Hi guys, I am an Aoe DE player and now I play return of rome DLC daily. I am glad that they ported aoe1 into aoe2 DE engine, bring new maps, team bonus, army controlling functions…it is superior comparing to original DE1.
But there is some big issues related to game balance we really hope devs change as soon as possible. I regularly play with some popular players in Return of rome, I refered from their opinions and summarized ideas from players in our community who play ranked PvP daily.
- Tool age balance :
Return of rome changed the counter formula to rock-scissors-paper in tool age which is really good for a strategy game. But the performance of units don’t show the counter mechanic. Bowmen with high attack speed and low attack delay dominate the game. 2 units which are supposed to counter bowman are scout and slingers have terrible match up vs them once bowmen stack 10-15 units . Scout is too expensive and totally not cost effective to make them against bowman. Slingers have less range and easily be kited due to the low frame delay/attack delay of bowmen. In Mostly 1v1 game, players try to open with some clubmen/axers then switch to mass bowmen.
We suggests to reduce the attack speed of bowmen and increase the frame delay making them harder to out micro scout and slinger. Slinger also need bigger attack bonus on archer( should be 3-4 instead of 2) .This will restrict the 1unit-abuse.
- Loom for villagers:
Aoe1 is well known for aggression and rush but tool rush in current gameplay is too broken. Aoe1 provide less defensive options than other games in aoe series so villagers /eco easily get big damage by tool age rush. This leads to a problem: game always turn to micro tool age unit/raiding /finding natural food and trying to kill villagers.
Lots of 1v1 game ( in high lvl) end in 15 minutes by rush or stuck more than 30 minutes in tool age where villagers pop of players barely stay around 20-30 or even 10-20. Roughly 20% 1v1 games can get over the tool age and go to bronze /iron age. Players also can not do any army transition while they have too small economy and waste all APM to protect/hide villagers
We suggest to give loom tech for villagers which available since tool age. It should give villagers +1 Pierce/melee armor, some extra hp and +1 attack ( +1 attack is very important for the fighting back ability of vills against pos 2 melee armor units). In current game play, when only 1 archer or 1 axeman find your woodline/berries, you have to run all villagers once they get +2 armor.
Overall, loom helps players to survive early rush and give them some chances to come back when they click up later than opponents or lost some small advantage in the first 10 minutes.
- Composite bowman and some unit in bronze age:
Composite bowman in big number literally has no counter. They are very cheap and easy to mass. I could make a comparison of composite bowman and crossbow ( the similar replacement of them in aoe2)
- Composite bowman has 5 attack/7 range/45hp/1.4 reload time and costs 20G
- Crossbow has 5 attack/5 range/35hp/2.0 reload time and costs 45G
Considering their most popular match up: vs cavalry and knight.
- Cavalry has 8 attack/1P armor/ 150 hp/1.5 reload time costs 80G
- Knight has 10 attack / 2P armor/ 100 hp/1.8 reload time costs 75G
It is clear that Cavalry - the best melee unit we can make against composite bowman has a much worse performance comparing to knight vs crossbow. Additionally, Stats/cost efficiency of compies is noticeably better than crossbow. In aoe2, players have more options to deal with archers such as mangonel/skirmisher while in aoe1 slinger and stone thrower do very bad vs bronze age archer. This causes the fact that composite bow abuse is the best way to play in bronze age, non-archer civs have no options to stop compies mass.
We suggest to lower the attack speed of compies/increase their cost (especially gold cost) / increase the training time.
Futhermore, we would like to see the clear counter units for archers in bronze ( bronze upgrade for slingers / reworking the stone thrower with bigger splash area and give them some pierce armor but lower their bonus damage on buildings for keeping the balance)
- Hidden stats of unit:
In Return of Rome, I found some preposterous hidden stats. All foot archer have 1.4 reload time while melee units have 1.5. It makes the archer have too big damage output and generally overwhelming the melee units. Foot archers reload time should be 1.6-1.7 and 1.7-1.8 for mounted archer/chariot archer.
The arrow projectile speed of archers is 8 while it is 7 in aoe2, this ratio of projectile speed/move speed is not properly edited. In addition, all archer has 100% accuracy making them looks like got automatically ballistic. This issue leads to the fact that 2-3 bowmen could kill 10 villagers in 10 second and they almost never miss a shot on villagers or 1.0 move speed units.
The ANIMATION DURATION OF ALL FOOT ARCHER IS 0.9. I HAVE TO EMPHASIZE THAT. It helps them shot instantly after clicking to the target and super easy to micro/hit and run. This stats should be around 1.1-1.2 for foot archers and 1.2-1.3 for chariot archers.
In addition, 7 base range for every archers in bronze/iron age is very over powered. It could be 6 for foot archers or even 5 for mouted archers. 9 range in them after 2nd wood chopping upgrade is too much and it even more broken on minoan since their compis have 11 range in bronze age
- Navy balance:
I found some hilarious stats of navy units:
Scout ships/war galleys /trireme have 0 frame delay and 0.1 anim duration. This means they shot instantly after clicking and almost don’t need to turn back when hit and run. Triremes with good micro destroy fire galleys with very small loss.
A ship unit shouldn’t be supposed to get that fast animation and easy to micro. Fire galleys also need some buff (extra P armor/ 2 range instead of 1)
In conclusion, we really appreciate the works from devs who frequently update the game but sorry to say that your balance changes (alchemy for slingers/lower the attack rate of cataphract,…) didn’t get to the point and they are not problems that players and community have been claiming. It made us disappointed a little bit.
Hopefully u give us a big update accroding to aforementioned ideas, they are the desire of many active players in Return of Rome.