I want to preface by saying I know the bonus amounts will probably be adjusted and nerfed after some time. No one expects Sicilians being able to make castles in half the time to stay, that’s gonna make for some really unfair and annoying strategies and playstyles with castle drops that can’t be denied and aren’t as taxing on your eco. Same for Burgundian knights giving back 50% of their gold value AND Burgundians apparently getting Paladin as we can infer from the screenshots. Those things can be tweaked to make the civilizations balanced, something like knights give back 40 or even 33% of their gold value when they die, or castles being excluded from the building bonus entirely.
Let me also mention how I fully support new civilizations and DLCs, paid or unpaid, as the devs have put a lot of effort into keeping this game alive.
What I’m worried about is more the nature of some of the bonuses and unique technologies, and how I don’t think they’ll be easy to balance or adjust in aoe2 (i.e. will be either OP or useless in most situations, and very difficult to find a workable in-between). They might fall into the same pitfalls as the Feitoria and Cuman two feudal age tcs and siege workshop. They’re either ridiculously broken in some situations (feitoria on islands, cuman two feudal tcs for team games) or useless, like in most 1v1 situations. The reason I am worried about this is because of the nature of one-time unique techs (which is what every single unique tech for these two civs is like) and how they relate together or with the civ bonuses.
Specifically, I’m worried about:
Burgundian Vineyards. This seems a lot like the civ cards in aoe3 that convert food into gold or vice versa or smth. The reason I’m worried is how massive this will be for the late game in 1v1s, especially with Burgundian Paladins giving a gold reimbursement when they die. Paladins, or siege, both of which cost a lot of gold to get, will clean up everything in that stage of the game.
Flemish Revolution. This one I’m least concerned about, but still concerned because it might be useless a lot of the time. Massing villagers takes a lot of time and resources to get going. Unless you’re in the very late game which, again, the Burgundians have a very strong one of already, the villagers will be much better used to create a large army after booming rather than suiciding it after having finished booming. It also is extremely dependent on how strong the flemish militia is, which makes the tech either OP or useless. Again, this bonus combined with refund-Paladin and trading all your food for half its value in gold make for a really really really difficult to balance civ.
The donjon. This thing just sounds exactly like a krepost with the only difference being how a military unit can also construct it, like in age of empires 3. I don’t see how it’s unique enough besides that, or how the krepost is unique anymore. Also, again, if castles are constructed faster and donjons cost more than kreposts (350 stone at least since they achieve the same thing with one improvement), then when would a sicilian player ever make a donjon? If you buff the donjon, then why would a sicilian player ever make use of their faster constructed castles more than once to build trebs and research techs? I do not understand the niche this building occupies, but I guess we shall wait and see what its stats look like.
First crusade. This seems like unit shipment cards in aoe3. A lot of similarities between these new civs and aoe3 so far in terms of bonuses. I’m not so much concerned about this tech, since infantry unique units are rarely troublesome in the castle age, but again am worried about how useful it’ll really be. If it’s useful for defense while you’re booming, but need a castle to research this tech, wouldn’t just the castle being built defensively to protect your boom be a better option always? If its not intended defensively, but still spawns infantry (a slow unit relatively speaking) with an anti-cavalry bonus, how useful are those for pushing an enemy? Seems like a good defense against raiding, but only temporarily.
Scutage. This one I am most worried about. I am worried it will dominate team games, where having the numbers advantage and being on the offensive is already pretty much game winning. The tech injects each player’s economy with at least 1000 gold (66 military units per teammate) either right before they advance (for maximum military population) or right after they’ve taken a good fight to make sure the pressure can keep being applied and not letting the defenders comeback. it also has to be balanced for 1v1s, 2v2s, 3v3s, and 4v4s at once, which makes it incredibly difficult to scale and adjust if we discover the effect to be too large or strong. When combined with the First Crusade unique tech too, it can be tremendously overpowered, since you can follow up your suicide eco with a continued onslaught after researching this tech and getting an extra 3000 gold. Is it really an all-in upgrade in that case? I get we can adjust the amount of gold given or the cost of the tech, but, again, it will be very difficult to balance because of how much the impact of the tech swings in different settings.
For the rest of the bonuses, however, I am excited. I think the faster to build town centers, additional farming carry capacity per farm upgrade, earlier eco bonuses, and land military unit partial resistance to bonus damage are creative and will not be difficult to balance. I also think we cannot judge them until we hear more about the civs (their tech trees, see some gameplay, learn more about their unique units, etc…). But I do think we know enough about the bonuses and techs I’ve mentioned to raise concern about their possible awkwardness and misfit in aoe2.
