No Flag Astaroth
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23 Jul 2019, 07:29

I really like Aoe3, don't get me wrong. I played online for like 3 years when the game came out at a decent level (40+, but obv that was easier back then with more players).

In the last few years I watched hundreds of Aoe2 and Aoe3 streams and while I still love Aoe3, I feel that it is fairly one dimensional when e. g. compared with Aoe2.

Obviously Aoe3 has much more civ variety than Aoe2. However, I feel like most matchups (though not all of them of course) boil down to this: both players mass large armies and focus completely on that, then there are a few pokes here and there, eventually a big battle happens and then the game tends to be over.

IMO he game offers relatively little room for comebacks or for "normal" booming/standard play. In aoe2, you can have a "random" build, make some units, raid a little, boom, wall up etc and still win with superior micro and macro, even if your build is suboptimal. In aoe3, a "good player" will often lose if his build isn't perfectly streamlined. Ofc there are exceptions and novelty strats (e. g. Aiz or the merc strat), but these usually still depend on a "perfect" BO. Aoe3 is very much about BOs and timings.

Reasons for that are imo:
- maps are fairly small
- buildings are weak (in Aoe2, it's basically impossible to kill a TC in age2)
- walling is weaker
- map control is much more important because mines and plantations are so expensive and slow gathering
- TCs are expensive
- booming takes longer to pay off due to unit shipments in comparison

Tl;dr: is Aoe3 one dimensional e. g. compared to Aoe2, because it is all about BOs, timings and 1 big fight, allowing relatively little room for "random/normal" play or comebacks?
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Canada Mitoe
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23 Jul 2019, 07:41

I think AoE3 partially suffers from a lack of creativity / poor maps / bad balance forcing certain strategies in the past.

Recently however I think that games (at least between top players) have been getting less one dimensional all the time. There were some games at the LAN that followed by your criteria, but there were also lots that did not.

Comebacks can be hard to make happen though. I think this is for a couple of reasons:

1) Plantations are too expensive. This makes map control even more important and game deciding than it already is.

2) Lategame isn’t nearly as well balanced as the early game is. Some civs have massive advantages. Personally I think that super-lategame we should try to make sure every civ has some solid tools to make use of so that there’s a reason to stay in the game and try to make those comebacks, instead of quitting the moment you fall behind against a civ that outscales you.
Germany duckzilla
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23 Jul 2019, 07:52

What do you think about the unit counter system (paper/scissor/stone) in aoe2 and aoe3?

I recently played some games of aoe2 (only team games) and found it quite difficult to find the proper counter units against my opponents. This may have to do with the fact that some units carry a similar name while fulfilling a different role (skirmisher/cav archer). But in general, aoe2 seems to have a larger variety of unit classes and a more complex unit counter system with so many "in-betweens" that I can't see a proper paper/scissor anymore.
Aoe3 got some of this due to the expansion civs (jaguar warrior, rifle rider). But in general a musketeer is a musketeer, no matter how you name it. Some civs have unique musketeers which are strong/expensive (sepoy) or weak/cheap (rusketeer) or whatever, but the general unit design is identical. Even Urumis share all traits of standard skirmishers just with a very short range.
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No Flag Astaroth
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23 Jul 2019, 07:56

@Mitoe: thanks for your reply, good points.

Yeah, many of the LAN games were great, I agree. All in all probably the best aoe3 games I have seen.

I feel like a problem with aoe3 is that everything "stacks" so much: if your civ has a good build, every variation on that tends to be problematic because the build depends on every little step. So while it sounds great to e. g. add a few fishing boats to an iro FF or a Cree TP with cdbs, it just ends up costing you the game because it is suboptimal compared to other BOs/timings.

At the same time, defeats "stack": if you lose a big fight, you also quickly lose the map and the game. You can't usually just rebuild behind walls and a castle and go age4, relying on your superior tech or eco.
Australia Kawapasaka
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23 Jul 2019, 08:00

Astaroth wrote:You can't usually just rebuild behind walls and a castle and go age4, relying on your superior tech or eco.


