Return of Rome DLC pricing and feedback

Some things to consider for the developers (FE) and Microsoft here.

Pricing

If Return of Rome proves to be succesful, the original AoE DE will be left to its own with no further updates (not like it was really cared for in the first place).

There are players that own AoE DE on either MS store or Steam. Now since the MS store version is sub-par (admit it, store sucks, no modding since everything is locked) compared to Steam, I reckon many who own the MS store version would want to migrate to Steam. ALL AoEDE owners should be given a discount and incentive if they were to purchase what is essentially the same game (albeit with a host of AoEII DE features and a new coat of paint).

There are also numerous players who don’t own AoEIIDE yet, and since RoRDLC will be released on that client, would have to purchase that as well - while some might not even care or want to pay for AoEIIDE, and just want to play AoEDE on the AoEIIDE client instead. Then there are also players who already own the original AoK who might not feel like paying a second time.

This all needs to be taken into consideration, and be priced fairly and accordingly so customers and players WANT to migrate. Even though we don’t know exactly what the RoR DLC will entail fully, it has been confirmed that it will be a port of AoEDE, which means all civs and campaigns.

Taking into account all of the above, what do you think would be a fair price to ask for Return of Rome DLC?

For players who:
Do not own AoE DE or AoEIIDE:

$/€ 14.99 - Combined package of AoEIIDE Client + RoR DLC

Do own AoE DE but not AoEIIDE:

$/€ 9.99 - Combined package of AoEIIDE Client + RoR DLC

Do own AoEII DE

$/€ 4.99 standalone

This is just my interpretation which to me seems reasonable. Feel free to add your own price suggestions. One of the main incentives to migrate and purchase RoR DLC is what seems to me the one reason why the games are being merged: Future DLCs and new civs. AoE has not had an expansion since the Rise of Rome, so this is long, long overdue.

Now on to feedback. Quite a few suggestions have been #### but I would like to add my own here, feel free to add or discuss yours.

Feedback

As we all know and as mentioned above AoE DE was never properly taken care of in the sense of major updates or DLCs. Some parts of the game are still unfinished to this day. I get it, AoEIIDE has priority because that is where the main money comes from. But money alone should not be the driving force, rather it should be passion for the game and it’s history. One should not forget AoE DE, it needs to survive - and let me say that with this announcement of porting AoE DE to the AoEII DE engine, I think this is a wise move.

We now get the best of both worlds - Ancient history with the features of AoEII DE. Finally, we get improved gameplay, actual triggers, better pathing (alhough it still needs improving), garrisoning, formations, gates, game replays and much more. This merging is what many players including myself have always wanted.

It more or less has been confirmed AoEIIDE will get a Roman civ, a good way to bridge the gap between ages and both games.

Civilizations and future DLCs

What I am most looking forward to is new civilizations, specifically Indian civs and Celts/German and maybe Scythians civs. These played a significant role in ancient history and would be a most welcome addition to the game and fit the timeline. This is a must if AoE DE/RoR DLC is to move forward into the future!

Other features I would like to see include:

  • Land trade - this is a must, maybe use the trade workshop for this. Market exchanging resources too.
  • New random map types similar to or like Arena, Black forest, Arabia.
  • New game modes.
  • Expanded and revised campaigns, with narration.
  • Bigger random map sizes. The game allows up to
    ludakris map sizes, which is 480x480 tiles. 360x360 random map size would be nice.
  • Updated cheat unit models.
  • A few new unique (editor only) units (spearman) and heroes with custom skins. Caesar should look different and not the same as Vercingetorix. Bring back Jason (charioteer)!
  • Editor objects/embellishment such as pottery and the like, and some more unique trees, statues, flags.
  • New terrain types, snow and ice, snow covered pine forest is a must. Add snow patches on buildings too!
  • Perhaps Aquaducts for Rome, placable like a wall would be nice.
  • Palisade wall.
  • Add visibility to berry bush on the minimap.
  • Flares.
  • Herdable animal, like a goat.
  • Female villager.
  • Unique wonders for each civ.

Things of concern

DLC name

I am not sure how to see the announcement title, sounds as yet another DLC for AoEII DE. I think both games should presented on equal terms, and in my opinion the game cannot be called Age of Empires II with a sub section called Return of Rome while the game is still called AoEII DE. That does not do the original Age of Empires justice, instead, make them seperate games within the same client, and when starting up, give the option on which game we would want to play: either Age of Empires DE (Return of Rome), or Age of Empires II DE.

Performance and optimization

Over the past few years I have also followed the AoEII DE forum and noticed that some users are still having issues with stuttering, memory leaks or dowright crashes. Performance must be a top priority and these issues must be adressed and fixed. MS and FE, you need to seriously work on this and invest time and money so that the game works as intended within the parameters of required user/system specifications. Too many times I have seen “thank you we are working on the issue” and nothing comes of it. Do not ignore this very important part of your audience. We love the game and simply want to play without issues.

