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An Open Letter to AoM Managers/Developers on How to Save Competitive AoM


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 January 2023

 

To the Managers and Developers of Age of Mythology, current or future:

 

The announcement of Age of Mythology Definitive Edition has generated much discussion in the community and revived interest in old fans.

On one hand, the prospect of new features was the talk of the town, whereas balancing was the concern of others.

When reading forum comments, it is clear that there are two sides of the community - that they are two completely separate worlds.

Although seemingly contradictory, the points raised by both sides are valid when the reasoning behind their comments are considered.

For the purpose of addressing community feedback, we need to first distinguish between the two main audiences in the AoM community.

For that reason, the author provided a general reference of AoM terms listed further below.

 

"Casuals" are those who chronically play any of the following:

  • Team games
  • Unranked games (any level)
  • Mid-to-low ranked 1v1 Supremacy games
  • Mods
  • Single-Player

Disclaimer: Although the word, "casual", may carry a negative connotation, the author did not intend to use it in any derogatory manner as it is also the term others refer to themselves as, as said in the comments: https://forums.ageofempires.com/t/what-would-you-like-to-see-in-myth-retold/217173

 

To "casuals", more means better.

It is as simple as it sounds.

More content means more immersion, more resources for modders, more campaign scenarios, more Single-Player replayability, more varied team games, more city building, more music, more art.

If "casuals" want an auto-walling ability, they deserve it. After all, it is a quality of life feature, like autoqueue.

If "casuals" want an auto-build-order AI, they deserve it too. After all, it allows them to focus on superior strategy instead of mundane micro.

If "casuals" want the game on console too, they deserve it - even cross-play - the more the merrier! Like team games!

And if "casuals" want a mobile version, the consumer is always correct.

"Casuals" are right in their demand for new content; after all, the last two expansion packs have set that precedent.

And all the more power to them!

This is a general list "casuals" would also like to include in the next game:

  • New tech-trees ("civilizations")
  • Higher or unlimited population cap
  • Removal of settlements
  • Stone
  • Larger maps
  • Symmetrical maps
  • Multi-usage god powers

 

However, to 1v1 high-ranked Supremacy players, more realism is not necessarily better.

To "Casuals", balance is not in the picture (nor should it be), for they are not necessarily playing AoM competitively; they are playing the game according to their own definition of fun: casually.

Regarding balance, the author does not believe the game is perfectly balanced nor could it ever be.

However, the original creators of the game, Ensemble Studios, have calculated to make the game as it was.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.PNG.60b0a545617b385a246369ef4aac093b.PNG

(White goes first).

 

What is wrong with this picture?

 

In a 1v1 high-ranked Supremacy match, assuming both players are of equal skill (one move per turn):

  • Thor loses to Heimdall HeimdallIcon.png.67484efceb8a9770a20ed2658ad17179.png, regardless of which Classical Age god he chooses to Advance under.
  • If the Loki player Advances under Forsetti ForsetiIcon.png.e4cb719e651c02ed950e4e7ad7a6ab6e.png, Thor Hersirs still lose to Loki Hersirs.
  • If the Thor player manages to Advance under Skadi SkadiIcon.png.f309b2030fa7011ffe7600e4af6ebdcc.png, a wise Loki player would have already Advanced under Bragi BragiIcon.png.9328b4d2f5f89c045cf1dcfec7512576.png and sat on the Thor player's second gold mine with several units to bait Frost.

But even if the Thor player is slightly more skilled (black goes first), his choices are limited against a Loki player who has a good BO and "strategy" (Semi Heroic).

 

 

So, how can we turn the game from this:


2.PNG.856be98cfc3d542cba25b1d43bddd4d9.PNG
 

to this?                  3.1.PNG.cb2ab457a557c5cabcc997562fb1cb03.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to save competitive (1v1 high-ranked Supremacy) AoM

 

 

A topic so hot you literally get

5.jpg.0c5897a96265af5275bc8ec7e8b7dc60.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Table of Contents

  • Definitions
    • i Common definitions
    • ii Critical definitions
  • How to save competitive AoM
    • 1 Remove AoT
      • 1.0 Remove everything of AoT
      • 1.1 On feedback
    • 2 Tweaks
      • 2.0a Researchable God Powers
      • 2.0b God Power tweaking ideas
      • 2.0c Researchable God Powers Alternative
      • 2.1 Favor tweaking
      • 2.2 Free units tweaking
      • 2.3 Water tweaking
      • 2.4 Norse tweaking
      • 2.5 Miscellaneous tweaking
    •  3 DLC's
      • 3.0 On new "civilizations" (tech-trees)
      • 3.1 New "civilizations" (tech-trees) alternative
      • 3.2 Miscellaneous ideas
  • Conclusion
  • FAQ
  • Sources

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Definitions

 

  • i Common definitions
    • Spoiler

       

      • Title definitions
        • AoM: Age of Mythology
        • AoMEE: Age of Mythology: Extended Edition
        • AoT: Age of Mythology: The Titans Expansion Pack
        • EE: Age of Mythology: Extended Edition
        • TotD: Tale of the Dragon Expansion Pack
        • TT: The Titans Expansion Pack
        • Vanilla: Original game (Age of Mythology)
        • AoE2: Age of Empires II

       

      • Miscellaneous definitions
        • DLC: Downloadable Content (or Expansion Packs)
        • GP: God Power
        • HP: Hitpoints/Life-Points
        • LOS: Line of sight (area of vision of a unit/building)
        • Main: The player's original/best Major God
        • MU: Myth unit
        • OP: Overpowered
        • Redzoning: The inability to build Walls around a particular Resource as indicated by the red shade on the Wall-icon cursor
        • Smurf: A player playing under an alias

       

      • Economy and military definitions
        • AQ/Autoqueue/Auto-queue: The feature to repeatedly create the selected units from a building
        • BO: Build order
        • Boom: To aggressively pursue economic progression
        • Kite: To retreat quickly
        • Rush: To attack early (without researching Hunting Dogs (original definition))
        • TC: Town Center
        • 2TC: The feature to build more than one Town Center in the Classical Age

       

 

  • ii Critical definitions
    •  
    • APM: Actions (keypresses, mouse clicks) per minute; often misused as "micro"
    •  
    • Micro: To (verb) or how (noun) one manages their units or buildings; often misused as "APM"
    • Macro: To (verb) or how (noun) one manages their economy
    •  
    • Meta: The current tactics or strategies most effective at winning the game, can be separated into:
      • Micro-meta ("micro" as in small): The tangible meta that can be used in a game
        • "Against Heimdall, it's better to Sphinx/Axe instead of Fast Heroic or 2TC..."
        • "3v3? You two rush blue while I (middle) Fast Heroic..."
      • Macro-meta ("macro" as in big): The general conclusion based from the context of the overall micro-meta
        • "There is only one way to play this game..."
        • "Loki beats Gaia..."
    •  
    • Casual: Those who chronically play any of the following:
      • Team games
      • Unranked games (any level)
      • Mid-to-low ranked 1v1 Supremacy games
      • Mods
      • Single-Player

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 Remove AoT

Spoiler

 

 

 

 

1.0 Remove everything of AoT

 

 

In order to appeal the game to new players and Casuals, the features introduced in AoT forever changed AoM's competitive (high-ranked 1v1 Supremacy) landscape by:

  • Punishing aggressive playstyles
  • Destroying balance
  • Automating the game

 

 

 

Assuming both players are of equal skill...

 

 

 

Shooting Docks (garrisoned Docks can fire arrows) punish the player who optimized their BO; for wanting to Advance faster, they are rewarded with half-HP ships.

And by the time the boomer opponent Advances into the Classical Age, they'd have an extra Villager or 2, thereby solidifying water dominance from their extra lumber production - Age of Free Insurance™ - the game basically plays by itself: You snooze, They lose!

 

Regarding shooting Docks for Norse, Norse already struggles to compete on water with their 2-Villager starts. Greeks have 3 Villagers and Egyptians have 2 Villagers Empowered by a Pharaoh. Norse has dwarves, but they do not cut wood any faster than a Gatherer!

 

 

 

Free MU's simply rewards the boomer for booming - Age of Free Insurance™!

They punish aggressors with:

  • Fast MU's that raid their hunt/gold (effectively "stealing" their Heroes from the battlefield)
  • Slow/ranged MU's, basically functioning as free movable towers, to snipe their MU's or human military

They punish players who don't have access to a "water" Minor God on water maps.

