Homing missile projectiles

I mentioned this during the beta feedback, and others too, way back when the game was first coming out how homing missile arrows felt wrong and it continues to feel that way, if not worse. I couldnt put up with the scale of units and camera zoom when the game first dropped so I took a long break. I’m picking the game back up now since launch and I’m really enjoying the experience, the only thing still bugging me is the homing missiles.

The homing missile arrows have been called out time and time again but honestly the siege is what is the most jarring. The projectiles travel at really fast and odd speeds, the Ottoman’s great bombard’s projectile in particular can have some really wacky travel arcs where it randomly cuts 90 degrees into the target. The magonel, treb, cannon, culverin, and bombard projectiles travel so fast I can hardly see them. This is really immersion breaking and butts heads with the games roots in historical realism. (I understand that we don’t want super realism, there is a line)

We have the technology, the math, and the history of being able to make RTS’s with realistic projectile trejectory, speeds, and impacts and I would love to try a version of the game where this has been implemented.

What I ultimately want is a AoE4 rep to reply to this thread and tell me if it’s possible or not so I can just shut the dream down and accept the game for what it is. If it is possible I think it’s worth while to cut an opt-in build for players to give it a try.


While it would be technologically possible, it is almost certainly never happening. Homing missiles have huge gameplay implications and they would basically have to rebalance everything from the ground up if that was changed, and it would be a whole new game.

Most more modern RTS have homing projectiles like in AOE3 and 4, Im pretty sure starcraft also had homing projectiles.

Tbh, one of the things that sets AOE4 and AOE2 apart is that AOE4 doesn’t have this huge emphasis of microing your units so that you can dodge arrows and cannonballs (which frankly is just as unrealistic, arrows shoot super fast)

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If you want that much realism, the archers would deal damage to their own units, so they wouldn’t be able to attack when two melee units come together. :wink:

I can only imagine a scenario like Agincourt but it was possible because the archers put stakes, read the story

In the battle of Marathon, to avoid the arrows of the Persians, they decided to charge towards the enemy :wink: :wink: :wink:

Note: zig-zag sounds like patrol to me (the wrong option) :face_with_open_eyes_and_hand_over_mouth:

In SC2 you can actually dodge missiles though being highly dependant on which units interact with eachother. Also, AoE2 does not have a huge emphasis on micro if you compare it to other big RTS titles like WC3 and SC2. AoE2 I’d say has a moderate emphasis on micro since when and where to place buildings is way more important on AoE2 than on other games. AoE4 is probably at the lower end of RTS games when it comes to micro.


I’m not to familiar with other games, but high level AOE2, more than half of the game is spent microing archers and mangonels typically, at least until mid-late imperial. A good 70-80% of the game in mid-feudal through castle age is just controlling/microing your archers so that you dodge arrows while hitting the enemy with arrows.

I’m not sure how much better it is for the “realism” for 2 armies of like 20 archers to spend like 30 seconds fighting eachother with 90% of the arrows being juked mid-air.

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AoE2 has more micro than AoE4 but it doesn’t have that much micro compared to other RTS titles*. It’s a game designed around defenses basically, similar to AoE4. Micro for archers and mangonels yes. And of course you would also draw back wounded units when fighting, but that’s basically it. It’s really not that much compared to other RTS titles. The pace also is considerably slow which tunes down micro potential.

As for realism: That’s really not an argument. If we would follow realism consequently I think we would all just hate and stop playing the game. Gameplay and fun >>> realism. Apart from that it’s not realistic at all either that arrows never miss their target. Fun of course is highly subjective which means that you can go for homing or non-homing missile projectiles perfectly well. I am honestly tired of the “realism” argument being brought in when for real people should just be honest and say that they don’t want to have it because they find it annoying and it doesn’t suit their playstyle.

*I am referring to army units because AoE2 does have plenty of micro on the eco side.


As much as I advocate for realism to be brought to any game.
Homing missiles is one of these things that has grown greatly on me consider there is no possibilities for Friendly Fire.

Why? It makes the game far less Micro intensive and people can focus far more on actually using tactics and strategy than battling it out between 2 range units playing MOBA in an RTS game.

So it is one of the more unrealistic things i prefer to keep in the game as is.


