Critical Feedback on Forgotten Empires and all studios involved on the Age of Empires Franchise

:warning: Disclaimer: I created this thread not to promote any dissent or hatred towards the Forgotten Empires Team and all involved studios but to provide a constructive feedback on the quality of their games.

Just like everyone here, I’m a huge fan of the Age of Empires franchise and kudos to FE’s hard work with the involvement of Microsoft that all the 3 main series of the franchise got their respective definitive editions and the upcoming Age of Empires IV.

However it comes to say that behind all the definitive editions and just the recently released “Lords of the West” DLC for AoE 2 DE lies a major concern. The Forgotten Empires (FE) with (including other studios involved) approach to all their Age of Empire games in the simplest term is “a lack of consistency :exclamation:” which I’ll explain further in detail.

I think it has something to do with the product management not necessarily the development team but when viewing FE as a team there’s a void in the quality of the definitive editions pre-launch and post-launch.

I’ll try to denote most of the major problems faced in each of the 3 main series (AoE DE to AOE 3 DE) to which I believe that Forgotten Empires can do better for every upcoming updates or when releasing new products whether new content in expansions or DLCs.

:no_entry:Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition and its Major Concerns

Let us first discuss the problems that lies for the most favorite game of the franchise i.e. Age of Empires 2. Here we are going to discuss the Definitive Edition, this game as we all agree whether you’re from the single-player or multiplayer community is a true masterpiece. It has almost near perfect formula when it comes to the balance of content for all types of players and the “civs” that we play either in campaigns or ranked games.

With the recent release of the Lords of the West DLC, there has been a rise in the “inconsistency :exclamation:” to all aspects of the game each update from the design of the menu to random crashes.

  • The “Lords of the West” DLC to some is a cheap 10 $ bargain while to others are $$$ greedy hyper-capitalistic product. I’m one of the people who actually promoted to pre-order the DLC both here in Steam and the forums but to some extent I’ll agree with the others too who insisted that the DLC is not worth enough.

There are two major issues to why the Lords of the West DLC is “not that worth enough”;

1.. Having a pre-order bonus as playing one of the two new civs one day before the launch of the DLC shouldn’t be promoted but instead new civs must be played in a separate testing environment (mentioned in the lack of testing below). You don’t want your customers testing a prototype before the launch of the product one day before.

What they could have done instead: They could have promoted the DLC weeks with a video trailer about the DLC’s exclusive contents weeks before, gave access to pre-purchasers a month of early testing access to the new civs and perhaps even added a bonus single exclusive profile icon as a proper incentive for those who pre-ordered.

2.. The 3 new campaigns based on “how they are stuffed” into the Campaigns menu shows laziness and lack of professional organizing the UI. I give utmost priority to the UI because that’s almost 100% what the players will feel and interact with the whole time which they failed in that regard.

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The localization is also lacking in quality, just check the Spanish translations below where the texts are going outside the tabs;

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I’ll not comment on the campaigns themselves as I believe they are well designed since Philly is one of the developers for the Hautevilles campaign.

  • Now moving on to the more pressing issues of the game;

:x: The game even after a year later is still badly optimized where almost everyday you’ll see someone making a thread about their menus not transitioning properly or getting random disconnects.

:x: It is saddening that last year in the Anniversary Update, a game mode called Battle Royale was released but now nobody is playing it since queue times for it takes more than 30 minutes or sometimes an hour you just quit the queue to play vs A.I. The major reason for people not playing Battle Royale is not the mode itself but the lag players experience instead of enjoying an actual fun game mode. I bet many players will play Battle Royale if not for the game lag and disconnects.

From other platforms,

:x: The lack of testing before releasing a new civ, map or major civ balance changes. In my existence within this forum, I mostly always disagree to agree with the MP community but their reasoning behind the absurd broken mechanics is something to ponder upon. I don’t want to set an example from another RTS game but in another RTS game called Starcraft 2, they have a “testing” mode where new balance changes are tested before being finally implemented.

