AOE2 advertisement, profit, and population growth

Hello everyone !

Edited: 1-please read all the post to understand what is it about.
2- let me clarify, this is not a post about people paying more it is a post about lowering the entrance fee of the game “preferably free to play” and adding the exact same cost on other places. If we love the game we should care about it growing. And a game that relies heavily on amazing mechanics and strategy, micro and macro and all that. But does not relly AT ALL on visuals. Such a game cannot compete in the pay2play market.

3- the pay to play market, many if not most games rely on attractivness visually and most relly on the first purchase, many of which dies soon after release. But generally the market does not have a loyal customer base but a customer base experimenting because “it looked cool, but it is not amazing when you play it”

4- a major free to play game, many of which are the biggest games. Such games can rely on the quality of the game play to build a loyal customer base. And those customers can then support the game out of their love for the game.
Such “financially conservative” people would rather pay on things they love than try things they don’t care about and they are less likely to fall for a “visually attractive pay to play” kinda game.
AoE2 is 100% in the free to play catagory, it does not relly on visuals but on the quality of game play. We need people to try it competitively for free and fall in love with it, and MANY will likely to purchase the DLC stuff. So they can compete with all civs.

5- all what i will mention later on in this post about cosmetics do not affect gameplay in ANYWAY. WHICH means, they are for the buyer’s eyes to enjoy and nothing beyond that. But by adding to AOE2-de profit. The game’s team will have the budget to add more to their team, fix pathing, make better balance and maybe someday build a whole new aoe2 de engine that plays and feels 100% the same but smoother without bugs.

5- just because AOE2 de is a microsoft game, does not mean they have limitless budget. Those are projects in major companies. Each project runs on a budget and has expectations to be met.
We as players need to support the game meet and exceed expectations so that it can gain more budget, more developers, and more players for better matchmaking queue and less lag.

End if the edit, post will start from here :slightly_smiling_face:

I’d like to start this post by a small intro to explain where am i coming from with what i have in mind.

I’ve returned to this game recently when i learned it’s being updated. I was so hyped, my favorite game of all times is not dead!! But… it did feel like the side project of microsoft employees"irony intended".

I am a path of exile/world of warcraft player. Ans i’ve played too many games including P2W games. I’ve seen many of them die and many stay alive forever. And the best game of them all in terms of age and development is by far path of exile.

Path of exile is a f2p game with paid cosmetics, although some of these "namely"cosmetics are considered by the player base a must-have to play the game “which we call stash tabs, tabs in your loot box so that you can keep your loot and access it at any time”
Some people did call those must-have cosmetics a pay to win but ultimately they are less than 10$-30$ to get enough to play forever.

Other than that most of the company profit comes from cosmetics which does not affect game play in any way, shape or form. And are purchased by most people to support the company.
A key here to remember, if people love your game, they will buy cosmetics from the same feelings as if they’d donate the money for free.

Now lets get into the heart of the subject


generally speaking, from my gaming experience they can change this game completely get more profit, cost players nothing and get more players.

One example would be changing the game to a completely, 100% f2p game in it’s vanilla form. Including player vs player ranked queue. advertise it as the best strategy in history which many
Believe it to be the case. And change their profit strategy to pay for any-non-vanilla civz “which we already do in the form of dlc in steam and else”
Sell cosmetics with a small impact to no impact on game play for some of the cosmetics. “This is POE concept”

So how is all that done?

1- as we established above. All new players can get the game for free with the original 13 ish civilizatiins. If this seems too hard , then at least 3 months for free, enough for them to play, compete, get engaged with and competitive about the game.

2- mods, all mods will be adopted by the company and possibily hire some mod creators like anne_hk mods. Some of the mods will be added to the core game. As they are mods that the game cannot be played without.
Other mods will be purchased for a small amount of money, say 1$ -5$ for a mod.
In this context, developers will have a blast making mods that many people would LOVE TO HAVE. While in the same time mods like small trees, eye catching relics, fish borders… etc will be added to the core game for free.

3- cosmetics, specifically civ themes.
Imagine, if every civilization in AOE2 have a menu-theme that you can purchase and it will change all your menu, buttons and everything you see to that theme. Imagine if that theme represents exactly that civilization and gives such a beautiful sensation of being that civilization.
I would buy such a civ theme without hesitation for sicilians,or saracens, or malians.

4- proplayers/ tournments themese
Same ad 3rd point. But both themes would be somehow mixable so you can have saracen themse with the viper in saracen clothing or TTL logo with saracen background.
All such themes can also have a logo/badge beside the name of the player in game showing who this player is! A saracen theviper / goth hera “goth hera would be funny :joy:” fan … etc…

This happpens with cooperation with pro players and consent but, an in game and in match namw badge with rhe pro player logo and the civ logo to show what themes they purchased.

5- cosmetics, soecifically unit skins/gaia units skins
So here imagine if your beloved monks have a skin of their own? Maybe onky you can see it or everyone can. Either way you have a skin that can both show the opponent that you are an AOE supporter and for you yo enjoy.
The skins could basically be for example “golden hussar skin”
Or “diamond champions skin”
Or even ninja turtle champions skin for all i know :joy:
Point is, it is a skin that should not change the way we identify the units but also change the way we enjoy the unit.

