Game needs more PvE attention for sure. The Arts of War are fun (especially the Malian and Ottoman challenges), but we need more and different kinds of content.
The English campaign cough cough cough…
Historical battles with the civs that don’t participate in the campaigns would be nice too…
This may line up with some of the other current active threads, but the problem in the campaign directions of AOE4 seemingly are related to their decision in trying to present scenarios as strictly historical.
The problem with that, is that these scenarios end up feeling impersonal, surgical and soulless. In focusing on developing fun and interesting maps that use a historical scenario however, much more could have been achieved–and that could have leaked into the fun of playing the actual competitive game as well.
There may even have been some inverse logic in development as well. Restricting the campaign maps to the available assets for competitive–this is why the Campaign mode does not look like any different zone than any random map the game can generate. Say you play Starcraft’s campaign mode, their maps are handcrafted with plenty of unique assets created for those very scenarios–of course this ends up leaking into the making of actual competitive maps after. In AOE4 however, it seems the reverse has happened and this has left campaign feeling uninteresting in many ways.
There are unique assets in the campaign. Some of them have been brought over to competitive just recently. However, there are very few of them. I fear the decision of going in this direction with their campaigns was simply a mistake, and I’m hoping that they shift gears with future PvE content.
Yes, everything does wrong… Wanting to focus the game on the competitive one, they ended up doing the multiplayer maps first and then the campaign and it always has to be the other way around…of all the AoE, the coldest one that leaves me playing it is AoE 4…
Not enough thought went into level design either. Most of the levels are just defend missions where enemy waves attack your walls or attack missions where you start out with a large army and conquer things.
There are very few truly innovative levels where you do anything more than that. And the protagonists not being “characters” makes you sort of not care about them. The spirit of AoE campaigns is to make historical figures into characters you can root for and hence enjoy the story of. These campaigns feel lifeless with no “protagonist” to care for.
Challenge-wise, the difference in the difficulty levels I feel is more enemy troops, not smarter enemies. So it seems they didn’t spend much thought on campaigns at all. Just like they didn’t spend thought on the “Improved” Hardest AI.
I think that the AoE 4 campaigns are based more on those of AoE 1 where you did not have a protagonist per se, but something more focused on the historical development of a civ over time…the only campaign with protagonist that has AoE 1 is that of Julius Caesar, which is similar to those of AoE 2…
Moreover, if you play against Hard or Very Hard, enemy AI will produce villagers non-stop and will end up without any soldiers… The AI simply produces villagers as soon as it has more population. The devs didn’t fix it for about 1.5 years xD
This game offers almost nothing to Casuals.
And it is hard to say it is an AOE game
Storytelling style only.
AOE1 campaigns have some huge (relatively) maps with several factions and a lot of freedom.
AOE4 campaigns on the other hand almost have linear playthroughs with one or two opponents.
Of course, in that sense they are campaigns more similar to those of AoM and later games …