this is my opinions and criticisms of the factions we have gotten with DE so far. i will split it up into multiple sections: “theme”, design and complexity and maybe a bit of balance.
i have preface that i come from this more as a treaty player.
the first 2 factions we got where the swedes and the Inca, these are factions that in an alternative timeline could have made it into the original game and the expansion back in the day. both factions make sense from a thematical POV.
America was the next, and i think this is when the theme snatches a bit. AOE 3 is really about the colonial periode between 1492 and up to just before the berlin conference with an end date somewhere around the late 1870s, but its also a game about either being a European faction going out to explore, trade and colonize or on the receiving end being a native faction that has to resist the efforts of the colonials, obviously this is is a very oversimplified argument but still. America however is kind of the result of this periode, but arguably still within the periode, my grippe though is just how modern the US faction is, it clearly favors the civil war and post civil war era tech and units more so than say the war of 1812, it leads to a faction that has far better tech than other nations it fight despite those nations obviously having just as good (if not better) equipment in the same era.
African factions were next, a DLC we have asked for for years and i dont have any complaints about the thematic, i love playing on the African maps for their beautiful terrain. perhaps i feel like the factions have a bit many guns considering real life Africa didn’t really have many as the majority of those they had where brought from the Europeans. i guess maybe i had hoped for factions that relied a bit more on numbers warfare with less emphasis on guns.
now we got mexico, and if i thought america was too late then mexico is even worse. i am straight up gonna say that i dont think any faction getting independence after the napoleonic wars have any place in the game. there is also a lot of things about mexico that simply dont make sense, why does mexico get so good ships? the mexican navy wasn’t exactly great, in fact im not even sure they had any, yet they get the same ships as the US, aka modern steam powered ships. the worst offender as a unit tho is Soldado, people have asked for years for a more accurate grenadier type, and we still have factions that could have been added where such a unit makes sense (if the unit wasnt straigt up replacing current grenadiers), instead MEXICO of all places get that sort of unit people have asked for. no one asked for mexico, and the US was already somewhat controversial, i dont get why we got them and i dont get why they have units european factions should have.
the design of factions seems to constantly get more complex, sweden as a european faction was a little more complex than the current europeans but nothing outside of what we have seen before, i understand their economic advantage for example. Inca is a little more complex but that was to be expected with a native civ.
USA was a little more complex with the State age up and i must admit im not quiet sure what their special eco bonus is suppose to be, i guess experience crates? tho now they share that with mexico, or perhaps its the immigrants but usually economic advantages are suppose to be inherent.
African factions i honestly have no idea about, i know the cow eco but beyond that i cant tell you what eco differences there are between the 2 faction other than the way they get influence. the alliance system is interesting but IMO harder to understand than the state system, with the states i have 5 options per age while with alliances it seems it adds and removes some with age ups? the factions are just very complex, with just as complex of a unit roster and it puts me off learning them for real. influence is export but more complicated.
Mexico economic advantage is pretty easy to grasp: the hacienda. all be it the way it actually works is pretty complicated and has so many ways you can tailor it to that it is crazy. like you can make them into cow farms that auto creates and gathers cows (and very efficiently btw), its crazy and will probably take a little to figure out how worth some of this is.
the Unit design however is where the newer factions seem to really get a little out of hand.
Sweden- Caroleans were basically a mixture of musketeers and dragoons, good range, ranged multipliers, high HP and ranged resist, it combined all the good parts of each unit type with little to now downsides. sweden on top had the most upgradeable hussars in the game and probably the best artillery, and we aren’t even talking mercenaries yet. sweden was a faction released with too much potential and the weaknesses the faction had like a lag of skirmishers and dragoons can be solved with mercenaries without issues. just by options alone sweden will pretty much always be a good civ in a treaty like enviornment
Inca- invisible fortresses, i think that is all i really need to say. units also cost no/less pop when in buildings which is weird.
Africans- so many unique units, that all have these hard to understand modifiers, 1 of the ranged cav units litterally shoot faster the closer you are. its okay to have 1 or 2 units like that for each faction but when every unit feels like that and the factions already are complicated it just makes it unapproachable.
USA- all i gotta ask is why do the US get sharpshooters? they already have 2 similar units in the gatling and statemilitia, it is just such a waste of the unit to be stuck in that faction. the only small issue the faction has is vs cavalry but you still got options vs it.
Mexico- its the issue the africans got all over with many units that do entirely unique stuff, not to mention the ability to give guns to what is a pikeman and the fact you can revolt into mayans making it even more complex, the faction just has a lot of mold breaking units.
states alliances, call it what you will.
not all of them are equally good, far from it. as an in treaty you will ALWAYS go for new jersey as it is far superior to the other options, meanwhile i dont think you would ever go Vermont as it offers practically no benefits in any mode, like i cant imagine a scenario where any of the cards you get would be meaningful. i dont imagine anyone would go anything other than Illinois or New york in age 5.
i dont have enough experience with the 3 other factions to really comment on them in this regard sadly.
I am Jonas and thank you for coming to my rant.