My ideas on next balance change


It’s been a while since KOTD5 ended. The tournament revolved around mostly archer meta. Most of the game had drush into archer or direct archer opening. And for the most part, archer play dominated the tournament. Even in one game, Franks player didn’t build a single stable, and still won the game. On the contray, knight is dominating ranked ladder for a long time now. Though last patch helped a lot by reducing “Pikeman” upgrade cost.

Also there was very little to none “Militia” line play despite Gambeson being added. And Cavalry Archer play was relatively uncommon and a questionable decision. Last but not least, Battle Elephants are still limited to Malay only. And even Elephant Archer performance was not worthwhile to mention.

I’m thinking of ideas to make archer play balanced and consistent for all elo. And I believe that will be the biggest step to balance civ balance across all elos. High level players, in general, are very good at dodging projectiles whcih results in archer play so much powerful to the extent that some counter units like mangonel, just doesn’t work as a counter.

Here are my proposals for next balance changes.

New Technology – Mahouts
Effect: Elephant unit +10% speed.
Cost: 75 Food and 25 Gold, 30 seconds
Civilizations gaining Mahouts are also listed in the civilization specific balance changes category:
Mahouts Available for:
Bengalis, Dravidians, Khmer, Persians


Mangonel, Onager, Siege Onager projectile speed 3.5 → 5
Thumb Ring cost 300 food, 250 wood → 250 food, 250 gold
Two Handed Swords Man upgrade cost 300 food, 100 gold → 250 food, 100 gold
Champion upgrade cost 750 food, 350 gold → 600 food, 250 gold
Champion speed increased 0.9 → 1.00
Cavalry Archer training time reduced 35 seconds → 33 seconds
Eagle Warrior training time increased 35 seconds → 38 seconds
Eagle Warrior upgrade cost increase 200 food, 200 gold → 300 food, 200 gold
(Elite) Battle Elephant cost changed 110 food, 70 gold → 75 food, 105 gold
(Elite) Battle Elephant training time increased 24 seconds → 33 seconds
(Elite) Battle Elephant gains +18 (+22) bonus armor on “Elephant” armor class
(Elite) Elephant Archer gains +3 attack vs spearman
Scorpion and Heavy Scorpion speed increased 0.65 → 0.70
Scorpion gets +6 attack bonus Battle Elephant
Heavy Scorpion gets +8 attack bonus vs Battle Elephant

Civilization Balance

(Elite) Jaguar Warrior speed increased 1.00 → 1.10

Gets Mahouts.
Unique Tech Paiks cost reduced 375 wood, 275 gold → 250 wood, 200 gold. Paiks no longer give benefit to Ratha and Elephant Archer.
(Elite) Ratha (Ranged and Melee) Rate of Fire reduced 2.00 → 1.80 (1.70)
Ratha gains +2 attack bonus vs spearman.

Mining camp technologies are free → Miners work 10% faster.
(ELite) Hussite Wagon cost changed 110 wood, 70 gold → 100 wood, 70 gold
Hussite Wagon MA increased 0 → 1.

Unique Tech Burgundian Vineyard is moved to Imperial Age.
Unique Tech Flemish Revolution is removed.
Flemish Militia is available in Barracks upon reaching Imperial Age.
Flemish Militia gets +8 attack bonus Battle Elephant.
(Elite) Coustilier training time increased 15 seconds → 18 seconds.
New Unique Tech Royal Cavalry is added.
Effect: Fallen knights return 33% gold.
Cost: 300 food and 300 gold, 40 seconds.

Technologies are 10%/15%/20% cheaper in Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age → Technologies except unit upgrades are 15% cheaper.

Gets Mahouts.
Team Bonus Docks provide +5 population space → Fishing Ships have +2 LOS.

Foragers work 15% faster bonus is removed.
Arbalester is added to tech tree.
(Elite) Throwing Axe Man range increased 4, 5 → 5, 6
Unique Tech Bearded Axe is removed.
New Unique Tech “Arbalatrier” is added.
Effect: Archer line +4 MA.
Cost: 275 Food and 275 Gold, 40 seconds

Villagers are 5%/10%/15%/20% cheaper in Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age → Villagers are 15% cheaper starting from Feudal Age.
Halberdier is added in the tech tree.

