Chinese is very weak in imperial age (current patch)

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.


LMAO China is now a trend.


Couldn’t have said it better myself! Meanwhile some grenadiers can get up to 16 range, keep their multipliers versus artillery, siege resistant, get up to 4.95 speed and kite! Other than this, the introduction of Maltese flamethrowers was just insult to injury.

Chinese flamethrowers need to deal with all of those weaknesses, while still being weak to cav and only somewhat weak to artillery (the multipliers are supposed to mean something after all…). So it needs also up to 16 range, 20% siege resist, 4.5 base speed and maybe add the effect from a card for more speed. It’s ridiculous that it even gets easily countered by regular musk in 1v1 just by kitting.

Besides the obvious suggest that I fail to see why devs haven’t implemented, of allowing to upgrade mercenaries to imperial, I agree that China should have a card or a technology that is for mercenaries specifically. I also believe that a lot of their cards should not be specific to just a handful of Chinese units, but generalized. Specially since they don’t have an arsenal and rely a lot on archer-type units, it would only be fitting to extend the effect of Repelling Volley to all units of that type.

Disciples even with White Pagoda absolutely suck. I suggest that with the Wonder they should snare, be quicker like other normal shock infantry, and have a multiplier vs cavalry. That’s the only way that I’d see it be fair that Spanish Dogs beat the hell out of them and benefit from having no unit tags and no need for a whole Wonder effect to do so. Maybe White Pagoda could also buff outlaws.

you mention how ckn and steppe lack upgrades (in age 5)

and somehow neglect to mention that they get +58% in stats from cards in age 4


That doesn’t count if they become more expensive. Cost effectiveness actually drops after sending that card so I usually don’t send it.

The drop in cost effectiveness might as well be a rounding error and given that china has a good eco and higher pop cap the unit’s pop efficicency becomes a problem if you are not sending this card since you will not be be able to train them fast enough.

if you are not sending this you might as well be playing china with a handicap lategame


Honestly, I’m fine with the weak in imperial age, as Qing dynasty really is in history, but it will be really nice they have a revolution option to make them a real ‘Imperial age’

If we talk about history, the Native Americans would be completely annihilated, and in your personal opinion, it is obvious that 1840 is the beginning of the Qing Dynasty. This seems to be a dynasty that suddenly appeared in front of people from 1840, completely ignoring the fact that the earlier Qing Dynasty had multiple battles with countries such as Russia and had victories and failures in each other


As you can tell by math, the card doesn’t give you better resource efficiency, i.e. make the unit stronger. only pop efficiency which is to make up for China’s cheap and fragile units. Still all my points still stands. All those units are still bad, with or without reform. They don’t have many strictly improvement cards.

Even after 1840 Qing dynasty was still one of the biggest empires in world history. And btw all i talked was game balance perspective I don’t care about historical accuracy. We don’t balance the game based on historical strengths.

If you talk about history then aoe2 Chinese is laughable even since most of aoe2 techs were invented by Chinese and Chinese doesn’t get a lot of them. But yet no one cares. We just need the game to be balanced.

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If you think that a 1-3% drop in cost efficiency is worth discarding a 50% stats boost then tbh i have nothing else to say.

all the cost efficiency in the world doesnt mean shit if your units cant survive before they do damage.

strelet would be completely OP if cost efficiency was wat matters.

also note the ckn does a lot more damage then it does on the UI due to truncating the numbers.

Its base atk is 12.9 after all the upgrades meaning it does 38.7 per volley and not 36 as you would think in the UI.

that is literally higher then maxed out french imperial voltiguers

edit: to add on to this the steppe rider had the nerf due to the fact that with reforms it had (actually still has) better stats per pop then that of maxed out british hussars

all the while also dealing x2 against skirms, also being an Oprichnik, is faster and also having more armour

all for the cost of being 6 more res per pop


Funny how I see you in every China post, arguing against anything and everything that is being proposed. @coffeeco01

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He literally argue against anything the OP posts, anywhere…

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We are not talking about whether we should send that card…i would still send it if pop efficiency is an issue.

But making the unit more expensive while stronger, doesn’t make it a better unit.
It makes the unit more pop efficient but not better.

In contrast, a combat card like “give 15% attack and hp without increasing the cost” makes the unit stronger. And CKN/steppe doesn’t have a lot of those cards.

You are completely ignoring that to get to this stats CKN cost increases from 85 food to 106. Steppe costs 106 coin as well.

Againm it is not “a 50% stat boost”. It is a “50% stat boost on age 2 base value, but 25% more expensive”

You need to consider the cost as well. Husaar cost 120 f 80 coin, so per pop is 60 f 40 coin, much cheaper than 107 coin of steppe rider in villager seconds. (You need to understand food and coin has different value in aoe3 coin is more valuable)

If we value 0.84 f = 0.6 c = 1 vill second, steppe costs 148 vill sec while hussar cost 116 vill sec per pop.

That’s how the majority of buffs to age2 units work.
I have to side with @coffeeco01 , if you don’t send that 50% stats cards you deserve to lose. That is equivalent to imperial stats in industrial. I think the majority of your complaints are regarding this card.

China is nowhere near weak. In order to beat them in imperial you gotta survive the absolutely horrific fortress and industrial ages lol.

The flame thrower is the only unit i’d call weak. No idea how to buff them though, their design is just too binary.


China is my most-played civ by miles and I spent years playing nothing but treaty with them.

I’ve even played about a dozen games with them in the last month or so.

And, frankly, their units are fine. Their economy is fine. The only buff I think China could use is to Acupuncture - Increase it to a 30% increase, same as Banner School. Combined with Immigration’s -10%, this puts them at a solid -70% in the late game rather than -60%.

That should be enough. Their units are already terrifying cost-efficient.

Also, related, how are you fighting in the later ages? Years of playing with China has shown me that Old Han is only worth it if you plan on using the Ming Army into a civ that heavily uses heavy melee cavalry units, like Gendarmes or King’s Life Guard.

Against a generic Hussar spam, the Forbidden Army is your best meatshield to mix with the Ming Army, but that’s mostly for the Keshiks, not the Qiang.

Otherwise, the go-to play for late China is spamming the Forbidden + Imperial Armies. Chu Ko Nu and Qiang tend to be useful for opposite problems, so it’s not generally advisable to use the Han because you’re inevitably wasting half of it.

If I could add any army to the China, I’d add Manchu Army in the Castle, made of 3 Keshiks and 2 Meteor Hammers. Combine this with the Imperial Army from the War Academy and you’d be able to efficiently take on just about military in the game, with the only other thing needed being about 20 Hand Mortars.


yes it increases it to 106. So? thats 1 more res as skirms for about the same stats.

this only holds in the early game on hunts and mines when you dont even have the reform active

not even going into how treaty eco functions with cowing, exchanges and stuff.

  • for china assuming no cowing, the vil second value should be 1.23 f = 0.95c
  • for brits assuming no cowing its 1.078f = 1.029c

so the vil second calc for steppe is 0.95x106.25 = 100.9 vil secs
british hussar is (1.078x120 + 80x1.029)/2 = 105vil secs

if you want to go that route then arguably the steppe rider is still more cost efficient while having better stats

edit: more of a reflection how bad the british eco is without cowing, though both the great hussar civs have terrible lategame food eco