I have to go for now. Will add more ideas when i have time

Lets discuss and hope the devs see and think about our ideas to grow our game into a bigger better game.


I hope this never happens.


This sounds like microtransactions. Having DLC is enough. I do not want to buy skins and whatever silly microtransactions. This game is part of Microsoft, they do not need ridiculous microtransactions.


Please don’t make this game into another Paradox Interactive grand strategy game/Sims bloathing it with cookie cutter cosmetics instead of the usual DLCs…


These cosmetic changes should be introduced via the monthly events, but the devs can’t be bothered.

That’s 100% not what i suggested if your read very well. And the key point i will return to, the game needs to become F2P at least with the first original 13 civs.

But i do understand your fear. however! If you think this game won’t die at some point, you would be mistaken. Because it needs more players.

As a player, You can sacrifice things for the greater good of the game.

And at the same time the devs can be understanding and change things i moderation.

This game would be the best in the world with 10k-30k additional active pvp players because we would be matched with ppl in our regions, the skill gap would be less in the matchmaking too… etc.

Actually that is the whole point. Most of Path of exile players do not buy the cosmetics. And some of the best players and racers don’t.
The whole point is it is something for your own eyes, not for others. You buy it not for game play but because you like to see your screen in a specific way and you think it is a good way to support the company.

What you don’t understand is, the company need to make profit. And the current profit system of the game is the reason why our game is not growing into a major amazing game.

The simple idea here is, the biggest reason for a stagnant game growth, is an upfront cost for the game. Because the market has countless games that look amazing and AOE2 have nothing fancy to show on first glance, it is not an issue once you learn the game, but it is an issue if you are confronted with 200 games and need to pick one. The upfront cost is a battle for visually attractive games that could be trash games and use the visuals for upfront profit.

If you have faith in AOE2 as a game “which i do” then you better believe that once a player tries it he/she is more likely to want to return to it.

If we don’t make the game for free, that will never ever happen. And if you do make it for free, the devs will need another source if money.

Even more , this is also in part about the game balance and pathing that everyone complains about. More profit = more team to fix stuff.
Just because it is microsoft does not mean the game has endless budget. The company as any company will have specific budget for specific projects. And if a project is deemed unprofitable, it can be stopped.
If we really care about a game, we need to genuinly care about their profit so that when we ask for change they will have a reason to bring more people to do that change.

Why do you not want the game to grow? It’s like wishing the game will eventually die because that’s what happens when games don’t grow.
If you love the game, want bugs fixed, want better engine, less pvp lag, more pvp players for faster queues, less skill gap…

all of that relies on game growth.
And your support is important.

aoe2 is a success as it is. I don’t know what numbers they were hoping for when they released aoe2de, but I think 40k+ active multiplayer base is amazing. there is no need to further grow the game.
What you call a better game might be a worse game for others, a title that relies so much on nostalgia would risk a lot by changing a lot


Its already growing and fine as it lasted for 25 years without any of your suggestion.


These are highly toxic forms of monetization that do not improve the game for the actual players, just selling cosmetics gives incentives for things like: cutting out what was previously free content (Event Skins), dropping and or limiting modding support because mods can provide free skin content, Fear of Missing out Abusive cash shop tactics, etc, etc ,etc. These are just few examples of many many reasons why this is bad and this can easily spiral into worse forms.

Funny that you mentioned Path of Exile, it being an egregious example of monetization practices is why I won’t play it

I also want to know why do you care about this sort of thing? Unless you’re some Microsoft Exec you will not be getting a share of money from this, all you should care about is the quality of the game and this is obviously not something that will improve it


The game is fine as it is. It has a big player base, just not enough high level competitive players at the top. Probably because so many of the existing players never play online.

They can add optional skins at $5 per civ or whatever, but there’s no need to make the base game free.


well, you can speak for your self. but if you say the game is success as if the issues the game has have not been around for so long. then you have to bring examples of how the game is “fine and all”

1- the game is the best game there is, but the issues are remaining unsolved constantly. such as pathing or some specific civ balance.

2- getting in a match vs someone in the opposite side of the world resulting in a very bad gaming experience. this is a result of low player count. claiming there are enough players when we have to play a laggy game due to the lack of players does not make sense what so ever!

3- no way to try the game in multiplier if you are new. i can’t invite anyone to the game convincingly even my friends because they all think they don’t want to try a game they are unsure of for 10-35 $

my proposals are meant to bring a discussion on about how to solve those key issues. all of which are solved by having more players which solves 2 out of the 3 issues, and gains more budget for a bigger dev team to solve the buggs as well.

funny you say that when it spent 10 or more years dead. i literally did not hear a single news article about it for the past 10 years it came to me as a shock and regret knowing ppl still played it while i am unaware.

the game is not growing, and especially not for what it’s worth. the game is much better than many other games and yet it is not getting a fraction of what other games are getting.

