How should Civilizations be designed by AoE4?

The most successful RTS franchise of all time, Starcraft, would like to have a word about how asymmetry is “never a good idea”. And like Andy says above, it’s not like the Age franchise hasn’t got it figured out.


@AndyPXIII & @NakamuraRTS
AoE is not set in phantasy or science fiction, it can’t be asymmetrical enough for the expectations people have there.

What I really dislike is, how the gaming world is still traumatized by starcraft. Guys, there so not going to be a second game alike starcraft, for sake of last 20 years of asymmetrical embarrassments, can we please have an AAA game that does not try to fail there?

It’s easy to say make it asymmetrical, but how exactly? This idea of mobile bases from Mongols does instant remind of SC terrans and let’s be clear and realistic, once its in game it’s hard to manage to properly design, its either too overpowered or not valuable. And this happens with many added gameplay mechanics. It does make in my opinion more sense to adjust factions to gameplay like AoE2, then adjust gameplay to factions. If a faction doesn’t fit, you can simply fix it, vice verse usually developers do break then gameplay to make a faction different from others. For example Grey Goo had that Mobile faction, so you can’t make maps bigger, or give more start resources, or increase resource income without to make that faction useless.

Making actual asymmetrical faction is really lot work, and I did not see people to appreciate it. I know the similar and comparable 10 Factions from Age of Empire 2 sounds dated first, but maybe it’s exactly what we need these days. If you come around with 3 or 4 Asymmetrical factions, all people start to see that they are missing there units, game play, strategy and content.


In my opinion the first step should be to definite the AoE4 gameplay and than make factions that do fit there. And I think AoE4 gameplay should be simply improved version of AoE2 gameplay.

So far its by Aoe 2 around 15 or 20 regular units and 1 or 3 specific.
In my opinion it would make sense to add there simply more unit types and variants for regular and specific units.

Just some examples:
All factions in AoE2 do lack a medic unit, so why not simply add one to heal them “yes there is monk, but he is expensive and its not clear for many he is the unit for it”, so why shouldn’t for example University Produce Doctors to heal units? Same is with Siege Units, who is logically healing them? So why not produce in Blacksmith Engineer’s to fix Siege units? Also why are there no dogs as units by AoE2? Like most of the Armies do use them.

So that sounds like OK 3 new regular units.
As for Specific units I always wondered why there are not Longbowmen by Britain and Composite Bows by Mongols. That are 2 types of visible different bows. Longbow is bigger and has higher range and damage, while composite bow is faster, but takes more time to make.

I think most Civs will have the same base units, but with different aestethic designs.

On top of that, the way the civs deals with their resources may be different (or stationairy vs nomad, mining versus raiding), with unique techs, unique units, unique buildings.

I would like to see the same. They might add a building like a Pharmacy/Hospital to recruit units who will be able to heal. I also would like to see a siege engineer from the Siege workshop able to repair siege units. But if we goo so deep we should differentiate the villagers and make differnt kind like: farmer, breeder, hunter, miner, woodcutter, excavator, gatherer, tanner, builder. This way you have a specific unit for everything. otherwise you can simple send a villager to repair siege units.

I would like to see more than 3 specific units to be honest but we’ll see. For sure in term of balance I hope there will be also common /regular units.

It’s unrelistic. It’s impossible that China and British have same basic units.AOE3 did well on this feature.I dont think AOE4 will retrogress about that.
IMO,at least, Only the civs in same cultral circle could have same basic units.Such as China and Japan,Inca and Aztec,Indian and Cambodia,Persian and Arab. There should be 7~8 different cultrual circles.

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If China and the English have the same basic units and no unique buildings, the series will be a giant step backwards and the game will not only be worse than it should be but will also alienate anyone who enjoys AoM, AoE3, and AoEO. So basically anyone who has played AoE in the last 16 years.

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It’s not, China got archers ,swordsman, spearsman, cavalry and so on. It’s normal to have common things cause that was also in the history.

The only thing we know for now is this:

…And for that Age of Empires 4 returns to the most popular scenario of the series: the Middle Ages.

Age of Empires 4 will be like AoE2, but prettier.

“Civilizations are playing very differently this time,” Adam Isgreen reveals. For now, Microsoft only shows British and Mongols, but of course there will be more to the release of Age of Empires 4. However, the developers would rather emphasize the differences than include a large number of factions in the game, which, like Age of Empires 2, only differ in certain special units. Therefore, according to Isgreen, Age of Empires 4 has fewer ethnic groups than Age of Empires 2 - at that time there were 13 playable races without addons.

