Age of Empires 2 is the game with which I first came into contact with the history of mankind in a fun and dynamic way, while I had fun playing with the greatest empires of mankind, like many of us. The initial 13 civilizations are far behind and AoE2 has never had so many civilizations. They are all unique in their own way and with impressive design, graphic and campaign work by the developers.
However, after so many hours played, it gives the feeling of a lack of depth. This is not due to subtle bonuses between civilizations and others, as this is the very essence of AoE2. I have always perceived AoE2 as a complex chess, which allows you to play dozens of different civilizations without each player having to specialize in certain civilizations in particular and being able to enjoy them all equally. On the other hand, I feel that there is a lack of depth that allows a total immersion in the culture of each civilization.
European medieval knights in Asian civilizations? European champions, pikemen and arbalesters in meso civilizations? White villagers in European clothes in African civilizations? Sure you can think of other examples.
Therefore I would like to propose something to the developers of the game. Instead of continuing to add civilizations, how about adding Flavour DLCs? Continuing with the previous examples, you could reskin for Meso, Asian, and African units. Or more music for each civilization. It doesn’t force all players to have this visual change, but it does ensure the economic viability of servers and developers for those looking for a little more depth in their favourite civilization.
I’d definitely like this, or at least like it to be possible to do with graphics mods.
It would have to be handled with a lot of care to maintain unit recognition. For example, the Knight line must always be predominantly white, with a progression of no caparison → caparison → caparison and helmet adornments. I’ve seen (data) mods that introduced regional unit graphics, but didn’t consider unit recognition, and consequently were pretty confusing.
Oh dear, does that mean the current event has some stupid-looking mods?
Considering that the event dresses up different units if you pass the challenges, it wouldn’t surprise me if FE is using this event as an experiment to test the reception of individualized cultural sprites.
Precisely. They have no functional use outside of flavor, which makes me think this is a test of culture-specific unit sprites and whether players like them/won’t get confused seeing them instead of the original models. If it goes well, we might see this expanded as a mod/DLC for all units.
This would definitely be a cool addition. You could theoretically split it along the architecture groups or have a few units have the same appearance across architecture groups where it makes sense (maybe spearmen appearance is same for Mediterranean as for Western European for example)
No. You can’t. As someone who has actually worked on mods with regional skins, let me tell you why it won’t work. There are two main reasons. First, if you want realistic regional skins, especially if nothing similar exists ingame, you have to make them yourself, which takes a lot of time and/or money. Second, because of how the game is set up, you need to make a data mod to do it, which is incompatible with ranked play. Basically, for regional skins to be a viable thing, the devs need to do it.