Stone costs don´t realy fit

Before I start, this is NOT a balance suggestion.

Usually I barely use towers, sometimes to secure a resource spot against an archer ambush or not at all. Same goes for stone walls. The only real use i have for them is usually in late game to secure vills from hussar raids and even that is just situational. I also barely see stone walls and towers in tournaments. The reason is quite obvious. Stone is so rare, that even gold feels cheap compared to it, so it is nearly completely used for town centers and castles. On the other hand, palisade walls se a heavy use and walling with buildings in addition is something like the meta in ranked games. To me, this concept always feels a bit strange. Medivial battels in open fields were rare and laying siege on castles and cities was something like a standard. Having barely stone walls but walling with wooden houses. palisades and even marketplaces is efficient in the game, but in a way absurd. Concerning that, I ask myself, if the whole stone concept in the game has not turned everything to a point, that was never intended (I doubt that the developers in vanilla thought, that walling will be done with with everything but with stone walls).

After all, I think, that stone and stone costs might need some rework in general. Besides that, the Bulgarians Krepost as something like a castle light fits so well in the game, that there is maybe a demand for more tactics with defensive structures.

Things that come in my mind are:

  • No stone costs for town centers but with other extra costs (maybe more wood and/or some gold), to free the starting pile of stone for some defensive structures.

  • A bit more stone on the maps and a slightly higher stone mining rate, but an increase of stone costs for castles (effort for castles should not change much, but costs for other dfensive structures should be more attractive that way)

  • Make it possible for villagers to mine a part of the used stone from a castle or tower, once it is destroyed (stones were often used from old structures)

  • general slight reduction of costs for stone walls

  • more light castle options like the krepost

  • less hitpoints for buildings that cost no stone, to make walling with them less effective.

Beware, that all theese things are just a theory and not a request to immediatly implement/change and nothing here is for reasons of ballance.


except all the options you give affect balance of the game.

This would probably be a bad idea, and would require a rework of some civ bonuses.

this would heavily nerf strategies that involve going for unique units.

i’m not sure if this is even possible with the game engine.

this won’t change anything - Mayans already save 50% on stone walls as is and don’t use them.

this would take away from what makes Bulgarians unique.

this is more reasonable but would also require a way to rebalance those buildings as it would indirectly nerf siege.

Honestly i doubt there is any reasonable way to make stone better without just making it overpowered, or other aspects of the game overpowered or underpowered.

i’d also like a source for this claim, because having read about many battles, there were definitely sieges but i remember a lot of open field battles as well.


Sieges in medieval times were nothing like a siege in AoE2. Actually forcefully invading a Castle was not a trivial task, so a lot of the times a Siege meant ‘waiting for the defenders to starve to death’, rather than… actually storming the walls.


pretty much. it was a long process, lasting a month or more.

None of these should be added for the simple reason of this game being age of empires a build and destroy game not a city building game like stronghold or zeus.


Stone cost for town centers was added in the transition from AoK → AoC and it was done as a way to nerf booming, it would be very easy to spam town centers all over the map if they only cost wood, even if that cost is higher than what it is currently, this was deemed too strong back in the day and it would certainly be incredibly powerful today as well.


Also to stop Persians Douche which used to be Teutons Douche back in AOK days.


“Settling in to a Siege” is a turn of phrase for a reason. If you had a fight on an open field, it was (usually) to prevent having to deal with a siege, or to break an ongoing siege.

This isn’t how intertemporal resource optimization works. The fact that players hoard stone by not mining it until they need castles and TCs is much more an indication that aoe2 players never took an upper division level economics course where intertemporal optimization is analyzed.

In general stone walls and towers have very good uses and complement castles extremely well. Towers are cheaper to repair, easier to wall in, etc. In fact 2 towers a short distance in front of a castle with a short stone wall in front of the towers slow a melee rush is one of the easiest ways to save stone. Towers have 40-50% the HP while only costing 20% as much. This means the stone damage of siege is cut in half or more provided you place the towers such that siege must engage them before the castle.

Players who hoard stone to build or repair future castles are usually discounting inconsistently. Saving stone by not building walls or towers only delays the time until the market needs to be used. But this occurs so far into the future that it needs to be heavily discounted, so much so it seems unbelievable that a stone wall or towers value now wouldn’t be a better use of stone often enough to be noticed.

