Let's speculate a bit: Why haven't we seen a water rework yet?

It should be pretty clear that water (maps) is (are) unpopular. These are only some of the posts that I have found that display the unpopularity of water (maps):




What further displays the unpopularity of water (maps) is the amount of posts we see regarding suggestions to improve water (maps), such as the following ones:


Finally, the lack of water maps in the map pool voted in by players is another display of the unpopularity of water (maps).

Note that I state “water (maps)” instead of “water maps” because a lot of the proposed changes and my own ideas would have a general effect on water, including the one present on hybrid maps. Furthermore, I personally don’t necessarily dislike water maps, but rather the water aspect, which if changed according to some of my ideas would make me actually want to play water maps and hybrid maps way more often.


Yeah one of the Ensemble developers of the original game Sandy of Cthulu admitted that aoe was originally going to be a land only game, but they only added water as an afterthought to boost sales, so that aspect of the game was not given as much attention as land, which you can definitely feel when you play it, it feels like an old game, very clunky. I find water maps to be so slow and boring. Basically whoever raids fish first and gets the upper hand on water usually wins. It’s just kind of cheesy and lower skill compared to land maps. Would love to see a water rework and that would definitely help me learn to not hate water.


Rome at War mod did a complete water overhaul.


The question is…water they waiting for?


There is no money in it.
The best chance to fix water was “Rise of the rajas”. Both Vietnamese and Malay could have been water civs that jostled for power against the chinese and other RoR civs respectively.
The last one was with “Dynasties of India”. But the water campaigns left a lot to be desired.

That would’ve been stupid, as they literally had a water rework in African Kingdoms. Doing massive changes right after would be very sudden and show they have no idea what to do.

They can bring in Water changes no matter the theme of the expansion (if not during a patch). The question is, what kind? African Kingdoms changed Feudal Galley Wars into something more of a trinary play in Feudal. I don’t know the real answer, but having the Dock be the only building that matters, that’ll create both eco units and military units, and also be on two pages gets very inconvenient. And if you lose the docks, it’ll be hard to come back, as bad engagements snowball much more.

Personally, I think the units themselves are in an okay spot, but I would like to see Fishing Ships become more important. Let them create water walls and towers, these things already exist in Campaigns. Not sure if it’s entirely possible (idk if the Campaign buildings are just built on sandy terrain or not), but if we’re going to complicate the unit system on Water more, we’ll need to have a new building. The existing one is already full for two pages, and having to cycle through and then queue new units will get very inconvenient to play in the default GRID system.


Don’t know, we’re ready to sea when they get their ship together. A water rework would surely push many sails.

I agree that a water rework could be interesting, but I have to comment on the framing: “Why hasn’t X been done yet.” - Progress of just about anything in AoE2 is slow. You might just as well ask:

-Why hasn’t pathing been fixed yet?
-Why haven’t Editor and other bugs been fixed yet?
-Why haven’t XYZ civs been added yet?
-Why haven’t more unique skins/graphics been added yet?
-Why hasn’t the UI been improved yet?

The truth is, the wishlist for more AoE2 stuff is very long and progress is very slow. Which is unfortunate, but it answers the question of “why not yet?” And there’s always the prospect of the devs working on something that’s unrelated to the OP or any of the above (e.g. Xbox Port or RoR).


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I do feel tho that a water re-work tho is more important than most of these. Right now water maps aren’t that much fun for a lot of players.

IMO water is bland primarily because there isn’t enough unit variety.

Unitl imperial, save the odd naval UU, there are three lines of military ship. That gives you 6 different possible interactions, and even in imperial only the cannon galleon is added, and you really shouldn’t be fighting any of the other three with cannon galleons.

Conversely on land, not considering UU or RU, there are 15 lines of units between the barracks, AR, stable, SW (not counting siege tower), treb, and monk.

that’s 120 possible interactions.

Adding just a couple more ships would greatly increase the number of possible interactions, and therefore the number of possible. Some water fortifications could also help perhaps.

Secondarily, I think water suffers from the fact that you can’t harvest wood or stone, so strategically it’s less important than land. You don’t control water for the water, you control water for the land that’s next to water. IDK how you’d fix that, if i could or maybe even should be fixed, but that’s another difference between water and land.

Maybe third, unlike land where there are some terrain features you work with/around, in water it’s just more water. There aren’t water hills, or water choke points not made by land). One area of water isn’t really different form another area of water.

And Khmer too. Potentially a Cham civ instead of Burmese.

I wish Nili read this forum. 11


Uh. More important than pathing, are you sure?

I wonder if trash ships would be interesting, but it’ll just be more of a copy of the land battles if anything then, which I don’t think will be very interesting either. I don’t remember what the Rome at War mod’s rework did or if it implemented similar things, but I wonder if the rework could give them inspiration to rework Water combat in current AoE2.