Developer engagement with community

Kind of expanding on the above here, I almost never see any developers interact with people on this forum, which is a shame. Again, something like “we have noticed the issue and are working on fixing it” is fine and at all for technical help and support, but there is no engagement otherwise. I know you are busy but at least let us know we are not simply talking into a void once a while. The AoE DE forum has been way too quiet. You are as much part of the community as the rest, and representative of your product. It helps if we hear from time to time from you as a forum user.

Chat function

Then there is the Chat function and is as far as I know still very bad. Not only is there absurd censorship on the most harmless of words, the chat is extremely slow and apparently filtered through an external server. Now it’s fine if spam and trolls are banned or blocked but you can’t even talk normal with your teammate without seeing a bunch of stars (which is essential in competitive games). This is to me simply unacceptable and above all a most annoying and lazy way to prevent trolling. You should allow direct communication and the option to simply type /MUTE any player that either is annoying or harmful to you, next to reporting trolls. That way you can satisfy everyone. This should be taken very seriously Microsoft, because this policy is harmful and has been driving many players away from what otherwise is a good communicative and engaging experience.

Building/tile size

AoE DE increased the buildings and tile size over the original by 25%. Will this remain the same in RoR DLC or change and be similar in size to AoEII DE? I am personally divided on this, I would like to see a comparison for both to see how this would be better or worse. I like the bigger maps in AoEII DE however.

Modding

This one should speak for itself. In the MS store version you simply cannot mod the game, which is really dumb. DE is found on the modding community, and the game should remain moddable because it is exactly the one thing that keeps the game alive and thriving.

I hope the above mentioned is taken into serious consideration, in the end we all love Age of Empires and want Return of Rome to succeed!

By the way, about time we get an update on the RoR DLC which reveals more details, pretty please.

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It’s not quite an answer to the question, but I think:

(a) Players with the Microsoft Store version of AoE1DE should be able to get the Steam version free. This should have been the case since as soon as the Steam version was released.
(b) Return of Rome should be playable without owning any version of AoE2 at all. If there is any AoE2 content in it (e.g. a Roman civ for AoE2) then obviously this should require AoE2DE.

As far as I can tell this is speculation based entirely on one leaked image of an AoE2 building that looks like a Roman fort. (Specifically Arbeia - but probably only because Arbeia has been partially reconstructed.)

I agree with this. The name Return of Rome is pretty bad, in my opinion. I think it’s called that mainly because they wrote themselves into a corner with the name “Definitive Edition”, since they now can’t release anything that explicitly claims to be a new version of AoE1. (Likewise, I think this is why the upcoming AoM is not called Age of Mythology Definitive Edition.)

Thanks for putting some thought into this. I personally have no sway in what happens financially to these games, I will add this to a report so people who do see it.

I think players who love the OG Age will really like this DLC, I’m personally pretty excited for it!

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In my opinion this price is too low compared to the amount of work the devs have to put into the engine port. Yes, the graphics are already there but you still have to consider that AoE1 and AoE2 have completely different AI systems so you have to do the AI from scratch (which includes a lot of work and testing), the same holds for the campaigns. Also with the improved pathing you will probably have to make balance adjustments which again results in a lot of testing.

Since all the other DLCs for AoE2 were 9.99 $/€ I think it would also be a good price for the Return of Rome DLC although even 14.99 $/€ would be justified for the amount of content.

I absolutely agree with you on giving people who already have AoEDE a discount.

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Probably a DLC price and a discount for AoE I DE owners, but not free

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Of course not free, that would be quite strange. I suspect because they will update quite a few things the pricing should reflect that - but at the same time you want to attract as much AoE (DE) players as possible. A discount is certainly going to help to boost that number. Also good to see a developer respond! Thank you.

I’d like proper skins for hoplites/legionaries rather than the weird ‘centurion’ unit…ideally a phalanx formation too!

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I think it should be the other way round it anything.

  1. It should be independent of AoE2DE. You should be able to own RoR without buying AoE2DE. Many games already do that. If you buy RoR you will get the AoE2DE client but you won’t be able to access any AoE2DE content without also buying AoE2DE.
  2. It should be discounted or even free for AoE1DE owners.
  3. It should be priced 20€/$ like AoE1DE already is because it’s the same game.

A big issue might be that many people bought AoE1DE on the Microsoft Store (because it was exclusively there on release) but then bought AoE2DE on Steam (because it was released on both platforms at the same time, plus AoE2HD was exclusively on Steam). So those people couldn’t get a discount on the DLC if it requires you to also own AoE2DE.
Even if it’s free/discounted for AoE1DE owners and works without AoE2DE it would still be annoying if you own AoE2DE on the other platform because you will have to launch a different installation of AoE2DE to switch between Medieval and Ancient instead of heaving a button in the main menu (or however they will implement that).

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