They did announce aoe4 a bit to early, but at the same time i’m glad they did. I am not to happy about them stopping any type of communication though. Write something about it every month… I don’t care what they show. A small screenshot of their new engine, one house of a certain civ, or maybe even an estimation of the timeline the game is set in.
I think the best advice i can possibly give to Relic, is to learn from what sandbox interactive did whit albion online. They started selling the game during the alpha of the game and they reacted very well to any feedback of players. They kept changing the game to make it the game their consumers wanted to play.
And here is the most important part: most aoe players would absolutely love to pay money for playing the alpha, as long as the game itself is included in the package at launch (and you don’t have to pay a second time for the same product). Besides playtesting the game and the server for free, the player feedback early in the development stages is absolutely golden for any developer. Ofcourse not everybody will like every change to the game, but at least that way it is easy to avoid huge mistakes 80% of the players agree about.
But somehow i think Relic couldn’t care less about what we want from the game.