I think good games are designed such that early game set-backs can be fought back. That means a mistake in the early game is not as bad as a mistake in the midgame which is not as bad as a mistake in the late game.
This concept is also known as “comeback mechanic”. A game without comeback mechanics is incredibly boring - whoever has an advantage just wins and that’s it.
Now in Age 2 we have a glaring design flaw that is unadressed for a long time: Losing a Dark Age Scout to an enemy TC.
It’s an easy mistake to make: even the top pros lose their scout to TC from time to time
It’s a massive disadvantage that straight up leads to a loss because scout has two function that are now missing 1) Can’t scout 2) missing feudal army backbone
There is no drawback for the opponent, no comeback/hidden advantage from this (besides not getting housed at 20/20 I guess?)
Reason this is so frequent
vision range of scout 4 < range of TC 6
Scout is often exploring opponent when vils gather boars (thus jump into TC + high firepower is likely)
TC kills scout in 2-3 volleys, little time to react
Overall it’s clearly a game design flaw:
Players often get into a huge disadvantage for almost no fault of their own. There is no reasonable comeback strategy after losing a scout in Dark Age. There were top level Age tournament games, where a players loss is a direct result of taking a full damage volley from a TC in Dark age.
Make losing Scouts in Dark Age harder. Possible ideas, ranked by how much I sympathize with them, best on bottom:
Give Scouts pierce armor in Dark Age
Reveal TC location in Dark Age (vietnamese Team bonus as general game mechanic)
Make TC locations more obvious by having specific straggler trees that are ONLY next to TCs
Reduce TC damage in Dark Age (2-3 volleys to kill to 4-5 volleys to kill)
Reduce TC range in Dark Age (6 range to 5 or 4 range)
What do you guys think?
Did you ever lose a Dark Age Scout and felt the game was over?
I fully agree, it only happens when you don’t pay attention.
Yet I say:
It’s easy to not pay attention for a few seconds.
It’s a HUGE disadvantage from this missed attention.
This is not fair at all.
Why do you think it’s fair?
The size of the downside should be proportional to the mistake. Like 5 seconds idle time on a village loses a few resources. 5 seconds idle time on your scout loses can lose you the game! That is not fair!
Reliable straggler trees are great markers on a lot of maps but painful on maps where they’re not.
Maps like Socotra are disgusting. The gold and stone spawn within 4 tiles of the town center. The second you find one of these, you need to make an immediate turn or you’re headed straight for the first volley.
I don’t really like any of the proposed solutions except for making TC locations more obvious. Straggler trees on arabia are fine, but other maps need work. It’s really hard for casual players to figure out the detailed map-specific knowledge (e.g. Socotra) to know what pathing they should take to avoid losing their scout for any given map.
I kind of like this one because it doesn’t really change the game. It’s just another indicator of where the TC will be. But I fear that this wouldn’t affect low elo players as much because they’re not taking care a lot of their Scout whereas pro players will almost never lose their Scout to the TC ever again. In general it would favor players who pay more attention to their Scout which isn’t a bad thing afterall.
Automating the parts of the game that, please forgive the bluntness, you are bad at - does not make the game more fun at a competitive level (Not singling out anyone, just saying you in a general sense).
Now that being said, it appears on this forum that there are two groups of people.
Those who play the game competitively and seek to get better at the game in order to win
Those who play the game for fun and just want an easier experience in order to win
Neither group is bad or good, it is just a matter of perspective. I would like to address the 2nd group for why I am against the auto-scout button to begin with.
The auto-scout button has opened the door with the question, “We automated this part of the game that is hard [scouting], why don’t we add another button/feature/warning to make another part of the game hard [scout dying to TC] not a problem anymore?” It is a never ending feature creep that continues to take away from what makes Age of Empires 2 such a great game - the skill ceiling.
You can pick up Age of Empires 2 in a weekend - which is awesome! However, you can spend over a decade playing the game (which I have), and still have areas, that are difficult, on which you work on to improve and gain mastery. This challenge and mastery is what makes AoE so awesome and what has kept the game alive so long.
To suggest changes such as these lowers the skill ceiling, and whittles away at what makes the game special, and so re-playable.