"Unit Architecture" ; the Regional Skins question

I was wondering what the community thinks or regional skins.
I have seen a lot of arguments :

For :

  • That it looks ridiculous from a historical standpoint to have all factions share the same skins.
  • That it is seems to be already possible based on pre-existing skins (source)
  • There are already regional architectures, that are recognizable. Units do not seem like such a stretch.

Against :

  • That it might make identifying units more difficult for competitive play.
  • That it seems like a “waste” use of developer time from a competitive experience perspective, not used to balance the game. It looks like a massive project.
  • That it might have a negative effect on performance, particularly on V-RAM.

Neutral :

  • Some people mention it can be okay as an option like the current HD Graphics Pack.
  • Some people mention imagining that as a DLC, which can be a good or a bad thing.

Personally, I will clearly say that I am for such a thing. I’ve been playing this game every since I was a kid and it was always a pet peeve of mine to have every faction, from Native Americans to East Asians and Middle-Easterners looking like Western Europeans.

However I do understand that people can be against it for good reasons. So I’m not here to disagree, argue or tell people that they’re wrong.

Have a nice day!

Are you for or against faction-based unit skins?
  • I strongly support unit skins
  • I’d tend to support unit skins
  • I’d tend to be against unit skins
  • I am strongly against unit skins

0 voters


First, there are a few inconsistencies which should be fixed in general, like regional monk skins for example. Meso civs already have a unique monk model and all the other monk models are indeed in the game but they are not used.
Other inconsistencies were already discussed in this thread:

It would strongly support regional architecture or unit skin DLCs as long as they are completely optional and client sided.


I see no reason not to.


I couldn’t play this game with 2 GB V-Ram so it already consuming a lot. No problem. I don’t think these awesome unit packs consuming a lot.

This is “Definitive” version. Just a big update coming. People thought DLC because they were new campaign folders.

I think most of us think this way.


At least this needs to be moddable while still being able to playing ranked games.

That means that if you like it, then it is possible to use it with using mods.

All those graphics also take a lot of space at your disc. That is for me a reason why i dont know if i want this as well.

To be clear: I have nothing against this idea, but i do feel like it needs to be optional. That is why i opt for it to be moddable while still allowing to be playing ranked games. You can even link this to events. In the following months, every thing some civ get a new skin, unlocked by the event stuff. Then we still need some way to get those stuff for those who miss the event.


Definitive is just a name. I personally wouldn’t mind to see expansions, though I know others wouldn’t.

Except buildings have standardized sizes and looks.
Parthnans post has nothing that makes it easy to identify what is heavy or light cavalry.

If such a change happens id hope it happens through mods so those who don’t want them don’t have to deal with it

Seriously, I still don’t understand how they haven’t updated the monks, they updated the kinds ffs


Surely, Microsoft can make all Units and Buildings to look like the same as the units, Buldings, Environment at Starcraft… Very Dark, black and Depressing.
That is why I do not play Starcraft.

Disappointed we didn’t have this at launch and disappointed we still don’t have it. The space demands are reasonable if we limit it to just 4 regions and of course make it optional.

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Indeed, and I guess having it be optional would mean that you can opt-out if your computer can’t or you don’t want that feature.

Units can also have standardized sizes and looks I’d believe. Yeah, unique units would be a bit harder to recognize though.

Rise of Nations was a good example of that system implemented nicely, factions shared units with different skins that were still easy to recognize.

I’m tending to think more and more that it’d make for a very good optional feature/expansion like the current HD pack.


In the end, it does seem that the Definitive edition is not “definitive” with the new DLC. It does make me wonder how long this game will be supported, and what can be expected.

I have to say that I do hope there will be some work regarding a “regional skins” feature.

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It does ruin immersion for me to be playing the Malians and having only the UUs be black. If it were up to me, I’d create the following skin sets:

  1. The “default” set of skins for all the European civs.
  2. A dark-skinned African set for Malians and Ethiopians.
  3. An “Islamic” skin set for the Middle Eastern, Central Asian, and Indian civs. The Indian units might have darker skin than the others in this set though.
  4. An Asian skin set for the East and Southeast Asian civs.
  5. A Native American set for Aztecs, Maya, and Inca.

Agreed, though some sub-categories might be necessary - having broad “themes” with sub-themes that are variations.

For example for the “Islamic” theme as you said between the Middle East and India, but also Central Asia - and in Asia between South East Asia and East Asia.

A Western and Eastern/Northern European variation would also be interesting

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I’m for it as long as units are still easy to recognize. The fastest way to do it, would probably be through re-skins of the same unit models.

Agreed, it is fundamental for units to be easy to recognize.
Rise of Nations did it right, all factions share most of the same units but all look different and culturally accurate. They kept the same shape, the same equipment, and tweaked the armor and skin-color.

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Oh well, maybe that’s the reason why Rise of Nations never did well competitively /s

That’s a very different game. I played it a ton for fun in the past and i can easily say that that game is so much slow-paced than AoE2. Gameplay clarity (on AoE2) has always been a #1 priority in the game, seriously imagine having all those different kind of models when, since two decades, players are so much used to the actual ones.

This game doesn’t want to be historically accurate in any way, just historically close with respect for the gameplay since otherwise we would have had completely different civilizations and not just some copy-paste architecture/units stuff, differing just with bonuses/tech tree/unique units.

In addition to this, having different models could work for a game with fewer civilizations, it become quite hard to distinguish when you got 37 of them. Could be a thing in AoE4, which apparently is aiming at a better civilization recognition through diversity of units, buildings and game traits (but also working with a very little amount of civs, it seems). But as how things have been always done in this game this proposal isn’t healthy at all. You can do this on your client through mods (like you can always do) but you really shouldn’t force people to adapt to this change.

I think if they keep certain aspects of the basic units the same, a little variation wouldn’t hurt. They should still use the same animations for walking and attacking however.

Knights : must have a white horse, shield, and edged weapon. An axe could confuse it with the boyar at this point. That would allow some regional variety for type of sword (i.e. scimatar katana) and shield (kite shield for Europeans, round shield or rectangular for Asian/African)

Champions would look totally different based on region. Defining feature would be a two handed blade and how they carry it when moving and attacking.

Some wouldn’t really need changing, like militia or scout Cav - but eventually why not? I think archers and skirmishers would be another good one to update. Give European archers hoods or something

The two-handed swordsman has a defining feature of a yellow skirt or whatever that is. I would want to keep that consistent.