Let's Talk about Water

A little add could that fishtraps builded in deep waters could have more food and be gathered faster.

1 Like

i think, based on experience, having just food on water doesn’t help, a gold source gatherable with fishing boats adds much needed tension to water fights
in fact, ensemble devs, including sandy petersen all saw adding gold to the water as a solution to it, it worked in 3, why wouldn’t it work elsewhere, trading posts then added another reason to press on water


You mean like adding neutral docks on Islands in the corners (and maybe adjusting the trade profit formula for these docks)?

but then I would also make a clever staggering of the gold ratios of the ships.
I would generally even tend to give galleys the highest gold ratio for several reasons:
A) Best micro potential
B) good vs land units / shore raiding
C) the most attractive water unit in general

Then Fire ships could have basically no gold cost and demos somewhere in between.

I would prefer if there were some kind of “treasure islands” or something like this. The question is how much gold they should yield (and probably be partially renewable or something like this).

I woul probably even reduce the fishing income a bit and put a higher emphasis on the gold aspect on the water. I think this makes more sense in the strategical aspect of the game.

How would treasure islands differ from (modified) neutral docks?
My understanding is that in either case you send a specialized ship there to collect gold?

And why would you prefer it?
(Just trying to understand)

Another idea is add a generic infantry unit trainable from docks since Feudal Age: The Sailor.

The Sailor can be garrisoned in galley-line and fireship-line improving their performance(similar to rams) and regen hp for ship. Lets say 2/3/5 units per upgrade.

Sailors have the ability to build basic defenses (palisades and outpost), docks and repair ships at double rate than vils.

Sailor tentative stats:
60 hp
5 attack
0/0 Armor
1.1 speed
Tt: 25sec

Sailor could have 2 possible upgrades. Each with different bonuses and new abilities depending of the civ which is available for.

Pirate: focused in offensive. More attack and speed.
Possible bonus: Attack vs Buildings, can build military buildings, plunder ability.

Corsair: Focus on defense. More armor and hp
Possible bonus: Attack vs pirates, can build stone defences, more regen hp for ships

Make Pirats to be water wolfs… and add fortifications

something like a carrack that shoots like an organ gun

One of the original devs for the game (Sandy of Cthulu on YouTube) pretty much admitted that water combat was added as an afterthought, so this explains why water has always seemed so clunky, slow and 90’s.


I made a suggestion last year on a previous water thread. I think the best solution to make water maps and battles more interesting is to change the behaviour of transport ships. The idea was that instead of units disappearing onto the ships when transporting, they would be able to stand on the ship deck and be able to attack and take damage while travelling. Obviously this would mean melee units on deck would only be able to do damage when they are close enough to other ships. But it would definitely make ranged units a viable strategy. I honestly don’t think the overall idea would be OP because all civs would have the same advantage and each transport would still only have 5x units per ship.

Maybe to make melee units more viable you could even add a ‘pirates’ mechanic which throws a plank across to enemy tranports and allows melee units to jump across and take them over.

Then it would just be a question of whether you would want to give transport ships the ability to garrison the units inside and bring them out for fights like you can with rams and siege towers (or not).

1 Like

Whales and maybe dolphins may work easily. They would be the gold source on the water.
For non-ocean or non-deep waters, the gold source can be crabs, corals, pearl oysters, or shipwrecks.
Unlike them in AoE3, I think they should be finite in AoE2.

As long as the fishing ships have no attack ability, wolves-like units on the water is bad idea.

Balancing aside, it’s inconvenient to use. It’s more easy and fun to use the Galley directly, and It might work to even conversely make the military ships able to carry units.

Also, the water problem is mostly that the Navy’s Rock-paper-scissors mechanism is a failure, not about the transport ships. Ranged ships shouldn’t do fire-and-run so effectively to close fighting ships, and demo ships should have a more efficient and stable damage against close fighting ships.

1 Like

That is true and it could be addressed with a bit tweaking of the ships stats as opposed to introducing some complex mechanics that more likely or not will either be completely useless or entirely OP.

I’d just give the fire ships a bit more pierce armor, and the demo ships a a bit higher blast ratio and bonus against fire ships. Further, reduce the anti-ship bonus for ships a little bit, so that armor because more impactful. This should pertain to the castle and imperial age versions, the feudal balance is kind of okay.

