Before we could create even one Roman Technology, we had to decide what Technologies the Romans will have. Previously, we discussed how we approached designing the Roman buildings HERE, and Roman units HERE. Now we are going to show you how we designed their Technologies.
======As with Buildings and Units, we started our work by looking at other civilizations' Technologies.
Since the Tech Tree rework of the Summer 2012 update, every civilization has exactly 52 points to spend on their Tech Tree by the time they reach Level 40, so we needed to have exactly 52 obtainable Technologies for the Romans as well. But before we get to that, let's have a look at what types of Technologies are there in Age of Empires Online; As you know, each civilization has its tech tree separated into 3 parts: Military, Economy and Utility.
The upgrades available in each of these civilizations can be broken down into the categories below:
- Champion Upgrades: Upgrades that specifically target a single unit and improve it in various ways, be it extra Health, extra Damage or whatever other effect that will either further improve that unit in the role it currently performs (such as the Babylonian Shield Bearer Champion upgrade, making the already resilient Shield Bearer even more resistant against Pierce Damage.) or give the unit a completely new role (such as Egyptian Camel Rider Champion, turning the anti-cavalry Cavalry unit that they are into an anti-ranged Cavalry unit as well, by giving them extra Damage against Ranged Units and armor against Pierce Damage.). These upgrades are always available one Age later after the Unit first becomes available, with the exception being Age IV units, in which case both the Unit and the Champion Upgrade unlock at the same Age.
- Factory Techs: Upgrades that researched inside Military Production Buildings (Such as Barracks, Archery Range, etc.) that benefit every unit made inside that Building, or the Building itself (Such as Burning Pitch). With a few exceptions, these upgrades are available from Age II up until Age IV. (The exceptions being the Celtic Stable which becomes available in Age III so it has no Age II Factory Tech, and the Roman Praetorium, which has a single Upgrade in Age IV called "Roma Invicta" which we will cover later.
- Storehouse Upgrades: Upgrade that are researched in Storehouses/Ox Carts and improve Villagers, mostly their gathering rates from different resources (and in the case of Persians, allowing Storehouses to heal nearby units with the Aid Tent Upgrade). These upgrades are available starting from Age I up to Age IV. Every civilization has at least 2 Storehouse Upgrades in Age I (Hunting Dogs and Picker's Gloves, 4 upgrades in Age II, up to 4 upgrades in Age III and up to 3 upgrades in Age IV (Egyptians having the most upgrades in Age IV with Gold, Stone and Farm Upgrades and Greeks having only 1 upgrade in Age IV, it being the Wood Upgrade).
- Dock Upgrades: A hybrid between Storehouse Upgrades and Champion Upgrades in terms of functionality, these Upgrades benefit a single unit and improve it. For most civilizations, this means a series of Upgrades for Fishing Boats (from 1 to 3 upgrades, one per Age) and Champion Upgrades for Military Ships (Triremes, Ram Ships, etc.) Merchant Transports do not have a specific upgrade, with the exception of the Celtic Merchant Transport which has the Cargo Expansion upgrade, allowing it to transport more units than a standard Merchant Transport. In Champion Mode PvP, however, Merchant Transports have a new Technology called "Trading Contracts" which improves their role as an income of Gold. You can find the Champion Mode Tech Tree for all civilizations HERE.
- Market Upgrades: Market Upgrades either benefit Caravans, or reduce the exchange rates of resource trading inside the market itself or reduce the tribute penalty of sending resources to your allies. Most market Upgrades are identical across all civilizations, while some civilizations have access to extra Upgrades (such as the Caravan Movement Speed upgrades for Persians, Celts and Romans and also the Abacus Upgrade for the Romans which we will cover later.)
- Town Center Upgrades: Similar to Dock Upgrades, Town Center Upgrades improve the units that are trained in them, which are Villagers for all civilizations, Ox Carts for the Babylonians and Engineers for the Romans.
