Balance Patch 5.8 Available Now!

We’re thrilled to share that Age of Empires II HD Patch 5.8 is now in Open Beta, bringing a slew of much-anticipated balance changes geared toward competitive play.

Head over to Steam to try out the new balance fixes and join the discussion!


Here’s what’s new:

  • (Elite) Elephant Archers +2 archer armor vs anti-archer attacks (from -2 to 0).
  • (Elite) Elephant Archers -2 armor vs anti-cavalry archer attacks (from 0 to -2).
  • Eagle Scout training time in Castle Age +3s (from 32s to 35s), same as Eagle Warrior.
  • Incan free llama bonus is no longer tied to the scout; requires Town Center on nomad-style maps.
  • Vietnamese reveal enemy bonus no longer works in full tech tree games.
  • Malay infinite fish trap bonus no longer works in full tech tree games.
  • Khmer no building requirement bonus no longer works in full tech tree games.
  • Teuton team bonus no longer overrides Faith technology in post-imperial age start games.
  • Fixed the issue with siege workshops not receiving extra HP and armor in Imperial Age.
  • Fixed the issue causing the attack sound of Galleons to not play.
  • Fixed the issue with buildings placed on Desert, Cracked terrain not receiving a bonus damage when being attacked.
  • Hunting dogs effect no longer appears in games with starting ages later than Dark.
  • Villagers and towers do a reduced bonus damage vs walls before castle age.
  • Watch Towers, Guard Towers and Keeps cost +25w.
  • Siege Tower collision size changed from 0.50 to 0.45.
  • Coinage moved up to Castle Age, Banking moved up to Imperial age.
  • Couriers cost +200f +400g (from 400f 200g to 600f 600g).
  • Italian fishing ship cost bonus reduced to 15% (from 20%).
  • Khmer receive Arbalest upgrade.
  • Mayan farmers work at closer speed to the farmers of other civilizations.
  • (Elite) Arambai cost changed to 80 wood 60 gold (from 55w 60g).
  • (Elite) Karambit Warrior cost changed to 30f 15g (from 25f 10g).
  • Vietnamese archer HP bonus changed to immediate +20% HP to foot archers. (instead of the staggered effect).
  • (Elite) Rattan Archers +5 HP.
  • Korean faster building fortifications bonus is reduced for Towers(similar to how the Spanish building bonus is reduced for Wonders)
  • Mamelukes receive 5 less damage from Halberdiers.

Here’s how to join the beta:

  • Right-click on Age of Empires II HD in your Steam Library and seelct “Properties”.
  • Navigate to “Betas”.
  • In the dropdown menu, select “open-beta” and then click “Close”.
  • Wait for the game to update, then play!

To return to the main branch, follow the above steps and select “None” in step 3.

Discuss of 13 comments

  • wintrybus978402 August 24, 2019
  • veiledhickory95 September 4, 2018

    Balance improvements/changes are not reflected in tech tree for all languages.

  • kieferdelfin6 August 31, 2018

    Part 2:
    One random example:
    The Feitoria: As Spirit of the Law (I'm sure you know him) has shown in his videos, the Feitoria is a highly questionable building as it produces ressources with the speed of 4-5 villagers but takes 20 population space. Even before the nerfs I almost couldn't imagine any situation where I would use it (cutting trees or farming with 20 vils and selling wood/food for gold/stone is almost always better), except if the whole map is out of ressources and the last tree has been cut down. And even then the ressource production rate is insanely slow. And you nerfed it even more... Count the number of games that have been decided by this unique building and for example the number of games that have been decided by unique units like Huskarls. You can't even compare that. If you manage to boom and flood your opponent with huskarls to death, you deserve victory. And if you should really manage to survive with a late game civ like the Portuguese up to a point, where there is no tree left on the map, you maybe simply deserve to win the game too... The idea behind the building is great, but its severely underpowered. Nerfing the already weak building was a coward move, maybe caused by one of the FE developers losing after 10 hours on a map empty of ressources against a Portuguese player.
    => A unique building or unit is only making a civ more unique, if someone is actually using it (same applies/applied for Tarkans and Longboats)

