Civ Balance Philosophy

As opposed to arguing on every little detail about civ balance, I think it would be helpful to discuss the overall philosophy and goals of the changes. In my opinion, we should strive for the goals below.

  1. I think the goal should be that each civ is statistically equal in terms of winning % for high level players. Today a number of pros have made videos ranking civs. It seems like the current civ balance didn’t do much balancing as most of the top civs are still the top and most of the bottom civs are still the bottom. For example, Celts have always been a tier 2 civ for many top players. I’m not sure why they decided to nerf them. I’m sure if they looked at Celts % of wins amongst 2000+ ranked 1v1 players, Celts would have a win percentage less than 50% vs Civs like Franks, Ethiopians, Aztecs, Khmer, Mayans, Britons, etc. So the reduction of infantry speed in Dark Age is an example of a change in the wrong direction in my opinion

  2. I think the changes should assist with unique strategies. Sticking with Celts as an example, I think everyone agrees that Hoang’s Celts games are some of the most enjoyable and exciting games to watch. He totally changed the meta and it is awesome. Of course some people who have been doing the same Feudal scouts or Feudal Archers for 20+ years might not like having to adjust to a new strategy, but I think it definitely adds to the game. Changes that allow for unique strategies that require players to scout and change strategies should be encouraged.

  3. There should not be a unique tech or unique unit that isn’t used. Each unique tech or unique unit should be somewhat useful. I’m not sure if there’s a way to track what percentage of games high level players research a unique teach. If it’s not being used, change it. Same with unique units. Perhaps it will have to be used later in the game, but I think it’s silly to have a unique unit that is never used in high level games.

  4. While I understand a significant amount of people play this game with only the Scenarios, I think the staying power of the game is due to the competitive scene. I think the pros and casters have done a ton to keep interest and grow the game. If the AoEII:DE competitive scene continues to improve, I do think AoEII:DE will continue to attract more new players so I do think that should be the priority, not Single Player. There’s a much better ROI with focusing on multiplayer.


Yeah, let’s just ignore a huge part of the community just because you don’t care about it.

If you’re really bothered about ROI long-term, sell new content like expansions. Tada, lots of new money.

BTW I don’t think that MP is the main reason this game is alive, it’s due to Forgotten Empires mostly which started as a mod project. Without them, I don’t think this game would be as lively as it is nowadays. Voobly was responsible for keeping the MP community alive in the mean time.


Balancing a game solely for the top 1% of players can backfire on the game’s longevity. Even ‘complete balance’ can be a problem.

Most people like some level of change but not too much change too soon.
Maybe you can check this out as well.

I disagree. Some civs are more technical to play than others, and generally more interesting to watch, so it does not hurt the game if those civs end up slightly better than the others. On the contrary, if a noob-friendly civ like Goth were balanced to have 50% winrate at high level, the game would be absolutely terrible for everyone else. The game would become unbalanced on the ladder (they already have the 2nd best winrate), which means 99% players. It wouldn’t even achieve the attempted purpose of making the high-level games more varied, sure there would be a temporary gain of interest due to seeing a new civ but people would be very quickly bored of watching pros play Goth.

It doesn’t hurt the competitive integrity that some civs are worse than the others anyway, since players can pick their civs. In my opinion we should not aim at a 50% winrate but rather at achieving a game that is fun to play and interesting to watch.