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France [Armag] diarouga
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17 Dec 2018, 12:43

I'm going to comment the changes of the next EP in this thread, but before that, I'd like to put some 2016 boneng quotes here. He's not only one of my favourite players, and the one who showed me the power of the azzy FI, but also the representant of the japanese community, who left ESOC in 2016.

These frequent patch changes are just going to become a huge deterrent for old players to come back and won't be good in the long term, as it will make a closed community of a small number of players.
The question shouldn't be how to get more balanced but should be how to maximize the number of people playing competitively on the same platform.
It was alright last tournament with only minor changes to the official patch but now it's gone too far.


Wow lots of feedback to my post, unfortunately many of them missing the point and sadly some just pure emotional comments. But my point of view is summed up brilliantly by umeu so I won't say too much more about that. I think Goodspeed makes many great points as well and I am mostly of the same opinion as him as well, just that I am a lot more conservative about the number of changes being made.
A lot of people say the changes aren't too big but they are, especially in industrial such as old Han and Portuguese Dragoons. However this is off the point as it's not my opinion that counts, nor the admins, but those who are playing on re patch, which is the large majority of aoe3 players. they won't play in tournaments using the patch if they feel it is a different meta, so a long list of changes will always be a deterrent (doesn't matter how small the changes are in reality because they won't even think of trying to play). That's why I think that if you want to make balance changes it must be small changes limited to very few Civ's, and the more you add on the list, the less players you get playing the patch.
its an old game and less players are playing so the priority should be that these players are at least playing on (or are willing to play) on the same platform.


People keep missing the point when arguing against me or H20 or Umeu. The point has never been about whether the changes makes the game more balanced. This has never been the point. It is about making sure changes are kept minimal so all players of this game can join tournaments using this patch. Simple.
Do you really want to host a tournament where 1. only a limited numbers of players play, 2. Players have not practiced playing on the patch making poor quality games.
Everyone have to become more rational and think about what they want as a result of this all. A debatably balanced patch with only a small population playing, or compromise with a minimal change patch with changes so all civs can be played (like the last patch), and RE players can also play as changes are not too major and they can adapt. The former option is not what i call success, thats why we are pushing for the latter.


And I can tell you that in 2016, the patch notes were two times smaller. Now take a look at the patch notes: it's 20 pages long. Who is going to read 20 pages? Actually who here has read the 20 pages? I haven't. And it's a big issue for new players: they don't want to play on a patch with some many changes. Why do you think noone ever plays WOL? It's too far from the aoe3 we know.
We're already too far from the RE tbh, but it's still okay, next patch will change the game too much however, and I think that some players will stop playing on the EP, and I'm quite sure new players won't leave the RE for the EP.
The issue is even bigger if Microsoft was considering making the EP official for aoe3DE, but the japanese community most likely won't come back, and we'll have to play on a patch we don't like.

Anyway, here is the change list:

General

– Trample mode speed multiplier increased from 0.5 to 1

Why would you change trample mode? Trample mode is a cute micro trick to kill the low HP minutemen, the idea was never to give an area attack to all cav units.

– "The Exiled Prince” & Fortress Age "The Messenger" councils train-points increased from 40 to 50

Currently you can either go colonial or fortress depending on the map. This is going to change the map, and it's an indirect nerf to all the semi ff civs, which is a big balance issue.

– “Bastion” improvement decreased from +400% Wall hitpoints to +300% Wall hitpoints; Moved from Colonial to Fortress Age
– Defensive buildings now use their anti-ship attack when targeting Fishing Boats

It doesn't make a lot of sense... If defensive buildings had an anti-ship attack on nilla and not on TAD there's a good reason: towers aren't meant to counter fishing boats.

– "Advanced Dock" shipment train-time modifier removed for Fishing Boats

Why? Advanced dock is already not so great, why would you nerf it?

– All warship broadside attacks artillery multipliers decreased from 1 to 0.5
– Culverin ship multiplier decreased from 12.5 to 10

Why? Culverins are meant to counter boats and artillery. Furthermore, people currently complain about water being too strong, what's the point of nerfing anti water?