The most egregious example being Hathor, spawning 2 free MU's in what amounts to a total of 350 Gold, 30 Favor, and 34 seconds of training time. In Vanilla, the Egyptian player would have saved the Gold and Favor for their Migdol, but, now, they can bypass Walls and terrain to wreak havoc via endless guerilla sniping for gratis!

(What was even the point of having MU costs?!)

 

Regarding free MU's for Norse:

  • Against a fast MU, a Norse rusher has to remove 2 Hersirs from combat to defend their hunt and gold. Especially in the early game, every hersir counts towards their rushing! That is why Norse rushing is basically non-existent in the macro-meta.
  • Against a slow/ranged MU, Norse has to trade/sacrifice a few Hersirs or else lose their free MU and human military to it over time!

 

The roles of attacker and defender have been thwarted!

 

 

 

Titans punish late-game players by giving the undeserving player a get-out-of-jail-free card.

So, instead of opting for a Wonder, establishing a decent trade route, or strategically placing towers on the map, it is easier for them to soft-reset the winning player's progress by trashing their bases and all of the effort they have put into establishing map control for the past 15 minutes - Age of Free Insurance™!

 

Regarding Titans for Norse, Norse is already at a severe disadvantage because their Villagers cannot build it. They have to either Ragnarok (to build or counter it) or REap SIGNificant losses. In other words, with or without Ragnarok, Norse's infantry will have to build or counter it, thereby removing their offensive ability and map control! Also, Norse Titans are disadvantaged because of their attack animation.

 

 

 

High hunt maps punish the defender who was denied of hunt (Shifting Sands onto your hunters, Pestilence denial, Athena Rush).

By this point, the game already plays by itself: the aggressor can either amass "infinite" hunt-based military to steamroll, or, Advance to the next Age quicker with a free God Power to dominate (Flaming Weapons on your Migdol, Underworld, Bronze) - Age of Free Insurance™!

 

Regarding high hunt maps for Norse, it creates the macro-meta illusion that Norse is overpowered because of their hunting bonus. However, on Vanilla maps, the truth (less hunt) clearly reveals itself.

 

 

 

Atlanteans:

  • With Citizens being the rough equivalent of 2.3 Villagers, Atlantean players barely need to macro as they have "twice" the amount of free time than the other civilizations to focus on their micro-meta!
  • Turmas: They are literally Egyptian Chariot Archers in the Classical Age, but with half damage and deal bonus damage to counter-infantry and counter-archers!
  • Multi-usage GP's - Age of Free Insurance™!
  • On water maps:
    • Atlanteans can comfortably Advance to 4:30 (and to 4:00 if they have a specific strategy). Shooting Docks are no issue to them when most Civilizations are still struggling to Advance to 5:00!
    • Their Arrow Ships are extremely fast, allowing them to kite from arrows and perform unprecedented guerilla attacks.
    • Their Hammer Ships have range.
    • They have access to offensive water MU's in the Classical Age!

 

Regarding Atlanteans for Norse:

  • Regarding Stymphalian Birds, there was a reason why Ensemble Studios had offensive flying MU's only available in the Mythic Age, not Heroic Age. And since Norse has no archers, the Axe of Muspell was simply a reaction Tech hastily given for Norse to research... in the Heroic Age?! Massed Classical Age Throwing Axemen are needed to defeat one Bird, which are easy pickings to Turmas, which deal bonus damage to anti-infantry! If the Norse player chooses to Tower instead, they lose both map control and Throwing Axemen.

 

 

 

2TC's:

  • Severely favor civilizations with a boomier disposition (which are easier to play)
  • Discourages aggression from the macro-meta
  • Turns Heroic Age into the new Classical Age

What used to be a savage landscape of Classical Fighting to determine who claims the right to expand their economy was simply undone by allowing 2TC's available in the Classical Age, rewarding boomier civilizations without having to contest for it (Ceasefire, Shifting Sands, free MU to distract rushers) - Age of Free Insurance™!

Along with 2 Villagers pumping out non-stop from 2TC'S, the game is already automated to the same, lame late-game; the game plays by itself!

 

Regarding 2TC's for Norse, although Norse can albeit boom, Ensemble Studios deliberately designed them to aggress instead, as evident by:

  • Infantry can only build (forward building)
  • Buildings are weaker (made of makeshift materials, temporary lodgings quickly assembled on enemy ground)
  • Hack-only ("unsophisticated barbarians" who do not defend)
  • Limited ranged attacks until the Mythic Age ("unsophisticated barbarians")
  • Odd unit composition (Anti-AoE composition)

 

 

 

AQ:

AQ does allow the player to micro more in the game. It is good for the micro-meta (the tangible tactics/strategies used in a match).

However, many players fail to realize that it establishes and locks the macro-meta (the general conclusion of the entire game (AoT)). It simply streamlines production, thereby removing the burden of prioritization, creating the illusion that the winner/boomer is the better RTS player, when in reality, they might not even know how to multi-task at all.

Real-Time Strategy is a game genre which allows players to execute multiple real-time decisions in response to their opponents' moves across a large map, althewhile restricted by their screen size and mouse/keyboard input; it is a game of immediate wits (the "'Strategy'" in RTS). 

Having the insight to prioritize on the available options does not equate to tedious meticulousness, a flawed argument disgruntled Casuals commonly use, "If you remove AQ, you must also remove all hotkeys".

AQ basically masks "low intelligence" and steals the glory from worthy players by robbing them of the opportunity to prioritize (and to show off) their macro-meta and simultaneously robbing viewers of an interesting game (because all of AoT's "meta" (macro-meta) is a byproduct of AQ'ing from 2TC's).

AQ does not belong in PC RTS and is better suited as a quality-of-life improvement for platforms with even less input or screen size, such as the console or smartphone.

Regarding automation, AoT pros mistakenly assert that only AQ automates the game - ironically, they defend the very mechanic that makes AoT play by itself: 2TC!

4.thumb.jpg.ce9c1ffb2e451d719cbdf99762cc3532.jpg

A confused boy.

AQ is simply an extension of 2TC.

 

Regarding AQ for Norse, it gives the defender even more time to micro against a Norse rush; AQ's benefits for a rusher is negligble compared to a defender - Age of Free Insurance™!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.1 On feedback

 

If you are asking AoT pros for feedback, you'll only get pro-AoT opinions. It is no surprise that most AoT pros do not Main Norse.

They are the first responders to say maps must be standardized™ and civilizations need more™ balancing™, but on the issues of free MU's or 2TC's, they are silent.

And no wonder, because it offers variety to their Mains: boomier civilizations.

 

5.jpg.0c5897a96265af5275bc8ec7e8b7dc60.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Tweaks

Spoiler

 

 

2.0a Researchable God Powers

 

A recurring theme in AoT and AoM: the player didn't earn it, but they get it for free.

 

That is why you'd often hear complaints, like:

  • "Nerf SS"
  • "Nerf Zeus"
  • "Nerf Ragnarok"
  • "A/E OP"

 

Balancing™ God Powers will never solve any of the problems because the game will still look like this because of power spikes!
1.PNG.60b0a545617b385a246369ef4aac093b.PNG

 

Power spikes are powerful because of the timing at which they were used.
Consider: Why does Deathmatch restrict players from using God Powers after Advancing?
Consider: Why do MU's cost resources?

  

JohnArbiter117

https://www.twitch.tv/johnarbiter117/clip/BlitheFineLyrebirdPJSugar-X1vcXT8THHWQ89Hf

 

AoL_Iron_maiden

 

 

But, when you add a cost to research God Powers, there would be fewer complaints. Because, when a player Invokes a God Power, it meant they had paid the price for it.


Therefore:

  • When Zeus Bolts  BoltIcon2.png.4747eeed5cd451dea85ad9ba6ec8e894.png your Villager in the Archaic Age, you cannot say, "Bolt is OP!" because the opponent had lost 30 seconds of Villager production AoM_Villager_Greek_Icon.png.5142934a0b10ed1376f9a087d12a702f.png prior to Invoking it!
  • If Thor researches Ragnarok RagnarokIcon.png.0a49f8d044a068c5a47e8111cec02977.png, you may have an extra 75 seconds to create counter-infantry units before their army even walks to your base!
  • If Set researches Shifting Sands ShiftingSandsIcon.png.290eb84a13901aac9f10e9e513815375.png, you may have 75 seconds to prepare an army to defend your hunters!
  • If Hades researches Earthquake EarthquakeIcon.png.85d270ca30cfdd490639ea990c4414f6.png, you may have 75 seconds to research Masons Masons.png.43e1bece13b0d1cd384fb77e391ed725.png!

