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Headscratchers / Age of Empires II

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  • Why don't the Japanese have access to the Heresy technology? If people of any civilisation would kill themselves rather than go over to the other side it would be the Japanese.
    • Because Portugal was successful in introducing Catholicism to Western Japan which came in the form of Jesuit Missionaries led by Francis Xavier. The reason why Japan risked allowing a foreign religion to take root in their country was because the Portuguese Empire represented a lucrative trading opportunity, especially as they were the ones who introduced the revolutionary technology of firearms to the Japanese.
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    • Japan actually has a long history of adopting foreign religions (or foreign religious festivals), which then coexist with Japan's traditional Shinto religion rather than suplanting it. Japanese communities abroad are also unlikely to stick to Shinto and Buddhism, even in the short run.
  • For that matter, why don't the Chinese have hand-cannoneers and bombard cannons and the rest of the gunpowder things? Seeing that they invented it themselves, it really makes no sense.
    • It's more for gameplay balance purposes rather than historical accuracy reasons. The game developers want the Chinese to be a Jack-of-All-Trades civilization that is open to different strategies in variety of maps. If the Chinese were given Hand Cannoneers and Bombard Cannons, they would have become a Game-Breaker since they are supposed to be good at long-range sieging with their Chu-Ko-Nus, Trebuchets, and Scorpions. Hand Cannoneers are generally better than Chu-Ko-Nu and Arbalests when dealing with infantry thanks to their attack damage bonus vs. infantry and Bombard Cannons are one of the best siege units due to it's versatility and it's ability to take down enemy siege units and buildings at the same time. If the Chinese were to be given such items, some areas of their tech tree needs to be nerfed (i.e. their cavalry or their infantry line). While it is true that the Chinese invented such gunpowder weaponry, the Chinese will just end up being too broken lategame. Some civilizations that do have access to such units often have weakness in other areas (for example, the Franks and the Teutons have a much weaker archer line to offset their access to such units).
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    • That, and the fact that gunpowder is not widely used in Chinese military as people think they should. There are historical records that depicts by the end of Ming Dynasty(several years before mid-17th century), the army of Ming dynasty is using cannons salvaged from European shipwrecks, and noted how effective they were against Manchurian horsemen. True, there are cases where Chinese cannons are intimidating and powerful, it is still not used in the scale of pre-Napoleonic era. Which brings another question: how is it that block-printing is not avaliable for Chinese despite the fact they mastered the technology centuries before European countries?
    • It is possible that block-printing stands for mobile block printing which is an European invention. However, plenty of civilizations that didn't have it do in the game. It's also very likely that the Chinese and Europeans used block printing for different purposes. The Chinese mostly used block printing mostly for government documents, textbooks, and artistic purposes; whereas Europeans used block printing for religious text and spread Christianity through the world, which is why the block printing tech is a Monastery tech that increases conversion range rather than a University tech (if it was a University tech, then the Chinese would have access to the said tech).
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    • On the topic of Chinese gunpowder, it is worth pointing that most Chinese Medieval firearms fired arrows rather than balls, and that's covered by the civilizations's archery bonuses.
  • Why don't villagers fight with bows, aside from game balance? They clearly know how to use them, since they fire arrows when hunting and garrisoned in buildings, but they won't shoot at wolves or enemy soldiers. "Here I am, shooting deer with arrows... Oh, you want me to attack this archer? I'm gonna beat him with a stick!"
    • While not intuitive, it is historical, as untrained villagers would not be given bows nor formed into archer regiments; they would be given melee weapons if necessary (exceptions of only ranged weapons being useful such as garrisoning a castle are modelled in the game). Arrows fired by hunting bows compared to war bows in Europe and much of Asia were quite different from each other, so being a good deer hunter, for example, would not translate into being capable of firing a war arrow from a war bow capable of penetrating even good linen armour, much less metal armour. Almost anyone relatively strong could drop an unprotected person with a well-made club just on instinct. In contrast, Medieval England had to go to great lengths including banning football at various times just to have enough time for their citizens to maintain their training enough to be capable of being deadly with a longbow.
  • In the second game hitting a building with swords causes it to light on fire.
    • Maybe the sword created friction against the side of the building, creating sparks and igniting the wood?
    • What makes you think it is the sword that creates the fire, rather than the hearth inside the house as it collapse?
  • In the second game, archers upgrades to crossbowmen. However, what about all those civilizations that never had crossbows in the first place? and why Spanish have no access to crossbows at all?
    • On the second one: For balancing issues. The Spanish main feature is that they are extremely weak in the early ages but insanely powerful in the latter ones.
    • It surprisingly works from a historical point of view, because while the Medieval Spanish kingdoms actually had crossbows, they didn't use them (or bows) to the extent of other European countries, and slingers and javelins remained in vogue there for a longer time. This probably had to do with geographical reasons given the mountainous (and at the time, forested) nature of central and eastern Spain. The Iberian, Christian exception was the comparatively flatter Kingdom of Portugal, which did have laws promoting the establishment of permanent forces of crossbowmen and used massed archery to good effect in battles like Aljubarrota. When the Portuguese were added in African Kingdoms, they were given a full foot archer roster.
  • Why does everyone say that Forgotten and African Kingdoms are official, despite the fact that they weren't developed by Ensemble?
    • Microsoft is the owner of the series and can publish official games without Ensemble.
  • The Montezuma campaign in AOEII, which ends with the Aztecs driving the Spanish away and rebuilding their civilisation. Yeah, that's not how it happened.
    • The campaigns all end well for the people youre playing as, they are supposed to be alternate histories.
    • Actually, this troper always thought the ending implied they were wiped out anyway.
    • Yup, pretty much it says: Yes, we pushed out the spaniards this time.... but what will we do when they'll come back again?
    • The aztec empire appears in AOEIII and the spaniards are still trying to conquer it, so maybe is just an alternate history where Cortes was defeated.
    • It's not the only campaign that ends with the player winning a battle that was lost in real history. The other two are William Wallace winning the Battle of Falkirk and Frederic Barbarossa taking Jerusalem. There is also Saladin defending Acre against Richard the Lionheart.


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