How could a new "Power Unit" Infantry look like?

I would call it “matchup” with the other power units. But ofc also in the wider context. The power units are “power units” as they are usually basically at the same “high power” level on the most played map , which is Arabia. Yes, Knights have a small advantage on this map, which I am totally fine with, but the currently other two power units were for the most part competitive enough, at least for their top dogs.
I know that there is currently a debate going on if Knights have become a bit too strong in the meta, but that’s not the topic of this thread.
The issue is ofc, that’s really hard to predict how a unit plays out effectively. You can only try to apply your experience to a stat sheet. But it’s basically impossible to predict every other factor that comes into play which isn’t part of your conscious game experience.

It’s useful against archers and for herassing the enemy eco. That’s the main purpose. It adds some utility to the Infantry line which the current militia don’t have.
The low damage output is intentional. The feature isn’t meant to be the most determining factor of the unit. It’s only meant to be useful in specific situation. It’s intentionally flawed so that the main specification of the unit remains an Infantry unit. To avoid the Ratha affect of being “Jack of all traits, master of nothing”.

Ofc, it’s deseiged to be somewhat it’s own unit compostion. But only until the real unit comps come out. And opposed to the Ratha the unit stays valueable in these situations as it still is mainly an Infantry unit. It still has good damage output, especially against Buildings.
But I have to admit, it’s really hard to find the right Balance there. As if one mode wasn’t hard enough to balance, two modes make it even harder even if one of the modes is mainly just for utility.

Deisagree there, the ranged ability makes a huge difference in the capability of pressuring the opponent eco. Maybe I am a bit conservative there, but it’s by no means useless. It adds a utility to the unit infantry usually completely lacks.

Ofc we could in general discuss a commodity of “how” a new power infantry unit can fit into the game. By just looking into the common gameplay and how they would interact with that.

  • A power unit needs to be “solid” vs all the other power units. Meaning the outcome of the battle is largely just dependent on mass and micro. Ofc there never can be a perfect balance, neither it would be actually good for the game if there was perfect balance.

  • A power unit needs to have the potential to deal damage to the opponent eco. What’s the point in opening with a unit that doesn’t does damage to the opponent? You just get outboomed and killed later.

  • A widely available (semi-)trash counter. A unit the opponent can fall back to if his own mass of power units isn’t capable of fighting you anymore. In the current game design it’s usually the archer players that need to add pikeman against Knights. Then the Knight can add skirms…

  • Certain Powerspikes to work with in the matchup against the other power units. Leading to a development and allowing for both comeback- but also game closing scenarios.

And some other I don’t want to talk about atm, cause it’s already quite a lot to think about.

In the current game design the possibly “easiest” way to implement a “power infantry” unit is to make it soft-countering Knights and being soft countered by Archers. This is also the way infantry is usually perceived in general. The semi-trash counter then can be the militia line. This would also fit in other gameplay dynamics we have: Camels from the same building and type counter Knigths and Skirms from the same building and type counter Archers. I don’t think this is ideal, but it’s how it is and we could continue with this in making the Militia line counter the new power infantry unit.
This coul then finally be the one missing factor to make the Militia viable in Castle age as it then would be a counter of one of the power units.
IF this turns out to be not enough there would always be the potential to add a new anti-infantry trash unit to the archery range. The power infantry unit could have a little bit of resistance to that attack so that unid doesn’t becomes oppressive against the power infantry. I personally would like the addition of that kind of trash unit, but I think it’s possible to design the power infantry without the need for that.
It would be quite interesting to see as power infantry + trash infantry counter could itself be a quite strong unit combination . This could add a very interesting new dynamic in the games. AT least for people like me that love to play with different unit combinations.

Also the CA would potentially the biggest profiteurs of that addition of a power infantry unit in the midgame. As the CA would be able to use both speed and range to their Advantage. Very hard to deal against that with infantry. The best the infantry can do against that is probably pure brute force.

