Naval evolution chains

The evolution of the different types of Naval Units: Heavy Ships at top, then Light, Fireship, and Bomb Vessel. From Left to Right, Ancient, Classical, Medieval, Gunpowder, Enlightenment, Industrial, Modern, and Information.

From the Dawn of Man, the sea has been both his greatest friend and his greatest enemy. It provides food in the form of fish, and it provides protection by creating a natural barrier between two landmasses, however, it also consumes lives as the unfortunate individuals fall victim to the ever-hungry clutches of the sea. Long has man dreamt of controlling and using the sea to his advantage, because then one of the two most powerful elements of this world would have become his ally. Today, we still cannot control the sea, but we can make it do some of our bidding, as it carries our ships from shore to shore. The Navy is one of the three irreplaceable components of our world, because as long as the sea exists, there will be craft that sail upon it.

Rise of NationsEdit

Rise of Nations is no different. Naval Units are as important as any other in the game, and naval superiority is key to intercontinental conquest. Since RON uses the Age system, there will be different "evolutions" of the naval units throughout progression. RON also groups the units into five different categories: Fishermen, Heavy Ships, Light Ships, Fireship/Submarine, and Bomb Vessel/Aircraft Carrier. These will be explained below.

Heavy Ships

Heavy Ships through the ages.

Heavy ShipsEdit

The Heavy Ships are what they sound like: Big, Powerful, and HEAVY. Their primary targets are the light ships guarding other Heavy Ships and disrupting trade routes, though their tough armor makes them more than a match for other Heavy Ships, and in later Ages a valuable unit for attacking land units and forming beachheads.

Light Ships

Light Ships through the ages.

Light ShipsEdit

  • Bark - Ancient Age, fast, good for scouting
  • Dromon - Classical Age, upgraded Bark, better at destroying enemy Fishermen
  • Caravel - Medieval Age, fast, agile, and able to dispatch trade units easily
  • Corvette - Gunpowder Age, even faster than the caravel, these ships are the perfect raiding craft, which most pirates took into account
  • Sloop - Enlightenment Age, larger, slower light ships, so they are more suited to protecting Heavy Ships from enemy Fireships.
  • Destroyer - Industrial Age, in order to cope with the new threat of Submarines, the destroyers were produced as a defense for the vulnerable Dreadnoughts
  • Cruiser - Modern Age, faster and with more range, they take care of Submarines faster than the Destroyers
  • Missile Cruiser - Information Age, even the mighty Attack Submarine dares not to go anywhere near this pinnacle of antisubmarine warfare

The Light Ship's main purpose is either defense against Fireships/Submarines or economic disruption, as they do the most damage to transport and Fishermen units as well. Their speed and agility make them perfect for exploring when the Dock is first built. They need to stay away from Heavy ships, however, which will make quick work out of them.


Fireships and Submarines through the ages.


  • Fire Raft - Classical Age, they are the only effective weapon against Heavy Ships at this stage in the game, so they are very highly valued. Also, they self-destruct upon attacking, so they must be constantly rebuilt
  • Heavy Fire Raft - Medieval Age, their explosive power is increased to deal with the upgraded armor of the Carrack, though their self-destructing tendencies are still retained
  • Fireship - Gunpowder Age, with Gunpowder and a fire-resistant hull, the Fireship is now possible. They do extra damage due to the explosives stored on board
  • Heavy Fireship - Enlightenment Age, the Fireships have gotten bigger and more resilient to enemy attack, and they can travel faster as well.
  • Submarines - Industrial Age, a great improvement, as the ships no longer have to self-destruct to cause damage to Heavy Ships, though they are weaker than the Fireships.
  • Attack Submarine - Information Age, Increased armor, firepower and speed make this a lethal killer of the deep

The Fireships/Submarines are essential if one wishes to survive a Naval battle. Without them, Heavy Ships would be impossible to kill effectively, and the Light ships would then, in turn, suffer, which opens up the Heavy Ships to Fireship/Submarine assault from the enemy. In other words, a Fireship/Submarine is essential to any Navy.


Bomb Vessels and their successor, the Aircraft Carrier.

Bomb Vessels and Aircraft CarriersEdit

  • Bomb Vessel - Gunpowder Age, the first sea-borne siege unit, this ship does the most damage against buildings, though like all other siege units, they need protection against other ships.
  • Bomb Ketch - Enlightenment Age, they have more power and range than their predecessors, though they still need protection.
  • Aircraft Carrier - Modern Age, the first watercraft capable of bringing air combat to the seas, their aircraft are all they need, though when all of them are off on a mission, it is equally vulnerable to Fireships and Submarines as a Heavy Ship

The Bomb Vessels are the first time the player is allowed to effectively deal with enemy buildings from the sea. From the Gunpowder Age onward, the player is now able to create useful beachheads, and with coastal cities, reduce a city before land siege units even reach the site. Their successor, the Aircraft Carrier is by far the unit with the most improvements to its predecessor. The air capability means an extended range and reduced vulnerability to enemy ships, though the capacity is limited, so it still requires cruiser support.


The different economic ships, Pre-Industrial units on the left and Post-Industrial units on the right. From Left to Right: Fisherman, Transport Barge, Merchant Fleet/Modern Merchant Fleet

Non-Military ShipsEdit

Civilian ships generally have no weapons and low armor and hit points, so they must be protected from marauding enemy Light Ships, but they are useful/required for transporting units across the seas to another continent.

The one exception to this rule is the Dutch, whose merchants and caravans are able to retaliate, protecting the precious goods that make up virtually the entirety of a Dutch merchant's life. Although they can fight back, it is still recommended to have a warship guarding them as a single bow or gun can only do so much.

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