Age of Empires 2's new DLC adds all of the first game's civs today

Three historical generals stare into the camera.
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition will take a deep dive into its own history when its Return of Rome DLC releases later today. The expansion is bringing over all 16 civilizations from the original Age of Empires into the second game, and even gives three of them their own unique campaigns. In addition to all that, it's adding the new Lac Viet civ to the AOE 1 roster and introducing the D3 competitive mode, which is apparently super popular in Vietnam.

I wrote about this one last month, closer to its announcement, so I won't rehash all the details here. What I will say is that Return of Rome hits Steam and the Microsoft Store at 10 am PT / 1 pm ET / 6 pm BST today, and—while I never recommend preordering anything—you can nab it for 15% off (£8.50/$13) if you pick it up before it releases.

Although you might have idle fantasies of pitting AOE1's Sumerians against AOE2's Khmer, you should know that Return of Rome will exist as its own, distinct section of AOE2: DE. As Microsoft explained in its "Return of Rome: Everything You Need to Know" post, Return of Rome has a separate bit of the game's main menu. When you click, you're magically transported to a portion of the game siloed off for Return of Rome content, so you won't be able to mix and match the new and old civs. That applies to the Lac Viet, too.

If you're disappointed, you can at least take solace in the fact that Rome—and only Rome—will also be added to AOE2's roster of civs. It is, after all, returning.

If, somehow, you've forgotten all of AOE1's civilisations, here are the historical empires and societies that will join the fray today:

  • Assyrians
  • Babylonians
  • Carthaginians
  • Choson
  • Egyptians
  • Greeks
  • Hittites
  • Macedonians
  • Minoans
  • Palmyrans
  • Persians
  • Phoenicians
  • Romans
  • Shang
  • Sumerians
  • Yamato
  • Plus the Lac Viet (who are new)
Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.