This is really truly unacceptable and not at all normal. I’ve been playing video games since I was a little kid, and I’ve been a full time software developer for the past year. Having been on both sides of the wall, I can tell you with certainty that a bug this trivial to find should never ever go out into the player’s hands. This is just absurd, for players to wait a month to get a hotfix for several gamebreaking bugs (relic duplication, stone bug), to only instantly introduce a new one that’s so easy to abuse it probably happens by accident in a huge number of games.
Not only the engineers directly working on the game, but the whole organization (World’s Edge) needs to take a step back and ask themselves what the hell is going on. Why did software engineers/game designers accept this patch? Why didn’t the current QA processes catch this? Why was there no public beta/PTR? Why did the patch take so long in the first place? What is making things hard? Why are you trying to promise a ranked system and UGC creation tools and all this other stuff if you can’t get the basics right?
And this isn’t even speaking about the random other issues that I have with the patch - lack of nerfs for springalds, random horsemen nerfs, delhi getting nerfed to the ground for no reason. But honestly, that stuff doesn’t matter at all. The game is super fun even if 1 civ is really bad for no reason. But if even 1 person in a 4v4 game picks Abbasid and has the audacity to play the game in a relatively normal fashion, then the game is ruined.
One thing I want to make absolutely clear is that I understand, from a personal perspective, why bugs like this can get out. Engineers make mistakes (I make mistakes!). But if there is a deliberate failure at every single step of the way to produce a quality product, then it’s not any single engineer’s or manager’s fault. The reality is that there is some Director/Principal/Partner who has no ■■■■■■■ idea what’s going on underneath him, and has no idea on how to release software with quality, how to build a team, how to have the right processes etc. And honestly, that person probably needs to be removed. Because I’m sure that if the org tries to focus on the quality of what they’re delivering, they can actually do it.
So I’m going to go ahead and give you the first step - put up a job recommendation for a QAE. Here’s the link where it should go - Careers - Age of Empires . I don’t think I’ll be playing the game or recommending it to anyone until we can get a version of the game without a gamebreaking balance bug.
I have already died to someone exploiting this and sniping my army with spears ALL the way from thier base, they were able to research so there spears had a million range i guess and i just lose hmmmm… nice very nice. yeah i definetly feel like jumping back on to play again
I fully agree it’s a problem which has to do with people bad at their job, not skilled enough or careless. See my post about this in another topic Can we just all take a moment to congratulate the Devs? - #6 by IamDalv
If I do bad at my job, I get fired after a few warnings, it’s the way it should be and I dont have any sympathy for unskilled professionals in wrong places. You can understand now why it takes them so much time to code a function like patrol, when they struggle even with much simpler things.
I know this is exacerbated by the fact this is not their product, Relic was contracted to make AoE4 and they get paid regardless how it turns out.
I would much rather have another company working on AoE4 that has skilled employees that also care.
I think they should bring Forgotten Empires on board to help with Age IV, at least until the basic problems have been ironed out. Perhaps they should even merge World’s Edge into them, and pass Age IV development on to the old AoE2 DE hands.
I have nothing against World’s Edge, but they’re a new studio that has managed no other games before, while Forgotten Empires have tuned Age II DE into a nearly perfectly-balanced RTS, and have been putting out quality AoE content for years. Age II, for that matter, is pretty much perfect as-is, and just needs to be maintained where it’s at now. Moving on to Age IV would be a natural progression for the FE team.
My understanding was that Relic developed the game for release, and then handed it off to a Microsoft-internal studio (World’s Edge) to maintain and update the game. Is that incorrect? I’ve never seen a real explanation of the responsibilities of each studio.
EDIT: OK, did a bit of research. I guess Relic is still the main developer.
I love Relic RTS as much as Age, but they are fundamentally different styles. It’s clear that Relic’s heart lies more with CoH than Age IV, and they should just let the IP go so they can double down on their own specialties. If Age IV gets mediocre support and balancing, the DLC sales will not be enough to justify continued development. Better to let Age experts deal with Age games, and capture-point RTS experts focus on capture-point games.
I suspect 90% of Relic’s employees have moved on to make Company of Heroes 3 already, they only left a tiny handful of people to remain working on AoE 4 in their spare time, who cooperate with World’s Edge and other studios under Microsoft. But these studios cannot have controls over the game’s programming, because it’s made with Relic’s own Essence Engine, unlike previous AoE games’ Genie or Bang! engine that belongs to Ensemble/Microsoft, so they can only report things and send directions to Relic, and then Relic use 10% of its company resource try to fix them. Such cooperation must be very inefficient.
Okay, this is definitely the kind of bug that requires a fix within 24 hours or so, at least if they want to have folks keep playing multiplayer games.
Thanks for the great post OP!
Not to sound like a broken record, but I’ve made numerous posts about why this game should have been delayed by at least 6 months. There are just too many obvious deficiencies and the Steam Charts do appear to show it bleeding players.
Other things I’m deeply suspicious about, but that I haven’t had the time to dig into yet:
When Abbasid’s research “reduce cost of villagers tech” (Fresh Foodstuffs), but already have many villagers queued, it does not appear that a refund of 25 food per villager is given upon completion of research (i.e. you have to cancel production, and then re-queue production)
Similar to the above, I’m not sure if the “Preservation of Knowledge” tech actually applies to any queued or in progress research – more clarity would be super helpful here if anyone has it.
Now people are realizing that the DOW3 thing is there… This game sold well and had a good release because it is a poplar franchise, but it is an unfinished product, with a lot of issues, with one of the worst possible UI in the history of RTS but with a decent gameplay that keeps the game “alive” however, with these many issues the game has, they will need to postpone the new content (expas or DLCs) until the game is fully playable and reasonable balanced, the game is still Age of Springalds IV
Yeah, that’s just sheer incompetence. Even some bugs they claimed to have fix are still present (like the HRE prelate is still bug and will stop Inspiring after a while).
From the last patch you can tell they don’t play (or test for that matter …) their own game or follow the community & “meta” …
I mean, I work in IT and I would have been fired a long time ago if I was this bad at my job.
Multiplayer is at best “not fun” and at worst “unplayable” this the game have been (and still is) plagued with game breaking bugs / exploit for weeks now (well, since beta truly … ). And appart from multiplayer there’s not much to do once you’re done with the campaign (if that’s your thing) …
I read the thing. There was one part I found a bit funny.
Transparency??? Like how they told us that they were planning to nerf Delhi and Horsemen, and give us constant updates on what they are working on??? I’m not really sure how that equates to transparent, but maybe they aren’t talking about with the community. Oh well, if it gets them a QAE its fine.
TBH this patch did it for me. The absolutely terrible community management has been another one. I am done with this game until they release modding tools and we get a community bugfix/balance patch. Which is always a depressing state for a game to be in.