I made an experimental balance mod

I made a mod so that people could play with experimental balance features. I also want to try to figure out how to balance a small number of radical changes such as:

  • giving pikes & Halbs +1 range
  • rebalancing Camels with more raw stats and less bonus damage
  • giving Indians BE
  • nerfing the top water civs
  • making Hand Cannons much more powerful
  • making large changes to some underused UUs

The mod can be found here: www.ageofempires.com/mods/details/17255/

I’ve also tried to make the game more elegant, for example by giving civs with free Gold Mining also free Gold Shaft Mining, and giving civs with free Town Watch also free Town Patrol.

I have made a list of all changes in the next post, which I’ll try to keep updated. As you can see by the number of $, % and ** marks, I haven’t made all the changes I’ve planned to.

If people don’t let me know that they’re interested in the mod, I don’t think I’ll put much more work into it.
If anyone does actually play around with it, and you tell me what you think ought to be changed based on your experience, you can have quite a large impact on the mod. I am around 1000 ELO and I know of myself that I don’t notice the more subtle balance changes&problems. Also I haven’t been able to test the effects of all these changes by myself, and I’ll take your experience seriously. The same promise can’t be made for theory-craft.

Notation

changes with an ** haven’t been implemented yet.

changes with an % are planned to be reverted / changed

changes with an $ are being considered, but I don’t know whether they should be.

Overview notes

In water all top-civs are balanced to be similar to a full-tech-tree civ with a decent bonus in feudal/castle. This means having something similar to Shipwright’s 20% wood discount in post-imp.

Elite Battle Elephants are nerfed, but some elephant civs get a bonus to compensate.

On Nomad a number of bonuses are being moved until after the point where the TCs are constructed, to discourage vill fights.

General unit changes

Camels & Paladins

Reasoning/Aims:

Camels are currently hyper-specialised. This change aims to make camels more useful for fighting non-knights. They’ll still do worse than knights, but they should do OK. As a trade-off they have less bonus damage.

All attack rates have been fixed at an attack delay of 1.8.

Each tier upgrade now grants 20 hp and 2 attack. This has resulted in a nerf to Paladins. The Imp camel upgrade only grants 10 hp and 2 attack, to put it at the same level as the bonuses the other camel civs get (30 hp or 3 attack or 20% discount + regen).

A camel vs a knight of the same tier deals 2 more damage and has 10 more hp. Remember camels are also cheaper.

$ if camels turn out to be too weak, the bonus damage could be increased and/or the price reduced and/or Heavy Camel could receive 1 Pierce Armour.

Details of implementation:

Camel-line (old) Camel-line (new) Knight-line (old) Knight-line (new)
Name Camel Rider Knight
hp 100 110 100
attack 6 8 10
bonus damage (cav) 9 6 0
bonus damage (camels) 5 3 0
reload time (also known as RoF) 2.0 1.8 1.8
Name Heavy Camel Rider Cavalier
hp 120 130 120
attack 7 10 12
bonus damage (cav) 18 8 0
bonus damage (camels) 9 4 0
reload time (also known as RoF) 2.0 1.8 1.8
Name Imperial Camel Paladin
hp 140 140 160 140
attack 9 12 14 14
bonus damage (cav) 18 8 0 0
bonus damage (camels) 9 4 0 0
reload time (also known as RoF) 2.0 1.8 1.9 1.8

Pikes & Halbs get +1 range

Reasoning/Aims:

Ever since the introduction of Step Lancers, and even before that due to Kamayukes, it’s been immersion-bursting that Halbediers don’t get extra range.

Because range is valuable, this buff is accompanied by a stat-nerf.

The current details are primarily based on limited scenario-tests and theorycrafting.

Details of implementation:

Pikes & Halbs get +1 range

% Pikes stats are identical to the Spearman stats

** Pike stats are slightly greater than Spear stats, as listed below

Halb stats are identical to the old Pike stats

Spear new Pike old Pike / new Halb old Halb
hp 45 50 55 60
melee 3 3 4 6
cav 15 20 25 32
elephants 15 15 22 28
camels 12 12 18 26
(fishing) ship 9 9 16 17
maleluke 4 4 11 11
eagle/building 1 1 1 1

Elite Battle Elephant loses 1 pierce armour.

