Did anyone get the feeling that each civilisation we’ve played in the betas so far don’t have a lot of depth?
I’d like to distinguish the difference between asymmetry here, because I think it’s great that the civs are different and have their own unique playstyles, that’s really fun.
However, I don’t necessarily think each civ has a lot of depth to them. In an extreme example, imagine a civilisation that has only a single way to play them, that you must do every time you play them, because there are no other options.
I really enjoyed changing up which civ I was playing as from game-to-game, but after a couple of games with a particular civ, I got a sense of what the civ is good at and how to play them, and found myself basically doing the same thing with that civ in every game.
The English are a great example of this, where you could build the Council Hall and spam Longbowmen. I didn’t feel like there was anything to think about, this basically always worked. Yes, I do have to succumb to the rock-paper-scissors triangle, and be sure to include the counter to the unit that will counter my archers, but it seemed quite one-dimensional and playing the English was a little stale after a few games.
I felt this way about most of the civs, to be honest. The HRE kinda felt the same, there wasn’t anything too crazy about their decisions and I didn’t really find myself making a lot of decisions when aging up; I typically picked the same landmarks. I don’t even think that decision is enough to argue that a civ has a lot of depth. The Chinese are similar in that regard specifically - because you can get both landmarks, it doesn’t matter enough which one you choose, and I didn’t really change how I was playing every time I played as them.
I guess what I am looking for is for the civilisations incorporating various strategies within themselves, rather than each civilisation representing a single strategy. In AOE2, this is the equivalent of the Franks always going Scouts->Knights every game, or the Britons going Archers every game, because it’s their best option. The depth would be how the Meso civs work in AOE2, how Eagles are such a viable option, but they also have Infantry (Aztecs) or Archers (Mayans) or literally anything (Incas) as an alternative option. There’s choices and decisions you have to make and you don’t always play them the same way in every game.
In the recent interview with Adam Isgreen, he mentioned there were some crazy ideas that were pushed back, probably because they were likely to alienate the fanbase in some respects, in the same way AOE3’s card system and drastic asymmetry did (I personally love AOE3 for this reason) but I am really curious to know if they feel like they were too conservative with the crazy ideas.
For example, the Mongols can pick up their buildings and move them - this is a great feature that creates a lot of choices about how to arrange the buildings to optimize their use of the landscape, and based on what’s available you have to choose how you spend your Stone or if it’s better to play Horseman, Lancer or Mangudai. That’s pretty cool and that’s the kind of decision making I’d like to see more of.
The landmark decision is fine on its own, but for many of the civs, which landmark to choose is a no-brainer. I’d love to see lots more decision making introduced into these civs, so that they have different ways to play them and some interesting strategies reveal themselves. There are only 8 civs to play at launch, remember, so I really don’t want them all to start feeling stale. That would be disappointing.