Zaxx Jan 30, 2013 @ 7:21am
Microsoft really?
Just tried the game out (free). Is this really this bad and pay-to-win? I'm not a bad Age of Empires player so I jumped into Skirmish as soon as I could. The computer killed me off so easily it wasn't even funny, then I made a look at my opponent's units: my units were simple versions of themselves with upgrades from the blacksmith and the barracks (Age II) but the comp was using the "champion" category of that same kind of unit.

Seriously how is this even possible after 5 minutes of gameplay? I had a lot more soldiers yet I was losing because some a-holes over at Microsoft thought it would be a good idea that in the free Skirmish Demo the computer is super overpowered.

This is not a free-to-play game, this is just a bad demo that ♥♥♥♥es you off. I get some kind of gear every 10 minutes that has a lock on it and says "buy the premium package, loser!". So I should spend 10 euros on a nation when I have the old games where I get to play a ton of nations from the get-go? Hell no!

This is especially infuriating because the core AoE gameplay is there and it's pretty good, it was just only messed up by all the bulls***t that's included in this game.
Last edited by Zaxx; Jan 30, 2013 @ 7:23am
Showing 1-15 of 15 comments
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MiloE Feb 9, 2013 @ 8:34am 
Obviously, your not a fan of the AoE series.
Zaxx Feb 12, 2013 @ 1:47pm 
Originally posted by tigerclang:
Obviously, your not a fan of the AoE series.
Yes, that must be why I play the first three games to this day.
JENKS Feb 12, 2013 @ 7:02pm 
I have played this game since release. While it is free to play, investing absolutely no money requires alot of patience. since you level up your civ, and get improved gear, perhaps you were simply playing opponents in skirmish that were a bit out of your league. It is not at all pay to win as I can beat every quest. In an attempt to make players not abolutely bored within minutes, they give us somehting to woork towards, leveling up your civ and getting better gear. If you ever need help hit me up. I can give many tips and pointers.
Zaxx Feb 12, 2013 @ 8:11pm 
Originally posted by jenkins_112:
I have played this game since release. While it is free to play, investing absolutely no money requires alot of patience. since you level up your civ, and get improved gear, perhaps you were simply playing opponents in skirmish that were a bit out of your league. It is not at all pay to win as I can beat every quest. In an attempt to make players not abolutely bored within minutes, they give us somehting to woork towards, leveling up your civ and getting better gear. If you ever need help hit me up. I can give many tips and pointers.
Thanks but I decided not to play the game some time ago. I did the first 10 missions in the game and found them very boring, uninteresting and way too easy and I'm sure that's not the case later on but the time to actually get there seems too long to me and I'm just not excited to continue playing.

The other thing that bothered me is this MMORPG - Farmville style leveling up and gear system. I was looking for a pure AoE game and this seemed more of a timesink to me than a solid strategy game. Imo the RPG element is too strong in this one, the Home City system in AoE 3 was way better because while it was somewhat like you'd have in an RPG it never really softened up the strategic side of things.
RaßßiT #sosalty Feb 16, 2013 @ 2:15pm 
lol i started playin this game for free, and i played till i earned enough empire points to get my first premium civ, then i eventually got all 6 of the civs to premium... this game is quality. your a noob and and impatient dooshe that needs to go back to the drawing board and take a closer look at things before you spout off about ♥♥♥♥ you know nothing about aparently..

this games sweet, and has a excellent capitalist aspect with the trade channel. im very impressed with microsoft over this game.. making it free to play was their only mistake
Zaxx Feb 17, 2013 @ 5:57pm 
Originally posted by ConVict | RIZLA:
lol i started playin this game for free, and i played till i earned enough empire points to get my first premium civ, then i eventually got all 6 of the civs to premium... this game is quality. your a noob and and impatient dooshe that needs to go back to the drawing board and take a closer look at things before you spout off about ♥♥♥♥ you know nothing about aparently..

this games sweet, and has a excellent capitalist aspect with the trade channel. im very impressed with microsoft over this game.. making it free to play was their only mistake
I love that you say I'm an impatient ♥♥♥♥♥♥ but before that you describe the insane amount of time you spent playing the game. :) I'm sure the game has qualities if you are playing it for an extended amount of time but I'm not that kind of gamer and I just don't like the idea of playing a mildly entertaining game simply for leveling up and getting to the more enjoyable part, minute-to-minute gameplay is very important to me. I can play games like XCOM, Witcher or the old AoE games for hundreds of hours but I don't get that kind enjoyment from AOE Online. Is that this hard to understand?