Reasoning/Aims:

It is silly that the elephant would be more resistant to arrow-fire than Paladins

Details of implementation:

They have 1/2 armour instead of 1/3.

Genitours are now a regional unit, available to Berbers, Spanish, Portuguese

Reasoning/Aims:

For realism’s sake.

Details of implementation:

The Berbers’ team bonus has been changed to be their villager speed bonus. As such Berbers are not changed, but their teammates will notice a difference.

The villagers are only faster after a TC has been constructed, so as not to encourage vill fights on Nomad.

Militia-line buffed

Reasoning/Aims:

The halb change especially affects their ability to fight infantry units, since those units have to get close and are slow. These changes aim to make sure that the militia-line can still wreck the spear-line.

Details of implementation:

Long Swordsmen gain +1 armour

2-handed Swordsmen gain +1 armour

Long Swordmen gain +3 bonus damage against the spear line

2-handed Swordsmen gain +4 bonus damage against the spear line

Championss gain +5 bonus damage against the spear line

(Heavy) Cav Archers buffed

Reasoning/Aims:

In the Castle age CA are lackluster. This hurts the ‘cav archer civilisations’: Tatars, Huns, Magyars, Turks. In post-imp HCA can dominate almost as much as Paladins. So I tried to find buffs which would affect the Castle age, but not post-imp.

Details of implementation:

(Heavy) cav archers cost 5 wood less: 40/60 → 35/60

$ I might give (H)CA +1 Pierce Armour, and remove 1 PA from Parthian Tactics.

$ Cav Archers removed

Reasoning/Aims:

Some civs never used CA. Them having CA seems to be a legacy issue, because in the beginning there were no civs which lacked entire unit lines. Now however this is quite common.

Details of implementation:

$ Remove CA from Britons, etcetera …

$ Steppe Lancers buffed

Reasoning/Aims:

Steppe Lancers are fun. They do already have some decent use-cases. It’s a shame I get to use them so little.

I’m considering changes which would give them more use-cases.

I’d consider giving them bonus damage against eagles because none of the SL civs like going Champion, and some straight-up lack Champion.

Details of implementation:

(Elite) Steppe Lancers gain 10 hp

$ Give (Elite) Steppe Lancers bonus damage against Eagles.

Hand Cannons buffed

Reasoning/Aims:

Hand Cannons aren’t very good. There are several ‘gunpowder civs’ all of whom should have good HC, but their HC are at about the same level as generic Arbs. Almost all of these civs could really use a power-unit. I have tried just adding hp, and I don’t think it has the potential to work. In balancing HC we have to keep (Turk) fast-imp in mind. I think giving them insane DPS but terrible micro-ability has potential. Portuguese have a UT which will make micro-ing them possible.

Details of implementation:

% Hand Canons have more hp: 35 → 50

** Reduce the HC attack time from 3.45 -> 2.5

** Increase the HC frame delay

Rams lose ‘ram’ armour

Reasoning/Aims:

Siege rams were taking 33% as much damage from Hand Cannons and other units with ‘ram’ bonus damage compared with normal rams. As if Siege rams aren’t good enough already, with their massive hp boost and damage bonus.

Details of implementation:

Capped rams and Siege rams lose all ram armour (1->0 & 2->0)

‘Gunpowder’ category increase

Reasoning/Aims:

Gunpowder civs aren’t particularly strong, and some units just look like gunpowder. In practice this buffs Italians and Turks, as well as slightly boosting Condottieros.

Details of implementation:

Petards & Demo ships are gunpowder units for the purpose of the Italian & Turk civ-bonus.

Cannon galleons are gunpowder units for the purpose of the Turk civ-bonus. This is arguably a bug-fix, they were already gunpowder as far as Italians are concerned.

