How should Civilizations be designed by AoE4?

How should Civilizations be designed by AoE4?

AoE 2 had an interesting concept for the factions. How should it logically be advanced and evolve?
So far AoE2 had lot of regular units like 15 or 20, that could be trained by every faction and 1 or 2 faction specific units.

It did have by AoE2 some disadvantages with the design.

-All factions looked in combat extremely similar, because they were not only using same unit, units did look the same
-some factions made no sense gameplay/history wise like china, it did not have many gun powder units.
-its odd to have a lot of regular units not trainable or upgradable, so by one faction you can go 4 levels of upgrades by other just 2 or that unit isn’t at all in the rooster.

We know we are getting Britons and Mongols. Both factions did look quite differently in the trailer.
So the age for factions is clearly Middle Age.

So how logically to continue?
In my opinion best approach would be this:
-Increase the available types of the units, for the regular and faction specific units.

–show in game how advanced the unit can get. You could only see next update once you did reach the age, so why not simply show already by the Barack all the upcoming options to upgrade the unit?
honestly I pick faction for fun and cant remember by each unit what will come for it next age.


Age of Empires 4 will have factions with variable gameplay and mostly distinct sets of units available to them.
It’s going to be using the Age of Mythology and Age of Empires: Online approach to the factions rather than the slight variations seen in AoE1 and AoE2. With AoE3 being a sort-of hybrid between the two systems.


That’s sounds like an Automatic design failure. Age of Empires: Online was really awful game.

Sure in Starcraft where you simply add new phantasy tech and aliens it is possible, by a realistic/historic scenario you simply run fast out of options.

I see rather the problem in lack of unit types by each faction, than faction be too similar.

After all most played Strategy games beside Starcraft is Age of Empires 2 and Total War, I think for a simple reason. Starcraft is simply the only RTS that managed to make factions different and not to suck by it.

I mean just look, if game has 3 or 4 factions and each faction different 10-15 units, and different base build, people just play 1 faction out of 3. That’s situation simply in any RTS. Do we really need another such failure ? Age of Empires 2 and Total War do give lot of similar and comparable units, that does make the game playable with all factions.

That’s where I think it would be better to approach and improve the AoE2 formula.

Make 20 units different sounds like waste of time and resources.
We have already like 20 units, why not give each faction 10 or 15 units more?
30 regular units and 6 faction specific units sounds way better.


I actually like to have more unique units like in AoE 3. For me it makes each faction more unique and interesting to play with, rather than them having almost the same units available


It’s an hard topic dear. Having too much differences means more work to balance civilizations. Said this I’m one who hope to see:

  • Unique civilization traits (Unique-strong bonus to make the choice be worth)
  • Unique civilization buildings/structures (Yeah would be cool to have something different than a normal reskin)
  • Unique civilization unitis (having common units for all civilizations make it easier to balance but more boring to play - I hope to see civilizations be like Warcraft 3 factions where each was 100% different from the others)
  • Increase the maximum unit capacity - 200 was fair but I would like to see more and maybe give this capacity variable according to civilizations.
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@ AnotherMic2
How are they supposed tom do it? That’s the big question, its not Starcraft where units simply can grow wings, use magical rainbow guns or ride a dinosaur. The historical technologies are kind if limited to Swords, Spears and Arrows, so how make there a variety and different gameplay, without to break the game?

@ Finland2891

I think we have to take a look what people actually do prefer.

Age of Empires II (2013) has right now 11,850 people online
Age of Empires II Definitive Edition (2019) has right now 23,199 people online

All together over 35.000 people play basically same game and that’s way more than any other RTS.

Thats huge considering Age of Empires II is place 24 of most played Steam games, despite gameplay is over 20 years old. Other to played Strategy games are mostly from Total War Series where they share a lot of similar units.

I would conclude having more common units for all civilizations make it not only easier to balance but also more fun to play.

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OK Instead of wield guessing, maybe look at the possibilities.
let’s take as example British faction, as it was confirmed they will be back.

The Barracks trains and upgrades infantry.
Militia → Man-at-Arms → Long Swordsman → Two-Handed Swordsman → Champion
Spearman → Pikeman → Halberdier

The Archery Range trains and upgrades archers.
Archer →Crossbowman → Arbalest
Skirmisher → Elite Skirmisher
Cavalry Archer → Heavy Cavalry Archer

The Stable trains and upgrades cavalry.
Scout Cavalry → Light Cavalry
Knight → Cavalier

The Siege Workshop trains and upgrades siege weapons.
Battering Ram
Siege Tower

The Monastery trains and improves Monks.

The Market is center of trade and trains the only available land trade unit.
Trade Cart

The Castle is a strong fortification and also provides unique units and technologies.
Unique unit / by Britain Long Bow

All together “without to count upgraded ones” + worker for Land only its 17 units.
I think it would be better simply to add more available units.

Ok here better list of Units Britain does have in AoE2
What should be added there or be upgraded ?

