What has happened to this Game?

This used to be my favorite game of all time, until this year.

I have noticed this game has deteriorated significantly since 2021 and especially this year. I am no longer excited to play custom campaigns or multiplayer matches, and I haven’t played multiplayer in at least 8 months. After the latest few DLCs, I’m not very excited for the next one.I also now watch significantly less Aoe2 videos or streams then I used to.

Why has this game deteriorated?
Well for starters, the bugs. I have encountered so many more bugs this year than any other year I have been playing DE, or any other Version of aoe2. Here is a list of bugs I have personally found affected me this year, some of them quite drastic.

1: Constant Crashing
2: Units constantly freezing when tasking them to move.
3: Monks becoming stuck and frozen
4: PATHING. Never has pathing felt so terrible as it is in it’s current state since Mountain Royals.
5: A number of senario editor bugs (Most of which have by now been fixed). Many triggers causing game to crash. Modify attack or Armour not working making several custom and official campaigns unplayable. Beach terrain type not working.
6: Most recently I have experienced a bug where all of my published mods are unavailable because the game now uses my steam account instead of Microsoft account. Since the devs have said this was unintended i’m labeling this as a bug.

Secondly, content and DLCs. The quality of DLCs (in my opinion) are far worse this year. The quality of campaigns are significantly worse than the campaigns released in previous DLCs and it’s other content isn’t as good either. The increased price isn’t that big of an issue, but I thought I would mention it since it is weird that the DLCs that are worse are more expensive than the actual good DLCs.


2: Units constantly freezing when tasking them to move. Really that bad?

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I’ll explain it a bit more in detail.

Let’s just say I need to move a group of soldiers to another part of the map. For example, it could be under attack so i need my units to go there. My units would just freeze and stop moving before they got there. This would happen very, very often. The game was unplayable. This was around July when it was at it’s most frequent. These days this happens less frequently but still happens from time to time.

This happened also to units that were just created and traveling to their creation waypoint.


Pathing is still not fully fixed but it’s still a bit better in the new patch than it used to be. Villagers are still choosing ridiculously longer and illogical routes to their destination though. And always getting stuck on resources.


Same for me, but for me the reason is increasing toxicity in online multiplayer and more and more smurfs


What sort of bug were you experiencing with beach terrain type? How can a terrain type not work?

To be fair, in my experience DE has always had… problems. Crashes, pathing issues, units getting stuck and frozen. I’d say writing them off as ‘it has never been this bad!’ is recency bias. Sometimes, new patches do make things worse to some extent, but several patches before might’ve made things much better than it was a longer time ago.

DE on release was really bad, to the point I didn’t even buy the game until a year or two later, because HD was a much better experience, at least from what I saw. Then, bugs got ironed out and DE became playable and I made the switch. New DLCs and new bugs come in, game feels worse, those bugs get ironed out and game is fine again. And then it repeats.

Saying the game has deteriorated significantly since 2021 is a little weird, since the game was in a rough shape at launch and maybe only in 2021 most of the bugs got ironed out. But overall, I’d say the game is still in a better shape than it was at launch or 2020. It’s also better now than in 2022.

I cannot speak for single player/campaigns though, never played that. I was under the impression that campaigns of all DLCs have been stellar quality, is that not the case for Mountain Royals (or Dynasties of India)? Feel free to let me know, however objective or subjective that opinion is, I’m interested to hear about the ‘state’ of campaigns!


The issue has been fixed. I mentioned in the post that most of these senario editor bugs have been solved, but they were causing problems for weeks, even months at times. So with this particular bug, it was from around late September and I believe it was fixed in the latest update. What happened was whenever you selected any beach type terrain, it would only use the default one every time.

one look at bug thread will show how much bugs there are currently not yet addressed. if one plays ranked they have less stuff to worry about but custom lobby players are the worse off.

