Dravidians - Patches are making the civ design worse off

Dravidians as a civ has had design flaws from the start and lacked good options like well-rounded civs. The civ is still fairly new and views about the civ when it was introduced were extremely divergent among players and pros. But players agree the civ had a peculiar design and a lack of meta units. The below summary were their main design gaps:

  1. lack of mobile units,
  2. weakness to siege,
  3. no powerful units or bonus in castle age,
  4. elephants as only cavalry with high DPS yet close to being the worst in the game
  5. a primary bonus of 200 wood which does not scale after feudal age. and Finally
  6. ‘woots steel’ which comes in too late after infantry becomes unviable offensively to win the game.

This has resulted in the civ being countered by pretty simple strategies like:

  • skirm + knight
  • Monk + Siege
    to which Dravidian players simply fold in castle age.

In addition to these obvious weakness, successive patches to fix armoured elephants, archers negatively imapacted the civ without any corresponding buffs. Any balance change patch to improve meta civs almost always impacts Dravidians negatively. The glaring weakness of the civ started showing and got called out by pros like Hera and casters like T90 publicly. To overcome these weakness, devs implemented patchwork of incoherent fixes which a lot of us don’t really agree with:

ADDED - Bombard cannon - To address the weakness to Siege. It did not fix mangonel problem in castle age. The fix gave an option against siege which is available only after chemistry is researched in imperial age. The problem could have ideally been fixed with just adding ‘redemption’ to tech tree.

MODIFIED - ‘Medical corps’ - Made cheaper and effect increased to 30 HP/min, yet it was ranked as the 3rd worst castle age tech in the game in a recent poll

ADDED - ‘33% Siege wood discount’ - this is an economy bonus masquerading as a military bonus. This bonus was meant to address weakness to siege as well as act as a bonus which kicks in at castle age. Despite being a good bonus, it has been applied to the wrong civ which already gets 400 wood extra. This bonus was needed because 400 wood is easily wasted by the the time Dravidians weakness shows in castle age. The saved wood is just useful to make more buildings or farms. But just more wood cannot fix the problem since unsuitability of dravidian castle age high DPS units or lack of them is the problem.
A bug reported on this bonus was not even attended. The bonus was haphazardly introduced to prop up the flagging civ as part of overhaul of all infantry civs in april 2023. The bonus also fundamentally changed the civ design and gameplay. It made the go from a infantry + navy civ with a blacksmith heritage towards being played as a siege discount civ. It was also not thematically correct since the cholas the civ is based on operated a mass elephant army without much siege or gunpowder support. Ideally a blacksmith based bonus should have been added to improve infantry, cavlary and archers to fix the civ’s castle age weakness to siege, monks and knights.

MODIFIED - ‘Woots steel’ has been made cheaper by 150 resources to help Dravidian players with a timing advantage. If ‘woots steel’ is supposed to win the game for Dravidians, then by the time it comes in, it is too little too late for immobile infantry. Light cav with 60 HP is too squishy and with just +1 against vilagers after woots steel they are not great raiding units either.

I propose to add 3 changes to make the civ design well-rounded infantry+navy civ.

Primary Bonus - Receive 150 wood and 50 stone when arriving in next age.
It is a modest change which builds on the existing 200 wood bonus like the last eco bonus Vietnamese got. The bonus help Dravidians with some walling potential as well as being able to drop TCs faster than opponent in castle age. This bonus is kind of like a mix and match of Britons and Bulgarians bonuses. It works to get he first additional TC faster. But not as good as Britons and Bulgarians towards more additional TCs. There will be no need for the 33% siege discount as an economy bonus since you can drop more TCs on wood lines with this bonus.

Primary Bonus - Start the game with 150 or 200 wood.
This bonus will make the civ beginner friendly and make plans/build orders before the game starts. It will boost Dravidians playrate among low elo players. You can skip lumber camp for a while and put more vills on food. The bonus will help Dravidians overcome lack of dark age bonuses. It will also make Empire wars and normal other game type starts the same.

"Receive 200 wood, 200 stone and 200 gold when reaching feudal, castle and imperial ages respectively"
This bonus will make sure that Dravidian civ gets useful powerspikes when arriving in the next age. The feudal age will be the same gameplay. However getting 200 stone in the next age will help Dravidians to stone wall up and play the game like a closed map or sell stone to reach castle age faster than opponent. They can still drop 2 TCs with the extra 200 stone even after selling stone to advance. They could drop a defensive castle or an aggressive castle having 400 stone in the bank faster than opponent. 200 gold in imp will be a good powerspike to add an extra treb or research chemistry as soon as imperial age is reached.