Military units cost 15%/20%/25%/30% less food in Dark/Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age → Military units cost 15%/20%/25% less food in Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.
(Elite) Kamayuk gets +18 (+20) attack bonus vs Battle Elephant.
(Elite) Kamayuk gets +2 attack bonus vs Eagle.

(Elite) Genoese Crossbowman gets +5 (+7) attack bonus vs Battle Elephant.
Elite Genoese Crossbowman upgrade cost reduced 900 food and 750 gold → 800 food and 700 gold.
Condottiero gets +2 attack bonus vs Eagle.

(Elite) Samurai takes 50% less damage from UU.

Gets Mahouts.
Husbandry is removed from the tech tree.
Thumb Ring is added to the tech tree.

Team bonus Mangonel 1 less minimum range → Outposts provide +5 population space.
War Wagon +5 attack bonus vs standard building → War Wagon +2 attack bonus vs cavalry, +1 attack bonus vs Camel, +1 attack bonus vs Eagle.
Unique Tech Shinkichon reduces mangonel line minimum range by 1 in addition to increase mangonel line range by 1.

Battle Elephants are 30%/40% cheaper in Castle/Imperial Age → Battle Elephants are 25%/30% cheaper in Castle/Imperial Age.

Villagers drop of 15% more gold → Gold mining upgrades are free.

Foot archers (except Skirmishers) are 10%/20%/30% cheaper in Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age → Foot archers (except Skirmishers) are 10%/15%/20% cheaper in Feudal/Castle/Imperial Age.

Gets Mahouts.
Start with +50 food, +50 wood → Each Town Center provides 50 food, 50 wood.
Town Center and Dock 2X HP → Town Center and Dock 2X HP Starting from Feudal Age.
Unique Tech Mahouts is removed.
New Unique Tech Immortal is added.
Effect: Knight line regenerates at 15 HP/min.
Cost: 550 Food and 450 Gold, 45 seconds
(Elite) War Elephant speed increased 0.60 → 0.70 (0.75)

Organ Gun cost increased 80 wood, 70 (56) gold → 80 wood, 80 (60) gold

Start with +100 stone → Receive 75 stone when advancing to the next Age.
Donjon cost reduced 75 wood, 175 stone → 75 wood, 160 stone
Serjeant cost reduced 60 food, 35 gold → 55 food, 30 gold.

Light Cavalry and Hussar upgrade are free → Stable technologies cost 66% less gold.

Conscription is free → Archer line related technologies and upgrades are 50% faster


Since the thread is too long, here is the explanation on my proposals.

For general balance change, I believe mangonel projectile speed will make it significantly harder to dodge. And this will make archer play equally good or bad across all elo. However, archer play becomes too weak from Late Castle Age as important archer upgrades cost are way higher than important knight upgrades. Hence the reduction on TR cost. For the rest, I tried buffing off meta strategies - Militia line, BE and CA (Not off meta but not doing good in current Arabia) and nerfing American civs.

As for civ balance changes, some infantry UU like JW, Samurai and Serjeant still needed buff. Top tier UU like OG is still pretty broken in some situation and deserves a nerf. On the opposite some UU like HW, WW and WE need some love.

Malians, Portuguese, Franks, Mayans, Incas should be nerfed slightly to make them less oppressive. Sicilians, Vietnamese. Persians, Koreans need some buff for opposite reasons.

Khmer change will benefit Slavs. As right now, Slavs is just played as an weaker Khmer. This will make them more distinct.

Malay change was for balancing BE.

Hindustanis was over nerfed imo. And a lot of players asked to buff them recently.

Bengalis and Turks needed some open maps vs closed maps adjustments. Nerfing EA of Bengalis and free LC upgrade of Turks comes in my mind first when I imagine Arena. Nerfing these 2 should have come with a compensation for open maps.

Chinese and Burgundians are too difficult to balance. I hope Chinese early game buff will help low elo players more while not having cheaper xbow, Elite skirms, pikeman upgrades in the mid game will hurt high elo players more. For Burgundians, as majority wants Flemish Revolution to be removed, I imagined a new possible UT which was initially their civ bonus during LOTW announcement. They are an absolute power house in closed maps but okay in open maps. I tried to adjust them like Bengalis and Turks a bit.


