Hand Cannoneers bad state confirmed

Guys, the discussion is getting a bit off topic, and for sure too much aggressive…

Let’s instead get back on a constructive discussion about how to fix the HC.


It is called “ignoratio elenchi”.

He sure did take it that way…

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So let’s stay with historical correct things.
Actually, hand cannons were first slow, but then had effectively even a higher fire-rate than crossbows.
They were very effective against infantry, not so much against cavalry.
They were effectively cheaper than arbalests or crossbowman because of the reduced training needen, but also more vulnerable. Most archer types had usually some kind of sword and armour to be able to fight a bit in close combat, which was often given up in favor of the better offensive value hand cannons could give.
So, actually - there are many ways hand cannons could be fit better historically. Increase fire rate, higher bonus against infantry, lower cost, higher range. I also think the accuraccy might even a bit overwhelming. Gunpowder was very inaccurate at this time.
This could make HC more effective in bigger battles rather than skirmishes, which is actually also historical fitting.
So for example: -7 atk, +33% rof, +4 (additional) atk vs inf, -30 % cost, -15 % acc, -5 hp, + 2 range
this would be historical fitting.

Of course the mentioned heavier, mounted Arquebus could also be implemented in the game, which was able to penetrate armour. As a late-game counter to heavy armoured units, if well protected. Instead of scorpions which filled this role in antique but were rarely seen in medieval because actually heavy armor was rare. I know there is this image of the medieval plated knight, which was actually almost never seen in battles. It’s just like ever: because it was so rare, it was reported every time it appeared. Like shark attacks. I like to see in aoe2, that really heavy armour is so rare: only TK and boyars have it. Yes in late Medieval and rennaissance it was seen more often, but not before.

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The problem is that AoE always put balance and functionality before historic accuracy, and redesign the unit that heavily isn’t only a bad idea, but also very improbable.

Why they needed less training than a crossbow?
Easier to manufacture maybe yes, but to use than an already easy and common weapon?

This was actually why hc replaced most archery types, because they needed much less traing. It was compared to them very easy to use. Archery needed often years of training. Almost everybody could use hand cannons effectively, whilst crossbows need intense training and fitness to be useful in combat.
Of course later on, muskets became superior in almost every aspect, but at first, it was just easier and cheaper to employ hand cannoneers. I actually wonder why these are more expensive in the game and need longer to train, it’s just the opposite it was in reality.
Maybe it shall just compensate the less cost to tech into hc.

I know my excursion about the “real” hc will not find much love, I think the suggested additional bonus damage against infantry would do fine. But i also think, infantry, beside the well known infantry civs, is in a weak spot already - so if hc counter infantry (esp. halbs) even better, infantry need to be more pop efficient in late game. That’s also one of the things why hc have this bad state. They counter units which are a threat much earlier in the game in the lategame… OK, against goth imp spam they can be useful, but it’s actually better to not let goths come to this state.

Also in the persepect of balancing it would be not beneficial for the game to make hc just better arbalests. Than everybody would just go fast imp to chevalier+hc and destroy everything. The more specialised role is fine, if the units they counter would just be a bit more late-game threat in general. Once more: i don’t talk about the infantry powerhouses, they are fine. But infantry in general.

What? Are you serious?
They used levers, they didn’t have to pull the xbow directly themselves.

However, this is becoming pointless, let’s agree to disagree.

If you wish to make the HC a unit that represents a soldier easy to train why don’t decrease the cost and TT, to make the HC more spammable.


Yes I’m serious. I agree crossbow was usable to almost everybody in comparison to longbows, but need still a lot of training to be effective in battlefield. You need to be quite fast to use terrain advantages and be able to escape eventual infantry charges. You need to be trained in close combat aswell. But most important, you need to be trained in accuracy and have experiance to shot the backlines of charged enemy armies without damaging your own men.
Hand cannons till 17th canture could only be used as a (very effective) support weapon. They were very inaccurate, which couldn’t be improved by training. Because of this, they were only capable as front-line weapon, which limited their use. But of course, with pike+shot this weakness was compensated.
Actually the weapon which was completely removed from battlefield because of the developement of hand cannons was the halberd. Halberdiers were the most elite infantry unit which could beat almost every other units at their time. But they need so long to train and were paid so well, when pike and shot (which were both cheap) killed them much too easy, they very soon disappeared. But several elite guards still wear them. And it’s actually no joke, they were the superior weaponry till gunpowder. They were so destructive in combat, they wanted even to ban them from battlefield. They were the abc weapon of that time.
And I checked this. Actually pike+shot was developed to beat halberds, not cavalry. Of course it could be effective against cavalry, too, but halberds were actually the biggest threat at this time. Pike+shot actually saved cavalry from extinction because it was so effective against halberds (and other infantry), whilst cavalry was always able to attack the flank of a pike+shot formation due to its high mobility.
So i like the HC damage bonus against infantry, it could even be higher. But I think the high effectiveness of halberds should actually be integrated in the game, too. Every Civ should be able to hire “Landsknechts” as a very expensive elite Infantry unit in the imperial age with high life, good armour and very high attack and even a bonus against cavalry. As freelancers, they don’t receive a civ specific bonus. Pikes+ Halberds get a big damage bonus against the “Landsknechts” and HC get +17 bonus damage against infantry instead of +10.
I think this would be the easiest way to balance this and would also fit well historically.
There would be a late-game pop efficient infantry threat which could be countered by hc + pikes.
I’m only a bit concerned about the combo cav+hc being almost unbeatable then. So no civ with a eco bonus should get both. Yeah, i’m speaking of teutons + franks, e.g.

