Moving The Franchise Forward While Staying True to Its Roots

rhrmnrhrmn Member, Insider ✭✭✭✭✭

From Age of Empires to Age of Empires Online, Ensemble Studios, Robot Entertainment and Gas Powered Games moved the franchise forward. Below are a few of the features I would like to see explored further for Age of Empires IV because they have been implemented in some manner with the previous Age of Empires games.

  1. Customizable civilizations. Age of Empires III had card decks and city levels. Age of Empires Online had city levels, gear and capital cities.

  2. Unique civilizations. Age of Empires had civ bonuses. Age of Empires II had civ bonuses and one unique unit per civilization. Age of Empires III had civ bonuses and several unique units. Age of Empires Online had civ bonuses, several unique units, unique technologies, unique building sets, etc.

  3. Daily, weekly and monthly challenges. Age of Empires III had a web-based leaderboard. Age of Empires Online had Alliance Wars and Sparta PvP leaderboards.

  4. Multiple game modes. Age of Empires through Age of Empires III had skirmish and multiplayer. Age of Empires Online had skirmish, multiplayer, Defense of Crete (tower defense) and Northern Invasion (with MOBA inspired hero unit).

  5. Optional objectives. Age of Empires had relics and ruins. Age of Empires II had relics. Age of Empires III had trading posts and treasures. Age of Mythology had relics which gave special bonuses. Age of Empires Online had treasures.

Do you have any other ideas on how to move the franchise forward while staying true to its roots? Share them below!

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Comments

  • CagierNebula24CagierNebula24 Member, Insider ✭✭

    Speed adjustment in single player mode.

  • MehkindMehkind Member, Insider ✭✭✭

    And please don't be an esport type game. I want my slower, older AOE game which Ensemble gave me.

  • bubblebubble Member, Insider ✭✭

    include an editor this time. dont make people pay for scenarios like defense of crete in AoE:O which anyone could make(in less than a hour lol) in the reused aom/aoe3 engine they used for aoeo. People want to make their own scenarios and maps and host them online. thats a big reason why AoE has stayed alive for so long. And it keeps the casuals happy(plus its fun even for pros)

    editor should include, all options aom and aoe3 had with the triggers, making cliffs, rivers, different tiles for ground, weather effects, map size. generating seeds supremacy maps, making your own cinematics etc.

  • W Tomahawk WW Tomahawk W Member

    I posted about this just now in "WHY RELIC?" topic, it's important to remove the RPGish (profit oriented - broaden the RTS players base greedy move that was made, not innovation and that has become a standard ever since 2006 when AOE3 was released for many games that today are released with mixed style and storngly RPG ish often not connected with the game character\type).

    Innovation in RTS direction can be made. I posted 1 year ago on STEAM the GAME AND INDUSTRY changing option allowing players to play NEVER ENDING games just by introducing a "AVATAR switch technology".
    So that one can switch between teams or in a team to control the civ and this can be made also from outside the game if the players agree on doing this.

    This would also help to balance games as in a 2 v 2 one players can be better then the other so one can help control its civ and switch again and this can make people progress faster.

    This technology \ game design would allow also to make MEga (chess) 1 Human vs many AI type of games or many Humans vs powerful AI type of games, just by making AOE that allows to join a game and makes people control per sector a civ so that they can "improve" the rate of control of a sector and be more accurate in the stragegy, talk to each other and make a CROWDSOURCED type of game.

    This would bring the whole genre and GAMING industry beyond RTS to a new level...

    I doubt as today finance (bad finance) is sucking out everything from gaming industry, someone will design a game in these times of greed...

    I called it Switchable Avatar technology\game design.

    This is a 1000 nights\gold and industry revolution idea... if you get it you understand.

  • TheBritishTheBritish Member, Insider ✭✭✭

    AOE3 wasnt an RPG - RTS game that was made for profit only lol. Have you even played AOE3? I doubt you have.
    The only problem with AOE3 was the leveling homecities mechanic that turned off many players. The homecity system together with the decks was amazing. You had to choose what you want to do vs what your opponent did (you can see this by scouting. protip: scouting is a skill that many players lack )Its called strategy for a reason.

  • Andy PAndy P Member, Moderator mod

    I didn't like using decks and toggling out of the game and back to the home city. There were other problems, too. This is weird, but the circular maps annoyed the heck out of me.

