Let's talk about balance and its role in keeping a competetive playerbase

I know, I know the game hasn’t been out for a whole day and somebody already wants to whine about balance. But through this week of streamers playing the game as well as the beta and the stress test as well as the first own games since full release competitive players should see some flaring balance issues right from the get go so hear me out.

I love this game so far but when it comes to the different civs, clearly some are better than others. Take a look at the French who have access to the very strong knights in feudal age. The problem here is not that the other civs lack counter to that (everybody has access to pikes) the problem here is that the French have all the agency in the feudal age. Sure pikes counter knights but the only purpose of those pikes will be to counter the knights while the French knights can not only choose which fights to take or run away from but also establish map control which is very important since the most valuable food sources are out on the map. Having to build pikes really limits your agency because a pike counterattack is not very strong (low dmg, low pierce armor) and if you dare to move out you will have knights in your base raiding your economy against decent players. The imbalance does not stop here though. On top of that the French get to have a really strong eco bonus, as well as the best arbalests in the game, as well as a great production bonus and if this wasn’t enough they are also the best water civ due to having access to the early hulk which just trumps all other ships on water maps.

There are also other civs who are probably a little bit too strong (English and RUS) but I don’t want to get too much into the details here.

Now the problem with bad civ balance is that players with “weaker” civs can be forced to play a certain playstyle (agency to the stronger civ). This can cause a lot of frustration especially for the competitive playerbase. I really hope that balance will be taken care of before the first ranked season as I love this game so far and wish to see it shine competitevly but if there is literally no reason to play any other civ than french, english or rus than we definetly have a problem.

u d guy that co-sponsored kotd4?

didn’t they say the game’s focus is not being a competitive title?

100% agree. There is no point in asymmetrical civs and diversity if every game is going to be played against French on the Ladder or every tournament game decided by civ win – like we had back in AOM, for example, where Isis and later on Oranos/Kronos dominated (and still do!). Even in Age2, with 40 civilizations, Franks get picked like half the time.

Sure, people enjoy playing campaings and single player too. No problem with that. But I, personally, would not pay $60 on a game to play single player only. I enjoy competitive games, climbing the ladder, improving.