Slavs

The icy plains of Eastern Europe have more under their thick crust of permafrost than meets the eye. After the dissolution of the Mongolian Golden Horde and the emerging of the Khanates, the eyes of the newly formed empires set their eyes upon the west. Thundering hooves of Kievan and Moscovite cavalry, escorted by large squadrons of men at arms terrify the established kingdoms on the horizon.

► Slavs.mp3

Quick Card

Infantry and Siege civilization

  • Farms work +15% faster
  • Tracking free
  • Siege units 15% cheaper

Unique Units:

  • Boyar (cavalry)

Unique Technologies:

  • Orthodoxy: Monks +3/+3 armor
  • Druzhina: Infantry damage adjacent units

Team Bonus:

  • Military buildings (Barracks, Archery Range, Stable, Siege Workshop) provide +5 population

History

Mass fifth century migrations caused by the Hunnic invasions left Northeastern Europe an area open for settlement and, starting circa 500 AD, the Slavs became the region’s dominant civilization. Although archaeological evidence indicates that the Slavs had already settled Europe in prior centuries, possibly in the areas of present-day Ukraine and Belarus, the historical record first makes mention of them through Byzantine writings describing the large numbers of Slavs amassing in front of their borders. Upon settling down, the Slavs established several competing states throughout Eastern Europe, falling into either the Byzantine or Holy Roman spheres of influence.

The first great Slav country, the Bulgarian Empire, formed in 681 AD. This nation was founded by the Bulgars, a non-Slavic peoples who settled in the Eastern Balkans (north of the Byzantine Empire). However, the Bulgarian Empire expanded into most of the Balkans, which was by then mainly Slavic, and by the tenth century the state was effectively Slavicized. The Bulgarian Empire played an important role in the consolidation of Slavic civilization, with its language becoming a lingua franca for the spread for Christianity and literacy in Eastern Europe.

Another important medieval Slavic state, Great Moravia, formed in Central Europe after the union of the Principalities of Nitra and Moravia in 833. Although Great Moravia never achieved a dominant position, they played a crucial role in the balance of power between Franks, Bulgarians, and Byzantines. When Great Moravia’s King Ratislav asked the Byzantines for help in translating Christian texts into Slavic, the Byzantine missionaries entrusted with the task, Cyril and Methodius, successfully developed the first Slavic alphabet and wrote down the oldest text in Slavic literature (a translation of the Christian Gospel) in 863.

Perhaps the last great medieval Slavic state was formed around Kiev, in present-day Ukraine, in 882 AD. This Kievan Rus’ kingdom, although mostly populated by Slavs, was led by Norsemen (called Rus) who took power over the area by defeating the ruling Turkic Kazhars. The liberation of this and several other Slavic cities allowed them to focus more on internal development rather than on serving foreign lands. The country economically benefitted from its geography, located in the middle of the Europe-Asia trade route and close to the Byzantines and Persians. Under the reign of Yaroslav the Wise, the Kievan state not only became the largest at the time, but also achieved a high literacy rate, provided property rights to women, and punishments under law generally did not involve death sentences. However, the death of Yaroslav led to the gradual break-up of the state, which finally fell to the Mongols by 1240 AD.

During the Middle Ages Slavic governments followed a Feudal system, but in contradiction to other parts of Europe the power of the kings was constrained by that of high-ranking aristocrats, named Boyars. Boyars not only were powerful landowners with several serfs under their command, but they also were generally leaders of the military and government agencies. The alliance and competition among these aristocrats shaped the economic development of the Slavic states, helping their domains but weakening the central governments. By the late Middle Ages the rise of absolute monarchs led to the downfall of the Boyars.

  • 711Gman

    C’mon guys, could you please make a Baltic nation. They were once the largest nation in Europe. They stood their ground against the Teutonic order and were the last Pagan state. They managed to conquer all the way from the Baltic sea to the Black sea. They were even able to go toe to toe with the Golden horde. I would really appreciate if you considered this. The only thing I’m not very sure about is the sounds, but I’m very certain there would be someone willing to do it. I myself am too young and probably not qualified for this. These guys were the empire before the Slavs.

    • http://caporaldxl.wikispaces.com/ Lord_Dxl

      Greeks and Macedonians are the only Baltic nations that has historical worth, but they would be the same as the Byzantines, so it’s not something to really talk about.

