My balance suggestions (as of 6th September)

Here’s one more topic with balance suggestions. Almost every change is accompanied with commentary on why I think the change is necessary. For some civs I’ve added their 1v1 winrate for the context.

Main priorities of my approach:

  • slightly adjust balance without substantially changing how civs are played
  • make some of the least used unique units better, although not necessarily to a degree that they are viable in a typical game
  • avoid drastically reworking anything unless necessary

General changes

Units don’t stutter for the entire attack interval if orders are issued during attack animation. Comments: I’m not sure if this behavior is a bug or a feature, but it’s really annoying to cope with, so I hope devs will change this. This change indirectly buffs units with low rate of fire (Hand Cannoneers, Organ Guns etc.) as well as Cavalry Archers (because it’s very easy to accidentally cancel their really slow animation).

Hand Cannoneer +5 hp (35 -> 40), +5% accuracy (65% -> 70%), +2 more damage against rams (+2->+4). Comments: In my opinion, they are unreasonably squishy and somewhat ineffective at maximum range. I didn’t buff them too much because they are already better than archers against high pierce armor targets like paladins, eagles and skirmishers. Giving them too many buffs would result in them becoming chu-ko-nu level strong, except with no need for expensive upgrades and produced from archery ranges. And don’t forget that with more buffs Fast Imp with Turks on Arena might become OP.

Steppe Lancers. Cost reworked from 70 food 45 gold to 80 food 30 gold. Comments: Steppe Lancers, in my opinion, are an example of poor unit designed. Whatever you do with their stats, they are either inferior knights or superior knight. Even if devs find a point of balance and make them equal to knights in terms of strength, we will end up with “another knight unit with adjusted stats”. The only way to make Steppe Lancers stand out is to either make them better against specific units (but we will inevitably end up with a variation of an already existing unit), or to rework their cost. I chose the latter, and made them semi-trash heavy cavalry. I doubt I managed to strike the balance with this, but it may be a steppe in the right direction. Now they need a completely different approach than knights and become a distinct unit.

Supplies also affects unique infantry units, but to a lesser extent (-10 food cost instead of -15), similarly to how Parthian Tactics treats unique units differently from regular ones. Cost of some unique infantry units has been adjusted (berserks, karambit etc.). Full list of affected infantry unique units: Berserk (cost adjusted), Condottiero (cost adjusted), Gbeto, Huskarl (don’t get Supplies, so it usually doesn’t matter), Jaguar Warrior, Kamayuk, Karambit Warrior (cost adjusted), Shotel Warrior, Samurai, Teutonic Knight, Throwing Axeman (cost adjusted), Woad Raider (cost adjusted). Comments: I feel like after the introduction of Supplies most infantry UU became obsolete, especially since many of them were suboptimal in the first place. This happened for two reasons: first, it became easy for your opponent to answer your UU with Champions (with Supplies generic Champion is reasonably cost-effective against most infantry UU), second, your own Champions tend to perform better than UU.

Battle elephants – reverted splash damage to be 50% instead of 25%. Khmer battle elephants receive additional changes (read further). Comments: most Battle Elephants are not tremendously effective because of the long list of counters (mass onagers, scorpions, halbs, camels etc.). Since only Khmer elephants cause issues, I address them specifically, there is no need to nerf all of them.

Herbal medicine decreased cost from 350 gold to 250 gold, research time decreased 35 seconds to 20 seconds. Comments: I think that this tech has great potential, but is never used because it’s completely forgotten. In theory it can save a lot of resources if you garrison a group of wounded arbalesters or unique units in your castle, but in practice one forgets that this tech exists even if an appropriate situation arises. I would even consider lowering its price to about 100 gold and then reverting it back to 250 in case it becomes OP.

Civilization balance

Aztec

Herbal medicine removed from the tech tree.

Comments: Jaguar Warrior becomes somewhat more viable with Supplies. It’s not a huge buff, since the unit is rarely used successfully. To partially offset that, I removed Herbal Medicine to make their monks slightly weaker in late game. Additionally, many other civs received buffs, which indirectly nerfs Aztec.

Bulgarians

New bonus: siege units (including trebuchets) cost 50% less resources to repair.

Comments : Judging by winrates, Bulgarians are somewhat weak at high level, so I decided to add a feature that, I think, is more useful at higher levels.

