One thing I think the AOE series really lacks is the “human traces” on the random maps before the players enter. Every skirmish feels like you’re starting in wilderness. There need to be more variety. If I want to play a battle in the countryside or urban areas, I need to open a scenario editor.
AOE3 did this a little better with treasures, native villages and trade routes. But now with the capturable windmills, towers, etc. on some maps it is even more enriched.
I would actually like a real urban map. Like there was one map called Asuncion in Wars of Liberty mod with streets (yes another thing that random maps really lack and you cannot even build them) and neutral buildings.
Really hope they could be even more creative on this for the future map designs.
To add a little more to this: both AOE2 and AOE3 have a large amount of aesthetic objects in the map editors that mostly only appear in campaigns, such as roads, signs, bridges, special buildings, flags, etc. These could all be used to make more interesting random maps and I’m happy the devs are trying.
It’s an interesting concept but I don’t think it’s being used to it’s full potential. The Windmills are essentially just a trickle and the Towers don’t really give you map control by themselves since they just get captured by anyone who walks nearby unless you build your own buildings to keep them under your control.
What I’d like to see is villages that increase your population capacity.