We need *effective* communication from the devs

The AoE2DE patch of Nov 2023 delivered the ported-from-AoE1 Glory of Greek and Voices of Babylon campaigns chosen by the Return campaign vote.

However, as soon as they arrive, we immediately heard complaints that they have the same issue as the previous AoE1 campaign ports (The First Punic War): for unexplained reason, they seem to be a mixture of old AoE1 and redesigned AoE1DE levels, and as a result do not contain every “modernization” updates done by AoE1DE.

With respect to such confusion and complaints, we can examine the campaign vote, held in May 2023, as a microcosm, a case study on what makes for good, effective communication.

A simple overview of the article using the 5 W’s of writing:

WHO: the article had not carefully considered how variable its audience can be in their experiences and expectations on the campaigns.

WHAT: the article does not properly inform the audience what they were voting for.

WHEN: the article is missing the vote’s crucial end date.

WHERE: the article does not describe how developers plan to approach this project.

WHY: the article does not explain its reasoning.

1: The campaign vote was hastily set up.

This is apparent in that the actual poll initially didn’t have any voter authentication.

An Xbox user login requirement was added only hours later.

2: The article does not acknowledge its own circumstances.

As any community member who was around at the Return of Rome lanuch could remember, the campaign vote is a case of crisis management.

Return of Rome received considerable amounts of negative reviews…

…among several points of criticism, one is its lack of full AoE1 features such as campaigns.

Thus the campaign vote was started in haste to appease the visibly unhappy user base.

None of this is mentioned on the page, which is fair: in crisis management, oftentimes actions that earn the audience’s trust are more important than acknowledging the controversy head on.

However, the page also does nothing to clarify what it could and set up reasonable expectation. For example, it could have:

  • Explained the rationale - the nontrivial task of porting old campaigns due to Return’s numerous deep changes and differences from AoE1;

  • Emphasized the dev team’s plan to solidify Return’s balance first before porting the campaigns (which actually has an element of truth, as somehow Return’s initial balance didn’t incorporate AoE1DE’s final balance changes, which were added later).

In all, the article could have given the audience a better picture of the devs’ considerations, making them more sympathetic towards the devs’ situation.

3: The page does not give a closing date to the vote.

In other words, it’s missing an essential element to any public announcement with a limited effect period.
This alone would have failed the article in a business writing class.

4: The article doesn’t sufficiently inform the voters what they are voting for.

All that was given was the names of AoE1 campaigns. This seems enough, until you account for the following factors:

  • Series veterans, who should be the intended participants of the poll, may have only played the AoE1 campaigns in childhood. You cannot assume them to have beaten all the campaigns in their childhood, or have perfect memories of what they are like. And that’s before we count the users who never played AoE1 campaigns.

  • As AoE1DE made significant updates to the campaigns, each campaign had two versions, original and DE. Voters may have only played one version.

  • And as noted at the start, the devs also had a choice in porting original or DE versions, which means the voters may not receive what they were expecting.

So ideally, the centerpiece of the vote article should have been a rundown of what each campaign contains: their general styles of challenge, memorable levels, and how devs planned to approach porting them, using original or DE versions.

Having these contents in the article would turn it into effective communication that benefit both the users and the dev team.

And the same could be applied to all other aspects. For example:

  • Basic information on overall developer plans that directly impact player experience - see all the noises made by the AoE3 community throughout the year, when the managers could have simply, unambiguously stated the fact that the AoE3 devs have been busy working on Age of Mythology Retold, and only limited amounts of AoE3DE updates could be expected this year - a simple, effective statement that earns the trust and put the audience at ease.

  • Transparency in addressing existing problems - compare this user feedback-based bugfix plan chart from the Flight Simulator 2020 developer, helpfully posted by another forum member.

At this moment, there is mounting discontent among the AoE2 playerbase due to the pathfinding problems and instability introduced in this year’s patches.

Meanwhile, everything promised in the “AoE2DE roadmap” from more than a year ago has already been released.

More than ever in recent memory, there are feelings of uncertainty in the community. Will we see better communication, as “surprising” changes are on the horizon?


I don’t understand this news. They were released on October 31.

Added a section:

1 Like

All the ROR AOE1 campaigns were flat. No unique heroes, no proper storylines and shoddy town design.

1 Like

Yeah, that’s because they were direct copies of the og AOE1 campaigns. Heroes were buffed renamed units, stories were about the overall progression of the civ instead of one man/woman’s story, and the town designs… Well, it’s a matter of opinion. I didn’t mind the og towns personally, but overall the comparison between them and ROR’s campaign towns weren’t up to the same caliber imo. But again, that’s because they were og towns.

I really want more ROR-style campaigns though. A good many of the AOE1 civs could work very well in that style, but all I ever heard after ROR launched was people crying about porting over the AOE1 campaigns into ROR. They got what they wanted. A straight port of AOE1 campaigns into AOE2. Basic designs and all. Maybe if they capitalize on the AOE2 storyboarding and scenario designers the new ROR campaigns might be better than the old and dated AOE1 campaigns?

Do they even communicate in most cases? I havent seen them active on this forum. They might post sometimes in the bug section, but that seems to be all.