– Crossbowman cost changed from 40f, 40w to 50f, 30w
– Pikeman cost changed from 40f, 40w to 50f, 30w

Ok, so you nerfed semi ff builds, and buffed bow/pike rushes, what do you want, bow/pike rush every game? That's uninteresting, that's what used to happen on nilla and it was super boring.

– "Apache Raiders" improvement decreased from +2 to +1 Apache Cavalry villager multipliers

Aztecs

– “TEAM Cheap Fishing Boats” shipment increased from -0 to -20w cost

British

– Manor build-points increased from 20 to 25

So you nerfed both manor cost and manor build-points? It doesn't make a lot of sense. Brit is currently balanced atm, idk why you would want to nerf them.

Chinese

– "TEAM Improved Warships" shipment increased from +15% to +20% attack & hitpoints
– Qiang Pikeman hand attack light infantry multiplier increased from 2.25 to 3.5
– “Territorial” banner-army train-points decreased from 33 to 29

That was part of China's design: cav army trains faster than territorial army, this change is standardizing, making it a skirm/pike civ while it was a cav/skirm civ, that's dumb.

Germans

– "Advanced Dock" shipment increased from +50% damage, +50% heal-rate and -33% train-time to +100% damage, +100% heal-rate and -33% train-time; train-time modifier removed for Fishing Boats

Wtf? Can anyone understand why you would change advanced dock for Germany? What's its goal, except making the change list even longer and harder to understand.

Indians

– Shipment penalty increased from 8% to 10%
– "Advanced Dock" shipment train-time modifier removed for Fishing Boats
– Zamburak maximum range & line of sight decreased from 12 & 15 to 11 & 14, respectively; Ranged resistance decreased from 30% to 20%; Mansabdar Zamburak updated accordingly

Zamburaks aren't even good. They're useful because they're goons in age2, but they just bad goons, it makes no sense to nerf them. Can you even understand how big -3 range is? Because I really doubt it.

– "Disciplined", "Honored" and "Exalted" Zamburak improvements now increase maximum range & line of sight by 1 each

Iroquois

– "Crates of 400 Food, 200 Wood, and 200 Coin" shipment changed to 300f, 300w, 200c

Japanese

– Golden Pavilion wonder ranged unit attack bonus decreased from 15% to 10%

The issue isn't the golden pavillion, jap units are too strong because the upgrades and multipliers work on current stats, and not on based stats.
Japan isn't even a top civ atm, so why do you nerf them?


– Daimyo Kiyomasa cost increased from 350c to 500c; Bounties adjusted from 35xp to 50xp
– Daimyo Masamune cost increased from 350c to 500c; Bounties adjusted from 35xp to 50xp
– Daimyo Mototada cost increased from 350c to 500c; Bounties adjusted from 35xp to 50xp
– Shogun Tokugawa cost increased from 350c to 1000c; Bounties adjusted from 35xp to 100xp

That's way too expensive. The goal of the shogunat is to be able to get your daimyos back, here you can't because it's too expensive.

Ottomans:

– “Guard Abus Gun” improvement cost reduced from 450f, 600w, 600c to 600w, 600c
– "Janissary Combat" home-city shipment increased from 15% to 20%

Random changes. They're not very relevant, but make the change list 2 lines longer.

Russians

– Musketeer batch cost reduced from 281.25f, 93.75c to 270f, 90c

Sioux

– Teepee hitpoints aura decreased from 10% to 7%

As I said in the other topic, teepees were designed to make your units stronger, and they weren't used at all on the RE. The issue with the EP is the eco boost which is too strong. Teepees are fine
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17 Dec 2018, 13:01

Diarouga wrote:Now take a look at the patch notes: it's 20 pages long. Who is going to read 20 pages? Actually who here has read the 20 pages? I haven't.
The patch notes FILE is 20 pages, because it includes lists of maps and a lot of older changes. Of course you are going to get 20 pages if you include all older patch notes. If you wanna get a better idea, look at this page: Wiki/EP/Version history/Compared to RE. You can fit that page on 2 screens, so it's about 2 pages. (Excluding the bug fixes, but nobody denies a patch for fixing bugs.) That page and the other EP related pages are still under construction, but it already is a huge improvement to the Google Document and it should show you that the patch notes aren't really 20 pages, but rather close to 2.

