ROR is a brilliant idea. What about more?

One thing people keep bringing up is that AOE2 is already very “saturated”. Soon we’ll reach a stage with 40 civs and almost one campaign for each civ.
But new AOE2 contents still seem to sell. So instead of further adding to the base game (which will either result in repetitive gameplay or balancing problems), what about making more sub-games (functioning more like official conversion mods) like ROR?

Many historical total war games have those “sub-games” with a slightly different setting (eg Barbarian Invasion, Fall/Rise of the Samurai, Charlemagne) but no major overhauls to the gameplay. I do think that could work in AOE too. You don’t need to wait for the next new game to experience a different setting.

People working on AOE2 also have a lot more experience in designing really good campaign scenarios. I was hoping the other AOEs continuously get campaign additions but there seem to be little incentive to do so. So I guess a sub-game like ROR with ~10 civs and 3-4 campaigns might be a decent addition. At least I’m willing to buy something like that.

Multiplayer-wise it does not interfere with the core AOE2, so balancing is not a major demand. One potential downside is that the gameplay would feel like a reskin of AOE2. However, if a lot of players bought such a DLC just to try out the campaigns, it’s still a good product.

Here are some other settings that could be ported into AOE2 as sub-games:

  1. Early medieval: this period is poorly represented in AOE2. Almost no unit despite some unique ones look like an early medieval one. You directly jump into high medieval. So just like how Rise of the Samurai is to Shogun 2, there could also be a cosmetically more “archaic” version of AOE2. Goths, Franks and Vikings could keep the same unique units. Huns, Persians and Byzantines could get better representation. For the shared roster, knights and crossbows become ultimate units. Potential campaigns include Belisarius, Charlemagne, etc.
  2. Renaissance to thirty years war: this is another important time period sadly omitted by all AOE games (either being a distant late game or a lackluster early game). However, this period saw a mixture of cold steel and gunpowder weaponry, traditional and “modern” types of warfare. It’s unit composition still does not deviate much from AOE2’s stricter division of melee/ranged units.
  3. AOE3’s core setting (1700-1850): there are a lot of existing models to use. This setting also has potentials for great campaigns like Napoleon, Northern Wars, Crimean War, Unification of Italy, etc. The decline of “melee units” does not fit very well with AOE2’s gameplay though, but that could be solved by ratha-like units.
  4. Even more radical: WW1? WW2? Galactic battlegrounds?

I completely disagree.
AoE3DE and AoE4 have by far the more superior engines, why would you every consider using the AoE2DE engine for completely new content?
AoE1DE is running on an older version of the same engine so that port makes sense.

Look at Company of Heroes for example, thats the same engine as AoE4.
Making an AoE in a WW2 setting would be relatively easy in that engine.

And even if you prefer 2D it would be a lot better to use a modern engine like Unity that has built in 2D support.
That way you don’t have to carry on so much old baggage.


The base game of AOE3 can have 2-3 DLC contents.
Not to mention AOE4. It probably needs another 2-3 years of content addition to reach an acceptable state before thinking of “adding something new”.
So porting a new setting into those games could only be considered much later. Making another new installment of course would be optimal, but there don’t seem to be that many staff to do that.

Though I agree using those engines would be a much better idea, it’s not going to happen soon.

Another thing is, RTS industry seem to have lost the ability of sp content design. AOE4 campaigns are really linear and repetitive despite the documentaries. COH3 has a grand campaign map that looks good but most actual scenarios are still quite repetitive.

So you have to rely on the fanbase. AOE2DE got really many good campaigns only because there is a large custom scenario community. I definitely want the same for AOE3 but 1. It has been 2 years since AOE3DE and they only made 1 campaign equivalent of sp contents. 2. There aren’t that many good scenario designers out there for AOE3.
AOE4 like I said is still in a rather primitive stage.
So I’m trying to make a more realistic proposal not an ideal one.

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They are bringing AoM to the AoE3DE engine right now.

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Which is still the original AOM in terms of contents. And it’s going to take a lot of efforts.

If there is any sign of adding more sp contents to AOE3 or 4 I would not propose this. But there just seems to be little interest in doing that.

Even if they are making campaigns for AOE4 those will again be medieval and largely overlap with AOE2. Other time settings are still very underrepresented.

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What do you mean? Like almost every Age II unit in AoE III is renaissance?

In my opinion the world war(s) should be left to a new AoE installment if we ever get one. Which I would see as being from 1789-1920 maybe 1950.

