Is a 4 vs 4 with your team on VC an objectively superior experience in this game than in prior installments due to certain late game strategies, like FL or Wonder, being so regularly effective against disorganized or mute randoms, or do you get used to it and learn to have fun with the greater diversity in allies?

If it is, should I only play team games when I have a team and sit in 1 vs 1 QM if I don’t?

In older AoE titles I felt fine with jumping into all sorts of matches and usually always had fun, but I’m sort of old and running out of biological time, so I’d like to allocate my time into the most rewarding experience that may be had in this game.

I think the best experience will always be 1v1 as you will focus on your game and also be the best use of your time. There is less waiting for games and more playing without issues like team members dropping.

You can climb the ranks in team games with random teams but it can be very frustrating. A full team communicating is far superior (most of the time). Depends whether you think the team experience with the issues faced is worth it over an experience that solely focuses on you as an individual, which can have some pressure and its own challenges.

As you will no doubt be aware, time is emphasised as the most important factor (at any age even if the young do not realise it yet) and made me shift towards playing more 1v1 with friends not readily available.