French Knights vs Mongol Horseman comparison in harassment, rebalance suggestion

Both French Knights in Age 2 and Mongol horseman fill the role of early harass in different ways. Let’s discuss design benefits of harassment builds in the context of speed, damage, durability, cost and other bonuses. But before we discuss the AoE4, let’s discuss the harass type roles of units in Starcraft 2 to compare.

The Mutalisk

Strengths: Fast, can heal outside of combat, aerial mobility, good damage in high numbers & easily massable.
Weaknesses: very fragile, weak in small numbers, somewhat expensive, easy to counter

Battlecruiser Rush

Strengths: Can instantly teleport, very tanky, deals good damage over time and alone, aerial mobility, hits early forcing a response.
Weaknesses: very expensive, very slow moving

Notice how each have a good balance of strengths and weaknesses. BCs in the early 5 minute mark of the rush build, require a very specific response, and aren’t easily countered (at that time) in TvZ, because you’ll only have spores and queens. But the slow movement and heavy investment, make this not an overpowered harassment. Now let’s look at AoE4 harass builds in the context of French Knights and Mongol Cavs opener

Mongol dark age cav
Strengths: fast, hits early, good damage in high numbers & easily massable
Weaknesses: somewhat fragile, weak in small numbers

French Knight
Strengths: fast, good damage alone, tanky, can heal outside combat, not easily countered
Weaknesses: somewhat expensive

As you may be able to tell from these comparisons, French Knights are a very strong option and dominate the meta currently.

My Suggested Change - Remove the chivalry upgrade from the knight. Give the mongol cavalry a healing outside of combat because they should be rewarded for being kept alive, given their fragile nature, they would fill a similar well-designed role of the Mutalisk light harasser in Starcraft 2. As it currently stands, the mongol cav opener isn’t amazing, and as time goes on people will only get better at defending against this. An alternate change would be to at least move the Chivalry upgrade from age 2 to 3 or 4, but in my opinion, a unit that tanky, that fast, that deals that much damage, has no business having a healing ability.


Yet chivalry is associated with knights.

I’m sure balances will progressively be tweaked over time, but let’s not rewrite history in the process.


Probleme about mongol is their cav have nothing realy special if i am not wrong where for some reason, Rus have a sort of amazing knight. His Rus was know for their very great chivalery? more than HRE? (it’s a true question, i have no idea)


Moving the chivalry upgrade to the castle age is the best idea imo.


You’re discussing lore in a balance post. It could literally be called “hungry banana monkey upgrade” where a monkey throws them a banana to eat out of combat, that heals them and it wouldn’t be mentioned in this post. I’m strictly talking balance and if you care, they could change the name to something mongol-related.


You can’t possibly be serious by using sc2 ridiculous rush based design as a comparison to aoe.

  1. chivalry should only activate when you’re stationary and not fighting. Right now royal knights can heal themselves while you’re trying to chase them down
  2. and maybe move chivalry to castle age. Healing + knight is a very strong combo especially in feudal age.

Why you see knights rush as imbalanced? Feudal knights are not that strong and I see many people countering french knights pretty easy, most people having issues with early knights never use towers

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amazing burst damage that allow you to constantly hit and run and kill villager?
french knight being able to heal themselves while leading troops on a wild goose chase?
their high hp also mean it’s harder to inflict actual losses on an enemy.
meanwhile the the french themselves get improved villager production, require most other civ to build a second tc to keep up?

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I see the English archers rush more deadly…

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I don’t understand why he is using flying late stage units compared to early game ground cavalry.

Strategy games share the same common unit role designation (in this case, harassment units/builds), regardless of differences in rulesets. Do you disagree with the risk/reward analysis, if so, which points? Do you disagree that early cavs are harassment builds and that french knights have low risk/high reward? Or is your argument simply “these are different games”? Not an argument with much substance.

Also don’t confuse fast pace with “rush based design”. Defensive play very much exists in SC2 and it sounds like you don’t follow the game competitively or you’d be familiar with the forge fast expand from ages ago, triple CC builds, turtle mech, turtle toss, current protoss void ray openers are very defensive-based seeking to gain map control and rush to a late game army. The very definition of a “rush” or “macro play” exists in both games and while harass may be more effective in SC2, this does not mean harassment units don’t fill similar roles or simply don’t exist in AoE4.

Do you follow SC2 competitively? A battle cruiser rush is a build in which Terran walls off and rushes to a single battlecruiser in which to harass around the 5 minute mark. The Battlecruiser is normally a late game unit, but in this sense, it’s role is to harass you. Mutalisks also fill this role as an early/mid game harassment unit. Same with Mongols getting a dark age stable or French getting knights and yeeting them at your workers quickly in Age 2.

