General forum about Age of Empires 3 DE. Please post strategy threads, recorded games, user-created content and tech support threads in their respective forum.
No Flag Astaroth
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24 Feb 2021, 13:06

An old and controversial topic. And ofc this is just my opinion. It is however based on playing the game at a decent level back in the day, the views of other people who used to play back then (as far as I can see), watching tons of streams in the past 3 or so years and also comparing them to old replays. And without further ado:

The level of play is much higher now than in say 2005-2010. This doesn't just apply to obvious things like the development of new tricks (pull-trick), the meta changing/evolving or new strategies being developed. It literally applies to everything: micro, macro, APM, adaptation, decision making etc.

Even on RE (before DE), most pr 25 or so players mostly used hotkeys, control groups, microed okay-ish (more than a-move), mostly used decent builds. In contrast, "back in the day" (say 2008 or so), you could be easily top50 or better by just spamming 1-2 decent builds, not microing beyond a-move and being fairly slow overall. Nowadays, everyone tries much harder, everyone kites pretty well etc.

Now of course this says nothing about "how would old players fare if they played today (or were young today)", because talent is impossible to measure or compare. It is quite likely that someone like prime Grunt or H2O would still be top today, considering their RTS skills.

Maybe @Aussie_Drongo can also add his views to this. That is all.
No Flag helln00
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24 Feb 2021, 13:18

Tbh nowadays you have to micro cause A-move on DE sucks lol
France Kaiserklein
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24 Feb 2021, 13:21

Idk, you can clearly see H2O has top mechanics, even with his current rust. I think your statement is true when it comes to good players, but not top. Like yeah your average top 50 guy usually has pretty good mechanics and decent understanding nowadays, and I could imagine that wasn't the case back then. But I dunno that the recent very top players are necessarily better than the old ones.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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24 Feb 2021, 13:24

They're better strategically for sure, because strategy evolves with time. As a result, the current players know more about the game than the old pro. As for mechanics, there are 2-3 exceptions (H2O, grunt, Sam), but overall today's players are much better mechanically.
Indonesia jumhana
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24 Feb 2021, 13:28

I think because there are many resources to learn the game now. Everyone can watch any of top players' recorded games on Twitch/Youtube. So you can follow their build orders. You can also join a Discord channel to discuss strategies and builds.
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European Union aaryngend
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24 Feb 2021, 13:53

"The level of play is much higher now than in 2005-2010"
Samwise12 disagreed with this notion a while ago.
Astaroth wrote:Even on RE (before DE), most pr 25 or so players mostly used hotkeys, control groups, microed okay-ish (more than a-move), mostly used decent builds. In contrast, "back in the day" (say 2008 or so), you could be easily top50 or better by just spamming 1-2 decent builds, not microing beyond a-move and being fairly slow overall. Nowadays, everyone tries much harder, everyone kites pretty well etc.
That's because player base got smaller and it's mostly the fanatics who stay. If we had the same population as aoe2:DE now, you would see many more people much worse across the board.
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Spain Snuden
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24 Feb 2021, 14:02

Thats weird... The level becomes higher the more the game is played - that hardly makes sense!
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No Flag Astaroth
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24 Feb 2021, 14:07

aaryngend wrote:That's because player base got smaller and it's mostly the fanatics who stay.

Yeah, that's pretty much how I feel (not meant in an insulting way). I actually read an interesting article on this a while back (cant find it atm) which essentially stated that over time, online games result in an always increasing level of play, even for smaller games. That's because mostly the worse/weaker/less motivated players stop, leaving only or mostly the highly motived and talented ones.
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India Challenger_Marco
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24 Feb 2021, 14:07

I think main difference is that the current Build Orders and Strategies are superior than the old ones ,it's much more refined and perfect ,ppl who came back from those days will be simply outclassed in these 2 factors even though their micro etc is on the same level.The micro ,treasures ,scouting ,understanding ,timings skills remain the same so they need to learn all the match ups how it's exactly played and they are back.Given that a lot of changes went on ,EP stuff & RE was totally different.RE basically had terrible maps because of imba and QS was full of iro ,otto laming etc ,the rush & contain was more rewarding because of poor hunts.So the all in rush meta has been changed to greed meta at high levels because it doesn't work anymore,everyone wants to play safely & at their strongest age of the civ .The tp meta dropped @2014? it has the given the best value so far and it is right way to play aoe3 coz the main feature here is xp ,shipments.Another point fishing boats costs 70w which allowed Iro to go with dock opening & is very good till date ,so much like this has changed.We keep seeing 12/10's in fre mirror because of the effectiveness and tempo you can bring and back in the day this might be best strat considering the hunts are not great.So yeah rn you need to adapt & being a BOB isn't going to help you win series anymore.
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France [Armag] diarouga
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24 Feb 2021, 14:08

aaryngend wrote:
"The level of play is much higher now than in 2005-2010"
Samwise12 disagreed with this notion a while ago.
Astaroth wrote:Even on RE (before DE), most pr 25 or so players mostly used hotkeys, control groups, microed okay-ish (more than a-move), mostly used decent builds. In contrast, "back in the day" (say 2008 or so), you could be easily top50 or better by just spamming 1-2 decent builds, not microing beyond a-move and being fairly slow overall. Nowadays, everyone tries much harder, everyone kites pretty well etc.
That's because player base got smaller and it's mostly the fanatics who stay. If we had the same population as aoe2:DE now, you would see many more people much worse across the board.

