Dumbed-down, regressive and tragic exploitation/assassination of the AoE franchise.

I'm honestly disgusted by designers who follow such a rigid business paradigm whilst throwing integrity out the window.
It is blatant that the marketing overlords in Microsoft dictated that since WORLD OF WARCRAFT is the #1 best-selling PC game, then an online game must copy the same gameplay model (while hijacking the Age of Empires brand for a *guaranteed cushion* of sales) even though its a freakin' RTS!!!
This is actually how the "results-oriented" suits with arbitrary powers operate, and its sad that they have this much influence.
Such idiocy and lack of insight is actually more shocking than it is appalling. Who's calling the shots up there???

This is such a misled, inbred misguided blending of two genres that I will waste no more time writing about it than this: MMORPG elements have NO place in an RTS series because RTS players expect a strategic, intelligent experience and not a sugarcoated grind. Time=skill =/= strategy games. 'Nuff said!

Actually, I must say this: I've never seen such a compromised approach to developing a potentially-successful-and-profitable sequel to a prestigious franchise. What a missed opportunity! I feel sorry for those involved.