No. And Aztecs need nerfs not buffs.

I see them fine no need to buff.

They don’t need any sort of buff.

What? Buff to one of the strongest civs in the game?! No.


I think Dravidians are fine, no need to change.

Buffs for Franks?! 11 11 11 11 11 11 11.

No, they are Vgood civ.

Ok but I think they need more nerfs also.

Buff for Khmer?! 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11

Koreans are fine.

Ok. I think also their faster age up bonus needs a nerf also.


Not enough, their eco needs a nerf also.


Not enough, their gold units discount and the faster techs upgardes bonuses both need nerfs.

No need, they are fine.

No, Turks don’t need any sort of buff at all.

Vietnamese are fine and they don’t need any change at all.

Surely the Khmer shouldn’t get Mahouts? They have faster Battle Elephants already, and access to a tech that does the same thing would be…overbearing, to say the least.

I think you removed a lot of things that make certain civs unique, and that’s a bummer.


I think we generally tend to agree on a lot of things, but I see a lot of disagreements here. Not gonna go over everything, I’ll just point out the biggest agreements/disagreements.

The idea is pretty good imo. But it does require a few changes. First, it should be more expensive. Elephants are an imperial age unit, and this should be like 150 food, 100 gold range imo. Also, I don’t think Khmer should get it, considering how fast their eles are already. You did balance it by removing husbandry, but that’ll nerf khmer hussars, which isn’t warranted imo. Vietnamese, on the other hand, should ge# ### It’ll be a nice buff to them.

Absolutely not. This is by far the worst change the game can have on this list. Right now, archers vs onagers are a test of skill. A single onager, worth about 300 resources, can wipe out archers worth 2000 resources already. This change would remove this test of skill and make onagers the biggest counter to anything in the game. This would also buff cavalry civs by a LOT.

I agree that team bonus change would be nice. However, this is a huge nerf to the civ, which has very few water bonuses already. Something like docks work 10% faster, or fishing ships move 20% faster would be better imo.

This is a pretty good change imo. Hindustanis have been performing pretty badly recently, and this would buff them slightly without overbuffing them.

These are pretty good too. The mangonel team bonus is actually pretty good, but incorporating it into UT works just as well. This might be overbuffing the war wagons, though.

This is a huge buff to franks in their late game, so no. Removing the forager bonus is fine, but there is no reason to give them arbs.

This is definitely a buff, but I think there are better buffs for vietnamese.

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I’m assuming you didn’t read General balance section at all.

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I totally agree with you, but would it actually nerf cav civs? Onager projectiles would just be at a point where cav might not even be able to dodge, they would just land too quickly. It would work, but you’d lose far more than you do right now.

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You noticed I have removed Husbandry from Khmer, right?

For example?

Why an weaker tech should be more expensive than a stronger tech?

I have explained my reasons in 1st reply.

Vietnamese didn’t even have Husbandry before DE. Mobility is not their design. Same can be said for Dravidians but that their lack of mobility is so big that it is a big problem of that civ.

Ironically I’ll say this is the best idea on the list. This will make game balance so much easier.

It will still be the test of skill as archers still have 1 extra range over onagers.

That’s how the game was intended to be designed.

Now players can focus more on strategy than micro. Look, I’m not “no micro” activist. If I were, I’d say give ballistic missile projectile to all ranged units like AoE4. I just don’t want to see a faster player with higher eapm (Like Liyerey) wins a game against a slower eapm (Like DauT) despite not having a superior strategy or higher army number. And I’m just making it harder for a very specific situation which was intended. Neither completely removing it, nor even reducing it in all situations.

Great. Now we can nerf cavalry and cavalry civs without making them weaker for a certain player base.

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That’s not the issue. The Khmer have inherently faster elephants, so even without Husbandry, Khmer Battle Elephants would be insanely fast. Although I suppose it wouldn’t be that bad; it might be the same as before.

Because it’s context dependant. The second archer upgrade does the exact same thing as ########## but it costs way more. Elephants are slow, but strong. Making them fast(er) should therefore cost more.

You can say this about anything. This is the counter to literally any proposals for game changes.

