Age of Empires IV

It’s essentially using the typical AoE3 tournament format for map selection and civ choice for Bo3 and Bo5.

The first game is always on Dry Arabia with free choice of civilization for both players. Then the loser of the game gets to pick the next map from a pool of Dry Arabia, Altai, Hill and Dale, High View, and Lipany. If you win a game you can’t repeat that civ choice, while the loser can repeat their civ choice for the next game if they desire to.

It is nice that there are a bunch of folks from other communities taking part instead of just aoe2 players.

It certainly has been interesting to see the cross-pollination of players from the different AoE scenes and predominantly Starcraft 2.

And so far the French as a civ haven’t been absolutely dominating the Bo3 match-ups in terms of victories, which is refreshing.

Oh boy, that final game of the day ended up being a great note to end on. The Top 8 next weekend is going to be exciting, a good mix of RTS backgrounds involved.

Here’s one of the best games from the Round of 256 from yesterday’s Genesis Qualifier. Simtom’s Mongols push TheViper’s French to the limit in a Best of One (Bo1). Hopefully, the third and deciding game between TaToh’s French and Kasva’s Abbasids, from the Round of 16, is uploaded at some point too.

Meanwhile, Len Hafer and Ian Boudreau discussed Age of Empires IV on the latest episode of the Three Moves Ahead podcast.

Edit: Nice, someone uploaded a cast of game three from the Round of 16 between Tatoh and Kasva. This decider to see who progressed into the Top 8 was one of the games of the tournament\day for me.

The quarter-finals of the Genesis Tournament were held today, whittling the field down to the Top 4. Some great games on show, with MarineLord versus TheMista being the highlight of the quater-finals for me. Semi-finals and the grand final are being held tomorrow (Sunday). Best of Five (Bo5) format brought out a lot more Civ variety, and even when the French were deployed they didn’t have a particularly good time against the other factions.

Until today’s quarter-finals are uploaded on Youtube, you can rewatch today’s action via the EGCTV VoD. Also, there is a patch incoming on Monday.

I see that TheViper made it, but Hera didn’t.

90k+ watching AoE4 on Twitch at the moment. 50k is one channel, but still a good amount.

A post-release development roadmap was released for Age of Empires IV today. You can find the full in-depth details over here. As always, dates and such are subject to change during development. They also touch upon feedback they’ve received from fans about customisable hotkeys and such.

Relic also hosted a livestream discussion today about the roadmap, the next patch, some of the upcoming balance changes, etc. One balance change the livestream touched upon was the Dehli Sultanate’s unique tech mechanics. Which can see Delhi take a while to get going, due to the long tech times with just a few scholars built, but then massively spike in power in the late game.

The first major update for the game, the winter update, is coming next week. Been having lots of fun playing the game so eager to see what the full update contains. HRE prelets no longer bugging out if pushed around by something is going to be a god-send.

I’m still trying to get my mind around the fact that there is a new Age of Empires game and people are playing it. I really should buy it one of these days.

It’s on Game Pass if you don’t want to shell out the $60 but want to give it a spin.

After sinking over 100 hours into it, definitely a very rough diamond in need of more polishing. On the plus side, there is the solid foundation there for a great game if Microsoft and Relic can support it in timely enough fashion. Player base dropped off a bit since the release hype thanks to some of the issues but it’s still managing to pull in decent numbers on the Steam charts, plus whoever is playing via GamePass, in spite of AoE2:DE’s continual looming existence.

Speaking of which, should be a new patch deploying this month and the ranked seasons mode is going into a closed beta period ahead of launch later on this year. Here’s hoping the patch manage to keep the new bugs to a minimum and fixes many of the issues that exist. Hard to get a gauge for where some civilizations sit within the game’s balance if a large chunk of their design is bugged (i.e., Delhi Sultanate). I’ll be glad when the HRE’s spears can finally brace again, that makes a major difference to how effectively Spearmen counter Knights\Lancers in the game.

That said, still been enjoying watching the tournaments that have been organised for AoEIV so far. The grand final, a best of seven (Bo7) format, of the 3v3 Pro League tournament is being hosted today on Twitch.

Yikes, that sounds dire. Can you say a little about what’s going on, in layman’s terms? Is it just a multiplayer balancing thing, or do you literally mean bugs?