- Armory Upgrades: Upgrades that are researched in the Armory benefit all Military Units, including Land Units and Military Ships. There are 4 main types of Damage in Age of Empires Online:
- Melee-Infantry Damage
- Melee-Cavalry Damage
- Pierce Damage
- Crush Damage
- Upgrades in the Armory are separated into 4 different progressive lines.
- Melee Armor (Provides armor against both Melee-Infantry and Melee-Cavalry Damage)
- Melee Damage (Upgrades both Melee-Infantry and Melee-Cavalry Damage stats of Military Units)
- Pierce Armor
- Pierce Damage
- The Egyptians combine both Armor Upgrade lines into one, providing them with windows of opportunity against their opponents where they have an upgrade advantage over them.
- As you can see, there are no upgrades that increase Crush Damage (or provide armor against it) in the Armory, so the only time where Crush Damage/Armor is increased is when a specific upgrade increases it, either for a single unit (Shield Wall for the Persians, Babylonian War Chariot Champion) or all units/buildings (Arch Construction for the Romans).
- Tech/Religious Building Upgrades: Upgrades that are available in the Technology/Religious buildings of each civilization (such as Academy, Great Hall, Sacred Grove, etc.) These upgrades are unique to each civilization. These are also the most "flavorful" upgrades for each civilization, usually having names that give identity to the civilization they belong to. (Such as "Paid Labor" signifying the Persians being the world pioneer of paid workforce, or "Agoge Discipline" for the Greeks, signifying the rigorous training program Spartans underwent as part of a mandatory training regiment for all male Spartan citizens.)
- Wall Upgrades: Upgrades for Walls. Each civilization has between 1 to 3 Wall Upgrade.
- Tower Upgrades: Upgrades for Guard Towers. Each civilization has between 1 to 3 Guard Tower Upgrade.
- Unique Upgrades: Upgrades for Palintonons (Except the Egyptian one which is trained in the Siege Workshop) and Norse War Dogs go here, since there isn't really any other classification they fit in.
======- Champion Upgrades:
As you can see, the Romans have more Champion Upgrades than any other civilization, having 2 more than the next highest, the Norse at 12. This is partly due to the fact that Romans have 4 different Officer Units, and one more Siege unit than any other civilization. Initially, we had a single upgrade available in the Praetorium, but seeing that even the Norse Chief (with the build limit of 1) gets his own Champion Upgrade, we felt that the Praetorium would feel awfully empty without any Officer Champion Upgrades. This balances out by the fact that Officers can only be trained in limited numbers. For this reason, we plan to set the price for the Officer Champion Upgrades fairly low, around the same as Chief Champion for the Norse.
- Factory Techs:
- Castellum: The Castellum shares the same Factory Techs as other civilizations' Barracks - Conditioning, Combined Arms and Close Combat Expertise. It will also have the "Praesidium" Upgrade, which allows it to garrison Villagers inside for protection and grants it a Ranged Attack as long as it has Villagers garrisoned in it, scaling with the number of Villagers inside. -
- Auxilia Camp: Since the Auxilia Camp trains both Cavalry and Ranged Units, having the Stables Factory Techs doesn't make a lot of sense for it, because unlike the Babylonian, Celtic and Persian Stables (which also train both Cavalry and Ranged units), the first two units trained in the Auxilia Camp (Balearic Slingers and Cretan Bowmen) are not Mounted units (units that ride a Horse/Chariot and have high speed). At the same time, having the Archery Range Factory Techs for the Auxilia Camp doesn't make much sense either, since those Factory Techs aim to increase the Maximum Range and Line-of-Sight of the units trained inside, both of which doesn't seem to go well with Gallic Horsemen, especially since the Icons and Names of these upgrades don't really match all Auxilia Camp Units at the same time. So we set to create new Factory Techs for the Auxilia Camp;
- So let's talk about history. At Rome’s height (say from 300 BCE to 200 CE), Roman soldiers focused on almost exclusively Infantry and Siege and Roman armies fielded almost no Ranged or Cavalry units. They got away with this for a while until they met the mighty Carthaginians. By 300 BCE, Carthage was the richest empire on the Mediterranean and boasted not just the world’s most powerful navy, but a mighty army comprised of mercenary units from all over the known world.