Maybe I'll buy a premium civilization one day but I'm not sure as I don't really like the fact that a free-to-play game can go out of business any time and I can lose the stuff I paid for if the servers are shut down.
Last edited by Zaxx; Feb 17, 2013 @ 5:59pm
Troppamus Feb 18, 2013 @ 2:20am 
Zaxx, all of your complaints are legitimate. I too played the game enough that I got 6 civs to 40 (I paid for... two of them? and I used the skirmish pack to basically earn the in game coin to 'purchase' the rest of them). I also, however, paid attention to the game's official forums off and on. ALL of your complaints were the reasons why the game never took off and is no longer being developed. The game was too hard to get into and essentially punished anybody who was looking for old AoE's core gameplay to be there right out of the bag. The game didn't even have a skirmish mode until 8 months after it was released. (Incidentally, The enemies in that skirmish mode are geared relative to your level. Normal/standard should be geared about wherever the player is, while harder difficulties get better gear and lesser ones get worse gear. As well as the AIs being more/less aggressive.)

I played enough that I forgot what it was like to start out from scratch. I recently learned that you could start cities on a second server. I was addicted enough that I wanted to try it out.
Then I discovered that when you start out you really start out with nothing. And they make you go through a bunch (and I do mean a BUNCH) of mind numbingly boring missions. If it's been years since you've played an RTS and you have a high tolerance for boredom, they aren't bad (that was how I was able to slog through them on my first run through and the other 5 civs I had on my first server all benefited heavily from my first civ being able to give them good gear). But if you are just starting and you've done strategy games recently, it feels really pointless to slog through dozens of missions before you even begin to get to challenging content. This was a complaint that was made by MANY people on the official forums.

The developers tried to address it a little bit by making experience gains faster and all of the new civs they released had more interesting missions with more rapid exp gain. But the egyptians still have probably the worst starting campaign and it didn't change at all over the two years or so the game was live.

There were hints in some of their blog posts around some of the major game balance patches that the developers were aware of the issues described here. They didn't realize while it was being developed that it was balanced way too much towards grinding and it took way too long to get to 'the good stuff', but they figured it out. By the time they did, however, it was far too late to undo any of it.

The game really starts to shine at around level 20. Thats when the campaign maps start to have some kind of challenge to them and when all of the units are unlocked. It is also when the average player has enough gear to be able to handle AIs with a little more gear. This is why the civs that are pre leveled start at 20. The problem is, getting even to level 10 is a huge pain in the ♥♥♥ and the developers never really realised it. They turned away a huge number of potential buyers because they couldn't bring themselves to play the game long enough to get to the fun bits.

I felt the whole time I was playing AoE online that the game was an experiment. It was the only RTS to try being an MMO. It also was the only one to try a Free To Play model. If it had been balanced a bit better, it might have worked. The 'you need to buy this now' aspect, was pressed much more than it should have been. Half the gear you get shouldn't have been unequippable without paying. Skirmish mode should have been built in and part of the game. The money bit should have been about getting additional civs and buying vanity stuff, or it should have just been about buying the game to begin with. If they had done everything they did but with no FTP elements, just a pay upfront price, I believe they would still be producing content for the game. It was an experiment that failed, but it produced a whole lot of lessons in the process.
Zaxx Feb 18, 2013 @ 3:46pm 
Originally posted by Topper:
Zaxx, all of your complaints are legitimate. I too played the game enough that I got 6 civs to 40 (I paid for... two of them? and I used the skirmish pack to basically earn the in game coin to 'purchase' the rest of them). I also, however, paid attention to the game's official forums off and on. ALL of your complaints were the reasons why the game never took off and is no longer being developed. The game was too hard to get into and essentially punished anybody who was looking for old AoE's core gameplay to be there right out of the bag. The game didn't even have a skirmish mode until 8 months after it was released. (Incidentally, The enemies in that skirmish mode are geared relative to your level. Normal/standard should be geared about wherever the player is, while harder difficulties get better gear and lesser ones get worse gear. As well as the AIs being more/less aggressive.)

I played enough that I forgot what it was like to start out from scratch. I recently learned that you could start cities on a second server. I was addicted enough that I wanted to try it out.
Then I discovered that when you start out you really start out with nothing. And they make you go through a bunch (and I do mean a BUNCH) of mind numbingly boring missions. If it's been years since you've played an RTS and you have a high tolerance for boredom, they aren't bad (that was how I was able to slog through them on my first run through and the other 5 civs I had on my first server all benefited heavily from my first civ being able to give them good gear). But if you are just starting and you've done strategy games recently, it feels really pointless to slog through dozens of missions before you even begin to get to challenging content. This was a complaint that was made by MANY people on the official forums.

