Its known that food collection in AOE2 is the slowest form of economy. You can argue that techs like Wheelbarrow/Hand Cart buffs collection a bit but then again it still has big impact on wood collection instead.
Let’s say a scenario there is a tech-line that buffs food collection rate globally in Dark/Feudal age. How much it’ll change the meta? Game is majority with food units made from Stable/Barracks. Who are very much pricey. People prefers Stable units as that can survive much longer than Barracks unit. Also Archery units are in general weak but are much better at massing and indirectly the reason why xbow meta has been dominant for years. Will buffing food income suddenly make Knight play too widespread? Maybe infantry to some extent? Maybe share some your thoughts.
Another thing to mention, in past there was a tech. Back when FE was a mod. A tech that used to buff food gather rate of Forage Bush only and was available in Dark Age. It was removed due to the nature of how it worked and how low Forage Bush is found in the map.
you’d literally have to rebalance the entire game around faster food collection, as suddenly you can make more villagers while doing say, 2 stable knights. n2m the impact on a simple scout opener.
also elephants would suddenly be much more affordable in castle age as is.
If such tech existed I suppose the first one would be in feudal age since the other eco upgrades appear in feudal age as well. There is also the question of the cost, I suspect that people who aren’t happy about food collection rn won’t feel any better if the tech costs food and wood like most other eco techs, including gillnets which is basically your theoretical tech but for fishing ships. So ig it would get a wood and gold cost (also prevents it from making Burgundians the best civ in the game). It would also be better if it doesn’t have an imperial age version because it would probably make some civs OP/make others too weak in late game if the tech is not given to everyone.
This is often the reason why people complain about food collection, but food can’t be the reason xbows are so good rn since the farming rate has never been touched ever since AoK, and xbow being so good is a DE thing, so the explanation has to be something that is exclusive to DE.
It would amplify the difference between hybrid maps with extra food and ‘standard’ maps with standard resources.
There’s not enough spare resources and non-farm food available post late-dark age on standard maps to charge much for the tech (or gain much benefit, equivalently). On maps with extra food it would be great of course but then you’re just amplifying the difference between these two maps. Anytime you amplify the difference between maps you make it even harder to balance.
It would be better to restrict it to farms to avoid widening the gap. In fact a tech restricted to farms actually closes the gap between standard res maps and non-standard res maps which makes it easier to balance the different map types at the same time.
Depending on how much it increases and costs, the game will just speed up. Meta won’t change much even if its something like 25% faster.
Its not just that. They’re cheap, can disturb eco from behind the forests and outside of walls. And the other fact is Food is needed for villager production, age advancements, blacksmith and eco upgrades. Food is also a resource which is derived from the construction of farms which cost wood unless other resources which you get directly from the map. Suppose the food collection rate is increased by 25% with that tech, blacksmith techs, wheelbarrow, age advancements become wood-heavy instead of food, and you have plenty of food from shore fish or berries in the map, then food based units will become more popular.