 

 

 

 

 

The purpose of researchable God Powers is to:

  • Prevent imbalanced power spikes
  • Free the players' playstyles, undenied by "GP chess"

by allowing players to trade their economy (Villager production AoM_Villager_Greek_Icon.png.5142934a0b10ed1376f9a087d12a702f.png) for a powerful game-changing "spell".

 

 

 

Requirement 1: God Powers can only be researched in the Town Center TownCenterAOMGreek.png.d84387012c2003216186281311dbd2b2.png.

 

Explanation:

  • Bad ideas:
    • If God Powers could be researched in:
      • The toolbar, it would still create a power spike because it is a simply a time bomb whenever the player Advances.
      • Temples, it would still create a power spike because the player's economy is unaffected, and it would also punish Norse players who queue Hersirs from Temples.

 

 

 

Requirement 2: God Powers cost time and Favor to research.

 

Ideally, as with MU's, each God Powers should have their own research time and resource costs.

 

But, as for simplicity, I suggest:

  • Archaic Age ArchaicAge.png.ea3e124075939cdcbf03860c4b1d30d5.png GP's cost: 30 seconds, 0 Favor
  • Classical Age ClassicalAge.png.1e2b9ad2eb782971ae0ca4b08b6874ad.png GP's cost: 75 seconds, 10 Favor
  • Heroic Age HeroicAge.png.56d34f7d5c7807a5090f8b923c115e78.png GP's cost: 75 seconds, 15 Favor
  • Mythic Age MythicAge.png.f275632515b6aa9dcb1138e506f78c21.png GP's cost: 75 seconds, 15 Favor
  • For example: Bolt (Archaic Age GP) will always cost 30 seconds and 0 Favor even if the player is in the Mythic Age.

 

Explanation:

  •  
  •  
  •  
  • With Archaic GP's costing 30 seconds to research, early matches are less imbalanced, as these Major Gods are less likely to:
    • Zeus BoltIcon2.png.4747eeed5cd451dea85ad9ba6ec8e894.png: Bolt your builder
    • Poseidon LureIcon.png.c184ac177d1cde730ded08f515fe5074.png: Steal huntables (imbalanced on low hunt maps)
    • Odin GreatHuntIcon.png.a3c8883608efcd9cd07048cb2e126d23.png: Have an unfavorable hunt advantage (imbalanced on low hunt maps)
    • Loki SpyIcon.png.79ea70013e4ad8c638d143748f1fb048.png: Spying you
  • Archaic GP's 30 seconds is based off of Zeus' Bolt BoltIcon2.png.4747eeed5cd451dea85ad9ba6ec8e894.png and the Villager AoM_Villager_Greek_Icon.png.5142934a0b10ed1376f9a087d12a702f.png Training Time (14 seconds).
    • If Bolt costs 15 seconds (~1 Villager ) to Invoke, it would still be beneficial for Zeus to Invoke it early on (for example, Bolting a Villager/Ulfsark building a dock/temple), a 1:1 loss.
    • But if Bolt costs 30 seconds (~2 Villagers) to Invoke, the Zeus player would, at the very least, be more disadvantaged for Invoking it, a 2:1 loss.
  • Classical/Heroic/Mythic GP's: 75 seconds give enough time for players to prepare against God Powers - for reference:
    • Shifting Sands ShiftingSandsIcon.png.290eb84a13901aac9f10e9e513815375.png: Teleporting onto your hunters, stealing your herdables, or shifting your Villagers
    • Undermine UndermineIcon.png.a42ce5aff0670b3abc30523f8a54165a.png: Destroying your Tower or Walls
    • Ceasefire CeasefireIcon.png.654e2eab288e901f72d36393de96c1a4.png: Denying your rush
    • Pestilence PestilenceIcon.png.29e5eeda67e62370f345dcb262973364.png: Denying your military for 45 seconds
    • Greek Villager BarracksLonghouse_icon.png.e49c28ca9e8ddce78887fbf8a3ae109d.png/Archery-RangeArcheryRangeAOMIcon.png.c47cd65e3fe6ce3afe5b526f5461abbf.png/StablesStableaom.jpg.abaac0d34c2352420e499e0b688c1337.jpg building time: ~23 seconds
      • Training times: Hoplite (14s), Toxote (15s), Hippikon (20s/15s)
    • Egyptian Villager Barracks Longhouse_icon.png.e49c28ca9e8ddce78887fbf8a3ae109d.png building time: ~43 seconds
      • Empowered Egyptian Villager Barracks Longhouse_icon.png.e49c28ca9e8ddce78887fbf8a3ae109d.png building time: ~25 seconds
      • Training times: Spearmen (9s), Axemen (10s), Slinger (14s)
    • Norse Barracks Longhouse_icon.png.e49c28ca9e8ddce78887fbf8a3ae109d.png building time: ~28 seconds
      • Ulfsark Temple TempleAOMIcon.png.c097c20d6dceda7d02da0357ba094066.png building time: ~37 seconds
      • Training times: Ulfsark (9s/8.1s) , Throwing Axeman (16s/14.4s), Raiding Cavalry (18s/16.2s), Hersir (23s/20.7s)
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Archaic GP's Favor cost is 0, otherwise certain playstyles would be limited, and Zeus would also have an unfair advantage.
  • Classical/Heroic/Mythic Favor cost - for reference, the lowest offensive MU Favor cost for Greeks is 12 and for Egyptians/Norse is 15.
  •  
  •  
  •  
  • Bad ideas:
    • If God Powers only cost:
      • Time, it would still create a power spike because it is simply a time bomb whenever the player Advances.
      • Favor, it would still create a power spike as it does not give the opponent sufficient time to react to it.
    • If previous Age God Powers:
      • Are free after Advancing, it would still create a power spike; it's like getting free MU's from the previous Ages; the player didn't earn for it!
      • Have lowered costs, it would still create a power spike; it's like lowering the prices of previous Age MU's!

 

 

 

Miscellaneous explanations:

  • God Powers will be more versatile in usage and their intended powers unrestricted by mere balances™ that only attempt to solve surface-level symptoms.
  • This also creates for interesting games where players can target enemy Temples or Monuments to hinder their researching a God Power.
  • Bad ideas:
    • If there was an announcement every time someone begins researching a God Power:
      • The announcement can be spammed (For example: cancel research, research, cancel research...).
      • It will remove the element of surprise.
    • If there was an announcement whenever a God Power is fully researched, it will remove the element of surprise.

 

 

 

 

 

Instead of letting free God Powers decide/automate the game, let the players' skill (attention to detail, micro, macro) dictate their victories and losses!


3.1.PNG.cb2ab457a557c5cabcc997562fb1cb03.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.0b God Power tweaking ideas

 

 

The tweaks are simply suggestions.

 

Spoiler

Revert all GP balance™ changes to TT Patch 1.03
Explanation: Once GP's are researchable in Town Centers
TownCenterAOMGreek.png.d84387012c2003216186281311dbd2b2.png, power spikes would frequent less, so certain GP's need to be tweaked (to their supposedly intended effects).

 

Bolt BoltIcon2.png.4747eeed5cd451dea85ad9ba6ec8e894.png:

  • Deals ratio damage:
    • 50%:*
      • Nidhogg NidhoggIcon.png.61f592d11df082340e46a1709e72c45b.png*
      • Son of Osiris SonOfOsirisIcon.png.db7501133c9009af3f1ce754a898574b.png*
    • 80%:*
      • Ox Carts Ox_cart.png.f4847e222f804d0cdcc3cacdc9279f83.png*
      • Rocs RocIcon.png.2b06d8916e56ed2e831a17f2808bd886.png*
      • Transport ships Transportgreekicon.jpg.4b86ae63dd9520aac9af11405dbf1ab5.jpg*
    • 100%: Everything else*
  • * For example: If Nidhogg has 2 HP left, Bolt would deal only 1 HP (50% ratio damage).

Explanation:

  • Nidhogg and SoO are Mythic Age GP's, and to be killed by a mere Archaic GP is quite anti-climatic as it denies the purpose of even researching the GP.