Burmese

Arambai training time increased from 21 seconds to 25 seconds

Elite Arambai training time reduced from 21 seconds to 20 seconds

Elite Arambai pierce armor increased from 2 to 3

Comments : Arambai are too powerful in Castle Age, especially on Arena, but at the same time, they are fairly weak in Imperial Age against archers.

Byzantines

Greek fire grants +2 range to Fire Ship instead of +1

Comments: this tech is a bit too expensive for how little it does especially considering that ideally one doesn’t want to invest heavily into Fire Ships. This change is not going to make Byzantines great, but they are not all that weak to begin with.

Celts

Woad Raiders cost increased from 65 food 25 gold to 70 food 25 gold to compensate for supplies affecting unique units.

Cumans

Cuman Mercenaries now enables creation of Kipchak/Elite Kipchak for your allies (in Castle/Imperial Age) instead of providing them with free 10 units. The Cuman player still enjoys 10 free Elite Kipchaks. Allied Kipchak require 30 seconds to train instead of 20 seconds.

Comments: In the current state Cuman Mercenaries doesn’t serve any purpose. If your allies have full upgrades on their CA, they make their own CA (which is much more convenient then having to mix an army of Kipchaks with CA). If your allies lack upgrades, they won’t get much use out of 10 Kipchaks. Also, I find one-time bonuses unsuitable for this game, so at least there will be a lingering benefit in team games.

Franks

Throwing axemen cost increased from 55 food 25 gold to 65 food 25 gold to adjust for Supplies affecting infantry unique units.

Chivalry now only affects Stable unit production rate, not overall work rate (i.e. does not speed up Cavalier and Paladin research).

Comments: it’s a minor nerf to Franks who seem to dominate rated games in terms of both popularity and winrate. They also perform well in tournaments. Chivalry change prevents power spike in team games with early paladins.

Indians

Sultans now only affects gold mining, but gives +15% gold instead of +10%

Shatagni cost reduced from 500 food 300 gold to 300 food 300 gold

Comments : changes are intended to make Indians slightly worse in team games without affecting their 1v1 potential too much.

Italians 47% 1v1 winrate

Dock technologies discount reduced from 50% to 35%

Age up discount increased from 15% to 20%

Pavise no longer affects Condotieri.

Condotieri +1 base pierce armor to match that of most swordsmen.

Condotieri cost increased from 50 food 35 gold to 50 food 40 gold to compensate for supplies affecting unique units.

Genoese Crossbowmen training time decreased from 22/19 seconds to 18/15 seconds.

Comments: Pavise is a crossbowmen shield. What next, Greek Fire improves Galleons? Maghrabi Camels affects Hussars? Overall, Condotierri remain roughly in the same place (don’t forget that they are affected by Supplies in this patchnote), and buffed Genoese Crossbowmen, as well as extra discount on aging up makes Italians somewhat more viable on land maps. Such a harsh reduction to the Dock discount is intended to make them slightly worse on water maps. In my opinion, they are still alright because of other buffs.

Khmer

“Battle elephants +15% movement speed” is replaced with “All elephants +5/10% movement speed in Castle/Imperial Age”. This includes Ballista Elephants.

Comments: Nerf to very powerful khmer battle elephants. I think their speed makes them too deadly. On the other hand, their unique unit is rarely used, so I decided to mix in a slight buff to them.

Koreans 44% 1v1 winrate

Wood discount now also affects siege units.

Arrowslits technology is now free as it is a tower upgrade.

Comments: since Koreans are decent on water maps, I don’t think they need major buffs.

Lithuanians

Bonus damage from relics is calculated based on the total number of relics your team possesses.

Comments: It’s a great improvement in terms of convenience, since you don’t have to unnecessarily communicate with your team about obvious things.

Malay

Karambit warriors food cost increased from 25 to 35 to adjust for Supplies affecting infantry unique units. Elite upgrade cost reduced from 900 food 600 gold to 800 food 500 gold.

Mayans

No longer have undocumented farm rate penalty (about 2-5% depending on upgrades)

Two-Man Saw removed from the tech tree.

El Dorado cost increased from 750 food 450 gold to 900 food 450 gold

Plumed Archer Elite upgrade cost increased from 700 food 1000 wood to 800 food 1000 wood.

