Treaty time and other issues on ranked multiplayer

This comes as a reflection on ranked ao2 multiplayer games after more than 400 games in ranked. I have gathered sufficient material and have already sufficient experience to have some opinion on the playability of those games.

I notice that most ranked multiplayer games are lately just a race game and just that. A race of who is the fastest, not who has the best play. Literelly, race race race race race. No thinking. Just click click click very fast. And castle drop castle drop castle drop. Then quick imp, treb and bombard. Rush rush rush even faster… All in 10 minutes? Seriously? How come gamers come to this??? Clown-world show at his best. Congratulations.

I’m sorry. But that is not elegant. That is not strategy. If this procedure (which I do not even call strategy) gives you light-speed victories by not allowing opponents to play is your usual play, and if for you the end justifies the means, you’re not playing by the rules. In real world, the means are even more important than the end, so I suggest you reflect on it. You want to be respected as a player? Allow the enemy team to play and don’t steamroll them before they don’t enough time to have their things set up.

That is not even what real strategy looks like. It’s disgusting and anti-play. You don’t let opponents be strong enough to face them, you just race to finish the game as fast as possible and that is not clean game. It’s not good game, so stop folling or trolling. This is why I say further rules need to be established in game, ortherwise you will only get a disgusting rat race of 15 minutes-40minutes, and not a game where players need to think for a long time.

In real strategy, militarily speaking, when adversaries confront, it’s not about who gets the base built the fastest, who gets everything done in a Usain Bolt race style. This is unrealistic and completely fake. When armies confront, the armies are generally “size-comparable”, and when one attacks the other is not still building up. Technically, adversaries are more or less prepared for confrontation when it comes. It’s not "I’m 1’ seconds faster than you so I win because I’m 9.564574683657653848886 milliseconds first than you.

Yes. Ranking has comes to this. And it looks ridiculous. Because you are playing fast and furious at 500 mph and not a strategy game where players are supposed to have a sufficient enough time to prepare before attacking (consider this as pre-war state, which has to be the same for every player and allowing a decent enough time to prepare, not some ridiculous 5 minutes!).

Rushes will no longer work, but in military strategy is rush the norm? No. You may have “surprise attacks” - which are not completely unexpected - but even after that, the enemy has its time to react and you have to expect a counter-strategy.

Oh, but that is no longer a 100 meter race game. So I logically understand, where the “critics” for that may come from. Just like Caesar’s wife, it’s not enough for those critics to be honest, they need to appear some sort of honesty. I’m not sure how creating hundreds of new profiles for a same player with 0 games played makes a gamer serious… As serious as the players who early quit on game-start, after 5-10 minutes (to not be that obvious), or who verbally insult/bully team players (I witnessed that lovely experience too).

Where there is only race game, there is no strategy possible.

This is why sufficient treaty time must be introduced.

40 minutes of treaty

  • to advance through the last age. (there is no age disparity)
  • to have comparable economies (allowing for every team member to mass troops with similar economy)
  • prevents dirty steamrolling of opponents early on (anti-gaming strategies stopped)
  • prevents dirty rush procedures (castle-dropping or tower-dropping)
  • forces team players to have more advanced strategies to win a game (you will no longer win by racing to attack your opponents before they attack you, you will alway need to display some tactics to counter enemy team)

But treaty time alone is just a starting point.

Considering all the problems explained, ranked games should start with sufficient treaty time or players will be continuously be steamrolled under 15-30 minutes by hyper-aggressive racers who continously trash the game by stopping players from even having a chance to build armies and face them.

Players shoud also not be able to build near the vicinities of enemy bases in treaty time, and for that there should be a grey zone frontline(see the end) where no one can build or move in treaty time.

Basic also. Castles should not be able to be built in enemy territory. Why? This comes from reality. When you move deep into enemy territory, logistics always ends up somehow disrupted so you should not be able to harvest your usual manpower there. Castles, such a complex defense structure, shouldn’t be possible to build in war territory where there is fierce fighting. If it’s enemy territory, you should not be able to farm, build troops or even set a base! You should have to bring your forces there, conquer the territory (I will give my ideas of what is “owned territory” in the end) and only then you should be able to unlock those buildings. I think this is a major flaw in the game. You can build anything pretty much anywhere and it shouldn’t be the case…

I think that towers and walls could be built in war areas, as these are considered frontline infrastructure (i.e. think like towers, palisades, gates and walls) but castles should fall ## ### #### of an army, because they are like army bases and army bases are not in the frontlines! So you should be able to build castles in your base and not anywhere you want. Houses and anything economic or civilian should not be buildable on the frontlines (outside base area)

Also a limited number of castles per player should be established (i.e. 3-4). Because every army has not infinite forts available, all armies generally have a few and that’s it. Forts work like army bases, and if they act as key military infrastructure, they should be costly and you should have only a few. General headquarters are supposed to be centralized and few not a series of n-forts built like houses. You should not be able to build 60 farms and 60 castles… To make up for this, nothing should be buildable by enemy player/enemy team in castle radius area (i.e. 20 range, since trebs can go to 17, as siege area should be a bit away from base area).

