Civ Variance: Potentially Good?

One of the biggest factors that held AoE2 back from being the premier competitive RTS title is the variety. With 40 civs at this point, it is completely impossible to balance the game. With each of the 40 civs offering unique bonuses as well as a unique unit that often don’t fit well into the rock-paper-scissors gameplay, the balance still to this day remains horrendous.

Now, I like how AOE 4 is adding variance to existing civs, expanding on how a civ plays instead of forcing another redundant civ that doesn’t add much to the game. I kind of feel like adding one or two landmarks would have took care of adding playstyle variance, but I don’t exactly know how things will play out.

BUT I am extremely wary of how drastically different they will be. Will they fundamentally switch things up to a point where they are no different from forced diversity in AoE2 (absolutely demolishing balancing along with it)? Adding a civ variance gives me this uneasy feeling that they will fundamentally switch up how the vanilla counterpart plays, not just tweak the playstyle.

With just 10 civs, win/loss percentage is looking much better for AoE4. I am a huge proponent of slowly adding new civs, balancing the existing ones as perfectly as you can (getting them to as close to 50% win rate across all matchups, balanced around the top 25% of the player skill level where skillsets necessary for good RTS gameplay actually shines through… but I digress).

So I like the idea of adding 2 new civs on top of 4 playstyle variance to existing civs.

But I HATE the idea of essentially adding 6 civs at the same time.

I guess we’ll wait for more info.

If it had been a “Revolution” mechanic from AoE3, it probably wouldn’t have affected the balance as much. However, since literally 6 new civs are added, there will now be 16 CIVILIZATIONS.

We would be only 2 civs away from being like Aoe2 Conquerors (13+5=17), and there will practically be more civs than when AoE3: Asian Dinasties came out (8+3+3=14 civs). In any case I want to assume that the devs had to be prepared for this at some point. It happened to Age3, and now it would be Age4’s turn.

Let’s hope that the balance of the most broken civs or with the greatest number of possible plays (which would become the Byzantines and Japanese), makes us consider adding more unique units to the HRE or unique technologies to the original civs. At least that’s what was done in Aoe3, and now the English can create Rangers, the Germans can turn their crossbowmen into a Napoleonic-era soldier, and cards added to the Spanish to represent their viceroyalties.