Fixing the Militia line

TL;DR: The Militia line is very niche and could need some love. Suggestions to increase their viability are down below.

Reading multiple threads on the forums and reddit alike, I think there is major confusion about what role the Milita line occupies. One party is stating they are too weak while Crossbows and Knights are too dominant, others say they have a niche role as trash busters and are no „power unit“ (a unit that is really powerful with low upgrades) and therefore do not really need buffs.

This confusion might stem from the fact, that the barracks is the only military building with no such „power unit“, as opposed to the Knight, Crossbow or Mangonel, while still having a unit that costs gold. The main argument I have read about this discussion is that they, while costing gold, are not included in the main land counter triangle (Crossbows/Knights/Pikemen) and most people don‘t know when to use them except against Eagle Warriors. While it is true, the Militia line has use in Dark Age and early Feudal Age but not in Castle age, only to be seldomly seen in Imperial Age, because other units fulfill their role better. The Militia line does nothing really well while having a lot of technological hurdles to overcome to be effective. In my opinion the Militia line is bad at what they were originally intended to represent: a cheap and easy access multi purpose unit, that can do anything but nothing really well.

While the Militia line has good stats the tech-cost is so high that other options are way more attractive to mass in addition to the inherent weakness of low speed and therefore bad micro-ability.

Even though the Militia line is not a part of the main land counter triangle, this shows how high the technology cost is in Castle Age compared to the other options.

Archers 45g 25w 35 seconds
Fletching 100f 50g
Bodkin Arrow 200f 100g
Crossbowman upgrade 125f 75g (35 seconds)
(Ballistics 200w + 300w 175g) → Ballistics comes with a high wood investment and is usually delayed
TOTAL: 425f 400g 500w

Knights 75f 60g 30 seconds
Bloodlines 150f 100g
Scale Barding Armor 150f
Chain Barding Armor 250f 250g
Husbandry 150f → This technology is usually delayed in favor of two additional knights
TOTAL: 700f 350g

Militia 60f 20g 21 seconds
Man-at-arms upgrade 100f 40g (40 seconds)
Longs swordsman upgrade 200f 65g (45 seconds)
Supplies 150f 100g
Scale Mail Armor 100f
Chain Mail Armor 200f 100g
(Squires 100f) → usually delayed
(Arson 150f 50g) → usually delayed
TOTAL: 1000f 355g

As you can see, the total upgrade cost for the Militia line is significantly higher while also providing less value than Archers or Knights. Even the Skirmisher, Pikeman and Light Cavalry upgrades are more worthwhile than teching into LS, even though more buildings are required.

My ideas to make the Militia line more viable as the multipurpose unit that is easy to mass, yet not a “power unit“ (as discussed in multiple threads already) would be:

  • Militia line cost reduction from 60f 20g → 50f 20g
  • Supplies technology 150f 100g → 100f 100g, Militia line costs -15f → -10f

Comment: Right now the supplies technology has the same cost as Bloodlines while only affecting ONE unit, whereas Bloodlines affects ALL Stable units (up to four) and Unique Cavalry units. This change would encourage the use of the Militia line (for infantry civs) beyond the 3 MAA in the Feudal Age and is more in line with the idea of „cheap allrounder unit that is good in numbers“. This would also bring the discounted Militia line down from 45f 20g to 40f 20g.

  • Long Swordsman technology 200f 65g → 150f 65g

Comment: A cost reduction would bring this tech more in line with the Light Cavalry and Crossbowman upgrade. While the stat boost from MAA to LS is substancial, it is held back by the upgrade time and cost and by the time you have teched two upgrades you are better off by just pumping Knights. The 2HS and Champion upgrade could also be adressed but I don‘t think they are the bottle neck at the moment.

Additional ideas that COULD work but are likely too strong in addition to the other suggestions, but might be useful individually:

  • Creation time 21 seconds → 19 seconds (or even less)

Comment: Another change towards the „easy to mass but weak unit“ idea. This would increase the potential to mass the Militia line as a main army component/supplement or as a quick reaction to produce as a counter unit.

  • Long Swordsman and onwards +0/1 armor

Comment: This is a controversial one because Longswords with 2 pierce armor would be even stronger at what they are already good at: eating TC and other buildings. In addition this would buff 2HS and Champions which are in a good spot in my opinion. This suggestion would push them more into the „power unit“ direction. Also imagine Malian Champs with 9 pierce armor lol.

