Successful feature breakdown

The video literally doesn’t say asymmetric balance killed the game, it says the game’s bad because it was bad, and tried to please 2 different communities but did everything wrong. Broken elites (watch the elite Wraithguard moping the floor with 6 different squads at once), no depth (see force field areas), only 3 races, skull system, doctrine unlocks, power core as exclusive game mode until annihilation was released months later, etc.

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DoW 3 was a unsuccessful try to combine features of the first two games that were inherently incompatible and watered down with moba features and unlockables in competetive mode.

I loved DoW and still liked DoW2, but the third part was an insult to the series.

And all three games had asymetric balance, only the third one was a flop. So DoW3 on it’s own is certainly no argument against asymetric balance.

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Problem is, there kind of don’t exist many games to proof Asymmetric games are Successful.
The handful we know, are very rare and quite old. It has been a while since we saw a good one.

I would not call Dawn of War 1 and 2 as Asymmetric. Asymmetric means if the factions do lack comparable units, like a Zergling has no counterpart by Humans and Protoss, Symmetric is something like Tank in C&C, where each faction has own version of tank, even several.

I mean the video did clearly compare after 9 min DoW3 to Starcraft2, SC2 is asymmetric.

I did once read this good Article, and I think it does have a point.

Pure Asymmetry seems to break the formula. Not only we have seen DoW3 fail, also Red Alert 3, Grey Goo, Year of Rain, Act of Aggression, Universe at War: Earth Assault, War Party , Supreme Commander 2 and many more titles.

If we pick up DoW1/2 factions are much more comparable than by DoW3. For example jump infantry, like Dawn of War 1 Assault Marine Squad has by each faction own counterpart, Chaos has Raptors, Orcs have stormboyz and Eldar Warp Spider. The question of how to handle that unit didn’t even come up by 1/2 as you simply had own counterpart by each faction. By Dawn of War 3 for some reasons only Marines had those as units and it was quite questionable how units were supposed to counter each other, especially as the game did provide there no explanation, as it was also simply bad balanced.

I think there is something very wrong at the core with asymmetric concept for RTS.
-we do experience how it does dumb down the base build and simplifies tech trees
-we do experience how it does give certain factions unfair advantages
-we do experience how it does make games lame to play and breaks balance

Can we expect people to play vs each other lame and unfair games? That’s why I think AoE4 should avoid this “pure Asymmetry”. Sure it’s OK of factions do have bonuses and special units, but only as long it is balanced, won’t break the gameplay and game flow.

Red Alert 3 and Grey Goo are still great games. To not make a boring game you need to have different factions like in Starcraft 1-2

Of course balance is important between factions
And a game like AoE4 will never have an asymetry like Starcraft, Grey Goo (agreed with HolyProtoss here, great game) or whatever examples you otherwise have.

But I actually can think of more Strategy games who are asymetric then symetric, many of them were really good.

[quote=“Huge5000RTSFan, post:24, topic:102977”]
-we do experience how it does dumb down the base build and simplifies tech trees
[/quote] That is not neccesssarily true. Many of the asymetric games I’ve played had varying tech trees which were not oversimplified. And while base building is simplified in some more modern RTS games, it is not something that happens in Asymetric games alone.

[quote=“Huge5000RTSFan, post:24, topic:102977”]
-we do experience how it does give certain factions unfair advantages
[/quote] That is true to a certain degree. But if well enough thought through it is still possible to balance an asymetric game properly. There is more room for error, but in many asymetric games when theres something that gives one faction an edge, there is still something that the other faction can leverage against it.

[quote=“Huge5000RTSFan, post:24, topic:102977”]
-we do experience how it does make games lame to play and breaks balance
[/quote] I already answered to the ‘breaks balance’ part above (since broken balance and unfair advantages are basically the same) but I wholeheartedly disagree with the notion that asymetric gameplay makes a game’lame to play’. Rather on the contrary, change between factions can shake up the gameplay.

On the one hand - take Age of Empires 2. It is one of my favourite strategy games - and I think many here would agree. But while the different Factions have some details changed in how they play - in the end you CAN play almost every tactic with almost every nation. And with checking a single box in the game setup screen you really can do it. It’s a fun game but I defend against every enemy basically the same. I build my base exactly the same way. My unit composition is also largely the same.

Now take AoE3 as a light example for asymetric gameplay (which is certainly closer to AoE4 then DoW or SC).
If you play the Russians you have massive ammounts of trash infantry which can protect you artillery. Also you always recruit groups instead of only single units.
If you play Netherlands your whole economy is suddenly gold based, luckily you can build banks.
Play Spanish and suddenly you got Rodeleros who can take on many other Melee units.
Next match you play English and since you levelled high enough you can upgrade your longbow archers to Elite and ruin your enemies days. Also - your houses work differently.
You play German and you love your advanced peasants. And not to mentio Doppelsöldner.
And don’t get me started on the expansion factions.

