March 2021 Balance Suggestions

Hello AoE2ers,
here is a List of balance issues i would like to see adressed in future updates:

Steppe lancers:
Steppe lancers used to be extremely strong, but since the last time they got nerfed, they hardly see any use in high elo competetive games at all.
The reason for that i see in them not having any clear identity. As a late game raiding unit, players prefer light cav for costing no gold, as an unit to make an army of, players prefer knights for performing way more cost efficiently. For fighting cavalry, players prefer camels because of the bonus damage. For fighting monks, players prefer Light cav because of the conversion resistance.
The one thing that steppe lancers are better at, than other cavalry is sniping single important siege units, but even for that, most pros will just use other cavalry instead because they are more versatile and can be used for other applications afterwards and because they perform almost as good as steppe lancers at it anyway.
So my suggestion to make the steppe lancer more viable would be to buff them in the role of siege sniping unit without making them notably stronger in other applications, so that its worth it to produce steppe lancers specifically for that role.
This could be done by giving them an attack bonus vs siege units and increasing their movement speed to match that of light cav.
Additionally you could increase their base damage while nerfing their attack rate, so they get stronger at sniping other important units like vils or monks without making them stronger in battles.

The spearman line sees plenty of play in all ages of the game, the militia line is different:
Militia and Men at arms see plenty of use in dark/feudal age and Champions see plenty of play as well as a general-purpose-trash-unit-counter. Longswords and two handed swordsmen however see hardly any play at all in high elo competetive games outside goths.
Now this is curious considering berserks, samurai and shotel do at least see some play despite all performing less cost efficient than their respective civ’s longswords.
(japanese longswords beat samurai with equal resources, viking longswords beat berserks with equal resources, longswords beat shotel, woad raiders and karambit with equal resources)
Before Supplies longswords used to lose vs those units but since supplises longswords still havent become viable. The reason for that i see in Longswords being too expensive and slow to tech into. And supplies didnt help that aspect of them.
they need 9 techs: m@a-tech, longsword-tech, squires, supplies, arson, 4 blacksmith upgrades that cost a total of 1370food + 475 gold (so comparable to the cost of clicking up to imperial age) for getting a unit that is hardly stronger than knights at anything. (with supplies they beat knights with equal resources in small scale battles but still lose to them with equal resources in large scale battles)
Therefore my suggestion to making longswords (and two handed swordsmen) more viable would be making those techs cheaper and faster to research. Specifically arson and supplies as to not indirectly buff goths too much.

My suggestion would be
Arson: 150F50G->100F
Supplies: 150F100G->100F50G
Squires: 100F->75F
Chain Mail Armor: 200F100G->165F100G
but that is completely up for debate.

Now to me the Coustillier Unit seemed ridiculously OP because none of the units that supposedly counter it (cavalry archers, pikes?, monks?, camels?) perform cost effectively against it if you engage an equal cost army of coustillier only while their attack is charged up and disengage afterwards to recharge and heal them. And i thought they were broken if there isnt at least 1 unit that counters them significantly and not in the way that cavalry archers counter them where you are only able to take good trades agaisnt them with significant number advantage. However all the pros ive talked to about it said, burgundians werent op even accounting for their unique unit. many even said its a relatively weak civ because of their weak eco.
So i guess we’ll just have to watch how they develop and maybe they are balanced after all.

Sicillians seem pretty balanced to me all things considered.

Hand Cannoneers:
In my opinion, before the last gunpowder targeting(?) change, hand cannoneers used to be too weak compared to arbalesters. Since then i havent used them enough to tell for sure how balanced they are, but i would like to hear your opinions on them.


They have their niche uses: infantry, but their slow firerate with overdamage and low accuracy make them worse than massed arbalester even for that purpose.

I have thought in two possible techs that could help them, but i am not convinced about anyone.

  • Extra damage bonus to all siege? Remember that they are cannoneers
  • Area of effect?
  • Hitting projectiles piercing enemies?

I like your arsom buff proposal but I wpuld maintain the gold cost Not sure about the rest.


HC need higher projectile speed, they miss way too much due to the targets moving and cannot compensate for that with ballistics like other ranged units.


