My proposed "solution" for Eles (collection)

First for all I want to share my “solution”, but I’d like to see your ways aswell.
If we get enough approaches together we probably also could make a poll in the end, which one is the best in the eyes of the community.

Second: My solution also contains influences of other changes in the meta gameplay I want to compensate at the same time. I will try to explain the Reasonings behind that. Be aware that there are often more complicated interactions behind this which I won’t explain as it’s a) often too hard for people who don’t have the insights and b) would make the post way too long and clunky.

let’s begin:

Unit Changes

  • (Elite) Elephant archer losses the “Cavalry Archer” armor class.

This class should be reserved for very fast archery type units. Also with the other changes I propose it’s no longer necesary for Balance reasons.

  • When Elephant units are converted, they don’t join the side of the opponent directly. They instead become “neutral” and can be converted by either side.

Monks have always been the cryptonite of elephants as eles are so costly and slow. With the change Monks still have nice utility against the Eles, but aren’t as oppressive anymore. The ele player can try to add some Monks on his own to convert back his Eles before they can be used to stop his push completely.

  • War and Battle Elephants get a “speed charge”. When it is up, it can be activated by ordering them to attack an enemy unit. Then their movement speed is increased by 80 % for 10 seconds. Takes 40 seconds to recharge.

This is to give the melee eles some micro ability. With this speed charge they can force some favorable engagements or even try to run away from less favorable ones (though the last one is probably less effective against generally speedier units).

  • Spear line +.1 Speed => 1.1

  • Pikeman upgrade cost reduced to 200 F, 50 G
    Pikeman: +1 atk => 5
    Pikeman: - 10 vs War Elephant => 15

  • Halberdier upgrade cost reduced to 250 F, 450 G
    Halberdier: - 4 atk vs Cavalry => 28
    Halberdier: - 6 atk vs Camel => 20
    Halberdier: - 13 atk cs War Elephant => 15


This is the first tweak where there come in also other aspects than just the eles. Currently the spear line struggles in general with “doing their job” against cavalry. We have become too good in using the mobility of the Cavalry. This is compensated by a speed buff of the spear line.
Then it showed that the Pikeman upgrade is often too expensive to counteract a Knight rush. Whilst I think it’s still important that the initial Knight rush does damage, I think a small decrease in upgrade cost can make the midgame less dominated by Knight play. Pikemen also get one more base attack, so they become just a little bit more versatile at this stage. This is especially designed for Arena type maps which are currently dominated by light cav + monk in the midgame. With the higher speed and +1 base attack, pikes can possibly become a counterplay to this meta strat and therefore increase the diversity on these maps. Pikes in compensation lose a huge chunk of their anti-elephant bonus damage. Making Pikes less of a hard-counter of Elephants in the midgame. They will still counter Eles, but way less than currently.
The Halberdier upgrade also gets cheaper. As it provides less. Halberdiers lose some Bonus against cavalry, just enough so that it takes 1 more hit to kill cavalier and (not-teuton, not-frank) Paladins. Also they lose some bonus against Camels, as Camels are hard-countered by them anyways. Doesn’t need to be that oppressive.
Lastly, the bonus vs Eles is adjusted to the same values of Spears and Pikes. Some civs don’t get the Halb upgrade and it would be a too big powerboost against the Eles if the Halbs would get more bonus damage. It’s just not possible with the current super-pop efficient design of the Eles that Halbs are much better against them than Pikes.

  • Knight Line: Cost changed to 75 F, 60 G

Optional change to the Knight line. It’s an adjustment to make the Knights less spammable in the midgame put more sustainable later on when the line often falls of a bit. If the Paladins become too strong with that, the Paladin upgrade Gold cost could be increased a bit.

  • Armored Elephant: War Elephant Armor + 17 => + 4
  • Siege Elephant: War Elephant Armor + 18 => + 5

Compensation for Spear line upgrades losing bonus damage.

  • Skirmisher: +5 atk vs War Elephant => 5
    Elite Skirmissher: +7 atk vs War Elephant => 7

That’s a huge one. After all the Buffs to the eles, now we get an indirect nerf. The Skirmisher line becomes a soft counter of eles. Opening more strats against eles. It’s historically documented that skirmishers were used effectively to counter elephants. As long as the SKirmishers can keep the distance they now will have an even higher damage output against Elephants than Archers. I can’t tell exactly rn if I hit the perfect numbers there, but it should be around that ballpark. This is also the compensation for EA losing the Cav Archer armor class.


