It is no a surprise that Age of Empires competitive play is dead, in terms of visibility, and because it is reserved for less than 30 professional players, being generous.
The fact that all the tournaments are 1v1 generates indifference for the majority of players and people outside the game (not saying that they are bad, but very few people see them and I insist, it is reserved for a tiny number of players), and that It is very difficult to know when they are happening does not help at all.
My idea is that a team league should be created, and all official tournaments from now on are played by battles between teams, each one has certain civilization bans and that these cannot be repeated between players of the same team in order for nobody wants to see a 4v4 tournaments where everyone plays French.
From the perspective of the players, now that spectrum of players who can “work” playing age of empires increases, because there may be 30 players who are better than the rest individually, but when playing in teams, that difference is shortened for a team that generates new and unique strategies or that simply have a greater sense of camaraderie and do not let individual egos overcome, now a top 300 could be champion of an international age of empires league because with its team made up of variety of players have an unbeatable synergy, which would make more people play the ranked mode and, consequently, new players enter thinking that they can go far in this game, something that does not happen today because a top 10 is infinitely superior to a top 300 of a server.
From the point of view of the people who watch the tournaments, they would be very fun to watch, because the battles would be gigantic, chaotic and above all very strategic due to the synergies, which would lead to the creation of roles in professional games.
From an economic perspective, creating an Esports league with a regular season and playoffs, with team franchises as recognized as FNATIC, G2, TSM, NRG etc… has incredible growth potential, and with sponsors everywhere (imagine that apart from the uniform, within the game there are banners on the buildings or in the urban center indicating the brand that sponsors the teams) they could even create personalized skins for each professional team to give greater visibility to the sponsors, both players, teams and developers. They could make a lot of money through the marketing that is given to the tournaments.
I think that this model would work especially better in Age of Empires 4, because having civilizations so different from each other would generate greater spectacularity in the tournaments, and above all, synergies between them, with a greater possibility of creating strategies by combining their different landmarks and units in carefully created armies (think absurdly of the Ottoman landmark that generates berries combining to have olive oil with the Byzantines, or the healing passive of the scholars of the Delhi Sultanate healing knights and men-at-arms in early aggressions), Apart from the fact that Age of Empires 4, it has a less steep entry barrier than in other Age of Empires, which would allow greater understanding for any player who wants to enter the game or simply wants to see a game from week 4 of the regular season. .
Not everything is pretty, because some things in the qualifiers would have to be modified, leaving behind 1v1 as a classic mode, and several rules would have to be created, a league with the monetary and logistical cost that it entails, but having a gigantic company behind it. I don’t think it’s a crazy proposal to revive the popularity of one of the games with the most love given by the community.
Microsoft make this possible.