One big concern I have as the game continues to expand and add new civs with new units and mechanics are added is that the entry bar is getting raised higher and higher for newcomers or outsiders. AoE3 has always been the game in the series with the most unique and differentiated factions, which inevitably makes it harder for new players to adapt to the ecosystem.
In fact, even experienced players occasionally find themselves at a loss about the role certain unique units play in-game and what counters to use against them. Although AoE3 allows you to check the stats in game, let’s be honest, nobody actually does that as it is the worst possible moment to check through stat charts.
My idea is to propose reworking the unit compendiums to include not only those neat historical references to the actual historical units that inspired the game units, but to also provide unit stats, combat niche, unit tags, unit counters, in-game upgrades and modifiers, associated improvement cards, etc. This would allow a footnote element of the game to actually become a real game tool that new players can go check to better understand and immerse themselves in the game.
I know that from the inside this looks redundant, but trust me, for newcomers it would be a very welcome feature. What do you guys think about this idea? Do you have any proposals of your own that you can share on this subject?
Indeed, it would be ideal to have an in-game tool like that, preferably available during gameplay like AoM and Civ series.
One problem is AoE3 units are modified by an enormous range of factors - civ abilities, cards, native techs, shadow upgrades, special shipments, and many effects are achieved by creating secretly separate “protounit” variants. For the tool to accurately reflect the stats a unit will have in a real game, it will have to, by necessity, turn into a “build simulator” that accounts for all these factors, like those we have for MMORPGs.
This is rhe very reason why I think the game should offer some type of unit tool that can be consulted in-game to know what you are dealing with. In my personal experience, I skipped the Warchiefs expansion when the game first came out, so I only had the vanilla and TAD civs at my disposal. To this day, I still struggle to understand what is what with the native civs, and I often mess up the counters. I can only imagine how hard it must be for a newcomer to deal with the vanilla, TAD, Natives, New World, and African units for the first time. It is a rather impressive barrier to entry, and I figure is one of the reasons why so many players prefer to stick with the bland simplicity of AoE2.
However, I do agree that all the civ specific customizations to units make such a tool tip a bit tricky to develop.