Out4Blood & El_Cap's Rise of Nations Strategy

Sunday, May 09, 2004

T&P Balance
**Update** Russia moves up to Overpowered!
**Update** French moves up to Overpowered, too! Aztecs, British, Spanish and Turks move up to Top Tier.

An ongoing thread at RoN Heaven caught my interest concerning T&P's overall balance. Go here to check it out.

Although my I haven't played T&P that much, I have gotten a good feel for the game, and what most Nations are capable of. Give me a few more weekends of playing, and I'm sure I can find a few strategies that may border being overpowered, or at least climb a notch in the Tiers. As for now, here's my general feeling on the balance:

Overpowered: Nations are only overpowered because of a certain strategy they are capable of. Get rid of their strategy, and they may not be overpowered. It's much like the old Maya (fast Medieval TCA and Tower's behind Cities defense) and old Spanish (fast Classical HA/HC raiding and HI assaulting or booming to Gunpowder Age and attacking). Once you get rid of what makes them overpowered, they should be settled in the Top or Mid Tier, and hopefully not placed in the Low Tier. IMO, no Nation should make it into Low Tier if possible.

*Americans: I don't think under normal circumstances they would be overpowered. However, in every game I played so far when I did a Despotic Classical Delayed Power Rush and then at the same time going to Medieval Age to instantly build the TCA and then building the Hanging Gardens, I've yet to lose. It's the fact that they can do a Rush and make it into Medieval Age faster than any other Nation in a 1vs1 game, and then build the TCA instantly. If they played a 1vs1 vs. the Egyptians, the Egyptians would lose to the Rush, or if they actually defended it properly, they would have no opportunity to build the TCA before the Americans did. Suggestion: They really need a slower start, and if they never started with the free SCI 1, it would have been perfect.

*French: Now if I can beat PCA_Frogman with him using Spanish (albeit a slightly nerfed Spanish), then something's up in Margaritaville. Using the FA/HC Assault, it's nearly impossible to stop because of the powerful French HC coupled with the Healing Supply Wagon. Suggestion: This is mainly a UU issue. I'd say to have something done with the Healing Supply Wagon in enemy territory.

*Romans: The Roman Despotism Rush is definitely in the overpowered category. They get the most powerful rush in the game, and are able to boom effectively. First, it's surviving this rush that's a problem. I think only a few Nations like the British and Russians have a good chance at surviving their rush, but not enough to keep up with their booming process, which is the second problem. No HI can beat their HI, and with Despotism, their HI are probably half the cost (or seem that way). This makes FA the only unit to defeat them, and with the Romans using LC and/or HC to support their HI, you'd either need a lot of attrition (which would be negated by the General) or a lot of HC to support the FA (How much Wealth can one get for an army of FA and HC so early in the game?). Suggestion: Their HI are just too cheap with Despotism, and they can easily support them and boom at the same time with the amount of Wealth they get from 2 Cities, 1 Market, and 1 Caravan. The easiest solution would be to lower the Wealth they get from Cities. Maybe instead of +15 at the start, it would accumulate with each City. +5 Wealth for the Capital, +10 for the next City, then +15 for the next, and it would keep increasing +5 for additional Cities, making them +20, +25, etc.

**Russians: I noticed I once sacked a Russian Capital and I didn't get the +500 Sack Bonus. Instead, the Russians got the Sack Bonus! That right there lets the Russians move their Capital to the front line where the enemy doesn't want to try and attack it. What this means is that the only way to attack Russia is by attacking it's flanking cities, and if the Russian player is good, he'll just press toward your Capital. Even trying to outboom the Russians are a feat nowadays (I played TuF_Astator with him being the Inca and trying to outboom my Russia... I was actually faster in booming), where the Russian can hold their own by constricting territory. Suggestion: The Russian Sack Bonus should not apply to their Capital in getting a refund.

Top Tier: These Nations have strong strategies, sometimes more than one, that are able to influence other Nations they are going up against.

*Egyptians (using the Fast Hanging Gardens Military Boom)
*French (using the FA/HC Assault)
*Greeks (maps with fishing)
*Lakota (using the Lakota Counter Rush)

Mid Tier: These Nations are balanced well, and they don't have any particular strategy which will influence other Nations.

*Greeks (using the Fast Medieval HC/HA Raid strategy, non-fishing map)

Low Tier: These Nations are slightly underbalanced because of a particular weakness which makes them susceptible to influence.

*Egyptians (when not using the Fast Hanging Gardens Military Boom): Unfortunately, the Fast Hanging Gardens is the only thing they have that makes them playable competitively. Suggestion: Instead of having their UU LC bonus vs. other LC, make it vs. all Cavalry units. Don't have them more powerful than HC's of course, but at least let them be able to put up a decent fight against them. This would give them a better chance of survival earlier on to build other Wonders instead of just the Hanging Gardens to be good.

*Greeks: If they ended up with the free SCI 1 that the Americans got, they may actually make it to Top Tier... but also possibly overpowered. Suggestion: If Libraries and Universities gave them + 5 Wealth, that would totally make them Top Tier and not overpowered. It would give them a reason to build cheaper Libraries in the first place (they research so fast, there's hardly a need to have more than 1 Library most games unless it's just to have an extra building to make a Small City into a Large in Medieval Age).

*Lakota: If you see Lakota... rush. It's more than likely a good Lakota player will forward build their 1st Barracks in Neutral territory for their own rush, and if that's the case, then rushing their Capital would be a walk in the park. It's their low Food income that's the problem. Suggestion: Include Market units (Caravans and Merchants) that will give them +4 Food. Perhaps also making the Food accumulation rate increase by +2 with each Taxation upgrade at the Temple. So +6 with the 1st upgrade, +8 with the 2nd upgrade, and +10, etc.

Maya: They got nerfed a little too much. Suggestion: Buildings still costing 33% less Timber was fine. As for the other things... Wonders built 10% faster, non-Military buildings built 33% faster, and all buildings 20% Tougher would have been my choice.

Persians: They're bordering Mid Tier for me, and I'm sure I can make them Mid Tier, or even Top Tier in due time... but it sure seems difficult at the moment. Maybe I'm not trying hard enough. Suggestion: Along with saving 30% on Civic research at the Library, let them get all Temple upgrades 1 Civic level sooner. That would easily make them Top Tier without having to resort to a specific strategy.

Note: Everything is just separated into the 3 Tiers in alphabetical order and not from Best to Worst.