- At this point, Rome didn't even control all of Italy, but it was very well organized and obviously destined for greatness. One of Rome's greatest traits was its adaptability to its enemies’ ideas. Hiring mercenaries to handle its Ranged and Cavalry needs was right out of the Carthaginian playbook. And after receiving the business end of that strategy for long enough, the Romans copied them and then never looked back. Around the time of the Roman Empire (49 BCE), the Auxilia had a permanent, formal role in the Roman army. And so hiring out most of their Ranged and Cavalry units is just what our Romans do. They called these hired troops the Auxilia. So we give them a separate building to train these Ranged and Cavalry units, the Auxilia Camp. Where the proper Roman army (Legionaries, etc.) were conscripted Roman citizens, the Auxilia came from Roman provinces who were subject to Rome but not Romans themselves.
- The Romans were hyper aware of citizenship, so it makes sense for our civ to be, as well. It would feel strange to train these unique units from around the world out of the same place that trains proper Roman units. If we mixed these troops right into the civ and sorted them all by unit type, it would just be awful history and a disservice to the game. And, again, there are at least 6 other military production buildings in the original 6 civs that break the old rules. So all the Roman system simply acknowledges the open secret that Archery Ranges and Stables in AoEO don’t always train whom they pretend to train. Instead the Romans rename the buildings to something historically accurate that give the civ its own unique flavor. You may not care whether a unit is a Roman citizen, but the Romans sure did.
As it stands right now, "Sacramentum" and "Patronage" will permanently decrease the Cost of all Auxilia Camp Units, while "Citizenship" will increase the Damage and Movement Speed of these units. (Balearic Slingers, Cretan Bowmen and Gallic Horsemen).
- 1. Sacramentum: The very act of entering the army (including the Auxilia troops) had a religous aspect that owed much to Roman tradition. On enlistment, each recruit had to take a sacred oath (sacramentum). The Sacramentum Militare was the oath taken by soldiers in pledging their loyalty to the consul in the Republican era or later to the emperor. The text of the oath: "I shall faithfully execute all that the Emperor commands, I shall never desert the service, and I shall not seek to avoid death for the Roman republic."
- 2. Patronage: Patronage (clientela) was the distinctive relationship in ancient Roman society between the patronus (plural patroni, "patron") and their cliens (plural clientes, "client"). The relationship was hierarchical, but obligations were mutual. As Rome expanded throughout the Republic and Empire, it took over smaller states which had their own customs and rules of law. Rather than attempting to remove the states' leaders and governments and replace them with Roman rulers, Rome created "client states." Leaders of these states were less powerful than Roman leaders and were required to turn to Rome as their patron state. Part of this deal required the outer provinces to provide Rome with troops.
- 3. Citizenship: The Roman Auxilia consisted of non-citizens. Rome stationed the Auxilia far away from the province of their birth. So if there were a rebellion in a province, the soldiers would not sympathize with the rebels and would not defect. The Roman Auxilia was an attractive career choice for many people in Rome's provinces. It provided a steady income, and after 25 years of service, they would receive full Roman citizenship and a pension.
