Does every civ have to be viable for Arabia?

Can there be niche civs that suck in the early game and only viable in 4 vs 4 Team games of black forest/michi? Or must every civ be good in 1v1 Arabia on a tiny map?

The old 2013 AOE 2 Khmer are godlike in the late game. But suck pretty much in most game settings. Even the old Portuguese are godlike in diplomacy games (with no resource triggers) with feitorias where they camp on a island. The Portuguese can spam bombard towers to victory while camping on a island.

Now, the Portuguese have a strange berry wood bonus due to the obsession with 1 vs 1 Arabia. The Khmer have a really weird farm bonus.

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Well… RM 1v1 Arabia is the most played setting. Sounds smart to tend to make all civs viable for it


But can’t people simply not use them civs if they are bad in that setting?

Can you make it a pool ? There are probably many people on both sides…

For me, it is not necessary, at least as long as:

  • Arabia is a “fully open map” AND a
  • we gdo not have the same requirement for other popular maps like Arena…

But I think that no civ should be fully horrible in any maps (in TG, a civ can suck as flank or as pocket)


Let’s look…
Arabia was establish as THE MAP because all civs were viable.

So… I would say… YES

Arabia still is one of the very few maps where you can comfortably go random civ without having to fear a huge disadvantage.
Also due to basically all civs being viable you also are matched with a huge variety of other people and ofc civs. Other playstyles than your own.
And yes, this is one of the main reasons why this Map is so popular.
IF you want Maps that don’t have that diversity you can just ban arabia and favor other maps. But please let Arabia stay the versatile map it always was. Yes Arabia favors Cav civs in general a bit. Which is fine imo. But PLEASE don’t overstretch that little favoring.

There are enough maps out there that are super open. They are all not that popular as Arabia.
For a reason.


And building up on @casusincorrabil reply:

@BomberGriffin can you explain what you mean with “viable” ?

I read it more as “competitivly viable”, where people don’t feel a pro is trolling or has been outdrafted with picking a civ on arabia, after taking into account the fact that you may keep a better arabia civ for another map later in the BO series.

@casusincorrabil seems to consider that having an overall 40% to 45% winning chance (over all civs) is enough. And that every civ is supposedly viable already. For me Goths and Spanish for instance are not viable, even after accounting for goth laming…

And I assume you talk about RM 3 villagers start only. not EW, not 9 villagers start…

Optimally I don’t want any civ to have less than 45 % winrate on arabia and vice versa no civ above 55 % also. Don’t forget due to civ Picking the actual “real” winchance of the high end civs is always higher than shown in that simple winrate chart. 55 % is already quite a high winrate if you respect that.


This is really the most important question, and shows why the answer may not be so simple. Every civ is “viable” already in the sense of theoretically having the tools to win, but many civs are strongly disfavored in enough matchups that most people would consider them bad on Arabia. At very least we need an operational definition of what people mean by “decent” or “viable,” including an acceptable window of win percentages.

A highly related question is “how strong can/should you make the early game of a very strong lategame civ?” Some people are afraid to to buff Goths or Spanish early game, because they’re perceived as difficult to stop if they can get to their strengths. Getting to their ideal situation is hard, and frequently dying before then translates to a low WR on Arabia. So in that case I find myself partially in agreement with those who want to buff weak civs on Arabia, but this is more because I don’t find Goths and Spanish great on enough other maps to justify how weak they are on Arabia (whereas for pre-buff Portuguese, I did). Some other civs are designed with even more dominant lategames than Goths or Spanish, with the conventional wisdom being “don’t let them get there.” But many of the buffs that would be needed to make a strong lategame civ != bad on Arabia, will greatly increase their chances of “getting there,” not only on Arabia, but also on the maps on which they’re already strong. The result of this is generally that civs that are designed to be strong in lategame/closed maps will keep those strengths, but have early game strengths added as well for the sake of those who want them to be more competitive on Arabia. Which I think can also lead to situations where certain civs are just too dominant across too many map types.

tl;dr: Some amount of symmetry in performance on Arabia is good, but I would set the bar kind of low as far as what that should mean. Forcing civs within an overly narrow window of winrates on 1 map will greatly constrain the available asymmetry that is necessary to allow them to become interesting and divergent elsewhere. More than performance across 1 very important map, I would look to normalize overall playrates of all civs across all contexts, and/or across the most commonly played maps and settings.

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there are many maps in the game other than Arabia so I would say NO.

The game is fun because on different maps you get to play not only with different units, but also different civs.

Can there please be that one map where every civ can somewhat compete?

It has a reason that the most popular map is exactly that map where the most civs can compete in.

The really weird thing is how some people try to coat their demand on restricting the viability of different strats on ALL maps as some kind of increasing the diversity of the game. No it isn’t.
I’m totally fine with most maps restricting strats. But please don’t force it on ALL Maps. Leavy Arabia alone if you can’t stand the diversity on that map. You have enough choice on all the other restricting maps. Chose a map that fits your perception of how the game has to be played.


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Isn’t bad to make the civs better here as long as aren’t overbuffed on other maps or settings.

But what I don’t like is when a civ receive a blind buff that makes them insanely soo strong on any map (Khmer basically) or is repeatdly buffed to the point is completely OP on one map ( Tatars).