 

Serpents PlagueOfSerpentsIcon.png.3b20e0183d5a0eacf511d50d5695efd7.png:

  • No debuffs against Villagers AoM_Villager_Greek_Icon.png.5142934a0b10ed1376f9a087d12a702f.png or Fishing Ships Fishingshipgreekicon.jpg.3bb98068d04c7cb871601a40994dcf30.jpg
  • Villagers AoM_Villager_Greek_Icon.png.5142934a0b10ed1376f9a087d12a702f.png cannot deal bonus damage to Serpents PlagueOfSerpentsIcon.png.3b20e0183d5a0eacf511d50d5695efd7.png
  • Increased Hack damage
  • Increase Snakes (9) to 13

Explanation: If GP's take 75 seconds to research, this is acceptable.

 

Shifting Sands ShiftingSandsIcon.png.290eb84a13901aac9f10e9e513815375.png:

  • Can transport unlimited friendly units within GP range

Explanation: If GP's take 75 seconds to research, this is acceptable.

 

Ancestors AncestorsIcon.png.c9ccf4c0ac91d8f2149dad3c3d87affc.png:

  • Increase Minions (13) to 17

Explanation: If GP's take 75 seconds to research, this is acceptable.

 

Locust Swarm LocustSwarmIcon.png.a3e769fe2ea346f560c730e74853a26d.png:

  • Increase Hack to 25

Explanation: If GP's take 75 seconds to research, this is acceptable.

 

Meteor MeteorIcon.png.36084601a441b74f34fe2efbba493a30.png:

  • Adjust Crush damage so 1 Meteorite deals 95% damage to a full HP Town Center TownCenterAOMGreek.png.d84387012c2003216186281311dbd2b2.png (140 HP left)
  • Adjust Hack damage so 1 Meteorite deals 100% damage to a full HP War Elephant Aomwarelephanticon.jpg.f1c5e17c100402a30ac956f1bf2b8617.jpg (0 HP left)

Explanation: Since the original Meteor is random, this change is acceptable.

 

Walking Woods WalkingWoodsIcon.png.824806d1f7a3b41481184c631d0c03f8.png:

  • Controllable
  • 2.2 speed

Explanation:

  • If they are not controllable, the AI can be baited away by a single unit.
  • 2.2 speed makes up for their original Hack and Crush damage values.

 

Fimbulwinter FimbulwinterIcon.png.868a714442bc37eefbea6969bc4c6901.png:

  • Controllable
  • Spawns at all settlements
  • No Crush damage

Explanation:

  • If they are not controllable, the AI can be baited away by a single unit.
  • By allowing Fimbul Wolves to spawn on all settlements, the GP can be used defensively as well instead of simply being 30 seconds of Christmas holiday for Markets.

 

Nidhogg NidhoggIcon.png.61f592d11df082340e46a1709e72c45b.png:

  • 4.4 speed

Explanation:

  • For reference:
    • 3.6 speed: Priests, Son of Osiris
    • 3.8 speed: Gastraphetes
    • 4.00 speed: Toxotes, Slingers, Pharaoh, Throwing Axemen
    • 5.00 speed: Chariot Archers
    • (Odysseus (4.30), Hippolyta (4.30), Chiron (5.30))

 

 

 

 

"Wouldn't Thor ThorIcon.png.7526ae98582f7db585e19896e4b40430.png be restricted if Dwarven Mine DwarvenMineIcon.png.bbca735e4551505cf0c9d932f7978690.png is researchable?"
Explanation: They'll survive; they'll just research Pig Sticker 
PigSticker.png.68119518b4037d99f8918af38a2756eb.png later in Archaic Age as his Dwarves' Dwarficon.jpg.59af99fe0928dd2086dbdfb9c355af88.jpg gathering rates:

  • Hunt Deer_icon.png.79f6e401a95987b5ca7fd2c9ccfbfdd3.png is the same as Gatherers Gatherericon.jpg.445235cac844d2921fb8ae659702cf7b.jpg
  • Berry/herdable CowAOM.png.387b03f7b1fd30ca1ee52e53190d7ba4.png is 0.01 slower than Gatherers Gatherericon.jpg.445235cac844d2921fb8ae659702cf7b.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.0c Researchable God Powers Alternative

 

 

Alternatively, if free GP's are to be kept...

 

 

Spoiler

 

Revert all GP balance™ changes to TT Patch 1.03.

 

 

And God Powers cannot prevent other God powers from being Invoked...

 

 

And...

 

Greek GreekIcon.png.11fc5044012f1a5668c2dc6597bd20a6.png Archaic Age ArchaicAge.png.ea3e124075939cdcbf03860c4b1d30d5.png GP's:

  • Bolt:
    • Cannot kill Ulfsarks whose controllers are in the Archaic Age
    • Cannot kill Villagers whose controllers are in the Archaic or Classical Age
    • Deals 80% ratio-damage:*
      • Ox Carts*
      • Rocs*
      • Transport ships*
    • Deals 100% ratio-damage: Eveything else*
    • * For example: If a Roc has 10 HP left, Bolt would deal only 8 damage (80% ratio damage). 
  • Lure (1,000 food): 250 Food

Greek GreekIcon.png.11fc5044012f1a5668c2dc6597bd20a6.png Classical Age ClassicalAge.png.1e2b9ad2eb782971ae0ca4b08b6874ad.png GP's:

  • Ceasefire (60 seconds): 15 seconds
  • Pestilence (45 seconds): 20 seconds
  • Restoration (8 seconds): 1 second

Greek GreekIcon.png.11fc5044012f1a5668c2dc6597bd20a6.png Heroic Age HeroicAge.png.56d34f7d5c7807a5090f8b923c115e78.png GP's:

  • Bronze (90 seconds): 15 seconds
  • Curse (800 HP): 450 HP
  • Underworld (1,800 HP): 25% HP (450 HP)

Greek GreekIcon.png.11fc5044012f1a5668c2dc6597bd20a6.png Mythic Age MythicAge.png.f275632515b6aa9dcb1138e506f78c21.png GP's:

  • Earthquake (12 seconds): 2 seconds
  • Lightning Storm (15 seconds): 5 seconds
  • Plenty Vault (3 resources/second): 0.75 resources/second

 


Egytian EgyptianIcon.png.40c685cd4ad734ec40aa5b8c99d1c95e.png Archaic Age ArchaicAge.png.ea3e124075939cdcbf03860c4b1d30d5.png GP's:

  • Prosperity (50 seconds): 20 seconds
  • Rain (60 seconds): 15 seconds
  • Vision (20 seconds): 5 seconds

Egytian EgyptianIcon.png.40c685cd4ad734ec40aa5b8c99d1c95e.png Classical Age ClassicalAge.png.1e2b9ad2eb782971ae0ca4b08b6874ad.png GP's:

  • Eclipse (65 seconds): 15 seconds
  • Shifting Sands (4,000 HP of friendly units):
    • Can transport 450 HP of friendly units
    • Cannot transport:
      • Enemy units
      • Mother Nature units

Egytian EgyptianIcon.png.40c685cd4ad734ec40aa5b8c99d1c95e.png Heroic Age HeroicAge.png.56d34f7d5c7807a5090f8b923c115e78.png GP's:

  • Ancestors (60 seconds): 20 seconds
  • Citadel (10 population): No population
  • Locust Swarm (20 Hack damage): 15 Hack damage

Egytian EgyptianIcon.png.40c685cd4ad734ec40aa5b8c99d1c95e.png Mythic Age MythicAge.png.f275632515b6aa9dcb1138e506f78c21.png GP's:

  • Meteor (15 seconds): 10 seconds
  • Son of Osiris (420 HP): 25% HP (105 HP)
    • Can be healed
  • Tornado (20 seconds): 3 seconds

 

 

Norse NorseIcon.png.73cc7e37d26a1814bbc9447ae9f2d884.png Archaic Age ArchaicAge.png.ea3e124075939cdcbf03860c4b1d30d5.png GP's:

  • Dwarven Mine (500/1,000/3,000/6,000 Gold): 200/400/1,200/2,400 Gold
  • Great Hunt (750 Food): 200 Food
  • Spy (27 LOS): 6 LOS

Norse NorseIcon.png.73cc7e37d26a1814bbc9447ae9f2d884.png Classical Age ClassicalAge.png.1e2b9ad2eb782971ae0ca4b08b6874ad.png GP's:

