Do Civs need a clear weakness?

Some of the new civs don’t have any clear weaknesses. As in big holes in their tech tree. The Sicilians for example seem to be good at everything in the late game with full technology. A very open tech tree. Good infantry, good archers, good siege, good cavalry. That’s too much. Okay, they don’t particularly excel in some of these fields. But they seem to be like the Byzantines without any drawbacks.

You look at someone like the Persians. They all around, the best cavalry in the game. Hussars, Paladins, Heavy camels, War Elephants. Yet garbage infantry, apart from their halbs. Seige missing siege engineers. Their archers are only okay, due to them not costing gold with the castle tech.

Mayans. Powerful archers civ. Late game Goths melt them away like butter.

No. Not always.

For example a civ with the entire tech tree available to them but no bonuses whatsoever would actually be quite a weak civ. Their tech tree would not be their weakness, but they would lack any eco or military bonuses.

SURE they can make siege onagers, Paladins AND Heavy cavalry archer, but with no bonuses to their name they’ll simple lose way too often.

A civ doesn’t need a weakness to have identity, though it does help.


Yeah. They made good in team games where trade can happen. But 1v1, they won’t have time to tech into their great tech trees.

Mayans beat goths until Imperial age, so contrary to popular belief its not a civ win and it’s clear from stats as well.mayans don’t really have a weakness

I don’t think that’s a problem.

Imo it’s worse to have civs with clear weaknesses because it becomes so hard to balance them. You either need to buff their strengths so much to make up for the weakness or they simply become too hard to play/weaker

Burmese for example.

In a nutshell I don’t think a civ NEEDS a clear weakness.

But having weaknesses helps to add identity and a place for the civ to fit overall.

I’d like for FE to go back and re-balance/overhaul civs that lack a true ‘identity’ or ‘theme’

Goths and Indians stand out to me as civs that work, but are overall poorly designed.

I’ll try to explain my meaning for Goths best I can. The theme for them is Infantry flood, but I feel like they went about it in the worst way. (It’s an old civ keep in mind).

The Ethiopians and the Malay took the best parts of the Infantry flood and added it to their civs.

Shotels are pretty niche but they create instantly and move fast. Like Huskarls. (Goths have to research BOTH castle techs to achieve a similar level of flood. Rather than the Ethiopians who just “need” the one.)

Karambits again are pretty niche, but they are the purest form of quantity over quality in the game at the moment. (Compare to goths +10 pop space. Kind of boring)

Another example, though not as extreme is the Vietnamese.

It’s way too committed to the ‘anti-archer archer’ theme. They don’t need Rattans AND Imperial Skirms. I would consider THAT a weakness in and of itself.

Not to mention Imp Skirms being a team bonus, kind of bad design. Their team bonus should be the enemy visibility.


I wouldn’t say Sicilians have full tech late game. Their archer line is missing thumb ring as well as the final archer armour. They don’t get Paladin which isn’t relevant in 1 v 1 but is in team games.

I somewhat agree with your point that it is healthy for a civ to have a weakness, I’m just not sure Sicilians are a particularity good one due to the lack of decent eco bonus

Maybe you can say that the stronger the civ is in certain respects (like early military or eco bonuses) the more weakness they need to compensate. Like sicilians don’t have any meaningful bonus until castle age unless you play trash counters vs them in feudal. Also they dont really excel in any map type. There a many stronger civs on open maps as well as closed maps. So I don’t see why they need additional weaknesses.

Sicilians definitely have some holes in their tech tree. Missing Ring Archer Armor hurts their Skirmishers a lot, barely a counter to Arbalesters without that 2 Pierce Armor. Their own arbs are also easier to kill, but at least the resistance to bonus damage cancels this out when facing enemy Skirms.

Sicilians also lack Thumb Ring, Heavy Cav Archer Hand Cannon, which limits their ability to play offensive with anything from Archery Ranges in the late game.