I believe that having homing missiles in Age of Empires 4 might be a well considered strategic decision for two potential reasons:

  • It may be more advantageous not to make AoE 4 too similar to AoE 2 as the developers may not wish to compete with themselves. By differentiating the games they can attract new players who did not enjoy AoE 2 and avoid stealing too many existing players and revenue from AoE 2.

  • To make AoE 4 more comparable to other very popular RTS games such as StarCraft and Warcraft (which all had homing missiles). This approach seems to have been successful, as many pro-players from StarCraft and Warcraft are now playing AoE 4.

Personally I like the missile system in AoE 4 more than in AoE 2, I’ve always thought the missing arrows in AoE 2 are more annoying than fun. I’m more in favor of strategy than clicking around your individual unit’s frantically.

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I am not saying that there needs to be homing missile projectiles. What I am saying is that AoE4 has way less micro than other RTS titles. I’ve read the “SC2 has homing missiles, so AoE4 should keep it too” argument so many times and it couldn’t be any more wrong and it should never stay as an argument against more micro for AoE4 because SC2 has an insane amount of micro to begin with. Apart from that I don’t get why people constantly turn those discussions into a binary thing. As if AoE4 would turn into a micro fest or MOBA as soon as there’s no homing missile projectiles anymore. It would nevertheless stay a very macro focused RTS game.

SC2 and WC3 players love to micro. And homing missile projectiles means less micro. It would be a different story if AoE4 had many units with special abilities that have lots of skill ceiling potential but that is clearly not the case. As for the SC2 pros (actually only marinelord was a pro when AoE4 was released) that do still play AoE4: They know that they can make good money here.


In sc2 people like to micro because there are tons of stuff you can do with your army. Even if homing missile projectiles are not tracking I think this is boring micro. Watching people moving archers for 10 minutes left and right doesn’t feel fun to me. The one thing I would like to be aimed is the mangonel or onager. I don’t know why it isn’t manually aimed like in aoe2, it takes more skill, gives more reward and it’s more fun imo.

High level AoE 2 isn’t really the way most players play as pros usually delay or skip the Ballistics upgrade entirely.

Yes and again: I am not proposing homing missile projectiles for AoE4. Actually I wouldn’t say no if they introduced it but I don’t really ask for it either. My point is that AoE4 barely has any micro compared to other RTS titles and it wouldn’t turn into a micro fest once there’s more micro to do.

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Yeah, I can agree with that

Age of Empires 4 features tactical and calculated micromanagement that depends on the civilizations you control, but it’s true that it has less micro-intensity compared to other titles in the franchise, except in naval battles. In return, it’s a game with more asymmetric civilizations where good strategies, greater adaptation, and decision-making are required.

I think there was a mod where delete “homing misiles proyectiles”, and I see it’s good that this option exists in custom games.

@Julian7494 Maybe you are right with your argument about the micro, but this game with four resources and a variety of units is a game that requires a lot of multitasking than the other games you mention. sc2 has 2 resources and in warcraft killing a unit takes much longer

Tbh that’s not an issue as Empire Earth had the ressources of AoE4 plus iron and a ton of micro. Here’s a few high level gameplay videos from it (Opponent is “Krass” which used to be a SC2 pro): Game1, Game2, Game3

Ressources on AoE4 imo do not need that much babysitting. On SC2 you may only have two different types of ressources but to me it’s more stressfull as you have to expand much quicker. Overall I’d say that you need way less APM on AoE4. It’s probably something like this: SC2>AoE2=WC3>AoE4. WC3 I am not entirely sure since my experience is very limited.

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I am glad they don’t take the same approach as AoE2 for AoE4. It would honestly make me play less or not at all if they added this as for me it takes the fun away from it.

And besides I’d guess that only a small minority of the AoE2 plays that competitive anyway so for me AoE4 feels right at home. :+1:

if aoe4 just copypasted aoe2 entirely, or aoe3 or aom, then the question would be become, why even bother making the game, here’s the catch, if the game does everything the same as predecessor then it shouldn’t have been made in the first place, at least aoe4 now is trying new things, different things, and thats ok, the more the merrier


Non-homing projectiles isn’t a thing only wanted by competitive players tho.

That may be true however I’d bet that the majority of the community does not play that way, as it requires a lot of micro management.