Byzantine mercenary system is extremely poor

The gunpowder units like Royal cannon and Streltsy feels pretty on point historically, the only reason they didn’t get much IRL was at that point they were super poor on the brink of collapse.

In fact the Hungarian who built the Ottoman great bombards offered to do so for Byzantium first, but it was too pricy.

I don’t really have an opinion on getting the unique techs, they only apply to the mercenary units so it feels more like a balance issue whether or not you should get them.

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Getting other Civs’ unique units as mercenaries makes sense, surely they couldn’t be core units, otherwise it wouldn’t mean much, besides being “free”. Sure some choices are a bit weird but I think they’re still plausible, those are all units that you can fight against as the Byzantines. So the mercenaries as a game system make almost complete sense.

That said, if the we wanted to go full history book mode, the mercenary units should have been made probably ground up, looking at which were actually employed during the time frame. Starting from that, you make the new unit models and stats and give them to the Byzantines, essentially making them unique to them. Unless in the future another Civ with a mercenary system comes around.

Of the 2 options, the first was taken, with reason, and I’m honestly fine with it just the same. A missed opportunity? Maybe, yes, but I’m not bothered. I understand your view though.

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The royal canon is a reference to the field artillery used by the french at the end of the hundred years war which ends the same year as the fall of Constantinople. The Strelsy are a bit more on the time travelling side of things as the unit was created in 1550 so a century later.

I kinda like the current implementation of the mercenaries even though some unit options feels indeed to be a bit much as the nest of bees and royal canon (does it really have to be the royal variant and not the normal one instead ?).
I especially like the fact that the age 4 landmarks grants the mercs the techs from the civ they come from allowing to be quite creative (camel support on varaguian guards and limitaneis is quite something).
Some of those ##### kinda makes you think twice about what you want like 3 ghulams don’t seem impressive until you realize that they can build siege units as they are abbassid/ayyubid infantry.

Yes, I think that the Byzantine mercenaries would have to be Crusader mercenaries (English, French and HRE), Middle Eastern mercenaries (Abbasids, Malians and Ayyubids) and Silk Road mercenaries (Mongols, Delhi and Chinese)…

Well, this topic was seen coming.

As I mentioned previously, historically the Byzantines were a civ that on many occasions had to depend on mercenaries, hiring almost any country they had on their side or through contacts. Of course, they used Civ mercenaries that are not yet in the game, such as "Armenians, Georgians, Genoese, Burgundians, Bulgars, Catalans, Wallachians, etc.

Thus, if in the future they include Aragon, Genova, Bulgaria and Serbia, perhaps then they can have another rooster of more historical mercenaries.

We can evaluate those that already exist for the normal rooster:

  • English Lonbowman.- As I understand, they did hire English mercenaries during the Crusades.

  • German Landsknecht.- Also, during the crusades, although not specifically landsknecht.

  • Rus Streltsy.- Rus mercenaries there were, but not Streltsy. The streltsy appeared in 1550, that is, 98 years after the destruction of Constantinople. In theory in normal games you can fight Byzantines vs Rus with streltsy, so in theory, if the Byzantines had stayed alive, maybe the Rus would have given them mercenaries.

  • Ghulam.- After 1200, the Byzantines made deals with many Turkic peoples to obtain mercenaries, and even before (700-1200), there were mercenaries from arabs sultanates. I think that the ghulam are among them, so is fine.

  • Mongol.- The empire did make an alliance with the Mongols on several occasions, and I also see it as normal that they use their heavy cavalry.

  • Tower Elephant.- The Mongols with whom the Byzantine emperors made pacts were from the Il-khanate, which dominated Persia at that time, and they had elephants. It’s the only explanation I give you.

  • Javelin Thrower.- Not necessarily Mali, but from the African kingdoms, if we consider mali travelers on the Silk Road to make pilgrinage to the Mecca, but again, I’m only hypothesizing.

  • Camel Raider.- Not necessarily Abbasid, but also berbers mercenaries (North Africa), where Roma has domains and allies even before the Islam foundation, so is fine as mercenary.

  • Grenadier.- I am sure that the Romans did not have Chinese mercenaries, but they did have chinese commerce (like chinese Silk) along the Silk route. Perhaps the grenadier could be considered as a ####### (sl1-v3) working for the Mongol Ilkhanate, which are also working for the bizantines, but I’m hypothesizing enough.

About the Silk Road mercenaries.- I would say that they are the excuse for using civs that are too far from Anatolia, since at the moment there are no other extra historical civs with which the Empire obtained mercenaries.

