My Expectations post patch

Keep in mind this is solely my opinion and i could very much be wrong. I am going to start with what i consider one of the biggest changes and go from there

  1. I fully expect the water meta to shift. before now, water was seen as Vikings and Italians and that’s about it on pure water maps. going forward i expect to see Koreans enter that fight as an equal to the other two due to the combination of saving 20% wood at all times, and in the late game shipwright giving them boosted production and another 20% wood savings. I also think Portuguese have a solid shot at being a mainstay but lacking shipwright makes me hesitant to put them at the level of the other 3 civilizations.
  2. I expect to see a lot of Italians Fast Imperial Age builds (fast condos), especially on Arena. if only for the novelty factor
  3. With the improvements to pathing, I expect a huge surge in “Melee” Civs winrates, with potential for Franks, Teutons, and Goths to see alarming gains, with potential for nerfs whenever the next patch hits.

lastly as some last bit of follow up, with almost all of the truly terrible civs having received some love in the past 9 months or so, i think we only get a couple more patches of trying to fix bad civs, and after that we will see patches focused on shaking up the meta. nerf a couple top civs a little bit, buff a couple other civs a little bit, in an effort to see more diversity in tournaments instead of just seeing the same civs over and over again (looking at you mongols, chinese, aztecs, mayans, etc).

Again everything here is purely my subjective opinion, and I could of course be completely wrong, and I am okay with that.

What do you guys think we see going forward?


I don’t think the 5% increase will make a huge difference. Players might be a bit more willing to experiment with Koreans and Portuguese, but in tournaments it will very likely still be Italians and Vikings if avaliable.
I still think it’s a good chance though, as it will just feel a little less bad if there was a civ draft and people end up with Koreans vs Italians or something like that. It doesn’t always need to be a mate shift for it to be improvement.

Probably only for novelty factor^^
I don’t think it’s good, especially on Arena. Fast Imp with ranged units (and therefore more micro potential) is a lot better. The whole strategy relies on you being able to trade cost effectively against your opponents inferior tech options. I don’t think melee units are great at doing that, especially when your opponent has walls.
I do expect condo timings on other maps with Italians though. Setting up barracks as you go to imp relatively fast after a standard Castle Age and then flood your opponent with 80 HP infantry. Bonus points, if you built a Castle and have the UT. I’m looking forward to that as an option.

yep, that seems very likely to me as well.
There will also be a lot of people complaining here about their 20 Xbows getting cleaned up by 10 knights on an open field, because they forgot that this is what’s supposed to happen^^

I also thing balancing is in a very good spot right now. Especially for Arabia I don’t think there is a single civ that I would feel absolutely terrible about getting in 1v1 random mirror. Of course they’re not all the same strength, but that’s not what we should expect with 35 civs.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “shaking up the meta” thing. I’d rather have a state of good balance that is then more or less untouched. Seems better to me than possibly going back to a state where some civs are clearly overpowered. I see the arguments for both sides here though.


so you’d rather keep seeing the same 10 civs every tournament, without ever seeing anything else?


I like the new condos, I think they are really in a good spot and don’t need any bonus or nerf now.

But I don’t think that they are that good, the fast imp rush still require a castle, which delay you by a bit.

Also, I don’t think that condos (or Italians in general) is a unit suited for arena even now.

Still, I’m curious to see if people can come out with some shenanigans and maybe make it work.

For that it’s also necessary that the mentality and the bias that the player base have versus water games change, and for that we should incourage to use other good water civ, not just portos and koreans.

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Exactly. Bring other naval-esque civs such as the Berbers, Saracens and Indians into the Water meta as well, right below Italians and Vikings. Byzantines have now been sufficiently buffed on land.

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But that’s is the problem, even before, koreans and portos weren’t seen in water meta, despite not being bad at all, so I don’t know if we will see them now, especially since TS and caravels cost the same.

There is a problem in water meta, bizz, malay, japs, saracens, koreans, portos are all civs that can compete in water with italians and vikings.
Berbers bonus isn’t that great they are viable too thanks to their good naval tech tree, even a civ like celts with their wood bonus could win the early game, but people seem to be interested in only on easy and powerful meta of 2 civs, which yes, are the best, but they are far from invincible.

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I think it’s less about people’s opinions or perception than it is about real game balance

I think the real game balance dictates that in the Water, civs such as Berbers, Saracens and Indians are worse off than even many non-naval civs like the Mongols, Huns, Mayans or Celts who have big eco bonuses or strong early game. Even Goths are probably better than them on water.