"All civilizations use the four resources food, wood, stone and gold, but not all of them collect them in the same way, use them in the same way and need them in the same ratio.”

While the British play a classic game - from building a base with a village center to increasing the population limit by building new homes - the Mongolians are a very strong rush nation that can quickly launch attacks at the beginning of a game thanks to their cavalry. But also, their economy and unit recruitment could be extremely different from the other nations, as Isgreen suggests, without going into details.

From “Gamestar Age of Empires 4 preview” interview

I heard someone found some China concept art. We also know English and Mongol units from the trailer. There is a Mongol crossbowman. While Europe and Islamic civs used crossbows fairly widely, the Mongols did not really, at least not enough to warrant a discrete unit in an AoE game.

If Chinese had the crossbows it could be possible that Mongols used it too.

Yeah, that’s exactly my point. We know some civs had them. So let’s be sure those civs get them in AoE4. We need civ unit diversity. We don’t know that the Mongols had them. So let’s have our Mongols focus on what we know they were very strong at and let the Chinese and England focus on other stuff. If we give every unit to every civ, the civs will all run together. AoE civs aren’t sims. They are thematic approximations. We need them to stand out.

Just because it is possible a civ had a unit that every other civ has is not a good enough reason to give it to them, and actually a really good reason to not give it to them. It is possible the Mongols didn’t have crossbows. And even if they did, they obviously weren’t well known for using them.

Giving some civs crossbows and others none is a great example of where they can differ to improve gameplay while giving an educated nod to history.

I do not know how much you are caught in ancient and medieval history but I believe that before we unbalance ourselves too much we should make ourselves a culture or trust those who know things. I do not want to lose time on research if I don’t have certainty of what they implement

I also hope to see some unique units/buildings, but I’m not good enough to tell which civ got the right weapon.

Those who have access to the game and insider forum of AoE4 can provide better feedback for sure.

Would be cool to have a list of all civ and their respective buildings/units to give good feedback :).

Yeah, totally. I am just speculating based on the information we have publicly. I am optimistic they will make a great game.

Yes there are arhers、 spearman and something like that.But their armour,weapon and appearance are totally different. For example,Chinese army haven’t used two handed sword but broadsword. So the basic units in AOE2 were fine for Europan players but were a nightmare for us Asian players.

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Don’t worry they are gonna make unique visual for each civ (race).

Yeah, the visuals are amazing. I am just saying they need the units themselves to be unique.

I mean, if they’re going to go through the trouble of giving unique graphics to each faction’s roster then why not just give them unique units in the first place? Most of the generics ended up ‘somewhat’ unique relative to each other anyways due to tech and civ bonus differences, so just build that into the units themselves to begin with.

For example, rather than giving the Persians spearmen that are just complete crap after feudal you could give them a spear unit that’s still fairly weak, but cheap to compensate for when you desperately need an anti-cav trash unit.

This doesn’t have to be exactly like Starcraft where pretty much every unit has a completely unique role on their faction’s roster - everyone will likely have some sort of footman, archer and cavalry at the very least to fill basic roles, but with some basic stat differences to give them flavor.


There’s nothing wrong to have common/regular units. I just hope to see different look and stats. You may have a Mongol archer who does look differently from those Britons. They might also set it to deal abit more damage but with less range. There are many things they can do so I just hope they can do it in the right way.

About unique units they are gonna make some for sure. They said this at Gamestar interview. We get also Hero units with powers so I imagine something like W3.

There was an interview a while back ago where Adam Isgreen talked about the future of AOE 4 and most importantly he talked about Red Alert and how he wanted to bring similar technology tree/unit choices as seen in the RA franchise.

but in Red Alert 2 they made it more interesting by introducing different harvesting trucks to different factions (teleporting Allies, armored Soviet).

Based on that it seems unlikely that the civilizations would showcase as extreme differences as StarCraft does. But It does seem like the units would be more diverse than what they are in AOE 2.

IE small tweaks to units damage, health, upgrade path, etc based on the civilization type. Main thing being that all civilizations would have Archer, Cavalry, Swordsman and Siege unit line which all would work similarly enough to make playing against them simple enough so that no one would have to learn every match up in order to play the game competitively.


Haha, had to make this joke. :smiley:

While I do think they should add more asymmetry then we currently have with the AoE2 civs, I don’t think they can go full asymmetric, it’s humans we are talking about after all, not aliens.

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