What is the justification to Murder Holes having a Stone cost?

Murder Holes is one of the few remaining techs to have a Stone cost, and IMO it really shouldn’t. You often see players skip out on it because it won’t save your Castle from any unit that would actually want to get into melee range of a Castle, nor does it help at all with Trebuchets or Bombard Cannons. Instead, the 100 Stone is better put to use elsewhere, such as building another TC, and you can instead use units to defend a Castle at melee range when needed.

In the past, some University techs did have Stone costs, such as Fortified Walls, but these were all replaced with different resources over time. Murder Holes remains the exception, and I honestly don’t see a good reason balance-wise why it can’t have that Stone cost changed to some other resource.

But is there some big reason why the devs can’t change away the Stone cost? Or could they afford to do so by now?

None tbh. They are just unchanged since 1999 as it is one of the least researched university tech and don’t have a game changing effect either.

The idea of this tech is to deny those mid-Castle Age 20 Knights slowly breaking your Castle. It is niche but incredibly useful. Just in most games between pros, you rarely see one player break the Castle with melee units.

Anyway, the tech should cost either Gold or Stone to discourage spamming of techs. Already too many techs have the Wood + Food combo, this isn’t campaign where you are supposed to click all the available buttons, the idea of Gold and Stone costs is that you make choices about which techs you need to win the game/are relevant. Murder Holes is supposed to be a tech that you use when needed, not a “let’s get it just in case” tech.

Stone cost is fine, I see no problem with it, Stone is a resource like any else, gathered at about same rate of other resources.

AoE2 doesn’t follow this perfectly in all circumstances, but broadly food and wood are what you build and populate your empire with, gold is what you need to create and improve units powerful enough to destroy your enemy, and stone is what you use to defend yourself and improve your defenses.

Why does something like masonry cost 150f and 175w then? IDK, but that is the broad pattern. So I have no issue with it.

Because Masonry is meant to be a “general purpose” tech for Treb wars in early Imp. The goal is to make repair less expensive and Castles harder to break. In this case Wood + Food also makes the tech meaningful to tech into, in the sense that you must choose how to spend your early Imp Food (scarce in this age), in needed upgrades like Cavalier + Plate Barding Armor, luxury upgrades like Blast Furnace or general-purpose but also situational (upon there being many Trebs and Castles to defend) upgrades like Masonry.

If Masonry cost Stone + Gold, say, the choice would be less meaningful.

Similarly, Murder Holes is niche, so you want slightly more Castles/Castle repairs, or the possibility to fend off Cavaliers surrounding your Castle? Again, this is a late Castle/late Imp tech, where a large amount of melee units surrounding your Castle could possibly happen. And here the resources you treasure are stuff like Stone and Gold.

Imo from a purely balancing/design perspective, most AoE2 techs make A LOT of sense with very few exceptions that are wrongly-priced (e.g. Faith).

I actually think it’d be good if murderholes was something you could get commonly. Almost no-one having murderholes is silly.
The techs that give castles more hp- those I think deserve to cost stone.

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More techs in general need to cost stone. Especially those that strengthen buildings.