Recipe for success:
Predictivity. Less random more calculation. Constant values are essential for planning and performing actions. This including:
cost of objects (units, buildings, techs), attack, HP, range, bonuses, etc. This was succeed formula in AoE trilogy. There is no point to add random range of attack, or crit chance, or other shіt like this. Only random is accuracy.
Players should be able to calculate different strats (like buildorders or pick specific techs for particular task). This point is superressential to main game slogan “easy to play, hard to master”. This point is what makes this trilogy be like an immortal chess. There is a lot of places where this point can be applied, devs will know it. Proper balance can be made only with high predictivity.
Also, this point is not allow to interfere viewers with gameplay. No way to have freaking bets or other horseshіt to make match “more interesting”.
- Combinatory. For example in AoE2. As game was released there was 256 different combination of game just in 1v1 on the same map and 518918400 civ combination in random 4v4 game. With additional civs this number became superinsane. Now you can imagine how many possibilities of gameplay on different maps and gamemodes! Then you can think about different strats from dark to postimp. Even in dark age you have so much to do. Just my few examples. I won in first minutes of game by: laming boars, drush, resource walling and TC rush. Multiply it on different strategy/maps/civs/gamemodes and you`ll get what is combinatory.
Diversity. This point including every side of the game. Lets consider AoE2. We can begin with resources. There is 4 natural resources plus population. Not too much so you can easily handle your eco and not too few so you have to manage your eco. Resources was perfectly woven in gameplay - specific resources for specific purposes. In AoE2 we got new categories like “trash” army (without gold) that counter “golden” units, stone mosty for defensive purposes. Wood basicly for buildings and food for units. Super intuitive and quite diversity. This approach allow to have different situation if you lack some specific resource. So you have infinity more combination of gameplay because is proper implementation of resource management.
Now we can talk about units. There was perfectly implemented approach “Rock-Paper-Scissors”. No heroes! Only you need is your mind. Why diversity? Because there is so many units and classes you would never have in actual “Rock-Paper-Scissors” gameplay. This would be ridiculous if game has just 3 units. But instead we have big amount of choices still with RPS approach. This is the main pillar of the game. Dont dare do shіt like in dota. And we dont need any gameplay like in Heroes (just different types, im not blaming them).
And i can talk endless about diversity. I’ll just remind about infinities cray strategies like drush, trush, monkrush, castledrop, fastimp etc.
After this dont forget about custom map/scenarios/mods. Players need powerful tools to make this game even better.