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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keep palisades as it is, but change maps. This could be done a bunch of ways:
- Make existing maps more open (remove wood lines/cliffs around the starting area)
- 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.
- 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