How should Civilizations be designed by AoE4?

Doesnt matter AoE III has lesser players, you are mistaken to think it is a dead game. Almost every day there are at the same time 1000-2000 players online and now with the De comming most of the time it is around 4000.

Like it or hate it AoE III is part of the game franchise and should also get looked at. The AoE III factions didnt kill the franchise. Also wouldnt argue AoE III itself killed the franchise. They made enough money of it and it still has a big fanbase.

AoE III added a lot of interesting ideas that do work and do not break the game. Example to this is the livestock pen, trade posts/natives and more unique units.

Edit: and mercenaries/saloon and treasures


When playing AoE III, I could feel as if I was closer to the actual landscape.
The proportions and reflections brought visual enjoyment.
Whilst the field and having multiple civilations to explore through added diversity and longevity for myself to find myself on new maps & in clashes occuring many many years after AoE III’s release.


Those ideas from AoE3 arent good.
-Treasures mean annoying early game goose chase
-Trade Posts turn game into boring key location Football field, breaking turtling

Hallo Wars 2 is a decent sequel and light year ahead compared to DoW3 and Universe at War.

Yes, they had decent products in the past,
but in last years we had to see so many bad RTS games,
people did loose their confidence in the genre.

It just sounds to me, like AoE4 Team did not learn from it.

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Especially AoE4 is not a game where team is free to do what ever they want, without financial consequences, like we had seen by Dawn of War 3 and C&C4 Tiberian Twilight. Using bad design choices from AoE3 and AoE Online, to justify their recreation in AoE4 is the worst thing possible, Because people knew them and told not to do so.

The modern RTS do flop, because their design is not convincing.
And that’s the main issue that should be approach.
A game has to look, like it does justify to pay 60 Dollars for it.

I mean something being good afther all is an opinion. Still would argue they are good mechanics. Trade posts dont make it a football field or break turtling. Treasures arent a goose chase you can just pick them up with your explorer, and you dont have to pick them up. I guess you dont play AoE III or you would have known these things. Also i made more points about interessting deas you didnt respond to, why they are not.

Because you disliked AoE III doesnt mean everyone did. There is still a huge fanbase and just to ignore that is stupid. You probably just want a AoE II clone well guess what you got AoE II De not that long ago. Play that if AoE II is so superior.


Well lets take a look at those AOE3 maps. Again, do they provide as much freedom and variety like the maps from AoE2? Of course not. Trade posts are resource generating buildings.
This maps are prime example of those simplified footballs fields, where they do force people to take middle. And completely are breaking Turtling gameplay.
It’s an issue if the map does force you to play it merely a limited and intended way.

AoE3 map is already shaped and pre-defined.
Compare it to AoE2 map, you are the one who does discover and shape the map.

As its up to you where you build your base and you can play as turtle, actually AoE2 is one of the handful games, where it’s not a simplified rush for key locations.

Its very clear which game is more popular.
Age of Empires II (2013) 30-Day Avg. 12,733.1
Age of Empires® III: 30-Day Avg. 3,725.6

I had from AoE3 a very negative impression

-the Ottoman faction with only 1 available trooper was a point where I did think the game must be bugged.

I mean it did cost after all 50 Dollars, and you see only 1 soldier available to buy. I understand this janissary were supposed to be unique, but we had them already in AoE2. My first question was, ok where are all the other soldier unit types? They had some artillery units and horse units, but the thing is, they lacked strategies that are available with cheap infantry.

I also do not understand why developers are including chores into games. This collecting of XP to update city new cards and each early game collecting of treasures feels like s Quick-Time-Event in a shooter or RPG, completely unnecessary.

PvP gameplay experience was quite awful, once you have secured middle of the map, people are leaving the game. This is a main issue by Foodball maps, once you have the key position , people do leave the game. This is extremely annoying.

And worst of all, you don’t have your base build freedom. In AoE3 you merely need to follow the way from trade post, to find enemy base. As I really like to use siege equipment vs buildings, but in AoE3 nice defense structures area a rarity as most people have to focus on mobile units.

I think AoE III is one of prime examples, where RTS are heading in wrong direction. You have ideas stitched together, without a proper consistence and gameplay variety, with some quite annoying parts. And that where ideas become not important, as you are going to have overall bad gameplay experience.

