Experimental balance mod

I’ve made a mod which implements many balance changes which have been discussed on this forum, as well as a number of changes which haven’t been discussed yet.

Included are eg an Italian re-balance (couples with a Vikings rebalance as suggested by @Sylux1000 iirc) and genitours given to Spanish and Portuguese

I’m having trouble uploading the mod because I run Linux on my PC. Would anyone be willing to help upload the mod? It’s a fairly straightforward process, just putting a empires2_x2_p1.dat file in mods/local/PCsExperimentalBalance/resources/_common/dat to make a local mod, then testing it runs and using the ingame menu. (For me only the ingame menu is broken, and uploading via the website doesn’t seem to work.)

I’d be interested in playing games against humans to test eg the new water balance, Cumans, and Camels. Italians felt fine playing against the AI (Teutons on a hybrid map) but that doesn’t really tell enough.

The list of changes made in the mod can be found in the file below. All changes have some thought put into them (though some more than others) and just because I’ve implemented something doesn’t mean i’m 100% sure it’s a good idea. (They’re just things I consider worth testing, because they try to fix an aspect of the game which bugs me.)

changelog_win.txt (6.3 KB)

I think I have successfully uploaded the mod now. If anyone could check “PCs Experimental Balance Mod” and report how it looks&runs I would appreciate it a lot.

Also this thread can stay open for theorycrafting :stuck_out_tongue:

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I rly like that Ethiopian change. Lose squrres and gain fee halbs again.

Also Berner team bonus faster Villa so that genitours are a regional unit, great idea!


A lot of those changes looks so abrupt


Ethiopians already had free halbs and it was busted.

Many of these changes are absurd and all over the place though. If youre going to make camels more of a generalist unit, and greatly increase their dps, their cost and training time need to be increased.

Indians are overbuffed by a significant amount even with your increased age up (which amounts to 230 extra food and 100 extra gold).

I’m not even going to go over your other changes, but if this went live id quit aoe2 until it was fixed

2 pop units? Nerfed everything?
Why are champs being buffed against spears? They already trash them as is


I hate almost each and every change listed there. Byz free town patrol makes sense, making vill bonus only apply after the TC is build makes sense for Nomad, the Italian change could work, but almost everything else is horrible.

If you think leitis are OP, why leaving them cheaper gold wise than knight while making Lith monks the best relic hunters ever would make any sense to you??

Why remove squires from Eth without compensation for shotels?

Why remove bloodlines from Viet, which would kill their knights and CA and overall reduce the civ’s versatility? I’d rather have currents viet than slightly better eles but on an archer+eles civ every game civ.

And the pike/halb rework is complete and utter bs, I’m sorry but a spearman with +1 range will fold to any decent castle age cav unless you wasted your whole eco getting pop capped with them.


What is the point of rebalancing pike and halb?
Are they OP? No.
Are they useless? No.
Do they create unfair situations with no counter? No.
Balance is not measured in how many changes you introduce.

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Some changes are too radical, for example Chinese can’t lose hand cart, that a tech that anybody gets, and aztecs losing 2 farming techs, let’s cancel their bonus at this point?

Also, GC losing 1 atk and dock/age up bonuses to 25/25%? Those are big nerf for a civ that is already weak.

Mayans would simply not worth anymore, and you would nerf vikings bonus but they would still be without fire ships.

I’m sorry but that’s seem to much in general…


Not sure what to think of the fact that the original question has been ignored, and we’re talking about the balance changes, but I’ll explain the reasoning for the points that have been brought up:

The changes are quite large (you could also say “abrupt” or “brutalist”) because I want to be sure I can feel what kind of effect they have in a game. In many cases I have erred on the side of changing too much rather then too little, in the hope I’ll be able to determine whether effects need to be toned down or reverted altogether. I concede this might not be wise if I also want other people to try the mod.

Ethiopians getting free Halb might be busted. Apparently you know this from experience. I’m afraid I’ll have to find out from my own experience.

Indians deserve a modest buff for 1v1s imo. Imp camel has been changed less then Heavy camel, and seeing how much I’m changing camels I’m completely unsure whether they’re too strong or too weak. It’s true camels received large stat boosts, but they received an incredible nerf to their bonus damage. Depending on how they play out they may need a nerf, or maybe Heavy camel will need +1PA. I think the camel rework will effect Indians more than access to BE, but I’m willing to be proven wrong.
The +10% age-up practically cancels out the vill discount until you’ve reached castle age. I’ve tried Indians and they did not feel strong in my hands.

