General Balance discussion

Let’s face it guys: Aoe1 DE is still very imbalanced. The forgotten Empires Team introduced nearly every feature of UPatch (, right steps, but that’s not enough. So the idea is to name all OP stuff and also name solutions for it, always with the hope that forgotten Empires Team gonna adapt to them as they did in aoe2HD/WololoKingdoms.


usually you have 2 main ressources:
-berries around 5-10 tiles from your tc
-a gazelle spot around 15-25 tiles away from your tc
all other ressources spawn completly randomly which can make the start way too luckbased, but for a proper start you need like another berry/gazelle/ele patch. Possible changes:
-elephants spawn comepltly randomly over the map atm. Maybe let 1-2 eles spawn on each map in distances of 15-25 tiles from the tc
-spread extra berries/gazelles more evenly
-spread the fish more evenly (as they did with aoe2 standart maps), since some maps like Inland can have huge lakes and be fishfree on the rest of the map


probly the most OP unit atm, once someone reaches toolage he should always go full slingers, since there is simply no counter for them. They are cheap with 40 food/10 stone, mobile (faster than non yamato/assyrian vills), require only barracks and can have 3 attack and 5 range as bowmen once you researched the stone mining up (give you +1 attack/range for them). On top you get 2 pierce armor and you can dive under towers as you want and even get attack bonus vs walls and towers (they knock them down so ■■■■ fast 19) so there is pretty much 0 way except going full slingers yourself if you are defending vs them.
possible changes:
-stone mining up gives you +1 attack bonus vs archers (the base attack remains 2) and +1 range
-slingers lose attack bonus vs walls and towers (they perform pretty much like normal bowmen vs buildings/stone defenses)

most useless tool age unit rigth now. Dies vs slingers, axeman and bowmen and his ■■■■ expensive and slow produced.
possible changes:
-give scouts 1 pierce armor.
-give scouts +2 attack bonus vs bowmen/slingers, this would force bowmen/slinger players into adding axemen/massing units and engaging slower

axmen are very strong atm for sure, but i think they arent imbalanced, maybe increase the axeman upgrade research time a little bit but else it’s fine.

fine as they are right now

-cavalry/heavy cavalry/cataphracts:
they are only viable early castle age atm. They perform well vs any type of toolage units (massed bowmen can work vs them tho) but once chariots are out they just perform okish in small numbers but bad in bigger numbers. Espcially the pathing is hurting them a lot. Only early bronze age they’re cost efficient, but afterwards they’re very cost unefficient since chariots perform nearly as good as them and cost less resources and also less valbuale resources (mainly wood). Not to mention in iron age they die vs horse archers, elephant archers and siege like flies since they lack the pierce armor. Also upgrades (sucha as cataphract) are very, very expensive.
possible changes:
-cavalry affected by shield technologies, that means cavalry perform more decent vs ranged units in mid/late bonze and in iron age you can have a strong counter for any type of ranged units (which can force players into cavalry counter units such as camels/monks/academy) with up to 2+3 armor for a fully upgraded cataphract with Tower Shield. This would increase the viable usage of different units.
-decrease upgrade cost for cataphract

-chariots/chariot archers:
very efficient and strong atm. Especially the raiding options with chariot archers are just ridiclous but if cavalry gets more defense armor they should become counterable.
possible changes:
-improve counters such as cavalry/camels
-increase upgrade costs for scythe chariot

decent and viable unit, they perform well vs cavalry and chariot (archers) in low masses, but in big masses they suffer the same problems as cavalry vs chariot (archers). Something weird about them: they are nearly as fast as cavalry and arent performing that well at chasing stuff (well ofc as long as you dont have palmyrian camels)
possible changes:
-increase camel speed +10% (and change palmyrian bonus to 15% or so)
-give +2 additional attack bonus vs chariot (archers)

-academy units:
they are barely useable, but i think that is mainly caused because the units they’re supposed to counter (cavalry/infantry) die vs chariots (archers)/horse archers too badly. Also the cost is pretty high, maybe make them a tiny bit cheaper
possible changes:
-decrease cost -10 gold (to 30 gold), just some small additional boost.

