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Age of Empires IV — Patch 11009

Patch 11009 is releasing later this week, and so we wanted to provide a preview of what’s to come for Age of Empires IV.

In Patch 11009, we’re focused on responding to a number of items you, as the players, have brought to our attention! As always, we appreciate you for acting as our compass, as we continue to balance and improve.

This time around, we’re making some general changes to siege to ensure there’s sufficient counter play, making changes to reduce animation cancelling’s impact on rate of fire to re-focus on high-level strategy, and doing another pass on balance for a variety of our civilizations. Read on for the full list of patch notes, including in-depth developer descriptions of why these adjustments were made!  

NOTE: Upon updating to this patch, you will no longer be able to utilize replays from previous updates. Campaign and Skirmish saves from the previous patch are impacted and will no longer be accessible after you update.

Editor’s Note: We added two additional notes under General – removing Warring Islands and Archipelago from Quick Match map pool, and adjustments to Quick Match search. We also added some bug fixes for the Mongols under the Civ-Specific Changes section. Lastly, we removed the patch stream information (VOD here) & patch notes subject to change as these are now final!

Editor’s Note (Feb. 14, 2022): There are two additional notes that were not part of the patch notes when we deployed the patch on Feb. 7, 2022: Trebuchet Bonus Damage; and the Chinese Official Supervise change. The Trebuchet change is below under General – Siege. Regarding the Chinese Official change, some of you have called out an uncommunicated change to the Chinese Official’s Supervise tech, which saw its production bonus reduced from 200% to 150%. This particular reduction was unintended for Patch 11009; however, we are considering this for a future update, alongside other tweaks we believe pair well with this change without underpowering the Chinese. We’ll be reviewing this change based on feedback we’ve seen and assessing our next steps for balancing the Chinese civilization.

Download on the Microsoft Store

Remember that you’ll need to update your game in the Microsoft Store:

  • Open the Microsoft Store.
  • Click the [ ∙ ∙ ∙ ] symbol next to your profile picture.
  • Select Downloads and updates.
  • Press the Get updates button to automatically detect, download, and install the latest changes to your game!
  • Open the game. Under settings, in the upper right hand corner it should show you on Build 5.0.11009.0

If you are unable to launch the game after downloading the update, make sure you add (or re-add) the Age of Empires IV client or folder as an exception to your firewall and antivirus program.

That’s it; you’re ready to play!

Download on Steam
Remember that you’ll need to update your game in Steam:

  • Open Steam.
  • Click on Library to see your games list.
  • Click Downloads at the bottom of the Library window.
  • [If the new build does not download automatically,] click the Download Now button to manually download the new update.
  • Open the game. Under settings, in the upper right hand corner it should show you on Build 5.0.11009.0

That’s it; you’re ready to play!

Still having trouble? Visit our support site!

General

  • We’ve made improvements to the animation cancelling issues previously called out by players; we’ll be keeping an eye out for your feedback to make additional adjustments in this area, but with this patch, units can no longer easily perform faster attacks than intended by issuing a move command after attacking to cancel the cooldown between hits
  • Developer Note: When playing Age of Empires IV, we want players to feel like a general and spend most of their time making important high-level strategic decisions. There is more work we’re doing to ensure that we fully meet this goal.

  • Fixed a bug where Palisade Walls could no longer be targeted
  • Trebuchet projectiles now deal Area of Effect damage when missing their intended target
  • Developer Note: As Trebuchet accuracy is low, this means they will now deal splash damage much more effectively and upgrades such as the English civilization’s Shattering Projectiles is now much more powerful.

  • Fixed a bug where Incendiary ships damage range increased significantly after researching the Explosives tech
  • Fixed a bug where Incendiary Ships were exploding 2 or even more times in some cases. To keep the unit balanced we’ve increased the explosion damage 300 to 400
  • Scout cost increased from 60 to 70 Food
  • Developer Note: We like that there is additional utility to the scout unit besides just scouting. It’s got a generous health pool, carries animal carcasses, and provides an effective torch. However at only 60 food cost it’s quite a bit cheaper than any other military unit. Targeting the cost has no effect on a player’s initial scout and is especially impactful for players making armies of this unit.

  • Removed Warring Islands and Archipelago from Quick Match map options
  • Developer Note: We have short, medium, and long-term plans for making Naval gameplay more dynamic and interactive. Once the gameplay is there, these maps will return. Until then, these maps remain an option for Custom Games.

