What makes Age of Empires 2 so different from Age of Mythology

Since this discussion has come up, and I don’t want to get off track too much, perhaps we could start a conversation here about why Age of Empires 2 is so widely played vs Age of Mythology.

I have to be honest, I have a soft spot for Age of Mythology, so it pains me to admit that Age of Empires 2 is the more popular game, and might be the better one.

So, a couple of items that have come up, in order that I think is important.

Age of Mythology is and was a faster game then Age of Empires 2. You moved faster between the ages, you had an easier time scouting and finding the opponent, and you could boom in the second age, instead of waiting for the third. I think the faster times was a net negative to me. Although I find Dark Age in AoE a but boring (boating luring is not for me), I find the Feudal Age exciting and I think that AoM loses a lot by being able to skip through it.

Age of Mythology had more unique factions. With 5 different civilizations, each with 3 gods, it felt like each civ was a lot more unique then in Age of Empires. The 3 gods per civ felt a lot like the individual Civilization of Age of Empires, providing unique units and tech on a standard template. I think, overall, this was a net plus, but it did make the rock/paper/scissors aspects of AoM harder 5o grasp. Especially with the Chinese and Atlantians. So, a net positive in my mind, over Age of Empires, but not as much as you might think.

The Age of System of Age of Mythology was a lot of interesting though. No longer were you just Aging up, but you had to make a decision about which set of unique set of techs and abilities. So, a huge plus for Age of Mythology.

God powers are not something I liked at all. RTS games are about strategy and planing, and having a one time use power changed a lot when it came to the resources of the game. It was a new limited resource in a game that already had a lot. I would have prefer power to have a faith cost instead as the limiting factor. Or a build timer. This was a negative for me, but I am sure others disagree.

Atlantians, I think deserve their own spot. One of the main draws of Age of Empires is the need to set up economies. It’s not enough to send miners to stone or gold, but you need to set up a mining camp and defend it. You have to invest in it. Atlantians, unlike the rest of Age of Mythology, broke this rule, and it annoys me. It annoys me in Age of Empires 3 (which has a lot of good qualities, like Trade carts, and cool ships) and it annoys me in Age of Mythology. Coupe that with the ability reuse God abilities, and it you have a recipe for annoyance.
Hate on the Chinese civ all you like, but the Atlantians are just the worst.

Blocky Early 3d tech. Let’s fact it, Age of Empires 2, with 2d graphics has aged a lot better then AoM. Those early 3rd graphics only looked good on Space Ships like Homeworld, not on Mythological creatures. 3rd got better, but early 2000 was a rough time, as computers just could handle what is needed to make 3rd graphics look good.

Balance - between Mismatched units, mismatched God powers, mismatched factions, boring water battles, and no idea of balance, the game was a joke to play online. Its probably the biggest fault of Age of Mythology compared to Age of Empires 2 is the lack of balance.

Finally, the big one. Auto Queueing. Yes, Age of Mythology had it and Age of Empires doesn’t. Along with infinite farms, trade carts that did need to trade with an ally, and buildings that provided infinite resources, AQ was a change that happened. But, looking at the above incomplete list of difference, I would think AQ was probably the smallest difference between Age of Empires and Age of Mythology.

Anyway, I thought it was important to pull this out. How do you see Age of Mythology differ from Age of Empires 2. Do any of you prefer AoM as well, despite knowing it really isn’t the better game?

1 Like

Here’s my issues.

  1. AoM doesn’t allows you to expand as much as you can in AoE2. Limited house numbers and settlements.
  2. Maps feels more small compared to AoE2.
  3. Got serious balance issue and after issue-ing that game didn’t updated that and decided to move on AoE3 instead.
  4. Auto-queue
    Otherwise game is good emo. Feels like forgotten middle child of the series. I prefer this game more than AoE3

I think number 4 is so far down the line from the other 3 issues that I don’t know if it makes any difference.

I don’t think this is quite right:

Atlanteans villagers cost more, take more time to train and are easier to kill because they are slower(3.25 speed vs 3.80) and killing one of them has the effect of killing ~2.5 or 3 villagers.(they say they work 3x faster but the work rates here show it different (http://aom.heavengames.com/gameinfo/atlanteans/units/villager)

Raiding atlantean villies is easier and has greater impact, so the atlantean player needs to invest in protecting them even more than the other civs do.

Still, I’m not a fan of the “no resource drop-off” but it is a way to make their civ unique.

1 Like

I really like them.
The problem is that the “nature catastrophe” ones are too powerful and can raze entire cities. Add to that the fact that some of them are unpredictable(Tornado, Meteor) and you add too much luck in a competitive game, which is not good at all.


Okay, I should say, it’s not that I didn’t like that it was outside the control of the player how frequently you could use an ability. It just broke for me that this one ability, regardless of how the game took, could only be used once.

