[FEEDBACK TO DEVS] - Let's make multiplayer great again!

Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition, on first sight looks like an amazing overhaul of the original title. Gameplay balance, 4K textures and a lot of quality of life improvements, there is a lot to like. However, I can’t help but feel like one aspect of AOE III:DE does not live up to its full potential, the multiplayer.

First, let’s acknowledge some of the great additions they did. For example, I absolutely love the availablity of balanced competitive maps in multiplayer and I am very thankful about option to save games. Especially treaty players will be thankful for the latter. Smaller changes such as more team options and the inclusion of spectator mode are also nice. Great job on this one.

Now, let’s get into the improvements. I’ll split them up into essential and QoL (Quality of Life) improvements. The essential ones, as the name suggests, are in my opinion essential to the succes of multiplayer.

Essential improvements:

  • In-lobby profile overview: Upon joining a (casual) multiplayer lobby, one is unable to hover over or right click on someone’s profile to see a summary of their stats. This is essential information to balance games and start an enjoyable match. The original did this in a great way, allowing us to hover over someone’s icon to see their rank, win percentage and accumulated XP. If one wanted more information, we could also right click on their username and navigate to their profile to see the full summary of stats. This should be brought back.

  • Ranked game creation: The new ranked system got me a bit confused. So as far as I am aware, the only way to play ranked at this moment is to use the quick search system. However, when looking at the filters in the game browser I can also select “ranked games” indicating that I should also be able to manually join (and host?) games. However, I don’t see these later options currently in the game. In my opinion, the option should indeed be there to manually host and join ranked games. This allows us to create the exact game of our desire (ie. map, settings, players, skill-range, etc) and will allow for more enjoyable matches. For example, a group of players might not want to play on water maps or just specifically on water maps. Another example is that skill-level is not always perfectly reflected by rank (or elo), meaning that manually selecting teams will often result in better matchmaking.

  • Improved quick-search: So quick-search is back, and it seems to have a more significant place than in the original. I like this and I think it has a lot of potential. However, I have three suggestions here, but I classify two of them as QoL. As for the essential one, I would like to see the possibility to choose the treaty time when quick searching for a treaty game to be added, or at least indicate which time it is. Currently, I have no clue whether it randomly picks a time or always chosen the most popular NR40 format. Every treaty time has very different mechanics and I think each group of treaty players should all have their possibility for ranked play (currently QS is the only option for ranked) so I would love to see these options added.

Quality of Life

  • Improved quick-search: We are currently unable to see the civ selection of our premade teammates. Of course, we can chat about it, but showing it would be nice. Additionally, I think it would be a fun option to be able to select random civ (this can also be applied to normal lobbies).

  • See gamemode in lobby: Currently, once you joined a lobby there is nowhere stated what the options are. For example, a NR40 NB lobby will only have this information displayed in the browser but not in the lobby. I feel like this should be added.

  • Browsing while in a lobby: Browsing through other games while waiting in a lobby was a great thing in the original, and it should be brought back if possible. Sometimes we might not find our prefered lobby at first (eg. high-skill lobby), but we see it pop up while already having joined another lobby. I would not like to miss them.

  • 2 minutes unrated: In the original, if someone left during the first 2 minutes of a game, the game was unrated. I can see pro’s and con’s for this rule, but I quite liked it. For example, when you saw a game setting was accidentally wrong.

  • Avatar selection: Would love to be able to choose my avatar again!

Feel free to share your thoughts on this feedback, I hope the development team will pick up on this!


Thanks for mentioning all this, I think all the QoL suggestions are valid and should be considered.

I specifically went on a small ‘rant’ on ranks for custom games here: (feel free to add your own thoughts here too!)

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At launch day i was testing the multiplayer with my friends, 3v3 and 4v4. We have won 4/5 matches, then, the other ones, when everybody gets the “waiting for players” banner, like always, suddenly someone has dropped and the game has finished. The game doesnt even started and the system has count a loss for us. I’m really disappointed with this game, especially the care they had with the multiplayer. It feels like nothing has been done, just a visual upgrade for the UI.