The good, the bad, and the sins of AOE4

My first impressions of the fancy new Age of Empires 4. I’m sure there are more things I could add, but these are the things that stuck out to me the most. My overall experience has been enjoyable, however there are some glaring things that needs attention. Im not including any bugs in the post.

The good:

  • -The game looks amazing. Armies look grand in size and scale.
  • -Classic rock, paper, scissors RTS
  • -The reworked wall system and the looks of the walls looks great.
  • -Random seed generation. Thank you.
  • -Progression through ages is a welcomed spin. Though could be slower. maybe limit the amount of villagers who can work on landmarks to slow the pace of the game down a bit.
  • -Despite what some say, the way each civ plays, seems different and unique enough from the other.
  • -Addition to neutral trading posts
  • -No longer have to micromanage farms. Thank you.
  • -The presets for single player skirmishes.
  • -Campaign is engaging
  • -The reworked siege strategies are enjoyable.

The Bad:

  • -I can’t change my civ color?
  • -Resource UI change to bottom left. Why would this be moved? Why fix something that isn’t broken? After playing several hundred hours, if feel unnatural to look bottom left rather top right to check resources.
  • -For the players who don’t use hotkeys as much, there should be an option to use WASD to move the camera around, not the arrow keys.
  • -Game Setup options are lack-luster. Are there plans to add more options or is this it? No regicide or king of the hill? Providing 1 - 3 options for win condition/starting condition hardly passes as “Game Setup”.
  • -Single player skirmish matches, no option to set AI to random civ?
  • -Playing as china, there is no option to remove the large button at the top center of the screen that says “Dynasty”
  • -In 2021, I would expect SOME option to customize the UI, but there is no such thing.
  • -Pop cap limited to 200? Come on.
  • -Launching the game without map customization.

The Sins:

  • -Releasing the fourth installment of a beloved 20+ year game with 8 civilizations…is an insult. There shouldn’t be a “DLC” for more civs, the first round or two of new civs should be free. If not already planned, should be planned for major FREE updates to the game.
  • -UI needs to be overhauled.
  • -There is no live score system in place during matches? Its difficult to gage if im falling behind or leading the way in multiplayer matches.
  • -The mini map is useless at the moment. There isn’t an option to filter through economy buildings or military units.
  • -Unit pathing needs a lot of work

Relic, Is there any plans to address any of these suggestions?


I think maybe you’re just comparing with AOE2? AOE IV and III both have it in the bottom left. But generally, being able to customize the UI would be great, just wasn’t a priority before launch.

Again, what are you talking about?? AOE III also launched with 8 civs. AOM launched with 3. These are not the copy-paste civs of AOE2 so they’re of course far fewer in number. Personally having fewer, more asymmetrical factions is waaaay better.

Yes, this was an intentional design decision. Most RTS games don’t give free information this way - you need to scout for it.
They have said more hotkey customization and scenario editor are planned post-release.
Totally agree, the Dynasty button should be moved for China and the mini-map could use some refinement.


I agree with almost everything you said except…

I got used to the new resource location in the HUD writhing 35 seconds.

And maybe the civ count is low because of how detailed each civ is with the lengthy campaigns and vids. If future dlcs have loads of content for each civ it might be worth it.

Except they are not that asymmetrical, right? Its like having AoE2 UU but accessible from a “regular” building, plus a different gimmick to each civ (bounties, dinasties, etc). But in the end, all get somewhat similar eco upgrades and military upgrades.

I disagree with some remarks from OP tho. Who has resources on top right? Age standard is top left and most mods shift it to bottom left. Thats where other games have it, too, I think.

I dislike zoom. Dislike hotkey configs. Dislike that I cant really tell where forests end or if there are paths through and why I can or cant build something. IMO it lacks a lot of clarity around the buildings and the environment. There is a bunch of useless crap around that I cant tell if I can build over or not.
I dislike the unit responsiveness.

I dislike that single units are not easy to micro during combat, focus fire, dodge attacks… which means the game revolves more around showing up with the right army and blob fighting. This can be hard to balance and favours build orders / cookie cutters as soon as people figure out which civ/unit works best in each match up.


No, they are much more asymmetrical than that. People who think otherwise generally have not played or discovered the game that much yet in my experience. They all play quite differently from each other - the playstyle, options and strategies are all quite different as a sum of their total unique units, different mechanics, influence system, unique techs, landmarks, eco bonuses, etc.