*laughs in TAD civs*
Sittin' on a fence that's a dangerous course
You could even catch a bullet from the peace-keeping force
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United States of America occamslightsaber
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23 Jul 2019, 08:45

On the contrary, I've always thought AOE3 was less one dimensional than most RTS games due to its unique home city system. I think home cities help to speed up the pace of the game and introduce many different variations to builds, since you don't depend entirely on natural resources scattered around the map. Also, unit shipments and minutemen make it relatively easy to hold off rushes and cheeses, not to mention that players aren't even allowed to build too close to the enemy town center. I'm not sure about how frequent comebacks are, but I've seen some really great ones (like the French vs the Indians game on the LAN between Kaiser and Raphael) and I think snowballing is less of an issue in AOE3 due to the home city mechanic.

As for map control, it is an important feature in almost all RTS games as far as I know. Like in real war, army positioning and controlling certain resources are crucial to victory and they force players to think more strategically. If anything, I've observed that it's the insignificance and lack of map control that often frustrate players when playing against certain civs (*cough* Japan *cough*). Some games become really dull if all your opponent has to do is wall off, never leave their base and still have a decent chance of winning. I'm not saying camping should never work, but it should be hard to pull off.

The same goes for build orders. They are very common in RTS games and it makes sense the game should reward those who carefully devised their strategies and practiced them. I agree that improvising should be encouraged and makes the game more fun, but you shouldn't be surprised that better plan/build order leads to better chances of winning.
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Italy gamevideo113
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23 Jul 2019, 08:47

In general i think the issues you describe are present and from the perspective of someone who played thousands of hours of aoe2 i would say that aoe2 is more eco focused while aoe3 is more military focused. In aoe2 since buildings are generally stronger having a significant military presence on the map won't win you the game in the early stages, also bc e.g. archers do 1 damage to buildings, so your army composition plays a big factor. Being behind in villager count in aoe2 is a much bigger deal than it is in aoe3. On the contrary, in aoe3 you can have a lot of eco but if you don't have any army to defend it you will lose the game 90% of the times, which i don't think is intrinsecally a bad thing. Turtling playstyles are less viable on aoe3 also because of the resource disposition and because of the different counter system (e.g. aoe3 has trash units which don't cost gold and are hard counters to gold costing units). Map control is still important in aoe2 (also because of hills), but you generally won't be starving for food or gold. The counter system is also different and more various. Units in aoe2 have more peculiar aspects than aoe3 units, they have hidden bonuses and they are generally speaking less of a hard counter and more of a soft counter. Games are objectively longer in aoe2. Often losing your army won't make you insta resign because you can still hope to defend, get some econimical/technological advantage (which is definitely more relevant in aoe2 because of the different armor system and e.g. mangonels (the aoe2 "cannons") have a much higer army killing potential.
In general though i wouldn't say aoe3 is one dimensional. Cive variety gives you a lot to play with, which aoe2 doesn't really have, and creative strategies aren't that much more common in aoe2 than in aoe3. I find the strategical algorithm of aoe2 to be more simple because you can basically apply it to every civ, while i have a really hard time learning all the 100+ matchups in aoe3. Suboptimal builds are punished on aoe2 too and i don't think they are necessarily always unviable in aoe3.

Anyway, we could be talking about this for hours, it's a really fascinating topic imo since i love both games. I'd better stop here though for now :flowers:
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United States of America occamslightsaber
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23 Jul 2019, 09:14

@duckzilla I don't know about AOE2, but I agree one of AOE3's shortcomings is that it's unit counter system is too simple and rock-paper-scissory. Too many units feel like they are just reskinned versions of the standard European units from the vanilla game. Also, some unit types are downright OP like ranged infantry (skirmishers, archers, etc...), while others like melee heavy infantry (rodeleros, halberdiers, etc...) quickly become obsolete over time. I personally would like melee heavy infantry to beat ranged infantry in hand combat, but right now ranged infantry can kite them and have powerful multipliers against them even in melee which kind of doesn't make sense.
Great Britain Hazza54321
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23 Jul 2019, 09:23

Astaroth wrote:I really like Aoe3, don't get me wrong. I played online for like 3 years when the game came out at a decent level (40+, but obv that was easier back then with more players).

