Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy
Friday, December 19, 2003
1vs1 Nation Balance from an ex-playtester's perspective [Updated]
I divided up all 18 Nations into 3 categories: Top Tier, Mid-Tier, and Low-Tier.
Top Tier - These Nations are regarded as Top Tier because of their ability to manipulate other Nation's weaknesses with their own strengths.
1. Maya - By now, everyone knows the Maya lame strat I used in the BHS Tourney. Their auto-firing Cities make them difficult to raid, nearly impossible to rush, and they save Timber on non-military buildings which enables them to boom very effectively. The most dangerous part of them is that they can speedily build Towers and Forts 50% faster with 50% more Hit Points for defense while stalling for time. They also build Wonders faster, so there's no beating them there. Basically, you've got a Nation impossible to control to your will. The only chance you have is to attack them early and effectively, because they grow stronger over time.
2. Spanish - There are so many advantages of the Spanish, I have to list them:
1. With 2 Scouts and their Ruin bonus, they can end up gathering up to 1500 resources just from Ruins alone. This enables them to cap resources, expand, and build a military all at the same time faster than any other Nation.
2. They know where everything is on the map. It's not difficult for them to find the best location for their Cities next to lush forests or big mountains.
3. Even without researching Military 1 at the Library, they recieve a free Heavy Ship from completing a Dock. That can slow down their opponent's economic fishing just because of that on open sea maps.
4. They can Rush the best, either in Ancient or in Classical Age because of Ruins.
5. They can defend the Rush the best, excluding Maya, of course... because of Ruins.
6. They can Raid the best, especially with Heavy Cavalry which is nearly impossible to stop early in the game, and again, because of Ruins. They also know where your Rare Resources are.
7. They have the best Heavy Infantry during Gunpowder Age (Gunpowder Age is the longest and most important Age where the main fighting takes place). The only way to stop Heavy Cavalry raiding is to build Heavy Infantry, but they're too slow... so you need to build a few Cavalry, both Light and Heavy to stop those raids. That means the other Nation can't boom without using resources for defense, and their Cavalry and Heavy Infantry are nearly useless in battle once the Spanish reach Gunpowder Age.
The only Nation they can't control is the Maya... no Nation can control that Nation. However, no Nation besides the Maya can control the Spanish. The Spanish can do what they want, and the only way to defeat them is by countering their strategy, if that's possible.
3. Chinese - A very well rounded Nation. After trying out a new strat with them, they've got a nasty border push because of their Large Cities, and they don't have to worry about any Kamikaze rushes. They've got a really fast start, especially with cheaper Science research and instant Citizen, Caravan, and Merchant creations. They also have a nice Medieval Age attack with their early Gunpowder Light Infantry. Their only advantage is their powerful border push, and hoping that they get lucky finding Timber while doing it. This enables them to manipulate many other nations, even Top Tier Nations.
4. Mongols - People know what's coming from the Mongols... RAIDING! The sooner the better, because hurting the enemy's economy at the beginning is where it hurts them the most. Just using the 2:00 minute Fast Classical alone is good enough to force many other Nations into a defensive position. Not only that, but the 2:00 minute Fast Classical strategy makes them nearly invulnerable to a Rush. While raiding, they are free to boom because they have no immediate threat from counter-raiding.
5. French - Their extra Timber cap helps them to boom and/or attack. They've got one of the best Classical Age attacks in the game besides the Koreans because of their free Healing Supply Wagon and cheaper Siege units being defended by the best Heavy Cavalry in the game. With the extra Timber being collected in the game, they easily have enough Timber to build a Barracks, a Temple, and Foot Archers once they research Military 1 if surprise Rushed.
6. Koreans - Besides the Germans, they're probably the most well-rounded Nation. They can cap resources very quick, and they're not susceptible to getting their Cities taken from a Rush (which is why I included them as a Top Tier Nation). Besides the Maya, Spanish, and Bantu, they've got the fastest early expansion, and a good ability to attack heavily starting in Classical Age, or just boom until whenever they want to start fighting.
Mid-Tier - These Nations are regarded as Mid-Tier because they have certain strengths that can counter the manipulative Top Tier Nations. However, they also have weaknesses that can be exploited by any Nation, and that leaves them with fewer options.
7. Germans - Besides the Spanish, Chinese, and Koreans, they have one of the fastest starts in which to cap their resources. They are the best all-around Nation, and their only weakness lies in the fact that each of their Economic Cities are so important, that losing one can be the death of them.
