Constructive critizism after Rus vs Delhi showmatch

Before anyone is getting triggered by this post, it’s supposed to be constructive critizism of specific things that have to get improved.
As a result of that, there won’t be any “positive feedback” in this post, since it’s not about writing an overall review, just pointing objective things out where work has to be done.
I want to play the game badly, I love it and want to love it even more, so don’t take this as a "bash/hatepost.

In this post I go through the things one by one with video timestamps to refer to the things I am talking about.

For anyone who hasn’t seen it before, Age of Empires 4 just got streamed with its’ newest showcase of Rus vs Delhi in a showmatch.


1. Some animations are not properly looped
Speaking about attack animations here, the Wolf, Archers on the Elephants, the mounted archers and Streltsy don’t have properly looped animations.

What do I mean by that?
The unit model in the beginning (first frame) is in a different position than in the end (last frame) of the animation, making the unit model itself “clip” into a completely different position from the end to the start of the next animation run.
For archers for example that means, that in one frame they are holding the bow into the air, in the next one they have it aimed on the ground without any transition.

It’s not properly looped, it just looks off and bad cause those animations are not properly done.
They would work in a “one time played” scenario, but not for a repeating attack animation.

Wolf:

Elephant Archers and Mounted Archers (look at the top right elephant archer and mounted archer):

Streltsy:


2. The Elephant meele attack animation is super lackluster

The elephant meele attack is basically it moving its’ trunk in slow motion.
It doesn’t have any impact and ppl are just magically falling over around it, making it look really bad.
Again: bad animation and this time it just needs a completely different one instead of an adjustment compared to point 1.

Same goes for the spear attack of the War-Elephant (not archer elephant).

It just pokes into the air on a complete other direction and therefore needs directional animations for attacking (front just tusks, side the spearman poking down).
The other question here beeing: when the elephant can only target one target and only frontally anyway, why have the spearman for the side attacks at all? Just delete it.
Only problem of that beeing is that the elephant is supposed to have 2 different attacks stacking, one dealing bonus dmg against cav and probably triggering meele armour twice so the animation/unitmodel reaches out into the unit balance at this point.

Elephant meele:

War elephant:


3. Military building siege is lacking a building animation

Right now they just duck next to it and the siege builds itself.
It looks really bad, while a general building animation with the villagers using a hammer is already in the game.
I’d suggest you just recycle that one on the military models, to make it look cleaner.

Rams getting “build”:


4. UI clarity is still not there

Alot of playing and watching in the feedback posts made it quite obvious.
Whether you like the UI design or not, the clarity of it showing you which upgrade you currently have by tiny dot indication or the lack of a global production queue makes it incomplete.
It already has been suggested that a quick fix would be to replace the dots with bigger roman numerals to make the upgrade stages more distinct.

Upgrade indication in racks and archeries:


5. Spectator UI is lacking crucial information

Informations such as production queue, upgrade comparisons, pop comparison or villager numbers are completely absence for the viewer.

I am reusing another image right now, since literally nothing changed in the spectator UI:


6. Past critizism didn’t seem to get addressed at all

What spooked me out alot is that alot of things that I am reading in this forum for over 6 months now don’t seem to get addressed at all.
The same UI unclarity, the same spectator UI information, the same zoom level critizism and the same animation issues with horse archers for example in the mongol showcase 6-7 months ago.

I always defended the game that these minor things don’t have anything to do with the core of the game and are therefore easy to fix.
UI or animation on a certain unit are final things that are getting changed and is therefore the most easy to work on and replace.
But now, 6 days before release watching them playing the game, really makes me feel like alot of the stuff just fell on deaf ears… or blind eyes.

I still stand by it, that these things are not the world and can be boiled out really easily with a HUGE quality of life effect for players and viewers, but that someone has to point out that animations should be looped for repeating attack animations is…
Let’s say it’s just self explanatory…

I hope some devs read this (or better, already noticed and are working on the issues) so we can get rid of these problems.

Best regards.

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Could you provide timestamps for each point? the video is long and it would be easier to search. :+1:

The timestamps are all hardlinked in the videos

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completely agree, I was also defending this game after a pleasant experience from betas, but was hoping things would have been fixed by now. Nothing has been fixed, if this is the attitude of devs this game will die within 2 months and people will move on. The game won’t survive despite how much research and documentary they made for campaigns.