In the last few years I watched hundreds of Aoe2 and Aoe3 streams and while I still love Aoe3, I feel that it is fairly one dimensional when e. g. compared with Aoe2.

Obviously Aoe3 has much more civ variety than Aoe2. However, I feel like most matchups (though not all of them of course) boil down to this: both players mass large armies and focus completely on that, then there are a few pokes here and there, eventually a big battle happens and then the game tends to be over.

IMO he game offers relatively little room for comebacks or for "normal" booming/standard play. In aoe2, you can have a "random" build, make some units, raid a little, boom, wall up etc and still win with superior micro and macro, even if your build is suboptimal. In aoe3, a "good player" will often lose if his build isn't perfectly streamlined. Ofc there are exceptions and novelty strats (e. g. Aiz or the merc strat), but these usually still depend on a "perfect" BO. Aoe3 is very much about BOs and timings.

Reasons for that are imo:
- maps are fairly small
- buildings are weak (in Aoe2, it's basically impossible to kill a TC in age2)
- walling is weaker
- map control is much more important because mines and plantations are so expensive and slow gathering
- TCs are expensive
- booming takes longer to pay off due to unit shipments in comparison

Tl;dr: is Aoe3 one dimensional e. g. compared to Aoe2, because it is all about BOs, timings and 1 big fight, allowing relatively little room for "random/normal" play or comebacks?

Its why i prefer team, its more real aoe3 with many different situations not just nr15 into one big fight. Its just more diverse than doing a build massing and then fighting of your opponent doing the exact same thing
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Netherlands Goodspeed
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23 Jul 2019, 09:57

Hazza54321 wrote:Its why i prefer team, its more real aoe3 with many different situations not just nr15 into one big fight. Its just more diverse than doing a build massing and then fighting of your opponent doing the exact same thing
I would argue "real AoE3" is 1v1, where the game's strategic depth really shines. You say team is more real AoE3, rather team is actually much more like AoE2.

I think when we bring Starcraft 2 along in the comparison, the differences between the games become more apparent. Starcraft 2 is as mechanically demanding as AoE2, but has the same focus on build orders and military that we see in AoE3. In SC2, like in AoE3, there is such a thing as a build order win which is a situation where one side's build order directly countered the other side's, and the game was not close as a result. That's not really a thing in AoE2.
Also much like in AoE3, single fights tend to decide games in SC2. The concept of "deathball" can be seen in both games, but again not in AoE2 (with some exceptions).

AoE2 focuses much more on economy management, as @gamevideo113 also pointed out, but also on gaining small advantages with superior decision making or micro. To my above point @Hazza54321, it is much more like AoE3 teamgames. Games are not decided by a single fight, but by a culmination of small victories. When we look at Starcraft 2 we see almost a balance between the two (that is, small victories versus one big victory). The point where Starcraft really differs from AoE is in the economy management, which is much more important in both AoE games.

So you could say a lot of things about AoE3, but I wouldn't call it one-dimensional, though I suppose it may seem that way to someone who doesn't much care for its focus on build orders and single engagements. But as we can see when we look at Starcraft, the most successful RTS in history, there is nothing inherently wrong with this approach.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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23 Jul 2019, 10:05

There are many unexplored ways to play. The issue is that most top players (me included I guess) usually don't really try to be creative anymore.
The games at the LAN weren't one dimensional at all however.
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Great Britain Riotcoke
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23 Jul 2019, 10:11

I think players like aizamk are testiment to how varied the game can still be. It's just that at a higher level a meta is going to be consolidated.
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Turkey HUMMAN
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23 Jul 2019, 10:12

