Deconstructing Age of Empires IV Fan Preview Video [Piece by Piece]

I think ALL “heavy cavalry” type units will have a basic 1 hit recharging charge mechanic which “uses up” the Lance/Spear/FireLance whatever. The animation and weapon is just different for each culture - maybe Chinese with Firelances have a bonus on that initial hit of damage compared to regular lances which recharge to be used again faster etc etc.

I thought of a few other things since I last posted here. First, the image below,

makes me wonder whether the range of archers will depend on their elevation, in the same way that line of sight seems to depend on the terrain. It would look pretty ridiculous for archers at the bottom of such a steep cliff to be able to fire up at archers on the ramparts just as effectively as if they were on the same level. I think we know through interviews that archers will fire differently depending upon whether or not they have direct line of sight of their targets (so they don’t fire through stone walls but instead arc their shots over), so it seems possible that archer range is also affected by elevation.

Second, we know from interviews that there are (at least) two different types of ships in the game, one more mobile, and the other larger, but less maneuverable. I didn’t notice it before, but you can actually see one larger ship in the naval teaser. Most of the ships close to the camera are small, but in the top right, you can see one that is about twice the size of any other, and has four sails instead of two. In terms of scale, it seems like they are answering the “aoe2 or aoe3?” question with “both”. The number and size of the small ships are more like what we would see in aoe2, while the big one reminds me of the bulky ships in aoe3.

Finally, I looked at the gameplay trailer again, and I think that something interesting is going on in the dark age clip. If you watch the engagement between the English vanguard men-at-arms and the Delhi Sultanate scouts + spear rush, the animations look different for the two men-at-arms in the rear than for the one in the front. First, when approaching their enemy, they crouch and raise their shields, while the one in front stands upright. Second, when retreating after the initial engagement, they are still crouched and appear to move slower, while the first walks back upright. I wonder if we are seeing the “snaring” mechanic from aoe3 at play here? Or perhaps there are different stances for the swordsman line (like those already confirmed for spearmen and longbowman)? Or am I reading too much into this, and the animations are just diverse enough to play tricks on my eyes? I’ve put a couple of images below so that you can decide for yourself.



Personally, I think snaring is happening here. I think the difference in the first photo is just that the two men-at-arms in the back have identified the enemy and are doing a sort of preparation-for-attack animation, much like how the spearmen change from holding their spears vertically to horizontally when near enemies. I think in the second photo, we see the men-at-arms being slowed down after being struck by enemy melee units. Hard to say, though.

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If you watch the video in slow motion it looks like the two swordsmen in the back are moving away more slowly. They look like they’re moving more slowly into battle and out of battle.

I think they are both in between.
AoE3 had even bigger size difference between ships (that wasn’t really reflected in the stats).
The small ones seem bigger than AoE2 ships (besides turtle ships) while the large ones seem to be smaller than AoE3 frigates.

I hope they have a reasonable price for their size. In AoE2 they cost less than a cavalry unit while being much bigger than an elephant.

I hope the AoE4 snaring only applies to food soldiers, cavalry should keep their mobility.
Being able to snare archers is a good way to prevent them from hit and running your infantry to death.
Infantry is basically useless in AoE2 because they are just too slow to compete with archers.

^ definitely. Also, besides the weird size to cost ratio, in AOE2 it almost never made sense to engage water units with land ones, since the trade was rarely cost effective. It would be cool if there were actually interesting interactions between land and water units in AOE4, beyond just “avoid engaging water units with land ones”. Allowing for a population cost difference might help with that, too. Then, we could have archers on ramparts firing flaming arrows down on naval vessels attacking a city, or archers in a stealth forest ambush transport ships traveling along a river. Sounds pretty neat to me, especially if the boats can fire in directions other than their orientation, like how the Mongol cavalry archers work.

I agree, I would like to see foot soldiers used more frequently in AOE4, and snaring might be part of the solution. It’s also possible that, based on the reload animations for crossbows, those units are unable to move while reloading. We also know that archers switch to hand-to-hand combat for adjacent units, so their effectiveness may drop off dramatically if left unprotected. I just hope that micro is still involved in some way, although I’m not really sure of the best way to keep it in the game while also making all these improvements to realism :thinking:

The last time I played aoe3 (a long time ago) I remember the cavalry looking really bizarre when moving in formation with snared units, galloping in slow motion; it makes sense to me that they be excluded from the mechanic.

I think foot soldiers might be more useful because of their ability to construct siege equipment, too. I’m guessing that’s something that cavalry are not capable of (although logically, there isn’t any reason they couldn’t dismount to help out).

It would be interesting if your units broke formation when you give a movement order while some of them are snared by the enemy. Then, you could retreat with some of your units, but that decision would cost you a portion of your army. I’m no historian, but that also sounds somewhat realistic, too.


I want single units to be snared but not the whole formation like it is in aoe3. That would in my opinion be the most realistic and fair and it’s less tedious as well as less clunky to play compared to the snaring in aoe3.

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tbh I like how units move in SC2. Just each at their speed.
A single siege unit or monk doesn’t slow down your whole army.
If you just want to quickly pull out some cavalry out of a fight and they slowly walk into formation because you also selected 1 infantry man is so annoying.


These screenshots make me want it to be fall so I can finally get my hands on this

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Agreed. Friendly units should not adjust their speed to snared ones, but rather leave them behind. This, in itself, would also make the downsides of a retreat a more visceral experience ( which is both more engaging for viewers, and makes it easier to spot/learn the nuances for newer players )


Yes, please! It feels bad when all the army is slow just because one unit was attacked.

Why would snaring help with this? I sincerely don’t understand

I think that @Skadidesu was saying that snaring would keep archers from “kiting” your foot soldiers. In other words, if you can get a few hits on the archers, then they can no longer run away and keep exploiting their range. In AOE2, archers would do that all the time, since the pathing for melee units caused them to fight very ineffectively when pursuing fleeing archers. That included even those melee units that are, on paper, faster than archers and capable of catching up to them.

Personally, I hope that the armor-piercing ranged units, like crossbows and primitive gunpowder, are incapable of simultaneously reloading and moving. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind if the light ranged units, like archers, which are ineffective against heavily armored units, were allowed to move while reloading. However, I would also like to see them affected by snaring and have a relatively weak melee attack. Hopefully, then, there would still be a place for microing archers, but the units would be balanced so that all are viable in different situations, including light infantry/cavalry (fast enough to run down armor-piercing ranged units with long reload times) and heavy infantry/cavalry (which are hardly affected by light ranged units, and can convincingly win in hand-to-hand combat).


Snaring can also be used to help archers.
You can use a small group of melee units to slow down the enemy Infantry so you can get distance with your ranged units.
More interesting than just spamming Archers.

Thanks! It makes a lot of sense now.

Personally, I hope that the armor-piercing ranged units, like crossbows and primitive gunpowder, are incapable of simultaneously reloading and moving. At the same time, I wouldn’t mind if the light ranged units, like archers, which are ineffective against heavily armored units, were allowed to move while reloading.

Also agreed with this. I would add that I would prefer archers to have high attack and low accuracy (and decreasing with distance). This way they would be use more to attack groups of enemies like in real battles.


Well i believe that a lot of our questions and concerns may be answered this weekend. I hope we also get a date for the closed beta.