Future of Native Americans

Taŋyáŋ Yahí

Welcome. Be ready to get annoyed at me once more as I ever-stubbornly push for Native Americans again.

Bit different this time - Less suggestions on the game, more of me wondering, “Am I wasting my time here?”

Am I?

Honest question, am I wasting my time? I’m pulling this interview from World’s Edge to help make my point here, because there’s a couple things I want to address;

The mining was just nonsensical for Native people, too.

It’s nonsensical for Lakota people, not Haudenosaunee. It is specifically a Lakota belief that prevents us from mining, and that same belief prevented us from moving into farming.
The belief centers on the ground being the body Unci Makha, or Grandmother Earth. You do not dig into the body of your grandmother, you do not tear apart your grandmother in hopes of making yourself rich, you respect her and defend her.

Here’s a fun example of just how far that belief went; There’s only a single tuber plant we regularly harvested - the timpsila, or “prairie turnip” (it’s like a mix of a potato and turnip tbh). Anyway, harvesting the timpsila is interesting because it borders on this belief of “do not harm Grandmother’s body,” right?
So it turns out the timpsila is a tuber plant that you can pull out, harvest, and replant. Not only is this easy, it’s healthy for the timpsila plant to have its tuber harvested year after year. It helps the plant live longer and get bigger and produce a larger timpsila the following year.
So, even when harvesting a plant’s roots, we were still careful to put the plant back in the ground because the culture had discomforts about pulling plants out from the roots entirely.

This is not a belief shared with the Haudenosaunee.
And yet, the game decided to make both civs incapable of mining and ignored the very clear fact that the farms and estates are violating the exact same rule that prevented mining.
On the other hand, the Haudenosaunee helped establish mines in the Northeast and long traded basic metals. Hell, their main form of permaculture was to decimate entire forests by burning them down and logging them, an act that would ####### any traditional Lakota person of the same era.

It’s also like, for all Indigenous people, there is the Fire Pit: like a one-size-fits-all thing, which just doesn’t work given how different we all are as Indigenous peoples.
Having something like the Fire Pit be so central to the game’s play continues to reinforce these rather pernicious notions about us. With its presence, it subtly says, “it’s okay to utilize these kinds of images of Native people.” Unless we change these kinds of representations—big or small—in a way, we will all be stuck dancing around a Fire Pit.

It's also like, for all Indigenous people, there is the Fire Pit: Like a one-size-fits-all thing, which just doesn't work given how different we all are as Indigenous peoples.

Then please, for the love of Unci Makha, explain why the ####### Aztecs, Haudenosaunee, and Lakota all share a basic platform and gimmick in their civ design. Age of Empires 3 is the one Age game where asymmetry can be explored to the extreme, yet here we are, grouping two continents (arguably, three, considering just how different Mesoamerica is from Tortuamerica) into a single faction design.

The Fire Pit was bad design. The Community Plaza is no better. Even from a gameplay standpoint, all it does is shove a bunch of the power budget of these civs into a building that wildly shifts power back and forth in an attempt to compensate for what the civ lacks that other civs get as a baseline. As a result, the Native units are either wildly underpowered because of the expectation that the Fire Pit ahem Plaza ahem will compensate (or more) or they’re stuck at extremely high training times because, again, the expectation is that the Fire Pit will compensate.
Because of the Fire Pit, all these civs are chronically underpowered past the mid game because they have to sacrifice villager seconds to keep up with civs who can leave their villagers passively collecting resources for the same benefit, but with the knowledge that they won’t fall off in the late game.

Just remove it. The Native civs don’t need some magical enhancement gimmick to make them interesting, they need an interesting identity that shows off just how different the economy and culture of these cultures was from their European counterparts.
I mean, seriously, the Haudenosaunee (among other eastern nations) were so industrious with their logging they likely helped cause the Little Ice Age from the number of trees they removed from the eastern seaboard. The Lakota (among other prairie nations) come from a line of peoples who lived on the prairie and likely helped create the Great Plains through population manipulation of the American Bison and pushing them around the prairie. It’s worth noting that, even through all the mass hunting the Americans did of the bison, it wasn’t until the prairie nations were well and truly shoved off the prairies that the bison numbers took a heavy dive.

