Should we split the Archer-line into Archers and Crossbows?

Something that has been on my mind for quite some time is the question whether the Archer-line should not be split into Archer and Crossbows. That’s the case in AoE 4 and was also the case in the alpha version of AoE 2, before both units were merged.

Gameplay-wise, of course, this would change some counters, as archers would now be more strong against light infantry such as Spears, but you would need Xbwos for heavy infantry such as the Militia-line, so you would need a counter for MAA in Feudal Age. You’d probably also need a new counter for Xbows as Skirmisher would be then just an Archer counter.

I know this involves some balance changes, especially with Spanish and Bulgarians, since they can’t do Xbows anyway.


Considering how hard a javelin can hit (if you played Mount & Blade, you know, it’s one of the rare weapons you’re still wary about at high level) compared to the pathetic attack of the skirmisher, the most logical would be reskinning the skirmisher to make it the archer, and the archer line would become full-crossbows.

Skirmisher => militia archer (looks like the current archer)
Elite skirmisher => archer (looks like the crossbowman, armed with a bow)
Imperial skirmisher => imperial archer
Archer => militia crossbowman (looks like the archer but uses a light crossbow)

No balance change, just reskinning and renaming existing units.


as an optional visual mod…sure why not
as an actualy balance change? jesus christ fucking no


Any reason why not? ^^

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i like this game. why do people keep suggesting such overhauls?
any change to this game should be either an addition (in the form of new civs and/or campaigns) or should fix a glaring issue (which i dont think there are any of anymore)

since this is just change for change’s sake i am strongly opposed


Such a massive change (it’s not carefully buffing an unit known to be underwhelming) would be like changing how some chess pieces can move.


Eh I disagree. The game could still get expanded with some new techs/units. Like for example is the east asian civs got a grenadier generic unit whats the ptoblem with that? And theres still a few aspectsvof the game that arent too good like water or siege towers

Rejecting any change is being too close minded imo.

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I like this game as well, but this less of a suggestion but rather a simple question.

Like it happened in the current patch with Gambesons among other chances that are supposed to buff infantry. My question hints if there’s more we could do to make the Militia-line more viable mid game as I doubt that even with Gambesons, we’ll see much Longsword play.

It’s something that kind of bugs me as well as imo while the AoE 2 community is great, it tends to act conservative towards potential changes which to a certain extent is understandable.

no need to start insulting people.

i approve of changes like gambeson, which tweak the gameplay. but completely overhauling a core unit like archers would be very off-putting
giving siege towers some more utility i wouldnt mind, but overhauling water seems like a big step away from the game. the dev team seems to agree and usually only does gradual changes, no overhauls

it removes the gmae further and further from the game we played in our childhood. if you want a new game then go to aoe4. what’s the purpose of adding a unit like that?

I agree with that :slight_smile:

Tbh water or better say the dock itself should be overhauled. But that’s a topic of its own.

Because technically that wouldn’t be a novelty in AoE 2 as with Conquerors already both Aztecs and Mayans received the Eagle Warrior and with Dynasties of India, the four Indian civs now have Armored Elephants instead of Battering Rams.

that still doesnt answer the question of purpose.

with eagles: aztecs and mayans were new civs which needed some mobile unit, so they received eagles warriors.
with steppe lancers: some new civs received them as a regional unit, they are still somewhat controversial because they dont seem to really fit any role, but where added to mongols because they seemed to fit culturally
with armored elephants: they were added as a regional unit to give more identity to the new indian civs

What all of these have in common is that they were added to new civs to fill gaps in their tech tree/give them identiy. So should east asian civs have a shared identity? (i think no)
are we fixing any issues with their tech tree with a unit like that? (I also think no, chinese especially already have so many options already)
so what purpose would such a unit serve?

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I wont take “muh childhood” as a valid argument.

Its called expanding the gamevwe already have. Like AoC expanded the game 20 years ago.

Either way it was just an example. Im not proposing a grenadier unit but just saying whats the problen withvthat in theory? Adding new uniys on water would have a clear purpose and you dont like that either

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So what? I’m pretty sure 12-years-old me would be overexcited with all the additional features from the HD/DE and their dlc yet would still complain that we didn’t get more new units and techs, and would be dumbfounded to find out people think it’s already too much.


I’m with @TwerDefender on this one. This would be a major change to the gameplay, which would have a significant impact on balance. Thus, in order to agree that this is an idea worth considering, I would need some gameplay-based justification for the change – i.e. how would this change improve the gameplay? The only justification anyone has given so far is that this is “the case in AoE 4 and was also the case in the alpha version of AoE 2”. That doesn’t address the gameplay question at all.

Personally, I think this would have a negative impact on balance. It would make the archer/crossbow line less versatile, and therefore be a nerf to archer civs. Archer civs already tend to underperform, with Koreans and Vietnamese having had the lowest winrates of all for a while now, and several other archer civs being near the bottom. Plus archers have recently received a nerf in the form of Gambesons.

If AoE2 was still in development, I’d probably be all for this, since it makes more historical sense – crossbows did not replace other types of bows. But at this stage in the game’s life, such a major change needs comparably major justification. No one has given that yet.

You’ve got to love the forum censor – it censors ######## but not this.

Somehow most people in this thread have misinterpreted this as “I am strongly opposed to all change”.


Archers and crossbows were suppose to be different units in early AoE2. Archers would cost no gold and crossbows were suppose to be stronger gold unit.

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Yeah, I guess historical accuracy (no pun intended) would be the main argument. I agree it may mess up the archery range too much, though. We can’t have the archer line into two niche unit lines, but with 5 different common ranged units, if one is too versatile it would probably make other useless. Not even mentioning UU’s.

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DLC is optional, so the comparison doesn’t fit

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DLCs are considered part of the balance, even if it’s not mandatory to buy them.

ofc it’s part of the balance. but if someone doesn’t like something that’s in a DLC (eg shrivamsha rider), they can simply refrain from buying the DLC, and will never have to play with them. they can even make lobby games where this unit/civ isn’t allowed. it’s purely additive content.

the example of splitting the archer-line doesn’t leave this option as everyone would be forced to play with this change, even if they consider it bad. nobody would still be able to upgrade archers to crossbows.
that’s why such changes are revolutions to gameplay, which i am strongly opposed to.

DLC or not, any impact on generic units and existing civs would be part of a free update

(Imagine the nightmare if you could pay for extra techs or units…)