Remove - "33% siege wood bonus"
Add - "Blacksmith attack upgrades double the damage output"

This new bonus is no doubt inspired by the Roman bonus on armour upgrades. But being a tropical civilization with a blacksmith unique tech in imperial age, attack upgrade bonus would be more apt for the civ. The effect is infantry, cavalry and ships can have +1/+2/+3 attack compared to normal civs in feudal, castle and imperial ages respectively. The bonus would double the effect damage effect of forging, iron casting and Blast furnace benefiting infantry elephants and more importantly light cav. In castle age, the bonus makes their light cav DPS high enough to act as a good option to snipe siege and as well as monks fairly quickly. Discounted Siege does not offer a clear solution against monks as well as siege like light cav. The doubling of damage from fletching, bodkin arrow and bracer gives archers and ships +1/+2/+3 in feudal, castle and imperial age respectively. Castle age cross-bow and EAs will effectively get +2 against knights negating their armour. Elephant archers could justify their high cost in castle age and act as a power unit. Light cav will gain raiding potential in late games since they will get +3 against villagers and +4 with woots steel.
Dravidian galley gets an advantage militarily which suits the civ and its not free like Armenians and Romans. Since range is not increased, its will not exactly make galleys super powerful. The civ would truly be unique with this bonus and thematically be correct as well.

Modify - Docks provide +5 pop space ->
Team Bonus - Buildings except walls and gates provide +1 pop space

The previous bonus on blacksmith for ships makes Dravidian navy more powerful which necessities a nerf to their other water bonus. The team bonus modification is meant to curb high winrate by Dravidian teams on water very early in the game. The modified bonus is more general and applicable on most maps. It’ll be kinda cool to see Dravidians start with +1 pop space on most maps due to TCs already being built.

I know the community thinks Dravidians are in a good place bottom 5 on arabia and somewhat 50% winrate on closed maps. But the civ is inherently becoming a patchwork of poor changes which are not fixing the civ’s design flaws. Please let me know your thoughts on these changes to get the civ right.

A consensus on adjustments needed for Dravidians:

Primary Bonus - Start the game with 150 more wood

Modify - Team Bonus - Buildings except walls and gates provide +1 pop space

REMOVE - Medical corps
REPLACMENT - "Mahouts or strike corps" Elephants and Urumi move 30% faster

CHANGE - Urumi does not benefit from 'woots steel'

And fix the bug reported - Dravidian Cannon Galleon not affected by siege discount



Any pop slot value not divisible by 5 feels so Sooooo wrong

The Bombard Cannon addition was absolutely needed, now players tend to pick them for BF tgs because their Ele archers are really good and their previous weakness to siege were fixed by the Bombard Cannon addition.

Well having your own siege more accesible in castle age to counter opposing pushes is also a good change.

This won’t fix their problems with their inhability to raid, but simply be totally busted for their archer units, galleys and even the Thirisadai.
As well the effect on their infantry will be too strong on post Imperial in melee fights.


Thirisadai can be adjusted. Armenians and Romans have better galleons as free bonus. Compared to them this civ has only a fully paid for bonus and no better economy bonus. The bonus is well balanced.
If archers are a problem, just remove Thumb ring like Vikings. For Dravidians, high DPS is more important than accuracy.

Burmese get +3 attack for free in imp. By your logic, Burmese bonus will be the best imperial age power spike in the game. But Burmese are a bottom tier civ. Aztecs get +4 cheaper than Dravidians with garland wars. They are not considered broken. Dravidians with just a non-mobile infantry play needs a proper death ball. But their units are glass-cannons with no raiding capacity. So being able to dominate straight up fights is vital for their viability as a civ. If Dravidians infantry proves overbearing, just make ‘woots steel’ costly as a tech again.

This Blacksmith based bonus is far better suited to the civ than siege based bonus. Their elephants are shit despite both unique techs benefitting them. Elephants also benefit from this bonus which stacks up well once ‘medical corps’ is researched.

Change Medical Corps to a more useful UT and they are totally fine. I suggest BE -50% gold cost.

Armenians are aready too strong on water and that extra projectile shouldn’t be a civ bonus but rather included in Cilician fleet, and there’s a reason why Romans got the +1 attack on Galleys as civ bonus removed.

It won’t fix on how broken will be, even just 1 extra attack that soon is huge vs higher PA targets, for that reason Bohemians and Vikings don’t get that advantage till investing a good amount of resources, not to mention post-imp Dravidian skirms would be comically broken lol.

