I am tired of towers

Hoping this is the right place to ask for a change, not expecting nor demanding anything but I would love to see a overhaul to the way towers work. This is a longer post (essay length at this point) as I wanted to explain my reasoning carefully rather than just complaining without much thought and appearing salty which I’ve hopefully avoided.

Maybe someone reads this who could help make a change as I love playing this game but towers are pushing me away from wanting to play, having been rushed 7 of my last 9 games with 4 different civs. Small sample size, yes, but it is an increasingly recurring theme and highlights an underlying problem I feel there is with the game. Not active on forums so apologies if this has been talked to death already

TLDR: With how early outposts can land in your base the cost of outpost vs what you need to destroy it is too much. Particularly for average players playing against this strategy is not fun and pushes people away from the game, especially 1v1s and ranked. Put some suggestions at the end if you are interested… but now on to the main topic :slight_smile:

I understand towers are an important part of the game, but the offensive capabilities of towers (particularly the early game) are too strong. It has got the point where even HRE players are coming in to tower your resources at the 5 min mark on ladder and in general any push made is simply more effective by constant towering behind it.

I am an average player - hovering between gold 2 and plat 1 - and keep this constantly in mind when reading this all, I am an average player with the perspective of an average player. I am not a pro nor close to it and this issue impacts those who aren’t as good as you may potentially be much more.

I know the main argument I will hear against this is that I can defend them better, scout better and micro better. I do agree with that! I can certainly make improvements, but I feel it is a very “un-fun” way to play the game and creates an unenjoyable experience even if successfully defended.

To dive into this - the enjoyment of an RTS for me comes from (1) managing an economy to (2) build units and counter the opponents strategy while (3) having the micro to outplay. These 3 points are what I wanted to focus on when making my case.

Towers remove all 3 of these aspects for me - (1) blocking the ‘safe’ resources which you can build your units with, (2) not having a direct or affordable counter in the early game and also (3), not being units themselves, there is no feeling of battle or a real fight against such a push.

(1) Economy
Two points here, “safe” resources and damage to the defenders economy vs the cost to the aggressor.

Every game you start with “safe resources”, typically a gold mine, a stone mine, a patch of berry bushes, 2/3 sheep and 2 wood lines. These start next to your TC and are what you have to mount your first attack with and vie for map control - where I would argue the ‘fun’ is in an RTS game. Tower rushes deny these resources and stop you being able to contest the map. There can become a point where literally every resource of a vital type could be denied and you can no longer gather and play the game.

Should these resources be safe and guaranteed? In my opinion, no. See French knights or English longbow harass, they can swoop in and for periods of time deny a resources, even the ones under the TC. But you should not with a single unit or building (especially at 100 wood) be able to indefinitely deny a resource until it is removed. A single knight cannot deny a whole gold mine, the defender could build a tower or invest in a few spearman. Neither of these options would stop a tower. This is a HUGE difference. Only a proactive tower or proactively built units stop a tower, both which require investment before the aggressor has many any of their own, which brings us onto cost vs reward nicely.

The damage from the tower rush can be devastating when you don’t defend well enough. A single tower in range of any of your resources denies these completely until the tower is removed. This is a disaster for 3 reasons, as the defender may have firstly lost villagers to the arrows of the tower, the defender is then required to uproot the economy slowing the ability to respond and lastly it limits the resources you have access to to defend yourself with and muster that response. Behind this the aggressor is untouched and can generally skip feudal military investment as the defender is so preoccupied in their own base,

If you are completely unsuccessful defending you can find yourself with 7+ towers in your base, both pinning you in and denying every resource you have available to you - resulting in a guaranteed loss. The upside from the rush can be winning the game whereas in the worst case of failure it costs 1 to 3 villagers and 100 wood. In most cases it results in a large investment of resources to repel and disruption to the defenders economy and this feels somewhat disproportionate to the investment the attacker must put in.

I won’t go full maths and break down costs for each side but I will raise the point that a spearman costs 80 resources vs the 100 of an outpost. How many spearman do you need to kill one outpost with 2 vils in it if you aren’t pulling villagers to help torch (and how many resources would you lose in idle time in that case?).

