All nations should be viable on water maps

The devs have gone a long way to try and make all nations viable in Arabia. Balance patches introduced changes to make poorly performing nations more viable in Arabia.
But very little has been done to make any more nations viable on water.
I propose that balance changes be introduced to improve some nations water quality without changing the Arabia balance.
Personally, I suggest:
A new tech in feudal that increases the speed of all warships by 10%, given to all nations that are not considered meta in DE (read all but Italians, Vikings and Portuguese), this buff would make the basic galley line more useful against these nations
A castle age tech that leads from the previous tech, the tech would give fishing ships the ability to regarrison in docks. This would be Given to every nation that currently has no place on water maps (read all except Japan, Byzantines, Saracens, Malay Koreans and Spanish). This would allow nations to lose less investment after failing to secure water control, Thereby giving them a chance to come back from initial defeat.
Please do inform me why my suggestions are horribly balanced and suggest your own below.

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maybe because arabia is the most played/ wanted map and like almost everyone prefer to avoid water ones? Why do devs need to bother with that instead to fixing everything else?

It is great that on Arabia (or generally relatively open land maps) all civs are reasonably balanced, but it will be impossible to do it for all other maps without destroying Arabia balance.

But I don’t see the need either. I’d say it’s totally fine if a certain map has a few of civs that are particularly suited for them, and others that are not. Choosing appropriate civs for particular maps is part of the game. And if we wish to keep a semblance of historical accuracy, it makes sense that not all civs all particularly good on water maps, for instance. On the contrary, many of them are still too good, given that they probably never built a single ship in real life history.

Finally, the biggest issue with water combat is whether a civ has bracer or not. Before imperial, many other civs are viable as well (e.g. Persians, Celts), plus you can always go for an early landing.

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I would be favorable to a small nerf to the top water civs. That should be enough


Compensated by buffs on land though (not Vikings)

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Yeah definitely, I have always thought that cheaper ships/dock techs is way too much for pure water maps for instance.

You may make Italians better on land and still good on water with a good eco bonus. Similarly for Portuguese.

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What would that change though? Until castle you probably fall behind a lot against the stronger water civs and even if you can garrison your fishing ships at that point you might be pumping res in a tech just to see your docks getting taking down shortly after.

And then there is a bunch of civs that perform well on some of the hybrid maps such as persians, huns, mongols, malians or celts (also there is civs that aren’t great for water but good for landing). If you’re talking strictly talking full water maps (essentially only islands) then a lot of the weaker civs are restricted by unit and tech availibity. Like every civ without bracer is kinda bad late game and adding this tech to them would just distort balance for other maps. So there isn’t really much that can’t be done here. Water play just has too little variety to be balanced compared to the standard land maps.

I think a nerf for top water civs might make water maps even less diverse and less appealing. I tried to add techs that would shift the meta in certain matchups. Galleys would be more viable in feudal if they were faster and being able to garrison fishing ships would allow for baiting ships into monks or castles

I really wish that the dev team would go over water yet again, adding boarding ships, allowing archers to be garrisoned in the galley line for more firepower, making pearl deposits that allow gold to be taken at sea in the late game, allowing the construction of sea walls, adding catapult ships as an area of effect ship.
But the devs don’t seem to want to add more units or change the game so much, this post is an alternative for actually fixing water.

Well the thing is. Most players don’t seem to like eater maps. So it makes sense to not mess with it too much

Not sure if all civs should be viable but at least 5 or 6 civs should be in the top tier list together with Vikings, Italians and Portos; I’m thinking Japs (maybe Koreans or Chinese), Byzantines, Malay and Khmer

Isn’t people not liking that kind of map exactly the reason why the devs should mess with it. the changes I purposed would only affect water so land maps like Arena and Arabia would not be affected at all


Your issue is about the map island. On other map with water a lot of civ are great like

I would argue that that is because water is optional on most hybrid maps, Tourneyments have tried to make water even more optional by designing maps that localise the water even more like cross (four lakes), which then get readded to the map pool.
there are other hybrid maps like rivers and highlands where you can use sea warfare to stop land warfare, but they are notable for being even less popular than islands.
Water will still be optional on maps like cross and I suspect this will do little to shift the meta on those maps

I think the idea of garrisoning fishing ships is reasonable. Other ways to change up the meta: Giving canoes to Meso-American civs and possibly other civs, which possibly do more damage in shallow water or shallows, but are generally pretty weak unless massed. Giving boarding rafts to some civs, which have very little or no range, but can convert/destroy enemy ships. Adding neutral harbors like the marketplace map to some water maps for people to trade with. When a transport ship sinks, giving every unit in it a 10% chance to appear on the closest land to simulate being shipwrecked. Adding flagships, possibly as a very expensive and slow to build ship that moves and turns slowly, but fires broadsides of cannonballs out both sides. Possibly adding builder boats, which can construct sea walls, sea gates, and sea towers in shallow water, as well as being able to repair other boats.

Those are just some of my ideas.


I wish that a complete overhaul would be made. Still, considering that the age of empires has been continuously in development for eight years now, and the only change has been adding one technology and moving two versions of castle age ships to the feudal age, I don’t think we are about to see any real change.