    So if there should ever be another balance patch, let us assume we have a list of all civs ordered by their avg winrate on all map types. Now we don't pick the 3 strongest civs and nerf their unique features, but we take the 3 weakest civs and buff some of their unique features. Let's assume (just as an example) these 3 weak civs were Slavs, Teutons and Persians.
    Slavs: Change Siege Weapons -15% costs to Siege Weapons -20% costs. Increase HP of (Elite) Boyars by 5.
    Teutons: Crenellations give +4 range instead of +3 range. Ironclad increases the melee armor by 5 instead of 4.
    Persians: Reduce the ridiculously high bonus dmg elephant units receive by speer units. Increase Boiling Oil damage by one.

    I think meanwhile you got my point.

    Another thing: I would be really happy about a rework of the unit information texts. In my opinion for the sake of transparency, a unit's attack speed, movement speed and attack bonuses should be noted in its description text too as they are equally important as armor and attack damage - which are noted.

    And one last point: I don't like inscrutable exceptions rules like the one you've added with this patch 5.8: Mamelukes receive 5 less damage from Halberdiers. It's already enough to remember all the attack bonuses of the dozens of units against different unit armor classes. I don't want to start remembering 1337 new exception rules like this one.

    Ty everyone who has read this :-0

  • kieferdelfin6 August 31, 2018

    Part 1:
    Hi! While I don't think the game is generally and heavily unbalanced as the previous speaker here, I have different problem with the FE developer's approach: You are making civilizations increasingly similar and less individual; I don't like that and I think that is bad for the game.

    One thing ahead - I think we all agree that you cannot balance each civilization against each other civilization on each map type and in each team constellation:
    Goths are good against Mayans.
    Aztecs are better in Dark+Feudal than Koreans and Koreans are (in most cases) stronger in late Imp.
    The Spanish team bonus is entirely useless in 1v1 and probably better than all other civ's team bonuses in most team games.
    Vikings will simply outplay most other civs on Island maps.
    Mayans and Indians are stronger than most other civs on 1v1 Arab.

    So yes, each civilization (or certain aspects thereof) may be "unbalanced", better than or worse than each other civilization under the right circumstances and that is VERY good because it brings variety and alternation into the game.
    In my definition, "balance" means not that each civ is balanced against each under all possible circumstances, it rather means that if you take all games being played in the current meta (on all map types) together, the winning chance of all civs should be approximately equal. Yes, Vikings might have a higher win percentage on water maps and Turks on Dark Wood maps, but on average it should be mostly equal.

    Because of these differences between the civs, NOT playing mirror civs brings an entirely new aspect into the game: changing the game situation in a way, that your civ can shine.
    For example 1v1 Aztecs vs. Spanish: The Aztec player wants to prevent the Spanish player (whose civ is pretty weak early) to get strong in Castle/Imp, so he employs the Aztecs early aggression potential to end the game prematurely or get a big advantage early in the game to finish the opponent later on. The Spanish player on the other side has an entirely different goal: Defending and surviving early on to outplay the Aztec in the later stages of the game.

    Age of Empires needs this diversity of the civilizations; AoE is just as enjoyable as it is because of the differences between the civilizations.

    You - the FE developers - are balancing in a way that goes against this "aim of diversity" and I ask you to reconsider your approach:
    Whenever a civ seems to strong, you nerf something of it, usually one of its civ bonuses or its civ team bonus or its unique unit or one of its unique technologies. That decreases the diversity between the different civs. Why not going the other way? You could instead give buffs to the unique aspects of civilizations that are too weak in the current meta (civs having bad average win rates or being not played at all).
    I can understand that sometimes a nerf might be the easiest way, if a specific unit is simply way too strong; but I'm sure that in many cases buffing the unique aspects of weak civs makes AoE2 a more enjoyable game than nerfing the strong civs.

