For The Spectacle

In a recent Lida interview with the devs, they comment on the new mechanic for monks converting an entire army as a spectacle and that they will make sure it is balanced. I feel this is an oxymoron. A spectacle which is balanced. What other classic Age of Empires mechanics have the devs rewritten because they feel the spectacle of making a big impression is more important than balance and nostalgia?

That’s among the first things I want to play test in a beta. It does seem overpowered in theory indeed.

I agree with @anon63664082 , oxymoron is an apt way to describe it - how can a grand spectacle in anyway be balanced? If you are on the brink of victory and then this spectacle occurs only to have the majority of your army converted to the enemies side seems like a big slap in the face.

But without discounting it completely maybe there are a number of factors/ triggers that a player must adhere to before they can enact this spectacle? what does a player have to sacrifice in terms of economy/ military strength? It could be astoundingly expensive and not something that occurs in every game.

Here is a potential balance idea in line with the with the “Spies” research technology within the castle in AOE2 - the cost of it scales in line with how many enemy villagers are on the map. Maybe the spectacle can have some kind of scaling cost determined by how much resources you have - i.e. you can only convert so many enemy units dependent on what resources you have in your coffers at the given point in time AND/OR also link to how much population space you have. It would be incredibly unbalanced if you were at 200 max pop and then you convert more of the enemy through “The Spectacle” to exceed this max pop number.

I’m sure I will have some other ideas during the day but for now these are my initial thoughts as i play them through my head.

Onagers are a spectacle. This is the sort of thing we’re talking about here: a high risk, high reward play.

I find people’s obsession with balance on topics like this to be largely misguided. Balance is irrelevant because it can be tweaked independently of the core idea behind the mechanic itself.

Worst case scenario is that it must be balanced to be largely irrelevant for competitive play like the Nuke in SC2, best case scenario is that it ends up like Onagers and becomes a skill dependent highpoint of the match. In either case there is no downside in terms of “balance”.


That is a good perspective. I agree that spectacles should only be for high risk, high reward plays. As long as the conversion timer is longer than it takes to move your units out of the area to avoid conversion, it should be fine.


I’m just speculating here but since the monk must march, slowly, forward with a relic he should be very easy to avoid for the preceptive player even if conversion time is short. So my guess is that it’s primary purpose will, much like the SC2 nuke, be more about controlling and manipulating space rather than actually converting people.

The play will of course be very vulnerable to both ranged units, and to small groups of units, since small groups can advance on the monk and force him to blow his conversion bomb without getting much value out of it.

I have a feeling that the big conversion thing has more to do with the relic and holy site (I assume that’s a holy site) than a normal monk mechanic. It could be part of the “control the holy sites” win condition, and the mass convert is a sort of compensation for spreading your armies thin to defend a lot of different locations.