How AoE4 Can Totally Surpass AoE2 and Become the Classic

In 3 simple, yet profound, far-reaching points:

Number 1 - Bring Civs to Life

In celebrated AoE2, a battle of Vikings vs Japanese is typically crossbows/arbs, skirmishers, pikemen, a few knights… Cool Samurai? Fearless Berserks? Pretty much NOWHERE to be seen. A battle of Ethiopians vs Byzantines? Oh, it’s exactly the very same crossbows, skirmishers, pikemen, a few knights again! What’s the point of having 40 civs, 40 awesome Unique Units, if at the end of the day it’s always the same monotonous sea of skirmishers, crossbow/arbs, pikes/halbs over and over again?

Counter units were supposed to be situational, but in AoE2, 80% of all Unique Units (and all swordsman-line infantry and hand cannons, by the way) are close to USELESS and end up being even LESS than situational… they are non-existant in daily gameplay. In practice, AoE2 Civilizations end up having limited apparent “personality” and uniqueness; virtually no identity, no flair, no spirit of their own.
AoE4 can far surpass AoE2 here… Less Civs, but truly unique Civs that actually made a major contribution to History, less wasted Units, more diverse battlefields!

Number 2 - Readability not Detail; more Macro less Micro

Ultimately, the rise of a classic RTS hinges entirely on its gameplay, not graphics. A great RTS game provides quick and insightful vision while whipping the camera; this is one of the reasons for AoE2’s success. AoE4 should make units and buildings HIGHLY identifiable from far zoom in a flash - even exaggerating some elements a bit is ok… but not overly detailed (and definitely not cute!!). Millions of people stuck with AoE2 for 20+ years, was it because it looks amazing? Not at all. In the end, graphics truly don’t matter much here, the graphics debate misses the point. AoE4 could very well exceed the readability (thus gameplay experience) of AoE2.

Another essential, AoE4 gameplay should definitely feature more macro strategic thinking and decision making, a bit less micro clicking. In a real strategy classic, real-time or not, vistory should not depend too much on “whoever clicks faster” or “better finger dexterity”, simply because that’s not strategy, it’s not even actual tactics, and that’s kind of geeky and lame imho. AoE4 ought to be macro-heavy, a classic strategy game for the ages. AoE4 devs seem to grasp this; it’s looking promising.

Number 3 ​- The Greatest Design Opportunity of All

Ever since the release of Age of Empires 2 in faraway 1999, a seemingly minor yet deeply revealing fact has remained largely unnoticed: the icon of “Wonder”, the architectural masterpiece that epitomizes the pinnacle of civilization and wins the game. YES… the icon of a “Wonder” for all civs in AoE is none other than the Wonder of the Turks (Selimiye Mosque in Edirne, Turkey). Oh no, young son… that is NO coincidence at all.
Loving AoE is revering the past, just like AoE forefathers did. One simple fact to seriously stop and think:

Constantinople (Byzantium, Istanbul) was strategically, geographically, and civilization-wise the most important city on Planet Earth during the ENTIRE duration of ALL historical ages spanned by AoE2 & AoE4… Even economically, it towered above the world’s cities far longer than ANY other metropolis did. Think about one power statement.

AoE4 is much more siege-detailed… the siege and conquest of invincible Constantinople - the greatest city on Earth - by the world’s foremost power, 3-continent superpower Ottoman Empire (Turks), is the most epic and consequential siege in human History by far, and the Turkish Great Bombard is the most iconic siege weapon EVER. Period. Plus, in actual historical timeframe the Great Bombard belongs much more in AoE2/4 than in AoE3! There just can’t be AoE4 without the indestructible Walls of Constantinople and the awe-inspiring Great Bombard in the very first Byzantines & Turks DLC (and pleeeease, no picnic destroying rock-solid stone walls by cavalry tossing tiny cute torches).

