Monk balance change ideas

Some ideas I had regarding making monks still relevant but not as powerful as they are now by default.
Let me know which of these or what combination of these could be good.

  1. Base conversion range of 7 and faith regain time of +40 seconds. New upgrades each costing 200 gold that are predecessor to block printing and illumination in castle age that are needed to upgrade them to current values.

  2. Monk costing 130 gold by default and an upgrade similar to supplies that costs 300 gold to reduce their cost to 100.

  3. Monk’s default conversion probability per interval being lower and slowly increasing with conversion experience. Conversion experience getting reset when monks are converted by enemy monks. Right now I believe they have a 28% probability per conversion interval. How about if they start at 16% and gain 3% after each successful conversion and get capped at 28%

  4. Default minimum and maximum conversion times up by 1 second and conversion probability per interval being 14% instead of current 28%. An upgrade that costs 300 food 300 gold which makes them convert as fast as they do now.

  5. Non-uniform increasing probabilities per conversion interval. A uniform 28% probability per conversion interval implies a 28% chance of conversion by 4 seconds, 49% by 5, 64% by 6, 74% by 7. So the probabilities of getting a conversion in 4-7 seconds is much higher than 8-10 seconds. Suppose if the probabilies are made like 10% for the 4th second, 15% for the 5th and so on, we would have 10% chance of conversion by 4 seconds, 24% by 5, 39% by 6, 54% by 7. So the distribution and median conversion time will be centered around 7 instead of 5 seconds.

  6. Monk’s ability to switch conversion from one type of unit to another (like light cav to elephant), building to unit, locked behind a technology.

  7. Monks having default of 25 hp, Sanctity increasing it to 35 hp (40%) and another upgrade in imperial age that increases it to 45.

  8. Monks having a default speed of 0.6 instead of 0.7, Fervor continues to give 15% in castle age, and another 15% in imperial. Slavs get a flat 30% for free (will still slower than current speed of 0.84)

Obviously only one of 3, 4 or 5 would make sense. Combining more than 2 of these could be an overnerf. But what other combination would be ideal? The idea is just to make the default 1st monk less worthy and force more resource investment before they become as valuable as they are now.

Something like this will also help with the balance. Certain strong civs can lose 1 or more of these newer techs, weaker civs could get 1 of those for free, will also make Burmese naturally stronger.


Too many decimal numbers; I didn’t understand any of it.

If Monks are OP now, then just put their gold cost to 120 g, close to what priests cost in AOE 1.


That’s one of my suggestions, a cost increase. But I think that alone will have minimum impact.

Monks could probably do with a very mild nerf, but some of these seem excessive. Like #1 and #2 are overly punitive, and #6 is just silly (but I get that this is just brainstorming). Mild reductions in conversion probabilities, HP, or movement speed seem reasonable enough though, or a slightly increased cost (I’d say 115 g). We could also look at just tuning down some of the stronger civ bonuses that relate to monks, since I don’t know that the average monk is OP.

I am wary of nerfing monks more than very slightly though. Whether they’re excellent or mediocre largely depends on who’s handling them, and I don’t want to overly punish good players for taking advantage of units with high micro potential. With a few exceptions, counterplay is reasonably viable, and the high effectiveness of monks is important to keep knights and powerful UUs (e.g. Conqs) in check. I also think it would be interesting if there was more variation on conversion resistance between different unit lines. This might allow for a little fine tuning without touching the base stats or mechanics of monks themselves.

It might help to state what the problems are and what your goal is - what kind of impact you want the changes to have. Just saying that monks are “too strong” isn’t very helpful as it doesn’t examine the situations in which they’re overbearing or point to any particular type of solution.

Thanks. That was some valuable feedback. My goal is to

  1. Make the conversions normalized around the mean conversion interval. This will reduce the chances of fast conversions which don’t even let you to run your cavalry units away. A 50% chance of conversion within first 2 working conversion intervals along with 9 range makes it extremely difficult. Most units don’t have that much line of sight.

  2. Make the first fully unupgraded monk less worthy. Except for gunpowder unique units, every other unit type need at least a few upgrades before they’re practically useful. Crossbows need blacksmith attack upgrades, cavalry need bloodlines, armor. While just base monks can add a lot of value. Maybe it can continue being as valuable after a couple of extra upgrades.

  3. Prevent or at the very least delay the ability to charge up on building or cheap unit and switch to get an expensive unit converted instantly. Like charging on a scout and instantly getting an elephant.

The reason behind #1 and #2 was to give the ability to use them the way they are currently used in the mid castle age while making all-in monk rushes referred to as clown strategies less rewarding. This can also be achieved by reducing gold gathering rate and increasing LOS of units but that can affect unintended consequences while these are more direct.