-Tom

For some civilizations it is just a multiplayer balancing thing, the usual thing where something is a bit overtuned and dominant in PvP situations. Mongol Tower rushes? The risk-reward ratio is simply overtuned in the favour of too much reward for the risk invested. Sometimes something is overly powerful due to a possible bug, currently Rus Horse Archers attack faster than the tooltip indicates they should. Then in some cases it’s literally bugs throwing the whole game’s intended design out of whack.

The brace ability unintentionally being broken for HRE and Dehli spearmen skews the whole counter system since it means cavalry don’t enter a stunned state for about a second if attacked by Spearmen. Then to top it off Knights\Lancers also get their charge damage off, the later is important since Knights\Lancers deal extra damage on the charge and for a few seconds afterwards. And guess who relies on Spearmen for their army until Castle Age? Delhi, heh.

Thus, it’s probably about twice as hard\costly to counter Knights\Lancers as HRE and Dehli because you can’t pin down cavalry when you catch them. While also taking extra damage that you shouldn’t be taking during said combat encounters with cavalry.

The Dehli Sultanate get a particularly rough time of it though because they have a long list of issues. The research time of technologies in their Keeps is bugged and goes up instead of down as you garrison more Scholars in Mosques. Some of the benefits of their Landmarks are not working as intended and offer either none or little of the stated benefits. Spearmen aren’t working as effectively as a counter to cavalry as intended due to previous discussed bug.

Then Relic also rebalanced the base research times of their technologies for Dark Age, Feudal Age, Castle Age and Imperial Age in a November patch (IIRC) and vastly overtuned how long Imperial Age technologies take to research – even with Scholars garrisoned to speed up research times. So, while more an oversight than a bug, it just rubs salt into the wounds because Dehli effectively have little of a power spike in Imperial Age because all the technologies and unit upgrades that come with Imp Age often take far too much time to come into play. Free technology ain’t much of a unique Civ bonus if you are defeated long before the rewards have time to kick in.

The fact that Dehli carved out a niche within competitive multiplayer in spite of their issues is thanks to being really good on maps with rivers or lakes. Having fishing boats that have a ranged arrow attack helps with water control and impacting your opponent’s ability to fish. And with how high gather rates for fishing are in the game, he who can control and boom on water has a pretty powerful economic advantage over their opponent. Then you hope you can close out the game before you need the Imperial Age technologies to give you a power boost.

Entirely sensible for parts of the development staff to be taking some much deserved time off post-release and over the holiday season. However, it does mean the community has been dealing with issues like HRE and Dehli Spearmen being bugged for almost 2 months now. So, understandably the fanbase has been getting a bit tetchy about the pace of updates lately.

The new patch deploying as soon as tomorrow. Which will go some way to addressing some of the issues. Looks like the patch in February will be the one to watch out for though, since it will contain fixes for some animation cancelling exploits and other major issues.

Just in time to shake up the meta for the next major tournament though, the $20,000 Winter Championship happening this weekend.

Revealed today, AoE IV getting its own version of AoE2’s NAC tournament entitled N4C. Total prize pool of $100,000 makes it the largest tournament so far by quite a margin, with the winner taking home $30,000 of that.

New patch came out this week, ahead of the first qualifier event for the $100,000 N4C tournament. Solved a number of important issues, such as many animation cancelling exploits for increasing unit DPS. The major update bringing the official Ranked mode and such still to come.

Been experimenting with the small buffs to the Abbasids the past few days, with the faster Age-Up times and improved berry gather rates. Guess I am mainlining Abbasids in team games for a while since I went on a bit of a winstreak with them post-patch. Abbasids were already decent in team games due to the extra space the larger map sizes afford them but now the economic boom potential is just even greater.

Usually main the Holy Roman Empire but Abbasids with two Town Center builds has some great economy potential and military sustainability.

The major Spring Update launched earlier this month about three weeks ago. Has brought quite a few improvements to the game that have helped reinvigorate it. Nomad MegaRandom has been a popular fixture among modded community games that I have been participating in recently. People already creating some interesting new maps, gamemodes, tuning packs, and other kinds of mods.

All in all, I have been having quite an enjoyable time with the game recently. If Microsoft had launched with the game in this state I feel like they would have retained more of the initial release playerbase. That said, the game has still formed a healthy community, by modern RTS standards, despite some of its faults along the way.

I need to dig into the mod tools more at some point and get my hands dirty seeing how far I can push the boundaries.

Oh that all looks terrific. I’m primarily interested in single player and this stuff looks like it can expand that quite a bit.