What's your point ? A 2021 top50 player would stomp a 2010 top50 player, regardless of the player base.
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France chronique
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24 Feb 2021, 14:11

It's super ez to respond to this question because we have a solid indicator, called piroshiki :P . I don't think his level have change during those 15 years. At his peak he was pr 35, consistently lt co, what is his ranked right now?
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France [Armag] diarouga
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24 Feb 2021, 14:13

Challenger_Marco wrote:I think main difference is that the current Build Orders and Strategies are superior than the old ones ,it's much more refined and perfect ,ppl who came back from those days will be simply outclassed in these 2 factors even though their micro etc is on the same level.The micro ,treasures ,scouting ,understanding ,timings skills remain the same so they need to learn all the match ups how it's exactly played and they are back.Given that a lot of changes went on ,EP stuff & RE was totally different.RE basically had terrible maps because of imba and QS was full of iro ,otto laming etc ,the rush & contain was more rewarding because of poor hunts.So the all in rush meta has been changed to greed meta at high levels because it doesn't work anymore,everyone wants to play safely & at their strongest age of the civ .The tp meta dropped @2014? it has the given the best value so far and it is right way to play aoe3 coz the main feature here is xp ,shipments.Another point fishing boats costs 70w which allowed Iro to go with dock opening & is very good till date ,so much like this has changed.We keep seeing 12/10's in fre mirror because of the effectiveness and tempo you can bring and back in the day this might be best strat considering the hunts are not great.So yeah rn you need to adapt & being a BOB isn't going to help you win series anymore.

Although micro/macro are probably the same, current players are much better at stuffs like scouting. You can't stomp a top30-40 player consistently in age 1 atm. I know that in 2015, even top 10 players sucked at that.

Regarding understanding and timing skills, the difference is even bigger. In fact, timings weren't even a thing before 2014-2015.
Great Britain Hazza54321
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24 Feb 2021, 14:13

How is piroshiki a solid indicator
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France [Armag] diarouga
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24 Feb 2021, 14:15

chronique wrote:It's super ez to respond to this question because we have a solid indicator, called piroshiki :P . I don't think his level have change during those 15 years. At his peak he was pr 35, consistently lt co, what is his ranked right now?

Pr isn't a solid indicator however. We all know that pr has dropped with years. The 2010 pr was inflated by something like 5 pr.
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Netherlands edeholland
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24 Feb 2021, 14:17

Hazza54321 wrote:How is piroshiki a solid indicator
The idea is that his skill has been consistent over years and thousands of games, so if he rises/drops in PR/Elo it means the average skill is rising/dropping.

I don't necessarily agree since both PR and Elo are questionable metrics atm, but I get the idea.
Great Britain Hazza54321
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24 Feb 2021, 14:18

The dude does the same strat with the same civ ofc hes gonna stay at basically the same level
No Flag RefluxSemantic
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24 Feb 2021, 14:26

jumhana wrote:I think because there are many resources to learn the game now. Everyone can watch any of top players' recorded games on Twitch/Youtube. So you can follow their build orders. You can also join a Discord channel to discuss strategies and builds.

I agree with this. When I started out (2009 iirc) figuring out what the standard BOs were was really hard. I had to go through the entire proces myself, the best sources I had where initially a treaty boom guide (for sup gameplay lol) until I eventually discovered the very dated mr milo guides. Nowadays you can spend a lifetime watching aoe3 tournament games and recs. Its a huge difference.
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Latvia harcha
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24 Feb 2021, 14:31

Hazza54321 wrote:How is piroshiki a solid indicator

This idea is mostly a meme, source:
lemmings121 wrote:To make a propper conversion, you have to use the PLM.

The Piroshiki Landmark Method consists in looking for piro current elo. Thats means pr30.

To increase the accuracy of the system, you should also factor in the TGSIM.

TheGreatscythe Interpolation Method. Where you use current scyte's elo as pr24, and with piros pr30 you interpolate the elos of everyone else.

n0el wrote:Applying this method yields:

PR 50 = 2390
PR 45 = 2144
PR 40 = 1959
PR 35 = 1774
PR 30 = 1589
PR 25 = 1404

seems pretty accurate ngl


Adding to the topic at hand:
I think the level of play in TOP30/TOP50 has increased greatly over the last decade even if the level of play hasn't increased that much at TOP200 or TOP3.
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France chronique
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24 Feb 2021, 15:00

[Armag] diarouga wrote:Pr isn't a solid indicator however. We all know that pr has dropped with years. The 2010 pr was inflated by something like 5 pr.