Focus the economy of these cultures on their own history, not by copy/pasting the economy of the European civs and giving them a new model.

Unless we change these kinds of representations—big or small—in a way, we will all be stuck dancing around a Fire Pit.

They need changing.

This Statement

Read it? Great!

Let’s not kid ourselves. The only thing of value done was giving us the right name. This promise to “value authenticity and respectful representations grounded in truth” is not being upheld; Nothing of value was changed.

Devs: The whole reason I am here consistently is because of this statement made at the launch of the game. My living culture, the one I experience on a daily basis, was used as a marketing ploy in your game in hopes of garnering political brownie points, yet no meaningful changes have been made to the in-game representations have actually been made.
A bunch of meaningless, hypocritical changes have been made, yes, but if you think that is worth defending, that’s another argument entirely.

So, at this point, I return to my first question: Am I wasting my time here? It’s becoming clearer and clearer that little to nothing I say is noted, and the small mini-update the Lakota and Hauds got last year is almost more offensive than helpful at this point when you compare the scope of the European updates compared to the Native ones. The clear lack of effort is apparent when you put the two updates side-by-side; The Lakota and Hauds still have a single historical military unit between them (the Tokala Soldier), yet the European civs are getting individual uniform updates based on each nation.
There are now 9 Royal Houses and 40 European maps. In a single update, the smallest and most culturally ########## continent in the game* now has more maps than the Americas and only 6 less minor civs.

It’s fairly obvious that effort was put into this European update. Don’t get me wrong here - I’m not saying this shouldn’t have been done, I think it’s brilliant and I love it… What I’m saying is when will this level of update be given to the Natives and Asians?
And honestly, the Africans need it as well. Not to the same extent, there’s nothing wrong with being the most difficult faction in the game to play and I’m all sorts of down for them to retain that title, but they could certainly use some brush-ups from release.

The Future

So I’ve made a lot of posts about potential changes to the Native civs, but I want to go ahead and largely toss those specific expectations aside and sum up the needs here;

  1. Remove the Community Plaza. Yes, I’m aware the devs put a lot of effort into animating it and the “consultant” OK-d it, but that doesn’t mean it’s good. I know it’s the sunk-cost fallacy at play here, and I’m sorry to all the effort put into it, but it, frankly, just needs to be abandoned. The game will benefit greatly from it being gone.

  2. Rework the Lakota + Hauds to separate them from the Aztecs + Quecha Maybe something could be done for the Aztecs + ###### down the line, but I am not the person to have information on that. For the Lakota + Hauds, focus their “gimmick” on having special things to do with their hyper-focus on specific natural resources; the Lakota hunted bison, the Hauds chopped down entire forests. Maybe something like Export or Influence, but they can only get it by focusing on their specific resource. For Gold, add the Haida at a later point.

  • the best part about this is that it opens up room for a large faction (Tortuamerica) civs to have subfactions - the Prairie civs, like the Lakota, Comanche, and Iron Confederacy would focus on food. PNW civs like the Haida, Tlingit, and Coast Salish would focus on gold. Eastern nations like the Haudenosaunee, the Five Civilized Tribes, and the Anishinaabe would focus on wood. These could effectively create 3 sub-factions of one larger faction.
  1. Give the Natives a way to access Mercenaries. Every other civ in the game can have them, even if they can’t use them well; There’s no reason not to include them with the Native civs.
  • additionally, create some North American mercenaries. I’ve dotted some ideas all over the place.

*(Australia is more so, but they’re also not in the game… and they’d likely also include the entirety of Polynesia and other Pacific Islanders.
And for those wanting to challenge the ############ statement, 90% of Europe comes from 3 language groups; America has over 40 and even more languages as isolated from these groups as Basque is from the rest of Europe. It’s not a contest, it’s just something I want to point out.)


As always, I agree 100% with a push to give the Native American civs the spotlight for once and especially your ‘the Future’ comments.