composite/improved bowmen:
they perform okish, not too strong but also not too bad. Their biggest handicap is still that you need to research sometihing before you can start producing them (means you cant produce them straight away from bronze)
possible changes:
-make the upgrade Improved Bowman for free as the short swordsmen upgrade in the barrack. Maybe increase the cost/duration for composite bowmen a little been. Has to be tested.

horse archers:
very mobile with huge attack and reasonable cost. Imo the strongest unit in iron age by far and quite OP as long as you dont have a mass of catapults to stop them, but there isn’t really a unit that can compete with their mobility.
-cavalry with extra pierce armor from shield techs should survive long enough to catch and kill them and force ppl to add other units than pure cavalry archers.

(armored) ele, ele archers:
fine as they are right now

barely usable since chariots perform so ■■■■ well and are also very resistant aggainst them, but once chariot (archer) counters work better, priests should be more usable as well.

fine as they are right now, but i dont like that they’re affected by ballistics, ppl should be forced to micro if they wanna hit something imo, but i’m a little bit baised there so i dont know 19

bad units, dies vs chariots and dies VERY hard vs catapults, i dont even know why they’re only available in iron age (very weird imo). Probly one of the most unusable units (as long as enemy can produce catapults)
possible changes:
-decrease their cost from 100 wood/80 gold to 70 wood 50 gold (pretty random values, i admit; probly has to be tested as well)
-make them available in bronze age
-decrease cost for helepolis a tiny bit

I will go on with civs another time i think. Pls give as much feedback as possible! What would you make different? Where you agree/disagree?

Before we can have a discussion about balance we need to talk about what we are balancing for. 1v1? 2v2? Deathmatch? Random Map? As they all play very differently. A good example of this is SC2, where the game is balanced around 1v1, so when you jump into team games it becomes more often than not nothing more than a cheese fest with rushes everywhere.

So when ranked ladder is implemented what will be the main thing? As in, ‘you have all of these sweet options to play around with but this one mode here is really the main thing and how the game is suppose to be played’.

Now my preference would be 1v1. Much like WC3 or SC. But I have no idea what the average AoE player thinks, and sure I might be biased considering WC3 and SC are the RTS’s I’ve played the most.

But lets say for arguments sake that 1v1 is the way to go. Well then we need to start looking at map balance before we start looking at unit balance. The type of map and the balance of the map has enormous impact on the outcome of the game, and the strength of some units. Lets take an example from another thread where they were talking about chariots. They said something along the lines of:

“Chariots are broken because any decent player can just run them into the enemy base and wreck everything.”

Sound familiar? It should… Re-read the sentence again but replace the word chariot with zergling. It’s the exact same problem BW was facing in the beginning. The community fixed this (among many other things) by making their own maps. Maps that allowed you to wall in your base. Houses and a barracks are great early to create a artificial choke point, or a wall even. But on those maps where you can be attacked in 360 degrees it doesn’t really matter as there is just too much space to cover so you’d have to build way to many buildings…

So again, we should start looking at map balance. First and foremost we can throw out the concept of a procedural generated map… Randomness, or dice rolls are the opposite of competitive. We want a symmetric map, where both players spawn with the same amount of starting resources and an advantageous defensive position. With the remaining resources that they then have to go out onto the map, fight and compete for.

Imho we should all admit the obvious thing: chariots should cost gold. They have always been an issue, and always will be unless they get nerfed so much to be useless. We all know that AoE 1 balance was always very approximative, Ensemble studios did not have the time they needed to properly balance the game after RoR, since they had to work on AoE 2. I do not see the point in continuing to make things in the wrong way just for the sake of consistency with what the original devs did.

Regarding scouts, I think the biggest drawback is their excessive cost in terms of food, which is probably the most important resource at that stage of the game. Maybe they should decrease the cost of the unit to something like 70-75 to make them viable.

Anyway, I think we will have to wait a while before we see any balance changes, since the devs are giving priority to fixing bugs, crashes and adding a rating to multiplayer, all things the are of course even more important for the well being of the game.

eh this aoe not SC, there have never been 100% mirror maps and shouldnt be. 1:1 symmetric maps are completly boring, you know exactly where you have to strike, then you can as well play with all revealed map activated… (well sorry i mainly play aoc, sometimes aoe1 on voobly, so i’m baised 19)

This is meant for everything. mainly random maps 1v1/2v2/3v3/4v4 like Inland, highland, conti, medi. If you Balance out RM late game you balanced out DM as well.