  • http://vaskots vaskots

    I don’t understand why the campaign of Slavs is only based on the history of East Slavs…
    I think that it will be a good point to play and follow the history of Bulgaria, because this state is a cradle of the slavic culture. And its History is full with great battles against the Byzantines, Arabs, Avars, Magyars, Serbs, Templars, Mongol-Tatars, Ottomans and many others…
    The Bulgarian state have a periods of rise and fall and it was growed up after two periods of enemy rule over the bulgarian nation…
    First Bulgarian Empire – from 618 to 1018
    Byzantine rule – from 1018 to 1185
    Second Bulgarian Empire from 1185 to 1396/1422
    Ottoman rule – from 1396/1422 to 1878
    Bulgaria – from 1878
    (Actualy the name of the country was “Bulgaria” allthetime for first time this name is used ~632 for Old Great Bulgaria, founded by Kubrat the father of Asparukh – the founder of First Bulgarian Empire)

  • ApachePieman

    Of course there are Lithuanians and Bulgarians here talking about ‘glorious history’, xaxaxaxaxax gg guys

    • http://vaskots vaskots

      So you think that because your slavic country is the largest country in the world, then there is no other slavic countries with glorious history!? xaxaxa
      Well let’s take a look some facts of the medieval history of the slavic people:
      The first great Slavic country is Bulgaria, foundet in 681 AD;
      in 864 AD Bulgaria, became the first Slavic country that adopted the Christianity;
      The first Slavic literary language is based on the language of the Bulgarian slavs;
      The Cyrillic alphabet is developed in Bulgaria in the end of 9th century;
      And many others facts which prove that the Bulgarian Empire is the Cradle of the Slavic Culture.

      So tell me what would happen to medieval Russia without Bulgaria?
      I will tell you:
      Primitive barbarian country, without literature, without culture, “country” that soon would be absorbed by the Asian nomads and would disappear from the map of Europe…

      So please respect the fact that we have given the start of your culture and the culture of all slavic people,
      as we respect the fact that you saved us from Ottoman rule…

      • Nemanja01

        You are right i’m from Serbia and the Gratest Slavs are South Slavs: Crotians,Bulgraians,Serbs,Macedonians…They were frist slav christians, they had first literature and first empires. Serbs have also interesting history. First, serbis cleaned bogumil hersey from Bulgaria and Macedonia.They had richest mining industry of all the Slavs. Frist cyrilic book was written in Serbia (Rashka) “Miroslav’s gospel” 1192. And finaly the gratest ruler of serbia came. Emperor Stefan Dusan the Strong (1331-1355) he conquer the almostly whole Byznatine Empire. He wanted to conquer Konstantinople and had the “deal” with catholic pope about the crusade agaist Turks. But he suddenly died. South Slavic saved whole Europe from turks. And nobody helped they wated 500 years to get they freedom again. Thath was soooo selfish. P.S in the time of Serbian Empire Bulgaria and serbia was alies Stefan Dusan”s wife were sister of Bulgarian emperor. Evrything were be diffrent if the Stefan Dusan didn’t die suddenly.I hope they should make south slavic campaing.

        • http://vaskots vaskots

          Thank you for your additions.
          Long live the South Slavs!

          But please! We all know that there is no “Macedonians”…
          They are gone from more than 2000 years.

          As the “Montenegrins” and the “Bosniaks” aren’t diffrent from the Serbs and the Croats.
          And todays “Macedonians” aren’t diffrent from the Bulgarians!
          Just their official language is the our dialect.

          Поздрав брате!

      • Nemanja01

        And in 681. in Bulgaria ruled turks from mountain Kavkaz. They were called Bulgarians they were in little numbers and they fastley merged with Slavs. But they names of country and language were not changed.Im just saing.

        • http://vaskots vaskots

          I respect your opinion, but this is debatable…

          Actually we can talk many for the ethnicity of the people who founded Bulgaria…

          First let we see some fact from the History which are related to the migration of the proto-Bulgarians (Bulgars), in the Balkans in the Early Middle Ages:

          - In the middle of 6th century a small part of the Bulgars have settled in Thrace (Southeastern Balkans).
          - In 7th century another part of the Bulgars, led by Kuber have settled in Pelagonia (Todays Southwestern F.Y.R.O. Macedonia).
          - In 7th century the royal tribe of the Bulgars, led by Asparukh have settled in Eastern Moesia (Northeastern Balkans).

