Issues in AoE II: DE

I can’t find a place to leave feedback anymore, but today is the first time I’ve been able to play DE with my friends so I played a longer game and bounced thoughts off of my friends, and therefore I have useful feedback. Here it is.

The default settings show a health bar over resources and ally units. It’s difficult for me to see which units I have selected without looking for a health bar, so the health bar over things and units I have not selected is counterproductive.

It’s very difficult to tell which units are mine because the colors don’t stand out as well as in AoE II: HD.

HD looks a bit sharper than DE; that is, DE looks muddy. The sharpness of HD is, in my mind, one of the reasons why it is one of the most popular RTS games, so it’s disappointing that the new game couldn’t pull this off as well.

I changed several graphics settings in order to get closer to the more loveable appearance of HD. The default graphics settings should appear more like HD. To the less knowledgeable, my thoughts on this may sound like nostalgia, but I think not. As I understand AoE II and Starcraft are the two most popular RTS games ever, and in my opinion the appearance of AoE II (together with its gameplay, controls, civ selection, sounds, and music) is a big part of its success. This is because the units and buildings are easy to identify and the color is kind of happy, whereas other RTS games from the same era, like Empire Earth, are much fuzzier and the map color feels depressing.

There’s a count of villagers collecting each type of resource. This is very handy, but I still have to open the old list to see a count of trade units. This is a minor thing and it’s probably fine as it is.

The sheep sound is a bit more distinct, so I think for new players it’s going to be easy to pick up on. Good job on that. However it seems like all of the other sounds are worse. The bore sound is hilarious but annoying, the sound of villagers shooting a boor is indistinct and almost inaudible (this is a very important noise, so its poor performance is very frustrating). The noise of villagers chopping wood and building buildings is overwhelming. The noise of onagers is either missing or far too quiet; I can hear cannons loudly but I can’t hear an onager firing. Regardless of whether its mine, my ally’s, or my enemy’s, I need to hear that an onager is nearby because of their enormous friendly-fire splash damage. There are other noise issues but these are the examples which stood out to me which I remember. Overall, all of the sounds need to be rebalanced. A few sounds should probably be replaced with the sounds from the HD version. For example, the cobra car sound, while very cool, also keeps playing long after it starts, drowning out other important things. A lot of sounds have a similar problem. Where appropriate, an action should be accompanied by a distinct audio cue. Once the relevant information has been communicated by the audio cue, it should immediately cease.

The new music is, as I expected, nothing amazing. The HD music is among the best I’ve ever heard, but I don’t have the option to use that music. (There is a “classic” option in the settings, but it’s a re-recording and it loses the clarity and simplicity that made the HD music amazing.)

If I manually put farmers into a town center, then press the button to send them back to work, they return to the farms but don’t work them. The HD version could usually return them to work. It’s a shame that, with all the conveniences DE tries to include, it couldn’t get this detail as good as HD does.

I can’t choose a color in a ranked match. It’s helpful, if you’re playing with the same people regularly, if everyone has a color they try to stick with. With the way the matchmaking works, I can understand why this wasn’t included, however it still could’ve worked. There could be an option to pick your color, but the enemy team wouldn’t see the same colors, this way both teams can stick with the colors they want. This would work really well with the new matchmaking system. Maybe there would be some confusion when teams try chatting one another, but we’d get used to it.

The population limit in ranked matches is always 200. Nearly every game I have played in HD has had a 300 pop limit, and most lobbies I’ve seen had a 300 or 250 pop limit. I’m told the “pro” games are always 200, but I’m not in that league and don’t want to be arbitrarily limited by their standards. The population limit in ranked matches should be higher than 200.

There’s no button to open the tech tree in ranked match lobbies. The HD version has one, and it’s very useful. It should be included in the lobby for DE as well.

There are no longer ranked water matches. While not as popular as land maps, water maps are nevertheless a big part of HD. Usually about 1/5 of the games I play ranked in HD are water matches (by choice), but in DE I can never play a ranked water match. This is very disappointing.

