Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

Age Of Empires 4 is the first RTS that I took seriously. I practiced building orders, memorized counters for specific civs, watched pro matches, and agonized over keybindings. I’ve delved into the smallest details of the sheep microworld just to cut microseconds off the gathering time of the early villagers, but I’ve never seen a good reason to build half of the landmarks in the game. So it’s a blessed relief to see “iconic improvements” on the Season 4 roadmap, along with a new mode and a quirky purple biome.

Landmarks are special buildings that each civilization builds to advance to the next age, choosing one of two options. They matter a lot, but as the developers of World’s Edge admit, many of these options are too straightforward. Developers are aiming to change this “so that lesser-used landmarks now represent more viable strategies or have unique features to stand out as an attractive choice.” There are no specifics, but it’s good to know that the problem is being solved.

In the new Nomad mode, players start with “a few scattered villagers” instead of the city center. It’s already playable as a mod, with handy in-game support that allows you to automatically download it when you join whoever hosts it on the server browser. Official support will mean you can just queue up in shootout mode, where matchmaking can mean you don’t catch the eye of people who know what they’re doing.

Here I go to the AOE guy on YouTube with his roadmap review. Drongo taught me how to manage his sheep. I trust him.

Last month, Nick Reuben spoke to World’s Edge, where they called the fans “the beating heart of the franchise.” I loved hearing about creative director Adam Isgreen’s design philosophy that “everyone should feel like they’re doing something fast.”

Age Of Empires 4 is currently on sale on Steam at 33% off, which is £24/$27/€27. It is also available on Game Pass.