I’ve been thinking about a vision for AoE4.
I think that logically the next timeset would be 1800-1920 (i.e. Republican Era - WW1).
I put all the info in the following pptx:
Page 2 is the tech tree (which I guess is the best to look at).
This is still a very premature idea as it does not include naval units. Also the civs are not worked out properly. Nonetheless, it encompasses a lot of the game.
One of the main new features is the interaction with the terrain:
o As units walk over it, it will create roads.
o There are units that can make trenches and wires
o There are tanks that can cross wires, but not trenches
o There are a few air units (not too strong but expensive) that can obviously cross all terrain
I tried to make sure to keep balance in mind: every unit has a counter unit.
In case you’re bored, please take a look at it and share your thoughts!
here just try this mod The Great War 1918 for Company of Heroes,
it does just suck
Its really hard for the developers to transit this age into a fun game, simply because wars of that time period were not fun. Stuck in trenches is not something you would want in RTS. Another problem , a lot of units will be simply overpowered,
-you had no real anti tank guns yet, so it will be annoying fight them
-artillery had very high range, so you wont be able to defend properly territory
and many other things, that just will end up nasty
I do not own Company of Heroes, so I cannot try the mod.
However, I have to disagree with your issues.
You say “a lot of units will be simply overpowered” and you point at the tank. That is balancing issue. If a pikeman can set farm ablaze and the farm can burn for thousands of years, then a tank can also be taken a bit out of realism and into balancing. In my example it has quite a low health bar (tanks in 1918 may have been better, but in 1914 they weren’t that good yet) and are vulnerable to shell damage (from artillary but also grenadeers). On top of that they can’t move passed trenches and they require a constant upkeep of oil. In the end WW1 was not won based solely on tanks, and neither will it be in my vision. If you think tanks are too overpowered in other games then they are too cheap in those games: Germany only used 20 tanks in WW1.
You say “artillery had a very high range, so you wont be able to defend properly territory”. The trebuchet in AoE2 has a range of 16 whereas the Heavy Scorpion has range 9 and the crossbowman a range of 5 (+2). In real life the crossbow could show up to 400m easily, some sources even say 500-1000m depending on the type. Meanwhile a trebuchet couldn’t shoot further than… 200m (or 400m if you want to throw rocks of 10kg, but I doubt 11 of those stones could destroy a whole castle). So the crossbowman (or heavy scorpion, however you like) should easily have the same range as a trebuchet… but no one is complaining about that!
In AoE the balance has always come before realism (how realistic is to shout “wolololo” and someone changes their clothing color?). Any argument of “x would overpowered” is an issue you give based on realism, but addressed using balancing.
Regarding trench warfare.
I have tried to give enough options on that. There are types that can attack into the trench, types that cannot. The tanks can’t pass them. Machine guns can still be killed with artillary/mortars, etc. Also, not all of the war was in trenches, just the western front was mostly like that.
I still believe that my vision provides for a fun experience which includes trenches.
You say “Simply because wars of that time period were not fun”. I hope we can both agree that wars are never fun. They can be interesting, but I don’t see why WW1 is inherently less interesting than a medieval clash. There was more happening than just trench war.
Look at the fundamental problem with this suggestion:
You suggest removing a functional gameplay, a functional balance, a functional and understandable strategy. And replace with something, that doesn’t even work theoretically and you have no experience practically.
I speak here out of Experience of several games I did play. There have been lots of RTS with WW1 settings and they were just bad.
The Entente: Battlefields World War 1
Great War Mod for Age of Empires III Wars of Liberty
And here is the big problem, your suggestion is the complete opposite how the war was and battles were fought. Tanks were designed and used first of all to break the trenches.
Problem of WW1 was this, early guns and cannons were too good, high damage and range did overkill troops and riders, so it did end up in defence line facing a defence line. As tanks were invented , it did solve the situation, by not have anti tank guns jet, they could break the defence lines.
Make this into a game is difficult for various reasons, historical its boring, and if you try to make it fun playable you start to create an unrealistic sci-fi, alternative world scenario, a scenario where you start to backflip physics and facts.
WW1 would be one of the worst case scenarios for Age of Empires. For very, very obvious reasons.
-it will be unplayable
-it will alienate people
-no developer ever did figure out how to make this age fun to play
-and people will rather look at such game as a lame reskin of Company of Heroes
And worst of all, this age just doesn’t have proper strategy variety, you will have just large blobs of units and overpowered tanks “too much hit points” and cannons “with too much range”. There is valid a reason why the old Age of Empires Team did not make such game.