Spirit of the Law's opinion of the game so far (hotkeys - big issue)

While he has some praise for it, he also acknowledges the hotkey problem (forced grid, lack of “go to building” hotkeys etc) as a major issue that needs fixing right away.

He also made a good point that homing arrows and projectiles might not be a design decision, but a forced decision due to developers not being able to make it (ballistics) work in the engine and running out of time. I’m going to play the devil here again and say that is a very likely scenario, I can definitely see developers simply lacking the knowledge to properly programme some features.

I remember roughly an interview with an AoE2 developer many years ago, where it was said how difficult it was to programme the ballistics tech in the game (probably the hardest feature of the game to implememt), and how they had to think out of the box to make it work because the engine wasnt capable of handling the maths for it. It’s a shame it can’t be achieved today on a newer engine, albeit a 3D one.


So not only are the games being dumbed down, their engines are too! :smiley:

He was being very polite, as SoTL usually is. I mean, he’s great and I subscribed to his channel long ago but for critical reviews he may not be the best choice.


Laugh all you want, but know that Company of Heroes franchise has never had any hotkey customisation, not even 2 (and neither did DoW franchise, all 3 of them). As shocking as it sounds, this is the reality. They are now struggling to finally implement it with CoH3. Now there can be only 2 explanations for this: either Essence Engine just cant handle this feature, or the devs dont know how to do it.


I would imagine it would be even hard on a 3D engine

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This is my understanding as well based on secondhand accounts. I’ve never played any other games relic has made other than AoE4. Ominous portents.

If true that relic has recently released a game without customizable hotkeys after loud clamoring for it, that seems to shift the burden of proof onto relic to prove they will be able to fully do so in AoE4 as we’ve all assumed has been promised. This kind of spectre of doubt has fueled my underlying concerns and pessimism for AoE4.


Yes, but when your game is called AoE4 and you have Microsoft’s resources to do it, there cant be any excuses. MS engineers most likely helped them with the flow field technology for pathfinding (it just cant be something developed by Relic), they could have helped them with ballistics as well.

Yeah, as AoE4 you need to revolutionise the genre in technology as well. SC2 brought rewinding for recorded games 10 years ago, a trully technological breakthrough for RTS, what is AoE4 bringing?


I mean, the game won’t be perfect but yeah, they definitely didn’t work their hardest it seems

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Why should MS risk losing money on a dying out genre? Don’t assume just because they own the franchise that they would throw tons of resources at this game.


I don’t think it’s fair to assume how hard the Devs worked. There are probably a million forces that pull them in one direction or another that we’re unaware of that they’re struggling with.

But you know what would really help both them and the community? Communication. Really, it’s that simple. Think about the Devs openly saying: “Hey folks, I know the arrows are bad in x and y, but here’s the state the game will launch in, and here’s the state we want to get to with arrows post launch.” That’s it.

If they announce this simple sentence with many of the issues — just like Adam did with the Hotkeys, in which he mentioned that, at lunch, it’ll most likely be as is, but they’ll work on making everything hotkeyable — then most of the negative posts won’t exist and they’d have the community’s pressure off their backs.

The barebones communication is just not working. This then leads to some people saying stuff like Devs aren’t trying/Devs are this/Devs are that. Not good.


When AoEO was at its lowest low, Kevin Perry stepped in as Executive Producer, made a ton of sweeping changes to the game and community, and ushered in a policy of “radical transparency” in which he leveled with us, admitted mistakes publicly, and invited us inside the cockpit to see what they were up against. It was then that many of us went from loyal age fans to franchise loyalists, myself included. Nothing can overstate the power of being addressed as equals.


This is SO true. I’ve said this before: when there’s no communication, people automatically assume they’re being ignored. That’s never good PR. I don’t mind devs telling us here that “units don’t follow terrain contours because there’s a bug that they’re working on” or that the arrows will get eventually more realistic, etc. But we don’t know. We heard something about Isgreen and the zoom from a third party and then we all got mad when we got 0.01mm extra. Was that the zoom that Isgreen promised or is that in a newer build that we haven’t played? WE DO NOT KNOW.


the engine does howitzer/mortar ballistics (can even adjust the arc based on target location) just fine in Company of Heroes and dawn of war, so it was most likely a design decision.

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Because they have over a trillion dollars net worth and I don’t care at all about what their stakeholders think. They should be doubling the size of the teams on all the games and providing massive improvements in my opinion.

If you don’t suffer from Warhammer40K allergy- Space Marine, Dawn of War saga (excluding III) and Company of Heroes games are more than worth checking. If you’re only interested in RTS games then I highly recommend DoWs. Both games are very different but equally awesome. On top of official content (both games recieved great expansions) there’s a bunch of interesting mods for the first game.
UA is probably the best to start and/or just check one community-made thing:
Ultimate Apocalypse Mod (DOW SS) for Dawn of War - Mod DB

Upcoming CoH3 is promising and after playing beta I think it’s more impressive when compared with CoH2, than AoE IV compared with III.

About the SotL vid- pretty good. As mentioned- polite, but a good portion of it was spent talking about issues. A lot of faith put into perspective of game improvements after release, which should be handled in a different way imho, since it’s not early access, lower price release. And also put into potential benefits of Devs paying focus to user feedback presented here, which is okay in theory, but so far I don’t have too many proofs that devs really pay attention and/or care or even are in a position to use it and turn certain things around.
I’ve seen and been part of many early access projects and AoEIV is far from being an excellent example of a game with very good, clear and open dev-community communication.
Handling of the ‘zoom issue’ deserves its own thread.

I’ll be very interested in hearing ‘pro’ take from Hera, Viper, T90 and others. Having stress tests during Red Bull Wololo is truly a weird move. Hurts both promotion of IV and viewership of RBW5.


I like that every arrow hits. People are starting to outmicro ballistics and it’s incredibly annoying. I don’t play this game to dance with my knights, I play it to fight with my knights.


aoe4 should have camera location and fully customizable hotkeys.
Make optional the camera angle (less tilted).


it kinda makes sense from a corporate perspective. Every aoe2 player already knows about aoe4 so having aoe2 pros stream the beta only adds a risk of negative publicity.

Might not even have been a factor in when to hold the open beta though as in the end it’s just a few extra players who have likely all given their feedback on the game already.

wtf this conspiracy.
they knew that RB5 are popular and people will discuss Rb and aoe4.
They timing show match in aoe4 before finals, to maximise number of viewers.

Does not matter now or on release. On release, bad review are even worse, now they could promise to “release” after a few months