Champs are being buffed against spears because spears get +1 range, and I thought it could make spears too good against infantry units. Pikes and Halbs get +1 range for the sake of immersion. It may not be important to everyone, but immersion is important to me.
+1 range Pikes is another change which is hard to balance. I suspect that in the current incarnation Pikes are too weak and Halbs are too strong. I had not realised before making this mod that Spears<<<<<Pikes<<Halbs. I left Pikes&Halbs in their current form because it’s easy to describe and I don’t have particularly good insight into the stats they should have to be balanced.

Maybe Lith have been overbuffed here, maybe not. I’ve seen someone else argue that +2 free monk techs wouldn’t be enough to compensate for increasing the Leitis price. (The free tech in Imp is more for flavour than an actual civ buff.)

I wasn’t sure whether Shotels would need a buff. They’ll still be the fastest infantry unit Ethiopians can make :slight_smile:

Bloodlines has not been removed from Viet, the very bottom of the changelog are “changes I’m considering, not sure yet”

The GC had it’s TT decreased to 11, making it an actually functional counter-unit to cavalry. And this isn’t just theory-crafting, I can say this from actual game play experience (against AI admittedly). On land the only other Italians change is the age-up discount increase. I decided on this magnitude because I didn’t want to over-shadow the Lithuanian eco bonus.

In the water, Italians are significantly weaker, though they do now have discounted demo ships :slight_smile: Their main rival, the Vikings, are also significantly weaker, with long-boats now costing more than other civs galleys. Vikings will have to rely on free handcart + mobile navy to win.
I am worried that Koreans might be the new top-dog navy civ (especially since the Turtle ships are buffed into usefulness), but only a game between humans can tell whether that’s actually the case.

For the top civ nerfs, I only saw a handful of unique options:

  • vills more expensive
  • age-up more expensive
  • lose conscription
  • lose gold mining & beyond
  • lose stone mining & beyond
  • lose bow saw and beyond
  • lose heavy plow & beyond
  • lose handcart

In my estimation, the final eco upgrades don’t really matter much, in particular you can do fine without the shaft mining upgrades or crop rotation.
It’s possible that Age is more finely balanced than I’d thought and any one of these nerfs would reduce an S-tier civ below C-tier. If this turns out to be the case they will of course be removed from the mod. @MatCauthon3 happy I’m at least trying to nerf the top civs? :wink:
Could anyone suggest more gentle alternatives if these nerfs proof too fierce?

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If you wanna do that, then why do you give them eles (not really a 1v1 unit) and then give them a downside that ruins their eco bonus? I don’t think even making camels knights wannabe would save them from suffering in 1v1s

Btw if you wanna change camels that much, why make them more like knights when their whole point is being anti-cav? I suppose it would help Indian and Sarracen but pretty much every other camel civ will end up with a redundant unit.

Well if you go down this road, you’re not going to enjoy the game for long. Why do SL get +1 range but not leitis? Why do crossbowmen fire so fast? Speaking of which, why do Spanish can’t produce them but Aztec can? Why do Huns and Teutons have the same builings?

Kamayuks do kind of OK against champs, but they have 8 base attack, while pike only deal 4. Halbs are halfway through these two and the wood cost might make them too good. But that’s still quite a lot of trouble for not much really.

Depends on which tech would be given, but tbh all castle age monk techs are pretty good, and those two synergize too well with oth the Lith relic bonus and the monastery speed boost.

They already lack champs as a compensation, they don’t deserve to be nerfed.

Well, I hope civ versatility is something you care about then.

I’m pretty much sure even if the GC had its TT doubled u could still win with them against AI (tho with these changes I would hate being a cav/CA civ against Italians even more 11)

I think AoE2 isn’t about giving civ anti-bonuses and that those should be kept to a minimum. Mayan, Chinese and Khmer should remain exceptions in that regard.

If those are techs shared by all civs, it’s because they are pretty much a requirement for the game to be playable.

It’s true, but you will still have to use more villagers to gather as efficiently as a civ that has those techs.


Some interesting thoughts.
I might agree with some of them, but I doubt I’ll change the mod before playing a few games with it.

Re Camels: I think a unit which has a somewhat good matchup against knights and a somewhat bad matchup against archers is better design then a unit which is incredibly good against knights and incredibly bad against archers.
In other words, I don’t like the fact that currently the “whole point [of camels] is being anti-cav”. When there are 4-5 civs who are at least partially defined by “good camels” and in principle their best cav option in post-imp is camels, currently these civs just feel bad (to me). Sometimes you get a civ-win, which doesn’t make it feel any better (to me).