Whether they fly or not is irrelevant to the point, as I’m not trying to compare them on which is better at flying. I’m highlighting their risk/reward from a design perspective within the rulesets of their own games. All of the units I mentioned besides the French Knight have a healthy amount of risk/reward. I could’ve easily just compared horseman and knights to zerglings, adepts or hellions as harassment units. It does not matter which fly, because I’m comparing their efficacy as a harassment unit itself, again, not their ability to fly.

I normally stalker rush and attack the enemy right at 4mins. I try to not cheese when I play protoss. I am aware of how strong battle cruiser is, but even a simple stalker rush can defeat it easily. The point is you are not drawing very good comparisons. The units of starcraft are so bizarre compared to AoE, not to mention that SC is much faster than Aoe. The only thing that can be compared is basic strategies and mechanics. Like proxy barracks, or all round rushes. Personally the best counter for knights and cav rn is 5 early spears and towers. I did beat a french player by going only food and wood, then building two proxy barracks and flooding his base with spearmen.

spearmen are trash. the charge negate only work if the spearman is stationary. otherwise the spearman will take damage from the charge. Without any crossbow in age2 there’s really no reason for a knight to willing charge stationary spearman instead of going around to juicy villagers.

school of cavalry also allow the french to use the spare wood to build an archery range if spearman is an issue.

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Have you actually played Sc2? Sc2 has a very different design philosophy when it comes to how games go on. AoE is about army vs army, and the game is balanced around that with harassment being mostly a side concern or a trait of few specific civilizations that have bonuses / tech favoring it. Sc2 army vs army (also known as deathball vs deathball) is severely unbalanced and usually results in late game compositions that cannot be beaten. The SC2 devs themselves admitted at some point that you should not let your opponent get to that stage. The entire terran civilisation is built around harassment (medivacs with boosters, teleporting BC (LOL), liberators and all sorts of other things), while half the roaster of the other civs are used exclusively for harassment or rushes, and those units are useless when contested. This is the difference between a fast paced game and a rush based game. SC2 is a rush based game.

You clearly don’t understand the differences. In Sc2, there are units designed to simply bypass your defenses (like booster medivacs, teleporting battlecruisers, adepts phasing through walls, blink etc - which also didn’t exist in Sc/bw btw) whereas in age of empires there’s no such units that can simply ignore your defenses and go on killing your workers.

Also, most turtle builds can be easily countered by containing and taking map control faster, they have always been the least effective ways to play SC2, but that’s besides the point.

Comparing SC2 to AoE and saying they are the same fundamental principles is wrong. In AoE there’s still the principle of defender’s advantage (although much weaker in aoe4, partly due to buildings autoattack behavior, but my guess is that the devs did not focus on multiplayer so far), there’s no units that have the ability to simply bypass game mechanics (like adepts, stalkers, battlecruisers), no units which have the fundamental role of harassment units (and that are useless in actual head to head battle).

I can understand you really want AoE4 to be the next Sc2, but if you actually want it to live on more than Sc2, it must not repeat its mistakes. Most parallels between AoE4 and Sc2 are really misguided.


Ive played starcraft 2 since beta, and am a masters rank zerg player still following the pro scene today. I was at blizzcon 2016 and watched byun take over dark in the finals.

Your analogy still is all besides the point of harassment and you didn’t answer any of my questions. I never once said the games mechanics are similar and that is not relevant in this conversation of harassment balance, as an analogy to show how the French knight has broken risk/reward as a unit in a harassment role.

Do you disagree the knight has a harassment role? Do you disagree it has much more reward than risk? Do you disagree that mongol cav opener is a harassment build?

You act like I’m trying to compare aoe to an fps. You’ve literally made up the term “rush based game” like it’s an official genre the devs are using. But sure if you want to just ignore my argument, go for it. You’re just the kind of person who would say “no these two things aren’t exactly alike, so you can’t compare their similar qualities”. Lol I’m done arguing with someone dodging my argument like a politician.

Early horesemen countered by? Early Spearmen.
Early Knights countered by? Early Spearmen.

More Horsemen? More Spearmen.
More Knights? More Spearmen.

Add a Tower on the resources further away from TC as good measure.

Dont see the issue.

lol, real history isn’t “lore”. Most people play games for the immersion as well as the mechanics, and if you take out the historical basis for unit abilities you might as well be moving colored blocks around on a green background while activating your “hungry banana monkey upgrade”.

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Define: Lore - “a body of traditions and knowledge on a subject or held by a particular group, typically passed from person to person by word of mouth.”

Our world’s history is lore. Why are you even arguing history in a post about gameplay mechanics and balance? lol none of this is relevant to anything I’ve said. French knights never magically healed outside combat in real life, not sure what you’re even arguing about.

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