Which would mean that Berbers, Saracens and Indians should get some buff for the Water.

Also, the Malay have been over-nerfed on the water, so much so that we forget about them when talking water. So buff is needed to the over-nerfed Harbours as well.

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Except indians aren’t listed as a naval civ, so why are you putting them in league with berbers and saracens?

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Never underestimate the power of bias.

When you straight rule out a civ for a water game it means that you didn’t even think of a possible strategy, you didn’t force yourself to see its possible strengths, or a way to use their bonus, you didn’t make the effort it see potential out of the box strategies, and that means a lot.

Compared to land meta, water haven’t been explored or tested.

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Well, in each tournament there are more maps then just Arabia. So the civs depend on the other maps and the civ drafting rules…
I would say it is more important that many different strategies are viable (then the civ diversity will come by itself).

Like a few years ago in the old AoC days many pros very fighting Arabia Hun wars with cav archers the whole time. Now it seems like militia/MAA into Archers is possibly the strongest and most popular option.

I would like to have a state of the game where I, as a viewer, do not know what strategies the players will go for before the game starts. :slight_smile:

okay but how many civs do we see extremely rarely in tournaments? on the other hand, there are some civs we see literally every tournament.
that to me isn’t healthy at all.

you mean like all the S tier civs that already exist?

because its hard boring and silly how the rock paper scissors doesnt work… so 95% of the time you end up with exactly the same fights, everything about naval combat makes it less attractive to the most players, its been like that across almost all strategy games


In a good state of balance there should be ~10-15 civs which are meta and a lot of niche picks, which are more tricky but could be played as well. I think that would be good.

I think it is actually a lot about opinions. I don’t think the few months we had after a lot of the recent balance changes are enough to totally figure out the best possible way to play. Especially with how many big tournaments we have right now the top players are either using what is known to be good (because they want to win) or they are very experimental on ladder to have some fun. But it’s actual pretty rare that they really try hard with a less known civ, which might have potential.

It’s what happened to Cumans on arena lately. TaToH first I think started to play them a bit more and realized that they’re (especially with Kipchaks) quite fun to play and actually pretty good. Viper saw this and starting using them too. Now they get used quite a lot.
But how often do you see a top player doing something like: Okay, I’m going to play only Tatars (insert whatever civ you want here) on Arabia for the next week and I will really try to figure out how to make them work best on that map. After something like that you would be somewhat able to tell how good a civ really is. Right now even the opinion of pro players has a lot to do with theory crafting (and I’m not saying that’s bad, most of the time they are very likely right). But I’m pretty sure if we just kept the balance right now for the next 6-12 months there would still be some meta shifts.

There will always be S tier civs. That is not the problem. The problem is when S tier is on the level of Cumans when DE was released (or close to that). Right now we’re in a very health state of balance. There is S tier (there will always be!), but it’s not oppressive. That’s as good as it gets with 35 civs.

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well i’d like to see those 10-15 civs get cycled around so we can see some of the “niche civs” get reasonable use.

but that doesn’t mean we have to have the same civs always be S tier.
cycling them would keep the meta from going stale.


I dunno. In chess the pieces are the same every game. No one is asking for a new piece to be added every few months that can move in hexagonal formations etc… I am wary of variety for variety’s sake. The point I’m making with the chess example is if the game is well designed in the first place it doesn’t need to be constantly changed.


1 civ slightly buffed won’t result in a whole meta changed (altough it could be possible in water maps since so small amount of useful civs 11). I think koreans are a pretty good water civ right now, even run some baltic matches were they felt strong, but nowhere near to italians or vikings. Those 2 still need some nerfs.

I think most players who pick italians would still want to go with arbalest or hand cannoneers when executing a fast imp strategy, but condos could be especially strong now against the counters: skirmishers.

Totally agreed.

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HC isnt viable even with Italians discount on them unfortunately, and this has become well know now for quite some time

Which is why almost everyone Ive talked to wants a significant buff to happen for the poor HC


yet Nicov on this forum explained why they are fine. Pros’ opinions >>>>>> forum users’ opinions

Chess only contains 2 sides though. There is 35 sides to aoe2 and only about 10 or 15 of them see lots of use at the highest levels.

Viper has said on his stream multiple times that Hand Cannoneers are “underwhelming”, or “lack something”.

So, goes to show that even among pros, you will find differing opinions.