You can argue that the emplacements cost resources too, but any time emplacements are up, I’ll argue that the tower has paid itself off in creating villager idle time, damaging units and completely denying certain resources already at that point. Emplacements cost 75 resources - less than a spearman - and mongols even get the stone quasi for free.

(2) Counter play and (3) Micro

Combined these as I do feel they are linked. It is not fun to play against a tower rush as for the most part you are not fighting units, but a building, and chasing the villagers who are jumping in and out of towers. After successfully defending a rush you probably have killed 2/3 vills, 3 outposts and maybe 4/6 spears if they are mongol. There was no grand fight, just a game of hide-and-seek where your units get hammered by a volley of arrows for any errors and when all is said and done you’ve just killed two villagers - but how much did you lose in the process?

The most effective strategy against towers and the one recommended (that I am aware of) is to get archers fast and use the range to pick of the villagers building them. The problem with this is that in many cases the first outposts appear in your base in the dark age or as you have just aged, meaning there exists an outpost near your base before you can build these. As i keep mentioning, every archer also costs 80 resources vs the outposts 100, so it is already a unfavourable trade, not to mention that the archer cannot siege the outpost nor outrange it leading to the ability to tower ‘creep’.

Tower creep is when you build an outpost in range of another outpost, so effectively you can protect the villagers building it by retreating back into the previously built nearby outpost - making the villagers immune to damage inside and also damaging any units chasing the villagers. The defender then must retreat and you can go back to trying to build the more aggressive outpost which is being protected by the first.

If the opponents micro is better or equal to yours I would argue you need enough army to destroy an outpost with emplacements and 3 garrisoned units to defeat the creep, as the attacker can micro units in and out of towers taking no damage if played well. I fully agree good micro should make a large difference in fights, but being able to make your units untouchable is too far and also removes the elements of strategy and macro which should also go into winning any game.

This is way too long already so I’ll wrap it up now. I know this might not affect the top level players but it really discourages people from playing at the average to lower levels that I have talked to. I genuinely do think this needs a change and even large creators such as Aussie Drongo have made videos highlighting how absurd these rushes can be, even if played perfectly at the professional level (see his video with the rus rushing with wooden fortresses - Think it was called “We need to talk about outposts”). And after all this I haven’t even touched Barbican rushes here.

I would personally like to see a change. I am not demanding any be made, nor do I think this post will make one happen but it would let me enjoy the game a lot more and if current trends continue I am not sure how much ranked I will keep playing.

So here the suggestions are. I know none will be prefect, but I thought at least I’d spitball a couple ideas to see what people think might work (if you even agree with me that there is a problem in the first place!)

  1. An upgrade to get an arrow attack from garrisons + reduced outpost cost

This would allow the outpost to continue to be primarily a reconnaissance building (as intended) in the early stages of the game. Outposts would start without an attack (you can still garrison but no arrows), but would be cheaper to build. Lets say 50 wood to build and 50 wood to upgrade, resulting in the original cost. This would help weaken the rushes as once an outpost is up, it can’t start immediately damaging villagers and would require an upgrade (lets say 30s) to be able to shoot any form of arrows.

This means villagers would be able to torch an outpost that is just been built and eliminates the race where you get a building outpost to 20% health, it goes up anyway and mows down a couple vils with arrows before going back down.

Would also result in more outposts generally across the map. Currently is rare to see many outposts just for vision on map (other than high view) and would incentivise getting vils out on the map to build these for vision. Might need a health reduction at 50 wood and get health back with upgrade but that’s balance for an idea that would probably never make it to game so somewhat irrelevant, although this is my suggestion I think would work best and not eliminate these rushes entirely. Just slows it down and makes it less oppressive

  1. Mongol TC radius

No outposts can be built in the TC area just like mongol TC. Mongol TC was the first real oppressive tower rush on steroids after all and this solution fixed that and should be easy to implement. It still allows you to outpost just outside your opponents base trapping them in and giving total map control, but at least lets them play the game.

