Age of Empires Online

Games for Windows Live error locks some users out of online profile, saved games

Phil Savage at

Games for Windows Live users have been experiencing problems connecting to the service's servers, leaving some unable to access their online profiles. It's an unusual situation, because the much-loved GfW Live is normally so reliable, and definitely not something we recently described as "one of the most ill-conceived and poorly executed pieces of software it is possible to install on your PC."

...Is how I might begin this story if we were in a parallel universe. Instead, all I can do is offer a resigned shrug and urge publishers to stop putting the bloody thing in their games.

Face Off: Is the RTS genre dying?

PC Gamer at

Last week, Ironclad Games’ director and co-owner Blair Fraser called the RTS genre “a dying market.” The genre convention of base building is “done,” Fraser says, and while a handful of games like Company of Heroes “may be profitable,” it’s his belief that RTSes are “very niche.”

Hearing these comments from a strategy studio we respect sparked our own discussion: what’s the state of real-time strategy? In this Face Off debate, T.J. and Evan talk about the health of the genre, and debate whether its popularity has waned to never return, or if it’s actually seeing a resurgence.

Age of Empires Online ending new content production as it's "no longer cost-effective"

Omri Petitte at

We haven't heard much from Gas Powered Games' Age of Empires Online since the addition of the Norse civilization back in October which added more bearded soldiers to the MMORTS and sent our intern/resident Scandinavian berserker T.J. into fits of joy. A blog entry posted today on the official website clears things up: Age of Empires Online won't receive any additional new content, except for "a small amount of content still in the pipeline."

Supreme Commander developers tease "Project W" with 25 day countdown timer

Tom Senior at

Gas Powered Games are getting ready to talk about "something wild." This big countdown clock is ticking down to a proper reveal on January 14.

The Total Annihilation, Dungeon Siege and Supreme Commander developers have been working on Age of Empires Online for the last few years. That interrupted work on their large-scale fantasy RTS, Kings and Castles. This doesn't look like that. The rocky background strikes a more naturalistic tone, and you can just about see the phases of the moon in the countdown orbs.

Project W. Phases of the moon. Werewolves? Hmmm, what do you think?

Age of Empires Online getting Norse civilization

T.J. Hafer at

I'm going to be reinstalling Age of Empires Online after the next update. If you know me, you probably just rolled your eyes and said, "They must have added vikings." You would be right! And also, I'm going to hit you in the face with an axe for rolling your eyes at me, whelp! The Norse are joining the existing roster of Greek, Egyptian, Celtic, Persian, and Babylonian civs, and bringing some new tricks and Northern fury to the game.

Weekend Game Deals - August 24, 2012

Tyler Wilde at

Thing I love about PC gaming #143: buying old games and buying a new games feels the same. Games get cheaper, but they don't tumble into bargain bins. They get re-promoted. Communities of fans stick around for years. When Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II was added to Steam this week, we celebrated. Today, it's in the top sellers list. The PC is where games go to thrive, on and on.

Oh, and we also spend less on them, new or old. This week in game deals: Civilization V, Grand Theft Auto IV, Torchlight, The Walking Dead, and more!

Age of Empires Online throws Babylonians into the mix

T.J. Hafer at

To celebrate the free to play MMORTS's one year anniversary, Gas Powered Games has revealed the identity of its fifth playable civilization to Eurogamer. The economically-focused Babylonians will be joining the Celts, Greeks, Persians, and Egyptians. The devs told Eurogamer that the focus is "their ability to build a strong economy, and quickly."

Did Age of Empires Online's revamp solve its biggest problems?

Josh Augustine at

Age Of Empires Online's launch was far from perfect--in fact, a lot of people skipped right over the game for very good reasons (see our launch review for a quick recap). But the beauty of online games and free-to-play models is that developers can listen to feedback from disgruntled players and change their games over time to make them better.

Gas Powered Games has done just that with Age of Empires Online with recent updates that have completely reworked large portions of the game. To see if they fixed what bothered gamers most, I put together a list of the most common complaints I read on Twitter, Facebook, and our very own comments sections here on this site, and investigated what Gas Powered Games has done—or not done—to address each of them.

Beat Age of Empire Online's devs in PvP this afternoon, win entire civilizations

Josh Augustine at

At 2 PM PST today, Age of Empires Online's Balance Team testers are taking all challengers in the PvP arena. Fair warning, these are the guys and gals whose full-time job is knowing every tiny nuance of the game--including how to perfectly counter your Egyptian camel rush tactic--so don't expect an easy fight.

Age of Empires Online interview: Tech trees and civ customization

PC Gamer at

In part one of our interview with Gas Powered Games, we heard all about the changes to Age of Empires Online's free-to-play model. In part two, the guys give us the lowdown on mechanical changes coming in the summer update, including a tech tree revamp. Read on!

Age of Empires Online interview: Becoming "really" free to play instead of "free to try"

PC Gamer at

We sat down with some of the guys at Gas Powered Games to discuss some big changes coming to in Age of Empires Online's summer update. In the first part of the interview, they discussed moving from a "Free to Play with paid DLC" model, to a more "true Free to Play" model where anything you could unlock faster with real money will be earnable by playing the game.

What Diablo 3 classes are game developers playing as?

