Let's take a look at the situation by Stronghold: Warlords, is AoE4 going to have same fate?

Actually “as far I did read” the complaints released game version has, did exist already by the beta, like small maps, small build area and small unit limit.

But total war also had recent an Asia setting in China of 3 Kingdoms timeline and was quite a huge success. So its clearly not the setting issue.

But the budget should cover up enough costs, so game does not end in a flop.

I think the Argument is valid that a game should at least look OK.

But we do not have the team from Halo Wars 2 on the project.
Lets simply take a look at the last game they delivered.

I think its speaks volumes if older game with fan modder HD patch look better than AAA product.

I would not call Halo Wars 2 graphics great either.
Honestly I liked the Halo Wars: Definitive Edition more.

The Problem is by modern games they kind of try to make all those glowing, flashy, lighting and special effects, and I think this is exactly the reason why it start to look overall worse.

Lets take a look at StarCraft Remastered vs for example Hellfront: Honeymoon
Both are 2D RTS, that have up-to-date graphics, but one particular thing is, while professional designed game has clear and calm colours, the amateurish game is just over-exaggerating and in long term, it is harder to watch. I can spend non-stop all day play StarCraft Remastered, but by Hellfront: Honeymoon I really need to after play 5 or 10 min to rest.

Problem is if they look at first OK, but not in the long term. A lot of people look for a short time people do not notice it, but the more time they spend, the more they are going to notice it. And its there where afterwards they are not liking it.

Stronghold: Warlords had at release just 3 AI settings and 10 maps, OK it had that new diplomacy mechanics, but its clearly doesn’t compensate how much game does not have.

Problem these days they merely present a handful of raw ideas and games do lack massively content.
To a point where people overall can’t see that any effort was put into games.

It generated a lot of sales, but the playerbase evaporated after a month.
It was not a huge success, at least not like Rome 2 or Warhammer 2 were.

3 Kingdoms is just boring because all armies look and play the same, which is an issue inhereited by the setting, as it is basically a Civil War.

Ok now a very unpopular opinion:
I think microtransactions can be good for a game.
Cosmetically only of course.
Microtransactions allows people to spend different amounts on the same game while still getting the same content.
Less wealthy can get all content updates without paying a cent while others can support their favourite game with more money.
Instead of everyone paying 60€ + DLCs this allows to some to pay 0-40€ while others pay more more and both being able to enjoy all content.

As long as the cosmetic content doesn’t ruin the aestetics of the game.

Of course. You need to balance it. It would be sad if a well balanced and fun game would look bad and get no players because of that. Or if a beautiful game would be awfully balanced.
RTS does make it relatively “cheap” to make good looking graphics. So I’m positive they didn’t overspend on this aspect.

Are Call of Duty graphics considered good now?

3 Kingdoms has more focus on the campaign aspects and is clearly made for people that know the source material (or getting people interested in it). That reduces the long therm playability.
This setting is huge in Asia, not only in China, and it starts getting fans in the west.
People aren’t as familiar with if yet. For Asians Medieval or Rome would maybe look like every civilisation has the same units because they are not familiar with it.

The series also started with Shogun which is even more limited to one culture.
But It think it’s hard to beat Warhammer in diversity simply because not all civilisations are humans.

Modern warfare 2019 campaign graphics really good but story is meh.

Actually thats a bad idea, because instead of a skin, that could be more units, or even a new faction.

its still second most played total war

But still by Total War if they change the setting, they are still considered overall to be successful.
Same goes also for Assasin Creed or Anno “City Manager Series.” Which goes with extreme setting changes from renaissance to Space and back to Victorian age, but still people love it.

Lets maybe simply compare those two. Did TW 3 Kingdoms lose its franchises core features and identity in comparison to Stronghold: Warlords? Is TW 3 Kingdoms massively simplified? Does TW 3 Kingdoms massively lack content? Is TW 3 Kingdoms AI so lame, that you can easily beat it even on hardest settings? TW 3 Kingdoms is overall a solid product, something we could not see by RTS for over a decade.

RTS tend to fail even if they stay in the same setting.
Somehow RTS developers do fundamentally “differently” approach their work.

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Actually the situation of 3 Kingdoms is quite an odd one.
It introduced the series to Asian players (mostly Chinese) that even haven’t even heard of it before. However because the game itself is/was not an interesting one and the first DLC is boring as hell, the majority of the newcoming players either left or, ironically, switched to other games of the series, mostly Warhammer.
Even with a recent large DLC, it now only has a playerbase comparable to Shogun 2 or Medieval 2, smaller than Rome 2, not to mention Warhammer.
So the early success of TW Three Kingdoms is mostly due to the hype towards Three Kingdoms in China, not the game itself. It had been long since the last decent Three Kingdoms game (by Koei), and recent Koei games were not very satisfactory.

