We need balance update for Return of Rome ASAP

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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)

  1. 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

  1. 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.


I agree in general and I’d like to add this small change:

  • Starting stone increased from 150 → 200
  • Romans starts with -50 stone (150 instead of 200)

Because now with 150 stone you can make only 1 tower and 0 wall tiles (unless u have Romans), so you are forced to collect stone or to give up making a tower.

About the rest, here are my ideas for changes:

  • Bowmen base attack rate reduced by 10-20% at least
  • Bowmen reload time increased by 5-10%
  • Slingers +1 pierce armor starting in the bronze age (to maybe make them stronger and more viable against composite bowmen and chariot archers, these are basically the skirms from aoe2)
  • Loom tech starting from the Tool age (requires a granary): Cost 50f, 25w → Villagers +15 HP (so they become like Sumerians).
  • Composite bowman: Cost increased from 40f 20g → 45f 25g

Sumerians could or could not have access to Loom, but since theirs is a civ bonus, it would make sense to give them access to Loom otherwise the civ bonus would be useless.

These are mostly small changes and it would be good to see how they impact before making bigger changes.


Slingers should have same range as bowman and also they should get bronze age upgrade with more range, damage and pierce armor and of course they should also receive iron age upgrade to compete against iron age ranged units.

It’s funny that slingers have less range than bows while in reality they tended to outrange bows.


Not obly hp. Loom should give +1 P armor and +1 attack.
15 extra hp is still meaningless vs machine gun bowmen

I generally agree with everything that has been said.

Dapper is is correct that slingers should not have less range than bows, and arguably they outranged bows at that time.

Composite bowmen seem to train too quickly for their cost and abilities.

All Tool and Bronze Age archers need a negative balance adjustment, or their counters, like slingers, need to be boosted. I just played a match with a lot of slingers against a lot of archers. The shorter range of my slingers, and the bowmen’s ability to shoot and move destroyed my slingers–who are supposed to be the counter.


I’ll agree on all the above making the very early game more agressive without giving more tool to defend is a problem. We need more changes in the early game.

To add to the discussion:

Civilizations should also have there bonus streamlined with ages when necessary.

You did that well with Choson Infantry Line and Persian navy for exemple.

But some have a straight up massive boost from the get go in tool age for the whole game.
If you streamline bonuses you still retain the advantages and benefits but its overall more balanced especially in the early game…

To name just a few big offenders:

Assyrian - 33% AS for All Archer - Could be something like 11% Tool / 22% Bronze / 33% Iron

Hittite - War Ships +2 Range Tool +3 Bronze/Iron - Could be +1 Tool +2 Bronze +3 Iron

Minoan - Compies +2 Range - Could be +1 Bronze +2 Iron
Ships cost -30% - Could be -20% Stone/Tool -30% starting from Bronze

This is are just a couple exemples, but you get the point.

Also you could revisit a couple Team Bonus, some are big like -25% TC cost / Docks -20% cost etc…
While some other give LoS to Walls…

Im not saying you should nerf everything to the ground, but give a little love to the worst ones maybe.

And last but not least please do something about 4 Pop houses…Right now its just a building houses simulator…
Give us Urbanization in Bronze Age for all civs and cheaper than its now if you dont want to make houses 5 Pop.
And its gotta only get even worse if you dont change it since last PUP mention pop limit is raised to 250.

I didnt tech’ed Urbanization a single time in any of my games since release, when you are reaching iron you are already done buildings houses/already 200 capacity or so close to it than its not even worth paying for the tech.


The goal for Tool Age balance I assume should look something like this https://i.imgur.com/KEEQwXO.png

axe > scout > slinger > bowman > axe, slinger = axe, bow = scout

Just nerfing bowman while good, is not fully solving the issues. Slingers don’t go even with axemen. They get countered hard early game due to doing 1 damage unless you invest a lot and get stone mining and then it’s more even. And then Slingers also just don’t counter bowmen much at all. They are meant to be the counter, not scouts. Scouts should go even. Slingers should be the counter. But are not a heavy counter.

Also Scouts don’t counter slingers, believe it or not. The devs didn’t give slingers archer armor. So Scouts don’t deal bonus damage vs them. Which is insane since Scouts should be the main counter to slingers.

There are core issues there besides bowman obviously being OP. So before we change bowman like with frame delay, attack speed (which might be good changes) we should first solve the other more important issues like with Slingers not fitting well into the counter system. Then we can readjust and see if bowman need a nerf still. Just making Slingers a lot more viable might solve the issue entirely.

Reduce axemen armor. Slingers are insanely weak vs +1 pierce armor early game. This matchup needs to be more even. +1 damage from stone mining flips the matchup though as you know. So don’t see any reason it should be in the game if we want to properly balance slinger axe balance. It also makes them easier to tech into with how reliant on stone mining they are, and possibly break the counter system for scouts since it doubles slinger dmg vs scouts.

Significantly buff slingers vs archers. +2 dmg or +3, maybe +1 range. Anything to make the counter an actual counter.

Give Slingers archer armor class. Just obvious, so scouts hard counter them.

Reduce slinger stone cost would be to make them easy to tech into. Slingers currently are very hard to tech into with stone mining and just their stone cost. You practically need a storage pit on stone. With 5 stone cost would be a bit easier to commit to them early game without using all your stone.

I agree the balance is a mess, and love you starting the discussion. Thanks for the post

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A lot of people in this thread have pointed out some of the balance problems with Return to Rome but many of the proposed solutions are to make the game more like AoE 2.

But my suggestion to the devs is to avoid too many changes that make this game more like AoE 2. If this game becomes too much like AoE 2 then it will hurt its long term viability. What is the point of learning RoR if it is simply AoE 2 with a different skin of units, techs, and civs? So please come up with balance solutions that are unique to RoR whenever possible.

