Hello from the Play Balance Team and welcome to the very first “Play Balance Team Tip”! We hope to produce support for the community in the form of simple text and video guides that explain how to efficiently manage villagers, how to create and micro strong army compositions, and how to think about and play different PvP match-ups.
While we have faith that the strongest players will discover and use strong strategies, we hope to ensure that newer or more casual players have easy access to important fundamental strategies and ideas, too!
For our first Play Balance team tip, we present what we like to call “the lumber trick.”
Commonly, players might only build a single store house near a forest and then attach all of their lumber-harvesting villagers to trees near that storehouse for a very long amount of time. However, this causes villagers to get in each other’s way and spend time trying to path through each other. The space gets crowded fast!
Similarly, having 3-4 villagers on each tree causes the forest to rapidly deplete, and almost immediately it becomes necessary for villagers to spend lots of time walking to and from the distant tree line.
If the player instead builds several store houses right next to the tree line, and then micros so that every single new villager gets his own tree, villager lumber harvesting becomes almost unbelievably efficient. The villagers spend much less time pathing around each other and you have reduced their travel time to the forest by a lot! In the short run this delays initial military production, but in the long run you will probably have a big income advantage over an enemy who does not mass-produce lumber storehouses.
Also, for Egyptian players keep in mind that empower is very effective on a single storehouse used by lots of villagers, and when you use the “lumber trick” it takes much more time and money to produce extra priestesses and attach them to every storehouse. In short, it’s hard to benefit from empower AND high store house production at the same time. Therefore, it might make a lot more sense for Egypt to delay the mass production of lumber store houses compared to other civs.
Again, we’re sure there are many special-case situations where it makes sense to stay on one or two lumber store houses for a long time. We do, however, consider it to usually make more sense to produce lots of lumber store houses as games go longer.
We intend our tips simply as ideas that we hope will inspire players to play in new ways and to try new things, based on what seems strong in our internal test games. I’m certain that many players have already discovered “the lumber trick” and that many strong players will continue to play well without using it. We only hope to present our internal ideas to you, our players, so that you can form your own opinions and have fun with as many different strategies as possible.
Join the conversation! You can discuss this article in our forums here: http://forums.ageofempiresonline.com/forums/thread/180515.aspx