Unique tech idea for future civ's. A trade off that is free to research

A tech that would work something like (not these specific idea’s just the mechanic) ‘Adds 2 attack to melee units but can no longer research arbalest.’ or ‘Adds 1 melee armour to ranged units but can no longer research Plate barding armour’.

I think this could create really cool strategies and would be very fun. Maybe it wouldn’t need to be free but very cheap, as you are paying for it by losing something.

Let me know what you think.

Hello, as the game was designed I don’t like the bonus or buff that bring a nerf with it.
It had been interesting, from the beginning, that you can choose, for example, between heavy armored unit but slow and vise versa…


When you research unique tech, the nerf is the resources you are spending. This idea replaces the resource cost with loss of a tech/unit. You can also choose to not research it. I do understand your point though and maybe the devs will feel the same.

It creates a whole new dimension for civ designing which is great, the potential to balance features/units/civs this way is huge.
As long as you keep it moderated.

A wider implemention of this concept would be an “unique nerf” kind of bonus to a civ/unit to make it fully balanced. Imagine:

Britons Archers have naturally 10% less attack speed from Castle Age.

Goths Militia-line have a flat discount of 35% at all ages yet -1 Pierce Armor from Dark Age.

Aztecs keep their old +5 perhaps even +6/7 gathering eco, yet lose access to the very elementary Wheelbarrow.

Slavs farmers will regain their old 15% farming bonus yet have farms cost 70 wood instead.

It’s an amazing tool to sharpen civ’s identity and increase diversity, if done elegantly. However less likely for the developers to include a “negative” bonus system, despite how beneficial it is, mostly due to the fan base which they’re really trying to please.

By the time you would consider using these techs you would already have commited to your comp and wouldn’t make a major switch anyways.
That wouldn’t bring any depths to the game only encourage people to even stronger steamline their meta strats. Also could disbalance a lot of versatile civs that use to have multi-unit compositions that wouldn’t benefit in any way by these kind of techs.
I think it’s a really bad idea.


AoE2 isn’t designed this much around “civ maluses” anyway. Losing access to a tech can’t be a downside btw, because then you could just research the tech that would disappear then research the free tech. Units can’t be de-upgraded so you would have all the benefits and no downside at all. I guess the best way to have a free tech would be to have it take a very long time to research, this way you don’t have to pay but you will have a castle unable to build trebs and UU, which would be a big downside if it comes under attack.

It’s an amazing tool to make players wonder: Why play Goths if my m@a rush dies to archers instantly? Why play Slavs when others can just make more farms which means my bonus won’t matter until everyone is pop capped? etc

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Maybe, something interesting could be change the UTs mechanic in a crossroad choose like secondary gods in AoM o landmarks in AoE 4. Every UT would have two available effects, if you choose one, loose access to the other, but this way you actually rise the diversity, even in mirror matches…


It can be mentioned in the civ description, obviously it’s far far far from being ideal, that’s not how AOE should be, HOWEVER - in some cases this kind of unique nerf is very helpful balancing civs/units that are really complicated to deal with, design wise.

Aoe Online had this kind of debuff

+30% attack, +20% range but 20% less HP for example

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Ahh thats very interesting. I wasn’t aware of that, thanks for letting me know.

I get this gist of what you are saying but I don’t agree.

Lets says its a cav civ, the UT gives you extra attack for ranged units and lowers defence of Knights. its castle age and you’ve just lost a bunch of knights to spearman & infantry. Now if you use the unique tech you make a decision to lock into a stronger counter play (ie. You now come with extra strong crossbow, but the trade off is no longer being able to switch back into cav as they are much weaker now). So you are betting on the success of the next play you make. I can give you lots of example where your first point isn’t true. But of course there will be scenarios where you are absolutely correct & the civ should be balanced accordingly to make sure it is not an overpowered UT, just like every civ ever made.

*Anyway, its impossible to say if it would ‘encourage people to even stronger streamline their meta strats’ as we have no context of the rest of the civ. In my example above (ranged unit buff for cav civ) it wouldn’t work to strengthen the meta play, it would work as a lifeline if you need to switch strategy on the fly.

And I am not suggesting to crowbar it into an old civ, the idea is to add it to a new civ that hasn’t been made yet. I also think it would be a really bad idea to add to an existing civ. It would be impossible to balance & everyone would hate it (rightly so).

Even for a new civi people would still hate it.just look at the lotw civis people hate unconventional civis.


Yeah I agree, people hate change. I don’t think this would be as jarring as First Crusade or Flemish Revolution but you are definitely right. I think new civs do benefit from new mechanics though so there is a fine line. I just like hearing what people think and discussing. It seems people don’t like this too much haha, that’s cool though.

I remember in AoE3, some techs at Church are free and have debuff, such like Red Thin Line for British, Coffee Trade for Dutch, Code Napoleon for French, Tilly’s Discipline for Germans, Encomienda Manor for Portuguese, Push of Pike for Swedes, and Grand Encampment for U.S.

You should refer to their design philosophy.
Basically, they will never block or cancel a tech research, but instead give a negative bonus.
For example, the Longbowman +1 range but moving speed -15%, or +1 melee armor as palings but costs +15 wood. It definitely won’t be keeping them out of an available tech.

They’re either too strong or not be worth their heavy upfront cost after nerfed.
Not because they are inspired by AoE3, but because they don’t adapt to the environment of AoE2 without adjustment. The lack of XP and shipment makes this type of effect difficult to balance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not suitable for AoE2.

Since the players of AoE2 may dislike 0-or-100 effect and one-off effect, they should have lower barriers to entry and rewards to avoid a tsunami that can overwhelm everything at once after a huge investment, or should have compensation measures to avoid its huge investment will make the gap between the two sides irreparable when the tsunami completely disappear without any remained effect.

For example, the effect of First Crusade can be changed into that each existing and future TC/Donjon/Castle spawn 3/4/5 Serjeants when built to make it a snowball instead of a tsunami. The effect of Flemish Revolution also make Villagers trained faster by 100% to help them take back their economy after push this emergency button. The effect of Cuman Mercenaries could also be changed into that each existing and future allies’ Castle spawn 8 Kipchaks or Elite Kipchaks.

Oh wow, I’ll have to check that out. Yes, maybe a unique building with a couple of these trade-offs available, or have 1 available in a couple of military buildings for one civilisation.
It’s a softer version of what I had suggested and would probably be much more accepted by the community, rather than having to give up part of the tech tree. I like it a lot.

I also like your suggestion for more of an incremental bonus for First Crusade rather than all at once. The Flemish Revolution is definitely a very difficult one to balance.

I agree. I think its important to keep moving forward and trying new things. I think they need tweaking, like you’ve mentioned, but are good to keep the game evolving and to have new strategies to play with.