Age of Empires Online Massive Summer Update

Update: Our ‘NEW’ Age of Empires Online REVIEW is available here.

Age of Empires Online is still offline for a scheduled 36 hour maintenance to receive its massive Summer Update.  I played AoEO when it was in beta, and had a decent experience.  The game was polished and fun with its mission-based gameplay, but I felt that something was missing. The free-to-play model wasn’t really free-to-play because too much of the game required real money to unlock.   I didn’t sense the traditional Age of Empires RTS gameplay, or something unique enough to justify the game going in a different direction.

I was contacted by someone on the community team for AoEO and asked to give the game another look now that the summer patch is here. Over the past few months, AoEO has received several updates in a move to make the game more polished, more like a RTS, and to prepare for the Summer Update.  Graev and I decided to play quite a bit over the past week to get a feel for these changes and to prepare for the coming update.  Not only did we have a good time playing with some of the already-implemented improvements, we’re both actually anxiously awaiting the update.  Here are some of the improvements AoEO is getting in the update:

  • End-game Alliance Wars – Choose a faction and contribute.  The video below explains the Alliance Wars well.  These wars function as a way for players to contribute to an alliance and win challenges, battles, quests, and ultimately earn Empire Points.

http://youtu.be/fEyHsd9UyUY?hd=1

  • Overhauled tech trees – Enough points to unlock a whole tree, revised choices and a focus on versatility instead of flat out bonuses.

  • Completely revisited the unit tuning for each civilization.
  • Champion Tech – Introduces new strategies by altering unit costs, damage, and can shift the direction of gameplay.
  • Vanity Upgrades – Customize the way your units look in battle with new vanity items.
  • Each civilization should feel sufficiently different and units within each should feel specialized.

Perhaps the most important change to potential new players is the shift in focus towards a more “free-to-play” model.  Everything (Skirmish pack, Premium Civs, etc.) can now be purchased with Empire Points, and you can earn EP while simply playing the game. If you don’t want to invest the time, you can also purchase EP with real money and unlock them the quick way.

How much of a time investment does it take to earn enough EP to get a premium civ or buy things you want in-game?  That’s the main question I want to answer for myself when I play over the coming days.   I’ll also be paying close attention to the new balance changes, the overhauled tech tree, and the other improvements to form my own conclusions about whether or not Age of Empires Online is a game that RTS fans should be playing.  Watch for our review coming soon.

We’re giving away Premium Civ codes and goodies!

The AoEO Community team was kind enough to give us a bunch of keys for premium civilizations and ‘goodies’ for your city.  We’ll be giving these keys away TODAY at our Twitch.tv channel while we check out the new patch.  To be eligible for a key you must follow our Twitch.tv channel and be present in the chat.  We’re also giving them out via Twitter (Follow!) and in a blog post I’ll be putting up later today.

UPDATE: Giveaways are over.

  • I didn’t know much about that game at all until I started playing Orcs Must Die and saw their forums on it. I know SixOkay has said great things about it.

    You all have peaked my interest enough to check this out while waiting for Orcs Must Die 2!

    Thanks guys!

  • Also quick note, but that Promo video is a good one. Really makes me think about all the great times I had with Civ Rev and play this game!

  • I too play AOE online.
    Patch changes seems promising.
    Its just to bad alliance wars it at lvl 40.

    What the rest of us is deemed not worthy to contribute?

    I play as celts. (so i bought from their store yet im left out?)

  • @Zyler: Reach level 40 and you can contribute to the Alliance Wars. I’m not level 40 either, but I plan to work my way there. Alliance Wars are designed to give players who will or have already played enough to hit the wall a somewhat dynamic way of continuing to experience the game.

  • Waiting for steam summersale to buy skirmish mode.

    Keen do you have a list of games your looking out for during a sale?

    Here is mine: Disciples 3: resurrection, Total war shogun 2, silent hunter 5 and Dawn of war 2 retribution (I own dow2, heard multiplayer improved in retribution)

    Btw ghost recon online beta will continue for existing users on the 25th and new players can start a week earlier.

  • @Zyler: You can technically earn skirmish mode just by playing the game now. Will just take time to earn the points if you don’t want to buy it.

    I don’t have a list yet, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what comes up for sale this summer.

  • I dont get it…I go to their website and click play for free…follow all the stuff until it asks me if I want to play now…then the launcher pops up and absolutely nothing happens…

  • Hopefully they’re taking their cues from League of Legends in the f2p model area, it has it down quite well.

  • Could just be me, but the servers seem very empty. Seems most of the people on there were playing a year ago and have since left. Very disappointing.

  • I see a nice reprint of the AOEO press release, but did you guys actually PLAY the game since the update? I ‘d guess thats a big NO.

    That update destroyed the game and it is basically unplayable by the majority of the players. Low level quests are infinitely harder than they were before, so much so that the game is now tedious, frustrating and no fun at all.

    How about you guys actually REVIEW the game instead of just copying the press release?

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