Why is opening Crossbows the meta for every cciv?

  • Pathing issues introduced by most recent patch for melee units
  • Opening Knights requires you to add (elite) Skirms to prevent quickwalls, and Skirms are too hard to tech into as a secondary unit in early Castle age
  • Crossbow is too cheap to produce
  • Crossbow is too cheap to upgrade into
  • Ranged units in general are superior in every RTS because they have the ability to do damage without taking damage in return

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Crosbows are too versatile. They don’t really have a counter if u have enough numbers. They can also be produced in feudal age which gives them an advantage vs knights (who are the only alternative).


equal numbers/resources of Knights defeat Crossbows, you can do any type of test you want, in late Castle age/early Imperial, with equal upgrades, Knights always come out on top decisively (assuming you don’t 1-tile bug use.

You are ignoring the fact that when u reach castle age and start making knights your opponent will have an army of 15-20 xbows which are enough to create a snowball effect. And if that is not enough you can add some monks to prevent those knights from engaging cost effectively.


Cheap to upgrade into, versatile, easy to spam (wood-gold eco), good cost/power ratio.

If you’d raise the price of a crossbow by 10 or even 5 resources, all the points raised in the poll would remain true, but I’m willing to bet crossbows wouldn’t be meta anymore.
(PS: this change would be pretty bad :wink: )

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Such a poll doesn’t make sense imo. There are several reasons and taken together these explain why xbows dominate the meta. Some of them are listed in the poll, some aren’t but certainly there usually isn’t a single reason which explains all


I want to start with just improved pathing, because if that gets fixed, it’ll make the game nicer in a lot of ways. It also means you don’t have to worry about unit pathing messing stuff up, so it becomes easier to make a decision that isn’t dependent on pathing or other factors subject to random change like that.

biased poll is biased. opening crossbows clearly isn’t meta for every civ

because crossbows cost more to counter than they do to produce

it’s not rocket science

if you play on well-rounded maps with the actual normal resource amounts (eg. coastal / rivers / continental), you can outproduce crossbows even if you have to spend more. but when the ladder is just arabia + arabia clones, you don’t have resources to do that

maybe 1 or 2 imbalanced civs can spam enough knights to do it, but most civs can’t. and that only works if the opponent is too lazy to wall

closest thing on ladder to a map without some artificially deficient economy (which gets further diminished by repetitive militia exchanges) is nomad. and therefore, it isn’t a crossbow fest. but that map has its own balance problems because they turned it into socotra (= castledrop fest) for no reason and also let people pick civs on it


Increase upgrade cost and time to upgrade could be solution

None of these. The problems is that scouts arent good anymmore imo

  1. Arabia has 4 tiles thick woodlines at a 30 tiles distance from the TC, something we’ve never had for 20 years until DE came. You know who else has 4 range? Going Archer is a no-loss decision.
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Too cheap to produce , the upgrade is not at all the issue with, kts need way less upgrades to be viable, crossbow are just way easier to produce due to their wood/ gold costs , have range, a great castle/imp timing, excels at both attacks / defense
this unit assuming you can wall your base better is in all regards better than kts, the only cases where archers is hard to play vs cav is when you are open since you cannot have mobility and raid’s ability to attack/ defense.

The other reason is the possibility to produce them on feudal and instant win the game early castle vs a kts player which doesn’t temporise with crossbow or elite skirm himself

The biggest points (of a lot) aren’t even in the poll 11

Scouts cost food only
Some kind of walling has become essential (also bec of better unit control, which includes scout raids)
2 range archers + fletching kill 1 stable scouts - and you can’t really afford more
game has become more feudal heavy in general

And a lot more.

It’s because archers, aside from upgrades, cost no food which allows for consistent up times while still investing heavily into military. Unlike say a scout rush which will actively work against aging up on both the food cost alone and in upgrade costs. Same thing for trash units such as skirms and pikes. The food cost is just too much to consider going into head first unlike archers without ruining the up times. as well as when pushing so hard on food it can hamper villager production. And if compensating with more farms can hurt wood production to power everything else alongside longer times building villagers rather than aging up to compensate for the lack of resources needed to age up effectively while keeping up military production.

Elite skirmishers upgrade Is too expensive and takes too much time to complete + you need to research +2 defense aswell while you don’t need to research It for crossbows. This leaves crossbows without any counter in early castle age

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“Why do all civs open with Crossbows?”

Because in aoe2 all 42 civs are essentially copycats. So every single civ opens identical.


just to point out how utterly ridiculous this entire poll and discussion are: there are even two civs which don’t even get the xbow upgrade


The classical exception that proves and drives home the overall point! Lol