Their Siege is pretty good, but missing Bombard Cannon can make some encounters difficult.

Hauberk is decent, and appreciated for facing enemy archers without good skirmishers, but their Cavaliers are not Paladins. They also lack Hussars, even though their Light Cav is better than usual tgiven their resistance to spears.

They have Donjons, but these are expensive and not very strong. Sometimes feels like more of a weakness than a strength, missing the standard tower line. Also no Fortified Wall, Architecture or Bombard Tower, so defensive options are limited.

I’d prefer the Saracens tech tree, or even Berbers. Both are missing Halberdiers, but have great Camels. Spanish also have a great tech tree, but the lack of Crossbows doesn’t work wellwith my playstyle.

Having a mix of civs that have very specific strengths and weaknesses, and civs that are more well rounded, are absolutely things that we can, and have, done with civ design since AOK. Those civs that have a more well-rounded tree generally don’t get out of the gates as nicely as the others.

Sicilians are… well rounded I guess, but as I indicated, they don’t have a real starting bonus that gets them going earlier than the civs that clearly lack comparable options. That’s if you count having Hauberk Cav as being well-rounded in and of itself, assessing properly that it roundly kills everything. :stuck_out_tongue:

(obviously I’m not counting the farming bonus as that doesn’t really kick in until ~15 minutes, it certainly kicks like mad when it does kick in, but it doesn’t add anything to what is otherwise a generic dark/feudal age)

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As long as every army composition can be countered in a dynamic and static sense then the game will be balanced. I.e. no powerspike is overpowered and no unit is overpowered.

You cannot instantly switch compositions which means that while something may seem uncountable in a static sense it doesn’t mean it’s uncountable in a dynamic sense.

In fact aside from a few rare civ v civ cases every composition that wins the game has a counter in theory, one player was just too slow on the execution. E.g. hussar raids are countered by stone walls and building walls. Yet they end many games.

So no not every civ needs a clear weakness for the game to be balanced and enjoyable. You can also argue that it’s impossible for the game to be balanced if every civ has a clear weakness but that’s beside the point.

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Sicilian weakness is the Imperial Age, which that stupid sicilian cavaliers cover…
Hauberk tech and damage reduction, as well conversion inmunity, can’t coexist in the same tech tree, is just too much, or lol if they keep that abomination, remove Bloodlines so even the cavaliers of other civs destroy them

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I think most melee units have no problem vs Sicilian cavs tbh. Most archer civ should resort to halb/cav tho, which Sicilians dont have great answer to.

Arbalester? Champion? Serjeant? I mean cmon you can’t have such perfect army.


Lacking thumb ring (not even mentioning the armor) is actually huge. That’s why you don’t see Khmer arbalester as well


They suck vs cavs


They suck vs cavs as well.

Sicilian’s late game answer is really Serjeant+halb+SO (notice that Serjeant takes a ton of gold), as they lose hard in cav vs paladin. In trash war Sicilian (without hussar) is definitely on the weaker side of civs.

They excels in Arena, not top 5 but top 10.

WTF I can recall high level players using timing attacks with Khmer arbalester, and that doesn’t Matter, they still kill halbs very well.

I think you don’t understand, those units Excel at killing halbs and camels. Which synergies really well with the cavalier, which kill archers and siege.

I’m tired of seeing the paladin argument when is irrelevant for 1v1 as only the Burgundians, and maybe Franks, can use them sometimes, and I Talk about only 2 civs, plus Bulgarian and Malian cavaliers that are stronger though, because all others just suck at going heavy cav at 1v1 as is very expensive and slow to mass. In team games is another story though as paladins destroy them.
Removing bloodlines Will properly compensate the 50% less damage and make their cavaliers only good vs archers but weaker vs cavaliers with bloodlines, also, nerfs their annoying scout Rush.

WTF I can recall high level players using timing attacks with Khmer arbalester, and that doesn’t Matter, they still kill halbs very well.