  • Forest Fire: 15 seconds
  • Undermine:
    • 25% total HP damage to Walls, Towers, and Fortresses

Norse NorseIcon.png.73cc7e37d26a1814bbc9447ae9f2d884.png Heroic Age HeroicAge.png.56d34f7d5c7807a5090f8b923c115e78.png GP's:

  • Flaming Weapons (60 seconds): 15 seconds
  • Frost (50 seconds): 15 seconds

Norse NorseIcon.png.73cc7e37d26a1814bbc9447ae9f2d884.png Mythic Age MythicAge.png.f275632515b6aa9dcb1138e506f78c21.png GP's:

  • Fimbulwinter (30 seconds): 15 seconds
  • Nidhogg (2,000 HP): 25% HP (500 HP)
    • Can be healed
  • Ragnarok: 20% Villagers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.1 Favor tweaking

 

Favor bounty

  • Serpents PlagueOfSerpentsIcon.png.3b20e0183d5a0eacf511d50d5695efd7.png have 0.48 Favor bounty.
  • Walking woods WalkingWoodsIcon.png.824806d1f7a3b41481184c631d0c03f8.png have 2.16 Favor bounty.
  • Walls Stonewall_icon.png.8a9a6857d2e2448a48592143b5e15d93.png have 2.16 Favor bounty.

Explanation:

  • Killing MU's obviously should give Favor bounty, regardless if it was created from a GP.
  • Attacking Walls uses the Norse player's time.

 

Advancing requires Favor:

  • Classical Age ClassicalAge.png.1e2b9ad2eb782971ae0ca4b08b6874ad.png Favor costs: 0
  • Heroic Age HeroicAge.png.56d34f7d5c7807a5090f8b923c115e78.png Favor costs: 25
  • Mythic Age MythicAge.png.f275632515b6aa9dcb1138e506f78c21.png Favor costs: 50

Explanation:

  • Classical Age costs 0 Favor so to not deny certain playstyles, and also because Zeus has 10 free Favor.
  • This prevents power spikes after Advancing to Heroic Age as many players have excess resources to "skip" to the Mythic Age.
  • This also creates for interesting games where players can target enemy Temples or Monuments to hinder their Advancing.
  • In other words, if you're in Heroic/Mythic Age, you've earned the right to be there.

 

Remove Favor costs from Wonders AomWonderIcon.png.fdd03fe6b76715437a78ecc2244d46f6.png and Fortresses Fortress.png.ebfad014783fdfcf282a1f8d40ae0c09.png
Explanation:

  • Fortresses and Wonders are not power spikes.
  • Wonders can be rebuilt, unrestricted by Favor.
  • Wonder Favor cost is already paid by the Mythic Age cost.
  • Fortress Favor cost is "reallocated" to the TC.

 

TC's TownCenterAOMGreek.png.d84387012c2003216186281311dbd2b2.png include a 5 Favor cost
Explanation: Streamlining villagers is a power spike.

 

 

 

 

 

2.2 Free units tweaking

 

Set SetIcon.png.10bac31fe645fdb62c266e002f2ac866.png  does not receive free animals after Advancing
Explanation:

  • Free animals are like free MU's
  • Free huntables are imbalanced, especially on low-hunt maps

 

Loki LokiIcon.png.1da3ad429cd19e77fabb20ee66502529.png MU-spawns:

  • Cost 0 Population
  • Last 60 seconds
  • Private features (only visible to the player and allies, to help them distinguish from non-Loki-MU-spawns):
    • "[MU] of Loki" (name)
    • Duration
    • Set Animal black swirl special-effect

Explanation:

  • Since Loki is the only Norse Major God to not have any hunting bonuses, Ensemble Studios gave him MU spawns.
  • 0 population: Loki Hersirs are rather limited in the late game, especially so at full Population, unable to utilize their MU spawn perk!
  • 60 seconds: To buffer Loki's power spikes; this will make their MU spawns function like Mercenaries.
  • Private features: So the opponent cannot tell which of the Loki player's MU is a spawn. This allows for guerilla/sacrificial tactics in the midst of chaotic situations.

Alternatively:

  • Classical Age MU-spawns last: 60 seconds
  • Heroic Age MU-spawns last: 45 seconds
  • Mythic Age MU-spawns last: 30 seconds

 

 

 

 

2.3 Water tweaking

 

Make military ship Kebeniticon.jpg.61b9b7b5bdbe3011538b3b0ff5d92ed6.jpg stats the same for all civilizations
Explanation:

  • May the player with the best micro win water fights!
  • Because Greek ships have extra range: they shoot further and kite better.
  • Because Norse ships are slower: they receive more arrows when kiting (and their extra damage is negligible when their wood economy can't even pump out ships as well as the Greeks/Egyptians!).

 

Egyptians:

  • Fishing Ships Fishingshipgreekicon.jpg.3bb98068d04c7cb871601a40994dcf30.jpg do not build
  • First Dock DockAOMIcon.png.d15863427231a7401007e204c0539dd1.png costs 50 Gold GoldAOM.png.10a2dc1b3b463667145d09aa37233031.png, but subsequent Docks cost 100 Gold GoldAOM.png.10a2dc1b3b463667145d09aa37233031.png

Explanation: Egyptians build "infinite" docks. By the time 1 Dock is down, 2 more spring out of nowhere! Consider how different Water "meta" (macro-meta) would be if Greeks and Norse could build 50-Wood Docks with their fishing ships as well!

 

 

 

 

2.4 Norse tweaking

 

Norse TC's TownCenterAOMGreek.png.d84387012c2003216186281311dbd2b2.png can queue Hersirs Hersiricon.jpg.c7d7717c6decad204482e711fc0cf0a7.jpg
Explanation: Greeks and Egyptians can build Heroes from their TC's. If Norse loses their Temples or Barracks, they would have no Heroes to create!

 

Norse Gatherers Gatherericon.jpg.445235cac844d2921fb8ae659702cf7b.jpg and Dwarves Dwarficon.jpg.59af99fe0928dd2086dbdfb9c355af88.jpg can build Wonders AomWonderIcon.png.fdd03fe6b76715437a78ecc2244d46f6.png
Explanation: So that Norse won't lose their map control or offensive ability (as only infantry can build Wonders)!

 

Dwarf Ulfsark models

Female Ulfsark models

 

Einherjars EinherjarIcon.png.7536f776041b5ddde98187c9ff39637c.png need more reach
Explanation: This is not a bug, but a severely limiting feature: Einherjars' special attack does not activate within normal melee distance.

 

Einherjar EinherjarIcon.png.7536f776041b5ddde98187c9ff39637c.png horn bug fix
Explanation: Their special attack does not boost the attack of friendly ranged units (regardless of the UI's (user interface) values)! Test it in the Editor: It depends on how the player right-clicked the Einherjar.

 

 

 

 

2.5 Miscellaneous tweaking

 

Revert most balance™ changes to TT Patch 1.03

Explanation:

  • There was a reason why Ensemble Studios had Technologies cost their prices and training times. Players are not entitled to a Minor God's Techs simply by booming/advancing; this is Age of Mythology, not Age of Copay Insurance™; players must earn the resources to research the technology.
  • Since Minor God Technologies are exclusive, by tweaking them to become more potent, along with the cheaper prices, the balances™ effectively turn them into "Armory" upgrades (cheap, accessible), giving the player many undeserved advantages.
  • And with GP's costing time and favor to research, with free MU's not spawning, therefore, most of the mythological balance™ changes are unnecessary.

 

Garrison limit is Population-based instead of unit-count-based
For example, a Roc should carry 3 War Elephants instead of 15 War Elephants.

 

Fine-tune "The Unknown" (map) and introduce it into ranked matches

Explanation: To add "infinite" variety to ranked matches.

Alternatively, hire the individual who created Mega Random Map.

 

Add 1 wall-connector distance redzoning to these buildings:

  • Towers SentryTowerIcon.png.a724bf9e378e7d2836b04d92538db31e.png
  • Docks DockAOMIcon.png.d15863427231a7401007e204c0539dd1.png
  • Wonders AomWonderIcon.png.fdd03fe6b76715437a78ecc2244d46f6.png

Explanation:

  • Buildings were not meant to be immortal, but that is exactly what wall-connectors do to them.
  • Regarding Towers, 4-wall-connectors relies on the honor system, which is not always followed.