  • W Tomahawk WW Tomahawk W Member
    edited October 7

    @TheBritish said:
    AOE3 wasnt an RPG - RTS game that was made for profit only lol. Have you even played AOE3? I doubt you have.
    The only problem with AOE3 was the leveling homecities mechanic that turned off many players. The homecity system together with the decks was amazing. You had to choose what you want to do vs what your opponent did (you can see this by scouting. protip: scouting is a skill that many players lack )Its called strategy for a reason.

    Agreed I have maybe 10 thousands of hours on the game (and yet I never been too strong MSTR sgt max). Nor won more than 11 games in a row nor lost more than 11 games in a row.
    check underscoreTOMAHAWKunderscore in elorating.
    I already told you in another topic btw.

    I agree it was good but anyway I already answered and I prefer that DEPTH to be inserted in the upgrades of units not using CARD strategies. I got owned by a guy that just invented their Ottoman special cavalry shipment mono army. I ve beaten him in first game and he could not believe it but in the smae time I did not know he was about, all about, a tactic... well if that is the game, just invent your strategy with cards (which is of course fun) well I feel that is not really a great game, but hell that was surely a difficult innovation and experimentation that I would have accepted WELL if it was not totally killed by the left out balancing of units of the more than 10 civs... if they did that they would have been respected for what they did.

    But they did not created a Cards+ units balance.
    If you call that a videogame, polished and working you are way far outside from talking coherently.

    I give you that, it was a good idea but just superficially left alone not corroborated by the rest (the basics of the RTS were flawed!)

    The guy with that "CARD STRATEGY" example was a cohabitation of the competitive gamer and the RPGish for fun player\strategist. That was a good thing but if it was totally rewarding him because he \she cracked the system by finding out a way to be stronger and "faster" with Cards not with in game strategy actions... like the one I was using and my "card strategy" was obsolete...** so.. a kind of very steep learning curve rewarding those that invented things out of their magic trick hat... that sound to me as a very Rpgish or even worse mock up of a game not a real RTS game.**

    Plus gamers could see the Decks before playing, that is CRAZY! they should be covered up when one is in the same room, accessible only after or before entering a room so one doesn't know opponent deck or in game... I mean... a lot of stuff was just superficial.

  • the_choson_onethe_choson_one Member, Insider ✭✭✭

    @rhrmn said:
    From Age of Empires to Age of Empires Online, Ensemble Studios, Robot Entertainment and Gas Powered Games moved the franchise forward. Below are a few of the features I would like to see explored further for Age of Empires IV because they have been implemented in some manner with the previous Age of Empires games.

    1. Customizable civilizations. Age of Empires III had card decks and city levels. Age of Empires Online had city levels, gear and capital cities.

    2. Unique civilizations. Age of Empires had civ bonuses. Age of Empires II had civ bonuses and one unique unit per civilization. Age of Empires III had civ bonuses and several unique units. Age of Empires Online had civ bonuses, several unique units, unique technologies, unique building sets, etc.

    3. Daily, weekly and monthly challenges. Age of Empires III had a web-based leaderboard. Age of Empires Online had Alliance Wars and Sparta PvP leaderboards.

    4. Multiple game modes. Age of Empires through Age of Empires III had skirmish and multiplayer. Age of Empires Online had skirmish, multiplayer, Defense of Crete (tower defense) and Northern Invasion (with MOBA inspired hero unit).

    5. Optional objectives. Age of Empires had relics and ruins. Age of Empires II had relics. Age of Empires III had trading posts and treasures. Age of Mythology had relics which gave special bonuses. Age of Empires Online had treasures.

    Do you have any other ideas on how to move the franchise forward while staying true to its roots? Share them below!

    Age of Empires had artifacts (not relics). But totally agree with all-five points, plus modding tools

  • KlLeBaOKlLeBaO Member, Insider

    Focus a lot on real history and relics, like real aoe

  • IamDalvIamDalv Member, Insider ✭✭

    You are missing on a point when coming up with AOE3 and AOE Online: They weren't good games, especially AOE Online.

    So they flopped for the same reasons some of you guys are mentioning here as examples how the series should go forward...

    If anything, AOE Online is a solid example HOW NOT to make an Age game.

  • Andy PAndy P Member, Moderator mod

    Both AoE3 and AoEO took the series in different directions and are favorite games of significant amounts of the AoE population.

    Have you played AoEO before? If so, did you ever play it after, say, the spring of 2012? Lots of the problems the game is known for were totally eliminated by that point. It's pvp and six unique civs, for instance, is far better than any of the other games.

