How should Civilizations be designed by AoE4?

In my opinion first of all the game needs a good launch, this means it should under no circumstances contain any nonsense Ideas from AoE Online Skins and AoE3 Progression.

Hide stuff behind play and pay wall will scare people off, hide gameplay stats related content will make it online non playable as simply as new players won’t have content and be kicked first sec they join any match, “sorry you did not waste 100 hours to unlock 5% better spearman, we have to kick you from the game” AoE 3 was way worse balanced as for same costs you could get 5 or 20 of same units, thats too imbalanced between the players. Skins are the worst thing for RTS, as they will simply drain resources from Faction design.

AOE4 needs a good launch. We have seen already in AoE Online and AoE3, that this is bad for the game.

In my opinion they could do it like Cossacks or Total War.
Cossacks had “unique” nations, but it was only Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Turkey, Algeria, all the European were designed pretty same. They Started with 14 nations and added later 8, so 22 Nations.

https://cossacks3.gamepedia.com/Nations

We had twenty-two factions in Medieval II: Total War. But the only unique was Aztecs.
3 Arabic and 2 Nomadic, everything else was European

Even there, lets take a look what we have as options for the nations.

https://wiki.totalwar.com/w/Factions_in_Medieval_II:_Total_War.html

Europe: Problem is across Europe, there is no big difference at all, Europe nations had very similar access to technology and had quite comparable combat tactics. Near Asia/Africa and Far Asia nations maybe looked different, but still had their version of same tech.

Nomadic Nations, had just different life style due to hunting and travelling with livestock. They preferred Horses and Bows, but still this technology was accessible to all other nations.

America and Far Africa, did not have access to lot fo technologies, Like Horses and Iron.

So lets say we would have by AoE4
England
Mongols
China
Japan
Aztecs
Some African empire

Why shouldn’t other European nations not be added similar to Britain with a handful of unique units?
France is basically colour Blue instead of Red, and is famous for heavy cavalry instead of Archers.
So get a heavy cavalry Unit instead of Archer for the Elite unit.

For European Nations we have this Options:
The Byzantine Empire
Denmark
England
France
The Holy Roman Empire
Hungary
Milan
Poland
Portugal
Russia
Scotland
Sicily
Spain
Venice
Italy

Also there have been several Nomadic Empires and Nations.
Why also not add them similar to Mongols with Unique units,

like
Mongols
Cumans
Turks
Ottomans
Timurid
Mughal
Tatars
Huns

And so we could have easy a game with like 15 Nations at launch. That would sound way more interesting than just 6 Nations.

I suspect they will be releasing at least 8 civs at launch, otherwise you’d have duplicate civs in a 4v4, which would be abnormal for an AoE seasoned player.

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How about having real sappers? Like tunnelling and trench warfare?
Also, biological warfare would be interesting vs a walled off opponent.

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Trench and Biological warfare was used on middle ages ?

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hm, as of biological warfare they were at some extend using infected corpses and throwing them to the enemies with the use of catapults. But maybe this discussion should go to the AOE 4 ideas

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Yes, for biological warfare they would hurl diseased plague victims & cows into the city using catapults, trebuchets, etc (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_biological_warfare#Middle_Ages).
For trench warfare, sortof: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castra
Basically they were used for defensive purposes until WW1 it looks like.
I was thinking more sapper-like (tunnel warfare): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Godesberg

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Well disease is ignored on AOE i don’t see the point of biological

trench would be the “same” as palisades rather have a war engineer

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Tunnel warfare is well documented and was definitely a thing. I imagine it being used at most big sieges.
And those big thick walls that we’ve seen in the trailer would be ideal for such a feature. Could be something similar to petards.
I wonder how more powerful are those walls going to be compared to the previous age games.
It had always been an annoyance that they were working more like a fench that could be destroyed fairly easy even by foot soldiers and that you could also shot through them. Hope it’s going to be different now. AOE 4 ideas

True, that’s a good point.
I guess for biological warfare & disease, it depends on if they’re going to focus more on siege craft rather than civ building. If the game maintains the AOE civ-building style, then it doesn’t make as much sense to do disease. But if it’s more about taking fortresses and building fortresses, maintaining control, or city-maintenance, then adding in disease (and even specializing it for each civ) makes sense.

I’d love to see sappers. AoE has had that unit before. It’s a great one.

creating civilizations for a strategy game could be more difficult than you might think! Having many civilizations means risking having many similar characteristics. I prefer to have few civilizations but very different from each other, that many civilizations that however have only few differences!

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Sure it is possible to add a lot to the game and change various things,
but the actual question is, is it going to make sense?

