The lobbies are BUGGY and finding and joining a game is time consuming. This MUST be fixed.
Stability of the game and eliminating the frequent crashes. This MUST be fixed.
Monetizing multiplayer. For example, adding a $2 or $5 per month subscription of some kind while still keeping multiplayer free to play. That gives you incentive to keep improving multiplayer and gives you the funds to do so. Without it, you’re spending time chasing single player features to try to sell more copies, when you have a big user base of return “customers” that are willing to spend money but instead are getting frustrated by all the bugs.
Everything else is secondary to above three items.
Hard no to your third point. You seem to forget that a considerable amount of the user base consists of singleplayer gamer. I can get access to dozens of games for that prize each month if you compare that for example to XBox All Access which is from Microsoft.
Sell campaigns or new architecture/unit sets if you don’t want to release new expansions. This alone would sell like hot cakes considering all the requests there are for more appropriate Viking architecture etc.
#3 doesn’t affect single player at all. It helps multiplayer because it gives the company incentive to continue to improve multiplayer. Follow the money.
Regarding the price, go play the other games then. For a lot of us, we want to play AOE2 multiplayer but the bugs make it hard and frustrating to do so. You can see a ton of people complaining about it in the forums and it’s most of the complaints for the game.
What you guys don’t realize is that free = buggy. If they aren’t making money off it, what’s the point of them improving it? If they don’t improve it, then it’s a poor experience. If it’s a poor experience, then people don’t play the game. They have to figure out some way to monetize it beyond selling a copy forever for $20, because then it ends up dying like it did before.
Monetizing a game on the multiplayer side is very difficult without introducing power creep features, and we definitely don’t want those.
We also have a player base that is more than likely going to be wildly against a subscription service, as a good chunk of them have been playing for free for over a decade.
If you ask me, a good way of monetizing the game would be via sales of professionally developed cosmetic mods and similar content, it keeps the art team busy and it would be entirely optional.
An example might be a visual upgrade to your buildings when playing certain civs that other players can also see, things like flairs in your TCs, or on the more expensive side, maybe alternative architecture skins that you can equip for your favorite civilization, that might make them stand out from other players that are playing the same civ.
Adding a level of personalization to each players town that is visible to other players (without becoming cluttered, which is a real risk, see: TF2) is probably the way forward.
Then name some RTS games that had a subscription fee and died off because of it. You won’t be able to
$20 game purchases were the old way off thinking back when we installed with CDs and it was one-offs purchases and they created expansions for another one-off purchase.
Subscriptions are the way of the future and it allows the game to be maintained long term. You can have free and for-pay features, like what Fano suggested above. Without monetizing it though, it will die off just like it did before.
No, it had a monthly subscription, that gave you boosters for your money, with which you could expand your deck-style armies.
Your idea has been tried already, and failed miserably. RTS is not as popular as MMO, and even Pay to Play MOBAs fail, all the heavily populated ones, that actually make money, are Free to Play.
RTS is a relic of gaming, and cannot be modernized in any way, nor do even new fans of tjhe genre want it modernized (as evidenced by the success of old games, when compared to new ones), much less monetized.
It is a bad idea. Has been tried and failed Miserably. Would never work, and would immediatly kill MP.
It’s only dumb to people who don’t understand basic supply and demand.
Look at Chess.com as an example. It has an excellent user experience. Free to play and subscriptions built in. The subscriptions have allowed them to continue to improve it and maintain it, while other “free chess” websites have long folded.