Because otherwise, there is pretty much a trinary system on land too. You have Cavalry, Infantry, and Archers/Ranged units. The only difference is that there are more units of the same class. The other problem is that you have a Dock to make all the units from. For Cavalry, we have Stables. Barracks for Infantry, Archery Range for the ranged units. The existing Dock is already on two pages alone, adding new units means we need a new layout for the Dock, or new buildings. Maybe one for ‘trash’ Ships and one for gold-costing ships? 11

I didn’t say it explicitly but that was the one exception. the “most” referred to the rest of the list.

Personally, I like the water as-is. I like how simple to understand it is. If it were too complex, hybrid maps wouldn’t be any fun.

Yeah, I know, grab the pitchforks, but that’s just how I feel.

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The answer to all those questions, like why there aren’t more civs, skins, bug fixes, campaigns etc. is because of money. Aoe2 is a slow burner game. It has some peaks in popularity like when DE first came out or whenever new civs have been added over the years but overall it’s just a pretty steady solid game. But let’s be honest, compared to more conventionally popular more mainstream titles like CS:GO, Dota, League of Legends, WoW, Fortnite, Minecraft etc. it’s a niche game with a comparatively small but die-hard fan base. So until it starts doing bigger numbers in sales, the fixes, DLC and feature updates are going to be few and far between.

I do hope that they will see the value of investment without bigger sales though. Because in order to make the game more popular, the bugs need to be ironed out and new features attractive to new players. Make the product the best it can possibly be and keep adding content to keep it fresh and that will drive up the numbers. Maybe even pay some top streamers outside of the aoe2 community to promote it.

I rather disagree. Basic QoL stuff like pathing and bugfixes affect every aspect of the game, and you have people right now on the forums saying they’re taking a break until this is fixed. So quality of existing features IMO should always be #1. A water rework is a popular idea, but it’s not obviously more so than regional skins, and it’s almost surely less popular than new civs. Water balance is something that surfaces every once in a blue moon, gets a fair amount of traction, then submerges again for a while, whereas speculating/brainstorming about new civs is a perennial topic, and I think it’s fair to say that it’s the single most popular/requested genre of new content. You’d have to make a poll to be sure, but I’d be surprised if it doesn’t play out more or less like this. Of the ones I listed, the most situational/less universally desired are probably UI improvements and possibly Editor bugs, but that one seems a little iffy considering how they affect SP campaign players.

I also wonder whether a hypothetical water rework would ultimately suffer from Return of Rome syndrome - i.e. it gets a lot of hype, consumes a lot of dev time, but turns out to be a bit of a flop that lacks staying power.
I like most of the ideas people have suggested wrt this, but I can’t see them massively shifting my interest towards water maps for more than a short time. So any kind of rework I think should be slow and incremental.

Tridents, really.

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Some context. I’m not saying water re-work is more important than pathing. “other bugs” is nebulous but even if you include that entire line item in it’s entirety, that’s 40% of the list.

Therefore water rework is at least more important than 60% of the list.

Khmer and Viets weren’t that well-known for their navies, they mostly operated riverine ships. Malays and Chams were the only two ocean-going or ocean-oriented peoples in SE Asian history as far as I know (I could be wrong though).

I’m not sure why the Chams aren’t yet in this game, they really should be added. Their civilization lasted from 137 or 192 to 1832, with its heydays around the 12th to 14th centuries. Whereas the Burmese arose rather late and only reached their heydays around the late 16th century right at the end of the AoE 2 time period.

And similarly, I feel that the Mons and the Siamese should be added too.

Sandy Petersen must’ve missed that memo. Or he simply didn’t clarify his statement when speculating on the Khmer.

It should be pretty clear that water (maps) is (are) unpopular. These are only some of the posts that I have found that display the unpopularity of water (maps):

Please don’t link idiotic #### ##### here.

Finally, the lack of water maps in the map pool voted in by players is another display of the unpopularity of water (maps).

The voting system is bad. It is not like nobody is voting for water maps. But there are more votes for other maps in most cases. And I would not expect that this changes with a water rework, except for a short period of time maybe.

Before asking why a “rework” isn’t happening, what you mean exactly, how it would look like.

I think first of all they should split the economic and military part of the current dock. Fishing ships should be able to build sea walls, gates and towers since most of the times they’re just too exposed, like villagers in aoe1 before the TC became garrisonable.
I suspect one of the reasons people dislike water so much is because unloading units from transport ships feels extremely risky and clunky. So efforts should be put in this, but I imagine it’s not very different from fixing a pathfinding issue.
A catapult galley should be added in castle age to have a siege option before gunpowder (and for civs who lack it, dromon is too specific and too late) or either ram and converting ships for variety since now that fire and demo ships are feudal units you basically get nothing new in castle age on water and must wait till imp to proper siege fortifications built on the coast.
A trash ship is a funny idea but in island maps I don’t know if wood-only ships could be called trash. Still a ship that doesn’t cost gold is a novelty, maybe as regional or UU.
Finally adding more water bonuses like units that shot from transports, more blast radius from demo ships (vandals), some units that land automatically if a transport ship is sunken near enough to a coast etc will make water play more interesting.