- Praetorium: Much like the Auxilia Camp, the Praetorium trains more than one type of unit, this time it being Infantry and Cavalry Units. For the same reasons as the Auxilia Camp, the traditional Factory Techs of Stables, Archery Range or Barracks Buildings doesn't fit the Praetorium very well. At the same time, the Roman Praetorium is less of a "mass production" building compared to other Military Buildings, as every single unit trained inside the Praetorium is subject to a build limit, and costs more than other civilizations' units. For these reasons, the Roman Praetorium will have a single Factory Tech called "Roma Invicta" which will increase the build limit of the officers inside (with the exception of the last officer which has a build limit of 1, much like the Norse Chief), but will also increase the bonus damage of all Officer Units against Priests. This upgrade's name fits the theme of the effect quite well, seeing that "Roma Invicta" which translates to "Unconquered Rome", which we like to think goes hand in hand with Roman Troops remaining loyal to the Empire. We feel like the Officers being able to quickly cut down enemy Priests and stop them from persuading Roman Troops into leaving their Empire and joining their side is about as close to being thematically in line with the flavor of the Technology name as it can get in terms of Age of Empires Online mechanics.
- Storehouse Upgrades:
Every civilization has its own strengths and weaknesses. One area where the Romans don't particularly shine is their Economy Upgrades. While one of the strongest civilizations in terms of raw military power, one of their major bottlenecks is their economic strength, and the relative cost of units compared to their stats. "Quality over Quantity" so to speak. While this is still subject to playtesting and finetuning, as it stands right now, the only Age IV Storehouse Upgrade that the Romans have is Stone Splitting (the Age IV Stone gathering Upgrade). This means that while Romans are quite pop-efficient in the lategame, you have to be careful with how you spend your resources since you can't throw away your units as easily as, say, the Egyptians can with their Barracks Units.
- Dock Upgrades:
As stated in Weekly Blog #7, the Roman Dock is another place where they don't particularly shine. The Romans will have a single Fishing Boat upgrade (similar to the Persians, though they will receive it in Champion PvP Mode, just like the Persians), no upgrade for the Merchant Transport (like every civilization except the Celts) - Though they will still receive the Trading Contracts Upgrade in Champion PvP mode - and one Champion Upgrade for each of their Military Ships (the Liburnian and the Enneris)
- Market Upgrades:
The Romans will receive both Exchange Rate reduction upgrades combined as one Upgrade called "Abacus". They will also have access to the Caravan Movement Speed Upgrade, called "Roman Roads" for the Romans (as opposed to Royal Roads for the Persians and Wooden Roads for the Celts), and they also get the other standard Market Upgrades that other civilizations have.
- Town Center Upgrades:
The Roman Town Center has the same Upgrades as most other Town Centers; The one unique upgrade that Engineers receive will be located in the Forum which will be covered later in the blog. The only visual difference in the Tech Tree for the Roman Town Center is that the Millarium is also included inside the Town Center frame, just like how Farms and Celtic Gold Mines are inside the Storehouse frame - and of course the fact that it trains Engineers!
As covered in Weekly Blog #10, the Roman Armory is a standard one and will include the standard 12 Armory Upgrades.
The Forum and the Templum are Romans' Tech and Religious Buildings; The Templum will include a single Upgrade, benefitting the Pontifex (Roman Priest) called "Pax Deorum", mirroring the Greek Temple, while the Forum has quite a few Upgrades inside:
- Arch Construction
- Herbal Medicine
- Marian Reformation
The Romans will have access to two Wall Upgrades, just like Greeks, Norse and Persians
The Romans will have access to two Tower Upgrades, just like Greeks, Egyptians, Norse and Babylonians
Much like Greeks, Babylonians and Persians, the Romans will have access to Palintonons (and Palintonon Champion) in their Fortress, located in the Utility Tech Tree.
To have a quick summary of what we just talked about, let's have a look at the chart below:
As some of you may have already guessed, the final Officer Unit is still unfinished and isn't ready for revealing. We hope to reveal him next week, though! He's one of the most unique and complex units ever made in Age of Empires Online and we cannot wait to show him to you guys.
(PF2K's Personal Note: Take a good look at the pictures posted above, you can get a hint at the unit in the pictures! Let me know in the comments below if you find it and if you can guess what unit it is.)
Thank you for reading, and we will see you all next week!
Project Celeste Development Team
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By PF2K on Feb 1, 2020 at 11:34 AM
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