Thoughts from a nobody on the state of the game

In line with the theme of the day (doom and gloom) I thought I’d take Beasty’s advice and attempt present some productive information to the development team as to why I’ve struggled to maintain interest in the game after playing a lot in the early days, and perhaps why others may have also lost interest. I hope this is more helpful than a straight up whinge. I say these things, and only still come around here, because I desperately want this game to thrive, and not just barely survive as it does now

The first thing is there are a lot of missing functionalities or features in the game which restricts the types of ways the game can be played, and reduce the fun factor for a lot of more casual players. Here’s some thoughts that immediately came to me, and I’m sure I missed many more:

  1. Random map / random land map
  2. Leaderboards
  3. Visible elo which can be used to create balanced custom games
  4. Chat rooms
  5. In-game pause
  6. In-game save/resume
  7. Larger player limit (12 minimum)
  8. A proper scenario editor (I still remember in AoM custom games like Zelda and Bloodsport were hugely popular)
  9. Independent observer option
  10. Player chat visible when observing
  11. More biodiversity
  12. A more defined identity for maps in terms of aesthetic appearance (as opposed to maps only having layout differences for competitive purposes)
  13. Actually fully remappable hotkeys

The second thing is there are a number of things that exist in the game which cause frustration every time it’s played:

  1. Chat delay
  2. Limited zoom
  3. 30s wait to begin a quickmatch or ranked game is too long
  4. 20s+ victory/defeat screen at the end of the game is too long (yes, I timed it)
  5. Postgame scores still seem to have issues if Reddit is anything to go by
  6. UI elements related to win conditions take up too much space and we should have the option to switch them off
  7. Matchmaking is weird and takes too long. I could go into a lot more detail but I’d need to write a book.

Every time I take a break then come back to the game I’m immediately reminded of these sorts of issues and it puts me right back off again. It’s so sad because the gameplay is largely amazingly fun. I long for the day I jump into the game and all these issues are a distant memory, but I fear that day won’t ever come and it makes me sad :frowning:


I agree with many of these points. At release I wanted to exclusively play this game and bought a gaming PC for that purpose.

The biodiversity thing is likely tied to the release of new civs in different areas of the world with unique animals and plants. It looks like that process takes about a year. I’m surprised the devs haven’t introduced more herdable units besides sheep. Look no further than Age of Empires II for inspiration.

We have been asking for an option to hide the game objectives for as long as I can remember. It’s an easy win. Just put a minimize button on the thing and let us minimize it if we choose.

The victory or defeat animation at the end is not really my thing either and agree it should be brief.

To be honest I thought there was a random map option. It’s been about 9 months since I played the game though.


Oh no! I hope you managed to put that PC to good use elsewhere. I also built a new PC around that time, mostly because I needed to upgrade my old one, but also in anticipation of AoE4. I’ve spent more time playing Forza Horizon and Bannerlord at this point.

There’s a megarandom map, but that’s an entirely different thing. Random map is a staple of AoE and it’d be another one of those “easy wins” you mention.

There are plenty of easy wins being overlooked, and it’s a contributing factor to the feeling of sadness I have towards the game at the moment. By putting this list here (albeit nothing original) I hope the development team can look at it and snag a few of these easy wins to make us feel like the game is heading in a better direction.

I also remembered one other thing which I added to the list - fully remappable hotkeys. Not the half-hearted effort that exists in the game right now, but a proper alternative to the gridkey system, with one-click for every hotkey.

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more to add the list.

  1. actual civ that are well design that stop following the civ cookie aoe 2 design of every civ has to obtain 1 rax, 1 arecheyr range, 1 stable to build specific type of unit. as well the units inside to the point the only few unit that are common among civs are spears and vill. also more vill variation, 2+ pop vills demostrate to be fun when its done correctly.
  2. age up that dont end in build an wonder with a bland option of a free building. give a free type of unit like english king (or aom age up type)
  3. better resource comsumption. the game needs mre than the avg pc but it looks older than aoe 3 de. at least lower the bar if you want more players.
  4. better death animation.
  5. put fe devs in charge. they doing better than relic ones with the current changes.
  6. separate matchmaking for pre assembled teams in +2v+2
    20.better unit design than dont look plastic and being recognizable when they mob fight army vs army and allow more focusing on micro like retreating danaged costly units or age 1 fight
  7. more map theme than is not fantasy ones that is temporal and annoying to the gameplay.
  8. better ui (resources ones and building one) for custom hotkeys and less redundacy (seriusly double open menu for university building?)
  9. better anti cheat system
  10. add more mechnics. mechanics like snare and antisnare has alredy been added with success in other games like aoe 3 and sc2. this game can have more complexity.
  11. roadmap or anouncement. ik devs has to be secretive but the silence has done more dmg. A more earlier response would prevented it.

beasty’s advice is to left the game forums but I think is a wrong take because ppl who cares aoe 4 know that its future will determine the future of the franchise and the current reaction is the reflection of the true quality of it. ignoring it is just leaving the garbage under the rug.


Content creator unironically posts a 58-minute video that apparently (I didn’t watch much) explains why the game — whose viewership pays his bills — will continue to be worth viewing.


Well said!
He is doing the wrong!
His advice is to escape reality and ignore criticism!

I really dont think it will improve the game at all.
Or maybe, it is because he gives advice and devs listen to him, so he wants us to be ignored in the forum.
That is a loser approach.

