On why everyone is probably wrong when it comes to discussing balance changes

On why everyone is probably wrong when it comes to discussing balance changes:

Our own preferences.
Everyone prefers to have implemented balance changes that meet their own playstyle.

Confirmation bias is the tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. It is an important type of cognitive bias that has a significant effect on the proper functioning of society by distorting evidence-based decision-making.
*Naturally, everyone is looking for proves of the ideas they already have on their minds. By doing so everyone *

Sample size is a count the of individual samples or observations in any statistical setting, such as a scientific experiment or a public opinion survey. Too small a sample yields unreliable results.
Play a lot of games. Then play more. Play versus various civs, versus different playstyles, versus different players, on various map layouts.

In engineering and the physical sciences, experiments are a primary component of the scientific method. They are used to test theories and hypotheses about how physical processes work under particular conditions. Typically, experiments focus on replication of identical procedures in hopes of producing identical results in each replication under the most controlled conditions.
Play out the game to check your theory not once, but multiple times. Watch recorded games on the highest level that test your hypothesis.

One person can have completely different views about balance changes from what other person is suggesting despite both having a lot of skill, knowledge and experience in the game yet based on their own individual perspectives they are both correct or both mistaken.

Yup, that’s all I wanted to say. Just wanted to put it out there.
Have a nice day.


The most important thing is to agree what you balance around.
The average win rate?
The average win rate only at high level play?
The pick/ban rate of civs in tournaments?

I think the first and third option need both to be addressed. The game should be enjoyable for the average player. At last it’s still a game.
It’s impossible to balance all Civs to be equally good on all maps and still play out very differently. However, in tournaments a wide range of maps and matchups is played. If one civ is always or never choosen in various different situations there should be some adjustments done to it. It does not need to be general buffs or nerves. Some civs are fine just being good in specific situations…

I do not think the game should be balanced around high level ranked play. The sample size is to small to draw meaningful conclusions, especially on maps other than Arabia. And the game should not be balanced around a few hundred people.
Pro level Tournaments that many people watch on the other hand should see some civ variety to ensure entertaining matches…


I would add one more reason. Very few people fully understand what exactly balance is, and I can’t take credit for understanding it either. But it’s surely much more intricate topic than comparing winrates with reliable sample sizes. The simpliest of examples is that some civs are ok on water but terrible on Arabia (Italians, Portuguese, Koreans etc.), hence they have low winrate. But does that mean they are poorly balanced and need buffs? Some people say yes, while others disagree. My definition of balance (in particular, the balance between civs, there are many other kinds of balance in game theory) is that every civ has a place (map combined with reasonably common settings and skill level), and none of the civs has a clear edge against everyone else on most maps and settings.


By your own definition you don’t either. So could change this to " almost no one"

Your definition of balance certainly is not balanced… Even im wrong but i know my definition is literally closer to the literal meaning of the word…

All civs should have an equal chance on all maps. Done. Not some lopsided “it’s ok if Italy is OP on water but useless on land” that is not balance…

I think there’s a few very brave souls (like parthnan) that literally don’t care if no one agrees with them :joy::joy:

They were born in the hellfires of criticism so can weather it

Nobody can understand it. From all but physical balance, it’s a feeling.
Also it should never be a goal to reach full balance. All games live from unbalanced things… to some extend.
What you can understand, is disbalance. When a civ dominates certain maps or just sucks terrible. This should be worked around. There’s a purpose why we don’t have full water or black forest or full mountains maps in the standard pool. Because some civs would just dominate there. This is disbalance, and you can work around it, when you spot the issues.
One Example: Portuguese. Why do they suck? They have a quite open tech tree, they have a really strong discount, maybe the best in the game, which benefits a vast range of different unit types, all viable and strong meta units. They don’t have anything particular against them. They should do fine.
The thing is: They just don’t get to the point where they can use it. They’'re behind from the beginning, so what they need is defence. But they don’t have any bonus to their defence, the gold discount is a offensive bonus. So they suck, because their design isn’t rounded. Just a little bonus at the start of the game, and they would be quite strong, because they actually could get agressive and use their discount. It wouldn’t actually impact water much, because early bonusses aren’t that important on water maps.
Another question is the feitoria, it’s so unbalanced because it’s so unique. Can’t there be anything implemented in the game which helps all civs out when ressources are taken from the map? Why only the feitoria?
It’s sometimes hard to spot the issues why some civs are bad or good in certain circumstances. So you need first the idea, the feeling somehing is disbalanced, than you have to reflect why is this the case and take it by it’s roots, don’t cut the leafs. It needs both and usually the ones who spot it aren’t those who can find the roots and the other way around ;). So best is, to just talk about it and be open to the things other people say.
All in all is AOE2 one of the best balanced computr games ever existed. That’s why still millions of people play it, after more than 20 years.


First, I didn’t claim to be better than others. Second, I’ve met many people with definitions like yours, but there are too many flaws in it. Being closer to the literal meaning of the word doesn’t make you more right. The issues of your definition are:

  1. no civ has identity, because everyone is good under any circumstances
  2. it doesn’t matter what you pick, so drafting becomes obsolete
  3. it’s absolutely impossible in any game that has at least ~5 civs (or heroes/classes if it’s team-based shooter or something else)
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while I agree with you, a large part of thd problem is that water maps are EXTREMELY UNPOPULAR and see minimal play, which really makes it not right to say “well at least those civs are good on water”. If water maps were more popular and seen more often I would agree with you.

It also doesn’t help that vikings are stellar on water and land


My definition of balance:

-Making the game more balanced means making the game offer more strategies that can be used competitively.

By strategy I mean anything that can heavily help you achieve victory without cheating, for example only using UUs is a strategy. But only using a general unit is so. Using both is aswell. Walling or not walling is a strategy.

From my understanding, many think that balance is only about the strength of civilizations, but that’s false in my opinion. While having equal strength civilizations is good because it offers more strategies, there are many more things to look out for. Using long swordsmen or steppe lancers is hardly ever a viable strategy in castle age, so we could make the game more balanced so it offers more strategies with those units Note that it has nothing to do with civs (or atleast, very small influence considering how vikings and japanese use archers and slavs use knights).

I neither unserstand why people take “civilization balance” more important than “unit balance”. Clearly the names suggest that balance means something about strength in their words. According to my definition they are both equally important.

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@AlightJewel1130 You explain the reason why i try to stay outside of the balance change discussions, because i find most of these discussions meaningless at the forum for the reasons you explain. They have there own preferences and their confirmation bias to back up their own claims.

Isnt this up to personal preferences and thus also biased? What you called ‘balance’ can be ‘unbalanced’ to me. I feel like most threads about balanece are reaslly about this discussion: What is balance? Different players have different views.


Are you sure? After all, Mongols are a legit water civ because their hunting bonus gives them a rapid start that can snowball into a bigger navy. Not that I’m against such a bonus for Ports. Actually, it would prevent them from losing to non water civs that have a faster eco, so that would be cool.

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