New mechanic suggestion: sacred site buildings that block everyone from aging up until destroyed

One thing that bothers me in AoE4 is that fast imperial is so strong simply because it meta wrecks the stats of early ages in most cases. I have this idea that every civilization gets access to some sort of '“mini-sacred-wonder” that can be built from age 1, but can only be built on a sacred site and acts like capturing it with a monk even if you don’t have access to monks yet.

Each one provides a unique civilization bonus, but the main purpose would be that once such a building is constructed on a sacred site, everyone becomes aware of it just like when someone controls a sacred site or builds a wonder, and aging up becomes disabled for everyone until this building is destroyed. It would make fast feudal and fast castle strategies much more interesting, but it could also create some entirely new strats based around early game units and economies that imo would be a great breeze of fresh air on the meta.

Instead of encouraging everyone to fast imperial, this would allow people to choose to center their economy around early game, deny fast imperial to their opponent without at least a fight first and say “you want to fast imperial but now you can’t, and focusing on those resources was dumb and now you’re paying the price for your eloquence, I’ll put up a stronger fight than you think, so don’t think you can just ignore me until you’re in age 4”.

I don’t mind people being able to fast imperial but I don’t like that it rules the meta and forces everyone to keep up. I think this mechanic would be a nice way to counter balance that and turn fast imperial resources vils allocations a risky strat rather than just the most effective way to play the game. Your Rus opponent should be able to tell you “no way jose, you’re not leveling up to feudal under my watch, this game is gonna be a wood economy homie”

Additionally I think it’s a good way to encourage offensive building. Too much of the siege aspect of the game currently focuses on turtling and rushing to siege units to become unstoppable in face of defences. Once someone has siege and is ready to attack, kiss your base goodbye. That’s why I think we need more incentive to build offensive outpost type of buildings that are balanced around aggression and invite enemies to demolish it. It would give at least a minor healthy release to the siege meta to destroy something because it needs to be destroyed rather than just because it stands in the way and you’re already there to wipe everything out anyway. It would make sieges more purposeful if someone is incentivized to build in multiple areas of the map, and such a “mini-sacred-wonder” would be the perfect excuse to fortify early outposts.

I’ve seen people wall up sacred sites. I think this would be a more fun option, or even a complement to that strat of turtling around a sacred site early.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

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The idea is interesting, but there are already ways to stop your opponent to rush through the ages.

Simply making units and pressuring him (his ressources/villagers) forces him to act and invest into military, thus delaying his aging up.

Fast age ups are only viable when no one’s putting pressure on you.

Someone going imperial usualy means that at that time you could have 2400F 1200G more of military/economy to crush him.

I get that, but I also want defensive aggression to have its rightful place in the meta. I don’t like that early military is the answer to everything, we need different playstyles imo. This mechanic would force someone to change plans halfway if they were planning a different economy balance which alone can be a very tactical strategy to gain the edge. Early military and rushes should still be in the game, but it should be only one of many viable paths. Turtling can be fun too, I would love for the defensive meta to be more balanced instead of basing everything around aggression. Right now building fortifications really ages poorly if you let your opponents reach imperial unchecked. I think this type of strat would be very interesting with civs like Rus or English or even Delhi. Hell, even China could do a fast imperial strat then lock everyone else in age 3 to play like this large defensive (but oppressive) force to be reckoned with.

If there is such a mechanism, I have imagined that England will desperately occupy this holy land and force players from all camps to fight with them forever in the feudal age, GG.

Alright, makes sense for more playstyle options.

2 questions tho :

Would you block the aging ups entirely when this sacred-wonder is finished ? which could lead to people still rushing imperial, and building this wonder before the opponent could, to ensure their win by stopping him from reaching imperial. or would it only stop other players from reaching a higher age than you ?

How costly would these kind of wonders be ? would it scale with ages ? Cause too little of a price would certainly push aggressive early civs to just block their opponent into their power-creep timings.

Feel free to suggest tweaks to balance it. I myself am not sure it should just lock aging up, but maybe should lock others from aging up higher than the person who built the sacred wonder. Would prevent meta stats abuse by making bombards early and preventing others from aging enough to counter it. I’m still a noob so I don’t claim my idea is well balanced, I just want to bring attention to this type of idea and talk about it together to see what the playerbase thinks of it.

Alright so I answered the first in the above comment, and as far as price I was thinking maybe 1500 of each resource would be a fair price. Maybe 1000 if 1500 is too much for a late age 1. The goal being that it can be done while everyone is still in age 1 if optimizing build order for this strategy (but realistically it would probably take over the meta after reaching age 2 or age 3). It would offer a civ unique bonus on top, nothing too crazy but enough to make the early risk worth it if you pull it off. For instance China could gain maybe +100 stone/mn or +5% buildings health, English could gain +50 gold/mn or +1range for units, that type of stuff. I’m not good enough to make a list of balanced buffs but I would love to hear suggestions for them to help give context to such a mechanic and how to balance it with every civ.

this got buried quick so here’s a little up