Why I think water is no fun

Just a few thoughts here.

  • The counter system on water is dependent on age
  • Docks can’t defend themselves
  • Ships don’t interact with land well

Some explanation

  • The counter system only comes online in age 3
    This means that the player with the most boats wins. There is no strategy involved here.
    I think that adding some units will help to rework this system and fill it out a bit.

    Maybe a boarding ship that does melee damage and a tower ship that shoots less arrows, but beats the
    boarding ship.

  • Docks can’t defend themselves
    Since docks can’t defend themselves, players mass up ships and sit on top of their opponents dock, denying
    any effort to reclaim water in the early ages.

    In AoE3, a dock can shoot at ships. This makes it harder to lose water in the early game, since it is harder to
    take down the dock with ships. Late game, the damage from the dock will barely matter vs the castle age
    ship armor, or the imperial ship siege.

  • Ships don’t interact well with land
    This one is a bit tricky. Currently, the only reason you want to control water is for fishing and maybe trading.
    You spend a ton of resources on ships, go to war and after winning, you can’t do anything.
    Sure, the fishing eco is massive, but this isn’t fun.

    In AoE3, your ships can train units, which adds another dimension to water.
    Maybe ships can have some sort of unique interactions with land.
    Arrow ships can trains weak archers
    Transport ships can heal nearby units
    Hypothetical boarding ship can train weak maa
    Hypothetical tower ship can build outposts
    etc, etc.

I’m not looking at balance here, but at making water more fun and strategically interesting.

I’m also not saying that my suggestions are the correct solution, but the problems here are still problems that need to be addressed if they want water to be any fun.

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Water has alot of issues, yet none of your statements are true in my opinion.

  • The counter system only comes online in age 3
    Yes but you can easily defend your dock with a tower or same amount(even slightly lower) of ships at age 2 as the healing boost of the dock is extremely potent there. So your statement about “whoever has most ships win” isn’t true.

  • Docks can’t defend themselves
    Docks CAN defend themselves, 1 ship near your own dock can destroy an enemy ship due to dock healing. Thats a big defensive bonus, maybe even too big.

  • Ships don’t interact well with land
    They actually interact too well with land. If you control a path with ships its impossible to make a land crossing until those ships are dealt with.

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Thanks for the great reply!

You are correct, but I am also not wrong.

  • Not having access to the counter system means that you can’t beat the opponent, unless they dive your infrastructure, or you have more ships. You can’t dive your opponents infrastructure unless you have sufficiently more ships. The strategy here is only to build infrastructure and more ships.
    It’s not fun.

  • Defending your dock with an outpost is great, but it requires additional wood investment and unless you get arrow slits, you need to garrison a unit. This is a fair form of defense, but it does come at the cost of tempo.
    Defending your dock by relying on the, agreeably, potent heal of the dock requires you to have enough ships (based on how many ships your opponent has). This ties back into the above point of having limited strategic options. Not fun.

  • Ships interacting with land is, of course, map dependent. My argument still holds some water on maps with rivers and paths, since you can defend a crossing and raid along the banks, but your ships lose value beyond that. The value loss isn’t big enough to mention, really, but having units you can’t use to end the game isn’t fun.
    Your argument is 100% correct as well, but it struggles on maps like boulder bay.

Water isn’t fun and I really think that the reasons listed above are major contributors.


For me are the glaring balance issues when it comes to water maps making only a few civs viable.
When i played the stress test my friends and i had a huge amount of fun on water maps but that changed on the full game once rus and french were introduced.

  • ships feel cluncky and toon slow moving.
  • french hulk needs to be replaced with something else. They feel too strong in certain situations and too weak in others. Galleys, dows and junks for example cant stand a chance against hulks, they are pretty much a counter to a ship every civ has in feudal. But then against the rus for example france has no chance to compete or in some hybrid maps having expensive hulks early means you are forced to choose between either deffending water or land while your opponents can do both.
  • And then there is the Rus, which all you need to do is check how many rus mirrord on boulder bay we had lately on the tournaments to see how strong the civ is. Also their fishin boats need to be a bit more expensive since they are much more effective than other civs fishing boats due to no travel time.
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I think the Hulk is an issue because there is no way to counter it. It goes back to the fact that the counter system is age locked.

Rus is an issue on water.
I honestly have no idea how you would be able to balance them unless you allow players to build arrow ships in the dark age.
But that would be bad for obvious reasons.

But this is a good example of how poor balance can ruin the fun as well.

I agree.
I am very hopeful about water in the future though.
I like that the devs recognized that water right now is bad and that they removed the naval maps from quick match so they can rework it.
The impression I had is that they didnt pay much attention to water before the launch of the game since there were no art of war missions related to water, not a single water map in the campaings and the fact that the french hulk was so strong at the start. This though is probably because they wanted to focus on more important things like ensuring that there were no major stability issues and crashes.
Them saying that they will focus a lot more on naval gameplay and changes in the future really makes me hopefull as the potential is definitely there and there are already some good concepts.

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