  • TC Castle Age tech: Urbanization: (All civs but Goths)
    50 S, 100 G, 25 s
    Reduces Pop space consumption of foot military units by 20 %. Also increases the HP of Vilagers by 20 and their melee armor by 2.
  • TC Imperial Age tech: Ordnance: (List of civs needed)
    200 F, 300 G, 120 s
    Reduces pop space consumption of foot military units by 17 % => (total 1/3 less pop space with Urbanization)

In the middle ages there emerged robber barons which terrorized lands in a lot of regions. People started to move in together in towns and built castles and walls for Protection. They also built up urban militia that were responsible for the defence of these towns. In Germany this even had influence in our naming of “citizens” of these towns. They are called “Bürger” which refers to our naming of catles: “Burg”. So our town citizens were named after the castles they built in order to protect themselves from the robbber barons. The urbanization tech has 2 parts. First, it’s basically a second “loom”, so the Villagers don’t die as fast from raidings. It’s more expensive than loom, so it’s not always a cheap pickup. But it’s intended to be a bit more protective against raids. I hope to change the current meta of base designing on open maps: Less warlls, more expanded eco. Players more willing to take a bit higher risk with their expansion. When the vills don’t die as fast, you can justify to be a bit more “bold” instead of building up a basically unraidable base with 5 TCs in a very dense area. I don’t really like the current hyper defendable base layouts and want to encourage taking a bit more risk.
The second effect is the reduction of pop consumption by military foot units. This is to compensate the currenly way lower pop efficiency of the foot units in comparison to the mounted ones. Kights and Camels still maintain a slightly higher pop efficiency which is compensated by a bit less bonus damage taken from the Halberdiers. Eles maintain their pop efficiency advantage over the other cavalry, but the pop efficiency over foot units is reduced a bit. This is the key factor that allows for the Spearman line to deal way less bonus damage against the Elephants. The tradeoff proposed is: Less direct countering for less pop efficiency discrepancy. Especially in the midgame with pikes having way less bonus damage against the eles, this might help eles to get to a “usable” state without becoming opressive.

Already conceivable Civ Changes

Ideas to solve certain forseeable issues with certain civs:

  • Malay: Elephant discount changed to 25 % (Castle age) and 30 % (Imperial age). Receive 100 F when reaching the next age.
  • Goths: Receive Arbalester. Villagers get + 10 HP with every age-up

There could also be an issue with the Power of vills from these civs:
Can’t exactly call now wether they will be too strong or not.

Other Changes

  • Nerf to offensive castles => reduce anti-building attack?

An issue that might come with the “2nd loom”, that offensive castles might become “unstoppable”. The 2nd loom is intended against the effectivity of raidings, not to increase the chances for successfull castle drops. As I currently have no idea how to make it easier to stop, I instead propose to reduce the anti-building damage of the castle drops, so they are at least a bit easier to “contain”.

Way too many side effects for such a narrow objective.

Heres an easier solution: buff battle elephants but increase their pop cost. Malay discount applies to gold cost or is reduced. Do something similar for the other elephants. Very few side effects.

Elephants are really just a symptom of pop capped dynamics in aoe2 being garbage. A more comprehensive change would change the pop cost function for all units. For example pop cost which is a function of resource cost would maintain all the balance from earlier in the game when at pop cap with little need for rebalancing. E.g.

  • Trebs, rams, vills, armoured elephant = 1
  • all melee units: sqrt(x/100)
  • all ranged units: sqrt(x/100)*1.15
  • bbc does not have 15% penalty.

Maybe nerf el dorado slightly, remove the goths bonus pop space, etc. You dont need to do this to fix elephants but it would have stopped elephants from being garbage in the first place due to the current impossibility for balancing high cost units for max pop and regular play.

Well as I said, The changes aren’t only for this. But because of a lot of other stuff that I think can be adjusted at the same time. The pop efficiency issue isn’t a Elephant thing only. When adjusting the Spearman line, you can also adjust the interaction with knights at the same time, also the relic game on arena and so on…

Nah, this is really weird. Would evne mean that some units would have a pop space consumption of > 1. I think we shouldn’t break the rule that no unit has a pop consumption bigger than 1. I think we still can reduce the pop consumpton of the foot units (via techs), but in an easy comprehendable fashion. Karambit only take 1 pop for every 2 units. My proposal turns all foot units into 2 pop for every 3 units (after both techs are researched).
Don’t say it’s "“perfect”. But it’s way easier to understand than such a formula. I’m quite good with calculating in my head, but I won’t be able to calc 60 / sqrt (135/100) in my head to assess how many paladins I can fit in my 140 vill eco…

I didn’t made a lot more tbh. I nerfed/adjusted the speaman line more to compensate for the higher pop efficiency. And I think this is actually necessary cause Halbs in their current state are perfeclty balanced. If you make them more pop efficient you basically need to compensate them somewhere else as a compensation.
And you neglect the fact that every change written out always looks bigger than a generalist “just buff/nerf that unit”. So my changes look way more complicated than they really are. Just because I made precise proposals and no generalist asessments.

1 Like

Pretty much all your suggestions have a lot of side effects for their purported objectives.

Unbanization makes ranged foot units much stronger because theres no penalty for ranged units despite them having dramatically different scaling than melee units. It also has a big effect on raids which are, between two good opponents one of the only ways to break a stalemate. Those are massive when the alternative is to penalize ranged units to prevent that behavior. Mayans, britons, gbeto, chakrams, etc. Definitely needs tweaking.

