Hello, I’m new to this forum and the insider program but I have been playing Age of Empires II since 2005 and I am an avid fan of the casual single player and multiplayer experience. I’d like to put forth a civil discussion about bridges, sea walls, sea gates, and builder boats.
I’d like to preface with an understanding that competitive play would be at risk of massive balancing issues and the like, as would any major change to AoEII’s sandbox, but please bare in mind that this would first and foremost be a tech option. Adding these structures to the game would not be forced on the beloved prime RTS competitive powerhouse of competitive AoEII.
I would also like to point out that modders have hit a wall in terms of developing a data set that would do this due to limitations with the engine, which is why this isn’t in the Mod discussion board.
In this expansion there would be several things to consider, first, let’s talk about boats.
- Builder Boats would be a dock upgrade in the Castle Age that turns all fishing boats into builder boats, and lets them both build fisheries faster, but also equip up to 3 villagers to speed up a fishing boat’s gathering speed and most importantly, building speed. This allows building walls in the water to control canals or dam areas. It also lets boats assist with building docks and bridges. Allowing builder boats to hold villagers would also make them excellent short range colony ships to let both AI and players really explore and settle on islands with no hassle. Military would not be allowed to keep the high value of transport ships.
Next point to cover would be walls and gates.
- Sea Walls would be practically very similar to the regular land walls in game, but they can be built in shallow water. If a player wants to build walls in deeper waters, they would need to upgrade them in the university with a Skandalopetra tech. The walls in general would be four times more expensive then regular stone walls, to balance the amount needed to block off a waterway being less than blocking a path on land.
- Sea Gates would also be very similar to land based gates, with the ability to be locked and unlocked the same way and lined up closely with Sea Walls. Being able to pass your boats through your own harbor but the enemy finding it inaccessible and protected would be very nice in certain scenarios. The ability to build them in deeper waters would be restricted by the same university tech as Sea Walls.
Both of these would definitely be niche circumstance but I find the idea of sea building interesting and fun, not to mention protecting your docks with walls or completing a city wall through the water would be aesthetically pleasing and something to be proud of. Of course this is only one half of the new things to build off the mainland, because upgrading the tech Cofferdams in the University would allow the building of bridges.
We have all seen the bridges used in various campaigns across Age of Empires II, but building them in times of war is rarely heard of in history. This is of course a video game, and we all enjoy expanding territory in several ways, so let’s talk about bridges.
- Stone Bridge acts very similar to walls, but must be built from shore to shore. No freestanding bridges are allowed. Unlike the bridges we see in campaigns, the width of these bridges would be just enough for a ram or a packed trebuchet, or around 3 units across. This would make crossing them a risk as troops must funnel their way through. The threat of Demolition ships is a strong one. Unfortunately they wouldn’t be allowed to be built in deep water even with the wall upgrade.
- Draw Bridge would be a wooden structure, acting like a gate to allow or disallow crossing. The interest in doing so would be allowing boats to pass through. To change the state units must be out of the way, and to build it it must be on an existing bridge.
I know the community worries about the meta of these things, and I know an art pass for every civilization would be hard to accomplish, but I honestly feel that as an option, if this were available to me, I would use it. More things to destroy in water maps would make the monotony of ocean battles just interesting enough for a lot of people. Naval Civs would get more use, the way the game is played on island maps would be changed, and I know I would appreciate that.