One of the biggest places elephants are vulnerable is early in the game. A single monk can hard counter many times its number of elephants, and this makes many elephant civs far less interesting and potent than they really should be.
What if there were a new, universal monastery tech that was required before elephants could be converted? I’m thinking something like this:
Research time: 60 seconds
Monks can convert elephant units.
This would mean monks wouldn’t be an instant hard counter for elephants! Indeed, if your enemy only wanted to build one or two, then getting this tech would actually be a negative, which would really encourage the use of small numbers of elephants in tandem with other unit types!
But as the game goes on, if you continue to build elephants, this would definitely get researched and things would go back to normal.
And I thought it should be a stable tech granting extra speed for elephants.
And I thought it will give a rider to the War Elephants.
The idea for the tech is good but I think it should not use this name.
Mahouts could be a stable technology for something like elephant speed.
Making elephants no longer benefit from bloodlines and husbandry since they make no sense for elephants.
Honestly, I don’t think specialized techs for elephants are ideal. Elephants are already hard to get into, so making them more difficult to get functional would be tricky to make into something people will ever grab early on, while potentially making them too unstoppable in the lategame.
I actually do like the idea of making them not benefit from bloodlines and husbandry though. Maybe give them some or all of the stats of those techs by default instead.
That said, I think the number one thing is giving them a brief window of viability before monks become a hard counter. That lets players get a bit into them early on, and makes continuing to use them(especially in small numbers) much more likely. I really like having a handful of elephants mixed in with other units, but unfortunately the current balance makes that almost completely impractical.
Having armies of all one unit is boring but practical, and I’d love to see that change to offer more opportunities for more complex unit comps.
The main issue AoE2 has with elephants is that it has this enforced 1 population rule for all units.
So you need to make elephants not too strong or they will become very overpowered at population cap.
A spearman takes up the same population then an elephant so they need a crazy amount of bonus damage.
Halberdiers do 6+32+28 damage against Elephants.
That’s more then a Bombard Cannon.
Elephants are pretty fast in real life, they are easily faster then a human.
In AoE3 elephants are faster then Infantry but slower then Cavalry.
Making elephant units 2 population would allow them to be a lot better units without being OP in late game.
Personally, I wouldn’t want that; I think it weakens them just as much in the early game. Maybe moreso, since an unrecognized advantage of early elephants is the high pop efficiency before you reach 200 pop cap. You can put four times as many resources into elephants as archers with the same number of houses.
No, I think the population efficiency of elephants is a good thing and not what should be changed. Their biggest problem is just their weakness to monks. Pikemen alone are quite balanced overall, as they can be countered in turn, but monks lack those same counters, since it takes a pretty significant numbers advantage to beat them, even with scout cavalry, their nominal counter.
An elephant that is more then twice as strong as a Knight would still be population efficient at 2 pop.
I personally just really dislike Pikeman in AoE2 and AoE3.
They are hyper focused anti cavalry units which is totally not the role they had in real armies at all.
Having a unit that is designed around massive bonus damage is generally not a good game design in my opinion, unless there is some real life reason for this behaviour.
Halberdiers do more damage to Elephants in a single hit then they have HP themselves.
Yes it is balanced but it just feels wrong.
Only if they also had all other stats being approximately equal.
Basically, elephants could cost 2 pop, but only if they were just as fast and hard to convert as knights. As they are, their weaknesses more than make up for their strengths in most cases; if anything, they’re weaker than knights in most cases. Making them cost 2 pop would make them far too weak to ever use in any circumstances.
As far as I can tell, elephants are essentially tanks. They have slightly better damage than knights, but not anywhere near enough to pay for their much higher cost. Rather, what you’re mainly paying for is their higher HP. But high HP is only worth it if you can pair it with high damage, by combining different unit types. Elephants and Militia, or Elephant Archers and Crossbows, and so on.
The challenge is, monks become disproportionately strong in that circumstance. While normally a single converted archer or militia is almost worthless, a single converted elephant can steal a quarter or half your HP in one move. That completely stops combined forces from being a viable option.
Hence, this suggestion. If the enemy has to choose between paying a large initial sum, vs being unable to convert elephants and needing to deal with them via brute force or pikemen, it would make early elephants much more viable, and in doing so, make these combined forces actually viable. This would allow a much broader and more interesting set of unit compositions, and make playing these civs much more interesting.
I’d rather do the opposite, make a technology that makes elephants harder to convert.
Or scale conversion time by population, that would make 0.5 pop unity interesting too.
Top Speed of Human 13km/hour
Top Speed of Elephant 40km/hour
Top Speed of Horse 71km/hour
You gotta consider that the horse and the elephant are both having a human on top of them.
And that the human is wearing armour and carrying a weapon in all 3 cases.
Since the elephant is a lot bigger compared to a human it will be slowed down less by having one riding on it.
You also have to consider that humans speed can also be upto 40km/hour in the start but he cannot retain it.
The trouble is, that just delays the elephants even more, and makes it even harder for them to be used in the early game.
If the goal is to make them viable early on, then it has to be something active by default.