The power infantry unit would also be an interesting Tool in the Knight v Camel matchup. As it would be a very efficient camel counter with also better raiding potential, forcing the camel player to tech into completely different unit types. Adding some outplay potential in these matchups. (Camel civs ofc can also just go power infantry or even directly towards the counters)

With the current Knigh-heavy meta it’s probably the best time to implement such a power infantry unit that’s soft-countering Knights. As this could revert some of the disbalance that has been creepingly established over the times. It wouldn’t change the Knight v Archer matchup directly, instead adding a whole new element where the usage of the Knight mobility becomes even more important for getting the V. (more important means also harder to execute, but I personally like challenges. Would at least motivate me to work on my Knight skills…)

In terms of Powerspike I think the best “Timing” for that power infantry would be late castle age. As currently we have Archers in feudal, Knights in Castle and CA in late imp. (In between the biggest Powerspike is probably the Arbalester). For me that late castle age is actually lacking a bit in Powerspikes and would be the ideal “spot” for a (potentially Gold-heavy) Power Infantry unit to shine. This can potentially achieved the easiest by a lot of techs to get until your castle age Power Infantry is fully upgraded. And this tech delay would ofc open some time for the other civs to damage before the power Infantry can be used effectively.

These is my preferred take on the question of interactions with the other power units. I don’t say that’s the only way it can be done. There are countless. But for me this feels the most natural, appealing and exciting given the current state of the game.

This is really interesting thread and I like reading everyone’s ideas. Here is what I would theorize regarding the implementation of a new “power infantry unit”.

If the new unit has similar properties to the regular militia line, such as similar speed and is exclusively melee, then I think it will see about the same amount use as the militia line regardless of any HP, Armor, Attack and attack bonuses. The same issues that create handicaps for the militia line are still going to apply in terms of utility and usefulness.

What I would recommend to enhance the current meta paradigm is to make the militia line units tech into this role of a “power infantry unit”. I would love for AOE2 to have more unit content and also would welcome a bucket load of regional units, but I don’t think the game’s design direction lends toward this type of inclusion. Take for instance AOM where the tech trees of each civ are fairly diverse. While they share similar units, you can expect each unit belonging to a culture to have unique properties that are great for specific situations. For AOE2 to lean into this type of asymmetry they would need to redesign their tech tree because each civ uses a standard unit roster. Adding new units would create problematic overlap. I think a good example of this is when they gave the Stepp Lancer as a regional unit. Each of those civs already has access to light cav. What is the inherent advantage to using this unit? Does the additional cost over light cav justify the slight differences in unit? As such I don’t think they are heavily utilized in competitive play due to not having a clear advantage. This is because AOE2’s focus was on creating unique stat buffs and changes through choice of civilization. Turks getting free light cav upgrades on the other hand is inherently beneficial and synergizes with a pre-extent unit tree and well understood unit roles. This is why I think introducing a new unit only muddies the current unit meta and creates overly specialized roles that will be hard to determine how useful they can be in practice vs. the generic militia line.

Below is a great explanation of various types of attack strategies that help in one’s understanding a unit’s particular role in the meta. Every game is unique, but these 4 basic situations are probably close to how you are going to be using your forces.

For the militia line infantry unit they seem fairly limited in terms of which types of attacks you could efficiently conduct. Maybe a power unit would fair better, but it would still struggle in some of the following scenarios.

As a raid unit they lack the speed or range to do crippling damage to an economy. Cav are fast allowing them to quickly get into unprotected areas and the range of archers allow them to pick off units. Infantry have to rely on a surprise timing that catches the defender off guard.

During a skirmish the same problems prevent them from gaining map control more efficiently than other units. Cav use speed and mobility to get the positioning that is favorable or delay until they reach a number advantage and archers can hit and run to whittle away infantry to prevent taking an unfavorable fight. The main advantage they have is their potential cost effectiveness if both sides take damage.

Assault is really where I believe they have the best utility because as you are attempting to damage infrastructure it is more likely you can encourage a favorable engagement and use the cost effectiveness to your advantage. This is still running a considerable risk if you miscalculate the opponents strength get picked off trying to slowly retreat.

Siege is pretty similar as the opponent likely has to intervene to prevent key buildings from being destroyed so you could likely take a fight on preferable terms.

Considering the assault and siege are the two most likely scenarios infantry will be effective I theorize that making the militia line more viable for these fights would be more beneficial than adding a separate unit that may detract from their usefulness, making them completely obsolete, or would overlap with another civ’s UU, making them less of a civ specific bonus.

