English: Design vs Reality

Hi there, just made an account to share some conclusions from a fruitful discussion on English from Steam Forums.

  1. There is a paradox with English - designed to be a defensive powerhouse, best fit for booming, instead they have to be an aggressive warmonger with feudal all-ins and ram pushes. This makes them one-dimensional, and their current implementation problematic.

  2. There are several reasons as to this dichotomy:

  • English get an incredible power spike in feudal due to how Council Hall currently works;
  • said power spike is their only one, they quickly fall off to have average and trivial units in castle and especially imperial, having to rely on Network of Citadels to win their fights;
  • English feudal economy is average, with farming boni irrelevant early game, as such trying to boom early is suboptimal for English, as many civs will simply outboom them while also enjoying a better late game;
  1. English feudal landmarks need addressing:
  • Council Hall should ideally be redesigned entirely: unlike School of Cavalry that produces cavalry and Chamber of Commerce that boosts our… well, commerce, it makes no sense for Council Hall to be spitting out longbowmen - instead, it should be turned into Economic Landmark, intended to give English better feudal economy and support their booming.
  • Abbey of Kings is good on paper, but is awfully limited/weak, especially compared to the other option. It could benefit from a buff focused on creating a defensive strongpoint - maybe it could also inspire nearby units, granting them armor or something.
  1. English longbowmen should be redesigned:
  • the relatively novel game design decision of “ranged don’t counter siege” (we can still see them doing so in Norman campaign) hurts longbowmen in particular (with English overreliant on them) in that they simply don’t get a role late game, when everyone fields either knights or m@a or siege, with longbows woefully ineffective against either;
  • consequentially, many English players abandon investing into longbows and their upgrades entirely, swearing by crossbowmen instead, especially since those got much better in 8324;
  • a proposed remedy is to go the same way Crusader Kings III did about it and indulge the fantasy that longbowmen are a counter to heavy class. Longbowmen don’t really need extra damage to be good against spearmen, while extra damage to knights and m@a (as blacksmith upgrade in imperial?) would give them an edge and more agency in the late game (alternatively, I guess they could benefit from major bonus damage to spearmen and minor bonus damage to heavy - the idea that a certain unit can be a counter to two kinds of units at the same time is interesting to explore).

For longbows, the Imperial tech should give them bonus vs. heavy, but also a gold cost similar to the Chinese dynasty units. Their main advantage should be against spearmen, but letting them do double-duty as a decent unit against knights and MAA would give them a role late-game.


Then the longbowmen will face an increase in cost. Since they are making them both light and heavy unit counters. But it will never happen.
Longbows are trash units that cost food and wood. This is why they go for light units.

I think what England needs is some kind of wall landmark in the Feudal age that actually boosts their defense etc. For instance, if the units are near a wall or on top of it, they get an extra 15%HP or 40% decrease in stone wall price.


They need to fix the ribauld. The recent patch changes aren’t going to make it viable.
The only value you get out of the ribauld is against the AI, because it’s dumb.

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In reality (the 100 years war) the English longbowmen where very effective against knights and heavily armored infantry. This is how the battles of Crécy and Azincourt were won. On that point, AoE4 is not historically accurate.

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I’ve been saying this for a long time and I’ll say it again. Landmarks in their current state are insanely imbalanced across all factions. From “this landmark is 99% of the time better than the other option” to (e.g) "English/French age2 landmark is insanely powerful(emphasis here on English Council Hall) making the civ insanely aggressive and just outright more powerful in that age than any other civ. Guild Hall also deserves an honorable mention. Meanwhile Chineese get a a scuffed outpost of a landmark? These are just examples…

For the English specifically, the reason why they are so stupidly aggressive is because Council Hall works at the power of 2 archery ranges combined, meaning you can save that 300 wood from building the archery ranges and immediately put them into longbows and visit enemy base at 5-6 minutes of the game with a handful of longbowmen which harass and actually kill vills from a stupid range(the fact that they outrange outposts is insane to me). You actually never have to build any archery ranges and if you keep massing the longbows you can snowball that mass into an unstoppable ram push(with some spears to back it up) - that’s the scenario for English vs any civ almost 90% of the time.

