Feedback on PUP China Changes

(This post has been crossposted from the Steam AOE4 PUP Feedback Forums)


I am a 1400-1450 elo 1v1 player, who’s played over 800 games at this point, 90% of which have been with Chinese. I thought that I’d provide my thoughts on the Chinese balance changes in the PUP, which I’ve played about 5 Quick Match games on, since the PUP is going to close and the changes are going to be finalized soon.

Now, when I first read the PUP notes, I thought that the changes were going to be terrible for China. After playing with them for a bit, I no longer think that they are too bad. The nerfed Song granaries, for example, actually feel quite nice to use now. But there are a few changes that I think the devs should remove from the Spring Update. These are:
Ancient Techniques cost increase
Village cost increase
IO cost change
IO buildtime increase.

On the first two, I just think these are unnecessary nerfs that lower the power level of already well-balanced aspects of the civ. Ancient Techniques was never overpowered, and neither would three 100-wood villages be, even if you get them from the start now. But I want to focus on the IO changes.

I will start, by noting, that I agree with the IO supervision nerf - 200% was, frankly, a stupidly high boost, and unhealthy design. Was it overpowered? Not in the context of China’s power level as a whole. But it definitely wasn’t a good design.
However, the cost and build-speed nerfs are absolutely egregious, and should not be in the Spring update.

The cost change forces China to mine gold in Dark Age. Previously, it was viable for China to get to Feudal just through taxes. This decreases the variety of builds that the civ can do. For example, in the current patch I have a very fast 2TC Song build that gets the second TC basically immediately after hitting feudal, thanks to the fact that I can mine stone instead of gold in the Dark Age. That build is no longer viable in the PUP, thanks to the IO change. The IO should continue to only cost food.

The buildspeed change massively hurts China in the early game, where it is already weak. It means, by getting your 4 imperial officials (which you still want to get because they are a core bonus of playing China), you are now down 2 workers compared to the current patch (and more if you don’t get all 4 IO’s before Song). 2 workers may not seem like a lot, but just to compare, Abbasid Fresh foodstuffs is the equivalent of 2 free food workers per TC you have constantly producing. The pre-nerf Mongol Ovoo provided the equivalent of 2.5 workers of additional resources. Just losing 2 workers for free is actually a massive slowdown to the civ’s economy. And this hurts China in Dark and Feudal, where the civ is already weak. Making the weak points of a civ even weaker is not a healthy direction to take the civ, especially because China is not by any means overpowered at this time.
A second effect of the buildspeed nerf is that it means the IO can no longer supervise the first food turn-in in your standard IO first build. This essentially means that China has 12 less food after the first turn in - a minor, but not negligible, amount. Again, all this does is slow down the Chinese feudal, weakening the civ where it is already weak.

In summary, while I think the rest of the China changes are decent, the IO buildspeed and cost changes should not be in the final Spring Update. And the Ancient Techniques and Village nerfs are unnecessary.

I do, though, want to end off by thanking the devs for their hard work and continued efforts to make AOE4 a better, more complete game. I do think that the game overall will be in a very good state after the Spring Update, especially with modding and Ranked now available

EDIT: I did have another idea on changes they could make that would address the IO buildspeed nerf (which I think is the worst of the changes).Namely:
IO buildspeed is affected by Song Dynasty (which should cause it to take 20 seconds to build)
Imperial Academy can now produce IO’s


I agree on your points about IO, especially training them cost gold is too bad. Or maybe at least give china extra 50 gold at the beginning.

I cannot agree with you on Song granaries. Sorry, I like talking numbers. 10% faster gathering rates on paper will give you, at most, 8% actual increase on food from farms. Let’s optimistically say a vil gather 50 food a min from a farm then, building a granary give you extra 4 food/min per farm. At that time, let’s say you have 8 farms on average, its payback time is 250/32=7.8min. You need 13 farms to reduce the payback time to 5 min, and you need a huge space to do that. Not to mention you still need the woods for farms, gathering food to granaries increases walking time even you build all farms next to it, and you cannot gather food under the TC to get better protection. This is not a good investment at all.

I think it should cost no more than 150, and it shall also be able to garrison vils like a village. Also, since deer hunting now gathering food much faster, to encourage chinese go farming road, we should also reduce chinese farm cost a bit.


If I was in charge of balance, I would have left the granaries at 15% farming boost for 250 wood, and then nerfed if they caused China to be too strong. So I agree with you that on paper, granaries don’t seem worth it. I just want to say that, from my 5 games with China on the PUP, granaries in Song did feel quite nice to use.

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I totally agree with him that the cost of granary should be no more than 150. Actually 150 is still a little bit high for me if there’s no extra function. The reason why you don’t feel the problem is probably that it just doesn’t that matter to your development. Granary may not be the cumbrance of Song Dynasty, but it’s never a benefit

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Good feedback. All changes may not apply for Season 1.

Good feedback.I am also think Pagoda’s nerf is not necessary. YUAN dynasty is too slow,so Pagoda is no need repeated nerf.


TIER LIST & N4C , and Season 1 Patch Notes by Aussie_Drongo


The IO nerfs are absolutely crippling. They must not go live. How can anyone justify buffs like +50 starting wood to English whilse simulatenously nerfing Chinese?

Don’t forget HRE had their Prelates buffed, Abbasid and Delhi had their Berry gathe rate increased by a ton, Mongols have the Ovoo, Rus don’t need to mine any gold and get scouts while training villagers, French saves 25 gold on each mill and ressource drop off point.

The Granaries do not feel good at all. They are a huge trap. This 10% is never a real 10% in practice. Because of villager walking time. It is always less and the more gather rate you add on farms, the worse it becomes. 250 wood per granary is a scam and it never should have been reduced. It should be 15% for 150 wood. Then it will be impactful. But less than 10% for 250 wood is a terrible deal for such a big upfront investment.

The rest of the Chinese changes are what should have been since closed beta and stress test. We urged the developers to make these changes in our survey and in the forums back then. Them being released now is very late. But realeasing them now and then simulatenously nerfing Chinese and buffing other civs? Thats just terrible.


My guess of the IO nerf is to slow down Chinese’s age2 time, so stone wall tower rush isn’t so broken.

However, it is stone wall tower itself op… that’s why n4c and golden league banned it (and age2 stone wall too).

I don’t want to see changes that affects build order a lot, as I don’t want to remake all my build order again.

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I did not know that granaries were useless. I recall that granaries used to require villagers to walk from the farm to the center of the granary and that extra walk time made them less efficient. However, I thought that was fixed with one of the earlier patches.

If the fast Age2 time is the issue, then perhaps the devs need to make the IO tax and influence abilities scale with each advancing Age. There seems to be several broken/busted/abused mechanics that may be fixed by scaling.

For example, are stone walls and towers broken only as an offensive strategy or also when built defensively? If stone walls/towers are just busted as an offensive strategy, then maybe you can scale the build times of stone walls/towers as you get further from your home TC. This would also work to curb abuse of other civs’ tower rush (i.e. Mongol).

On a different note: is there a hotkey to cycle IOs specifically? Right now, they are lumped in with villagers. Monks and scouts have a dedicated key, but I found that pre-PUP, using control group numbers on individual IOs took up limited control groups.

the Chinese is not in third place by 4 tenths

The Warning on the top is so accurate there :))