I think one thing is competitive level is not satured and thus top players play cosy. For example kaiser's 'bad' merc play can beat 90% of the top 50 players. Why would kaiser try to find new strats or play style's for example? Not saying kaiser only does merc strat or something. If you are not punished for being in your comfort zone, you can stay there forever that's what i mean. This applies to all top players, it's easier to focus on particular civ/strats you're experienced to, and masterin them. And i would argue 95% of PR 25+'s just copy bo's so thats an another thing.
One thing to bring creative strats is making kinda standart-but weird maps. Like New England. I am pretty sure meta in that map is still unexplored.
PS: Bring MOOKIE back, new hero of AOE. :kinggreen:
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Belgium juliuscaesar007
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23 Jul 2019, 10:13

i also dont think aoe3 is one dimensional its like goodspeed says about build orders and executing them better and faster then opponent while not making mistakes. But when ppl talk about their macro in this game i kinda laugh cuz the macro here is so little compared to other rts like an aoe2.
Also the civs are diverse but unbalanced to one another there are mu where u have like only 20/30 procent of winning wich is dumb for an rts. It should be ur micro ur decision making ur macro that win u a game and in the combination of this aoe3 is lacking vs other rts. SC2 has only 3 races yes but they stack well against eachother aoe2 has many civs and yes they not that deverse then an aoe3 they are way more balanced towards eachother then aoe3.
i love aoe3 but i have never considered it to be a true competitive rts as much as i respect top players their skill i feel like they are playing on easy while players on aoe2 and especially sc2 are playing on hard.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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23 Jul 2019, 10:17

If you want people to be creative you can force them to play on interesting maps. For instance, great lake has a lot of potential for this too.
The issue is that most people can't make the difference between a map that is interesting strategically (NE, GL) and a map that doesn't give a lot of strategical options (Thar Desert, Tassili).
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Great Britain Riotcoke
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23 Jul 2019, 10:18

juliuscaesar007 wrote:i also dont think aoe3 is one dimensional its like goodspeed says about build orders and executing them better and faster then opponent while not making mistakes. But when ppl talk about their macro in this game i kinda laugh cuz the macro here is so little compared to other rts like an aoe2.
Also the civs are diverse but unbalanced to one another there are mu where u have like only 20/30 procent of winning wich is dumb for an rts. It should be ur micro ur decision making ur macro that win u a game and in the combination of this aoe3 is lacking vs other rts. SC2 has only 3 races yes but they stack well against eachother aoe2 has many civs and yes they not that deverse then an aoe3 they are way more balanced towards eachother then aoe3.
i love aoe3 but i have never considered it to be a true competitive rts as much as i respect top players their skill i feel like they are playing on easy while players on aoe2 and especially sc2 are playing on hard.

It's far easier to balance 3 civs than 14 so it's obvious why sc2 has more civ balance. As for aoe2 there are still civs that are leaps and bounds better than others. Vietnamese have less than a 50 percent winrate in all of its mus
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Netherlands Goodspeed
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23 Jul 2019, 10:30

[Armag] diarouga wrote:If you want people to be creative you can force them to play on interesting maps. For instance, great lake has a lot of potential for this too.
The issue is that most people can't make the difference between a map that is interesting strategically (NE, GL) and a map that doesn't give a lot of strategical options (Thar Desert, Tassili).
Great lakes used to be my favorite map, minus the poor spawns. It really should be reworked into an EP map.
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Italy gamevideo113
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23 Jul 2019, 10:31

Imo aoe2 isn't that much harder than aoe3 tbh. It's just a matter of habits. Macro is surely harder on aoe2 but imo micro is harder on aoe3.

Anyway the balance isn't terrible on aoe2, i think the level of balance of the game would be comparable on the level of balance of EP for aoe3 right now. The devs have been a bit more diligent in delivering balance patches lately.
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Belgium juliuscaesar007
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23 Jul 2019, 10:37

gamevideo113 wrote:Imo aoe2 isn't that much harder than aoe3 tbh. It's just a matter of habits. Macro is surely harder on aoe2 but imo micro is harder on aoe3.

