Tower rushes currently aren't good for gameplay

This isn’t a post about how tower rushes are OP. Nor is it a complaint about them being cheap or unfair. Nor is it a claim about if they are easier to execute than defend against. Nor is it a claim that it shouldn’t exist in the game. Nor is about if incas are deserving or underserving of a nerf.

The fundamental problem with tower rushes is simply that the optimal response is more or less a mirroring of the strategy. From an RTS standpoint anytime you have the optimal counter to a strategy be a mirror you risk a lot of problems. The biggest risk is a prolonged stalemate where ground is gained in inches and the game dynamics slow to a crawl, not because of the players choices but because of the game itself. Few like this because it feels exactly like what it is: a trap with no good options. The other big risk is the outcome is much more predictable: disengaging is very hard which mean the defender either loses the game or gains a sizeable advantage. Both of these risks make for uninteresting strategy and you can probably formalize this using game theory (something like low entropy mixed equilibria = boring).

Sure you get great tactical fun out of harassing and microing with villagers and there’s a novelty factor associated with it. Plus its fun to troll every once in a while. But psychologically I don’t think defending players like feeling pigeonholed strategically. All you can do is save up until castle age and place towers in the right places.

Basically I’m of the opinion that trushing will always feel annoying so long as players feel strategically trapped into fighting with villagers. The issue isn’t with Incas or with old Koreans or Teutons or anyone else. The issue is that villagers are almost a pareto-improvement over using any other unit: 11 damage to towers in melee, +5 ranged attack for secondary arrow fire calc, 2 pierce armor with loom, can repair the towers. They are better than or equivalent to every other feudal unit in every aspect except HP (and only just) and latent cost if killed when it comes to fighting towers.

IDK how to fix it though. Villagers not working for 3 minutes is still cheaper than building military units, and towers are cheap for what they do (175 resources). So you’d need to do something like give towers a unique armour class and MAA a reasonable bonus vs towers. Thematically it makes sense: infantry storming the tower should do a lot of damage. Then at least a tower rush could be like every other AoE2 strategy: able to be countered without mirroring it. Then maybe some civs could get back tower rush bonuses.

I can already hear “tower rushing is fine”, and that may be true for balance. But it doesn’t address why many people view trushes so differently compared to basically any other strategy.


While i hate getting towerrushed and hate doing it myself (i like the lategame more) i certainly see it as a valid strategy and have to fully disagree with your statment.
There are several reactions to a trush. Batter down with vills, evacuate, create archers to snipe builders, create archers and go counter, rewall and FC into mangonel/kts, and, yes, countertower. Often you use a combination of those strategies, resulting in hunderds of possible responses.


But mate tower rushes have been nerfed to the ground over the patches, and now buried 5 feet under with the inca nerf.

A tower is a military unit that doesnt take population space and cant move, so it has advantages and disadvantages.

20 years playing taught me that to win a game with offensive towers is always the defenders fault; the greed of pushing 3 deers before even knowing where the enemy is… is always welcomed by the tower rusher that uses scouting to identify where to attack


Trushes are generally balanced, but they are not good for the game imo. As you say, the problem is that there is no dedicated anti-building/siege unit in feudal. And no, having your production units do the combat is bad design. That’s not their role.
We need some anti-building unit in feudal, so that there is a proper counter to trushing, instead of doing the exact same thing.

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In the last year, both walling and towers have been nerfed. As such, there are fewer ways to play the game – particularly in feudal. People in these forums rightfully complain that the meta is only either archers or scouts.

Is it good for the game to have fewer common attack strategies?


and yet walling is still definitely meta.

more does not mean better. Trushes are gimmicky and civs with bonuses for towers have always been a problem to balance.

I’m not opposed to trushes in general. I’m opposed with how they are implemented. If the enemy goes scouts, I can counter with spears. If the enemy goes archers I can go skirms. If the enemy builds towers in my face I cannot do anything aside building my own towers. There’s no proper counter aside mirroring the strategy, but the enemy always has the initiative.

Give me a proper feudal siege or antibuilding unit which can get rid of towers and I’m fine with people trushing as much as they want.

Hundreds of possible responses does not mean that the distribution of those hundreds of responses is ‘interesting’. The vast majority of the weighting is placed on using villagers to re-wall/fight each other or towers and build towers of their own.

