I played some AoE2, but in general i am an RTS player and play all kinds of RTS at all.
For me it clicked instantly and i love it and am happy with it.
Thing is though, that yeah, it makes some things easier / simplifies it. And out of my perspective, it needs to that and it is good that it does that.
Age 4 needed to do 2 things - be appealing to longtime players and be attractive to the people who play competitive and will grind the ladder as much as possible. Be the new RTS on the block for all the people who want something new after Years of Age2, COH2, or SC2.
On the other hand though, it also needs to set the entry barrier as low as possible while achieving the point above. Lets be honest guys, RTS Games can be the most stressing games there is. Multitasking, lots of clicking, techs, mathematics, unit types, counters, lots of knowledge, lots of things, if you play MP there always is the other guy who is pressing you. Micromanaging your army of Archers Knights and Mangonels while jumping back to your eco and get those lazy idle vills back to work. That is as stressy as it gets.
RTS was a genre in decline, nowadays we have way more casualplayers, way more people who have access to computers and just play to relax. Age 4 tries to get people into it again, thats why when u initially start the game, it goes straight into a tutorial iirc ( i skipped that naturally and queued directly for 1v1). It has a Tab called “Learn” it has the Art of War, it has all the things to make it as easy as possible for complete new players who never touched an RTS.
And yes, it feels like this also was the primary goal of the devs, and secondary then to appeal the long time RTS nerds like me. Hence the missing QoL, the missing ranked options, the missing hotkey customisation.
And you know what? I am perfectly fine with that, as long as it will be delivered. I will stick around for the moment anyways, there is no doubt in that. The worries are on the newcomers, they gotta stick around, they need to be introduced into the genre of real chads, which is RTS.
And yes, it plays different then Age2 or 3, but for me as RTS player in general, i dont mind it, cause it is not my only reference.
All of this my opinion of course and not the absolute truth.