Difficult label for civs

Hello, I was thinking if would be a nice addition for new players to add a label in civ selection screen that tell you the difficult lvl of each civ.

The lvls could be easy, moderate and hard. Similar to Age IV.
The criteria could be how clear is the civ strat, how easy is to properly make use of civ bonuses. What would you add?

Some raw labeling could be:
Easy: Franks, Britons, Berbers, Huns
Medium: Lithuanian, Malians, Mayans
Hard: Gurjaras, chinese, Turks

How would you clasified all the civs?

Thoughts?

Aztecs
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Bengalis
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Berbers
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Bohemians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Britons
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Bulgarians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Burgundians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Burmese
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Byzantines
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Celts
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Chinese
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Cumans
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Dravidians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Ethiopians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Franks
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Goths
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Gurjaras
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Hindustanis
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Huns
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Incas
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Italians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Japanese
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Khmer
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Koreans
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Lithuanians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Magyars
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Malay
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Malians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Mayans
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Mongols
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Persians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Poles
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Portuguese
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Saracens
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Sicilians
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Slavs
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Spanish
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Tatars
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Teutons
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Turks
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Vietnamese
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

Vikings
  • Easy
  • Medium
  • Hard

0 voters

2 Likes

Definitely should be an easy civ. That extra food makes them one of the more forgiving beginner civs, and their knights and UU are really easy to use.

4 Likes

A 4th label as Advanced and putting Chinese, Khmer, Malay and Gurjaras here.

2 Likes

Khmer are actually easy. You’re thinking of what the civ CAN do, not what the civ HAS to do.

Khmer are extremely forgiving because you can forget so much and still age, build in the wrong sequence, farm wherever, much easier to defend their Vils when things go wrong

Yeah if we had to, probably goes under hard, along with Burmese. Any civs that have blatant exploitable weaknesses

Debatable. Forgiving early game but the mid game not so much.

I would consider these from a beginners POV.

Lith are definitely easy. Their trash is much easier to use, their knights are still knights , their UU doesn’t need anything special, and that super easy start makes up for any “mediocrity”. The UTs are very straightforward and help in noob friendly ways

You follow a scrush order into Knights+ skirms or knights+pikes as a noob. Just because they have the relic mechanic doesn’t mean a noob has to use or exploit it fully. They’re going to try get relics at some point anyway.

Magyars maybe easy?

I think the majority are going to be normal and depending on how broad the criteria are, minimal in hard.

I think for 42 civs, the labels don’t even need to say medium. Just say easy for the few easy, and hard for the few hard.

Bengali and drav hard?

1 Like

With Huns, you have to consider that for a new player, they don’t want to end up relying on not needing houses. It makes Huns easy, but if you become too accustomed to it, then there can be problems trying to learn other civs at first.

Ease of play is a minor consideration that only becomes well defined in the context of a few civs, e.g. Franks, especially if you try to separate it from their power levels, like this concept does. Overall I find this idea neither very robust nor very helpful even in the ideal scenario, and would probably create more misconceptions than it would address. A lot of the “difficulty” of these civs is also perceived relative to standard build orders, which new players may not know. As far as I’m concerned, the concept of a difficulty level for civs doesn’t fit AoE2 nearly well enough to bother even with an amateur ranking, much less any kind of in-game rank.

It’s also hugely dependent on the strat. Lithuanians are easier to play standard, but difficulty becomes a consideration in the case of a pre-mill drush or early dock on a hybrid map…however, that supposed “difficulty” is undermined by the fact that their bonus makes them able to do things that most civs can’t. So do you call a boring civ with limited options (like Goths) “easy” because its intended focus is obvious, or a civ like Chinese “Hard” because it doesn’t have any crazy unit bonuses that lend to a mindless 1-unit comp that is effective at low levels, and actually relies upon strategy and varied unit comps?

Honestly the labelling of Chinese as “super hard to play” is way overstated. Yeah, they have an awkward start, but if you don’t totally botch it (not that hard) it’s pretty helpful, and their cheap techs make their midgame easier to play than many civs since they can more easily get upgrades and tech switch. Yes, I get that they have a low win rate at low elos, but such a ranking system would exacerbate that and discourage new people from playing them. And Khmer are very easy. Malay I’ll grant are a little tricky since you can actually be disadvantaged if you go up too early with insufficient eco. And Gurjaras…it’s different from the standard build, but their mill bonus, extra food, and crazy counter units make them quite forgiving.