What people don’t realize is the unique opportunity AoE4 designers have here… “Mongols are the nomad civ, others are settled civs” Hmmm okay… why binary? Turks are the quintessential “HYBRID” civ, an originally fierce nomadic people that transformed its soul, and inherited the treasure trove of knowledge of the most celebrated fortress of settled Civilization - Constantinople (no I’m not a Turk, son). This transformation is unlike anything else, and it provides an extraordinary opportunity to design a uniquely “hybrid” Turkish civ in AoE4 with both early nomadic conquest and late splendor of a settled Empire, with the gunpowder mastery of awesome mega Bombards and the world’s FIRST modern firearm army (Janissary!) that ultimately ended Mongol-style horse archer global battlefield domination FOREVER (and totally, utterly “disappeared” Mongols from History) while giving rise to the ultra-long-lasting Ottoman Empire that would remain a world power until… World War I.

Best regards to all,


This whole thing can be it’s own post instead of cramming it here

That being said , I’d love to have Turks in the game . Too bad they aren’t in the base game .


I have to agree wholeheartedly with this. AoEII is extremely sterile and simplistic game unit and civ-wise. Despite its… 35(?) carbon copied options.

Right… fingers crossed I guess.
But don’t hold your breath.


That’s why aoe3 is such a superior game. Let’s hope aoe4 can do what aoe3 did. Now it’s in the nostalgic medieval period they played in their childhood too, so maybe aoe2 players will give it a chance


I can totally see your points in (1) and (2), not that I agree, but dafug is happening after that…

wow, that went sideways. Dafug are you on about? xD
The thing has those minaret towers that makes it easy to distinguish as a special building on that small scale (as we can see in your profile pic). It was chosen to make the icon recognizable, not to emphasize some byzantine/turkish/whatever superiority, lol.

And you go on and on how great the ottomans are… type “blink” twice in the chat if you need help :sweat_smile:
First modern firearm army ending mongol style horse archery… maybe read some more sources about that stuff, buddy. What you describe is fictionized.

To reel you back in to the games: AOE2 and AOE3 both had that mix of kinda modern army with the janissaries (if you want to count force-levied quasi-slave troops as a modern army^^) and emphasize on gunpowder technology (special infantry cannoneer in both AOE2/3, fat bombard in AOE3, bonus for bombard in AOE2), while still showing the nomadic turkic background by incorporating cavalry and horse archery (AOE3 with sipahi & horse archer; AOE2 with the free light cav upgrades and extra beefy cav archers, both on full tech trees).
How would you like them to represent your beloved ottoman empire differently in AOE4 (gameplay-wise)?

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That is true for AoE4 for 2 reasons:

  1. The generic units look differently so even if you had Japanese vs. Vikings (both not in the game yet) and they both had Man-At-Arms they wouldn’t look the same.
  2. Unique units often replace generic units and generally don’t need a Castle/Keep to be trained.

I think the balance of Macro and Micro is the same as AoE2/3.
The readability is mostly good besides some small details like Longbowman looking like English Villagers.

Hybrid Civilisations than can settle down in late game is a good idea.
It can also work very well for the Hungarians and maybe some others too.

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“superior” =less played? ok ill write to webster and tell them to update their dictionaries…


less micro in aoe4 and 3, its undeniable there’s at least less multi tasking… aoe3 purposely removed a fair amount of micro/macro/multitasking to make the game more playable (not that it worked) but i dont think it is what deterred players from 3, and im not sure it will have an effect on the popularity of 4.

because it’s easier to balance, and easier to learn to play. almost every time a balance issue comes up in aoe2, it seems devs, and a lot of the vocal community (most likely pros and their vocal followers) tend to push for balance in the most simplistic ways? cav not good enough, give them the paladin upgrade? cav too good? remove the paladin?

UT over performing, nerf it into non existence. steppe lancers, elephants, leitis, keshik, karambit all knee jerk balanced into the ground, further supporting the play around the simple to balance xbow kt meta

that being said the civs do generally play differently to one another, it might not always be as clear, or with vast variation, but only so much variation is possible with 39 civs without making it too intimidating for the average gamer… remember its real time not turn based, there is only so much thinking the average gamer can do (unlike turn based where you can cram stupid levels of variation since the players have all the time in the world to adapt)

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More people watch the kardashians than the wire too. When did number of people become the definition of superior. Go watch the superior kardashians and stop spewing ■■■■ here


This obviously come from an aoe2 player ^^. And talking about aoe4 micro make no sort of any sens right now.


wrong. it should be balanced.
Pro players should be pro.
Aoe2 - has almost perfect balance: insane micro (viper with quick walls) and macro machines like Daut.

