[LONG] AoK civs theoretical modernization and improvements

To preface, I am well aware that FE has no intentions of changing any of the AoK civs in a major way, due to a certain belief that they are iconic and shouldn’t be tinkered with. Now, despite that…

For what it’s worth, the new civs all get pretty much 2 UUs and a lot of unique mechanics around them.

The older civs do deserve some love in that aspect, regardless of whether everyone on the forum agrees with the idea that the old civs (designed in 1999, for worse hardware, with less finances) could get various changes to make them more “modern” when it comes to conceptualization and game diversity/balance/completeness.

The AoK civs are as follows: Britons, Byzantines, Celts, Chinese, Franks, Goths, Japanese, Mongols, Persians, Saracens, Teutons, Turks and Vikings.

I will briefly outline what additions in terms of UUs/UBs could potentially make sense for (some of) those civs, in my opinion. Feel free to share your own take.

Britons: not sure

Byzantines: for such a defensive civilization, an Unique Building could make a lot of sense, in particular one that heals nearby units. Maybe an unique building that is a monastery, but also heals nearby units in a 5-10 tile radius. They could benefit from other defensive oriented bonuses too, such as outposts having 5 garrison space, but that is out of the scope of the current post. Or one could explore the Byzantine military historically and derive some ideas from there.

Celts: they could use a light cavalry sort of unit, as currently outside of their siege, it does seem like they have no way to deal with ranged compositions at all. Maybe one with higher pierce armor, maybe a total replacement for the scout line for them (and for the Britons?) that has a scaling/higher pierce armor. Afaik they did have some sort of light horsemen history-wise, but as Spirit of the Law noted in his recent video, Celts in AoE2 are a bit of a mish mash and it’s hard to pinpoint the exact historical period and concept they are based on.

Chinese: it could either be an Unique Unit, or an Unique Building, if it was a unit I would place my bets on a heavy infantry sort of mix between spearman and militia line, think Flemish Militia crossed with Serjants. If it was a building, I’d go with something that trickles resources over time based on certain conditions (like your villager count, or military count). Alternatively, it could be an unique siege weapon- the current scorps with +4 damage and no Siege Engineers are bad. But a cheap early sort of gunpowder unit, 9-10 range, mix between mangonel and bombard cannon, I could see. AoE3 flying crows anyone?

Franks: considering how bad they are in trash wars, I do believe there is place for improvement in their post imp, that doesn’t focus on their cavalry, but I would have to dive deeper into what historically accurate options there are. I can see a highly mobile light artillery unit being useful to the civs, though don’t quite me on history.

Goths: not sure yet

Japanese: I did see something about Samurai getting their intended ranged attack, but they would need more than that. They have enough in terms of infrastructure, I do believe their military is lacking though. Some expensive cavalry unit with a “special” aura-like ability like the Daimyo could be an option, but then again, they would need a build limit, maybe 1 per castle that you currently have? That does seem like a plausible enough solution.

Mongols: their siege is good, their cavalry is good, but their infrastructure leaves much to be desired, which, all things considered, is fair, for a civ coming from the steppe. I do believe they could make use of an economic-oriented unique building though, maybe… that spawns deer over time? Or is that too ridiculous and impossible?

Persians: I do believe that they could (hear me out, I will be reasonable) have an AoE4-style cavalry archer that can shoot while moving. They currently lack any backline damage-dealing units, their CA are bad, simply because they lack Bracer, but aside of that have full upgrades, and are historically significant (Parthian Tactics was in fact the “art” of shooting while retreating on horseback, employed by the Sassanids). Considering they would have just 6 range in imperial, and need a mass, I think an unique replacement for the CA-HCA line that can shoot while moving could make a lot of sense. Alternatively, it could be some other CA unit with a special ability.

Saracens: Historical accuracy aside, Genitours replacing the whole skirmisher line for Spanish, Portuguese, Berbers and Saracens, could make a lot of sense. Genitour in Feudal, Jinete in Castle, Elite Jinete in Imperial, where the Elite Jinete has 5 range, plus the stats of Elite Genitours now.
And the civs getting certain buffs for them- Saracens getting FU + Zealotry benefitting them, Berbers getting a discount on them (turning the stable units discount into “mounted units” discount, Camel Archer price adjusted accordingly). I don’t think that Saracens need anything else, but their big weakness to archer civs should be noted, as despite having FU skirms, their eco isn’t at all good enough to compete. In addition, all of those civs have good HC, champs, and other anti-infantry units to handle halb spam with.