Militiaavailable Manatarmsavailable Longswordsmanavailable Twohandedswordsmanavailable Championavailable
Spearmanavailable Pikemanavailable Halberdieravailable
Archeravailable Crossbowmanavailable Arbalestavailable
Skirmisheravailable Eliteskirmisheravailable Handcannoneerunavailable
Cavalryarcheravailable Heavycavalryarcheravailable
Scoutcavalryavailable Lightcavalryavailable Hussarunavailable
Bloodlinesunavailable Knightavailable Cavalieravailable
Batteringramavailable Cappedramavailable Siegeramunavailable
Mangonelavailable Onageravailable Siegeonagerunavailable
Scorpionavailable Heavyscorpionavailable
Siegetoweravailable Bombardcannonunavailable

Longbowmanavailable\ 88x88Elitelongbowmanavailable\ 88x88
Petardavailable\ 88x88 Trebuchetavailable\ 88x88
Fishingshipavailable\ 88x88 Firegalleyavailable\ 88x88Fireshipavailable\ 88x88Fastfireshipavailable\ 88x88
Transportshipavailable\ 88x88 Tradecogavailable\ 88x88 Gillnetsavailable\ 88x88 Cannongalleonavailable\ 88x88Elitecannongalleonunavailable\ 88x88
Demolitionraftavailable\ 88x88Demolitionshipavailable\ 88x88Heavydemolitionshipavailable\ 88x88
Galleyavailable\ 88x88Wargalleyavailable\ 88x88Galleonavailable\ 88x88
Monkavailable\ 88x88 Villageravailable\ 88x88 Tradecartavailable\ 88x88

AoEO failed, but that doesn’t mean every single thing about it was a failure. What a bizarre opinion to stake out.

AoEO’s civ design is the best in the franchise. Its six unique civs offer tons of different play styles and strategies and cool units. They each have a wonderful theme and tone where you feel like you are using something culturally unique while all still feeling similar enough. AoM and AoE3 also have great designs.

AoE2’s civs are bland cookie cutters. They may have been good in 1999. But players today need more challenge and exploration than a unified tech tree with only one or two unique units per civ with zero unique buildings or techs.

Ensemble Studios knew that. That is why they forged a path with more distinct civs starting with AoM and never looked back.

AoE2 is wildly popular, but that’s not because of its old fashioned clunky civ design.

This community is smarter than to just blindly look at game sales as a proxy for the quality of every single feature in a game. Game design is way more nuanced than that.


I dont think you will find anyone would disagree that this is exactly how they should design the civilizations, but I have not heard the Devs say this. Can you cite your authority?

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The Gamestar article written after an interview with the developers the day before X019.
Likewise, we’ve already seen Mongols with their unique villagers, aesthetics, units, lack of Age4 and buildings which can be turned into carts and moved elsewhere. Which is more unique than even what the AoEO attempted.

The devs have also explicitly stated the factions will all be handled separately in this way (the Mongols are cited as an extreme example), they are picked to provide very distinct gameplay among them. It also means more time spent developing each civ that will lead to less than the 13 civs available in AoE2 at launch.

You can find the article translated on the official reddit page.

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Thanks! I read that article. I did not see AoM or AoEO mentioned, though.

IMO the best way is the way in AOE3 Warchief and Asian Dynasty DLC

I think it’s really important for upcoming game to understand why AoEO failed and AoE2 is a timeless classic.

That’s sounds awful. Like this Empires Apart. Which turned into another big failure.
they also had mongols with similar technic, Each faction was handled separately and hero units…

Handling factions separately is never a good idea.

The big question is not how different the factions are, but how they are going to play against each other. The big question is not how different the units are, but strategy and unit combination you are going to use. The more “unique” the faction is, the less ways are left to play against that faction.


meh that’s an easy one. Less and highly differentiated civs with more depth and unique play style.
That is obviously a far better and more mature approach to go with nowadays.

Certainly better than having 35 options which most people won’t even bother try all and while they are often having just facile, trivial and boring differences.

Like was written on GameStar, the developers want to focus on the fact that different ethnic groups play really different. That’s a great point imo, and what makes the historical setting of the game really interesting. Otherwise just name them A,B,C,D and put them to fight.


AoE IV must includes at least till the magnficient, facinating Gunpowder era;- its innovation and castles. Espically the world of Da Vinci.

Sure it sounds awesome first to have different nations, but how many games are out there that did make it good?

It is not necessary for AoE franchise to have it, and it seems to be for most RTS developers to be a task, they can’t do. Once you notice the faction you play does lack essential tech, that should be available to that factions, you stop play it. And problem is all other factions are designed same way, to feel incomplete. To even worse, to have a massive disadvantage simply for pic not the right faction.


AoM, AoE3, and AoEO have unique civs and has never had any problems with balancing. There are ways to make civs interesting and balanced. AoE2’s civs are boring and following that model would be a step backwards.