Crappy Bronzing Revisited


Afterword

On strategy and discussion.
Strategy on the Shai’tan Forum (http://www.netleague.com/aoe) has come a long way since its infant beginnings. Back then (or at least when I first joined the forum in March) we were still discussing the Bowman Rush, the advent of Guerilla Warfare, and the beginnings of theFast Bronze. We were still discussing which civilisations and units were better and why. No one back then considered Phoenician to be a fast civilisation.
Strategy took one step deeper with discussions on the intricacies of the Fast Bronze and the eternal battle between Yamato and Assyrian. I think Methos’s studies on gathering rates and the unit speeds and attack rates found in the Home of the XpErTs (webpage now defunct) spurred studies by many into the statistical and mathematical realm of AoE. Hard, concrete data was now preferred to guesses and “feelings” about a particular topic of strategy.
It was about this time too that players began writing step-by-step guides on how to execute certain strategies. The wood bug came and went. Starcraft came and we lost some players.
Microsoft saw that Cases was popular and wanted a total share of the action. Despite a public campaign, Microsoft introduced the New Zone with its hopelessly inaccurate ratings system, and the Zone thugs saw fit to destroy the Ladder Room. Microsoft replaced a workable and highly competitive system with one that was easily hacked, not suited to team play and open to all sorts of abuse such as cheating, disconnecting and nuking. The Zone has yet to admit error.
Cases has since died, although some attempts are presently underway to revive it.
A rebellion of sorts against the rated rooms occurred and Forum Parties were held in Victorious to play fun, alternate settings without any pressure of being cheated on or rated. Strategies on the forum then began to focus on alternate maps, resources and settings. Game ‘balancing’ debates also became all the rage, and this consumed the forum for a few weeks, and vestiges of it can still be seen today. More will probably fan up as rumours of Rise of Rome abound.
The forum got a much needed ego boost when it was found that Mario Grimani of Ensemble Studios actually read the forum. Prior to that, we believed that ES only ever read Heaven Forum (http://www.heavengames.com/age). Since then, we have seen Sandy Petersen andDuncan McKissick post on the forum. Unfortunate side effect – game ‘balancing’ debates started all anew.
The Tool Blitz and the renaissance of the Tool Rush occurred during this period. As time passed however, boredom set in – and many issues were talked to death. Humour and story threads became more prevalent and even non-AoE threads such as Chess began to appear on forum.
This is where we are at present. I think the time has come to take the discussion of strategy to the next level – we have already discussed to death the hows and whats of strategies. The time has come to start exploring the step-by-steps and the whys behind strategies.
It is to this end that I have applied myself in this Fast Bronze Inland/Coastal Default strategy guide. I have tried to set out the sum total of my knowledge and understanding of this subject with particular emphasis on the whys. It is hoped that this will generate some fruitful discussion and that it will also lift the skill level of the average gamer somewhat.
The way is now open to other players to explain the step-by-steps and whys (though not necessarily in the same depth as this guide) ofVillager RushesTool BlitzesTool Rushes, other Fast Bronze variations, Villager BoomsPlaying ShangPlaying PhoenicianIslands,HighlandDeathmatchHigh Resources and Medium Resources.
As you can see, there is a lot of ground to cover and I wish the forum well:) Will the respective ‘experts’ in those fields step forward please:)

Acknowledgments
I would not be the player I am today and would not be able to share what little knowledge I have if not for the following (in no particular order):
Methos for hosting the Shai’tan Forum. Much of my learning came from the many informed debates on the forum. Even when I did not participate, I listened actively and absorbed much wisdom.
Ok, listen up – Methos didn’t pay me nor ask me to write this – but this guide took me a week to write and I wrote it gratis. I do ask you, if you liked this guide, to please click on the Sponsor Banner every time you visit the forum. I am happy to share what I know for free, butMethos is the one that bears the cost of server traffic. Without the Shai’tan Forum, none of us would know or understand as much of the game as we do today – and probably would have wasted money on strategy guides from Prima. All I’m asking for my work is that you click on the Sponsor Banner every visit. Thanks.
Ensemble Studios for making Age of Empires. You need an extra guy working somewhere?:)
atsq for having been there from the start. From our little tournament down in Australia, you’ve become No 1 and I’ve finally written a strategy guide. Thank you for being a great playtester and friend.
ThumP for introducing me to Shai’tan Forum, and encouraging me to post even though I was not part of Shai’tan. Thank you also for being a great bouncing board for ideas and being the first to listen to my silly ideas on Resource Equalisation. You were the first:)
Maimin_matty for being my inspiration to be the best AoE player I can be. Even though we’ve never played, the driving force behind my improvement was to one day be as good as you – I would never have made No 3 otherwise (pity I wasn’t good enough to go any higher). Indeed, you were the genesis behind my article on ‘Experts’. And yeah, you still owe me lessons:)
DVT_Cool for spurring me to greater heights of excellence. I learnt all I know about Villager Booming and Towering from you.
Kleitus for showing me that there was a world beyond Inland/Coastal Default and for teaching me Islands. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Ikarus_II for being a great player and spending hours with me to fine tune the Dock strategy.
Dustyn for mastering the Villager Boom but not knowing how to write about it:)
Thrall for just being you:)
Krad for owning me.
PoisonBerry for bugging me to write something.
Shaggy for teaching me Deathmatch – Shaggy, this guide is for you.
Malachi for giving us plenty of grounds to disagree with on your ‘balancing’:) Don’t worry I enjoy your posts:) even the badly speeled ones.
Laksamana just for being a fellow Malaysian.
Weakling for kicking my ass and making me realise how terribly I sucked. (I started saying “I suck” from that day onwards)
XpErT202 – for telling me that 12 villagers was too little. That 29-0 streak was due to your advice.
Sam_Deathwalker for sesamestreet.com.
Everyone whom I played, met, said “I suck” to and killed on Cases Ladder. And all forumers, past and present, who have made a contribution.

 

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