Balance changes take almost no time to be done. You can make them with AGE in 5 minutes each. Ironically, what you might call “cool game improvements” (like that new 256x tech cheat) is wat takes more time and make the game more unstable. Game balance is the 3er more important thing after pathing and stability. Everything else is cosmetic
Well right now some changes are still necessary, plus they make the game dynamic in that way, yes other kind of changes are equally necessary, but still I think this constantly balancing reflects the dedication from the devs and the community (of course until the thing do not goes out of hand).
But to aswer your question, the changes will probably stop around the time that AoE3de came out, maybe even AoE4.
Do you think it is possible to ever reach a perfect balance, or is it like a dog chasing it’s own tail?
Making the change is quick, but then there is a bunch of testing that’s needed for the change(s)… and then someone doesn’t like the changes or it throws balance out-of-whack elsewhere, so they have to adjust again. Rinse, repeat, etc. Never ends.
Heh. Well, 256x was cool in a surprising, ‘atypical-for-AoE’ sense, but that’s not the type of cool I’m meaning. Semantics. There are a ton of other ‘reasonable’ things that could be done, cosmetic and otherwise (UI, options, modes, etc.). The sky’s the limit.
Does it shake things up in ways people like, though? Because it seems like when balance changes, people complain and demand changes for the balance injustuces that were made. Goes back to my ‘dog chasing its tail’ analogy. Seems like the devs can never win and there will never be an end.
If the vast majority see balance changes as a gameplay element, in and of itself, where they eagerly await with glee how things will be shaken up in the next dev update, and don’t get mad when their favorite cavarly unit gets -50 HP, then I can respect that.
This is my mentality I guess, it doesn’t bother me that much. The balance changes are subtle enough that it’s not like my favorite civs and strategies are going to be useless overnight, and new balance changes give players the chance to experiment with new strategies and openings that were previously sub-optimal, for me, this keeps the game interesting.