Could a Hero unit work in AoE2?

AoE4 is getting a new controversial civilisation with a Hero unit (Jeanne D’Arc), while most people are very unhappy with the naming the discussion about if AoE4 should get a hero unit like that is more even on both sides.
A lot of people like the idea to have a civilisation that is designed around a supportive Hero unit.

My question is “Could a civilisation with a Hero unit work in AoE2?”

AoE2 has a lot of technical limitations that later games in the series (AoM, AoE3 or AoE4) don’t have that make AoE2 heroes in the campaign pretty boring but that is slowly changing.
With the Roman Centurions AoE2 has something that comes close to a hero unit, a unit that can buff other units.

Something that could work in my eyes would be:

  • A Unique Technology that unlocks Hero
  • The Hero has build limit of 1 and can be retrained at the Caslte if dead
  • The Hero has retrain costs that reflect its stats (2x as strong as a Knight → 2x as expensive as a Knight)
  • The Hero slowly regenerated HP and can’t be converted
  • The Hero has an aura that buffs certain units (for example the civilisations Unique Unit)
  • The Hero has a more generic name (King, General, Khan, etc.)

I think that would be something that would work in AoE2 and would also be relatively well balanced.
Strong leaders were an important factor in deciding who would lose or win a battle in many cases in human history.
It was often the moral and not the numbers or technological advantage that won a battle and big leaders play an important role in maintaining high moral.
It wasn’t rare that the death of a leader decided a battle.
This has nothing to do with magic.


Personally I would like to see a bannerman unit with this ability available to all civis.Last time the game added a generic unit was in HD with feudal ships and siege tower.

Kings and nobels had their own banners so when that fell there was a loss of moral even if the lord was alive.


bad enough that they were added, doesn’t feel like aoe2


My idea was that you were able to train 1 hero at a time (or maybe in a match) maybe from castle (or wonder to make it useful aside from wonder victory but then you’d need to boast how useful the hero should be given the investment needed) with every civ having their respective ones. For example Franks can train Charles Martel, Charlemagne, Joan of arc etc. Models are already in scenario editor. That to me sounds more interesting than just generic general, commander etc.

Carrying banners into combat wasn’t all that common all though the world in the Middle Ages though so I don’t think that would make much sense as a generic unit.

My idea is more like a feature for a new civilisation or a replacement for a current Unique Technology and not a feature that should be available to all civilisations.

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I think that would be a great idea. A Hero unit could replace the Scout at the start of each game.

The question is whether this unit would be lethal or maybe, like in AoE 3, it could be resurrected by friendly units?

The hero unit could be a campaign hero - this way most civs would have a unique Hero.

One of my favourite things about AoE2 is that there are only mass units. There are no units which you can’t keep making, or are “special” (except kings in regicide). So, no. Absolutely not, especially for ranked games.


Of course I think the same, changing the scout for the heroes of the scenario editor… it would be like the heroes of AoM or the explorers of AoE 3, but that would be very controversial within the AoE 2 community…

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That would be too much of a change.
My idea is for a single civilisation as a civilisation bonus, not a general change to how AoE2 plays.

But maybe the “hero” could be a feature of certain random maps instead of being a gamemode feature.

Some versions of Unknown already start with a different scout unit why not a “Hero”.

Making that Hero be different depending on the civilisation would be a cool ##### ### hard to balance.
The Hero would also have to get stronger every Age up.

My idea of the “Hero” would be a unit that you can simply retrain once it dies but you can only have one at the time.
Basically like the Town Centre before Castle Age.

Yes, in scenarios and campaigns. For standard games, I don’t like it.

AoE2 is a game about entire civilizations - as such, the emphasis is not on individual persons, except for campaigns. If you want the emphasis to be on famous individuals from history, you can make or play campaigns. Considering that civs span hundreds to thousands of years, it also seems weird to anchor them to a specific few years by letting you train Miyamoto Musashi or El Cid. And if the hero is more generic than that, e.g. “King, General,” it begs the question of why every civ doesn’t get them. Anyway, if you look inside your heart, you may find that you were the real hero/general/king all along!

And there are constraints when it comes to actual gameplay. Presumably the heroes would be expensive and difficult to access, but even with 500 HP, most of them would still die easily to focused attack from Imp armies. Meaning they’d probably need some massively lopsided aura bonus that would be hard to balance around.