There are also critical changes to the game that I think would improve this paradigm. The biggest problem being the associated upgrade techs for infantry. If I could rework the tech tree I would have the militia line and the knight line share common armor upgrades. Already they share the forging line, but sharing armor would allow a player to pivot more easily between cavalry and infantry. For instance, what if an infantry assault fails? Now you can rebuild with knights and not be penalized for pumping resources into infantry armor. What if your knight rush is defeated and you need to conserve resources? Now you can train infantry that retain your tech level. Additionally I would rework supplies. Knights gain improvements to speed, HP, armor and attack, while infantry gain a cost reduction in food, armor, attack and added building damage. The reduced food is economically beneficial sure, but it doesn’t improve how the unit performs in a fight. Why not instead give them a health upgrade like bloodlines and also a bonus to pierce armor? Allow them to have greater survivability while assaulting a base. This way they can lean more into an assault/siege role and have some inherent advantages over their cav and archer counterparts. Why not also buff arson to put on more pressure for the opponent to react?

Anyways, I would love to see more units and certainly would like infantry to be more viable in the current meta.

The fundamental concept is that a good melee unit doesn’t die easily to ranged units or is quite fast with high attack and some special property once made. And to make them, their cost and training time should be proportional to their strength and appropriate to the game time where they’re an effective unit. So as far as infantry is concerned you either have a cheap, gold intensive high p.armor and fast raiding unit that’s produced from barracks or very low training time from castle for the early and mid castle age OR you have a high hp, reasonably good armor, food intensive infantry with some special advantage over other options. If neither of those are followed, the unit is niche and mostly unnecessary.

Its not a “power unit” when its only useful in some specific niche situation. Units like eagles, knights are always made because they’re a strong unit in a lot of situations. And Rathas are the way they are because they’re a castle unit and too costly yet have too many counters. If Rathas were available in stable or range, have 50w, 50g cost they’d be a good unit.

Yes that’s true, units which switch modes are hard to design and balance but if it switches between ranged and melee, I’d rather prefer the ranged version being stronger if it has low armor and speed or prefer the melee being stronger if its fast and well armored.

Its quite resource intensive needing too many upgrades, so you can’t do too many of these in early game without compromising your eco quite a bit. And its slow with 1 p.armor, so you can’t get much value out of it earlier in the game by diving under tc and causing idle time either. In mid game with 4 range and 0.9 speed, lets say even 0.99 speed after squires, how many villagers can you probably kill - a few at max. Ultimately you have to use it like the late game infantry uu or champion. Yes its going to kill more than longswordsmen but longswords themselves are nearly useless for this purpose.

With decent armor every unit can be good at raiding.

In general a power unit needs to be viable in a lot of different scenarios. However you try to separate and phrase them.
Limiting this because of the association connected with the unit type will ofc reduce the units capacity. But if you try to give the unit utilities / stats that help in these different scenarios there is a lot possible.

Don’t agree with this conjecture.

??? It’s not to make it niche, it’s there to compensate a general weakness of the infantry units, actually adding utility.

For me actually the other way around… There has to be an incentive to change to the melee mode, no?

This ofc can be adjusted. The unit can possibly be changed in not requiring the archer upgrades but getting the range and damage initally. The res need can also be reduced.

But it has high attack and can destroy buildings way faster than many other units in the game. So you can open breaches and you can even use some of the units in the ranged mode to hinder the enemy from repairing and/or backwalling.

It’s a totally new type of unit and has some new applications.

Maybe the ranged damage output is rather small, but it als needs to be considerably smaller than xbows cause xbows have no armor and little HP. As an Infatnry unit to be viable needs higher PA and HP to be viable the damage output needed to be reduced as otherwise the new unit would basically just replace the archer line as it would dominate xbows in a shootout.
The issue of design. But I’m not unhappy with the result. The damage output is high enough to pick off vills and weaken approaching enemy army before the engagement.
It’s still a mainly infantry unit with very high melee damage output. And the ranged attack just adds some nice utility that the infantry otherwise usually lacks.

But unfortunately that’s the case. Militias are good, man-at-arms are decent, champion are quite good. They all have a time window where they’re useful but not long swordsman. They’re niche and only good against eagle-pike combos. Its just because of the game design, importance of food as a resource while also being the slowest source, stats of ranged units, town centers - all these things mean that the unit you propose doesn’t fit the narrative of being a power unit at any phase of the game. Too much resources for feudal age, too slow too poor attack and range in the ranged mode and insufficient armor for castle age and finally too much gold with almost the same stats as champion for the late game. Also switching modes manually implies its too much micro dependent which is impractical for the late game.