Petards & Demo & Cannon galleons get the ‘gunpowder’ armour class.

Technology changes

Town patrol cost reduced (300/100 -> 100/100)

Reasoning/Aims:

The tech isn’t used much. It is worth a lot, but not quite as much as it costs. Changing the cost to 300 food would make it viable in post-imp, changing the cost to 100 food 100 gold would make it viable in the Castle age. I have decided to go with the latter.

Details of implementation:

Town patrol cost is reduced from 300 food 100 gold to 100 food 100 gold.

Building changes

Palisades are more expensive, take longer to build, but have twice more hp. Quickwalling also nerfed.

Reasoning/Aims:

Walling is quite easy & cheap currently. It is almost always ‘optimal’. I wanted to give the player who decides not to wall a significant eco advantage. At the same time I did not want to nerf walling too much and I did not want to push people even more towards house walling. After this change a palisade has about the same hp as a house.

Quickwalling would be nerfed a bit if the wood can’t be recovered by deleting the palisades. (I don’t know how to implement this at present.) Quickwalling is getting a bit ridiculous, so it’s good if it gets made more expensive.

Details of implementation:

Wood cost increased 2 -> 5

Build time doubled

HP doubled

** Palisades don’t refund wood when they are deleted.

Nerfs to top-tier civs

The aim is to knock these civs out of S-tier without making them so bad they’re not worth playing

Khmer

Details of implementation:

lose Gold mining & Gold shaft mining

Reasoning:

To allow Khmer to have their characteristic excellent food eco without their eco being excellent in all ways. Khmer should be making things with a high food-to-gold ratio anyways.

Mayans

Details of implementation:

** Lose Horse Collar. Keep access to the later farm technologies.

$ Maybe I’ll remove access to crop rotation too

% Villagers are 10% more expensive

Mayans get Supplies.

Reasoning:

Mayans aren’t known for their farming as far as I know. This change should hurt their economy by making their wood -> food conversion less efficient. It shouldn’t hurt them too bad because Mayans typically don’t make food intensive units.

Mayans don’t get Champion. If they really want to make 2-handed swordsmen (eg against Goths) they’re in a tough position anyway, and I think they should have a less-bad option than they currently do.

Aztecs

Details of implementation:

% Aztecs lose Heavy plow & Crop rotation

Reasoning:

This was a bad idea. Probably too severe a nerf, and Aztecs were actually known for their farming. I’m still looking for an alternative nerf.

Chinese

Details of implementation:

% Aztecs lose Hand Cart

Reasoning:

This was a bad idea. Probably too severe a nerf, and without a good flavour justification. I’m still looking for an alternative nerf.

Changes to water civs

Vikings

Details of implementation:

Viking ship discount is decreased from 15/15/20% to a flat 10% in all ages

Reasoning:

This puts Vikings at the level I’d like all top-water civs to be at. In Feudal & Castle they still have free Wheelbarrow and Handcart, and a 10% ship discount compared with other civs, and longboats. As their downside they’ll lose the (fire)galley wars in Feudal.

Italians

Details of implementation:

Italian age-up discount is increased 15% → 25%

Italian dock tech discount is decreased 50%→25%

(Elite) Genoese crossbow TT is decreased to 11 seconds (from 22, 19 for Elite)

(Elite) Genoese crossbow: -1 pierce damage, +1 bonus damage

** Pavise gives +2/+2 instead of +1/+1

** Archers can be trained from Barracks and Stables

Remember also:

Demo ships are now gunpowder, and therefor 20% discounted

Hand Cannons (20% cheaper with Italians) have been buffed

Reasoning:

I hope that this puts Italians on the same level as other non-viking water civs. Only playtesting can really tell.

On land, their increased age-up bonus is a buff, increasing the effect of Pavice is a buff, and training Archers from the Barracks ought to really help in Feudal.

The (Elite) Genoese crossbow has been made very spammable, and this does mean it needs to be countered even better than it was already by infantry and other ranged units.

