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RTS Age of Empires IV - Medieval Again

Lacrymas

Arcane
Joined
Sep 23, 2015
Messages
17,917
Pathfinder: Wrath
And the galaxy brain take is that the game isn't very good and ergo not very popular. When I played it during the open beta, it just felt schizophrenic to me and it wasn't clear what the idea even was. It isn't as improvisatory as AoE3 in which one element doesn't have anything to do with another, but it's still all over the place. They would've had more success with Age of Mythology 2 imo.
 

Zboj Lamignat

Arcane
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
5,491
It looks, runs and smells like poo, but it doesn't change the fact that it still maintains respectable player numbers and its initial peak was absolutely insane.
 

Young_Hollow

Liturgist
Joined
Nov 1, 2017
Messages
1,104
Initial momentum could be because of many AoE2 pros switching over, although temporarily and tournaments being hosted relatively quickly after the game's launch. M$ was successful in carrying over a lot of the experienced people in both pro players and tournament organizers from AoE2, although it was not permanent. Initial playerbase was big but it fell off quickly. And here's the biggest reason for lack of developer attention:


I recall Grey Goo being panned and its uptake being delayed because of lack of replays, though it lacked the initial push that AoE4 had.
 

Lacrymas

Arcane
Joined
Sep 23, 2015
Messages
17,917
Pathfinder: Wrath
It looks, runs and smells like poo, but it doesn't change the fact that it still maintains respectable player numbers and it's initial peak was absolutely insane.
AoE3: DE pulls in the same numbers, yet nobody cares about it. Nobody cares about AoE4 either, that much is clear, maybe that's why its continued development has been so slow.
 

Zboj Lamignat

Arcane
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
5,491
It actually beats AoE3 DE and AoE2 HD (the one before DE) quite comfortably and those numbers are definitely nothing to scoff at. Of course, it's a far cry from low iq big hitters like nu-civ or cuck-a-dox games, but still a lot more than most contemporary strategy titles that are considered at least moderately successful.
 

Lucumo

Educated
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
640
This was obviously a low-cost and low-effort project and they still didn't exactly come to the grips with the fact that for some bizarre reason (probably just extreme classic rts thirst) it turned out p. popular.
Did it turn out to be pretty popular? As you said, classic RTS thirst made it sell a lot in the beginning + marketing. Afterwards, they pumped a lot of money into the competitive scene but if the game sucks, that's simply not sustainable (see Starcraft II). So when they stopped, player and viewer numbers decreased a lot. I don't even know when I last saw the game being relevant and AoE II seems to consistently beat it (not surprising, considering it's one of the best RTS games ever).
 

Lacrymas

Arcane
Joined
Sep 23, 2015
Messages
17,917
Pathfinder: Wrath
It actually beats AoE3 DE and AoE2 HD (the one before DE) quite comfortably and those numbers are definitely nothing to scoff at. Of course, it's a far cry from low iq big hitters like nu-civ or cuck-a-dox games, but still a lot more than most contemporary strategy titles that are considered at least moderately successful.
If less than 200 players more is "beating AoE3 comfortably" then sure, I guess?
tuOu890.jpg
 

Lucumo

Educated
Joined
May 9, 2021
Messages
640
Did it turn out to be pretty popular?
For a "classic" base-building RTS, yes.
You can't define popular by reaching SC2 numbers or nothing can be considered popular.
I didn't though and SCII is also a game that had "artificial" popularity. Blizzard sued the shit out of broadcasting channels in South Korea and the esports governing body to force them to switch from BW to SCII. They basically took over the existing infrastructure that existed there and in the rest of the world. And while the rest of the world was more accepting, South Koreans weren't as much. Professionals players retired to play BW on streaming websites but, of course, a lot stayed due to contracts and/or to earn money which was inevitably coming into the new scene. However, as the game wasn't good, players and viewers switched away (it's one of the reasons LoL became so popular in South Korea - BW was getting killed). And sure, money was coming into the scene but the viewers weren't there and dwindling. Blizzard pumped a lot of it into the scene to sustain it but eventually, they stopped and it broke down. Even taking forever with their releases to extend the life span didn't help. If you look now, what's the most popular RTS game? It's BW, it's still regularly getting 100k+ viewers on streaming websites alone (thanks to South Korea who never gave up on it). Another thing which helped SCII go as long as it did was inertia. The SCII release basically killed BW and Warcraft III outside of South Korea and the people who made and enjoyed content for many years couldn't just stop. They kept going and going, even if it was subpar...but one can only sustain something like that for so long before one becomes too miserable. So support dwindled slowly and people went back to Warcraft III or switched to something else.
The point is, with Microsoft pumping money into the scene, can popularity really be measured? For me, popularity is something that is organic and comes from the players, not something that is being propped up (most times at a loss) by entities tied to the game.

