My cav rework idea overview

I’m mostly writing this so I can paste a link when people ask about / make fun of 2-pop elephants or why or how I’d like to see a general cavalry rework. With that in mind, some points:

  1. This isn’t likely to be implemented. There’s no need to get angry or worked up.
  2. In the unlikely case someone wants to actually do something with this cavalry rework, I could possibly make a mod for it.
  3. I’ll discus changes and maybe change the overview if people have constructive or relevant critisisms.

Reasons for rework

Cavalry in AOE2 seems to have started with the scout & knight. Then people made camels which were basically mounted gold-spearmen which was fine until Indians were designed using camels as a knight-replacement. Then we got elephants. You can see in the design that the devs tried their best to make the unit viable in 1v1s as well as team games. They somewhat succeeded, but were severely limited because of earlier decisions which were made when designing knights and war elephants. As a result the unit is only very rarely viable in 1v1 castle age, and can dominate in late team games. Most recently they tried to fit in the step lancer. And so far they haven’t succeeded really. There just isn’t a good niche left, at least as far as they’ve been able to find.

setup of rework

We start with a unit which doesn’t actually exist, called “Generic Cav” (GC for short). This cav line takes the same role as the generic full-tech-tree civilisation takes for civ design. All 5 cav lines (scout, knight, lancer, camel, elephant) are stronger than Generic Cav overal, but weaker in at least some aspects.

Each cav line has 1 main defining feature, some gameplay consequences of that feature, some necessary features which follow from the gameplay features, and some minor features which are inspired by the current implementation and history of the unit.

small note

In a good balance (in my aesthetics) a civilisation that has only 1 gold cavalry line (such as the Franks currently) should have a less useful stable than a civilisation that has 2 or 3 gold cavalry lines. That is currently not the case, I would even argue that currently Scout + SL + Camels + Elephants < Scout + Knight. After this rework this will no longer be the case, and therefore all cavalry civilisations that only have the knight line should receive the lancer line, and all civilisations that only have the camel line should receive the elephant line.

Generic Cav

For definiteness, I’ll give some stats to the GC unit:
(I may change these if good reasons are given)

Name Generic Cav
cost 80 food + 40 gold
training time 30
hp 80 (120)
armour 1/1 (2/2)
attack 8 (12)
reload time (also known as RoF) 2.0
LoS 4 (5)
speed 1.35
upgrade cost 1200 food + 800 gold


  1. defining feature
    • Costs no gold.
  2. consequences
    • Is very spammable.
      • Therefore must be weak (in hp and attack).
        • Therefor gets cheap upgrade cost
    • will often be used for raiding. We want to encourage this.
      • Therefor gets better pierce armour
    • is strong against monks (due to being cheap). We want to encourage this.
      • Therefor gets attack bonus vs monks
  3. other features
    • available in Feudal age (game history)
    • large LoS (game lore)
    • slightly faster (game lore)


  1. defining feature
    • Generally this unit is based on the HCA.
      • It is stonger.
      • It costs more gold.
      • It has higher pierce armour.
  2. consequences
    • Is very pop-efficient.
      • Has long TT to make it hard to mass
    • Its gold-heaviness may make it lean towards team games
      • Make the upgrade cost more food and less gold to encourage it in 1v1
    • countered by monks
    • strong in castle-age, because gold is less important there
      • make its stats not quite as strong in castle age
  3. other features
    • it has a semi-elite upgrade (Cavalier) which is relatively cheap (game history)
      • consider making this a general cav upgrade, like the War Galley upgrade.
      • otherwise this provides a smooth transition in early-imp, which gives a reason to make the unit in late-castle. Yet more reason not to make the castle-age stats too good.


  1. defining feature
    • +1 range.
    • cheap. (Both the food and gold cost are reduced compared with Generic Cav.)
    • somewhat based on archer from archery range
  2. consequences
    I’ll do this in prose. The unit is somewhat based on the archer. The intention is to allow 1-TC imp into the elite version, similarly to the way we sometimes see 1-TC imp into Arbs. The Elite upgrade must be cheap, but the Elite version of the unit must be relatively weak.
    The unit is in practice strong vs infantry because of its +1 range, so make it weak vs archers by reducing the Pierce Armour. This also helps hold it back from being the supreme raiding unit. It will still be decent for that task.
    Its range makes it relatively good for sniping siege and monks, and its speed also helps here. I quite like counter-units which work without attack bonuses, but attack bonuses could be applied to make the effect more noticable.
    Lancers have a short training time, to encourage spamming.
  3. other features
    • slightly faster (game lore)
    • higher attack but lower attack speed (game lore)


  1. defining feature
    • strong against cavalry (about +50% attack)
  2. consequences
    • strong in team games, because there there are usually cavalry + archers
      • therefor reduce the pierce armour, to make them weak vs archers
    • Could probably be closest in stats to Generic Cav
    • faster, so that it can use its damage bonus vs cav
  3. other features
    • Most civilisations can only research the semi-elite version in their stable (Heavy Camel). A couple of civilisations get a further UT for camels. (game history)
      • The semi-elite version should be strong compared with the semi-elite knights.
    • Short training time (game history)


  1. defining feature
    • 2 pop units
      • about twice as costly, twice as much hp, twice as much damage (compared with GC)
  2. secondary features
    • sacrifices some armour in favout of even more hp (game lore)
    • is slightly slower (than GC), but still faster than infantry (game lore)
    • to reduce its ability to pierce melee armour, it sacrifices some attack in favour of splash damage and attack speed (game history)
      • it receives an attack bonus against buildings, because things that do splash damage deal bonus damage vs buildings, because buildings are large. (game lore)
  3. consequences
    • Is countered pretty badly by monks
      • it might be reasonable to grant them scout-style conversion resistance
      • it might be reasonable to expect people to combine them with light-cav, so we could stress that by making them synergise with light-cav even more. For example by making them weak vs skirmishers.
    • An elephant can’t be in 2 places at once. This is a weakness. 2 knight can (kinda-sorta) be in 2 places at once. This is stressed even more by the reduced speed. To compensate, elephants are made more resource-efficient. Primarily by giving them even more hp, and a slight resource discount.
  4. more features
    • the TT is about 50% more than for GC, so that a stable produces ‘value’ relatively quickly (game history)
    • skirmishers deal bonus damage vs elephants (game lore)
    • note spears DO NOT deal extra bonus damage vs elephants. If anything elephants deal with spears slightly better than other cavalry units do.

I think if this unit will be available it will be better than knights, actually it will cover on knights, i suggest to give this unit for Indians only or maybe for Saracens too

Sorry, which unit?
Are you saying the Generic Cav unit would be as good as a knight currently is?

Yes the generic cav, i mean it will cover on knights especially in the castle age and early rushes if it is availabe for every civ. I think this unit will be good for Indians and Saracens

The intention was actually for Generic Cav not to be available to anyone. It would exist only as an idea, which the different cavalry lines can be compared with.

You mean only as a something in editor mode or something like that not a new unit? I prefer to be a new unit for Indians and Saracens

Camels weren’t added later. They existed during aok days

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I think we need to avoid fundamental changes such like this. DE shouldn’t be so much different from original AOE 2.


You’re right. My bad.

And it looks like the concept of a ‘camel civ’ might be as old as aoc, with the addition of Zealotry.