I would vote Chinese, I think this whole “only eco” concept is stupid.
(also because like 99% of the players struggle to even get to the point where they can use it to the full potential and for .2 % of the players it’s OP.)
Sicilians. Way too reliant on situationally OP bonuses. Faster built castles and reduced damage reduction should never be this big
Goths. Too OP or too weak depending on the stage of the game
Slavs. Blandest civ in the game easily. The only thing that keeps them decent is one of the most boring eco bonuses
Indians. In general the Forgotten civs are either too bland or too weird, and Indians have just so many problematic parts. You have the armour bonus I really dislike, the gunpowder bonus that doesnt work with the rest of the civ at all imo as well as a bad UU.
Magyars. This civ is just way too focused in one thing and is meh at everything else until late game. Just not a fan.
Honorable mentions for Cumans because of the bad UT and second TC, Burgundians for the revolution, Burmese for the weakness to archers, Spanish for their bad gameplan, Incas for having the now useless villager bonus and Italians for being bland.
The British archer line has the too long range. I know it is their identity but it dims Longbowmen.
The max range of the regular archer is 8 tiles. The British one is 11 tiles, 3 more than the regular one and only 1 less than Longbowmen.
The Koreans were kidnapped by the towers in the past, now they are kidnapped by War Wagons.
Many potential adjustments will be hindered by accommodating them. In particular, their melee horses cannot obtain sufficient combat power. Gaining Bloodline will make War Wagons too strong, and nerfing War Wagons will weaken Korean main strengths. All these make the Koreans lose the strategic flexibility and become boring. Not to mention that War Wagons used to reflect Hwacha wagons should fire multiple arrows instead of one ballista arrow on the module.
The Indians were deliberately designed to be a camel civ and lost the heavy cavalry they should have. This is not only historically inaccurate, but also makes it difficult to keep Imperial Camels balance. Not to mention there are no melee elephants.
If the Indians, the Persians, and the Southeast Asians are introduced into the game at the same time, War Elephants will be more suitable as the Indian UU, while Savars will be more suitable as Persian UUs. Battle Elephants and Elephant Archers can be trained at stables and archery ranges, the latter can also be the regional unit of the subcontinent. Just saying.
The Japanese are versatile, but it also means that they have no other specialties other than counter-cavalry, especially the lack of Bombard Cannons, which makes them difficult to fight against siege weapons in the later game. Besides, UT is supposed to reflect the military or cultural characteristics of civ in history, but the Japanese have a completely fictitious one.
The Spanish rely heavily on Conquistadors and lack strategic flexibility in the early game. The lack of Crossbowmen makes the archer line not worthy of investment at any time. If you cannot use the fast castle and are forced to use cavalry, there will not be enough bonuses.
Funnily enough I voted them almost entirely because of their UTs. First crusade is being first crusade ofc, and hauberk is just a civ win button against archer civs. I think Sicilian cav was fine before they decided to make them impervious to a whole class of units on top of their existing bonus.
Goths (one trick pony, or shall I say one trick godzilla) Franks (talking about ponies, such an awful childish design) Britons (one of the worst, though I dont expect them to get a honorable position in this chart due to people loving them so much) Burgundians (needless to say, worst eco bonus in terms of design, and their unique techs, come on) Sicilians (only Hauberk pretty much, the Donjon thing however is brilliant and bold, but not they’re just a generic Knight civ yay) Poles (Folwark into another generic Knight civ, so boring, developers love gimmicks) Portuguese (20% gold discount and faster techs bonus turn this civ into the most generic civ currently there is in AOE2, there isn’t even a hint by the developers or any sort of attempt to fix this identity crisis, in fact they’ve made it worse)
With that being said guys, the rest of the civs have actually a beautiful design, it’s amazing how big is the gap between horrible design to an excellent one. Examples of great design: Spanish (op unique unit yet balanced) Krepost (I mean Bulgarians duh) Turks (not having trash units yet playability at its best) Saracens (Market is just great) Magyars (who needs an eco bonus) Khmer (just wow) Koreans (back before they had become a generic Xbow civ, when you could actually use their morbidly unique tower feature) Byzantines (no eco bonus, yet so much playability)
Well said, Indians would be my 3rd choice. They are all economy, but have a limited tech tree of units that don’t perform well in the late game. I chose Vikings as my 2nd because they are in the same situation, but with even fewer military options.
The thing is, it’s not just about what’s playable. I know you have really strong opinions on this, but a lot of the civs you list as bad are fun for people to play, and a lot of the ones you list as good, are either not so fun, or perform really badly at certain elos. It’s ok for civs to have an eco bonus and only revolve around one strategy, you don’t have to play them, there will always be others who enjoy them.
I enjoy playing them to be honest. I like the eco and Castle Age cavalier of the Burgundians, and because I often like to play civs somewhat like how they may have been intended, I enjoy the Sicilian Donjon rush. I can still understand why they get a lot of hate.