This is not to say the game lacks contents in general, but it surely does in the sense of a TW game.

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I think a couple of DLC can be justified on this game. Unfortunately as people request more and more features into a game, the cost of making said game increases. So the simplest way to get the end result is to split it to DLCs, otherwise you’ll run out of money before finishing everything. It’s also why I don’t mind not so good graphics, and not care about things like cinematics, voice acting and such because all these things are a drain on the budget of a game.

So long as we don’t end up with 20 DLC like some paradox game.

This is also a very good point. I wouldn’t mind contributing from time to time to help the game keep running.

What’s wrong with a 20$-$30 beefy expansion that gets released every 1 or 2 years? I think expansions adds value to the game whereas DLCs make us begging fanboys (sorry to use that word).


The money you get through selling cosmetics greatly outweighs the cost.
Meaning you might not have enough money to make a new faction unless you sell cosmetics.
Making cosmetics is basically only cost for an artist while making a new faction has a lot of other costs involved.
The main issue with cosmetics would be readability of units.

If you look at the player numbers during an average day you notice that the graph for Rome 2 and Warhammer 2 look very similar but 3 Kingdoms looks noticeably different.
The playerbase for 3 Kingdoms is different from the playerbase of the other Total Wars which is a good thing for the publisher. A new “normal” Total War is be a competition for the other “normal” Total Wars.

The problem with big expansions is that once your done making the Expansions and start making the next game (Like AoE2 after AoE1 or AoM after AoE2) you stop getting income from the game and there for can’t afford to keep supporting it. In the past games just stopped getting patches a year after the last Expansion.
If there isn’t a another Expansion you are working on investing money into upkeeping a game is not worth it.

Also with Expansions you split your playerbase depending on how they are implemented.
Map packs for example limit the number of players each player can play with.
Civilisation packs (classic AoE expansions) either limit what lobbies you can join (like old AoE3) or having you fight against civilisations you can’t play yourself (AoE2HD).

Having a Battlepass instead of a Seasonpass means that players all get the same content.

I don’t know if a Battlepass or Cosmetics can even work for an RTS game with many factions.
In Stracraft 2 you only have 3 factions and there for a skin pack that changes the visuals doesn’t hurt the readability much. Also it’s not a real setting so they have creative freedom for the visual like Cyborg Zerg. Stractaft only added the cosmetics and Coop commanders after the last Expansion as a way to still make money with the game. They also made the base game mostly free to play.

That doesn’t work that well for a historic RTS with more factions that all have human units.

Well, you’re forgetting modding man! They will add it down the road from what I have read (can’t find where maybe here in the forums!!!), that sure will give longevity to the game. There are a lot of good examples in recent times- the XCom series had game-changing expansions and well-valued dlcs and still has a thriving community. Civ IV & C&C are other examples, and such examples can be seen on the RPG side too like Dragon Age, Mass Effect, BathesedaRPGs…heck even newer and older AOE series has a thriving community based on modding and good expansions.

I wouldn’t mind valuable dlcs, but cosmetics dlcs won’t do anything for the game or for the players. Sure, faction dlcs at a very sensible price can be good, I agree with you there. I would personally take that but am still inclining towards expansions and good mod tools.

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I just look at the situation realistic,
modding was added to lot RTS, with some really good mods, but did not save them. There are a lot of games with Microtransactions, and by now most of them are dead or did completely disappear.

What a game needs is in my opinion something Total War, Assasin Creed, Anno or Fifa has.
Focus on the gameplay people actually want to experience.

That’s why something like TW 3 Kingdoms succeeds and Stronghold: Warlords fails.

Blockquote 1. The Asian setting: Stronghold is well known as a medieval strategy game taking place in Europe and “Arabia”. Many people don’t like Asian setting.

That is just not true. The reason I won’t touch Stronghold Warlords is not because of the Asian setting. It’s because of the gameplay and execution. Each civ can build each other’s units. If I am Mongols I can still build Samurai and Ninjas. Get out of here with that. I would have played the mess out of that game if they would have created a good game.

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You’re right, but that’s why I made a list with different reasons. I never said the asian setting is the only reason for mixed Steam ratings :slight_smile:
But from what I’ve heard 90 % prefer a classical european or arabic Stronghold because of the atmosphere. So you cannot ignore this point.

I think we don’t see the same thing because age of empires 2 is a legendary game and it did a lot more for relic aoe4 that they didn’t tell us. Apart from that, the ao4 looks quite nice, although it looks like a mobile game, when you compare a mobile game photo with the photo of age of empires 4, the ao4 looks perfect. When we look at the current steam page of the game, there is a potential for a game that can be downloaded by someone who has never played aoe before.