An Evaluation of the Hoplite


Heaven’s Reference Pages

An Evaluation of the Hoplite

By ShadowShaolin

The hoplite and its counterparts (phalanx and centurion) was debatable the most under used unit in Age of Empires. They were constantly criticized for their lack of speed, easy convertibility, and length of time before they can be trained. However, with the release of the Rise of Rome, a new prototype of hoplite (Macedonian) has caused players to reevaluate the hoplite and ways to use this unit to its fullest potential. This evaluation will attempt to disclose the strengths and weakness of this unit along with the best uses and counters of this unit.

Strengths

The strengths of the hoplite will be discussed first because players rarely consider the possibilities with hoplites.

The best offensive unit versus stable and barracks units.

Stable units are a favorite among players today. Their speed and attacking power combined allow for quick raid and fluid defense. However, many player use only stable units for all purposes, and thickly armored hoplite quickly destroys either cavalry, camels, or chariots with few casualties. With the addition of the scythe chariot, many players simple race to research these units, and use them as the only unit in their military. Hoppers do admirably against scythes, and phalanxes start to gain control over scythes. Centurions absolutely destroy scythes. Not even the rugged elephant can withstand an angry centurion. Barracks units die more easily than stable units. Though not utilized to their fullest capabilities, barracks units can still cause trouble to an unsuspecting opponent, hoplites solve the barracks annoyance. Legion beat hoppers, but phalanxes and centurions own all barracks units.

Hoplites are most frugal demolition unit.

A common sight in many AoE games is the classic chariot archer war. Massive amounts of wood are consumed as each side tries to acquire the upper hand. Too many time a player stops queing his chariot archers to build a siege workshop and build a few stone throwers to gain the firepower to level a town. This movement often results in a lost game because his opponent uses his wood for more chariot archers and overwhelms the stone throwers. The hoplite presents a cheap alternative to quickly wreck a town. Costing less than ½ the price of a stone thrower, the hoplite pack a powerful punch for its cost. It use no wood and allow the continuous production of wood based units, excluding the 200 wood used to build the academy.

Towers crumble at the hoplite’s might.

One of the best ways to stop a rush is to tower. Archers die easily to towers and many stable units are required to ruin towers. A couple hoplites can attack towers without fear due to their hit point and attack strength combined.

Hoplites can be upgraded to a powerful iron unit.

Units that cannot be upgraded through the ages must be used in their age to inflict the most damage against a competent opponent. Units like the composite bowmen excel in bronze but fear that a few cats will terrorize their entire army. The hoplite can be upgraded to the phalanx and the most powerful land unit, the centurion. Aristocracy should be immediately researched to give hoplites the speed of infantry units. Once equipped with speed, hoplites can be used as a preliminary defense and quickly move to attack newly discovered bases or guard resources sits.

Weaknesses

The weaknesses of the hoplite are well known, but few people use the techniques to prevent hoppers from being effective.

Archers hammer hoplites

Hoplites are similar to stable units in this aspect. A critical mass will be reached when hoplite cannot march within range to damage the archers before dying. Another factor that stops hoplite use is their inherent slowness. Their armor must be quite cumbersome, because hoplites can only move as fast as siege equipment. Archers can retreat and resume fire before a hoplite can close the distance. Chariot and horse archers have a great day using a hit and run tactic to dismantle hoplites.

Priests own hoplites.

The worst sound a hoplite user can hear as his minions approach a walled town is the sickening “hoyohoyo” of those sly old holy men. Speed is once again the hoplites enemy as the priest converts unit after unit. Even without Polytheism, the priest can still outmaneuver the hoplite.

Siege, especially ballistas, rule hoplites.

All units feel the wrath of siege, but none so much as the hoplite. With aristocracy, it can reach the siege more quickly, but still dies to mass siege. Retreat if siege is spied.

Hoplite Companions

This section will deal with for possible accompaniments for hoplite masses. The hoplite’s speed makes him and easy target, but these units compensate for it.

Archers

Archers keep other archers from using the hit and run tactic on hoplites. They allow the hoplite to cover the range distance and unleash their unrivaled might. Chariot archers also keep those nasty priests from adding hoplites to their own army.

Stable Units

Stable units basically do the same jobs as archers. Cavalry and camels allow the hoppers to close the distance and can kill villagers and the hoplites ravage the town. Archers would be a better choice, but some civilizations can only use stable units.

Slingers

Slinger are infamous as archer killers. Many people assume their role is complete after the Tool Age. Unknown to many players, an upgraded slinger (with bronze shield and stone mining) can deal 5 damage to a chariot archer while receiving only 1 damage. Composites are difficult to attack with this combo, but it can be accomplished with success.

Siege

This is debatably the most powerful combination in the game. The siege can level towns or armies and the hoplites prevent fast units from getting near the siege. The siege also keeps mass archer at bay.

To Counter Hoplites

The solutions to a hoplite attack is mass archers, priest, siege or other hoplites. Use hoplites or stable unit to attract their attention and convert or shower them with arrows. With siege, use ballistas to mow them down or cats if ballista cannot be researched. The bad new is that with aristocracy, hoplites can catch priests and composites and more gold is lost than gained. Siege and chariot archers or hose archers still win against aristocracy-enhanced hoplites, but the hit and run tactic must be constant when using the speedy archers.

Conclusion

The hoplite has its shortcomings, but that is true of every unit in AoE. Probably the only unit more under used than hoplites are priests. The hoplite has great attacking power, but its speed is its weakness. The hoplite is most powerful in melee forces and should not be sole unit used in a confrontation. The hoplite should be used often and players should begin to experiment with this unit because it can be the difference between a great win or agonizing loss.