Chemistry in a fascinating tech, in its research time. It takes 100 seconds to research, making it the tech that needs the longest time to research, by far. Why is that? Reseach time is just a value after all, why not make it shorter?
That value hides the true purpose it serves, and how important it is, for the balance of the game. As we all know, bombards sort of hard counter trebs. Imperial age is the age where you become capable of taking down castles easily. Now, if you are being pressured by a castle drop, the best step is to get to imperial age quickly. However, your opponent is also likely to get there a little while after you. This provides a window where you can make trebs, and your opponent can’t counter you. This is beyond important if you are playing as a civ without BBCs.
See, making a treb takes 50 seconds. Chemistry is 100 seconds, and bombard cannons are 56 seconds. This means, even if you both get to imperial age at the exact same time, you have 150 seconds, or time to make 3 trebs before the first bombard cannon comes out. Add in the time and resources you save by not castle dropping, and you might have another 50-100 seconds. This is the time you can use to take down your opponent’s castle, unbothered by bombards.
Byzantines, however, are a huge problem to this idea. They have 2 things going for them. Their buildings have more HP for one, and their imperial age is cheaper. Additionally, they also get cheaper trash units.
Cheaper imperial age means they’ll get to imperial age almost always before you do. On top of that, your trebs will need far longer to take down a Byzantine castle, especially if they are repairing it. This gives them ample amount of time to research chemistry and get bombard cannons. They’ll also have cheaper trash units guarding said bombards.
This is not necessarily OP, mind you. It is just extremely annoying and frustrating, at least in my experience.
This also goes against a push-pull system that AoE2 generally likes to follow. Let’s look at a few techs. Gambersons increase pierce armour of militia line units, but none of the main archer civs (britons, ethiopians, vietnamese) get them. Similarly, if you have strong archers, you don’t get hand cannoneers. If you are excellent at one thing, the game likes to give you clear weaknesses you can use. That is just the general trend, and byzantines is one of the more egregious exceptions.
This is not just an early-imperial issue, either. Byzantines not only get extra strong buildings, AND cheaper trash to protect them, they also get bombard cannons which makes defending those castles super easy. All I’m saying is, make them work for it a little bit, you know? Make them defend their castles with counter trebs. Or make a hussars to take down those opposing trebs.
The viper’s opinion on byzantines is “don’t want to play as them, don’t want to play against them”. I think this is the issue. It’s just not fun playing against them. Once they hold a position, you need to spend way more resources, and do a lot of grinding, to take them down. It’s just not fun.
This is not mentioning the historical inaccuracies. But nobody really cares about that, so I won’t preach about that here.
Lastly, I’m fine with buffing them in another aspect to maintain the win rate. This isn’t a “nerf byzantines” thread. This is a “make them a bit more fun to play against” thread.
So devs, if you see this, please remove BBCs from Byzantines. At least, consider it. At least at least, take feedback about this issue.