I am simply against gameplay breaking ideas.

Well if you ask me how AoE4 should be approached?
The main factor of AoE2 is the variety how it can be played.

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Your point about the map being shaped by yourself in AoE II is false. Mostly players head to piles of gold to secure their late game gold for 1v1 and most of the times also team games. AoE III trade posts arent overpowered and you can easily win withouth claiming them. Pro players generaly dont build trading posts. They also do not shape the map like you say that you are forced to take them. Map control is always a thing in strategy and AoE II is no different.

I didnt say AoE III was more popular i said there are still a lot of fans. You forget that the 2013 release of AoE II was also a improvement which saw new things added. AoE III hasent had such thingd sinse 2007.

You act like the Ottoman civ is the only on in the game. The ottomans have extra artillery foundry troops and a unique unit is also send via Home city. And the reason they dont have a trash infantry is because their settlers are free. If you didnt liked the Ottoman civ you still have 7 others and 13 others with dlc. All more unique from eachother and except for French and Japanese they are very balanced.

AoE IV shouldnt be a copy of AoE IV anf you just want to hate some things about AoE III where there is no reason to why. Mercenaries, treasures, natives, livestock pen are all interessting and not game breaking additions. I dont say they should make an AoE III clone but they should not look away of one fifth of the player base when looked at AoE III and II added. Like i said, if you only want to live in your little bubble of AoE II play that, otherwise let them experiment and have their creativity. Bug fixes and balancing is a thing. Ofcourse a game should be bug free but there are always things that slip by.

1 With the info so far sounds like they are doing what you want, a game with " different factions" and new mechanics.

2 Did you like and play their previous games DoW3, AoE-Online and Universe at War?
Despite they had there their freedom, those games ended up very bad.

3 We have seen so many flopped projects, who share similar approach.
War Party, Empires Apart, Year Of Rain, Grey Goo, Act of Aggression
It just doesn’t sound to me, like the games market is asking for such game.

4 Experimenting with games mechanics in case for AAA game for year 2020, sounds like a very bad idea.

5 After around 25 years of genre existence, we should actually ask ourselves what kind of game people do want to see.

As you mentioned, map control in Age of Empires III is more important then in Age of Empires II. Clearly you don’t like this cause it makes defensive play, such as turtleing, less viable. But just cause you don’t prefer that design choice does not mean its “bad design”.

  1. Turtleing in General:
    In any RTS turtling is a strategy that is only effective in the short term, and should not be employed for the entirety of the game if you want to win. Any smart player who sees a player who is only turtleing is going to maximize map control, get greedy, and build a much better economy.
    Short answer: If you like to turtle the entire game you are going to loose, it does not matter what RTS you are playing. If you are playing a game that DOES allow turtleing the entire game to win the majority of the time, the game is poorly designed. No one strategy should be that dominate.

  2. Map Control Importance in Other games:
    Map control in CoH, CoH2, and DoW2 is incredibly important (much more the AoE III) to winning because your resources are directly tied to your map control. These games are good games that did well and were plenty popular.

  3. Relic Has a Good Track Record
    Just because Relic’s latest game DoW3 did not do well, and has some ideas that were not well received does not mean all of their next games are going to be bad. Give them a chance to learn from their mistakes.

Its totally find that you like AoE II more then AoE III. I don’t have a problem with that. Most people agree with you.

But saying that the decline in RTS game popularity is due to game design decisions that you personally don’t like is silly. There is no evidence for that. There are tons of variables that go into deciding if a game does well: marketing, price, release date, other games being released at the same time, initial reviews, release platform, etc.


I really enjoy maps with unknown positions, layouts and resources.
I wish such a map could be provided in AoE IV. The idea of the player having familiarised himself with the map-layout from same-map-game-experience makes the game a little too predictable.
In AoE 3, I enjoy the Custom Map ‘Lost’ and the map ‘unknown’.
But even on these maps, we already know where to head because the minimap tells us where we are in regard to the centre. Sometimes I wish we’d have to explore til we reached a side until the mini-map gets fixed, then we’d know in which general-direction our foe probably will be.