  • KrOjahKrOjah Member ✭✭

    @Andy P said:
    Both AoE3 and AoEO took the series in different directions and are favorite games of significant amounts of the AoE population.

    Have you played AoEO before? If so, did you ever play it after, say, the spring of 2012? Lots of the problems the game is known for were totally eliminated by that point. It's pvp and six unique civs, for instance, is far better than any of the other games.

    I think a lot of people struggle to get past the looks of AoE:O. I will take your word for it that the gameplay turned into something really good, but for me at least the game looks horrible. I honestly find standard AoE more appealing in terms of art design and animations, despite there being 14 or so years between their releases. It takes quite some effort on dev's part to alienate me away from game just on visuals also.

  • Andy PAndy P Member, Moderator mod

    You are not alone. It didn't bug me because, hey, new AoE can't bug me. Then it kinda grew on me. Now that it's such a culty dark horse, it's kinda perfect for it to be so weird.

  • MajorPectoralisMajorPectoralis Member, Insider ✭✭

    @KrOjah said:

    @Andy P said:
    Both AoE3 and AoEO took the series in different directions and are favorite games of significant amounts of the AoE population.

    Have you played AoEO before? If so, did you ever play it after, say, the spring of 2012? Lots of the problems the game is known for were totally eliminated by that point. It's pvp and six unique civs, for instance, is far better than any of the other games.

    I think a lot of people struggle to get past the looks of AoE:O. I will take your word for it that the gameplay turned into something really good, but for me at least the game looks horrible. I honestly find standard AoE more appealing in terms of art design and animations, despite there being 14 or so years between their releases. It takes quite some effort on dev's part to alienate me away from game just on visuals also.

    It may have been cartoony, but it was realistic cartoony. It wasn't stick figures or anything weird. It still portrayed a great amount of history like the other AoE games while having the fun graphics that created a new feel to the game.

  • Andy PAndy P Member, Moderator mod

    The civs are very intelligently designed, both from a gameplay and balance side and from a historical side. They are amazing.

  • IamDalvIamDalv Member, Insider ✭✭

    No, the main flaw of AOE Online and main reason for its quick death was the fact it had a progression system. Add the cartoony graphics and you have a mobile game. It was a freemium model game with progression system. No matter how you tweak it, progression systems have no place in an RTS like AOE. They deserve all the criticism out there when coming with stuff like this.

  • Andy PAndy P Member, Moderator mod

    Yeah. Leveling up was the worst. So unnecessary. It was great once each civ finished that charade. But a terrible thing to force players to do right off the bat.

  • MajorPectoralisMajorPectoralis Member, Insider ✭✭

    @IamDalv said:
    No, the main flaw of AOE Online and main reason for its quick death was the fact it had a progression system. Add the cartoony graphics and you have a mobile game. It was a freemium model game with progression system. No matter how you tweak it, progression systems have no place in an RTS like AOE. They deserve all the criticism out there when coming with stuff like this.

    Leveling up makes 2 types of players:
    Those who like it:
    It makes you want to stick to a game. If there's no reward system for what you do in game, its easy to just see it as a very repetitive game that has no feeling of purpose. It gives that feeling of success and progress that many players need so that the game doesn't just become a dull repetition.

    Those who don't:
    They want a simple game to enjoy and not worry about the consequences of losing... if you lose, it just means you're not as good as the other player and you practice and get better and that's it. Simple, easy.

    I believe AoE3 did a great job of balancing these while AoE2 was too 2nd type player and AoEo was too first type player...

    AoE3 had a progression system but it wasn't complex at all to where players could just ignore it and still win against a player who does focus on it.

  • IamDalvIamDalv Member, Insider ✭✭
    edited October 12

    Yes, but the problem is that you can't have that in RTS games at all, so you don't need to balance the two worlds at all.
    And also, the correct thing to say would be: "AoE3 had a progression system but it wasn't complex at all to where players could just ignore it and still win against a player who does focus on it AND STILL FAILED"... Which goes to further prove the first point. Because, let's be honest, AoE3 is pretty much dead for a long time and it never was near the level of AoE2.

    If you want progression system then you need to play a game based on that, where the main idea of the game is to level up your avatar, like in Lineage 2, WoW, Guild Wars etc. Or play Clash of Clans, because thats the closest you can ever have a game which somehow resembles a strategy game with a progression system.