This is true, however arabia alone makes up over 2/3 of all games…it makes sense for everyone to be wt least somewhat competitive on that map


This is completely false.
Arabia was established as THE map because it was considered to be the funniest map on which you could play Huns mirror, which was considered peak AoE2 for like 10 years.
There were always civs that sucked on Arabia from AoK onwards, such as Goths.
During AoC if you rolled ANYTHING against a meso you’d be straight up dead.
This game was built with the idea that certain civs would be strong earlier in the game (which usually meant good on arabia) and civs strong later in the game (which meant good on maps such as BF), with others way stronger in team game than in 1v1.

We are in a period in which, despite arabia being still the most played map, we are playing other maps more than ever because of a map pool.
In tournaments, with the exception of KOTD, an exclusively arabia tournament, we have a big variety in the pool.
Not every civ has to be geared towards arabia because every civ can have its spot in other maps.

On top of that, viable means “that you can play and win with it”, something you can already do with every civ on every map, especially at levels where people make so many mistakes that it does not matter what civ you are using.


Viable means that it feels fair. You don’t lose if you don’t make mistakes and you win if you make good plays.That’s my definition of viable.

This Huns War myth just isn’t true. Only because this is from what a lot of the current pro and caster scene comes from doesn’t means it was the only bubble that kept aoe2 alive.
There were several of these bubbles, they just didn’t had much exchange.

And when it was migrated Arabia just was that map most people could agree on playing because nobody felt like being in a huge disadvantage.

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The problem is that from your definition, every civ seems viable at very low level. And at very high level, I would expect only the “A tier” and “S tier” civs are viable. So if you look at an arabia 1v1 tier list, a pro player picking a S tier civ and making a few mistakes will very likely still win against another pro of same level picking a B tier civ and playing as perfectly as it gets…

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No, this is not a myth. Huns war was all you could find in the lobbies and people who call this a myth did not spent enough time looking at the lobbies on voobly. It was the pros that at the certain point started paying random civs and people followed.

That is the true myth. There were always civ way worse on arabia and some that were actually just an autoloss. No one was happy when he rolled goths on random, just like no one was happy when he rolled turks and many other civs alike. If you go and play AoC and you roll one of those against anything decent, you have lost, that’s it.
This did not change with the HD expansions: it has never happened once in the history of this game that in one map

this definition of viable was applicable, especially at the highest level where balance actually matters. This definition of viable is not even realistic in a lot of match ups right now (like, for example, Hindustanis vs Mayans.

If you talk about low level (and remember, that is what you usually keep in mind as the standard where we need to balance), every civ is viable because literally no one plays well and makes so many mistake that the one who happens to do something right wins


@casusincorrabil also this. If someone plays, let’s say, Burmese vs Hindustanis he is just dead, no matter the fact he made zero mistakes.

That is why you can’t balance everything to be strong on arabia, because otherwise every civs need an eco bonus. But wait, now that every civs has an eco bonus, every civs that has a good late game has a free win there agains those civs without good late game (btw, that’s the reason why civs with very good late game either sucked all the way up to said late game or had a good opening in feudal and then had a bad castle age). So what, we buff every civ to have a strong late game? Might as well play on full tech tree at this point.

Different maps and different civs means different civs strong on different maps at different times. If you think that arabia should be an exception, someone else could even argue that every civ should be buffed to be “viable” on arena, because it’s the second most played maps. Would this be fine as well?

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yes I agree and I think most civs are already fairly good on Arabia, there are stronger ones but it’s not impossible to win on a mid-tier civ like Malians, either. I reckon right now there are only like 5 civs that you feel bad about rolling on Arabia… probably:

  • Slavs
  • Goths
  • Burmese (this one I’m almost tempted to not put here because you have a good opening and you CAN play Xbow Knights)
  • Dravidians
  • Persians

I think this means that balancing is in a fairly good spot given that we have some 40 civs total.

I don’t argue it should be. But it always was and even stated by devs and content makers. Also most pros will give you that answer.

It’s actually the other way around, some people try to rebrand and manipulate the perception by just claiming it should be different.

It’s not me who tries to rebrand Arabia, I try to stop other people trying to ####### arabia in something different it never was.
And I don’t even know/understand why. Arabia always slightly favored cavalry civs. Instead of being Happy with that advantage they effectively drive away everyobody who doesn’t want to play Knight civ mirror every match
Don’t they see that if this happens Arabia will lose the majority of the playerbase and then another map, maybe Runestones, that fits the diversity better will become the new Arabia?

Maybe they then claimed Arabia for themslves. But I doubt they will enjoy it if they will be all alone then there.

That just won’t make anyone happy, just divide the community.

PS: I didn’t wanted this to mention, as it has the potential to inflict more toxicity, but I think it’s just needed now.
On Aoepulse the 6 civs with the worst winning record on arabia are all archer civs, all with winrates below 45 %. The 6 best are all cavalry civs. Only Vikings can somewhat hold their own with a 51.85 % winrate.

And the stats weren’t even much better before the XBow nerf.
Since DE came out there is a continouus trend to make Archers especially on Arabia worse, DESPITE the stats actually DON’T show they would be too strong, actually right the oppoiste. In comparison with Knights.
And a lot of the claims especially here in the forum, that Archers would be too strong, are totally made up.

Yes, at higher elos archers become stronger. But only because they are stronger than on low elo doesn’t mean they are generally overpowered. That’s just total nonsense.

Especially as lately the meta developed more and more in a way that favors Cavalry with that mobility advantage and utility in low numbers a lot.

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I suppose devs are working in this way. Arabia has become more open and tower/house/wall have been nerf. The related/weaker civs got buff.

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