AOE3 is a nostalgic game, yes. Thousands will flock back to experience it - perhaps even 10x the current user base - who knows...
What I do know though is that MS have sunk thousands into this franchise reboot and will likely spend thousands more. That AOE4 trailer voiced by Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister) probably wasn't cheap at all. That announcement at Gamescon... they gave away $1000 as a graphics card alone, like it was nothing - they just handed it someone, no contest or 'submit your answer to out dumb quiz bs'. Did you see that stage, the lighting? The venue, the announcers, that super edited mini documentary with a bunch of old devs, all these things. They look pretty serious about this to me - this doesn't look like the the same 'hey guys, it's on Steam now' crap they did for AOM, 2HD & 3. I'm sure you've seen that in AOE1DE, every model has been remastered to look good in 4k - (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNXXsMQpow4
). If they do the same for the other DEs and make them all compatible with their windows store like this one - that's gotta be several hundred hours of dev time, surely? Not to mention everything else they would have to spend money on such as a triple AAA modern RTS called 'Age of Empires IV'. They've got to know the expectations people have of that for that right? Perhaps unrealistic expectations. No one announces that game willy-nilly damnit
Honestly, I think it's going to be worth it. I personally think making big changes to AOE3 would be justified.
Especially with regards to capturing nostalgic players. They aren't nostalgic about shitty all-in Jan rushes or broken Iro Fast Fortresses. Or about how the native scout snares. For an old timers, the nostalgia comes from reliving their experience of the game - for many that will end at the campaign... especially if they log online after and get facerolled by something as retarded and bland as current Ottoman. Nostalgia is looking at all the cards again, building decks again, thinking up strategies and playing them with & against your friends. Sure, that can be done on current patch or even ESOC patch. But not for long. The content is old hat. There's nothing new there. The nostalgia will surely wear off and then people will start remember why they stopped playing in the first place.
Making more civs playable, with more colonial options (given that is essentially where the game starts) is essential. More politicians. Revamped cards. New BOs. A different meta. Why are all these things so taboo here? I'm not saying this change to the covered wagon shipment is the answer. But it's these kind of discussion I want us here at ESOC to have.
If MS continues to invest in this reboot in the way that they have then they're not going to leave us with one update on a retarded patch. There's got to be at least several years of patches in the bag from what we've seen so far. And ESOC patch has mostly fixed the core of the problems anyway. All that's left is the meta
For us still playing now, I highly doubt it's nostagia that keeps us here. My grandparents don't continue to watch black and white TV because they extract pleasure from it. Nostalgia is just a nice feeling of remembering how things were from the perspective of how things are. We're still playing because the gameplay is good. Not because we're change hating masochists that refuse to find a good time. For us here it's because the game is good. It's fun. The pacing is right. The historical era is cool. We understand cards/shipments for the multilayered strategy engine that they are. The unit counter system is nice. We're here for the gameplay, not the shity RE patch.
All we've been doing over the years is complaining about balance, the meta or making patches. RTS Sancturay Fan patch was a super high effort project seeking to make the game we love more fun. ESOC patch, is the exact same but this time was done through minimalism because we learned from out mistakes and realised getting people to adopt is really hard. If WoL and NE aren't example of people wanting to play this game but differently then I don't know what is.
All these are projects are about augmenting the game, bringing what's good about it out to the front.
Balance changes, and alterations to make the meta more fun/interesting aren't a bad thing guys. How many of us here at ESOC lurk on the forums but don't play. Probably lots. There's no reason to play, it's the same. But how many of us would get stuck in to the promise of a fresh meta? Probably almost all of us. For me, the best part of any game is figuring it out. I know so many friends over the years that stopped playing for newer games that allow you to do that.
I want us to start talking about 'interesting' changes. Forget about balance for now. If Microsoft were to see the desire for change and actually wanted to do something about it, let's have some damn ideas ready for them. They and the future community (us) can fine tune the balance. There'll be plenty of time for that if I'm right. AOE:DE had a beta right? I didn't get in, but I'm not an AOE1 player.
We are however, all AOE3 players.