Firstly I don’t think Malay are weak, imo they are similar to chinese in that their eco advantage is hard to leverage, and their unit selection in open maps are arguably bland (unlike for example a ratha being interesting to use even if its on a weak civ).
From stats even at higher elos (not necessarily the top) players are both struggling to use them (low winrate), as well as not wanting to use them (low play rate)
I prefer playing civs for some unique strategy or unit, and when it comes to malay i actually enjoy using their elephants as support units. I think we can guess most players either pick a civ for its strength/eases of use (franks/mayans) or fun playstyle(mongols). And I think malay struggles in both categories in open maps (the most popular maps)
Is there some way to make them more appealing without breaking them?
My instinct is to change Thalassocracy, as water/hybrid maps are in the extreme minority. eg civ bonus: docks automatically upgrade to harbours in the imperial age. And then give them another UT
Or potentially make karambits more viable on open maps without breaking them on closed maps? ie change the food to gold ratio. they are still extremely expensive for open maps, knights have a ratio of 0.8 food : gold. karambits are 1.7 food :gold
What if Forced Levy affected Karambits too?
In the current state I find Forced Levy quite useless tbh, sure the ability to have trash infantry is nice and all, but even for 65f trash infantry is quite bad at anything. THS are super slow and fragile to anything that’s not halbs or skirms (and skirms in large number might be annoying too). Compare that to, say, Berbers 64F Hussars or Magyars 68F Hussars instead, now that is much more useful, and it’s a passive bonus.
On land you’re not even able to leverage that UT (pun intended), since you probably wouldn’t have fish traps. In case you wondered why I talked about fish traps, it’s because you spare much more wood and pop space dedicated to lumberjacks if you can get your food from fish traps instead of regular farms.
I really don’t want to buff their militia. Militia is hopeless on open maps, I’d like to see Karambit used instead. Right now they’re too expensive at 15g each imho.
If you think that besides terrible knights and light cav they’re Malay most mobile units I don’t know if I have to start laughing or crying.
Right now investing 850f 500g into Forced Levy on open maps (but I’d argue on most maps honestly) seems a considerable waste of resources.
Indeed, but no buff could make it viable as main unit unless it’s a huge one and likely OP.
Yes to the first, still militia is more spammable, Karambits are really vulnerable to any defense, much more than Woads though, and burn through gold faster, I honestly see only the AI making Karambits, and it usually fails.
And how many times do you tech into champions 1v1?
I mean, I suppose in some games it could be viable, but honestly it doesn’t seem a strong tech at all.
Anyways, let’s not talk any more of this, no change to Forced Levy, all right.
They also lack mobility. They’re like weaker Vikings (like Dravidians), no surprise they were constantly at the last place until Bengalis came. 11
Vikings, Malay, Dravidians and Bengalis are all similar. All with good archers, all with low mobility. Clearly Vikings eco carries them while the other 3 have evidently hard to exploit or mediocre eco bonus.
Then there are Portuguese, which probably are at the bottom due to zero eco bonus at all, despite having passable tech tree.
Karambit problem is not their gold cost, in fact Malay have plenty of gold efficient options already, they dont need another Trash-THS. That’s not the solution with this useless unit.
Before we got introduced to Urumi, Karambit was the most useless UU in the game, the 0.5 pop trait is solely a gimmick, since in order to “spam” them and fully utilize this feature you need 3 Castles at least. Because it takes a whole 6 seconds to create a 0.5 pop of Karambits, same rate as Teutonic Knights, which are the slowest melee Infantry to create, that’s how absurd this unit is.
It’s less about the cost and more about the spammability.
Gold was never the problem of Malay, one of the least wasteful civs in this regard, the usually lose the game far before they get to benefit from this unique feature of being so gold independant civ.
I consider these important changes an essential fixes.
However as long as Battle Elephants are not viable on any type of map pretty much, regardless of the civ match up, there’s a failure in this civ’s core design component. BE just like Steppe Lancers need a rework. We cant forget about this one sadly.
But they are viable on some maps. Maybe not to you, because you’re an elitist Arabia only 1v1 player, but for a lot of the BF, TG, or closed map players, they really aren’t that bad. Sure, maybe they need some changes, but not as drastic as you make it out to be.
Then it kind of is about the gold cost. What’s the point in spending 15 gold on something that dies straight away like that? I would reduce the gold to at least 10, and maybe make it the only unit that can have several (probably 2, maybe 3) trained simultaneously, although secondary ones should maybe train a bit slower. Then you have 2 gimmicks, but something that can be easily flooded onto the battlefield in high numbers, which still being weak.
Training simultanously with tweaked numbers seems like an unneccessary way to complicate things. Like for example you can have primary unit trains 15 seconds and secondary train 7.5 seconds, this gives you 3 units in 15 seconds. Or you can have normal training with 5 seconds training time which gives you the same amount of units with less math to think about.
My numbers were examples and i get what you mean but what does it achieve gameplay wise. Maybe it might make a difference for strong expensive units with high training times you want to make even harder to mass as having them come in batches means youll have less units on the field while waiting, but that isnt the case for krambits.
I’m comparing to knights because they are the highest f:g ratio for a common meta unit. The lower the ratio the better the unit is on open maps. It means you are spending less food and more gold. Food is the limiting factor for the viability of a unit on open maps.
Compare eagles and ghulams to elephants and step lancers for example, or even light cav, gold efficient units only become effective very late in the game.
And as you mentioned Malay already has gold efficient options (elephants and 2hs)
Karambit have never competed for the same spot anyway, they fill very different roles. And increasing the gold cost and lowering the food cost lowers the f:g ratio making them easier to sustain sooner, and aggressive maps are preferential to this.
Same. And as someone proved a while back, trash swords are actually less cost effective than generic champs until a certain point is reached when they become more cost effective. It’s literally better to have generic champs in most cases in open maps then it is to have trash swords.
Meaning any other actual infantry civ is always better than Malay until incredibly late in the game. So technically both UTs are semi to completely useless
I find it difficult to have a good number of military as Malay. Their eco needs a lot more time than one can think at a first glance. Maybe the only military unit that they can spam fast is actually BE which has its own weakness and limitations.