Hypothetical Change

Just based on the Deepwaters League (and SC2 change with LotV)

what would you guys think about increasing the starting villagers from 3 to 6 or 9?

  • Leave it at 3 Villagers
  • Increase starting Villagers to 6
  • Increase starting Villagers to 9
  • Increase it to some other count
  • I’d like to see this tested at first

0 voters


I didn’t see those matches, but, what moves you to make this poll? How this could upgrade the gameplay?

basically it speeds up the dark age because you have more villagers gathering at the start.

it really impacts hybrid maps too as you can get fishing ships out so much faster and basically just speeds up the game.

as for some games. here you go.


I think you see by how few players play empire wars regularly in ranked that most prefer the ‘standard’ start. For sure I enjoy watching tournaments where they try something different, but I don’t see any reason to change the usual 3 vill start. You need to remember that a lot of people who play AOE2 have been playing it for 10+ years… There would be a revolt if you changed something so fundamental about the game.


personally I think the problem with Empire Wars is that it skips the Dark Age altogether.

Do i think this would happen? no. but I think it’s a good way to keep Dark Age and the essential flow it establishes, while also speeding the game up just a little bit.


I think there is no harm in having the option to choose a number of villagers to start with, however if there’s one or the other I’d stay with the 3 villager start.

btw. in how you envision it, would Mayans get +1 villager or +33% more villagers and chinese +3 or +100%?

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I’d envision a lot of testing to see what is fair and balanced, though frankly that might be a solid way to nerf those civs to begin with.


this would mean breaking all established build orders all meta etc. basically people would have to completely re-learn the game

Let’s see it tested. I don’t mind screwing up classic build orders and making games a little less scripted.

Testing it at least won’t hurt.


Dark age is «boring», so, you can make it shorter with more vils, or make Feudal age cheaper or simply go for EW… I wonder what would happen if instead o shrink Dark age we make it more fun to play. What if Archery Range and stables would be available from dark age but just skirms, scouts and lancers are trainable?

Dark age is the point where you get the least ressources so it would be pretty hard to be able to afford a barracks then another building then start producing stuff out of it.

The funny thing is that EW didn’t work out appearantly.
Now we have the same argumentation that lead to ew again.

Not saying that I don’t think there can’t be a nice “sweet spot”, but it seems like the majority of the playerbase actually enjoys the “slow start”.

The reality is with the slower start, minor mistakes are actually more forgiving - as we know with dm it’s actually one of the least forgiving game modes.

I actually also that kind of players that need some time to get to the “zone”.


Yes, soso what if Stables and Archeries doesn’t requiere a barrack to be available? O merge both ideas, More Vils from start and all basic military buildings available from the start too

That would fix the previous issues, but then it runs into the issue that scouts and archers are ruined as their counters can be massed before they are available and you can’t give them big stats like kts and CA have compared to feudal age units because it would then break something else. Then there is the issue of civ with dark age bonuses that would likely need to all be nerfed, which would mess with even more stuff…

(scouts are so expensive that it would never be viable to train them in dark age)

The first-order of magnitude way to judge these things is to estimate how far the game state can deviate from what normally occurs:

  • 6 Villagers + 1 house: standard start - 25w + 3 villagers. Sheep don’t spawn under TC so immediately go to stragglers. If sheep take 25s to get under TC then the villagers will only get maybe 6 wood each because of walking, chopping, and meeting the sheep in time. So that’s ~36w. When the 7th villager pops out you have:
    • starting resources less 50f + maybe 10w.
    • 7 villagers
    • 1 house
    • 0 sheep consumed
  • In a normal game when the 7th villager pops you’d normally have used 450 villager seconds (vs) work time less maybe 100 vs spent on houses/walking that you need because you don’t start with a house. You could spend that 350vs on sheep or wood, so you’ll get out anywhere between 110f and 130w but realistically you’re gonna need food for villagers so let’s assume it’s all spent on food. So when the 7th villager pops out you have:
    • starting resources less (200f - 110f=90f) less (50w-0w =50w)
    • 7 villagers
    • 2 houses
    • 1.25 sheep consumed (lets round up to 1 cow)

Subtracting the proposed 6 villager start vector from the standard start vector we get +40f, +60w, -1 house, +1 cow. To adjust for the house, let’s subtract the 25w spent on the house. So we would get:

  • +40f, +35w, +1 cow.

Which means on a standard land map we’d expect the 6 villager start to be “equivalent” to a standard start where each civ gets +40f, +35w, and 1 cow as their 7th villager is made. The key thing to recognize is we are implicitly removing work time from the game which mitigates how large of a gap a 6 villager start will be able to generate. That being said the difference of the 1 cow is important to not forget.

So to a first-order of magnitude we’d expect the game to not change too drastically on normal maps. Probably faster timings on various things but overall the build orders would change very little on normal land maps. Feudal almost certainly will see very few changes with the exception of scouts which may be slightly stronger because of the extra food.

The analysis for hybrid/nomad/water maps and the adjustments necessary for Chinese and Mayans is left as an exercise for someone else. My guess is the fact that we are implicitly removing work time from e.g. a fast first fishing ship combined with the ability to choose to gather wood with the initial 6 villagers will level the playing field and make the game more balanced. In terms of changing build orders, if you’ve only optimized say 8 civs on a map that means you’re a blank slate for the other 31 civs.

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haha got to love the internet and its future sight overreactions… 6 vils (or 4 or 5) would totally NOT force players to re-learn the game…

big difference between EW and starting with 6 vils. and you and the others that have used this argument are just grasping at straws. you dont know how people will accept 6 vils, you’re just assuming it, the same way so many people whined about ALL the other changes before they happened…

almost all of them were completely accepted on release, others took some time.

i really hope they at least run a PUP with +1 vil for all civs, and go from there. not sure if 6 will be accepted, but they can try adding in phases

classic example is the reaction to arabia, we have people screaming about it every day, yet everyone still plays… the biggest thing in our favour is the sheer lack of competition. you dont like something in aoe2de? tough, because there isnt an alternative

if the ramp up in vils comes with the associated pop boost on the TC, it might also make the chinese easier to play for most players, as well as nerfing them at the highest elos

I’m open to trying a 6 vil start. I think TC’s would need to give 10 pop space so we are not housed like Mayans every game, otherwise its just an early loom fest. I don’t want a starting house because the AI would place it horribly (blocking a resource or farms).

Up to now 17% of people have voted supporting the idea to go to 6 or 9 vills - who is grasping at straws now?

Like I said, a lot of the community has been playing this game for 10+ years, and this proposed change would be something really fundamental. Of course I cannot speak for everybody, but I am in no way surprised that such an idea would have little support.

Listen - i said to begin with, that i doubt this will ever happen, and frankly i’m fine with it staying where it is, all i am saying, is that there is a HUGE FRIGGEN DIFFERENCE between starting with 27 villagers, in feudal age, with a small base already setup, and starting with 6 villagers.

But since you like Numbers - did you notice the 34% that would like to see such a change tested at minimum? guess where my vote is? Furthermore since you like to point out that 17%. 51% would either approve changing it or testing it at least. which by my math, is more then the 49% fully against it. now granted there is only 47 votes and i frankly don’t think it will go anywhere, and I’m fine with that, but it’s a bit ironic to think there is only 17% acceptance.

you think i don’t understand how big of a change this is? heck i’m not even sure i want the change to happen. At the very least i think it would be interesting to see this change Tested.

and neither am i. look around these forums and you’ll find all sorts of people unhappy with me because I’m largely fine with game design as it is and would prefer to not reinvent the wheel so to speak.

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