The missing middle

There are a few things missing within Age of Empires IV. One that stands out to me is that when ageing up there are stone castles available and no wooden castles. The same goes for walls. It goes straight from a wooden simple style pallisade to a almost full fleged stone castle wall.

To keep a long story short. I feel like Age of Empires IV has been lacking if not slacking in inovation.

After twenty years since the last medieval set Age of Empires i expect differently.

To paint a better picture
Getting back to the missing upgrade for wooden pallisades. I imagine there could be a pallisade with a dirt
slanted rampart behind it giving archers something to stand on.
Lower standing wooden “castles” would also be a prompt addition.

Anyone else having a similar experience?


I would love to see the ability to have archers and units on palisade walls but something tells me that it won’t happen, at least any time soon.

Wooden castles could be interesting but I’m afraid this kind of discussion will get generalised in the “game is too defensive” matter.

I like deeper systems anyway! Right now is quite simple, too much even. Weapons emplacements on Outpost are a neat idea but could be refined, for example.

And here i am feeling like there is no way of properly defending, being able to get raided from all angles all the time, even with walls.

The struggle between aggression and defence has been going on for quite a while now, things keep changing. Costs of defensive buildings, siege units stats…

Yes, but nothing tangible, it’s all numbers. hp/dmg/armor/resource cost. I feel like it’s the Age of Empires trap they bombard themselfs with and the unwittingly buyers; like thats just how it is, devoid of inspiration. Making even new civilizations a different set of stats.

Which basically boils down to nothing changes. Which is comitting the crime of pretense. You are buying the same game again, should you have bought a previous one.

Besides; it’s lazy.

At least i can give them acclaim for the linguistics.

I understood that it’s about balancing between innovation and tradition. AoE4 wasn’t meant to disrupt the formula too much but still evolve it.

Regarding fortifications, the legacy is having cheap and weak Palisades, sturdy and costly Stone Walls, a cheaper Outpost/Tower that can be made in numbers to watch over a vast territory and an expensive but powerful Keep to hold a strong point.

The innovation is having troops be able to stand on Stone Walls, blending Outposts and Towers to get a (relatively) flexible building that can be Fortified and the Weapon Emplacement system that allows for a tactical choice.

So we did get new stuff, maybe a timid effort if you will, but it does follow the original pattern. In this day and age things can always change though, with time the game is getting deeper.

I applaud your effort to make it sounds reasonable.

They are taking their sweet time, with the rate of change being that of a sloth.
Wasting peoples time that way.

I was already gonna say something about that myself with The lord of the rings: The battle for middle earth doing that back in 2004, also worth mentioning Total war. And probably others.

Not exactly innovative, not even digging in on how underwhelming they did it.

I could go on about quite a few more topics and the fact that the rest you mentioned is a far cry from innovation as well.

A sickness had begun to grow within, it was a sickness of the mind.

I mean is innovative for the franchise, not for the whole industry.

But sure if you were looking for a drastic improvement this game is a disappointment, too rooted in the the franchise tradition for that. The Devs also have to face the deafening whining of the conservative fans every time they try something new.

Them taking those whines into account hurts both them and those fans. It’s not healthy.

This feels like “Unreal Tournament had an invisibility powerup and any invisibility system since then is derivative / not worthy of praise”.

The context matters. What a game does within a franchise is different to what other games do. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t take inspiration. I’m a huge believer of innovation (especially in RTS) and have been for years.

However deriding what they do push forward as merely being imitation is missing the point. It’s not meaningful criticism. It’s dismissing the stuff you don’t want in the hope it forces acceptance of what you do want. It won’t.

I do want them to make it so you can put military on walls. I simply found it underwhelming. As I am used to it from twenty years ago. Thats not progress. Theres quite a few not to difficult ways it could be done better. Which is why i created a couple of topics with some hopefully inspirational criticism, not just negative persuasion. Otherwise you cannot count it as either innovative nor inspirational. Thats just sad.

Here are the other topics i recently posted.
Gatehouses; wood and stone
Banners displayed on the playing field
The battering ram
Garrisoned ranged unit attack; Bug or not?

Other than visual flair (and the game has plenty of polish that can be added there), with respect, a lot of your suggestions are about realism. Taking away gameplay abstractions because it’s not how things literally played out historically.

I don’t really have specific opinions beyond that, but I will say that the “middle” will vary for a lot of people, and you’ll get different support on each part of the middle for that reason.

(aesthetics tend to be an easy win though in terms of picking up support)

I wonder why everyone keeps mentioning the historical part i mentioned. It’s mostly about improving overall gameplay. Just an argument to like you say; pick up support.

The missing middle just seemed like a good title. Wouldn’t you say it links in on the topic. What do you think the middle means?

Because that’s how your mechanical suggestions trend. Rams not clipping for example. Great in theory. Not so useful for pathfinding.

For me, more support for the existing mod tools. Lot of potential in that space (without even needing to make new tools).

I’m having a very different experience from you overall because I’m not looking for reasons to complain about literally everything in the game.

ironically the defense system is too basic for a interestign gampolay around this
remnebr when wall gathering was a thing before and it used to think it would be a good usage before it launched and nerfed and went to the full wood wall spam that is today? yeah aoe 4 even cant do that well

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