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That’s my point exactly. I feel its too ordinary to have a long life. All they did is good enough for a short time. They won’t work in the long run. People are excited because they are curious. if these basic things are not improved, within three months, they will discover that the game is not fun anymore.

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I think you exaggurate quite alot.
The game is going to be fine.

It was just suprising to me to see these issues at basically release date now.

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A lot of good points, many of the same things I’ve noticed as well. These games aren’t live, so who knows how old they are and whether theyre on a recent build, so theres some hope there.

I also know that the global queue is a feature they said they were hoping to get done by launch, so if its not I would expect it shortly after.

The building of siege I have to imagine is just a lack of a placeholder thats something theyll likely have done, but who knows.

I would say some past criticisms have been addressed, and others haven’t, at least in anything we’ve seen. Either way I remain very optimistic about this games release and future!

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I notice they change public build on SteamDB 2 hours right before stream and it’s almost actual (Release Candidate). Now they testing RC4.

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Sure but thats coincidence. The games are played and recorded, then selected from a pool of games for the stream, and then theyre commented on by ZeroEmpires and Eric and recorded, and then the videos are played on the streams. This seems to be the order of things based on comments made during the streams, but at the very least these steps are all separate and not immediate. Todays stream ZeroEmpires and Eric commented on a game in which Eric was one of the players, and then when the Q&A started it was noted that ZeroEmpires hadnt been able to make it for the stream today.

Edit: I’m not sure I understood your comment, this may have been irrelevant :grin:

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Well written post overall. Unfortunately, many of these and more will be a part of the game, and I predict they will polish the game bit by bit well into 2022. As is the case with most large games nowadays unfortunately, it takes a bit of time for the devs to almost fully clean things up.

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Game will not die since it has one big thing going for it . There is no competition for it in the genre. No new quality RTS games set in history at all just some WW2 stuff coming.

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Well I’m really sourprise and intrigued, how they chose the game abassids vs Mongols because the Mongol player was terrible. Didn’t know if he had a bad game but if they had a pool, well I don’t know but in the closed beta Iplayed against people better.

But coming back to the topic, yes the game has many things that need to be fixed but I’m sure they will be fixed little by little too. I think it’s the RTS we need now but unpolished. Now maybe they are focusing on fixing other things, let’s see

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Great post.
That wolf in particular looks like a feature that got dragged along on the bottom of the todo list for the whole dev process. It serves absolutely no purpose anymore and just looks and feels janky.
Just show mercy and end Ornlu already :[

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This is relic.

I feel the issue in your assumption is that they listen to the userbase.

It’s the same gamedirector as was in charge of the Dawn of War 3 debacle.

After that failure they said that their biggest issue was not listening to the user base. Unbelievably this aoe has been in development for 4 years, and it was only the beginning of this year when the guy did an interview and said that they recently started watching aoe2 online and were surprised.

I was like, uh… what? Surely an understanding of the current state would be the first thing you aim for?

Now we have a BBB game for AAA price with 6 civs at release with gameplay and UI feedback that’s just unaddressed.

What a wasted opportunity.

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I agree with that.
I would also like to see some improvements on spectator ui as well.
We had so many great models they could have based on with capture age on aoe2 and the spectator ui from the esoc patch times

Concerning the lack of impact of animations, I’d like to add the general building arrow-fire as well as the burning oil in this scene, where all of reddit comes together to destroy that keep: Vils vs Keep
You cannot gauge what radius is even effected by the oil (we can since we spectate blue in that moment and see all the health bars, but imagine it from the opponents view).

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There is still a lot to improve. I really dislike these hills. why even have them when they hide the Elephant’s entire trunk and feet in the ground. the deers keep walking in the same place too.

I also observed guns smoke animations look good now, even better than aoe3. and castle’s destroyed wall pieces slide down from the hill. so that’s some good changes. :+1:

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I can’t wait to play the game but you make some really good points. If there is siege crew or homing arrows can be debated, but you mention some clear objective criticism that everyone can agree on. I just want to know what they talk and decide right in this moment when they read this feedback. I can’t even imagine

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Watch the elephant die a few moments later… he throws the 2 guys on top straight into hell : D
“Physics are so early 2000’s, dude-bro!”.

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HmmClueless

They probably don’t

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