  • Militia line speed increase 0.9 → 1.0

Comment: A speed increase would unify the barracks units speed and enable the Militia line to close the gap faster to enemy Archers. However this might also make them stronger at what they are already good at: early aggression and rushing enemy buildings. Also keep in mind that Squires or Celt Champions with a movement speed of 1.1 or 1.15 are INCREDIBLY fast and might get out of hand quickly.

Final Comments: I think the Militia line is fine as it is, but the original idea of an all purpose cheap unit kind of disappeared after AOC (maybe because of Bloodlines Knights?). The ideas I suggested might result in a more frequent use of the Militia line (especially LS which need love the most), while not making them OP. I do not claim that these suggestions would fix LS or the Militia line in general and would love to hear your thougts and opinions on the presented ideas :slight_smile:


Agree with all changes except pierce armor (for the reasons you mentioned). I even think the longswordsman upgrade should be free in castle age, so it could incentivize players to produce 1-2 swordsmen in some situations without changing the meta strategies. I think the LS would still rarely be seen.

However we would need to be very careful with such changes because if LS ever becomes a bit too powerful it would drastically change the game ( eg. make infantry civs too strong, or favor xbows even more than it does currently).


I was thinking about the Archer line getting even more use then, but isn’t it better to have a situation where you’d have to switch your units again, because they are being countered?. If you are using LS your economy should be able to support a Knight or Skirmisher switch, or am I wrong? I’d be interested in seeing how this would unfold. Of course this is a risk that should be made aware of. :slight_smile:


In feodal, they are use a bit. Enough to don’t need anything.
In caslte, they are less useful like you explain but I think they don’t need any update.
In Imp, they need big improvment.
I like when you need to switch unit between age, to improve strat.
For big improvment, it could be wonderfull if the upgrade for Two-handed Swordsman is free. Like Eagle or scout when you reach feodal. Or when you reach castle you unlock knight. Or catography is free. There is a lot of free stuff in the game, see all unit who are available with no upgrade, only by going to the next age. The other reason why in castle age militia line isn’t use much it’s because it’s a big investment for not much because when you are in Imp it ask a lot of investment.
I think aoe2 need to try this and see if it’s enough to improve the militia line.

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This is partly right but consider this:

In most pro games / high skill games on Arabia Militia and/or MAA are used by at least one of the players. They fill an important role and are not underused.

Champions on the other hand can be a very powerful lategame unit if you can mass them. They beat most units in value and destroy trash units.

The only time the Militia line is not that useful is in late feudal and castle age.
Now consider we have a rock paper scissors unit type system. Archers best Infantry, infantry beats cavalry and cavalry beats archers… At least to a certain degree…
Now in late feudal, all infantry loses to archers… If you are getting scout rushed it’s always most efficient to build 2 spears in defense (even if you lower the cost of MAA a lot). If you are on the offense Vs Scouts the MAA already win 1v1 right now (no buff needed).

Now, castle age is a different story. But again, on the defense, when defending against Knights, Pikes are the better option (even if you could make cheaper swordsman).
If you are on the offense and want to make infantry you have two options:
Pikes + Siege

Manganols can attack a TC without taking any damage. Swordsmen, no matter how cheap or powerful, will always take damage.

So, while I understand your concern, I don’t think tweaking the price of the Militia line really solves the problem. The problem lies in the function of the Swordsman, not it’s cost…


you have some very good points, but considering how other games treat the sword line (a cheaper more disposable and/or general purpose unit)

cheaper / faster militia line should be part of a viable counter to pikes + siege, which is one of the metas.

literally the only thing swordsmen would be bad against is the tc itself, if they were cheaper they would be more expendable so it would be more viable to send them into a town to harass everything besides the tc to force idle time. even if they arent destroying anything, instead scouts end up doing a better job due to the high cost of a swordsman

if they had more PA it would be less dangerous to run past the tc on the way to force idle time

agreed, so i prefer MatCauthon3’s thread on 0.95 speed.

i think this is good and both benefits goths and everyone else with supplies… although it might make drushes too good. so maybe only from feudal you get the 10f drop?

same thing, similar to the eagles, this can be built into the the Longsword

might be too much for malians, although they arent s-tier so might be fine… will give them 9PA instead of 8 PA (huskarls only have 10)

If people aren’t happy about making the militia line faster to do better against long ranged units like mass skirmishers, then I think an alternative is to make skirmishers do -1 pierce but then add +1 bonus damage. This way skirmishers will still do the same damage to their counters (archers, speamen, CA) but less damage to every other unit. Skirmishers would be even more of a counter unit and less of an all around unit.

