Team Game only players don't understand game balance

If you never play 1v1, you will never truly understand what a balanced army looks like. Or what overpowered actually means. Change my mind.

I keep seeing posts from people who never play 1v1 saying “This unit is OP, needs a nerf” or “This unit is too weak, needs a buff”. Either because they just got dominated by that unit or because they never see a particular unit in team games.

Look, I know you love booming in pocket position so you can get all your upgrades and spam knights. Or crossbows. Or unique units. And getting your team mates to cover your weaknesses. I get it, it’s fun. And I do it too when I play team games. Then you can just keep spamming your single gold unit / heavy siege composition in the late game with Spanish trade until the enemy quits or does the same thing to you.

But if you never play 1v1 on typical maps like Arabia, you are simply not qualified to be saying what is or isn’t balanced in the game, because you don’t have enough in-game experience to judge. You just haven’t had enough late game stalemate trash wars in a 3 vs. 2 relics situation with no trade and no gold left on the map.

I’m not saying you suck at the game. I’m just saying your opinion and knowledge is very niche and most of the unfair situations you are complaining about is because team games are always unfair by their very nature. You just need to understand that nerfing ultra late game units with all their upgrades just because they battered you in a team game would destroy 1v1 game balance. Just like buffing units you never see in team games does the same thing. So there is a reason why game balance is decided based on 1v1. So just think next time you believe something is OP or too weak: Does my argument also apply to 1v1? Do I even have enough 1v1 experience to make an accurate statement on the subject?

Thank you for listening to my Ted talk.


Not only that. I think this needs to be extended to basically be if you don’t play ranked, 1v1, standard start, conquest victory, Arabia, you aren’t fully qualified to make balance judgements for the game as a whole. You can talk about certain niche situations, but those settings I listed are by far the most important for balance, and experience with them is essential.


This game is more than just 1v1 Arabia. Game balance should also not be done based on just 1v1 Arabia either. A 1v1 Arabia game and a 4v4 Black Forest game will play out differently. So things that work on 1v1 Arabia might not work on 4v4 black forest and vica versa. You need to consider all these cases with balancing civs.

I dont think people make bad game balance suggestions because they dont play 1v1 Arabia. They make bad suggestions because they dont really understand civs weel enough to understand they strengths and weaknesses of civs. Their lack of knowledge of the game is the reason for their terrible ideas. Not the fact that they dont play team game. Both might be correlated, but playing team games only is not the reason why many players make bad suggestions.


Of course the game is more than 1v1 Arabia. But if you have the choice between balancing based on that map or balancing based on 4v4 Black Forest, then 1v1 Arabia will always be the fairer balance hands down and it’s not even close. That’s why all the pro players’ civ tier lists are based on 1v1 Arabia. And I would even go as far as saying if a new player were to get up to a decent ELO and skill level on one map or the other, then the Arabia player would have the more versatile well-rounded skillset than the 4v4 Black Forest specialist. The BF players will still have the advantage on their home maps, but I just mean the 1v1 Arabia player can usually adapt to other maps a lot better than the BF player can, especially when it comes to early feudal aggression maps and late game trash wars.

And if you literally never play Arabia or 1v1 at all, this will hold you back in the long run. Closed map team games simply don’t challenge you in the same way as 1v1 Arabia, because on TG prison maps you can just boom and trade your way into your favourite gold heavy composition every game without having to worry about trash units or securing resources or gold running out or relics etc

I think it is more because players know that the game is regulary getting balanced with new patchs, and devs tend to listen to the loud part of the community.

I feel before the DE many players were praizing how good and well rounded their civ is, or how rewarding they feel when winning as their favorite underdog civ.

When there are balance patches, people suddently scream stuff like:

  • "my civ is too weak ! Buff please ! "
  • “my playstyle and favorite units are too weak ! buff please !”
  • “my playstyle is weak against X ! Nerf X please !”

And some of them will be correct that their civ or playstyle is weak at high elo, mid elo and/or their Elo. But I dont think it is the plan to have every civ and playstyles 100% balanced for everyone.

Sometimes I just hope people who really want to enjoy their favorite civ or unit could care less about how strong it is, and those who really want to increase their Elo could play whatever works best.
Or play lobby games with their own balance mod. And how knows, maybe one of these mods will become very popular. With the hope that ranked lobbies will one day be available for supremacy games…

The devs are trying to listen to the community for civ balancing, and some players are getting a litttle to greedy with what they ask for.

I am not convinced not playing enough 1v1 Arabia is the main problem. I think some people will ask for changes regardless. And I think even 1v1 Arabia only players will complain about balance, and their balance proposals will be contradictory. I read so many “please nerf xbows” and “please nerf knights” from people clearly thinking about their Arabia games.

This is very accurate in the sense that team game requires difference civ strengths 2Franks+2Britons >> 4Britons and 2Franks+2Britons >> 4Franks.