A couple that come to mind to avoid the early game snowball effect:

Rather than creating aoe 1 loom, give units(including vills) within so many tiles of their starting TC(and only the starting TC) better stats like increased attack/pierce attack, armor, and pierce armor. When those units leave the range of the TC, they lose the bonus stats. This would make vills(and all units) better able to fight off a few aggressive early units and would help defenders better able to survive a tool attack without completely changing the style of play. I also didn’t mind having vills become 10% faster at the start of Tool age as it was in DE.

For sea, make the scout ship line separate from the war galley/trireme line and make war galley/trireme cost gold(and balance accordingly). Scout ship is the only tool unit that upgrades to a Bronze unit. By making it a separate line you make full tool age sea aggression riskier as you could be stuck with a large navy of scout ships that can’t be upgraded and get wrecked by War Galleys in the next age.

Obviously these ideas are just off the top of my head, but hopefully they illustrate what I am saying about finding balancing solutions that keep RoR unique from AoE 2.


Giving slinger archer armor means slingers will kill each other also very quickly. Making stone mining not give damage bonus means they are totally useless vs anything else beside archers. Civs which lack any good archers means they have no range option beside siege. I think slingers should keep getting damage bonus from stone upgrading and I think some factions should have bonus for slingers such as damage, range or armor.

One of the most famous slingers in ancient era were Rhodian and Balearic slingers, which could mean that Greek and Carthage could have some bonus with them, since these factions used them.


Also makeshift scout and heavy camels would be an nice idea for the iron age, since they are pretty useless against heavy cavalry or scythian chariots, let alone mounted archers. Something like what was going to be done with the mod “beyond the indus”


From profi matches I saw from AoE1:DE, the two strategies were either:

a) very early axe-rush, being able to kill/displace enemy vills and sit on enemy barracks so that any slingers are dead before massed

b) sling mass: With around 10 slingers, they can outmicro any number of Axes due to poor pathing of melee units. Bigger mass of slingers win and axes, bowmen, or scouts do not stand a chance.

Sometimes, on open maps, Scout Rushes were also seen, but that’s all.

Are you telling me that ROR changed this formula so dramatically that this is not true any more?

I was also thinking about something like this.

I agree on this.

Giving slinger archer armor means slingers will kill each other also very quickly

Irrelevant, if it’s needed to to balance the matchup charts then thats fine

Making stone mining not give damage bonus means they are totally useless vs anything else beside archers

Here’s how I know you didn’t even read what i wrote. I said give axemen -1 pierce armor. Currently Slingers deal 1-2 dmg vs axes. My changes now they deal 2 dmg always. It’s literally a buff to slingers vs other units except scouts and vlls. Which is good. Slingers need to be better vs axemen, easier to tech into.

If you have more concerns about the changes, happy to explain it again. But your concerns are not really warranted. If we keep the +1 dmg from stone mining slingers are too good vs scouts. And you can’t buff scout pierce armor since it would mean they would counter bowman, scouts can’t counter bows the matchup needs to stay more even. So Scouts have to have +1 pierce and slingers can’t have 3 attack. Slingers have to have 2 attack only or it breaks the balance. Right now it’s fine because they are so bad of course. But if we make them better vs axes, bowmen then they must not have 3 attack.

Aoe1 DE is all about slinger and axe opening. And it heavily depends on map and how fast you wall up as well. In aoe RtR you can not repair wall from inside and towers/ buildings build up very slow. Predicted food generating also help players easy to click up around 6-6.20 and do foward rush

Any plans to reduce war/armored elephant trample damage?? I feel that doing 100% damage to surroanding units is just broken, I recall a Daut TG game where just one elephant was killing 5-6 cavalry, was just stupid.
Reduce that to 50% as a start and even they still will be absurldy strong.

Elephants are not that strong. They very slow and hard countered by monks. But remember never fight elephants in melee, unless you are playing centurion witg pos 6 armor


The problem with archers being too strong is that it limits options. It makes the players gravitate to archers. With civs without good archers and chariot archers, it is very difficult to face massed archers. Units that may counter cost gold or stone, so that puts the civ at a real disadvantage. This means a lot of losses in Tool and Bronze. I really hope the developers address this soon.


I think the Tool’s changes in ROR are a lot of fun. I agree with the problems that archers have.
The easiest thing to do is reduce the attack speed for all archers, especially the Chariots and the HAs.

Scout hits +3 to Archers but +5 to Chariot Archers. If this unit is given an upgrade, they can be excellent against archers.

The slinger does not need more damage or less cost. He just need more range (+2) to hit bronze archers.

It would also be nice as you mention to increase the cost of Improved/composite, but I feel like the previous upgrade should go away. If their attack speed is reduced, there would be no problems with them.

Lastly, Loom or more things from AOE2 definitely not.
What they did in AOE 1DE could be the solution. Faster villagers in Tool.

As an illustration of the problem with RoR archers, I just played three games, one where the AI initially focused on axemen, one on slingers, and one on bowmen. I did not aggressively create forward bases, and used infantry civs, with no bowmen. I beat the AI on hard fairly easily when it used axemen or slingers, but lost convincingly when the AI used bowmen and then compys or chariot archers. This is pretty telling to me that the archer balance issue needs to be addressed.

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Before all talk about bug in game :grin::grin::grin:. The suck gate auto open but worse than AOE 2 so much. + Bug mix archer after enemy unit die my unit auto walk to enemy die, 1 or group of my unit and they die haizz game . Highlights only get my civil Viet haixzzzz. Classic from 1997 still better this game so much