1 And that is a good thing, the civs of AoE II arent really unique but purely buffs, most civs look alike.

2 I didnt play those, but that is not the point i am making. It has nothing to do with what i said. I dont care which studio makes it as long as they make it a new and refreshing game not a copy of AoE II.

3 The market really, isnt also asking for another copy of AoE II, we just got the definitive edition.

4 Because EA sets a bad example doesnt mean its bad, it is actually a good thing. If all studios stopped doing experimental stuff we would keep getting the same games which gets boring real fast. Same critisism games get, that they are toi similair to their predisessor.

5 That is what i exactly did. A lot if people liked AoE II resource system, so reimplement it. A lot of people like it or hate it enjoyed the trade posts and natives so add that. Heck have an option to turn it off if you want. The building limit of AoE III got a lot of critizism so dont impliment that. Etc. It isnt a bad thing to add different things from the games of the fricking same franchise.


I don’t wait for a AAA game.i think a rts game can’t be a AAA game in nowadays.We aren’t in 1990s.Stratrgy isn’t so popular in 2020.

I just waiting a good game,not excellent.
Also we didn’t saw anything about the gameplay
We only know game will have different factions,similar to aom,aoe3 or sc2

Make a game with Different faction is very risky
Yes you can make a game such as sc2
But also you can fail similar to universe at war.

It seems ridiculous to discuss about the game right now (lol until 2 days ago I was discussing too)

I dedicated to wait for news.
My civ design opinion

Its a very important point that you did not play those games, this means different factions and unique mechanics alone were not enough to get your interest for them.

Counter question, how many new RTS games were declared at least average by gamers? Strategy games are still popular, its just developers are making these days bad Real-Time Strategy Games.

Let’s compare for example a modern Turn Based Strategy game vs Real-Time Strategy Game.
Warhammer 40,000: Gladius - Relics of War TBS from 2018 vs
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War III for RTS from 2017

Both games do take place in same universe Warhammer 40K
But the way how games market did receive both games is very different.

Dawn of War and Relic are very well-known franchises and studio. There was zero competition, game was advertised and praised by the press. 3 factions with unique gameplay mechanics.
Died 2 or 3 months after release, received abysmal ratings and got no support or patches, was very quick abandoned. According to players it had very bad story mode and lame gameplay.

In same time Proxy Studios and Gladius are no name franchise/studio, had like almost no advertisement at all. And still managed to prove itself despite having several mayor titles around like Age of Wonders, Endless legend and Civilisation. They did just by gameplay copy /paste Civilisation. Was launched with 4 faction more and received tons of DLCs and patches, has 7 faction unlock now.
Despite some flaws, people are actually liking and praising it.

So how can it be, that we still have AAA Total War, Turn based strategy games and City Builder like Anno. But if it comes to Real time, people do not like it?

My point is, Real-Time Strategy Games developers these days do make fundamental mistakes.

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2 I didnt play those, because i am interested in history and rts, in my opinion is AoE III and II the perfect fit. I also dont like Futuristic like strategy games. AoE Online, i didnt know the existence before it was stopped. And quess what, AoE III has more unique civs, and guess again, i like AoE III.

Answer to your counter question:
Yes the developers make bad strategy, but the factions arent a part of it. If you look closely… at the fricking thing you yourself said, the players didnt like the games because of bad story mode and lame gameplay, were do you read factions to different? Also no patches works towards hate about a game, nothing to do with unique factions.

Why they dont like real time? There are a lot of possible answers to this. One could be that people just dont like them anymore as much as the old days. It could also be that the new rts has to few things to do. But what i certainly know isnt the reason, is different and unique factions.

Random note: I thought this review was super interesting!

People loved Dawn of War I, most loved Dawn of War II, and almost everyone hated Dawn of War III.

Each of these games has completely unique factions. It follows pretty logically that unique factions were not the problem. Literally no one complained about DoW III’s unique factions.

But everyone did complain that it played like a MOBA. They complained about the lack of base building. The size of the maps, other game play features.


Well you are right with your points too, but I think that’s the combinations of those things.
“not appealing design, odd gameplay feeling and missing of tech tree branches can only lead to impression you have a bad and inferior game.”

And my personal impression is so far, is that they did not learn from previous projects.