Except the utility you add is barely useful in most standard situations implying that its a niche utility. And its not coming for free or a marginal price increase.

Maybe I didn’t put the sentence the best way, so what I meant was if the unit is faster and has good armor, I’d prefer the melee mode to be stronger - so like a tankier ratha but if its slow and has low armor I’d prefer good stats on the ranged. Yes the incentive for melee in that case will only be against siege units and high p.armor low attack units like eagles.

Not in the ranged mode. In the melee mode, its still a burmese longswords. You’re assuming that the unit will somehow act like a crossbow but with benefits of a longswordsman. Unfortunately that’s the utility you get AFTER making them. But producing quite a lot of them is very difficult.

Definitely an interesting unit but the cost-stats balance is a bit off.

When I initially suggested this, I only meant the same units. So, shieldbearers will give extra armour to other shieldbearers, but not all units. That is significantly easier to balance because you don’t have to worry about all the other potential interactions.

Hey, a survivalist video. The best AoE2 educator imo.

I don’t agree with your conjecture that it’s required to like “flip” some certain current militia line properties around to make a unit viable power unit.
It would be quite easy to design a unit that does fit your set of properties but is just completely broken/OP. And right the opposite way around it would be possible to make a unit on which your set of properties doesn’t apply but it’s totally useless.

That’s why I try to look into what are properties of the “Power units” that can be used for a new design. I’m not interested here why the militia line can’t (though I have explained some tiems why I think it’ll be very hard to make it and I even don’t think it’s a good idea to attempt this). I look for properties that can work instead.

I think the ability to herass woodlines and in general aplly pressure on the opponent is quite a common theme for ranged units. Maybe the damage ouput of the bowmen is lower. But the opponent will still need to react fast to reduce the damage they can deal to their eco.
Especially for very high level Games this makes almost no difference. If the damage output is high enough that vills fall easily, you have to move the vills away. Only if the damage is quite low like against skirms you can stay there, tanking some damage. If you fail to react in time against that your losses are massive anyways.
So for that utility it’s only really necessary to get above a certain damage output threshold. And I think that is achieved with the proposed design.

Prices can be adjusted. I gave a small price increase cause A) I don’t want it to replace the militia line with it entirely and B) the ranged utility actually adds some extra fighting power that needs to be accounted for. Maybe it’s not much, but if you fight these with eg Knights, they can reduce your Knight numbers before the melee engagement. Or at least weaken some of your Knights. And ofc this needs to be factored in the cost.

Again, that can be changed. I designed it kinda “conservative” as it is a very snowbally unit. And I also said that I can think of it being affected by supplies. And I can tell you this unit affected by supplies can turn to a midgame monster. Cause there is very little you can do in the midgame to deal with a ### #### of them id you don’t already have a comparable military force. It’s a very snowbally unit, that’s why I kept the individual unit cost kinda high.
In the lategame there are various strategic tools against it, but also Arbs, HCA and HC that can counter it besides the Militia line.

But maybe a better design concept is the Legionary. It’s a mix of Milita and Skirmisher. If this was directly a combination of them it would be almost unbeatable for archer civs. Therefore the Skirmish ability is restricted. The Legionary has a charge bar of which is taken 1/3 each time it throws a javeline. That bar replenishes quite slowly.
To beat it with the other Power unist you have to outmass it. But the Militia line can work as a decent counter. The low damage output but makes it only viable for a slow push and/or macro tool (streaming it in the opponent eco when there is no protection eg). With higher HP and armor it’s better suited for raiding than other Infantry.
It’s also thinkable of using it for defensive purposes against enemy slow pushes/pressures.
The main disadvantage would still be that the other power units are just better in damagin the eco with lower investment. But it’s risky move against that unit as it is really snowbally, once the slow push can’t be contained anymore and the Knight/Archer/CA player doesn’t have the military to deal with it, it’s really, really hard to stop. If ofc the Knight/Archer/CA player masses more military to deal with it, this gives the Legionary player time to add more eco and prepare a good defence for its base.
So there are these nice dualistic outplay scenarios.