This isn’t to say building walls and towers are necessarily good. E.g. as a highly mobile cav archer civ against a poor cavalry civ they’re kind of a waste. Only that their cost is so cheap and their complementary nature to castles reasonable enough, that not seeing stone defenses almost ever almost certainly necessitates improperly discounting or ignoring the heavy repair cost of castles. I mean foregoing 1 castle will get you 130 stone wall segments. You can fortify a lot of vulnerable eco with 130 stone wall segments, much more than 1 castle can protect.

It’s also easy that it’s a failure of the meta when comparing to gold. No one hoards gold, they simply use it judiciously. But with stone key vulnerabilities are left improperly fortified and many games the hussars will get in and GG. Hera is famous for exploiting this inefficiency in the meta.

E.g. in rbw4 finals both hera and lierry were overrun by the other because they chose to build palisades rather than stone walls along too much of a front. Multiple points were threatened and the enemy got in causing a game ending raid. The bias toward saving stone for castles clearly has significant drawbacks. In EW especially stone walls don’t have the drawback of not being available at the start of the game.

1 Like

thats actually VERY possible by making the rubble from castles and such minable just like a stone pile. am going to use this somewhere as a mechanic in a mod or map or something im making.

what other rts had this same mechanic? cant think if it right now…

1 Like

oh and i agree with you, except the part about highly mobile cav archers not mixing well with stone walls, a double layer or stone walls with a bunch of cav arvhers running between them is WAY better than a castle as it cannot be trebbed, rammed, can cover and surround a large area, is also mobile and can be micro’d unlike a castle.

had very good results with this as the 2 layers of walls were repairable and fixable for cheap, cav archers can be healed for free… i may have spoken too much…

can you actually do it in game as is? i’ve never seen such a mechanic.

I dont really understand this thread. It isnt made as balance suggestion, but after explaining his issue, he came up with a list of balance suggestions. This changes really change the balance, so we really have to look at this suggestion from the perspective of a balance suggestion.

I also dont really like the idea. In my opinion the game is already becoming more and more defensively. I much more prefer offensive play. Buffing defensives isnt really something i would consider as an improvement.

Only thing i would like to see, is the last suggestion:

since playing aggressive will benefit from this change.

1 Like

You are very right and I could not agree more to your points. Walling with buildings is just rediculous. Palisade walls, gates and buildings should be passable while building and easily destroyed by anything other that millitia. Stone walls on the other hand could very much benefit from your suggestions. Towers should not be able to uppgrade only re- or new constructed as you research the new techs. Military buildings should cost gold as well as wood.

This is how the game has evolved. Even if the original game developers intended for walling without buildings and for beautiful fortresses with castles and towers to emerge in the late game.

it’s not a requirement that stone be rare. There are maps where stone is abundant and you can spam the map with stone walls, castles and towers. It just so happens that said maps are not as popular as maps with standard resources (Arabia, Arena, Team Islands, etc.)

A reduction in cost doesn’t only mean that you can do more with the stone you have. It also means you gather stone comparatively faster which means more stone buildings in the field quicker. If stone towers and walls were any cheaper you’d start seeing them defending everything making feudal wars look completely different.

Just on a final note: it is true that towers are rarely used and they serve a certain niche in the feudal age and early castle age to mitigate the effect of archers and beyond a certain point they stop being useful. However, some strategies do call for towers. Trushing is still a thing and civilizations like Japanese, Turks, Koreans, Chinese and Portuguese have something unique about their towers or bombard towers which makes them useful in many cases.

the 1 step solution would be to just set the dead object of the castle to a stone pile. viola, one and done. otherwise i would duplicate the rubble pile of that size and give it the same resource attributes as a stone pile, remove the decay, and set it as the castles dead object, also slight modification to the gfx of the rubble to make it look like there’s some usable stone in there, and perhaps a few “reduced because u mining it” frames to it, etc. but yeah, extremely doable. I really wish more would open up the genie editor and check it out, you’d be surprised what can actually be done with a little luck and some clever work arounds. the entire game is clever work arounds lol.

just as a quick example i had at least helped formulate the idea of a flood washing over part of the map and within a short period of time another fellow mod enthusiast had the mechanic working and literally the terrain was turning into water and progressed through the area intended.