1 Unit Proportions and Cartoony design. Those excessively bright and flashy colours, units that have odd big sizes. Like a AoE4 Rider with too big sword or that DOW3 Hero who is much bigger than the soldiers and does backflips and jumps in very heavy armor.

Does make the game look bad. Because it can be done better.
The impression is always make a Realistic character is harder than a cartoon character.

2 As for gameplay like Turtling and different factions = missing tech tree branches.
DoW3 was launched unlike DoW 1 and 2 without defence towers. They were later added with a patch.
Just think of it for a person who liked to play defensive, in DOW1 you have by each faction mines and defence towers that can be upgraded, you have a sequel by DOW3 game without mines and defence towers. Also faction Space Marines missed: Transport units, Healer Units, Heavy Infantry, long range Mechs and anti vehicle upgrades.

That’s why I do have a very bad feeling to see different factions in AoE4.
For me it sounds like to have again missing tech tree branches.
And if a tech tree branch is missing, you miss its strategy.

3 Gameplay, AoE2 is like the best complex base build RTS ever with very clear counters and counterparts. The last work of the current AoE4 team is simply a direct opposite of it.

The unit proportions of AoE IV in the image you provided isn’t off.

Still unique factions wasnt a criticism. And you said i believe the Mongols are denied of the last Age. This means they need to rush, so they are a rush civ. Seeing rushing is already a thing i dont see why there cant be a civ designed for rushing. There are a lot of gameplays where people rush feudal or castle age and winning withouth even reaching the imperial age. Seeing i believe AoE IV has just like AoE III five ages, the mongols will have 4 ages to rush.

You can also not act like the AoE II civs arent designed for certain purposes. The Teutons for example are designed for a defensive form, unlike the Huns which are more designed to play agressive.

RTS games are also heavily criticized for factions balance and that is actually a result of unique factions.

Well Zerg are a rush faction, but still you have access to defense buildings and late game counter and counterpart units. You don’t have to rush, its optional.

You don’t have to play Teutons defensive, you can play them aggressive.
You don’t have to play Huns aggressive, you can play them defensive.

I still can as Hun, build lots of turtle and win by world wonder.

Turtling, Rush, Hit and run and so on strategies should be available across all factions.
Or else game might as usual turn out very boring.

An Age of Empires 2 player can anytime surprise what he is doing, like wow here is a wall or wow he is using a lot of horse archer to harass economy, here is knights rush, there is mass spam of spear soldiers, or wow he is using a lot of priests to steal my units. And what are doing 3 castles over here next to my base. Also oh no, not again he did build walls around my place. AoE2 is maybe old, but there are so many ways to play it. So many ways how people do approach you. And they can anytime simply switch their tactic, suddenly somebody does send lots of archers/skirmisher, but was harrasing early game with scout horses.

And that’s possible already to experience with very casual players.

If I take a modern RTS, it does not matter if player has 1 or 1000 hours experience, my enemy is always going to make same move each game, because modern game offers no variety, as it is merely stitched together to do 1 thing.

Universe at war, a yes the same huge walking unit as usual.
DOW3, a yes the same rush to middle, build Barack as usual.
C & 4: Tiberian Twilight a yes the same rush to middle.
Grey Goo, a yes the same mass spam of same early units.
Deserts of Kharak, a yes the same mass spam of same early units.
C&C Generals, a yes the same scud bug as usual.

And for mid game, we have a very nice lack of counterpart and countering units/ buildings.
While having very lame economy, ineffective infrastructure, boring victory conditions.

Non of the teams does think outside the box, they do follow all some kind of odd design Dogma.
And deliver therefore very comparable failing results.

I am very aware AoE IV won’t be the chance for RTS to take opportunity to fix ongoing genre issues.

You always can do this and that. But the civs wont excell at it. You know AoE II is not a stranger to denying certain things to civs right? Meso americans dont get cav.

AoE III has more unique civs, and as every civ you have multiple strategies to choose from.

Faction balance has nothing to do with unique factions. You said they didnt patch the games, you know AoE II DE went out with also balance issues? The steppe lancer was in the beginning very strong. For this reason there are things like patches and bug fixes. Civs can be further balanced if seen nescissary afther release.