There is no way around; units like slingers in tool or chariot archers in mid bronze are simply OP.

Yeah, chariots and slingers are a little bit too good atm, I also agree that scouts are just not a good unit at 100 food cost, they’re just not worth it :confused:

Nice post man! I agree with almost everything you have put together here.
Hope to play with you soon.

I agree that chariot archers are overpowered and I think the best way around that is to give cavalry more pierce armor.

And I don’t think slingers need nerfing as they actually die to axemen hard. I think bowmen need buffing. Bowmen used to be OP in Tool in the original AoE but after RoR when slingers came along they became useless. I think bowmen are basically pointless now so they need to be buffed and then axemen need to be given + 1 pierce armor. Buff axemen and bowmen up to a level where slingers are no longer OP compartively, and this will also make Chariot archers less OP against Tool units at the same time. I suggest leaving slingers as they are but giving axemen + one pierce armor and bowmen + 1 range and a slightly faster fire rate. But not so much that they’d actually be cost effective against slingers. Similarly, I think 1 less range and a slightly reduced fire rate for chariot archers might work nicely.

I think hoplites are fantastic melee unit killers but they are pointless because it’s ranged units that rule the roost in this game. So I really like the idea of adding pierce armor to the cavalry line as makes them deal with chariot archers better and makes cavalry a fantastic idea. But then having a hoplite or two wrecking your base is a real problem if you’re training cavalry instead of going full chariot archers.

As a way to buff the hoplite line perhaps the aristocracy tech should be given automatically on bronze and removed as a research like the short swordsmen upgrade tech was. This makes the hoplite line 25% faster from the start but Greeks still get their even faster hoplites and their new bonus of cheaper hoplites. For all civs to have faster hoplites from the get go this would make a hoplite rush more viable in the game in general. This does also mean that the centurion upgrade would be available to research immediately on Iron Age as Aristocracy wouldn’t be required.

I also think the infantry pierce armor techs, that ONLY work for infantry and the hoplite line… should be made drastically cheaper. Those upgrades are way too expensive at the minute.

And seen as the Macedonian hoplite line with the extra pierce armor is STILL weak to ranged units… perhaps all hoplites for all civs should have + 1 pierce armor and Macedonian should get an addtional + 1 on top of that. After all I still like the idea of cavalry getting more pierce armor.

The problem at the moment is that in Tool age bowmen are pointless but then in bronze age and iron age archer units suddenly become OP.

I also really like the idea of making balistas available in bronze age.

Thanks for listening.

And yeah, this isn’t Starcraft. Maps have to be randomly generated that’s what AoE is all about. Starcraft is a great game… a fantastic game. An amazing game. But this isn’t Starcraft and personally Starcraft is second best for me.

@OldCartoon466 said:
The problem at the moment is that in Tool age bowmen are pointless but then in bronze age and iron age archer units suddenly become OP.

Not suddenly - you need a large number of CAs before they’ll beat an equal number of cavalry. A direct buff to cavalry or nerf to CAs will make the early cavalry rush even stronger than it already is.

@OldCartoon466 said:
I also really like the idea of making balistas available in bronze age.

Yeah I think I like this too.

Cavalry rush can do a bit of damage, especially if it’s kept up eg you’re Yamato. Villagers are slower now, so easy picking for cavalry compared to the old Assyrian and Yamato “who needs a horse?” villagers.

Chariot Archers could use a nerf to their range or the Wood upgrading techs shouldn’t grant Archer in general more range as it scale very well (almost too well) with large numbers. But that might be too drastic of a change for a “remaster” game

They did originally reduce the range for chariot archers to 6, but I think they reverted it.

Woodworking upgrades should affect archer range as better craftmanship = better bows and arrows :wink:

chariot sucks balls, i eat every vietnamese chariot spammer alive

Great summary - only thing I’d add is Minoan composite bowmen are currently very OP imo. Although this can be somewhat fixed with improved pathing for cav. At this stage, it’s so easy to mass them and they can pick off cav/chariots so easy with their insane range and fire rate.