I think Steppe Lancers should cost more food and less gold 75/80F 25/30G. They would be an intermediate unit between scouts and knights with their gold price and stats reflecting that. Right now it’s too gold intensive for what you get.

Or just scrap it as a shared unit and use it as a new UU with better stats.

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Swordsmen will never see high level play because that would be a very bad idea.
You can not micro them like archers (because they are slow and do melee attack) and you can’t macro them like knights (you can’t quickly send them to another part of the map).
On the other hand: if they would be so strong that this wouldn’t matter then their would be no skill involved using them…

However, in non-pro games they are actually not that bad. People only don’t use them because the Pros don’t use them…

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i get a raging ■■■■■ when some random actually posts decent proposals, usually a random posts stuff like trying to make SL better than cavaliers

i support all of these, except the armour tweak, it affects too many units that are already good. squires and arson already helps UU and pikes which we see ample of, imo no need to further tweak the armour.

i think people didnt realise how bad cousties were on cool down, and of course the double damage bug wasnt making anything easier either, with the bug removed, they might have been balanced, atm they need too big of a mass to be effective in 1v1 generally speaking. ie do enough damage run away and cool down, before the lack of pressure starts to show

mmmm yeah they arent great, they are too weak until 1st crusade kicks in, and they have too many counter civs and too many holes late game.

i dont know if its a placebo effect but they do seem more effective (especially conqs) but still not remotely good enough.

i like this as well, aoe might be too oppressive when heavily massed on something like india, and the pierce projectiles might work but might be too much potential for bugs whenever anything changes like that?

i like either of these,but keep it small, it also doesnt make mongols overly oppressive since they would likely still rely on the better mangudai to murder siege

but i think cost tweaking is the easiest to do (ie lower the gold cost)

you cant micro rams either, but i think the main issue with decreasing the tech is for tech switches and counter builds. archers and kts will “always” rain supreme, but at least with minor discounts to their relevant techs it wont be so punishing to create militia as a counter or support unit

i think the biggest change will be vs meso civs. as it will be easier to get the counter to the mesos “cav”, and weirdly it ultimately changes the trash game… since if its easier to get LS, it means you can counter the pikes that counter your kts… (meaning you dont have to rely on ranged units) as it stands militia are so expensive to tech into nevermind train, in order to counter pikes in castle age

If militia is made even slightly more viable, civs like bulgaria, or teutons could maybe potentially go LS + cav (theoretically) to counter a pike + siege in castle age, maybe even for malians potentially v ranged civs… or playing vs aztecs and they do sneaky switch from archers or xbow into eagles, it wouldnt be as punishing to switch into militia to counter them

what im trying to get at, is even if militia never become a meta unit, it doesnt mean there isnt room for tweaking

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For sure they are too expensive for now. They can receive a little nerf in attack / attack rate but they need to cost a lot less, for example 65food10gold or a little bit more. The criteria is that they should trade almost cost-effectively against FU hussars with late game gold situation, aka 14 or 17 gold equivalent to 100 food.

They already do

One would expect bullets be harder to dodge than arrows. Their worse accuracy should be what’s making them miss. This is not the case.


The whole reason hussars are good is because they’re cheap and good vs monks. Steppe Lancers are neither of these things. They straddle an awkward middle ground where they’re not as good as either where either knights or scouts are strong.

I don’t really see a good way to make them strong. There is no niche to fill.

there is more to it then this, Monks rarely see much use in the Imperial age and yet hussar is a very common unit during that time.

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In fact, they are only worth making against infantry with a very high pierce armour (so mainly Huskarls). Otherwise you are better off with Arbs. And some civs with access to HC just have better units to deal with Infantry (Organ Guns, Conqs, TK)

i would personally suggest to give them eco upgrade costing 25-50% less food so it make their one age eco earlier more viable

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Mostly because they’re cheap. You make them early because they’re cheap(so it’s easier to get into them) and because they’re good vs monks. You make them later because they’re cheap(so you can sacrifice them to kill stuff like siege without costing yourself for the rest of the game). At no point are they particularly effective at combat, but they don’t need to be, because they’re so cheap.

Steppe Lancers are basically scouts that have slightly(11%) more attack but cost 45% more, while being slower and easier to convert. Why would you EVER want to build that?