I’ve played lots of different competitive RTS and I’m really puzzled regarding this new AOE4 patch…
I do really appreciate the bugs handled, regarding the map generation, the speed bonuses of the mongols, etc…
But on the other hand, as far as balancing the game, it feels like the team focused on low rank issues and totaly neglicted the problems that high level players expressed (?)
The mongols (way too powerfull compared to other civs in land and hybrid maps) haven’t received anyway near the amount of changes they needed, especially regarding their speed bonuses and their ability to produce twice the number of units at virtualy no economic cost.
Due to the horsemen changes (eventho they make sense against archers and spearman), age 2 men-at-arms are now way too powerfull to deal with.
And above everything else, the changes they decided on totaly deletes one of the civs from the high players ladder : the Delhi Sultanate has become unplayable against experienced players.
While all civs have some kind of early economic advantage (being faster villagers production, lower cost of villagers, prelate boosting the economy, cheaper farms, tax collectors gathering gold, hunts), the one of Delhi was to be able to contest the sacred sites early on, and to be able to gather extra gold from them.
Delaying this ability means that Delhi start below all other civs, and has no way to catch back.
When you can finally capture these sites, your opponent will either be at castle age already, meaning that he can capture them aswell, or will have a bigger army due to his economic advantages.
But then maybe Delhi still has an advantage due to its free research ?
Sadly no. Even by lowering the time it takes to research the early upgrades, you’ll still get them after your opponents, and at the cost of building scholars : meaning that you have to pay the same amount of gold as your opponent to do research, but you’ll still get them after him.
And finaly the last advantage that Delhi could try to use is to play super safe and wait for its late game with free upgrades, but then again… In terms of gold spent into scholars you need more than it costs you opponent to directly buy these same upgrades, and it still takes you longer, plus you loose all of the population that these scholars cost.
In conclusion with this patch Delhi’s now below every other civ in the early game and in the late-game, which you wont ever reach against experienced players anyway.
(and we don’t yet know if it’s a bug or a hidden change, but Delhi’s fishing ships have now 4x lower attack speed aswell)
What I’m guessing here, after having witnessed these changes, is that the balancing team at relic might be balancing the game from the bottom rather than from the top.
Meaning that they listen to all player’s issues, rather than focusing on the high ranking players.
This is a strategy which seems to make sense if you want to please the most people, but countless other RTS made the same mistakes and ended up loosing most of their users.
The reason why you want to listen in priority to high ranking players is because they’re the ones pushing the game to its limits, they know what the core issues are.
They are the ones playing the tournaments, they are the ones showing the games to new people, they are the ones inspiring players to continue playing and developing their skills.
The low ranking players will get better and reach the same issues high ranking ones have today.
The long lasting RTS have always balanced their games from the top.
And I deeply wish that relic realises that, and doesn’t lead their wonderfull baby into oblivion.
PS : there are already multiple tournaments which pushed back their schedules after this patch, and most if not all high ranking players have expressed their worries.