I’m going to be honest, I hate this idea for multiplayer. If it was just for campaigns then I would be perfectly fine with it but as is I’m really disappointed.
The first issue I have is that when AOE4 came out, their idea for making this game different from AOE2 was to make fewer civs that felt truly unique as opposed to tons of civs that were 95% similar. Adding civs that are semi recycled from existing ones just completely contradicts this idea and cheats us out of the many civ options that are better than knockoffs.
Next, the lack of historical accuracy is just silly. Yes, I know, there are tons of historical accuracy issues that already exist but at least they made an effort until now. Why name an entire civ after a woman who wasn’t born until the 15th century or an order that didn’t exist until the 15th century? I’d really rather not mention her riding around on a horse shooting a hand cannon but it is hard to overlook. Looks like the Jade Empire has been renamed but it still doesn’t sound great.
Third, I’m really not a fan of the hero based gameplay either. It is basically just ripping off concepts from other games and really doesn’t sound like it belongs in age of empires. They probably want to attract new players but the reality is that they will probably just alienate many of the existing ones.
Anyway, I’m excited about the two actual new civs that aren’t just knockoffs but I feel like by buying the expansion I would be paying to make the game worse. They should really just leave the variant civs in campaigns where they belong and focus on game balance or making more civs that are actually unique.