Firstly, I do hope it will be on PC - what is this XBOX Live stuff I've had to use just to get onto this forum?
AOE3 was not the same game as AOE2 (my favourite in the series). The modern graphics were great but I wished they'd stuck with the classic game play - I hated the card building crap and city deliveries and such nonsense.
Things I'd like to see:
- classic play - as per AOE2, follow the KISS principle and recreate the classic game but with modern effects. There should be different civs, units, upgrades etc just like before. This simple formula combined with modern effects would be a winner.
- sandbox play - ability to create without having to engage in war. This could be a game mode eg a village/city builder in style. Creation could include things beyond buildings eg road/rail/landscaping etc. Note, I'm not talking about editor mode where you design a level. I mean the game is running and you have to gather resources to build anything etc.
- creation play - a game play mode where instead of building canned units/buildings etc you can use resources to build custom buildings/units limited by your imagination and with the resources available, construction could follow some simple physics rules (or lego rules?) to allow players relative freedom
- it would be cool to be able to place units in particular areas of buildings rather than buildings being simply graphics eg place mangonels/archers on city walls etc.
- LAN servers - to allow families to run local, persistent worlds in safety instead of being forced onto public servers. Ark Survival Evolved is a good example.
- keep it gore-free - while the AOE theme is war-focused, the lack of gore and cartoony units keeps it light-hearted and accessible by young family members. If a more adult feel is sought, it should be an option that can be turned off.
- "blue sky" idea game mode - ability to use the maps as a MMO? Bit like a city builder where you can zoom in and become a citizen. This might be a feature of the sandbox mode combined with LAN servers so you can create virtual worlds and interact with family/friends within them. This might be less of a game mode and more of a virtual world mode. One possibility is to allow LAN servers to interface to Internet servers (on agreement with the respective admins) to start creating a dynamic "world" from many separate maps allowing users to "travel" between maps/trade etc.