So, here’s my not-so-hot, fairly vanilla take: It should be as much fun playing as a civ as playing against a civ. I haven’t heard people talk about this subject too much, so let me explain what I mean.
Discussions about a buffing a weak civ usually comes from the perspective of the civ itself. This is something like “Vietnamese have nothing going on in castle age”, “I don’t know what to do as Dravidians in castle age”, “Bengalis have a weak feudal age, and no good units castle age”.
Discussions about nerfing a civ comes from a view outside the civ. When people say “Hindustanis are OP”, what they are saying is that “When I played against them, I wasn’t having fun”. Thus, nerfing civs for balance flows downstream from the principle.
However, there is more to it than just OP civs. The same applies for technologies, units, or strategies. Shrivamsha rider is a good example. The unit is fairly weak against everything except projectile weapons. More importantly, it doesn’t have bonus damage against archers. I don’t think I’m overstating when I say that nobody likes them. But people don’t have the issue with eagles, or huskarls.
Persian Douche is a strategy which isn’t OP, but people don’t like playing against. If you just keep making vils, and wait till your first TC breaks till you advance to feudal, you should win every single time. But it doesn’t feel good to play against, for most people. It feels frustrating to have your “safe zone” completely destroyed that early in a game.
So, which civs do you really don’t like playing against? Remember, this isn’t about if they are OP or not. This is about whether you have fun playing against them.
Here’s my list:
Franks: If I could only make a single change to AoE2, I’d nerf them to the ground. Franks are strong, sure. But that isn’t even my main issue. My issue is that they are predictable, but still win with the same strategies. When my opponent(s) is franks, I know that a scout rush to castle drop to knight/skirm spam is coming. But that strat is such a pain to deal with, even with that knowledge. This is not even mentioning how many people pick Franks all the time. I’ll die happy if I never have to face this civ ever again.
Byzantines: It’s just not fun dealing with them. They have far too easy counters to everything. More importantly, there is only one general counter against them in late game. Arbs with support.Catas are far too strong against infantry, and Cavalry is easily dealt with by their cheap camels and halbs. This means you’ll have to use a double gold comp (which is expensive and difficult to mass), or use archer line+something to deal with skirms. On top of these issues, their buildings have a lot of extra HP, making pushes far more difficult. Not fun. Would tweak if possible.
Hindustanis: Another full counter civ. Not as bad as byzantines imo. They are weak against archers till they get ghulams going, and weak against infantry in castle age, if you can deal with cav archers. Late game is the annoying part, with their extra range HCs with extra armour. Those things can take down Onagers and Scorpions, and even fight against archers.
Bohemians: This mainly boils down to houfnices, and how good they are against everything. Specifically, they are far too good against archers, siege, infantry and buildings. Just to add insult to injury, their halbs do extra damage against cavs. This means that once they get their upgrades, their death ball is pretty cheap to maintain and replenish. This is fine on open maps, but too much of a pain to deal with on closed maps.
Britons: Another civ I don’t like playing against, but I don’t want them changed. I know how to deal with them, it’s just a huge pain and pretty repetitive to do so.
Cumans and Burgundians. And any other civ with an “one age earlier” bonus.
It does mess up decision-making quite a bit. They are not impossible to counter, but playing against these civs nearly always gives the feeling of making the wrong decisions, either over- or underreacting.
Was playing against a Spanish/Mayan hard Ai team and it was painful. I was the Aztecs and the Mayan Plumed Archers, Galleons with the Spanish Elite Cannon Galleon was not fun. It took me hours of raiding from an island to finally beat them.
-Malians: I feel theu now have too much upside and no downside (top me at arms rush, top archer rush, good scout rush, good castleg age lol).
-Mayans: Any player feels stronger with nothing but just massing archees and then going 100 HP eagles that win vs Cavaliers.
Bengalis: quite unpopular but I feel dealing with their Monks is harder than Aztecs ones, without mentioning that a mass of bengali ele archers are just as broken as Halbs+Houfnice, those dont die.
Poles: I feel the absurd advantage a player with that civ has, two eco bonises that only get stronger and then super cheap and effective units to deal with, and a wide tech tree.
Aaah, good old poles. I once played against them as teutons on arena. Was having a good time with TKs, and halbs. Then he stalled with cheap castles, and surprised me with a bundle of like 30 arbs. My onagers and skirms were sniped by his cheap cavaliers. Learned that day that they have nearly FU arbs, infantry, and pretty good siege on top of having fantastic cavalry.
Trueee. It’s not even the cheap infantry. I can handle infantry spam coming from one area. But if they make a couple of barracks in an unexpected location, you are screwed. You’ll need to push with an entire army to destroy those, considering how quickly they will start spamming units.
They had an unreal 60%+ win rate on the map. Against weaker civs, that number was like 80%+. It was actually just broken. Hope the nerfs in the new patch works.
Honestly, they might be the strongest arena (and even closed map) civ at the moment. One of the best ecos in the game, and great monks for holding during castle age. Their bonus of elephants negating bonus damage is extremely underrated imo. Their EBEs will comfortably win against small masses of halbs, and their Elephant archers trade evenly against even skirms. They have some of the most expensive and slow, but strongest and most pop-efficient armies in the game.
On the other hand, still bottom tier on Arabia and all open maps.
Really?? Now?? They’ve been nerfed considerably a lot. Still good but nothing extraordinary about this civ.
Its the only category of maps they are useful though. Unless you’re playing with something like Huns or Goths, I don’t see how they get to halb+houfnice and occupy all gold mines while you have nothing.
Apart from Franks, the rest of your list seems a bit time displaced.
For me its Turks on Arena, meso/eagle civs on Arabia, Mongols on megarandom, Spanish and Portugese on Nomad/African clearingTGs.
You are assuming that I’m claiming all those civs are OP. I made it clear on the post, that’s not the point. While these are definitely in the top 10 civs, I don’t think many of them are broken or OP.
Again, not the point. I am not asking for Hindustanis to be further nerfed. I honestly don’t care as long as they aren’t buffed.
Those are some really strong assumptions. But even if I have control of the goldmines, and even if I have a strong army, I don’t like facing them. It’s just a personal preference.
I am saying that I don’t find it fun to face these civs. Lots of people here don’t like facing mayans and they are a top tier civ imo. But I don’t mind facing them in a game.
Another example is Vietnamese. They are a bottom tier civ, with extremely low win rates. But I don’t like facing them either, especially on nomad maps. The fact that they know exactly where I am, but I don’t know where they are is a bit scary for me.
Just surprised that people still hate being against Hindustanis. I thought by now, especially with the infantry buffs, the lack of knights must have made people hate being Hindustanis instead of being against them.
Got it. Usually for me, the civs I hate facing against are the ones that are very strong and feel like unwinnable on certain maps while playing random. But your Vietnamese example clarifies that you hate an opponent civ for different reasons.