Diarouga wrote:Why do you think noone ever plays WOL? It's too far from the aoe3 we know.
? Are you claiming nobody is playing WOL? Because there are lots of people still actively playing that patch, both in single player and multiplayer. Of course those aren't top players, but that's because the patch isn't focused on balanced but rather on exploring new ideas and having a bigger variety in civs. If you had done any research you would know the patch is still very active. You just find them on different platforms than our forums. If anything, I think WOL attracts new player just because it's finally different from RE.

If Microsoft can make EP into AoE3:DE I would be happy if there are more differences than just the stats of some basic units. I have no idea why a patch with minimal changes would attract players to DE, I think it would only be relevant to the top 1% of all players. I think most would be more attracted to a DE that has new cards/politicians/strategies/units to explore instead of a DE that is the same as RE but Iro starts with 100 less wood.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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17 Dec 2018, 13:12

edeholland wrote:
Diarouga wrote:Now take a look at the patch notes: it's 20 pages long. Who is going to read 20 pages? Actually who here has read the 20 pages? I haven't.
The patch notes FILE is 20 pages, because it includes lists of maps and a lot of older changes. Of course you are going to get 20 pages if you include all older patch notes. If you wanna get a better idea, look at this page: Wiki/EP/Version history/Compared to RE. You can fit that page on 2 screens, so it's about 2 pages. (Excluding the bug fixes, but nobody denies a patch for fixing bugs.) That page and the other EP related pages are still under construction, but it already is a huge improvement to the Google Document and it should show you that the patch notes aren't really 20 pages, but rather close to 2.

Diarouga wrote:Why do you think noone ever plays WOL? It's too far from the aoe3 we know.
? Are you claiming nobody is playing WOL? Because there are lots of people still actively playing that patch, both in single player and multiplayer. Of course those aren't top players, but that's because the patch isn't focused on balanced but rather on exploring new ideas and having a bigger variety in civs. If you had done any research you would know the patch is still very active. You just find them on different platforms than our forums. If anything, I think WOL attracts new player just because it's finally different from RE.

If Microsoft can make EP into AoE3:DE I would be happy if there are more differences than just the stats of some basic units. I have no idea why a patch with minimal changes would attract players to DE, I think it would only be relevant to the top 1% of all players. I think most would be more attracted to a DE that has new cards/politicians/strategies/units to explore instead of a DE that is the same as RE but Iro starts with 100 less wood.

I was obviously exagerating it, I know that the patch notes aren't 20 page long (though I can't believe you can make it fit on 2 pages if you include the bug fixes), but it's still too much. And WOL isn't played a lot, even compared to the EP. I know that wickedcossack likes to play some games there, but it doesn't attract experienced palyers.

Anyway, beginners probably won't buy aoe3:DE if it only has small changes, but a lot of people won't play it either if you change the game. People want new things, such as new maps and new civs, they don't want their old civs to change.

If the goal is really to get the EP official, you're going to reach that by making 3 new balanced and well designed civs (which is not the goal of the EP at all), not by nerfing fast age up and buffing bow/pikes. Furthermore, beginners won't buy aoe3:DE just because bow/pike is less expensive and fast age up slower. They might not even notice it.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:18

They won't listen to you @[Armag] diarouga, sadly ESOC is bigger than all of us. Most of the people blindly follow the patch, and others who make the patch "own" ESOC. That's the sad reality of things.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:24

I think bonengs argument is pure bullshit, if any top player would not play in a better patch(so he says balance) with prize pool, they should not join at all. And his argument also contradicts your balance opinions(fixed creates, fixed tres hell there is probably even more) all in all, it has nothing to with this patch but i appreciate your feedback.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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17 Dec 2018, 13:28

Ashvin wrote:They won't listen to you @[Armag] diarouga, sadly ESOC is bigger than all of us. Most of the people blindly follow the patch, and others who make the patch "own" ESOC. That's the sad reality of things.

I know they won't. Zoi is the current EP leader because he was a close friend to GS, and is nice with the current ESOC staff. Still, I want the community to be aware of what is happening.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:28

HUMMAN wrote:...would not play in a better patch...