          I dont understand how these people, who have great Heavy Cavalry Army can be quickly “eaten” by people who do not have powerful and organized army (Fact: The slavs were not very “disciplined” in the period before 9th century ). …

          I can write many for this things… (It is something like a hobby for my :) )
          Please tell me if you want to know something more about the Bulgars and Slavs…

      • Vlad Nikolaev

        Oh really? Russians adopted Christianity in 862. Two years earlier than Bulgarians.

  • OON

    Just downloaded this patch. And exactly because of this civ… he-he, because I’m russian (so, really sorry for ugly language). Indeed, it’s not a generic Slav civ, it is the Russian civ.

    What I loved most is how buildings look. Man, that’s great job!

    What I miss a lot (for all civs) is proper wood-earth walls that played much role especially in the eastern Europe. Original palisade walls with really long-desired palisade gate offer some substitute but they of course look more like village fence than actual city walls. It could be good if early stone walls looked like wood-earth walls (watch towers already look so) and current picture corresponded to fortified walls. Well I don’t expect that someone will do it this way…

    Several decisions on units seem somewhat strange for me at least from historical point of view (may be not from game balance pov). First of all, firearms played very important role in late medieval Russia. To be precise I don’t argue at all that it should be gunpowder civ but I would make at least bombard towers and hand cannoneers available.

    Another thing that is strange for me is boyar special unit. For early pre-Mongolian times it is appropriate but for later periods represented by Imperial age much more realistic would be some sort of heavily armoured cavalry archer.

    P/S: For those who wants to dismiss balts remember the following: Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Quite naturally the civ should also represent Poland (don’t know how to call it then shortly=)) If I were making scenario with this mod I would represent them with Goths for 9th-13th century and with Magyars later. Current Magyars could be good for Bolgars too.

    • OON

      Ha-ha. Found new palisade walls in scenario editor. Would be great to build them in-game

  • root

    Hello there,

    I’m here to ask you a question that’s actually about a civilization in the game. Are you guys able to create a new civilization like Baltic nation(Latvians, Lithuanians) in the next part of Age of Empires II: Forgotten Empires? If so, how long does it take to create and release a new one, any ideas?

    Thank you already

    • http://www.forgottenempires.net/ Bert Beeckman

      Hey, creating a new civ is a lot of work and for now we’re done adding new civilizations. 5 is a fine number :)

      • Kadir Kulaber

        hi.. what do you think about playing on mac device ? do you have any plan for that ?

        • http://www.forgottenempires.net/ Bert Beeckman

          We have no plans to bring official mac support to the game. Although I heard people got it to work via bootcamp.

  • Devang

    Why was the Elite Boyar’s attack reduced to 14? 16 is a fine number too.

    • Satyaki sil

      Well,frankly,16 seems too much attack for a unit that cheap and having such high armor.Would be fine if cost was higher,same as Elephant Archer.

      • Devang

        Here’s the low down…

        - Boyars perform the same vs. War Elephants, Camels and Mamelukes as Paladins

        - Boyars are much worse vs. Halberdiers than Paladins

        - Boyars have an extra counter in Samurais.

        To quote myself (from the Steam discussion titled ‘Boyars and Tarkans’)

        “Ran some extensive tests. Before the results, some basics.

        Cavalry attack = 150 F + 220 F 120 G + 275 F 225 G
        Cavalry armour = 150 F + 250 F 150 G + 350 F 200 G
        Bloodlines = 150 F 100 G (+20 HP)
        Husbandry = 250 F (+10% Speed)

        Boyars:
        Civilization farms +15% faster
        50 F 80 G / Unit (Highest gold cost of the three units to be compared)
        Upgrade Cost = 1000 F 600 G (Cheapest to upgrade)
        Needs upgrades for HP, speed, (pierce) armour and attack (In that order)
        Trained @ Castle (Cannot be massed easily)
        (Final stats: HP 150, Attack 18, Armour 9/6 [Melee/Pierce], attack rate 1.9)

