The simple solutions is to provide more incentive to expand. Placing food resources outside the wall would provide an eco advantage players who takes a risk. Staying within your walls should be a viable strategy however if your opponent take outside resources without punishment then you are at a disadvantage.
If you decide to go scouts to snipe villagers or at least force them back. They could build prophylactic spearmen, try to spot your scouts with their own, or send their villagers home early in antcipiation. Archer are less viable since you need an archer range and they require ######### to be truely effective but they can counter spearmen and if you manage loop behind your opponent villager they can kill villagers. This will also buff off meta strategy like tower rush since by secure map control you are also securing neutral resources.
Also you could decrease starting food resource if you want to further increase the incentive to expand.
The whole point of arena is its there is no dark age agression at all and very rare fuedal agression.
This is like saying “how can we make atacama more wallable” or “how can we make islands less water focused”.
Masters of arena tournament has high HP walls the whole game where ladder arena has lower HP walls in fuedal so tower rushing can be a viable strategy.
Yeah, if you want risk and aggression in the early game, you shouldn’t be playing arena.
Isn’t the whole point of arena to be safe in the early game?
Safe is the wrong term, rather it promotes very different strategies and unit fundamentals. As such it works around very different timings and benchmarks. If you take time to take a breath, you might find Arena is a deceptive mistress.
See also: How to make humans more tolerant to living underwater
you already said the main point, not sure why people keep suggesting weird ideas or changes to make things worse.