Comments: undocumented penalties are a bad practice in my opinion, so I suggest removing them. All nerfs are there to make up for this removal. There is a chance that I missed something and farming penalty for Mayans is no longer a thing, in which case no changes are needed.

Mongols

Persians

Mahouts technology now also increases conversion resistance of War Elephants by 2, increases maximum CI and minimum CI by 1.

Portuguese 43% 1v1 winrate

In addition to their current function, Feitorias can be used as drop-off points. Villagers can be garrisoned in Feitorias to provide the same firepower as town centers. Feitoria resource generation rate changed from 1.6 food 1.0 wood 0.7 gold 0.3 stone per second to 2.0 food 0.8 wood 0.7 gold 0.3 stone per second.

New bonus: Barracks, Archery Ranges and Stables are 30% cheaper.

Comments : Making Feitorias a bit more multi-purpose will hopefully make them more viable in 1v1 land maps, especially combined with bonus to Hand Cannoneers. This probably has little to no effect on water maps where in late imp villagers no longer matter after chopping all available wood. Although I don’t think that these changes will make Portuguese great Arabia civ, I doubt they need to be. They already have decent tools for water maps. The proposed bonus for military production buildings is unlikely to hinder the water balance, however, it might be enough of an early game bonus to matter on land maps.

S aracens 46% 1v1 winrate

+1/2/3 bonus against standard buildings now applies to skirmishers and hand cannoneers, together with archers and cavalry archers (all listed as “archery range units”)

Madrasah – monks return 50 gold when killed instead of 33. Cost increased from 200 food 100 gold to 200 food 150 gold.

Elite Mameluke no longer deals +1 damage against Mameluke, since this bonus is redundant.

Mameluke frame delay reduced from 24 to 12 (same as Elite Mameluke).

Comments: I don’t believe Saracens are all that weak, so I didn’t do anything crazy with them. The first change is more for the sake of convenience rather than for buffing the civ. The mameluke buff will possibly make fast Castle into Mamelukes somewhat viable.

Tatars 45% 1v1 winrate

New bonus: units don’t suffer from damage penalty when fighting uphill.

Keshik cost increased from 50 food 40 gold to 50 food 50 gold. Gold generation rate is increased from 22 per minute of fighting to 50.

Comments: Bonus on the hill feels too inconsistent in its value and does not help when you are getting pushed from uphill. One significant thing to remember is that cliffs do not offer any protection for units, so this new addition only affects hills.

Regarding Keshik, I just wanted to make their unique ability, you know… to have some effect on gameplay. Currently they generate about 5-10 gold during their lifetime, which is laughably low considering that the income arrives long after you train your units. In terms of strength, they are probably ever so slightly weaker after this change, mainly because they pay off only after they are created.

Turks

Janissary Elite upgrade and Artillery are now considered as gunpowder technologies and thus are cheaper. The base cost is slightly adjusted to prevent odd numbers. As the result, Janissary Elite upgrade cost reduced from 850 food 750 gold to 400 food 400 gold. Artillery cost reduced from 500 gold 450 stone to 250 gold 300 stone.

Elite Janissary bonus damage against rams increased from +3 to +4.

Elite Janissary accuracy increased from 50% to 60% accuracy.

Comments : Janissaries are underwhelming in Imperial Age with quite a pricy upgrade (especially with an option to produce Hand Cannons). So, reducing their upgrade cost accordingly seems like a logical solution, especially since it is justified by their civ bonus. Elite Janissaries still remain weak, but at least the transition is much easier in case one needs it. Artillery feels too expensive for buffing only 2 inessential units and Bombard Towers. Especially since they lack siege engineers, so their BBC are not much better then generic ones. Buff that I propose are relatively minor, but the civ isn’t the worst either.

Vietnamese 46% 1v1 winrate

Get access to Hussar.

Get access to Gold Shaft Mining, but lose Stone Shaft Mining

Comments : two moderately useful buffs, the first one is aimed at making them better in 1v1, whereas the second one is a general buff.

Vikings

Berserk cost increased from 65 food 25 gold to 75 food 25 gold to adjust for Supplies affecting infantry unique units.

Berserkergang cost reduced from 850 food 400 gold to 700 food 400 gold.

Longboat training time increased from 25 seconds to 30 seconds. Elite Longboat training time is unchanged.

