As one of those who have been playing AOE since childhood, I’m excited as the game is about to release. Overall I think the game is good and have lots of potential, but like many in the forum, I think something is wrong with the scaling and that must be fixed, here’s why.
In short, AOE is a game about the balance of immersion and competition, AOE 2 does it particularly well and that’s why it has the biggest fan base. (Without AOE 2, there won’t be an AOE 4) However, the current AOE 4 graphic design is breaking the immersion and shifts the game toward a more competitive end, breaking the balance (players that would like to immerse themselves in building up an empire will feel something’s obviously wrong with what they are building). So i see it a must to fix the scaling in order to restore the balance and satisfy both sides. It has already been proved feasible, by AOE 2.
The argument above is based on a theory of mine. Games are made to satisfy our two basic needs, to create and to destroy. From the POV of gameplay, creation is related to immersion, because in order to build a town, you have to image what a life there will be, and destruction is related to competition, of which the reason is pretty obvious. In practice, games like Farming Simulator, City Skyline, Settlers etc. are on the creating(immersion) side, players could build a small town, help it grow into a metropolis and thrive, with few or none war(competitive) elements. Games like Starcraft, Supreme Commander, Command and Conquer etc. on the other side of the spectrum are about destruction(competition), with few or none immersion elements, and even if there are, they mostly serve the purpose of war. For competitive players, immersion is not a concern because the town they build only serves as a huge barrack. Just look at Starcraft, would you image a life in the Protoss base with gigantic interstellar gates which are basically wormholes, or a life in the Zerg base with the opportunity to engage in a glorious evolution(mutation)? And finally, games like AOE, Stellars, Total War series reach a delicate balance of creation and destruction. In AOE, you build a kingdom, guide villagers to construct churches, houses, windmills, work in the farm to feed each other, or to fortify them with walls, castles, towers, protect the realm with a grand army, engage the enemy on the battlefield, win the game by force or by culture. Though immersion and competition contradicts with each other, but if they work together it’s often better. If the game is too far on the creation(immersion) side it gets boring, while too far on the destruction(competition) side it gets painful because the fear to lose is so strong that playing the game just became a struggle to beat the opponent. That’s why some RTS is more fun to watch than to play. AOE is not only about competition, there are plenty of players like me would like to explore the immersive side of the game, enjoy kindom-building and competitive battles at the same time. Among games that offer this experience, AOE is the BEST, but also has its limits. For gameplay and performance reasons things can’t be too realistic. But when the simplification goes too far, immersion will be damaged. Even if we are trying to persuade ourselves that this is only a representation, it’s obvious something’s off.
Inconsistent scaling among unit and building:
Inconsistent scaling among units:
Inconsistent scaling among buildings:
Inconsistent scaling is everywhere. It’s so hard to ignore, it’s hard to enjoy the kingdom you just built because the components are form different universes. This not only breaks the immersion, but also breaks the balance that keeps AOE unique. If they stick to AOE 2 scaling it shouldn’t be a problem in the first place since AOE 2 did a wonderful job. Given the number of complaints, I think in the long run, leaving the problem will harm the overall player-base. So either devs fix this themselves, or let the modders do the job. Make AOE great(2019) again!