Teutons: What was the thing that a lot of people wanted again? Crusader knight? Like a weaker boyar made from the stable? A clear weakness Teutons currently have is their focus on close to mid range combat and lack of speed, maybe a unique siege unit, or a monk, could also be implemented, though I’d rather have something thematic that looks cool. The “weaker boyar” could have some special stats too, like taking less bonus damage from anti cavalry attacks. And still, Teutons are notoriously weak against archers, Boyars won’t help with that.

Turks: Unique Bombard cannons anyone? Dardanelles artillery? It’s not like they need much aside of that, though I could see an argument regarding their lack of options to deal with archers. I’d even consider giving them a lighter anti-archer unit in the castle age, something like the abus gun in aoe3. 7 range, deals a bit of splash damage with every shot, gunpowder unit similar to the janissary, but made from the siege workshop, with food and gold. 7 range in imp, but affected by the UT for +2.

Vikings: The whole civ feels like it lacks identity, for balance I’d give them better scorpions, but I’m not sure what exactly the civ needs in terms of completeness. I do believe they could use some infrastructure changes, such as having longhouses instead of houses, that support more population (and have extra functions? Heal the units around them? Allow villagers to be garrisoned? Provide some other utility?)


Quite a lot of them don’t need to be made more “modern” as they are still the best/quite good in their own domain: Britons/Byz/Celts/Chinese/Franks/Mongols/Teutons/Turks all fall in this category in one way or another, and certainly don’t need a “bye bye weaknesses” change.

For the rest:
Persians need to have more than 2 civ bonuses, not the best hit and run unit in the game (if kipchaks can’t have 0 frame delay Persian CA sure as hell can’t have something 1 million times better)

Goths: I don’t think anyone knows what to do with it

Japanese: the samurai idea is fair, the rest is a big no. No civ is “modern” enough to require build limits yet 11

Vikings: I suppose there is room for other stuff, but not longhouses because of Incas and Khmer. Also pls no aura stuff on a 25 wood building that can be spammed forever. also this is the only AoK civ with two UU

Saracens: I would include them in the “fine” category because their market play is something really special but i’m really curious what your definition of “weak to archers” is because it feels like 95% of the game when you write.


I don’t take balance into consideration, a civ might be the best at something, that might not mean it’s complete or diverse. Example, Britons, they are unique and perhaps the best at making archers all the way to imp, though that in no way means they feel interesting as a civilization. In fact, they are quite boring to play. Same goes for Celts, Franks.

They have no relevant eco bonus for making skirmishers, they get no cavalier, and their UU doesn’t counter archers either. Until imp, when they get above average siege, they are functionally on the same level as Japanese when it comes to dealing with archers, resulting in their subpar performance on the ladder due to the dominance of the low eco fast aging archer/xbow/arb spam approach.

Well for Celts and Britons and Japanese I have a simpler solution: making keeps more relevant (for instance by making them not as expensive to upgrade as BBT) since all these 3 are supposed to have good towers. Ditto for heavy scorpions (recent buff isn’t enough) especially since many civs have it but it’s not relevant. Doing that would also do what you want without giving high pierce armour cav to civs with bad cav, or good post imp to civs with bad post imp, etc, since bonused keeps/scorpions (or just having them FU) is supposed to matter in civ design.

And really, many simpler things have been done to “glow up” AoK civs: the Franks got their buffs in the HD era, Teutons and Turks with their new armour bonuses, even Persians with kamandaran have had some of the work done, etc…

But they are THE low eco archer spam civ…


In my opinion, the original AoK Civs are – for the most part – the most well designed ones in the game, at least considering the original principles of the Age series: civ boni, holes in the techtree, and – since AoE2 – a single UU are the features that define a Civ.
I would advise against drastic changes here, especially if they are made not for balance reasons, but rather for the sake of so called “modernization”.


Yeah i dont agree with modernizing civs just because.
First of all franks already basicslly got overhauled.

Some of the others are already very strong or st least balanced and well designed.

Just because a civ is old doesnt mean it needs shine.

Maybe celts and goths could be looked at

I agree with @CactusSteak2171 about towers

Frankly though a lot of these civs need no buffs.
(Franks, chinese, britons, and vikings for sure dont; and turks, teutons, mongols, Japanese and persians should be small targeted buffs, if any at all).