Out of curiosity, define "better patch"?
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17 Dec 2018, 13:29

Lets not jump into the conclusions, we should wait and see final changes. Nothing is set in stone....
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France [Armag] diarouga
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17 Dec 2018, 13:29

HUMMAN wrote:I think bonengs argument is pure bullshit, if any top player would not play in a better patch(so he says balance) with prize pool, they should not join at all. And his argument also contradicts your balance opinions(fixed creates, fixed tres hell there is probably even more) all in all, it has nothing to with this patch but i appreciate your feedback.

Fixed crates and fixed treasures don't change the meta, these do.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:30

[Armag] diarouga wrote:
Ashvin wrote:They won't listen to you @[Armag] diarouga, sadly ESOC is bigger than all of us. Most of the people blindly follow the patch, and others who make the patch "own" ESOC. That's the sad reality of things.

I know they won't. Zoi is the current EP leader because he was a close friend to GS, and is nice with the current ESOC staff. Still, I want the community to be aware of what is happening.

Most of the community(like the guy who just posted above), blindly follow the patch. So there you go!
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17 Dec 2018, 13:33

Boneng's quotes are pretty close-minded to be honest as he simply opposes all change because it's change.

As a whole, I don't think the changes are that bad. Some of the changes do make sense, although I do have the fear that some changes are somewhat random. I think it's very important that the patch changes are made with some sort of design philosophy in mind, and I really think that design philosophy should be extremely close to that of the RE patch, which in terms of gameplay is really enjoyable. I'm afraid some of these changes do not really have an underlying philosophy but are just zoi crunching the numbers and trying to make aoe3 into a mathematical beauty rather than an enjoyable game.

I think the tweaking when it comes to water play is acceptable. The redesign for water gameplay is something that I do support, and I do also support trying to tweak some of the numbers to get better results. There seems to at least be some thoughts put into this and it doesn't seem all too big.

The tweaks to the exiled prince seem fine to me too. You think EP shouldn't change the meta, but by introducing new maps they already did change the meta to a more passive, semi-FF focused meta. A small nerf to what is now dominant would probably bring the meta closer to what it is like on RE. There are serious dangers to it however, because this nerf targets only a few civs (dutch, france, germany, ports, otto) so you'd need to be careful in how you treat it. It might ultimately not be ideal, but it does seem worth at least testing out and again there seems to be a philosophy.

I don't really like the change to xbow/pike though. I feel like much of aoe3 revolves around xbows and pikes not being that great, and if they were to be better that'd change the meta quite a lot. It's also awfully specific, and mostly targets France/Germany. Although I must say I wouldn't mind if xbows were slightly more reliable, I think this might be stretching it.

Many of the other changes however seem really unnecessary. I don't see why you'd change trample mode for example, or why you'd need to change apaches. Or why china's train times should be normalized, or why Brits need to be nerfed, or why japan needs to be normalized. These changes seem to standardize things which I strongly dislike.

Also, the choices to tackle india are a mess. If you change a civ and it makes them too strong, just reverse the change. Imo they should reverse the house cost and sepoy hp change, and then reduce the sepoy attack by 1 and be done with it. Same with sioux, EP should backtrack on the disaster that they created instead of adding yet another line to the huge list of sioux changes.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:35

Ashvin wrote:
HUMMAN wrote:...would not play in a better patch...

Out of curiosity, define "better patch"?

Balanced patch,note that i only attack argument of boneng, this patch is irrevelant since this patch is not mainly about balance, rather creating new meta.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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17 Dec 2018, 13:42

Ashvin wrote:
[Armag] diarouga wrote:
Ashvin wrote:They won't listen to you @[Armag] diarouga, sadly ESOC is bigger than all of us. Most of the people blindly follow the patch, and others who make the patch "own" ESOC. That's the sad reality of things.

I know they won't. Zoi is the current EP leader because he was a close friend to GS, and is nice with the current ESOC staff. Still, I want the community to be aware of what is happening.

Most of the community(like the guy who just posted above), blindly follow the patch. So there you go!

