Naval rework

The game needs to rethink the naval system. It is a strange system with the limits of creation, where having a fleet is not something to value in terms of population, but only resources. And if you have too many of them, the game limits the creation of ships artificially.

It is a fact that sea maps are unpopular and partly to blame is that the naval system is very unattractive. In addition, how desperate the AI is on these maps where it does not know how to use them and it is common to see it bugged in its base accumulating troops.

A rock-paper-scissors system as with the rest of the units would be a good base from which to start working. Currently you only have the small ship, the medium ship, the large ship and the super ship, each of which outperforms its previous one without completely closing the circle (except the monitor, which works well against everything). This causes that what you want when playing is to accumulate all the ships without thinking about strategy, only about reaching the limit and having numbers… very boring.

As an extra point, we could talk about the lack of an improvement system. This could be added along with a unique upgrade for each civ (royal guard style). All this accompanied by their respective graphic changes, because it is rare to be in the Industrial Age with caravels instead of brigantines or to play in the Imperial Age and have galleons instead of cruisers.

Do you think the game requires a rework to the naval system? What proposals do you have?


A naval rework is a popular topic on the Discord, but the main line of thought there is this;

Rework the Naval aspects of the game alongside an Oceania DLC, introducing civs such as the Maori and Hawaii. While the naval aspect needs a relift, it’s not likely to be a focus in the immediate future, with the Asians still needed a proper relift and the Natives needing more attention.

While an excellent idea and one that needs to be thought on, giving a facelift to the basic civs in the game before reworking an aspect that they all share is likely the ideal direction to go.


Maybe it would be a good idea to prevent naval units from occupying valuable Population slots. The solution would be to add a separate population slot reserved only for naval units - then the Dock would have an additional “House” function for naval units. Then building lots of Docks would make more sense to not only be able to train more ships at once, but it would also allow us to create a powerful fleet that doesn’t care about Population slots on land.


I think it should be rather the opposite of what you say. First of all fix a general problem (like the naval system, which affects all civs) before going to the specific ones. Once that is done, adjustments can be made to rebalance the game. If not, it would be to go back to work on what has already been worked on over and over again.


Frankly, this is irrelevant. Fixing the naval system is its own problem, and it’s in what order isn’t too important when it comes to talking about each problem - But I specifically bring up the need of the Asian + Native relifts because both will require new naval units anyway. How can you go about thinking how to fix the navy across the civs when 7 civs still need some attention that may or may not even be relevant to how they get fixed?

Better to figure out the foundations of the new civs before figuring out how to break it.

That being said

It would be a great idea to focus on and solely redo the European navies with no effect on the Asian, African, or Native navies. Use them to figure out the basic triangle, then the other civs can figure out the unique ways they break it down the line.

True, starting with the Europeans would be a good idea. After all, they are being the laboratory of experiments in the last patches.


I think one of the most attractive things about AoE3 are the naval battles.

There are only 2 things that I would change and it would be the best naval system of all the RTS.

  • A P/R/S.
  • Improve the Pathing a bit more.
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The battles are great, but OP has a significant point - there’s no real design behind them, the ships in AoE3 are just “build bigger and bigger,” there’s no counter system at play with the navy and they don’t move in formation.

It’s irking.


My dream would be boarding capability. It would also be nice to be able to ram an enemy Ship.

European civilizations that should mostly have something new in the field of navy are: British, Dutch, Germans, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedes, Ottomans, Italians and future Danes civ.

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I would love a naval rework, or maybe more of a naval expansion. The new civs have all come with new ships, the battleship was introduced, but still naval maps don’t seem to play any better. It doesn’t help that the AI struggles really hard on these maps, to the point of being unplayable. Plus, there’s supposed to be more interplay between land and water but the maps don’t encourage that and you’ve probably never even experienced it playing vs AI.


Italian Galleass can do that (ram ships and harbors).

that’s a damn good idea


Overall, I think Aoe 3’s naval system is the most dynamic and fun in the franchise, even more so with the addition of the manowar (battle ship) and different skills for each civ that has access to the manowar.
A certain dislike of naval battles for many players comes from the fact that there are practically other armies to micro and control. Other than that fighting in the water is extremely economically burdensome.
Imagine a game where you have to use water, natives and your army.
there is no economy even in treaty decks that can support this, this without taking into account the over micro.
Wood is also a very valuable and scarce resource, every civ would have to have a 1000+ wood card infinite times to support constant naval battles

Ships also need a stand ground stance, whenever a Galleon rotate from vertical to horizontal suddenly it’s too far from land and can no longer train unit, this also enable them to guard contested fishing spot

I’d like to see:

  1. Stances
  2. Boarding
  3. Different ammunition types like the round shot (standard), chain shot (low damage but stun), incendiary shot (short range, low base damage but “burning” effect)

BTW “water maps being unpopular” seems to be an unsolvable problem for any game, because it is a totally independent system.

The only game I see that successfully “forces” water gameplay is Red Alert 3 because: (1) almost every map has water (2) there are huge amounts of resources on water (3) all buildings can be built on water, and many units are amphibious (there are some units that are important on land but you can only build from the shipyard)


Ammunition types, great idea! Like Port Royale, very immersive and dynamic system. Already dreaming, a wind system would be nice. But maybe it would complicate the micro too much

I’ve mentioned it before but it needs a straight-forward system of Ship/Boat types.