In general, I am very much worried these bonuses and unique techs, that seem to be inspired from aoe3 which has a different playstyle and pace, will make the civs either broken or unplayable in most game settings. One thing about aoe2 I enjoy is how all civs have common similarities and mechanics, and these mechanics allow for flexibility but also familiarity for new players. One-time techs with such a large effect might not be best for aoe2’s playstyle and pace. I think bonuses and techs that aren’t one-time and give a more lasting bonus would be easier to balance (say, first crusade allows serjeants to be created at town centers instead of town centers one-time mustering 7 serjeants like minute men from aoe3). I also think bonuses that aren’t one-time are easier to balance for some settings (1v1s) while not ruining the balance on others (team games)
So in a nutshell, though I acknowledge none of the bonuses are set in stone (I hope not, they seem out of place for aoe2) I really hope its not these type of bonuses that come with the DLC. At the very least, I hope bonuses and unique techs are a bit more… original? And not repeats of either existing aoe2 mechanics (donjons) or borrowed from aoe3 (all the unique techs).
I agree. I would love to pay for a DLC that included extra campaigns and re-skinned graphics or voice overs. I also think the all-in aspect and timing being so crucial for these civs’ techs really makes them not fit well with aoe2. They really don’t belong in this game.
I agree, at least they are not cookie-cutter nonsense taht was already done before.
Would vastly prefer new civs to be ever more specialized or have riskier strategic options, than just have anothe Chinese or Bizantines, which are decent at everything.
Game can be balanced later, but interesting civs stay interesting, like Goths or Cumans.
I don’t think scutage will be that hard to balance, they could always just reduce it or make it not the whole team. Biggest thing is a lot of their bonuses are late game focused, their early game doesn’t have much outside of the eco bonuses which don’t really kick in until late feudal (although their castle eco will be strong). I think from the picture the donjon will be between krepost and tower I think? hard to tell without knowing what the res to build it are.
They repeat other civs with their role, but are out of place in the way this role is aquired. As an example, both huns and magyars are agressive cavalry and cavalry archer civs with subpar infantry, monks and siege, therefore they feel like a reiteration of each other, even though none of their bonuses repeat each other. Same with bulgarians and teutons - they are both defensive-cavalry-infantry-siege civs. Same will probably happen with new civs: Burgandians are flashy and all, but in the end it’s just another version of Franks. Obviously, whether or not they are going to overlap is a conjecture, but if they continue to pump out new civs, it’s bound to happen.
Cumans are in a horrible place now, at least in ranked and multiplayer. The gimmicky way they’re play is why they have one of the lowest win rates and play rates across all elo levels in aoe2. being unique is good, but shouldn’t be prioritized over game balance. With the rest of the bonuses I agree, we have to wait and see. But I don’t want these civs to end up with an awkward playstyle and identity like Cumans. It might be too late to change Cumans now, but if we tell the devs we think they’re taking the civs in the wrong direction they might not end up like them.
THIS. For real, all 4 of these UTs seem to come right out of AoE3.
Why do people have to keep reading those stats as if they were the gospel. They are at the bottom with no filters, which can be explained by:
inexperienced players failing to use their feudal bonuses
unlucky players that randomed them on water maps
Just by filtering maps and by looking at team game stats you will get to see that by your own logic of using stats Cuman are good in several settings.
I also dislike a lot these AoE3 bonuses and UTs. Not only for the possible balance issues, but most important because it makes the game weird and gimmicky. One of the reasons I like AoE 2 a lot and dislike 3 is because it is like chess in a sense that it’s a complex system that emerges of simple mechanics. Original bonuses were just number modifications, costs alteriations or things like that, and that already affected the way the civ is played out. Turning all of your villagers into military, turning all of your food for a proportion of gold… A cavalry charge mechanic?? It’s really really weird.
Also, something amazing about this game is the way every desicion you take needs a set up. If you go archers and find lots of skirms in the enemy base, and you want to tarnsition into something else you have to rearrange your economy, research the proper upgrades and build the required buildings. The Unique Techs are shaped like shipment cards, where if you have the resources you research them and get immense advantages almost out of thin air.
I’m really happy about new civs. Just hope they scrap all these concepts out.
Probably to counter the common complaint that a lot of UTs have no impact in the game whatsoever, and are very weak, like Madrasah, Nomads and Atheism.
So now devs are choosing UTs with one-time effects, that have a big impact in the game, once.
I wont buy this new DLC if they already announced all the features. I hope it wont split ranked in two parts: Players with DLC and players without DLC. And if they can play together, i do hope they players with DLC cant pick the new civs if they play against players without DLC. I dont wanna play against OP civs hidden behind a paid wall. I am against early quitters, but playing against these OP civs if you dont have the DLC is just a no go for me and would be a reason to consider quitting in the first seconds.
I also agree. I won’t buy the patch immediately if I have to play against the dlc civs, mostly because they’re going to be OP on purpose upon release but also because I want to see whether my hypothesis that the new bonuses are too gimmicky to be easy to balance is correct. I also am worried how the new multiplayer will work. If I don’t have the dlc, I don’t want my gameplay to be affected by the new civs on ranked. That means I don’t want to come across them. But if I can come across them but can’t play them, my gameplay is still affected and I’ll just be sticking away from aoe for a bit.