The REAL problem of the variant civs

I readed earlier on another topic, someone quoted this article which explains the philosophy behind the variant civ concept.
The entire problem resides in those sentences : "These elements can be a single individual (like Jeanne d’Arc), a philosophy (like the neo-Confucianism of Zhu Xi), or a particular historical group within the broader culture (like the Order of the Dragon). Although these seeds are often small moments, we explore the ‘what if’ of keeping that focus throughout the journey through the four Ages..

I was hyped by Age of Empires IV because, unlike his predecessor, 2, Malians does not have european style soldiers, every civ has unique models and gameplay and the most important : Romans and Italians cannot exist in the same game.
Every point I mentionned is about historical accuracy : starting your daily brainstorming to improve the game by saying “What if” to transform history is not history anymore, it becomes fantasy.

Ayyubids is objectively an excellent civilization, I am 100% sure that I will prefer them to Abbasids. But civs like the Zhu Xi Legacy or the Order of the dragon which either never existed or either existed during 30 years at the end of the game’s Imperial Age is enough to deconnect me from the historical accuracy and become a frustration.

I can’t even tell how naming a whole civilization “Jeanne d’arc” is hard for me, even though I am sure that the gameplay will be cool (without mentionning the fact that it is harder to acknowledge she is existing in the game almost 700 years before her real birth).

I am playing AoE4 because it was the promise to have an historical accurate game, so please, developpers and directors of the game, make the necessary to keep it historically accurate. I am sure that plenty of people would be ready to propose solutions. I am personnally ready to delay the release of some variant civs like Zhu Xi, Jeanne and Order of the dragon.
It is better late but good than bad for ever


Why did they not introduce Seljuqs (variant on the Ottomans), Songhai (variant on Malians) or Republic of Novgorod (variant on Rus)?


I think Seljuks were in Turkiye before Ottomans, I am not sure

Yes, variants need not be after the original civs.

If you think any of the aoe game is historically accurate, or that it was before the variants, you don’t know much about history.

I was also worried about the concept of “What if”, because I believed that they could put mythological units or at the World of Warcraft level of putting Orcs with tanks and technology in a world of magic (Specially when the name “Empire of Jade” was revealed).

But for the moment, and when they revealed than Zhu Xi is a historical character, I think they were only referring to Juana’s idea for a fourth age with a handcannon as an evolution of the bow. At least the bow I think I could have known how to use, since it was a useful weapon for peasants to hunt field animals, such as rabbits and serfs.

Although Juana herself said that her weapons were a sword and a banner, and that due to her role as commander, when she was protected, she did not kill anyone, other than that, she was a soldier aware of her role in the war, and that people died in this. In fact she even wrote a letter in which she said that if she weren’t busy fighting with the English, she would go fight the Hussite heresy by supporting the Holy Roman Empire.

As for the Ayyubid, for their units and bonuses that seem historic, at least they showed that Juana would be an exceptional case due to its mechanics (or perhaps because like the French campaign, the developers wanted to test what a civ would be like). based on heroes like Hire or Poteau).

Well, there are 5 weeks left until the premiere and up to 4 teasers to be announced (possibly 1 per week):

  • Order of the Dragon teaser
  • Zhu Xi Teaser Teaser
  • Byzantines Teaser Teaser
  • Japanese Teaser Teaser

Even though information about the Byzantines and Japanese has been revealed, there is still no main page with information about the civ. Maybe in the future, just like with the civ variants, they will also reveal them weekly.

It never was… I remind you that almost all AoE 1 civs had legions…

Just tell me immediatly that you didn’t read what I wrote, I said that AoE4 was the promise of an historically accurate game unlike his predecessors.

Lol, romans and Italians are 2 completely and different cultures, it matters little that they overlap geographically, so as an example doesn’t really work well in my opinion… It would be like saying that we don’t need more indian civs because we already have the delhi sultanate that represent all india… and I know that I’ll open a can of worms for saying that, but it’s just an example.

On the other hand, joan is the same civilization, even if saw from a different point of view, as the french in game are already the kingdom of the 100 years war, and joan civ of course is based on the 100 years period.


Did the Western Roman Empire and Italians exist at the same time ?