I am not expert balance wise, AoE3 seemed to do a well enough job for that. But the gameplay in the question how different the factions were and how it felt different playing with and against the different countries was brilliant. (You can think of cards and shipments what you want, these are not point of the discussion here :P)

And again: DoW3 was a Dumpsterfire, we all agree - it is not a good argument in either direction because the game itself is a pile of crap.


I think they are not going to pure assymetrical design
look at units in trailer

English Pikes
Mongol Pikes

English xbow
Mongol archer

English Lancer

Mongol Cavalier

English Axemen

Mongol Swordsman

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Well, that makes sense for the most part. IDK about Mongols, but I’m pretty sure every European civilization, and particularly those in the medieval age, all were practitioners of similar combat arts and strategy, in general we could say HEMA.

Now I’d be surprised if the Japanese civ had pikes instead of Naginatas.

What I would like to see to offer some flavor is the Romans had the Testudo formation, vs Greek phalanx formation, each one giving different bonuses, where they historically did. Basically Testudo was good vs archers, the phalanx was good vs other melee units and much more mobile, etc.


Dota 2 is as assymetric as they come. If one team drafts a hero, that hero is out of the pool. Therefore, the the teams can’t be mirrored. You seem to miss that fact. Heroes can be mirrored only in some fun game modes not in all pick (unranked) or any ranked mode, ie the normal way to play the game.
Also i don’t know why we disregard SC2 which whether we like it or not (and as a huge fan of historical strategy games i prblly don’t) it is a fact that it is the most succesful RTS game for the last decade by a huge margin and obviously the core of this success is how balanced it is while being assymetrically designed.


-not from the financial side, they are actually flops
it actually seems “different factions” kind of cause the opposite of fun to majority

But AoE is not a squad based game like total war to make size and sense for the formations.

Sure in same team you cant have several times same hero, but other team have same hero as your team, I did see a lot of times.

Nobody is going to be happy with a game that is lacklustre of contradicting concepts amateurishly stitched together. Starcraft is in no way by its Sci-fi setting anyhow related to a historical setting of AoE.

The problem here is, Starcraft 1 is kind of the only of its kind.
Starcraft 2 factions are much more symmetric in comparison.

We have simply to look here into what is possible and how it was performing on games market.
There was simply no other successful team out there, to justify investing into that concept.

I understand, there is for year this narrative to create successful “cartoony simplified Starcraft-like” game, but if its still isn’t out there, why should AoE4 team be the first one in 20 years to achieve it, while every other team failed?

You just denied success of biggest rts game. They doesn’t just seem different factions. They are different. You can’t master all of them easily like in AOE2.

If you don’t want assymetric civs, you are welcomed to continue to play aoe2 DE which is going to be supported for years. I’m 100% sure most people will be happy with the changes in AoE4.


Numbers and facts do deny success of those flopped rts games.
Actually, if people would simply google how much those games did sell,
they would very fast find out RA3 was a flop.

2007 Command & Conquer 3 Tiberium Wars sold over one million units after 2 months.
2008 Red Alert 3 on the other hand merely sold over years all together 450.000 copies.
That’s actually quite a revealing.

Were people happy with Command & Conquer 4: Tiberian Twilight, Warhammer 40.000: Dawn of War 3, Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, Universe at War: Earth Assault?

Why does DOW3 have the worst rating for RTS game? Why did C&C4TT kill of the Franchise?
So, why can’t you buy any longer Microsoft game Rise of Legends and Universe at War from the lead AoE4 designer? Just think of it, we are talking about games that are already made, but the respective IP owners do think its not worth it to bring those games to the online stores.

People are not going to be happy with changes that makes no sense or even downgrade the game.
AoE4 is going to have a very bad time, if they simply repeat their mistakes all over again.

From your link “Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (X360)”

That numbers are wrong. You can see how much copies sold only on steam. Every C&C and RTS fan denies C&C4 existent which was an experiment for future mobile devices. DoW3 is also a bad game but Relic created DoW1 and 2 which were good games.

So that doesn’t mean asymmetrical design is bad and that games are just flops…

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1 Issue is, it is definite by the money they make.

2 Em, I did link o VGChartz, not Steamspy, where they did monitor over time 450.000 sold copies for RA3. This means, EA did see less than half the money compared to more symmetrical C&C3TW, and their argument for C&C4TT, was that the series doesn’t make enough money any more, so they have to try something out.

3 Why doesn’t Microsoft as IP owner of Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends, not simply sell it on MS Store?

4 Here in Video after 1.40 we see an old interview from current AoE4 lead designer, where he does talk about the different factions the game does have.
If it was so good. Why doesn’t Sega sell anymore Universe at War: Earth Assault?

And I see there for several reasons a heavy issues for AoE4
-the very first question is going to be, are the factions balanced enough to play them competitive?
-Along the way the gameplay is usually quite dumbed down in the process
-no fan base does like if core values are abandoned

Asymmetrical factions and factions that do play differently are just not a selling point. If it already as concept it flopped 10 years ago, what does make anybody think it can be done today? The biggest achievement our genre had in last 10 years, was to bring back games made like over 20 years ago lol.

