Age of Empires IV received a big update today, and fans can expect to see some significant changes, as a result. One of the biggest changes to Season One is a beta for a new Content Editor feature, which will allow players to create and share concepts with the rest of the community. There are also hotkey changes, alterations to the campaign difficulty, and more. All in all, it’s looking like fans of the game will find plenty to get excited about, even if there’s still no news about the rumored Xbox port. Full patch notes from the game’s official website can be found below:
LEARNINGS FROM PUBLIC PREVIEWS
We wanted to extend a quick thank you to those of you who joined in on the 1v1 Ranked Seasons Preview and Public Update Preview! Not only did you arm us with knowledge we’ll continue to apply in the future, but you helped us properly ready up for the Season One update!
With a close look, you’ll likely notice a number of changes made since these previews, but we wanted to call out a few:
NEW FEATURES AND HIGHLIGHTS
A queue dodging cooldown system has been added that applies a 5, 15, 30 and 60-minute lock out to Quick Match and Ranked queues. The cooldown escalates for each queue dodge performed following the first.
Developer Note: Queue dodging behavior has affected Quick Match for some time. While we have long-term solutions we’re not ready to share just yet, this cooldown system will help queues move along more quickly. We will continue to monitor feedback around this system and make adjustments where appropriate.
The team has created several interesting in-house mods to showcase various capabilities of the Editor. You can find the full list below!
MOD BUG FIXES
Big thanks to those of you who joined us for the Public Update Preview! We’ve made some fixes to mods since then:
Balance Update Goals
Developer Note: Siege weapons are frequently built by many infantry at the same time in the field. We wanted to add more time here to give opponents an adequate chance at counter play.
Developer Note: We found scout attack times to feel too long and unresponsive. This is especially noticeable in the early stages of the game when unit counts are lower.
Developer Note: We’re aim to encourage earlier game deer play to reward players for being out on the map.
Developer Note: Engaging in naval battles was very swingy as once a player started losing it was difficult to retreat against fire while moving boats. We’re also hoping to see more tactical poke and retreat style feigns and harassment.
Developer Note: Between making more fishing boats and researching, the dock had to choose between these economic techs that took so long. It was generally better just to make more fishing boats. Reducing the research time makes these techs enticing earlier in the match.
Developer Note: Attack ships are designed to counter arrowships. However we felt the armor was so extreme of a counter it felt ineffective and unfun to engage in these naval battles.
Developer Note: Helps Baghlah’s ability to take out enemy structures. This is also a net increase to Baghlah DPS to account for the lack of Swivel Ballista technology.
Developer Note: We want to give land units and defenses more opportunity to return fire against naval units. It’s not satisfying for a boat to out range your defenses and kill them without taking any damage. Having both sides take some damage creates a more interesting back and forth dynamic between players that adds strategy and micro into the mix.
Developer Note: Naval units frequently are hampered from firing at their max range by inability to see land units on hills. This helps combat their sight issues as well as making the technology more situationally useful instead of an automatic research every game.
Developer Note: While this was a bug fix, we received player feedback about how it added a fun dynamic to the game. We’ll look into readjusting in the future.
CORE BUILDINGS AND UPGRADES
Developer Note: Players were dropping buildings in the middle of battles and there wasn’t any way to stop it. We’ve added this damage penalty to in progress buildings to add more risk and counterplay to these strategies to even out how powerful they are.
Developer Note: These changes together are specifically targeted at weakening feudal age stone wall tower rushes as it’s difficult to get enough army together in time to prevent them.
Developer Note: One of the most powerful castle age upgrades. This was frequently grabbed as soon as a keep was completed. Increasing the cost adds more strategic contemplation to when it’s researched. Still well worth the investment!
Developer Note: As geometry only affects 2 units that only damage buildings, we found the steep cost wasn’t justified and limited the intended scaling of late game rams.
Developer Note: As university holds powerful technologies that affect entire classes of units, it was a much better fit for this technology.
BALANCE – CIVILIZATION SPECIFIC
Developer Note: We like that the berry gathering speed makes this a prime resource for Abbasid, but it gives a boon for too long. We want them to have to move out on the map to more risky positions sooner.
Developer Note: For both camel units we wanted them to be a bit more useful overall instead of just niche counter units. As Camel archers are ranged, fast, and high damage we’ll be scrutinizing them for upcoming balance patches.
Developer Note: Camel archers already get to benefit from Biology and Incendiary Arrows, this helps combat some of the upgrade stacking issues.