    Whereas in a real strategy game, the main idea is obviously to strategically or tactically outsmart the opponents (apart from some needed APM), so any progression system just makes the very concept of these type of games pointless, and you are most probably interested in completely different game genres without realising.
    .
    .
    .
    I would also like to point out the fact why forced progression systems are harmful for multiplayer competitive games, and having in mind that these usually go hand in hand with microtransactions sooner or later, why we (especially since the AOE community is quite mature and knows how good games used to be) should be so vocal about these kind things which brought the industry into the appalling state it is today which seems to be regarded as "the new normal" today. There are the very recent examples of Destiny 2, Middle-Earth, Star Wars Battlefront 2 which prove the exaggerated greed and illegal (crates/gambling) practices the big companies are coming up with. We need to make sure Microsoft doesn't follow this route with AoE4, or else we will all be very disappointed.

    Make no mistake, the success of an RTS game on a large scale is ultimately dictated by its success in multiplayer PVP, which is arguably even more important then mod support. A progression system will throw away all this by making it unfair and making the very concept of an RTS pointless as discussed earlier.
    Not to mention that such a system also has the flaw of making the players that play more, hence already more experienced, even more powerful by also giving them better gear/stats, thus widening the gap even further. As if coming home from work and wanting to play a fair game for which you paid full price not possible because you didnt "unlock stuff" wasn't enough. It makes no sense in competitive shooters, it makes absolutely 0 sense in RTS games.

    Adding microtransactions as well to that, into an AAA fully priced title, is absolutely inadmissible and inexcusable, and you should take the responsibility of criticizing such practices immediately. That is where forced progression systems sooner or later lead to, don't be fooled.

  • IamDalvIamDalv Member, Insider ✭✭

    ^ of course, when talking about that appalling state the gaming industry is today I'm referring to the incomplete products sold in DLCs, pre-order scams/luring, forced monetisation of already sold products, microtransactions/pay2win progression systems, gambling, useless skins, bad optimization, console streamlining the product, over simplification, QTE, lackluster overall quality and so on.
    We need to make sure neither of these things are even remotely in the mind of MS/Relic for AOE4.
    They are so overwhelming in a negative way that you could make an AAA game today listing the lack of all those features AS features, and simply win the market.

  • Andy PAndy P Member, Moderator mod

    That's all fine. I just want something in AoE4 to hook me and give me things to work towards. Letting me slowly unlock cool outfits for my units or little flags or decorations for my buildings would be enough for me. I like making my civs unique to me. I think it makes my opponents stand out, too.

    I absolutely do not want gear that changes unit stats, of course.

  • TestableWharf54TestableWharf54 Member, Insider ✭✭

    @Andy P said:
    That's all fine. I just want something in AoE4 to hook me and give me things to work towards. Letting me slowly unlock cool outfits for my units or little flags or decorations for my buildings would be enough for me. I like making my civs unique to me. I think it makes my opponents stand out, too.

    I absolutely do not want gear that changes unit stats, of course.

    Agreed. No pay to win / grind to win. I'm fine with a cosmetic progression system - it could be fun to kit things out how you like.

    Just don't let it affect gameplay.

  • KrOjahKrOjah Member ✭✭

    @MajorPectoralis said:

    @IamDalv said:
    No, the main flaw of AOE Online and main reason for its quick death was the fact it had a progression system. Add the cartoony graphics and you have a mobile game. It was a freemium model game with progression system. No matter how you tweak it, progression systems have no place in an RTS like AOE. They deserve all the criticism out there when coming with stuff like this.

    Leveling up makes 2 types of players:
    Those who like it:
    It makes you want to stick to a game. If there's no reward system for what you do in game, its easy to just see it as a very repetitive game that has no feeling of purpose. It gives that feeling of success and progress that many players need so that the game doesn't just become a dull repetition.

    Those who don't:
    They want a simple game to enjoy and not worry about the consequences of losing... if you lose, it just means you're not as good as the other player and you practice and get better and that's it. Simple, easy.

    I believe AoE3 did a great job of balancing these while AoE2 was too 2nd type player and AoEo was too first type player...

    AoE3 had a progression system but it wasn't complex at all to where players could just ignore it and still win against a player who does focus on it.

    There is > @Andy P said:

    That's all fine. I just want something in AoE4 to hook me and give me things to work towards. Letting me slowly unlock cool outfits for my units or little flags or decorations for my buildings would be enough for me. I like making my civs unique to me. I think it makes my opponents stand out, too.

