Finding Beta Testers for Mod

How do you go about finding someone to test a AOE2 data mod with?

I’ve joined the official AOE Discord, but there’s rarely any replies there to the few people asking for players to join a match in the AOE2 channel. Age of Empires

I feel like I built something cool, but unfinished, that needs feedback to evolve further. Would really appreciate any recommendations on the best channel to do it or any volunteers!

just host the lobby and sometimes people will join and u can just ask them to try

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For a start you can explain what the mod is about in detail,then interested people in the same time zone will join to test.

I tried to keep generic since it’s the first post asking this question, such that it might be helpful for others that come across. But the mod is a dat rebalance with a custom map script. Trying to force players to make mixed armies, changing battles to be more tactical, making walls strategic, and changing tech unlocks to discourage skipping an entire age. I also buffed things such as Teutonic Knights, Petards, Militia-Line and other under utilized units.

I still don’t understand what exactly your mod does. Your mod description doesn’t really tell and the name ‘Epic Matches’ isn’t really self-explanatory.

So it’s a dat rebalance with a custom map script and you’re trying to force players to make mixed armies, ok… What does that mean? What have you rebalanced and how have you changed the map script or how does this custom map look like? How exactly are you achieving forcing players to make mixed armies?

Could you maybe include a bullet list of all the items you’ve changed in the description of the mod page at least? I don’t know about other users but I at least like to be able to read what exactly a mod does from the mod description instead of installing and just maybe finding out later

If I just cited all changes, it’d be a very long list that is growing… I don’t know yet just how far I want to stray from vanilla, but here’s what’s already 80-90% implemented:

  • Organic tech tree: market unlock feudal eco upgrades, market requires farms, archers requires fletching. To make knights you need a castle or castle-level blacksmith upgrades, to make a scorpion you need an archery range, etc. Noteworthy: castle level of blacksmith upgrades available with university. Guard tower upg requires bodkin arrow but also gives range to castle, keep also increases castle range. Town centers are available in Feudal.

  • Ranged unit rework: ranged units attack slower, and have randomness to their shoots every time, but do extra dmg, longer delay/animation time. Minimum ranges increased. Thumb ring no longer changes accuracy, just the attack speed.

  • Walls & Siege rework: walls have double construction time, double cost, but are extremely durable. Siege unit projectiles collide with units and buildings, towers behind walls will be protected. Ram area damage severely decreased. Towers and castles no longer shoot arrows without being garrisoned.

  • Ages rework: It takes 2 feudal buildings to go to Feudal, 2 Castle buildings to go to Castle, and a Wonder to go to Imperial. Wonder timer doubled, resource cost doubled. Age research costs increased. You can scout cav rush in Dark Age, you can Knight rush in Feudal, Imperial age is now really late game but also you have the extra gold/stone to get to it and it comes with a timer if you’re playing in standard victory conditions so it pressures the player in castle to push their advantage and win or at least snipe it. All ages feel interesting now, have combat and eco concerns, and none can easily be skipped.

  • Blacksmith rework: Each upgrade provides 2 dmg or armor instead of 1. Upgrade costs doubled. Unit upgrades such as Crossbow, Man-At-Arms, Light Cav, and similar requires a given number of relevant blacksmith upgrades. Archer blacksmith upgrades no longer give range. Calvary benefit from upgrades from infantry as well, ie knight gets +1 armor from melee infantry and +1 from the cavalry upgrade, hopefully helping sinergies of inf+cav and archer+cav-archer.

  • Map rework: resource generation increased, randomness increased. Lots more food sources for hunting and foraging. Hunter and fishing agro/view ranges greatly increased. Deer respawn periodically. Trees take longer to cut down, different tree types take different amounts (shrubs are the fastest, big trees are the slowest). Deer have a lot more hp.

  • Resource rework: mines last a lot longer 1000/tile, food is slowly consumed proportionally to population. Farms take a long time to grow but cost less wood, encouraging planning and using gaia food sources. Fletching increases hunter range and dmg, forging increases lumberjack tree cutting speed. Hunter and lumberjack can attack units, lumberjack deals bonus vs buildings.

  • City rework: buildings consume population proportional to cost, ie 150 wood cost mill consumes 3 housing spaces. Discourages building spam, rewards neater city designs. Houses costs 50w, each age or masonry upgrade give it +1 house capacity up to 10 in imperial with architecture.

  • Weak/OP units rework: Militia benefits from loom, Man-At-Arms onwards has more hp and armor, Teutonic Knights still have their old move speed but have further increased armor, Mangonel attack speed decreased, chemistry attacks no longer decrease area dmg, palisade upgrades to fortified palisade with fortified walls, outpost view range in dark age increased, outposts can garrison up to 4 villagers and fire 5 dmg arrows, petards require chemistry but deal 2x dmg, trebuchet assembly time increased greatly but range slightly buffed, bombard tower deals melee dmg again, gunpowder projectiles made faster, bombard attacks pierces like scorpions, etc…

I’ve not yet added a description to the mod page simply because it’s basically in alpha still. I need to implement the new tech three in the UI and go through every civ, update all building death animations, and a lot of housekeeping and balance tweaks. But it’s honestly kind of hard to gauge which changes to make, which ones to roll back, which ones to double down on… Because the AI isn’t a proper sparring partner for knowing if the mod is still making the game more fun as intended or if something just became really broken or boring.

For instance, I really wanted to get feedback on whether I should move most unique units from the Castle into the barrack/range/stable/workshop… I’d want to see how players make use of the buffed stone defenses, and if certain cheeses I tried to fix are still viable like tower rushing , archer only armies, or siege spam. I also had more out there ideas like making sappers viable, or using scripts to make the world feel more alive with critters and resource regrow, maybe taxation and a building placement limitation to create multiple “bases” like it happens in Warcraft 3 and Starcraft 2.

I was also strongly considering reworking the William Wallace campaign into a little showcase/tutorial of the mod as a custom campaign in which each mission explores different new mechanics. For instance for the first mission you receive hunters and lumberjacks to defeat a larger English force and the English garrison villagers at the Outpost.

So for now I basically am looking for players I can play with, or watch matches of theirs with the mod, and get valuable feedback on how to direct the development of the mod. It’s by no means mature enough to be mainstream, like I said, the tooltips and tech tree haven’t been updated in the UI yet and that’d be a bit of a pain to do before I finish with the outline of what the data mod will be.

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By the looks of it your mod makes things very long to complete such as ageing up,so finding people with enough time/patients would be another challenge.

Can a mod move this to the general section so it gets more visibility.

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Yeah, with passive players matches can easily take between 1:15h and 1:45h. I’d say it takes 50% longer to get to Post-Imperial for an average elo player, say 60 minutes instead of 40. Of course, ending the game before Post-Imperial is not much harder than before, especially since it might actually be much easier than before to drush and frush. I found while playing with a friend that feudal cav-archer harass is particularly effective. Knight rush too…

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