A recharge timer, a faith cost, all that would have been better, because all that would have been in your control. With one and done is not fun.

It made it artificial rare, and I don’t like that in RTS games. I like that everything can be built, or rebuilt, depending on the resources on hand.

But opinions can differ. If they made an Age of Mythology 2, I hope they simple give it a Faith Cost, like a unit, or spy technology.

And limit it’s scope.

Yes but then in the last age it would be almost like a mage battle with players waiting to throw Earthquakes, Tornados, Meteors and Tsunamis at each other. It would maybe defeat the purpose of the game which is to win by eco and army.

Perhaps, but then those abilities just need to be turned down. As you said, some are really finicky.

You still need to invest a lot in Classical. Also the units you create there can still be the bulk of your army, while in AoE2 only archers (and cuman rams I guess?) aren’t obsoleted as soon as you’re Castle.

Dunno where they got the “let’s give them 2 free raiding unit at the start of the game. And let’s make them able to outnumber their counter 2 to 1” idea, but they certainly forgot to think up about it. I guess they wanted to give the Chinese a different way of scouting from other civs? But since they are raiding units, they are somewhat balanced by being bliiiiiiiiiiiiind and horrendous to scout with.

I’m not sure of what you mean.

In their defense, they are just as boring as AoC water battles because the arrow-ship only classical is just a copy-paste fo the galley-only feudal age. At least myth units spice things a bit and the water triangle doesn’t include a suicide unit, which is cool.

It’s clearly not the biggest, but not the smallest either. For instance, standard infantry being good vs cav is a difference, but you can see that it’s a compromise between AoE hoplites and AoE2 pikemen.

Actually it incentivize players to go agressive for map control, since TCs are both harder to get and more important.

Never felt that way

They did work on the balance on Voobly and on EE they are (somewhat) trying to correct the whole deal.

Welp, to me it would since first 2 problems aren’t problems.

Actually, it’s even worse: since merely hitting them makes them stop working, it means you only need 1 dude to idle 3 villies.

I think I missed something. All Egypt players choose Osiris if they can, and Meteors is often deemed as the “noob power”. Greeks player loves Hephaistos as well.

Actually 1 use god powers are good as well. First, you have to be careful with them, and also, it contributes to giving more depth to chosing a minor god. You have short theme decisions (which GP/free myth unit I want) and long term decisions (which myth unit can I afford to mass/which improvements do I need)

As a single player it sure does rock. Dunno what about online.

1 Like

I prefer AoM for it’s soundtrack, fantasy setting and for each civ feeling really unique.

I like a lot of things about Age of Mythology, but certain elements just don’t feel right to me and always make me wish I’m playing Age of Empires II instead. These would be my biggest gripes.

  1. The random map A.I.'s obnoxious dialogue. They regurgitate the same statements over and over again, and they seem specifically designed to tick you off. My whole strategy is distracted just because I don’t want the A.I. mocking me for not discovering fire or the wheel, or sticking it in my face when I’m under pressure and need to concentrate. The game is needlessly frustrating and un-fun as a result of this. At least the Age of Empires III A.I. dialogue feels closer to the campaign mode and not a multiplayer match against an internet troll.

  2. The lack of history. The focus on mythological creatures causes AoM to feel like just another generic strategy game, whereas Age of Empires has me constantly intrigued about the various empires of the world and where we all come from.

  3. The anachronistic timeline. This may seem minor to most, but one thing that has always bothered me about AoM is that the Norse coexist with the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks, when Norse mythology wasn’t truly formed until the Middle Ages, some of it even coming after the Viking Age. On top of that, the Greek architecture is unambiguously based on Classical Greece (circa 500-300 B.C.E.), yet the Trojan War implies the whole timeline is set around 1200 B.C.E., during the Mycenaean era. The civilizations in other Age games may not always align perfectly, but at least they’re from the same general era. Having Viking-based Norse fight against Ancient World civilizations just takes me out of it in a way I never felt with the other games.

  4. The graphics. Unlike the first two Age games, whose pre-rendered sprites have aged quite well, Age of Mythology uses polygons, which look blocky and ugly.

  5. The lack of civilizations. With only 3, eventually 4 and later 5 to choose from, the focus is instead on different major deities. The result lacks variety. I would have preferred single civilizations for each mythological canon, thus saving room for absent cultures such as the Indians, Japanese, Slavs, Aztecs, and Polynesians, all of whom have fleshed-out and well-documented mythos.

1 Like

Agreed, we should have the option to disable it.

Yes but that’s not much different than playing SP or MP in AoE2 with civs that never had anything to do with each other in real history.

Yes, that’s why I’d love a DE.

Nah, I think AoM has the most variety of all the AoE games because the 5 civs are completely different from each other in the way they play, feel and each unit model being different.

In AoE2 everyone seems to be playing with the same civ except for their unique unit and building design. Of course, for those of us that know the intrinsic bonuses of each civ, it feels more unique, but AoM takes that uniqueness to another level.