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The main reason behind ROR is because how dreadful AOE1 DE looks compared to AOE2 DE. Notably when it comes to quality of life. If anything there should be expansions for ROR, I’m a big supporter of adding Barbarians (Celts Germans Scythians…) and there also is room for an Indus Valley civ.

AOE2 already covers the years 400-1600, some overlap with AOE3 yes, but the years up to 1900 are the territory of AOE3. After 1900, some technologies like machineguns and planes and a much higher focus on logistics would need a very different gameplay. SWGB did use flying units but their behaviour isn’t very credible, as fighters and bombers would hover over the map.


Bayonet-equipped musketeers and Napoleonic hussars are definitely not.
My point is, every AOE game is more “centered” on a smaller timeframe than it claims to be. There are artillery, ranged cavalry and “true” heavy cavalry in THE “age 2” of AOE3 in real history as well. But if you want to use these units, you need to upgrade into an age with 18th century-ish uniforms.
If I want to play a thirty years war scenario with proper dragoons and artillery, I wouldn’t want a Napoleonic hussar or a musketeer with bayonet and tricorne.

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Well if they are really adding campaigns and scenarios to AOE3…I would not write this thread in the first place.

BTW the representation of post 1500s in AOE2 is pretty poor despite some campaigns. There is no arquebus (despite a technology), real cannon or real ships with broadside guns. The most “advanced” units still have a 1400s look. For example the hand cannoneer covering almost all gunpowder infantry. It does not fit scenarios after 1500s.
Just like how early medieval is poorly represented. Yes you have civs and campaigns from that period but the first proper infantry you have has a 1000s kite shield.


To be exact I’d say it ends around 1500 for Europe (Lepanto being a big exception, mainly to get a big naval battle for the Spanish…) and 1600 for the rest of the world that started to lag behind when it comes to technology. The 16th century saw a much greater use of gunpowder in Europe with pike-and-shot tactics, the cavalry switching to being mainly ranged pistoliers as infantry formations became too effective against charges, only getting in melee after infantry formations broke.


I’m suspending judgement on whether RoR is a brilliant idea until I’ve played it and seen how well-received it is. At the moment, we don’t have a good idea of what it is, and in particular how similar it is to AoE1 and how similar to AoE2. If it is brilliant, I don’t think the reason for its brilliance will be that it doesn’t add to the base game.

That said, I am potentially interested in this (not necessarily as an official release):

But I would definitely want it to be more than cosmetically different to AoE2. In Europe, at least, there should be less of an emphasis on stone castles, heavy cavalry, and long-ranged siege weapons, and more emphasis on infantry, skirmisher-type units (javelins, slings, throwing axes), and wooden/earthwork-based fortifications.

One of the reasons I prefer AoE2 to other RTS games is the lack of flying units! I’m not really keen on having some units that can just completely ignore the terrain, especially not ones that are common and/or versatile. I’ve definitely played RTS games with non-hovering flying units (e.g. Total Annihilation, if I recall correctly), so it can be done – although perhaps not in the Genie engine.


Empire Earth has a much more realistic model for planes (helicopters simply hover above the ground but it’s expected for them) but I indeed doubt it would work in the Genie Engine : aircraft are housed in airfields, when you give them an order to attack they fly there with limited ammunition, always look like they are circling above the target when in flight, then go back to base after using their ammunition or if ordered to return to base.

Anyway on top of aircraft, with modern-ish firearms only a fool would attempt a pitched battle as in ye olden times (an individual soldier would have far too much firepower, you can fire 20-30 shots per minute with a good bolt-action rifle and machineguns are an order of magnitude worse), the gameplay would need being much more tactical. That’s the territory of Company of Heroes and other RTS designed from the ground up for the 20th century.

This is fixed with more campaigns in that period, especially in the 6th and 7th century, changing Bari for Belisarius (527-565) and giving the Maya a campaign with Pakal the Great (615-683)…

AoE 3 DE covered this period quite well since the Mediterranean dlc:

AoE 3 DE Timeline:

XV century

1421-1422: TAD Campaign Act II: China (Zheng He’s Voyages and Hypothesis of Chinese in America)

1494-1559: Historical Map of the Italian Wars

1494: Treaty of Tordesillas (Portuguese Church Card)

XVI century

1513: Royal Decree to reclaim the New World (Spanish Church Card)

1516: Historical Battle of Algiers

1542: Historical battle of the Cristopher Da Gama expedition

1565-1566: Act I: Blood Campaign

1568-1648: Historical map of the Eighty Years’ War

1578: Historical Battle of the Three Kings (Battle of Alcacerquivir)

