Does the Fortified Church NEED to replace the Monastery?

I understand it’s a design decision to make the new civilizations more disctinct by making the player unable to build the standard monastery, and forcing him to make this unique building instead.
But, as I see it, the Fortified Church is an upgrade in every sense over the monastery, with the only counterpart being costing 25 more wood.


I like the idea of Fortified Churches, their implementation and purpose. My issue with them is that Armenians and Georgians had like… normal churches too. In fact, they had lots of churches in their cities and countryside.
The fact that monasteries are replaced by this unique building seems to imply a message of the kind of “Armenians and Georgians didn’t have churches, no. They had cortified churches instead!”, which is odd.

Given that Fortified Churches are an upgrade in every aspect over Monasteries, would it change things too much to have them as unique buildings occupying the same spot as the Caravanserai and the Donjon, and let the Armenians and Georgians have Monasteries as well?
The civ bonuses would still apply to fortified churches only, and Warrior Monks would keep being created there. In practical terms almost no one would choose to build a Monastery, picking the Fortified Church instead.

It is kind of immersion breaking when playing these civs to lack the ability of building regular churches.
In terms of work load for the dev team, we already have the central european Monastery (which is oddly inspired by the caucasian style) as a base model. It just needs a reskin to fit with their current set.


What do you think about this?


Do you have that monastery file somewhere or is it just photoshopped? It looks amazing imo, I wonder if you could make some other buildings from european or middle eastern sets look like that to make a new architecture set. You could then reuse the destruction animation by recoliring it slightly (it wont look as good but it would look believable imo)

Either way, my ake on fortifiedonasteries is that they are actually innecessary clutter. I like them visually to not use the Italian Mediterramean church and all but they are quite unnecesary gameplaywise unlike the mule cart for example, amd I think Armenians could afford to lose it

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It makes me think the Fortified church could be given to a future Balkan civ, like the Serbs.

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I have no way to prove it, but I actually predicted that Georgians/Armenians would get a unique church building, some time after Dynasties of India released .

Why? Because:

1.) I was one of the earliest folks in the AoE community to notice that Ensemble’s “Central European” Monastery appropriated the uniquely Caucasian basilica design, and had been harping on about “devs will eventually have to do something about it” since FE started making DLCs for AoE2HD.

2.) Devs will have to do something about it, because the model already being in the game puts them in a bind. Every option looked bad back then:

a. Give Georgians/Armenians the CEuro architecture set: “reunites” them with their signature building, but the rest of the set’s Alps Gothic style is a poor fit.

b. Give them a different set: impossibly bad, separating them with their signature building.

c. Move the Caucasian church out of CEuro: replacing it with a new model that fits the Alpine style. But changing an existing architecture set is unprecedented, and still has the problem of where to put the Caucasian church—

d. Make a new, accurate Caucasian set: not gonna happen, the utility is too narrow.

e. Let them have a special Monastery model: FE considered allowing religion-based Monastery variations in early AoE2DE development, but haven’t done it to this day.

However, as the DE DLCs introduced more and more units & buildings that are replacements of basic ones, a solution becomes clear: to bypass the “no visual-only special model” rule, you only need a functionally unique building.

Hence, the Fortified Church.

So the first answer to the OP’s question is: unfortunately, you are suggesting exactly what they want to avoid.

The second answer is that having two functionally overlapping & visually similar buildings is bad game design, bad UX. “No normal churches” may be a slight break to logic consistency, but we already had it a lot worse in the AoE series. Case in point: the Japanese in AoE3 don’t build normal houses, they build shrines.

This is also one reason why devs hesitate to implement Monastery variations - being visually unique without functional differences is confusing. Of course, functionally unique buildings are also better selling points.

(Another reason is cost-effectiveness: Monks aren’t always used, while Castles are large, nearly always built, and won’t be confused for other buildings, making them ideal unique model showpieces.
And notice how Fortified Church is designed to be a building that players always want to build.)

