Fast Imperial Age Arbalester Issue

There is a problem that Fast Imperial Arbalester destroy every unit from Castle Age. Only Towers and Castles counter Arbalester, on the other hand, there is no castle age military unit that counter Arbalester (Skirmisher is soft counter at best).

Same imbalance exist for Knight-line. Plate Barding Armor Knight take 1 damage from Castle Age Crossbows and TCs. At least Pikeman counter Imperial Age Knight-Cavalier properly.

I propose to soften these power jump caused by Blacksmith upgrades. What if Imperial Age armor upgrades gives +1/+1 armor instead of +1/+2 and Bracer gives only +1 range without +1 attack. It will change game balance completely. Therefore, I am also asking how much change strength of units missing bracer or last armor uprades like Malians and Celts Arbalesters, Poles, Mongols and Goths Hussar, Poles, Japanese, Bohemians and Koreans Cavalier, Celts Paladin etc…


I agree. It can also indirectly buff Hand Cannoneer which may also make Hand Cannoneer a viable unit


it certainly makes a huge difference to the game, and ultimately flattens out the difference between civs. i dont think this is a good idea

if anything at best, split the damage and range into separate tech, so that the +1/1 damage can still be attained. for example make archer attack upgrades 4 levels

  • 1range/1dmg,+ 1range/1dmg, +1 range, +1 damage. and give/not give the damage to certain civs. and you could “block” the damage by a very long research time.

i think the biggest buff is between them and cumans. their hussar with +30% hp gets a huge buff, and kipchaks get a big dps buff

rather buff it directly


Imo the best “solution” to the x-bow / arb powerspikes would be a change to skirms: Lower armor but higher dps especially vs archers.
And to ofset this change a small buff to the effect of Thumb Ring.

With lower armor but higher dps skirms would be more suitable to still somewhat “counter” xbows/arbs of one age higher, at least with an economical advantage.

The archer line IS NOT OVERPOWERED it’s just that these powerspikes are really, really strong.

Edit: And I have to state that in my opinion these powerspikes were probably intended to make archers competitive against cavalry. It just turns out currently that at high level play people have become too good in using these powerspikes in conjecture with the ability to dodge mangonel shots. Lower levels are still completely dominated by knight civs (on generally open maps ofc).
Also the inclusion of Walls into the general strategy has probably a big impact there, it’s a lot of things that have influence in these effects. The key is to find a good setscrew to fix them.

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The idea of fast Imp is that you go up with lower eco, often you struggle affording all 3 relevant upgrades (Arbalest, Chemistry and Bracer) and must market abuse to get them. Keeping production can also be challenging.

In general, all-in like 5 Stable Cavalier, or mass Towers counter fast Imp into Arbalest pretty well. More often than not, the Arbalest player doesn’t have a Castle to follow up, either.

The game is working as intended, even “super fast Imp” like Saracens with heavy Market abuse or 1 TC Imp is very easily countered by Skirmisher spam.

Learn to scout & adapt.

Hand cannoneers are already viable and used a lot, especially on Arena but occasionally on Arabia too.

I don’t get why people hate so much on Arbalest, Knights are a much more oppressive unit, requiring basically no micro and being able to trade decently into same Age Pikeman-line. Arbalest power spikes are intended to keep the unit viable, that’s the whole point of the unit, if it’s not scary in early Castle and in early Imp, then literally Crossbow is good only at minorly harassing woodlines and that’s it, it dies to about every unit in the game, Skirms, Knights, Mangonels, you name it.

In general the Archer player being up sooner than the Knights player is intended and good design since Knights are both a more versatile and more pop-efficient unit in a 200 pop scenario, yes you often see people win in early Imp with Arbalest, but if they don’t, Arbalest becomes weaker and weaker, while Knights become only stronger as the game goes on.

Like the amount of time I play in 1200-1300 elo, and you get some Berbers spammer flooding 5 Stable Knights, as if that takes any skill, is impressive. Let’s say you get a civ with no Camels, once he reaches critical mass (if he reaches it), it becomes rly hard to stop with Pikeman, you need some 5-6 Barracks shenanigans and if you lose the Pikeman mass in the 1st fight you are 100% dead, you can’t catch up once he is on top of your production.

Like I don’t get how people cry about Arbalest this hard when for 95% of the playerbase Knights are both the more often seen unit and the harder to stop. Crossbow is niche, if you are like 1200 elo and you see opponent massing from 3 Ranges into 60 Crossbow deathball, drop 3 Stables, get +2 armor, get 1-2 Mangonels/Scorpions to prevent 1 tile abuse, and like 30 Knights beat 60 Crossbows fairly decisively.

Stopping Archer all-in in like 1200 elo where people like to make 1 unit type for the whole game is really easy with also 1 unit type all in with Knights (or even Skirms), the Knight player is always favored in this sort of situations.


