How would you buff the Battle Elephant?

I think in general the scorpion line should be more tweaked towards anti-cavalry instead of anti-archer.
For anti-archer we already have the mango line.

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Like with many changes, a buff to eles could see a nerf to this. Just like this was buffed after eles were nerfed

I would reduce halb bonus v eles by 10.

Increase ele speed by 0.05

And this:

Tweak if needed, but test in the PUP

I like the idea, but both civs are already fairly pigeonholed. And you make them less diverse.

Why not test the higher speed first and then see if the civs need to be nerfed?

BE are currently much weaker than they used to be, with vastly better counters being fielded in TGs (gurj and Hindu camels) on top of even Saracens

By the time you can afford elephants, the cost of husbandry should be a non issue.

Which makes them terrible all around.

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Not if you buff them all around…

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Well if the point of rhe unit is to be very pop efficient it goes contrary to tge entire units role.

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original game manual of 1999 AOK still says its anti-cavalry.

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Really? Then we finally figured out why there are two different siege units countering basically the same unit types.
Maybe it’s time to adjust the scorpion?

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Yeah for some reason they never added bonus damage or expected high damage will just do the job. Also Saracens was expected to be 100% Camel civ but in the end became more of a Cav Archer civ in past. Over years it is Camel/Archer civ now. Remember initial release had very much different thought set as it is today now. They had to add Hussar(wish they renamed Hussar to something else)/Halb to tweak trash gameplay.

Well ofc the hard thing is what then should counter scorpions?
Archers? Infantry? Siege?
And how to implement this.

BTW I woul probably step away from extra bonus damage vs eles here, as eles are slow they are hit more often by the bolts.

I would love this so much actually. This would adress two units that could need some love

Well it could see a nerf. But the point im making is its actually extremely probable that it needs a nerf because fundamentally the discount creates a relation between Malay and non Malay elephants that isnt desirable. Namely that to balance malay elephants you need the base stats to be weak, but the upgrades available to other elephants do not admit making up for the weaker base stats in cost until pop cap becomes valuable. Fundamentally this is detrimental to 1v1 dynamics.

On top of that a huge % of players will eschew monks in team games, heavy scorpions arent great vs elephants and halbs are very vulnerable to archers. Which presents snowball issues for things like khmer elephants in team games.

So the devs job is effectively to take these relations and analyze them to converge on a desireable set of relations. E.g.:

Step 1:

  • Scorpion: +2 war elephant damage.
  • Heavy scorpion +4 war elephant damage, 10 pierce armor.
  • Elephant archer: reduce negative cav archer armor
  • Battle elephant: Malay discount reduced to 20%, 30% respectively.
  • Pikes/Halbs: -5 war elephant attack
  • War elephants: -2, -5 war elephant armor respectively.

Step 2:

  • Iterate on this using buffs to elephants if needed. E.g.:
    • war elephant +5 building attack, battle elephants +3 building attack
    • elite battle elephant +20 HP
    • Monks: base speed increased to 0.8, fervour moved to imp.
    • etc.

It seems to me like FE only ever makes changes analogous to partial derivative updates (change one unit one way) but almost never makes changes analogous to directional derivatives (change multiple units simultaneously)

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Please give EA range. They can’t run from bad fights. Especially if they get outnumbered by xbows.

Practically speaking, Dagorad has explained the malay elephant problem succinctly, the only difference between the conclusion posed and the reality of the situation is that Battle Elephants are actually already very good, I wouldn’t buff them, and the Malay were broken before they were buffed and now they’re even more broken.

Them not seeing use is the end result of something we already accept to be true: Most expensive units will be worth the investment in very few games, comparable to the civilization’s other unit options (Cata vs Arb for Byz, Camel vs Mameluke for Saracens, etc.) and the idea that we should be considering buffing the Battle elephant as a result of this clear and obvious trend affecting them is simply missing the forest for the trees. Burmese clearly have this problem the worst, having a castle UU and a stable semi-UU which are both too expensive to field, leaving their options for saving resources to tech into them incredibly short in number.

Malay elephants are simply the game’s current most confusing conundrum in that it is attempting very clearly to break that norm (become an inexpensive unit, and therefore, become more usable comparatively to the other Battle elephant options simply by being affordable) but because of the unappealing nature of the upgrade limitations on the unit, it never gets used.

Fact of the matter is, it remains a 300 HP, 18 attack champion (for well less than double the cost) that takes bonus damage from anti-cavalry units, but not from anti-infantry units, and has splash damage as a kicker, and the fact that nobody sees it as such is the reason it isn’t absolutely obliterating people. It is currently the sleeper unit in AOE2, and it’s only going to take a few people playing with it to realize, much like the Incan trush of the 2020’s, that it is oppressively strong.

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Not true, the manual says historically thry were snti cav. But in game they were anti bunched units.

Uhh, xbows move slower then husbandry ea do.

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Actually after the recent speed buff they are (even if only slightly) faster than xbow after husbandry. Also xbow is actually the unit you want to fight vs ea so in most situations it’s the, xbows who should run. If your ea need to run from xbow they need to run from everything else basically.

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For no reason, all melee Elephant units need a fixed pierce armor of 3. They’re not a Cavalier.

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Cavalier has a pierce armor of 2. Paladins have 3.

The sad thing is players make all kinds of excuses to avoid using Malay elephants.

Some will say “oh theyre bad against archers because they miss the armor” without doing any calculations on cost-effectiveness of tanking arrow fire. Or without asking themselves the counter-factual “what would a 40% reduced cost elephant be like with full upgrades?”.

Others will still say things like xbow + malay elephant is “too expensive” which makes little sense. It has a setup cost which is analogous to pure knight because half your army is xbow (which reduces farm costs) and elephants dont need upgrades in early castle age.

Theres a laundry list of excuses like this. And it works on both sides where people try to counter malay elephants wrong. Ive seen 2k players try to kill malay elephant spam with xbow 11. It did not go well for the xbow player. The xbow lived but their base did not.

Realistically the devs have to say “screw it players didnt figure it out” and implement the nerf anyway.

Non-Malay Battle elephants are good, but they also are sensitive to pop cap and monk micro. If this sensitivity can be reduced (even in the form of an indirect nerf) you have a lot more freedom in terms of 1v1 design because the “critical mass” problem gets mitigated. Especially w.r.t. making non-elite elephants strong (but not broken) in imp for 1v1s. The UTs were a good design choice in this respect its just the Malay cost discount has caused it to take years to get to here.

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It’s not sad, it’s expected. When you have a strategy that’s unorthodox and not part of the understood meta, people revert to conformity to the norm, and do the normal thing. They may make excuses, but the excuses boil down to “since nobody else does it, I’m not doing it.” It’s an especially hard pressure when within the wrappings of AOE2, where your strategy has to be considered in your economic buildup to perform it optimally. If you weren’t planning them, the transition is slow and it compounds the self-imposed restriction of conforming to the norm.

It does however, make it even more painful when the Malay player sometimes opts for Karambit or 2h, both requiring a castle and an expensive upgrade in and of itself instead of utilizing stables and upgrading fewer techs for a better unit. The castle will go up anyway, trebs are just way too important to the Malay since their siege is lackluster at best, but it’s still impressive, and a very clear showing of this subconscious aspect, that players will often jump through unnecessary hoops to avoid doing something uncommon.

Of course, plenty of people exist that do not follow these pre-built inroads and innovate instead of playing meta, but due to the general average strength of the meta (due to it being the understood best avenue among the players) those players generally don’t succeed even when playing a strategy that is strong on paper, simply because a player that naturally strays from the meta will be far more prone to inconsistent results.

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