Your point about unit line specific conversion probabilities is quite good as well. Its much better for balance imo.

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I don’t think monks are particularly OP in most of the game right now. They have one OP window, which is basically the early castle age, where you can produce and micro an equal number of monks as any other unit. That very quickly fades as the game goes on, and by the time you’re even in late castle age, they cease being a major issue for 99% of players.

To me, the obvious answer is slightly delaying how quickly you can get them out right away, perhaps via an increase in monastery cost, or by changing them from only taking wood. That would diminish their early overpowered state without majorly impacting their later-game stats.

If tournaments get too bad, you could implement some sort of additional bonus that primarily impacts high-level play; something like Atonement reducing re-conversion times. But that would likely only effect a very small number of players, so it should be very, very carefully and specifically targeted towards only the top 1% of players.

Monks are definitely OP. They are not just OP in the early castle age. They’re used fully in closed maps, limited mobility maps and even to a considerable extent in moderately open maps. You can use them till mid imperial age to convert canons, onagers, any other expensive units. Monks are single handedly the reason why none of the elephant units are feasible. Its definitely not balanced right now.

I think #2, #5, #6 are more specifically for the top few % players.

I think I asked this one in another thread. But +40 seconds is way too big nerf. I’ll say +13 seconds. And make Illumination available in Castle Age for almost if not all civs.

Monk faith regeneration CD increased 62 seconds → 75 seconds.
Illumination available in Castle Age, cost is increased 120 gold → 150 gold, research time is reduced 65 seconds → 50 seconds.
Illumination reduces monk faith regeneration CD 75 seconds → 60 seconds.
New monastery technology “Nirvana” is introduced, available in Imperial Age after Illumination is researched.
Nirvana costs 250 gold, 65 seconds.
Nirvana reduces monk faith regeneration CD 60 seconds → 33 seconds.

Other than these, I also think conversion time should be more consistent. I’ll also propose the followings :


Reduce conversion time randomness for generic units 4-10 seconds → 5-9 seconds.
Conversion time randomness for scout line and eagle line unchanged. (8-10 seconds)
Reduce Conversion time randomness for building 15-25 seconds → 18-20 seconds.
Faith, Inquisition, First Crusade, Teutons TB and Bengalis CB can be revisited later.


Chance of conversion per attempt reduced 28% → 20%.


These are great as well. I think Nirvana should set it to 41 seconds to align with current imperial age regeneration time and not get accidentally buffed.

5-9 seconds conversion range and 20% probability per conversion intervals are a great idea as well. It would be 20% conversion by 5th second, 36% by 6th, 49% by 7th.


Agree 100%.

Well Knight is also good in Early Castle Age without any upgrades. But that’s just first few minutes in castle Age. After that +2 armor is mandatory if you want to continue knight. Agree with monk though. You can play an un-upgraded monk the whole caste age against cavalries, camels and some CA type units. And need only redemption as the most crucial tech.

It is align with current imperial age regeneration time and not getting any buff. Technically it should be buffed as monk in Imperial Age is already weak and now you’re paying more resource and time to reach the same value. The monk nerf should be specifically stayed at Castle Age and not extended to Imperial imho.

Yeah. I calculated. Almost 50% around 7th second which should be the ideal.

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I can’t agree. Most of their usage in all scenarios other than early castle age is exactly as they were intended, and not particularly overpowering. The ability to convert siege units, for example, is very important, often one of the only effective counters for these otherwise-powerful units, and working exactly as designed and intended.

A good point of comparison is Aztec monks, which can achieve insane hp totals, but which can still be effectively countered with the standard counters. If lategame monks were truly overpowered, we should expect to see them used to win every game, but in reality, Aztecs have reasonable win rates. Therefore, monks are not overpowered in the lategame.

The real reason you don’t see elephants has more to do with the fact that the advantage of their rapid production speed and high starting stats rapidly wanes as the game progresses past the start of castle age. Knights gain far more, proportionately, from the cavalry upgrades like Bloodlines, as well as from the attack upgrades, due to their lower starting stats, and once economies are developed enough to support sufficient stables and blacksmith upgrades, the advantages of the elephant line is heavily diminished until the later parts of the game, where their extreme population efficiency comes into play.

If monks were not such an immediate option on entering castle age, then you would see far more elephants used in the earlier parts of the game, before being phased out and replaced by other units.

That is why the best solution is to delay monks via changing the cost of the monastery, perhaps by swapping part of its cost to something like stone, forcing players to choose between an immediate full boom or immediate monk play.