Note that this could also be enabled by some techs, so that one would have a clear choice whether to go for a particular ship line or not. And as usual, techs don’t need to be available to each and every civ, allowing for a better civ balance on water.

By the way: I don’t think adding extra res to water, treasures, whatever, is the way to go; on Islands you already have the neutral islands with Gold to fight over, but it doesn’t change much.
Water control is extremely valuable, the only “problem” is just that in order to get it, the most promising approach (at least from mid-castle Age onwards) is to just mass the Galley line, with the addition of Cannon Galleons in Imp to destroy castles.


I don’t like extreme bonus damage & bonus armour.
It feels like it’s forcing the player (me) to play a particular way, without actually creating engaging or elegant game play.

I think it’s better when counter triangles occur “naturally”, as a consequence of other design aspects. Like how scouts shred skirms due to the base stats and the skirm’s minimum range.

Working with ship-damage and pierce-damage is fine, in the same way that melee-damage and pierce-damage can create fun counter relations for land armies. But hoping to “fix” water by forcing counter relations with massive bonus damage is like hoping to “fix” Elite War Elephant by giving halberdiers massive bonus damage. It just gets the game stuck in a hole it can’t get out of.

Historically I believe burner ships countered capital ships by trading 1-for-1 when they successfully connected, and being much cheaper. But they’ve never been very effective outside of ambushes, much like demo ships in AOE2. And that’s fine. I think they can be part of a fun water meta without hard countering fire ships.

1 Like

Here, my understanding is different from yours. Anyone who has played AoE3 should be able to appreciate the goodness of whales.

Let’s call that “gold fish”. Even though they may not be introduced in the name of kind of fish, they are essentially fish and shore fish but providing gold instead of food.

Imagine in the Nomad or other hybrid maps, in any age, when gold mines on land are not available (e.g. getting towered or not found), you can send Fishing Ships or Fishermen to salvage these “gold”. Even though they may not be in much, or may be gathered at a slower rate, but still could be a godsend to help you survive.

Sure, but how does it improve the water play? I’d say, the game is currently not lacking incentives to compete for water, there are plenty. It’s just that decision making on water is merely a matter of picking the right fights at the right time, judging fleet sizes, etc. But the unit composition is simple: Galleon spam. As far as I understand, this is the primary factor what puts many people off.

In many cases, in hybrid maps, water control cannot be a winning factor. Loss of water control is not an immediate crisis when enemy ships’ range cannot touch the base. You must have seen it many times, even the player win the water, but still get beaten up and lose on land.

On the other hand, the current failure of rock-paper-scissors makes the counterattack on the water a slim chance once getting even a little behind, so many times it’s better to give up decisively. Abandoning naval battles in time let you lose only natural food that becomes less efficient over time (as fish will be fewer and farther away), but save resources and then use them on more deadly land attacks.

When there are more kinds of resources, that certainly makes it beneficial to increase the motivation to control the water in hybrid map. It is no longer something to be decisively discarded. When you control gold mines on land, and find that your opponent can still train many gold units, which means you have to spend more time and attention on the water. When you don’t have enough gold mines, it means you should never give up water, because you can’t planet gold on land.

Using the ranged ships as the standard, then:

  • Close fighting ships(*): have faster movement speed so that they can more effectively pursue the ranged ships. The ranged ships, even with sufficient numbers or good micro, should still suffer a noticeable lose anyway when overtaken by a wave of close fighting ships.
  • Demo ships: Reduce HP or pierce armor, but better blast radius and damage, allowing ranged ships to easily take them down if they’re in an enough number and not careless, but close fighting ships won’t be able to dodge them effectively and more vulnerable to enough damage.

(*) I use this name because I want a new ship unit to replace the fire ship in the common tech tree. When the fire ship become Byzantines’ UU or a kind of regional unit, it means that spewing fire is no longer the mean of attack for the common close fighting ships. Like I’ve suggested, the short-range fast archer ships or naval boarding ships, the new ships should have a single damage type, fire logically slower than fire ships, but higher per attack and maybe have attack bonus.

This is very interesting.