Why do you think MS made a DE version if it was a dead game?


there is 100% a need for a #### #### game or at least a free 1-3 months period, if you can provide another proposal of how you can have a non-visually attractive game to compete in a world where graphics rules the pay to play market.

then bring it one ! but you can’t sit back and say 'the game is fine being pay to play in market competition"
there is a reason why neither me nor many of my aoe2 “old aoe addict” friends never heard of it being supported or developed again.
and it is 100% because aoe is trying to compete in a market out of it’s category. i said this before and i will say it again.

1- AOE2 is a complex game, same idea as Path of exile.

2-aoe 2 does not rely heavily on graphics, which is also the same way as path of exile.

3- path of exile become one of the best games by competing in a market where a complex game can compete, can be played F2P and then you can purchase essentials to make the game smoother.

4- i find aoe2 a better game than path of exile and yet path of exile achieved much better results than aoe2 with a much more complex gameplay “vastly more complex than any strategy game” but again, i 100% see aoe2 a better game than anything else. and the players who like complexity, many of which are the same audience as PoE market audience.
many of those players will have a thrill playing AoE2 and yet we have this wall that pushes them away.

a player who is playing a very good game is less likely to try a paid game even if it has a good reputation.

5- for people claiming path of exile is a bad example, it is one of the few games that received and continue receiving very high ratings. and is strongly supported by it’s own player base.

all of that to say again, why is aoe2 competing in the graphics-based games market when it can compete in the market where it belongs ?

i clarified that i don’t think it is a deadgame in my original post, but i also clarified that it is clearly not growing as it should because the game is really good and yet i have not heard of it for 10 years prior.
and i also clarified that i can see it going through a dead period again in the future. you can’t keep relying on the “old nostalgic audience” they won’t stick around forever.

aoe2 is not in the correct market which is why deep complex games without a focus on graphics find more success when the fee to enter is literally free or nearly free.

all your worries are completely based on the assumption that Microsoft-aoe2 marketing team will literally rip off the player base. i have more faith in them than that.

i would rather have a more positive approach, rather than sit back and hope the game magically finds a break through in a market where it does not belong.

funny that you talk about how “funny it is to mention poe” when you literally have no idea what you are talking about though. there is a million daily active path of exile players if not more, let alone the non daily ones.

the game never recieved the “egregious monetization” reputation that you claim it has. and the game is literally living on the players wanting to support it and it literally is living on supporter packs beside some other things.

a mature well aware customer should understand that the game needs money to improve, not all monetization is bad. i know my good shares of examples of bad monetization. like what happened in diablo 3 , diablo immortal, diablo 4 and a long period of world of warcraft so i understand your worry.

that said, your claims about POE is not correct and it is frankly toxic because if we don’t give the devil his due we will end up painting everything in black and ruining a better possible progress/

path of exile high ratings and good feedback all around the internet is a proof of a better monetization approach.

so you ask me, why do i want AOE2 project to make more money ?
because that’s how we made our POE become a better game, by caring about it. to begin with the whole point of the forum is to think about how to improve the game, talking as if the game’s money and it’s improvement are not the same subject is by it self weird and incorrect.

i literally looked at more posts than i can count on this forums. most of the posts i read would have been solved with a bigger AOE2 team working on it.

you clearly don’t understand how both money and game quality are directly connected, so tell me. how do you plan to hire more people to solve bugs and issues without money? how do you plan to fix the lag without more players in and around your area ? and how do you propose the game life expetency will be prolonged for a very long time without new “loyal customer generation” ?

you keep saying “microsoft” as if aoe2 IS MICROSOFT"
DO you think bill gates is sitting on his chair and saying “DO ALL WHAT’S IN YOUR POWER to make age of empire succeed!”

that’s not how it works, aoe have a budget to fix it’s own shit, and that budget relies on the profit. LIKE ANY other company and game.

what civ balance issues? ask any pro and they say that this is the best civ and unit balance there has ever been
I don’t understand why people keep complaining about pathing. go back to HD edition of the game and it feels so much worse. there is still some bumping, but look at aoe4 and units just phasing through each other, that’s way worse. if there was a fix for pathing they would have found it after almost 4 years

I have played with people from Australia sitting in Europe and it isn’t ‘a very bad gaming experience’. ofc lag will be a bit higher, those are the rules of physics, but if pros with 100+ apm can manage, most of us plebs with 50 apm can.

I would very much approve of a free demo being available, this doesn’t require any of those toxic monetisation options you are advocating

that sounds like a marketing issue


One of the biggest games right now is Minecraft, so that blows your graphics argument out of the water. CS:GO is over 10 years old and still one of the biggest games in the world. The popularity of games is (and always has been) based on gameplay. So many games with flashy graphics were hyped up when released but people tired of them quickly because the gameplay couldn’t match the graphics. Arguably this is what happened with aoe4 to some extent, after so much hype from the aoe2 community that it was going to “replace” aoe2.

Besides, the aoe2 DE version is perfectly acceptable graphics wise. And anybody who plays games competitively always sets the graphics to low or medium anyway. All the units in aoe2 are immediately clear and obvious, and that’s one of its big selling points over the newer AOE games where units are harder to tell apart.