        Cataphracts:
        Civilization can advance to Imperial @ -33% of base cost
        70 F 75 G / Unit
        Upgrade Cost = 1600 F 800 G + 1000 F 600 G (Logistica)
        Needs upgrades for (pierce) armour, speed and attack (Cannot research more HP or final attack)
        Trained @ Castle
        (Stats:
        HP 150, Attack 14 [+12 vs. Infantry] [+6 vs. Infantry and +5 trample
        damage after Logistica], Armour 5/5 [Melee/Pierce] [+16 anti bonus
        defense], attack rate 1.7)

        Paladins:
        60 F 75 G / Unit
        Upgrade Cost = 1600 F 1050 G
        Trained from Stables (Can be massed)
        All upgrades are good, preference according to opponent’s civ
        Franks
        = +20% HP for free, negating not having bloodlines. +40% faster to
        train with Chivalry, Mill upgrades free. (- Cannot fall back on Scout
        Cavalry line)
        Huns = Are Huns. +20% faster stables.
        Magyars = Attack free
        Persians = TC Bonus = Boom
        Spanish = Attack and armour upgrades cost no gold
        Teutons = Farms cheaper, – no husbandry (- Cannot fall back on Scout line)
        Celts = – no bloodlines, – no final armour (- Weak Hussars)
        Byzantines = – no bloodlines, – no final attack (- Weak Hussars)
        (Stats: 180 HP, Attack 18, Armour 5/7, attack rate 1.9)

        Base speed, all three = 1.35

        The
        testing for E. Boyar vs E. Cataphract and Paladin(s) was done
        separately. For the rest, player 1′s civ was Byzantines, Gaia was
        Persians. In a pool of large water, created 3 stips of land, each 2×1
        units of area. On one, was a Byzantine Cataphract, on others placed an
        E. Boyar and Paladin of Gaia that would be converted as soon as the game
        started. Placed two placeholder units at opposite corners of the map.
        For the second round of testing, used triggers to give the E. Boyar +2
        attack. Ranged units had to be tested multiple times on both rounds. On
        to the results. (B=Elite Boyar, B16 = Elite Boyar with base attack 16,
        C=Elite Cataphract, P=Paladin [Persian])

        E. Boyar vs. FU Paladin =
        Boyar wins with 24/33 HP depending on who strike first. 15/24 for
        Frankish Paladins. (Boyar base attack 16 = 42 HP vs. Frankish, 51
        otherwise)

        E. Boyar vs. E. Cataphract = Boyar wins with 85 HP (100 HP @ 16 base attack)

        [1,2,3 = rank, - = tie]

        vs. Villager (Turk)
        B, B16 = 3 hits [-]
        C = 4 hits [2]
        P = 3 hits [-]

        vs. Arbalest (Saracen)
        B = 138/150 HP (B16 = Same) [2]
        C = 130/150 HP [3]
        P = 171/180 HP [1]

        vs. Champion (Saracen)
        B = 118/150 (B16 = Same) [2]
        C = 126/150 [1]
        P = 132/180 [3]

        vs. Halberdier (Briton)
        B = 84/150 (B16 = Same) [3]
        C = 108/150 [1]
        P = 106/180 [2]

        vs. Heavy Camel (Turk)
        B = Lost, Camel 20 HP (B16 = Lost, Camel 4 HP) [-]
        C = 62/150 HP [1]
        P = Lost, Camel 20 HP [-]

        vs. Cavalier (Turk)
        B = 73/150 (B16 = 80/150) [1]
        C = Lost, Cavalier 5 HP [3]
        P = 59/180 [2]

        vs. Hussar (Turk)
        B = 138/150 (B16=140/150) [1]
        C = 102/150 [3]
        P = 144/180 [2]

        vs. Elite Eagle Warrior (Mayan)
        B = 102/150 (B16 = 110/150) [2]
        C = 126/150 [1]
        P = 108/180 [3]

        vs. Elite Berserk
        B = 72/150 (B16 = 85/150) [2]
        C = 124/150 [1]
        P = 78/180 [3]

        vs. Chu Ko Nu (Most difficult to test, arrows hit/miss randomly)
        B = 121/150 (B16 = 123 to 132 / 150 HP)
        C = 116/150
        P = 150/180

