My First Impression about AoE 4
As a UI/UX designer working in the sector for around 15 years, and as someone who has been playing age of empires franchise since 1999, I would like to put my criticism here for the devs to see hopefully.
I want the game to be successful more than you can imagine and that is why this will be a topic about what I want developers to change in the game to make it perfect. I believe most of these problems will be agreed upon by most of the avid AoE fans.
1- Arrow physic, mangonel physics and physics, in general, is terrible. When archers fire the arrows, they follow a very strange curve/path just to be able to hit the target (homing arrows problem) and it looks really terrible. Also, arrow speed is not accurate, it is looking strange and it makes you feel something is off. I also hated homing arrows because even though you reacted to the attack from TC fast, you cannot escape it until you go out of range.
2- When units are fighting, they are making strange moves, like knights spinning around itself, quickly moving from one point to another just like floating in the air. You don’t feel the weight of the soldiers on the battleground. They are like lightweight paper soldiers. The same is true for the ships.
3- Unit clarity is still lacking, as a designer I can see the use of too much blue if you are the blue player. A very big part of the units is all blue which makes units hardly distinguishable from each other. Of course, units should reflect the player’s colour but the distribution of the colour is not right. We don’t see the same problem in the age of 2 and even though the scale of the units are smaller, they are very easily distinguishable.
4- Units and buildings are missing detailed textures. When you zoomed in you can clearly see that helmet of the soldier or hair is a pastel solid colour without any details.
5- Mangonels and Trebuchets are packed/unpacked so quickly that I don’t see any meaning to pack/unpack them in the first place if it will be that quick.
6- I also hated yellow ghosts and don’t think it contributes to the game in any way. Maybe it can be disabled in the setting.
7- UI icons really lack clarity and are not easily distinguishable with a quick glance. All icons look very similar to each other.
8- Not being able to customise hotkeys and even not being able to assign mouse hotkeys are a very big problem especially for competitive players.
9- The game doesn’t allow us to change player colours and force you to play always with Blue colour. Why these kinds of simple things are not in the game? Can someone explain? I got bored of using the same colour!
10- Not being able to see the map after the game is a big turn off
11- Click feel is very strange. You cant make sure If you click to a unit or a building because mouse indicator is too big and there is not enough click feedback. The game lacks precision in that sense in some areas.
12- I couldn’t figure out if there is a waypoint system just like in aoe2 when you shift-press to some points to go for your scout for example.
13- Animations really need polish and detail, when units are killed they suddenly disappear from the battleground instead of fading out slowly.
14- When a mangonel for example going up steep, it doesn’t follow the path of the steep and you can see its wheels are plunging into the ground. This is also true for other units if they die on a hill, some part of their body plunges into the ground and becomes invisible. This one is a bit hard to explain but I hope you get the idea.
15- I couldn’t find the hotkeys to go to Archery Range, Barracks, Stable individually. It looks like hotkey system is very poor.
16- No way to focus fire the TC to a specific unit, it automatically attacks the Ram or closest unit giving you no way to micro management.
17- Last but not least, the game really needs more zoom out. TC and Keeps are really right in your face even though I play the game on 4K resolution.
I hope these issues will be addressed in the near future and AoE4 becomes the next big thing in the RTS world. This is what I really want.