1582: Historical Battle of Chuvash Cape (Russian conquest of Siberia)

1583: Waardgelders (Dutch religious improvement)

1585: Foundation of Roanoke (Tutorial)

1586: Historical Battle of the Raid on the Caribbean

1598: Regicidal map of Honshu (Sengoku Jidai Period)

1598: Edict of Nantes (French Church Card)

XVII century

1600: TAD Campaign Act I: Japan (Unification of Japan)

1607: Foundation of Jamestown (Trial Match)

1618-1648: Historical map of the Thirty Years’ War

1620: Thematic Map of Plymouth (Arrival of the Mayflower Pilgrims)

1648: Treaty of Westphalia (German Church Card)

Very complicated, but there is one that in mod db made a mod adapting the period from aoe 3 to aoe 2 and it didn’t turn out so bad…

Best for AoE 5…

Or the 20th century in general…

Four campaigns: Almeida (1476-1509), Babur (1497-1527), Moctezuma (1517-1521) and Bayinnaung (1538-1580) plus the historical battles of Lepanto (1571), Kyoto (1582) and Noryang Point (1598)…

Well in that case you can play the AoE or the Cossacks plus American Conquest that don’t have air units…


You missed the point. Though the games have the campaigns in those time periods, the units appearance and the army compositions clearly belong to a different period.
AOE2: you directly jump from the “dark age” with backward development (hard to date) into kite shields from the 1000s.
AOE3: the first units you get include musketeers with bayonets and Napoleonic hussars.

I’d say those games are designed to represent a different time period (1000-1400 for AOE2, 1700-1850 for AOE3), then stretched to those campaign settings.
If I make a true “early medieval” game I would make a very different techtree and unit composition than AOE2 (check out the looks of Ancestors Legacy or Total War Attila). Infantry with shield walls will be the core. Crossbows and castles will be rare. Knights will be an ultimate unit (and do not have 1200s armor), etc. For example:

The reason why I think the Attila campaign in the conquerors is out of place is because not single part of the game is early medieval.


Yes, in fact, originally the units that AoE 3 has in its second age, were to be used in the first age… the base musketeer that we have in the game was originally going to have tudor-era clothing (1485-1603) being able to be used from the first age… the second age would be that of the 30 years war (1618-1648)… the third age would be that of the 18th century (1648-1756), the industrial age would have Napoleonic clothing (1756-1815) and the imperial age would have clothing from the Victorian age (1815-1914)…

It is because it is a theme of the conquerors, you put in Attila (from the 500s CE) making a reconnection with the previous installment AoE 1, you put in “El Cid” to put in something from the Reconquista and the Song of “El Cid” ( from the 1000s CE) and then you introduce Moctezuma to be able to play in America and make a connection to the next installment, which at the time was AoE 3 (before the AoM announcement in 2001)…

Do the units change their appearance in AOE3 DE ? They did in the old CD version despite their icon remaining the same after upgrades.

Of course they do. But hussars are already very Napoleonic in the second age…

And musketeers despite having a typical 16th century uniform in the second age is equipped with a 18th century bayonet.

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They really went too hard on the rock-paper-scissor for AOE3… I’d lock the bayonet (visually adding it and giving the anti-cav melee bonus) behind a Fortress Age tech, which in turn would have made the pikeman more useful in the Colonial Age.

As for the hussar, strange indeed. But some chronologically early units like the Ottoman grand bombard or the “German” hussite war wagon, both from the 1400s, are unlocked in the later ages alongside gatlings guns and needle guns (breech-loading mid-19th century rifle), historical accuracy was second to gameplay.

So my hypothesis is they usually design the core of the game based on a much narrower setting, then stretch a little bit to a few units and campaigns that are too early/late.

For example, musketeers being a “line infantry” with similar functions as earlier heavy infantry is a post-1700s thing. Before that they should not be much different from arquebusiers or crossbowmen. The entire counter system is built around it.

For hussars I guess it is because you always need a “light cavalry” unit in the early game, while “true heavy cavalry” and “ranged cavalry” are usually more advanced units. So hussar takes this place (though it is tagged as a heavy cavalry, there are “heavier” cavalry later). Even though in reality 16-17th century Europeans rely on much heavier cavalry.

That’s right… with each improvement the musketeers keep changing their clothes…

Normal Musketeer (XVII century clothes)

Veteran Musketeer (XVIII century clothes)

Guard/Imperial Musketeer (XIX century clothes)