I rather see a problem that RTS,
tend to be not playable because something is breaking the gameplay.

Have you any example for a good game with different civilizations?

I see simply this problem happening if factions are too different:

Because faction A is missing Unit X, Faction B is using all the time Unit X.
There might be other 20 or 40 different units in the game and 2 or 3 other factions, but you see only Faction B play unit X.

That’s why I do prefer similar Factions, because you do see actually other units and factions.

And I personally think Age of Empires is not the right franchise for different factions. No matter what you would do, for different Factions historical setting will be inferior vs any fantasy. Different Factions would make rather sense for Age of Mythology 2, where you could actually do something interesting.

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Well for me Age III scheme it’s pretty ok. Is not Starcraft 2 where every faction is completely different (but then, again, they are only three) and is not Age II when at launch had a lot of civs but were all the same with just some differences in the tech tree and new units here and there.
Age III was a medium term, had half of the civs than Age II and every one was kind of different. The base is the same for all but they had different playstyles because of the economy changes, buildings, tecnologies and of course, units. When your citizens cost gold or wood instead food, you manage tour economy different, also when you get them for free like the Otomans. Regarding the Card System (wich for me was a pretty cool thing to add, having extra things and building different decks to adecuate more to your playstyle) each civilization has the adecuate amount of changes to make them unique and different.
I know that a lot of people didn’t like much Age III but i think Ensemble Studios made the right step with it. The balance on the differences and playstyles between the civilizations was very good, the chose between generals and different people every time you advance to a new Age (like Age of Mythology) the whole new card system, even what they did with the fort (rather having ONE significative and strong building than building 18 casttles around your base and map like Age II).

Despite all the new stuff, Age III still feels like an Age game so, Relic should look in the same way at the time in how to develop Age of Empires IV. I like the way in how Adam Isegreen look at it, keeping the core base of Age, but don’t having affraid of introducing a lot of new stuff and changes to ir, whithout making it a complete different type of game. The balance between the old and the new.

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Hmmm also i forgot my guess on the civs that they may have at launch.
China or Japanese for sure will be on the roster since i saw asian style buildings in the Behind the Scenes trailer.

I believe that 8 or 10 will be the number for that “wide spectrum” of civilizations that Adam Isegreen was talking about.

My guess:

England
France
Japan
Mongols
Aztecs
Spain
Persian
Ottomans

The building you’re referring to is definitely not in Tang Dynasty/Japan style of architecture. It could be either the Chinese or Vietnamese and of the two, the pick is pretty much obvious.

I don’t see anyone here arguing for civs to be much more different than they are in AoM, AoE3, and AoEO. Those civs share a good number of units, buildings, and techs but also differ in critical ways.

Because we already have three examples, we don’t need to guess whether it will work. It works. It works very well, in fact.

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Indeed, the chances are quite high AoE4 might not only inherit bad traits of its predecessors, but also develop some bad on its own.

Considering those games are way less popular than something created over 20 years ago, maybe it doesn’t work?

Age of Empires 2 outnumbers by popularity all other AoEs combined.
Age of Empires 2 outnumbers AoE3 like 10 to 1
Age of Empires 2 outnumbers Age of Mythology 20 to 1.

https://steamcharts.com/search/?q=Age+of

So the real question is simple. Why?
“Ok maybe I should have started a tread with that question”

I would not call AoE3 as a good game.

1 The lackluster by card system is obvious, people need lot of time to unlock all cards for all the factions, that does quite hard hit Multiplayer experience, as simple as people are kicked from lobbies if they have too low city level.

2 yes that example with Ottomans free workers, well issue is quite obvious,
such big difference does make faction either overpowered or not playable.

So we might end up in situation where people out of 6, 12, 20 factions do play only 1.

In my opinion there is simply no good middle ground between AoE2 and Starcraft.
The impression I have by most games is always, 1 game does lack content or 2 is not creative enough.

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Well, one just can’t satisfy to h3ll & heaven at the same time. There always gonna be people who loves the game, others who do not, and others who just simply hate it.
As an AoE fan from all the saga, i enoyed pretty much AoE III and was a good game for me, as much as Age of Mythology wich is my fav and had a lot of fun with it.
Yes, there are things op, units op, civs op or whatever you want op as any other game. But like everything, ABSOLUTELY everything has a counter, and depends on you how to manage it.
There is no 100% perfect game, there always gonna be suggestions and ways to improve it much more.
So, sometimes it’s just about a matter of taste rather than anything else.

And what about Indians? You won’t have 30% of medieval gdp?