There is no elevation difference on water, but we might also be able to introduce wind direction and ocean currents which change regularly or not change, affecting ships’ speed. Sea fog could also affect a ships’ LoS, which shortening LoS when leeward.

1 Like

But isn’t that the essence of a hybrid map: water control is important, but does not immediately win you the game?

Besides, there are very few commonly played maps where this is really a factor, that is, larger proportions of water that are ignored in later stages of the game. Actually, Nomad is the only one I can immediately think of, and that only in case of a round land mass without bays.
In virtually all other cases, water control is either about small ponds (Four lakes and derivatives), or it gives a crucial military advantage on top of the economic boost through the fish (mediterranean and variants thereof).

My experience is, almost since the late Feudal/early Castle investing in water is not as beneficial as focusing on land, as long as controlling water can’t block enemy.

Very often I see people willing to train their fishing ships in the Dark because that’s when the food is most valuable while the fish are plentiful and close. People are willing to struggle on the water, just because they want to catch as many close fish as possible in the early. After that period, investing in water is not worth it as fishing is no longer comparable to the food income on land. When naval battle in the Feudal start to get a little behind, people would rather simply give up water, stop training military ships, and allow fishing ships to be sunk, rather than try to continue the competition. (The issue about inefficient counterattack is also a point.) By the time the Castle Age is reached, naval battles are often over. In the mid and late game, water has almost no value at all.

Sure, water won’t lead you victory immediately, because by the time you win the water, it’s probably not going to do much for you anymore. Regardless of whether the gold fish (whales) and shore gold fish (crabs, corals, etc.) are infinite, finite, or only the former is infinite, their introduction could give players another reason to compete water, especially in the late game. I think this is also the intention of whales with infinite coin in AoE3.

1 Like

I would like to see Naval Random be pickable for your Civ choice, giving you one of the many civs that have naval bonuses.

So I’ve been thinking about the various complaints I saw throughout this thread, and so I’ve decided to put my 2 cents in in the form of a full blown naval overhall to make it more compelling- and as such I have a rough draft proposal-

Naval overhaul

The idea behind this overhall is to counter several common complaints I have seen in regards to naval battles such as lack of variety, lack of late game incentives to contest water, and more interesting components to it.

A major component of this is a massive expansion of the naval techtree, giving more options to players on water than just mass galleys as well as separating the dock into multiple structures in order to make scouting your opponent’s choice of naval unit easier. Furthermore, this expansion allows civs more options to differentiate themselves at sea than Average, Good, and Unviable, by making their tech trees more like the land ones.


Whales: In deep water intended to stimulate oceans, Fishing ships can go to whales to harvest gold like a gold mine.

Other gold sources could be pearl beds and sunken ships.

Engineering Ship: Naval Builder Unit. Can build naval structures and repair buildings and units. Takes significant bonus damage from land units.

Water depths (far more optional)

In relatively shallow water (Light blue or traversable to land units) Small ships like canoes take slightly less damage and move faster, while the largest ships suffer a movement penalty and take slightly more damage. This only applies to military vessels

In Deep water large ships take slightly less damage and move slightly faster, while small ships suffer reduced movement and take more damage.

New Buildings:

Dock: Civilian Dock. Built on shores. Acts as a drop off point for resources from Fishing ships and trading cogs. Builds Fishing Ships, Trade Cogs, Transport Ships, Engineering Ships and Demo ships(?). Age 1.

Port: Main naval unit construction facility. Built on shores. Trains Galleys, Canoes, and battleships. Age 2.

Shipyard: Specialized naval unit construction facility. Built on shores. Trains Ramming Ships, Fire Ships, and Privateers. Age 2.

Naval Fortress: The Castle of the seas. Built on shores. Builds Siege Ships, Cannon Galleons, Privateers, and naval unique units, if any. Also where naval unique techs are researched. (all civs will have their own naval unique tech, but not all will have unique units) Age 3.

Sea Wall: Naval version of wall. Constructed by Engineering ships on any water tile. Takes significant bonus damage from land units.

Sea Gate: Naval version of gate. Constructed by Engineering ships on any water tile. Takes significant bonus damage from land units.