Also keep in mind that increased pop cap doesnt change the density of melee units availble to field. The density of pikes at the front line remains unchanged even with more popcap. Pop cap ensures a continuity of applied force that would otherwise be a series of divide and conquer fights or stream.

The knight cost change has a sizeable effect on the up front cost to get the farming eco going. Its an extra 1.5 farms or for 2 stables 180 wood. Given the relation knights have with xbow its not a good idea to introduce an additional lag like this. However because the total villager time change is negligible the spammability is more or less unchanged once the farms are up.

The skirm + sprint + conversion changes for elephants are not really analyzed at a holistic level so im not sure what effects youve looked into. But war elephants would probably be broken in the late game as they are no longer effectively countered by monks or halbs. Maybe skirms will work but then…

Howdah is now useless because of the skirm change and bengalis are kind of screwed. Being able to 2 shot battle elephants with 20 skirms begs the question of why anyone would use them? I think Malay get 1 shot by 25 FU eskirms? It doesnt seem like much calibration went into this.

So yeah theres a ton of side effects here.


Well, that’s wrong.
For example the interaction with skirms I chose in a way that skirms just have barely higher DPS against eles than the respective archer line units.

Battle eles currently get 4- shot by 20 arbs. It takes the arbs 6.8 seconds for these 4 shots. 20 skirms 2 - shot takes them 6 seconds. Meaning these skirms would hardly outperform Arbs in this respect. Ofc Skirms are cheaper and cost no Gold. But it’s really just less than 15 % higher DPS of the skirms vs the Eles than with the arbs. And nobody calls Arbs an ele hard-counter.

Bengali Eles receive less bonus damage and attack faster, so no, don’t think they would be screwed.

Actually right the opposite. As it’s currently meta to overspam farms in feudal to go up to Castle faster, you often have actually more food when reaching castle than gold. Therefore also steppe civs often initially add SL instead of knights cause SL can use this additional food more effectively.
The higher food cost will indeed come into play later as we often have several early farms depleting at that time which need to be replaced which leads to a lower overall farm count in mid castle age than the optimum.

Not sure about that. The thing is that the ranged counter units (in most times skirms) are equally affected by the pop efficiency. Which means when this comes into play (which is usually at 200 pop actually), it’s balanced in itself. Ofc it’s overall a buff to skirms in the very lategame. But that’s intentional. cause Skirms in the very lategame just suck. Sorry to say, but of all the trash units the skirms are actually the worst in that triangle atm. It’s ofc somehow a “sneaky” skirm buff - and you can surely criticize me for that - but I think it’s ok.
Skirms are also somewhat countered by the militia line which is also affected by the change, so it’s unliekely they would become oppressive. Also a lot of the current Ele civs have ok-ish infnatry to deal with the skirm + halb comp that would counter the eles. I’m curious to figure out how this plays out.

And that’s what makes it nearly impossible to find the “perfect” fit right from the getgo. I gave the numbers that I figured out to fit the best what I want to achieve, but there are limits on what you can forsee. I also didn’t forsee the current base layouts which atm determine the meta. With very limited variety as these layouts just don’t allow certain moves to be successfull. This kind of stuff is basically impossible to forsee.
I only try to give a good baseline that then can be adjusted.

They litterally jsut made a one-sided crossbow nerf. And this despite all stats where we had enough data showed that on semi-open maps like arabia Knight civs AND Scout openers already were considerably stronger than archer civs and range openers.
Where was the cryout there what this makes with the relation of Knights and Xbows?

And this isn’t even a one-sided thing. Knights get cheaper on Gold which means Knights would be longer sustainable in Production. You don’t lose a single word on that, only looking on a very specific “Castle Age Knight Spam” scenario. Which is one way to play the game.
It’s not the only way how you can approach the game!
Only because it’s currently meta for some specific civs doesn’t mean it has to be excluded from changes. I’d actually welcome if this kind of meta would be tuned down a bit.
Still due to the bonusses Franks and Berbers will probably still be the best at this.

Not useless. But agree, howdah could also give +1 or +2 elephant armor aswell then. We have similar changes in the game already.

Agree there, That’s one more reason why I gave the skirms anti-Elephant attack, so you can just add skirms instead of adding more pikes/halbs. It’s a

Way to solve issues in a creative way that otherwise may look quite complicated and basically impossible to solve ;).


Gebto isn’t an issue, Chakrams in their current state… maybe, needs to be figured out. Mayans isn’t an issue cause of their Gold dependency. Britons CAN be an issue…
Thing is with the 2 techs we can just don’t give the second tech to the civs that would potentially be overpowered. Then it most likely won’t become an issue.
I also don’t think you listet the “right” civs here. The civs I would list are:
Byzantines, Lithuanians, Poles, Teutons, Dravidians, Italians, Incas (Goths, but I excluded them already)
Potentially Malay, Persians, Koreans, Sicilians (Malians Champs) and… Franks with their TA
Maybe I forgot some honorable mentions. But this would be a list of civs which imo shouldn’t get the 2nd tech “Ordnance”. Potetnially aside the named Gurjaras and Britons of yours.