8. Japanese - 2nd in Rushing next to the Spanish, great on water maps because of their cheaper ships and fishing bonus, they only get stronger the longer the game lasts with cheaper Barracks units every Age.
9. Inca - They have the slowest start next to the Aztecs and the Russians, but only until Classical Age. Once they are able to start accumulating Wealth from Mountains or Fish, they can boom faster than the Greeks, and raid pretty well with Heavy Cavalry. Their weakness lies in their slow start, and that they depend heavily on mountains.
10. Turks - This Juggernaut Nation has a good start, but cheaper Citizens and cheaper Military research don't give them that much of an advantage as a booming Nation. If they can manage a fast and steady attack with their free siege, they can be a force to be reckoned with. However, many good players know this, so Rushing or Raiding works rather well to slow the Turks down.
11. British - Their importance of having 25% extra Commerce Cap is usually overlooked. Their weakness lies in the fact that it takes longer for them to boom, but once they get going, they become very strong. They're good on the water with 33% faster ship creation, and they've got a really good Foot Archer turned Light Infantry line. Like I said, their weakness lies in their slow start.
12. Nubians - They've got a nice, quick beginning, but Rare Resources are easily raidable, making them weak vs. aggressive raiding Nations. The only advantage they have is being able to use the market trading effectively, which make them very adaptable in tight situations.
Low-Tier - These Nations are regarded as LowTier because of their inability to manipulate other Nations.
13. Bantu - Good early expansion, but weak against Rushes. They can have a decent rush with their Barrack's unit speed, but that negates their expansion advantage. There's only two ways to go with them... expand or Rush/Raid. They can boom well with 4 Cities... but they may not hold their 4 Cities for long.
14. Egyptians - Early Wonder building can give them an advantage, especially with the Terra Cotta Army being built in Classical Age. They are susceptible to being Rushed to slow them down, but are decent at defending Raids. Building Wonders strenghtens them, but weakens them at the same time, because everyone knows what to do when they start building a Wonder... ATTACK!
15. Greeks - They cannot stay in Ancient Age for long, because they cannot accumulate enough Wealth and Knowledge to upgrade Science 2 or Commerce 2 without slowing them down further. They can do a decent Rush, but other than that, they need to get up to Classical for their +100 Knowledge and start booming from there... which will usually be only with 2 Cities. No defensive bonuses, and no attacking bonuses, the only hope for them is that you're smart enough to survive and stay an Age or two ahead of your enemy.
16. Aztecs - The other Juggernaut Nation. You've only got 2 choices in the beginning because of their slow start. Either Kamikaze Rush, or Raid with 4 Light Infantry, taking out edge-Farms. Then, you need to Raid in Classical Age no matter what to slow down your enemy while giving yourself more resources, and hope for a fast Gunpowder Age when you can start spamming Barracks for free Arquebusiers. That's their only strength, but predictability is their major weakness.
17. Romans - They've got a good Rush, but a slow expansion, and a slower than average start... but still a much better initial start than the Incas, British, Aztecs, or Russians. They've got a good Heavy Infantry and Heavy Cavalry combo until Gunpowder, but after that, they're in dire need of that cheaper Fort and Tower bonus, because they'll need it to defend their Cities.
18. Russians - My favorite Nation because they have no advantage what-so-ever. Supply Wagons take away their attrition, and experts know enough to bring more than one Supply Wagon, and defend them with Heavy Infantry. They don't have any economic bonuses until Industrial Age for Oil, and everyone will get there faster than the Russians will, anyhow. Not only that, other Nations don't have to worry about the expanding Russian territory, because they can just go and take any of their Cities. Spies have been nerfed, and are nearly useless. However, this is a great Nation to practice booming with, since they have no economic bonuses, and they're a good Nation to practice tactics with, because they need as many tactics as possible to help defend themselves from total slaughter.
For those of you who lose to a Top Tier Nation, don't be ashamed. For those of you who lose with a Low Tier Nation, don't be ashamed, either. The only time you should be ashamed is if you lose to a Low Tier Nation using a Top Tier Nation. Top Tier Nations have so many options, while Low Tier Nations barely have any. The Mid-Tier Nations are okay, ranging from high average to low average, but you don't have as much catching up to do with them against the Top Tier Nations. The challenge is to beat the Top Tier Nations with the Low Tier Nations, but the opponent must make a lot of mistakes and play poorly for that to ever happen.
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