Updates we really need post-April patch

I have been excited about many of the changes implemented over the past few months, including the latest April patch, however I’ve also been a bit disappointed about some improvements and adjustments that I feel would really add to the game but have not yet been addressed. I thought listing them here might be useful for others to structure their thinking about what the game needs, and might spark productive discussion.

I should say that my background with playing the game leans more to the singleplayer and the campaigns, with some recent experiments with multiplayer. I also watch a lot of Age streams, so all these aspects of the game are important to me. I will not comment on civ balancing here, leaving that to those players more qualified to comment on that aspect of the game.

Matchmaking

  1. Estimated queuing time: there should be an estimated weight time for a game, based on the server, number of people queuing, and number of map bans. This could be based on existing data which (I assume) Microsoft keeps on this sort of thing.
  2. Unlimited map bans: the only reason I can think of for not allowing this would be that it would increase time in the queue (since fewer matching games would be available), but with implementation of 1) I don’t see why this should be a problem if a player chooses more restrictive settings. This would allow players to play arabia only or whatever other map they most enjoy.
  3. Joint random civ option: implement an option which, if both players agree, ensures they both have random civs. This could be done at the moment by just asking the other player, but this is more cumbersome than just having a button to press. Not sure if this would work best as an option at the map ban stage or just during the civ-pick stage, but either way it would be a great addition which would promote more civ variety in ranked games.
  4. Full player profiles: the new pop-ups are good, but we need a proper system of player profiles with detailed stats and past recorded games like voobly had. Ideally this would be linked to the leaderboard, which would be viewable while queuing for a match. This would make it much easier for casters to find good matches and recorded games to cast. Much of this info is already on aoe2.net. Why not just incorporate into the game directly?
  5. Enduring lobbies: after an unranked lobby game, players should be returned to the same lobby so they can replay the same settings, change teams, or adjust map as desired. It is very common to rematch after playing a game, or for a crash or drop to occur and hence need to reload the same settings. Implementing this setting would greatly improve the experience of unranked lobby games.
  6. Autobalance teams: a button that would take all players currently in an unranked lobby and place them into roughly balanced teams on the basis of their elo (either individual or team elo, whichever would be more effective). Obviously this wouldn’t be perfect, but could be a starting point that players could manually tweak. This would save a lot of team trying to manually balance teams when setting up matches.

Casting

  1. Make chat visible: fix the bug (I assume its a bug and not a design choice?) whereby chat is hidden in recorded games and in spectated games. This means that casters miss a lot of the fun banter that can sometimes really add a lot of fun to games.
  2. Capture Age: we really need an improved interface for casting. The Capture Age interface developed for Hidden Cup 3 is great. The devs should seriously consider just paying these guys to implement a system that’s directly incorporated into the main game. If this is not possible, many of the same features can be implemented in a new system. This would dramatically increase the ability of casters to follow developments in games and add to the enjoyment of viewers.
  3. Fix spectating: apparently it is not possible to sit in a game lobby as a spectator. This feature should be implemented so that casters don’t have to wait for a game to start, then find it in the lobby browser, only to have to catch up to the action.

Graphics

  1. Regional monks: add in Islamic and Buddhist regional variations of the standard monk for use by the appropriate civs. These were found in voobly userpatch, and really added to my immersion of actually playing that civilization - I find it very odd to make obviously Christian monks as Saracens or Chinese. The American civs already have regional monks, and I notice that the ‘Imam’ unit skin already exists in the campaigns , so this should be a fairly easy change to make.
  2. Ship sinking animations: update the sinking animations of the galley line and fireship line. All the other ships (or at least most of the others, might have missed a few unique units) have updated and much-improved sinking animations for DE, but for some reason the most commonly used ships still have the old ones from HD. The new animations are so much better, and make sinking a ship more satisfying!
  3. Proper corpse decay: I have always hated the way corpses currently just sink into the ground (quite quickly too). The old game had actual decay where corpses turn into skeletons. I would love to see this implemented in to DE. It gives a much better sense of the actual carnage associated with big battles.
  4. Improved zoom: Currently the furthest one can zoom in and out is tied to one’s monitor resolution. I don’t see any good reason for this, and means that you can’t zoom out far to get a decent overview of one’s empire unless you have a 4k monitor. I would like to see the maximal zoom in and out levels the same regardless of monitor size, and potentially adjustable via a slider in settings. This would enable players to get the most value out of the improved graphics without having to have an expensive monitor.
  5. Manned siege units: okay so this one is just a pet peeve of mine that may be better suited to a user mod, but its always annoyed me that trebuchets, scorpions, and mangonels just move themselves around as if they were possessed by a ghost or something. With DE graphics can we not give them at least one operator like the bombard cannon? I understand many people will not like the change to unit design because they are so used to the old version, so have it as an optional download or something. I just would really love to see this!