FU EBE have 7 armour…

Your eskirm is ~87% and ~64% more efficient (cost per point of dps) than the archer line vs elephants in castle and imp respectively.

If you dont value your own time enough to double check for errors like this on your own proposal, why should anyone else?

I will end this now as for me it only looks like you are trying to pick on me.

Idk what your problem ist, but your style of argumentation is really aboxious. I tried to get into details with as many of your points as possible and the result is you pick the one point where I put a wrong number in my calculator.
Only because I tried to fit your numbers didn’t mean I didn’t cross-check. I just used different assessment methods there, which are more complicated to describe.

That said, I don’t understand where you get these

Values from.

They don’t make any sense. Even if I correct the numbers in the calc, the Skirm in imp still does 7/3 DPS against a war ele and an Arb 3/1.7. Which is just 32 % higher DPS.
In Castle age you have to factor in the higher upgrade cost and food demand of the skirm which make them less spammable than xbows.
Both units have the same pop requirement which was previously your evalueation method of choice. And what makes also sense in the cirdumstance of lategame stancoffs. You can’t switch your evalueations as you like if the results don’t show off how you like.
Especially not when you criticize people and assess them to not

I also want to remind you that with the implementation of the speed charge Skirms need to have considerably higher DPS than the archers as they won’t be able to shoot all the time. It’s a necessity that needs to be accounted for. Ofc that’s hard to exactly assess, but yes, they need a slightly higher DPS because of that.

I think people have the wrong idea about the work elephants need. Ballista Elephants are in a good spot. Elephant Archers are in a decent spot. What really is problematic is Battle Elephants. When you have a melee unit which moves slower than a villager and costs more than a knight its going to inherently be problematic.

I walked into this thread expecting faster movement speed less damage from pikes, and instead you propose rebalancing almost everything military unit in the game… it is too much.

To focus on a couple of points specifically that I think are interesting from a balance perspective and not as critique of your overall idea;

The problem here (and I agree) is losing elephants to monks is too expensive, and your solution is to make the conversion a two step process so that your monks can counter the situation. However I think a more logical solution which doesn’t change game mechanics is to just follow your own advice. Bring your own monks and if your elephants get converted, convert them back, else convert their best units yourself. Having random neutral battle elephants standing on the field after a fight is pretty funny to think about.

As I develop my game sense, one tip I have learnt is not to watch fights. I throw my units at their units and go fix my eco. I don’t want to have to watch my units to activate their special ability to win/lose fights. I think this goes fundamentally against what the game is about - balancing mirco and marco play. I don’t like the current charge attack units for this reason.

(combined your points here) Killing economy units is one of the most important ways to end the game as it enters post-imp. Making villagers more tanky will needlessly draw out games. Raiding is meant to be effective. You can plugs holes in your walls/woodlines if you have the skill. It’s one of the ways to increase the skill cap of the game. If villagers automatically dropped stone walls everytime they broke a woodline and for example didn’t walk through gates when the enemy is near - the only way to end games would be bashing armies against each other until someone runs out of wood. That isn’t fun at all. What is the point here? Why would you want raiding to be less effective?


In my view, the main problem is that elephant units are too difficult to get going in Castle Age, so here’s my suggestion (to be implemented incrementally – it might not all be necessary):

  • Elephants gain +10% movement speed but are no longer affected by Husbandry.
  • Elephants gain +20 HP but are no longer affected by Bloodlines.
  • Maybe elephants gain a little more movement speed, to make them slightly faster than spear-line units.
  • Reduce the bonus damage that Halberdiers deal to elephants other than War Elephants. Possibly introduce another late-game counter, e.g. give Hand Cannoneers bonus damage against elephants.

I’d be resistant to altering pop space for anything, because in the games I’ve played with units taking variable pop space, I think it often doesn’t work all that well.

I think @casusincorrabil’s suggestions are basically the opposite of what I’d want. The only one I potentially agree with is

Even that I’m not sure about. Otherwise, I think elephants should be fixed by (at least primarily) changing elephants, not by changing other units.

Giving Skirmishers bonus damage against elephants seems particularly bad to me, since Bengalis already struggle too much with Skirmishers.

What is x? The total resource cost of the unit? I think I must have misunderstood what you mean here, because this seems much too convoluted to be reasonable. Almost no one has good intuition for square roots of fractions, or for sums of square roots – let alone sums of multiples of square roots of fractions. And I’m only saying “almost no one” to allow for the possibility of Ramanujan-style prodigies.

Population costs should be either natural numbers, or very simple fractions (e.g. 1/2). Even the 0.9 pop cost of a Mahayana Villager is pretty bad, and only works because it comes in during the late game when you have less need to keep a close eye on your available pop space.