Sea Tower: Naval version of Tower. Affected by all the upgrades of its land based counterparts EXCEPT Heated Shot. Constructed by Engineering ships on any water tile. Takes significant bonus damage from land units.

Naval Trap: Undersea trap that deals 1 time damage to enemy similar to a demoship, but cannot move and is undetectable to most units (can be detected by fishing ships and Engineering ships.). Constructed by Engineering ships on any water tile.

Reworked base navy

Galley/War Galley/Galleon: The standard warship which all others are measured. Counters Siege ships, Fire Ships and deals bonus to Demo Ships but in turn countered by Canoes, Battleships, and Ramming Ships. Age 2.

Canoe/War Canoe/Heavy War Canoe: Used mostly by more tribal/”primitive” civs such as Meso American, African, and southeast Asian civs. Is cheaper and faster than galley, but also has a slightly shorter range, slightly slower dps and significantly more fragile. Is hard countered by both Ramming and Fire Ships as well as Battleships, but cost for cost counters galleys and Siege Ships as well as Demo ships by dealing significant bonus damage to them and taking reduced damage in return. Is a trash unit. Age 2.

Battleship/Elite Battleship: The knight of the seas, the battleship a powerful ship that is effective against most ships that do not directly counter it. Has decent speed, High HP, and fires multiple projectiles. Counters Galleys, Canoes and Ramming Ships, but is in turn countered by Seige Ships and Fire Ships. Age 3.

Demo Raft/Demo Ship/Heavy Demo ship: Has been reworked into a more hail mary type of unit, by making it significantly more fragile and expensive but also boosting movement speed, damage and area of effect. Can now deal damage to friendly units and structures. Can be upgraded with breaching charges to boost damage to structures.

Fire Galley/Fire Ship/Fast Fire Ship: Fast short ranged ship that attacks with fire. Counters Canoes, Battleships, and Ramming Ships, but is countered by siege ships and Galleys as well as taking significant bonus damage from Demo ships. Can be upgraded with Immolate, increasing damage to structures and Extended Nozzles, increasing range. Age 2.

Ramming Galley/Ramming Ship/Heavy Ramming Ship: Fast moving and durable melee ship that attacks by ramming. Counters Canoes, Galleys, and Siege Ships, but is easily dealt with by Fire Ships and Battleships. Can be upgraded with Boosted ram, giving them a charged attack. Age 2.

Privateer – Monk equivalent. Shorter ranged, but more durable. Cannot convert Canoes (too small) or land units. Age 3.

Siege Ship/Heavy Siege Ship: A long ranged ship used to counter enemy forces at great range. Decent at dealing with structures, but outclassed by the Cannon Galleon in said role the moment said unit becomes available in all regards. Counters Battleships, and fire ships, but is in turn countered by galleys, Ramming Ships and Canoes. Age 3.

Cannon Galleon/Elite Cannon Galleon: The premiere anti structure bombardment ship. Can be upgraded with explosive shells to deal area of effect damage. In theory counters Battleships, and fire ships, but is in turn countered by Galleys, Ramming Ships and Canoes. Requires chemistry and Cannon Galleon Researched in age 4.

Naval unique unit roles/rework:

Longboat- Stays as a Galley line expy that moves faster and fires multiple arrows.

Turtle Ship- Now a battleship clone that is more durable but shorter range and only fires a single cannon ball.

Caravel- Stays as a Galley line expy whose attacks strike through multiple units like a scorpion.

Thirisadai- Now a battleship clone.

New Naval unique units (may not be available to all civilizations)

Chinese - Dragon ship – better fire ship/ fire ship alternative

Celts – Birlinn – similar to longboat

Naval Unique Techs:

Moved Techs

Byzantines- Greek Fire – now causes fire ships to do AOE damage

Malay – ############# (may also affect port and shipyard)

Portuguese – Carrack

New tech ideas

Britons- Admiralty – Increases the HP of all naval units by 20

Aztecs – Xochimilco canals – Increases ship movement speed and canoe HP by 20.

Vikings – Funeral Ships – Demo ships gain 3/3 armor and do more damage to main target.

Japanese – Demo ships move faster and have a larger aoe.

Spanish – Explorers – Ships have a larger attack range and sight range