User interface

  1. Increased selection limit: Increase the selection limit from 60 to at least 100. There’s little reason to maintain a lower number. Most of the time this will not be needed, and control groups will still have great value, but there are times when one just wants to select very large numbers of units, and it would be nice to support that more readily.
  2. Increased speed options: HD allowed the player to increase speed to 4x and 8x. This is not very useful for playing, but I found myself using it during certain campaign missions (like waiting for the hero to heal!), custom scenarios, and or when just playing around. It would be nice to add this to DE to allow players more flexibility in these situations.
  3. Military unit indicators: DE introduced numbers indicating the villager count on each resource. I would like to see a toggleable option for icons showing the number of the player’s military units of each type currently on the map (like how this information is shown on Capture Age). This information is already available on the military minimap, but only in text form, and only by selecting a map mode which hides all the non-military units and buildings. I would like to see an easier-to-use option to show the player their current unit composition. I don’t think this would take any skill out of the game, but would just make it easier for players to see their army composition, like they can see their villager distribution.

What does everyone think? Which if these ideas do you think would be a good addition? Which do you think should be a priority? Any other ideas that you think would be a good addition (other than civ balancing, leave that for other topics please). Love to hear your thoughts!

16 Likes

You can still do this, you just need to set the DEBUGSPEEDS launch option on Steam (not sure if it’s possible from the MS Store version). I have a video showing how: https://youtu.be/jGaaQ6FmxiU

4 Likes

Matchmaking

  1. Definitely! I would turn it around and let players “opt in” on maps they like, that’s more intuitive.
  2. I agree with what you are suggesting. However how would that work? What is the difference between “joint random civ” and picking random civ and hoping the other one does too? What I had in mind was having either “random civ” or “picked civ” visible for the opponent (not reveal civ), when both players pick the same setting then the game launches immediately (the game remembers your preference). When they differ the players can chat and further agree on settings. The random player gets x amount of seconds to ready up or skip the opponent to avoid being forced into an unfair situation. This way we can all reflect on our stance; Is it worth my time to queue again? Should I let him pick while I go random? Should I follow him and also pick? Should I also go random or do I rather queue again?

These 2 changes can bring together nearly the whole community, which would improve the speed and accuracy of the MM system. This way we can encourage diversity instead of forcing it. The players are in charge, not the game. An added effect is that the longer queue times are, the more willing someone will be to adjust their preferred setting. And if Queue times are short, then it is not a big deal to queue again (which is automatic).

I think the games of every player are ownership of the participating player in that game and the site who make the server. If some of the participating players think the other player use Cheats, he may upload the game.
But Tournament games with prize money must be uploaded to a site. So they must be visible for everybody, so the Sponsors may check the games for Cheaters, hakers…

That also will help the people who want to make pay per view chanels for Aoe 2.

About- Regional Monks, that can make some player to NOT choose some civs, when they play, as they are enemies of their country.

Every schoolboy learn the History of his country and see pictures of the enemies of his country…
A picture of an mortal enemy in a game, will stop many players to play with some civs.

How about auto-queue command to buildings?

The building will automatically queue one more of that unit as soon as the resources are there(the queue will never be >1 unit)! This would be amazing for new players in dark age and in Imperial age spamming!

2 Likes

There’s also the reason of what do you want elo to represent.

Do you want a 2000 1v1 elo to mean this player is all around great on a lot of different types of maps, or this player may be just an arabia player or may be just an arena player etc, that could be 1700 if they played on all maps etc. (Maybe the elo gap is exaggerated, and 2k would be pretty high at the moment)

At the moment, where you can’t just play one map, the elo should somewhat reflect a kind of generic skill for the current map pool I would assume? If you allow people to only play one type of map ranked, then you lose information about what that rating represents - is it just one map they play etc.

I think it’s also important that since ELO is currently being used to seed tournaments, it’s probably important that you can’t inflate your elo by playing one map, when the tournaments also usually have a map pool. You might say this probably doesn’t matter for the top 100 players for a tournament like hidden cup 3, but for instance with the RedBull Wololo anyone in principle could join the qualifiers. That map pool is sizeable enough, and it’d be annoying (I imagine) if you lost a place or a seed to a player that had an inflated elo by playing one map.

Just something to think about.

5 Likes

NO.NO.NO I wasted enough time already in the 4 threads there was at some point where people were arguing over it, and in the end, chances are that this change would be way more impactful at all levels than auto reseeded farms and auto scout would ever be, and not for the best.

6 Likes

I think it would be beneficial for along and exciting teamgames that the trade raid become less devastating. For achieving that you can either give trade carts more hp like 75 or you can apply the effects of bloodline and husbandry on them.
Otherwise you can add a button to the market which calls all your trade carts back to the market where you initiated the order.