Because HC shall not single-handly replace archery. They had different roles which should actually be reflected in the game. Also the game benefits from a more specific role of the hc. If we would be historical correct hc should deal friendly fire. This would make them unusable in aoe.

Because arrows and xbows bolts in the past miraculously avoid hitting friendly soldiers, like scorpion bolts that pass through allied lines without harming the allied.

It a game inspired by history, not hysterically accurate.

Because those are things that a hand cannoneer or a general that guides them shouldn’t however know?

The point was that for a soldier learning how to use an xbow or a hand cannon was both simple and didn’t require too much physical prowess.

Now since in the game there isn’t a difference between the bow and the xbows, the HC could represent that kind of unit.

However, I still don’t understand you suggestion for the unit, what would you change?

Your discussion really makes me wanna create a pike shot scneario with mass hand cannons and pikemen and some medium cav lancers.

No, but they were actually trained to avoid hitting something but the target, whilst hand cannons were just to inaccurate to be used in a comparable role.

I just say, because the true roles can’t be reflected accurate in the game, ther acually are these damage bonusses which can be chosen to reflect these roles. So whilst HC couldn’t be used effective against xbows or cavalry in the backlines, xbows could hit almost everything (except artillery). Because of battle formations like pike+shot cavalry was the unit of choice against hc but also vulnerable to it, so no advantage to one of them. Pure Infantry though was viped out by these formations, that’s why there should be a big bonus against Infantry to hc. So I would give hc just a higher bonus against infantry.

The thing is just, that infantry isn’t correctly represented in the game. Infantry need to be more pop efficient. There are just a few civs wich are able to dish out viable infantry atm and way to many counters. Archers, Scorpions, (Onagers), Elefants, HC. Many UU. Many of those don’t even receive a dmg bonus against them. The only Infantry unit you see often is spear-line. Just because they are effective against cavalry and often the only viable counter against it.

Infantry in general should receive some love. Supplies actually doesn’t change it much because it doesn’t make it pop efficient, which is the biggest issue of infantry atm.

You seem to think Gunpowder weapons started with the Musket.

once more: gunpowder <> hc / firearms
We don’t talk about mortars here.
I know, they are missing in the game, but i think the mangonel is just the replacement for them.

Ignoratio Elenchi. No one said anything about Mortars.

Yeah listen, it’s not like all archers can miraculously target only enemies soldiers, nor they were trained for it, friendly fire was a thing way before gunpowder, so let’s not fantasize.

Historical accuracy isn’t a bit thing in aoe, the sooner you get to over it, the better you would enjoy the game.

The problem is that such big changes are unlikely to happen, so it’s better to focus on some tweaks here and there.

but these are the only type of gunpwder which could be used in a almost comparable role like crossbows + arbalests.
If you don’t talk about them, you have actually no clue about the use of gunpowder at this time.

Hand Cannons, Matchlocks, Arquebuses, Fire Lances, Zha Pao Land Mines, Rocket Carts…

Fully Plated, baby!

The thing is also, I can’t see a different role for hc than being a better counter to infantry than arbs. Arbs are a so versatile unit in the game, you can’t add a unit which is just better than arbs. Or even comparable strong with less effort to tech into.
That’s also the point for balancing.

Well but most of the people here agree to make the HC a better arbs that counter only infantry, it’s just that that we disagree on how to achieve that.

Personally, I think that there 2 options that could solve the problem (both together or separately):

  • reduce the TT and cost of the HC
  • Increase its bonus damage vs infantry (like SotL said)

Actually that’s what i’m saying, increase the bonus damage.
You still stick to my theoretical, nerd-like, a bit sarcastic “real” hc suggestion i just once announced.
No, i said several times best way would be the bonus-dmg increase that they can kill halbs just with 2 hits instead of 3.
But i still think if this happens, the cav+hc combo might be a bit too strong if they don’t fix late-game infantry.

Ahh ok, lol I didn’t understand it :sweat_smile:

Well, HC would still be countered by skirms, onagers and rams, however yes this would require some tests.

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