Alternatively, for Towers, create a separate Tower with 4-wall-connectors attached (and with 1-wall-connector redzoning).

 

Reduce the redzoning distance of these Resources to 1 wall-connector:

  • Gold Mines MiningCampIcon.png.abce14950ade389fb557564921ff5aa7.png
  • Town Centers TownCenterAOMGreek.png.d84387012c2003216186281311dbd2b2.png

Explanation: By default, Gold Mines and Town Centers have 2 - 3 wall-connector redzoning, which prevents:

  • Defenders from walling-off invaders effectively
  • Aggressors from walling-off resources effectively


Reduce Wall's Stonewall_icon.png.8a9a6857d2e2448a48592143b5e15d93.png Line of Sight

Explanation: So they cannot see how much Gold is left on a mine when Walls are placed near it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 DLC's

Spoiler

 

 

 

3.0 On new "civilizations" (tech-trees)

 

Unlike AoE2, AoM has 3 tech-trees called "civilizations", whereas AoE2 has only 1 tech-tree, but many "civilizations".

 

By creating a new "civilization" (tech-tree), developers must come face-to-face with the maths Ensemble Studios have based AoM's balance upon.

 

All attempts at creating a new tech-tree ("civilization") have ended up as pseudo copies of existing ones:

  • AoT: Atlanteans are simply an Egyptian-based tech-tree ("civilization") with Greek undertones.
  • TotD: Chinese are simply a Greek-based tech-tree ("civilization") with Egyptian undertones.
  • Coming soon™: Aztecs are simply a Norse-based tech-tree ("civilization") with Egyptian undertones?

 

 

And why is that?
Because Ensemble studios had centered its version of balance across a rough rock-paper-scissors formula and civilizational themes:

Spoiler

mu.png.63d658cf1900487da18fa23b705f653b.png Military counters: Myth Units > Humans > Heroes > Myth Units...

human.png.1cf1089e10b9444716794a410d5b9f5c.pngHuman military counters: Infantry > Cavalry > Archers > Infantry...

water.png.e95960ae832f2dfb5dd44c75eee17540.pngWater military counters: Arrow > Hammer > Siege > Arrow...

stance.png.06919e1a87b954ab00b3e0648db08243.png 

  • Civilization combat: Aggressive (Norse), Defensive (Egyptian), Mixed (Greek)
  • Civilization Age: Classical Age (Norse), Heroic Age (Egyptian), Mythic Age (Greek)
  • Civilization counters and damage: Greek (Pierce) > Norse (Hack) > Egyptian (Crush) > Greek (Pierce)...
  • Damage counters: Crush (Siege) > Pierce (Buildings) > Hack (Human) > Crush (Siege)...

resource.png.b14b8409ae24f20a443e8316ae9bd1c9.png

  • Greek valued resources: Wood, Food, Gold
    • Islands have plenty of ore, but have fewer trees than larger land masses. The ocean provides much seafood.
  • Egyptian valued resources: Gold, Wood, Food
    • The Nile River allows for high yields of crops and animals, but the scarcity of trees and other resources in the desert meant trading was paramount to survival.
  • Norse valued resources: Food, Gold, Wood
    • Scandinavia has many trees, but the cold requires more effort for food output.

 

But new titles never learn:

  • The Titans Expansion Pack introduced Free MU's to "balance" aggressive playstyles...
  • AoMEE introduced a new unit to each civilization to "balance" what each lacked in...

 

That was why balance was disrupted when introducing a new tech-tree ("civilization").

That was why Vanilla players eventually dropped the game after TT was released.

That was why even AoT players rated TotD negatively on Steam. (Consider if TT had a Steam page in 2003!)

And that is why Aztecs and etc. will make the same mistakes (regardless of fan mod testing).

 

History repeats itself.

 

The game was already mathematically determined. For starters, try calculating every civilization's Villager gathering-rates-to-training-times ratio.

https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2151972324

https://aom.heavengames.com/downloads/showfile.php?fileid=11472

 

AoM does not have the luxury to add new "civilizations" (tech-trees) and balance them all, unlike AoE2 (which has 1 tech-tree, which is easier to balance and introduce new content).

Consider: Ask any StarCraft 1 or 2 player if they would like Microsoft-Blizzard to add a fourth faction into their game or StarCraft 3.

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.1 New "civilizations" (tech-trees) alternative

 

Many of AoM Gods do not have GP's, MU's, Techs, or Perks that reflect them.

For example, Bragi BragiIcon.png.9328b4d2f5f89c045cf1dcfec7512576.png (Norse god of poetry) has nothing to do with:

  • Flaming Weapons FlamingWeaponsIcon.png.8117f19792a4f36bd2ca1e8a920f098c.png
  • Ulfsarks Ulfsarkicon.jpg.97e1b18cd9b1c423af1d7883470b1626.jpg
  • Battle Boars BattleBoarIcon.png.3fbd2e28180691f759b0245178940dcb.png (which was crafted by dwarves!)

 

Therefore, when creating new AoM Major/Minor Gods, they do not need to be lore accurate!

Being lore accurate actually creates even more imbalances and restricts development creativity. (Source: TotD).

 

Idea: Create new Major and/or Minor Gods for the existing 3 civilizations:

  • Greeks GreekIcon.png.11fc5044012f1a5668c2dc6597bd20a6.png can use nymphs, or, reuse Atlanteans AtlanteanIcon.png.0040c5c852dcde2d08f31f2a02083afc.png (because their MU's were based off of Greek mythology!)
  • Egyptians EgyptianIcon.png.40c685cd4ad734ec40aa5b8c99d1c95e.png can use some cat
  • Norse NorseIcon.png.73cc7e37d26a1814bbc9447ae9f2d884.png can use a giant

 

Sample template:

  • Spoiler
    • Major God: Hodr (the blind Aesir, tricked by Loki to accidentally kill Baldr)
      • GP: Literally anything!
      • Tech: Literally anything!
      • Perk: Literally anything!
    •  New Classical Age Minor God: Aegir (sea giant)
      • GP: Literally anything!
      • MU: Literally anything!
      • Tech 1: Literally anything!
      • Tech 2: Literally anything!
    • New Heroic Age Minor God: Ran (Aegir's wife)
      • GP: Literally anything!
      • MU: Literally anything!
      • Tech 1: Literally anything!
      • Tech 2: Literally anything!
    • New Mythic Age Minor God: Alvaldi (giant)
      • GP: Literally anything!
      • MU: Literally anything!
      • Tech 1: Literally anything!
      • Tech 2: Literally anything!

 

In this way, you can keep creating new content; Casuals and competitive players will be satisifed:

  • Casuals get new content
  • Competitive players need not worry about balance™ because there would still be the same 3 tech-trees

 

 

 

 

 

3.2 Miscellaneous ideas

 

Idea: New Campaign scenarios do not have to include Arkantos and the gang; it can be separate stories like "The Golden Gift" Campaign.

 

Idea: Release mini DLC's for a fraction of standard DLC prices?

 

Idea: Introduce an expansion pack titled, "Enemies"?

  • The Campaign is about the resurrection of enemies of the Major Gods.
  • Introduce new antagonistic Major/Minor Gods.

 

Idea: Introduce a light DLC that expands water combat titled, "The Depths"?

  • Have a new map:
    • With a high-HP Kraken in the middle surrounded by a half island and Walls?
    • Or spawn Krakens every 5 minutes?
  • Introduce water myth units to each Minor God?

 

Idea: Create a new map with localized Tornados/Lightning-Storms on contested Gold Mines?

 

Idea: Free-to-play?

  • Paid players get the base game (Campaign, Multiplayer, old music)
  • Free players get:
    • Randomized God per day
    • No Walls
    • No Towers
  • In-game currency can be used to rent or purchase:
    • Music (old/new)
    • Single-player
    • Campaign
    • Editor
    • Major God
    • Civilization
    • Skins
    • Taunts
    • Gift for your free-to-play friends
    • Daily/Weekly tasks (for example: Kill 10 Villagers with Locusts)
    • Tournament wins shall be awarded in-game currency

 

 

 

 

 

 

Conclusion

Spoiler

 

AoM is like "Bloodborne" of the "Age of" series.