This isn’t true. Go look at the stats.

Chakrams are not that easy to play. If you mono spam shivs in the wrong case. You will lose. It’s not the same as spamming knights.

Gurj have very strong counter units, but those units have massive weaknesses.

Which by a game definition… makes it harder. Because it’s more to learn. Maybe you need to actually see aoe4 to understand what this topic is about.

Like you wouldn’t say this if you understood the topic.

English in aoe4 are easy to play and labelled as such
But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a more complex aggressive early option as well. Building a proxy “healing wonder” combined with super early aggression

I don’t usually have much need/interest to see low elo stats, but if Chinese perform well there also, that’s further evidence against them being an “Advanced” difficulty civ, no?

If you need to reference another game to show why something should exist, maybe that thing isn’t a good fit for this game. Never played AoE4, but I would be wary of implementing any of its features in AoE2, especially if there is difficulty showing the need for those features with exclusive reference to AoE2.

Like I don’t even begin to understand what kind of problem this is supposed to solve. If someone wants to learn to play a civ/strat, there are plenty of guides out there for them. Seeing that Chinese or Gurjaras are classed as “Hard” for some reason may dissuade people unnecessarily, and doesn’t actually help them learn anything useful about how to play as, or against those civs. Or seeing Britons as “Easy” doesn’t help you if you’re a new player who tries to go infantry or cavalry (or just isn’t used to archer micro or counters). Hence why I’ve said, I find this concept of very little utility for AoE2, regardless of what other games it may be helpful in.

2 Likes

On the other hand Huns don’t have a very clear and easy gameplan. They were so popular for such a long time because they can pretty much do anything. So in that aspect they’re harder than most of the typical knight civs and archer civs.

And which one of those counts for the most may depend on how the player plays. A beginner going random civ is often going to see the huns as easy. Great, not getting housed! And it doesn’t punish you for not going exactly one specific unit combination. But a civ picker trying to learn one civ (first) may actually enjoy the huns as a challenge, because of all the different strats they need to master to really play huns optimally in any situation.

So the rankings may not always be self-evident as long as we don’t have a clear definition of what an easy or advanced civ is, what the criteria are.

Plus it’s going to be hard to distinguish between easy and good. If a civ gives you a better chance to win because it’s a strong civ, does that make it easy?

1 Like

My list, without putting too much thoughts on it:

  • EASY: fra may bri hun lit khm mon per ber hin tat pol
  • MEDIUM: vik bur sar mly spa ita por byz eth vie mal jap teu gur mag kor sic boh azt inc bul, sla
  • HARD: dra chi got ben bgd cel cum tur

Maybe, but the same can be said for the speciality classification archers/cavalry/infantry/…

I am pretty sure the feature is for people NEW to the game who wont bother look for strats on the internet and wont follow any build orders. Same as the speciality classification…

Maybe… But in the end you dont have to fight for the level of every single civ. If the consensus is thatitis a hard civ, then let it be, even though it may not be as hard.
I personally label it as hard because it may cause new player to panic, that is because it feels hard.

True. But the classification is not really for them, more for people who didnt choose a civ yet.

But clearly, the use/meaning of this classification is very discutable…

Wrong, you dont get to decide how people react to tier lists. Some people like easy civs, some enjoy more civs that are tricky to play.

But maybe the list should not only be for newcomers to know which civs are “easy to start with”, but also how much “depth” the civ has. That is a 2D classification “easy to learn vs. hard to master”.

Agreed. So I think we should consider both easy and strong at the same time. Even though the problem of the criterium of strength changes with the patch.

For me a civ feels easy mostly when you are having a “good time” through the game with the strategies that you think the civ should be good at at first glance. Including (1) some early to mid game edge to not feel on the backfoot as well as (2) a strong, not too micro-intensive (hence excluding siege onagers), and easy to tech to, late game composition.

1 Like

I’ve already alluded to this possibility:

In the which case, classing a civ as “hard” due to deviation from an unknown B.O (Burgundians, Cumans, Gurjaras) is meaningless.

