This is intended for those who do not currently plan to buy or are on the fence. Which of these features can, by itself, make you buy the game on release? I myself am on the fence, and there are many vocal opinions on the forums on the critical side, although some polls (see GusTank’s poll) has shown that the reception is largely positive. This is my attempt to better characterize our (skeptics’) concerns in a potentially constructive way. Feel free to leave comments, which will help this get interaction.
Able to zoom out further
Rescaled Buildings, manned siege equipment
Free graphics DLC announced with updated, more realistic, unit models
Better water graphics and ship physics, on release or announced for free
More Single Player Campaigns
More tactical mechanics than shown, eg terrain modifiers & unit abilities
Purchase price below $50
Gameplay showcase of a compelling multiplayer component
The only one of these I even really care about is a bit more zoom. But I’d honestly play it anyway as is. I put up with the starcraft 2 zoom which I think is probably even worse. I would like 10-20% more than what it is now though.
I’d love more campaigns, but we know there are four. So unless they’ve just kept super tight lid on it there aren’t going to be more at launch.
Yes, some of these are less realistic than others, but just trying to gauge preferences.
Haha yes, I put up with WC3 zoom which is definitely worse but it is still my favorite RTS outside age. To be fair at the time it was pretty great graphics I remember my old computer struggled to run the lowest settings.
Agreed, we don’t need complete zoom out like total war or sth, just a bit farther from the ground would be nice. In AOE4 case I think the zoom also mitigates some complaints about the models looking janky close up.
A rework of the camera and perspective, it is not just a matter of zoom.
The scale issue is also a consequence of the choice of camera settings: you cannot have tall buildings with the actual perspective, they would take the entire screen.
I am considering waiting for the scenario editor. If it does not at least reach AOE2 level capabilities, refund.
Also I hope there is a diplomacy feature. I thought it was a given due to it being present in the rest of the franchise, but I am not so sure anymore.
AoMs composition of civs was the best imo, but I tend to prefer asymmetry. Really hope this game is a success and relic or worlds edge take up a AOM sequel/spinoff.
That game was such a gem, as a kid I would take 45-60min bus rides to my friends house who had a computer that could play Titans at full specs it was awesome. I’d just watch haha but now I got youtube for that.
Having said that, and having played the beta, in my opinion the civ asymmetry introduces the most interesting aspects of PvP in AOE4. However it seemed like (from the publicly available info) each civ had one predictable timing stemming from unit availability or tech bonus. With future balance changes I am sure this can be alleviated. We need atleast two viable strats per civ to make PVP interesting.
I think it’s safe to say that it’s way too small, w.r.t. to the walls and towers for example. The scale is off.
So, let’s just make it, at least, taller. Why devs don’t do that? Look at the same keep here
It still gives the impression of being too small (cartoonish in a way, if you allow me the term, altered proportions) but, from this angle, it takes almost half the screen, so the decision to not make it bigger (in this case you can also see a slight elevation at play).
The choice of a strong perspective projection has determined the size of the model of the keeps; just so that it can fit the screen.
Can zoom alone solve this issue? No, it cannot.
If I’m watching a movie, it’s all nice and well, there’s a nice feeling of distance, the camera is centered on the action. But if I’m playing, it’s a nightmare.
I want to manage my units, if we divide the image in quarters, from top to bottom, we have:
an area so far away, where things are so small, that is useless, couldn’t click there with any reasonable precision
the area above the palisade, I can see what happens, kind of, but I dare anyone to micro the fight like that, I need to pan up
the area of the palisade and the six units below, that’s the area “on focus”, where I can comfortably play
the last quarter is so close to the camera that is, again, useless
… and I still would like to zoom out more, because I’m watching at a very small portion of land horizontally … and yes, the units are already small, if I zoom out more, they will be ants … but the units are huge w.r.t. the buildings (except walls) … it’s a mess!
Once again, the choice of a strong perspective projection, and how it is implemented through the camera parameters (FOV, focal length, tilt, height above the ground), is at fault.
So much for playability.
Then there is performance: of course devs can’t zoom out more, they have wasted all resources on three useless quarters of the screen.
All the issues above could simply be resolved by modifying perspective and camera, even keeping a perspective projection, if we really must (see AoM).
But someone, I have no idea who or why, has decided that the next big RTS game must have a camera and a point of view like AC Odyssey or The Witcher or whatever … maybe, so that we can all admire the beauty of the units from up close?
I hope I got your point right but I agree that deliberate scales of the models actually work for the gameplay. It’s true that if you had a grandiose keep, then you’d need to zoom out more, but then the units would become tiny and microing would be hard. After all, pro players even look at tiny things as projections and where projectiles are landing in order to make decisions to attack or halt. A grandiose keep may add more clutter to a game play map in terms of relative size, but zooming in to micro and having this big castle take up all your view port with units that may be hidden byhind the castle. While complete accuracy is great for a movie, gameplay is important. Not one over the other.
