Radical idea: most civs should be given a "true" heavy cavalry

So according to fandom there was a “true heavy cavalry” class in the early development of AOE3 but that concept got merged with the “actual light cavalry” (hussar) and the remnants of that class are lancer, cuirassier and oprichnik. Hakkapelit, Harquebusier and Oromo Warrior were attempts to revive that design but none of them worked.

Considering more and more civs added later are given “a second heavy cavalry”, like the unique heavy cavalry for vanilla civs, such as Iron Flail for Chinese, Mahout for Indians, Lifidi for Hausa, and even more for Lakota etc.
If most civs can have more than one anti-cav heavy infantry option, I think it is okay if they also get another heavy cavalry. It’s like how musketeer is to melee heavy infantry.

Also, since the Hakka rework, there is no regular counterpart to harquebusiers and mounted riflemen.

So instead of creating one or two niche units, I would suggest create this pseudo-class for most civs.

The standard version:
Name: this is actually hard. Cuirassier is the most proper name but that name is used. Carabineer collides with the Ruyter upgrade and Carbine Cavalry. Maybe just call them “Trooper”.
Concept: this unit represents the most common, “less armored” heavy cavalry armed with swords and firearms in the 18th century. It served as the regular cavalry for most European nations in this period when light cavalry such as hussars wasn’t popularized (but hussars could still be the standard age 2 cavalry for gameplay purposes).

Role: short ranged soft counter to infantry; no real bonus against anything, but the short ranged attack avoids the heavy infantry melee bonus, so it’s a soft counter.
Design: basically the original Hakka, but Hakka is a faster and more melee-focus version of it.
Avaialbe in Age 3. Compared to Hussar, they could have similar hp, lower damage but ranged and with a small AOE, and also slower.
Availability: depends on the civ design.
Lancer, cuirassier and oprichnik are its unique variants, focusing more on hard countering infantry, splash damage & more hp, raiding, respectively. Hakkas should be reverted to its original design. Mexican Chinacos can be buffed with a lot of different functions and a pseudo-ranged attack, so they already kinda work like this concept.

Other civs:
Japanese and Hauds: they may not be by conecpt strong cav civs so they might not need one.
Aztecs: JRK vaguely fills this role, but it needs some adjustments.
Incas: Inca unit roster is so weird it might take a whole new thread to discuss it.
All other civs already have more than one heavy cavalry option.


Yep, I’d love to see proper heavy cavalry!

I’d would love have to Rise of Nations-style of categories for cav:

  • Heavy Cavalry
    Strong against Light Cavalry & Light Infantry
    Weak against Heavy Infantry & Ranged Cav
    Slowest Cav

  • Light Cavalry
    Strong against Ranged Cavalry & Light Infantry
    Weak against Heavy Infantry & Heavy Cav. Fastest cavalry unit.
    Fastest Cav

  • Ranged Cavalry
    Strong against Heavy Cav & Heavy Infantry
    Weak against Light Infantry & Light Cav
    Average speed Cav

General cavalry traits:

  • Naturally better in dealing with artillery due to speed in closing-in
  • Naturally good for raiding (settlers) with Ranged cav (hit and run) being the best and Heavy Cav being the least good (due to being slower)
  • Naturally vulnerable to Heavy Infantry melee - even Ranged Cavalry when engaged in melee (as their range is there only real perk).

I like your suggestion for a standard ‘Trooper’ Heavy Cavalry - that name is spot-on for that type (obviously Cuirasser would be best as you mentioned, but hey-ho!).


Why not call it Line Cavalry. I always found it funny there is no normal cavalry in the game. Hussars, Cuirassiers, Dragoons, but no just cavalry.

They should undo the hakka rework. As for standard heavy cav I understand why a lot of civs don’t have them but some do.

in my head I call hussars light cav, lancers heavy cav, and dragoons counter cav.

I think it would be better if the Aztecs were able to train the “Cuachicqueh” (Shorn Ones) in the future which would serve as their second hand shock infantry unit rather than having the [Jaguar Prowl Knight] filling this role. They will be tougher than the [Coyote Runner] and fill the role as the “true” heavy cavalry counterpart for the Aztecs. The Shorn Ones were apparently the imperial shock troopers of the Aztec army.

They could have the special ability to taunt other enemy units where they will always prioritise attacking the Shorn Ones within a certain radius. I remember reading a Tumblr post written by a user called ‘The Last Diadoch’ who mentioned that Aztec warriors did apparently mock and tease their enemies during battle in order for them to leave their lines to attack, therefore creating openings and weak points for the Aztecs to take advantage of.

One could argue that the Shorn Ones are already in the game due to the [Skull Knight] being members of this military order. But the [Skull Knight] is based on the “Tlacochcalcatl” which was the rank of those who led other aztec warriors in battle. Their rank was roughly similar to that of a Field Marshal and it seems that the office of Tlacochcalcatl was often the last step towards becoming the next “Tlatoani” (Ruler) of a state.