 

In Age of Mythology, Ensemble Studios intended for games be even aggressive and quicker than AoE2 as evident by:

  • Smaller maps
  • Lowered Population cap
  • Three main resources instead of four
  • Settlements instead of free Town Center placement
  • Redesigning Walls

Explanation:

  • Smaller maps meant:
    • Tighter matches instead of the standard boomy longplay of AoE2
    • Slower units
    • Lowered population
    • Resources are worth more
    • Faster gameplay
  • Lowered Population cap meant:
    • Units are worth more in stats (which is why Villagers could fend off military units); they are not as expendable as AoE2 units.
    • Buildings were also scaled along with the lower population cap, and therefore cannot be "spammed" like in AoE2; they are fewer and must be placed wisely.
  • Three general resources meant players have more time to implement their micro-meta instead of gathering resources.
  • Settlements meant the production of Villagers had to be earned (fought over); players cannot sit comfortably within city Walls and outboom their opponent like in AoE2.
  • AoM players cannot Wall like AoE2 players because AoM Walls are weaker, more expensive, and have longer build times.

 

To summarize, AoM was meant to be very micro-intensive, unlike AoE2 (macro-intensive).

All of which run contrary to what Casuals desire https://forums.ageofempires.com/t/what-would-you-like-to-see-in-myth-retold/217173

Casuals want:

  • New tech-trees ("civilizations")
  • Higher or unlimited population cap
  • Removal of settlements
  • Stone
  • Larger maps
  • Symmetrical maps
  • Multi-usage God Powers
  • Auto-walling

 

 

Why cater the game to an inflated majority who'd never touch the game again? Maybe during the weekends or the holidays?

https://www.reddit.com/r/AgeofMythology/comments/ye4rda/do_you_want_to_have_autoqueue_in_age_of_mythology/

 

The same Casuals who'd show up at every showcasing of re-releases, gobbling content from social media, only to hibernate until the next game's re-re-release or sequels?
https://steamcharts.com/app/266840

  • References:
    • Spoiler
      • AoMEE released on May, 2014
      • TotD released on January, 2016
      • COVID March, 2020
      • AoM Retold announcement on October, 2022
      • Occasional Steam sales

 

Even if AoM Retold were to release without:

  • AQ
  • AoT
  • New "civilizations" (tech-trees)

The threats to boycotting AoM Retold will not happen because Casuals will continue to consume.

 

Developers and Managers must know there will always be Casuals in any game. Refer to AoE2's population (nearly 10 times the size of AoM):

Are all 25k players like Viper? Yet, 10,000 AoE2 casuals did not find it difficult to memorize "Ctrl & 1" for grouping or "Q" for Hoplites!

 

 

The reason why AoM is filled with Casuals is not because it is a Casual's game. It is because The Titans Expansion Pack and free God Powers punish you for your:

  • Efforts (practicing, BO crafting)
  • Aggressive play
  • Risk-taking/creativity (microing outside of the established macro-meta set by free GP's and AoT)
  • Playing Norse as Ensemble Studios intended

 

And only reward you for picking the few, right choices:

  1. Pick any one top Major Gods (1.03 pantheon)1865273798_1.03pantheon.thumb.PNG.f4436c74f319ddb3af31ab900fee5b36.PNG                                                           TheMista interview (2015).
  2. 2TC     1000738127_boomraid.PNG.3a4f7b30c2d02575a26fc9b7c0f634eb.PNG  TheMista interview (2015).
  3. Advance to the Heroic age
  4. Lame
  5. Win
  6. Repeat!

 

 

Those who have played enough high-ranked 1v1 Supremacy games know there is a glass ceiling.

The diversity of choices is an illusion for 1v1 high-ranked Supremacy games.
There is only one way to play this game. And AoT pros know it.
Though they deny it, it is evident by their silent retirements or taking a break from the game (indefinitely).
Why? Because there is no one else to play with besides the same abuser smurfs!

 

 

 

With free GP's setting the tone of the game,

  With free MU's promoting only a 2TC-raid playstyle,

    With Villagers streamlining from 2TC's like a factory,

      With AQ automating all individual tasks,

        With 2TC's acting like mini-fortresses for map control,

 

Of course, "The game plays by itself"™!

 


In other words, what got boomy civilization players to become AoT pros in the first place is the same reason why they stopped playing the game!


mor.thumb.PNG.3a6886734da08d8bab98da177512f116.PNG

Burnout? No, burned out of players.

 

History repeats itself!

Is it any wonder why high-ranked 1v1 Supremacy quickly became so depopulated after the release of the "expansion" pack after catering to Casuals first, then boomier civilizations? Why AoM is saturated with Casuals and boomy Mains?

 

 

 

 

You can spend hours crafting the perfect BO or practicing against Titan AI Attacker, but the reality of the "meta" (macro-meta) is this:


1.PNG.60b0a545617b385a246369ef4aac093b.PNG

 


The game simply does not reward effort (time spent on creating a BO, practicing) or skill.

 

 

There is only one way to play this game.

1000738127_boomraid.PNG.3a4f7b30c2d02575a26fc9b7c0f634eb.PNG

TheMista interview (2015).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Any fresh or open-minded players see these grievances very clearly; they are the middle-class players, not bound by low standards (Casuals) or nostalgia (AoT pros (boomy Mains)).

They clearly see, that no matter how much effort they put into the game, they will not be rewarded.

No wonder why AoT fails to maintain a healthy high-ranked 1v1 Supremacy population!

 

 

What could have been interesting plays and innovative breakthroughs were all used to be determined by how fast a player could respond to and prioritize each scenario, making for exquisite matchups and interesting replays. Now? Everything is automated, the same game at the top level.

 

4.thumb.PNG.0b93eede1dc2b496589d07b8e18ab551.PNG

 

 

 

But, if you were to remove free GP's, free MU's, 2TC's, AQ, shooting Docks, and Atlanteans, then those middle-class players will see that the more effort they put into the game, the more improvement they will gain.

 

Because, they can improve their APM; they can try different strategies (risk taking); they can play, knowing they wouldn't be denied by some cheap GP or 2TC machine automation; they can create unique Build Orders; THEY CAN LEARN HOW TO USE HOTKEYS.

 

 

Free the players!

Let players work for their matches!

Let their micro be the determining factor of their winning or losing!

It will create for genuine and unique games, not cookie-cutter "choose your counter-civ, God Power chess, and press AQ 2TC auto-pilot and outboom" banality!

 

 

Allow "Real-Time" back into "RTS" for AoM.

3.1.PNG.cb2ab457a557c5cabcc997562fb1cb03.PNG

 

 

 

Spoiler

6.thumb.PNG.5f047bda4ce0f728f59e75af2142ef83.PNG

TheMista interview (2015).

 

2.thumb.PNG.1f0170e540a37803b3787425835986fd.PNG

3.thumb.PNG.6aa4a76c672d908d4abe76c129aa61b6.PNG

TheMista interview (2010).

 

5.thumb.PNG.2c9946b23afec77a78154118a96d9f2c.PNG

shini.thumb.PNG.9cf49c2894ce93d6a5811642842e4d53.PNG

naka.thumb.PNG.2ee716cf64731123fc71ef7b61d6c8ab.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAQ

 

Spoiler

 

"Wasn't the 2002 AoM competitive scene not good?"

 

They only had less than a year to flesh out their macro-meta before the wrecking ball that was AoT came in.
They simply didn't have enough time.


623913596_suppeaom.thumb.PNG.2331a076d15aec140914ca17588f53fb.PNG

Suppe/Love_soup interview (2009).

 

 

 

 

 

"Just keep AQ for TC's?"

 

Consider: Ask any StarCraft players if they want Microsoft-Blizzard to include AQ into their games or Starcraft 3.


Please read Section 1.0 regarding AQ.

 

 

 

 

 

"Why should Casuals have to suffer for competitive players' sake?"

 

Why is there even a ratings system?

How can 10,000 AoE2 Casuals learn hotkeys, but AoM's Casuals cannothttps://steamcharts.com/app/813780

Why should those who practice the game have to suffer for Casual players' sake?

 

 

 

 

 

"Wouldn't your suggestions alienate the majority of the playerbase?"

 

Ensemble Studios clearly centered AoM's balance around high-ranked 1v1 Supremacy, not: Team Games, Mods, Single-Player, or Age of Free Insurance™!

