Balancing ranged combat

consider the castle age match up, but applies to all ages, this is just the most obvious:

iron casting (castle age melee attack upgrade) costs 20f and 20g more than bodkin arrow (castle age ranged attack upgrade) and takes a whopping 114% longer to research

chain barding (castle age cavalry armour) costs 50f and 50g more than bodkin, and takes 70% longer to research and ONLY applies to cavalry

bodkin increases xbow dmg by 50% vs FU castle age knights (factoring armour upgrades) from 2 dmg dealt to 3 and increases range by 17%, applies to almost every ranged unit (ships) AND building in the game

this is one of the reasons xbows are pre-dominant. never-mind the overly cheap xbow tech, which exists because archers can be massed before castle age, unlike knights, so shouldnt be a factor on the cost of Blacksmith tech

when you have a tech that is vastly better than both of its counter parts(melee attack and armour), that has a better effect in the damage to armour relation (it scales better than armour on most units), when it has the additional effect of increased range(which increases viability, alpha striking, and longevity of the unit), and when it affects buildings as well as units, there is a problem

one solution is fairly obvious: increase the cost of ranged attack upgrades to factor the level of the power spike (dps AND range), as well as the widespread extent of the effect (buildings and units) or reduce the cost of armour to more fairly match the cost of ranged upgrades


I agree that archers might need some tweaking but I dont think you fully understand windows of opportunity here:
when archers get upgraded to crossbows and get their upgrades it is not the time to fight them.
as a knight player you should spend this time using your remaining scouts to track enemy army, scout if they are going for extra TCs, make sure your opponent isn’t taking the relics and possibly send in the first few knights to harass the woodline/gold mine/other exposed resource.
you need to bide your time until you have many knights (+some mangonels?). remember that with knights you can choose when to pick a fight, and that you can pick off reenforcements relatively easily


What about split range and pierce attack in differents techs?

Absolutely agree with basically everything you said there.

Just tweaking the prices a little bit might be the easiest and best solution.

Another suggestion that I thought of to reduce the Scouts player’s timing disadvantage a little bit is to decrease the Light Cav upgrade time from 45s to something like 30s (Crossbow is 35s).

Delay their tech switch and give minimum 1 range like Skirmisher. They will still be dominant but not as much as it is now.

that would utterly kill them. the moment cavalry actually got on them it would be gg.

Whole post will change meta a lot. PvP scene is just about Knight vs xbow(Personally not a fan the way it works.)
Maybe nerf Knights a bit with more creation time or something. Give some push to make 2 type of units in 1v1? Like xbow players needs to make pikes by design? Xbow already is too strong with its output already.

unless you’re talking early castle age, I see multiple units all the time.

In general I always find myself making full xbow. Hit and run kills Knights and other units quite easily. Even skirms with 1 minimum range still deals damage arrows to melee in most case. Their weak pierce damage make it look weak. The way I see it, they will still be strong but a bit less. Atleast you won’t see them stacking up into one annoying tile.

that may be what you do but from pros i frequently see as their ecos get better they supplement the archers and knights with skirms and pikes.

Is this powerspike of xbows probably intended?
Maybe they need that to be viable at all?

And no, I can’t say that xbows are predominant on the ladder. Right the opposite, knights are way more common.
Not saying that some knight civs also open archers some times that also become xbows sometimes if it makes sense to upgrade them. But It’s still knight civs that make them and will occasionally tech into knights from that powerspike.

I have no idea where this hate against xbows comes here lately, attack move just has been nerfed and with it archer play in general.

maybe for most the playerbase, but at the level where you balance around? archers are dominant even still. literally most the playerbase isn’t losing because of unit x or y. they are losing because of decision making, nothing to do with BALANCE.

you been ignoring all the complaints about pathing being worse and the impact that’s having on melee units post patch?

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Balance should be for all levels, not only the Pros.
I don’t know how many players actually play, but it would be a massive mistake to only take the top .01% in account for balance. This would be the begin of the End of AOE2.

And besides that even at 2 k + we see still mostly knights except from the well-known archer civs. Not saying that those shouldn’t probably receive an adjustment, but not archers in general.

how do you balance around poor decision making, lack of micro, or over micro, among other situations? how do you balance a unit like the archer around someone who can’t micro and someone who can micro?

and that’s why i think the top 5%. but seriously. you gonna tell me someone at 1k elo is losing because of balance?
no. they are losing because of decision making, lack of scouting, bad unit control, etc.

mostly knights except the well known archer civs? and by mostly knight of course you’re probably referring to the well known knight civs i’m gonna guess.
Seeing as Bulgarians, Persians and others aren’t doing all that well.
what you see at the top is about what we expected.
the same civs we always see, Aztecs, Mayans, Vikings, Britons, Franks, Lithuanians, Mongols, Huns, etc.

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That’s actually how most games are decided at all levels… Cause the general balance is kindagood already.

Look at the stats and you will see that the differences in win rates are similar at almost all levels of play. Maybe it’s not the same civs always, but yes civs and balance play basically the same role at all levels of play.
And this actually indicates a generally well balance of the devs that care for balance AT ALL LEVELS rather than just the top dogs. And that’s also a big reason why this game is still alive, cause once you stop this you will lose the foundation.
But people like you don’t understand this I know.

except the difference is, at the pro level it’s more about missing a few small pieces, at the 1k level its more like death by 100 cuts. they aren’t going to lose because (according to you) knights are better then archers.
knights are going to be more effective at lower levels because they arent as dependent on micro as archers are, straight up without micro archers get slaughtered by cavalry, but with micro that can easily become a different story.

yeah that’s why they nerfed archers. because attack move was dominating at lower levels.
meanwhile where is the nerf to knights at low levels? by your own claim they are dominating the ladder, and yet the devs aren’t nerfing them, i wonder why that is? my guess? knights aren’t nearly as dominant as you project.

Believe me or not, they care for all levels and they should continue with that.

I also think that a lot of changes in the recent past were unnecessary or badly targeted. But at least they stayed with the principle of caring for all players and levels of play.

they do, and they make changes that affect all levels when its absolutely problematic, but it’s not like there gonna make most balance changes because something is wrong at all levels.
were vikings nerfed because they were problematic at low levels?

patently false. literally attack move, vikings, and various other nerfs were clearly done because of issues at high level.
occasionally do i see a change done because it’s problematic at all levels or low levels.