Comments : first two changes are intended to address the Supplies adjustments. The last change will hopefully stop Vikings from being OP on water by preventing their power spike in Castle Age. I decided to not interfere with their late game potential because they are supposed to be good on water.

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In general you have some good ideas and I won’t say it would be wrong to do that.

But the thing with supplies to add the food discount to UU put too much work for balancing. And then you force Player to use this tech to get discount for their unit though before they don’t need it.

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I know that this is probably the most controversial thing I suggest. The extra cost of the upgrade for some of the civs is partially negated by discounts to their elite upgrade. In the end, nearly every civ either spends roughly the same amount of resources and gets the same result, or gets access to a better unique unit after investing into supplies.

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I see you have a lot of ideas but I get several important issues in your proposals:

  • win rates do not mean anything. You should focus on pick rates. The reason is explained a lot in the forum!
  • some civs (turks, italians, tatars…) need a large buff. Your suggestions do not really help them where they need (turks need a way to play with no gold) or even nerf them (killing nerf for Italians on water, plus a nerf on their UT and a nerf on gold cost of condos)
  • if you nerf so badly Italians on water, you have to give a large buff to another civ, like Portuguese, or every water game will become viking mirror
  • some of your proposals buff civs which really do not need a buff… like Aztecs, Vietnamese, celts, or Lithuanians

Some of the ideas are pretty nice for me. Overall I am not sure that a balance proposal where Aztecs (probably top 1 civ) are buffed and Italians (probably the worst civ) are nerfed makes a lot of sense…

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@DoctBaghi I remember some Italian infantry did use pavise in siege, right? If so, it is reasonable for Condo to be affected by pavise. If not, we need some Italian own buff on Condos as Italian Condo would be underwhelming.

This is a big nerf in water. Until Italians is doing OK in land maps, I dont agree nerfing Italians in water maps which is almost they are good at.

The new bonus is really powerful paired with 20% gold discount. Perhaps Organ guns need mobility buff (movement speed -> 1) to be more useful but not a worse version of scorpion.

Guns units (i.e. HC, Conquistadors, Janissary, Organ guns)should be affected by Ballistics as well. Projectile speed of guns unit should be increased to 7 as arrows. Leave Cannon units (i.e. Cannon galleon, BBC and Bombard Tower) alone.

To compensate Portuguese, Arquebus should be changed. As Arquebus reduced gun recoiling, frame delay should be reduced to 5 and accuracy should be increased up to 90%. Arquebus now should affect guns units of whole team (like Berber’s UT)to compensate Portuguese having no team bonus after feudal age.

Btw, the changes are too much. You should state which change is prioritized over others. I prefer buffing the weak civs before nerf as I dont think there’s is an OP civ currently.

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This must be one of the best balance threads yet around here.

I still have some questions about this one. I get the reasoning but some units haven’t got their cost adjusted even tho they don’t compete with champions, like kamayuks (anti-cav unit) gbetos (really different from the Malian champion) shotels (are almost always better than 2 handed swordsmen). Actually I think it would be simpler to just change samurai and TK directly, since they are those who suffer the most from supplies.

I don’t think discouraging late game monk use, which is already hard enough already is something good tho.

I WANT

Fair compromise

I think this change would matter more for 1v1. I’d rather have +10% better relics and mining than what is basically a castle locked mining upgrade.

Well, Chivalry affects peasant light cav, recurve bows are a nomadic weapon that Magyar can somehow only unlock when they look the most like settled people in game, and so on.

Khmer farming does have a built-in penalty that existed even before the -3% nerf but it depends on whether you consider that it’s fair game in this case.

According to the changelog (https://ageofempires.fandom.com/wiki/Mayans) it’s still a thing.

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I agree with you for Battle elephants. Malay is nerf consecutively for Karambit warrior and Battle Elephants. Now their stable is even worse given they already have bad cavalry. Perhaps +25% trample damage can be implemented with UT/ civ bonus of each Battle elephant civs except Khmer. Malay, Viet, Burmese can rely more on their Battle elephants.

viet: Chatras (battle elephants +50 HP and +25% trample damage)
Malay: Battle elephants are 30% cheaper -> Battle elephants are 30% cheaper and +25% trample damage
Burmese: Howdah (battle elephants +1/+1 armor and +25% trample damage)

Pickrates mean nothing either. Some civ might be less fun to play for an average user and therefore are less popular, but that doesn’t mean we need to buff them.

