I wish I had a witty answer to this problem, but I don’t. Elephants are a problem unit to balance because once they get going as part of a composition, that composition wins. They’re all deathball units, and efficient at that even given their high cost. That’s why we keep nerfing them globally.
The thing that really hurts the Vietnamese is the fact that they need the scout line more than they need the Elephant line. The elephants devalue the mobility of the Rattan in a way that scouts simply don’t, and the scouts and elephants lack Blast furnace. Fact of the matter is, if you gave Vietnamese Blast furnace there’s no chance they go into Elephants in most cases since their LC would be perfectly servicable and the preferred choice. You don’t need the elephant to protect your archers from ranged fire and outside of a select few matchups LC with bloodlines is a fully serviceable, much cheaper frontline.
I think, at some point, we should look into reworking Husbandry to affect Elephants differently, say giving them a higher bonus from the tech than other cavalry. That could be a way to tweak the Elephants in a way where the Khmer don’t explode in use (you can just adjust the effect of the Khmer’s civ bonus to compensate) in a way that we’ve seen before (Parthian tactics affecting UU cav archers differently than generic HCA, siege engineers giving more damage to Petards than other siege weapons) without fiddling too much with the unit’s base stats.
I’d suggest a separate tech in the stable for elephants, but I think that’s a bit too narrow, having a unit tech that only applies to five different civs in total, esp since if you wanted to limit it’s access to trouble civs (Malay? Khmer?) you’d be cutting that number even further and then I think it’s a bit much.
then they still will need a castle to receive the bonus, but given than Vietnamese elephants are only built in for late game, a castle should be available for them.
If the goal is making elephants better in imperial age or late castle age, if could be enough with a chattras buff.
But how would you buff it? More HP? Vietnamese battle elephants are already one of the units with more HP of the game (370). Would you make chattras give 80 hp instead of 50, so they end with 400 hp!!!???
With 400 HP, they could hold one more halberdier hit than now (so, two more than other battle elephants). With 390HP, there wont be any difference regarding halberdiers, but the extra HP would be useful against other units
True, I wont mess with new techs limited to so few civs. But i like your other suggestion:
I suppose you say husbandry to leave khmer alone (they can lose husbandry but their elephant speed bonus can be remade accordingly). Another possibility is to use one tech from monastery (not very thematic) or university. The only university tech that malay and khmer lack but burmese and Vietnamese dont is treadmill crane. Were treadmill cranes or similar mechanisms used for armoring elephants??? If so, you can add one effect to that tech. Indians and persians lack treadmill crane as well, so there would be no problem with their elephants.
edit: here it is a video about cranes, howdahs, and elephants. For not combat purposes, of course, but the game is not 100% historically accurate.
For example, a possible new use for treadmill crane, besides the building speed, would be “all units with more than 200 HP are trained 15% faster” (for example). This effect would affect the following units: battle elephants (burmese and vientamese), siege ram, siege towers, turtle ships. War wagons and capped rams have exactly 200HP, not more. This would make sense because of cranes used for setting up these big units.
Celts can lose treadmill crane if their siege ram spam becomes OP. Or we can make that treadmill only affect units with more than 299 HP (so only elite battle elephant and elite turtle ship)
Another option, instead of extra training speed, could be extra HP. If treadmill crane gives 30 extra HP to tanky units, it would be like a second bloodlines for battle elephants. Burmese and vietnamese elite battle elephants could hold one extra halberdier hit in this way. And maybe koreans could take their deserved position in sea maps
But i doubt that vietnamese elephsnts withone attack and more melee armour would make a difference in most circunstances. It only helps against knights or other melee units,but enemy should use halberdiers to counter elephants
Sounds like a good suggestion
Is there anything objectively wrong with a 400 hp unit?
I know it’s an issue that you can’t fight full-pop EBEs with Paladins or Champions or Camels or archers or HCA, but that’s a fundamental problem with the design of AOE2 elephants, is equally true for Burmese Khmer & Malay, and imo not much to do with the Vietnamese UT.
im not against this idea, but khmer only moves 10% faster than other eles, and already the entire ele line had to be nerfed to compensate for them… so if anything husbandry could be +15% for eles instead of 10%? (khmer down to +5%) although eles would be more useful, wouldnt it make them overly oppressive all over again? as opposed to buffing each civ’s ele in a way that compensates for the civ’s weakness in specific fields (which i think was the original intention, albeit not properly done or stacked onto a much stronger ele than we currently have)
for example i still havent seent a valid argument why the burmese ele cant get +1/2 from howdah… archers arent meant to counter eles, there’s no reason to not make them basically immune, and thus plug the hole that burma has. the unit itself can still definitely be countered, just not by the civ’s ultra weakness
I think there’s a lot of things that can be done in general to make Elephants more appealing while reigning in the dangerous options.