One notable difference to the skirmisher is that it’s javeline attack has a bonus agaist Siege. This is imo necessary as otherwise it would be too weak against Onager defence.

The comparably low Gold cost would make it stay viable even in the very lategame. This is a major difference to the other designs I have posted so far. They all were intended to fall of heavily at some point, forcing you to transition into different (infantry) units for your army core.

Name Legionary Elite Legionary
Armor Class Eagle Warrior Eagle Warrior
Armor Class Infantry Infantry
Armor Class (rangerd) Archer Archer
Produced at Barracks Barracks
Production Time 21 s 21 s
Production Cost 25 G, 35 W, 45 F 25 G, 35 W, 45 F
HP 100 120
Speed 0.9 0.9
ROF (melee) 2 2
Attack (melee) 9 Melee 10 Melee
Atk Bonus 4 vs Cavalry 5 vs Cavalry
ROF (ranged) 3 3
Attack (ranged) 3 Pierce 3 Pierce
Atk Bonus 4 vs Archer 4 vs Archer
Atk Bonus 3 vs Spearman 3 vs Spearman
Atk Bonus 2 vs Cavalry Archer 2 vs Cavalry Archer
Atk Bonus 3 vs Siege 3 vs Siege
Range 5 5
Accuracy 90% 90%
Melee Armor 2 3
Pierce Armor 2 2
Benefits from Infantry Upgrades + Archer attack upgrades
Upgrade 150 s, 500 F, 1000 G
Special Ranged charge bar: 1 shot costs 1/3
Special Charge bar replenishes fully in 60 s
Special 1 minimum Range (ranged mode)

The restricted ranged mode is an interesting feature that compensates for the lack of other micro and strategic properties. You need to think about when you want to use your Javelines and wisely use them. This means you need a lot of experience. On the other hand the “Melee infantry” makes it easy to use for less experienced players as there is so little you can really make wrong (as there are no hard counters until the lategame).
I think this makes a good mixture so the unit can stay viable for all levels of play.

If this is true then the Teutonic Knight (with its improved stats) would be considered a great raid unit and could easily rack up villager kills and do massive economic damage. But that does not seem to be the case as players more frequently opt to and have better success using light cav, knights or archers to pick off villagers. The Woad Raider even seems more preferable as its speed is valued over armor level. That is why I’m thinking the inherent melee attack and slower speed of infantry tend to create this limitation of uses, not necessarily its association with other units.

Additionally these limitations lead to main problem which is; why the opponent would choose to take an engagement against a power unit? If they see a mass of this power unit and know that it is effective against their composition of cav or archers they might choose to delay a melee engagement by use of their range and speed. This then puts the impetus of starting the fight in the hands of the infantry player who has to decide how to get the opponent to take this engagement. That is why I theorize they may be limited to taking an assault to force the opponent to take that poor engagement vs. lose critical infrastructure. Then the infantry player’s choice then becomes picking the best assault unit making either the power unit or the militia line unit the spam dejour. For instance if you play Goths, after anarchy is researched, there seem to be very limited reasons why you would pivot from Huskarls to Champions. This also then potentially hurts civs who already have specific bonuses to their militia line and would need to evaluate their bonus against a unit that is all around better suited for the job.

ok, TK has too less HP for their, sorry for not being like super accurate there.
My units have more HP and lower cost.
Also TK are made from castles.
And ofc speed is important, too.

What I meant, these units should be good enough for raiding purposes. Maybe not super strong, but they should be decent enough.

That will probably be a common theme in the matchups.
The thing is that if this unit gets to a strong mass + siege behind it’s just impossible to stop with containment. And if you don’t have an army then that can win an engagement it will take you apart.

But that’s already explained above.

you don’t pivot… you mix them. they work very well together.

Another unit Idea I just had:

The Franctireur

A mix between half a villager and an Infantry unit. (can only gather res at half speed and not build/repair)
So not a real “power unit”. But a utility unit.
You can apply pressure on your opponent and if he defends well you just take some of his ressources (no camps neede). Or you make them at home to be better defendet against raids.

