Age of Empires IV

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.

So I snagged the game and thought I’d do the Art of War missions before diving into the campaign. It looks like you can’t save at all during these missions? WTF?!

Yeah, the online situation in this game is ass.

You can’t pause a custom game if you’re playing with a friend, as in the prior games, so god help you if you set up a fun match that may span hours.

If you need to leave during a fuckin campaign mission and load a save, the game technically lets you move on, but you don’t pop an achievement, and the progress screens won’t count the mission as completed.

There’s a lot of promise and fun in the game, but a ton of it was clearly built exclusively with online ranked/competitive play in mind only.

Sigh, this might make me refund the game. I only care about single-player. Thanks!

It’s still worth it; the campaign and masteries are a blast. It’s just got some frustrations.

K I’ll just dive into the campaign then.

I’m terrible at them.

I have the benefit of my wife being ahead of me in the game and being an old hat at AoE. I only started playing the series during lockdown, when she finally coerced me to play mp with her. She’s been playing II since it came out, so I built her a new PC for Christmas for IV.

Dumb question: what are masteries?

-Tom

There’s a little crown icon on the bottom of the main menu. Click it, and you’ll see masteries for each civ, that must be completed in order. Getting them forced me to really pay attention to how each civ played, and has made me a better player. It also made me appreciate some of the civs I’d kind of discarded when I was just trying them via random choice.

Edit I should add that I went through the first seven for each civ, then went back to start going through the remainder, one civ at a time. Not sure that’s the best way to do it, but it’s how I did it.

They’re like challenge/advanced tutorial scenarios. Prep for multiplayer.

Plus you get cosmetics, and who doesn’t love those

Ah, you’re talking about achievements, aren’t you? And like most achievements that do pretty much nothing, these just unlock cosmetics? I didn’t realize those were called masteries.

It sounded like you were talking about single-player content, so I wondered if you meant something new that I hadn’t seen!

-Tom

Can you save during these?

Nope. Just like everything else in the game, they’re not save friendly. I assume since everything connects to their backend, they don’t separate out what should really authenticate/worry about exploits, etc. Since all XP goes into one pool, it’s not local friendly.

It’s not really an achievement list. You’ll get one for completing each set. It’s a flat list of things to do.

Here’s the list - http://www.gameskinny.com/h4o56/age-of-empires-4-complete-masteries-rewards-guide

Consider it a fancier training list.

Man, this lack of saving really bugs me.

The very first words in that link are “Age of Empires 4 Masteries are essentially in-game achievements”. :)

Note that I’m not trying to denigrate masteries! If I were into Age IV, I’d be into chasing down masteries because I’m a sucker for that sort of thing. But as the old saying goes, “If walks like an achievement and if it quacks like an achievement…” But I do appreciate that they’re probably really helpful for learning the different factions, especially for multiplayer.

-Tom

Ha! I guess I’m being pedantic with how I define achievements.

I’ve never been an RTS fan; largely because I suck at them. My wife patiently trained me up on AoE II this past couple years, but mainly for multiplayer with her. I tried, but did not enjoy the single player.

So AoE IV is my first RTS campaign in over twenty years, and I’m greatly enjoying it. The bonus videos and sound design are top notch.