1 Like

Why not just let elephants 20% faster and still be affected by Husbandry?
Or, let elephants 15% faster and get another 15% from Husbandry?
This way, BE (0.85) could be 1.105 and EA (0.9) could be 1.17, better than 1.1.

Btw, the melee units slower than the ranged units feel a bit strange here.
Maybe we just need to make their speed simply 1 or a bit more than 1 (like 1.02), and can be affected by Husbandry.

1 Like

I think you are making thing too complicated for one task.
-Siege elephant line is fine, it doesn’t need any change.
-Battle elephants only need extra speed to be relevant (around spear line movement speed).
-Elephant archer should have more range to compensate for their slowness (probably +2 range compared to they are now) and historical reason.
-War elephant, Mahou allows them to be trained in stable.

I do love your idea of making elephant unit neutral after conversion tho, it’s actually a very good idea. It could be a tech in monastery for civs that don’t have heresy.

That’s just not true.
Ofc the pop efficiency change of the foot units is a generalist change. But it’s imo necessary cause atm the pop efficiency difference between ele units and foot units is just too big.
That’s why currently Pikes need already 25 bonus damage against eles as they can’t counter them in imp without that. And some civs just don’t get Halberdiers.
And when we touch this Pop efficiency issue there is no way around making adjusting compensatory changes to some specific other units.

List of units ordered after how much Changes they receive

Units with major Changes:
Battle Elephant
Units with minor Changes:
Knight (Optional)
Units with changes that basically only offset indirectly changed interactions:
Armored Elephant (lower elephant armor to compensate the lower anti-elephant damage of pikes)
Elephant Archer (lose Cav Archer Armor as Skirms no deal direct bonus against Elephants)
Units affected by better pop efficiency:
Hand Cannoneer
Monk (?)
Units completely unaffected:
Steppe Lancer
Cavalry Archer
Siege Tower

As you can see, most units are completely unaffected. Second most are only slightly affectec by the pop efficiency changes. Only 3 units receive major changes. Two units of the ones which receive direct changes only receive these changes as a compensation, so that their overall interactions in the game stay basically the same. The only minor Change with the Knight line was from the getgo marked as “optional”.

Maybe it’s not a “super elegant” solution. But I doubt this solution actually exists. The game in it’s current builtup is just not set up for the Eles as they are just too “Umph”.

Ofc we could talk about a complete redesign of the Ele units, but then we would just end up with basically a Knight with higher HP and slower speed.

First, it’s the historically way Eles were countered with skrimishers.
Second, this would be one “difference” between the Eles and knights in their unit interactions. The goal was to make Eles less hard-countered by one or two unit lines, instead adding a third softcounter. This way it’s possible to lower the countering of the two current counter units.
So the opponent has more ways to try counter the eles, but no single of them is super efficient. This is a major difference to the current counter mechanics of the Knight line which is still just hard-countered by monks and pikes. But the Eles instead would be soft countered by these and super-soft countered by skirms. Becasue as I explained already, the bonus damage of the skirms may look high, but as skirms attack so slowly, the dps is actually just a bit higher than the dps of the archer line.
Maybe you don’t like it, but imo this is one way to differentiate the eles fighting interaction more of them of the knights. This differentiation allows the eles to be finally seen as a differentiated cavalry unit, not just a “slow knight with more umph”.
The design I made would make Eles useful in the midgame even in lower numbers to force the opponent to some kind of commitment in dealing with those. And they would still stay valueable in higher numbers as there is no “easy counter” unit anymore. Ofc pike spam would still work, but the opponent would need more pikes which would allow you to make a switch to a unit that counters pikes with a higher chance of success as the opponent would need to invest way more into these pikemen. Ofc there still would be the option of Skirms and/or monks behind walls. Against the monks you could bring your own monks to reconvert, against the skirms you can bring siege.