Would also solve the issue that atm there is only one way to add eco in feudal age (on land maps). Getting Castle Age would still be a priority as real vills are so much more efficient than the Franctireurs, but at least you can then add a little bit of extra eco in feudal, allowing potentially for intendedly longer Feudals as a potential alternative to the current race to castle age.

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Here the design for the Francitreur. The frencitreur needs no drop-off building, the collected ressoruces are directly transfered to the players pile.

Name Francitreur (F) Francitreur © Francitreur (I)
Armor Class Infantry Infantry Infantry
Armor Class Eagle Warrior Eagle Warrior Eagle Warrior
Produced at Barracks Barracks Barracks
Production Time 40 s 30 s 30 s
Production Cost 70 F, 30 G 70 F, 30 G 70 F, 30 G
HP 60 80 90
Speed 0.9 0.9 0.9
ROF 2 2 2
Attack 5 Melee 7 Melee 8 Melee
Atk Bonus 2 vs Standard Building 3 vs Standard Building 4 vs Standard Building
Atk Bonus 2 vs Cavalry 4 vs Cavalry 5 vs Cavalry
Range - - -
Accuracy - - -
Melee Armor 1 1 1
Pierce Armor 2 2 2
Benefits from Infantry Upgrades Infantry Upgrades Infantry Upgrades
Upgrade 60 s, 200 F, 100 G 120 s, 400 F, 600 G
Special Can gather Ressources at 50% (60 %, 70 %) speed of Villagers

I set the TT fir Francitreurs at 40 s in feudal. This is already quite long, but can be further increased if the Francitreurs turn out to be a too good economic ########## at that stage.

I reflected about this whole concept of making a power Infantry unit.
And I came to the conclusion that it would be good to have also one new trash counter to infantry.
Like the other power units also have one.

The idea is that the main counter should still remain the militia line and the new trash counter counters both (but the militia line harder). This would (hopefully) lead to interesting continueation of the game with a lot of different comps that play out differently against each other.
This could be achieved by making a ranged infantry counter with bonus damage and the new power Infantry unit gets a little bit of Infantry Armor, just enough so that new unit doesn’t completely annihilate them. The current infantry counters have already way higher amounts of Damage output so a little bit of infantry armor wouldn’t influence them as much.

The best concept for that I already had in my Songhai Concept with the Lightbowman. But there the idea was more to make a unit that fits better in the current game and pairs perfectly with Camels.
The new concept is to make it fit better to the idea of making a new Power Infantry unit.

Name Lightbowman Elite Lightbowman
Armor Class Archer Archer
Produced at Archery Range Archery Range
Production Time 20 s 20 s
Production Cost 30 F, 30 W 30 F, 30 W
HP 25 30
Speed 1.05 1.05
ROF 2 2
Attack 3 Pierce 3 Pierce
Atk Bonus 5 vs Infantry 7 vs Infantry
Atk Bonus 5 vs Condottiero 7 vs Condottiero
Range 4 4
Accuracy 70% 80%
Melee Armor 0 0
Pierce Armor 0 0
Benefits from Archer Upgrades Archer Upgrades
Upgrade Cost 180 s 600 G, 400 F

The new Power Infantry unit could get 2 Infantry Armor in Castle Age and 3 Infantry Armor in Imperial. That would be just enough to ensure they aren’t totally countered by the new Lightbowmen, but harder than by the current Arbs or CA.

Then ofc there’s the valid Question what to do with the Slinger. And I would just give that Unit an Imp upgrade, giving it +10 HP and + 1 Base Pierce Attack. As the Slinger is a gold unit, you should expect from it to be a bit more of a “generalist” Unit than currently. It would then basically be a mix between the current Archers and the Lightbowman, also indicated by the Slingers Cost.

I know some people will state that’s another Change to the game to make the one initially proposed viable.
But it’s not essential, it’s just to have that pure trash counter element for the Infantry there aswell as we have already against Cavalry and Archery. It would be sufficient already to just leave the Militia line as counter against the new Power Infantry unit. I just think with this extra trash counter we have one more column to build our Palace upon, allowing to individually adjust each Unit rather than have to look at every single interaction that may be influenced with just a small individual change.

It would already allow to make some changes to the Militia line as then the Militias would lose their “Trash Counter” proficiency. Allowing to make the whols line more appealing in the midgame as there is a way to deal with it in the lategame - even if Gold is already running out.