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AoERoR/Definitive Edition/Return of Rome
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Topic Subject: AoE design flaws - useless units
posted 05-31-23 12:11 PM ET (US)   
I would like to bring up a topic of some bronze age units. There are units, short swordsmen and improved bowman which are useless. These units are obviously weak for bronze age standards, short swordsmen are murdered by nearly everything in bronze age (especially cavalry and hoplites, but also chariot archer and improved bowman). If someone want to use archer line or swordsmen line in bronze age, they have to upgrade them right away to broad swordsmen and composite bowmen.

In original game it was even worse, to get short swordsmen you need research short sword upgrade (cavalry and hoplites didn't needed research for recruitment and are far more useful in bronze age). Bowman line looks especially weird, it has 2 units in bronze age without iron age upgrade, which make improved bowmen redundant as a unit. Everyone who want use bowmen line will immediately upgrade them to composite bowmen (upgrade is cheap so it do not restrict player much).

Those researches that were necessary to gain access to the short swordsmen and improved bowmen also reduced their usefulness against tool age units. I advanced to bronze age but my enemy is still in tool age, why shoud I waste time for researches to get acces these units if I have cavalry and hoplites immediately?

In my opinion these two units are remnants of times when in the game were more ages, probably short swordsmen and improved bowmen were available one age before cavalry and hoplites. Probably at some stage of production number of ages was restricted and units that were intended for different ages ended up in bronze age.

What do you think about this? Would adding a new age (division of the bronze age to two) improve the situation of bronze age units? Or would it be better to remove short swordsmen and improved bowmen from the game (these units are useless and it will save some time and resources which is spent on unit upgrade)?
posted 06-01-23 04:44 PM ET (US)     1 / 5  
Maybe, rather than having to do with a different Age in-between, it might have been a difficulty setting or special mode. I wouldn't say they are totally useless, depends on the situation. The archer line is indeed weird, I would just consider ordinary bowmen spam units like Skirmishers in AoE2 in Bronze.

If you want to talk design flaws, like most fans I have an issue with the town bell being in Return of Rome. Now I like the function but visually and sonically it just does not fit one bit. Did a bell get to the Stone age through timetravel??? I have no idea why this decision was made but it needs to be changed.
posted 09-28-23 07:05 PM ET (US)     2 / 5  
I actually tend to agree, I always thought it was a little strange that the Composite Bowman wasn't an Iron Age upgrade. The short swordsman I always thought was a little odd as they are immediately upgraded if you have the option, or not used. Granted this tech tree was decided decades ago, and the things we take for granted now regarding tech trees etc were wild and novel things back in the 90s.
posted 11-11-23 10:26 AM ET (US)     3 / 5  
If one were to look through the interface tile art, there seemed to be indications that even more units were initially going to be locked behind tech research.

I can only assume that short sword research didn't get phased out was because play testing sessions saw that having the short sword too early caused too many game upsets (likely the same with improved bow).

Also remembering that skill level back then was a different beast than it is today and I'm sure what is a non-issue for us might have been an issue back then.
posted 11-14-23 12:49 PM ET (US)     4 / 5  
Yeah more than just skill level, the developers simply had little idea of how the meta would develop. I think that way earlier in development, there was an idea that these would upgrade from the base bowmen/axeman lines, but at the end of the day if the devs had the idea that swordsmen should be the backbone of your army, they would probably play around that even if the unit stats didn't back that up.

//The warrior of Isola

"I lack quotes that demonstrate Humor Intelligence or anything about me."

Cleidopus gloriamaris
posted 11-14-23 05:31 PM ET (US)     5 / 5  
I would say that would be an interesting route to go. Being that every civilization does get short sword tech, giving the clubman line another stat boost upgrade would make for an interesting experiment.

As for bowman, it would be interesting seeing regular bowman advance to composite, but then of course you'd have to assign a gold cost and then you'd have to create a cheap non gold ranged unit. Though I'm surprised ES never developed a pillum unit in the first place.
Age of Empires Heaven » Forums » AoERoR/Definitive Edition/Return of Rome » AoE design flaws - useless units
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