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The ability to convert is not the problem. Its how “fast” they convert. Sometimes you hear the sound and you can’t even run your units out of their range. Sometimes you think you’ve successfully run but a different unit nearby gets converted because they switch their conversion. All of it happens because of a 50% probability of a conversion within 5 seconds. Don’t think you’ve read most of the content of this post. I urge you to read it. None of my post actually makes monks unusable or permanently nerfs them to such a state. Just adds tech, normalizes the conversion time distribution to be centered around 7 seconds or make it slower to regain their faith by default.

This is also not true. Aztec monks are insanely strong. They used to be broken before the eco nerf since Aztecs were also one of the fastest civs back then. Only reason why they are not overpowered now is the fact that there are many civs who are economically better than Aztecs and can get castles or guard towers or have multiple stables running now.

Again, none of this is actually true. Even if you change bloodlines to +20% hp, they’ll remain unusable for 1v1. You don’t see them early on in castle age is monks. Even 1 elephant converted would make a huge difference in the battle outcome. And given how slow they are, they always get converted. You’ll lose more units to conversion than any other cavalry unit.
You can use them in imp in closed maps if opponent civ doesn’t have halbs and is economically weaker as well. Limited to a few civs like Khmer or Bengalis.

Once again, monks will still be an option. There’s no change recommended to their production speed. Its just adjusting the balance to make it more even and less favorable to the monk player in terms of cost vs value. You still won’t see “far” more elephants because elephants are very expensive and continue to remain slow. But the adjusted mechanics might make 1 tc elephant push possible or at the very least force monk production from multiple monasteries to keep the investment into monks vs value from defense less favorable.

This will certainly nerf closed map all-in monks + castle drop + early imp plays. But on regular rm, people will just sell wood, buy the stone and get the monasteries up. It won’t change much wrt the timing and number of monks produced or their conversion mechanics.

I would rebut that if you are waiting on the sound to act, you are not playing correctly. You should be spotting them coming before the conversion starts. If you could consistently escape after the sound plays, they would be useless at higher levels of play.

So there is counterplay. That means it’s not overpowered.

If monks were more delayed in early castle age, I would absolutely build a few in early castle. They are a unit that works perfectly well with no upgrades, and forces your enemy into a handful of choices. Forcing your enemy into pikemen is a potent ability. Forcing them to build monks, by contrast, is actually a disadvantage, because monks are decent against everything. But if building a monastery required an actually significant economic sacrifice, then that, too, would be a negative for them, and it would further justify making elephants then.

Not a huge number, but enough to keep the game interesting.

Monk conversion mechanics are fine. They are balanced over most of the game. It’s specifically in early castle age where they are an issue.

Except you can’t. Most units don’t have a high LOS to spot something 9 tiles away. And this is just something commonly faced by everyone who tries to raid with knights, lancers or some other alternate cavalry. Even light cav have 8 Los and light cavs are less affordable in earlier stages of castle age. Hence the suggestion for lower default range and upgrade to boost them back.

Its not a counterplay. Counterplay means no matter what the situation is, you can use one play to stop the other. Aztec monk play needs a civ economically superior to handle them. That’s overpowered in most situations. Very much like OG lancers, OG Gurjara units.

Unfortunately no. Stone is often sold off for a faster castle age and bought back. Its not much of an economic loss. Stone gathering rates are 50% slower compared to bowsaw lumberjacks. So if you just partially replace monastery wood cost with stone, there’s a negligible loss of economy and delay. Unless you simply add 175 stone to the cost of monastery making it 175 wood 175 stone. That could be a fine change for your proposal for early elephant usage. If you go 1 tc elephants, your opponent won’t be able to add extra tc and monasteries.

They’re not and that’s because of the 28% probability per conversion interval. That’s what mathematically I’ve expressed in #5. Once again I recommend you read the original post instead of assuming what I’m suggesting.
@SMUM15236 has also suggested a change which balances it better. Both are changes which makes the probability distribution center around 7 seconds which is the mid conversion interval instead of keeping it heavily in favor of faster conversions.

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Monks are strongest in early castle age, when enemy knight numbers are low. If you only have 4 to 6 knights and you lose one to a conversion that can swing the first proper engagement and it can snowball from there. So I think any nerf to monks needs to be a nerf to their castle age only. So just make conversions take much longer in castle age, but unchanged in imperial age, by which time you’ll have a much bigger army so losing a few units to conversion is not such a game changer.

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Yes, that’s exactly the basis of suggestions. Adding extra upgrades to make them as effective as they are. Some ideas behind what kinds of things to lock behind upgrades.

But my post was not suggesting locking anything behind upgrades. I was just suggesting that they be nerfed only in castle age and then their base stats automatically unlock back up to their current stats when you hit imperial age.

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