You start with a fresh Khmer civ unedited from AOE 2 2013. Note Khmer was considered the weakest civ in the game outside maps like black forest or michi. So, on standard maps, open maps like Arabia they were considered bad.
What economy bonus or other bonus would you give them?
I don’t beleive Khmer was one of the worst civs, but rather underappretiated one. DE buffs to Khmer were substantial, but definitely not enough to bring a civ from triple F tier to A-S tier.
Todays Khmer have
Hussars - an expensive tech that only gives you an advantage in late imp, and even then it’s nice, but not game changing.
Faith - plain useless
Improvement to farming rate. It’s ~3% or so, even for 2 layers of farms, resource trickle can be recalculated into extra food equal to “current number of farmers"x"carry capacity”/2, and that’s not too much either. We have seen that slavs survived 5% farming rate reduction and did not fall into obscurity. From that I conclude that Khmer farming bonus isn’t as game changing as everyone tells.
Secondary bolt of ballista elephants affected by chemistry - plain useless
But miss out on
BE splash damage and EBE damage (partially negated by faster creation time)
While I see why they are better now, I disagree that those changes alone made them such a strong civ. Anyways, I think that devs should have added the farming bonus first (since it’s the most flashed out one), see how impactful it is, and only then make further balance changes.