decided to check out aoe3 pros on twitch so I can figure out how to force civs like ports to play age 2 and end games in under 15 minutes. gameplay was not what I expected.
first game I caught was a China vs Otto game. for some reason Otto opened with cav and suicided them under tc/outpost fire for a shaolin and a vill that was idle for 30 seconds. then comes back with 5 jans and again suicides them into base. if China played better, he would have lost no villagers and been greatly ahead.
a pointless waste of resources that had no chance to accomplish anything vs a decent opponent. Otto could have just started abus/jan and done much better age 2 or done a naked ff and gotten a much stronger push.
China counter push lost 6 units to tc fire for no reason at all whilst floating over 1k resources not training or building anything. units just marched single file into tc while training disciples. lost 3 vills to a cav raid in exchange for a house, imam and 2 vills before deciding to siege tc and lose the fight to a colonial militia pop.
the decisions China made are just baffling. why begin sieging tc when he had no chance of taking it down with current mass? when age up pop is likely and otto can bring cav back to flank along with cm? just scout with disciples/explorer around resources and push him off while building up army. also idled all villagers for no reason for 35 seconds when the raid threat was gone, 0 income for over half a minute. and wasting food on doomed disciples when it was clear the fight was lost rather than spending it back home for bigger mass.
literally several minutes have passed without training a single unit at this point aside from disciples.
China had good cav raids but also had 7 villagers idle for 2 minutes before going industrial. and to stop pushing just because of a fort on one side made no sense as well. ship hand mortars to keep pressure on the other side so he can’t gather resources and force good engagements. put disciples or qianq to scout gold mines and hunts to keep him holed up and starved as mass continues to grow. consider shipping manchu to prevent raids and deny any spahi/mameluke miracles while China continues to out boom and out mass.
instead, China decided to age up. at 95 pop. why? to go several minutes with idle villagers, floating resources and not training units. to then choose to age up after losing mass and being vulnerable to a push. what would compel China to do this. no resources for upgrades or the mass to benefit from them. I don’t believe a single guard upgrade was researched and if the resources instead were used on units, it would have prevented the bad otto push. cav mass was also suicided 22 minutes into the game.
and why did otto push with just jans and cav 16 minutes into the game. no abus or falconets or mamelukes/spahi. against a decent player that kited and spent resources on units there was no way this type of push would have worked, and it’s still unbelievable that it did. redcoats and qianq/chanq were sacrificed for no reason instead of being massed behind skirms and there was almost no attempt to kite. skirms were literally fighting at 10 range trading shots.
it’s hard to believe this is what top aoe3 gameplay looks like now. there was nothing to learn as everything they did was just so wrong. the matchup should have been played differently from both sides. just a year ago the gameplay on twitch was so much better. I have OBS recordings from vanilla between 1s lt that are better. and strangely chat was complaining about balance. there is no way game can be balanced around that match. maybe otto cav or China is op, but who can say from that gameplay.
game afterwards was Dutch vs France. I couldn’t understand why Dutch insisted on making zenatas and shipping ruyters. France did not make a single unit of heavy cav entire game, just mupuche natives that countered them. what was going on in the dutch player’s mind? maybe save those 5 zenatas to protect a skirm mass instead of repeatedly suiciding them into the 2 anti cav units the French player was making? the only units he made all game? I couldn’t look away out of morbid curiosity. unironically would have done better if he went halberdier/grenadier. or aged up for a Blueguard + cannon push. sadly, stream ended before I could see the result. if I didn’t know better, I would have thought the French player was memeing on him, but this is probably what top aoe3 gameplay looks like now.
to his credit I went in looking for a way to defeat semi ff meta and left entertained. it wasn’t a waste of time and he succeeded in his job. streaming also makes you play worse than playing offline so I’m sure he normally plays much better. but current boomy/ff meta isn’t fun and still seems optimal way to play. no interest in playing these longer games.