I recently tried the PUP, and god DAMN the Malians are well-designed. When this AoE4 promoted ‘asymmetrical civilizations’ this is what I imagined. Of course I do have my issues with it, like having the template siege, but holy hell.
This is a step in the right direction for AoE4 and I hope all future civs can be as unique as the Malians are.
I doubt. Most of “empires” in this perioid was generic. I think ,that next civs will be like england ,but with some changes(one new building, some new troops). I think ,that we already got the most unique civilizations(Mongols and Malians). But I hope ,that on four generic civilizations will be one like Malians or Mongols.
I have to disagree with that.
Mali and ottomans had a good balance between them with one civ being more unique while the other followed a more traditional approach, and ottomans are definitely quite unique in their own way, and i think that approach should continue in the following dlcs otherwise it will totally ruin competitive play which is what happened with aoe3 which is not even in the redbull wololo tournament when even aoe1 is.
The approach devs toon with first original civs should be respected, every unit alresdy looks different, civs already play and feel very different from each other, also devs have been really making a good job on tweaking civs unique units so they are used more and civs feel more different.
If they keep releasing civs in pairs, with one being very quirky and asymmetric and the other more “normal” that’d be a fine approach. The problem is that the initial 8 civs all followed the same formula, so we now have 9 pretty similar civs.
I would count out Mongols, but honestly once you scratch the surface of mobile buildings and stone mechanics, it’s more of the same. Same archers, xbows, MAA, siege, etc.
I wouldnt mind if once in a while they made civs that are more like malian, but if they start to make every single civ too different from each other it will cause a lot of headache for competitive play.
Even the current civs play and feel far different from each other, their army compositions are not the same, all devs need to do is tweak unique units that are underused like what they are doing with fire lancers. Yes civs share a lot of units but that is important for balance and to ensure all civs have options to fall upon in case they cant go for their prefered composition, or their main gameplan fails, and it also prevents issues like power creeping like what they have in aoe3
I still don’t buy the “asymmetrical civs = bad for eSports” argument and I probably never will.
Mali strikes a good middle. The buildings are all the same (blacksmith, barracks, university, etc.), the resource collection is mostly the same besides the cows and the gold pits, siege is the same. But they still feel fresh and unique. It’s not like Mali is the Zerg or anything. Their core is still very much AoE4 mechanics.
It’s not just about eSports. It’s about balance and burden of knowledge for anyone who wants to play MP. It’s also not that asymmetrical civs are bad, it’s that having 10+ all totally different from each other would be too much and unrealistic for devs to create to start with. Even prior to Mali, there is lots of asymmetry in the game and the factions play quite different from each other once you play enough to get past the surface level of focusing on just number of unique units or buildings. The experience of playing Rus vs Mongol vs China vs Delhi is quite different and the fact that each can build crossbows or have the same mangonel, etc. doesn’t change that. At a fundamental level, the playstyle and things you focus on with each is quite different.
You’re thinking in very limiting terms. A myriad combinations from more asymmetrical civs could bring undiscovered strategies. We see it all the time, people crying one civ is OP or too weak. Then along comes someone with a new idea and that civ is suddenly the opposite. I remember everybody saying Delhi was too weak, but once pros started finding their strengths, it became a powerhouse.
Multiple asymmetrical civs would bring more mystery to each match, more room to try new things and explore different strategies. Yeah, sure. Knowing that a spearman always counters cavalry is good for balance, but it’s boring as hell. Instead, I really like the prospect of Malian skirmishers being so out-of-place and having so many cool uses.
There are a lot of inspirations and possibilities to draw from when designing. This goes for all of the current civs. Both visually and in the gameplay.
In this regard there could 100% be more uniqueness to all of the civs, just like the Malians. Also expanding the unique in just a few civs makes the ones that are less unique more unique as they start to differ from the others.
Honestly I don’t think our positions are that far away from each other. I like having asymmetry in factions to keep it interesting and fresh. It’s why AOE2 never appealed to me much and AOM did. It would indeed be incredibly boring if all the factions were like chess with identical units. So it’s more just a matter of degree. I don’t find the fact most factions have access to the same type of spearman unit to be boring because it’s a very minor detail in the overall experience of playing the factions, which does, on the whole, feel quite different to me - especially so in some cases.
With all due respect, one of the biggest fallacies I’ve heard is that balancing civilizations is making them “similar” or “boring” (the Mongols play the same as the Chinese, of course) or that competitive e-sports kill a game. , when it is what keeps it alive in the medium/long term.