The last issue I can think of, in treaty period, is malicious building by enemy team. Aware that they can’t attack you in treaty time, they would try to build/place troops or villagers in enemy territory expecting to strike as soon as treaty time ends. This is why no one should not be able to move units or build any structure in enemy territory before treaty ends. No sneaky castle or sneaky dirty tricks no player can’t defend from. Period.

As for the “owned territory”, meaning territory that is virtually controlled by the player/team, only in territory such as this would you be able to build everything. If the territory is not controlled by the player/his team, only frontline buildings should be buildable by the player/his team. The logic is that you can’t make a key infrascturure or complex buildings in a territory you do not fully control. How to make a territory controlled? You have to eliminate enemy castles and town center in the area and build first your own town center there. Only then, should you be able to build anything else, even a castle.

The “owned territory” should incorporate a certain radius-area from the town-center, which would be the same for all players. Castles should have a radius-area too, that prevents enemy player/teams from building near there.

As for the “grey area frontline”, it should be any area that is not directly controlled by a player. This should include: 1) areas where two enemy town center/ castle radiuses collide; 2) areas outside of any player town center/castle, not controlled by anyone; 3) areas where a player/team town centers and castles have been destroyed by enemy but where the enemy has not build a town center in the place.

If good game (gg) is the goal, then this is a list of key issues to look for. That is, if you don’t want “gg” to be an empty word. In any case, I’ve underlined aspects and loopholes that still need to be improved by strategy game developpers. These aspects would considerably improve the playability of the game and would make it more realistic.

This, combined with most of your other posts just convinces me that you’re playing several hundred elo above your true skill. Also, this idea will never sell. People don’t play AoE2 for an accurate war sim, they play it for fun. People don’t want to have to sit around for ages, they should be able to play how they want. If you’re not capable of keeping up, you’re playing at an elo above your skil.


even the best of player with fastest APM lose game. if you can’t figure out why then no point listening to your opinion further.

everybody is entitled to have their opinion, some opinions are just incorrect and wrong.


Go michi lobby can solve the problem

For the strategy you mention people have fast up time still need to think of their strategy. Especially in team game what flank and pocket goes are like paper rock scissors. Not to mention some micro strategy like pole build a stable in front of your opponent but actually go for archer which invest 175 wood and some villager time to fool your opponent to get a bigger win


Michi yes. It actually inspired some of my thoughts here… The idea of building up bases for some time, then, only once the teams are actually “set up” the attack phase starts, by making forest attack paths. But even Michi technically can be “rushable”, but racing for onagers (though it would still take more time than castle rush - rough estimate say 30 min - as you have to be imp and sufficient strong economy)…

The main denser forest zone and forest paths that could be made in between in Michi could help materialize the concept of what I call “grey zone”, a fluid concept which defines a conflict zone land that is disputed by parties. The logic is that you shouldn’t be able to build main military buildings or any civilian buildings in the frontlines. Let’s say towers, walls, palissades could be buildable (as it’s possible for any army to build trenches and quick fortifications to defend army lines), but barracks/stables/castles, anything involving advanced logistics should not be available in that frontline zone.

A lot of further problematics can arise from what I say, and even considering different map types… Should the so called “grey area” be a static area or should it actually be a mutable area? In military terms, since battle zones are non static and can change at anytime, the “grey area” should be changeable. Or better, there is a static “grey area” in the game start (for i.e. the dense forest area in Michi, which acts sort of a border) and then that area after treaty period is up for grabs. :thinking:

And what should be the “grey-area” starting area considering other map types?

Arabia, Arena etc.? Considering these maps are different, the “grey-area” should also be map-case-based. In Arena, it would be easier to define that starting “grey area” as anything outside player bases. But Arabia, would require an x-radius area or some other different approach.

An other question, related to the so-called “owned territory” I talked previously. The so-called overlapped zones “owned territory” area radius conflicting with “grey-area”.

How a “grey-area” can be controlled by a player/team?

One thing is one area that was controlled by one player/team, and is conquered by enemy (i.e. by destroying that player/team’s town centers and castles in the area and building one tc there…). Another different matter is how a “grey-area” can become player controlled.