I played both betas and still think that, in comparison to AOM and the DLCs of AOE3, the civs are not that asymmetrical. They look like AOE3 vanilla civs, overall same units, same upgrades, different bonuses mechanics. I understand it’s way easier this way to learn how to play with and against each civ, though I’m disappointed at the same time with this that I consider a semi-asymmetric system.


Yes I meant to say to left. :sweat_smile:

Yes, I’d agree with that - not as different from each other as the AOM civs for sure, but then there are more of them than AOM.

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Stuff I like and don’t like so far

I like:

  • Aspects of graphics/readability improved since original previews
  • Landmark Age up Mechanics
  • Civs are a fair bit more asymmetric than I think I originally feared they wouldnt be
  • Random Maps seem pretty robust along with seed functionality
  • I like the “frills and doodads” added to the ground and around buildings (readability problems aside)
  • Really enjoy the documentary style videos in the campaign, I didnt think I would but it I really do
  • Increased map interactivity, (neutral trade markets, holy places, stealth forest), big big fan of this
  • Overall feels like a pretty solid foundation for something that could be much better in the future. I like it more than I thought I would, I do see a future.

I don’t like:

  • UI super strange, all the dots and weird icons that just kinda give me a headache, still dont understand the “5 pip” system on stats
  • Informational tech tree unusable for me, hard to follow
  • “Washed out colors”, looks blurry to my eyes, play-doh “soft look”. Unit blobs really just kind of melt together. Can’t really describe adequately
  • Readability still is a huge issue, as much as I enjoy the little doodads and such, the buildings are in kind of nether region where they are made to look realistic but also have little telegraphing of their functionality so you just have to kind of learn what they are by rote when you see them.

Things I’m not sure about yet:

  • Naval combat seems like it could be better, but with the additional map interactivity it actually seems to have a point (im thinking of that Aussie Drongo cast on archipelago that ended up being really fun)
  • Civ depth, a part of me likes the streamlining of the unit tech trees, but a part of me feels like theres still some gaps and a lack of options for some civs. People much wiser than me on competitive issues would have better input on this. I feel like the depth is kind of inconsistently applied per civ.
  • Civ choice, Overall im not too surprised or upset about the civs they went with. English and French seem like baseline medieval European civs to create a starting core, but England feels kinda simplistic and longbowman spam centric so far. HRE seems a little incohesive and maybe a little unexciting. Really like the Rus, it feels very good to play and seems to bridge the gap between Europe and the Eurasian steppe - in theme and gameplay. Mongols really seem to have a lot of TLC in them to make something thats an AOE2 fan favorite and take it and do it right. Havent spent enough time to say much about Abbassids, Delhi or Chinese, but each seems to be pretty complex in comparison to the English/French/HRE, which is good. Other than the well worn arguments about Dehli and its controversies - I think the civ choices are pretty safe and hope theres more to come in the future to fill out the roster.
  • Number of starting civs, 8 is plenty to start IMO, but as I explained above I feel some are more intricate and exciting than others.
  • Still havent thoroughly checked out each civ yet
  • Walking on the giant walls, still not quite sure about it
  • Very Macro heavy “sim-city elements”
  • I know youre not supposed to use it but I still wish they added a town bell.

Have you played sim city? There is way more content in that game the aie4. XD


Seriously, no one is complaining about the half make game? Where are the german, abbasid dynasty, delhi sultanate, chinese campaigns? They launched the game with the scale problem, boats physics problem, half finished campaign… Some units in different civilizations are the SAME: pikeman, man-at-arms… And I really wanted to play with the red colour, the game simply put yellow colour to my allies…

And people complained when Age Of Empires III launched… This game has no content at all… The campaigns are dull and very boring… I guess the only campaign I “liked” to play with was Mongols…

Seriously… People praising the doc videos, the money they spent with that nonsense would it be better applied in the game itself…


The documentary video is the only good thing about aoe4.

But men, they did all those good video and did not apply it to the in game mecanic, it was a big deception.

Game represent so badly the medieval era, when you see those videos. XD

The videos are well made, the information is ok… But with the budget that they used to do this they would have made a lot of more content… Fix the scale, fix the boat physics, fix the civs etc.

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-Releasing the fourth installment of a beloved 20+ year game with 8 civilizations…is an insult.

I think you just insulted yourself with this sentence