Idea: Flavour Feature for Nomadic Civs

CONTEXT

Since the announcement/leak of The Mountain Royals I’ve been reading a lot of comments regarding the Mule Cart, suggesting it should be a feature added to the nomadic civs alongside Armenians and Georgians, and these comments have been shown a lot of support.
The thing is that mules and carts pulled by mules were not particularly a thing of nomadic stepppe cultures. They were used all over Eurasia and specially on mountanious ladnscapes. The existence of Mule Carts for Armenians and Georgians is a reference to the mountanious landscape of the Caucasus, and thus, Armenians and Georgians are provided with Mule Carts.

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MY INTERPRETATION OF THE MATTER

My perception is that what players are actually seeking for is not specifically for Mule Carts to be given to nomadic civs, but rather to attend the “issue” that nomadic civs do not feel nomadic enough. And now, when they see something slightly related to nomadism, like a mobile dropping site, players feel that it would make the most sense if nomadic civs get them as well. This go against the logic I pointed out before.

CLARIFICATION

The following proposal is meant to give some thematic flavour to the nomadic civilizations. A game-breaking mechanic, or an alteration of the fundamental way these civs are played is not the objective of this proposal . The idea is that this feature provides proper flavour to these civs without significantly affecting gameplay.

MY PROPOSAL

I propose the following changes for Mongols, Cumans and Huns:

  • House replaced with Yurt
  • Lumber Camp and Mining Camp replaced with Storage Camp (placeholder name). Same as mule carts, it can be used as a dropping site for wood, gold, stone and hunt. Mills would be kept for berries and farms.

The special feature is that these buildings can be pack and unpacked (like a trebuchet) in order to be relocated.
These buildings may or may not have different stats and costs, and the pack-unpack action may or may not cost resources, those are balance matter than can be tweaked.
The core idea of this feature is that packing buildings and moving them to another place to be deployed again is more reminiscent of steppe nomadic lifestyle than a cart pulled by an animal.
Yurts are the most characteristic element of steppe cultures and, in this proposal, they should not mean any significant deviation on the standard gameplay of the civs recieving them.
Storage Camps, however, do alter gameplay in some degree, specially on early stages. Mongols hunt bonus may be need to get tweaked in this regard.

Now, you may be asking why I didn’t include Tatars alongside the other nomadic civs.
The thing is that, even when they’re undoubtly a steppe civ, Tatars, representing the turko-perso-mongols of the central and western steppes, featured a far higher degree of sedentarism and urbanization than Mongols and Cumans (Yes they had cities to, but they were mostly nomadic). The cities around the Volga river and the Ferghana valley (like Samarkand) are the best examples. The use of houses fits them better.

Huns had some degree of sedentarism as well, but I consider this nomadic feature contributes to the fantasy of “Foreign invaders coming from the East”.

COMPLEMENTARILY

A nomadic set for these 3 civs have been requested a lot. It would be nice if a feature like this is included to futher promote the thematic immersion.

That’s it. Let me know what you think.

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Ngl I was kinda nervous they just threw the idea on them because they wanted to use it and now was the time. I’m glad that it actually is something applicable to the civs. I guess I wasn’t giving the devs enough credit.

Yeah basically, for me anyway

I agree, I like this idea, but I think it should be implemented in conjunction with a new nomad architecture pack for Mongols, Huns, and Cumans.

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IMO some people are too fixated on the “mule” aspect to justify why these civs were given mobile dropsites, which understandably can bring to mind nomadic civs. Not that it’s a terrible fit for Georgians/Armenians per se, but that like the Khmer house bonus, something like it could have been given to almost any civ. It could have been presented as a horse cart, ox cart, water buffalo cart, elephant, or even just a standalone cart or dropsite that could be packed up by villagers. The mule of course makes it a visual match for the chosen civs.

