The House of Wisdom for the Abbasids replaces a lot of content in AoE4 that was made to give individual civilizations a sense of personality, fun and impact. Picking your landmark tends to mark an important shift in the game, throwing in an additional mechanic to play with that often gives you a huge advantage.
However, the House of Wisdom is almost the opposite of all that. It is meant to give you many options and feel flexible, but ignoring the fact that every Abbasid build order is Economy-Culture-Military-Trade, the issue is that each wing does not feel interesting at all. Each wing does not even grant you a bonus in of itself, and you must spend additional time researching technologies to even feel its impact. And so, it ends up feeling like some kind of university.
Replacing 8 potential landmarks
Remember. This unit, of whose position is decided very early, deprives you of those strategic decisions. As a game goes on, you do not get to change its position. Nor do you really change your wing order. And even if you do… you end up playing the same. I get that it is hard to condense eight different possible Landmarks into one, but the House of Wisdom ends up not even feeling like a single Landmark.
Why are the technologies it gives no different than say, something you get by the University or Blacksmith? Why must you research them after building a wing? Why are they simply stat bonuses and not something that grants abilities, unlocks units or makes the game feel different than if you had picked another wing?
Why is it that the Golden Age only gives you a flat bonus that doesn’t change your gameplay? And why is it such a static function that feels clunky to build up with uninteresting rewards? Contrast that to say, the Ottoman’s Vizier points.
So here are three suggestions. These are just ideas of ways to try and make Abbasid more fun, not actual implementation ideas. I am no designer, so just hear out ways to make the civilization more dynamic.
Each “wing” should immediately grant a bonus. Say picking the military wing, some war trumphets go off and you’ve immediately gained the Boot Camp technology, or an entirely new bonus that makes your infantry units more interesting somehow.
Golden Age building influence and rewards could be more interesting. The rewards grant flat bonuses that the Abbasids have enough of in their House of Wisdom technologies. It should be a tangible reward, one that maybe unlocks an ability, a type of unit or building. One of the rewards could for example enhance the influence of fire armour. Since the House of Wisdom is placed so early, its influence rarely extends past your base. So maybe something like “Golden Age influence extends from any Town Center or Castle”, allowing for harder to kill Tower/Castle pushes–showing off that civilization bonus of building structures out of stone.
The House of Wisdom should be a SUPER landmark, as it replaces so many potential landmarks. Instead, it ends up feeling just… an university. And considering that it is meant to replace potentially 8 landmarks, it should FEEL a lot more impactful and fun. Thoughts?