At this moment the AoE II multiplayer community is divided over some platforms to play our beloved game. Currently we have:
- Voobly: 3.4k players online
- HD: 11,2k players online
- DE at steam: 19k players online
- Gameranger: Unknown number of players
This means there are around 35k players around who play this game at this moment. I think it would be great if we can unite all communities at DE. It would be great if we just have one platform where everyone plays. So I decided to make a list of improvements I really want for DE, so more players from Voobly, HD and Gameranger will join DE. These improvements are solely focused on the multiplayer experience. It is possible that some of the ideas are already discussed in other threads. I decided to still include those in this list, because I wanna post my complete opinion about the current MP state of the game.
Before I start with the list of improvements, I will say: I do enjoy DE. So this post isn’t meant as rant to DE. I just wanna make it even better!
Before the game start: ‘Ranked’ vs ‘Lobby browser’
I do like having a matchmaking system. For me matchmaking needs to be the way to get into an enjoyable game against equally skilled players. What does this mean to me?
- Most matches are made by matchmaking.
- Games are fair (both sides have equal strength.
- Settings are enjoyable for everyone.
I do like the current matchmaking, but I also think it really can be improved, so the number of games on a ranked ladder will rise and the number of games at the unranked ladder decreased. I do feel many players play unranked, because they don’t enjoy ranked games. I would even say most players play unranked games. They walk against some walls and you see suggestions like ‘Please at a ranking to the lobby’. Most of these kinds of complaints are solved by a good working matchmaking. These players will move to ranked. I have had a look at aoe2.net for the number of players at each ranking:
RM 1v1: 35k players
RM TG: 51K players
DM 1v1: 1k players
DM TG: 1k players
Unranked: 195k players
The unranked ladder (which is hidden ingame) has many more distinct players than other ladders. So besides how do we get the players from Voobly, HD and Gameranger move to DE, I also think we have to ask the question: How can we move the players from the ‘Lobby browser’ to ‘Ranked’? More players in the ranked queue mean better games to me. The chance of a match against an equally skilled player will be larger. Also waiting times will decrease for everyone. This mean you can get into a game quicker.
So now up to the ideas to improve matchmaking:
Rename ‘Ranked’ to ‘Matchmaking’
I feel like some players don’t wanna join the ranked queue, because it sounds too competitive for them. I can understand this idea based on the name. By just renaming ‘Ranked’ to ‘Matchmaking’ it will lower the threshold to join the queue. This change is nothing but psychological, but I think it will really help to get some players for the lobby to join the matchmaking queue.
More control over the maps you play
Players of AoE II are just to pick their maps. Most of the players have their preferences. Some of the players just want to play 1v1 Arabia only. Others want to play only 4v4 Black Forest. Some are a bit less stubborn, but still want to play Arabia in 75% of their games. These are just some examples. In the current matchmaking system is this not possible. This point can be fixed with introducing unlimited bans, so players can pick their map. This means the waiting time will increase. If we can get more players from the lobby and other platforms to join the matchmaking queue, than it really won’t have much effect to the popular maps. The waiting time for unpopular maps will like increase, but that is just the risk of playing unpopular maps. The same would be true for playing these maps in the lobby browser.
Add more game modes to the queue
If I have a look at the ongoing games at aoe2.net, I see around the same amount games for Empire Wars or Regicide than for Death match. Death match is part of the ranked system, but those game modes are not part of the ranked system. It would be great if we can have these game modes as part of the ranked system. I do think such game modes are played frequently enough to have some ladder for this. You can also think about a rotating system, every month another game mode next to the current RM and DM games. I would love to see some love for those game modes.
Base the map pool on the preference of players
I do think it is great to have some diversity in the maps. I also love we got be challenged to try other maps and step outside our comfort zone. The devs do need to know how much they push this. I don’t think that the current map pool is a real reflection of the preferences of the players. If we divide all maps into Open, closed and hybrid maps, we get the following:
Open: Arabia and Serengeti
Closed: Arena and Hill Fort
Hybrid: Four Lakes, Islands, Golden Swamp, Nomad and MegaRandom
Closed: Black Forest, Arena, Hill Fort, Oasis
Hybrid: Nomad, MegaRandom, Golden Swamp, Scandinavia
Note: The place of some maps is pretty much debatable.
