What are the Civs most worthy of receiving balance changes?

Everyday I see another person posting a new balance changes discussion about what he/she would change about certain civs.

I think the much more important discussion is what Civs actually need some changes to be balanced.

I therefore had a look at the following:

  • 1v1 Tournament performance since KOTD3 (given consideration to the patch changes since then).
  • pro Feedback (for example Hera’s Arabia and overall tierlist…)
  • winrates (according to the performance statistics published on Reddit)

I agree with the Devs that while not every civ needs to be great on Arabia, they should at least fall into the 45%-55% winrate spectrum.

So let’s have a look:

OP Civs in Pro Matches:

Chinese:
Since Aztecs, Mayans, Franks and Tatars got nerfed many Pros consider Chinese to be the best 1v1 Arabia civ in the game. Hera also considered Chinese to be one of the very best civs overall. If the Devs want to nerf a civ because of its performance in Pro games Chinese should probably be worth taking a look at.

OP Civs in ranked matches:

Franks:
While they are only considered good but not top 3 in pro games they are the only civ in 1v1 ranked Arabia games that manages to scratch or even brake the 55% winrate threshold.
With a clear gameplan, strong options and little power spikes in all ages they currently dominate their matches even though the opponents always know what their dealing with…

Other then in those 2 instances there isn’t really any other Civ that could be considered “OP” at this point. (Though there are plenty of other very strong options).

Underperforming civs can be grouped together:

Burgundians and Sicilians:
Both new civs clearly need some major changes as their low winrate and low opinion of pro players indicate.

Malay, Portuguese and Italiens:
All three civs are great on hybrid maps, closed maps and island maps. The only weakspot they have is open land maps such as Arabia with a winrate ranging from 42% to 44%.
While those civs certainly don’t need any change that buffs them overall a small tweak that helps these civs specifically on open land maps would be beneficial. The goal is not to make them great on Arabia as they already shine in other scenarios but perhaps buff them enough to get to a 45% to 47% winrate…

Cumans, Burmese and Spanish:
While the winrates of these three civs are not as bad as the ones mentioned before they are described as lackluster by pros and underperform in ranked matches.
All 3 civs have in common that they are heavily dependent on their castle age unique unit which is basically some kind of “cav archer”.
Both the cavalry archer and early unique unit playstyle are not favoured in DE, therefore these civs are bound to struggle…

Saracens
Since their archer bonus got nerfed people seem to be confused what to do with them resulting in a low 44% winrate. Is it an archer civ? Is it a camel :dromedary_camel: civ? Is it a monk civ? A siege civ? Techtree says it’s a naval civ… While they have many options in their techtree (like Chinese) they don’t have any eco bonus to back them up (unlike Chinese).


Of course some tweaks to other civs to make them more interesting or enable them to use different unit types are always welcome. Balancing for other map types and teamgames should also always be considered. However, I agree with the Devs that the civ balance for the most played map should have the highest priority.

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I agree with almost everything. The only disagreement is - Portuguese. I think they are fine. A small tweak for them can be annoyingly OP in certain maps as they have Feitoria. I think you can say the same for Malay’s infinite fish trap but a small land military buff won’t be bad imo.

Edit : I didn’t notice that you didn’t include Koreans. They do need a direct buff. They are consistently having win rate below 45% in ranked map and being the #35 civ for a while - excluding the 2 new civs.

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An idea for the Frank nerf would be to change Chivalry to a Imperial age tech. That heavily decreases the powerspike when reaching Imperial age.

An idea for Saracen buff would be to extend the market discount to Barracks (maybe reduce the bonus to -75 wood for barracks). It would give saracens a small eco bonus for all early game options, keeping with their theme of being a civ with a lot of options, while this bonus will not affect most of the rest of the game until post imp.

Portuguese should honestly lose the Feitoria, we’ve seen time and time again how bad that building is for the game. One shouldnt win by losing the whole game long until your enemy runs out of ressources. In turn their ships could be buffed in some way, or the faster tech bonus can be increased since 30% is pretty damn minimal. For example this safes you less than 6 seconds for loom, less than 17 seconds for wheelbarrow. 12 for hand cart. So its around one free villager after wheelbarrow is researched in terms of an eco bonus. And for other impactful techs like ballistics it safes you a whole whopping 13 seconds. Also something that is rarely impactful and very difficult to make any use of.

Possibly an idea how to rework the feitoria would be, to adjust the cost, remove the popspace and make it a kind of fortified TC, that has a similar fire power to a castle, but only when fully garrissoned. In addition it could have an eco bonus in the form of: Every ressource dropped of at the feitoria is multiplied by 1.2, or similar. In addition the Feitoria could produce both, villagers as well as organ guns.

How about Goth civ? They are considered a weak civilization.

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I don’t even know if the franks or Saracens can be balanced in the sense that some civ v civ win-rates point to some weird player habits going on. E.g. the Saracens should theoretically be a counter-pick to franks: they have a good feudal age eco bonus and strong camels and monks. Yet they have a losing record against the franks. I suspect players aren’t even using the market bonus to do things like delay farms and buying food to save time.