I think I would mind it less honestly if the Trojan War wasn’t a part of the campaign mode because that forces my mind to peg the entire game in 1200 B.C.E. While the Ancient Egyptians fit that era, the Nordic Bronze Age and its religion was really nothing like what’s represented in the game. It would be easier for me to stomach if the timeline felt less defined.

The different civs in Age of Mythology may play more differently from each other, but I strongly preferred the more nuanced variety across a larger number of civilizations.

I never felt about those this way. Isn’t there an option to disable them or it’s AoE3 only?

Religious believes are part of history. Also, the history section is much more complete (anything you can select gets one) and easily accessible.

Huns are an antiquity civ, while the Korean as they are implemented in AoE2 are almost a 17th century civ… Same for AoE1, where Yamato covers everything from prehistoric Japan to middle ages (actually at the time the Yamato campaign timeline ends, many events depicted in AoE2 campaigns are long finished) Same with AoE3, where Napoleon can perfectly meet Isabella (also for some reason his AI loves to spam crossbowmen and halberdier, which adds another layer of anachronisms 11)

To me each deity in a pantheon feel like AoE2 civs between each other. And the minor god system also add variety.


Pretty sure there’s no way to turn it off in AoM.

I’ve definitely considered that, but tying into the whole Vikings-meet-Mycenaeans thing, it doesn’t feel like there was as much care put into the history as it plays out.

Those are isolated and weird exceptions, and the time difference isn’t even very big. The Huns at least existed around the time the Middle Age kingdoms were just starting, not to mention civs like the Persians and Byzantines already existed. As for the Koreans, 1598 comes pretty much at the very end of the timeline, and not long after the Bayinnaung campaign, for example. By contrast, the Norse are a whole 2,000 years off from the implied timeline. Contrasting the Bronze Age to the Viking Age is much more extreme, as they don’t feel like they’re part of the same focus of history at all.

I guess it’s just a personal thing for me, as having a different represented culture feels more distinct in my own mind than switching around the gods of a single civilization. The Britons and Franks may not technically play that differently, but it feels more distinct playing either as England or France.

Maybe they assumed that the Trojan war as depicted by Homere was fictionnal (yes, there is archeological remains, but I don’t truely think there was some god-induced kidnapping and invincible dudes, nor weird strats with a giant wooden horse) Also, for balance (at least for Greeks) they made historical innacuracies (like Toxotes before Peltast) to avoid the whole civ being nothing but hoplite spam fests. A bit like Franks being able to produce both antiquity axe throwers (welp,the norse one is a complete invention tho 11) and gunners.

1 Like

Was Norse mythology really so far off? I thought it was an offshoot from Germanic mythology, which predated the Roman Incursions?

In any case, if the Norse gods exist, who is to say they didn’t exist at the same time as the Greek Gods. Gods of War and Titan Quest seem to think they would have.

The Trojan War in general is shrouded in mythology, being the centerpiece of Homer’s Iliad, but it’s still most likely a real conflict and even had a full campaign scenario devoted to it in Age of Empires I. I do feel like I’m probably being too picky by complaining about Age of Mythology’s timeline being too concrete, but maybe it wouldn’t be an issue for me if there were a variety of separate campaigns that take place in various, possibly undefined time periods, rather than the Norse campaign being part of the same storyline that includes the Trojan War. It would have been perfectly possibly to have several small campaigns based on different myths, rather than a single storyline that awkwardly straddles history. Honestly I don’t think I’d at all mind the Viking-based Norse coexisting in the game with the Ancient Egyptians and Greeks if the campaign mode didn’t constantly reinforce the anachronisms with the Greek and Egyptian Heroes wandering around Scandinavia.

Many people did love the Fall of the trident. But yeah no one prized it for its accuracy 11. I guess it’s why the hero is 100% ES homemade, so that people could see it’s not to be taken too seriously.

Technically the difference between the use and possibilities of isometric versus orthographic 3D projection aka genie versus bang! engine. And of course godly powers and AQ.

As you clearly love AoM a lot how would you respond if I would suggest that this game would be perfect suitable to become an A-RTS DOTA clone. Just take out all the randomness, add some more heros, civs and powers, focus on AQ free army and we 're rolling?

I almost got keelhauled here for the suggestion to look into the way DOTA does certain things and that wasn’t even about changing the AOE game play at all, but about QoL improvements like integrated spectator mode, automatic recording and replay, real-time stats, faster paced game play for shorter more intensive games (although deathmatches are exactly meant for that), focus even more on the competitive part and so on.

I’m an old guy and already used autoscouting. My scout just haunting the scout of an enemy on the map, works perfect. :wink:

But I enjoy reading your threads for sure.

Thinking out the box I would let Valve develop AoM DE. Yeah, that’s a good plan!