Neither the did the goths and spanish, and yet in the last 20 years nobody complained…

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Nobody complained because AoE2 wasn’t made to be historically accurate.
AoE4 has a different purpose since the begining of its release.

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I don’t know chief. No one ever claimed historical accuracy, yet everyone demands it.
History being the theme, a lot of people seem to misinterpret that as having to 100% adhere to historical events and even respective kingdom strength. Which would throw any sort of balance out the window.

Then why you brought up an aoe2 example that has nothing to do with aoe4?

The devs claimed the historical accuracy when they released the game, and the whole marketing was based around the almost documentary campaigns, or the fact that you could get college credits with aoe4… so yes, it’s was claimed and now we demand.

Also, nobody complains if a monk heals by waving its hands or the manganels are operated by invisible men, but when you have 10 civilizations based around kingdoms, sultanates and empires, and then you add one based around a single person that rides a horse while firing a hand granade launcher… you should understand that you have gone a bit too far…

I get that no historical game will ever be perfectly accurate, not even turned based games, but this is beyond the history, they just release random content that has little to do with aoe4 and aoe franchise in general.


That is not what a claim is. It is you interpeting it as a claim.

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I mean, plenty of people complained about crew-less siege :slight_smile:

But yes, it is interesting that Monks get a pass. It’s not bad, it’s just as an old franchise the longstanding fanbase has internalised some things as being okay, and new things are more jarring than they would otherwise be.

For example, if AoE IV (the exact game we got and are playing now) was released around 2008 - 2010 - within a few years of AoE III (and around the time of Online), the reception would probably be a lot different. Because the playerbase would be different. All of us that have been playing Age and other RTS’ for the past 20 years or more would be a good 10 - 15 years younger, for starters.

True, and I too would have hoped for having the men operating the siege weapons, but in the end that’s how aoe3 always worked (with the exception of Aoe3).

The point is, that aoe is about the representation of history, authentic feeling of the time and the civ, which hasn’t to be perfectly historically accurate, because it’s more about the representation of the history.

I don’t need a perfectly accurate trebuchet, but just a manless one to represent the fact that trebuchets did change the way of how sieges were conducted, because it’s the only non gunpowder unit that can demolish castles.

Bending the history a bit it’s fine. Having joan as a hero with horse and sword in aoe2 is fine, because it’s a campaign, and because it had a sword (although it didn’t really used it), but having it a hand cannon or a bow on top of a horse… now you bent history a little bit too much…

Accuracy is a taboo word nowadays.

Whenever you say this word people will immediately mark you as “the 100% accuracy guy” and tell you in real history Chinese never fought Malians in France.

I wonder if the same people would be okay if they introduce samurai as a common unit for every civ or space marines.

Yeah, and I think this is the point the poster above is also trying to make (with tortured exaggerations and other nonsense appeals to absurdity, but still).

Everyone accepts a bit of wiggle room. The problem is how do we define an acceptable level of wiggle room? Isn’t it simply that some things will either be popular or unpopular, and that some people are always going to dislike a specific thing based on their own threshold for immersion?

How can the developers reasonably hit the mark, every single time? Without straight-up removing things, I mean.

I don’t think they can. I think there will always be attempts at The Rule of Cool, or other ahistorical things due to gameplay mechanics, and folks will either like them or not. And that’s fine. I don’t care if people think Jeanne isn’t historical enough. I understand why they think that way, and it’s a perfectly reasonable opinion to hold. A variance in opinion is important to ensure the devs get the widest array of feedback possible.


Remember that JdA is presented as a variant, not a normal civ, so the Byzantines or even the French aren’t on the same level as JdA. It would be different if they did say that JdA is just another standard civ; you’re treating her as such when it isn’t the case.

It’s unfair to compare variants to proper civilizations. Variants are like an exception to the normal rule of historically accurate (as long as possible) and unique civs, where the Devs try new gameplay concepts that can offer a fresh and interesting way to play the game, in their opinion (mine also). This way they can go farther with things like mounted cannoneer JdA or what-if neo-confucianist China. They’re not selling this as the new standard, they specifically introduced the class of Variant for this.

This is not random content, made as a filler to justify the price tag, it has it’s own purpose which, admittedly, strays out of the main road to bring something new. It also happens to be cheaper to make than another full civ, but I seriously doubt that was the motif, I believe the Devs did it in good faith.