You aren’t getting it, Aztecs, Burmese, and Japanese have offensive bonuses, but they are limited to that ones as those are already very powerful boosts to their infantry, Dravidians are easily among the best infantry civs because of half-priced barracks techs and Wootz Steel, ignoring armor is already one of the best bonuses and has a huge impact vs high armor units, your suggestion is to basically give them even more damage, that won’t change much thing in castle age, but it ends up being completely overpowered in post-Imperial and the damage done by their Champions, Halbs and even the Urumi Swordsman (and you don’t even mention a coherent buff to them) would be same, if not even higher than Elite Leitis with relics, on units that are extremely cheap and quick to mass, for instance such Dravidian Halbs would be OP enough to even fight other Champions cost effectively.


In general I dont get the theory of the problem with Dravodians beingbthe lack of raiding units

They are far from the only civ with unusable cav in late game

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Aztecs faster producing military bonus, Hindustanis current villager discount - Allow us to remind you.

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Thats not a pop slot resource value?

By which I mean the population maximum you have until you need a new house/TC/Caslte

Buildings +1 pop really just doesnt jive

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I think this is a very nice eco bonus tho.

Maybe we can just swap Wootz Steel and Medical Corps and Infantry can fight cav better in castle age.

Urumi swordsman may also have 1.05 movement speed.

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All civs with bad cavalry still get Knights. Dravidians get battle elephant which despite its high DPS can never perform the role of a knight. The civ design never took that into account.

Yes, Medical corps is useless currently. It should be changed to a more applicable unique tech which benefits Dravidian elephants and improves their ability to act as a Knight\cavalry archer replacement.

Its a simple and elegant Team bonus. It is not completely situational like the Dock bonus. And thank you for noticing that change.

I can understand the issues you are trying to point out. Maybe a new cav and infantry civ can take a version of the bonus. How about a simpler version of the bonus to replace the Siege discount?

Blacksmith attack upgrades 50% cheaper

Forging, Iron casting, Blast furnace, fletching, bodkin and bracer 50% cheaper. It maintains the blacksmith identity and reverses the siege bias which Dravidians suffer from now.

Yup! Has more synergy with any FC strategy as well. Otherwise Dravidian castle age weakness become too glaring. Right now, 3 of their bonuses including their team bonus are wood discounts which makes for a very uni-dimensional economy bonus since the fish carry capacity is too niche to be counted as a regular bonus applicable on most maps.

It might help, if Dravidians have a castle discount or building speed bonus to build up a castle faster than opponent. But Dravidians don’t get any advantage from building a castle faster neither do they get any incentives to build a castle faster. Since ‘woots steel’ is locked behind a castle, it will not help weakness against knights. Its better to make Dravidian cross-bow stronger for early castle age and enable a switch to useful battle elephants as knight replacement in late castle age once a castle is up.

Urumi already move @1.05 and with squires move @1.15. If a tech like ‘mahuts’ benefits both castle units and elephants with a 20% speed boost, then you can be sure most of Dravidians mobility problems will be solved.

In order to introduce a viable cavalry replacement due to light cav being unable to function in the role, I propose to add this change.

REMOVE - Medical corps
ADD - Bloodlines to tech tree
REPLACMENT - Mahuts as unique tech

I don’t understand how Devs thought Medical corps is good enough to make Dravidian elephants work. Its a tech which can only be useful in late game when focus firing and micro does not matter. But elephants are gold sinks and gold is needed exclusively for Siege once you reach imp. If you want elephants to be useful at that stage, you need them to be as powerful as siege. Dravidians don’t get husbandry which means their elephants @ 0.9 tps are not even as fast as ‘hand cart - villagers’ and foot archers @ 0.96. Practically, villagers can outrun them and archers\skirms can kite them to death. Mahuts which gives 30% speed boost will be more applicable for Dravidian elephants than any other civ’s elephants.
In the past, Khmer faster battle elephants were a nightmare to balance. But there were always options such as scorpions whose bonus damage against elephants could have been buffed and made as a triangular counter system. But the devs never took that effort to make Elephants a meta unit. They did not improve utility of scorpions to give them niche roles. They keep fiddling with price of elephants and scorpion upgrades to make them useful units. For starters, +2 against cav for scorpions will help them become mangonel body guards against cavalry as well as end up with +8 against elephants. But both elephants and scorpions in current state are unfinished designs. This underdeveloped Elephant design is a meta unit for Dravidians which benefits from both of their unique techs and yet remain useless. So I think ‘Mahuts’ as a tech and ‘Bloodlines’ added to tech tree can help Dravidian civ design overcome lack of Knights.

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I thought they move at 1 only. Maybe buff it to 1.1 then

My point is, in this game no source of pop space increases pop space by a value not divisible by 5

We’ve all tried so many suggestions, new bonuses for their military, economy etc. Devs have taken those suggestions into new infantry civilizations. So lets stop and take a step back. Lets ignore the civ for now. Eventually after reworking many other civs and unit lines, devs will see this civ remains abysmal and unused. Some random 147553 patch in 2027 might see a strong buff for Dravidians which makes them a decent civ.