and if they ever fix the graphics listing bug introduced in the latest patch(crosses fingers) ill get back to making a fully flowing volcano with lava flowing and everything, also my relativity tower blowing holes in the ground leaving molten lava holes , a meteor shower basically giant flaming treb rocks crashing to the ground, hah you name it.

besides the devs can literally implement any mechanic they want, like the coustil charge, the 1st crusade, etc having access to the source code. the cool thing is that the genie editor also gets those mechanics “mostly” added to it so it keeps getting more and more aspects that can be reworked into even more things. i believe the change regarding the hero glow gfx is what has the gfx list currently limited to existing entries only and is a slight annoyance, but the fact the game literally comes with it’s own set of map and rules editing tools is really amazing and also quite underappreciated.

not to be judgemental or anything, but there are so many balance changes suggestions and replies and i cant take really any of them seriously because by the time those posts had been made, someone could have made a mod exactly for that change they are suggesting, try it out, and maybe even snowball popularity to the point that it’s integrated into the game, like so many other recent “additions” lol

oh and relevant to the discussion something to think about is that the usefulness of this unit or tower etc doesn’t really matter as those parts of the game exist because of the flexibility of the gametypes and rules setups allow so many ways to play the game and they might exist and be more important to another part of the game, where the somewhat strange or maybe counterintuitive aspects actually make sense, so for instance, towers might not be so niche in a game that ends in feudal age with a bunch of cumans and sicilian players lol so the same basic rules need to be able to work at least moderately well in a LARGE variety of situations, as opposed to being perfectly balanced in one aspect(ranked games) and not working at all in others. So it’s a tough thing to approach for the devs, who are probably laughing so hard at how many different balance changes and starkly different viewpoints exist on these issues, especially when to them… it’s just a few little numbers buried under a mountain of others and probably means very little in the grander scope of stability and quality of life improvements, which UNDOUBTEDLY are far more difficult to conceptualize, design, and implement without breaking anything else in a game that was designed using vaccum tubes and then whe… i need to stop myself lol

continue on! i feel like this discussion has potential!

The limited availability of stone and the stone cost of town centers are very deliberate parts of the design of this game. A match has to end at some point. As an extension of this, lobsided matches where one player gains a massive advantage are supposed to end quickly while really close matches are supposed to go to the late game, but still reach a decision ones there. To accomplish this the early game has more rubber band mechanics, mechanics that keep a player in the game despite being slightly behind. A men at arms rush can pound your mill for minutes and you barely lose anything from it. The late game meanwhile is more about snowball mechanics, where a minor advantage grows bigger and bigger to get to the point where someone wins.

Defensive buildings are a rubber band mechanic. a tower can take down many times its own construction costs in enemy archers. It can’t run to the front and start playing offense, but it can keep you alive for less resources than the other guy is investing in making you dead. This rubber band mechanic is weakened first by armies getting bigger and units getting more attack, while the HP of buildings improves but doesn’t keep up. Then we get to siege options like trebuchets, siege rams and bombard cannons, and eventually stone runs out. At this stage it becomes harder and harder to afford stone defenses while the siege units that counter them stay relatively affordable for a while. Stone that runs out slower weakens this balance. Town centers that cost no stone break this balance. There will be a point in the game when siege is unaffordable because gold has run out, but defensive buildings can still be made.

Now, of course, none of these rules of AoE2 game design are hard rules, as demonstrated by the existing exception: Malay harbors. Play an 8 player diplomacy game on any water map and you may run into someone who never ventures off their own island, walls themselves in with harbors and uses fish traps to pay for any units they need to defend against cannon galleons. It’s okay as an option for one civ, as a thing that can occur sometimes, as an option that civ can be balanced around. I don’t think it would be fun as a general option, especially not one viable on land maps. Trash wars would be basically unwinnable. Stone cost for town centers is vital to the game being fun. It’s by design.


Pretty sure they cant as the engine is too old for complex stuff.

If the death unit of a destroyed castle was a stone pile this can easily be achieved. This will also temporarily prevent others from putting down a castle at the same spot till that stone is mined.


That would be a cool feature to have and would be a great reason to actually research the stone mining tech fully.