Speed Up Dark Age

I have been thinking about the 9 villager start setting when I watch Admirals League games. It’s a widely discussed topic when it comes to speeding up the dark age tempo, and top players nowadays usually take their times to push deer before scouting opponents even in open maps. I think the following changes may be good:

(1) 8 villager start.
(2) TC provides 10 population for every civs (Chinese increase to 15).
(3) 6 sheep for each player and one of them spawn under TC. This means -200 food from herdables. [optional]

With these changes, dark age can speed up about 2 minutes. Greedy players that sacrifice scouting information to push deer will be easier to punished, which add more decision-making in early game. Civs with starting bonuses like Chinese and Mayans can be played as usual. In closed map like rage forest it might be interesting with crazier vill fight.

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All I can think immediately is that Chinese is 100% adding advantages by your decision.

The deer is already far away from TC (at least in Arabia), players who take all the deers already wont have enough time to scout the other’s base.

Why doing this extra unnecessary suggestions?

I haven’t tested the new change about deer position. My main point is speeding up early game tempo though, just like what Admirals League and empire wars game mode do. I understand Chinese may need some adjustment of course.

And this speed-up accomplishes… what exactly?
It’s more or less the same than the queuing time, so basically negligible.

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Shorten the routine we need to do at every single game.

I just proposed a game mode idea for a 8 vills castle age start here:

It’s skipping the first 5 vills and the feudal and castle age upgrade, but keeps the concept of rushes and buildorders, building up your own base as much as possible.

There is a mod called “Empire wars”. You can play it since it skips the whole drak age and keep our normal random map as it is. Or you can ask the devs to give a new mod with this start like what they did with empire war mod and we can keep our normal random map as it is.


Maybe EW failed cause it skips too much?
Especially building up your own base?

No it is fine. It is just the people prefer the original random map since the whole civs bonuses and balances are around dark age as a start. I am sorry, but I disagree with this topic, and I also don’t play EW. Anyway people can play there in EW if they want faster game.


And you want to skip the first two ages entirely? Seems hypocritical.

I don’t skip the ages, I skip the age-ups. That’s a huge difference.
I skip the age-ups as
a) during them basically nothing happens
b) the former conceptional tradeof between faster age-ups => tech advantage and slowe => more eco and potential agression has basically completely vanished. there is no decision taken anymore, therefore it can just go

We still have low dark age eco that only can support basic rushes at first.

I think it’s very hypocritical to call this skipping the two ages “entirely”.

And btw it’s a completely different game mode, it’s not intended to be like EW “skipping” early parts of the game. It’s just inteded to go right into action. The games evolving from these are intended to be different than the standard. It’s not “skipping”, it’s a totally new form of starting the game.

You start in Castle Age, yes? With a Dark Age eco (kind of)? But without the ability to create Dark/Feudal Age units in their respective ages? To me, that’s skipping the first two ages.

How am I being hypocritical? I don’t agree with any of the ideas to speed up the game, but until now, I hadn’t said that.

What? I see the difference. I don’t care about EW, and I wasn’t talking about it at any point in this thread. I’m purely commenting on my understanding of your gamemode proposal, which as far as I understand it, you just cut Dark and Feudal, increase the starting vils, change up the res and starting buildings, and gives some techs. I really don’t see any benefit to what you’re proposing to be honest, and feel that it needlessly cuts out the start of the game for no true gain.

I’m not sure where you got the view that I can’t see a difference between your start and EW. I’m merely commenting on disliking gamemodes where you don’t start in dark age, put simply.

How about I just clarify my initial comment:

  • You say EW fails because it skips too much
  • I view dark and Feudal as an integral part of the game
  • You want to skip those
  • It’s not EW, but it still feels like skipping too much, hence my comment

I agree EW fails because it skips too much, and I also view dark age as an integral part of the game. I think most players don’t like such massive change and prefer what the game used to be so far. Therefore, my main hope is speeding up the same routine while maintaining the dark age scouting and building up strategy as usual. Play with 8 vills start should be almost the same with classic 3 vills start and giving us a quicker pace imo.