:x: The lack of professionalism in UI design including the menu and fonts used. There has been a massive backlash when the new menu from the anniversary update patch came but until now not a single fix to make it better for players. Below is a thread regarding the new main menu with lots of good suggestions;

Below is an example of how the quality shows laziness in terms of readability and presentation,

Definitive Edition History Page (very modern and bland) :x:
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HD Edition History Page (Look at that sweet font!) :heavy_check_mark:
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:x: Most of the important game options are hidden in the abyss. The “Mods” manager are hidden in a gear box icon while the editor is somewhere deep within the skirmish tab. I chuckle at the irony of promoting to use Mods in this link;

(It’s an excellent blog by BBQTurkman btw) but when the Mods is hidden under a small icon, players will have no clue where to access it (not even a guide or tooltip to show where the Mods manager is located).

:x: Not really a pressing concern but regarding events where most of the event related icons are colorful balloons, snowmen and hotdog icons, cmon FE you can do better when more historical icons are the rewards. From time to time it might be okay but I’m seeing a pattern for each event you, a set of too colourful icons not really fitting the spirit of the game. This is not Fortnite or League of Legends :exclamation:.

One of the few good historical icons was the Mongolian Chieftain icon from the Mongolian Event.

:white_check_mark: Good Profile Icons
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:x: Fortnite Level Icons
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If I left out any major issue for this game feel free to point it out in a constructive manner.

:no_entry: Age of Empires Definitive Edition and its lack of updates

Now to the first Age of Empires, here we are going to discuss Age of Empires Defintive Edition and its only one major concern; the lack of updates and news. People who bought this game are still hoping to have more patches and fixes on the game that pioneered it all. At least if there will be the harsh trush of no more updates, can FE and the studios involved for AoE DE be transparent that it will no longer receive any updates.

The game as far as I’m concerned despite the low playerbase has a lot more of potential to grow if people or for example, players from other AoE games see its predecessor still getting updates would love to try the game. This game logically also the one that needs more DLC alongside AoE 3 DE when it comes to new campaigns and civs.

However I’m glad to see new content across all the games. This is another of the inconsistency I’m referring to when FE and involved studios are constantly updating both AoE 2 DE and AoE 3 DE while leaving AoE DE behind more.

Another issue is when it comes to events like the Christmas 2020 Event, only AoE 2 DE and AoE 3 DE got the events. With the New Year 2021 Event, only AoE 2 DE has the event and it’s also very late when they release the events, seriously a New Year Event by the end of January?

I think if FE really abandoned the game, they could inform the players with transparency via newsletter implying that no further support for the game will come.

:no_entry: Age of Empires 3 Definitive Edition - still feels under Beta?

Many months have passed by since its release, AoE 3 DE has still lots of major gameplay bugs. One recent bug that prevents you from matchmaking is when a player has subscribed to any mods. One thing I can say is that the game is gorgeous. However it comes at a price, some players are still unable to play proper team games with constant lagging and many more bugs posted by players in the AOE 3 DE forums.

  • You can view that Profile in the Multiplayer tab is still under construction and who knows when they will prioritize the completion of the Profiles with detailed statistics instead of making profile avatars such as a golden capybara icon which is my favorite so far.

  • A major issue for AoE 3 DE so far that I’ve observed is that among the three Definitive Editions, this game has the slowest patcher when it comes to updating in Steam. There are issues where the game when updating will delete other files from your computer and that is a very major concern

I’ve seen prominent AoE 3 DE players shying away from it waiting for the game to be fixed. Currently the game is playable but not yet truly polished.

:name_badge: Age of Empires Franchise as a whole

I’ve bought all products from the Age of Empires Franchise and despite my critical feedback, I don’t regret buying these childhood masterpieces including the sweet soundtracks. I might be part of the problem but that’s only because I believe these masterpieces will only be better under the right management and decisions from the studios involved.

I also noticed the quality of :warning: Age Insiders’ program :warning: as deteriorating :exclamation:, yes I view the AoE Tribune sent to mail occasionally where the newsletter is basically a rehash of all the announcements made here. With the numerous previous surveys, no changes are still made which I’m patiently waiting for. A roadmap for all their games will be a great addition to the newsletter.

I’m just a concerned AoE citizen, I hope that FE and all the involved studios for all AoE projects will be “consistent :heavy_check_mark: in terms of their quality and transparency. For me, with the advent of Acti-Blizzard, AoE franchise is the last bastion of golden age RTS.

Wolololo!

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🡒 EXCLUSIVE TO LORDS OF THE WEST
The Sicilians are unlocked exclusively for owners of the Lords of the West DLC. Try out the Sicilians early (multiplayer only) by pre-ordering Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition – Lords of the West, then enjoy everything the expansion has to offer on January 26th!

