Every military unit behaves worse in DE

Why are military mechanics so different in DE? AoC gave the devs a perfect path to how military unit mechanics should work, and they made small tweaks that completely unbalanced a delicate and nuanced rock-paper-scissors dynamic. Here’s a list:

  • Knights and scouts should move through archer units like water, and yet due to the ridiculous bumping mechanics, it’s often better to attack archer-line units with 5 knights instead of 10. AoC wasn’t perfect with bumping, but DE makes it nearly useless to make knights in 1v1 matches.

  • Cavalry archers: They’re faster, more expensive and have more HP than xbows. Unless you have a ball of archers large enough to one-shot the CA, CA should win small-to-medium size matchups decisively against crossbows (and for 20 years they did). Now, their enormous hit boxes cause them to bump into eachother, their rate of fire is either slower, their firing animation is slower, or something is different because stop-microing them is a recipe for failure. Much like knights, it’s useless to make them in 1v1 when your opponent goes xbow. Even with husbandry, ballistics and thumbring, they just aren’t worth the cost (even as huns) because crossbows mow them down.

  • Archers/Crossbows: it might sound strange that I’m listing these here because by all accounts a ball of xbows is completely OP against pretty much every unit in castle age, but they make the list because their accuracy when firing at moving units in feudal age/pre-ballistics castle is terrible. Villagers that are running in line with arrow fire evade damage 100% of the time, when in AoC those arrows landed. The same holds true for 45 degree angle movement where in AoC those arrows sometimes landed when firing against a single unit. Now they never do. You no longer have to move units laterally to avoid taking fire, you can move them in a straight line as you run to garrison in your TC without fear of any of those arrows hitting their mark. It makes feudal age warfare far less effective, and given DE’s abject fear of giving someone a bad or hilly map, or a woodline that is anything less than stellar, an aggressive feudal age is complete folly.

All of these deviations from previous versions of Age of Empires have created a less nuanced and less fun military experience. The game is almost purely about macro now, with this great funneling of meta into crossbow civilizations and an incentive to get to Castle age quickly in order to skip the early game where military is now practically useless.

Devs, if you have one takeaway from this post, please make it the archer/xbow death ball. Archers are supposed to die when melee/cavalry units descend on them. Realistically, a group of giant horses or heavily armored men would never bump off of a few archers; they’d run them right over. Make the archer-line hit boxes smaller because the death ball is no fun at all.


I’m not so sure about Archers. I’m a micro addict and it’s much easier to get a kill with archers on de than it was the case with aoc. In other words, it’s much harder to dodge enemy archers in feudal and castle age.

It’s the multiple targets & multiple arrows effect. It’s also the reason why it feels like TCs have ballistics in dark age. However, if your archers are firing at a single villager, it’s way easier to dodge.

I’m not a fan of the way AOE always forced unit groups to move in formation so knights would slow down to a snails pace if a slow Siege Ram or monk is selected along side the Knights.

Wish you could disable this, it makes the armies march cool, but kills micro if a projectile is seconds away from hitting units grouped up in formation.

1 Like

That’s not really a change in DE mechanics though; it’s always been that way. I also think it should be that way, otherwise you’d never be able to get units which move at different speeds to move together.

I know, but moving together is a double edged sword.

I’ve had armies wiped out because they dodge oncoming projectiles slowly together in formation, you have at most 2 seconds to save 40 units from a tsunami of onager projectiles.

It almost discourages micro’ing for me, Ive seen people spam unit formations to dodge things, but it seems very random to me. It’s hard to develop a strategy for it.

Try putting different unit types to different hotkey #s perhaps

After several months of playing this game i have to agree on most parts, conqs have worse accuracy than arambais, cav archer simply doesn’t fire at time even when you perform hit and run like always they don’t shoot it takes 3 steps instead of 2, that is how big their delay is, xbow shoot immediately making those engagements worse for the CA, only mangudai and kipchak doesn’t seems to be affected due their rate of fire and less delay.

I don’t think it is only archers missing in feudal in low number, conqs fail even if the target is 2 tiles of distance, just a little of angle to the sides and they fail.

Knights are only good in large numbers as support in team games but in 1x1 they lose to xbow given how easy is to micro them and how poor knights attack them trying to surround them.

I have read they didn’t change the hit boxes and some other guys like OP claiming they changed it, so i would like to hear something from the devs, cause i have seen melee units and even wolfs hitting despite they are no longer in range, which could be explained if the hitbox got bigger or if the melee units have small range.