Based on my previous post in which I was addressing a question regarding map sizes and max-population, I would now like to move towards a few gameplay related questions, a bit about in-game immersion and ultimately expressing a few ideas I had that I would like to see in the released game.
• Unit management (micromanagement)
As I mentioned, I was talking about in a previous post about max-population increasing. With that in mind, let’s remember that in AoE II we have the 500 units cap. Which is about the same cap I would like to see in AoE DE. Because of that increase in population, we can of course think about an increase of how many troops we have in our armies. Let’s say you have 100 villagers and 400 units in your army. Now, as I remember the max amount of units you can select is 40, that would mean you would have to make 10 groups which you later on get to micromanage in order to conduct a proper and efficient attack on your enemy. We all know, that the AI can go crazy and rogue on the battlefield, which is often inconvenient as a good micro-play can be pivotal in the result of the battle.
This is why in the release version of the game I would like to see unit grouping revamped, or at least improved.
• My idea (grouping and banners)
With an army of 400 you can do a lot, conquer mostly any expecting or unexpecting enemy; but of course in order to win you must come up with a battle plan, face-diving in the enemy is always an option, but there’s no fun in that. But because of the way AI behaves in AoE we’re often unable to manage the perfect attack. My idea works in fixing that, and improving immersion.
What I had in mind to improve battle experience is adding something to formations. A researchable technology in the Iron Age; “Banners” should add the ability of marking a group of units as a whole.
Selecting a unit of this group selects the whole group until the unit you selected in particular is “disbanded” or removed from the formation.
This way, players can select whole groups with a click, and micromanagement during a battle is MUCH easier and less confusing. Also more immersive from the point of view of someone who wants to feel like a true war lord while conducting a large scale attack.
With this addition to the game, battles become more fluid, rather than “just wait for everyone to attack everything or die”. Formations make even more sense this way. As you don’t have to manually select all the units you need for a line formation or a flank formation.
• Buildings degrading & live destruction
What I liked most about AoE III was the fact that attacking buildings had direct impact on the way they looked. Cannon blast to a tower? Well a whole piece of it was blown off. Brilliant!
I want to see something similar in AoE DE.
If gates make it into the game as well, there’s just another reason for degrading and visible destruction to make it’s way in the game.
I was never much of a graphics man, I always enjoyed games because of the gameplay details that the devs would add to the game. Reason for which AoE III is my favorite game in the franchise.
Sure this isn’t something of absolute urgency but it would sure be a great addition to the game, and it should IMO produce good feedback and reactions from the players.