"It is time for man to fix his goal. It is time for man to plant the seed of his highest hope."
— Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Peasants replace Citizens, which are the villager or worker class unit in Rise of Nations, and are the single most important unit in the game. The primary functions for the citizen is to harvest resources (food, timber, and metal), create and repair structures. Peasants are created from cities and towns, and are fairly cheap to produce. Unlike Citizens, however, Peasants cannot be converted to militia. Nevertheless, the elevated unit population count of Rise of Kings should allow you to create scores of these units, which will be vital for a variety of jobs, including resource accumulation and combat engineering.
Note, however, that Peasants are extremely weak and vulnerable to almost any other unit, especially ranged cavalry so you must protect the bulk of your work force at all times. Once you gain your first level of Military research, you should build Towers and raise Peasant Levy to oversee and protect your peasantry from enemy attack.
The seven centuries leading up to the Early Modern Era throughout Europe and China were not happy times for mankind, even if they saw events which laid down the foundations of the world as we know it today: capitalism; nation-states; representative democracy; scientific thought; and even the introduction of firearms and the roots of modern religious terrorism. Back in the days of the late Roman empire, monetary debasement and political chaos slowly caused the Roman economy to move from financial commerce to agrarian self-sufficiency. To survive the onslaught, civilians would pledge themselves (and their unborn descendents) to till the land for local strongmen who in turn promised to grant protection. By the 9th century CE, this system of mutual interdependence melded itself with similar practices amongst Germanic tribes and evolved into the feudal system. Only in the more remote (such as Scandinavia) or more prosperous areas of Europe (such as northern Italy or mediaeval Hungary) was feudalism mostly unknown.
Although this would seem to be a recipe for peace and stability with the peasants and the feudal nobility engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship (a serf's main obligation was to supply his lord with food in fall), in reality the feudal system was prone to abuse. The feudal system would not survive the first few years of the Early Modern Era, yet would still leave a mark that would result in social problems in Europe, such as social exploitation, political disunity and ultimately further instability and violence at the close of the Middle Ages.
- The only unit which can create buildings, which in turn create more units.
- Defenceless — Unlike
Citizens in Rise of Nations, Peasants cannot be converted to militia and so you must protect the bulk of your work force at all times, preferably with Towers and Peasant Levy to oversee and protect your peasantry from enemy attack.