True, but there are some smart people who understand what's going on thanks to these posts.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:42

I think bigger problem is the fact that we have more than two unofficial patches. Treaty, smackdown and esoc, which are already fragmenting pretty small player base. Games with small and declining playerbase like AOE III can't afford to have so many patches.....
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17 Dec 2018, 13:44

momuuu wrote:Boneng's quotes are pretty close-minded to be honest as he simply opposes all change because it's change.

As a whole, I don't think the changes are that bad. Some of the changes do make sense, although I do have the fear that some changes are somewhat random. I think it's very important that the patch changes are made with some sort of design philosophy in mind, and I really think that design philosophy should be extremely close to that of the RE patch, which in terms of gameplay is really enjoyable. I'm afraid some of these changes do not really have an underlying philosophy but are just zoi crunching the numbers and trying to make aoe3 into a mathematical beauty rather than an enjoyable game.

I think the tweaking when it comes to water play is acceptable. The redesign for water gameplay is something that I do support, and I do also support trying to tweak some of the numbers to get better results. There seems to at least be some thoughts put into this and it doesn't seem all too big.

The tweaks to the exiled prince seem fine to me too. You think EP shouldn't change the meta, but by introducing new maps they already did change the meta to a more passive, semi-FF focused meta. A small nerf to what is now dominant would probably bring the meta closer to what it is like on RE. There are serious dangers to it however, because this nerf targets only a few civs (dutch, france, germany, ports, otto) so you'd need to be careful in how you treat it. It might ultimately not be ideal, but it does seem worth at least testing out and again there seems to be a philosophy.

I don't really like the change to xbow/pike though. I feel like much of aoe3 revolves around xbows and pikes not being that great, and if they were to be better that'd change the meta quite a lot. It's also awfully specific, and mostly targets France/Germany. Although I must say I wouldn't mind if xbows were slightly more reliable, I think this might be stretching it.

Many of the other changes however seem really unnecessary. I don't see why you'd change trample mode for example, or why you'd need to change apaches. Or why china's train times should be normalized, or why Brits need to be nerfed, or why japan needs to be normalized. These changes seem to standardize things which I strongly dislike.

Also, the choices to tackle india are a mess. If you change a civ and it makes them too strong, just reverse the change. Imo they should reverse the house cost and sepoy hp change, and then reduce the sepoy attack by 1 and be done with it. Same with sioux, EP should backtrack on the disaster that they created instead of adding yet another line to the huge list of sioux changes.

Yea, just reverse house cost and we're fine.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:45

I agree on the point changes should be minimal, the problem is the simple fact that we have the ability to change the game, so even if the patch is almost perfect it will be changed, because we can do that, and if there was enough time EP 83 would exist one day. Maybe it's just me, but apart from Sioux I would have been happy with EP 3 for the rest of my life. Bug fixes and new maps are great, but many random changes came since EP 4.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:45

[Armag] diarouga wrote:If the goal is really to get the EP official, you're going to reach that by making 3 new balanced and well designed civs (which is not the goal of the EP at all), not by nerfing fast age up and buffing bow/pikes. Furthermore, beginners won't buy aoe3:DE just because bow/pike is less expensive and fast age up slower. They might not even notice it.

But won't making 3 new, balanced and well-designed make for a huge change list? I'm not quite sure what you want anymore, do you want a patch with minimal changes that's close to RE to appeal to every Japanese player or a patch with radical changes such as new civs that appeals to every player below PR 30?

Atomiswave wrote:I think bigger problem is the fact that we have more than two unofficial patches. Treaty, smackdown and esoc, which are already fragmenting pretty small player base.
Well to be honest, EP is just as unofficial :P Smackdown is only used during, well, smackdown, to explore fun options and changes. Think of it like the weekend tours that also feature strange rules from time to time. I think it's nice that Inter explores some radical changes with 2 good players in a series. Treaty patch isn't really that used as far as I know, except maybe during tournaments. Maybe Eaglemut has the actual stats on the TP.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:50

P i k i l i c wrote:I agree on the point changes should be minimal, the problem is the simple fact that we have the ability to change the game, so even if the patch is almost perfect it will be changed, because we can do that, and if there was enough time EP 83 would exist one day. Maybe it's just me, but apart from Sioux I would have been happy with EP 3 for the rest of my life. Bug fixes and new maps are great, but many random changes came since EP 4.

