Proposed Building health/repair improvement

1500-1600 player. Many of the games I play (and watch) especially at higher and higher levels get incredibly repetitive, at least on open maps. I’ve noticed almost every single feudal age plays as a defensive, turtle-y race to castle age to see who can get the crossbow ball rolling first. Whoever does, regardless of the civ, usually ends up getting a huge advantage. This repetitiveness gets pretty boring, and I was thinking of ways for that playstyle to be discouraged without directly nerfing archers.

One big part of why the above playstyle works so well is how easy it is to wall out melee units, and continuously wall behind whatever they’re attacking in feudal age. Melee civs need to almost always drop a range and get enough ranged units out in early feudal age to prevent villagers from walling behind palisades, houses, whatever. This costs so little for the defender, especially if they’re going for an archer ball and chilling at home until castle, and completely denies melee units from getting enough damage in to justify their investment.

Instead of advocating for an archer or wall nerf or further buffs to infantry, I thought it’d be cool if there was some penalty to letting your buildings get too damaged. It makes sense too, and a big meme in aoe2 has been the whole “mill working perfectly fine even when its up in flames.” What if, the more damaged a building is, the less productive it is in whatever it does? For example, what if a stable that’s at half health took longer to produce units or research technologies? Or a house that’s being attacked slowly loses population space until it’s destroyed, housing the defender? Or a lumber camp that’s on fire reduces how many resources are dropped off unless it was repaired? Your lumber camp is at 10% health, your lumberjack drops off 10 wood, but you only get 7 back? The numbers can be played around a bit to balance things out, but if the change was brought across the game to all civilizations, it’d make the balance between aggression and defense so much more fun.

It’s important to note that this change doesn’t actually make it any easier to break into a base and kill vills. It doesn’t directly impact any unit. It just allows you to get lesser amounts of damage in even if your opponent’s fully walled behind buildings. The reason I think this change is an indirect nerf to the whole turtle and get to crossbowman asap playstyle is because archers are usually pretty ass at taking down buildings compared to melee units due to most buildings having much higher pierce armour compared to melee armour. It’d also add a whole new dynamic to raiding, where sometimes it might make more sense to target enemy buildings instead of villagers. Say you’re a maa civ and want to transition to archers, but your opponent’s resources are already fully walled in. you can still get damage in with the maa by attacking an archery range or blacksmith, delaying their archers/skirms or fletching/armour from kicking in.

I get that this seems like a huge buff for infantry, as they’re the best non-siege units at taking down buildings, and currently Romans are kind of dominating with their men at arms, but I strongly believe Romans will be subject to either having counterplay figured out or further balance changes (being a new civ and all), so I don’t think this’d make infantry civs too strong. They still die to what they’re supposed to die to, are slow, and are very taxing on food.

Is this too radical a change, or just radical enough that it’d make the game a lot more exciting and introduce a whole new dynamic? Just opening up a new discussion.

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Interesting idea definitely. I guess you could expand that idea to villagers as well. Injured villagers don’t work as fast and the more injured they are, the slower they work. That would encourage more healing in the TC. But I guess it probably rewards the attacking player too much. I’m not at your ELO level but surely the solution to break the turtling player is just make your own archers to break through their palisades and also mix in skirms? I think MAA is a good play vs. defensive feudal players. It would be really difficult for them to get their walls up before MAA timing arrives at their base.

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Yeah making your own ranged units is the counter to that, but usually I fall behind because I invested in melee units vs they did not, and they get to castle age faster, or games just boil down to crossbowmen + siege vs crossbowmen + siege in early castle age. Select civs like Gurjaras with their shrivamsha riders or strong archer civs can come out on top, but there have been so many games where both myself and my opponent who really aren’t crossbow civs at all just go for crossbows because our bases were safe and we made archers on the way up. The amount of value they can get while defending on your age up and aging up at a reasonable time is too good to pass up on.

Though I really like the villager idea, it would reward aggression way too much. Definitely worth more thought though.

At my ELO I find that melee + a bigger investment into siege including scorpions can break crossbow + siege defending player. Especially if you follow it up with monks to heal melee and a forward castle drop. Castles are like kryptonite for crossbow + siege play. I do see your point though. Feudal defensive meta can definitely be stale at times.

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I don’t personally agree with this change at all. I have two main reasons.

  1. This is extremely unintuitive. The exact values here will be difficult to figure out and the game will become more complex. Furthermore, repairing is an annoying process. A villager assigned to construction will keep building nearby buildings. But a repair villager won’t keep repairing. This will add to the APM requirement.

  2. You say this will buff infantry, but it won’t. The problem with infantry isn’t buildings. What this will do is buff cavalry. Additionally, it will make things worse if you don’t age up first, as the cav player will make knights to weaken your buildings. We don’t need a buff to Knight play.