I do see that point.
with the 40 or so age 2 civs of course there are endless possibilities for matchups in PvP (although admittedly, and of course, there is such thing as Meta civs. Plus there are more game modes.
With the 8 civs in age4, the possiblities are of course MUCH lower.
this however also will probably lead to the fact that there wont bethatmuch difference in the metagame (at least thats my hope) - 8 civs can be balanced more easily and each fit their own game style.
However I think that the fact we have 8 civs with really diverse gameplay will lead to less “boring” gameplay within each matchup.
Lets see age 2 pvp. I would say there is like 5 viable strats, and many of the civs most of the time choose specific ones. Then if you know your opponents strat (which you might or might not have seen coming because of their civ) you can counter.
Possible strats for the beginning would be 1feudal rush (or maybe even Drush nowadays), 2fast castle into any comp (knight rush, monk/onager combo, knights and monks, or maybe even arbs),3 fast imp ( I think mostly seen in empire wars and generally with portuguese) 4 Tower rush 5 Scout rush.edit: 6 vil ruish, forgot that one. related to tower rush though)
ven if we split these fast castle comps, we are (interestingly) also at around 8 general possible strats for an age 2 PvP game.
And within the civs most units are the same, so only your Final game plan (if it includes special units) may change depending on your civ.
And as said, your civ mostly dictates your strat or at least rules out some.
So while yes, the units are more diverse and other civs faster to learn in age 2, there are basically around 8 possible gameplay strats for the game.
So I would assume the general matchup stays around as interesting as it was in age 2.
to not get bored, age 2 also had special modes, WHich we dont know anything about yet (but I assume there will be some in age 4)
then of cours ethe map pool and differences in each random map (even of the same type) also is quite important here. SC2 had NO random maps, so once youve seen them all you know them all (which makes it easier to find good strats, but more boring to explore etc)
Now if or if not age 4 will get boring if you focus on one civ will depend on one more thing - how well designed are each civs special traits?
-Easiest one to not get boring would from our current knowledge be chinese (if the dynasties are balanced properly). because each game, you could choose any one dynasty, and maybe stick to it or change it in later ages. So the chinese offer diverse gameplay, With varying options where to go.
-The mongols I would assume rely heavily on cavalry in all games BUT the random map is what will make their gameplay interesting. because of the nomadic gameplay, they have to utilizie the map as it comes. which may or may not get boring depending on how random “random” is, and how much of a game plan perfectionist you are (a type of ppl, probably those who love roguelikes, will love to see each map, scout it and try to find the ideal strat each time, hile other player types may find it boring to always be on the edge and moving around)
-Delhi sultanate focuses on reasearch. With what we saw so far from the trailer, it seems like each unit can get around 5 upgrades. So here the main gameplan would probably change depending on which units research you focus on - similar to the castle rush into unit x strat I guess.
They also have 2 types of elephants, but you can choose to train none, both or either type mainly. maybe the omposition will change depending on matchups. Do you need war elephants agains mongols who are mobile and will “delete” their camp for you?
-The english. They clearly focus on archers, and from what the devs stated, its now a difference if you use arbalests or longbows, more so than previously. WHich is maybe where the strats differ here. do you go for longbowmen, classic archers/arbs, or both?
And while the english do have a FOCUS on defense, noone forces you to play that way.You could play safe (archers on walls, longbows maybe, and towers). But maybe you will simply amass your archers, no walls needed, support them with some cav, and go in?
Oh also they have villagers with arrows. Seems like they might be well suited for good old vil rushes maybe)
So I think that the un-boringness fctor of age 4 will be finding your favourite way to play with the civ that fits your general gameplay style best or you like the most. or maybe with each civ.
Since the 8 civs are vastly different, each of them will probably at least 3 to 4 viable strategies - which will therefore be what makes the game as interesting as age2
Also on a viewers not (but also players) thats probably also why ambushes are possible now. As daut states here Daut’s Thoughts On Aoe4 - YouTube these ambushes are what engage the viewers of matches, they are what makes them interesting to watch.
But i think they will also play a role in your gameplay choices. You could depending on the map type go for “Wood control” leaving lets say 20 Archers in each forest to hold them, and play guerilla like - or take all of them together in a big group, overwhelming the enemy with all their might
However this all depends on how well the civs are designed to be played the way you want to within their special gameplay. As my post shows, I am optimistic about the possible strats we may use, and that they are diverse enough to not get boring, and I hope the balance will be good so that not only 1 strat of each civ leads to victory (I know from developing, it will be that way at first, but It seems age teams do know how to balance, most of the time :D)
So I cant wait for the beta to try out all these different strats ^^
tldr: strats within civs will be interesting(if balanced well), random maps are also a factor, plus new mechanics like wall mounting and ambushing will lead to more diverse gameplay than the 8 main strats which can be found in age 2 PvP