Not to mention, this sort of thing is true for ALL ages. You should be able to dominate a player behind in Age, otherwise what’s the point of going up?

Imperial Arbs kill Knights and outrange most things, Cavalier/Paladins get tickled by Crossbows, Siege will flatten everything etcetera.

However, Knights eat up Feudal Archers, Mangonels flatten Archers too, Crossbows eat everything… it’s almost as if you’re ahead with techs!

Also, a Fast Imperial sounds like either you have no eco to produce anything that can actually threaten you, or you were simply so passive in not punishing a fast Imperial. You can’t comfortably go to Imp if you’re attacked, and if you do you’ll likely not be able to produce anything as the enemy player controls the map.


Game one

tldr: do damage in castle age, get map control, make defensive castles and wall up

WTF, of course Imp Army is stronger than castle Age Army…

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Yes, of course Imp units should be stronger than Castle Age units but power gap for Crossbow to Arbalest very big. Mangonel which is counter in Castle Age, get heavily countered by Arbalest in Imp. Only castles, towers and softly Skirmishers remain to defense against Arbalest but you can easily meet this with trebuckets. Early Imperial Arbalester isn’t broken sure but it is certain that it is very strong and pros uses very commonly.

I didn’t give this proposal just to nerf Arbalest. I also want units to be useful without Bracer and final armor upgrades. For instance, Goths Hussar is FU except lacking last armor upgrade but lacking last armor upgrade weaken Goths Hussar too much. Weight of strength should be on Barrack, Stable, Archery Range upgrades instead of Blacksmith.

I would rather suggest that armor upgrades and PT are limited to +1/+1 instead of +1/+2 (secondary effect of PT unchanged), while Chemistry loses the attack boost it offers.

This change doesn’t come in isolation but some minor tweaks obviously:

Meso civs, Huns and Cumans lose Chemistry (because it literally doesn’t give a boost).

Rathas +1p armor. This is because PT gave +2p armor, which is now reduced. Much needed buff for Bengalis in Castle Age.

for the time being unique techs offering +1/+2 armor, like Fabric Shields are left unchanged.

Reducing the effect of Blast Furnace is also debatable.

Let’s not forget that imperial age up tech is very expensive and usually people that go fast imp don’t rush, also that only works with some civs and maybe only in closed maps, i can’t think of anyone going fast imp in Arabia. Anyway if the other person is going fast imp, don’t let 'em. Rush, take map control, siege their buildings and raid their woodline so they can’t build stuff.

you say mangonels get countered by arbalester but crossbow doesn’t. That’s true, because mangonel is a Castle Age unit. Onagers on the other hand, counter arbalester pretty well, it’s an Imp upgrade.

There’s a bit trade that the player must consider, either go up to the next age or build more units. the right answer to this depends on how the game is going.

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It’s a big change from tradition, but in my opinion, it’s a good idea.
This should be more conducive to balanced work. Although, whether or not the fast imperial arbalester needs to be balanced may be another matter.

I would also like to have them only affect units since the castle age, designing another range line and attack power line at blacksmith or university dedicated to buildings. At least civilizations with poor archers have a chance to get decent base defenses.

Each technology will also be cheaper and faster to develop than the current ones, but combined, it may take longer and cost more to achieve the same effect.

For example, suppose they are named like this:

  • Range Line:
    Fletching (+1 in II) → Composite Bow (+1 in III) → Bracer (+1 in IV)

  • Archer Attack Line (excluding Chemistry):
    Broadhead Arrow (+1 in II) → Bodkin Arrow (+1 in III) → Steel Bolt (+1 in IV)

If there will be a tech line is designed specifically to improve buildings, techs other than Fletching and Broadhead Arrow will only improve units.

  • Archery Range Techs:
    Quiver (half of faster firing in II), Cranequin (100% accuracy and the other half of fast firing for foot archers in III), Thumb Ring (100% accuracy and the other half of faster firing for cavalry archers in III), Parthian Tactics (unchanged).

The same concept can be applied to the techs at archery ranges. For example, the civ bonus of Tatars can be changed to techs at archery ranges are free but no access Cranequin, Bengalis have no Thumb Ring but can access Quiver and Cranequin.

Maybe we can introduce a tech that could be called Matchlock or Firearm Trigger at blacksmith in the imperial age to improve their rate of fire slightly. They will still be slower than other archer units, but at least become better.

Imho a different solution could be to buff skirmisher as a counter to archer in Imperial Age. Basically a not fully upgrade skirm does not counter arbalest at all.

Skirmisher is still the sole trash unit without an Imperial upgrade, and i believe the sole unit with monks, who are not regular military units

Why not just make Imperial skirmisher a generic unit and change vietnamese team bonus?

i agree. And also for skir, make it like Hand Cannoneer which its damage and range do not affacted by archer.