Yes, the ‘build bigger and bigger’ comment is spot on.

I propose this:

Light Vessels - Great against Fire Vessels
Cover all Canoes and ‘Exploration’ vessels (Sloops, Caravels, Junks, etc)
Your relatively fast and cost effective vessels - ideal for scouting.

Fire Vessels - Great against Warships
One-shot ships/boats that are available to all. For Native Americans, Fire Canoes or allied European Fire Ships could be available. Everyone has the ability to torch a boat and send it on to the enemy.
Your disposable but powerful ships to deal with unorganized masses of Warships.

Heavy Vessels - Great against Light Vessels
Possibly the widest category - covers all ‘Galleon slot’ warships to Frigates/equivelents to Battleships.
Basically the real Warships.

Bombardment Vessels - Great against shoreside buildings
Monitors (with a name change to Bomb Ketch or Bomb Ship - Monitors is nonsensical), Cannon Boats, anything that does long range bombardment from the sea.

Within these clear-cut categories you can still have room for nuance. For example all Bomb Vessel types can technically do okay with their naturally great range (though best at siege of course), however a Light Vessel will close in quicker and a Warship can shrug off the damage until their in range. Another example is that technically a Fire Vessel is good against anything at sea, however naturally faster Light Vessel class units (with a multiplier against said Fire Vessels) can deal with them way better, as they is the case for Light Vessels being excellent Fishing Boat raiders too.

Within each simple category the ships/boats still can still have their quirks or unique unit traits (exploration ships having Broadsides, Galleons being able to Train, etc) - they just have a vessel class tag (as well as better icongraphy) attached to them to give obvious [Insert Vessel Type] X Multipliers (bonus against their natural enemies!)

Native Americans
With those civs that a very limited canoe-based force, you can still have canoes that have their ‘sub-type’ of being great for shore attacks or the closest thing to a Warship they can get, however, due to their [Light Vessel] tag they should definitely not stand toe-to-toe with an actual Warship (a Tlaloc Canoe can beat a Galleon). It looks stupid and it wouldn’t happen in real-life.

To refresh this, all Canoe types within the Light Vessel category can be trained in batches and are incredibly cost effective. Basically it should work out that a batch of canoes works out to be equal the first ‘tier’ of Heavy Vessels (Galleons/Equivs). Unless there’s access to hired European ships, I think many Native American civs need to live with within the means of Canoes (though I’d like to see more interesting types - Dugouts, Birchwoods, etc). They would have to reply on mass canoes via batch training and cheapness compared to others.

It would be nice to explore some abilties though, such as Stealth (low-profile paddling around coasts to ambush - even Buccaneers did this with canoes in the Caribbean) to flaming arrows having a ‘Burn’ ability (effectively poisoning in the mechanic), so it gives them the opportunity to hit and run.

Even without Heavy Vessels and Bombardment Vessels, they still can counter everything as they have access to at least 2 - Light Vessels and Fire Canoes (again, could be batch-trained).

Other thoughts:

  • Boarding - this requires a bit of depth. It should totally be a ‘close-range AOE2 Monk’ style conversion and should be available to all Light/Heavy Vessels, however it has to be limited some how - either by having a Tech on each boat/ship called ‘Boarding Party’ which you have to research to ‘ready’ your forces onboard (which can be repeated once used), before having access to the (conversion-style) ability, or having a ‘Boarding Action’ ability only appear when you stick a Hero unit in a boat. Requires more thought!
  • Upgrades - it’s odd that ships and boats are not uniform with their upgrades, infact only Frigates/equivalents and Monitors/equivalents get them!
  • Caravels should get an upgrade to Corvette (I’d like Sloop however that’s taken) so we don’t get Renaissance ships clogging up out smokey, industrials Imperial Age ports, especially when you look over your shoulder at the Americans and Mexicans with their fancy Sloops and Steamships.
  • Galleons could be an upgrade for the early warship, the Carrack from which it derrived from, or they could themselves later upgrade to Armed Merchantman ships.
  • Frigates upgraded should be different! Remove the name Man-of-War - this is just a name of ‘your most powerful’ vessel within a class - you can have a Man-of-War Galleon or even a Canoe (Peragua) - rather call it Armoured Frigate and make it into a steam-powered ironclad Frigate!
  • Monitors - name change (Monitor has no relevance!) to Bomb Ketch. Upgrade could be to the imaginative Bomb Vessel (imaginative!) or to Floating Battery (aesthetically a big, armoured cannon battery float).
  • Unique Portuguese Nau replaces Caravel with a tougher Carrack.
  • Unique British Galleon Race-Built Galleon - weaker in HP and ranged resist, but faster, longer ranged and can also train (watered-down) Pirates, renamed to Sea Dogs. Alternatively give them a more 1800s style Rocket Ship!
  • Canoe types can also upgrade (via the Champion>Legendary path)

Zzzzz. TLDR?
Clear ship class system where each group has a straight forward ‘hard’ advantage (mulitpliers/resists) against a particular other group and some ‘soft’ advantages due to the scenario/context. Avoids spamming one naval unit type to the Rock Paper Scissors style of system.

So, like right now. Also Natives (but inca) and India suffer from lack of wood sources for lategame.

Yeah, sorry meant in a bigger batch.

To be honest Native civ naval is another huge topic worth of discussion!