You cannot just have every player pick random and expect perfectly balanced games.

And if in your map and settings, let’s say Siege Onagers are too strong, then pick one civ with it. And sling the hell out of him so that he can make 150 of them.

Or… Here I found the recipe to win games. If I really want to win games maybe I should play it. Maybe, just maybe it will turn out that I oversaw a weakness.
Or maybe go full Hoang lifestyle and play the hell out if your favorite civ and playstyle no matter whether it is good or not, because it is enjoyable.

Because this seems to be how it works in most non-RTS games. I dont think there are so many threads “please buff shotgun” and “please nerf sniper” on CS-GO, or threads “please make Garen viable” and " please nerf leblanc to the ground" in League of legends. And in League of legends people also main the most useless champions of all and climb the ladder to the top.


That’s a very nice summary and completely true. What’s unfortunate is these are mostly players that just play with the same civ over and over again on all maps. Like picking the same Franks or Mayans/Britons every game and on every map. If some unit combo from opponent team killed their meta play because of the map or other factors like fishing, they just conclude those units are OP and want those nerfed to the ground.

Arabia represents a category of maps where several strategies can work at all ages. Its quite complex and adaptive. 1v1 is the format where resource limitation, map expansion, military unit choice, decision to make more military vs adding eco are more non-trivial.

I think it is correlated. Because they play only 4v4 BF or some other closed map, their idea of strong and weak civs is based only on those settings and not in general.

Balance suggestions can be different from Arabia but still has to be relevant for 1v1 some commonly played category of maps. Like the Spanish Nomad tc nerf, Turks janissary range nerf.

Map generations were much different, more strategies like tower rush or forward feudal were feasible. Lots of civs were competent or considered equally broken.

I don’t know about League of legends but CS:GO is an FPS, completely different from RTS genre of games. Balance wouldn’t be necessary if all bonuses were comparably good in some or the other situation. Unfortunately many changes added since legacy times didn’t stand well with respect to others like the Frank 25% berry bonus, chivalry, Warwolf, castle age Eagle warrior upgrade, Obsidian arrows were very strong in most situations while Mongol UT Nomad, WK’s Persian UT boiling oil, Orthodoxy or Madrasah were completely useless all the time. Obviously the game did need a lot more changes to keep the balance and it was better for the game. Imagine if we continued having OG steppe lancers, 25% faster berries for Franks and Orthodoxy instead of Detinets for Slavs. So I don’t think requesting for valid changes is bad.
Its only problematic when such suggestions are made based on niche situations.

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There you go. It’s not that they don’t understand balance. It’s that team game players value balance in team games.

You (and a lot of other people) value balance in 1v1s.

You are just wrong with the title. They do understand balance, and they understand it well. However, they understand it for their game mode.

In fact, I would argue that lack of balance in team games says more about balance than 1v1s do. True lack of balance in team games is when there is no strategy to counter your opponent’s strategy. That means none of your 3/4 civs has a means to deal with what they are doing. That is ridiculous.

This is also exemplified by the fact that top civs on team games right now have like 54% win rates. Top civs for 1v1s on certain maps have like 60%+ win rates.

On the flip side, if you say that something isn’t balanced in 1v1s, that means you don’t know how to play it in most cases. Playing 1v1s do not make you a balancing expert.

So, let’s make this clear. This is just a popularity contest. If 99% of people plated team games, that balance would be valued way more. As of right now though, there are a lot of arabia players who like to scream at the top of their lungs.
There’s nothing more to it.

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No it doesn’t, but getting good at 1v1 Arabia does mean you understand map control, unit counters (including trash units), securing relics, fighting in all 4 ages, using different strategies every game, scouting, micro and adapting and transitioning into a completely different unit composition much better than a team game only player who has just mastered their speciality of turtling and booming into the same single gold unit + siege composition every game. Scouting and micro just aren’t as important in team games because you can just boom up to your imperial deathball composition with all upgrades which counters everything.

These are some insane assumptions. How do you know that all team game players go for 1 gold unit and siege comp every time? You do know that there are a lot of open map team games, right?

Besides, I’ve seen enough Franks pickers who only play scouts into knights with skirms/scorpions and mangonels to say that there is a huge chunk of 1v1 player base to whom you can apply this exact argument to.

Stop stereotyping 1v1 or team game players. Seriously. If you want to present an argument, present that argument independent of a type of player. Speak in terms of what you need to win 1v1/team games.

If you want to stereotype team game players, let’s do this. You can look at my game history and see that I play mostly team games. In fact, I play pretty much exclusively team games. I will bet you that I can beat my best team game Elo on 1v1 within a month. That should show that team game knowledge will transfer over to 1v1. If anything, it will show that team game knowledge is superior. Wanna take that bet? What are you willing to bet?

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All the examples I used were closed team game maps. Team game Arabia obviously has more early aggression and is therefore more versatile with strategies than turtle boom maps.