What civ needs is mostly subjective. Turks are designed to have no access to trash, that’s not necessarily a flaw in design. For Tatars I proposed a very strong buff, which lets them take hill with relative ease. Italians are overall buffed on land with both of their unique units buffed (condos don’t need pavise for pierce armor, genos are trained faster) and Age up discount. On water they are still great because extra 5% discount for feudal and castle age makes up for increased cost of dock techs up until the imperial age.

Which is exactly what I did. I nerfed the only other viable tournament water civ - Vikings.

Aztecs are not buffed. Jaguars are so useless that a very minor buff to their performance hardly makes a noticeable impact. Lack of Herbal Medicine might even be more substantial for their monks. Celts need 250 resources tech to get 5 food discount on woads. I would lean towards calling it a slight nerf. Vietnamese are one of the least played civs, so you can’t say they don’t need buffs after your claims that civs should be balanced around pickrates. For Lithuanians it’s a fool-proof mechanism for low-rank games. Anyway, balance should not be achieved by akward mechanics and commucation troubles. This is an ill practice.

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Their buff is 1 extra pirce armor with no need for upgrades. This also makes Condos better for teamgames, since your allies have no access to Pavise.

In my opinion, it’s fairly minor. In feudal age it’s a direct buff, since there are no techs. In Castle Age it’s roughly the same with 150 resources saved from Age up and faster access to war galley compensated with roughly 150-200 resources lost from more costly dock techs. It only matters in Imp, but still not too much because galleon cost (the most crucial upgrade) roughly equates resources spared from going imp. I’ve put a lot of thought into these percentages for Italians, I’m sure they are still great on water (to clarify, I do not imply that I’m 100% right).

There are many ways to buff gunpowder, but Ballistics is probably not the right one, because it makes them too similar in use to archers.

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This is something that makes them the second less played civ in arabia, where more then 70% of the games are played. The best proposals I read are the access to genitour (which is not historically accurate) and a gold market bonus (+5g every time you sell)

I like your proposal for Tatars, it is a vary good design compared to the current hill bonus.

Pick rates, especially in tournaments mean a lot. People pick the civ which maximizes their chances of winning. Also, if a civ is not fun at all, maybe it is good to redesign it.

Vietmamese are not that bad as picking rate. Tbh there is no need to buff them, but you have not proposed something extreme. I would be happy to see them with hussars, just saying it is not necessary

I would like this improved. I proposed something similar in the past, but people want Lithuanians to be nerfed… so not sure this will be appreciated

Still Aztecs is probably the civ that deserves a nerf mostly. I mean, even a small buff it is not that easy.

The nerf for the vikings is very limited compared to Italians. I would either nerf vikings more, or, better, give a large buff to Portuguese to make them the new viking competitors. But the idea of changing the water meta is good, do not take me wrong…

+25f in feudal… I would not call a relevant buff. Condos do not have the need for a tech for extra PA, but loose MA. Overall, in the late game is a nerf. I totally agree with the buff of the genoese crossbowman.
Tbh, especially if you nerf them so brutally on water (btw I am favorable to nerf them on water even more), they should receive a much much larger land buff. Some proposals like changing the fishing ship discount (now-11w) in “archer-line and fishing ships -10w”. Another proposal is all archers (including skyrms and GC) -40%TT.

If you do the math the nerf is huge in imp. I have proposed several times to nerf Italians on water, but people are against…

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The winrate is an indication that the civ actually maximizes your chance of winning instead of indicating that the civ maximizes something in someone’s dreamworld. But i must clarify that I don’t base my suggestions purely on winrates, I also consider tournament picks, performance on individual maps, teamgames etc.

About italians on water maps
In Feudal Age they are slightly buffed (no dock techs at all)
In Castle Age they are roughly the same on water maps (get war galley a bit earlier, careening at the same time and gillnets a bit later).
In Imp they get Galleon for the same amount of resources (thanks to imp discount), all other techs are indeed more expensive.
Together, all of the above equates to rather minor nerf in general, since many games are decided before imp, and even if not, the chance of someone losing a game because of extra 200 resources price for shipwright is rather slim. Seems that I should have included my calculations to this topic in the first place.