First you shouldn’t go into a thread like this with prefaced expectations. Just as a tipp from me. If you do so, you’re basically set up to be disappointed.
Second, it’s actually 1/2 of I did. I reduced the bonus damage, I gave the speed charge which is one form of increasing the mobility but in a “different” way.
Then I adjusted the pop efficiency issue. What is just necessary in order to reduce the bonus damage. I’m sorry but if you don’t see this, you never have seen eles vs Pikes in the lategame. It’s already on the edge of being broken. And Pikes/Halbs are the only realitistic option to counter a lategame Ele spam. So if this doesn’t work anymore, well then Eles are uncounterable. And this is just not an option to me.
Then there is the Change with the Skirms which is also part of that. Cause as someone else already pointed out: More Pikes don’t necesarily do more damage as not all of them can attack at the same time. The idea of skirms countering Eles wasn’t motivated by this (actually historical sources were), but it solves that issue very nicely.
Then we just have some “adjustment changes” that are either followups to preserve the current interations of already established unit designs (EA vs skirm, Armored Eles vs Pikes/Halbs for example). But also Halbs having a bit less bonus damage against Cavalry due to the pop efficiency changes.
Lastly there are 3 changes that just “come with it” cause of a currently way too established meta gameplay. It targets very specific points that actually need to be adjusted in order to reestablish some diversity in the game:
A) Spearmen faster + Pikes extra attack: Cavalry in DE has just become too hard to be countered by the spearman line. I see why a lot of people like it this way, but it’s a huge balance issue. And need to be adressed. Especially on arena the current scout + monk play seems to have basically no counterstrat. Faster Pikes with one more attack can possibly be a counterstrat that may lead to more interesting midgame interactions and higher diversity of strats on this map.
B) Villagers harder to raid with a tech. First the tech isn’t super cheap. It’s an investment that you need to justify. How we currently setup our bases only justifies getting that tech when you are already up to imp, as these bases are basically unraidable. This is also a reaction of how powerful raids are in the current meta. You need to set up your base so it’s impossible to raid, otherwise you’re dead.
So that’s my idea: With this tech we enable more risky expansions. With this tech you can justify going for neutral ressources earlier in the midgame as your vills don’t die immediately to the raids.
But you would still need to pay attention to your expansions. If you aren’t reacting your vills will still die to the raids. Just not as fast as they used to. Getting this tech in the current base layouts actually makes little to no sense, as it would just slow down you imp timing and allow the opponent to push you with trebs, which these compact bases aren’t well setup to defend against, as one break can open a breach for any power unit to idle your whole eco in a blink of time.
Maybe the tech isn’t perfectly balanced atm, cause it’s intended to change up the meta a bit, you never know what exactly would be the result of that. But the generalist idea isn’t to make it impossible to raid, but instead allow the players to take more risk for their base layouts, which in reverse actually **allows for more raiding"" to happen. Maybe not as powerful raiding as it used to, but more opportunities to raid and therefore generally more Interaction.
C) The Knight cost change. Partially because of the new higher pop efficiency of the Spears in the lategame. But actually mostly how the current Knight spam meta is terrorizing the Arabian landscape. Yes. It’s a Knight spam meta. Not an archer meta. And then ofc the Camel spam which is only the “anti-meta meta” play. It’s there to make it less of a Knight spam game. i don’t have something against Knights. Knights are one of my favorite units. I just don’t like only Knights (and maybe some Siege). Man, at least add some skirms to your Knights when you’re facing XBow+Pikes. Skirms counter these perfectly. I am sick of pretending this wouldn’t be a thing, just because pros can’t go away with it. On ladder games people just aten’t as clouch as Pros to react to incoming Knight raiding parties. And if you aren’t that clutch, Knights just deal enormous damage to the eco. So the adjustment for Knights to cost more Food instead of Gold hopefully stops that absurd Knight spam meta as you just can’t afford that at that stage anymore. You have to add something different. It’s only good for the game. And on the flipside, you can make the heavy Cav way longer as the lower gold cost makes Knight play more sustainable in the lategame. Also allows you to make more smooth transitions into things like HC + Hussar when you still have some Gold left to work with.

Doesn’t work as the opponent can just delete the eles.

??? What has this to do with watching fights. The speed charge only allows you to force some engagements (or possibly run away). If any, you would even have to look less into the fight as you would know you can actually force it whilst currently you have to watch wether the opponent is running away until the last moment. As it has basically no influence once the engagement is on, you don’t need to watch it anymore…
But how do you play archers if you don’t want to pay attention to the fights? I mean you literally restrict yourself to the usage of only high mobility units with that as they are the only ones that can force or runaway from fights.
I mean if this is the approach many mid elo players go into the game I totally get why there is this high usage of Knights there… And I don’t even blame you or the others. IMO the issue for that is that the game is just too fast. You can’t handle paying attention to the fight and your eco at the same time with the current speed of the game. Which is sadge,
The issue what I have with that atm is that this pushes archer play out of the meta more and more. As with so many people who basically only can play cavalry it’s clearly that they are prohibitive against any balance changes that can possibly affect their game negatively. But we actually need more archer play in the current meta on the ladder. And we need more diverse unit compositions. The game just can’t be a pure Knight spam feast.
And I am also completely against making Eles basically a Knight 2.0 that is even harder to counter by Pikes + Halbs. That’s absurd. Especially in respect of how dominatn Knights are already in the meta.

Becasue it’s currently jsut way too effective. Why do you think Hera states that Hussars are the best units in the game? Because even at the highest level were people are super clutch the by far most often way how games end in post-imp are due to radings. Raidings are one way to end a game they aren’t the only way to end a game-
And with the current base layouts it’s actually really hard for someone to have a comeback due to raidings, as these are designed to make it almost impossible to raid. So only the players which already have breached in actually can raid. Which is inherently against the idea of Raidings being a comeback mechanic in exactly these situations.
The idea isn’t to stop raidings, but bring the raidings back to the state where they belong. One way to end a game and a nice comeback mechanic. With the tech it allows the players to make more econmically efficient expansions, which may bring them the advantage they can then use to push the opponent. But the expanded eco would have more opportunities to raid, even if the raids may not be as effective, there would at least be the opportunity to make a comeback with these raids.

