I don’t see any active thread with clear balance recommendations, so my goal with this thread is to discuss some of the balance issues still in the game. Maybe we should add it to the MS suggestions hub, but personally I find that a pain to use and it is not very user friendly overall.
I should first say that I was part of the council for AoE DE and as a result, many of the balance changes that were introduced are the result of discussions between me plus another fellow AoE 1 veteran and FE. I am pleased with the results and balance has improved a lot since the original and also the UPatch. We knew that balance probably would not be 100 % perfect right away, but we were told to assess the current balance during the remainder of the beta and during the early stages after release and then come together with FE again to make the necessary final adjustments. Sadly, this never happened and I am not sure if this still will happen. So that is why I am writing my suggestions here. So here are my suggestions with possible fixes, taking into account earlier balance discussions on the forums. The idea is to make a definitive list.
1. Slingers are too strong
This was already an issue in the original, but with the change from the UPatch (which wasn’t discussed), slingers are way too powerful in the tool and early bronze age. They are very good against archers (and they should), but also do reasonably well against weak melee units (in particular, axemen, chariots and can even defend against small amounts of cavalry, which is not good). If anything. There are a couple of ways to fix this:
- Decrease slinger base attack to 1 and increase bonus damage to make up for it
- Increase bonus damage, but lower rate of fire
- Increase bonus damage, but give them minimum range so they are become very vulnerable to melee units
2. Scythe Chariots too strong
This was already a problem in the original and while they have slightly been nerfed (reduced trample damage area), the effect of this seems to be rather minimal. Currently, Scythe Chariots are a good all round unit and can hold their own against units that they should not be able to win against: Legions and Cataphracts.
Particularly, Egyptian Scythe Chariots are the biggest problem, with their high HP. This bonus could be nerfed, but here the problem is that bronze age chariots are among the weakest units in the game, so also nerfing this unit would cripple Egyptian’s bronze age, which isn’t too powerful. The problem as well is that in the Iron age, Scythe Chariots are pretty much all the Egyptian’s have, because they lack good infantry, siege or horse archers. Elephant archers are nice, but are better at defending than attacking as they are slow. And War elephants have way too many weaknesses if they can’t be upgraded to armored elephants. Nerfing Scythe Chariots doesn’t affect the other civs as much, because they all use Scythe Chariots as a secondary unit. This problem would be much easier if there was a true cheap counter to cavalry (as spearman are in AoE II). Nonetheless, here are a couple of options:
- Increase upgrade cost significantly (eg: 1200wood, 1200)
- Reduce attack, armor and/or HP (any combinations of these. e.g. 8 base attack, 0 base armor and 105 base HP. This may not seem like a big change, but it will definitely make a big difference when fighting Legions and Cataphracts.
- Trample damage reduced, eg: deal only 50%-75% damage to units that are within trample damage range, but not directly attacked.
Less mandatory, then the others, but I still want to address this here:
3. Iron age cavalry still too weak
Heavy cavalry and Cataphracts are still too weak, despite their buffs. Legions will easily overwhelm them, despite the fact they should counter Legions. Nerfing Scythe Chariots further will strengthen the positions of Cataphracts, but not enough. For instance, Catapults can easily destroy a bunch of cataphracts, and since Cataphracts are so gold intensive (80 gold, just as expensive as a catapult), it is difficult to kill Catapults with Cataphracts in a way that is cost effective gold wise, despite the fact that fast units should naturally counter Siege. Here are some possible fixes:
- Increase speed of Cataphract (e.g. +10 %), so that this unit becomes more desirable. This also makes this unit better against Siege.
- Decrease the cost of cavalry. 80 gold is actually a really high price for this unit that is at risk by being killed by units that cost much less or don’t cost gold at all
- Increase bonus damage against infantry significantly
- Increase base pierce armor
- Bonus damage against siege
The following suggestions are debatable.
Non mandatory changes
1. Remove Engineering from Assyrians: The Assyrian were given Engineering, because they lack good Iron age units. However, I never really liked this, because it simply makes the Assyrians another Siege heavy civ, of which there are already plenty. Instead, I opt for a cavalry bonus like an HP bonus of up to 25 % or a faster attack rate for the Assyrians to make the game more diverse. As already stated, Iron age Cavalry is underused and currently only 1 civ gets a cavalry bonus (Yamato). Historically this would also be justified as the Assyrians were known for their powerful and well organized cavalry. In general the Assyrians were fierce and exceptionally brutal in their wars.
Feel free to suggest stuff that you think might be good for this list. Or whether you agree or not. I probably forgot some stuff as well so feel free to point that out.