I actually agree with you. I don’t think AoE2 should be starcraft where 4000 apm is strictly, and always better than 200. This just isn’t the way to do it imo.

If so, you need to propose those changes in the same post. Theoretically, what you are saying here can work. But you can’t draw half the picture and leave the half for others to figure out. If you want such a huge nerf to archer civs, also say how you want to nerf cav civs.

Without Husbandry Khmer BE will be just as fast as non-Dravidians BE.

Sounds logical. But I think this won’t buff BE play as much as I want. BE is more gold intensive now. So monks will be even harder counter. You need to pick up both Husbandry and Mahouts asap.

Not really. For example I’m not a fan of latest Gambeson that much. Surely that helped (At least on paper), but infantries were not designed to be arrow resistant. However, mangonel vs archer is opposite. Right now mangonel doesn’t counter xbow in Castle Age for high elo players which shouldn’t happen.

Yeah. Same thought.

I did mention some. TR cost reduction, Khmer cavalry nerf, Franks, Burgundians, Malians eco nerf. I don’t think other cavalry civs are that oppressive at this moment. Huns, Berbers, Lithuanians, Poles all seem to be balanced. Persians, Teutons, Slavs are underpowered even.

Okay, it’s balanced then. Good job :+1:


So, just make scorpions. Or skirms. Who says that mangonels HAVE to counter xbows?

None of that is even close to enough. Let’s just get some perspective here.

At all levels, losing your archer mass is basically game over, if your opponent has enough army. My 60 archer mass, which took the whole game to buid up can die in like 3 onager shots. That’s an unbelievably strong counter. That’s 900 resources countering 4000 resources.

Nothing counters cavalry like that. To counter 4000 resources of cavalry, you need at least 2000 resources, but likely way more.

What you are saying will basically kill archer play at all levels. Devs will never make such a change, but that’s besides the point. If you want to nerf archers like that, you need severe nerfs to cav too. I’m talking about something like pikemen +15 damage against cav, and 3 damage reduction from cav units. All knight line units -3 attack from what they have now, or cost +15f +15g compared to what they have.

Mangonells are fine. Pros get badaboomed as is and you want to make a change that encourages even more knight spam in lower elos?

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I hope you’re trolling.

Which happens all the time unless you’re like at least 1600 or maybe even 2000 elo. Majority of player base is suffering this for 23 years and only the top 5%-10% the situation is reversed and we can’t ask to buff archer for that reason.

Maybe you’re right. I’m actually holding back myself from asking to have the 2nd biggest balance change only after 2 months of the biggest balance change in the history of the game. I have knight training time and cost increase in my mind but didn’t list.

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If Flemish Revolution was going to be taken out of the game it’d been already

Can anyone cares to explain me why paying 400F and 400G for a unit that has no TR, no Bracer and no Ring Armor a buff? Even a non elite skirmisher would melt this arbalesters

I would give them the arbalesters just for historical accuracy… I know that they won’t be of any help

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I like the small changes to infantry, speed increase for scorpions. Elephant isn’t worth 105 gold even with 10 elephant class armor. We have Bengalis which get 15 less bonus damage, Vietnamese which get more hp and can thereby survive 2 more hits from halberdiers but still they die to halbs. They’re still quite difficult to afford, gets converted and moves too slow to have impact. A change like this is good for a unit like Ballista elephant. It will become a bit more feasible in castle age and a bit les affordable in imperial age.
If you want Battle elephants to become more mainstream, instead of doing a ton of changes like this, you can do just three basic changes - increase farm, berry and sheep collection rates by 20%, reduce farm’s base cost, increase the minimum conversion time by 3 seconds and then add a tech costing 500f, 500g that drops it to current value. This will reduce the relative importance of food wrt gold in the early game, light cav will be easier to afford, monks will become less effective and paired with Mahouts, Elephants will naturally become more usable.
Eagle change is great.
CA, champion changes are small but reasonably good. Mangonel change might be a bit too much but I like the idea. Maybe that projectile speed buff should be a tech in the university or siege workshop instead of directly buffing it for free.

A much simpler fix would be modifying their Melee Cavalry have +2 vs skirms to Melee cavalry get +1 in feudal, +2 in castle and +3 in imp. Or each relic increases their elephant’s min conversion time by 1 second upto 3 additional seconds.