Koreans

Details of implementation:

The Turtle Ship is completely reworked. Try it out :slight_smile: I don’t have it’s stats at hand at the moment.

$% The UT effecting Turtle Ships has also been changed to grant extra range instead of speed. I might change it back again.

** Shipwright is removed

The 20% wood discount now applies to all units, including siege.

Reasoning:

Turtle Ships (TS) were rather useless in my experience. Opponents would lose the water investing into TS and then when the TS finally show up I could destroy them with Fires and Demos. The new TS is designed to be a better Fire Ship, which hopefully won’t go obsolete. It shouldn’t be better than Fire Ships in all circumstances, just as the longboat is sometimes worse than the galleon, but it usually should be.

With the 20% wood discount in Feudal & Castle, Koreans are already strong on water, so TS shouldn’t be too strong.

Koreans lack Demo ships themselves, which are ships which are great for protecting docks and coming back onto water. Instead the TS will have to fill that role. Build quickly relative to their power, they should be able to surprise unwary attackers. The Korean towers will also be useful for protecting docks when navy dominance is lost.

After other civilisations research Shipwright, they too get a 20% wood discount, and so there is an even playing field again.

Korean siege isn’t overly dominant, not nearly as good as Celt siege. Slavs get a full 15% discount on their siege, so getting a 20% wood discount on Korean siege won’t be broken.

Larger-scale reworks of civs

Cumans

Reasoning:

I can hardly ever get the Cuman boom to work. But I understand that the Cuman douche needs to be nerfed. Making the TC take somewhat longer to construct (rather than a lot longer) sounds like a decent compromise. Ideally I’d just block it from being constructed in range of an opponent’s TC, and make the construction time the same as it was.

The UT2, which grants 10 Elite Kipchaks in Imp feels a bit lame. I think it’d be much more exciting in Castle age, and it’d be much more exciting if you got a few more units. It also suits the Cuman’s theme of getting things early.

I have to be careful with 4v4s, where getting more than 40 Elite Kipchaks in Castle age might be game-breaking.

I’m not sure what to do with the other UT.

I’d like to buff Cuman post-imp CA into usefulness. As I wrote earlier, I’d like to use Steppe Lancers more. This would be achieved if Cumans lost Paladin, but then Cuman Steppe Lancers would need a significant buff.

I am not entirely happy with this rework.

Details of implementation:

Cuman’s 2nd TC takes 33% extra build time instead of 80% extra

Cuman’s UT1 is now “Cuman Mercenaries”, and grants Elite Kipchaks in Castle age. It’s cost is increased.

$ Cuman’s UT1 is now “Cuman Mercenaries”, and grants 15 Elite Kipchaks in Castle age. It’s cost is increased.

$ Allies’ Kipchaks from the “Cuman Mercenaries” UT are only Elite if the Ally is in the Imperial age. The Cuman Kipchaks are always Elite.

Cuman’s UT2 is now “Step Husbandry”, and grants a 15% discount in addition to the 50% TT reduction. The tech cost is increased to 600/600.

Cuman (Elite) step lancers attack +20% faster

Cumans lose Paladin

Persians

Reasoning:

Getting a 0/10/15/20% work rate bonus is inelegant.

Also getting a practically necessary tech for your UU only in imp isn’t good practice.

Finally the Persion crossbows have all their Castle-age techs. It makes sense then to move the tech that makes them trashbows to Imp.

Details of implementation:

Persians lose starting food & wood bonus

Persians TCs work 5% faster in dark age again

Persian’s UT1 and UT2 are switched, the War elephants tech can be researched in Castle age, and the trashbow tech in Imp. The costs have not been adjusted.

Indians

Reasoning:

Indians are currently too dominant in team games, and not good enough in 1v1s. For realism purposes they should receive the Battle Elephant.

To pull Indians equal with the other Camel civs in team games, it is necessary to reduce its Eco bonus. Increasing the age-up cost wasn’t a good idea, seeing the community feedback.

In compensation, for 1v1s, I want to give them a bonus for non-camels which doesn’t affect post-imp, ie a tech advantage.

