Frustrating limited feature; Handicap

This may seem like a suggestion, but I consider a feature being limited for no valid reason to be a bug, surely this isn’t intentional. Why can you only buff players with the handicap? Why cannot I not nerf a player with handicap? There is no reason to limit the feature that way when the game engine supports both directions with no issue.

Updates to the game have broken the traditional handicap mod; many people who felt the difficulty jumps between difficulties were too dramatic used to use that mod to work their way up against progressively better AI. Me and my friends used to progress like this:

Hard - Slightly Nerfed
Hard - Regular
Hard - Slighty Buffed
Hardest - Slightly Nerfed
Hardest - Regular
Hardest - Slightly buffed

Because of the massive gaps in difficulty settings we work our way back up after taking breaks from the game. Going from hard to hardest is too big of a gap. Sure, you can emulate this effect by buffing yourself instead of nerfing the AI, but thats not a good solution to players who want to learn the game. If I get used to playing at 110% thats not true to the game and does not translate to a regular game, I’m not actually learning to play AoE I’m learning to play 10% boosted AoE.

If i have a group of friends and 4 of us are beginners and 1 person is a pro, how does it help the bad players to learn the game at an abnormal boosted rate instead of handicapping the pro who is already comfortable with the game and would not be thrown off by a few games at a different speed?

It’s really a simple change, allow handicap to go in the negative direction in the drop down menu. The choice to only allow handicap in one direction is non-sense and negatively affects people’s ability to learn the game at the regular pace.