Instead of asking for more Unique Upgrades for units, we should ask for Regional Skins

The recent introduction of unique upgrades, like Legionaries and Winged Hussars, have been recieved very well by the community. It is specially the Savar, coming with the incoming Persians rework, the one that have been praised by a majority of the playerbase that writes on these forums, reddit, youtube, etc.
The availability of more than one Unique Unit for new civilizations, like shrivamshas, gets good reception as well.


Most comments I’ve been lately reading about people’s oppinion on these additions, a topic that exploded after the reveal of the Savar, confirms what I already believed:

Players don’t get that much excited about slight different stats and some hidden bonus damage
What players really value about unique upgrades and unique units is the improved feeling of immersion and thematic verisimilitude they provide.

Designing a new unit with different stats is just an excuse to get these improved-immersion features in the game. I firmly believe what players liked about Winged Hussars, Legionaries and Savars, is not that they play slightly different than its standard counterparts, what they actually appreciate about them is that they felt much more persian, roman and polish than the regular Paladin, Champion and Hussar, respectively.

And I’m one of them. I enjoy a better feeling of immersion and historical (I don’t want to say accuracy) authenticity. I’d even love if every civ looked different to reflect their historical counterpart better.
But at the same time I also like the simplicity of the standardize unit roster, the element that gave AoE2 the label of “real time chess”.
More and more unique units and unit upgrades are making the game lose the elegance of its simplicity and, on top of that, make the game harder to learn for new players, as if the entry barrier wasn’t already high.

So, as what I believe is the best way to handle these conflicting situation, I have a proposal:

Players of AoE2, instead of asking for more Savars, Shrivamshas and Legionaries, ask for regional (or even civ-specific) Units Skins Sets.

This way every civilization can feel much closer to their historical counterpart while, at the same time, the gameplay keeps the simmetry between civs that characterize AoE2.

Of course, these units skins should be visible only for the player using them and should be toggleable, so those who do not want to see the redability of the game affected can disable them from the settings menu, just like small trees work.
This is something that is not possible with the addition of unique units and unique upgrades: Savars and Legionaries are here for those who want better immersion and those who don’t.

I firmly believe this is the best compromise between those who want a better feeling of historical authenticity and those who enjoy the simmetry and standarization between civs.

Let me know your oppinion.


Just to clarify something, I’m not directly opposed to the replacement of unique upgrades or entire unit lines, but the change should be significant enough to justify it. Shrivamshas are a good example of a unit replacement that works completely different that its standard counterpart. Winged Hussars are perhaps the worst, it’s basically a reskin of regular hussars.


Yes, absolutely. The balance, tactics and roles to fill for every unit are there. It’s definitely more about the visuals. Unique niche roles and strategic additions are the part of unique castle units.

I could’nt say it better. Some people say unique skins (or regional skins like the trading carts) could break the readability. But in my opinion, that’s something people get very quickly used to (especially if the designs are good readable as the unit they present through same stances, animations, weapon classes etc.). Plus if it’s togglable, it’s no problem anyway.
And on the other side you are also right. The additional unique units through replacements etc. are a bigger problem for people who argue like that, because they make the game even harder to read because of additional purpose and stat differences.

I am on your side. :slight_smile:


That’s something people are asking for for a long time. Sometimes it feels like they cut the whole graphic department of forgotten empires right after the release of the DE haha. It feels like there is one dude left who creates 2 castles and a hand full unique units for a DLC per year and in the time between some strange looking event mod stuff. There’s not even one new architecture set since then. I don’t want to tease forgotten empires or microsoft haha. it just feels like that and that’s sad


I agree with OP, but with some important reservations, mainly born out of practicality. This kind of scenario would be ideal, but I think it’s particularly unlikely given how little effort has been put into new graphics in the DE era. We can ask for the moon, but that just sets a high bar for our own disappointment in the likely event that the devs continue with their minimalist approach to new graphics.

So I understand why some people prefer to advocate for more unique upgrades or regional units, if those things can increase immersion and add to gameplay while being far more likely than a full graphical overhaul for every architecture set.

