I Really Hope This Game Replaces AOE2: It's Just Better

EDIT: It’s so obvious that, if AoE4 fails to get younger players into the franchise, there will be no demographic in the future to market later installments like AoE5. Remember that there was only 6 year difference between AoE2 and AoE3. Between 3 and 4, 16 years. People just thought that there is no hope for sequels after the third installment failed to take the crown. It is only after Microsoft’s investment that AoE was revitalized. There is SERIOUS INCENTIVE to help this game take the crown as THE definitive AoE.

I have serious questions about how this game is being led. This game, from a technical and balance perspective, is MUCH better. The games are quicker, units are more responsive, and the learning curve for newer players is better. Let’s be honest: AOE2, though popular, is being kept alive on life-support through nostalgia; there’s not a lot of teenagers playing the game. AOE4 seems much more competitive in design and by the followers. The prize pools are much larger than AOE2. Analytics show that there are as many ranked matches played in AOE4 than in AOE2, despite Steamcharts showing half as many players on average.

Maybe this game had its chance back in the day. But people like Viper and Hera never stuck around due to abysmal state of the game’s launch and balance issues.

Now we have things like Ottoman + Malian update, two civs that barely did anything to player count when they were released back in October. It’s because, well, not many of us asked for them. Which begs the question: Do the devs even know what will draw the audience?

What can devs/marketing department do to get people over to this game?

EDIT: I want to say more on why this game is superior by design. People say things like “There’s much more variety in AoE2. More Civs makes things more fun.” But The design behind AoE2 makes it so that most civs get funneled into more or less same unit composition every single time. If you are Goths, you NEED to go meele units, not ranged composition. Each civ is not that hard to “get” and master. There is no complexity in learning a civ.

AoE4 is vastly different. Each civ has so much more complexities behind it. For instance, Teutons in AoE4 gets funneled into militia line play combined with siege support and cavs. HRE in this game makes it so that HRE can be a ranged civ as well through infantry movement speed upgrade, making archers and crossbows easier to kite. It can also be a cav civ with new upgrades. The way a civ can play is so varied to a point where many people “main” a civ. Where there is not as many civs to play, the variety of HOW a civ can play is so much better.

When I watch Viper and Hera, they complain about movement every other video. The pathing in AoE2 DE is still horrendous. When Star Craft came out around the same time, it wasn’t as bad. Even when the game came out, it was tec######## inferior. People just got used to it and settled.

Not only that, for a newer player, the starting game mechanic is also idiotic. You are allowed to kill boar with TC but, if you do, you can’t harvest. Just really think about that point. It’s a terrible design.

Also, all this argument about unit variety in AoE2 is, well, moot when it comes to actual gameplay. Because the designs around them are often idiotic due to the unintuitive nature of unique unit counters. Spear line does not actually counter Cataphracts. Archers do not counter Huskarls. Massed Longbows should still be countered by massed skirmishers and horses, right? Not really. Genoese Crossbows should be countered by horses, right? Nope. These absolutely unintuitive unique traits make it so that casual players will never be able to memorize them all. Combined with slower pace of the game, it is a very frustrating thing to go up against Huskarls and make archers, thinking that ranged units kiting them will counter it, spending 15 minutes of their lives making things that will not counter it, getting absolutely demolished. Not a fun experience for casuals.


As someone who follow the forums and see that people want new civs I could assure you civs wont resolve the problem.
There is no shame if you improve the things that you made or improve the gameplay of the current races throughout new mechanics, units, maps.
If the game sits like this and new civs are being brought either they will be more fun and everyone will play them or they will be meh like the current ones and game won’t attract new players.
Keep in mind that aoe4 isn’t growing even that there is no other new RTS in the market and when the other games pop up would be even harder.
They have to act fast and wise if they want their population to grow.
There are plenty of people who give feedback but I think devs just close their eyes to the solutions.
So much can be done and I am afraid that will stay as it is.
I can assure you that aoe2 won’t be replaced by anything because is THE GAME , if there wasn’t aoe 2 nobody would know aoe at all.
I think new populations get attracted by fast games , isn’t like back in the days.
Look at the most played games like CS:GO, Dota, league, valorant, overwatch.
Almost after the game starts there is an action and that what audience want to see, ACTION.
This is just my opinion ofc.


I agree. I grew up playing aoe3 and recently got aoe4 and while I do enjoy aoe3 still I think aoe4 is starting to become my favourite game.