Suffice it to say it’s not on subject and this is a different discussion, but I think (instead of increasing the effect of husbandry) we could simply make all battle elephants a bit faster, then taking away Husbandry from Malay and Burmese (the two civs most independent of the speed of the unit) followed by buffing the Howdah tech for the Burmese and turning Khmer bonus for faster speed into something different, like improved trample effects (either range or damage could work fine).
That way, Vietnamese would have almost equally as fast elephants as Khmer did before the changes, Khmer elephants would be slightly better in massed fights but otherwise mostly unchanged and still have the overall power advantage (higher attack, plus the UT). Burmese push would be a bit slower but far more durable against archers, and the Malay are… the Malay. The discount is overtuned anyway and the small nerf they’d receive from this is not a huge deal.
But that’s just an idea. In reality there’s like 90 things we could try and there’s a discussion to be had, and what I’ve put out for Vietnam is the dilemma of having your frontline mitigate your backline’s mobility perk by being slow, and why I generally believe LC is preferable even missing blast furnace, ergo why they suffer at large.
Burmese already have this in the past (when elephants were good). Generally speaking, gevelopers ussually dont revert changes even if the unit core has changed. It is more interesting to try new thing.
Which is a flaw on their side. And not necessarily a sign of a good balance team. Other games have reverted changes when needed.
But even then there have been minor reversions (karambit off the top of my head, leitis discount i think?) and cases where reversion is obviously required due to over nerfing or buffing : SL… Again partial reversion. In the same way the Burmese ele would be a partial reversion since it still maintains its otherwise nerfed stats
While i dont think it’s a bad idea it might need a pretty large rework on burmas side as it affects the scout, kt and arambai (latter can have its stats adjusted but the other 2?)
It is unfortunate aoe is so obstinate in not implementing malices with tech. As it makes balancing a ton more flexible.
Which would plug the glaring hole in the civ… Similar to a number of changes we have seen over time, i find it interesting how the devs actually had a plan that was clever and would have worked if certain things had been tweaked earlier. And then later we are either left with big holes or issues that needed to be fixed…
As an extreme old example. If blood lines had never been introduced miltia /UU infantry would be used more today. Archers would have needed slight tweaking but there would be a ton less complaints about the lack of infantry. And conversely we would then see more HC to counter the infantry…
But vietnamese dont have such a hole. They are tagged as an anti_archer archer civ, but actually they are a decent archer civ with decent antiarcher options but also usable siege and cavalry. They are nore flexible than burmese. I cant think in any hole vietnamese elephamts could plug… Their greatest hole to me is the lack of masonry and architecture… Which means that their bases have less HP than other civs, so maybe this is the reason developers gave more HP to their elephants!
However, it is hard to produce elephants as a fast defense under attack. So maybe this is the reason developers gave free conscription to them!
Still, theor elephants are not defensive enough
given that FU arbs deal 10 damage, a unit with 9 PA and 320 hp sounds silly. True rams exist, and true just because it sounds silly that doesn’t mean it is necessarily OP, but it is completely plausible that it was OP.
Rams can be countered by any melee unit, whereas EBEs counter most melee units.
Then again I think that EBEs having 3 base PA is silly, and apparently that is perfectly balanced.
All of this has been addressed already… As stated previously. The BE has had a number of nerfs since the howdah was originally nerfed (notably the trample nerf). Even the arambai was nerfed v melee units (which one could argue would counter the counter to the eles)
Rams are MUCH cheaper to tech, and don’t use food to produce, they’re also available to all civs in some form or another. They also don’t take +60 dmg from a dirt cheap unit.
They also don’t exclusive belong to a civ that has incredibly tough fights v archer civs…
As a reminder… No siege ram or siege onager, no eco that directly affects their cav, no paladin, non existent archer armour, no bonus PA for their scouts, no tarkan or huskarl or keshik
Except turks, which have good BBC and camels to deal with elephants, and italians who have genoese crossbows, every civ can deploy gold-free pikes/halberdiers to counter that silly unit. Italians have vanilla pikes too