Just watched Vipers new tierlist the other day and like with every of these tierlists top players do from time to time Goth rank among the lowest rated civs. On the other hand they have a 51% winrate on aoestats.
I think it is the case that lower rated players are probably quite more likely to be overwhelmed with the Goth infantry flood, while pro players know better whats coming and roughly when its coming and what to expect from a Goth enemy. So it seems for pro players its quite easy to set yourself up for the goth flood, which likely newer players struggle with.
So Goth is a good civ on low vs. low but a bad civ on pro vs. pro
Would you agree with this assesment and how would you work around it?
I think to adress this Goth should get some bonus/ses that are quite skill dependant to get the maximum use out of.
If we look at some of the existing civs bonusses there are some in there where you have to be quite well versed in the game to get the most use out of it, like the chinese 6 villagers, the saracen market bonus or the cuman feudal siege workshop.
Goth should probably get something similar, where you have to know how to use it to get a noticeable advantage out of it.
We have 40 civs we can afford having one, two, three that are highly specialized and straightforward like goths. Also besides infantry their cav opening is more than adequate with full knights in castle age, also their MAA → archers/towers isn’t bad either.
Make longsword tech cheaper, make infantry armor in the blacksmith cheaper, make squires much faster and maybe cheaper? to research, make longswords and pikes faster to produce.
Not that complicated, the main issue with infantry is that you can’t get enough numbers out and to start getting numbers out you need supplies and to start being effective with those numbers you need +2 armor and squires if against archers, or pikes mixed in if you are against cav.
I have made it work, with japanese , goths, bulgarians and malians, but all 4 of those civs overcome the usual downfalls of infantry (japanese being just that your DPS is so high you can trade against everything).
it already is cheaper then what you pay for cavalry armor.
now you have to buff Celts civ bonus to keep them balanced, nerf eagles, and nerf Lithuanians Spear speed bonus. not to mention units like the woad raider and huskarl.
except it is.
Celts already have faster militia line. do we see them relying on the longsword?
cheaper LS just makes it cheaper to tech into. does it make LS that much better in actual combat? no.
even with squires they aren’t going to be able to fight vs archers. archers have .96 speed. even if you buffed squires to say, Celts level, they aren’t going to use LS to fight archers. Goths don’t even get supplies or ARSON and you still rarely see them use LS in castle age. LS just don’t stand up well to archers (except Malians, and we still don’t see them used all that much).
and how often do we see any of those used at the pro level with any sort of effect? Bulgarians Baghains militia line works against MELEE CIVS only.
One interesting idea could be to open up 5 of the extra 10 pop space they get in dark age, and the other 5 from Feudal and make it not require actual houses. So what I mean is that even without building a house, they’d have 10 pop space at start. This could make their build orders a bit more flexible. (So they’d still get 10 extra pop space overall like now)
It could also help with laming, as the indirect saving of 25 wood and building time for a house means balances out (some of) the resource potential that is wasted with the forward vill.
Goths are a one dimensional civ. Pretty much everything about the civ is funneled toward an Imperial infantry rush.
As such, it would be extremely hard to balance it out without touching to the core of the civ. Buffing infantry would only increases the disparity between its strength and how hard it get countered, and giving them more diversity would kill its identity as an infantry rushing civ.
Many newer players, and sometimes simply weaker players, get hyped into trying the Goth infantry spam on closed maps, in team games, without understanding the fundamentals of macro, and defensive issues involved on said maps. It is healthy for them to lose in said settings, but the way it is hyped oft leads them astray in analyzing why they failed.
It’s like you literally go around fighting people that want the militia line to be buffed, when you agree they should be buffed to some extent, but you are so vehemently against any sort of buff suggestion no one would ever know this…
IT ISN’T A LAZY ARGUMENT, you just don’t see the forest through the trees.
We have a civ that already have the faster moving infantry he wants - do they use LS in castle age?
we have a civ that get LS upgrade for free - do they use LS in castle age?
we have a civ with extra melee armor and extra pierce armor and extra attack. do they use LS in castle age?
we have a civ with extra health. do they use their LS in castle age?
the answer to all these questions IS NO.
would Malians use LS if they had celt level speed? maybe a bit more, but at that point why not just use your knights instead? who have more speed, more health, attack and more melee armor?
would Teutons use LS if they had more PA? maybe a bit more, but at that point why not just use your knights who have more health, attack, and Speed?
You would need at least 2 buffs to make them compete against archers. Increasing their PA and increasing their speed. you can see this because neither Malians nor Celts use the LS in castle age for the most part. which means NEITHER buff is good enough to make them compete against archers. which means you’re going to need both.
you would need at least 2 buffs to make them compete against knights. Increasing their MA and Speed and attack aren’t enough. you can see this because Celts, Burmese, and Teutons don’t really use their Infantry to fight Knights in the castle age.