I’ve tried aoe2 but it looks so much worse than 4 and I prefer 4 in every way. It’s a shame a lot of the aoe2 youtubers haven’t moved over to this fully but I suppose views dictate what they will do and aoe4 has half of many players per day as aoe2 de. That being said I know more and more people are starting to move over to 4.

I imagine that a large portion of aoe2 players are from poorer countries with worst pc’s where it’s perhaps not possible for them to even play aoe4. I myself live in 1 of these places and everyone plays very old games for the most part, like good luck finding someone with even a ps4 most peoples laptops/pcs are like i3 level at best so that won’t even run aoe3 de and in general most people play at internet gaming centers and don’t have their own pc/laptop. They probably mostly play casual games or vs ai too which would account for the ranked games being the same ## # ### #### more players for aoe2 on steam charts.

I think they need to focus on getting more new players because a large portion of the aoe2 player base are just likely unable to play aoe4 and would be less likely to buy dlc’s as well. The way to do this is obviously marketing, whilst I enjoy tournaments and stuff a lot of casual players don’t care about esports. Slowing down on dlc and updates for older games and instead focusing on aoe4 would also help I imagine.


@OriginalKnot717 We must also consider the age close to retirement of a sector of the community, soon they will be merely spectators

Steam price for AoE4 in our country is cheap. I grap the game for 10$. AoE4 didn’t request a powerful either. The problem is, none of my friend play it anymore.

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I don’t think it’s as much to do with the price because yeah where I live it’s a lot cheaper too than standard price but more to do with how few people have pc’s and laptops at home. Of those even fewer actually have a pc capable of running the game well. You can go anywhere to a gaming centre and play aoe2 though while I’ve yet to see any with aoe4 available. Of those with laptops most of them are probably quite old but can run aoe2 de easily enough but not aoe3 de or aoe4 which for minimum requirements is like i5/8gb ram.

Even with the cheaper price it’s still almost 3 days wages for the game based on the local economy while the higher price of the game in my home country is still quite a bit less than 1 days wages for comparison.

I also grew up playing AoE 3, and although I think AoE 4 still has potential, I consider it inferior to its prequels, except maybe AoE 1 (and that’s all, because even AoE 1 itself can beat it with RoR)…


The way I see it AoE4 kind of tries to cover both competitive and casual player bases but doesn’t do justice to any of them.

In terms of competitiveness both the skill ceiling and the responsiveness of the units are too slow. When it comes to advertising tournaments on twitch/youtube there’s just barely a wow factor or moment of surprise. You pretty much always know the outcome of army fights in advance and that really doesn’t create excitement for the neutral viewer. I was very excited watching all tournaments until N4C finished but found myself lose interest during Golden League. At some point you just know what’s coming and there’s barely a moment of surprise.

When it comes to casual play I wonder if AoE series ever had scenarios like tower defense, bridge crossing etc? I remember those when I played Empire Earth it was a great thing to cool down a little bit after playing competitively. WC3 and SC2 both have plenty of those game modes and they used to be or are still quite popular. Is this not a thing with AoE series?


However, they create a whole thread, to demand graphics that only 10% can afford, in a niche game, brilliant! Not recently League of Legends was running on 32 bits

Yes. AoE 2 for example has CBA, Dodgeball, Ancient Tower Defense, TTF Racing.
AoE 3 has Colloseum.

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Do you know why those aren’t a thing in AoE4? I’ve wondered that from release on. I mean there’s the scenario editor and it’s such a smooth way to cool down and have some fun without having to play another game.

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I guess mainly due to mod support being limited and modding tools being not easy to use for the average user.
I’ve seen some CBA versions for AoE 4 tho but I guess the most popular custom mode is Nomad.


AoEO has tower defense scenarios…


Btw, I think that AoE 4 won’t ever replace AoE 2 (or 1, 3 and Myth).
The simple reason for that is that all Age games have their audience, with some overlap in playership. In my opinion, the “rivalry” between the games only exists in the minds of players who only play one game of the series extensively thinking that “their” game is the best and the others are bad.

I also don’t think AoE 2’s ongoing success is soely/almost exclusively based on nostalgia. That may be true for the CD version and HD Edition, which still have their playership as they don’t like the changes DE brought.
Definitive actually brought new players into the game, so nostalgia plays a rather negligible role. 2’s playership is also far away from retirement age as most players are in their mid 20s to 30s, so very much like the other Age games.