If this really is the case then the in-game description is wrongly stating that the [Skull Knight] are the berserkers of the Aztec army since that wasn’t their primary role. The [Skull Knight] could perhaps in the future be given an aura that boosts the combat stats of other aztec units in their vicinity.

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They sound like very sensible suggestions. Cuachicqueh has the ‘proper’/standard hand shock infanry would work well and I really like the idea of the Skull Knight (with the hope that they are renamed Tlacochcalcatl) being so elite that inspire others in battle. They are already fairly hard to mass compared to their other units, so having this being worth the effort by extremely useful for other units to be around woudl be great.

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Thanks a lot. I can’t really say that I am very knowledgeable about the history of the Aztecs but I hope that the things that I have stated in my previous comment isn’t incorrect.

When people think of the Elite warriors of the Aztecs they tend to think about the Jaguar and Eagle warriors and seldom of the Shorn Ones, including their predecessor the Otamies, who were actually ranked higher than the both of them and were the most distinguished warriors in the Aztec society. In essence the motto of the Shorn Ones was to never take a step back in battle or face being killed by their allied soldiers. They did apparently have a tendency to turn down captaincies as well in order to remain constant battlefield combatants.

‘The Last Diadoch’ from Tumblr chooses to describe them as “The Berserkers of the Imperial Aztec army, (…)” who were recklessly courageous in battle so maybe they could be referred to as the aztec berserker through the in-game description once they are added to the game in the hopeful future.

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This is interesting but not something that’s a feasible change in a game this old an entrenched. But if they ever make a true successor to AoE3 in the series, it’s something that could be explored.

The name “Trooper” really sucks so I definitely wouldn’t want them to be called that. Why not call them Cuirassiers and rename the French unique version of the unit “Gendarme”?

I mostly like this framework, but ranged cav being weak to light cav is a bad idea. Light cav would be too difficult to easily distinguish from heavy cav, so they should stalemate at best.

Light cavalry’s should have the distinguishing feature of being able to attack while moving so that they’re more effective in pursuit. It would also make them better at dealing with kiting, so in that way they could be a kind of soft counter to ranged cav.

Heavy cavalry would be tanky and have features like trample damage or piercing lance attacks.

Shock infantry could be a kind of mix between light and heavy cavalry since they’re already hard enough to distinguish.

Range cavalry would counter all other cavalry at range, but could potentially be vulnerable to other cavalry forcing them into melee.

Gendarme is not so relevant in this period.
The “heavy cavalry” gendarme (lancer type) fell out of use early and resembles more to the elmeto. The model and portrait of the unit is clearly a Napoleonic era cuirassier (though the model is not very French).
Then the gendarme became the name of some of the cavalry regiments that didn’t really stand out as a unit.

The difficulty is 18th century regular cavalry did not really have a specific unit type. They ARE the cavalry, maybe alongside dragoons (which also became generic cavalry later). Most countries just called them cavalry or horses. Then they got confused with dragoons which are already given a different role in the game.
And most of the are unarmored before Napoleonic revival. To distinguish this unit from the curassiers in the game they should not have helmets or armors.

I think the best name would be carabineer based on their armament (like musketeer representing line infantry though not every country call line infantry musketeer), but then we need to come up with a better name for the royal guard ruyter. Or maybe pistoleer but that name is also used.

I don’t understand you wanting to radically change an entire unit class and change things that have been established from the very beginning of the game, but then also be hung up on not wanting to change the name of a couple of unique units.

“Cuirassier” is by far the best choice for their name.

“Trooper” is super generic and just sounds bad.

“Carabineer” should not be a heavy cavalry. They’re named after long ranged rifles.

“Gendarmes” were medieval cavalry, but there were modern versions like Napoleon’s Gendarmes.

No I don’t want to change the current cuirassier name not because I want to remain things as they are but because it is the most appropriate and representative.

“Carabineer” also ends up being generic medium/heavy cavalry just like dragoons and most other non-hussar non-lancer cavalry.

Later gendarmes were more similar to contemporary ones, mostly for law enforcement and civil orders. They were lighter and were limited to one or two regiments, not as numerous as the cuirassier to become a whole unit type either. Most regular unit names in the game are pretty generic, not as regiments. The latter are mostly given to royal guards or church techs.

BTW I’m not proposing to change any existing unit, but to re-revive the “ranged heavy cavalry type” as a generic unit.

There’s a reason they got rid of it. This unit type straight up doesn’t work. You’re better off switching ranged heavy cav to melee in basically every single matchup. That’s why the old Oromos were so trash. Harquebusiers and Hakkas only worked because their stats were/are way overtuned. Mounted Riflemen are one of the worst designed units in the game because a ranged cavalry that hard counters skirms breaks all established intuition of the game.

Any ranged heavy cav should also have the light cav tag (like Rifle Riders and mounted Granadaros). I’d like to see Hakkas given a more unique role with tags like this.

This probably would make more sense gameplay wise.