So it’s hard to tell what balance is due to things like monks being systematically underused vs what balance is due to civs actually having not enough options/resources to counteract certain types of other civs.

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Yes, I know people in the 1300+ ELO range that play Saracens but never abuse the market. I think the civ has more potential then their winrate suggests.

However, they are also not picked as Frank counter in pro games. I suspect this is because they lack any eco bonus which is quite important at that level of play :thinking:

They have totally generic monks. All the monk techs dont really matter in castle age, when you play vs knights.

I think their Madrasah tech is problematic. You need lots of monks, a castle and the tech to make it worth it. And that’s only if you loose the monks…

I think it would be more fun if the Madrasah tech would also return 33% of the gold cost of Mamelukes.

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I agree with all those civs, except Portuguese. U think they’re fine (even more, they needa nerf in water) and goths could be buffed

Cool suggestion. Mamelukes are kinda… not worth making in most situations, so an extra buff from a UT could maybe tip the balance in their favour. Rarely see the need to make Elite Mameluke if I get a 170HP Heavy Camel :S

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They’ll probably drop some balance changes alongside some major AOE2 related announcements.

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Portuguese are certainly a great civ overall and especially on maps with water. Yet they have the lowest winrate on Arabia (apart from Burgundians) with 42%. :thinking:
They are definitely one of the most difficult Civs to balance…

Goth are underperforming at the Pro level but they finally seem to be balanced in ranked games with a winrate of 50%. After they have been changed so many times last year with tons of people complaining every time I think it’s fine to not touch them for a while…

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Why? Because of Feitoria?

Well we have seen in Hidden Cup 4 that the → “stall out the game into Feitoria strat” is extremely strong on islands. Yet Feitorias are almost impossible to use on Arabia (at least not competitively). Their other strongsuit → gunpowder ← really strong on closed maps and Arena. On Arabia you oftentime don’t even make it to the lategame to use those options…
On the paper they look like a great archer civ with their reduced gold cost and faster research time. But apparently that’s not enough.

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Yep but I think that’s a issue for only the very top level players. Other than that it is more of Island and Team Island map’s problem rather than Feitoria problem imo. People are asking for more woods in Islands for a while.

I have to disagree. Just like people don’t use Saracens market, they don’t consider other units Portuguese can make. Knights, Monk, Siege all being cheap gives them a lot of flexibility. 15% gold discount was really not enough. But with 20% gold discount + 30% faster tech is enough for me.

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Atonement can be nice. Converting enemy monks can completely stall out a push

I totally agree that all the civs mentioned should be changed. I also think that Koreans fall into the category as the Cumans, Burmese and Spanish.

While Saracens and Portuguese have open tech trees and some people should be better than they appear (I think they might be slightly better), neither have a strong eco bonus. The Saracen market is amazing for rebalancing eco but it doesn’t give you eco, and the Portuguese gold discount is not specialized making it weaker than most civs bonuses in most situations. Both get behind before the strengths of a versatile tech tree come into play.

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Most pro players don’t utilize the Saracen market bonus either. The power of the Saracen market lies in not needing to seed farms early. E.g. lets say you need 200 food over 2.5 minutes from farms so you build 4 farms non-horse collar farms. This costs you 240w for the farms. Meanwhile you could have just built a market and sold 200w, which spends spent 275w, 26g and never needed farmers. On average you can save a pretty significant chunk of villager time using the market properly.

It’s an incredibly good bonus that people (even pros) don’t use because it’s A) only on a single civ, B) requires doing some programming to play around with to find useful combinations, and C) requires breaking habits regarding placing early farms to keep food income stable. They basically limit themselves to selling stone, when that’s basically only tapping 15% of the potential of the bonus.

Yet another daily thread using aoe2stats bugged winrates to influence balance without even wondering if said winrates are meaningful.

You conveniently use aoe2stats to show that Franks are OP but forget to mention that Aoe2stats also shows nonsense such as Chinese, Britons, Lith and Aztecs being average civ at top level, and Celts being yet another secretly strong civ at all levels with 53% winrate.

Winrates are a very misleading statistic. High winrate absolutely does not mean the civ is stronger than others. A 55% winrate could be ENTIRELY explained with either of the following:

  • People know how to play Franks better than other civs
  • Franks stomp low tier-civs harder than other civs
  • Franks have one specific strategy/unit that many people struggle to counter

I’m not saying stats shouldn’t be used to discuss, but I have a hard time seeing why Franks are OP in their current state, and I’m pretty sure that if aoe2stats didn’t exist absolutely NOBODY would say that Franks are OP.

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I agree that it is a useful bonus, but it never saves you resources. Delaying farms only delays the eventual wood cost. If you are doing any feudal aggression by the time you have the market up you should already have some farms out and the wood you spent for the market would probably be better spent on horse collar for a better long term eco. Of course though on closed maps delaying farms would be much more practical and useful than on Arabia.