Age of Empires II is the second best RTS I have ever played. I played it for years on the Zone and even played against player like Maimin Matty and the Sheriff.
I did not like Age of Mythology. Age of Empires 3 was good and I liked the shipment system but I preferred AOE2 overall. When Microsoft shut down Ensemble Studios, which I will never forgive them for doing, I stopped playing Age of Empires games completely.
Since Starcraft 2 came out in 2010 it basically the only game I have played and I consider it to be the best RTS game ever made, maybe even the best game ever made. The 1v1 is near perfect except I do not like how it is extremely unforgiving on the micro side, if you react half a second too late you have lost the game and nothing you did before that matters. But the game is extremely deep both on the strategic and tactical side even though it requires you to be very fast which I do not like since I am not fast anymore.
So how is Age of Empires DE compared to the original? Is it worth playing in 2020? I am only interested in ranked 1v1 and never bother with playing the campaign for any RTS.
I have a vague memory of AOE2 being a bit slow and receptive compared to SC2. Getting sheep and building up took several minutes every game and you did not start interacting with your opponent until the second age. But I did like how macro is more important than micro and that there is nothing like DTs or mass Carriers which is much harder to fight than to use. Basically as far I remember Age of Empires was more fair, there where no cheap tactic or OP strategy that was much harder to stop than to execute.
So is it worth investing your time in and is the ranked 1v1 games unique enough that you will still have fun after a few thousand games? Also how is the game length? I can not remember exactly I think games took more time compared to SC2?
Also how is the balance? Is there anything that is much harder to defend than to use or is the game balanced overall, i.e. is every civ viable in a competitive 1vs1 setting? I remember using Byzantine a lot since their counter units were cheaper which was good if I went mass skirmishers and stayed a long time in the second age. I also remember that Vikings were great on island maps but I guess much has changed since then?