Getting 50% discounted unit upgrades would help their Crossbows and HCA, and the upgrade cost of Elite Camel could be adjusted so that it isn’t any cheaper (ie double it pre-bonus). Getting 50% discounted fletching upgrades would also help Crossbows and HCA, as well as Skirms, Elephant archers, and defensive structures. Giving them Fletching without the need for a blacksmith is out of the question.

Details of implementation:

% age-up cost increased 10%

**Vill discount ‘reduced’ 10/15/20/25% -> 15% in all ages

** All unit upgrades (except Imp Camel) 50% cheaper

$ Maybe instead (or in addition) Fletching, Bodkin, Bracer 50% cheaper

Miscellaneous other civs

Turks

Reasoning:

Turks are a bit weak. Specifically Turks are weak against archers. Increasing gunpowder units PA should make them much less weak against archers. A complaint could be made that this leaves HC without a decent counter unit, but seeing as Turks themselves lack the (trash) counter units, it actually seems fair.

After HC have been buffed, Elite Janissaries (EJ) also need to be buffed. EJ are significantly more expensive than HC, and therefore also should have better stats.

Remember also:

Demo ships and Petards are now gunpowder

Hand Cannons (gunpowder units) have been buffed

Details of implementation:

% Turks gunpowder hp bonus: 35% → 50%

** Turk gunpowder gets +3 PA

% Elite Janissary hp 40 -> 60

$ Buff Elite Janissary in some appropriate manner

Teutons

Reasoning:

Teuton infantry gets melee armour for free, and the +2 Champions overshadow Teutonic Knights. Removing Supplies will make the Teutonic Champions more expensive and push the Teuton player towards using his UU. Teutons are a strong civ, and don’t need any compensation.

Details of implementation:

Teutons lose supplies

Byzantines

Reasoning:

Getting Town Watch for free but not Town Patrol is ugly. Byzantines can use a modest buff.

Details of implementation:

Byzantines get Town patrol for free

Malians

Reasoning:

Getting Gold Mining for free but not Gold Shaft Mining is inelegant. Malians could use a modest buff.

Details of implementation:

Malians get Gold shaft mining for free

Tatars

Reasoning:

Tatars still feel a little weak. Even if they’re not, it would be good for the game if they were buffed temporarily to make them more popular. Getting Bloodlines half price fits with their theme of getting CA-techs easier. It is a fairly strong bonus, allowing them to get Bloodlines & Loom before building a mining camp.

Extending the bonus to Husbandry is probably too much.

Details of implementation:

Tartars receive 50% discount for Bloodlines

% Tartars receive 50% discount for Husbandry

Portuguese

Reasoning:

Portuguese are currently one of the weakest civs. They are a generalist civ, and lacking FU Halbs really hurts them in my experience.

Organ Guns (OG) are underwhelming at the moment, and would have more use-cases if they were pop-efficient. The implemented OG change is large, and might well need to be tweaked further in the future.

Getting access to Eco techs an age earlier would help both with fast-castle builds (similarly to Malay) and in games with a prolonged Feudal age. This is an experimental buff which I don’t expect to be extremely strong.

Details of implementation:

Portuguese gain access to Squires

(Elite) Organ guns: +100% cost, +100% fire rate, +10 hp, +50% training time

Elite Organ guns only: no minimum range

** Portuguese can research Eco techs an age earlier.

Goths

Reasoning:

Vill-wars on nomad are un-fun

Details of implementation:

Goths only get free loom after building the TC

Saracens

Reasoning:

To be consistent with the rest of the game, a guy throwing swords should not have archer armour. Mamalukes don’t appear to be broken.

Hopefully Camels are more viable now, but it could be worth looking at the cost of the UT.

The monk gold-on-death UT sucks, and could probably be improved.