  • Quick Match search time increased from 5 minutes to 10 minutes; this means that Quick Match will now search for an opponent that best matches your ELO for up to 10 minutes before pairing you with an available player at a lower or higher ELO
  • Developer Note: Ideally matches are both quick to find and fair. The shorter “give up” timer was creating games that weren’t fair or fun for either team involved. We think it’s better to wait longer to facilitate an evenly matched game, rather than acting hastily and putting players into extremely lopsided matches. We are looking to enhance our data collection around queue times and will continue to refine and tweak the matchmaking system based off your feedback.

Fishing

Developer Note: We want finding a body of water full of fish to be an exciting opportunity. However the gather rate of fishing boats was creating lopsided games with no comeback potential. This modest reduction still makes fishing the waters valuable, while opening up other strategic avenues for the player who isn’t able to fully capitalize. As well, fish is intended to be a scarce resource like deer or sheep that provides a burst of food for a limited time.

  • Changes to Shore Fish
    • Fishing Ship harvest rate reduced from .75 to .66
    • Shore Fish reduced from 1000 to 500 Food

  • Changes to Deep Fish
    • Fishing Ship harvest rate reduced from 1.1 to 1.0
    • Deep Fish reduced from 2000 to 1000 Food

Siege

  • Siege formation catchup speed reduced from 100% to 40%
  • Developer Note: When units in formation reposition they can get a speed bonus. This value maxes out at 40% for infantry and cavalry. However, siege units were moving much faster and this could make them difficult to chase down, even with cavalry. We’ve standardized this value to 40% to remove the siege “race car” effect.

  • Horseman, Camel Rider, Fire Lance, and Knight torch bonus damage vs. siege increased from +10 to +20.
  • Developer Note: Cavalry is intended to counter siege weapons. Their high mobility should facilitate the ability quickly close the distance and destroy siege weapons. Cavalry are more expensive than infantry so getting a critical mass to quickly kill siege weapons is too costly. Increasing cavalry torch damage vs siege weapons helps them shine in this anti-siege role.

  • Bombard health reduced from 480 to 400. See additional changes to Chinese civ-specific Bombard health below
  • Developer Note: We found the bombard’s high health meant that it was able to fight cost effectively vs too many types of units. It’s primary role is anti-building. We are still concerned about the damage per shot of this unit and will be closely monitoring it’s performance.

  • Siege weapons now also deal their bonus damage vs. ships
  • Developer Note: Naval units are so powerful vs land units it makes water maps hopeless after a player’s docks are destroyed. This change is targeted at allowing siege weapons to trade blows with ships.

  • Adjustments made across the board to reduce Siege move speed
  • Developer Note: Siege is meant to be lumbering, slow and powerful. Currently the power level of siege is there, but it often times is too difficult to pick off when repositioning or retreating. This change is aimed at adding more risk and strategy to movement and positioning of siege equipment.

    • Bombard move speed reduced from 0.88 to 0.62
    • Springald move speed reduced from 1.0 to 0.88
    • Mangonel move speed reduced from 0.88 to 0.75
    • Nest of Bees move speed reduced from 0.94 to 0.81
  • Editor’s Note: Trebuchet bonus damage increased from 350 to 450

Developer Note: Trebuchets and cannons are both anti-building units. Trebuchets are higher range and lower damage. We’re going for more of a slow pressure feel to the trebuchet. However we found the damage to be too slow and it wasn’t high enough impact for pressuring enemy buildings (and ships), so we made an adjustment.

Civ-Specific Changes

Abbasid Dynasty

  • Abbasid Age Up time reduced from 120 to 105 for every Age
  • Developer Note: Abbasid lacks the ability to speed up landmark construction times with villagers to age up. Instead they get to save their villager time to gather resource. This mechanic is intended to be a bonus,  However can feel like a penalty as it limits the civilization’s ability to dynamically adapt to the game state. We’ve reduced the age up time so Abbasid House of Wisdom feels not like a limiting factor, but instead a powerful bonus.

    Abbasid Dynasty & Delhi Sultanate (Shared Changes)

    • Increased Explosive Dhow detonation range from 1 to 2 tiles so it matches the intended explosion radius
    • Dhow damage increased from 8 to 10
    • Developer Note: The Dhow was by far weakest of the arrow ships. We’ve increased it’s damage to be competitive with options of the other civs.

