So, this is something that has been hovering around in my head for a while, and I’d like to know what you think. But first some disclameirs:
- This is not something I think must be done. I’m not 100% convinced it would be good either. I just wanna express my ideas and see what are your opinions.
- I acknowdlege Khmer are in a really good spot in terms of design and balance, Burmese, not so much.
- Every change I mention here does not exist in a void. If you think something else should be changed to make these ideas plausible feel free to say it.
Now, to the topic.
I know that historical accuracy is not (and should not be) a prority when designing a civilization. However, I think most of us agree that a well designed civilization is built with some of their most know historical traits being somehow represented on the gameplay experience.
In this regards something that I feel like a dissapointment in terms of representation is the way Burmese and (specially) Khmer gameplay are oriented. Despite no direct bonus towards them, these civs tend to build their armies around knights. And it’s totally fne from a pure gameplay perspective, but you’ll see, I am a big fan of the concept of the game broadly representing different cultures from around the world, something only a handful of games do on pair with engaging gameplay.
And when I think about the empires and armies of Southeast Asia, this is what comes to mind:
This the fantasy the gameplay of these civs should evoke, and what the design of the RotR civs was oriented to when they released. Not this:
Currently the only ones to achieve this design direction are the Malay, being played mainly as an archer civ buth with the possibility of going for battle elephants supported by infantry and archers.
This is because their knights are utterly trash and, while their elephants are not top tier units precisely, they don’t have knights competing against them.
And that’s one of the issue with battle elephants. There are veeery few situations where you would choose BE instead of (decent) knights.
So, that was the “flaw”, if you want to call it that way, or rather, the aspect where I see room for improvement.
Now, my idea is, first:
- A general buff to battle elephants. This has been already discussed in other threads, with changes including faster mov speed, cheaper cost and/or less damage recieved from halbs.
And then, in order to adress the unit directly competing against elephants for a place in the army, and as drastic as it sound, either:
Remove the cavalier upgrade for Khmer and Burmese
Remove the knight line altogether for those civs
This means that heavy cavalry is not there to directly compete against the elephants, making effectively the option of these civs for an all purpose cavalry units.
“What? You would destroy those civs. You’re making their gameplay less diverse and taking away their only viable option!” You may think.
I know it sounds like a lot for such a non issue, but let’s think about it.
Currently, those units virtually don’t exist for those civs. You never see BE in semi-competitive situtations and above. By making elephants good at the cost of knights it’s practically replacing a unit line for another one.
Burmese are already going through identity and balance issues. Devs have tried hard to keep their distinctive aspect of having bad skirmishers by trying to make their battle elephants thougher. But the elephants’ issues are too many to be solved by just giving them more piece armor. A general buff to this unit, along with other changes, could be part of a solution for the burmese.
Now Khmers do not need any of this, I know, it’s true. But I believe that with proper buffs to the battle elephants they would not suffer losing acces to cavaliers (or even knights) as much as it may seem, and it would give them a very disctinct immersion other than being a knight civ.
And besides everything I said, and far less important, it’s geographcal and historically accurate. The jungles of Southeast Asia were not a good place for breeding horses and developing equestrian traditions. I couldn’t find any reference to heavy cavalry being use for those civs, despite an extensive search. Khmers didn’t have their own heavy cavalry at all ! They imported some horses from China.
I genuinely believe the benefits of these changes are worth the troubles we may go through in order to implement them effectively.
That was it.
As I said, this is not something I demand to be done, or anything like that. I just wanted to share it and hear you thoughts. Thanks for reading.