The fix to the Dravidians should give their Battle Elephants a niche, and tweaks to Urumi to give Champions a chance to be used.

Funny story - I played a 6-hour FFA Earth game as the Aztecs against 7 AI players. I initially settled in Africa, but I was close to the Japanese and was eventually invaded by the Mongols. After making some futile attempts to colonize elsewhere, I ended up settling in Australia, the only landmass no one else had discovered. I started having wood and gold shortages and wanted to eliminate one player for the resources, so I ventured to South America to get rid of the Dravidians.

To make a long story (and long game) short, after many attempts at starting a base, trading with Dravidian Docks, and trying to wipe out their army, I realized there was simply no way my units could ever beat their units. They had the perfect counters to my skirmishers, Urumis could counter the Pikemen, and I never had enough Jags to be able to take out the Urumis. After a very long and very fruitless game, I ended up resigning because there was absolutely no way I was ever going to beat them. The Aztec navy sucks as well, and without any Cannon Galleon equivalent, I had no means of taking out the Castles protecting their shoreline.

Left alone, the Dravidians hard counter the Aztecs.

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Pop space 1 is a solid integer. We have lot of worse rounding offs in AOE2.

Yeah! But the last buff meant they are looking to fix the civ. But can’t seem to get it right. They are fixing complaints you had raised regarding cost of ‘woots steel’ 2 years back. Remember you had compained that woots steel was costlier than garland wars and yet provided similar benefit. So its better if we are vocal now to have fixes ready over the next 2 years.

Thats why I suggested to give ‘Mahuts’ to Dravidians in place of useless ‘medical corps’.

In land maps too, Dravidians can counter meso civs since they don’t get powerspike of cavalry in castle age.

I think these changes below are non-controversial and easy to implement for Dravidians.

Please provide constructive feedback and will update first post.

I don’t think +30% speed is enough to make them viable.
The BEs are still fragile and expensive units. On the other hand, it would buff EAs too much.

Yes but they also gave away the proposed infantry bonuses to new infantry civs. I do believe they’ll make proper adjustments to this civ but it will take a very long time. In the meanwhile, most of the other new ideas will be used for new or other existing infantry civs. Like Double effect from blacksmith attack might go to a new civ.

Btw double the attack on all ships is a bit OP even though its only relevant in the niche settings where Dravidians are good. Maybe that can be infantry, cavalry and thirisadai.

EAs will have the same DPS with 30% speed boost or even 100% speed boost. Dravidians EAs will not play any better in black forest using their speed. So present gameplay will not be affected. My suggestion would be to buff scorpions with more bonus damage for ‘war elephant’ armour class as a cost effective counter for all elephants. On the other hand for Dravidians, EAs with speed makes the unit viable for all map types. A speed boost will allow EAs to run away from E skirms. They can’t heal without medical corps. But still survive to fight another time once more numbers are added. They can raid like a slower version of cavalry archers for Dravidians who need such a capability for map control.

On the question of Dravidian Battle elephants which lack so many upgrades. Dravidian battle elephants fully upgraded with wootz still lose to all elephant civs. Here is the link. So a speed boost will allow them to run away from fights despite being squishy. Adding bloodlines after ‘medical corps’ removal will not boost their endurance especially without elite upgrade and last armour. But it will allow them to do some role that Knights currently do for other civs.

BEs are only expensive by 20 food compared to EAs. Once your economy is set for late game, 20 food is nothing. You can spam all 3 elephant types after 30% speed boost and use it like a hail Mary move with some clear chances of success.


Ships might become OP. That was why I nerfed the ‘team bonus’. The current bonus allows the civ and its team-mates to freely spam on water maps such as migration to take a hefty lead. It hides obvious flaws in the civ due to that. I think even slav ‘team bonus’ is definitely OP. But Devs gave Dravidians a siege discount when what was needed was more powerful options/units against siege and monks. If ‘medical corps’ was not there, there is clear justification to add ‘Bloodlines’ to tech tree and let ‘light cav’ take the role of Siege and monk counter. The double effect from backsmith attack upgrade should have definitely helped. The least that could have been made was extending the ‘barrack tech 50% discount’ to ‘Blacksmith attack upgrades’ as well. At least light cav and archers would have had a timing advantage in castle age. But a Siege discount was introduced and just prolonged the agony the civ suffers due to monk+mangonel pushes. If not for the new tech ‘Devotion’, the civ would have hit rock bottom now. The civ lacks many options which are part of the natural counter system in AOE2.

Imho the wood discount on siege is an extremely good discount, But it should have gone to a new civ and Dravidians should have been fixed by making their light cav viable in castle age against siege and monks. Without Bloodlines, they just die like flies to E skirms.