Evan Lahti at

The PC Gamer Word Dungeon hasn't stopped echoing the phrase "What Diablo class are you playing?" for months. It's a constant inquiry. We talked about it at length at the end of last week's podcast. A few of us still haven't made up our minds. With precious time left to make a decision (and hopefully helping you to relieve the same burden), we bugged some developers. We asked Notch, Runic Games, Blizzard themselves, and others: what're you rollin'?

Age of Empires Online: Premium Celtic Civilization review

Josh Augustine at

My half-naked Woad Raiders leap into a formation of Roman archers with axes whirling around them. Meanwhile, in a serene forest far from battle, my Augur sacrifices a sacred fawn to Andrasta, goddess of war. Lightning crashes and my army glows with magical energy as the goddess’ boon charges their devastation of the Roman outpost.

The Celts, the newest civilization added to Age of Empires Online’s free-to-play roster, is the best one released yet, adding several new mechanics that advance the game’s complexity and will appeal to RTS gamers who crave more micromanagement. The first major addition is activated abilities on individual units, like the four different animal sacrifices available to the Augur to buff your army in various ways, that raise the skill ceiling for managing troops in battle.

Age of Empires Online invades Steam

Tom Senior at

Free-to-play, massively multiplayer RTS Age of Empires Online has arrived on Steam. AoE lets you fight RTS battles with colourful Celt, Egyptian, Persian and Greek forces. Victories will let you expand your capital city, unlocking bonuses for your troops and unlocking new units to be recruited in future fights. All that is explained in more detail and in a deeper voice in the new overview trailer above.

In Age of Empires Online, you pay to unlock new factions and game modes, rather than putting money into small XP boosts. All of the civilisation packs are half price on Steam now, and you can buy all of them, and the skirmish mode, for £19.50. Alternatively, jump in and check out AoE's cheerful, sunny cities. It's free, after all. Find out more in our Age of Empires Online review.

Age of Empires Online getting Celts, snowstorms and stealth missions

Tom Senior at

The Celts are coming to Age of Empires Online, and they're bringing some mean weather with them. Snowy tundra that slowly saps your units strength will be a key part of the new missions that the pack will add, and there will be a wealth of new units, of course. Celtic priests will be able to sacrifice deer to help out your forces, and their new hero is capable of infiltrating enemy villages.

The Celts will be available as an army pack that can be bought separately as an add on for the core game, which is free to play. You can sign up for an account and download the client from the Age of Empires Online site if you fancy checking it out. You can read our verdict on launch in our Age of Empires Online review.

Age of Empires Online trailer details new skirmish mode

Tom Senior at

Age of Empires Online is getting a skirmish booster pack. These paid-for bolt-ons normally add new races and missions, but this one will introduce a new mode that will let you and your friends fight a team of tailored AI opponents to gain XP and upgrades. The greater the odds you face, the more loot you'll get.

The skirmish mode will also unlock all of Age of Empires Online's units for you to play with, even if you're at level one. It should be a good way to road test powerful units that you wouldn't otherwise see for hours. It's an interesting add-on to the intriguing free to play online RTS. If you'd like to try it, you can download the client from the Age of Empires Online site and start playing now.

Age of Empires Online review

Tom Senior at

In most online RPGs you play as a single hero. In free-toplay Age of Empires Online, you’re a city. You start out as either a Greek or Egyptian township, and must expand to become a sprawling metropolis capable of training the most powerful units your chosen civilisation has to offer.

To do so, you accept missions from beardy quest-givers loitering under giant yellow exclamation marks on the streets of your capital. They’ll point out nearby enemy towns ripe for pillage. Stolen materials can be combined with blueprints to build more structures, which in turn can be upgraded to boost the strength of your units.

PC Gamer US October issue: Batman: Arkham City hands-on

PC Gamer at

The Bat Signal shines on the sky above Gotham! PC Gamer’s plucky reporters are on the scene to cover the Caped Crusader’s ass-kicking adventures in Batman: Arkham City in a huge hands-on story that covers a ton of new crime-fighting gadgets and Catwoman’s debut. You’d think that’d be the best thing in the issue, but what’s this? The amazing Deus Ex: Human Revolution review! You may need a brain augmentation to grasp how great this game is. You’ll also find our hands-on adventures in Guild Wars 2 and Tribes Ascend, tips straight from the developers to get you started right in Age of Empires Online, and a smorgasbord of our favorite demos from throughout PC gaming history! Bonus: this new-and-improved PC Gamer comes augmented with super-thick paper strong enough to stop a bullet. (Warning: do not use PC Gamer as body armor.)

Age of Empires Online dev diary shows loot, crafting and war elephants

Tom Senior at

The latest dev diary for Age of Empires Online shows off some of the loot we'll be able to unlock for our armies in Age of Empires Online. In traditional MMO style, items range from bog-standard to Epic, and can be earned in a number of ways. The items can be found in chests, crafted, or bought from city marketplaces. The free-to-play massively online RTS is set to launch on August 16, and is being developed by Supreme Commander 2 devs, Gas Powered Games. Find out more on the Age of Empires Online site.

Age of Empires online release date announced, launch trailer launches

Tom Senior at

Microsoft announce that Age of Empires Online will be released on August 16 this year. Age of Empires Online is an MMO real time strategy game in which you can use resources from local brawls to build up your central home city, upgrading units and progressing your civilisation through the ages.

The free to play re-emergence of the classic series is being handled by Supreme Commander and Demigod developers, Gas Powered Games. We spoke to GPG CEO Chris Taylor recently about his role on Age of Empires Online, and his enthusiasm for free to play games. For more info on the game, check out the official site.