I agree on some points, but not in the case of the ballista (move to bronze). I think they are currently fine, because in large quantities they are very effective, but expensive. If you reduce your cost so much, we would see hundreds of them in our bases, and even more if we can have them in bronze.
Reducing the cost of the academy units does not seem like a good idea either. 30 g is very little.

I quite like the randomness of some maps, it makes the early game less structured and scouting more important. It might tip the match in one team’s favor though

There Will always be a dominant strategy civ OR unit in competitive games.

To talk about your slingers, You need Them massed first. Some good toolrusher is alrdy pumping clubman in stone age and be on You before You have a large group.

@“flamebreak z” said:
I quite like the randomness of some maps, it makes the early game less structured and scouting more important. It might tip the match in one team’s favor though

I also like it, but with one exception: elephants position is way too random imho


Ballista are only useful if you have them massed + ballistics. You can’t research ballistics in bronze age. That means they die hard vs microed cavalry/charriot. On top of that every civ has access to at least stonethrowers (most civs even have catapult in iron), which are the hardcore counter for ballistas. Don’t think ballistas in bronze would be OP; not even sure if it would make them useful considering their high cost, low mobility ad Overall worse performance in comparison with stonethrowers vs ranged units/buildings. Always Keep in mind i’m talking about ballistas NOT helepolis (with their higher fire rate).


that’s right, a fast axerush can work sometimes, but in an axerush you invest far more ressources for defense/attack/axe upgrade you need 275 food AND time to research it, while slingers only need stonemining upgrade 100 Food 50 stone. It’s possible to mass up enough slingers until he has axemen to defend, you pretty much have always the same uptime as an axerusher. At some point your axerush will be stopped. Always. In the worst case you force him to make a tower/relocate vills. What should the axerusher do now? towering up or walling up won’t work. He has to go slingers himself, but most of the time it will be very very hard to catch up in army numbers now and haveing enough food to sustain army production. That’s the Point when the slinger only player wins.
On top of that you can even wall off with houses/docks vs axerush, vs slingers you dont.

@“teutonic tanks” Hello, I agree with you on map changes. they should update the map scripts to be more consistent and evenly balanced.

  • About unit balancing, I’ll be giving my opinions on 1v1 type of games. I hate to say it but I don’t think we should nerf Slingers nor chariot archers. Instead, we should focus more on opening more ways to deal with them. A slight scout buff ( either some HP increase or bonus damage vs slingers ) will be sufficient to deal with slingers.

  • Slingers hard counter chariot archers in bronze age after AOE DE’s buff, especially with bronze shield upgrade. Cavalry also have high enough HP to beat them even outnumbered ( future pathing improvement might help here as well ). Cavalry continue to do well against them in iron age thanks to extra pierce armor.
    Increasing Wheel cost and/or research time ( again ) would be nice. And buffing Coinage to back as it was will make some players go with more gold-related strategies and units. Players used to go chariots to avoid the risk of losing the game because of gold starve/no gold income.

  • Ballistas and Helepolis are great units for map control and choke points but they still require protection and micro against enemy micro. However, a slight price decrease might be nice.

  • Priests are overpriced IMO. 100 gold would be better. Also, make the conversion time a bit more consistent.

  • I disagree with cavalry extra pierce armor because that would make them very hard to beat if they successfully raid you. They have high hp to compensate.

  • Hoplite line hard counter all other melee units but not in speed. dies easily from archers. Just like TK in aoe2. Requires other units to work.

It’s just the nature of aoe1 that rushing is quite good and effective but at the same time teching up is a big investment and risk but rewarding because you’ll have access to units that can easily crush those of lower tech hence, promoting both types of players at the same time. No need to change that ^_^. The original with Upatch has better balancing than current AOE DE. Sorry for making this long. c:

Hi, proglem with game
Game crash when i start single player and then auto open Microsoft sore. I read your FIX in FAQ on your page, but game still crash… Reinstall game, reset app data, install free game in store… not… game crashed again…