How should Civilizations be designed by AoE4?

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.


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.

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?

AoM, AoE3 and AoEo are all dead games. lol

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Just because AoE2 has outsold every other AoE game does not mean that every single feature in AoE2 is better than every single feature in every other AoE game. When you fall back on sales figures as authority for your position, you don’t prove your point. You reveal your inability to critically analyze these games.

AoM, AoE3, and AoEO stand for the absolute objective truth that it is possible for Age games to have fairly unique civ diversity while also maintaining balance. That AoE2 outsold these games is of no moment. Civs are either balanced or unbalanced regardless of how many people play the game. We aren’t using the sales figures of those games to discuss this issue. Of course we aren’t — it’s completely irrelevant.



Well guys lets look around, its not like simply AoM, AoE3 and AoEo are dead.
The RTS genre itself seems to be much dead by all new released games.

Its not like people don’t play Strategy games any more, we see millions of customers even today by new Total War, Stellaris, ANNO 1800 and so on. Still lot of people do play old RTS games.

This can only mean, something fundamental must be broken by new Real Time Strategy games.

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Indeed, its matter of taste and that can change.
I personally have the impression people don’t like any more different nations.

Sure as Starcraft did 20 years ago introduce its mechanics it was quite euphoric. But as all other RTS games started to copy it from Starcraft and present different factions too, it kind of did become lame and boring.

If I do pick up today an RTS game , compare it to old games or Total War and Stellaris, the first thing I see is the content difference. While RTS games are lacklustre out of 2-4 factions you play 1. Total War has over 20 factions and all are quite playable.


But how exactly do you measure that? AoM was a classic but it does not come close to the amount of people AOE2 had playing it all these years and keeping it alive. AoE online just died because lets be honest, it looked bad and cartoony and the gameplay was swallow. Age of Empires 3 dumbed down AOE and slapped a ‘napoleonic’ era with a fictional story that only the small community of AOE3 liked, nobody else did. There is absolutely nothing these games did better than AOE2, and the common false belief that all the nations in AOE2 are the same is a pure lie. You can clearly see at multiplayer online matches that many nations build for different things, and need to play different than others. What you want is an RTS Overwatch where there are stomping nations and useless ones, because that’s inevitable when nations are extremely different between them in gameplay. AOE2 has subtle changes and differences that go a long way. But most people do not reach that point because they just like to play campaigns. What exactly was a better system in these games than AOE2? The AOE3 card system or the levelling city? Oh please.

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It’s the middle term for me. I know AoE II has lots of differences between nations, and having just 3 factions can becane boring at one time even if each one are extremely different. I rather having just 10 civilizations with the perfect and balanced amount between differences and gameplay.

As i said before it’s a matter of taste, but for me having 35 civilization it’s kind of excesive.

About the sales, it’s irrelevant as a fact of measure. Age II came out in the right moment. Had all the improvements that it’s predecesor didn’t and it came out when RTS games where the thing.
For when AoE III came out many years later, there was a lot of people expecting an Age II with 2005 graphics and they’ve found out that was in another time with some differences. For those who were conservative or fans of the medieval Age, just simply couldn’t stand the change.
For Age Online welp, i believe that it wasn’t what anybody was expecting for a new Age of Empires.
And for Mythology i think it was pretty well welcomed. It’s my favourite game from all the saga and i remember playing it a lot with tons of people. Even today still has a solid fanbase and there is also a lot of people who wants an Definitive Edition for it or even an Age of Mythology II.


AOE II ‘‘came in the right time’’ is not a correct observation considering AOEII always had a community keeping it alive, and a very lively one too. AOE3 came in the wrong time is not really correct either. RTS was not really dying back then, Dawn of War came out, and several other great RTS games. AOE3 tried to dumb down the game and give it a napoleonic era theme. Nobody likes napoleonic era. It’s a very small niche and it’s understandable. The uniforms look boring, the stories are not robust, its just gunpowder wars. They bring nothing interesting to the table. It’s just war. Medieval ages have a huge amount of diversity, technologies, fighting styles. Napoleonic era does not.

And even if it would have all those things, why AOE fans had to like it? AoE settled its name among the giants of RTS games because of its depth and medieval period. There are countless Napoleonic games and World war games out there. AOE should not go into Napoleonic eras or world war eras. The biggest RTS fanbases out there are medieval and then probably the sci-fi crowd.

Medieval times offer a huge variety and it can offer that variety within historical accuracy, and the sci-fi has advanced technology and fiction to support.

World War and Napoleonic era cannot do either of those things and make them interesting. And that is proven over and over again. Both of these eras cannot provide empire building gameplay, while AOE is a game that provides economy building through realistic orders of ages and then military power. The same can be done in sci-fi through fiction.

And I do not understand why people still want Napoleonic Era for AOE. It has been done and it failed. Not because of sales, simply because people do not like the era and the dumbed down gameplay. Which then, translates to sales.

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I would not blame here the chosen time era.

I would say AoE2 had the better gameplay designers.
AoE2 had a very good compromise between historical accuracy and gameplay.

For Example The Ottomans and Aztec are in AoE2 at least playable. The Ottomans in AoE3 have just only 1 available infantry Unit “Janissary”. AoE3 Aztec have no artillery units. How are you even supposed to play a faction if every enemy knows exactly your weak points?

Designers by AoE2:
OK lets give that faction also access to this technology too, so its playable.

Designers by AoE3:
OK lets remove from that faction access to this technology too, so its different.

In the end you have by AoE2 the better unit and gameplay variety simply because you have much more tactical options at your disposal, because they are available to your faction.


I don’t see anybody here, even AoE3 players, arguing for AoE3’s cards or levels. There’s a lot more to the game than that, but I understand the differences may not be apparent if you aren’t familiar with the game.

