New Main Menu and User Interface

I have a few points for the UI Devs since they already made transition to the new menu. They should have considered this an ample opportunity to recategorize the campaigns imo,

  1. Please remove William Wallace (Celts) from Campaigns since it is redundant and have a separate “Britons” campaign instead. Just have the iconic William Wallace tutorials stay in “Learn to Play”.

  2. Please remove the “Historical Battles” under Africa and the “Art of War” under Asia in the campaigns. The Historical Battles should have its own separate tab back just like in the pre-anniversary patch menu while the Art of War faces similar redundancy to William Wallace tutorials. The now vacant space for the “Art of War” in Asian campaigns should instead be given to a separate “Chinese” campaign.

  3. History and Mods should not be hidden in a little gear box icon. Such a waste of opportunity for “History” to have players read them due to bland presentation. I think the compendium of AoE 3 DE shines on that regard although still needs more improvement. I think a great idea is to have a few seconds trailers civ overview for each of the civs in History.

P.S. New “Briton” or “Chinese” campaigns are just ideas to fill the now vacant space left by the redundancy of the William Wallace and the Art of War tutorials. Also who doesn’t want new campaigns?


The quick play menu is pretty fancy! Why not have it for ranked games as well instead of the old one?

That’s a very bold and outrageous statement, the old menu was simply more efficient, clearer and less laggy

If it came down to that, it is very annoying to have to click a few times to go where u want specially if one is doing back to back games

While I do appreciate the effort done by the current developers, this game was made 20 years ago by a different set of people. Every iteration done by the current team should be an improvement

So is that a reason to mess-up the interface ? That is a very flawed logic.
Also note that Graphics is one of the reasons people moved from legacy versions of the game (CD / HD) to this one (DE), and was one of the selling points for if you open the store page.

Like u said game is 20 years old, so every iteration should help the game go forward. The last update was mostly a step backwards in terms of usability, lag issues, more bugs and game crashes.


What I dont understand is that anyone who tries the new UI will immediately realize how much more laggy it is. The weird fade in fade out animation takes forever, button clicks when doing things like inviting players to a game take forever (and sometimes dont seem to work properly), and so on.

I am just appalled that anyone on the design team tried this out and thought “oh yeah this is much smoother now!”


They should have some sort of beta testing before releasing the anniversary patch.


That requires closed betas, and is not as effective as open betas

So now, all users are forced to be open beta testers? I would not consider this situation better than having a closed beta? Do not know about the effectiveness, but I think a lot of issues a closed beta would have found

What I mean is, unlike other games, this game organizes closed betas, so it won’t be as effective as an open one. Especially since all the beta users are restricted to their own numbers

have not tried this myself, but removes menu animation is a good thing.

Hate it. Why did it have to change, FFS?

Was anyone asking for this?

The old menu was fine, as were the play modes.

I guess I’m done playing AOE2 now.

The new CIV PICKING menu is BETTER, but too slow. There is lag between clicking to load and close the screen and that action occurring. I also don’t need to CONFIRM my selection after I’ve selected a civ.

Likewise EVERY menu “lags” between loading. It’s not even an animation so much as a fade in that just delays where I need to be.

Especially because it now takes MORE CLICKS to get from the main screen to My Goal. It’s unintuitive. Most especially to get into replays, mods, and multiplayer games.

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Although I thoroughly dislike this new menu I voted make it optional since there might be people who might like these new changes. To be honest I miss the old AOE2 main menu, it had a distinct medieval vibe to it.

Some in-depth feedback and suggestions regarding the overall user interface:

Problems with the modern UI in general:
The new UI, and I don’t talk about the main menu alone, I talk about the modern mobile-game-ish UI, has a few problems. It contradicts with the general UI design philosophy of the game. Most menus are held in this oldschool paper background design. It is clear, easy to read and makes a good overall impression. And then threre is this new UI with huge all-caps fonts, huge buttons etc… It’s not ugly but it wastes so many space if you compare it to the oldschool UI. This is a PC game, played mostly in high resolutions and this screen space should be used. Apart from looking a little clumsy, it also doesn’t fit the historical setting of the game as much as the oldschool UI.