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You can nerf them how much you want. If you take imp into account, the nerf is very large in terms of total resources spared. An I am fine with this, provided that all water games are no more water mirror. But people will hate that. My concern is that they need a large land buff.

Can we say: the larger the picking rate, the stronger the civ (i.e., the larger the probability of winning with that civ)? The answer is a big no. If a civ is super OP, people will tend to play it more since you basically loose otherwise. As result, the majority of the game will be mirror and the winning rate will be 50%.

Just recall the old AoK Vikings. They were the ONLY water civ. As result, all the competitive water games where Viking wars. All of them. This implies a sharp 50% win rate with a 100% pick rate.

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Pavise was a tipe of shield that became famous for being carried by xbows, but it was extensive used but all kind of foot infantry too, so if we want to be perfectly historically accurate pikes and champs too should be affected.
Also, there were many kind, the smallest one like the one that the GC have, and other bigger and heavier manned by 2 or 3 soldiers, so that pavise affect condos is accurate.

Agree, to avoid nerfing water (and this bonus is basically their only good help on water) the correct proportion would be 20/40%, even though it would still be a nerf.

That’s a nerf too for condos, even if the the cost would be the same or slightly less they would require one more tech (they already need 10) which is a big problem for a unit that should ba supposed the be fast to tech into.

That’s the only thing were I agree.

I would never build a feritoria just for drop resources or garrison vills, TC, mills, lumber and mining camps already do the same thing from the dark age while also being cheaper and faster to build.

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With +1 base PA basically they would become the condos of the forgotten empires, the original ones, and they were nerfed for a reason, this way at least people can’t complain that they are OP.

Also trading supplies for pavise is a big nerf, pavise is useful but not necessarily, supplies instead would become mandatory.

It depends by what tech you are considering, but in castle age they actually lose some resources, in imp a lot more, don’t factor in the CG and ECG upgrades, since they usually are researched in super late imp, if you consider only SW, gallon and FFS Italians lose a lot on water.

This logic only works if pickrates are near 100% or if everyone used mirror option in every game.

The nerf on water is intentional. 20/40% would hardly be a nerf since you still get to crucial techs (war galley, galleon) faster. Overall, it would be 410 resources more on fully upgrading galleon plus gillnets and 165 resources less on Age up.

The idea is that Feitorias will not only provide a trickle of resouces, but also secure your eco. So you get more utility for the same amount of resources spent. It’s obviously not for substituting lumbercamps.

Make up your mind. Condos in my suggestion are either OP or useless or somewhere in the middle, but not both OP and useless at the same time.

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Now, if you play the game you have a large probability of finding an Aztec opponent. So, for, say, Mayans, the current win rate is the result of a lot of games vs Aztecs and just few games vs Turks. As a consequence, mayans win less frequently compared to a case where all civs are played equally. In that case mayans would meet Aztecs less frequently and turks more frequently, which is clearly better.

Even if the pick rate is far from 100%, the win rate will be an indication on how a civ performs vs civs with large pick rates (in general these are the strongest civs).

The problem is that we cannot draw a direct relation between win rate and winning probability if the play rate is not constant along the civs. It is simply mathematically inaccurate.

Pick rate is in general much more related to the winning probability, especially in tournaments where you want to gain money. Notice that the civs with larger pick rates are the most played in tournaments.

If you look at your proposals, you have given several explanations which are very easy to justify with pick rates, but impossible with win rates.

I totally agree with you that Tatars need a larger buff than vietmamese: none plays Tatars, that is a big thing. Btw, vietmamese have the worst win rate in 1v1 ara.

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Agree with some, disagree with some, something I’d like to have input

I don’t think this garbage tech needs a counter nerf, even with your buff it will still remain useless

Just no, Vietnamese late game are hard to push for many civs and this will elevate that

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But you can’t nerf the dock discount for Italians, that basically all they have, they don’t have any water UU and their standard haven’t special bonuses, so that why nerfing the discount would kick Italians out of the water play.

A bit of both, let supplies affect them is a big nerf for Italians, while giving them +1 base PA is a big buff for all Italians allies, since it stack up with other civ bonuses.

They have the fishing ship discount, which contribute more than the cheaper techs to the Italian’s naval strength.

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Ugh, not another Italian thread pls

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