  1. Influence area to build emplacements (in feudal)

A less heavy handed approach and would still allow outpost rushes. However, you would need to garrison units to get the arrows increasing the cost a little. Arrowslits upgrade would only be allowed to be built in influence of TC - think HRE. This would mean outposts emplacements in the early game are defensive only to help protect resources and would be removed in castle to allow for more map control with towers.

That is all :slight_smile: Let me know what you think and if you agree/disagree, couldn’t cover every point and probably missed some but hopefully you get the general idea.

It is my opinion after all and I don’t play at a high level, so certainly don’t take my word as gospel, or even vaguely important for that matter, but hopefully I made some cases you can at least understand from the average players experience which I have.

Cheers for reading this monster till the end :slight_smile:

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Again your doing all the mistakes that have been mentioned multiple times here before when defending a TR. Don’t go for the bait and just ignore the towers. Secure other ressources by building archers and walls + maybe a tower nearby an alternative gold mine, wood spot or whatever ressource. Also, it is not only 1-3 cits + a tower lost in the worst case for the tower rusher, it’s constant 1-3 villagers idle time (which is huge this early in the game) + 100 wood spent on a static weapon. Also, all ressources and firepower he invests in front of your base he lacks in his own base.

Think about exploits of this strategy (there’s many) and use them to your benefit. That is RTS.

While I do agree, that TR are probably used a lil bit too extensive I think it is due to the lack of options in feudal age. You either go for a push with knights, longbows etc and rams or just TR if you wan’t to decide the game early on. Aoe4 does not really have an all-in strategy due to its powerful defensive buildings. Also with rams being nerfed in the recent patch feudal pushes with actual units might become strongly reduced or completely gone soon.

I am gold II and I found a suprisingly simple way to hard-counter tower rushes.

Textiles and Scouts and Archers.

Once you get stables, or especially if you play Rus and can make scouts alternativly to the TC.

People are way to overprotective of their villagers, not realising their very strong early game potential with textile upgrade to just simply burn down towers in 2-3 volleys. Untill you reach a point where you have enough army to deal with them alone.

Just start massing scouts.
They can easily take down a tower. You can easily Micro-them, because of their self heal, you can just pull back the one being focused and have it heal up.
Even if the opponent tower creeps having another tower covering the first tower.

Then focus the army on Archers to pick down any spearmen going for ur scouts or Villagers trying to set up foreward buildings.

This is a very cheap and effective way to deal with tower rushers. SO much so that with the very same scout mass, you can counter rush and destroy the enemie already weakened econ by burning down light buildings such as Camps, Houses and even an exposed defensive barrack.

Harass their vills and deny them access to resources all the while you are building up your archer-mass and counter rush them with battering ram to finish off their TC.

But I noticed many people are so Hell-bendt on the fast castle, they don’t really respond well to any form of rush, be it towers, longbowmen, knights or horsemen.

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While I appreciate the advice, and I know I can get better as I said earlier, I will highlight two points again.

First and most importantly - It is not fun to play against. You are playing whack-a-mole with villagers and not fighting a medieval battle. Might not sound important and fair enough if it isn’t to you, but most people are playing this game for fun and I’d wager most don’t enjoy fighting a hoard of quickly constructed buildings plus two vils. People didn’t like the mongol TC rush, barbican rush and stone wall tower rushes are banned in tournaments and thankfully not present much on ladder more

Also think about unit naturally counters the tower. A ram? That is a blacksmith + siege engineering + cost of a ram. At least the knight has a natural counter which makes it somewhat fun to play against even if it is extremely powerful. I will insist the tower does not have a natural counter at that age - archers are not it for siege and villagers aren’t either. Once an emplacement is up you WILL lose more resources removing that emplacement than it cost to go up and idle time of moving 6/7 vils off a resource to a new one very quickly adds up to more than those 2 vils the opponent is using.

You also make it sound easy defending, and maybe it is to you, but if you get a tower on your berries and lose the sheep war then you are royally screwed. That upside alone is worth way more than 2 vil idle time for 2 mins. One of the main points is also being able to stop the first tower, at 4 minutes I don’t have archers yet as I haven’t aged, so i can’t effectively stop the first tower going up and therefore defending teh second. Often one side of my base has 3 towers by 6 mins at which point I’d argue you can have 6 archers if played well (which also cost more than the towers). They can stop the bleeding and spread of towers but don’t remove them despite costing more.