    • Berry Harvest bonus increased from 25% to 30%
    • Berry carry capacity increased from 10 to 13
    • Developer Note: We found many players preferring to take sheep over berries because it saved villager walk time. Our intention is for the Delhi Sultanate and Abbasid Dynasty to play differently from the start with an added focus on gathering berries.

    Chinese

    • Chinese Clocktower bombard health reduced from 720 to 600
    • Official Unit can no longer use Supervise on Landmarks
    • Developer Note: Chinese official supervising their Clocktower means the effective output of the Landmark is tripled. This level of power was creating less varied and interesting unit compositions as they could make such a large and powerful mass of siege units.

    • Reload Drills reload bonus time reduced from 33% to 20%
    • Developer Note: Reload speed reductions are extremely powerful! These technologies were some of the highest outputs in the game. We’ve brought them down to be in line with similar unit enhancements like Incendiary Arrows and Chemistry.

    • Nest of Bees damage vs. ships increased from 0 to 4
    • Fixed a bug where the Imperial Official’s tax collection cooldown sometimes didn’t trigger

    HRE

    • Increased Prelate base move speed from 1.0 to 1.12
    • Developer Note: Prelates are a critical piece of the HRE. They are intended to be repositioned within the economy, as well as move with the army to heal and buff units with Inspired Warriors. Increasing the move speed helps Prelates perform both their roles more effectively.

    • Inspire cast range increased from 3 to 4 tiles
    • Developer Note: Properly positioning prelates was difficult with the short range and made it hard to fully buff groups of villagers. This will increase the unit’s output to intended levels. For example it was sometimes difficult to buff villagers on a woodline and villagers gathering sheep at the town center.

    Mongols

    • Several changes made to adjust Raid

      Developer Note: Mongols getting lots resources for burning enemy buildings allows them to snowball an early lead with no hope of comeback. Getting resources from burning a building allows the Mongols to create more troops to burn more buildings.

      • Base level of the Raid ability reduced from 50 to 25
      • Raid Bounty upgrade bonus decreased from 75 to 50
      • Raid Bounty (Improved) upgrade bonus decreased from 100 to 75
    • Fixed a bug where Prayer Tents could generate more resources than intended
    • Mongol villagers will no longer gather faster than intended after completing the improved Gold gathering technologies
    • Mongol villagers will no longer gather faster than intended after completing the improved Wood gathering technologies

    Rus

    • High Armory Technology – Fine-tuned Guns reload bonus time reduced from 33% to 20%

    What’s Next

    With the last two patches, we’ve been focused on responding to many of the prominent balance and bug-related elements you told us would most improve your experience with Age of Empires IV. Following this patch, we’ll be keeping an eye out for your feedback to better understand what other changes we might bring into play prior to our Spring Update (referenced in the Community Roadmap here); the team’s also monitoring matchmaking wait times and investigating additional steps to further improve this experience across skill levels and offer competitive opponents without prolonged wait times.

    For those of you who were able to join us in the Ranked Seasons Preview last week, thanks! We deeply appreciate your time and feedback as we prepare to introduce 1v1 Ranked Seasons. We hope you (and others!) enjoyed an early view of some of the quality-of-life features included in the preview as well. We’re still refining these elements and really enjoyed seeing them in use!

    Finally, we wanted to answer a question we’ve heard a few times – namely, “Will Age of Empires IV have a Public Update Preview?” The answer is yes! We’ll be continuing the journey the Definitive Edition titles started and providing early access to our larger updates on Steam. We’ll have more details to share later this month regarding the timing of our first Public Update Preview, as well as our goals with the program.

    Known Issues

    You can find Known Issues HERE at any time.

    We know many of you who participated in the Age of Empires IV Closed Beta and our more recent 1v1 Ranked Seasons Preview are excited to receive your in-game Insider rewards. We haven’t lost sight of this request and appreciate you want to show off your status as an Insider! These rewards aren’t ready for delivery just yet, but we’re continuing to work on it and will provide more information when we have it.

    Disclaimer

    Please note that this list is subject to change and should not be considered a comprehensive list of all the known issues we’re tracking. The above is to inform you of the team’s current priorities, which will change as other issues arise or take precedence.

    For the latest updates and announcements, please visit our social channels.