I think only building towers/walls/basic defense structures should not make alone that area controllable, because this would make two enemy owned territories next to each other without “grey area” frontlines. Maybe, sort like wonders - but on a smaller time scale - an area around a player tower should become “owned territory” after a certain time, if the tower stands (i.e. 5 min.). However, despite a player controlling that former “grey-area”, he should still not be able to build a castle, main military buildings or any civilian buildings if the grey area is within an enemy base radius area (i.e. “owned territory” of team A vs that of team B), because even in frontline controlled areas near enemy bases you are not supposed to be able to do complex building operations, because the so-called frontline controlled areas can change at anytime, just like in a battlefield.

Side note. When I say “radius area”, considering buildings in ao2 are square and not circle model, consider that as “square area”, a bit like the square area in nomad maps, when the 5min treaty starts and players build their TC.

Again, I’m not saying this A-problem will be fixed by alpha-feature… But from experience, the path to improve is to keep thinking about the issue. Observe, think, think better, question, share viewpoint, repeat.

Thank you for the answers, it’s good to see all viewpoints or different perspectives. The more angles you see, the better the learning and reasoning for everyone.

  1. I have time to spare. Let me explain why you should shut up and learn to play.

You can’t be fast without using the right strategy on each map. Being faster also means you did more correct moves on both economy and military. It indeed requires thinking. You have to think about how many villagers on each resources, when to stop making villagers, how many and what kind of military units you should make, etc. All these are strategies.

Maybe turn based strategy games are better for you.

Pushing late game or not is a kind of strategy too because you have to make decision on which civ you are going to pick. Are you stupid enough to leave your enemies alone after you saw that they are going to boom into war elephants. It is trolling too if you refused to play towards wining in this competition game.

How much time is enough ? how can you know the time period is enough for most of the players ? I can boom faster than you so I need less time than you do. what are you gonna do in this case?

Rushes and anti rush are normal military strategies. It is not something that you can perform instantly after a brainstorm. You need to make plan and work toward it.

Go back to school and learn the history of WWII.

You will be satisfied in lobby games. Death Match maybe ? or Empire War.

Probably 40min is not enough of some players. They might want 1h treaty or they will tell you the same as what you are saying here. Only a few late game civs will be picked and the rest of them can be removed.

The good games are the ones I won. I don’t care what you are talking about.


@PrimusCives, this was an interesting read, but it sounds like you want a very different game. Not necessarily a bad one - several of your suggestions feature in some form in other games (e.g. building placement restrictions, hard limits for certain buildings) - but one very different from AoE2.

Also, I can’t help but fixate on this bit:

Tell that to the Normans. When they landed in England, one of the first things they did was build a castle (or possibly two) in enemy territory. They literally castle dropped Sussex.

This feels like a very artificial limit. I think you’re really underestimating reality here.


I csn honestly say im against most if not all these changes.

Slowing the game down is a bad idea in general, hurting civs with stronger early games and weaker late games, and limiting castles further hurt unique units


Exaggeration does you no favors.
For one, that so called race cant be pulled off without knowing what to do and when.
For two castle drop and quick imp? What skill level are you playing at you think this can realistically be pulled off?

N2m thinking this can all happen in 10 minutes?

Are you trolling?

So basically you have forced every game to be a minimum of 24 minutes real time (and thats just the treaty time). Realistically much more then that. Thanks. Now many of us cant even get much multiayer done thanks to real life.

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reading that killed my brain cells. I think he needs mate to play AI with

brain cells now restored a bit


If you only want to play in late imperial play deatmatch, treaty, Michi or Fatslob style. (In case you haven’t heard of Fatslob before: that last one in not me calling you a name.)

Me, I like constantly having to adapt to changing circumstances, I like achieving the optimal way to do damage before they see me coming, I like having to think about supply while running an attack, I like managing a tech switch while handling a retreating battle. I’m not very good at it, but I like the practice. That’s all strategy, just as much as ramming your ultimate lategame compositions together is. Strategy is figuring out a puzzle that does not have one definitive right answer. Deciding on what to open with (militia, men at arms, scouts, archers, spears and skirms, straight fast castle knights) is already a very strategic choice, and time pressure is an important factor in these puzzles. The time pressure adds to the strategy, it doesn’t subtract from it.