Yes your VGChartz link’s title is “Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3 (X360)”

I played every C&C and RA3 is not a flop. People who didn’t like RA3 is not because of gameplay. It was cartoony graphics. Even I was disappointed at that time. But after I get into it, I loved it.

I don’t care about Rise of Nations. Didn’t like it anyway.

Starcraft 1&2 are the most asymmetrical and the most successful RTS games. It’s pointless to compare Universe at War to AoE4.


Your question regarding Rise of Nations: Rise of Legends is very misleading. The video is about a RTS lover nostalgia of the mentioned game. This is no way a credible statement to state Microsoft not selling it on any platform. It might be a worthy watch if it’s an official video from the creator of the game or Microsoft itself.

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  1. You don’t know how much money they make.
  2. You linked to the X360 part of the chart. If you click on PC you’ll see it’s about another 650k copies, which matches steamspy, which leads to think it’s not counting Origin, or any other EA’s private store. I can’t even find a place to check sales on stores like Origin aside from that one, so it’s fishy to say the least.
  3. The Rise of Nations franchise belongs to a studio called Big Huge games, not Microsoft, and it’s unlikely there would be any agreement that would benefit either party from a 2003 game that most likely doesn’t even work on Windows 10.
  4. Reasons are plenty, same as other RTS in your list, the game sucked. Yeah you can ride a massive alien crab that shoots lasers from its limbs, but who cares, the game was slow, the control scheme was trash, pathing was terrible, and it ran on GFWL… so it would require someone to engineer a fix to run the game on a different service. It was a game of cult, nothing else.

That’s the first thing you’ve said that makes sense. Congratulations, you’re getting good at this. Now you just need to stop justifying your stupid plan of dumbing down AOE4 to be as simple and archaic as a game from 1999 and you’re set.


Indeed, considering it’s no longer 1999, maybe we should check out what does go on out there in the game market. Check for example last AAA RTS Spellforce 3, SF3 was heavily criticized for its symmetrical balance, but they have made meanwhile 2 expansions for it like Soul Harvest and Fallen God.

@IESPIAbaddon 650k is still less copies than 1000K copies EA sold in 2 month.

@Soldeo Its official since 2017 MS has the rights for the IP and it is possible to play today this game, so nothing steps in the way to bring it back, except MS did forget about it lol.

The Big Huge Games studio got disbanded but Microsoft actually sells the Rise of Nation games with Skybox Labs as its new studio in Steam. Only the Rise of Legends spin-off is not available. Also that Rise of Nations in Steam does work in Windows 10.

I kind of understand Huge5000RTSFan’s point. Age of Empires 2 has an enduring popularity after 20 years for a reason. That reason is that it’s simple to get in, and it becomes more complex the more you play.

Completely different factions would destroy that simplicity. It would no longer be accessible for everyone. And what AoE2 has thought us, is that it can be open for casual player as well as a challenge for the most experienced ones.

But if this new installement does want to create diverse factions, it has to be done well. Huge5000RTSFan spoke of the core values, and that is a good point. Economy, building, different resources, all those just need to be there. Would you consider core values betrayed if the Villagers of one faction cost Gold instead of Food? Or if a free Villager came out of a house you just built? Mmm… maybe those are not the reasons why AoE3 didn’t rock like AoE2. Maybe it was precisely because it didn’t have the Rock resource. Or maybe it was the Cards.

Then there was Age of Mythology, which had the Egyptian civilization, for whom the dropsites didn’t cost any resource to build. That is pretty much a core value that is half corrupted - construction is still there, but for free? Really?

I’m just brainstorming. I really want to see what they are going to do with Age of Empires 4, what changes they will implement, how they will make Mongols different from Britons, but it’s true that it’s very risky.


I don’t know why people didn’t enjoy AoE 3 as much as AoE in general. I can understand the main issues with 3 are probably cards, the faster game pace doesn’t give people as much time to build walls, relics being protected by guardians rather than just laying around, and probably the fact that there’s no way to tell what’s effective against what.

In AoE 2 it’s easier because all the civs are the same, they just have a few minor bonuses, one special unit, and some tech is unavailable. You see AOE 3 rajputs coming and you can’t tell if they are light infantry, heavy infantry, heroes, or what.

Most of my friends just like the fact that you have 10-15 minutes to drop buildings at least while being safe, but they got tilted because they got attacked in 5 minutes in AOE 3. so yeah, perhaps one of the keys of AOE2 was that they couldn’t rush so easily, even more so in regicide where you have a castle from the very beginning.

One thing that seems to be common to everyone is that nobody likes having units with abilities. From most people who dislike AOE3, all of them have concurred on that: The explorer is garbage and should be removed. Even more so asian ones, like the indian elephant rider, or the japanese monks that can teleport back to base for free, or the daymios that have buff auras. Apparently that’s against the point of historical battles.

I don’t know what to say, but it’s sad that everyone’s happy oversimplifying every game for the sake of prosperity.

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