For several months I witnessed a steady decline in direct military standoffs. Instead the game becomes more and more a race for raiding opportunities and often military just passes each other on the way to the opponent base but doesn’t fight at all.
This needs to stop. Raiding is way too powerful and the last really tool against it, walls have been nerfed constantly. So no wonder we see players more and more opting to just directly kill the opponents eco instead of battleing for the military initiative. If any, the initiative comes from timings and tech upgrades like x-bow, but rarely from favourable military engagements anymore.
There are several ways to bring the game back to a decent strategic balance, so that words like “push”, “engagement” and “greed” don’t abandon in oblivion in the near future.
A) Nerf raiding directly. Make some techs like Loom also for feudal, castle and Imperial age. Mostly just increasing the Vills HP a bit, but also maybe their speed by just 10 % (in imp). If a feudal age Vill just has 10-20 HP more archers couldn’t get favorable “trades” by just picking of vills when under skirmfire anymore. Raiding exposed vills would still be a strong move, but at least some kind of stupid game mechanic interaction like this would be stopped.
Especially in imp hussar raids are just too strong atm. you didn’t fought 45 minutes for map control to get raided to death in 3 minutes. That’s bs. Yes hussar raids are one of the ways a game can and should end, but they shouldn’t be as dominating as they are currently. Ofc lategame trash wars can sometimes become a grind, but that’s far better than the alternative of an equal game ending in only a few seconds often just because one of the players was lucky by finding the right raiding spots and the other just was unlucky. That’s not how such a game should end. We didn’t strategically neutralized for 45 + minutes to have the game decided by pure luck who found the better spots to raid.
B) Buff the counter units. If the counters would be more effective in at least fearing away the raiding untis, at least opting for raiding would be a bit less tempting, as it would pose more risk for the valueable gold units to opt for it. Then we hopefully see more reaction to the opponent counters and trying to first get rid of them before just killing vills. My proposal would be to slightly increase the spead of the spear line and either the ROF of skirms or their bonus damage vs archers (maybe in exchange of losing 1 PA). With slightly improved counter units it would be easier to scare away the raiders and force the opponent to care about how to counter the counters instead of just looking for a different angle (or even continue raiding while under skirm fire).
C) Add affordable defensive structures. Towers and TCs are too expensive currently for their protection potential. Towers can only garrison 5 vills which is just not enough to eg protect a mining camp in the midgame. TCs are overall too expensive to be placed for every 15 vills to garrison, So a lot of your eco is naturally exposed. Especially when the woodlines are chopped away. Both towers and TCs also take too long to build to be rushed, they only can be placed preemtively.
One way around this would be some kind of “light” wooden tower with lower range that only fires arrows when vills are garrisoned and is build considerably faster than the current tower line. You would still need to react in time or preemtively build them at your ressources, but they wouldn’t be a waste of the valueable stone anymore and could be up fast enought before the raiding party arrives - if you react fast enough. It would be a quite big investment then but at least you wouldn’t immediately die from a single hussar party hitting the right spots if you manage to react properly. And if you fail to rush these wooden towers, you would still die, so the important basic action => counteraction balancing of strategy would be restored. Cause currently there is basically no counterplay to hussar raids, as the halb switch is way too slow. Either you already have the halbs and where you need them or you die.
It’s a strategy game and currently the strategic balance on open maps isn’t given anymore. Raids have become way too powerful. This makes gameplay repetitive, boring and matches ending way too fast before you have even enjoy the whole strategic depth of the game with many games alreade ending in feudal or castle age because of the dominance of raids in the current gamrplay. Raids are a part and a very important part of the Strategy, but they mustn’t be the all dominating part of the game.
I like to play a military rts game not a kill as many vills that can’t defend themselves game. It’s mentally disturbing to play like this.
I want to fight my opponent eye to eye again. I’m not chicken and I don’t want my opponent to play like chicken either.