Nostalgia, however, is something that swings with every Age title - with AoE 4 for example, the marketing was built on nostalgia, as with Joan of Arc and Genghis Khan, two of the most popular characters from AoE 2 were placed on the cover of AoE 4.


The modding tools weren’t available upon release. By the time they did release the tools the game was already flopping. There’s not much incentive to spend time developing something if no one’s logged in to play it. I never see more than 10 lobbies up in the custom menu and half of them are just trying to play the normal game against people below lvl 30.

I also hear that the tools are very limited.

It’s also a confusing system, to me anyway. There’s like three different things you can have custom, from maps to modes to textures. I’m used to it being all wrapped up into 1 downloadable minigame.


Yeah HD being much closer to the original was not very successful. You cannot explain DE’s huge success solely because of nostalgia. Otherwise HD should be equally successful.
The developers took huge and bold steps in making DE a far better game than HD. Including but not limited to much higher quality graphics and more of facing directions for the sprites.

false. aoe 4 was the one that supposed to gather every fanbase as it was an very anticipated game because it took like 15 years to make it and the signals pre announcement liek the restoration of aoe 2 and then other aoe which from business perpective is good to make an aoe that hgather not onlt to consolidate but also to gather more player but we got this…

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Yeah why is it that there’s so less custom games visible in the lobby? Im from central europe and remember it to be the same in early november 2021 so it seems like it just doesn’t show all games. Idk what the downsides are to just showing all games available. For casual players this should be quite annoying and yeah mods with a small playerbase will just stay unseen.

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AOE2, though popular, is being kept alive on life-support through nostalgia

This is quite ironic to say, considering the fact that AoE2 has around double the amount of players as AoE4. Furthermore, I believe that while nostalgia had an impact on the initial release of AoE2DE, the game itself had to be able to do much more than just incite nostalgia in its players, and it did so by improving massively from the older versions. However, AoE2 is not praised to death and perceived to have no flaws, which further strengthens my argument that players do not play the game simply out of nostalgia but rather that players are able to recognize its flaws and mention them. Pathing, an extremly redundant meta, and the lobby browser are absolutely terrible, but in general, the game is well maintained and further improved with each update. I want to be fair and say that I prefer the way that AoE4 handles certain aspects of the game, but overall, I simply prefer AoE2.

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The prize pools are much larger than AOE2. Analytics show that there are as many ranked matches played in AOE4 than in AOE2 , despite Steamcharts showing half as many players on average.

That is because Microsoft is doing everything in its power to promote the game with simple means, also known as throwing money at a problem, and additionally, AoE4 is a game focused on a competitive setting. When I last checked the lobby browser at peak player numbers, there were 10 lobbies.

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What can devs/marketing department do to get people over to this game?

The developers need to update the game more often than every 4 months. I am going to create a separate thread in the near future detailing what, in my opinion, needs to be changed and added to the game to attract more players.

Finally, I believe you are wrong by looking at this game from a competitive aspect. There is much more to an RTS than just the competitive setting. AoE2, for instance, has a total of 1.480.699 players that have played at least one unranked game in the lifetime of AoE2DE according to aoe2insights, while adding up all ranked players that have played a game within the last 30 days leads to 149.094 players assuming there is no overlap between these ranked modes. Which is impossible since I am already one of the players who plays both 1v1 and team games. While AoE4 seems to focus much more on a competitive setting (1v1), it is safe to assume that the majority of the playerbase has never played a ranked game.

Most importantly, AoE4 doesn’t need to replace AoE2. AoE4 has advantages and disadvantages compared to previous AoE titles, but the repeatedly mentioned idea that AoE4 needs to replace AoE2 is just #####nse. AoE should thrive in a community that is happy for each other when their respective game is doing well or helps each other when their respective game is not doing well. I, for once as an AoE2 player, want to help AoE4 grow by sharing in the upcoming few days what I want to see in the game since I, as well as many others, was extremely disappointed when AoE4 first released and still am not particularly excited about its current state.


Nostalgia or no, I honestly think that AoE2 is kept alive by 30+ year old dudes who have kids and family. They game intermittently, so they don’t want to learn AoE4’s new civs and meta. They stick to what they know. Afterall, the devs are still updating the game. In like vein, it makes no sense to bust thousands of dollars on gaming PC as an intermittent player. Their everyday laptop does just fine.