A great casual rts

In my friends group, I’m the huge rts fan. I play on competitive ladders, I watch pro tournaments, and I even put on aoe2 and Starcraft streams in the background as I go about my day. Over the stress test weekend, I was able to persuade a gaggle of casuals to be on my team for a few rounds of aoe4. At one point we even had a full team of 4 on a Discord call.

In 1v1 games I fret over all the small stuff. Not being able to reliably task my tc gather point to a dead sheep. Not being able to select 3 villagers from a tightly packed group of 12. Having my garrisoned units always pop out at the same spot instead of the side of the building closest to the ungarrison waypoint. In short, I fight tooth and nail in this game to achieve a granular control over my units and buildings, the details of which are discussed in this recent post from sc2 players.

However, in a voice chat with 3 rts noobs, none of that stuff really mattered. My biggest micro/macro return was in teaching and coaching my friends while playing my civ on “auto pilot.” And you know what, we all had a blast! It’s pretty obvious that this game lacks the fine controls and finessed UI/hotkey system to optimize gameplay and control. Yet, despite that, it is a FUN game. I’m disappointed that I can’t hit a hotkey to instantly select my blacksmith, or choose which units to ungarrison, etc., etc. It’s a bummer. But, despite this, the music, the overall civ design, the sprawl of buildings and the spamming of units, it all feels like Age of Empires.

As the game stands today, I think it can do a lot of good for the rts genre. My friends all expressed interest in playing more. They all want to learn more. I bet they would have a blast in the campaigns. If they do purchase the game, I probably would as well. I will boot up other games to satiate my competitive nature, but when they want to hang out and play as a team, this game is a riot!

I wish this game was polished and refined enough to feel fair and competitive at launch, with all of the controls, UI, and hotkeys needed to be a sweaty ladder god. I want this BECAUSE this can be a great game. But, that seems unlikely. Maybe it will get there in the future, who can tell? I mean, AoE2 was originally balanced around 75 pop when it was released. Even though I’ve been frustrated and I rage a bit about the lack of fine controls, it brought a smile on my face to teach my teenage nephew how to task villagers and build houses for the 1st time and see him raze enemy keeps in multiplayer by the end of the evening.

All of us fans are excited. We want it all. We want to be able to see waypoint flags, we want to identify enemy unit upgrades, we want all sorts of stuff that seem essential for games to feel fair and competitive. I guess I just want to say that aoe4 seems fantastic for newcomers to the genre and it’s a fun game to play casually. I just hope that the game stays popular and profitable long enough for competitive play to feel viable.


Nice post, I’m thinking aoe 4 will be a more casual game especially compared to aoe 2. And that’s a good thing. One of the reasons I play aoe 3 is because it is more casual . One of my coworkers is thinking about getting aoe 4 I think it could be fun to kinda teach him how the game works and how to play aoe.


AoE2 and SC2 have had many many years being tweaked and updated to get to the state they’re in now. I think the game is in great shape for a beta and it deserves to get the additional support it needs post-release to refine it and improve some of these QoL, control features that have been pointed out.


I do agree, AoE3 is a great game to chill with friends on- but it also has a competitive side. Maybe less than AoE2, but it’s actually a pretty good competitive game. I think AoE4 has just enough of the competitive and casual aspects both to be a great game on both scenes. There isn’t enough micro in the game for units, but it improves the casual side a lot. I have high hopes, even if the game flops.

We can only hope.


I agree. I’m looking forward to including younger relatives. Nonetheless, I hope they have a long-term vision for the game.

There are core elements highlighted in the other threads that I think are essential for it have “enough of the competitive” aspects. It’s a fantastic casual game and it’s great for me, since my time is usually limited.


I think a lot of people are underestimating how much micro potential there really is just because arrows aren’t dodgeable.


Units responsiveness just need to be improved for micro potential


I’ll have to wait and see, didn’t really get to do much in the beta because I’m back in university and have weekend classes. I did see a decent amount of micro in the Rus vs HRE showcase.

Agree with you 100%, the issue on this forum (or reddit and youtube too for that matter) is whenever more competitive players ask for additionnal, more finely tuned features we are turned down as doing “elitism” even though those features wouldn’t change a thing for more casual players !!
I mean aoe2 and sc2 are my two favorite rts and they are very very competitive yet my casual friends also enjoy those games very much.

They don’t even know that you can dodge arrow, TC jump and body block in aoe2; or all the ways you can manage your ctrl groups in sc2, or shift click your medivacs in advance to make them drop on the move without you even looking at them, etc …

And all of those features do not negatively affect them as they don’t even know they’re there, so why on this forum does half the population oppose such things ?!

