How to change the walling meta?

So right now in random map multiplayer the game is very much dominated by full wall+fast castle.
People most of the times have palisades around their whole base before the enemy even hits feudal.
There are few strategies that can be done against this in early game.
A drush will rarely prevent walls, and often just be used as an opener into a fast castle
Scouts are completely useless. Archers are usually out too late, to deal enough damage.
Towers+ men at arms seems to be the only viable option right now before castle age.

Now is this a problem?
I think so, it limits the amount of strategies you can go for, and it makes it feel like the first 15 minutes of the game are pretty much pointless to play.

What could you do against this.
Now I have several ideas for this:

  1. Reduce HP of palisade walls. This will have the following effects:
    Walling can be done the same as before, if you are fast enough you can still wall with houses behind, but you need to react faster. Big walls are a bigger problem, as your villagers probably wount reach before the wall is breached. It also would make it easier to breach for ranged units, possibly making saracen archers a bit too strong. This will affect all maps. Open, as well as defensive maps, including hill fort and hide out.

  2. Taking away melee armor of palisades. Right now palisades have 2 melee armor. Taking that away would mean they will take more damage from men at arms and scouts. This would result in walls being easily breakable, but still be effective to keep archers out of your base. However, it would also make it more difficult to wall your villagers into a ressource. Dropping down a palisade at your lumbercamp will probably not keep the men at arms out, as you wont be able to repair it quickly enough anymore. However, this will affect palisades in castle age less. Palisades in castle age are already quite weak. But they often give you enough time to build behind them to stop small unit groups just coming in for raiding. With lower HP palisades this would probably make it impossible to wall behind knights, while reducing the armor will not have as large of an impact on attacking knights. In addition this would affect defensive maps as well.

  3. Double the build time of palisade walls. This would have almost no impact on quickwalls but make it more of an investment to wall large bases. Defensive maps wont be affected by this at all.

  4. Increase the cost of palisades from 2 to 4 wood. This would have a similar effect as build time. Make it more of an investment, and make it more difficult to fast castle off of a full wall. This would have a small effect on quick walls and no effect on defensive maps. Compared to the build time increase, this would make walling more difficult for selective build orders. Build orders that have more wood available can easier wall, than those that have less wood available. The increased building time will affect all buildorders more or less equally.

  5. Give a specific unit significant bonus damage against palisades. Maybe give that damage to spearmen. They are not an offensive unit, and can be mixed in with any kind of rush, as you need the Barracks anyways. Once you realize your opponent is fully walled you can add 2 or 3 spearmen to your rush and destroy the walls. It does not make any rush specifically stronger (except for maybe archers), and requires a bit more commitment of the offensive player.

  6. Give building foundations of houses and other non fortifications (castles and TC would probably a bad idea) negatie melee armor, so they take more damage before they are fully build. This makes it more difficult to wall behind palisades. This alone will probably not have too much of an effect on the meta, and more situationally affects quick walling on open maps. I believe this would make open maps rather more open, and dont affect arabia and more close maps too much.

  7. Keep palisades as it is, but change maps. This could be done a bunch of ways:

    1. Make existing maps more open (remove wood lines/cliffs around the starting area)
    2. Add small patches of unbuildable terrain to existing maps. This could be for example be put on slopes. You cant add buildings on slopes anyways, but you can wall. So this would not affect the placement of other buildings, but make it more difficult to wall your base.
    3. Dont change existing maps, but make sure there always are some open/unwallable maps like the current acropolis or lands madness in the map pool.
      3.2 Add map categories to the map pool. Have the player choose from different categories of maps letting them play on a random map from that pool: i.e. Open maps, defensive maps, water maps, nomad maps

    All of these would of course mean much more work from the developers, as they are much more difficult to implement than simple stat tweaks.

