I used to play AOK and then sparingly whenever a new interesting civ was released. Got to play AOE2 quite a lot last year after dynasties of India released. The game has aged pretty well. However the game seems to be diverging quite a lot from being the simpler strategy game it used to be. There are too many cavalry civs. I used to play water maps for hours together. Then the same civs could play just as good on land. But I feel that is not the case anymore. Civs are becoming too niche according to maps. This will discourage new people from taking up the game since they would want to play their favorite civ on all maps. The best USP of AOE2 is that it keeps history nerds hooked by offering a similar playstyle across different civs for such a complex game.
I am a software developer much like @FloosWorld , So I can understand the pressure to reuse code and take back sunk cost on development of other civs. But that should not happen at the cost of good civ design. I see a lot of cut paste work of tech trees on new civs which don’t help their win condition. Some bonuses like Poles stone giving gold and Portuguese berry bonus are ludicrous. Though I would not consider myself the authority on game balance, I would like to share my views on what considerations I would like civs to be designed around. I would also put down some buff and nerf ideas for the current civs I find hard to use. There are bunch of civs which have not had much tweaking in a long time despite the massive patch this month.
Poor design should not be justified as intended design and dated design must be upgraded to reflect new balance.
Civ bonus like free food, wood, gold on age up should not exceed 100 for a single resource any instance.
Civ bonus which gives free bonus resource trickle should be capped at 20%.
One of either Castle age or imperial age military based ‘Unique technologies’ should help more than just 1 unit. This allows flexibility and makes play harder to predict.
Every civ should get atleast 2 eco civ bonuses applicable on all popular maps like Arabia, Arena and islands. Both should not be for the same resource.
Every civ should get 1 unit that can raid.
Saracens : * [Modify "Zealotry" 20+ HP] camel units and fast fire ship +20 HP. * [Modify] Markets and TCs cost -75 wood. * [REMOVE] Transport Ships have double HP and +5 carry capacity. [REPLACE] Start the game with a Camel Scout.
Saracens have very old bonuses. They don’t match the power spikes of the new civs. The new civs power spikes need to be nerfed. But Saracens bonus on a standalone basis is also poor.
Goths: * [CHANGE] - Loom, Town watch and Town patrol are researched instantly.
Goth lack of stone walls is still a problem. Having Town watch and Town patrol will mitigate the problem of having no stone walls. This change can enable that.
Burmese: * [CHANGE "Howdah"] - Battle Elephants, Arambai and scout line +1/+1 armor.
Burmese don’t seem to get power spikes in castle age anymore with Arambai. Burmese Howdah affecting Arambai and scouts should make gameplay more interesting and unique for Burmese.
Persians: * Cav archers and Skirms are created 25% faster. * Every maket transaction gives back +20% gold as profit
The bonus gives Persians +20% gold on the total amount of resource the player received per transaction. Historically, persians had very good cav archers, persians are a gold resource heavy cavalry civilization, the gold bonus should help create knights and cav archers quickly before Kamandaran is needed.
Koreans: * Barrack technologies that affect Spearmen line upgrades are 50% cheaper and available an age earlier. * [REMOVE Team Bonus] replace with "Villagers have +2 Line of Sight." * Imperial age - "Shinkichon" - Mangonel and galley line +1 range
Spear bonus helps koreans guard against cavalry which seems to be their weakness recently. The galley line range increase is in-line with history. They had better naval guns than japanese which helped Yi Shun Shin destroy the japanese fleet on the high seas.
Malians: * [NERF] Reduce carry back from 15% to 10%
This civ bonus is unbalanced. Malins now get 2 gold per 10 gold collected which is 20%. This makes the bonus better than turks. So a nerf to 10% is ideal.
Portugese: * [REMOVE Berry bonus] Replacement: Town center technologies excluding age up 50% cheaper
The bonus was lazy way to boost Portuguese early game. Portugese are an excellent late game civ. They seem to have lost that identify with the berry bonus. This change can help fix that.
Italians: * [Buff] Aging up from 15% to 15/20/25% discount for feudal/castle and Imp respectively.
Italians seem to be lagging on win rate after recent patches which nerfed their university and dock discounts. This buff will make them better on land maps.
Dravidians: * [REMOVE "+200 wood bonus"] [Replace] "All Economy techs researched instantly" * [REMOVE "+15 fish carry"] [Replace] "Age up cost -20% food" * [OPTIONAL REMOVE "33% Siege wood discount"] [Replace] "Blacksmith and University upgrades for Galley line 50% cheaper" * [REMOVE "Block Printing"] Replacement: "Redemption" * [REMOVE "Medical Corps"] [Replace "Strike Corps"] - Elephants and Castle units move +20% faster. Cost 300 food and 300 gold.
Dravidians are too different to play as a typical aoe2 civ. They feel like a AOE2.5 fishing wars civ. They get a huge wood bonus when feudal is reached. That’s good for a killer blow on water. But its nominal on land. They have no strong answer to Knight raids in castle age except monks. But Monk tech tree is very poor due to lacking redemption and fervor. So that is a lot of resources for one time use in castle age. In water as well, they don’t get any meaningful advantages after early feudal age. The fish carry capacity makes villagers force drop every once in a while which is too demanding and does not result in the 23% faster collection as per design. In contrast, Japanese get faster working fishing ships which are far tanky. So this bonus maybe a Team bonus. But not a civ bonus. They have no reason to construct a stable. Their raiding potential is non-existent. They need a better design of the urumi.
There is a post below which details the changes.
Vietnamese: * [REMOVE "Chatras" 100+ HP] Replacement: Castle Units and Galley line 25% cheaper. * [NEW] Battle Elephants, Rams and Siege Towers +50 HP. * [REMOVE] Economic upgrades cost no wood. [REPLACE] Military unit creation buildings cost -20% rescources [REMOVE "Team Bonus" ] REPLACEMENT team bonus: Fishermen and Fishing ship carry +10. [BUFF] Imperial Skirmisher is made a regional unit of 'Rise of the Rajas' civs
I believe the problem with the Vietnamese is too few resources at early stage and no recurring bonuses as the game progresses. They don’t need imperial skirmishers since their normal foot archers are just as good as equivalent skirms in anti-archer role. These changes along with free conscription should help really well to push this civ up a notch.
- Which civs do you want BUFFed/NERFd next patch?