🡒 EXCLUSIVE TO LORDS OF THE WEST
The Burgundians are unlocked exclusively for owners of the Lords of the West DLC. Try out the Burgundians early (multiplayer only) by pre-ordering Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition – Lords of the West, then enjoy everything the expansion has to offer on January 26th!

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Thanks for the clarification, I updated the post.

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This is one of the most important things. This game is soo good, has pretty big player base, and still, they always let us down by putting an unfinished product online. And now, many people have errors, have no intention to play the game, and are disturbed because they can’t play it because of many new bugs. Every time new patch is out, there are more and more errors and bugs.

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@RadiatingBlade Hey man need your help, I don’t know why the images are broken. I even tried to reupload the images but still broken?

Thanks, the images are now fixed <3

They can add a “Testing/PTR” tab in the Lobby browser and move the “clans and leaderboards” within the Profile.

I was like “yes, there is thing to say” but then, after reading your post, I feel you’re misunderstanding and spreading everything.

The bad :

Not true. It has been improved by a lot since DE release. The code is old, and it’s amazing it runs very well, it just requires higher gpu and a modern gaming computer.

This is what you purely what you believe and speculation. You and I have no idea how they make balance. Balancing a game is hard. And a STR with 37 civs isn’t an exception.
Hear out all the pros and they’re saying it’s pretty well balanced, and highly most of the time they’re happy with the balance changes.

Hahaha. Okay, but this is your point of view. It doesn’t affect your gameplay.

I either don’t like “trollesque” or “funny” icons/mods, but then, I just don’t put them :). I ignore them, and if people are happy to have those, then let it be. What does it change to your life?

Again, it’s your point of view. Do you have studies in UI and UX? The UI is nicely done, from what are the new standards. People, and especially in this game, hate usually changement.

But this is for the greater good.

I’m sad you’re just mentioning that, when the UX is, in the other hand, terrible. But I’m not here to talk about that.

Again, no.

UI is clean. No box, no pointy corner 14px font, vibrant colors, all of that is better for the eyes. But I guess again, you don’t know this area.

Even myself that is a newbie in this area I wouldn’t have dare mentioning that.

And again, I feel like you’re misinterpreting UX and UI.

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Misunderstanding? When the most of the issues I’ve mentioned are being faced by many players. Take note this is not a rant but a critical feedback for FE and all involved studios. I’m a huge fan of this game and the studios but sometimes you have to be critical so the game further improves.

Based on what you’re saying it seems you’re only thinking of a minor party of the community. Not everyone has the $$$ to splurge on a high gpu computer just to play the game. I myself have no problems in playing the game since I have an above average gaming computer. Are you familiar with the word “optimization”?

Exactly “balancing” will be harder in the future if no further testing will be done. No, the new civs are dictated as op even by the pro levels such as Hera.

NEW BURGUNDIAN UNIQUE UNIT IS OP 100% - YouTube

Just the recent nerf on the OP Franks is a proof that some civs are OP. Besides this is not my niche, I’ll leave them to the MP community. The utmost priority is testing or some sort of PTR before any massive changes for quality and less errors.

I’m one of the menu modders for this game where I know each the ins and outs of the menus. The changes are in the most part acceptable however it’s overall a bad change. Why you ask? It brought a lot of major frustrations such as transition lag and the loss of instant access to the most important parts of the menu.

If you comprehensively read my thread I’ve even described how the “Mods” and “Scenario Editor” tabs are hidden unlike the pre-anniversary menu where there’s direct access to both of them immediately once you launch the game. That what I’ll call a bad “UX” especially if you’re a new player trying to find the mods you want to subscribe.

:heavy_check_mark:Pre-Anniversary Menu with quick access to Mods and Editor (Highlighted in yellow)

:x:Anniversary Menu with quick access gone

Yes. I also have completed a mini-course about design and the anniversary menu is a poorly made. Have you seen the fonts each update? They’re getting worse and that is “not for the greater good” (please don’t bring politics here).

New Main Menu and User Interface - Age of Empires II: DE / II - Discussion - Age of Empires Forum

Kindly read this thread I tagged you and see the suggestions made for a better UX/UI.

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broken for me still.

Some of the images got broken again unfortunately.