Re Indians: You could say I made them trash on purpose. With @MatCauthon3 and @JonOli12 around proclaiming “Indians can’t ever have BE and a vill discount or they’ll become OP”, I’m very hesitant to make Indians good. Maybe when these 2 have found that they get completely trashed playing the new Indians I can buff them again without facing 2 extremely vocal&spammy nay-sayers.

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and even then they are NOT incredibly good against knights… only the heavy camel is, and only if its fighting vanilla knight line. an ethiopian/byz camel is really nothing to write home about vs frank or teuton knights.

i like the idea of trying to implement such diverse changes, but the reason no one answered your question is i think they think the changes are too radical for them to be willing to upload the mod for you.

im kind of in the same boat. also i dont upload anything anyway.

i think i understand the changes you made with the pike line (it definitely makes sense) as well as the changes to the sword line to counter the now buffed pike line.

people are looking at your changes piece meal and not simultaneously… like how good (for cost)would a slav halb with +1 range be if the sword line wasnt buffed to counter them…

also you are buffing the pike line tremendously while simultenously nerfing cavalry could be problematic(even if we forget halbs)… but i do definitely like the idea of nerfing paladins, they are far too meta in TGs.

but i must say i cant see how you are even considering to buff franks… they are already OP… they really dont need to be buffed when in general you are planning to nerf everyone anyway…

on top of a few weird cases of wanting to nerf weak civs and buff strong ones (like franks)

i agree with things like cactus was saying the ele buff to indians is really counter productive and those types of things… cumans seem to get massively buffed (when they really arent that bad)

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Speaking of which, for some reason they decided to make it so that ranged infantry doesn’t benefit from druzhina anymore. Irrelevant outside of the scenario editor, except for the OP.


I realised there is actually a good reason to nerf the Indian Eco a little, which is that the other Camel civs (Berbers, Saracens, Malians) don’t have very good Eco, and I’d like all the camel civs to become similarly viable in team games. I don’t see how to do that other then making FU camel spam equally powerful and equally hard/easy to reach. That still leaves the problem of Indians often not having good military for the Castle age, and I’m really not sure what to do with Indians. Would granting access to Heavy Camel in the castle age help? Or would that only make things worse?

From my (limited) experience the new Pikes could use a small buff but the new Halbs are approximately the right power level. The attack bonus given to the militia line felt like it was appropriate. That is, the militia line completely trashes the spear line both with and without the mod. I suppose I could use Malay trash vs Frank trash to calibrate the bonus, if anyone cares.

The stats of the baseline Spear/Pike/Halb are below:

spear/ranged pike pike/ranged halb halb
hp 45 55 60
melee 3 4 6
cav 15 25 32
elephants 15 22 28
camels 12 18 26
(fishing) ship 9 16 17
maleluke 4 11 11
eagle/building 1 1 1

What stat buff to ranged Pikes would you suggest?

Druzhina appears to completely negate Pikeman attack. I’ll have to look at fixing it. Thanks for pointing out there might be something funny there.

My idea to buff Franks a little was because I’m reducing the hp of their Paladin from 192 to 158 and I felt bad about nerfing their characteristic unit. I’ve seen the suggestion to take away their Squires which I quite like and plan to implement.

WRT Cumans: I’m trying to compensate for taking away their Paladin, which is tricky. I was hoping that ESL with +20% attack speed, 15% discount and 50% reduced TT would be approximately equal to Paladin. Maybe I should focus on the bigger picture though rather than looking only at the end-game unit.
The TC construction time was reduced because with the current construction time I can’t make the Cuman boom work. Cuman mercenaries was moved to Castle age because getting access to a limited number of Elite UUs would be more unique and fun than the current implementation. In compensation the cost was increased, but if a UT is made useful it’s inevitable it will buff the civ. Cav archers get a 15% discount after UT2 because Cumans have a UT which effects cav archers but they don’t create them anyway because it’s a waste of gold, which I found a bit sad. I was hoping discounted non-FU HCA could be useful without being OP, like Hun HCA. From there on the Hussars had to get a discount for the sake of aesthetics, though I’m not completely happy with it.
I can see why all together it might be an overbuff.

What are the other strange changes where I nerfed a weak civ or buffed a strong civ?

