Upcoming Sicilians Balance Change

I’m pretty passionate about the Siculo-Norman Kingdom, and was very excited when the Sicilians were announced. While I was a bit disappointed with them on release, and this patch does make them stronger, I still feel like its taking them in the wrong direction, both in terms of depicting them historically and in making them stand out as a faction.
I know this is a probably an unpopular opinion, but I don’t agree with giving them Siege Onager. If you look at it from a psychological perspective, the fact that their 50% bonus damage resistance specifically excludes siege weapons is probably going to turn a fair number of players away from going for siege workshops as Sicilians, especially newer players who are already tend to neglect siege anyway, except for trebs. It also shifts them towards being a sort of “Teutons lite”, what with their armored but slow infantry and and resilient cav now being backed up by SO. If however they gave serjeants the ability to repair siege weapons as well as donjons, then we might be on to something with giving them SO.
As it is, though, I would have rather them be given fully upgraded arbalesters instead of SO, since arbs can make good use of their bonus damage resistance. This would incentivize using an army composition that would have more closely resembled that of the Siculo-Norman Kingdom historically. One of their strengths was their ability to make use of the different cultures inhabiting the kingdom’s inclination towards different tactics and styles of warfare. So they would have Italians and Greeks providing well-drilled militia infantry and pikemen, Italian crossbowmen, Muslim archers and light cavalry, and the Norman ruling class serving as Elite knights and heavy infantry.
Speaking of the Normans, while I like the feudal age serjeant getting an extra melee armor, I feel like in giving the castle and imperial age versions more HP by default, they missed an opportunity to address their unique techs to make them more interesting and help with how many feel they are a bit out of place in AoE2’s style of gameplay. I would like to see scutage removed and replaced with a new tech called “Norman Adventurers”, or something along those lines, which would give serjeants and knights +10 hp and +2 attack, or something similar. If this were the case, I think it would be better as a castle age tech and that First Crusade should be moved to the imperial age. Looking now at First Crusade, having it give conversion resistance is nice, but it seems more like a little added bonus and not the main reason to get the tech, as even if your enemy is going all in on monks, you’d still probably want to wait to have 5 TCs down to maximize the number or serjeants you get. Here is my solution: instead of spawning serjeants instantly, make First Crusade reduce their gold cost by 15, bringing them in line with the militia-line. This would incentivize players to get it as quickly as possible, and if the gold discount was expanded to include knights, then this coupled with the proposed “Norman Adventurers” tech would give the Sicilians a good late game option in the form of beefed up discount cavaliers and serjeants. You could also view the -15 gold cost as making up for the removal of scutage, which gives 15 gold per existing military unit.

15 gold cheaper knights that resist conversion and ignore 50% bonus damage. Sure let’s just make them as busted as possible.

While were at it why stop at knights. With first crusade research lets upgrade to paladin free as well. Or each unit gets +1 attack for each enemy they defeat. Heck add the -15 gold to every unit. This upgrade suggestion is almost as interesting as the joke thread for Burgundians.

Why should you have this “psychological effect”?

SO is a strong unit, no fan of the civ should be sad they they receive such unit.

Also, this thing that if a set or type of units are FU but with no bonuses, people shouldn’t use them… I don’t get it, most of the civs plays with generic units.

And that’s why it would be OP. Now sicilians arbs take 7 damage instead of 9, which is huge (Italians pavise arbs take 6 for a comparison). With full armor, they would take 5. Probably they wanted to differentiate the unit from the Italians arbs.

Anyway, archers and xbows in feudal and castle are still strong, even if they fall back a bit in imp.

And that’s represented by their flexible tech tree.
They can do everything, even if everything isn’t super strong.

Teutonic knight 2.0

This may work, if the conversion resistance stay. Also, maybe reduce the TT a bit too.


Let me try and clarify what I mean with them getting Siege Onager: I know SO aren’t bad, they can be very powerful and fun to use. The point I’m trying to get at is that I don’t think they are a good fit for the Sicilians. People already love comparing serjeants to Teutonic Knights, and giving them SO is just going to make them play even more like Teutons as a faction. Could Sicilians be a good faction for going halb/siege? Yes. But there are already other factions that do that and most of the time do it better (i.e. Teutons, Celts, Slavs) and its not going to help the Sicilians stand out as a faction. As for the “psychological effect”, imagine yourself in the shoes of a new player browsing the tech trees trying to find an interesting civ. While the 50% bonus damage reduction may seem interesting, the parenthetical “except siege units” can result in the siege workshop being completely overlooked, even if it does have SO.

On the matter of giving them the last armor upgrade, I’ve though about it a bit and I guess I have to agree with you. As it is, it makes their archer-line strongest in Castle age, which makes sense from historical perspective. Ideally in my view the Sicilians would be a civ that begins to ramp up in the late feudal age, has a very strong castle age compared to other civs, but then begins to taper off as the game moves further into Imp. I still think they should have thumb-ring though.

And I was thinking that First Crusade reducing gold cost would be in addition to the conversion resistance, since they both fit thematically if you think about it. Instead of fighting for a wage, they are now fighting out of a sense of religious duty. That’s partly why I also mentioned knights for that bonus, though I can definitely see how that might be a bit too strong. I do like the idea of it giving faster TT.

I also feel like serjeants in general should have a higher attack against buildings, at least the same as the militia-line if not more. After all, knowing how to construct a building usually also helps with knowing how to tear one down.

It took me a bit to realize SO was siege onager. Looking back it makes sense however the first time i read it it seemed like you would forget what you were saying and used so as a cruch word.

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But sicilians also have better archers that all these 3 civs (both arbs and skirms) and even better cavalry than celts.

So yes they can field the same infantry+Siege combo but it’s not the only thing that they can do.

And if you for example give them FU arbs you just end up with making the civ too similar to other civs, like Italians and viets.

Yeah no…

I case, it brings the spotlight onto the SW, and the player may ask himself “mmm why didn’t they include the SW?” Then if the observe correctly the tech tree, and search information about the siege units, in particular the SO, it would see that they are already powerful.

I mean, I think that nobody can say that a FU branch of the tech tree is weak when it have everything. Even if a bonus specifically excludes it.

But even if, this bias (the “psychological effect” which you were probably referring to) it’s actually present in some people new to the game, it doesn’t mean that we have to change the tech tree accordingly to them. Maybe they just need to be patient and learn the game, and with the time, they’ll understand that the civ is strong with the SO even if they are unaffected by the bonus.

Anyway, the changes are out and official now so…

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