EDIT: And if we’re going for realism here, remember that one of history’s most famous strategic and tactical victories was the WW2 German blitzkrieg on the Western front, in which timing mattered a lot, both on the longer timescale of countries readying their forces and on the shorter timescale of the operation itself. Even just the 5 day assault of the Netherlands, a small part of the overall operation, makes for a fascinating read containing several tactical lessons. (As one example: Germany attacks on four fronts: all three options they have to come in over land plus an aerial assault on the seat of government. But they already know which of these attacks they want to actually succeed. The other 3 attacks are pretty much a mix between a diversion and a plan B (slightly oversimplified), they will win the Germans the battle unless properly defended against, taking resources away from defending against the main attack on the weakest front. That’s something you can totally do in aoe2 as well.) In the real world tactics and strategy always contain time based elements, not having time pressure would be easy mode.

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The thing is, there is actually a high level of strategy in the game. You just don’t seem to have the skill level to appreciate it. You sound like either you need to drop several hundred elo, play lobby games with players like you, or find a new game, like something in the 4X genre. You really need to stop insulting our community though, because that’s basically what you’re doing. You’re trying to ruin the game for most other players, simply because you can’t handle how they enjoy playing the game, and instead of working to improve, you’d rather ruin it for them. Honestly, if anyone is being toxic here, it’s definitely you.


Ad hominem attacks. Wow. impressive. At least I have the maturity to not stoop to this level.
No further comments.

I’m just saying, you basically launched an ad hominem attack on the entire community. You literally called the standard playstyle toxic and dirty, and unworthy of the game, and because it’s the standard playstyle, you are basically insulting almost the entire community at once.


I read your whole essay. I think what macro mean to be done is what you mentioned in this essay. I spend a lot of time to investiage the unit composition before the game and come out with some idea that maybe or maybe be work. Different up time and different set up to trick the opponent. All of these need to be think a lot before the game. I prepare a best strategy before the game with tons of time and I guess in your perceptive it is just a fast boring strategy that aim to win dirty.

I think if you enjoy this game you can try to learn more macro so that you can think ahead before your opponent act instead of just react and complain opponent that the thinking time is not enough.

Concerning the team game, you may try to give your suggestion on your teammate like what unit should they go and hold that choke point etc. All these suggestion not only based on your past experience but also your previous thinking process that will eventually internalise to be your macro skill. Yes some players are toxic but try to be nice and give useful tips to your teammate and sometime they will understand

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The term blitzkrieg as I understand it is a word for using combined arms as a counterplay to the old system of defensive lines. In the case of the invasion of the Netherlands I mentioned earlier the defenders had 3(ish) prepared lines on every front. The troops that were mobilized before the war were mostly placed on the first line, which was always meant to be temporary. It just had to buy enough time to fully ready the second line, and if that failed an orderly retreat to the third line was called for. And you could kind of see this system working on the central front. But not in the South. In the South an armored train rammed through the first line, letting the attackers overwhelm the second line before it was ready, while paratroopers were dropped on the handful of soldiers manning the third line. That step of the plan only partially succeeded, which was why the attackers ended up stuck in front of the bridge in Rotterdam, and what then made the attackers choose to initiate an aerial bombardment on the city. (Dutch schools sometimes use the bombardment of Rotterdam as an example of #### atrocities, but it’s not a very good example, within the standards of warfare it was a pretty legitimate attack on dug in defenders.) We can see later attempts to apply these same principles by the allies as well, for instance fittingly in Operation Market Garden, the allied assault on the Netherlands.

This is a tactic that works because of timing. That’s why I used it as an example, because you can see the time component well, in more ways than one even, as I already mentioned the longer term component of the buildup and choosing when to attack. I do not think the second world war only lasted 48 hours. That would be a pretty dumb thing for me to think. Please don’t put words like that in my mouth. I am not a strawman.

You like playing with less time pressure? That’s fine. It’s easy mode in a few ways, but that’s fine too. And aoe2 actually does provide the experience you’re looking for. It just doesn’t do so in ranked multiplayer. People play ranked multiplayer because a lot of people find that faster style of play with time pressure the most fun. You’re being the “stop having fun”-guy here. Everyone should play your way. While the solution is much simpler: you should play your way. Use the treaty setting, play Michi, try death match ones or twice, play Vikings on Black Forest on the Age of Conquerors data set. Have fun.

P.S. The bleeped out word up there is just the name of the political profile the German leadership adhered to at the time. Apparently gamers use that as an insult too much.


Ironic coming from the guy who is blatantly attacking most the playerbase and is so out of touch they think anyone who beats them is a smurf and that we need to have 40 minute treaties…

If you want a more build and destroy type of map try michi, black forest, and other such maps.


this is a god damn computer game my friend.

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If it is, why my reply was hidden? Something does not add up.