I remember someone (maybe even Goodspeed?) saying that EP would only get minimal changes after EP3 because it was relatively balanced. I'm still wondering if this philosophy was thrown in the trash because of the EP--->AoE3:DE implication or because of other factors.
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17 Dec 2018, 13:55

While I think the Golden Pavilion change is not good (as there are better ways to solve the problem the changes are trying to solve, i.e. make golden pavilion affect base not upgraded stats), I think testing pretty much everything else in a Beta would be worth our while. Talking about changes in the abstract is inherently flawed because people make opinions, stances with little to no objective evidence to support them, into arguments, stances that inherently have objective evidence to support them. We could talk about changes in the abstract forever and people could make what could seem like convincing arguments, but the only way to truly get objective evidence is to actually test these changes in the firmament and give arguments something to stand on.

Diarouga, your complaining will never get you anywhere, as even though you may be a very experienced player and you "know" the game far more than most of us on this site, without actually testing these changes you nor anyone else can ever know if they are actually good or not. Personally, I agree with many of your points. But the fact that I agree with you shows how little one's personal knowledge or experience with the game really matters, as I have never played at anywhere near the same level as you have, yet still come to similar conclusions. But please just stop having a hissy fit that prevents people from even testing these changes in the first place.
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17 Dec 2018, 14:11

edeholland wrote:
[Armag] diarouga wrote:If the goal is really to get the EP official, you're going to reach that by making 3 new balanced and well designed civs (which is not the goal of the EP at all), not by nerfing fast age up and buffing bow/pikes. Furthermore, beginners won't buy aoe3:DE just because bow/pike is less expensive and fast age up slower. They might not even notice it.

But won't making 3 new, balanced and well-designed make for a huge change list? I'm not quite sure what you want anymore, do you want a patch with minimal changes that's close to RE to appeal to every Japanese player or a patch with radical changes such as new civs that appeals to every player below PR 30?

Atomiswave wrote:I think bigger problem is the fact that we have more than two unofficial patches. Treaty, smackdown and esoc, which are already fragmenting pretty small player base.
Well to be honest, EP is just as unofficial :P Smackdown is only used during, well, smackdown, to explore fun options and changes. Think of it like the weekend tours that also feature strange rules from time to time. I think it's nice that Inter explores some radical changes with 2 good players in a series. Treaty patch isn't really that used as far as I know, except maybe during tournaments. Maybe Eaglemut has the actual stats on the TP.

I want a balanced patch close to the RE.

My point is that if the goal is now to get the EP official in aoe3:DE (which means making a new patch, different from the RE), then it would be better to keep the nilla, TAD and TWC civs as they currently are on the EP, and make 3 new civs.

3 new civs is more appealing to new players than random Zoi changes like cheaper bow/pike or slower fast age up (in fact, new players don't give a shit, it will be the same for them), and experienced players don't want the meta to get fucked. Thus, if the goal is to get a balanced patch close to the RE, Zoi's approach is wrong, and if the goal is to become the aoe3:DE, then Zoi's approach is also wrong.
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17 Dec 2018, 14:19

Darwin_ wrote:While I think the Golden Pavilion change is not good (as there are better ways to solve the problem the changes are trying to solve, i.e. make golden pavilion affect base not upgraded stats), I think testing pretty much everything else in a Beta would be worth our while. Talking about changes in the abstract is inherently flawed because people make opinions, stances with little to no objective evidence to support them, into arguments, stances that inherently have objective evidence to support them. We could talk about changes in the abstract forever and people could make what could seem like convincing arguments, but the only way to truly get objective evidence is to actually test these changes in the firmament and give arguments something to stand on.

Diarouga, your complaining will never get you anywhere, as even though you may be a very experienced player and you "know" the game far more than most of us on this site, without actually testing these changes you nor anyone else can ever know if they are actually good or not. Personally, I agree with many of your points. But the fact that I agree with you shows how little one's personal knowledge or experience with the game really matters, as I have never played at anywhere near the same level as you have, yet still come to similar conclusions. But please just stop having a hissy fit that prevents people from even testing these changes in the first place.