Anyway the balance isn't terrible on aoe2, i think the level of balance of the game would be comparable on the level of balance of EP for aoe3 right now. The devs have been a bit more diligent in delivering balance patches lately.


not to be rude but do u play multiplayer games on aoe2, sc2 or/and aoe 3 and what is ur rank?
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Turkey HUMMAN
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23 Jul 2019, 10:46

i was like 1700 in aoe2, i think aoe3 is more complex. can be argued if a good or bad thing. In aoe2 there are neat master moves(like building wood cutter building to best place etc. and other optimizations) but principles are simple.
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Canada Mitoe
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23 Jul 2019, 10:50

I would be ok with a reworked GL in EP at some point.

It’s hard though because most people vehemently hate maps like this and refuse to adapt accordingly. E.g. would just do the same cav semi as on any other map and ignore water because they don’t like it. This has been improving a lot recently though, as we can say players are actually willing to try out maps like Indonesia and Ceylon and New England nowadays whereas before they would’ve just refused or made gentleman’s agreements with the opponents to not make warships or something.

I think AoE3 has a lot more potential than we give it credit for, players just need to be pushed out of their comfort zones more often, and forced to try new things.


I don’t think the balance on EP is that bad either on the most standard of maps. Pretty much every civ is playable in most matchups. My biggest concerns are that water still needs tweaking for several civs, and I guess I’m ready to give up on non-TP maps at this point because no one seems willing to make any changes to make more civs viable there.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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23 Jul 2019, 10:51

juliuscaesar007 wrote:
gamevideo113 wrote:Imo aoe2 isn't that much harder than aoe3 tbh. It's just a matter of habits. Macro is surely harder on aoe2 but imo micro is harder on aoe3.

Anyway the balance isn't terrible on aoe2, i think the level of balance of the game would be comparable on the level of balance of EP for aoe3 right now. The devs have been a bit more diligent in delivering balance patches lately.


not to be rude but do u play multiplayer games on aoe2, sc2 or/and aoe 3 and what is ur rank?

I play multiplayer on sc2 and to be honest it's just different.
Of course, it's faster, thus the micro and the multitasking are harder. Regarding strategy however, I'd say that aoe3 is harder than sc2 as you have way more options (14 civs instead of 3 races), and the macro is slightly harder on sc2 (it's faster on sc2 but easier too).

The top sc2 players are of course better than the top aoe3 players, but that's because they're pro gamers and play much more, but all the decebt aoe3 players I know who tried to play some sc2 reached master or even grandmaster fairly quickly and invested less time in sc2.
If I tried hard on sc2 instead of aoe3, I'm quite sure I'd be top100 GM.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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23 Jul 2019, 10:54

Mitoe wrote:I would be ok with a reworked GL in EP at some point.

It’s hard though because most people vehemently hate maps like this and refuse to adapt accordingly. E.g. would just do the same cav semi as on any other map and ignore water because they don’t like it. This has been improving a lot recently though, as we can say players are actually willing to try out maps like Indonesia and Ceylon and New England nowadays whereas before they would’ve just refused or made gentleman’s agreements with the opponents to not make warships or something.

I think AoE3 has a lot more potential than we give it credit for, players just need to be pushed out of their comfort zones more often, and forced to try new things.


I don’t think the balance on EP is that bad either on the most standard of maps. Pretty much every civ is playable in most matchups. My biggest concerns are that water still needs tweaking for several civs, and I guess I’m ready to give up on non-TP maps at this point because no one seems willing to make any changes to make more civs viable there.

Aside from the poor balance, most RE maps are well designed. Texas, Yellow Rivers, Patagonia are also very interesting.
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Great Britain Interjection
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23 Jul 2019, 10:55

Replying to the original post,

As pointed out, buildings and walls are considerably weaker in AoE3 which means you don't have that protective aegis under your TC or near castles like in AoE2. So naturally, units are more important and the game is much more focused around massing & controlling military.

