The old Age of Empires 3 I loved the UI, the gameplay and the personal adaptations that a person could make to their civ. I can appreciate the updates you have made to streamline more competition by allowing everyone to have the cards unlocked to begin, but to make the game as popular as AOE 2 DE, you should consider some of these improvements:
For the UI:
Deck and Cards
The biggest hurdle I find for individuals joining AOE3 from 2 is the cards/deck. Sure they can learn through trial and error, but I am sure there will be a large group that just will find it frustrating and stop playing the game. In the old game and aoe2 there is pathing, separating groups of the improvements for better understanding of the improvements they allow. I read another thread about unnecessary cards (because why would an individual chose 2 villagers instead of 3 in the same age?), but I don’t think this goes far enough to clean it up. You have it broken out by age and building currently and even though this worked in the last game, by removing the tiers they are no longer grouped by calvary, militia, navy, etc. Please use a similar format to how the aoe2 or old 3 are grouped. (I wonder if anyone would care if you just redid the sorting altogether and got rid of the building/age grouping?).
The next silly thing, but makes the game feel cheap is the back button. The noise it makes… Come on… it is too computer generated and would be an easy fix.
Another UI consideration is the main page. It is like I just clicked on the start button for windows… I know it sticks with the old game, but by adding tabs it just makes an individual feel as if there is a lot going on. Once again, perhaps lean on how aoe2 facelifted this.
The second to last point I will make is there is something missing from the civs. After doing a lot of play on AOE2 and switching to AOE3 to assist in the beta, I always felt as if the civs need a bit of description on their strengths, unique units, “team bonus” (which would be enabled through their cards) that would help them get up to speed.
The final issue I will bring up is if I were a huge fan of the game and wanted just to try the new AOE3 because of enjoying the franchise, I would want the hotkeys to be the same across the different games (especially AOE2 as it is the most popular). With being a fairly avid player as well as watching many of the top players, Hot-Keys are everything… I am sure there is a mod for this, but it should be a pre-delineated button to enable these keys.
I sincerely believe AOE3 DE has a lot of potential and it was my favorite game of the franchise for the longest of time. I am sure there is a lot of interest out there, but know that there is probably a lot of step-off/churn that occurs when new players or transitioning players (from one of the other games of the series) try the game. I hope these help with that because I want to grow this community.
Anyone else have any thoughts? Do you believe these would help? Are there further improvements? UI, gameplay, etc?