Details of implementation:

(Elite) Mamelukes no longer have archer armour

$ Maybe change the cost of the Camel health UT

$ Maybe change the monk gold UT

Lithuanians

Reasoning:

Leitis are very gold-efficient, and there’s a lot of complaints about them. The civ isn’t particularly strong though. Giving some free monk techs could compensate for a price-hike of the Leitis, particularly if the monk techs help with relic-hunting. However, giving too many free monk techs might make the relic hunt too easy.

Details of implementation:

Lithuanians get Sanctity for free

% Lithuanians get Fervor for free

Lithuanians get Illumination for free

Leitis cost +10 gold: 70/50 → 70/60

Ethiopians

Reasoning:

Getting the Pike upgrade for free but not the Halb upgrade is inelegant.

Getting FU Halbs and having Halbs upgrade for free might be too strong. Therefore, take away Squires.

After losing Squires, Shotel Warriors might be too weak. They were always a bit iffy. Instead of giving them a speed boost (the boring option), let’s give them a gold discount.

Ethiopians shouldn’t really be nerfed or buffed.

Details of implementation:

Ethiopians lose squires

Ethiopians gain free Halbedier upgrade

** Shotel cost: 50 food 35 gold -> 50 food 30 gold

Magyars

Reasoning:

The whole Magyar eco bonus in Feudal is their cheaper scout rush. If this can simply be walled out, the enemy can negate the whole eco advantage, which doesn’t turn out well for Magyars.

Giving the scout-line a modest attack bonus against buildings should at least force the opponent to fight.

The size of the bonus can be adjusted if necessary.

Details of implementation:

Magyars’ scout line gains +4 bonus damage against normal buildings

Bulgarians

Reasoning:

This is meant to be a modest eco bonus, and also help with the theme of Bulgarians of being a defensive civ.

Details of implementation:

** Bulgarians can deposit resources at towers, kreposts & castles

Incas

Reasoning:

The current Inca team bonus is lame. I wanted to give its allies a taste of the ‘unkillable vills’ without encouraging vill fights. The new bonus should be maximally effective if players do what they usually do anyway.

Details of implementation:

** Replacement Inca team bonus: farmers regenerate.

Burmese

Reasoning:

Burmese Elephants had 2 base pierce armour in Castle age, after researching a unique tech. That’s pitiful. No wonder the Elephants weren’t used. Elephants don’t necessarily need to be used in Castle age, but for Burmese I think it’d be good if they had more varied military options.

Comparing Burmese with Khmer, Vietnamese and Malay, it is apparent that for Elephants to be truely useful in Castle age, they need to get a buff for free, at the start of the age.

Also there have been complaints about Arambai being too strong.

Remember also:

Elite BE armour got reduced 1/3 -> 1/2

Details of implementation:

Howdah effect doubled: +1/+1 armour -> 2+/+2 armour

** give the Howdah effect for free

** instead make the UT increase trampling damage. Make a reference to drunk elephants with the name.

$ nerf Arambai somehow

Vietnamese

Reasoning:

+50 hp is pitiful on an Elephant.

Remember also:

Elite BE armour got reduced 1/3 -> 1/2

Details of implementation:

Chatras gives +80 hp instead of +50 hp.

2 Likes

Design tip: that is far too many changes at once, I’m pretty sure noone will play it, not because they agree/disagree but just because they don’t have time to read the changelog and speculate all the new interactions in the game.

The pike/halb +1 range alone is a major game changer, no one can probably tell what will happen from that just by reading it, I wouldn’t want to play such a mod if I saw it in a random lobby because this diverges too much from the original game.

I would suggest to at least add a summary of how the new game feels. After quick reading my feeling is that knights completely disappear from the game if the opponent has decent camels, as a result cavalry civs now struggle heavily vs camel civs (eg lithuanians vs mongols). Halbs become either worse or OP (probably worse, but noone can really tell just from reading), elite cataphracts are now uncounterable for most civs, Mayans are dumped to trash tier while Chinese, Britons become even more meta at pro level. Mongols probably become S-tier as well. Please confirm after playtesting that this is not the case and add an explanation.