This compounds with the fact that map control is more important in AoE3 due to the resources being out on the map, whereas in AoE2 you instead have 'standard resources' in base (usually 6 sheep, berries, 2 boar, deer, large mine, etc). Yes, the gold piles and relics on the map are important, but in AoE3 the you tend to move large numbers of vils across greats swaths of the map to gather. Not having access to natural resources will quickly lose you the game. Remaining competitive boils down to switching to mills & plantations at the last possible moment as they are so expensive and slow gathering.

So this is probably where the 'one dimensional' stereotype comes from... that AoE3 is about a massing lots units for one large clash that decides the game... whoever wins that fight stops their opponent gathering out on the map and they might as well resign. Definitely true sometimes - it's shame we saw so many German mirrors on Kamchatka (game 1 in every series) where this was usually the case. The snare mechanic plays a role too, sometimes you can't back out of a fight so you have to take it. Positioning is one of the biggest things you can get punished for in AoE3, especially as a newbie.

Goodspeed makes some very good points about 'deathballs' and from casting so much AoE3, I can point to many amazing games where players don't 'randomly' get there army trapped or move to to a dumb spot and get caught out of position. It's very easy to make assumptions about AoE3 when these mistakes happen in the game your watching. But ultimately, AoE3 definitely isn't one dimensional and many of the games at the LAN were very good examples of this. For me, there's a lot of 'chess like' unit posturing. The action is constantly moving all around the map. The maps are small which makes gameplay very reactive and dynamic. Vils don't need drop sites, which makes changing resources & shifting gear into a new plan something you seamlessly do. Shipments offer a lot of choice... these decisions give players a great degree of control over how they would like a match to unfold.

For me, AoE2 has a lot less of this. The games I've casted were still exciting (Viper vs TheMax in particular on my channel) but often boil down to being just a big war of attrition won by a metaphorical 'macro' arm wrestle over who can effectively manage their lobotomised villagers best.

Combat in AoE3 is a often a lot more interesting (AoE2 has it's moments, constant knights and trebs streaming into each other can definitely do it for me over a big musk war). But in AoE3 there's often many different units types all vying for positioning, exciting unit pops, minute men, shipment pops... there's always a lot to call out (which admittedly I do get very excited about when casting). AoE2 is certainly not one dimensional but I do often see large masses of a single unit (e.g., 30 xbows) out on the map not afraid of cav in the slightest (at least until the Castle Age when knights start popping). You couldn't put 30 skirms anywhere in AoE3 without an escort of goons nearby. AoE2 fights can often be a whole bunch of the same unit clashing into each other without much going on.

I think a good comparison is football (soccer) vs American Football. Imagine AoE2 fights as soccer, the action is constant but often very calm as the ball gets passed around in the middle of the field... until it makes its way up towards the goal scoring area - in my experience TV viewers will chat with only half an eye on the game until the action is in the box. AoE3 battles are more like American Football where the game is essentially many short bursts of insane incredible action - viewers are glued to the screen as it unfolds. But then the ball goes out of play and viewers return to chatting as the match pauses and player positions get reset. Maybe not the best analogy but something I wanted to get out there.
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Belgium juliuscaesar007
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23 Jul 2019, 11:02

could be but im very sceptic about it and yes u have more options but if u take a look at this forum its filled with top players saying u cant win this mu u cant beat this mu.... U even said so many times on the LAN like china should win this, india should win this and so on like that is all great but thats not how an rts should be lol thats completly ridiculous :D u should win by strategy first and foremost and if u say at start this should win this mu it kinda takes away the point of a fair equall strategic game... also the crate start is very random and in ur post just a few minutes ago about germany OP if wood start is completly unbalanced if u need to roll the dice for good start instead of everyone starting on same lvl.
Anyways if ppl that are so into aoe3 think their game is better strategy wise and their macro is good on here thats fine. Wish u all the good games and fun u want :)

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