So overall I like the idea of giving something like this to nomadic civs, although I’d be more willing to do so in a way that’s impactful to gameplay. Adding a new mechanic but intending it to be mostly aesthetic/unimpactful just seems like a half-measure, a work of artificially unrealized potential. Mongol hunt bonus and Hun starting res can be tweaked as necessary. The problem with gers/yurts that can unpack and move is that 95% of the time, this isn’t going to be useful - it will feel like the “Nomads” tech in building form, and people will constantly be brainstorming how to make it more interesting. So here are some ideas about how to make them more useful:

-Yurts can garrison and heal villagers and/or military units slowly, but at lower capacity than Khmer houses (e.g. 2-3)
-Yurts function as dropsites for some resources, possibly just for natural food sources (berries, fish, hunt), or for wood.
-Yurts have some kind of aura effect that buffs military or villagers (I don’t actually think this is a good idea, or think there should be tons more aura effects added, but it’s one of very few ways of making non-production, non-dropsite buildings worth moving).

If you’re worried about not impacting the start, some of these effects could be tied to the “Nomads” UT, e.g. it now also allows yurts to function as partial dropsites or garrison units.

If I were to give a more expansive version of the unit/building to nomadic civs, I would definitely include berries as they represent half the equation of “hunter-gatherers,” leaving out only farms as signs of a more settled society.

I’ve seen others propose Town Centers that could be packed/unpacked, but for the most part this isn’t going to be useful as you build TCs around important res and farm around them when those res are depleted. But it’s interesting to brainstorm how non-dropsite buildings might be made worth packing/unpacking.

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May I suggest Storage Ger?

Also I like that they still don’t work with farms, as that is more associated with settled peoples.

Although another way to do this is to just give the Mongols/Huns/Cumans the Mule Cart, with a different skin. Like a Yak or Oxen.

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Going a little farther on this point, I would like to suggest the following based on part on a costume map I played before:

A packing/unpacking TC as we have seen before, but with the added bonus of “Packing/Unpacking” all the buildings constructed before around that TC (in reality just the ability to rebuild them for free and in half of time) keeping in mind that when you pack your TC, you also delete all those buildings on the departing site. (except Towers, Castles and other defensive buildings) that would give a “Real” nomad feeling where everything moves with you.

Of course not for all civilizations, just for Nomads Civilizations.

Having these civs play like AoE4 Mongols would be really cute, ngl. There’s a decent chance it may actually work more naturally here too.

Wouldn’t this be, from a historical perspective, the crucial point of the issue of representation of nomadism? That is, if we want a truly nomadic civ, we should make its inability to build farms the axis around which its entire economic identity revolves, since this is the most obvious difference between nomads and sedentary peoples.

As expected, translating into the game is always the tricky part. Perhaps in addition to a storage cart they should have another, this one being a packing/unpacking “tent mill” that produces herdables (sheep, cows), allowing them to literally (re)start their empire anywhere anytime? Or perhaps a mobile TC of its own capable of creating both villagers and animals? Would it be too radical for aoe2?

I don’t play aoe4, what would it be like? Would it be similar to what I suggested?

Not too radical, in fact, I have seen that type of TC on Custom Campaigns, and they worked great.:grin:

The changes may be suitable to be introduced along with new steppe civs, such as the Jurchens and Khitans.

I would even consider making all buildings except Mills, Farms, Docks, Fish Traps, Walls, Palisades, Gates, Outposts, Castles, Towers, Wonders, packable and moveable.

It should work as a dropping site also for berries and fish, but probably not for stones.

My concern with implementing a nomad mechanic in an impactful way is that, in order for it to be somehow related to nomadism, it would mean a signifcant deviation in the way these civs are player compared to the rest.
I value that all civilizations play overall the same way. If yurts were to have a significant impact, they would turn the civilization into a AoE3 or AoE4 civ.

Your proposals are not bad. I just feel that they are not related to nomadism and could be applied to regular houses.

My issue with this is that all the currently existing sets and my ideal version of a nomadic architecture set include stationary (non-nomadic) brick buildings from Castle Age onwards, including Town Centers. It would look weird if brick buildings were able to pack and unpack.

Edit: I thought some may wonder why there would be brick buildings in a nomad’s city.
Well, because this was the main construction material for stationary buildings.
Here is an illustrated example of the Netflix’s series Marco Polo

While this is not a bad idea on itself, I feel like this is a huge deviation from standard gameplay. As a personal oppinion, I’m not sure if I want something like this for a civ’s rework.

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Thing is about this Yurt idea, there’s hardly any reason to ever bother with packing & unpacking a house.