Why it should have micro? if not - u are playing clash of clans…okey Total War.
And there is total War in terms of E-sport? (… in aoe u have some Eco…but without micro - it would be smth like total war with vils - boring to death )

At least for me “surpass” dont come in sold copies but e-sport for several years (at least)


Agree whole heartedly.


This is the way. It’s a great game if every Playstyle / Player Type can win a game.

Also you need micro to compete with players which repeat a build order better than you.
If Macro is the play you only need to search the perfect build order and execute it the fastest way. There is no skill or improvement in it.
If the enemy player has a better army/eco and comes with like 20 crossbows to your base and you have 2 knights your done without micro like mangonel play. Micro like mangonel play makes the game more interesting and you have as the inferior player comeback potential. And you can improve yourself there.
Same with quickwalls. It allows funny situations and is even gameplay relevant.

Only macro games are repetitive and get boring quite fast.


Yes. This is a huge problem with Aoe2, and i hope aoe4 will not suffer from it. Archers are way, way too strong, cavalry is close to useless and unique units are a big LOL.

I’m sorry, but aoe2 is a really smoked RTS game. Its vast popularity is simply due to nostalgia, same as SC/BW, from a time where things were simple. It is literally the same player base as 22 years ago, except we got 22 years older. As you mentioned earlier, the civs are basically the same, there is no identity. When it comes to mechanics and gameplay, aoe2 is really a mediocre RTS game.

I am not quite sure what you’re trying to expose here.

But essentially, aoe4 needs to avoid being a 3D aoe2.


In 1v1 maybe is more than fine but TGs…I wish I could play a game where Franks, Britons and Mayans are absent lol

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I think Spearmen should be the bulk of every army because that is how they were used historically, and AoE IV seems to be pushing towards more historical consistency.

Also, I don’t agree with what you said about those units being useless in AoE2, except the Longswords (not the entire M@A Line, just the Longswords)

Hard Disagree.

AoE is a game both around macro and micro at the same time, if any of them is less important in AoE4, people will be disappointed. I certainly will.

AoE 2 has the perfect balance in that regard, as both are extremely important for any decent player.

Overall, I think AoEIV will succeed, but it won’t (and shouldn’t) replace either AoE2/3. It will be its own beast and these comparisons don’t seem to make much sense.

Also, I’ve noticed a lot of hate for AoE2’s success recently in this forum…

This is completely false. Just this past week I met like 3 NEW AoE players and the steam numbers seem to point towards the game growing.

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i did not speak about civ balance. why did u took it out of context?

Anyway, dont play arabia/arena will see new civs.

lol u just said all RTS (aoe/sc2) games have false "popularity " cause nostalgia?
Name other popular competitive + e-sport RTS?

so many players continue to play in “mediocre” RTS? It’s just an insult. Go play dota2.
People are not stupid, people continue to play cause it balanced game with a lot of variety.


And because its simply FUN!!

Can’t we all agree to disagree? I don’t understand this sudden hate towards AoE2. Both AoE2/3 have its ups and downs, I personally prefer AoE2 and some people will prefer AoE3, but calling either game “mediocre” is just not true and unnecessary.


I do think nostalgia is an important factor. That does not neglect other strengths of the game.
Especially for a genre like RTS which is extremely difficult to master. People tend to stick to what they are already familiar with, and reluctant to spend equal amount of efforts in a new game.
Like I’ve seen people playing AOE2 for 10 years claiming “all the units in AOE2 are very intuitive. I can instantly recognize them” and played some other RTS like AOE3 for a few minutes and complained they cannot understand the units.

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I started play in 2009, a lot of friends started play in 2009. (dropped in 2013 after HD release and return with DE). Did i play before - yes in aoe1 a few games. but only a few matches.
So keep ur speculation to urself.

And a lot of games played in childhood but name other games to return and continue play?
And even before DE there were community

sc2 - i played enough to hit Diamond…oh wait sc2 also nastolgia(never played sc1) on sc and micro intensive game.

I asked u before to name competitive alive RTS. Name it already.

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