Having spent years working on these RTS products full-time (Age 3, Halo Wars 1, Age DE), here’s what I think:
The recent patch breaking a bunch of stuff doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. Microsoft Studios has a track record of continually underestimating (sometimes by an order of magnitude) how difficult and complex Age games are. It’s less the fault of the low-level engineers and more a problem with the executives wanting the cheapest possible games.
You can’t just hack some stuff into the Age codebase, test it on one dev’s machine, then push it out to the public. You need to internally playtest the heck out of changes, repro and track down the out of syncs, and fix them. If the people making the changes don’t love the game or are rushed (because management makes them crunch endlessly), then the patches will be buggy or shoddy. This will drive the fans away from your series and hurt your entire brand.
Until recently the OOS rate was pretty low. It was this way because the DE developers had hundreds of playtest sessions and the developers relentlessly tracked down every OOS they could find. If you start introducing new OOS’s without fixing them, the situation will spiral and multiplayer will become unplayable. Most importantly, you cannot use your customer base to test for OOS’s because getting enough repro info will be almost impossible.