The problem of "content creep"

Not talking about “power creep”, balancing or gameplay because I’m pretty bad at this game. And balancing can be eventually solved, maybe with the simple no-brainer solution of nerfing the economy and/or the base unit stats to the ground.
But does that solve the entire problem? No. The amount of contents of the new civs are still there. If we are going down the path of stuffing more and more into new releases, eventually the potential of the game will be drained.

1 Content creep and why it is a problem

I think that problem starts from Swedes, or even TAD civs, but they all look very mild compared to later DLCs.


This civ used to have one unit that can do almost everything, with 5 cards, and a special ability. Two of the cards give this unit some unprecedented traits compared to other regular musketeers: range (well Haud has that but that’s still quite rare) and ranged resistance (wtf?).
It has a lot of far improved version of underused or even useless mechanics: cavalry trampling, merc training from regular buildings, mortars targeting units, etc.

But Swedes now looks rather conservative compared to later additions.


The federal state is a great new mechanic. The problem is, the unique bonuses and traits received from federal state cards (40) is more than almost all vanilla European civs combined.
And they can receive a lot of units they lack or are weak at, with much greater accessibilities. Many old civs have to live up with their limited unit roster, only compensated by mercs or natives (which are very situational), but they’re still happy with that.
They also have cards with bundled effects. Early units + unit shipments, unit shipments + bonuses, etc.


I actually like the African designs more than US. They are creative but less drastic.
My main issue is that they are able to give almost every unit some distinct buffs. That’s perhaps a tradition since TAD, but African ones are much more drastic. Lifidi Knight for example already has its unique trait, but can be unlocked earlier, gain an AOE damage and also receive insta-training, which was removed for French because it is too op.
They have more “bundled cards”. Even their merc cards can give a small bonus. And they also have a lot of free upgrades to natives and mercs, making them much more viable. Though the usage is limited by influence income, they still have far more useful options compared to others.
In addition, African outlaws used to be too strong and too unique. Thankfully they are nerfed. Old outlaws are weak and not interesting at all. But suddenly when every civ went to Africa they all started spamming outlaws.


Mexico has all these aforementioned “problems” combined. It is indeed the most diverse civ ever.

  • They have units with tons of abilities and unique traits.
  • They can buff almost every unit and give them some even more unique traits.
  • They have 40 federal state cards
  • They have cards with bundled effects, and get access to units they do not have (while they do not really have bad basic units like US cavalry)
  • On top of that, they also have 7 additional revolutionary decks, each offering several new units and bonuses.
Historical references

Now this is something very personal, but I believe many feel the same. The reason why people love AOE is at least partly attributed to its historical backgrounds. I’m not suggesting they should be entirely accurate, but seeing the historical contents in the game is a lot of fun.
However, the amount of historical references in the federal state cards is again more than all vanilla civs combined.
Think about how many interesting people and events that shaped the world there are in this time period. It’s a pity the majority of them are still not included.

For most other civs livestock is not even an option. Mercs and outlaws are very situational. Many units and cards are still never considered. When I play these civs I got bored easily, especially after going for the same few card builds every time for many years.
And DLC civs keep getting new cards over time, as if they are really lack of cards.

2 “But you’re not going to use all of them”

I know new civs would eventually be optimized and most cards will remain unconsidered. But at least many of these new cards seem to me like a straight-up improvement of the old, underused ones. Same with other stuff like livestock, mercs, etc. There is a different between “sth is so bad so I would not use it” and “sth is dwarfed by something even better so I would not use it”.

Also, if I have the option to buff whatever unit I like, or to stack one unit (carolean, solado, chinaco, etc.) into superman, even at the cost of investing too many cards, why can’t I do the same in other civs?

3 “Keep the play style of older civs!”

That is a very solid argument and I’ll definitely agree with it. Old civs already have well-established strengths, weaknesses and play styles. I’m not suggesting a complete overhaul.

We actually have a few very good examples of how this could be done:


Many of the logistician options makes it possible for some strong and sustainable age 2 strategies, for example Spanish. They do not interfere with the original play style though, like you can still go with FF+2 falconets playing Spanish by choosing your regular politicians.
BTW the British one is really bad.

Nizam Reforms

This one also opens up new gameplay possibilities for the Ottoman. But again, you’ll need to go down a different path to make use of it, and it’s a pretty large investment that really pays off (unlike some other church techs that simply do not worth it).
If you’d prefer to stick to your familiar Ottoman build, it does not prevent you from doing so.

New Aztecs cards

Most of them are pretty good. I especially like the calendar ceremony. Again, that’s a new gameplay option, and you can choose not to use it and go for your familiar builds.
The “ship 1 xxx from every n xxx lost so far” cards are some great additions that synchronize well with the Aztec playstyle of throwing in a lot of melee infantry.

Captured Mortars

Most matches typically do not last that long, so native Americans still retain their original playstyles.
But when it comes to late game or treaty sieges, they used to be hopeless. This addition only makes late game more interesting for them, while not interfering with balancing too much.

For the future additions, we can do a simple thought experiment here. Take one civ with very clear play styles, and a quite strong one (and one that I am most familiar with): British.

