Pros cons of esports focus aoe4

Mobile typing here sucks… the screen cant orient so im typing blind everytime on this forum. So if theres typos just try to read through it lol. I have noticed a lot of discussions regarding E sport focused play. I know that someone had mentioned that they are trying to implement StarCraft to type Eastport because we can all admit for such an old game that I played probably 20 years ago and as a kid it is still going strong and making money for the developers. So there is some pros and cons to this one of them I see a lot of people complaining that the civilizations are kind of boring and asymmetrical. In the feel of StarCraft two they’re not asymmetrical and between the different races there is big differences with the tech tree and everything else but it all balanced out very well in competition so maybe things will change as it gets further down with DLC and other content but what are your pros and cons to this topic?

This was the article that sparked my attention:

ErissarAge of Empires Dev (Microsoft)



Thank you all for your feedback! It will be forwarded to the team.

Starcraft’s emergence as a spectator phenomenon is part of the historical birth of esport and Blizzard learned from it, developing SC2 with esports in mind: you can see how it informed their design decisions on gameplay, visuals, UI, and spectator features. We take a lot of inspiration from Starcraft and its development tenets.

The competitive scene and esports are an important aspect to any PvP game. For AoE4, we consider it vital. From game balance, to modding, to tournaments and support. We want to capture historical moments, feature our own set of micro and macro challenges and have a depth in strategy that rivals the best of the best!

Community feedback is integral to our process. Thank you for your thoughts, suggestions, and concerns.

Edit - we saw the opportunity to clarify and expand on some of our sentiments in our original post. Thanks everyone!

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One pro is that a competitive Esports scene usually garners a lot of attention and revenue for a title.
Especially with RTS. For example, Aoe 2 has had a bit of a renaissance thanks to twitch and youtube.
Contrast this with Homeworld (which is a beautiful game btw) but was focused primarily on single-player story. Their competitive online scene never really took off besides some small tournaments.
This means that when people are done playing the campaigns, they will just move onto a different game.

As we can see, relatively high peak for an RTS game but they were unable to retain it because multiplayer wasn’t that popular.

Also in general, an Eports oriented game makes for very rewarding 1v1 ranked gameplay.
But it can feel like a double-edged sword depending on how the devs balance it. (do they balance the game for the 1% or for the general playerbase?)

One problem with all of this is that Aoe IV has a 60$ paywall to play any aspect of the game. This greatly inhibits its ability to become a widespread Esports game. They could have just locked off campaign etc and made a free/cheaper “multiplayer only” version.

Compare this with other esports like Dota 2, SC2, and League of Legends which are all free-to-play and are industry giants as a result.


The advantage of e-sport focus is that developers are forced to maintain balance, if the game is mostly played for casuals balance is not as critical for the games success.

As a hard core SC2 player I hope that they focus on gameplay first and e-sports second. If the gameplay is good enough e-sports will come naturally. If the gameplay is mediocre e-sports is doomed to fail no matter how much money the developers put into the scene.

SC2 is a masterpiece but it is only balanced for the top 0.01% of the players. I agree that games should be balanced for good player but not to the extreme SC2 is. Having a game that fun for normal competitive players is more important than a game that is only balanced if you practice 8+ hours per day.


SC2 is free to play since 2018 or something. It was an esport success from the very begining.

Tbh i think the opposite, if SC2 is the best RTS game overall (and maybe of all time, in competition with others RTS from blizzard) it’s because they try to have very asymetric and balanced game for the very top.
I don’t think balance is an issu for 99% of others players just because even if your game is balance for them, they will complain about how unbalance their main civ/race are.


There is the difference between the civs/races being balanced - the game being balanced. The game can be balanced with respects to any skilled player being able to reach a lvl/age/power at the exact same time… but differing races/civs being balanced to each other in competition with a unit always having a counter unit - will not ever be balanced with differing skills of players. Ie reaction times- predictive gameplay- and just intuition and sometimes mass unit spawn will always make something feel unbalanced to some players… no matter how much the devs balance nerf or change things. Sc2 units were nerfed and buffed over the years sometimes depending on which tactics was being used the most-which fad was most popular atm.

Imo sc2 is as perfectly balanced and polished as possible… and noob player can watch a youtube video u derstand the build order for maximum speed and other then unit production for combat they could be at the same lvl speed age” as any other players…

I gotta say i would LOVE a esport coop fast paced “unique “ version like sc2 coop with the different commanders…! That would be op to have that fast paced unique aspect to really focus on just the best units and the best tactics of each civ

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Yeah, as stated all those games I listed are Free-to-play.