Terrible tech by design. I’d rather nerf Coustillier base recharge rate and use this tech to make them recharge faster (almost close to current recharge rate)

Its a nearly zero impact change. As far as most of the regular RM game goes this is 45 extra resources for crossbow upgrade. By the time they reach imp, they are too far ahead for cavalier or arbalest’s 120/160 to have any effect. Probably better if it was the other way around - Unit upgrades cost -15% but rest of the techs are full price. That would be an impactful nerf if your intention is to nerf them.

Personally I wouldn’t care about this but why nerf one of the weakest civs in the game?

I like the removal of berry bonus but hate the new unique tech. Benefits for archer line for a civ that doesn’t have last armor and bracer is a poor design. Its obsolete like Malian archer line. Better options for 2nd UT - extra projectile for throwing axemen, bonus damage against infantry, or just keep the berry bonus but make the castle discount their UT and make the Slav bonus for free.

Amazing changes.

You might think you’re promoting elephant play by doing this but unfortunately that won’t be the case. Players will rather use it similar to the old vikings. Scout-archers into quick low eco (50-60 vills) imp. The farm bonus will just carry them forward easily.

Exact opposite of good balance changes. Makes them more broken in places where they’re good like Nomad, megarandom and some water friendly hybrid maps while they become even worse on most land maps. You can support tower rush by making stone mining giving more incentives - like food trickle from stone or enemy units slow down in tower’s range or something like that.

A zero change for standard maps but a good nerf for limited gold maps. Personally I’d like to keep the “drop-off” innovation, so maybe reducing it to 10% or staggering it to 5,10 and 15% would be better.

Anoither great change.

Good changes as well.

Its an unimpactful change. If your goal is to slow down Organ gun rush, it might be better to increase the training time. 4 gold is too little to have any meaningful impact. Unlike eagles, its not a unit that’s spammed like crazy either.

Another set of nice meaningful incremental changes.

Great changes as well, particularly Turks getting 33 gold bloodlines.

Terrible change. You get like 10 seconds on crossbow upgrade, 5 seconds on Arbalester upgrade, 15 seconds on ########## This as a new extra bonus is ok but probably not at the cost of removing free conscription. You can remove free conscription and instead give a big discount on archer line upgrades or archery range upgrades like 30% or 40% because that would naturally make Vietnamese faster. But this will end up being like the old pre-mill buff Portugese bonus. Something that looks like a bonus on paper but is not.

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And Vietnamese, Burmese.

This change seems unnecessary as it is a buff in every situation, not just against archers.
Maybe all you need is to give it a little bit more attack bonus against archers to make it harder for them to survive being stoned.

That hurts too much for EA, which lacks the Thumb Ring.
No plan to add supporting measures for this? Such as removing Arbalester, and giving Thumb Ring and Hand Cannoneer.

I know a lot of people in this forum don’t like FR. However, it should be impossible to get FM removed as a UU.

The suggestion I had was to nerf Flemish Militia, then introduce an upgrade tech that would allow it to be upgraded to a Flemish Soldier with decent strength. After the player researches FR, if he chooses to attack immediately, it will not be so deadly, and if he chooses to wait for the upgrade, the opponent will have more time to prepare.

Not a really bad idea, but it will do the same thing for both high elo and low elo to a civ that people think too hard to high elo and too strong to low elo.

Maybe changing +3 villagers and -200 food to +2 villagers, +1 goat and -180 food would be more helpful for the low elo experience of this civ.

You are going to remove their biggest power in the water maps. Isn’t that their indentity?

You are going to buff a civ people usually considering it OP.

I can understand giving Arbalester to the civ symbolizes the origin of this unit’s name, full of flavor and acceptable — when being not really useful without ring armor, bracers and thumb ring. However your proposed new UT is going to change this thing. This civ does not need a useful archer line unless you trade the cavalry power or infantry power.

I would say 5%/10%/15%/20%.

Samurai receiving -X% damage from ranged UUs might be better?

Even though it’s practically the same, but it’s more elegant to replace their speed bonus with free Mahouts instead of removing Husbandry.