I do want regional skins though. My first benchmark that would be both immersive and realistic would be unique castles, monks and monasteries, or regional villager skins. I like the idea of regional military unit skins on top of this, but I don’t think that’s remotely realistic unless MS decides to 10X the budget and entirely reshuffle their priorities to accommodate this project. At some point, it becomes impossible to run fast enough to make up for all the time you were asleep on the race course. One of the problems with reskinning military units is it would have to come in massive chunks, or inherently be very controversial (e.g. if archer units are reskinned for all civs, people will complain about the mismatch between them and other unit lines. If all units for 1-2 civs are reskinned, people will complain about when their preferred civ will get a reskin. Meanwhile people who aren’t that interested in skins and want more civs or other content will resent probably being made to wait several more years for it, etc).

Agreed. Especially if by “sometimes” you mean “whenever one thinks on it.”


not what ‘players’ value, what you value
I think this is pointless and reduces readability. That being said, as long as it’s purely optional I am not opposed to it

One thing to consider: if there are paid visual mods (that’s what a skin pack would be), how will forgotten empires handle custom visual mods?

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I’ve thought of this idea myself in the past; only thing is you’d have to be careful (and I think you have been with your pic example) to keep the look at least moderately similar, that way it doesn’t get too confusing as to what is what. I also think it should be limited to regional, not civ-specific unique skins.

…also insert obligatory “give us unique castles for existing civs, and regional monk skins” request here


Sadly, I kind of agree expectations like this are too high. But I feel that if I don’t advocate for turning the point of the request to this side (I mean, skins instead of unique upgrades), people will keep asking for more of these irreversible features until the game becomes a complete mess.
I won’t deny this post is a desperate cry of “do something before it’s too late”.

Don’t you think it could be profitable to sell those skin packs? I mean, they give event skins for free from time to time, and, as the pictures I shared show, sometimes only minimum changes to the base models must be applied, so it’s not like they have to design whole models from the ground up.
It seems there’s real intereset by the community on units skins, and we know that the majority of the player base are single-player players, who are more keen to purchase things like these.

No, not at all. It might not be a proper statistical analysis, but with full intellectual honesty, the impression I get from reading these forums, reddit, and youtube comments is that the group of players that support these unique units and unique upgrades value the aesthetic and thematic elements rather than the gameplay features.

When Return of Rome launched, there were various visual mods that made the game crash. Those mods were temporarily taken down one by one until they get their compatibility problems fixed. That means that the devs have the capacity of take down mods individually for any given cause they consider fair. If someone makes a mod recreating the skin pack for free, it could be taken down. I wouldn’t consider that any kind of tirany.
I may be wrong, but, currently, I think there is not any technical limitation that prevents a skilled modder to make a data mod that copies a DLC civilization into the slot of a base-game civ. If it were done, I imagine it would be fairly taken down. The same rod can be applied to skin packs.

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I mean, I also don’t play with small trees because its unimmersive so I can’t really argue this for myself personally 11


I mean who’s against regional skins?


I could see some of the high level pro players not being a fan of it. is the main group I can think of.

The big group of users who fear that it will be a bane on readability.


In my opinion, they still have a point. To a certain extent, you can think of it as introducing them who have better stats to replace the generic Hussars in order to give the Poles the ideal trash horses when Plate Barding Armor is lacked, and by the way create more immersion with the new look.

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In fact, regular Hussars are already winged, so there wasn’t much effort put in the naming of the Poles unique Husasr, was there?


I think the situation you describe would be fine, the problem arises if something like this happens:
FE makes a custom architecture set for say Mongols, then a modder comes and makes a different set. This is in direct competition with FE selling their product and is free, should FE be allowed to take this set down?

to handle situations like this FE needs a team that checks every mod on copyright, this seems like it’s more effort than it’s worth for them. I think a better approach would be to release free castle and monk skins through those weekly challenges

It should be done in the base game like the trade cart skins.Why would anyone want to do x y z things to get a castle which will end up in mod section anyway.


Maybe a good solution would be to hire a group of modders to create official Architecture Sets and regional skins - part of the revenue from the DLC would go to modders and the rest to the game creators. In this way, the creators would be relieved of the enormous graphic work and would still earn money - modders, of course, should earn adequate money for their work.

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Who modders? Because I haven’t seen anybody create any proper graphics for DE yet.


Just you wait. It’ll come in just a few months.

I don’t trust you. You are all words no work.