ECONOMY WING CHANGES
Developer Note: Previously, the strongest wing bonuses weren’t available until reaching Imperial Age. This meant that choosing a wing wasn’t exciting as the payoff was very far in the future. We’ve resolved this by adding more enticing options starting off in the Feudal age!
Abbasid Dynasty – Trade Wing Changes
Military Wing Changes
Developer Note: As players start in a dynasty and normally grab Song early this tech is giving at least a 10% bonus to gather rates and up to 20% for all resources.
Chinese Dynasty Changes
Developer Note: Adding earlier villages allows Chinese to create defensive garrison to resource nodes right at the start of the game.
Developer Note: Building the Granary earlier allows you to plan out your base layout while making the farm transition, instead of trying to fit in a large building after crops have already been established.
Developer Note: Moving up the Pagoda allows the dynasty building to be built in the castle age when players are collecting relics.
Chinese Official Changes
Developer Note: We found that China is quite strong with the improvements to their dynasties and the flexibility of 200% production speed allowing them an easier counter vs most tech switches.
Developer Note: China was able to rapidly accelerate their age of time by skipping a mining camp and using tax gold to age up with their faster building production time.
Developer Note: Providing so much gold bonus early allowed Delhi to snowball an early lead into an unstoppable victory.
Developer Note: This wood bonus was originally added to help make an early Mosque. As the civ is quite strong in Feudal age, we wanted to require more commitment to unlocking the power of an early Mosque. Additionally, the extra starting wood was providing a powerful boost on maps where fishing boats could be constructed.
Developer Note: This powerful tech was providing a large power spike too early in the game. We’ve moved it back to Castle Age to match other civs.
Developer Note: We want to create more dynamic choices in the unit roster for the English civilization. This allows English players the ability to pump out powerful early game units quickly. As the Man at Arms is very food-heavy, it also synergizes with their farming bonuses.
Developer Note: This, along with the previous changes, gives English more options early game to start with a barracks rush, early farming, or save for feudal age.
Developer Note: The fantasy for this technology is troops relaxing at a warm fire after a tough battle. Note that it can still be activated while moving.
Developer Note: This helps balance the high gold per minute provided by the relic. In addition, it allows HRE more options for powering up Keeps and Outposts by adding relics to them.
Developer Note: While technically the same as training in batches of 5, this is better for multiple reasons: First off, it now applies to all barracks techs for awesome timing attacks! This change also allows units to hit the field much faster, with smaller resource requirements, and additional flexibility in the units produced.
Developer Note: This, along with the Marching Drills, changes are intended to make it more rewarding for you to put Prelates into your main army.
Developer Note: While Marching Drills is a powerful tech, the cost was difficult to afford in Feudal age. We’re hoping this opens up new strategic potential for expanded HRE Feudal play.
Developer Note: This is intended to help Mongols defend from raids later in the game as they have no keeps or walls.
Developer Note: This is consistent with other Mongol stone upgrades that provide a 50% increased bonus over the base upgrade.
Developer Note: This allows warrior monks to safely attack from behind a line of infantry and provide their combat buff without being too exposed to enemy melee attackers.
Developer Note: It’s our intention that Horse Archers are countered by Archers. Being speedy and then getting this upgrade to out-range Archers means unit counters in imperial were too limited.
Developer Note: We wanted the focus of this technology to be about the movement ability instead of adding extra functionality to an already powerful unit.
Developer Note: The large range bonus on this tech was difficult to play against and led to some drawn out stalemate-style gameplay that wasn’t exciting for most players. We’ll revisit this upgrade in a future patch.
1v1 Resource Spawn Tuning
Hill and Dale
King of the Hill
As the name implies, MegaRandom has the ability to spawn in an enormous number of different configurations. We’ve created a huge number of random parameters that MegaRandom can choose from when generating, such as whether to spawn lakes and rivers, which types of impasse to use to generate terrain (if any), whether to spawn extra amounts of some resources, whether to incorporate special terrain patterns, and much more!
Crafted Map “Valley Battle”
As an example for what a crafted map may look like when created using the Age of Empires IV Content Editor (Beta), we have added a map called “Valley Battle” to the “Crafted” maps tab. This map was created to be a balanced, mostly symmetrical map that has a bit of everything – open fields for large battles, a river with numerous crossings, small lakes to take advantage of fishing, a defensive area near players’ start locations, and resources that are exactly balanced across the two halves of the map.
Map Bug Fixes
Are you looking forward to this new update? What do you think of these changes? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk all things gaming!