Imagine giving the British these...

Proposal #1 Some new mercenary cards
Does it interfere with the established playstyle? No.
Are they going to be OP? Perhaps, but nerfing is simple.
Is it going to add more fun? No doubt.

Proposal #2 Some unique imperial cards/techs
Does it interfere with the established playstyle? No. Most games never reach that stage.
Are they going to be OP? Maybe for treaties. But nerfing is simple.
Is it going to add more fun? No doubt.

Proposal #3 Greater, but still limited access to skirmishers
(For example, being able to train skirmishers from forts after sending Rogers Rangers, or get some cards that send a unique skirmisher like spahi)
Does it interfere with the established playstyle? To some degree. That is going to change unit composition and resource management. So it should be limited.
Are they going to be OP? Maybe. But nerfing is simple.
Is it going to add more fun? No doubt.

Proposal #4 A highlander shipment that also gives musketeers +5% damage, or a special ability
(A bundled card like the African merc cards)
Does it interfere with the established playstyle? Not very much. Merc cards are still expensive and hard to get
Are they going to be OP? Very likely. Their musketeers are already good enough. So it should be made very costly and moved to the late game.
Is it going to add more fun? No doubt.

Proposal #5 A card that also allows auto-gathering of livestock from livestock pen
Does it interfere with the established playstyle? Maybe, because you are now able to get some additional economy in the early stage. But (1) that can be solved by moving the card to later ages (2) that may not be a problem at all because it’s still a card investment and might be overshadowed by other better options.
Are they going to be OP? Maybe, but nerfing is simple.
Is it going to add more fun? No doubt.

The same can be said for most other civs. All of these changes would do little harm but opens up far more gameplay options for the older civs. Some aspects of the game are so bad that they are never really part of the gameplay. So improving them does not change the old play style at all.

Later updates to older civs should follow their quality. And I really like this suggestion, not changing the civ entirely, but only giving a few new options:

Now the only thing that prevents these updates is that they take time and resources, and cannot be sold as DLCs. Fine. They can be updated slowly like the new Aztec cards. I can wait. That’s why I am in desperate need of a roadmap.

tl;dr: new civs have far more contents and options. Please give old civs some new contents and historical/cultural references that do not interfere with their main gameplay, like the new Aztec cards. It’s better if we can see a roadmap for this.


More flavour for the Age Up Politicians would also fit with this.


Funnily enough. I was thinking about that yesterday. I do remember a post where a guy said he was bothered about the way some things have been addressed by D.E. He said something among the lines of:

- Natives were underwhelming- they create a civ around them and forget the topic: Inca
- Mercenaries were underused- create a civ based on them, the Swedish.
- People point out several cards are outdated, so we have USA which has 99% new and more powerful cards, which makes old civs “dusty”.
- Outlaws are horrible: improve the ones used solely for USA. The Asian counterparts remain untouched.
- Cattle was never an engaging mechanic for all the 17 civs…So let’s create a Livestock market and now Hacienda.
- Priests are useless: so now we have Padre and African priests but Legacy Healers are still forgotten.

I think this is a matter of time constrict, philosophy and busines$ behind the devs responsible for game design/balance.

It’s easier to address the design “holes” over a contained mechanic or civilization as well as much more profitable since it’s refreshing as new content.

  • I personally feel they’ve nailed on how they addressed livestock with Africa. :clap: :clap: :ok_hand:
    And I think brand new stuff was essential for USA specifically. :+1: :+1:
    The way the new African natives were designed also inspired us on how the old ones can improve. :clap: :clap:

  • But I also feel some things are EXTREMELY “out of the loop” with side-to-side design:
    Fan patches improved healers with one simple tweak…why that hasn’t been done when we units were made?
    Why Asian outlaws were not touched when balancing Pistolero, Comanchero and Renegado? Comparisons like those feel like they’ve been “overlooked” or the devs “are done with it” and I feel that is what bothers most of the community.

  • Obviously this is just my point of view. I’m not saying they are wrong or I’m wrong, but it’s something I was thinking about. I personally not a fan of “patching” core issues with new civs and I think that just worked out perfectly with livestock market. But again: my opinion.


And I was that guy XD

Almost every new idea about how to improve the forgotten parts of the game (some of which are almost community consensus) exclusively go into new civs. That’s kind of frustrating. Especially when seeing Mexico getting even more of such ideas than all previous civs.


I’d like to mention even though they’re not what most would call ‘new civs’ but the asian factions broke the balance pretty badly at least compared to the factions added to the warchiefs not surprising since it wasn’t ES that made asian dynasties. But the new factions in particular the african civs were implemented much better than asian civs back in their day.


True, although they did have to be more unique since they were the most outstanding faction.

But I think the major issue with TAD was because the support was discontinued right after its release. I think it lasted 10-12 months or so and even before that they had basically stopped balancing them.

I remember the TAD’s last official patch was literally a copy of the fan patch used by Age of Sanctuary community with cheaper TP.

The title is quite misleading. From what I’ve seen this thread is a wish to update the older civs with more flair in their cards and gameplay which I fully agree with.


