches doesn’t mean the problems got fixed. in many ways the balance got worse. japan now has bloodlines and zero weaknesses before imperial age. the water tech-tree overhaul made it so that fish-booming is way too safe since land-based play and fast-castle fires can’t punish it. the only way to keep it fair is to keep it inefficient

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I haven’t played that map but I guess the reason for playing water is the ability to take out buildings with canon galleons in imp in the gold area. Don’t see a reason why players would fight for water control otherwise.

If you’re not happy with shore fish, don’t make fishing boats, what’s the problem? Make TCs and boom. You have an alternative. Your analogy about palisade wall isn’t really relevant. You’re proposing to change the balance of the palisade wall, which is used all the time on any map. Unlike the shore fish on the Shoals map, which forces players to adapt to unusual conditions. Most pro players make 4-5 fishing boats. Not every map has bushes or deer, but that doesn’t make it a bad map.

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I you “have to wall”, where is then the strategic richness?

Viper complained that Arabia is like a closed map atm, because of walling. If there is a mentality that we have to wall, than more open maps are missing. It does not have to be Arabia. But there should be maps where walling is rather bad.

You can go feudal aggression into boom or all in. Palisade walls even house walls aren’t super safe. It’s just one layer of buffer. It’s totally different from Arena level of closedness.

Source? Viper plays ladder games casually without walls, but do you see him play tournament games without walls?

There already are. Land Madness and Haboob.

You just need a castle or tower to break Arena walls.

Source? Viper plays ladder games casually without walls, but do you see him play tournament games without walls?

I don’t remember tournament games from him well enough.

Here he says that he don’t thinks Arabia counts as an open map anymore:

He doesn’t calls it closed but balanced.

But I think every map is balanced, the question is just between which strategies is it balanced?

And Arabia is strategiy-wise unappealing for me in 1v1. I think it is a map for players who just want to play meta strategies without creativity. But Arabia is good for team games imo.

There already are. Land Madness and Haboob.

I hope there are much more. But they should also be available in ranked. Maps with food far away from the TC are good in that regard, because it rewards going out of your town with villagers. Maps like Kawasan, Mountain Ridge, Greenland, African Clearing.

This is the intention of Arabia, isn’t it?

Any map has its meta to be figured out, before that we see all kinds of suboptimal plays that seem “creative”. And it’s not like you can only play meta on Arabia. There is Hoang, there is the legend of YouPudding. I even had some success with Romans MAA all in.

But I can feel it. I got bored with Arabia too, and for 2 map pool updates straight I banned Arabia because there are enough good maps now.

Land madness used to be in ranked often and Haboob once recently. The problem is the limited choices. Having 11 maps and 5 bans for example would be better maybe.