The difference is that the 1v1 Arabia Franks picker doesn’t have to go scouts into knights to win the game. Even with his limited tech tree he has quite a few options or directions he can go. Whereas on a closed team map, you simply must turtle and boom into your strongest army composition, and not doing so will almost definitely lose you the game. So there is less room for flexibility or different strategy. The main puzzle you are solving is how your team mates’ civs can synergize to create the best army comp to counter the enemy civs.

Because playing trash units is really bad in TGs usually. If you go spears, their flank will show up and shoot them. If you go skirms, the pocket will show up and massacre them.


Then change the title to “Closed map exclusive team players don’t understand game balance”. Your title clearly implies all team game players. In that case, I don’t disagree with you. People who play only closed map team games don’t understand general game balance. But also, who are these people? I have not met even a single one here.

Only at the highest levels. You aren’t going to have that level of co-ordination with randos online. In my experience, open map team games are pretty much 1v1s till 2 of your opponents join up and your army gets screwed. Going a few skirms is usually worth it. Pikes too, mostly for defence.

Also, despite what you think, late game team matches have a LOT of trash units because you have a lot of resources and map control is what matters. Or, trade doesn’t get set up soon enough and you need to rely on trash units.

There are plenty of Team Game only players who ban Arabia. But even on 4v4 Arabia, pockets are still gonna be going FC every game. So it’s more flexible than a closed team map but it’s still more predictable than 1v1 Arabia. Look at a list of 8x random civs and their map positions for 4v4 Arabia and it’s not gonna be that hard to figure how the game will play out. Flank archers civs will go feudal archers, flank cav civs will go scouts, pocket cav civs will go FC knights or camels, pocket archer civs will probably go FC crossbow. Or FC unique unit.

I’m not saying team game knowledge is useless. In fact, team game players are usually better at booming and economy management. Which makes sense because that is the key to their success in team games. Scouting and micro are much less important. 1v1 players could learn a thing or two from them, no doubt. But 1v1 sometimes you can afford to (in fact if you’re behind, sometimes you have to) sacrifice economy in favour of earlier aggression.

As for your challenge, I don’t want to dissuade you from playing 1v1, I recommend anybody to play 1v1 Arabia if they want the ultimate test of their aoe2 ability. But team game ELO is not equivalent nor a fair comparison to 1v1 ELO so the test is kind of pointless. You gain ELO from winning games where you were carried by better players and you lose ELO when you lose due to weak team mates. 1700 team ELO is not equal to 1700 ELO in 1v1. If you look up the stats on most players, it’s very unusual for their 1v1 and team ELO to be the same. But don’t let that put you off. Play 1v1 Arabia, I fully support you and hope you do well.

I usually ban arabia/arena. But, I only play 3v3s. And, pockets almost always go scouts, not fc.

Sure, I don’t disagree. You usually can’t do this on team games because one of your opponents could support the one you are sacrificing your eco for.

Yes, but I am talking about the best elo. Which is just around 1100. Not that high. I have over a thousand games, so this is not a small sample size.
And sure. They are not comparable. So, what’s the elo and time frame you want? 1200 over 2 months? Assuming that my skill on team game is around 1000 Elo, what do you think it will be, in 1v1s?

Just to be clear, I don’t like playing 1v1 arabia. I find it to be the most boring thing ever because it is optimized so much. Early arabia is so meta that you need to grind hours on build orders to get good there, which is why I don’t care about that. I just want to show everyone that team games are just as skill heavy as 1v1s. And, team game people understand 1v1s just as well.

11 What’s your Elo? (20 characters)

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Not only that. I think if you only play ranked, 1v1, standard start, conquest victory, Arabia you aren’t fully qualified to make balance judgements for the game a a whole.

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Many people called for the crossbow nerf saying that pros would go xbow even with civs like Franks or teutons. After they were nerfed a post was instantly made titled along the lines of “we need to address cavalry dominance at all elos”.

I understand that’s those 2 thing aren’t necessarily contradictory (because of elo as I’ve mentioned and other factors I’m sure), but it was just funny to see the nerf cav post right after the nerf xbow comments and patch


Like Viper said, “ELO is irrelevant to opinion. You could be 400 ELO and be right and you could be 2500 ELO and be wrong”. Skip to 0:41

You are free to disagree of course, but argue against my points and debate the topic.

I disagree with this example. Team game experience is absolutely dependent on your Elo, and that’s what my question is directed towards. Furthermore, I never had any interest in arguing with someone who believes that the whole game balance should revolve around their preferred way of playing and thinks that everyone who doesn’t play the game in the same way shouldn’t be considered when balancing the game.

The competitive scene revolves around 1v1 and the most popular 1v1 map by far is Arabia. And the higher you go with ELO, the more likely Arabia is the most played map. So it’s not really me, it’s the high level competitive scene which has the most influence over game balance.