Check out some of Hera’s games with English. Longbow scale extremely well, so one does not need to go allin feudal


some interestings points here.

where do you get this idea? they arent. they werent meant to be. you are expecting something that was never intended. they have defensive bonuses. thats it.

some good points, although i would disagree on a couple things. the abbey is garbage, even on paper

if we are going to give english an eco landmark it should be this one, remember each civ has 3 “traits” and each landmark usually encourages a different playstyle. changing the hall to eco, and leaving abbey as a healer force eng into the same “trait” regardless of which landmark they take

i would simply tone down the CH, to something like 50% instead of 100% workrate, and allow it to produce xbows in castle age. the AoK could keep it’s healing aura, and maybe give it some other eco buff as well

with regards to the “defensive” trait: 2 out of 6 landmarks are castles. the other 1 is a TC. they have network of castles

you literally said it yourself they rely on NoC to win fights… that is a defensive advantage

defensive =/= boomy

you can play defensively AND boom, but they are not the same thing

then the issue is not the longbow, it is the units the longbow should be killing are possibly not good enough, or the counter to those units is too good(using mangos instead of LBs). longbows should be used until the end of the game to kill spears (which are countering your knights) and to kill xbows (countering your MAA/knights)

if you arent using LBs to do that, it doesnt mean there is an issue with LBs, it means there is an issue elsewhere

LBs shouldnt be the end all to every situation, and by adding bonus damage to heavy they literally counter everything in the game except siege, that is dumb AF and creates arguably the most boring balance in the history of games (besides volks spam in early COH2 days)

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Some interesting thoughts to reflect upon.

This is currently what Chinese gets aplenty, even though they technically aren’t a “defensive” civ. Chinese flavor of defense is based around solid 9k hp walls that repair itself, while English defense hinges on having a decent army right now. And this is problematic, as they only get a single (and niche at that) unique unit, an upgrade to m@a and then an upgrade to trebuchets, which tries to make them to cosplay mangonels, yet fails miserably.

English siege is trivial, and it hurts them greatly late game. While they do have those semi-unique ribaldequins, it is very hard to get any value out of those, to the points you’re better off sticking to mangonels. Ribaldequin is likely supposed to be a direct upgrade over mangonel - a superior blob counter - but it just doesn’t work that way in the game right now.

Whether longbows were actually able to pierce heavy armor is something to discuss. However, we can all agree they could deal a lot of damage to horses, getting a knight out of action this way - which is obviously not in the game. Disabling tracks from Company of Heroes comes to mind. Long story short, I feel a minor boost to heavy would make sense for them.

What we also should consider is that some landmarks shine in team games (Chamber of Commerce, Trade Wing), which usually gets overlooked with how everyone’s preoccupied with 1v1 competitive scene.

I feel this is when civ design went wrong. This ability was very likely designed as a defensive tool - you see you are being rushed - you react by spawning some longbows quickly. However, this was entirely repurposed and weaponized for feudal all-ins and ram pushes. The reason for this is combination of rams + longbows is absurdly powerful early on. Rams can only be countered by a very limited choice of units, all of which are themselves countered by longbows. Later on this is no longer possible due to how much ranged armor gets amassed on knights and m@a, but early? They just get sniped.

In my experience, in imperial they are barely passable, and that’s with Citadels and Volley on. Late game is dominated by siege and heavy class, and crossbows and handguns feel like a direct upgrade over longbows at that point.

Spears… problem is, do you often see spears built when you’re playing English? Castle and imperial I mean, I get it some civs have to build them before, for the lack of better options (and even then). Spears are a counter to cavalry, which you are not likely to ever build as English:

  • your cavalry is absolutely average, with no distinct boni
  • you have no real need to build cav, as archers are never an issue for you
  • you’d rather build m@a than knights because of Armor Clad
  • the whole defensive playstyle around Network means you are at the strongest when your crossbows are firing from a stone wall… cavalry generally has little place in sieges.

All this points usually mean that longbows get used in many roles, but surely not to counter spears. During feudal, they are very much able to perform as a generalist unit, due to generally low ranged armor at that point. But later on they become pretty much like Zhuge Nu.

On the contrary, back in the days of Stress Test I recall reading Insiders’ opinions here that English is a defensive civ, best fit for booming, and not fit for early aggression. I mean, you can go and harrass some vills with longbows early if that’s your thing, but this doesn’t feel nor make sense as their intended playstyle.

Which is why they need to fix it. It’s a unit that is in the game, and it is dead.
Without ribauld, the English late game army is very vanilla and lacks identity, and it’s artillery is substandard.
Fix ribauld and improve several issues at once.

If they can’t fix it, then remove it from the game, and give them something else that doesn’t feel generic and can trade properly, and switches up the playstyle a bit.

English problem are that if you don’t win with LB rush in feudal, you are fu***.

The longbow scale is just pasable. But is useless vs siege and armored units, so 3 and 4 ages are the hell for English.

English siege is bad. Maybe the worst.

The eco bonus are bad. Very VERY bad. And the gold from farms comes in 4… Too late

The LB need a buff. Maybe some minor bonus vs infantery in general. Or maybe vs siege.

Also the treb bonus is like a bad joke xD