It actually beats AoE3 DE and AoE2 HD (the one before DE) quite comfortably and those numbers are definitely nothing to scoff at. Of course, it's a far cry from low iq big hitters like nu-civ or cuck-a-dox games, but still a lot more than most contemporary strategy titles that are considered at least moderately successful.
If less than 200 players more is "beating AoE3 comfortably" then sure, I guess?
tuOu890.jpg
And let's not forget that you don't need Steam to play AoE III. No clue if you do need it for AoE IV though.
 

Zboj Lamignat

Arcane
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
5,491
If less than 200 players more is "beating AoE3 comfortably" then sure, I guess?
It's slightly over 5k versus slightly under 3,8k on 30d average, so yes, comfortably.

Did it turn out to be pretty popular?
Of course it did. For a modern strategy game to achieve an opening peak on the level of some retarded AAA open world crossdressing looter shooter with visceral story and then maintain at least a couple of thousands concurrent players at any given moment is very impressive. There are a lot of modern strategies that are considered successful, get good reviews, strong post-launch dlc support yada yada that run under 1k and have a starting peak of like 10k.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
5,011

It's odd that AoE always portrays the Turks as the "gun" civilization. In their own time they were not known for any extraordinary skill with firearms or artillery.


Depends which Turks. The original Turks, Seljuks, were a steppe people, similar to the earilier Huns and the later Mongols. The later Turks, Ottomans, did indeed start utilizing artillery pretty heavily at some point, that's how they took down the walls of Constatinople in 1453. Not sure about handguns, but since they fought against the Europeans quite extensively and effectively throughout the 1400s/1500s/1600s, I imagine they probably had to have had at least some handguns/arquibusiers/muskets.
 

KateMicucci

Arcane
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
1,676

It's odd that AoE always portrays the Turks as the "gun" civilization. In their own time they were not known for any extraordinary skill with firearms or artillery.


Depends which Turks. The original Turks, Seljuks, were a steppe people, similar to the earilier Huns and the later Mongols. The later Turks, Ottomans, did indeed start utilizing artillery pretty heavily at some point, that's how they took down the walls of Constatinople in 1453. Not sure about handguns, but since they fought against the Europeans quite extensively and effectively throughout the 1400s/1500s/1600s, I imagine they probably had to have had at least some handguns/arquibusiers/muskets.

They used only as many guns as their contemporaries, and they weren't pioneers in the field, which is why I don't think it makes sense as their national theme. Their artillery experts were foreign christians, maybe because christians were good at casting brass for church bells already. At Constantinople, the giant cannon that's their national unit was cast and crewed by a christian mercenary. The turks didn't even know the correct way to bring down the walls with their cannons until a venetian diplomat casually explained that they were doing it wrong. Yes, the turks had guns, but so did everyone they fought against at the time, including the constaninople defenders. The turk's firearm technology was never ahead of contemporary europeans. What the ottoman turk military was known for was their skill as sailors and as cavalry, which would be a unique combination of strengths in the game. If you look at what europeans were writing about turks at their zenith, their concerns were 1. how to win a battle against 200,000 horsemen, and 2. how to deal with the turkish corsairs who were ravaging as far as spain and southern france. The turk's outmanuevering of the venetian and genoese navy at constantinople contributed much more to the victory than their giant meme gun, which could have lost them the siege when it burst and nearly killed sultan mehmed.
 
Joined
Dec 17, 2013
Messages
5,011
Still utilized artillery effectively... I mean if you start really examining things, how many civs in aoe games were really cast historically... At some point game balance and need for variety take precedence.
 

FreeKaner

Prophet of the Dumpsterfire
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
6,888
Location
Devlet-i ʿAlīye-i ʿErdogānīye

It's odd that AoE always portrays the Turks as the "gun" civilization. In their own time they were not known for any extraordinary skill with firearms or artillery.