Old civs could be updated by doing the following:

Reduce livestock pen cost to 100 wood at the most making an early pen a equitable choice to a market.

Make Cattle trainable without ranching in the fortress age

Make one time mercenary shipments enable the mercenary shipped to be trained at the tavern.

Fix the random mercenary selection to have one guaranteed infantry, and only one possible mercenary that’s unlocked at the industrial age.


I do think it started from TAD. It was handled by a different team and lacked support. But ironically after so many years of lack of support their design was well-established and hard to change.
Look at what Asian civs typically have:

  • Very strong musketeers (yeah ever since then)
  • Much greater flexibility.
  • Being able to get the units they don’t have, which are even stronger versions of the actual civ (10% bonus, able to send card-limited units like surgeons, rogers rangers and bashkirs more easily, etc.). Yeah they are balanced by the rule of “stronger but in smaller numbers”, but it set the tradition of non-European civs getting better European units than the Europeans (except poor native Americans who were released before TAD).

My main issue with TAD is it created ta huge imbalance of contents between civs, and a lot of irritating design holes in the game (no updates to old civs, not even new merc or native cards, new civs always having more accessible options to acquire all unit types while many old civs had to live up with incomplete unit rosters). Now my only frustration is DE is that it does not do much to fill up these holes, but keep producing super duper versions of TAD.

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After spending more time looking at the Mexican decks, I found something even more irritating…

  • They have the best factories (second factory card sends free upgrades and also +100% hp. Why would they even need this?)
  • They also have a card that gives a monopoly countdown (again, do they really need this?)
  • They can give soldados, saltaedors and chinacos 2~3 additional active/passive abilities (of course. Not all of them will be used. So why should they all exist?)

These options either do not synchronize their gameplay style very well (is there a fast-monopoly strategy?), or not even considered/fully utilized because there are options that are much better. Like who would get out of their way to make a trade monopoly if they can simply lame FI and send 2000+ resource cards? What difference would it make if they send a normal factory wagon or a factory wagon + free upgrades + additional hp (with a small cost, of course, but arrives fast) as they already have a bunch of mini-factories?
So many wasted options that would make some “old civs” (yes a million times) better and more interesting, just overshadowed by even better ones.

It’s not only “let’s figure out what mechanics are bad and stuff the improved versions into new civs”, it is “let’s dig out whatever has not been implemented or improved and stuff them into new civs”.

Again, I love new mechanics and new designs. Just please do not stack all of them into the new dlc civ.
Or is this the last planned DLC so you throw everything you can think of into it? If so I would give up hope and not waste my time writing ideas anymore.


My request would be to rename and reskin units like Musketeers into something like Redcoat Musketeers, leaving the stats identical.

Or - architecture texture packs where you can change the style of in-game buildings. Maybe it’s a dlc where you get it for all the euro civs all at once.

I mean…I thought the design for Western-styled unit is “unless they are very unique in their roles, weaponry and historical lores, do not make a new unit”, then…US regular and soldado. I mean, if you list out the list of candidate unique units, would you come up with a musketeer for Mexico?
In that case I can accept introducing a whole zoo of new unique units.

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I agree that the Soldado is a rather dubious choice for a unique unit, especially a high-quality one. The reputation of Mexican line infantry really wasn’t great during the nineteenth century, filled with unmotivated peasant recruits yanked from the haciendas to serve under incompetent officers, and made a poor showing on most occasions when facing Texan and US forces. Their strengths were in the guerrillas and their cavalry, represented by the Salteador and Chinaco respectively.

The US could have gone without having a special Regular unit, but I suppose it is meant to be a reference to the US military’s culture of marksmanship by having extra range and ranged attack?


By the “traditional” design this will be an RG musketeer with a few cards…
Especially when they use names like “regular” or “soldado”…they even know for themselves that the units are not unique enough.


I’m sure all those new civs could’ve been made without stacking up so much content and still be highly appreciated by the community and be as successful as they were. And small part of the content could’ve been shared by older civs.

There is this issue of huntable animals wandering far too much around the map and it’s been reported since beta. But instead of having this problem fixed, the african Granary was made.
But granary not only attracts animals and boost gather rate but it cost nothing (which makes me think it was meant to be a “patch” for this issue d which will never be addressed again).

The granary thing I’d consider as a unique buff, so I’m okay with that.
But for things like trade monopoly card I do not really see why Mexico (or anyone) even need this, except some meme strategy.

The granary is definitely not a solution to this. Keeping hunts in its radius of attraction is probably more frustrating than hunting for other civs.

yep, but in the end it sorted out the problem of hunts walking away anyway

I think the whole design of asian civs were flawed from the start.

Export was hacked in from using AOM’s favor mechanic, lets be honest influence that african civs use is much better.
Japan can’t hunt so it got an upgrades to foraging and cherry orchads, and mini-factories.
Not a fan of wonders especially ones that completely copy god powers from Age of Mythology but with a cooldown, or ones that give a vital feature like healing for chinese monks (otherwise Chinese don’t have healers at all).
India can’t use livestock but they have an XP factory that doesn’t use up workers.

Really the only way to balance asian civs is to completely wreck em and rebuild them.