It seems to me that most of the HD community is divided into open map players and closed map players. Open map players usually create a lobby on Arabia or another open map, and closed map players create a lobby on Black Forest or a partially closed map like Oasis. Most players (I assume) join lobbies for their preferred map style. DE only offers only random land map for ranked matches. Realistically, this means that all of the players which favor closed maps will be out of their element. As a closed map player, I appreciate the attempt to force me to branch out but I’m also disappointed that this simple distinction wasn’t recognized at all.

An experienced player will memorize the resources required to advance to the next age, and will at the beginning center the entire strategy around getting those resources and advancing, click up the moment the last needed resource comes in. But sometimes it’s easy to forget to build a required building for the next age. HD addresses this by graying about the advance button if a required building is missing. But in DE, the button is grayed (or redded?) out if the resources are insufficient. This means that a player has no reminder about a missing building until they’ve collected the resources required to advance. DE is overburdened with information displays on every little thing, and yet this simple helpful reminder was obscured in DE, which is a regression.

HD’s visual indicators, such as of unit selection, attack orders, guard orders, and so on, are all visible behind trees. Even dropping of resources at a building which is behind trees is possible. DE falls short in all of these things.

The game says “Xbox Exclusive” when it starts up. This is untrue (I got it through Steam), and if it were true, I would not have purchased the game.


Super post and i agree wholeheartedly with it. Some things are better though, i just had a lovely game as the italians where my archers were a joy to micro. In addition the pathfinding issues prevalent in HD are eradicated from my perspective and RAMS BEHAVE THEMSELVES NOW!

I think as i get used to things it will become a lot easier, but to reiterate the points that resonate strongly with me:

It is not as easy to tell similar units apart and they just look a little less spritey. I guess this could be personal choice.

Some sounds are way off. There is too much going on in the mix and it becomes confusing as to what is what. This needs levelling in some way. I agree with you re: sheep and we have to be able to hear those two archer shots on the boar so we can run our villager back to the TC. Monk relic pick up has been done really well as has chat notification.

Its difficult to see villagers building a building due to the foundation work going on. In deathmatch, this makes the micro a bit tricky trying to assign multiple villagers to multiple buildings. Sometimes it isnt clear how many villagers are on each.

The multiplayer matchmaking experience is poor. Maybe i’m set in my ways, but i liked the zone/voobly/HD way of having scrollable lobbies and big nice buttons to click in. Also, the map names are in the native language of the host. This should be autotranslated for the user. I dont know the map i’m playing when i join a game at this stage. Also, in unranked, i dont know the quality of the person im playing against, even in an unranked game you will want to balance the teams effectively.

Also, where is everyone? 4 rooms to play in? That’s worrying.

I agree about some of the sounds. Some of them are just not as good as HD. The ally signal is weak, as is general attack and cannons. I would replace them with the HD versions if that were an easy endeavor (but it appears it is not).

I also agree about AOE 2 DE seeming muddier visually. It seems a bit darker. What settings did you adjust to get it closer to HD visually?

I agree with a lot of this. Sounds are my biggest gripe. Everything else is brilliant.
The lack of the legacy sounds and music is off putting. The only new sounds I really like are the horse sounds and the outpost/watch tower ones. The classic music is no match for the original.

But pretty much all important sounds
effects are too muffled. I’ve had castles trebbed down without even hearing the attack warning or the noise of the trebuchet firing. You can’t hear the sounds of arrows firing from castles, towers. You can’t hear the metal clank sounds of melee units hitting something.
Maybe I should try turning the music volume down but that wasn’t necessary in HD.

Just fixing the sounds would make DE perfect. I can get past the bugs as we know they’re- bugs.

Edit:Oh and I can’t forget, the victory music is not as punchy and dopamine boosting like the original/HD! The new splash screen is cool though.


Matchmaking is confusing. Firstly, WHERE IS EVERYONE?! I see maybe 1-5 games on the lobby menu - and they’ll either be password protected or just not let you in. For example, you see a lobby that’s 3/8, click on it and you get an error. I think the lobby is getting full instantly but the numbers aren’t representative of that. On top of that, not all lobbies are visible. I created a lobby, asked my brother to join but he couldn’t see it - and vice versa.

My other biggest gripe is the random crashing. My first day of playing I was having an incredible 2 hour long 4v4 game that really took me back, but my nostalgic experience was cut short with a sudden crash at the end with no error message to be seen.