House of Wisdom -- One landmark to replace them all

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.

  1. 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.

  2. Technologies in the House should be more varied and interesting. There is a slight overlap in for example, Freshfoodstuffs and Preservation of Knowledge in terms of usefulness. Though they do different things, it is rare you’d ever pick PoK before FFS. Maybe the Culture Wing could unlock the “Minaret” technology, allowing villagers to build a tower of prayer that slowly converts nearby units, or heals allies or increases the movement speed of your Monks. Something more functional rather than just a flat bonus to X stat. I know those suggestions sounded crazy, but imagine something fun as opposed to bonuses that doesn’t influence gameplay.

  3. 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?

I think the build order that open with economic is old. In hybrid map have no sense open with it and it never take after too. Just watch some Beasty or Mista plays
In team games have no sense too, better open with culture and then trade.
So for me Abba is very versatile

Historically, the house of knowledge represents “the house of knowledge” of the round city of Baghdad. It is well represented as a Landmark, and well represents the concept of “golden age of Islam”.

Now, regarding gameplay, I agree: the civ “could” improve without necessarily changing the concept itself. Since certain future civs, like the Mapuche for example, have not been civs that built giant monuments either, but they did advance culturally, so they would have a similar age development to Abbasid mechanics, so i like the dessign of the abbasid.

Going back to the Abbasids, I had already suggested this before in another post, just like the Chinese who can produce extra unique buildings and get dynasty bonuses, the Abbasids could also have something similar: each wing could unlock some unique buildings:

  • Economic wing: “Sakya”, similar to the Chinese granary, with the farm harvesting bonus, but no tax system.
  • Trade Wing: “Caravanserai”, similar in function to Hindustani Caravanserai from Aoe2DE:IndianDinasties, increases the speed of nearby trade caravans by 15-20% and allows them to be sheltered in case of danger.
  • Military wing: “Sultan’s Palace”, allows the production of troops, including unique units from other Islamic civilizations allied to the caliphate.
  • Culture wing: “Mausoleum”, Generates gold per minute, and more if you put a relic.

NEW BUILDINGS:

1.- Sakya (150w).- Act as a mill, increases the collection speed of nearby farms by 20%. You can build up to 3

2.- Caravanserai (150w).- Generates an aura that increases the speed of merchants who pass by by 20%. You can build up to 3.

3.- Mausoleum (150W 100G).- The memory of past rulers increases the determination of your troops. Infantry spawned near the mausoleum generate a +10% attack speed bonus. You can build 3.

4.- Palace of the Caliph (300w 100g).- Train groups of soldiers allied to the caliphate. You can build 1.

  • Support of the Maghreb (II).- 3 archers and 3 light horsemen 300 f 120 w
  • Indian Support (III): a war elephant + 3 heavy spearmen 300 f 500 gold
  • Ottoman Support (IV).- a large bombard and 3 elite janissaries 100 f 100 w 1000 gold
2 Likes

That does sound interest. I like your ideas. I considered this as well, that each wing would grant you the knowledge to go out and make special units or buildings–showcasing your knowledge. Though this would mean they would have to create new models meaning it’d be less likely to be implemented. But, these are the fun types of ideas that they really need.

My main gripe is that, Abbasid has all Landmarks condensed down to one–but it doesn’t end up justifying that at all, and feels like a glorified university. The technologies are boring and don’t really tap into the civilization’s personality all that much–the fire armour, something people barely notice is ironically the most interesting one for me. As it gives a sense that their buildings were truly made out of stone and thus hard to put on fire.

I really do hope that, Abbasids are at the very forefront of what they meant by Landmark changes in 2023. As it stands, the House of Wisdom ends up being more boring than one regular Landmark for any other civilization. That can’t be right.

I don’t see the issue with the house concept, but the techs within should definitely get adjusted. I liked it better originally when military wing was viable in feudal, camel armor aura gave you a more attractive option than economy and culture if you planned to rush, or gave you a much needed boost if you were defending from a rush. Now both of those play scenarios benefit more from economic wing. Culture wing in feudal is also dead with the exact tech (-33% tech cost) given to every civ for free now.

But the house itself is unique; I don’t miss having three pairs of landmarks to choose between. It’s really lovely that you can age up without any villager work, and by the end of the game each wing provides three bonuses, 9 total which is pretty nice compared to just three bonuses in every other empire. And you can still get the 4th wing. Second to China I think Abba gets the most ‘landmark’ related bonuses.

Don’t get me wrong; I do love that it is a single building. My point is, it should be more impactful or have more features, because it replaces all the potential Landmarks that the Abbasids could have. As of right now, it feels very underwhelming for something that is meant to be a super-landmark.