Even with the rise of smartphones and Battle Royale games, there were periods of player influxes to AoMEE, proving the game can still grow. https://steamdb.info/app/266840/graphs/

Why cater the game to an inner circle of elites content at maintaining™ the stale gameplay?

 

Please read Section 3.0 regarding Ensemble Studio's balancing AoM.

Please read Conclusion regarding boycotting and the state of the game.

 

 

 

 

 

"But wouldn't micro just end up as the same matchup always?"

 

Ensemble Studios didn't intend for AoM to be some muscle-memory game with the same map, like StarCraft, a game of perfectionism. That was why they created randomized maps so players could scout the map and use everything to their advantage. May the person with the best reflexes and intuition win! Random maps and relics mix things up.

But, no, you have players who just want to do their usual 2TC. They already know the point of the game ("meta" (macro-meta)). If someone else has an extra gold mine, they cry. They don't want to scout. They don't want to use the terrain. Everything must be standardized™ like chess pieces on the board. Because they don't want to put in the extra effort to Classical fight (that is, to create a new BO). Right. Because 2TC's and free MU's basically rewards the boomer - Age of Free Insurance™, not Age of Mythology!

Do you know who always complains about map balance™? Boomy players. Because all they do is the same thing over and over again: 2TC, AQ, raid, lame, 2TC, AQ, RAID, LAME!

Pro recs are a joke for scouting: they always miss 1 or 2 gold mines or hunt. That's why they always complain about map balance™. Because they never put in the effort to scout thoroughly.

(Standardizing™ maps is not the same as resolving map screws).

Having nearly symmetrical maps actually favor boomy civilizations!

 

Please read Section 1.0 regarding AoT.

 

 

 

 

 

"What is this 'Age of Free Insurance™'?"

 

See: Terms and Conditions may apply.

 

Although "Age of Mythology" does not have "Empires" in its title, it retained a core concept from the series, namely, the Advancing system:

  • A considerable amount of resources is spent to Advance
  • During Advancing, the researching Town Center could not produce Villagers for a minute

 

In other words, what could have been used to build one's military/economy for 60 seconds was instead spent as a long-term investment ("delayed gratification") for access to better Techs, MU's, and GP's. As you progress through the Ages, can your Empire withstand the "barbarians" during and after that time of vulnerability?

Instead, upon advancing in AoM and AoT, you receive:

  • Free God Powers
  • Free Myth Units
  • (Access to):
    • (2TC's (from Heroic Age to Classical Age))
    • (Titans (Mythic Age))

 

In other words, the game rewards you for your efforts of simply DOING NOTHING OTHER THAN BOOMING/ADVANCING.

 

Terms and Conditions:

Spoiler

Free for boomy civilizations, at the expense of: Norse players, creative risk takers, and aggressive playstyles.

 

In AoFI™:

  • Your APM does not matter.
  • Your Build Orders do not matter.
  • The Norse playstyle Ensemble Studios envisioned for AoM does not matter.
  • The "meta" (macro-meta) is an illusion.
  • There is only one way to play the game.

1000738127_boomraid.PNG.3a4f7b30c2d02575a26fc9b7c0f634eb.PNG

TheMista Interview (2015).

 

Creativity and risk taking are not effective in the macro-meta.

Because 2TC's have robbed Classical Age fighting (micro).

 Because shooting Docks robbed aggressors from advancing earlier.

  Because free God Powers robbed any risk-taking initiatives.

   Because free MU's have robbed aggressors of their initial firepower.

    Because AQ automated the game; your macro-meta micro does not matter as much.

     Because Atlanteans can Advance quicker than you can. ("Look, Ma! No hands!")

 

Please read Section 1.0 regarding AoT.

 

 

 

 

 

"What is this '™'?"

 

The majority of balancing™/standardization™ only address the symptoms, not the original problem (Age of Free Insurance™).

The balancing™ team is composed of several (old) AoT pros who excel(led) in the "meta" (macro-meta) established by Age of Free Insurance™. (Can you guess what their Mains are)?

 

7.1.jpg.94f1ec543b9429233c9b94c4aad7902d.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

"But isn't Norse already too overpowered?"

 

Norse is the most difficult civilization to play in 1v1 high-ranked Supremacy because of:

  • Build Order complexity
  • 2-Villager start
  • Acute map dependency (hunt bonus is at the mercy of the map)
  • Hack-only
  • Odd unit composition; anti-AoE logic

 

Each of the 3 Norse Major Gods have different perks, meaning their BO's are not interchangeable amongst each other as with the Greeks or Egyptians!

I challenge you to consistently create sub-4:30 Norse BO's on-the-go; unlike the Greeks and Egyptians, Norse does not have the flexibility to change Dwarves/Villagers/Ox-Carts/Ulfsarks midway and still achieve the same timing.

And although every high-ranked player can make a sub-4:30 Norse BO, the question is: is it effective - can that BO produce units from 3 military buildings on AQ non-stop, after the infantry built them immediately reaching Classical Age?

Norse BO's are harder to standardize because of Random Maps.hunt.thumb.PNG.1c47d8f41ceabd0127f695f76f4d7c6e.PNG

TheMista interview (2015).

That is why BO crafting is critical to any competitive Norse Mainers.

 

On low hunt maps, Norse is at a severe disadvantage because their hunting bonuses are neglible!

 

On Water maps:

  • Norse has 2 Villagers to begin with, unlike the Greeks (3 Villagers) or Egyptians (2 Villagers and a Pharaoh). Dwarves do not cut wood faster than Gatherers!
  • Their Arrow Ships:
    • Have the slowest speed, meaning they receive extra damage when retreating.
    • Their extra damage is "useless" if their lumber output cannot keep up with the Greeks or Egyptians.

 

Any AoM player familiar with StarCraft can liken Norse to the Zerg. However, AoM is not like StarCraft which most units can efficiently kite. Coupled with unit bumping, Norse units are like disabled Zerglings (and Throwing Axemen are like disabled Hydras).

 

That is why, for all of their disadvantages, complexities, and customizability, if you could win as Norse, you deserved it. Because you had the skill (high apm, good micro) and/or the preparation (excellent BO's).

 

Please read Section 1.0 regarding Norse.

 

 

 

 

 

"What if your suggestions create even more imbalances?"

 

Then balance™ the unit imbalances. Just get rid of the automation (2TC, AQ) and Age of Free Insurance™ (free GP's, free MU's) that locks the current macro-meta by restricting creativity and skill in 1v1 high-ranked Supremacy matches.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources

Spoiler

INTERVIEW WITH SOUP (2009)
https://www.rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?s=428ee2657f29a7d44998c1336814849f&portal=AOM&showtopic=128850

Interview with mG_TheMista (2010)
https://www.rts-sanctuary.com/index.php?s=428ee2657f29a7d44998c1336814849f&portal=AOM&showtopic=186108

 

CENSORED SINCE JANUARY 9, 2023

Spoiler

(Requires registration to view since January 9, 2023)

 

AQ Removal Yes/No (2013)
https://www.rts-sanctuary.com/The-Titans/showtopic=226742

(Topic created by TheMista)

 

6.jpg.c1e5d541bcaad98dbfa42d9e0334a4e8.jpg

 

Why is AOE2 more popular than AOM? (2014)
https://www.rts-sanctuary.com/The-Titans/showtopic=231170

Interview with TheMista (2015)
https://www.rts-sanctuary.com/Age-Of-Mythology/showtopic=235604

Time for new balance patch? (2022)
https://www.rts-sanctuary.com/RTS-Sanctuary/showtopic=250020

Should I retire? (2022)
https://www.rts-sanctuary.com/RTS-Sanctuary/showtopic=250066

AoM Retold MUST NOT Include Auto Que #aom #ageofempires
https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Lq2tXofg8lw/maxresdefault.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The author hoped this has been very insightful. : )

Let's celebrate the belated 20th Anniversary of this wonderful game (Thank You, Ensemble Studios) that has brought much joy in the hearts of fans around the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by IAmNotIronMaiden
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  • IAmNotIronMaiden changed the title to An Open Letter to AoM Managers/Developers on How to Save Competitive AoM

Well, as well written and formatted as this is, I don't know if they would need to change the game so drastically to achieve what you are seemingly after. They could first of all try changing some of the stat values of units/buildings, and see if that can encourage a more aggressive playstyle. Likewise they could simply add a 'Vanilla' gamemode alongside Deathmatch/Lightning. 

Edited by Leinadarcher
Me wording bad
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