In the future.- If they release more historical base civ, perhaps we can see more historical mercenaries for Byzantines, such as the Armenians for their cavalry, the Genoese with their crossbowmen or the Catalans/Aragonese with their Almogavar. At least if they carry out a campaign with Byzantines, they will have to consider at least these 3, since they participated in important events in their history (the taking of Constantinople by Almogavares, The defense of Constantinople by Genoese, the indispensable Armenian allies)

Here are some sheets from Osprey (Byzantine Armies AD 1118–1461,1995) recounting many of the mercenaries that the Byzantines hired (For educational purposes):

  • Just to summarize before reading the text are the following:
    Alans, Albanians, Armenians, Bulgars, Burgundians, Catalans, Cretans, Cumans, English, Georgians, Hungarians, Latins (Germans/HRE, French, Castile, Aragon, Italians, Genoese, Venetians), Mongols, Patzinak, Russians, Scandinavians, Serbs , Turks, Uzes, Wallachians.

And here from the army of 800-1100:

arrived is being intentionally sarcastic, and as others pointed out, the point of no return regarding history was crossed the moment half the army was made into females, name 1 european army that had 50/50 ratio in gender, makes sense with villagers, against logic as pure military unit (anyone pointing out the by design female units, or aoe2’s flemish militia is missing the point)

This game lost any historical accuracy with the inclusion of Jean Divine powers MOBA Hero, at this point you can’t expect them to respect history at all…

The game still has a lot of historical accuracy, and just because it sometimes takes certain liberties to make the game more fun does not exclude all the historical stuff they already have in the game.

You can have both simultaneously without making the other part less true. And besides no Age of Empires game has ever been 100% pure historical so I don’t see the issue here at all.


Everything is ruined and excluded when you add a hero with MOBA powers, game loses it game essence.

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Jean D’arc as a hero unit needs to be toned way down she is just too powerful, Shouldn’t her power level be more similar to the Mongol Kahn a slightly stronger support unit that is vulnerable to being overwhelmed if used really aggressively.

This seems like an all or nothing fallacy. A moba or Warcraft 3 type hero character can be made with historical accuracy in mind. The new actual civs seem to respect historical accuracy like the civs already in the game.
Isn’t this thread about the Byzantine mercenary system? Bringing Jean D’arc up seems like a red herring

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back to mercenary system, i think the big issue is the simple reuse of other civs unique units with imo not enough thought going into it, it was an opportunity for new interesting units to be added, but its easier to reuse whats already there ig


Yes, I would change the HRE and the Rus for being anachronistic or else give other mercenaries from those civs to the Byzantines: Teutonic Knight for the HRE and the Warrior Monk for the Rus…


Just sounds like the average AoE skirmish game.


Native American run faster than Horses.
Cannonballs travel into slow motion, average speed slower than a walking child.
Any Human can dodge arrows.
A pile of patchwood can block movement.
Sword can damage stonewall.
Every single Civ process Greek Fire for some reason.
All race was White.


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It’s also a game from the late 90s

Why do we only bring in AoE 2 as a reference all the time? Why not include the entire saga, especially AoE 3?


mercenary wise aoe3 should be the main comparison realisticaly, to give aoe4 fellows some idea how that worked in 3, mercenaries were basically a buffed variant of base units, including siege/artilery, that would cost extra pop space, but have stats just shy of imperial age base units, but available in age 3, called the fortress age in aoe3, equivalent to aoe4 and aoe2’s castle age, they also costed a hefty amount of gold to produce but were still a very compelling option to use, important thing to note however is that multiple civs could access mercenaries, just different selections of them, unlike aoe4 that only has them for byzantines


Largely it gets brought up because this game was basically inspired by AOE2, many mechanics and the time frame were taken from it. AOE2 and Starcraft were basically THE RTS games. AOE3 has a lot of mechanics that were not enjoyed by many players causing it to be far less successful, mostly the home cities, no drop off points, infinite resources, mechanics with formations and snare. Map treasures were also a bit RNG but idk if they got the same flak.

Well, I’m specifically naming AoE 3 here as AoE 4 takes a good chunk of its ideas from it such as Asian Wonders (Landmarks), Home City (Ottoman Vizier), basically infinite resources due to how most maps have trade etc.

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When I read about it I thought it was fine but actually fighting Byzantines it feels pretty weird when they run at you with a smorgasboard of unique units from all over the place. Reminds me of messing around in the map editor of AOE2/3 as a child giving myself a crazy army made of everyones unique units.

Things like Nest of Bees, Landskect, Longbowman. These are iconic centre piece units for those civs it feels a bit wrong Byzantines can just get them? Maybe there should be some restrictions like those civs have to be on the map or only when the Byzantine faction is allied with them or something.