My open letter to AOE4 devs

Dear AOE4 team,
So far I really enjoyed fan preview for AOE4. I really hope game will eventually have more updates and eventually become a better game than AOE2. Maybe moving from AOE2 scene to AOE4 over years to come! This coming from a player who regularly plays AOE2:DE and most of my thought process will come from this game in this letter. Matter of fact I might just making contents for the game! Firstly I will talk about the pros from fan preview and secondly I will talk about the cons. So here we go!

Things that I liked:

  • So far I liked the complete unique playstyle apart from its previous playstyle. Hopefully this’ll bring new changes to the casual and competitive play as well. I have this treatment stays for future contents for AOE4.
  • Really loved how factions received fair amount of historical faithfulness. I might be ok with some sacrifices due to gameplay reasons but I hope it tries to stay with the core theme overall.
  • Loved new gameplay mechanics like troops on wall, new change on Siege Tower compared to 2DE, ambush system, Mongols having nomadic playstyle(might be my first faction to try).

Things that I didn’t liked:

  • Graphics is a bit of a downfall from AOE2:DE. I wasn’t a fan of how graphics turned out in AOE3:DE and it seems like AOE4 going same route. I really wish graphics gets major overhaul.
  • Trailer often showed fair amount of performance lags. It may lead to bad reviews. So if possible I hope it gets delayed if performance isn’t solved.

Extra things to consider if any gamedevs reads this:

  • Seems like game will have low pop cap similar to AoE2 and it seems some gameplay formula will be coming from that way. I hope that game doesn’t stay 200 pop for a 2021 game. It’d be feel like a downgrade if we are playing a game that is still stuck with what’s happening from a 1999 game. Please reconsider and try to change it a bit. Let’s say 500+ pop.
  • Map feels like won’t be much bigger. It’d be a let down if we can’t play with bigger maps. For RTS standard it’d feel like RTS game is still stuck on old formula and haven’t progressed much yet. I hope that it kind of gets changed.
  • 8 player limit maybe good for competitive scene but not so for casual or custom game modes that have big number of players. Maybe it’s too late but hopefully gamedevs will change something in this.

That is all for now,
bigbossbro08 from AOE forums


Yes, we don’t want aoe4 and aoe2 to play in a similar way. We need a relatively simple and fast-paced game.


I don’t think AOE4 is going to play like AOE2. Some of the core formula might be similar but I think one of the main aspects they worked on is trying to get each faction to play as “asymmetrically” as possible.

Which is also why we’re only getting 8 civs at launch.

As far as the graphics, I think they’re fine. I don’t think 3D RTS games will ever look as good as 2D though. I think I would have rather them do another pre-rendered 2D game over 3D. AOE2:DE looks gorgeous. Some ingame screenshots look like fake mockups some would do on Deviantart or something. You’re just not going to be able to achieve that level of detail and clarity from a 3D game. 3D models in the RTS style of AOE will probably always end up looking like little toys.

I’ve seen others bring up Spellforce 3 as an example of really good 3D graphics in a RTS game, but have you actually watched a multiplayer match in that? It’s an over scrupled, noisy mess. You can’t tell anything apart and imo it doesn’t work very good. It also runs horribly too when you’re doing a 2v2 match and have a lot of units.

Also at least i would like if it would be possible to set up a game what is kind of “1 vs 1” but 3 noob players can control 1 civilization and fight against 1 stronger player. 1 noob player then could focus on farming and economy, 2nd could build defenses and 3rd control army or something.

Simple and fast paced is how AOE III was released and we all know how that ended up.

AOE II has been this popular for 20 years precisely because of its pace and core mechanics. If you do a “StarCraft: Medieval” kind of game, you will lose your fan base.

Some tweaks here and there to improve the pace, especially in the Dark and Feudal ages is fine, but the game should not try to be something that it’s not in a market that is well saturated already.

I have bittersweet feelings about AOE II lasting another 20 years if AOE IV bombs.

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Actually, I do like if I can recognize games in a franchise. What I mean for example is Age of Mythology. Inspiration from earlier AoE series is clear, but the game added plenty of unique twists of its own to make it distinct. I don’t like it when a franchise reinvents it completely, and a new game is 100% unfamiliar in terms of gameplay.

From the trailer, it looks like the AoE 4 devs did an excellent job in making the game feel familiar AND adding new twists to make the game unique.

Yes, i see Spellforce3 multiplayer. I play It a lot. And i don’t seen problems with readability. You’ll Simply know your units and this Is for every RTS.

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Same as with Relic’s own CoH games. I can’t think of anything more monotonous and colorless than WWII uniforms, guns and tanks, but that game was widely praised and I don’t think anyone complained about “readability” of units. You play for a few minutes and it all makes sense real quick.

If you ask me, implementing different ack sounds for different types of units (e.g. a pikeman saying “pikes ready!” instead of a generic “to war!” which is also said by a swordsman) goes further in helping you differentiate units than flashy colors and cartoonish weapons.

I know that I sound like a broken record by now, but Battle for Middle Earth has specific dialog lines for every single type of unit. It’s oh so satisfying. I think CoH did it too, but I don’t recall.

Perhaps AOE IV finally added this as well? We can’t tell from the trailers just yet.

I agree
Would love to see 10v10 or even 16v16
Especially good for suctom scenarios
The 8 player limit feels outdated

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