The developers tried to address it a little bit by making experience gains faster and all of the new civs they released had more interesting missions with more rapid exp gain. But the egyptians still have probably the worst starting campaign and it didn't change at all over the two years or so the game was live.

There were hints in some of their blog posts around some of the major game balance patches that the developers were aware of the issues described here. They didn't realize while it was being developed that it was balanced way too much towards grinding and it took way too long to get to 'the good stuff', but they figured it out. By the time they did, however, it was far too late to undo any of it.

The game really starts to shine at around level 20. Thats when the campaign maps start to have some kind of challenge to them and when all of the units are unlocked. It is also when the average player has enough gear to be able to handle AIs with a little more gear. This is why the civs that are pre leveled start at 20. The problem is, getting even to level 10 is a huge pain in the ♥♥♥ and the developers never really realised it. They turned away a huge number of potential buyers because they couldn't bring themselves to play the game long enough to get to the fun bits.

I felt the whole time I was playing AoE online that the game was an experiment. It was the only RTS to try being an MMO. It also was the only one to try a Free To Play model. If it had been balanced a bit better, it might have worked. The 'you need to buy this now' aspect, was pressed much more than it should have been. Half the gear you get shouldn't have been unequippable without paying. Skirmish mode should have been built in and part of the game. The money bit should have been about getting additional civs and buying vanity stuff, or it should have just been about buying the game to begin with. If they had done everything they did but with no FTP elements, just a pay upfront price, I believe they would still be producing content for the game. It was an experiment that failed, but it produced a whole lot of lessons in the process.

This is sad to hear indeed. I find this very disappointing because the core of a good AoE is actually in the game, it's just buried under all the BS. The AI is actually pretty great based on my skirmish experience, the computer does a great job on attacking the weak spots of your base.

What I find bad is that the campaing absolutley lacks any kind of challenge at the beginning so it becomes very boring very soon. Just for comparison when I first played AoE 3 and set difficulty to hard I lost the very first mission like a complete noobie and this is how a strategy game should work: it has to be challenging and fun. Maybe AoE 3 is a bad comparison because there are a lot of very simple missions even on hard and only a few levels end up very challenging and smart but it's still an unquestionably superior experience to AoE Online.

As for the Skirmish this is how it works if you are on free-to-play. You can't choose the difficulty or the level or anything, it's just a demo. I tried to beat the level for like 5 times and the result was always the same: after 3-5 minutes the computer comes at me with super overpowered units and I'm not saying this because I'm a newbie: imagine archers that are killing your soldiers with 2 shots. It's just insanely unplayable.
JENKS Feb 20, 2013 @ 9:27am 
Well, Is anyone upset when they start any other game out with nothing and have to work to get the good stuff. Or do games that start you out with everything and completely unlocked and beated more fun? I mean really.... Of coarse skill and time played are going to have rewards. This is one of the things that keeps me most addicted, I have seen many times where someone gives the game 2 minutes, and it dont play EXACTLY like AOE2, or play how they think it should.. So they write it off... then later give it another shot and find out that its actually a pretty darn good game.
JENKS Feb 20, 2013 @ 9:31am 
I would first like to ask you Zaxx, what are some of these games that are completely easy, that dont take too long to master. Then I would ask if there is any wonder why you are not playing them anymore? The end game of AOEO is absolutely amazing. However you have not experienced that yet, however you have formulated a complete opinion of the game like you have. As harsh and brunt as Rizla was in his comments he makes a valid point. Perhaps impatience may be influencing you. When you get to level 40 and can choose an alliance and contribute to the war between alliances and get your first legendary piece of gear then I will accept your opinion, if it is still the same.
Last edited by JENKS; Feb 20, 2013 @ 9:41am
JENKS Feb 20, 2013 @ 9:39am 
Topper, From someone thats been around since the games release I disagree with your statements about Zaxx's complaints being the reason for the game not taking off. FYI this game did not start out free to play. If your looking for AOE 4 then simply wait, I am sure we will get it. This however is aoeo and and the fusion of game types at work here is amazing. I prefer this game over AOE 2 3 anyday. I love the gear and crafting added...its great... the game has an economy, people trying to put the coolest gear on their units and buying and selling it is great. But unfortunatly when you go comparing Madden Arcade to Madded 13 I suppose your going to be disapointed everytime. but just remember they are different.
Troppamus Feb 20, 2013 @ 4:40pm 
No, the reason it didnt take off was because the first like 6 hours of gameplay suck if you've played an RTS before. I'm looking specifically at the Egyptian campaign here, as I started that campaign from scratch a couple of months ago. You start with basically 2 or 3 units and you really can't get to any of the cool units until at least level 8. In the egyptian campaign that took a lot longer than I remember it taking and I had to slog through a bunch of boring missions that all broke down to "Build 20 spearmen, boat them across a river, throw at enemy who has at most 3 buildings." It turned what should've been fun into a chore. That is poor game design.