    I absolutely do not want gear that changes unit stats, of course.

    Yes I was thinking of a leveling system that unlocks essentially just fluff: portraits, small cosmetic changes etc. The thing that will hook me almost exclusively however is if the multiplayer is fun and has enough depth in mechanics and strategic possibilities. The fluff is just a cool little bonus for me. A progression system that adds power or alternative units/techpaths would be horrible. I doubt that will happen anyway.

  • Andy PAndy P Member, Moderator mod
    edited October 14

    Legitimately, if I had to win 1000 pvp matches to give my favorite unit particularly dapper little hats, I would log in every single night until those things were ours. How proudly we would wear them around your cities. Have to play another 1000 matches just to make sure they see enough sunshine.

  • UnboltedCord996UnboltedCord996 Member ✭✭

    I will be happy as long as I have more civ variety this time. AOE 3 and online did a great job with it, and aoe iv must extend this!!

  • play3r_93play3r_93 AustraliaMember

    I also think some form of cosmetic items that can be gained after a certain amount games played or units summoned, or something similar would be a nice addition to game for those who are really hooked. As long as they are purely cosmetic and doesn't increase any stats.

    Optional objectives would be great and I think it would be great in a single player campaign to complete side missions/quests to gain a buff to a particular unit or building.

    What I'd really like to see is something that most games don't have, the ability to customise the HUD and elements of the UI. Now what I mean here is to be able to resize, move, add/delete and change the colour of elements within the HUD or UI. Being able to customise these slightly would allow players to create their own personalised ways to interact with the game. Some people like a lot of numbers and stats on their screens while in game, others prefer a simple cleaner look, and these options would be well received by many.

    Keybinding and shortcuts are things which I feel also should be highly customisable. In many RTS games I've found the way which you move around the map a debate which many players have. A good example is in games where you use the mouse around the edges of the screen to move the map. Some people like it to move automatically when the cursor goes near, other times it's annoying when you want to select a unit on the edge of the current display. I've heard players say they prefer holding down a button then moving the mouse to move the map more effective for their play styles, others like WASD. Movement speed also needs to be considered. I only gave one example, moving the current display around the map, and even that itself has a lot of potential for customisation that players may want in the game.

    As people said before I also don't want to see many little microtransactions and DLCs, which without them limit game play and progression. I can understand that some DLC may be released and as long as they are more of an addon for those who are really interested, rather than the next level of the campaign then I'm fine with it.

  • IamDalvIamDalv Member, Insider ✭✭

    No, even skins still wont work in an AOE game, it would be quite childish to see a historic unit going around the map with a hat, mickey mouse ears or dressed as some clown with lipstick. What a ridiculous sight! It may work in other games because they are cartoony. AOE4 would become laughing stock and lose its reputation.
    Whats this obsession with skins/cosmetics, we are not children anymore.

  • UnboltedCord996UnboltedCord996 Member ✭✭
    edited October 15

    @IamDalv said:
    No, even skins still wont work in an AOE game, it would be quite childish to see a historic unit going around the map with a hat, mickey mouse ears or dressed as some clown with lipstick. What a ridiculous sight! It may work in other games because they are cartoony. AOE4 would become laughing stock and lose its reputation.
    Whats this obsession with skins/cosmetics, we are not children anymore.

    Sorry I wasn't talking about the skins as some of these guys are talking about. I also hate loot boxes, unlockable type of games. Because they are reminiscent of mobile games. I like AoeO but not its business model. I am saying that unit variations like it was in aom and aoe 3.

  • KrOjahKrOjah Member ✭✭

    @IamDalv said:
    No, even skins still wont work in an AOE game, it would be quite childish to see a historic unit going around the map with a hat, mickey mouse ears or dressed as some clown with lipstick. What a ridiculous sight! It may work in other games because they are cartoony. AOE4 would become laughing stock and lose its reputation.
    Whats this obsession with skins/cosmetics, we are not children anymore.

    Cosmetic changes do not need to be childish (mind blown) and can keep with a historic theme from their period. More importantly skins can not interfere with units appearance to the point they distract or camouflage. If they do I will be along side you saying how terrible they are. In an RTS with serious amounts of units care is needed with appearance changes, but that is up to the devs to make sure they get right. Even though I consider this fluff (and ultimately could not care too much if they are implemented) I have no problem with small cosmetic changes. This is also not a childish aspect. We are very much visual creatures, at all ages.

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