This would just make them more Knight-like units. And I don’t need to have a Knight 2,0 in the game. Knights are already strong enough.

Well, I gave bonus damage to skirms. First, it’s the historically correct thing. Secon every civ has Skirms whilst a lot of civs don’t have HC. Also skirms are countered by skirms, militia and cavalry which baiscally all ele civs have at least one of usable. Also Siege, but most Ele civs don’t have that great siege.

First bengalis Eles would still have their bonus damage reduction, which would make the skirms less effective against the bengali Eles. Second, don’t you think that a general Elephant buff would actually benefit the Bengalis the most? I mean their Eles are literally the best against all civs that need to make counter units (which are most of the civs).
So no, I don’t think this change would make Bengalis worse. But I would like to see an overhaul of that civ in general as it is so flawed atm anyways. I don’t think it’s fair to bring up a broken civ as a counterargument stating “it would be even more broken”. Bengalis need to be fixed anyways so I can’t count this.

That’s what I tried to accomplish. With “Urbanization” 5 foot units would require 4 pop space. With Ordnance 3 foot units would require 2 pop space. It’s the best I could come along with, as better ratios would presumably break the game. And lower ratios would lead to weird numbers like the mentioned 10 vills taking 9 pop space.

Why it’s so important the eles can outrun the Pikes? Is the goal really to make Eles just Knights 2.0?
Aren’t Knights strong enough already?

It is almost no change, I just compensated the Changes I made to the spearman line.

Their lower range is actually atm the only thing that keeps them from being completely broken 11. The other archery type units can at least try to use their higher range against them.

Tech is interesting… but I see the issue that it could lead to an issue against other non-ele civs that don’t get heresy. As they would need to convert your eles twice whilst you only once to get them back…

Skirmishers already have bonuses against too many units. Also, it pretty much goes against the principle that this unit has to be weak against gold melee units.

They handle elephants so effectively. If the elephant couldn’t escape their pursuit, it would be nothing more than a group of hungry people chasing large steaks with forks.

Even by a small margin, it is helpful to allow the weaker side to have a chance to decide whether to go to fight or to run. They can and should be unable to escape other mounted units, but it’s bad that they are unable to escape foot units, especially when they have no range.

Rather than saying that the BE line is the scond Knight line, it is better to say that both the BE line and the Knight line are heavy cavalry lines. They play the same role as heavy cavalry units. In my opinion, BEs, especially Elite BEs, are equivalent to Paladins for those civs, ideally providing a strong late game push. Those civs don’t have Paladins, or even Knights, so the two lines don’t compete with each other for being used. Whether the Knight line is strong or not doesn’t really affect the chances of using the BE line.

Even though the BEs have strong stats, the higher cost makes this advantage not surprising. On the other hand, the low speed makes them easy to be passive in battle, and they are more likely to be at a disadvantage than Knights. These make them an expensive but inefficient option.

I’m not so against changing the units they can counter and be countered. For example, make the Spearman line no longer have such a high bonus against WE class, but make Scorpions can cause more damage to WE class, etc. It’s just that this kind of approach is still far less practical than improving their speed first.

A well designed system doesnt require the individual to do any analysis whatsoever. It just works.

When youre spamming units you shouldnt have to think about pop efficiency at all. To even have to worry about pop efficiency means A) pop costs are changing unit balance at end game and B) as a developer you will be forced to make tradeoffs because of this change in balance causality.

The irony is that a population cost which is a non-decreasing function of resource costs (with special exceptions), even one which is convoluted like the one I proposed, requires less analysis than what is currently in the game. This is because the difference in accuracy of a model f(pop cost, res cost, stats, …) vs f(res cost, stats, …) shrinks as pop cost becomes closer and closer to the constraint imposed by resource costs. Equivalently the difference between balance at pop cap and balance not at pop cap shrinks.

While AoE2 is probably not balanced to have pop cost = res_cost/k (k only affects the average amount of units needed to be similated, not the ratios) you can still mitigate the problem by having it be a non-linear but non-decreasing function. Plus theres multiple continous transformations (censor doesnt like the math term for this) between pop_cost = 1 and pop_cost = (res_cost/k)^(1/n) * ranged_penalty. So you can choose any point along that path to get a good balance between not needing to redesign units and minimizing the causal effect of pop cap on game balance.

Imho you should. Max pop is just another ressource, like gold. And we dont think that players should stop worrying about the gold cost of their units, do we? Saying you should not think about pop the same as saying “your choice should not matter” and in a game about making the right choices, thats a bad thing.

1 Like

pop efficiency is an important resource and makes for an interesting difference between civs. it’s why some civs peak at 200pop while others start falling off


Yes, on reflection, I think something like this might be better. Currently Khmer elephants have +10% speed and an extra 10% from Husbandry, yet I’ve never seen anyone complain about Khmer Battle Elephants being too strong – so I think my original suggestion wouldn’t be enough.

