Should charging units have an indicator?

Currently cavalry and spearmen automatically charge roughly once every 10 seconds, gaining a temporary speed boost and doing more damage on first impact. This ability can be baited to go on cooldown, or can be kept in check by staying close to enemy units so they don’t have enough space to get it activated.

There is currently no indicator that shows if charge is on cooldown, or how long until it’s back up, either for you or your opponent. Starcraft 2 comparatively, has a toggle-able button for Zealot’s charge ability, that can both disable it and also show how long it takes until it’s back up. Considering AoE4 is a lot slower than SC2, where Zealots might not even see the light of day to use their Charge a second time, should AoE4 Charge also get an indicator in the UI, or is it fine for it to be a background process? Would the lack of an indicator introduce randomness in battles?


I think there should be. There are lots of hidden things like this in the game that should be made more apparent.


I would say no, we do not need a timer.

Let the timer be incorporated in the unit animation.

We clearely see when cavalery are figthing and when they are in position to charge


I like the idea of having the unit animation/sound be the only indicator for when the charge bonus is in effect. As of the stress test, the charging bonus was not very clear, and I agree with @sohanandrei on a clearer indicator on when a charge bonus was in effect.

What’s the minimum distance between the charging unit and the target for the bonus? Is there a cooldown? I thought you could just pull your units away and charge over and over.
Is the bonus static or does the bonus increase based on how much acceleration the unit has?
Do infantry charge? I thought only cav units could charge.


Its very hard to tell if the cavalry is actually charging.
Partly because the movement speed change is so minimal we can hardly notice it.

Yes it would be great if this were a toggleable ability, hell I wouldn’t mind if it were an active ability.


If you look at the patch notes they showed, you can see there is both a distance and a cooldown time.


There is already a reload indicator for some units like siege so why not for melee charge too.

The question is should it be visible to the enemy too?


Yeah, I’m not a fan of invisible cooldowns either. Especially in competitive games.


No, you can clearly see when Cav are charging and not charging

I wish that was true, but I was very disappointed when I realized that the charge mechanic is simply timer-based and doesn’t take into account other factors. Of course, if we had devs providing feedback here we would know for sure, but apparently they like to keep their secrets.

Especially with cavalry, charging should be dictated by momentum, not time. The way it’s implemented now (in the betas), I got units charging at random no matter if they were engaged in hand-to-hand combat.


I found out indirectly how it works, by reading the nerfs from the patch notes before the stress test. There is a cooldown of 10 seconds for charge, or 15 seconds for Knights as an exception. The duration of the charge is 5 seconds, or 7 seconds for Knights, and there is also a maximum and minimum range for it to turn on. I find this very confusing in the absence of any indicators in the UI and as far as I’m concerned, it would be better for it to not exist at all than its current implementation, as it’ll only add randomness to the battles since you can’t make any decisions based on it unless you count the seconds between charges, or estimate the distance between units in the absence of a grid.

I guess we’ll have to get used to remembering all these hidden timings. Adding loading bars would be awkward too, as they’d have to add them to all Horsemen, Knights, Spearmen and Man at Arms, so basically all the units would have loading bars.


That’s great info. I did consciously test this in the last stress test (I didn’t pay a lot of attention in the closed beta). What I found was cavalry deciding to charge for seemingly no reason a unit that was not in front, but a very close distance from it. Like you said, this adds an element of randomness that is not welcome because it’s too far removed from how charging really works. I guess we’ll have to wait for Spirit of the Law or somebody else to really test this once the game goes public since all we get here is mystery and silence.

So with your findings, my fear that this mechanic was just slightly improved version of the Coustillier in AoE II was not unfounded.

Time should not be a factor, only distance + momentum. Time is inherently there because in order to build up momentum, you need to spend time moving away from the enemy and then charge, so you can’t spam the mechanic.


Thanks for looking into this, as these really change how you might use these units in-game. I can understand a cooldown timer being involved in this mechanism - you can argue that the cooldown represents the stamina of the unit.

Speed/distance/acceleration should be a factor as well. Otherwise, it would be odd if your 1 step “charge” has the same effect as a charge that starts further away.

I like that spears negate the charge bonus. An interesting twist on this mechanic would be to reverse the charge bonus based on speed/acceleration - the faster your cav run into a wall of spears, the charge bonus reverses and your cav takes more damage.

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it’s made for readability and realism.
no “indicators” in real life.

PS just joking but ppl in love with realism, no score, no info. all the same. 11

not true on the randomness, it simply raises the skill cap on using it (i prefer if there was an indicator but it doesnt help to twist the facts)

total war doesnt have any indicators, yet you can still learn to cycle charge there as well…

xbows or siege in aoe2 dont have a timer on when they are ready to fire yet players (even mid elo) learn how to stutter step and stop moving only when ready to fire…

What’s with Knights having a lance when riding and then switching to a sword in melee - is that just a graphic realism addition or is it related to the charge mechanic at all?

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Yes. The lance has a separate dmg attached to it as a weapon. As does all weapons in the game.
This is factored in when they charge.

It should be like AOM a small cooldown bare under health bare who show it


Seems like a very good thing to know in a game where your cavalry has hard time catching up with running archers

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That’s in part because they went the AoE II route and cavalry stops to attack, which is an incredibly dumb mechanic. Here’s how cavalry behaves in AoE IV when attacking units on foot:

  1. Cav runs behind the soldier on foot.
  2. Cav gets close to soldier to trigger attack animation.
  3. Cav stops (???)
  4. Cav swings sword/lance/etc (still not moving).
  5. Foot soldier keeps running, builds distance.
  6. Cav attack animation ends.
  7. Cav starts running to close the distance again.
  8. Rinse and repeat.

Since cavalry is not that fast compared to foot soldiers, it takes a ton of time and distance to finish off a unit that requires 3 or 4 attack animations. I really don’t understand why devs felt like copying what probably was a game engine limitation back in AoE I and II. By the time you’re about to give the final blow, the retreating unit is already on the other side of the map and likely close to a TC/keep/tower.

This really negates one of the biggest advantages and uses of cavalry back in the Middle Ages, which was meant to take care of retreating armies. I saw it as a funny quirk in AoE II like the transport ship carrying 10 elephants, but it’s definitely not funny anymore in a 2021 game.