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Ok thanks for your input. I too only started playing DE at the beginning of 2021 and played HD until then. So I apologies if this feels like a bit recency bias but it isn’t intended. In terms of 2022 vs 2023… well personally I have experienced way more issues and bugs this year and by a significant margin than last year. But i’m also talking about Quality of DLC. Dawn of Dukes and Lords of the west were great, Dynasties of India was decent.

In terms of Mountain Royals Campaigns and Dynasties of India campaigns; Dynasties of India wasn’t as good as the last 2 in terms of campaign, but still good. But it added 3 civs as opposed to 2 which made up for it at least for me. Now for Mountain Royals; the Georgian campaign is decent, but again, not nearly as good as the Dawn of Dukes and Lord of the West campaigns. The Armenian Campaign was just meh, the Persian one is my least favorite campaign of all time. This is all just my personal opinion, but I will say overall, the Mountain Royal campaigns feel rushed.


That’s fair and entirely your opinion - I have none as I haven’t played any, hence just curious! 11

Regarding the civs, I do think DOI was great, as it added 3.5 new civs (3 and a rework really), and MR gave you 2 and a rework… but the expansion was priced higher than LOTW/DOTD. It’s painful, but probably inevitable that when everything gets more expensive, so do the ##############
I do wonder about the ‘rushed’ comment… I think games on Xbox’s Game Pass have very strict deadlines (and this is currently hearsay as I don’t have time to validate this claim, so don’t quote me) which means that games might release under a shoddy state, but kind of have to as there are penalties for missing these deadlines. Maybe AoE2:DE is similarly affected and the devs sort of have to constantly crush out new DLCs, and start falling behind trying to fix bugs that leads to needing to rush out the DLCs they couldn’t finish due to fixing bugs. And the cycle of technical debt continues until they get free time to fix everything, haha.


That very well may be true. I felt important in my above post to mention the campaigns feeling rushed because I don’t want to blame the campaign designers too much. It does feel like they were probably rushed to finish it.

Now I have been playing Aoe2 for quite a while, as mentioned before I played HD before. Now I personally do believe this is the worst year for me in terms of Bugs and DLC, But perhaps 2021 was just a fluke and it raised my expectations really high. If what you say about 2020 being correct which I believe to be true, the fluke seems more like the reality.

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Just the last few days I noticed the game is worse since the last patch.

Units in formation are making bizarre and unnecessary turns when tasked to move, prioritizing the sinmetry of the formation over the actual movement as if they were in a military parade.

Take for example Cav Archers running away from pikemen: when you task them to run from the incoming wave, some of the units move laterally to sort of wait to take their place and only then start to run. They’re literally offering their rear ends to pikes. This makes hit and run dangerous when its goal is obviously safety.

More: after I task a group of villagers from a resource batch to other, some just stop walking in the middle of the way. It’s like they are downing tools. Can’t deny there’s a dose of realism.

What I find worse though is that even fixes stated on the last patch notes didn’t fix anything. Recently packed Trebuchets still don’t move when tasked to move in group. Ferreters is still unavailable on Thoros 2nd mission, even though it is mentioned in the Hints.

And there are the campaigns. I agree they’re worse in The Mountain Royals. Gameplay is creative indeed, but it’s built upon poorly developed stories and characters.

They feel lazy, formulaic, missing the epic element we see in past ones like Attila, Tamerlane, Ivaylo, Francisco de Almeida, Montezuma etc.

The storytelling is childish. Ismail’s narrator is boring with her dumb dilemma and her rebel teenager tone. This clouds and dilutes the great personality he surely was. I felt I was watching a teen soap opera or high school movie. She wants to kill one of the great Persian kings because he didn’t offer a toast for her brother killed in combat? C’mon! It should be narrated by a close advisor or even himself, since he had literary talents.

Tamar is well told but the ex-husband drama is so boring. Last mission assimilates Jadwiga’s last but it is not as interesting.

Thoros has a good gameplay but in the end you don’t feel he was ever present rather as a strong unit and a name people mention a lot. His brothers take center stage and the narrator himself is too big of a personality.