As I said in previous posts, I've always been the #1 tester in the EP, and there are currently 6 active council team members, so I have some testing power, and my testing experience. However, I know that these changes are bad, because this change list doesn't have a goal, it's just random changes thrown out of Zoi's mind.
Thus, I don't want to spend time testing this kind of shit.

My point is that these changes won't ever be tested, because, just like in the previous EP beta, ESOC people won't spend time to test it, and we'll have to play on a bad patch for the next tourney, which is awful.
Furthermore, the ESOC staff actually doesn't want an EP team anymore from what I've heard, because apparently changes need to be tested in tournaments, and EP team is useless.
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17 Dec 2018, 14:19

I don't really know if this is the right place for this, but I wanted to share my own vision on EP/aoe3 balance patches.

In RTS gameplay there traditionally is both aggressive and defensive gameplay. When there is an aggressor in the game, the players and armies will interact with generally unpredictable outcomes, which makes the game fun and increases the replayability. Diversity of gameplay also leads to the game being more replayable and fun. While you can choose to make only a few civilizations, but then creating a system that allows those civs to perform wildly different strategies (aoe2 and to some extend sc2), you can also choose to make a lot of relatively unique civs that generally have some sort of gameplay niche. This way there is still a lot of variety despite civs themselve being somewhat more restricted. This is the path that aoe3 chose; They decided to design a bunch of civs that are pretty different from eachother. In this approach it is 'good' (at least in my opinion) design to have some civs designed so that they're incentivized to be the aggressor or defender. This will make it so that it won't feel like the first stage of the game is just you passively building up until you hit max economy.

The RE patch actually hits a sweet spot in terms of civ design. It's very varied, as almost all civs feel very different from eachother, with civs often being incentivized to be aggressive and to interact with the opponent using their strengths to exploit the weaknesses of the opponent's civ. This feels fun and very strategic, and is one of the things that makes aoe3 special. I have never played an RTS game where the build order matters that much, where what your opponent is doing/playing determines so much of how you should play. While maybe the individual civ diversity isn't that large, this is compensated by the fact that every civ has 14 unique match ups to adapt to and explore.

To add onto that, the RE patch seems to have almost a perfect balance of different civ types. There is almost exactly an equal distribution between aggressive, all around and defensive civs, aswell as almost an equal distribution in colonial, flexible and fortress civs:

Aggressive civs
Otto, Russia, Spain, Aztec, Sioux
All around civs whose level of aggression changes depending on the match up
Iro, India, France, Germany, British
Defensive civs
Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Chinese

Where Iro and India gravitate somewhat towards aggression while France, Germany and British gravitate towards being defensive.

Colonial civs
Russia, Aztec, India, British
Flexible civs
Otto, Sioux, Iro, Japanese, France
Fortress civs
Spain, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinese, Germany

Maybe France should be considered a Fortress civ though, I'm not quite sure.

The distribution seems really nice. EP and the EP maps had a relatively negative inpact on this. The better maps turned British, France and Germany into defensive civs and removed a bit of their flexibility where they'd sometimes be aggressive. The butchering of Sioux turned Sioux into a defensive civ too and recently India basically lost one of their core aggressive strategies (the sepoy rush) which probably makes them a defensive civ too. Attempts to change Otto and Spain by giving them eco options fortunately failed, because if those had ended up being great both those civs could have become defensive civs too. Not to mention that the changes to water eco made it so that Otto can actually dock start on a bunch of maps and do well with that, although I'm not sure how viable this is exactly.

Ep and the EP maps also shifted the age in which civs prefer to play. Due to the maps, France almost always goes Fortress (although it's probably also preferable on RE, I do think France is even more fortress oriented on EP) and Brits are often trying to go age 3 too. Sioux, India and Iro were changed by the patch into civs that almost always go age 3 and all move a tier towards fortress age play imo. Even Japan seems to go to age 3 much more frequently to follow other civs, and Otto has mostly been nerfed when it comes to their colonial strategies and thus probably go to age 3 more frequently.

