I was Chinese main on aoe3. I played 4000 hours of aoe3 in total all civs combined (don’t play anymore). Chinese civ has been consistently nerfed because some players complain they are too strong. However in late game Chinese is never strong in first place. After nerfs, Chinese units are significantly worse than European or native american counterparts in late game or treaty mode.
Let’s look at Chinese roster.
Chu ko nu. Good stats on paper, but has short range. So it is not very powerful since most other civs has much longer ranged light infantry. Doesn’t have a lot of cards to upgrade only 20%hp in age 2, still decent on sheer cost effectiveness because only cost food.
Qiang pike. It sucks. Everyone knows. Expensive because of wood cost, low hp, low attack, good siege but that’s the only good thing and you don’t really rely on pikes for siege in late game. Only one card for upgrade.
Arquebusier. Recently nerfed. It is not much cheaper than European skirms because it costs pure coin and Chinese coin gather rate is quite bad. It actually costs a similar vill seconds to euro skirms. But it max out at 28 attack in imperial! Lemme repeat. 28 attack in imperial! And much lower hp and moves slower than european ones. In DE there are so many fast infantry, Arquebusier is a bit falling behind in speed.
Changdao. Ok-ish. Starting very weak, but has 2 combat cards, that make up for it a bit, still very weak, doesn’t kill cav very fast, doesnt have a lot of siege. Die to area damage very badly. Another problem is Chinese has no musketeers. This one is the main heavy infantry Chinese uses. When everyone is using super strong ranged heavy infantry Chinese still has to use melee infantry.
Meteor hammer/iron flail. Weak. Weak. In early age 3 it is ok. But late game, there are not a lot of upgrades for them. In imperial age these 2 units are far below European hussar or lancers in combat. Iron flail has been trash always, very low damage and 1 area damage doesn’t do a shxt. Meteor hammer is fragile but it does something, still not good vs skirms and it has been nerfed in armour, bonus damage, cost AND range. Now it is same trash as iron flail. Besides that, both cavs are very slow at 6.5 speed. Many other civs has cavs with 7+ speed.
Steppe rider. The fast cav, it is good at something (anti skirm or buildings). But, there are so few upgrades for them. The only card that buff the stats is age 2 20% hp, and this unit only get 40% hp and attack in imperial upgrade while all other units get 50%. WHY? I don’t get it. That pretty much cancelled out the 20% hp card, which means steppe has like no upgrades from cards at all!
Flamethrower. Trash as always. Reduction in pop doesn’t help because it is slow, short ranged, has bad animation and big hitbox, die easily to cannons and are expensive on wood.
Hand mortar. Bad in late game. Can’t micro so it dies to culvs, and even heavy artilleries which they smare supposed to counter. Doesn’t have a lot of range and siege (despite being a mortar). Biggest issue, has to line up in a large area before attacking, blocking other units and causes pathing issues, can be sniped easily by any unit.
Flying crow. Bad. It moves really really really really slowly, damage output is pathetic. No infantry multiplier. A similar unit Rocket is given infantry multiplier recently, but not the crows. Firing animation is long so it can’t shoot before getting sniped by europeans artilleries.
Ok there are no good unit on Chinese roster…maybe there is only one, which is keshik…but, you can’t spam pure keshik, you have to train them together with a bad unit, either steppe or pike. And keshik is not perfect either, it only has 12 range because no RCC…has 1.5 ROF so you can’t kite…but this unit is so fragile in melee you pretty much HAVE TO kite…you need to babysit it to prevent anything touching it in melee…which is impossible. And it has weak anti cannon multiplier and low hp so they die to cannons quickly.
On top of that, Chinese has no upgrades for mercenaries, outlaws, we rely on all these weak ass units in imperial age…and all units are bundled…no arsenal techs…you can tell it is frustrating to play this civ in late game.