Instead I’d propose that ‘Yurts’ replace the both the house/outpost buildings, giving 5 pop, a decent LOS, with minimal HP but also with minimal cost (no stone) and construction time.
I think this sort of change gives a ‘nomad’ flavour without also too radically changing how these civs play.

In this way they’d be poor for house-walling (but cheaper in wood) and be scattered across the map, giving information.
This gives side-bonus of making the Mongol ‘nomads’ tech not utterly worthless.

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Kind of. And it’s partly a positive point. As I said before, I don’t want the gameplay experience deviate too much for these civs. Being able to move villagers around the map alongside dropping sites is already a huge improvement on the nomadic experience aspect.
Yurts packing/unpacking is more of a roleplay elements.

That said, I think there’s some usefullness in yurts in this form I propose as modifiable house-walls. You could arrange house-walls around woodlines as they deplet and can open and close gaps to get villagers ###### #####
I know, it’s minor, but that’s partly one of my objectives.

Edit: censor words are
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Well, almost every buildings of the Mongols in Aoe4 can be packed and move. It may not be a probrem.
The Mongol warriors also had lived in yurts during the conquests, instead of having built brick buildings locally along the road to Europe.

It is true that there would also be immovable brick buildings in their communities. For example, attempts at agriculture may lead to a settled lifestyle, which can be reflected in brick-built Mills.They had also successively built fixed large-scale fortifications such as city walls, castles, and palaces in Karakorum, turning it from a small yurt town into the capital of the empire. However many of their villages and army bases were still moved in the form of yurts, which can be still reflected in the packability of TCs and military buildings such as Barracks, Stables, etc.

Apart from the architecture and Mule Carts, I’d also like to see unique skins for Light cavalry and Cavalry archers.

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I know people are already being against any major change, but why not make so Huns, Mongols and Cumans all need no houses? The Hun civ bonus and Mongol Castle UT would need to replaced though.

Agreed, on the other hand it just feels unfinished if something has a novel mechanic without the attributes needed to make it useful. I would still prefer your change over nothing, because people could add capabilities to the yurt in custom scenarios, but doing so IMO would be the only way for the concept to reach its full potential. As it is, a packable house gives +5 pop space without caring where it is on the map, but if it has some other attribute wrt production, res, etc, then proximity can start to matter.

Correct, nothing I proposed is inherently nomadic - they’re just little enticements that potentially allow you to get some benefit from moving the structures and thus incentivize a playstyle that at least simulates semi-nomadism to the very limited extent that the game allows. Because frankly that’s a very difficult thing to encourage otherwise. The game parameters give you basically nothing else that lends itself to a truly nomadic playstyle - no large herds to follow, water sources to seek, no reason to leave behind overgrazed or fallow land. The only resource to follow is a receding woodline, and that’s already realized with the Mule Cart. Hence the most simple, agreeable, and useful part of the proposal by far is just to give them the Storage Ger, as a Mule Cart variant. My take is, if we’re going to try to further simulate nomadism in appearance (with unpacking gers as well), I say to try to simulate it in utility as well. But I understand that’s too radical for some. It would be more palatable to try implementing this on a new civ, but it’s hard to consider one for which it would be more appropriate than the Mongols.

It’s funny how much that just looks like parts of modern Mongolia (but less colorful/more dense). Definitely an easier setpiece than a medieval town/city in almost any other region.

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Here is an interesting video on topic.

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I get your point. It may feel like a unposlihed way of implemented a new feature.

Well, there’s the posibility of having the villagers go for deers in the very early game and then come back to the safety of the base taking the storage camp/ger with you.
Also, from mid-game onwards, and specially leaning into the late-game and post-imperial, it’s common to send villagers to far away wood lines and gold and stone mines. You know, when you grab a group of villagers and build a mining camp on the corner of the map.
Although reality is that at athose stages of the game, it’s easiear to just build a new camp than waste the time and apm of packing, moving and unpacking a camp.

It’s funny that this video was released at the same time I was having this idea going around my mind.

The video shows there were indeed many stationary cities along the steppe. That’s why the idea of a pack/unpack mechanic for every building doesn’t convince me.

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Yak drawn Khan yurts. They should be packable and moveable. At least town centres and regular homes.

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I think those are oxes, not yaks