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Probably because that other half are on the forums because they’re dedicated to the game to the point where they want the game to be as challenging as possible. Sorry if I offend someone by saying that, I dont mean it in a bad way. Honestly, I don’t like playing that competively, and I don’t really play ranked in 2 or 3. I just like watching people play it competitive.

Casual play is really fun after a long day of work. Just chilling on some intermediate AI or against friends is really refreshing and fun to mess around on.

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A lot of people on this forum seem to think Beta = Final Product. We have to remember what this Technical Stress Test really was. It was primarily a test of their servers and matchmaking to stress test them with as many people as possible in a tight window. A lot of the UI, hotkey and unit responsiveness was already reported to the team during the closed alpha (some may not know that), I have no doubt these things are being worked on because they are such important issues. Some may even be done, but they werent in the build we played because that wasnt the goal of the stress test. They wanted the most stable build out there to stress test.

This wasnt an open beta to get players to see all the features of AoE IV. People need to remember that.


The casual player plays for a month or two and then stop. The competitive player plays for years. If the developers of AGE IV want it to have a lasting life, it must meet the demands of competitive players.
But it seems that they want the game to be casual even, given the incentives for people to play the game through xbox pass.
If they go that way, it’s going to be a hell of a disappointment.

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Well, I played casual AoE3 with friends since 2008. But that’s just me.

I played some games of the tech stress test with a friend who had never played AoE before, and the main thing that made it appropriate for a casual tryout like that was that it was free. He might well now buy AoE 2 DE when it’s next on sale, but no way will he pay the price of AoE 4 when it doesn’t provide any benefits over 2 DE for a casual player, and arguably has many negatives such as the lack of zoom range (which he immediately saw as a huge problem). If the two games were the same price, I can see why a newcomer might choose the most recent game, but 2 DE will most likely be on sale for 1/7th of the price of 4 before the end of the year, while still arguably being the better game for casual players who won’t encounter the multiplayer frame rate bottleneck problem, so to me it’s a no brainer for a casual player to go for that instead.

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This is a frequent excuse I hear (for other games as well, not only this one). You shouldn’t be so naive, but instead look at the facts and at the hints they give you.

The game is 1 month away from launch, which leaves very little time to introduce new features that may inject bugs into the game without the time for quality assurance. One month from launch is pretty much the final product, not a beta.

Regarding the build being old…consider that it features several new changes that resulted from closed beta feedback (zoom level being the most important one, as well as certain balance changes). There is no purpose for the other changes not to be featured along with those new ones, if there are really any.

We also don’t know where they’re at with game development or where they were at the time of the closed beta. How do you know for instance that Abbasid Dynasty or HRE were ready at that time, or that the French were ready at the time of the “Stress Test”? You don’t know what goes on behind the curtains, or what their priorities are. Maybe they’re working on a future civ to have it ready faster for example.

All the hard facts we have is that a lot of useful things are missing in the build they gave us, that some new ones were introduced as a result of beta feedback and that the game comes out in 5 weeks time. You draw the conclusions.

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Agreed this is the perfect game to unwind the day after office and after the family sleeps. Just a fun little match with AI,wearing headsets and coffee. Perfect.


I work in software development so I definitely have a different view on things. I know that if my goal was to have a stress test, a lot of things people are concerned about werent needed for the build we played. That is my point. So some healthy skepticism is definitely warranted but a lot of people seem to be throwing the game out the window (I wouldnt put the OP in this category) right now just based on this past weekend.

I am definitely not buying this game at launch, I am going to get the game pass, test it out, see what is there at launch and then make a decision on if its a full purchase or not. The marketing and communication for this game has been absolutely terrible which doesnt help either. We have very little idea outside the 8 civs what features will be there at launch or even what is coming after launch.

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Yeah that’s why people playing the game in the span of 3 days found out more and more ways to age up quicker. Found different army compositions. How to rush with English, how to outnumber with HRE, how to command the seas with Abassid, how to…

Also that’s why the game had so many people playing and watching the game on Twitch (to the point of doubling AoE II in its most important torunament).

With a beta, only with multiplayer allowed, and with the most casual component non-existent (the campaign).

Sometimes I really think if you people can see beyond your own belly and ask yourselves if you’re using logic before posting all the hyperbole you get from the flaws of the game, because yeah, it’s far from perfect, but also far from all the apocalyptic things you keep posting.


You’ve already been smarter than me, since I’ve preordered it right after closed beta, thinking those RTS functionalities missing were definitely last minute additions that were gonna get added in the following 2 months.

It’s like the game is a state secret or something, isn’t it? They must be crunching like crazy with no idea what they’re gonna have at launch.