I saw a lot of Khmer games in Frigid Lake and none are resorted to arbalesters. Do you have any game where arbalesters are a game changer?

I think you don’t understand, those units Excel at killing halbs and camels. Which synergies really well with the cavalier, which kill archers and siege.

Serjeant cannot kill halbs and camels very well. Serjeant is very slow as well. Champion is niche and dies too hard to cav.

I’m tired of seeing the paladin argument when is irrelevant for 1v1 as only the Burgundians
Let me just pull a random civ. Malian with LC and arbalester can counter Siclians at late game.

I think you don’t understand that the 50% resistant to counter unit is what makes Siclian OP (and they have power spike in castle age, NOT imp age). For post imp, there are just too many ways to kill Siclians.

Actually, is that tech even researched at RBW5?

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Sicilian cavaliers already are matched by others, they just need 2-3 more, even more, against a civ with FU cavalier and without FU arbalesters I don’t think it’s good to pay 900 resources for Hauberk.
Moreover they are still cavaliers, meaning they lose 1v2 against champions (just to mention a unit that should not counter heavy cavalry easily). The combo formed by cavalier with Hauberk + Serjeant + First Crusade + 5TC + Castle doesn’t seem really easily affordable in 1v1, unless your opponent is sleeping. Just First Crusade + Hauberk is 800F 1000G, and if you want Elite Serjeants (because regular Serjeants are next to useless in imperial age honestly) it’s another 1100F 800G. So 1900F 1800G is doable (not to mention Castle+extra TC cost), but Paladin is too expensive. :face_with_monocle:

Soo apparently the Sicilian player has magically the gold to train and upgrade everything now. 45G each arb, 35G each Serjeant, and obviously 75G each Cavalier with Hauberk. Wow.

A map played by less than 10-15% of the matches, irrelevant. On Arabia they are really mediocre.

Serjeant 35G + Cavalier 75G. If you have so much gold and you can spend it freely, you deserve to win.
How about Siege Onager + arbs + Elite Mameluke then, or SO +halbs + War Wagon? Even better.

Hauberk was researched just once in all the tournament I think, in a game against Britons that the Britons player won.
So much for the “Hauberk OP destroys archers” narrative. Obviously Hauberk came in too late and the Britons player raided well until then.
Most Sicilian games involved skirm vs skirm/archer (pros love archers) wars in castle age, where the bonus damage resistance really makes the difference. Also regular knights were used, and again, helped a lot by pike resistance, and the faster TC and castle building time really helped to defend. There was a moment in which a castle drop was totally negated by defensive castle drop which went up much faster.
Viper did First Crusade a couple of times, but he was winning already. Outside First Crusade, nobody even created a Serjeant, and Viper had at least a couple of Donjons so could have made them, yet he preferred regular knights + skirms. What a noob, Serjeants OP!!! :laughing:


In theory there shouldn’t be a systematic way to design a civ, nothing is mandatory, nothing is required. However when it comes to the newer civs developers have been working according to some principles, it makes civ design easier and more balancable despite all the new gimmicks they’re trying to implement.

  1. Every civ must have an eco bonus. (All new civs have eco bonuses, more than one even, unlike many old AOE 2 civ such as Byzantines, Magyars, Bulgarians etc)
  2. Every civ must have a fancy composition to boom into. (Aka win condition by booming, many old AOE 2 civs dont follow this condition: Aztecs, Vikings, Japanese etc…)
  3. Every civ must have a post-imp trash options. (it seems like every civ deserve to be strong at every stage of the game by their logic, groundbreaking winged-hussar, trash-monks, farms that generate gold, etc… in old AOE 2 some civs are forced to end the game early or else they struggle, Vikings, meso civs, chinese…)

Relying on anchors like these is very convinient when designing a civ, however it leads to a very generic simplified game, strategy needs as much diversity, as much dimensions and aspects to play on. We have to think out of the box, beyond equations and systematic thinking.

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