Obviously there exist multiple options for dealing with a trush. The problem is X% of the time (X > 50, 60, maybe even 70) the optimal strategy is to match a significant fraction (lets say 75%) of whatever they invested into towers and villager time with your own towers and villager time. I bet if you were to calculate the expected amount of resources spent mirroring your opponent you’d get a number like 60%. In the context of AoE2 strategies this is massive.

I can’t think of any other strategy in AoE2 that is so heavily weighted toward mirroring. Can you?

To me it’s very similar to what would happen if spearmen were removed from the game: Scout rushing would be optimally countered a significant fraction of the time with scouts (either defensive or as a counter-attack) and any civ with a scout advantage would be a pain in the butt to balance.

Also lets be honest, in the other threads on incas you were claiming the exact opposite of what you’re claiming here, that people do heavily mirror tower rush investments. So I don’t really know if you’re just playing devils advocate or what.

This isn’t a balance thread.

No but having a strategy be countered by mirroring it is extremely bad for game play. I think tower rushing is interesting and should be in the game. But as the game is currently implemented it’s also not surprising that the devs have nerfed it.

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11 okay sorry to bother you I guess Im out.

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I mean you could play Cumans and use rams, lol. But yeah, this game could honestly use a few more regional/class units for Feudal age. For example: axemen or something that have double attack on buildings, but are weak against ranged and spearmen, stronger against scouts and Maa. Cost: 60 food 40 gold

Tower rushes were fine. The devs already killed all tower rushes. With the new expected changes they even killed are last change for tower rushes.

I havent seens a great reason to be against tower rushes. People dont like them, but that is pretty subjective and not a reason to nerf them into the ground. I dont like some other strats as well, but again, that isnt a reason for a nerf for those strats as well.


give vills bonus damage against towers?

Towers already got a 30% HP nerf in feudal, at this point we might as well just make all buildings have 100 HP

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Your post reads like a balance consideration. Trushes aren’t unbalances nor should they be eliminated from the game. The problem is the optimal response being a mirror.

The meta response to the strategy is to mirror a significant chunk of that strategy (in terms of which units to build, where to position then, micro tactics used). This is bad wherever it occurs within an RTS because of the risks mentioned (more likely to temporarily stalemate, outcome is more predictable, strategic decision making becomes way less important, etc)

It’s a game design problem not a balance problem.

Nailed it. Any strategy that forces mirroring is bad for any game.

Sure I’ve got a load of ideas to address the issue, but most of them would just be laughed at. Nerfs be damned until the fundamental issue is addressed.

I disagree with this statement. As result, the reminder of your post is irrelevant, since it assumes that above statement is true.

So yeah, for me this is a balance problem. Not a game design problem.

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You wrote:

which is independent of anything I mentioned. I didn’t mention trushes needing to be nerfed, I mentioned trushes needing to be counterable in more ways than also building towers and using villagers. This isn’t automatically a nerf for the same reason you can design wide-tech-tree civs and not have them be automatically ‘better’. Options do not necessarily translate into strength.

You’re free to claim that tower rushing as it exists is good game design but I’m not claiming tower rushes need to have their usefulness/strength/balance changed in any way, shape, or form.

So, ok, I assume this is a design problem. Then? How to fix it? Some suggest adding new units, which seems to be possible but altering existing one seems more like it. Otherwise it would be further nerfing feudal tower to basically a glorified archer costing 125 stone. We have well passed the period where design problem can be easily fixed. Unit alternation will inevitably affect balance, turning it into a balance issue to an extent.

If I were dev I’d introduce arson to deal +30 dmg against towers, making spearman a viable counter. Would that be sufficient for defending tower rusher, now that the goldless unit can suddenly take down feudal towers at an alarming rate? In castle we can give special armor specifically for that bonus damage to negate its effect.

One thing is the annoying Noburu rush that was in need to be adressed, and other thing is that Tower rushing is a completetly a legit strategy not only in AOE 2 but also in AOE 1 (Do you remember the infamous Choson and Roman Tower rushes?), hell, even in AOE 3 there are strategies that involve forward forts or outposts, or AOM with some bizarre strategies with mirror towers and that stuff.

My point, Tower rush is fine, after the Inca and Korean nerfs to that, the tower rush is in a right spot, aand I just prefer the current Koreans rather than the older ones.

I think it should exist a time construction penalty as far as the building you want to construct is further from any own TC