1 Like

I have balanced in such a way not to change the power level of halbs and camels as far as possible. The balance isn’t too far off, but a strong enough player might be able to notice that one of the units feels too strong or too weak. Such feedback would be really valuable.

You’re right I should adjust the cataphract cavalry armour, I didn’t think of that.

WRT Mayans, I doubt Horse Collar is that important. It saves some wood in Feudal, and is largely irrelevant once you have the later techs.
Could you explain where you are coming from wrt Chinese, Britons & Mongols? Have I somehow buffed archer UUs?

Mayans ->

This sounds like a big nerf. Basically you have -100 food at least in dark age which your opponent can abuse by rushing you early. Archer rush is already rather slow.

You have nerfed every other S-tier civ (Aztecs is debatable), and made archers even more meta by strongly nerfing their competitor (knights) and buffed the units they counter well (camels).

Please also address this point:

Let’s take lithuanians vs mongols. What are you supposed to do if mongols go archers ? Would you honestly pick Lithuanians in that matchup ? Would you honestly pick Lithuanians at all in this mod ?

The Mayans change is scheduled for reversal.
Most of the other top civ nerfs are also scheduled for reversal, including a drastic nerf to Chinese (who were losing wheelbarrow). Hence I was slightly confused when you mentioned Mayans being nerfed but not Chinese.
I know I could improve the way changed marked for reversal are labelled in the documentation, it is too easy to miss the % sign when you skim the text.
I have only nerfed Paladin, and only by 20 hp. Knights and cavalier are untouched. Camels have been made better units, but not better counter units. What made you think I had nerfed Knights?
I don’t anticipate the Lithuanians Vs Mongols matchup being very different from what it is currently. Just make Knights / Leitus, and when facing camels do whatever it is you do now (probably get Paladin :smiley:)

By buffing their counters you have nerfed them. Doesn’t matter if they counter with less bonus damage, they are still counters, and because now camels are a viable alternative to knights we will see them much more often and so knights will struggle more, while their direct competition (archers) is already meta and has not received any nerf.

After thought this is not so bad as I initially thought but it would probably become less interesting than current. I cannot tell just by reading the changelog if Lithuanian knights/leitis are still countered by camels. But if they are still countered, then it is far too risky to make knights as your main unit now even for Lithuanians, because the Mongol player can just make camels as soon as they see your knights, as now they have no drawback of being useless against everything else. So I speculate both players will mirror and go archers (maybe they’ll do a few camels/knights but archer will be king). In any case I fear that by both nerfing the competition to archers (knights) and introducing a new main unit that is weak to archers (camel) you have buffed archers unnecessarily in the camel vs cavalry matchups. The worst part is that you can’t really nerf the archers either because otherwise this would now drastically alter the matchups between civs that have no access to camels.

Imo the game now becomes a massive dice roll for cavalry civs where they have to play completely differently depending on whether the enemy civ has access to camel, whereas archer civs are mostly untouched and can still play archers 90% of the time.

Neither can I, and even scenario tests and games against the AI can’t tell me. That’s why I made the mod public.

I hope it plays out with Camels winning straight-up fights but knights being better at raiding, better when fighting under defences, better against trash (or with supporting trash), better when there is supporting arrow fire, better against monks&siege. Knights can also still win when they have a numerical advantage. In a knights vs camels match-up both players will have to be careful because they can lose their army if they fight in the wrong place. If necessary I’ll tweak the numbers to achieve that balance.

There is no way to guarantee things are balanced before there have been PvP games. People willing to playtest have to put up with the possibility that the game will be unbalanced. But the basic strategies are (or should be) unchanged. I had hoped people can just try it out and play as usual, and perhaps sometimes a strategy will feel too strong or too weak.
But it seems you are right, and there isn’t any interest in that kind of thing.

There are only a few major changes (which I guess I should put somewhere in the top of the description)

  • Camels
  • Halbs
  • Water balance
  • Cumans
  • Indians

I agree you can end up achieving a good balance between knights/camels, the problem is that this will likely result in both players making a lot of archers and just a few camels and knights.