They’re all sensible changes and it always irks me the consultation to make sure Native civs were all portrayed inoffensively was a hugely broad net - which takes a number of ironically offending assumptions.

Of course, this is completely through my European eyes, so I will miss lots of details and not have a super in-depth knowledge on the topic - which brings us to the fact that we should be taking on board information and suggestions from someone who’s culture is one of the Native American civs depicted.


Don’t worry, you’re not wasting your time. Every topic you create is well thought out and most people on this forum tend to agree with your ideas. There’s no way the devs could completely ignore your message. I’ll always support a more historically accurate representation of civs that need it.

As for this:

Why not furs as a ressource? This could be a way to obtain every arsenal upgrades (even advanced) and maybe furs could be exchanged at the market for food, wood or gold too. Maybe units using a firearm or a horse could also have a small fur cost. Just throwing this as an idea but I think this could be nice. What do you think?


Also agree. Treating the Native american civs as a big umbrella and making the minimum effort to change one building and adding another one that doesn’t work as the historic counterpart they are basing it on is not enough. I am hopeful that the changes we’ve seen for a time now in better representing other parts of the world will also be reflected to Native americans and every other area that needs it.


It’s extremely unlikely they change the original native civs. Combining the pick rate of the 3 civilizations it adds up to 7.6% when it should represent over 13%, they’re played pretty much half as much as the average so much less popular than they should be and for that reason much less likely to be changed at all by the devs.


I think a poor representation is better than no representation at all. Eg half the arabic world, from the sauds to persia and the uzbeks - have no representation at all. Imo the original design of the natives was ok aswell. I would support the addition of new natives, like the itelmen, if only as minor civs.


On the other hand, since the pick rate for Native American civs is absolutely abysmal, might as well give them a complete face lift. It’s not like it’s a big loss since nobody plays them lol.


I think this is the hand to be looking at!

In the grand scheme of things the complaints of people who play these civs relentlessly would be rather minimal.

Let’s have some sensible changes that are more nuanced to their respective native civ.

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AoE3 is a game, not a history simulator. It’s very frustrating to see people continue to make that mistake. Game designers often make decisions that are abstractions from the real world because it makes the game more fun to play. The OP loves to make posts endlessly asking for revisions to turn AoE3 for her pet civs into a history simulator of her culture. This is the wrong forum for such suggestions. What she wants/needs is a new game where she could have creative freedom to envision her tribe and whatever other tribe she wants to include however she’d like.

Ultimately AoE3 DE is a remaster of an older game. The devs don’t have complete creative freedom. They’re confined by the structure given them by the makers of the original (successful!) game. This is why we have those “half baked” changes she’s clearly unsatisfied with. Her problem is that 1/3 of the original game’s content is based around archetypes and a game design that she doesn’t like, but the devs don’t have the freedom to just completely delete that whole legacy and start over. Compromise is necessary. It’s a game, not a history simulator.

This isn’t about “respect” or “representation” or any other buzzword that we hear thrown around. It’s about an unreasonable demand that a game’s history simply be wiped away and rewritten to satisfy new, more fashionable ideas. To their credit, the devs here have been very respectful of the civs they’ve reworked, including the native ones which have been touched several times with reworks and revisions. No, they’re not perfect historical representations. Knights in top hats in 19th century Malta? Samurai and halberdiers and elephants charging the battlefield in same period? All abstractions, all “inaccurate,” and none of this gets the kind of complaints that this OP endlessly brings up with her favorite civ because most people understand that it’s a game. Her argument is unreasonable. This isn’t the result of some conspiracy to discriminate or disrespect her culture. These are the result of an effort to make a fun game. The fact that we’re even having this discussion in 2023 is proof that the effort was successful. Let’s not lose sight of the forest for the trees.

Let me address the fire pit (I truly hate the “communist” plaza name) mechanic. It is interesting because you trade villager-seconds on resource production for various buffs. It allows a lot of game play potential from intelligent use of those buffs. It’s a fantastic mechanic that offers substantially more flexibility and outplay potential than the more constrained factory or shrine system. It was a defining feature of the Warchiefs expansion. It should absolutely be kept, and frankly should be restored its original name. I don’t want to see it removed any more than I want to see the samurai, the top-hatted knights, the camel warriors, the elephants, the wandering shaolin disciples, the Aztec wrecking balls in skulls, or even the cheesy American general and his cowboys and bandits gone. They make the game fun!