1v1: We have 2 open maps, 2 closed maps and 5 hybrid maps.
Team: We have 1 open map, 4 closed maps and 4 hybrid maps.
What maps does the community wants?
1v1: I would go for 5 open maps, 2 closed maps and 2 hybrid maps.
Team: I would go for 4 open maps, 3 closed maps and 2 hybrid maps.
(Note: This is my opinion based on the post is read)
I really do think this is a much better reflection of the preferences of most players. I would also personally love to see more open maps.
Note: This set up is mostly for RM. I would make a completely not related pool for DM with maps that match for death match. I think that some of the current maps are just bad for DM. To me, DM just needs to have much of open maps. Maybe at some hybrid maps, but we don’t need any closed maps. Also adjust the map pool for other game modes like Empire Wars. I do think Empire Wars is meant to be played aggressive. So you also want to have some open or maybe hybrid maps, but no closed maps.
A small personal preference: Take maps from ongoing Tournaments. This will make tournaments even more immersive. You can play on the same maps as the pros!
In the end, we can even end up with more maps in the map pool, based on the popular maps played in unranked. If those maps are part of matchmaking, then there is less reason for players to play in unranked lobby.
One of the drawbacks of HD and Voobly was everyone just play one map and your Elo was only accurate for only that map. If you play another map, your Elo was not really accurate. DE tried to fix this by adding a map pool, so players have to be more all round, thus the gaps between your level on every map will be smaller. This still doesn’t seem to fix the issue. I really feel the disparity between playing on different maps and the Elo fo my / my enemy. This issue will only be larger if add unlimited bans. Some players just go to play only one map, other play every map and games will be more unfair.
I would suggest some more rankings for random map (other game mods are too small):
- RM 1v1. This is just like what we already have. This can be used in the matchmaking if someone has played many games, but not on this specific type of map. This is also used for some kind of global 1v1 ranking.
- RM 1v1 – Open maps. This rating will be used for matchmaking on maps like Arabia, Serengeti and all other open maps. Open maps will most likely play like Arabia.
- RM 1v1 – Closed maps. This rating will be used for matchmaking on maps like Arena and Black Forest. At these maps you just go FC without any doubt.
- RM 1v1 – Hybrid maps. This rating will be used for matchmaking on maps involving water, like Golden Swamp and Four lakes. Also maps like Island (full water maps) and Nomad will be part of this category. I have thought about adding some kind of ‘No TC starts rating’, but I don’t think these maps are popular enough to have their own rating.
- Same subratings for team games.
This results in better match up, I think. I did do some research. I think that Dota 2 has some rating based on your role, since all roles play different. Different map types is the AoE II variant to my. Every map type just plays different. You can also say every civ, but I don’t think we need a ranking for every civ you play. I also have taught about having a different ranking for pick civ vs random civ, but I decided to disagree with that idea. Yes, you can be much better with one civ, but if you pick another civ, you can be weaker than normal. In the end it levels out.
Most games have some kind of medals based on your performance. So if we already talk about some ranking, maybe we can also have something visible to this attack. Some kind of medal or rank. Things like top 5% is Gold, 5-25% is silver, 25%-50% is bronze, 50%- …
Most games has such system for a reason: People like it.
The current calculation of Elo is unknown for the players. So maybe things I mentioned in this part are already into the game:
- Is there some Elo decay for inactivity?
- Voobly and HD just used some basic Elo. Currently there are much better ratings, like TrueSkill available. Does this game make use of such system? So is there some uncertainty parameter, which is unknown for everyone? A raking based on something like TrueSkill seems better than just ‘Elo’.
- Team game ratings seems pretty much inflated. I don’t know why.
- In team games you can get carried by allies. If some top players team up with a noob, the noob can get a high team game rating, because of this carry. I do think we need some thing to fix this. In the current state the pros in 1v1 get also teamed up against pretty noob players. This makes team games just unfair from the start. This needs to be fixed in some way. I do feel 1v1 ratings are a much better indicator of someone skill than teamgames. I dont know how top rated players do team games on voobly, maybe we must have a look at it and improve the current team MM system, so we can have a better team game experience.