Maybe I just suck which could very well be true, but there are many people who are struggle playing against this and I do not subscribe to the “just use the broken stuff and adapt” mentality. I genuinely think this is a problem for enjoyment of many players. So I’ll repeat what my main point of the post was trying to highlight- It is not fun to play against even if it can be beaten.

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Now I don’t play this game nearly as much as I’d like, but I am pretty keen on strategy games.

Tower rushes to me seem pretty damm close the the ‘Master Yi’ issue in League of Legends.

For those unfamiliar, Master Yi is a champion whose kit (their abilities, and attributes they scale with) makes him an absolute MENACE in low to mid ranks. As you get higher in skill, his winrate drops and his pickrate drops to essentially 0.

No matter how much they nerf or buff him, unless it’s to a hyper extreme, this doesn’t change very much at all. This is because the issue is detached from his actual in-game power and is solely linked to his kit and the ability of the enemy team to play around it.

He is NOT fun to play against, even if you are a Master level smurf in Iron, because once the low-skill players allow him to get strong, he is unstoppable without strong, coordinated play, or an equally as strong opponent.

Tower rushes feel the same. The issue seems less with the actual power of towers or the relative eco gain/loss, and more with just the strategy as a whole. Sure, you can say X or Y is why it isn’t fun/balanced, but people do that with Yi too, and it’s been that way for years.

The question is: Is there actually a way to deal with them in a realistic manner that mid-skill players can learn and use to get away from them at higher ranks, or is there no real in-game solution and Relic DOES need to do something about it.

I don’t have the answers, this is just something to ponder as I do see a pretty significant comparison for the two

I certainly agree that Rams are to expensive countermeasure against tower. which is why I’d prefer if Villagers could build rams in Dark Age, maybe a downgraded version of it. This would allow you to get a very early ram to counter the early towers that are weakly defended as opponent has barely had the time to build a few early spears. Not enough to pose a threat to the ram. + you have the defenders advantage meaning its easy to pull the ram back and repair if needed.

Pulling villagers off resources for defensive purposes, yes you loose a lot of short term resources when you do this.
But this game isn’t all about who can boom most efficient with resources, its how you spend them efficiently that counts far more, and a far more important resource is the use of Time.

Being able to strike down things in the game at the right time can change the course of the game completely.
if you immidietly counter their first tower they try to put up on your berries by summoning a angry mob of villagers. especially if this tower is set up in a Drush.
you completely throw off the opponents timing and tactic. especially if you can get those tower builder villagers killed early forcing him to throw more villagers away into the front if he wants to continue the push.

As i mentioned, if i do get rushed, I do spend considerable more amount of time in Dark age / Feudal age than i normally would. but in return I am able to turn his delaying tactics against the opponent and do a good counter timing rush when he decides to pop down his castle-age landmark.

What is Fun, is rather a objectively.

While it might not be fun to play against for most people ( I personally do enjoy playing against it due to it usually is a 1 trick pony of the opponent, and they dont have any plan B if it fails allowing me to steamroll them rather easily )

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying nothing shud be done to give a better balance towards tower rushing.

But because its not fun for you and many others, it is still fun for someone else and part of the game.
And also a result of having small maps in 1v1.

Personally, when I don’t want to deal with Tower-rush games, I do go for team games instead as it is far rarer occurance and even easier to counter.

Was too much to read sry for being lazy but my tip is that ignore towers. At highest level towers and strategies are quite insane, but the investment is quite lot.

What I do against tower rushes (this is from 2v2 perspective), but I ignore them. I don’t see point of doing their game. I go to fast castle then into lancers and raid their base. No matter what they can get they will still be in feudal especially if they start spamming towers.

Each tower needs to be range of another tower otherwise its risky for rusher to lose villagers.

In 2v2 I rarely get tower rushed but when I do, I just laugh and let them do their thing because I know they will set themselves behind. As long as I have gold and food source secured I can survive with stranded trees near TC.