  • hugebubbles5213 August 29, 2018

    Sorry, but Forgotten Empires team has been a BAD addition to the AOE franchise.
    They certainly have contributed heavily to the game but they've also deviously configured the game to suit their favorite civilizations or maybe style of play. This is learned only when you look at the micro details. Making them just a bunch of modders who've modded their way into the official game. It's unbelievable they've compromised a core tenet of the game - fairness. For example - the Japanese Civilization gets a +33% rate of attack for Infantry - as against the stated 25%. They didn't reconfigure even after people pointed out the mistake. +33% is unbelievably high and they get it free. You would expect such a massive spike to be researched for an exorbitant cost like other Civilizations do, but no, it's free. Also, their tech Yasama doesn't cost any gold. This is very unfair and totally kills the spirit of the game. These are some of the ways how the FE team has ruined the game. It's now just someone's mod that we are playing and looks incredibly cheap - just look at how they have handled Cartography - not expected from Microsoft quality. There is NO game balance at all anymore!

    And for Franks Civilization, may we know why have your teams been ruthless to them? Exactly what advantages do they have that you decided to do the following to them?

    -> Bloodlines introduced for all other Civs and implicitly cancelled the only advantage Franks had going for them. Moreover Bloodlines is super cheap - stands out as odd as it gives 20+ HP to mounted units. For +20 HP, typically costs are really high elsewhere in the game. And now Frankish Light Cavalry are the worst in the game. At least make Bloodlines cost 400Gold and 400Food to research so it appears balanced for what you get

    ->Arson introduced for all Civs - thereby implicitly nerfing the Throwing Axemen. Their building attack bonus is cancelled now. I might as well make 2 cheap Halberdiers instead of Axemen if I wanted to do building damage

    -> What kind of eco bonus is 25% faster foraging when there's only one berry bush in most popular maps? How does it help exactly?

    -> Why is the Bearded Axe so expensive? 400Food and 400Gold? And what do you get? Just +1 Range for the Axemen? Make this cheaper or at least let it not cost Gold. The Italian tech Pavise does the same and it effects all foot archer and not one unit alone and is far cheaper

    -> Frankish tech Chivalry costs 400Food and 400Gold yet again while such bonuses are typically free for other Civs. And this bonus is implicity available to everyone if they just build more stables to create Cavalry units faster. Least one expects is added armor for each age given that both the Frankish techs are Gold Intensive and expensive

    -> Franks are the only Civ that don't have Trash Units - No skirmishers (lacking techs) and no Hussar - instead have the weakest Light Cavalry of the game. And this is supposedly a Cavalry based Civ for getting just +4 HP for Cavalier , +12 HP for the Paladin and -8 HP for the Light Cavalry == Net gain is just 4 HP for this Civ

    -> Franks are the bottom of the pile Civ now assumably at the behest of the Forgotten Empires team because we know their members hate the Franks (seen on social media comments) and explains why they cunningly and indirectly killed the Franks

    -> These are the reasons why I am forced to instantly resign from the match everytime I get the Franks. Making AOE, now an incomplete game. A game that was robustly tested and high quality game that used to be FAIR

    I hope Microsoft will reconsider the FE mods and brings back the original game!! I don't know whom to inform this at Microsoft games - but this HAS to be done to save this game!!

  • the-emperor-112 August 22, 2018

    Microsoft need to offer this game in South Korea.
    I'll wait unlocked region. Do not make me get this game from pirate.

  • prabu August 19, 2018


  • infinate-trex August 16, 2018

    so to play the beta i need to own the old version?

  • infinate-trex August 16, 2018
  • fantome-of-blue August 6, 2018

    With all the tweaks you've made, it's not even the same game you originally made. I think if the network issues could just be addressed, then everything else would be forgiven.

    Having said that, moving banking up to Imperial seems to make sense. I'm not so sure about the other tweaks.


of 13 comments