In this sense, EP and EP maps have shifted the meta towards Defensive Fortress age gameplay. I don't necessarily dislike fortress age or passive gameplay, I mained Dutch after all, but I do regret that aggressive/colonial gameplay is such a small part of the meta. I absolutely loved trying to defend aggression as a booming civ and I'm sad too see that most aggression has faded into not being viable anymore. Right now I feel like the gameplay seems very focussed on fortress age wars, which while fun do eventually get repetitive. In those matches people don't interact much and basically play something similair to nr10-12 where they try to get the biggest mass between 12 and 14 minutes. I miss the more aggressive gameplay which created very unique and interesting scenarios. Of course, if the gameplay would only be aggressive that would be a bit boring, so we should try to find a proper balance again in my opinion.

I do want to be a bit critical of RE. Due to frequent mapscrews and maps that are ridiculously low hunt, some of the civs should have been defensive civs would also play aggressively, which did distort the otherwise nice spot that RE had. Ultimately the introduction of much more balanced maps has been great for aoe3 and made the game more enjoyable. Although I do think maps can be over the top from time to time and give you too many hunts occasionally, I think it's not too bad and also a bit of a tradeoff to achieve consistency.

That being said, in my eyes EP should strive to recreate the variety of gameplay that RE has for these better maps, while trying to maintain decent balance. That'd lead us to an extremely enjoyable and varied meta. Some changes here do see to point in that direction, although some also move away from this ideal (for example refusing to revert some of the changes to india and refusing to retry fixing sioux). I hope the patch team will take this into account and act accordingly in the future.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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17 Dec 2018, 14:29

momuuu wrote:[...]
In this sense, EP and EP maps have shifted the meta towards Defensive Fortress age gameplay. I don't necessarily dislike fortress age or passive gameplay, I mained Dutch after all, but I do regret that aggressive/colonial gameplay is such a small part of the meta. I absolutely loved trying to defend aggression as a booming civ and I'm sad too see that most aggression has faded into not being viable anymore. Right now I feel like the gameplay seems very focussed on fortress age wars, which while fun do eventually get repetitive. In those matches people don't interact much and basically play something similair to nr10-12 where they try to get the biggest mass between 12 and 14 minutes. I miss the more aggressive gameplay which created very unique and interesting scenarios. Of course, if the gameplay would only be aggressive that would be a bit boring, so we should try to find a proper balance again in my opinion.
[...]

I agree with your point, but what people fail to understand is that aoe3 civs are either good at agression or at defense, while in sc2 and aoe2, all civs can either rush or def.
As a result, you have to be predictable in aoe3 if you don't want to use a suboptimal strat: you have to rush as Russia, you have to boom as Dutch etc.
Furthermore, depending on the map, rush will be better or worse than defensive play. For instance, on maps with a lot of resources, defensive civs will beat agressive civs if you balance from low resource maps, and on low resource maps, agressive civs will be better if you balance on high resource maps, and you won't be able to hold the rush with defensive civs.

Thus, it's impossible to balance the game on both low and high resource maps.
The choice of the EP has been to balance the civs on high resource, TP maps. That way, defensive civs can hold rushes, but they can't turtle too much, because the agressive civs can take the TP line and match their economy.
It's not optimal, but I don't see a better way to get a balanced game.
Last edited by edeholland on 17 Dec 2018, 14:57, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Remove some text from the quote so the post isn't as long and is more readable (especially for mobile users)
Somalia somppukunkku
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17 Dec 2018, 14:30

– "The Exiled Prince” & Fortress Age "The Messenger" councils train-points increased from 40 to 50

Currently you can either go colonial or fortress depending on the map. This is going to change the map, and it's an indirect nerf to all the semi ff civs, which is a big balance issue


So which "already strong" civ benefits too much from this? Assuming that also brit and india are slightly nerfed. I can't see any relevant balance issue.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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17 Dec 2018, 14:37

somppukunkku wrote:
– "The Exiled Prince” & Fortress Age "The Messenger" councils train-points increased from 40 to 50

Currently you can either go colonial or fortress depending on the map. This is going to change the map, and it's an indirect nerf to all the semi ff civs, which is a big balance issue


So which "already strong" civ benefits too much from this? Assuming that also brit and india are slightly nerfed. I can't see any relevant balance issue.

Port suffers a lot from this. With that, it's going to be very hard to beat Spain or brit with semi ff civs.
Anyway, it's a big meta change, which shouldn't be made randomly.

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