Another thing that I have used against TR is prof scout. This way I can secure food source to safe location and I can also carry sheep from dangerous area so Im not just limited to sheep that is alive.

Another thing is to understand your base location. Use small segments of palisade block towers. This can secure your woodline effectively also it can block huge part of your base when done correctly. There was this pro game that I watched and player got TR by rus. 2 reasons why it snowballed. defender was chinese and he opened up with IA and not BBQ and he didn’t block small cap between woodline with wall. Both of these would’ve secured woodline + food etc.

If I get punished for playing greedy as chinese like TR or something else. I blame myself. I solely play chinese and lot of times I see ppl going for IA first which is economically better but if you’re not sure or want to be safe BBQ is so much better option and ppl still opt in to go IA then proceed to die. Same with booming. I see 2 TC + Song it means my opponent is dead

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I think that if there was an option to increase map sizes for more casual play tower rushes would become far weaker if not even obsolete. Imo relic would just need to add options to change the map size regardless if its 1v1, 2v2, etc. Like you can choose to play your 1v1 custom match on tiny, small, med, big or huge map size (or is that feature already there?)

@Calerb
My guess also was that TR were quite effective on lower tiers while not being that good for higher tiers but stats do not really show any deviation here. Chinese have a negative win rate over all skill levels.

Not everything in RTS or any game must be fun to play against, but you have to accept it.

I dont like playing against abbassid that goes camel archers or Rus or mangudai do I think they should be nerffed? No not really.

I dont also like playing against ppl who build stone wall the moment they can or do 20 keeps everywhere.
or

Hybrid maps where ppl go docs.

Yet I have accepted these things and deal with them when it happens. I also dont like playing against french or english nowdays because its almost every game both or one of them.

Nah man you are missing the point. I largely only got ‘get better’/improve advice as expected which is fair enough but I disagree with your point completely. There exists a boundary where the opponent no longer gets to enjoy the game. Think mongol TC rush, that is the more extreme example but was a major problem. It ‘could’ also be beaten if played well, but it was broken and not fun. Towers are a far far less extreme version of that but same principles.

I know it was long post but I made that point very clear as to why this not at all similar to what you are saying with not liking abassid, french of hybrid.

Playing against abassid, french or on a hybrid you still get the chance to eco, create a counter strategy and have a fight. All those are taken away in a tower rush as I explained, but you can still do everything I consider the “fun” in RTS against the things you mentioned even if they are annoying to play against.

There is a general ‘suck it up and get better’ mindset which I I’ll agree with for French early or English lategame but not for towers. They are fundamentally not fun for MOST players, not all, but certainly most as it doesn’t let you play the game.

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I wasn’t necessarily saying “git gud” although thay truely could be the solution, I haven’t played enough to know.

My point was that it could be completely detached from the “strength” (raw dmg or atk spd) of the mechanic and more related to HOW it attacks a player that causes such discourse on the topic. The only way to fix this type of issue is either grow past it/“git gid”. OR the devs fix the underlying problem, i.e. safe resources for start zones or something.

Enjoyment of game is completely subjective matter. Something that you enjoy may not be same thing as your opponent enjoys. If something is too strong it should be balanced, but if something is too weak same thing applies.

To mongol TC rush there wasn’t really much of counter play to it, because essentially u could do it without villagers building something. Sure you missed producing villagers but if you miss couple of rounds to perfectly cut down opponents economy in one move is different from tower building up to your base and forcing some of your villagers to relocate.

Limiting where TR etc can be build is just another way to take strategy away. Which essentially what you want.

Its fine to like something and not like something but this is no different from me not liking to play x certain situations. Its exactly same.

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I can only second pretty much everything @BdelloidBore5 has said. The opponent is supposed to focus on those TR. That’s the best thing that can happen for the TR player. If you ignore the already built towers and just focus on not allowing him to spread his towers further but attacking his unprotected base instead I think the joy would quickly come back.

Further I disagree on the “fun” part of RTS. I for example hate keeps and stone walls. When I started to play AoE4 I initially picked mongols because they didn’t have those two buildings which make the game very static. However, large parts of the AoE community I feel love those two buildings. Playing defensive, turtling, dragging the game out.