IMO adding Centurions set a bad precedent. I like that they added the unit/aura ability from a mechanical perspective, but the problem is that it makes the average UU feel dumb in comparison. It even makes the average Scenario Hero look dumb in comparison since the best they can do is be lone stat monsters that have no direct impact on nearby troops. They should have added the mechanic, but saved it for Editor heroes and a late Roman campaign of which it would have been a major highlight. The devs will probably be tempted to make more such UUs, but I don’t think they fit well within the existing balance and civ design. Units that you can only have X number of (especially if X is one) seem pretty at odds with the way AoE2 is balanced. But maybe it could be its own game mode.


Rise of Nations has a general unit similar to op’s idea.

That’s a mechanic in an idea I had for an Avatar: The Last Airbender-themed RTS that would use the Genie Engine and similar mechanics to AoE2. It fits more in that context than it would in a medieval game spanning hundreds of years.

I didn’t suggest having a Hero as a central part of a civilisation.
It would only be available later in the game (require a Castle) and essentially act as a mobile civilisation bonus.

That’s why I said the hero should have a generic name and not be named after a certain person.

This is a general problem that many games face.
If you add more cool features over time then the content without those features feels outdated.
AoE3DE is affected by that even more because the Campaign civilisations are not the same as the skirmish ones so they don’t get all the new features the normal civilisations have.
The original campaign is still missing features that were added in the first Expansion over a decade ago.

AoE2 Campaign heroes need a rework too. Adding Auras to them would make them a lot cooler and make the campaigns play a lot more interesting.
Some heroes form the original AoK campaigns don’t even have their own skins yet.

I actually rather like the idea of the hero unit being the starting ‘scout’.
You could get some utility out of using it in dark & feudal age, but if you lose it you can’t replace it until you get a castle up.

I’m not sure it would be a good idea, but testing it out by making it a feature of a single civ is rather safe.

On the other hand, they tested out pikemen with +1 range by making it an Inca UU, found it works well, and they still haven’t given generic pikemen +1 range :rage:

Let a hero with a more generic name, such as ‘Khan’, ‘General’, ‘Daimyo’, ‘Frankish Paladin’, be spawned in TC when hitting the Castle Age. Up to 1, no special effects, except for the regeneration ability that a hero should have. In theory, you just get a high HP and high attack unit as a civ bonus, helping to push in the early Castle age.

I think that is very hard to pull of in AoE2.
In AoE3 the explorer/hero units have 0.1x attack damage vs. Villagers, and their attack and HP scales up through the ages.
Also they are all either ranged or mounted (not both) so there is not that much variety in their combat capabilities.

AoE2 doesn’t have treasures and doesn’t have abilities.

That’s stronger then what I suggested.
My hero unit would be locked behind a unique technology in the castle.
And yes it would also have a generic name.

Though I kinda like the Pharaoh in AoM that gets an increasingly high number on his name every time he dies.
If your Ramses III dies you get Ramses IV.

Just start it off with attack stats so it can’t kill an eagle scout, or make the speed equal to the eagle scout speed in Dark age. Give it a little regeneration and significant stat buffs on reaching the next age (Like feudal scouts, or Castle eagle scouts). That way you can fight with it, and keeping it in reserve can also be a strategically sound choice.

Sure this would be an advantage in fighting in Dark/feudal age, but it’s competing with extra scout speed, extra scout attack, extra scout hp, resource bonuses, etc.

To keep it truly relevant in Castle age you’d probably need to give it an aura effect (which can be locked behind a UT), which makes me a little hesitant whether it’s really a good idea.

But if you’re going to give a civ a hero unit, do it properly, and let them start the game with it. (With reduced stats.)

It is strong, but it is the only one.
You should use it actively to exert its power, and meanwhile try not to let it die. You cannot get it again.

Or, it still can be changed to be spawned in the Imprial age.

Something similar happens behind the scenes in AoE 2 with the Scout Cavalry. In Dark Age, it has 3 attack and once advancing to the Feudal Age, it gets +2 attack. Camel Scout and Eagle Scout also get ‘buffs’ when aging up, e.g. faster research time for Eagle Scouts (60 seconds in Feudal Age being reduced to 35 seconds in Castle Age) and Camel Scouts getting their anti-cav bonus only from Feudal Age on.

Well… the Ratha exists. So a unit with two fire modes isn’t too unlikely for AoE 2.

I know that part.
But it would be kinda strange for a hero unit to be super weak in the first age, just doesn’t feel right.
Also the 0.1x attack can’t really be retraced in AoE2 easily.
Either the Hero would be too good at killing villagers in Feudal Age or too weak to fight normal units.