I know, I just don’t think it should be Skirmishers. If they’re countered by both Pikemen and Skirmishers, I think they’ll become even less viable in Castle Age.

More like Knights, but still not very much like Knights, so I don’t see it as a problem.

Yes, I realise that might be a problem. I picked Hand Cannoneer since it’s a late game unit, because I think that’s when an extra counter option is needed. I’ve also read that gunpowder was used to counter elephants, although it seems this might have been larger cannon rather than hand cannon.

Scorpions already have bonus damage against, elephants, so another possibility is to increase that. Every civ has Scorpions, so availability wouldn’t be a problem.

Battle Elephants are the only unit Bengalis have any speciality in that isn’t already countered by Skirmishers – I don’t see how it couldn’t make them worse.

A large part of fixing Bengalis will involve fixing elephants, and another large part of fixing Bengalis will involve making them less easy to counter with Skirmishers.

Again, I disagree. At most (if not all) stages of the game, players have to be able to tell whether they have the pop space available to train the units they want to train, since they have to make decisions about what units to train when and when to build houses. That becomes significantly harder the more population costs deviate from the current system. In your proposal, the majority of the player base (perhaps actually 100%) would not be able to make those judgements, and would either frequently get housed through no fault of their own, or would end up overinvesting in houses.

I think there’s some truth in the rest of what you say, but I think it’s completely academic simply because the game has to be playable by humans. Such a system would be frustrating and much less user-friendly.

Who said it’s a comeback mechanic? This is a war game, you kill the enemy to win the war. Why should a peasant mining gold that the player has failed to protect through with their own army or fortifications be given special defense?

We need mechanics in games that snowball advantages otherwise the game will just become a stalemate.

I don’t understand what you’re looking for? You can play deathmatch if you don’t want to worry about defending your economy?

Its an important resource as it exists but it places fundamental constraints on your ability to balance the game.

In particular a game like AoE2 with constant pop cap and static resource costs it will be difficult to balance units that are significantly above or below the mean cost of a unit at all stages of the game. The discontinuity that occurs in the fielded ratios when not at pop cap vs when at pop cap are simply too large to work. The only hope you have is to provide an expensive post-imp upgrade that is basically unaffordable without being “maxed out” on villagers for a while (which tends to coincide with being near pop cap). Druzhina, el dorado, etc. fulfill this. However this only works for the less expensive units and doesnt work on more expensive ones.

You can prefer to have the game with the constant pop cap but you should not be surprised if units like elephants feel broken in such an environment. A constant pop cap places hard limits on the ability to balance these kind of units over the entire game. Which means the counterfactual of viable castle age elephants and balanced post imp elephants may not exist.

This gives players way too little credit in terms of their ability to adapt. The absolute maximum deviation youd want would be like 0.4 for most non-siege units and a more realistic number is +/- 0.25. More importantly villagers and ships would almost certainly need to stay at 1 pop cost so all the rote dark age behavior would stay the same. I dont even think youd need more houses until castle age and the saved pop cap wouldnt exceed 1 house worth until castle age either as that would require like 20 feudal military. Even in castle age its 1 extra/fewer house per 4 houses which is not a ### #eal if you get wrong as long as you err on the side of caution.

Think about it from a designers point of view. Both scarce gold and pop cap cause problems later on in the game that you need to implement solutions for.

The scarce gold means you need to make sure each gold unit is actually worthwhile otherwise people will allocate the scarce gold to the most worthwhile gold units while ignoring the rest. This can be done by e.g. making ranged units more gold heavy than melee units (because ranged units tend to live longer), having very strong upgrades like Paladin or el dorado for gold heavy melee units, having slow trickle of gold to prevent a total stalemate, make sure trash has a counter dynamic, etc. In general these problems are totally solvable and keeping the game balanced under this constraint is not insurmountable.

Pop cap has the following problem: you need to make sure that the game remains balanced at pop cap. The unit relations are (prior to pop cap) balanced around unit cost and stats, which in turn means certain ratios between units. But with a constant pop cap many unit pairs will not meet at these ratios. Which means you somehow need to design unit relations which work similarly at multiple different ratios. The further the unit cost is from the mean the more difficult this is because the ratios can deviate more and more as the more expensive unit approaches pop cap. This is not solvable for some units: the maximum power they can be alotted to remain balanced at pop cap might be lower than the power they need to be balanced earlier. Adjusting the pop cost of one or both units alleviates this constraint and allows the unit to be balanced in both places.

So yeah forcing players to care about pop cap for certain units like elephants vs pikes or whatever puts hard constraints on the intertemporal relationship of a unit with its previous versions. You can argue that this is a worthwhile tradeoff but thats a tough case to make when the alternative is easier to learn, easier to balance, and inherits all the good design of the non-pop-capped game.

1 Like