Most questions I can ask are just the same as in
To me it looks like the Elo system can be improved.
For example: How does the game deal with 4 friends queued up vs 4 solo players for a 4v4. Giving everyone has the same skills, the friends will most likely win, because of much better communication. Is this something taken into account for the matchmaking / rating system? I even heard that SC2 has a rating for every duo/trio/… Also other games do take this into account… It would be an improvement to the TG matchmaking.
Play random civ games
Players loved to go random civ in the past. Both sides go random. I would love it if it would be an option in the matchmaking. This idea was posted many times on the forum. I don’t really have something to add to this already existing request.
Knowing / Chatting with your enemy/enemies
I would love to know my enemy before the game start. Just show the name, rating and if he go for pick civ or random civ. Also add the option to chat with enemy. Saying ‘gl hf’ before the game start is just part of the game and DE killed this. You can also discuss some other things in the minute before the game really starts. I don’t know why the devs removed this part of the game in matchmaking. Please add it back to the game.
During the game
I don’t think this is the place to really change the game. No balance suggestions or ideas for new civs for me. Most important thing to me is bug fixing. Fix the lag, fix the freezes, fix melee path finding, … Just to name some of the improvements for during the game:
Save and exit
I dont know why the devs decided it is a good feature to take out of the game. There are issues where save and exit make sense. It is most likely for bugged maps.
Penalty for leavers
At this point you can leave early. Just when you have the match or in the first minutes of the game. This make no sense to me. You play against someone else who waited for the game and than in it by leaving. I think we should implement some penalty for leavers. I was thinking like add extra waiting time in the queue. A system like:
1st leave: + 1 minute waiting time for 24 hour
2nd leave: + 5 minutes waiting time for 24 hour
3th leave: + 10 minutes waiting time for 24 hour
4th leave: + 20 minutes waiting time for 48 hour
Such system. Number are just an example. Note: This needs to be implemented after fixing matchmaker, so players have more control about the games they play.
Many other games with matchmaking have such system.
After the game
I would love to see more statistics after the game. The current statistics are really 20 years old. It is time to have some renewal at this place. I just want to see how many vills I killed. Not just the number of kills. You also see the stats for at the end of the match. I just want to see some graphs, like about the current graph about your population. Add such graphs for the resources gathered over time for example. Same for the number of Kills and the number of loses. It will give you much more info when you analyze the game. So I really would like some redesign of the statistics at the end of the game.
Revenge button / rematch button
Instead of joining the queue again for another game, you also must be able to ask for a rematch, so you play against the same guy again. Together you can pick a map from the map pool and new civs and you can play again. Sometimes you got beaten, but you want revenge. The current matchmaking tool won’t allow this. With this option it will be possible.
Recently I see an increase of threads about cheaters and hackers. This won’t only happen at this forum (even tho it is kinda forbidden to post such thing on this forum because of calling out other players, I also see an increase on Aoezone en Reddit. It seems like Voobly anti cheat feature works much better than DE anti cheat feature. I think it will be good if the devs expand this feature, so cheating and hacking will be much more difficult.
Player profiles and ranking
The ingame player profile is pretty bad. It won’t really give much info. At this moment you can better go to third parties why do have much better info:
I think this data needs to be available within the game. The current player profile is really lacking info. Also think like the ranking: Only top 100 is shown. Why not the complete ranking? I also like to see some things als winrate into the game. Maybe even add win rate for civ in the pick civ window at the start of every game. You can even base the win rate on the elo, like also aoestats.io do. There are many things to improve for this subject. In my profile I want to see:
- Last games + results
- Overview of the maps I played (frequency + win rate)
- Overview of the civs I used (frequency + win rate)
For the casters - Saved games
For ranked games: Save games are stored in the profile (see previous point). Caster can use them, like they already did at Voobly.
Recorded game Viewer
Recs become broken after every patch. Please give us something so we can still have a look at games of older patches. Nice for looking back at your own games to analyse the games. Also nice for casters, who can also use older save games.
I will adjust this post if I have more ideas. I will also try to revisit most ideas after every patch.