        vs. Tarkan (Performed even worse than Turkish Cavaliers)
        B = 84/150 (B16=96) [1]
        C = 20/150 [3]
        P = 70/180 [2]

        vs. Teutonic Knight
        B = Lost, Teutonic Knight 35 HP (B16 = Lost, ETK 9 HP) [2]
        C = 70/150 [1]
        P = Lost, Teutonic Knight 40 HP [3]

        vs. War Elephant
        B = Lost, WE 480/620 HP (B16 = Lost, WE 460/620 HP) [2*] [*Lower HP, worse against +10 unmitigated trample damage in groups]
        C = Lost, WE 530/620 HP [3]
        P = Lost, WE 480/620 HP [1]

        vs. Genoese Crossbowman
        B = 106/150 (B16 = Same) [3]
        C = 120/150 [1]
        P = 140/180 [2]

        vs. Jannisary
        B = 102/150 (B16 = 118/150) [2]
        C = 99/150 [3]
        P = 150/180 [1]

        vs. Kamayuk
        B = 60/150 (B16 = 75/150) [2]
        C = 129/150 [1]
        P = 66/180 [3]

        vs. Mameluke
        B = Lost, Mameluke 18 HP (B16 = Lost, Mameluke 2 HP) [-]
        C = 51/150 HP [1]
        P = Lost, Mameluke 18 HP [-]

        vs. Samurai
        B = 17/150 (B16=36/150) [3]
        C = 81/150 [2]
        P = 103/180 [1]

        I expected the results against Genoese Crossbowmen and Samurais for
        Cataphracts and Paladins would be the other way around (Paladins better
        vs. Genoese Xbows, Catas better vs. Samurais).

        Considering the
        War Elephant and Samurai situations and ease of production vs. cost of
        production, should Elite Boyars get a base attack of 16?”

        • Satyaki sil

          The Boyars have RPG advantage,meaning,it is most comfortable for moving through gaps with slower units attacking in reasonable numbers.
          But good point,+1 from me.

          • Devang

            Yes, that’s my thinking too. Trample damage causing infantry + cheap siege become the preferred combination in Imperial Age for Slavs. However this combo is vunerable to Bombard Cannons. This is where Boyars come in; breaking through the enemy lines, ignoring damage and taking out valuable targets such as BBCs. Hussars are too weak to do that.

            16 or 14 base attack hardly makes any difference to balancing. They still defeat Paladins and Cataphracts 1 vs. 1, no difference to how many hits it takes to kill archers, swordsmen or spears etc, still are weaker vs. infantry (and camels) than Cataphracts and weaker vs. pierce damage units than Paladins.

  • Bulgar_IYI

    Good job, but there have some little mistakes…
    You used the late-medieval architecture of East Slavs. But this architecture is many influenced by the medieval architecture of Volga Bulgars and the other nations who lived in the region of Volga river and the Ural mountains.
    So for Medieval slavic architecture you should use this of the South Slavs (Bulgarians, Serbs and Croats), because in the early and middle Middle ages they were the greatest slavs white important role of the founding and shaping of the all slavic culture.
    Another thing is the wrong name and graphics of the Unique Unit. Actually the graphics of Boyars were fixed in the HD version, but the right name is BoLyar (its originates from the Bulgar title “Boia” which means “nobel”) but east slavic is more soft and simple than the language of the South Slavs and…
    However i dont accept that the Russian culture is the slavic culture, because the rise of the russian culture is after the fall of the South Slavs under Ottoman rule… And at this time the slavic culture was already fully shaped. So this culture must be know as only russian not as slavic…
    But congratulations for your work!

  • Tom Tan

    Honestly, I don’t get this civ at all. I’m not saying it’s necessarily weak. My experience with them resulted in extremely mixed feelings. Although I love the UU and the Druzhina tech, I found the overall, long term Slav gameplay unevenly balanced and simply not very fun. It’s nowhere near the level of the excitement and uniqueness of the Conquerors civs. Bland bonuses that are a mixed bag and serious faults in competitive play. Whenever I get this civ in random, I don’t anticipate its forthcoming play, there’s just nothing in it to hold me. A huge disappointment. The biggest reason for this is that most of this civ’s bonuses are either very very generic, or very situational, that is only coming to play in certain instances during a game. In my opinion, the Slavs’ features, as they are, fail to uniquely define the civ’s strategy throughout the entire game and in greatest range of circumstances that a game is set in (such as DM, naval, late game battles, or custom scenarios).

