I want to share some cold data about the current game balance. I rewatched several games played in the last Nili’s apartment cup trying to find what pros do when it comes to army composition in feudal and castle age. As I thought, range units are absolutely dominant, specially in feudal age, making almost imposible to play safe without building one or even two archery ranges. Here’s the data of the first seven games played in arabia in Nili’s apartment cup:
Liereyy vs Laaan -> full archers vs 3 maa into full archers and skirms
Yo vs TheMax -> 3 militia into full archers, 3 militia into full archers
Viper vs Hera -> 4 maa into full archers, 4 maa into full archers
Tatoh vs Daut -> 4 maa into full archers, 3 maa into scauts and skirms
Hera VS Villesse -> 3 militia into full archers, scauts and skirms
Yo vs Daut -> 3 militia into full archers, Scauts.
Archers have been the strong option since forever, but the pathing in DE is accentuating the problem even more. Pro players don’t even go for scauts in serious games, because they know his oponent will wall his base up pretty early. Men at arms are too slow and weak against archers and bloodlines scauts can kill them quite efficiently.
I refuse to accept the current situation as a good balance. I think cavalry civs should have the option to play cavalry in feudal (they kind of can in open maps) and infantry civs should have the option to play infantry ( they can’t at all, maybe malians or other exception could)
So what is my action plan?
Number one and most important: Fix infantry units. Look at supplies. This tech reduces food cost a lot and still it’s not a valid option for any serious player until they rich imperial age (except for malians maybe). I would make maa and long swordsman +2 pierce armor instead of +1. As I suggested before, I would move squires or arson to feudal age too.
Second. I would reduce archer fire accuracy against units at long distances or against moving targets until ballistics is researched. Finding the right balance here is the key. I think this should lead to a more fun and varied meta and even could make some civs more viable. Specially infantry civs, as teutons or goths.
I’m also getting rather tired of watching my Konniks and other melee units get mowed down because they can’t pathfind correctly. I’m either going to shelve this game until the pathfinding is fixed or stick with the Huns and Mongols. I don’t understand how such a large company can’t fix such trivial issues from a game that was made in 2000 and enhanced in 2013. Just today I watched some of my early melee just derp out and not go after anything or get stuck for no apparent reason. People were upset at Blizzard and Warcraft and I don’t understand why this hasn’t been addressed this many months in.
Yeah, pathing is an issue that’s seriously damaging game balance. It’s ironic how we’ve kind of come full circle - in the early days of Age2, archers and siege were strong because crappy internet/lag made it melee units (especially infantry) worse at engaging and they would often clump up, or bug out, whereas archers would always be able to fire. That has long since been fixed, but now we have a new issue that brings the same basic result.
Yeah, I still think Supplies was one of the most clumsy, inelegant attempt to fix a unit line in the history of AoE2 balance. It didn’t make infantry any more resistant to archers, and its efficacy is questionable except in pure melee vs melee fights. It also dumped an obvious and major nerf on the Goths, which has not been addressed to this day. I’ve said this many times in various threads, but a simple +1 pierce armor to the swordsmen line, -5 food cost, and +5% speed would go a long way to fixing this and making straight infantry plays more viable (that and fixing pathfinding, of course). Supplies is kind of sad in a way, it’s like a store that sells cheap, ugly sweaters, and they drop the price further, as if price were the reason that people didn’t buy them in the first place.
firstly devs dont care what is said here, so for all intents and purposes these are just rants (nothing else we can do about it) these forums are just a placebo to vent our issues, but nothing will change (its not even acknowledged)
the pathing imo is the biggest issue as OP said. the way attack move is so broken at the moment aggrevates the attack move problem (and therefore balance) even further. I stand to be corrected but doesnt viper using goths just go archers and knights as well, for a purely infantry focussed race he still goes meta units, thats how poorly infantry fair.