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I think this does exist, but you need to (I don’t exactly remember how) cancel a match found / get kicked out. But yeah, having this would be good.

I think a Ranked Lobby would be better. We don’t have Ranked Regicide games now…

Thumbs up. This is a very decent idea.

aoe2.net isn’t an official site. But yeah, why not.

I think a rematch button in statistics is a better choice.

I’ve been thinking about this for a while. But you can get Capture Age yourself now.

It was made to not take the 8th slot as a spectator, but they could add like 10 spectator-only slots in each lobby.

This.
But there is a mod that increases the decay time, might want to check that out.

Tbf, this is nitpicking. This has always been the case since AOK.

Control groups might lose value a bit tho…

You have something like this. When you click the axe icon it shows you what type of units you have in general.

That’s a big no for you.

A very big no.

Leave this one out of the automation topic. This was needed.

You mean trade carts, right?

That’s too much hp

Oh of course, it’s just that some might be tempted to justify other automated features ebcause of it.

1 Like

One way to slightly buff byzanz:

  • Outposts dont cost stone.
    Outposts without townwatch are really crappy but byzanz get townwatch for free so it would be a nice defensive bonus. So you can build multiple outposts and you can get away with a 3 tc boom without the need to take stone.
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This is a common argument, however it is way out of proportion.

The main target for MM should be 1) Creating fair matches and 2) Uniting the playerbase.

Following your logic the voobly lobby should be the worst, but in reality we see that at the top all the big names are present. https://aocrecs.com/ladders/voobly/131
The system that I suggest above would be more accurate than a traditional lobby since the mapselection is more limited and players are directly encouraged to opt in for multiple maps (because it decreases queue times). Also these features will cause many more to join the MM system which will increase accuracy. Besides that we know that in AOE2 elo translates fairly well between maps.

Alienating the previously most popular settings (and a large part of the community) to achieve some marginal results is definitely not ethical.

The other argument against these features is that it makes queue times longer, however this will be minimized because allowing these features will make the MM system more crowded therefore lowering queue times. It is logical that players are willing to wait a bit longer to be able to find an opponent that agrees on the settings. It would be highly unreasonable to expect someone to be forced because you don’t want to wait a bit longer.

This way we can combine the freedom of a lobby with the automation of MM, which in the end improves accuracy of elo AND queue times. Everyone wins compared to traditional lobbies.

All the top big names are in the DE ladders right?

How do we know that?

They’re hardly alienated.

I don’t see in what way they’re encouraged to opt in to any maps other than the one they want to play? The map pool may as well be gotten rid of.

I don’t know if it’s a good idea to necessarily allow people to negotiate settings while queuing for a game - If you have a long wait and have to re-queue multiple times people can get agitated, it just opens it up for trying to pressure your opponent into something they don’t want to play, leveraging it against queuing up again. I’ve also in the past matched with the same person three times in a row, imagine both disagreeing on settings and then immediately getting re-matched. (In my case we got into the game, and the player I was playing immediately resigned because they didn’t want to play that map. Then we get matched again)

Why does allowing people to pick their favourite map and negotiate settings improve elo accuracy?

2 Likes

Brilliant list of suggestions!

CaptureAge features would really help. I would especially favor its main feature (IMO) both while spectating and playing - displayed economical (villagers+fishing ships+trade units) and military population counts.

I also love updated sinking animations and there is a topic about it with screenshots.

Currently there is no way how to have corpses decay into skeletons, but you can have visible corpses if you want.

Seems to be a nice idea, but is it possible to add people with appropriate animations to siege engine graphics without making it look too crowded? Siege engines crews consisted of many people and it would be impossible to fit them all into graphics. 1 person might fit into graphics but can you imagine only 1 person operating a trebuchet? :smiley:

■■■■ yeah! It is my most wanted feature and would really make managing large armies much easier. Here I suggest how to implement this into UI.

Control groups would still be useful for managing army groups with different roles (melee, ranged, siege) in battle. Large selection limit would help when managing army as groups is currently not appropriate and player just wants to move large amount of units on the map.

Developer warned me about using it during beta, explaining that it causes pathfinding and collision errors.

I would also like to have:

  • Possibility to totally disable AI kiting + projectile avoidance everywhere (standard game, campaigns, etc)
  • Having specific cursor for out of range trebuchet targets or at least possibility to disable automatic trebuchet packing for such targets
  • Farmers counted as food gatherers during building farms to avoid confusing fluctuations of food gatherer count
2 Likes

Great post needs a great response. I will agree with most points, but not with all. Let’s have a look at all points.

Sometimes this is already shown. I don’t really know why it sometimes pops up and sometimes not. This feels more like a bug needed to be fixed than a new suggestion. If I see it, it is not always accurate. I have had seen the number getting updated during the waiting time, but it showed like 1.53 min. after the updated time when I already was waiting for 4 minutes. Maybe it is better to post this point in the bug forum? I don’t know if the devs know it won’t always is showed.

