Devs - We Need to Talk About Siege

HUGE POST ON REDDIT.
GO UPVOTE THIS IF YOU AGGRE.

I didn’t repost it here because I didn’t want to take away from the original poster/ author on Reddit. He put some time and thought into this one.

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I like playing with coh tanks in AOE4! Make siege great again!

Mangonels and bombards are too strong. They make too much damage.

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And take too small damage from other units. In AoE 2 one units can kill bombard canon or onager, siege onager or treb need a little more, but still you have to guard them with army. In AoE 3 falconets or other canons/siege also must be protected. But in AoE 4 (mainly in TG) you can make only siege army and this is hard to stop.

So, as example:

Yesterday i played 4 vs 4 on Mongolian Heist. Ally next to me was French, enemies on opposite side China and HRE. I rushed in Dark Age with m@a, secure the pass on river. China dropped BBQ (II AGE landmarks :smiley: ), i made rams, then pushed his base. French made knights, started to raids. Then coming HRE with some siege and i (as English with m@a and longbows) couldnt do anything. I started making keeps, springals, horseman, even knight- nothing worked.

We won only because French gone to sniping landmarks with knights (also, other side deal well), but i was one stop from dead, even when HRE was destroyed, because I had a mass of white siege shooting on my last landmarks (btw, units of destroyed player is other issue).

So my clue is - the way how siege works ruins team games. Or make siege more vulnerable, or turn on friendly fire, I wish both.

You could say this is part of the game, but devs too many times spoken of historical dimension of AoE 4. With broken siege as we have right now in game this is just a lie. Siege was suppose to deal with fortification, not with army on open field (with few exceptions). This is just wrong.

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All I can say is that if the developers are satisfied with the state of siege right now they’re going to lose me as a player – and that goes for the two people I’ve played with regularly as well. We’re likely to continue playing RTS, but it’s going to be SC2 or AoEII I think.

Siege is a country mile away from an enjoyable aspect of the game for me right now. It doesn’t need tweaking, it needs rethinking. After twenty five years of playing these games as someone that loved to turtle and boom, I’ve become someone that tries to end games as quickly as possible because my level of enjoyment drops off of a cliff as games drag on past the half hour mark and siege starts to become more and more prevalent. I’ve never felt this way about siege in any previous Age game. There is something wrong with Age of Empires IV’s design in this area and unless the developers come to that conclusion shortly and communicate it… I think I’m done.

It’s time for the developers to stop making small tweaks to the vulnerability of siege and look at the whole. The game right now would play better if mangonels and springalds weren’t in it. And while that isn’t what Relic should do, it surely indicates how critical it is that they do something.

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Honestly I am against anymore siege nerfs. The game is becoming infantry spam at this point. Siege used to counter infantry well but due to nerfs to siege is direct buff to all infantry. Now infantry civs are dominating because of it.

The thing is that non only siege is flawed, but also static defenses. Let me explain:
Siege is too powerfl as it is, especially mangonels. Three mangonels are undodgeable and wipe out whatever they hit. This means that even their supposed counter, cavalry gets wiped out before engaging, especially if there are a couple of pikes there. This mean that you have to play with the only hard counter of mangonels, which are springalds. But one you make springalds your opponent will counter you by making its own springalds: this means that whoever has the most siege in that fight is going to win, but in theory you need at least some other army. So yeah, siege is too strong, but it doesn’t need that big of a nerf.: either enable friendly fire on mangonels (so you can’t just Amove them with your army), slow down siege even more, nerf a bit their damage or make the torch attack animation way faster. The perfect example imho here is aoe2: siege onager are one of the strongest unit in the game, but they needs to be protected.

The real issues begins when keeps and towers are there: once you have a keep, whatever tries to run under it to snipe siege melts: this leads to game, especially on maps like king of the hill or altai, where both players are camping under their own keep, trebbing each other and whoever for some reason gets more snipe or whoever finshes thw wood loses. Same goes for push with towers: while being clearly worse, they still provide too much support in killing whatever dives your siege.
To kill a keep you need siege, to defend the keep you need your own siege. As soon as there’s a keep, the game turns into a slugfest. Now, what should we do to win from this point? Some will simply say you have to change angle of attack, but here’s the problem: stone walls exists. Most of the time, be it late imp or castle in certain maps, stone wall will just kill whatever chance you have to counter or to push somewhere else since you need siege to kill them. But even if you have siege, what happens once you leave the middle? You die, that’s what happens, since you opponents will now be able to just push forward with a siege deathball.
Tower can also be too powerful , especailly with springald emplacement, but they are not nearly as problematic as keeps.

So, what is the solution? First thing first, nerf both stone walls and keeps. Stone wall should be a real pain to get up, be either for an increased cost or because they should go up slower. Either this, or make them attackable by every unit.
For the keep, the solution is, in my opionion, really simple: make the repair cost stone. You want to hold that position? Fine by me, but if i’m siegeing you should lose your stone for it. That would lead to:

  1. Less keep
  2. Less stonewalls
  3. Less campy games
    And while we are at it, nerf a bit boiling oil, it’s too strong as it its

And now, for the expected question: why not nerfing simply the siege and leave the other things as they are? Because you need siege to bring down keeps. Without a keep (and in general static defense) nerf, a siege ner fwould just lead to even more campy games, since there’s not an other efficient way to push into keeps (ESPECIALLY after boiling oil is researched)

I’d like to further add that as soon as the game goes into castle age, drop a keep and build siege chances are very high you need to book a minimum of 10 if not 15 minutes more for the game to end. As you say keeps and siege enable such a static game design which kind of makes it impossible to decide games by just a few strategic decisions. This is a big blow for me, as at this stage of the game you do not really get rewarded for smart decisions but more so need to do many medium quality decisions and play the game down.

In AOE3, although the artillery unit can effectively weaken the enemy infantry, but the attack is slow, the troops with artillery still need to have the main force to block the enemy army in front, so that the artillery can play slowly but steadily. And the cavalry of AOE3 is very effective for artillery attacks , causing the player to be really careful to protect these fragile units to avoid losing the artillery; in AOE4, the artillery becomes too powerful due to the large area attack and 100% accuracy. And because the cavalry in AOE4 does not have high reward points for attacking artillery like AOE3, AOE4 needs far more cavalry than AOE3 to attack the artillery in order to successfully assault and destroy the artillery.

If I had to figure out the quickest solution, I would copy what AOE3 did for artillery:

  1. Greatly nerfed the base damage of siege units (mainly mangonels), only making it bonus points for certain unit types, like infantry or buildings, like AOE3; this will cause them to still be good against Infantry units, but less damage to cavalry units. This also reflects the advantages of cavalry’s high movement speed.

  2. Assembly and aiming time, reload time has become longer, which will reduce the firepower provided by the artillery, so that it does not melt the opponent’s army so quickly

  3. Increase the bonus points of cavalry units to artillery damage again, encouraging players who are brave to launch an assault, rather than encouraging players to hoard a lot of siege units.

An interesting counter to stone walls would be to let units rapel down the other side without the need for a gate. So siege towers could be used to ferry raiding units over a random piece of wall. And since they can be built on the field, you dont need to pull too much from your main ball. just like 5 knights and a few archers.

i mean, stone walls would not even be a problem if keeps and towers were not so strong in choke points