Hi, here is my food of thought about the potential civ balances. Hello all the devs if you are also seeing this post. My main goals are to address some of the civs that are a bit off in terms of strength or even popularity (pick rates) as some might be fairly powerful yet very boring to play with. If possible, without changing the strength of a civ, I hope to make the civs closer to their history.
Even with the DE buff, it is still one of the least picked and powerful amongst all. I understand that Portuguese is designed as a late-game powerhouse with navy and gunpowder specialties, and I do not think the identity of Portuguese does not fit an early bonus anyway. On the other hand, I also want Portuguese to reflect real history both before and after the age of guns. Therefore, here are the proposals I have:
a. Portuguese will receive ballistics for free. As @JonOli12 said in the post-My ideas to balance the game, Porto was known for good crossbows. This nice power spike will compensate for their lack of eco bonus in the early game, which also resembles the power spike of Berbers, reflecting the cultural influence from North Africa. For the sake of balancing, the removal of arbalests is an option. Or, making the gold cost bonus as a progressive change is also possible (what I mean is that maybe 10% off in castle and 15% off in imp). Free ballistics will make Porto a great civ for mass x-bows snowball, eventually transitioning to gunpowder units.
Edits: other good options are free research of ballistics so that you at least need a university for ballistics. This will make the snowball of x-bow rush less OP, and therefore no nerf is necessary.
b. Move the armor bonus of ships as a team bonus, and change the castle UT as a buff of trade carts. Since the removal of cartography, the team bonus of Portuguese is one of the least useful. (C’mon, you know you won’t use the team bonus that much in Dark Age). Rather, I am thinking of Supremecy for trade carts so that Portuguese trades are much resistant from raids in TG, or if that’s too broken, maybe even a boost of HP or armor for trade carts would be fine. This change also reflects Portuguese’s nature as a great TG and late-game powerhouse.
c. I am not too sure about the purpose of the Feitoria design. They are already fine as an entertaining building in casual games. But if the devs are trying to make it viable in competitive games, I would see it as a fusion of TCs and castles. What I mean is that Feitoria will not generate resources automatically, but rather producing villagers and trade carts with the hp and DPS similar to a castle so that players could build feitorias for map control, matching its aggressive nature in real life, or just as much more expensive markets for, of course, trading.
China is a polarizing civ. They are very broken for highly-skilled players yet relatively hard to use for low-level players. The civ win rates for China in general is mediocre atm, so I think minor changes for high-level games is good enough for now. In fact, the only change I would propose for now is just to slightly increase the price of chu ko nus, similar to what devs have done to plumed as well. 5 more wood and gold would make massing chu ko nus a tiny bit harder, but hey, as Chinese you also have other good things in the world.
Lithuanians are fine atm as a civ, but I am just in particular bothered by the cheap costs of an OP unit like Letis. The good thing is that Letis cannot be massed easily. Maybe slightly increase the gold cost of Letis so that at least it is not cost-effective even when dealing with trash units?
There is another post specifically about the potential buff for Byzantines. I do not much appreciate the concept of stalling the game with full trashes and reserving the gold for super late games. I think maybe 1 more pierce armor for elite cataphracts plus some discounts in upgrades should be good enough for Byzantines. I do not think making Cataphracts viable will greatly strengthen Byzantines as they already have insane trash units, FU arbs, and high hp buildings as a dEfEnSiVe civ. Anyway, there is already another post having some great ideas about changing Byzantines.
One thing I have to point out is that UT like Greek Fire and Shatagni (Indian UT) are actually a nerf irl. It’s harder to micro with 1 more range if the ranged units are very inaccurate. I would change it with more base damage or fast attack rates.
Indians have one of the best ecos of all. Due to the lack of military options, they are mediocre in general as a civ. I do believe that elephant archers are very bad because they simply get hard-countered by both skirms and pikes. One idea, not sure if it is very practical, is to appeal to the history and add a pikeman-like unit along with the archer on the elephant so that it has both melee and ranged damage outputs. The units can be counted as 2-pop. If that’s not viable, at least give elephant archers with one more range than foot archers. It is ridiculous that elephant archers actually have a shorter range than normal x-bows even though they are literally firing from a higher position. The other change would be Shatagni mentioned above.
No, free ballistics might be much stronger than you expect since you not only save the cost of university, the tech cost, but also the research time, making Porto x-bows very viable the second you enter Castle Age. A nerf in other aspects is just for the balance.
On the other hand, yeah you will save 175 wood for the market, so the team bonus is not completely useless, but very likely you will have a market in feudal anyway for resource balances. In some of the TGs, if pockets want to go fc, they might have to drop a market anyway. As a TG civ, Porto’s civ bonus seems too weak, contradicting its identity.
honestly, i don’t think you need to adjust the portuguese at all, even if you give them free ballistics. if you really want to prevent the power spike from it right hte moment you hit castle age, just make it require a university to be built.
its 200 wood at the same time you are already trying to drop 250 wood for thumb ring, and pumping out archers as you go. not to mention eco upgrades and potential farm reseeds.
as for the chinese, i don’t know if this civ really needs to be nerfed.
removing the already small gold discount from feudal is a nerf, arb removal is a nerf, 10% discount in castle is a nerf. The ballistics spike is only making it a one trick pony than a versatile civ.
I’d say free ballistics with university requirement without taking anything away is a good buff
I honestly don’t know why Chinese have such a low playrate compared to other civs.
they literally have one of the best ecos in the game.
a well balanced tech tree where the world is their oyster, and have no real glaring weaknesses.
they are literally the civ i would point out to anyone who asks what civ is good for a beginner.
almost full barracks
almost full archery range
even the stable, their weakest point, still gets full blacksmith upgrades, husbandry, and bloodlines.
they can go archer/xbow agro
they could go knight rush
they can macro like a beast.
they have respectable siege.
they have a solid navy.
literally one of the best civs in the game for learning a variety of playstyles.
oh, you seem to think i disagree with Portuguese being buffed, that isn’t the case. i am one of the people who firmly believes they need love. what they don’t need is a buff that comes with a trade-off.
if you don’t want the huge power spike at the start of castle from free ballistics, then lock it behind the university being built.
true, i forgot that point. but still, for the rest of it, my point remains. honestly they should just make it so the first 4 sheep are always within vision of your tc. theyve made other changes to eco resources through DE, this one makes the most sense since it literally can have a big impact on your opening.
To be honest, I would just prefer a Gold discount increase, which would sort out a host of issues, like Organ Guns being too weak for their price, and the current Gold discount not compensating for the lack of Shipwright, or compete with the Vikings and Italians discount.
I am not sure about the gold discount as that might too broken in the late game and not that helpful in early-mid game. In early-mid castle age, gold is less important than wood and food to maintain nonstopping production, while in the mid-late imperial age, 60 gold FU cavaliers, 32 gold FU abs, or 48 gold organ guns are pretty op imo. I think 1v1 water maps are completely broken at this stage because no matter how you buff other civs, it always comes down to italians mirror anyway.
That is the exact problem. With the faster up time, cheaper fishing ships, and cheaper tech, Italians normally would already win water before castle age and all the upgrades. The fact that Vikings don’t even have fire ships hurts them on pure water maps even more. Vikings are very strong in hybrid maps, however.