They really need to evaluate how to play AOE rather than RTS in general. A huge portion of AOE is developing a city or a base, building an economy as well as fighting and over powering the enemy. Zoomed in only benefits the later aspect. How can you plan your city building without scoping the area? know where your resource points are, know where vantage points are, where to place walls, what is a good place to place military buildings, where should I place buildings in association to where the enemy has placed them. Even when pushing against enemies like tower rush and stuff, imagine having to drag all around the map constantly each time you need to do something. Nobody stays in 1 zoom. You zoom out for broader planning and map evaluation and then zoom in for micro or even detail appreciation. How is that a cheating concept? Like are you trying to make the pacing of the games for slower? So that people waste more time panning around? You need to be able to see even projectiles of trebs as they leave the treb to the impact zone for effective microing. And most of all, not make the whole experience feel so claustrophobic.
Most likely devs are zooming out themselves in order to build the game, test the game, judge its feel. The zoom in is intentional not related to performance. I think unless you are a RTS developer and have judged performance based on all the latest technology, the whole excuse about performance is just an excuse to invalidate the necessity of something.
For people who enjoy art visuals, tiny details take games a long way. But clearly with issues about the arrows being so big in trailers creating a storm that required the Devs to fix that shows that people are fussed about the intricate details. The AOE community forum shouldn’t be the main and only judge to what the opinion is of the whole community. You have to look at all the other forums, groups, youtube videos etc. to gain a perspective. For example, if you go to Age of Noob’s video’s where he goes into minute detail about the graphical flaws in the game and gives constructive criticism to improve it, each video has over 600 likes and barely half of it disliked them. And the comments are mostly one sided with people against the idea of the game being only focused on gameplay. That’s one example, there’s so many more. There’s not one video that critiques level of detail in the game that hasn’t had massive support. Whether it be AOE II fans, or AOE III fans (I haven’t checked much about the opinions of AOE 1 fans). Even Aussie Drongo who loved the beta mentioned that for the level of detail, it wasn’t worth the price. And went on to evaluate that its possibly for the Xbox Game pass. Which imo is a way to earn money from people who will get the pass, play the game and then quit when they are bored. No one can really ask for refunds on that. But on steam, even if a few people buy it, they will probably be able to earn a lot of profit, even if lots of people refund as the production value seems a lot less than what they are charging.
AND a lot of the people who disagree with the visual upgrades are people who base it on previous RTS games and reduce the necessity of RTS to need a massive boost in order to revitalise it. It’s a dying genre for a reason and it is definitely not gameplay. For me, RTS gameplay trumps all TBS, RPG, MMORPG etc. But if there is one thing that prevents the genre from thriving, is the lack of visual acuity. People don’t want to just have a game to play anymore. Everyone has been spoiled with the millions of surreal graphics that manipulate particle physics and create an immersive experience. So spoilt that not many in this day and age allow for lack of realistic visuals just because gameplay is great. There are people who are like that (this forum proves it), but if a tiny thing is off on any other game, people will notice and people will complain. Hence more graphical complaints will come out once the game gets released to the public.
And a huge portion of it will probably come from people who will play campaign. because that’s practically the story telling side of AOE as well as gameplay. And story telling demands immersiveness. Great gameplay can make a game fun but not immersive. It’s visuals that make things immersive. Hence why generic civs, simplified units, lack of attention to detail will all become very important when people get a taste of campaigns.
You cannot compete with the top if you don’t have the tools to do it. And for RTS to stop dying, you need that breakthrough. AOE fans wants AOE to be that breakthrough. Hence why try try really hard to voice their opinions. Unsure of why there is an attempt to shut it down. Like if they give so much more visual appeal, that’s beneficial to everyone whether they think it is important or not. If it’s irrelevant, just scale down the graphics as all AOE games have that option. But why force people who do not have unrealistic expectations to suffer or leave the game because your bare minimum expectations were met? And because your bare minimum expectations were met, you have decided the team should not do better. It’s definitely not “cannot” do better because we haven’t even seen what they are doing. They’ve been silent in terms of gameplay and advancements since beta (which itself was a month old when they gave it to beta testers). So everything we say is speculation. But while it is under speculation, all you can do is try to voice the concerns of EVERYONE so the devs can choose what they can do and can’t do. Instead of shutting people’s opinions down as irrelevant.
Art style is irrelevant, if the game does not go above and beyond in graphical detail, it may survive but it will not thrive. AOE II has survived but it has not thrived. It’s talked about because it’s nostalgic. And it is on esports because it generated a good fan base. However, the esport community is pebbles compared to all the other top esport games. Players like Viper can stay at the tope because there isn’t much competition to over throw them due to lack of playerbase. In order to do well, an RTS needs to compete not with other RTS games, but has to aim above the belt and compete with modern unreal engines.