Compared to AoE2, I enjoy the pace of the game and the unique civ designs of AoM, AoE3, and AoEO. I also enjoy many changes made to the tech trees after 1999. I understand others may disagree.

Obviously we know AoE4 will not be just a clone of AoE2, so in order to enjoy AoE4, players are going to need to be comfortable playing a different game than AoE2. And those differences should be informed by other games in the series, which also built off of AoE1 and AoE2.


If you play the game enough you know the strenghs and weaknesses of every civilization and there is no enemy who doesn’t know your weak points to be honest. It’s just about knowing every faction.

Aztecs doesn’t had cavalry in AoE 2 at launch and that was a problem? When they lack in some point they’re strong in another. It’s diversity and what makes each civilizations different.
Aztecs in Age III are more well known for overwhelming in numbers with cheap units and really short time of production. So they are not useless just because they don’t have artillery. Look them more like the Zerg from SC, just play different.


We already know special abilities will be in AoE 4 and vastly different Civs in gameplay. So its definitely not an aoe2 clone.

Special abilities? Well i didn’t knew that! I imagine that some units will have it like in Starcraft 2 but didn’t knew that they already confirmed that there will be special abilities to use.

AoE3 has its fair share of economy building and management as well as several innovations, its certainly not dumped down. Mills for perpetual food gathering already mentioned by Andy.
Plantations for infinite gold mining, whales as an infinite coin source. Banks, Factories, Livestock pens, Trading posts, shrines, Rice Paddies for both resources, the Capitol, the Asian wonder bonuses, native settlement bonuses, settler wagons, chinese villages. What are all these things?
Are they not giving more depth and variety to the economy? Are they not improvements?

Now combine them with tons of different cards for each civ too. Are they still dumping the gameplay down? In AoE3 you chose to age up with a historical figure that gives extra bonuses, you have to think more, to plan carefully, there are way more parameters in the game. You have a big amount of treasures with neutral guardians too.
Gold is also no longer a depletable resource, does that make the late game shallow? What feels more like being an empire, hunting down gold piles with pickaxes and being forced by the game to map control or having your own coin source?

In battles, every unit can be countered, your army must be diversified, spamming a single unit at late game is not a thing in AoE3. The only exception I can think of could be the unabalanced French Cuirassiers at 40min no rush games. You get cannons that can kill several infantry units at once, even cannons that counter other cannons, the army must move tactically, targets must be prioritized before marching. There are imbalances of course.
You can say many things about the game but dumping down the gameplay? I don’t think so.

Medieval era does have this huge amount of diversity. But Aoe2 on the other hand?.. meeh
I understand that you don’t like the colonial and napoleonic times, it’s not my favorite pick either, that’s preference.

We can all agree that’s a good thing. I doubt that anyone would seriously be satisfied with an aoe2 clone. One may as well just stick to the DE version if that’s the case.

Instead of stomping aoe3 and glorifying aoe2 over and over again, people should realize that AoE3, AoM or AoEO players as a minority offer a healthy diversity in this community. I have even seen some saying that AoE4 could be in danger if it listened to AoE3 players. If anything, AoE4 would be in danger only if it listened to a community that its voice is monopolized by AoE2 fans, not by AoE3 players. All games have something to offer. Even AoEO that most people disregard completely had this incredible social online experience that no other age title did, I would keep that.

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What you mentioned about AOE3 is actually dumbing down. Gold not being a depletable source takes away a lot from multiplayer hostility gameplay. Denying gold to someone or resources is one of the best, smartest and skilful ways to play online. Regarding your counter point, all units can be countered in AOE2 too. Except from maybe steppe lancers at the moment, but that will get fixed. It’s not my opinion only that AOE3 dumbed down the game, it’s the general opinion. Cards system was dumb in my opinion and it’s not needed. The ‘age of empires’ as you mention is not a description of the game. You never managed an empire in AOE, it has campaigns that happen within the age and that’s about it. Managing an empire would be boring. What AOE2 needs to change in general regarding its basis is that it could use a tone down on the constant micro management required on villagers and buildings. And that’s about it. We can focus on the combat more.

If anything, AoE4 would be in danger only if it listened to a community that its voice is monopolized by AoE2 fans, not by AoE3 players

That;s not a very good arguement considering AOE2 was alive during the time AOE3 died, AOE died and AOEO died and still leaves modern RTS games from other companies in the dust. I am sure that there are very few things to take from AOE3, but still very few. Regardless, the few good points of AOE3 should be built upon AOE4. The problem is that we have a hard time deciding what was actually good in AOE3.

We can all agree that’s a good thing. I doubt that anyone would seriously be satisfied with an aoe2 clone. One may as well just stick to the DE version if that’s the case.

That’s still not a good arguement because sequels and builting upon previous games is what many successful franchises do. Dawn of War 2 was dawn of war 1 but enhanced in every possible way. And then Dawn of War 3 came in and ruined everything because it dumbed down the game to a MOBA. But I agree with your point. In fact, I love the new mongol ability we see in the trailer with the flying bird, which is a scouting skill. And I am excited for unique units to have 1-2 abilities. But let’s hope this is not a moba with RTS combined. 1-2 skills is fine, more is game breaking.

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Funny. There are people who advocate medieval era for its “greater diversity” and there are people who are strongly against “diverse” factions.

…and they are supporting the exact same type of game settings and design.

Maybe the secret that AOE2 succeeded is because it chose a very diverse time setting and then made factions less diverse.

Sure Special abilities in Company of Heroes were you have 4 - 10 units might work, but AoE has large armies to manage of 40 till 100 units it might end up in quite a mess.

AoE2 main strong point is diversity of strategy.

Problem is diverse factions, reduce diversity of strategy.

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