    Let’s break down what I like and don’t like about this civ’s feature by feature.

    -15% farm production.

    No doubt a useful, if banal bonus. A simple boost to your mid game food production. Considering that other civs get similar benefits, this hardly sets the Slavs apart from many other civs that receive an implicit food bonus. Teutons have cheaper farms, meaning it can transition to farming faster, Franks have free farm upgrades, receiving bonus to food production as soon as they age up, Vikings have free Wheelbarrow, and Persians/Indians have faster training or cheaper villagers, meaning they conserve their food resource. A simple boost to farm gathering rate feels like a very uninspired bonus that doesn’t make it feel that you need to align your strategy with its benefit throughout the entire game.

    -Free tracking

    I can see how this can be marginally useful, if you’re flushing with an infantry mass and you want to have a bit of a heads up on any incoming pitfall. But by castle and up, most players include cavalry/monk/archers in their army, rendering this benefit largely moot. Honestly, how many of you even research Tracking, one of the cheapest techs available, let alone consider it a cornerstone of your strategy? I count this as almost a non-bonus. Considering that Slavs only get 3 core bonuses altogether while most other civs have 4 significant ones or more, it’s a disgrace.

    -15% cheaper siege

    Again, another good in circumstances, but boring bonus. This means you will conserve quite a bit of resources if you’re planning a fast castle ram/mango strike. I’ve come to respect siege heavy strategies a lot more since I first started playing this game, having been painfully licked by AoE workshop units lately, so I certainly don’t deny this bonus can come to the fore in your typical game. But I see nothing else in the Russian roster that clearly synergizes with this bonus. It’s a nice bonus to have, but it doesn’t really spell out any kind of fun or uniqueness factor to selecting the Slavs. Again it’s only really useful in standard RM where a min-maxing scarce economy is paramount, and almost marginal in resource plentiful late game, DM or hugely popular custom scenario maps such as CBA because there’s no functional unit benefit associated with Russian siege units that could have gone along with it.

    -Boyar UU

    A very good unique unit, I’ll grant you that. However it’s not as overpowered as some people claim. Mass archers and cannoneers in block formations set to stand ground tear through them. Screened siege units and towers tear through them. Massed pikemen tear through them (more efficiently than paladins at least). In the end it’s more susceptible to anti-cavalry units than the paladin, and IIRC has a slower attack and movement, making it worse at the primary function of the paladin – which is to in the late game, weasel through the enemy’s defensive frontal fortifications and devastate his trade lines, economy buildings and villagers in the rear. In this case, speed, HP, anti-building damage and pierce armor count more than melee armor and attack. It’s a good unit killer, but it’s nowhere as devastatingly overpowered with few weaknesses as say, the conquistador, or the pre-AoK:TC cataphract. It’s definitely NOT a unit that you can mass entirely on its own and call it an army. My point is that although I like the boyar just the way it is, it alone certainly does not compensate for the rest of this civ’s sheer underwhelming design features.

    - Unique tech: Orthodoxy

    This tech renders a benefit quite similar to the Aztecs monk HP buff, except a lot worse in terms of improving survivability, and you need to pay for it. Monks in general, need a serious gold investment in order to be any useful on the battlefield. But how can you pursue a monk heavy strategy, if you’re already head over tails in gold costly siege workshop production, which you would be insane not to, considering it’s the only thing that sets the Slavs apart from other civs? Does orthodoxy make it worth the while? I say no. The tech makes no sense in terms of strategy and it makes absolutely no sense when related to the definition of the word “orthodoxy”.

    - Unique tech: Druzhina.

    Ah now we’ve come to the big one. THIS is exactly what I mean by the kind of a bonus which sets the Slavs apart from other civs. This is what most players presume makes the Slavs such a melee powerhouse in the late game. Most people agree this bonus makes end game Slavic infantry the deadlier melee wise (although not by a very significant margin) than the previous holders of the title; Japanese and Aztecs. While I think that alone, as with the boyar, Druzhina is fine the way it is, sadly, I do not think that it’s so powerful to the point where it makes up for the Slavs’ other glaring
    weaknesses in combat throughout most of the game, which I’ll outline
    later. If the bonus (AOE infantry) applied from the start, or at least from castle onward, then certainly we wouldn’t be having this discussion. But the fact that it’s available extremely late game and for an extremely prohibitive cost, on par with that of the paladin, begs the question: would you even survive long enough, let alone have the upper hand in resources at that point to research this civ, when you have nothing to show for it, synergistically, in the barracks beforehand? Can it totally turn the tide of the battle at that point? I don’t think so.