knights speed at least makes up a little bit for the terrible pathing, and regularity of units just idling in combat…
ive swarmed archers with melee units so many times, just to watch the melee units idle, or march around the clump of archers, because they keep changing targets or have choosen a target in the middle of the blob, and thats if my melee units can even reach the archers qwith the pathing…
as much as i love this game, it really cant be taken seriously. im beginning to think it was just a cash cow for MS… (albeit a small cash cow)
as far as balance goes(pathing and a-move wnt be fixed for a long time if ever), thumb ring should definitely not give 100% accuracy, all archers should receive at least a 5% accuracy nerf from start. (balance little bits at a time)
dont increase the speed of infantry because then everything starts looking and acting like everything else… definitely give them +1 pierce armour (they usually have a shield for crying out loud, they should use it)
archers irl were definitely not this instrumental in winning every single battle (even if they were decent or won specific battles)
Wrong, some suggestions from these very forums have made it into the game.
The thing that I don’t get is why tweak units to make up for bad pathing when fixing pathing (what the devs are busy doing right now) is way more logical?
As of infantry being so underused, buffind them vs archers would still make them bad vs knights which is the other big reason infantry see less play in Castle age. I also think they are underused because people are used to not use them! It’s like with cav archers, for years no one touched them if they weren’t playing Mongols or Huns. Even the fact that Saracens/Turks had FU cav archers wouldn’t make people use them if they got those civs through the Random button. Then FE released the Forgotten, and Japanese got Bloodlines. People used that to knight rush, not to go CA, despite said CA receiving a discount. When Indian recieved Ring archer armor so that their HCA become FU, they still didn’t see much use (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=El0Jk5yo8kE Daut wins this game by creating HCA… because of the surprise effect. Isn’t it strange that using one of your FU units can be so unexpected?)
With DE, I’ve seen people starting to be more open about creating cav archers. For instance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=imQ3pKpulYk&t=950s in this game, Tatoh wins by massing… Italian cav archers. If during years FU Saracen cav archers or Chinese HCA (only lacking Parthian tactics) were never to be seen, and now you see people using CA that can’t be upgraded to Heavy, it definitely shows that mentalities have changed. I hope it will eventually happen for infantry as well, and if infantry becoming more popular don’t allow it to become the winning move more often a buff will be easier to implement since there will be more games to discuss.
Infantry should be a little bit weaker than archers and cavalry because there’s no real counter unit against them until imperial age. I think the balance between man at arms and scauts are kind of decent with supplies involved, specially if you have civs like goths, celts or malians for example. The main problem is against archers. With +2 pierce armor, archers still can kill men at arms but your oponent has to micro a lot more and that’s enough to balance both options IMO.
I think CA is more popular now because of the heavy decrease in lag during games. Players micro a lot more compared to the old days and CA are one of the most powerful units if you micro them properly. Infantry, in the other hand, are quite the opositte. They don’t need great micro so players don’t have much potential to improve there.
Infantry has never been an option, even before DE. Bad pathing is making cavalry even a bad choice, which is even worse. Supplies was an atempt from developers to make infantry viable but they made a fairly poor work as SirWiedreich said before. If you take a look at any serious tournament played in the last years, you will find archers are the way to go in almost all games in feudal age. Team tournament games are another evidence of that. Every team goes always for the scaut/archer composition and knight/xbow in castle age. That has been the meta since forever.
its not about near perfect pathfinding, do you evenn play the game? the pathign is terrible. morons gettign stuck on each other, idlign IN COMBAT, cancelling their commands, walking into each other, away and then back into each other, circling the enemy since they’ve picked out some random they cant reach… its terrible
the biggest proof of bad pathfinding is in workers trying to harvest… its insane how bad it is…
The game has had some good changes that are affecting pathing in a bad way.For example, units cannot walk into each other that easely as before. This is a good change for me, because it adds another strategic dimmension to the game and it’s more realistic but other things should be fixed to make the whole game work as intented.
Anyways, pathing is not the topic here. Archers were a problem before and infantry has been the weak option in early ages since forever. Devs know it and that’s why we have supplies now. Imagine a tech that reduces wood costs in 15 for archers. That would be absolutely OP. But they can reduce in 15 the food costs for infantry and players still wont use that.
Scauts were kind of balanced if pathing was like before but the game has changed. If units cannot jump into each others like before, I think archers will need to be tweaked as I said before. Just reducing the accuracy when shoting to moving objects would be nice and more realistic.