So skirmishers would have 1 pierce; +4 vs archer +4 vs spearman.
Elite Skirmishers would have 2 pierce; +5 vs archer, +4 vs spearman, +3 vs CA

Maybe this would lead to different army composition varieties than the popular knights and skirmishers combo or mass skirmishers and siege rams late game.

This sounds like a worthy aim, but you’d have to give the LSM a better matchup against the knight. (For example by giving it more damage, hp, or armour.)

champs already deal with this combo really well, but I can’t remember ever seeing it. Any melee unit would shred it, no?

You wouldn’t have to. The knights would still win in a 1v1 but you would be able to produce more militia units than knights in theory so the militia line could still win with numbers.

Of course champions win when there are equal numbers but when there is no gold, champions are supposed to be the cheap gold unit. Unfortunately you can’t mass a gold unit as fast as a non gold unit. Skirmishers will be able to one shot champions making it harder to push with champions. Of course you could wait until you have 40 champions but your base might be dead by then from siege rams. So, many people would just make hussars or mangonels to counter skirms—either a non gold unit quicker to produce or a gold unit with a high damage output like siege.

I agree with you here, and that is kind of my point. The Militia line SHOULD be a sub-optimal option. From my understanding of the unit they can do everything but nothing well. So sure, Siege is the best to take down buildings, but LS might be faster, cheaper and more versatile (e.g. against cavalry).

I do agree drushes might be too good, but this could possibly transition better for infantry civs. Maybe the original 60f and even cheaper Supplies would be more fitting

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Someone else already did the test, with equal res (castle age, so food=gold) it was something like 27 militia vs 13 knights, and the knights won. Mind you knights will always take better fights than that because they have mobility, and by the time you’ve teched up to LSM the knights will have killed a bunch of villagers. (Say hi to knights with no upgrades required :slight_smile:)
If LSM had the same stats as 2HS it would be a different story.

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Longswords should be powerful units. The problem is that the get sniped too easily by Archers, CA’s and even massed Elite Skirmishers.

How about a 0/+1 Armor Increase? Or even +1/+1? (This could be a new tech if necessary)
Longswords could receive extra damage from TC’s to compensate for this buff (so they are only strong in battles).


Right now 2 LS defeat one Knight. With the proposed idea of a cost reduction (40f 20g) this could be easily afforded with less resources than one Knight. Knights are of course stronger and more mobile but the Militia line doesn’t have the role to be individually effective in my opinion. Also Knights and Archers are bad at taking out buildings (few exceptions). :slight_smile:


This would undoubtedly push them in the direction of a “power unit” that would compete with Knights. I don’t think that’s their purpose. As stated above from my understanding the Milita line should be a multi-purpose low cost unit. Reducing the cost buffs the mass potential, increasing the individual strenght of the unit makes them compete with the very strong gold units while costing only a fraction. I personally disagree with such a drastic change


Yeah, ok, that’s another design.

Anyway, Age 2 has survived crazier changes than giving Longswords 0/+1 or even +1/+1 Armor…
I did think that they were supposed to be a “power unit” to some degree.


so where is the trash counter to them then?

I thought that too, their identity is super confusing. They cost gold and the Barracks is the only military building without a “power unit”. However as @MatCauthon3 stated, there is no trash counter (something “power units” tend to have) and their gold cost is just too low to justify a bigger punch. I believe they were a good and viable unit in AoK with 75 max population and no Bloodlines. At the same time AoK was horribly imbalanced.
Right now i think they’d benefit from the cheap multi-purpose role the most.

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which is why i proposed lower the cost of supplies, lowering the cost of LS upgrade, increasing the speed slightly, and i’m even considering adding a new armor class to trash units to give LS/THS/Champ that extra umph.


I think adding HP better than armour and attack because there are civ bonuses and civ techs for militia line. But if we add HP its much better against trash units.

At least I heard champions are anti trash from Spirit of the Law. Giving a use is good idea if we look units with but although it’s bad idea if we consider trash units.

Also militia line has tons of upgrades. I think upgrading a unit for 4 times boring, they need to do something like “Two handed swordsman free for every civs” but it makes Bulgarians bonus passive and they can change it by “Infantry armour upgrades free for bulgarians”.