Depends which Turks. The original Turks, Seljuks, were a steppe people, similar to the earilier Huns and the later Mongols. The later Turks, Ottomans, did indeed start utilizing artillery pretty heavily at some point, that's how they took down the walls of Constatinople in 1453. Not sure about handguns, but since they fought against the Europeans quite extensively and effectively throughout the 1400s/1500s/1600s, I imagine they probably had to have had at least some handguns/arquibusiers/muskets.

They used only as many guns as their contemporaries, and they weren't pioneers in the field, which is why I don't think it makes sense as their national theme. Their artillery experts were foreign christians, maybe because christians were good at casting brass for church bells already. At Constantinople, the giant cannon that's their national unit was cast and crewed by a christian mercenary. The turks didn't even know the correct way to bring down the walls with their cannons until a venetian diplomat casually explained that they were doing it wrong. Yes, the turks had guns, but so did everyone they fought against at the time, including the constaninople defenders. The turk's firearm technology was never ahead of contemporary europeans. What the ottoman turk military was known for was their skill as sailors and as cavalry, which would be a unique combination of strengths in the game. If you look at what europeans were writing about turks at their zenith, their concerns were 1. how to win a battle against 200,000 horsemen, and 2. how to deal with the turkish corsairs who were ravaging as far as spain and southern france. The turk's outmanuevering of the venetian and genoese navy at constantinople contributed much more to the victory than their giant meme gun, which could have lost them the siege when it burst and nearly killed sultan mehmed.


This is not exactly true, Ottomans did employ Christian engineers, primarily Italians and Germans, but so did everyone else. Engineers and gunners at the time were sought after professionals, Spanish, French and British all themselves employed such engineers. What made Ottoman production different at the time was that Ottomans established a system of chain of foundaries and gunpowder mills across the empire so their production quotas were quite high, they also cast their guns muzzle first which meant they were able to mass artillery easier. In that way Ottomans at the time had a centralized state manufactory of artillery at a level that only Venetians had but at a greater scale while other states it was mostly artisanal or private enterprise. As for Ottoman skill with guns, their naval gunnery was top tier, Venetians were the best at this time, but Ottomans were up there with Portuguese. Their land gunnery, earthenworks and siege warfare (trenching, mining, concentrated bombardment) were all top tier. As for firearms, Janissaries were good musketmen, training with live munitions and firing without the platform sticks most Europeans used at the time. I recommend both "Guns for the Sultan" and "Gunpowder and Galleys" for information on the topic.

Orban's gun gets a lot of fame because of its size and tale, but it was one part of equilibrium. It is also generally that the "meme" factor of tends to be represented most in history-themed games.
 

KateMicucci

Arcane
Joined
Sep 2, 2017
Messages
1,676
Thanks for the book recs. The 16th century is my time period and I've been reading a lot of Ottoman history lately.
 

Young_Hollow

Liturgist
Joined
Nov 1, 2017
Messages
1,104
Thanks for the book recs. The 16th century is my time period and I've been reading a lot of Ottoman history lately.

I definitely suggest Gunpowder and Galleys then, it really highlights the unique aspects of 16th century period regarding quality of personnel and the human factor.
I've searched around for books covering that time period and Gunpowder and Galleys seems to be a great one I didn't find until now. Have you heard of Empires of the Sea: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show...a?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=vorGN7dcJq&rank=1 ? And do you think its on the level of G&G? I also found The Sea and Civilization ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17316568-the-sea-and-civilization ) but that's more of a nautical history of the world rather than a military history of the Ottoman age.
 

FreeKaner

Prophet of the Dumpsterfire
Joined
Mar 28, 2015
Messages
6,888
Location
Devlet-i ʿAlīye-i ʿErdogānīye
Thanks for the book recs. The 16th century is my time period and I've been reading a lot of Ottoman history lately.

I definitely suggest Gunpowder and Galleys then, it really highlights the unique aspects of 16th century period regarding quality of personnel and the human factor.
I've searched around for books covering that time period and Gunpowder and Galleys seems to be a great one I didn't find until now. Have you heard of Empires of the Sea: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show...a?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=vorGN7dcJq&rank=1 ? And do you think its on the level of G&G? I also found The Sea and Civilization ( https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17316568-the-sea-and-civilization ) but that's more of a nautical history of the world rather than a military history of the Ottoman age.

I have read empires of the sea, it is an entertaining pop history book. The author is a real and good historian but he likes writing narrative, story-like histories but I do enjoy it occasionally.
 

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