But I do get to decide to have common sense, which makes me think that new players will err on the side of intuitive or easy civs until they have a good enough handle on the basics to choose otherwise. There will always be exceptions, but the burden’s on you to show that defaulting to an easy start (campaigns, AI difficulty, or “civs,” if this were ever to become a thing) isn’t more common than not when being introduced to a game.

Frankly, including civ power levels in some hypothetical difficulty assessment is problematic for a few reasons. One is that it justifies lazy and bad civ design as acceptable or even intentional - as in, “it’s okay for Goths/Bengalis/Burmese to be terrible in most cases because they’re meant to be Hard Mode civs.” Or the flip side is that all the people who complain about strong new “pay to win” civs will be right if Gurjaras or Hindustanis are classed as “Easy” because they’re strong (also reflective of poor design).

Anyway, to reiterate my previously made points, for the purposes of AoE2, Civ “Difficulty” rankings are hazily defined and have low utility, and can even lead to normalization of poor design. And ranking civs largely based on how good they are (by far the single most important factor in judging whether they’re “easy to play”) just becomes a standard tier list.

1 Like
  • For civs like britons or mongols with faster gather rate, I would agree because people who do not know a BO may not have a fixed number of villager per resources. Changing the number of villagers on the resources will not put you behind a civ without the bonus.
  • For Cumans and Burgungians, I disagree because the civ gives you more clearly a possibility. Using these poorly will put you behind a civ without the possibility. As a new player, I would expect that it is a good thing to make a second TC in feudal or to research tech earlier.
  • You conviced me that I should put Gurjaras as a “hard civ” and not as a “medium civ”

Fine, I know much more people that aren’t necessarily looking for the easiest civ than not though. But I do not see why this is a problem if new players do not play civs like chinese for their first few games until they got a grasp of the game.

I disagree, the classification “hard vs easy” just like the classification of the civ speciality (cavalry/archers/…) is only there for beginners. People who understand the game at least an intermediate level (I guess > 800 ELO?)
do not care for the civ “difficulty” or “strength” (as listed by the developers): they often pick a civ they like or a civ that is very strong and will take the time to learn how to play and bypass its difficulty with it to win more games.

I do not think any of the > 800 ELOs will only make infantry with malians because they are listed as an infantry civ. Or Fast Castle into Monks and elephants as burmese. Or ask for Teutons to lose paladins because they are not listed as a cavalry civ…

Likewise, I do not think people > 800 ELO will say a civ like burmese does not need buff because it is supposed to be hard. Actually, quite the opposite, many people say that chinese is too hard at low ELO and too strong at high ELO, so they ask for something like starting +50 Food / -1 Villager, which buffs them for low ELO while slightly nerfing them for high ELO.

The concept of “hard vs easy civ” just like the concept of the civ “speciality” is for new players only, The civ balance should not be decided for people who have no clue how to play the game. If people who learned a civ still struggle when playing it, this civ obviously need buffs.

This is entirely correct: in AOE 2 (and probably also in all AOE games), no civ is too hard for a new player to learn the basics (e.g. what how a farm works, what is aging up, houses increase the pop cap, etc.), as they all have more or less the same units and the same techs with the same prerequisites and the same costs.

Since you are at this “level” of difficulty, you can reply to OP that for you, every civ has the “MEDIUM” difficulty for beginners.

1 Like

My ratings (3 swords with * means extra tricky):
1 sword: Berbers, Britons, Franks, Goths, Huns, Italians, Lithuanians, Magyars, Persians, Mongols, Teutons
2 swords: Aztecs, Bulgarians, Burmese, Byzantines, Celts, Dravidians, Ethiopians, Hindustanis, Incas, Japanese, Koreans, Malians, Mayans, Portuguese, Slavs, Spanish, Tatars, Turks, Vietnamese, Vikings
3 swords: Bengalis, Bohemians, Burgundians, Chinese*, Cumans*, Gurjaras, Khmer, Malay*, Poles, Saracens*, Sicilians

1 Like

A slightly more nuanced opinion is that while not relying on building houses is bad, it does force you to learn how to defend with army (if not being aggressive), as walling with just palisades is just sad as Huns.

I think the difficulty rating in general is a little useless, as some civs depend entirely on the type of map. On Arena, several weaknesses of some civs that make them hard on Open maps are covered and the civ becomes much easier to play. Similarly, some civs that are ‘easy’ will require atypical gameplay that makes them harder.

1 Like

Added a poll!!! 20 Chars