The new Quick Play user interface feels a bit out of place, firstly because all other multiplayer UIs are in a single screen and secondly because all other multiplayer interfaces have the old design. I suggest adding a new tab “Quick Play” to the multiplayer interface right next to the “Ranked” tab to have everything multiplayer related combined in one place.

For me, transition animations are completely unnecessary. I wouldn’t mind them being in the game though, as long as you can turn them off somehow.

Civilization selection menu:
I really like the new civ selection, however a few things could be improved here as well:

  • do not use all-caps font, it’s a pain to read
  • remove the “Confirm” button and change the behaviour so you only have to do one click to select the desired civ and close the dialog
  • maybe highlight some stats and bonus values like suggested in this reddit thread:

Campaign Screen:
The campaign screen is absolutely amazing. The only thing which could be changed is to remove “The Art of War” and the “Historical Battles” from there. It makes no sense to have them besides person-centered campaigns positioned on a world map.

“Historical Battles” should definitely be accessible via the main menu. Some people even asked on reddit or here on the forums if the the historical battles were removed because they couldn’t find them after the November patch.

“The Art of War” and should be selectable via a new “Learn to Play” selection screen alongside with the “William Wallace” learning campaign.

History Screen:
In comparison to older versions of the game, the history screen is a step backwards. The old UI not only fitted better into the game, the readability was also better, because you saw much more text at once.

This topic has already been discussed here:

Main Menu:
Designwise I can’t really make helpful suggestions as I’m no graphic designer, but I can make some regarding the structure:

In my opinion the above displayed menu items are essential and should therefore be directly accessible to the user. Right now, some of these items are hidden behind a little gear symbol, where you would normally expect to navigate to the options menu… not optimal. The “Learn to Play” button should lead to a screen like the campaign selection screen with fancy background etc. where you can access the “The Art of War” and “William Wallace” learning campaigns.


It has already been confirmed that the devs are working on a menu to access all the challange scenarios (Mongol Raiders, Barbarossa Brawl etc.). With this addition, there are a lot of options you could select if you want to play a singleplayer mode. Maybe these items could be merged into one main menu item leading to a submenu (only if it would overload the main menu too much).

The “News” button can be positioned like in the picture above. It’s a button you hardly ever click, so it doesn’t has to be as big as it is right now.

In my opinion it would be better to discard the modern user interface completely and use the oldschool UI design, which is already used in most places anyway. The new UI feels more like a mobile game UI and doesn’t fit AoE II well.

Please consider making the user interface more consistent and don’t oversimplify simple things.

Ok, now enough of those words. Thank you so much Microsoft, Forgotten Empires and Tantalus for constantly updating this amazing game. I hope that this review is at least a little helpful.


Great work mate. Can you also include to remove the redundancy of William Wallace in Europe Map where we could have a new Britons campaigns instead of Celts. The iconic William Wallace will remain in the Learn to Play tab alongside the Art of War.

Also we need more font varieties besides Sans Serif, a fitting font to add would be a Medieval Font/Gothic for the Menu will be great.

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There is a hotfix which halved the animation time. Seems like there was no reason at all for this long animation time…

I havent started the game, but i hope this will be an improvement to the UI.


I think the William Wallace campaign has it’s place on the world map as it fits in with the other campaigns. For me, the two font options are fine, but of course more of them would be cool but not that necessary.

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Amazing summary! This pretty much includes the major complaints about the current UI. Could this be linked in the original post? (New Main Menu and User Interface) @BomberGriffin

Can’t agree more.

And it always bugs me to find Historical Battles under African campaigns. While it’s a convenience thing, it gives the false impression that all historical battles take place in that area around Mediterranean.


Added it as a quoted post to bottom of my post. Seems good.


Thank you, I really appreciate it!

I don’t really mind the design, maybe they need to at least put some colour in it, but man it takes too much time to load every interface