October Patch: What balance changes can we expect?
After two “updates” have passed without any change of balance (August and September), the October patch will bring (according to the developers) many changes.
These months have been of heated discussion in the forums, about what changes should suffer certain civilizations and/or units. Here, I compile some of the most mentioned, and some that, I think, would be interesting to see:
There has been quite a lot of discussion about Steppe Lancers, the militia line (especially long sword swordsmen) and hand cannoneers. The 3 units seem a little weak at the moment, being only usable in very few occasions, and for certain civilizations in particular (SL have appeared enough in the KoD3, but only when the player that created them was playing Mongols). It seems that without the extra 30% of Mongolian HP, the Steppes Lancers are not viable, so it is not too crazy to think of a Buff for this unit, not in general, but a bonus for the Cumans and another for the Tartars.
As for the long swordman, it is a rare unit, since it is between the popular man of arms and the often seen champion. Although the champion is not the most used unit, it has its place in the game, as a destroyer of Trash units. Perhaps one more point of anti-projectile armor, or a extra little speed wouldn’t hurt this line of units, obviously from their castle upgrade.
The hand gunncannoneer is usually never seen, simply because it is simpler to play Arbalester. Perhaps it could be given some buff to make it more popular (more life, a better rate of fire, or more defense)
Civilizations that are currently too strong:
Even after a nerf to the battle elephants, the Khmers are still the pocket civilization for excellence. And it is obvious that a civilization with such a good boom, with one of the best FC, the, perhaps, best economic bonus of the game, and the most efficient unit in terms of population, is going to be unstoppable. In my humble opinion, the problem no longer lies with the elephants themselves, but with the Khmer having a brutal economy to spam them, and also having the fastest and strongest ones in the game. It deserves an urgent economic nerf.
A bit similar would be the situation of the Indians, with a unit, although not so tanky, almost equally unstoppable. The imperial camel has almost no counters (except for the halberdier). Perhaps the Indians should also see their economy somewhat diminished.
The reality is that, between these 2 civilizations , and civilizations with super-powerful paladins (Lithuanians, Teutons, Franks), a civilization with a normal FU paladin, is no longer a viable pocket. Which is, in fact, crazy. And obviously, in the case of the Lithuanians, we have the Leitis, a unit that, in addition to winning attack with the relics, ignores the target’s armour. It can do up to 22 points of damage. That is, more than a Persian war elephant. All this with the mobility of a paladin, and costing less gold than such a unit. No doubt, many positive features with nothing against it, for a unit that, strangely enough, we don’t see that much (although this is surely because,simply, Lithuanian paladins are the best in the game, and it’s easier to play with a unit from the stable)
In the archery department, the mayas are still a talking civilization. For some OPs, for others simply an excellent civi, this meso is certainly class S on many maps, which makes you wonder if it’s really balanced or not. I mean, 4 economic bonuses, which 3 applies on dark age and the forth starts in feudal is too much.
The same could be said about the other meso civ of the AoC, the Aztecs, who even after having suffered a nerf, are still more than popular in many maps.
Finally, the Vikings are still the undisputed kings of water, and by far. Something controversial, more so if we take into account that on land they are also very good. Perhaps everything could be solved with a little inflation in the price of Longboats.
Civilizations that are currently too weak:
Although the game is in a much better state of balance than it ever was, there are several civilizations that are still not very viable. First and foremost, there is the case of the Turks. Bad in almost every maps, and acceptable only in some. This civilization has several problems, which in reality can be reduced to only one: they have only one chance to win. The Turk can win between late castle age and early imperial . Then their lack of trash condemns them to death. If we add to that that it doesn’t have a real answer against the arbalester – halberdier combo (cavalry archers need too many upgrades to be a viable answer), this civilization has too many problems in many scenarios. The controversial and recurring idea of finally giving them the elite skirmishers upgrade has taken hold in the forums, and it would seem a good first step to make the Turks a viable civ.
Civilizations that usually shine in water, usually have a bad time on land (except for the already mentioned Vikings). Koreans, Italians and Portuguese lack potential on land maps, and might enjoy some buff. Several ideas have been proposed everything for these civilizations : Blacksmith archers-defense upgrades for free (since the 3 usually play archers), extend the korean wood bonus to siege, give better trash to the Portuguese (with more hp), nerf the Italian port-technologies discount, but in exchange buff the discount for advancing through ages. Other propossed idea was to pavise also affects the condotieros…. a lot of different ideas, but in the end, all agree that these three civilizations should be able to do something when their soldiers get off the ships.
Personally, I think that Koreans are the ones who lack the most options, since their stable is horrible, their infantry is acceptable, and their siege has nothing special until post-imperial (good luck getting to have a siege onager with Shinkichon and siege engineers… it costs the same as buying 50% of Microsoft’s shares). Maybe this civi should lose even more its “trush or nothing” identity and get some other military option.
As for the Portuguese, it should be noted that Arquebus technology is said to be malfunctioning, as the speed of the projectile is not correctly calculated. While correcting this is a necessity, it is probably not enough to make them viable on land.
Finally, there are the Bulgarians. A civilization without relevant economic bonus, and with a strange transition: automatic man-of-arms to play scouts later, or archers that cannot be upgraded to crossbow. While the konnik is a great unit, this civilization depends heavily on the stone, either for krepost, or to make a castle and develop stirrups, thus making their riders a fearsome unit. The problem is that until that moment, the Bulgarians have nothing in favor. Maybe free stone mining could be an option, or maybe just give them crossbow, to make their transition easier.
Changes that would be interesting to see:
The Burmese depend too much on a unit that for many is a bit OP. The arambai seems to be the only possible option when playing with this civilization, and the truth is that it is a unit that, when massed, is unstoppable. Able to escape from archers and skirmishers, and to kill anything that comes close, it destroys buildings as fast or faster than the siege. A nerf would not be bad for this unit. In exchange, the Burmese could receive some buff for the units in which they are supposed to be their forts. I would love to see a bonus that helps the Burmese elephants, without making them more powerful in post imperial. Something like more conversion resistance for such unit. Another option would be for the Burmese skirms to gain +1 piercer armor per age, starting in castles (thus making them more than decent against archers).
As for the Saracens, they are catalogued as a civilization of camels, but the reality is that they are used almost exclusively for their archers (who, on the other hand, are perhaps too powerful in castle age). The team bonus could be replaced by something else (maybe giving back 10% or 20% of the cost of the monks when they die) and change Madrasah for a technology that gives +1 attack and +1 defense to the camels (this humble player suggests as a name “Damascus steel”), and maybe accommodate Zealotry to give only 20 points of extra HP to the camels. Another option would be for Saracen archers to gain +1 against buildings from castles (doing, globally, 1 point less damage than they do currently) and simply giving +1 damage to the camels as a civilization bonus. While the Saracens already have 5 civilization bonuses, the Teutons have 6, so it would be hypothetically possible. Although complicated, it would be interesting to see the original civilization of camels, using them as a base for their army, and not just circumstantially.
Many are the changes that have been discussed, and the reality is that only a select group knows the future of the balance of the game. For the moment, the rest of us have to speculate, and wait. Soon enough we will know.