Making AoE great again

Two critical failures: 1.) feudal age fire ships are game breaking and one of the worst balance decisions I’ve seen in any Age title; and 2.) mirror civilization choice is boring an uninspired. Civ choice should matter in AoE— why even have 30+ civilizations if were all just going to play with the same units and builds and bonuses?

It’s not that I don’t understand the logic behind either of these design decision, it’s that I believe the game loses much more than it gains from either of these issues.


Why are feudal age fire galleys game breaking and unbalanced? Why are castle age fire ships not game breaking and unbalanced? Or feudal age galleys or demo rafts? You need to expand on your claim here.

Some civilisations have such a large advantage on certain maps they are regularly picked, for example Mongols on Scandinavia. Playing with any other civ puts you at a disadvantage so players either pick Mongols or mirror (in case your opponent picks). It would be nice if you could see if your opponent has chosen random or hidden pick so we would see more random civ selections. Removing Mirror pick here wouldn’t help as both players would just pick the same civ anyway.

  1. why not just make your own fire ships then? literally every single civ in the game has access to them, only exception being vikings, which make up for it by having cheaper ships, so they can make demolition rafts (the actual counter of fire ships) that are cheaper than their opponent’s fire ships.
  2. what the guy above said

IIRC these were castle age restricted in AoC. They should have been left there— in my estimation. The hard counter, demo ship, is not all that good. The best it can do is blow itself up, after all.

The demo ship can attack with area of effect damage and it works on shallows where troops might be too. Have them around, sail in with some other ships and detonate. It’s a great deterrent to ships and troops when they mass.


Pretty much it, also it’s great to use it while having other kind of ships of ur own. Having demos and galleys means you can quickly get rid of the bigger mass of fire ships, and then the few leftovers (if any) would be rly softened up, so the galleys would make quick work of them. Also if you have the space and micro for it you can “hit and run” fire ships using galleys, getting a lot of free damage done of them while barely taking any, having demos on top of that just makes life even easier.
Also unless you’re playing specificly with vikings you can just simply make your own fire ships, there’s no way it can be considered unbalanced when both players have access to the exact same unit (or to its counter in the case of vikings)

Fire ships aren’t broken at all in DE. They’re only an introduction currently. The hybrid maps have shown that. Once a player can get galleys masses and fletching they take out fires in every game that I’ve seen or played.

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the game hasn’t been aoc for a long time now.

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I think fire ships in feudal age are good. They complete the triangle between galleys and demolition ships. Win versus galleys, loose cost effectively vs demlotion ships (here’s your counter if you havn’t known).
They can’t raid at land and also only galley battles in feudal are boring. This makes unit choices more interesting.
It’s free for everyone to keep it off. But as a good player competing versus someone else you probably have the fairest game like this. You need to notice that some civs just dominate other civs because they dont have any counters against something specific.
Populism like this doesn’t help the game. Arguments and discussion do. But good that you have your personal oppinion and share it.


Let me try it from a different angle because the issue for me is glaringly obvious and I fail to see how anyone can knuckle under, unless they’ve e never known anything else.

Fire ships were designed to overmatch war galleys, supposing a more or less competitive game that’s gone into castle age, and to rout galleys entirely. Now, they may be scaled down in feudal for all I know, but that’s not the point. It’s a bad change, on the level of moving archers to Dark Age.

  • Fire ships are for water battles in small amounts
  • Galleys are good against demo ships and good in greater amounts, if you put them as support behind other ships or if you can micro good. Also they have potential to put pressure on land. E.g. fire ships can be countered easily with towers and don’t get a doc down. Also they have more vision to get location of opponents fishing faster.
  • Demo ships counter fire ships and are good if you want to catch up at water battles and are far behind

In feudal age it shall not be only about amounts anymore, it’s also about unit choices. Only one water unit all the game would be borring. There are also still competitive maps where galleys fit a certain purpose. They are not replaced totally, there just is an addition. I don’t see how they are game breaking. Also all civs have access to them so seems balanced to me.

If you are really into that topic I suggest


The change fundamentally alters feudal naval engagements and strategy by introducing a unit whose design, function, and concept all proceed from its birthright-> as an advanced dock unit.

AoE is not a paper, rock, scissors kind of game. Furthermore, even if you are to argue it should be, demo ships are a waste if you make even 1 more than needed to achieve your strategic objectives.

I realize we’re all wearing out our respective buttons for Kipchaks and Steppe Lancers atm but we really should spare a thought for this.

What? Age of Empires is absolutely a rock paper scissors game. Examples of this are everywhere.

  • In Castle Age we have the water triangle in AoC (before any water changes which you oppose).
  • On land we have the triangle of trash units, skirmishers -> spearmen -> scout cavalry -> skirmishers
  • Crossbow in large numbers -> knights -> mangonels -> crossbow
  • Monks -> knights -> crossbow in small numbers -> monks

There are more examples but I don’t need to go on.

Your argument against demolition ships also holds true in castle age, so why specifically was it a bad change for fire galleys to be introduced? Unless you are also arguing castle age ships should also be changed?

It has always held true that a large number of war galleys beats fire ships, but in lower numbers or tech advantage (fire ship vs feudal galley, or fast fire ship vs war galley) fire ships win. So for a competitive game where both players reach castle age at similar times has no use for fire ships when both players still have a large navy. The player who keeps producing galleys wins.


Yes it changes feudal naval engagements, that’s the point and why demo ships where also added.
Those engagements used to be about who can produce the most galleys.
Nothing else, it was boring.
Now we have dynamic combat with real tactical and strategic choices.
Age of Empires is all about units that counter each other in different ways.
Rock-paper-scissors is a bit simple, but it’s a lot better than just 1 unit.

Agree with point 2.

I pick mirror because I can’t see the pick of my rival.

Agree 100%

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I miss the 2k+ galley micro from back in the day, did you watch that?

Vikings lack Fire Ship



Vikings just need Feudal Fire Ship to make their Feudal Water game ok. Right now they are more of a land civ. Only window is Castle Age Longboat. Other Feudal option like Galleys isn’t bad. But they are hard to mass now.
If you ignore Vikings water civs are actually fairly balanced.

gotta love how every argument against fire ship completely ignore the fact that demo ships exist