    -Team Bonus: Military buildings +5 population.

    Now this is another bonus that I really like, because there isn’t quite an analogue for it in any other civ. It’s simple, but important enough to play a role throughout the game and it does fit in with the theme and feel of the Slavic peoples. I almost wish there was something to go along with it, like cheaper siege workshops or something.

    Now I shall move on to what I feel is my biggest frustration with the Slavs. Earlier I mentioned how I felt that they had a weakness in battle. Well what I meant by that was they have almost no good ranged units to rely on in the late game! No thumb ring, no Parthian Tactics, no arbalest or HC. I find it very strange how even the Indians have better horse archers, despite a dubious historical record of them being widely employed in the Indian subcontinent, while most Slavic peoples, especially the Kievan Rus adopted steppe nomad mounted archer tactics, often to a very advanced level! As it stands, a Slav player has to rely on an unbuffed HHA (overpriced for its benefit) or the humble crossbowman or, which is the most viable option – massed siege. But this raises a host of problems on its own, because if it was so easy to solely rely on slow, cumbersome, expensive and vulnerable siege for ranged capability, everyone would be doing that instead of amassing other ranged units. What counters the vaunted slavic infantry? Well enemy archer and siege of course! The fact that you don’t really have a low cost ranged support puts you in a real rut against a skilled hit and runner, especially if he’s firing from places you can’t reach, such as cliffs and walls. That’s why almost all other civs have arbalest and thumb ring, the bread and butter of late game ranged contigents. The only other civ really left out in the black in that regard are the Celts. The point is that if you’re relying on champions/halbs and melee cav late game, your opponent can very easily focus on ways to counter to these units and you can’t really balance out your force in response without severely handicapping your battlefield potential. That’s why I think Slavs need SOME kind of other bonus in addition to only cheaper siege engines and very late game AOE buff.

    Now, let’s get to a couple of suggestions regarding what I’d like to see in FE changed that could result in the improvement of the Slavs. I’d like to stress these are by no means perfectly viable suggestions – they are simply ideas thrown into the mix that I feel would make me feel inspired and excited to play the Slavs through all the Ages. It’s only strenous gameplay testing that in the end would determine whether my ideas are good or rubbish, or whether they will make Slavs either competitively strong enough or ridiculously overpowered. Without further ado, here are the new and improved version of the Slavs which I came up with.

    Civilization: Slavs

    -Siege units -15% cost
    -Military structures (barracks, range, stable, siege shop) -10% wood cost
    -Military casualties return a portion of unit cost: 5% Feudal, 10% Castle, 15% Imperial
    -Infantry castle age and up deal splash (AoE) damage
    *Hand cannoneers, parthian shot available

    Unique Tech: Serfdom

    -Completed farms produce a tiny trickle of food (~same as 1 relic) when unstaffed (anyone who’s read Gogol’s classic “Dead Souls” would get a chuckle).

    Unique Tech: Orthodox Faith

    -Monks heal in an AoE area

    Team Bonus: +5 military building pop

    One can of course argue wtih me that I’m simply not a skilled enough player (I’ve been playing AoK regularly since I first bought it in 2002, I do not claim to be an expert or a seriously competitive player, but I do know enough about the game to offer an informed opinion) that I’m playing them wrong, and that I somehow fail to appreciate the hidden balance beauty of the current Slavs. Indeed I agree that many of my gripes and suggestions come from my personal play preferences and familiarity with the random map (or lack thereof). But I’d like to remind the devs that not a lot of people are playing FE right now on steam, and this goes to show that this x-pack failed to entice many players of core AoK:HD to make the complete transition to FE. Perhaps some added bonuses, tweaks to existing stats, some unseen before gameplay elements that lead to a rise of new strategies and play styles would convince many players to change their mind and purchase this expansion. Think about it.