This will mess up ELO. ELO needs to represent your average skill level to be a good comparison. ELO don’t really transfer from one map to another map if you only play one map. We already see this in the unranked lobby where there is a hidden rating. Some players have a high unranked ELO by just playing only some (weird) setting. The will suck at other maps.

To make ELO more reliable everyone needs to play the same map. The result was less variety in the different kind of maps. You were almost forced to play Arabia or Black Forest. Nomad and Arena had also some attention, but there it ended. The ELO of the different maps isn’t always comparable. There is most likely a big gap between someone only playing Black Forest and someone who only play Arabia. If both have the same rating, the Arabia player is most likely the much better player.

I really like it that we know can play different maps every time. I think I will call it the best feature of DE. For me it is a great relief to not only having to play one type of map. Players on the ranked ladder will become more allrounded. That is great. The map pool is quite diverse. You don’t like open maps? Just ban those. You don’t like closed maps? You ban those.

I like it. Random civ had its charms. DE killed it. I would add it as option in the map ban stage. I am tired of all the Persian picks on Nomad and all Mongol picks on MegaRanomd.

Great idea! The current profile is laughable. Stats I want:

  • '# games
  • '# wins
  • '# loses
  • Above by civ
  • Above by map
  • After game stats (# kills/loses, resources gathered, … just like the stats you can see ingame)
  • Match history
  • Ratings over time
  • Downloadable save games (mostly for casters, but you can also share your save games more easily to let others watch your game and give you feedback)

Now we are dependent of third parties like aoe2. Most of those features need to be in the game. We don’t need third parties to give us those stats.

I like it for ranked games too. If you play someone and want revenge it is not possible. Last night I played a nice guy on nomad. In the end I won. We had a small talk after the game. I would like to play him again (and he too). It would be nice if you can play again.

The issue with unranked lobby is ELO don’t really say much. You can have an auto balance option, but you will never know if the teams end up balanced. I did play some team games on HD and on Voobly. Even if you look at rating, you couldn’t really balance both teams. Most teams games were one sided. For me the best way is to just play ranked team games. This is kinda the option you suggest. Match making tries to make two equally strong teams. So the auto balance option is kinda match making. It is already part of the game. It is part of the ranked lobby.

I am not really into casting. I do sometimes watch some casted games. I know there is a whole community. I think they deserve more. So I agree on these points. I don’t really have much more to say about this part.

I won’t even end with monks only. Just give every unit in the game a makeover so it will match there region. Just one side note: Make them recognizable.

The current situation doesn’t border me. If some animations seem missing, I think they should be added to the game.

It is possible to add this back to the game. The current situation doesn’t borders me.

I never had to use the maximum zoom level. I also don’t think it will play well. Maybe it would be great for casting, but they will have CaptureAge hopefully.

The units are pretty iconic. I don’t think they need to change that much. Regional variety it OK, but don’t really change the base design. It is better suited as mod, I think.

Yes please.

I play mostly ranked games. This seems like an option for SP only. I don’t really care. Like you describe it, it can be useful.

Something like this is already in the game. You can toggle the score in the right bottom corner. One of the other options is to see your army composition. So this is already in the game. I don’t really think it is needed at another place.

So, i agree with most, but not all.

Developer warned me about using it during beta, explaining that it causes pathfinding and collision errors.

It does same in HD too. Usually high speed is just used to kill time so it doesn’t really matter if patching is bad

I know many hate the idea, but personally I really liked it in age of mythology

Rejoin after disconnect. It would be nice to have a countdown of 90 seconds when the person who crashed could rejoin instead of instant resign. It’s the most frustrating with team games where you’ll have a 1 person disadvantage for most of the game. So basically 1 person will make everyone lose.

Also, it would be nice if they could implement the AI to take over for a person if they crash and do not rejoin. It would be tough to know how difficult to make the AI since each game has many different skill levels. I think a logical way would be to assign each AI difficulty to a range of ELOs. The team average ELO then dictates the difficulty of the AI assigned. This would make it the most fair because the AI would be relatively the same skill level as all players. Yes sometimes the AI might be weaker or stronger than players since the AI is based on a range rather than a specific number, but it wouldn’t lead to the whole team just instant resigning, which is much worse.

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Casting 1. Maybe it is intended that no chat is visible in records. Might be some weird China banning unmonitored interactions they had to agree to in order to sell and have interplay with rest if world.

Even then I would be surprised if the devs admitted to this because it won’t make anything better, so they just keep silent about this.

1 Like
  • Cameras location hotkeys
  • Possibility to custom ui pannel
  • Possibility to change the paralellogram mini-map to a rectangle one (like in wc3 and sc2)
  • Health bars and icones colors indicator (green, yellow, orange and red)