As a conclusion, I don’t think it’s a good thing to change for the sake of change.

IF the Britons were a new civ, perhaps they would not have common Crossbowmens and Arbalesters, but uniquely allow Archers to upgrade to Longbowmen and later Elite Longbowmen. On the other hand, the UU at castle might be Billman, a Spearman-like unit perhaps with a special ability. Their Longbow stats might be different from the current ones, and there might also be no Halberdiers.

Time cannot be repeated, and the current Britons are not such a bad design. Perhaps the most meaningful change for them is to reduce the bonus range of common Archer line to help differentiate it from the Longbow.

The Byzantines already have monks who are better at healing.

A more commonly seen suggestion is for Greek Fire to allow players and allies to build Fire Towers. Whether you need to adjust the data of the fire tower, or make it wait until the Emperor Age to be able to build, etc., it is a worthwhile attempt.

They have Hussars. At most, exchange Bloodlines or/and Plate Barding Armor with Paladins.
Do we really need this?

Fire Lance? AoE3 Grenadier-like unit.
Let’s look forward to future DLC about China.

The cooperation between Paladins and the Throwing Axemen has already made the Franks seem to have 2 UUs.

First think about how to make them more strategically flexible and unpredictable to help them stop being unpopular.

Enough. Samurai that can shoot arrows is fresh enough.
That should probably be a special effect that requires researching Imperial UT to unlock, then it could replace the 100% fictional and infrequently used Kataparuto with a new UT named after a term more in line with Japanese culture, such as “Bushido”.

This thing is either insane because of the hunting bonus, or it’s designed to be useless to avoid being insane. As one of the most popular civs in the game, they will be very unlikely to accept change.

The only thing to look forward to is a potential update to Nomads’ effect, possibly including to make the TC able to take an amount of time (such like 1 min) to convert into a packed TC wagon.

It is predictable that this thing will not be popular with AoE2 players. No one would want to be their opponent. And it doesn’t even belong to the Mongols or the Cumans.

Give Elite War Elephants +30% speed, then you can have a new UT to design some new effects to help other units. That’s it.

To be honest, I’ve seen and liked the proposal to change the Genitour line to Spanish, Portuguese and Berber (and sometimes Turk) regional units, but I don’t understand what that means for Saracens. Their market bonus is a huge economic bonus that needs to be learned, and there are even some who say that this bonus makes the Saracen Fast Crossbow too strong.

A strong economy can afford Skirmishers. Since the Teutons’ infantry and cavalry received melee armor bonus, they seem to have been less frequently complained about. This seems to have improved them drastically. I guess many people will think that this civilization, which had been constantly adjusted along the way, no longer needs any major updates.

Giving their Paladins a chance to appear in the skin of Crusader Knights might satisfy players’ little wish for them.

Is the Imperial UT not enough to represent their artillery?
If they also had a unique upgrade that made the BBC become Grand BBC, how would that be balanced?

About anti archer, that’s why some people think that once Genitour becomes a regional unit, it should include the Turks.

I don’t like that they have stronger siege weapons.

Btw, I’ve heard a rumor that Longships were originally intended to be designed to able to train Berserks. I think you can think about it this way, since it seems to be popular recently to check early abandonment cases.

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I hear this talking point a lot, but have the devs ever released any kind of statement to that effect? There’s obviously some credibility to what you’re saying, but some OG civs like Teutons, Franks, Saracens have had a large number of changes, so I think some additions aren’t necessarily off the table.

Best overall siege in the game, so I wouldn’t write that off so easily as a counter to ranged comps, and passable cavalry. A lot of Imp infantry UUs could use a buff, maybe +1 pierce for (Elite) Woadies.

I wouldn’t buff Franks, Chinese, or Mongols at all, probably not Vikings or Teutons either, and Turks is iffy. I like the idea of Samurai having a ranged attack option (made a thread about it).

Some of the ideas I definitely think are cool, like the Teuton Crusader knights or Viking longhouses, but for balance and gameplay reasons I don’t think these things need to be in the game proper; having them available in the editor is sufficient.

Yesssss. Keep and arrowslits should probably both be a little cheaper, and overall I would like to see both Keeps and BBTs become slightly more viable vs. land units.

It’s true. I think “updating” for the sake of updating is one of the weaker arguments except to address power creep and civ weakness, but original design ideas that were scrapped due to time and/or implementation constraints may be worth a second look. Longboats functioning as a mobile barracks is too much, but they should at least be able to transport 5-10 units (also an original design idea).