So in order to make them a viable option where Infantry competes with knights and archers you would need to Increase their speed, their armor, and probably their attack too. that’s 3 BUFFS right there.
that doesn’t include the fact that the LS upgrade is very expensive right now, and so is Supplies.
now that we’ve made the Militia line stronger overall by giving them at least 3 buffs, then we would have to go into tweaking civ bonuses to make them more balanced. not to mention likely giving them a trash counter.
that’s because while you might be happy with giving them a little love, the fact is that these civs prove that giving them a little love doesn’t mean they will see use. we have civs with +2 PA and +2 attack in castle age for their LS. who don’t see them used. so yeah - it would require more then minimal buffs to make them even see use. and if your goal is to make them (LS) see use, you’re going to need massive buffs to the unit in general. and that means massive buffs to units beyond the LS in the line.
which means overhauling the militia line in general.
you say you don’t want them to replace the knight and xbow line, but the fact is that without massive buffs they literally won’t see use no matter what. so what is the point of buffing them?
Goths are fine if you practice with infantry. Also waiting to imperial to flood is not particularly special vs flooding in late castle and instantly upgrading.
That being said you save a truckload of time/hassle by avoiding practicing with infantry build orders, infantry tactics, civ-specific infantry, etc. and sticking to things other people have tested out. This means relegating the goths to mediocrity. But honestly that’s not a bad trade-off and I don’t blame anyone who decides on making it. Realistically learning how to use infantry as well as players know how to use crossbows doesn’t get you that much.
However in theory and practice goths do fine up until castle age and then really take off if you know what infantry combos to make.
Instant loom = 1 extra feudal age villager
The hunt + instant loom makes long range deer much more viable. As long as the deer are within a relatively long range like 21 tiles it will be better than farming. This helps with prioritizing scouting over deer pushing.
Then look at all the common openings and how goths can handle them.
Defending: You have instant loom which makes a drush weak. You also have 20% faster working barracks and cheaper infantry to make a few maa to help counter the enemy maa.
Offense: Your drush can be done without mining gold and while saving 36 food which is like 2 minutes villager time alone. For MAA should you want to do something like maa + tower supplies is effectively free plus you save gold on top of that.
Defense: Pretty standard, can use skirms, skirm + archers, towers, etc.
There’s a ton of options for surviving the xbow power spike. You can get elite skirm or you can get a defensive castle into huskarl. If they are going archers into cav (e.g. berbers) you can cancel out their xbow with your own just to transition into infantry. Lot of options.
Offense: Still viable as you get the xbow power spike. Also encourages enemy to mix in skirms which makes the transition easier for you.
Defending: Since knights are basically the only likely follow up to scouts you can get MAA + spears and prep for longsword + pikes. Again forget about doing damage in feudal age.
The way to force fights with longsword + pike vs cavalry civs is to kill buildings and defend with cheap pikes.
Offense: You still get bloodlines and FU castle age knights.
Are any of these particularly strong? No. Do they allow you to get to mid castle age relatively unscathed? Yes.
Once you hit castle age you can do standard infantry stuff.
If you buff goths more than what they are now they would be too strong in certain situations on TG. If they suck in 1v1 but good in some TG situations I’m fine with that. Not every civ can be properly balanced for both and I’d rather a civ be bad at one format and somewhat balanced In another than it be op in one format and balanced in another. Look at Turks they trying to balance them for 1v1 and now they broken on arena. I preferred when they were somewhat balanced on arena and bad elsewhere
They view them as below average. This is not the same as being garbage.
Fundamentally there is a ton of evidence that pros are good at:
Picking out sufficient strategies to be competitive, predicting how other players will respond in the current meta, and executing these strategies well using good tactical execution.
But this is not the same as saying:
Pros have the ability to accurately assess the strength of all strategy profiles available to a civilization.
There is a ton of evidence that pros consistently under or overestimate strategy strengths. For one thing pros were surprised how strong the Hoang rush is. It’s been possible for over a decade. Players like Hera used to (maybe still does) repeatedly say “Saracens have no eco bonus” despite the eco bonus from market abuse being comparable to some sizeable bonuses. The meta constantly changes in significant ways despite relatively minor stat changes. Pros will mirror (or nearly mirror) each other much more than could every be optimal. Mirroring is objectively one of the weakest strategies as it carries no strategic advantage, only tactical ones. It also implies a very strong game theoretic condition of a Nash equilibrium existing at that point, which in a game like AoE2 is almost certainly false.
These all provide evidence that pros have blindspots when estimating strategic strengths. So the question is where do those blindspots exist? From a raw statistical perspective they are most likely to exist in the subsets of the strategy space which use units which have relatively little data available. Infantry is one of those subsets.
I have also consistently seen pros succeed with infantry more than I have seen them fail. This raises the question of underestimating infantry such that they only use them when they think they are a good idea when in reality they’re only using them when they’re a great idea. Effectively this is a calibration problem.
AoE2 pros aren’t exactly well versed on the nuances of solving multi-armed bandit type problems, causal inference, economics, epistemology, logic, etc. But all these areas are critical for using the huge knowledge base pros have and correctly extrapolating it to things they don’t have a lot of familiarity with using. This is why professional sports teams hire economists and statisticians to advise them on decisions like player trading.
So yeah there’s a lot of evidence that pros might not be the human economicus you think they are and are in fact normal people who have biases, lack critical knowledge, don’t have enough of a support staff to make assumptions about optimal exploration strategies, etc.