My one wish for the DE - better/more unit controls

I really loved Age of Empires 3, but one thing always really held it back for me. And that was the lack of good unit controls.

Because of the lack of robust unit controls everything had to be constantly micro-ed all over the map at all times. Every unit had to be manually babyitted basically. It really just became annoying, frustrating, and unfun at a certain point because of that. Especially when you got a lot of units.

In order to reduce frustration and enable more fun with larger battles, the units need to have more control options on them. The unit controls in Age 3 DE need to at least be as good as the controls in Age 2. When the original Age 3 came out I honestly couldn’t believe that the units had less/worse controls than in Age 2. I never understood why they did that. It kind of ruined the game for me.

On top of better unit controls, I would like to see more formations, aggression settings, and general control options for the units. Here’s an example of a similar thing I was talking about for the Total War series:


Can you elaborate on what exactly you mean by this? I find unit control in AoE3 already better since attack move is more useful, there is a hotkey to select all units of same type, pathing seems generally better…

The formation system could be improved though.

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I want Scouts to have an Auto-Explore function.

I want units to have an Aggressive Mode setting.

I want actual Formation options. The game suggests that there are Formations in the game but there actually isn’t.

I want Pause to not put a giant unmovable box in the middle of the screen.

I want the Escape key to bring up the menu.

I want a Command Console for cheats.

I want an Auto-Repair option on buildings.

I want a Guard unit command and button. For guarding another unit or a building.

I want a Follow unit command and button.

I want an ‘Auto Ability Use’ option on units.

I want a Default Stance option for buildings which create units. So they spawn with a certain Stance.

I want a No Attack stance for units.

I want the Plantation and Farm to tell you how many units are working there.

I want units to return to their original spot when being in Defensive Mode and fighting a nearby enemy. Instead of ending up all over the ■■■■ place.

I want a smaller UI. The UI takes up almost 1/3 of the bottom screen. This always annoyed me.

I want the game to separate Stances, Modes and Formations from each other. For some extremely dumb nonsensical reason the game puts Volley Mode, Stagger Mode, Cover Mode, Melee Mode, Defend Mode, and Stand Ground Mode into the same category. And you can only select one. These are completely different things that are not related to each other.

‘Volley Mode’ is not what it sounds like, which is a way of shooting in unison. It’s actually just an option to enable ranged attack instead of melee attack. Volley Mode should be renamed to ‘Ranged Attack’ and put into an ‘Attack Mode’ category with ‘Melee Mode’. These two things are related and control how a unit fights.

Stagger Mode is a spacing option which tells units spread out to limit artillery fire damage. This is an option that should be in its own category. It has nothing to do with anything else. Either your units are staggered or not.

‘Defend Mode’ and ‘Stand Ground’ mode are what’s known as ‘Stances’ in the other games. They are essentially aggression options which determine how aggressively your units fight other units. These two things are related and should be in their own category called ‘Aggression Stance’ or something like that. And on top of the two that are already there, two more Stances should be added. And those are ‘Aggressive Mode’ and ‘No Attack Mode’.

Defend Mode should make your units fight nearby enemies and then return to their spot. Currently in the game, units on Defend Mode will fight nearby enemies and then don’t return to their original spot. Which means your units end up all over the place which is obviously really annoying. Stand Ground Mode should make your units fight enemies but remain in place and not move at all. Aggressive Mode should make your units attack nearby enemies and follow them until they are dead. No Attack Mode should make your units remain in place and not attack any enemies.

I want all units to have all these options on them when it makes sense. Cannons for example literally only have two control options on them, Bombard Mode and Limber Mode.

Almost all of these things are in Age 1/Age 2. Never understood why they were removed in Age 3. The unit controls got especially bad in Age 3 and it made combat really annoying in my opinion.


Bumping this with my opinions cause I have played 10000 RTS games.

  1. The game needs follow commands and patrol commands. It was ludicrous that it did not have them back then and there is no excuse now. There are a million other games to look at and see how it works. The follow mode would help the moronic pathing of cannons so much. There is way too much stupid micro to deal with on those units.

  2. Unit formations. Why does age 2 have better unit formations? Another one that would be stupidly easy to add.

  3. The game needs a charge for musketeers like in REAL life and a retreat button. I get the slowness of infantry for balance but these could be implemented with drawbacks to make it balanced.


I just want my cannon to not target houses every volley if I don’t manually give them an infantry target.


Big time. Cannon AI is awful.


Units should never prioritize buildings over other units. I don’t know whats wrong with attack-move, but whenever I do it and look away to macro, I find my units started attacking random buildings over units. This needs to be fixed ASAP.

Also clicking ships is sometimes impossible when they move around. This needs to be fixed aswell.


Yeah the controls/pathing are a hot mess. It makes me so angry sometimes that I want to quit.


yeah should be a toggle on the unit to determine target priority.

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In my personal opinion, additional formations or orders will not be solved by the developers. Because they have poor development capabilities.

I’ll admit that they’ve underestimated their abilities if they improved the 50 limit on unit selection and improved pass-finding for melee units. However, it is unlikely that this will happen until the support of the game ends and the modders improve the game.

How do you imagine Charge would work exactly?