Shopped. The OP have posted a number of shoipped unit skin concepts in the community.


The new civis use the mediterranean building set so they wont get the central euro church anyway.So your justification isnt the reason.

Let’s walk through the thinking process again.

1.) Give them Mediterranean set without a unique building: that’s Case B in my post above: actual Caucasian civs are saddled with the Italian Gothic church, while Teutons/Goths/Vikings/Huns have the Caucasian church. That’s a worst case scenario. It’s what you absolutely want to avoid when making a Causus-themed DLC.

(In the end, the DLC seems to have still done such a reversal with the “Armenian Warrior Priest”. Rather than Armenian history, the unit seems inspired by the Georgian priesthood’s participation in war, while its model is based on the Khevsur mountain people - the Georgian UU in Civ6, who were also not warrior priests. It looks suspiciously like the unit was made for Georgians, then re-assigned for gameplay purpose. But that’s another topic.)

2.) Allow them a special regional Monastery: this wasn’t covered in my previous post, but it still has the problem that the game would have two Monastery models with 95%-similar silhouettes, only different in building materials & coloring. It creates confusion: uninformed players would wonder why devs make what appears to be a texture swap.

Compare the Fortified Church model: its walls & towers effectively communicate the building’s defensive power, and cut a distinct silhouette from the CEuro Monastery. They now look like two sufficiently different buildings at a glance.

Within the rules FE set themselves, it is a smart move.

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They could’ve also given the Armenians and Georgians a unique Monastery based on Jvari Monastery. It’s still Caucasian, but doesn’t resemble anything else in-game.

Oh yeah, that one is on my mind. The thing is, without the distinct Caucasian features like the steep roofs (adaption to mountain snow, I suspect), it’s more like a common Byzantine church, a design you can find all over the Byzantine sphere.

AoE2 can use such a model if it ever gets a Byzantine-Roman building set. Though for Georgian/Armenian civs, using such a less region-specific design wouldn’t solve the “reversal” problem, where other civs have their signature, they don’t.

The Fortified Church solves the problem by adding more rather than taking away: if other civs already have the Caucasusian signature, make the Caucasus’s own version bigger & stronger.

It’s sorta like how FE made Winged Hussars a Hussar replacement to make it stand out from existing Hussars & Magyar Huszars who already have wings.

Yeah, I’m hoping to make progress on a Caucasus/Balkan set with the help of AbeJin, and I’m going to use Jvari Monastery as the basis for the Monastery. Since the Armenians and Georgians have the Fortified Church, the set would also belong to the Byzantines and Bulgarians, and they’d have that generic Byzantine church inspired by Jvari.

Thank you. Glad you liked it. It’s just a photoshop edit taking fragments of the Fortified Church and the Chapel found in the editor.

I give you the right on this one. I always complaing that britons xbows and longbowmen fill the same role for the civ, thus I percieve it as bad design.
My solution would be to further differentiante the two buildings. The fortified church could be made a bit more powerful while costing some stone, it could have faster training time for monks, the civ bonuses can be adjusted one by one, etc. That way there’s now a real gameplay deicision on whether you build a monastery or a fortified church.

This dlc would have been a good starting point for breaking this rule progressievely. I understand, though, that it would open a can of worms of people asking for lots of unnecessary changes to monasteries.

Kind of off-topic, but I believe that for some reason the designs of the civs were somehow swapped. It would have made more sense for Armenians to focus on heavy cavalry with bonus and an UT towards it, having a cavalry UU, full upgraded siege (except cannons), with a city layout full of churches; while the infantry focus would have fit Georgians better, with a warrior priest refering to those pieces of history you mention (I didn’t find any mention of armenian warrior priests).

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Yes, the Armenians and Georgians have completely opposite designs of what they should. This is a rare time where my designs for a civ are better than the official one. Either the devs are falling off, or they decided to completely disregard history for more interesting gameplay, which is an absolutely bizarre take. Either way, I’m not all that pleased with The Mountain Royals.