I’d highly recommend you’d read AnaWinters’ posts again. They don’t say what you think they’re saying.

… what?


The fire pit was better than the community plaza, they changed it to the plaza so it supposedly makes more sense but villagers sitting their doing nothing why would that increase attack damage? At least with the fire pit you could attribute it to some sort of war dance that boosts morale and therefore combat effectiveness.


“Our people are being attacked six miles away! Quick, dance around this fire to help them!”

Never happened. It’s a stupid stereotype and racist at its core. The plaza is no better.


Obviously it’s not 100% realistic but that makes much more sense than the plaza does.


It’s a purely racist depiction that rose from stereotypes and misinformation about Native Americans.

Let’s not defend blatant racism now, shall we?


I mean, we do have solid proof that the civs aren’t even being played. So why even defend a system that failed, not only representationwise, but also gameplaywise?

It’s just a failure of game design, there’s the opportunity and possibility to fix it, might as well take it.


I rather like this. The prairie nations would gain it naturally while hunting, the woodlands nations would gain it while chopping wood, and the coastal civs would gain it through mining. It could be an added cost to Mercenaries + Native units and be used to gain unique and powerful cards, and the “best” unit from each civ could have an additional Fur cost, or just pure Fur cost.

It’d be interesting to require the three subfactions to focus on natural resources to gain these - despite potentially having a Three Sisters Garden where wood, gold, and food can all be collected, they’d be unable to swap purely to that in the late game due to the inability to collect Fur from it.


Yes, it’s ridiculous. I like your sarcastic humor. XD
But I think what he means is that the square is more boring than the bonfire. That’s why I think they should create a special building that represents some kind of council or meeting of leaders. Some kind of administrative building.


I’m afraid the answer might be “yes”.

Ultimately I simply do not expect the current DE devs to listen to a single person’s posts no matter how well argued they are (unless you can manage to get hired as their historical consultant). By virtue of various circumstances beyond your control, I don’t think these posts will have the influence you’d want them to have. Which sucks.

However, I don’t think I’m wasting my time by reading your words. I do learn things from them and it encourages me a lil’ bit to dive deeper into Lakota history and culture. Dutch people talk to me about dutch history all the time. The only previous time I heard a Lakotan talk about Lakotan history is through Redbone’s song “We were all wounded at wounded knee” becoming a breakout hit in the Netherlands for some reason (probably becuase the song effectively got banned in the United States when CBS records refused to publish it).

This is genuinely quite bad and it annoys me. I’m a huge fan of the Dutch civilization in the game. There’s an historical tidbit, like how dutch colonialism was funded through some prototype versions of modern investment banking, so the Nederlanders get an entirely different economic playstyle all to themselves, because of vaguely justifiable historical reasons. Cool.

However, the Lakota, who have a rather unique historical economic reason to have a different gold mechanic from other civs, get a mechanic that’s shared with the Haudenosaunee for some bizarre reason? Also one that’s mostly just an extra step to mining with no great benefits? That’s weird. That’s like giving the dutch their banks, but also they just have to build it next to a coin source, and it’s also just there so you can use that coin source in the same way as most other civs, and also the french are subjected to the same restriction. I’d be pretty pissed.


Exactly! They are not conspiracy theories, those visions are actually fruit of pure racism, an open letter written 500 years ago (and still in practice) to disrespect and discriminate some “uncivilized” cultures. By some I dont mean only american natives.

I love how after hundreds changes in lots of civs, new maps, mechanics and units, someone still dare to say “noooo, lets preserve the game how it was in 2005!!!”. Why dont ask to all new things go back to their old names and looks?

Those “fashionable ideas” arent new. You just never heard about them because they never got into the limelight before. Or barely got into.


Yes, people resent the changes, but civilizations are rarely used. That’s like the old, outdated stuff you don’t use and don’t want to upvote or trade for something new.

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