I wanted to share some ideas for three options that I’d like to see added to AOE 4 in the future. These features would primarily be for custom matches with friends:
- Light Diplomacy (games setting options: Unlock Teams, Neutral Start)
In AOE 2 there is a setting not to lock teams. I would like this to be implemented in AOE 4 too, as this could make for some interesting games. To go a step further though, it would be cool to add the setting for players to choose neutral status at the start of a game, allowing teams and enemies to develop naturally. This would mainly work for groups of friends who enjoy game dynamics that have a degree of diplomacy, persuasion, and negotiations to ultimately win.
- Auto Tribute (game setting option)
The ability to send auto tribute to another player where a certain percentage of a particular resource is sent once per minute could expand gameplay in multiple ways. In a team, the player furthest from the enemy could passively support/buff their allies by automatically sending a percentage of resources from their own economy. Also, if a player is facing a stronger opponent at some point in the match, they could buy themself time by either offering to pay them a one-time or ongoing fee not to be attacked. If a player is almost at the point of defeat, they could offer to become a vassal, paying ongoing tribute to the conquerer, in exchange they could remain in the game… the conqueror would have to weigh their terms carefully though, too oppressive and the other player might plot behind their back, making allies, giving intel, and rebelling when the time was right. Being more lenient though might win a loyal vassal who becomes full allies with you for the possibility of a shared team victory. Of course, this could backfire too.
- Unit Gifting (game setting option)
The mechanic of unit conversion is already in the game, so this would be reverse conversion. What I mean by this is you could provide an ally with reinforcements, then turn ownership of the units over to them. Of course, this couldn’t exceed their pop cap, and if you turn over a number of units that do exceed the pop cap, random units in the reinforcements would die. This could also be used by allies or neutral players to offer resources to buy certain units that their civ can’t get otherwise. Not really for balanced ranked matches, but just for custom games.
Example of a diplomacy game scenario with my friends:
Recently, I played on a team vs AI. One of my teammates who is a bit more territorial pointed out that they weren’t too happy that I began mining gold on one of the outskirts of their base. It was in a pretty open and unclaimed area, but since we were locked in a team, his response was to also send villagers to mine the gold too and that was the end of it.
If we had been neutral though, he may have decided to attack my villagers, taking over the gold mine and surrounding territory to assert his power. In that situation, I could choose to ignore it, plot against him, or directly respond by retaking the mine or finding a vulnerable point in his economy, answering back with a light raid. Since you can still manually attack durring neutral status, this could trigger a series of skirmishes back and forth until an all-out war was declared by one side or the other. This would leave our friends who were also neutral players on the map to decide what to do, maintain neutrality, choose a side, or secretly send tribute or gift troops to one side or the other.
While I don’t see this working for serious ranked matches, this could offer some interesting options for games that are more reflective of alliances and enemies being made due to land disputes and perceived aggressive moves. I enjoy the current options of pre-locked team games too. This would just add another interesting way to play, which would a bit more true to how conflicts really start.
If the AOE 4 devs see and read this post, thanks for taking the time! Hopefully, these features wouldn’t be too difficult to implement, as it would be a lot of fun for custom matches.