No it is not the same. It will give some civs huge advantages over others and nerf others at the sametime which will require an overhaul balance changes to all civs with this start. No one like your idea with all due respect. Just play EW if you want a fast game.


Cause you formulated it so. I have to respond to what you say, i can’t see in your mind.

It’s ok. I just don’t think skipping like only 5 vills does anything good to the game. At least if you play it.
I know some casters promoted the 8 or 9 vills dark age start, also because they featured it in their tournaments. But for casting it’s a different matter. During a game you don’t feel much if theres these 2 minutes where you can’t do anything but executing the basic openinng of the game. But if the caster doesn’t has something to talk about these 2 minutes can become very lengthy. Especially if the casters themselves get then annoyed.
But it saves almost nothing in time when you consider how long a normal game actually goes on average and how long you are in the queue or lobby anyways.
Plus it has the side effect of nerfing the drush as you lose these 2 minutes for your scouting. OR you start with already scouted base, but this then defies the concept of still having a dark age start, building up everything from scratch.
And then we ofc have the issue that with that different start, the buildorders willl also change. So everybody would need to learn new buildorders just to save these 2 minutes that as descrived above don’t evne make a big difference in time savings. That’s super weird for a game mode that isn’t intended to have is own character, just skipping a bit of the early game.

To summarize: 8-9 vills dark age start is only for tourneys or probably super closed maps like arena. But I highly doubt it will be even recognized as any benefitial cause the time savings are minimal and you still have many disadvantages from having a different game mode.

I don’t even think it’s a good idea to try to “skip” parts of the game. I don’t think this works. Or if it works the gains will be so mediocre that the inconvenience heavily outweights them for the vast majority of people on the ladder.

I haven’t said that. I have tried to explain resons why I think it didn’t work out. And there are various of them.
I’m not even sure if “skipping” is the right word cause it turned out that EW became a unique playstyle and most people couldn’t enjoy it, cause it is even more focussed on flawless execution than the current ranked meta.

Can you please stop with this nonsense?

I’m not sure if “skipping” parts of the game is a good idea. The thing is if there was too much you can actually “skip” this would mean the game has completely left the “strategy” part of it’s description and we should actually try to do something to make the early stages less “robotic”.
Especially if you say you want to keep the dark age, cause tbh… for most people atm is dark age just something to go through to make the standard rushes.

TBH the 3 vills start exists for so many years. Everyone gets used to it. Every move that changes the buildorders will be a bad idea. What I want to accomplish is shortening the process without decision-making, or the “robotic” in early stages. I think 8 vills start is better since the buildorders are almost the same if TC provide 10 pop. We can build 2 houses and send 6 vills on sheep as usual. The only change is we don’t need to spend time creating those vills every game.

I wish something like this could be done. Dark age is so dull and monotonous. To me EW is a superior game mode but failed to hit critical mass. I’m sure it could be debated but to me the reasons for this are

  • people don’t like change and RM is just the way the game is played (rightly or wrongly)
  • the launch was botched in that everyone was given a 1000 Elo meaning many people were put off by the lack of balanced matches
  • the game isn’t balanced for it

But yer anything to reduce the waste of time at the start of each match, especially on closed maps, would be greatly appreciated. But yer doubt anything will change in practice :frowning:

8 or 9 villager start only makes sense on fast castle maps like Arena, Black Forest, Team Islands etc. For open maps, 3 villagers is perfect and allows time to think about strategy and scout.

9 villager start on Arabia is way too rushed. Not enough time to scout, lure deer and think about strategy. I like the way Arabia games develop gradually. Play EW if you find it too slow.

3 villager start has been the most popular game setting for over 20 years, why fix something which is not broken? I would instantly uninstall the game if we lost the 3 villager start on open maps.


I love the 3 vils start, no need to rush like a madman, just chill and take it easy, plan the base, scout the enemy, fail the deer lure and hopefully find all the sheep! There’s plenty of rushing and stressful times in castle age and Imperial Age, why rush the dark age too? Makes no sense to me.