The developers put the weakest play into the earliest levels, the ones that should be getting new players excited about the game. Instead, new players who are checking it out, if they start a civ at level 1, will have 5 or six pieces of blue gear by level 10 that they cannot equip. They'll have 2 out of 5 warehouse slots available and they will be told that they need to pay for more slots. At the beggining they would also have had advisor cards that give obvious good bonuses and be told that they can't use them until they pay.

There were plenty of people who would have stuck around long enough to get addicted to the game, but instead, right when the game was starting to get good, they got bogged down in messages trying to get them to fork over some cash. That was a big turn off to a lot of people. It made the game seem like a 'pay to win' game, even when it wasn't. That is bad PR, and it came straight from the game's core design. Bad design.

What they should have done was not had a single item that was 'pay to use' (advisors/extra warehouses/blue quality or better items) drop before level 20. Put the pay wall at level 20. By then a bunch of people would have stuck around and enjoyed the game and been willing to pay to unlock the rest of it.
JENKS Feb 21, 2013 @ 5:54pm 
You could have clicked "skip tutorial" and saved yourself some basics, not everyone is as advanced of a player as you and really benefits from learing to play the game. How exactly would YOU profit from a F2P game? You act like its rediculous that people that play the game free dont get the perks that people who pay get. If you put the time in you can actually earn the full game free.... how many other f2p games do that? Just this whole attitudeyou have that you as a free player should be entitled to everything the game has to offer without paying seems typical.
1. There was never a monthly fee...10 bucks or put your time in and unlock premium free!! If you have no patience to earn it, fall off your wallet and pay 10 dollars for a full civ.... NO ONE OWES YOU ANYTHING.
2. You sir have not played this game long enough to formulate an educated opinion of it. Please stop confusing new players with your entitlement reasoning on why the game had issues. This game was not always free to play. The problems this game experienced early on has nothing to do with the free to play model.
Troppamus Feb 21, 2013 @ 6:21pm 
Dude, I got to level 40 on all of the available civs. If that isn't enough time to form an opinion on the game, I dunno what is.

I'm merely stating what I have read from many random complaints on the official ageofempires.com forums. There were many people who were turned off by the free to play game asking them for money. Many many many people. It was a post that was made again and again by a bunch of different people for over a year and a half on that forum. It's a complaint made in all of the reviews I've read of the game. People were seriously unhappy with the way F2P was implemented in this game. The game provided a strong lesson in how to alienate a good chunk of potential players by frequently going "here's something cool, you can't use it."

I agree that the game is worth spending money on! I spent money on it right out of the box. I bought microsoft points just to spend on this game (before it came out on steam, then I used the steam wallet). I've spent money on civs. I've spent money on vanity gear. If the game was still in development, I have no doubt I would've spent MORE money on stuff.
zrut Feb 23, 2013 @ 3:21pm 
To be honest, the gameplay isn't all that bad if you like Campaign. The storyline wasn't terrible, and once you get past the tutorial missions, you're good.
But the multiplayer is ♥♥♥♥♥. I have played all of the previous AoE games, and still play AoC over the internet. The multiplayer avalible for AoEO is unbalanced between civs, there are no obvious counters, and those with premium can carry a game against three others.
As an example, take the Stomatopalx (I know, I buchered the spelling. So sue me) It's a advisor unit for the Greeks, trains insanely fast, can be spammed easily and absolutely destroys anything else on the map unless the player gets housed. There is no logical counter unit for the non-premium civs, and even for premium civs the only good counter I've found is spamming some Stomas of your own.
The old creativity just isn't there, and frankly the cartoony graphics don't do much for me, either.
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Date Posted: Jan 30, 2013 @ 7:21am
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