To be clear Homeworld don’t retain a player base because it is primarily story based. HW1 in particular is almost an rts by accident, it certainly doesn’t feel like one, and is leaning way heavier into being a fleet management story opera. It’s value as a skirmish game vs cpu is very limited because the gameplay loop isn’t optimized for that. As far as “type of product” go Homeworld has more in common with The Last of Us than it does AoE or Starcraft.

Rimworld does retain a player base, even though it is single player only. Because it is gameplay based, not linear story based. There are of course countless other single player examples I could have chosen. Hell, Doom 1/2 are primarily single player games that retains a playerbase.

My point is Esport is not necessary to retain a playerbase. It is one potential way but there are other ways to do it too. You can retain players with a single player only game so long as it is designed for that. My point is also that Homeworld doesn’t need to retain a player base because it’s not that kind of product - it is perfectly fine to be a “play once every 5 years” story game.


Yes but SC2 is not a success because of free-to-play as is was a success from the begining ^^


Its difficult to understand what you want to convey with this sentence. Its not true that balance only affects the top players, it affects everyone.

Balance changes are made in such a way that the developers look at the players who are able to draw peak performance out of their race. And thats obviously the right choice. Anything else would make no sense.

Lets take two examples: The Age 3 Town Center Landmark of the English and the Age 3 Chapel Landmark for the HRE for 900 coin income per minute. Compare these to the Chinese Landmarks, which are terrible in direct comparison.

Its obvious these two Landmarks are overpowered. It doesn’t matter what skill level you are. Just because you are unable to constantly produce villagers because you are a lower level player doesn’t mean the Landmark should not get nerfed. And just because you do not have the APM to send out your prelates just before you reach Age 3 to secure relics, does not mean the 900 coin/minute isn’t way too high of a bonus.

Also everyone deserves to play a fair and balanced game, regardless of skill.

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Well its a great RTS yes. And im sure that’s definitely a factor that made it popular.
But in order to have a large pool of players to make worldwide competitive work you need multiplayer to be free.

SEA is a massive market for esports and a lot of people go to internet cafes to play the game.
This is only possible because its free.

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What’s mean SEA?_____

The South east asia region. But this extends to South America and developing countries in general.

Its not only S.Korea, these centres are common in Philippines, China, Thailand etc.


But how much gold do you passively or actively get from proper use of Imperial Officials? You can’t compare landmarks without taking into account all the bonuses available to factions.

Not saying whether HRE or English landmarks should be nerfed or not, just that it’s obviously not as simple as comparing them directly to one another. Is it better to have a landmark that gives you 900 gold per minute assuming you can capture enough relics (or any relics) or a landmark that passively gives you 100% bonus to tax gold plus an ability to boost villager production by 35% percent through the Dynasty bonus?

I think it’s too early to answer these questions.


This discussion is irelevant, as AoE4 will never become an esport. The game is way too easy for the best players in the world, not to mention clunky and devoid of the tools it needs to be an esport. The game is by design made to cater to ultracasuals. It will be great for groups of friends that want a chill experience on a Saturday evening. Of course that doesn’t mean they can’t force esports on it. If they called Hearthstone an esport, they can call AoE4 an esport. But it’s obviously way too easy to ever be a real esport.

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Esports is not just “devs focus on multiplayer”

The game has to be:
-skillbased so it’s focussed on the player with different tools to express him/herself
-great to look at. Clean animations, clear visual feedback and clear distinctions in units/civs to make it fun to look at
-build with the audience in mind, meaning it was developed explicitly not just to be played, but to be watched and to be casted.
That can go from simple visual feedback and spectator UI, over to outplay potential with micro up to the entire pace of the game.

Age4 falls short on every single metric here.
Alot of the micro potential and depth of army setup got cut/streamlined, the graphics are quite controversial with a lack of quality in animation, UI and proportions, and the game is definitely not built with an audience in mind either.
Engagements are quick but there’s not alot of playerinput to look at and overall the gamepace is quite slow, meaning if something happens at all, only on one place at a time and always with the same 1-2 unit types across all matchups.

That’s at least how I see it.
Feel free to correct me or add stuff to it if I forgot something.

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U say it may never become a esport which is true”. But i have read some comments which may or may not of been from the devs-“they take their inspirations from sc2 and other esport” games

I have watched almost all videos on aoe4 so far and i would bet most or all of u have watched the ones that are being sent out also

Aoe4 may not be on tv… but that doesnt mean it cant be esport… with alittle multiplayer tweak here or there… it can easily be a romp fest… sc2 coop ie. shows its capable to step away from the norm civs and create a esport style competitive system that doesnt take away from the aspects of the game