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No doubt there was some inconsistency in his position, when he said we should give our feedback, but also stay off the forums and Reddit and other such places. But it’s no excuse to go around name calling, which just isn’t very nice.

I think we can be smart enough to figure out the intent behind the message, even if the delivery wasn’t perfect. That’s why I’m trying to come up with specific issues which the devs can take on board, and posting it in the only place that I can hope the devs might actually see it, as I’m not in the privileged position of having a direct line to them.

This can be your chance too! What are the things that put you off from playing AoE4? Anything specific that the devs can work on to improve your experience?

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Said video covers this gotcha, too. Kinda proving the point at the same time - why be this reductive? Who is it helping?

  • Units animation improvement
  • More unique units
  • UI with pictures, not current meaningless same icons that has nothing to do with historical armors, weapons etc
  • Weapon material improvement (they fixed the armor material from plastic to metal) same needs to weapons.
  • Variety of Gaia animals etc
    and more.

I missed this the first time around actually - what’s up with the current system for you? Is it because you have to select a submenu first (when it comes to buildings)? This is a popular complaint from, as a bunch of folks are historically not used to that kind of muscle memory.

Do you count combination pressed (Ctrl + something, etc) as a single keybind, or does it literally need to be a single key on your keyboard?

How would you design this? I’ve had a few thoughts on this, but it always comes back to the amount of unique options vs. the keys on a standard keyboard (this has been a much-debated topic, but Age IV has a ton of keybinds).

It might just be that the devs create an option that flattens everything to a single keybind, and you choose what you assign to the weirder / harder to reach keys. Every time I think about this, the compromise involves sending off a bunch of commands to the Function keys, or the numpad keys (if your keyboard even has a numpad), etc. And additionally, this puts a hard limit on the amount of possible keybinds they can assign to stuff ingame.

Wow there’s a lot of detail there and I’ll be honest, I haven’t thought about the finer points. I actually like the gridkey system as it’s allowed a simpleton like myself to learn a lot more hotkeys than I have in the past.

As you suggest, the problem (which I bring up on behalf of others) is that you have to go into a submenu, which means two clicks to choose a building. As to which key is assigned to which command or building, that will have to be up to the individual that wants to use the system. There are a lot of commands and buildings, but not all of them need a hotkey, as some will be less used by some people (e.g. wonder, or the repair hotkey).

It just feels quite disappointing to me that the option doesn’t exist at all when it’s standard for previous Age titles, and any other RTS. Especially when AoE4 is attempting to be an “esport”.


So for me personally, after playing AoE II (and WC3) a lot when I was younger, I got into Relic’s RTS games, which have always had the submenu-based UI. It felt like an evolution (at the time).

Nearly 20 years on, I’m not at all surprised people are used to doing things a specific way, but in terms of it being a standard - the standard was submenu selection, for all of Relic’s RTS games going as far back as Dawn of War (if not Impossible Creatures, as that was on the same engine as DoW).

Relic have been building out support for this fully-remappable system for some time now, which would explain the delay on being able to simplify this further. I hope they can find an approach that satisfies players here, but I do think that the amount of potential keybinds would make this a very limiting setting to have turned on (unless the player delegates new actions to submenus; things they don’t have muscle memory for, and then “classic” hotkeys that they’re used to to a single bind? Something like that).

Sorry, my problem is that when people wonder why something is or isn’t done in a specific way, I like to theorise about it. I’m a software developer (not alone here I’m sure), with a lot of familiarity with Relic’s games.

Fair enough lol. I think, if it works in other AoE games it can work for AoE4 too. It’s just up to Relic to concoct it up. Probably not one of the “easy wins”, but something that could make a big difference to long time AoE fans.

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the proble is why they do not add those thing in game both methods are born from different perpective. The submenu one is an old but efficient for more apm usage and complex rts but aoe in general born from a casual perspñective. It was considered the chillest one or easiest to play on rts which it evolved to aoe3/aom where submenu are gone and you have access to every building with no submenu. The fact you critizise it becuase is a x thing that old guy only loves is wrong because is actually erasing the progress aoe as a franshise and essemble studio did for that type of keybinding that no other rts gives at the time. The fact you said

says that you don’t understand the reason why player prefer the other kind of keybinds and the reason why ES was different from other rts…

Please read my posts better:

I understand why folks do, and I hope the devs can do something about it.

This is a good thread by mast3rNZ, it doesn’t need the usual goings on.

Wow, this OP is actually OP… nails all the most important things that actually needs working on, you should takeover their job (for real).

It’s a lot better than the “fixes are nice to have” (OH REALLY?) developer mentality that’s currently being adopted.

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I support 6B
I support 6B

finally, although aoe4 have quite nice engine for a lot of custom games.
It just unusable.

This all seems rather off topic…

What do you mean by Random map? In the other AoE games “Random Map” is the default game mode and it just means using RMS (random map scripts) which is exactly how it works in AoE4 as well.

Do other AoE games other than AoEO have this? AoE2 does not. It has pages like AoE4 for buildings (although only 2 pages instead of 4), it always takes two keys to build anything. As far as I remember AoE3 is the same. Actually I think AoE1 may have the option to remove the paging and use one click? Been too long since I played that to remember.

I would like them to give us more control over how the pages work.

Sure, even the ability to use no pages if people want that. It’s not the default though because you just have to use so many keys on the keyboard if you aren’t using modifier keys and want everything to be one unique key.

you can use One page if you want.

I’m so pissed off with Relic’s fully mappable keys, buy i forced to use QWER and R - is totally useless with only university.