I just don't remember what elo and what was his rank overall in 2010, i think he was arround 100th consistently.
France Skwizz_Jehuty
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24 Feb 2021, 15:03

I'm agree, when you back 10 years later you have to re learn all the game:
your strat
the opponent strat
build change
tech, cost of unit change, new card
and those bug lol
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Sweden Aussie_Drongo
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24 Feb 2021, 15:04

It's a complex topic, but overall, yes, the quality of play generally is much higher than it was previously IMO. Obviously when it comes to raw talent (grunt, starsky, NP, braidon, h20, sam) it is hard to measure, but over time, build orders have been significantly more refined.

I remember 2 or so years ago, Braidon and I reinstalled AOE3 and were playing like we did every couple of years, getting back into the swing of things just on 1st LT smurfs for old times sake, obviously destroying everyone we played against, and I remember a guy by the name of Hazza54321 joined our game, which was a 2v2 tvb, he was like PR38-39 IIRC, and we said to each other "this guy doesn't know what he's getting himself into". He absolutely stomped us, completely outmassed me, hit age 3 well before I did. I was using an old build order which was considered top tier back in the day, and it became clear that his play was just far superior. IIRC he was port and went cav, I don't remember the exact build, but completely outmassed my french cav.

Now obviously that's only anecdotal, objectively, PR was much higher 'back in the day' because there were more people playing to inflate it. There were many spain 1 tricks that achieved PR 48-49 playing games until ~12 minutes only (NightScr3am, Flooky) and there's a part of me that thinks they'd be able to kick it with the top tier of players today, and a part of me that thinks once it got past 12 minutes, they'd be toast.

Over the last 10 years, as the meta has evolved and play has become more refined, with build orders being optimised and a competitive scene remaining highly active, players have continued to benefit from it until reaching a point where they are hyper effective with regard to their build order, their actions, their apm and their overall gameknowledge / macro / decision making.

I remember when coming back, that @Diarouga was a huge help getting me back into the competitive side of things, and really helped educate me on how the meta had evolved, as an example, team games back in 2008 were all age 2 fighting, rarely did play hit the 3rd age, and if it did, it was after 15 minutes. The standard benchmark for British in a team game was constant longbows, 55 vills at 10 minutes with full market ups. The build order was 3v 700w 5v 600w 4v, but diarouga explained that essentially what had developed was that players had learned to defend well against early aggression and age up to fortress without dying, and subsequently send falcs and turn the tide of the battle - but that had never once evolved in team games back in 2008-2010 IIRC.

H2O was also very active back then so he may have a better memory than me, but that is the way I remember it. I think if you were to take Haitch back to 2008 and put him in that wcg final with the game knowledge, mechanics, and build orders he has today, he would definitely have taken both grunt and H2O to three games.
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France chronique
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24 Feb 2021, 15:06

Hazza54321 wrote:The dude does the same strat with the same civ ofc hes gonna stay at basically the same level

So it's a good indicator. If piro was ~ranked 100 in 2012, and now ~ranked 200 (rdm number), because his skill are mostly the same, you have an idea if the level have increase or not.
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Tuvalu gibson
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24 Feb 2021, 15:09

Yea seems like the level of shitters has rose a decent amount, probably due to access of information
No Flag RefluxSemantic
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24 Feb 2021, 15:22

gibson wrote:Yea seems like the level of shitters has rose a decent amount, probably due to access of information

Figuring out a decent build order is trivial right now while it was actually much harder 10+ years ago. In a game where build orders matter a ton, that seems like a pretty big deal to me.
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Australia Peachrocks
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24 Feb 2021, 15:40

RefluxSemantic wrote:
gibson wrote:Yea seems like the level of shitters has rose a decent amount, probably due to access of information

Figuring out a decent build order is trivial right now while it was actually much harder 10+ years ago. In a game where build orders matter a ton, that seems like a pretty big deal to me.


This. I was more able to get away with silly build orders 10 years ago. Now it’s much harder. Catch is, I don’t think players have got better, it’s just ‘easier’ to learn the most efficient builds. As soon as the game moves beyond that point the skill level returns to what it’s always been. Which is why the longer the game goes, the higher the chance I have for my silly things to win.

Of course when it comes to Spain one tricks as Drongo mentioned they got inflated big time, but honestly I think that’s changed to Japan one tricks. The civ especially in 1vs1 allows you to ignore significant game mechanics. Like Spain it may not be the absolute best but also like Spain of old you could basically ignore 85%-90% of the game and do the same thing and still do decently.

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