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Remove Autoqueue from Ranked Games

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My actual preference is to remove autoqueue completely, however, I realize that this is an unpopular opinion with many current players. Therefore, I think that we could compromise! Remove autoqueue from ranked games 🙂, so any casual or non-ranked (community) games can include autoqueue.

Hear me out: (the following are my main points)

  • Autoqueue does not exist in other notable RTS games (including other "Age of " games) - it only exists in one or two other small games. If we want to attract more players, I think that autoqueue would be more of a detriment than a benefit.
     
  • Multitasking is a skill that should be rewarded in competitive play. Handling army, economy, defense, and offense all at the same time is a LOT easier when you don't need to focus on creating units. 
     
  • I think that autoqueue is too similar to "the game playing itself". I don't think that it is simply automating repetitious actions.
     
  • AoM has a good balance of manual mechanics and "ease of life" mechanics. For example, with building groups and hotkeys, you can easily queue up many units at one time with 2 keyboard strokes. A bad example of manual mechanics is AoE1 & [original] AoE2 -> farms had a limited amount of food, so the player was required to rebuild a farm when the food expired. Farms are a non-issue in AoM, but I think that this is a bad example of manual mechanics - later in the game, you would be required to rebuild 30-60 farms again and again and again. A good example of manual mechanics is the necessity to create which units you want to use.
     
  • Compare AoM to chess. Many top chess players become bored with chess because chess engines can play almost perfectly. This leads to human players memorizing engine-generated moves instead of using their own brain power and creativity. I think that autoqueue is a little bit like this - it adds in a technological aspect that, in a way, removes the humanity and human creativity from the game. This thought again relates to the idea of "the game playing itself". Humans make mistakes, and that makes the game more dynamic and impressive when you see a top-level player who truly plays the game so incredibly well. 

Ultimately, I want AoM to be as popular as AoE2! I want to see tournaments and mods and scenarios and YouTube videos and sponsorships and everything! I think that to do this, we need to assess what would make the game more enticing to both casual and competitive players. I think that keeping autoqueue is a detriment, but we could compromise and only remove autoqueue from ranked games.

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Autoqueue getting fully removed should never happen. I think it's great for new players or those who just want to play casually - aka the vast majority, upwards to 80-85% of players.

However, players in ranked and competitive multiplayer are not playing casually. They are most of the time not new to the RTS genre. AQ is one of the most severe automation systems I have ever seen and I completely agree with you that the game plays itself. It would be more appropriate for a console edition, but on keyboard and mouse we have a decent amount of quality of life as is.

That said, a slight bit more QoL would not hurt, such as my subselect cycling suggestion. This would allow players to have most production buildings on 1 control group - a very common way to play across many RTS. Same goes for attack move - always babysitting your units so that they don't walk into enemies even while on attack move is not appropriate for 2023.

The game would simply not feel modern without these.

In the end, I fully agree that AQ needs to go from ranked. Players this way can create far more chaos for their opponents, and we all will have to make some calls about whether to go for that triple raid or just focus on fundamentals.

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Yeah there's a line where quality of life becomes  the game playing itself and AQ crosses that line. Remove from Ranked.

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