What do you guys think would be the best option? Do you have other ideas, did I miss some of the effects these changes would have, or do you think changes arent even needed?

edit: although for some of the stats im being more specific, this is just a conceptual list of stats. Of course, maybe its better to increase build time only by 50%, or armor only by 1. But I was more thinking about what KIND of change could be made, and how this would impact the game. Once one has an idea what kind of change would be the most appropriate one, I would think about the stats. But of course you are welcome to discuss either :slight_smile:

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Nice ideas! I think the palisades should be weaker as well.

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Walling in is part of what makes this game actually Medieval themed.

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For me it feals like espacially low ELO games, like mine ;-), everybody is walling like crazy. I think walling should you cost a significant delay in castle age time. Or just more open maps. For me its boring if even the flank players in team games play full walled fast castle in 90% of the time.

It does worse, it costs you Castles and Villager time.

That’s the thing. It doesnt really cost you castle time. You can comfortably do a full walled fast castle build on most maps, even on the quite open golden pit you can easily go fast castle.

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No you cannot, unless your opponent is sleeping.

The more Stone you spend on Walls, the less Castles and TCs you get too.

I think the problem is both the wall being too cheap and the fact that it is so easy to quickwall with buildings. I would slightly increase palisade walls cost and increase the damage building foundations take. Right now a single vill building a house can keep out a few man at arms…

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But there is no reason to use stone walls. it is completely sufficient to palisade wall for a fast castle age.

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Increasing damage to building foundations (giving them -2 melee armor or something like that) would also be a good idea. I agree.

That Wood expenditure means less Archers and Rams. Just FC yourself, get a proxy Siege Workshop, and Ram it all down.

I think walling should be a legitimate strategy when the map allows for it, but it shouldn’t be the rule. Right now walling is (for most maps) really easy and cheap to do. Walls should be viable, but they should come at a price. Right now the safety you gain from walling far surpasses the relatively small expense you have to do to build them.

But thats exactly the problem. The only counter to a fully palisade walled fast castle is going fast castle yourself. Basically making the Feudal age obsolete. Also that would expenditure is so minor. A fully walled arabia map is around 30 tiles of palisade walls. Thats just a single farm. Doesnt really set you back enough, for it being a choice. You will ALWAYS be better off walling than without.

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Walling means that you can boom in safety while the enemy is blocked out, which means you can neglect building an army in favor of economy. You are actually getting an eco advantage compared to an enemy who chose to build an army. That is true as long as you keep them out, at least.

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Agreed, that’s why I think increasing cost, or build time are probably the best ways to change the meta.

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A walled player is also blocked out from the rest of the map, and will not have troops. Just go for FC and Siege Rush him.

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Doesn’t really matter, you can boom in feudal, reach castle way faster than an opponent who has a feudal army and wipe the floor with his units with knight or crossbows.

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Does not work that way. If you wall, you will reach Castle slower than a player that saw you walling, and did not wall himself.

RTS games are mostly about information and counterplay. A player that spends Wood/Stone to Wall, will not be able to fend off a Castle drop outside his Walls, for example, which will deny him a huge chunk of that safety space.

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Again, he can just do the same. There is no reason to go for feudal agression, or to not wall. The game right now starts in castle age, with possibly some dark age action in form of a drush. But there really is almost nothing going on in Feudal age. It is consistently just skipped. That is the issue we are addressing here. There is no reason for you not to wall. You will always be better off if you do it, and you can go fast castle. Im not saying it is an unbeatable strategy, but there is no altenative to it. Your enemy goes fast castle, you go fast castle and thats where the game starts. If you build army in Feudal age, you will have a later castle time. If you dont build army in Feudal age, well the game just starts in dark age.
Again: A fully walled Arena base does NOT set your eco back. It is not more than 60 wood that you spend on it. And it will be useful in Castle age too, as it still protects your eco from raids, long enough to wall behind or till your army arrives.

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Factually wrong, most high ELO games see Militia or M@A Rushes.

Archer and Tower Rushes are also hugely popular, and those can stop Walling dead on it’s tracks.

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