All three campaigns made me think of AOE3 ones. Gameplay is fun but devoid of content.


On the topic of campaigns I’ll elaborate my thoughts on it a little bit.

All three of the stories are kind of Boring. Thoros is the most interesting by far because the Narrator is cool, and although the protagonist is definitely really forgetable, other characters of this campaign are memorable and interesting.

Both Tamar and Ismail had pretty much nothing going for them in terms of story (in my opinion). In fact, I think they could be the least interesting stories across all the campaigns (again, my opinion)

Tamar’s gameplay was pretty good but not as great as several other official campaigns such as Jadwiga, Hautvilles, Francisco, Barbarossa or Rajendra and several more.

Thoros’s gameplay was decent, but a bit generic. I do like that the design of missions 2, 4 and 5 offer some good replayability because of different ways you can choose to do objectives or pick allies& starting locations.

Ismail’s gameplay is terrible. the first 4 missions feel like i’m just booming in some base in one of the corners of the map and I have the same ally in all senarios and I need to defeat my enemies who a lot of the time are the same enemy. Extremely generic and repetitive gameplay. The last mission is pretty much the exact same and the previous 4 but now i’m in the center of the map instead, and I guess there is a bit of replayability because i can chose different enemies to defeat in different orders. But still, the 5th senario feels really similar to the previous 4 bland and boring senarios of this campaign.


I’ve only played Tamar so far. Not really fond of how they portrayed Yuri as a sexist manbaby. I don’t know what he was like in real life, but he probably wasn’t anything like that. Also, the fact that David Soslan makes no appearances at all in the campaign, despite being an important figure to Tamar’s life, is just a missed opportunity.

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AOE campaigns tend to portray lots of people very wrongly, look at Ivaylo and his marriage with Maria and is tld like it was a sweet couple, but in reality it was unhappy and even Ivaylo beat Maria at one point.


For me the chapter 5 worked:

While I don’t fully agree with this, some aspects of the game can feel this way at times (e.g. current pathing/formation behaviors). Even as I acknowledge and appreciate the many improvements and additions that have been made since then, the game exists in a state of chronic bugginess such that the experience is almost always tainted as the problems du jour make themselves felt.

Even if the game is objectively better in every way than at release, the cumulative amount of time I’ve had to write off due to this or that months or years long bug has taken its toll. It’s harder to appreciate the destination we’ve arrived at (imperfect as it is) because of how bumpy the ride has been. This is true for all aspects of the game, but especially for the Editor bugs you mentioned. Very annoying to have put lots of work into creating something but not being able to count on it working properly after each new DLC, patch, or hotfix. Once again, I hope making general quality a higher priority is among the incoming “surprises.”

Can’t comment on campaigns since I mostly haven’t played them since HD/Rise of the Rajas. But from what I hear, they’re pretty respectable, if a little too formulaic and paint-by-numbers. They just apparently haven’t hit the high water mark set by Jadwiga, which I don’t think should be expected with every DLC as it seems to be widely considered the best campaign.


They needed to add more heroes with unique hero skins.


Well I would say that this is my personal experience. This year has been extremely rough because of bugs but from my perspective. It’s completley possible that some people haven’t experienced any bugs this year and experienced more in the past.

I understand that you are mostly just generalizing here based on what you have heard,but for me It’s not about Jadwiga. Jadwiga is a great campaign, probably the best created yet, but it’s the whole package of campaigns that have been good too; Lords of the West and Dawn of the Dukes have a great selection of campaigns. Dynasties of India’s are not as good, but I still have no issue with that DLC. I personally find the Mountain Royal’s campaigns to be some of the most underwhelming in any expansion so far since 1999 (considering the fact that most expansions came with more than 3 campaigns).

Maybe it’s because they were rushed. Perhaps the stories these campaigns are based on don’t have much story telling or Aoe2 gameplay potential. But still remember that this is subjective too.
The main issue is the overwhelmingly buggy experiences i have had this year, the DLC’s just add to the issues that make me wonder what has happened to this game.

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