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I dont think that old civs needs changes, at least most of them.

I think the problem is that they are loosing their identities.
The huskarl is being replaced with the Hundistani UU, the teutonic knight lose against the dravidians UU, the light cav is slower that the shrivamsha and the hand cannoners from the hindustanis with more range than a arbalest.

Respect the good historical units that already exist

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Theres no problem with cavalry faster than hussars or HCs with more range than generic arbs though. It is true that the Ghulam is just a more interesting Huskarl and its lame to have a civ with no melee damage units, but having a unit that ignores armour beat the TK should be expected too

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Give the Persians the Sogdian Cataphract, the Japanese the Ninjas, the Byzantines the Legionaries. These units already exist in game albeit in the scenario editor. Honestly the nomadic civilizations should get the packed town center.

in one sentence you are undoing 20 years of balancing. these civs are all in a decent place balance wise. why break that

The Sogdian Cataphract can just be a skin for the Paladin and the Legionaries can be Champion skin.

Why do that? Why throw away potential for a uniquely Sogdian civ?! We’re not near done with potential civs so rethink this!!

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I think the Legionaries would be impossible to be the UU or skin of Byz.
Since update 42848, Legionaries appear in the Battle Royale game mode, acting as Guardians of buildings. Higher numbers of Guardians appear near Castles.

Ninja has the potential to be the second UU at castle of Japanese, offering some niche, less mainstream gameplay.

The Sogdians are more worthy of becoming a new civilization. On the other hand, the Sogdian Cataphract was Savar before, and I don’t understand the meaning of the name change.

For the Byzantines, I rather see the Varangian Guard and for the Japanese an arquebusier based on the Oda clan to represent the revolution that it had on the fights of the Sengoku era.
For the Franks, I will have seen the Gendarme (cavalery unit).

Actually Ghulams would make a lot of sense for Turks second UU which could be used as a team bonus unit like Berbers Genitour. Ironically, Hindustanis definitely don’t need Ghulams as they can counter everything. I would easily preferred elephant gunners or elephant cannon as UU for them.

They will never be, due to the stone cost associated, and how easy they are to ignore.

Ok boomer.

They don’t have to be buffs, but if the civs had other options besides their current borderline OP strengths in certain aspects (Mangudai, Franks scouts into knights, Britons “just make more archers bro”), they could be toned down in the respective situations, keeping the game fresh, and giving other civs the space and breathing room to shine (instead of seeing Briton/Mayan flank and Hun/Frank pocket every game). I know it’s hard to imagine Franks making a unit that isn’t from the stable at any stage of the game, but with enough desire and commitment, I think it’s possible.

I fail to see how having extra deer is more asinine than packing town centers.

Time and statistics have proven that it isn’t “huge” by any means, and all it can do is open some opportunities for cheesy all-ins.

It wouldn’t. Hence I’d rather explore the concept of light artillery instead.

It was once revealed to me in a dream.

Yes, because you can’t have 50 civs in a game where the only bonuses are “15% cheaper thing” and “15% faster thing” and expect it to not have enough overlaps to make civs feel the same. Hence, in my eyes, it is almost required to go back to the drawing board to the old civs that were designed in a different era and make them more diverse and polished, considering they were conceptualized for what at this point seems like a completely different metagame.

Ridiculous claim, when all 3 of those have been in the bottom 30% of winrates overall for the past 20 years. And adding things to a civ doesn’t mean it has to get better necessarily- if the other aspects of its strengths get toned down.

If there is to be unique skins for units those should be new not reused ingame once.

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While there’s no need to make changes too every old civ just because they’re old, some matters could be attended.
The most important ones are imo the overlapping roles of britons’ regular crossbow line and longbows, goth balance and predictability issue and the persians lack of bonuses that makes them feel kind of generic.

Throwing in a second unique unit or a unique building without careful thinking is a cheap solution that most probably would bring along new issues.

Some other things I’d like to comment on:

This idea work for rathas because in mele mode they can chase their objectives and close the distances. Samurai couldn’t do it so easily. There would be no reason for making them go melee except for snipping siege. They would practically become a ranged unit.

Please people, Teutons are not a crusader civ. They were not more crusaders than the franks, english or sicilians. Teutons are just the germans. Why would them specifically get the crusader knight? It only makes the meme aspect worse. The teutonic knight is enough nod to the baltic crusades.