What changes to the mod would make you want to try it out (talking to everyone here)?
Based on the current feedback I’m considering:

  • revert Mayans, Indians, Aztec, Chinese eco nerfs (Khmer’s too if anyone cares to ask, but it didn’t appear to get as much hate)
  • Buff Shotels (speed increase is safest, but other buffs [eg gold discount] could be more exciting, worry is possibly over-buffing Ethiopians)
  • Tatars no longer have Husbandry discounted
  • Reduce Magyar scout bonus damage against buildings
  • Lithuanians no longer get Fervor for free
  • Balance water better. (Suggestions welcome. I just noticed Koreans have Shipwright but Viking do not. Not certain whether that needs to be adressed, but I suspect Koreans need to lose Shipwright.)

BTW the mod is here: https://www.ageofempires.com/mods/details/17255/

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(post deleted by author)

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Monks are less important than other military branches. As an infantry civ, they should not miss halberdier upgrade unless they have civ bonus or Unique tech to compensate it. Missing Halberdier upgrade greatly affect the infantry strength, leaving Celts a big hole for cavalry raiding.

For those civ miss halberdier upgrades, they will have a better alternative or just mere strength.
Aztec, Vikings have unique tech for boosting attack of pikeman.
(Garland Wars: infantry +4 atk ; Chieftains: infantry +5 attack against cavalry)
Berbers, Saracens, Malians have superior camels.
(Self-regeneration Camels, Superior HP, fierce atk camels)
Italians have Genoese Crossbowman and Saracens have Mameluke.
Mongols is simply strong in archers, stable and siege. Remove Halberdier for balance.
Poor Turks just don’t have Pikes.

Some infantry civs have bonus but even don’t miss halberdier.
Japanese halberdier attack 33% faster.
Incas have Kamayuk as a stronger version of halberdier. (>GC of Italians and Mameluke of Saracen)
Slavs Halberdiers do trample damage.

Celts only get faster halberdier. The speed is not key to fight cavalry.

Besides, their cavalry has already missed Bloodlines and last cavalry armor upgrades. There is no reason to nerf Celt cavalry.

This is a buff overall. I doubt if Britons need a buff.


Can we please stop going off topic?

This is an experimental balance mod, not intended to change civ identities much.

If you want a mod such as you are describing you can make it yourself, modding is surprisingly easy. Just look up the Advanced Genie Editor 3

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  1. Celts have poor cavalry to begin with, so it’s historically accurate. Completely redesigning civ focus from infantry to monks isn’t justifiable neither for the sake of balance, nor for historical accuracy.
  2. But the Paladin also has French coat of arms on his horse and what seems to me like a white armor, which is Italian in origin. Although I might be wrong on the latter.

Even with the Celt speed bonus, Cavalry is still significantly faster than spear-line. If knight-line and light-cavalry line is raiding, you send spear-line to fight. It’s the cavalry army’s choice to fight or not. You don’t use spear-line to chase cavalry. If spear-line could chase down cavalry, they will be like camel. With the speed of camel but without paying gold, that’s OP. This would not happen at all.

Spear-line role is to counter cavalry raiding but not chase down cavalry. Cavalry needs to take risk if they go ahead to control this area to fight spear-line. Faster atk speed/ extra atk bonus enhance this role as they can kill raiding cavalry faster. Faster-moving does not contribute to faster killing.

Balance is the most prioritized when making changes. Historical identity or features can be implemented without changing the balance. Balance is what makes diverse strategies and possibilities. In other words, balance affects the player’s experience the most. Balance is hence always placed ahead of historical fact.

You’re right you couldn’t have known a priori that i would reject the Celts rework. Sorry I was rude. I got annoyed because I got the impression that you wanted me to spend significantly more effort implementing your Celts rework than you’d put into thinking it through.

I’m still giving the Celts rework a hard no. I’m not doing it.

I’d consider giving Brittons Paladins if there was a consensus that that would improve historical accuracy, and if it could be done in such a way that the unit was mostly useless. I don’t perceive there being such a consensus.
Feel free to make a poll to prove your point, but please not in here.

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Having faster infantry means you give the enemy’s Scouts and Knights less time to escape before getting ensnared by Spear/Pike hits. If the cavalry is trying to get in as many Villager kills as possible, this gives the Spearmen/Pikemen the chance to catch up to them, and especially with a speed bonus, raiding a Celts player in the early game is significantly harder depending on the micro. More mobility means you can get your Spearmen/Pikemen in a favorable position more easily.

The Celts and Britons are already pretty balanced civs as they are, it’s just that they would be more historically accurate if they were better with Monks and cavalry, respectively. It would still be possible for the roster to be diverse if they were reworked to fit those strategies with just the right balancing, but I guess that’s not the focus of this project, so changing them isn’t necessary, I guess.

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