Age of Empires 4 is getting magical in its season 4 update. Launching tomorrow, February 16, AoE 4's Enchanted Grove promises a swathe of new content that will turn the decidedly history-focused RTS into a more fanciful, almost Age-of-Mythology-flavoured experience. Because I guess the real-life Holy Roman Empire wasn't basically Faerûn (opens in new tab)? News to me.
The biggest addition the update's making is the titular Enchanted Grove biome, a magical, purple-hued land for you to strip of resources and despoil with total war. You'll also get three new maps—Four Lakes, Continental, and Marshland—to do battle in.
The new season is bringing a new game mode with it, too. Nomad mode—which has been in AoE games before (opens in new tab) in one form or another—sees your faction start out as a gaggle of three villagers and little else: no town hall, no warriors, no nothing. You can either set your goons to work getting that town hall going ASAP, or roll the dice and strike out to find better-situated and resourced land on which to build. It's kind of Civ-like, and should spice things up a bit on those old maps you've already grown accustomed to.
If you're a digital trophy hoarder, then season 4 is also giving you a shot at earning all sorts of shiny stuff. By fulfilling the requirements of a new set of challenges (opens in new tab), you can earn yourself new profile icons, coats of arms, and even a new monument to adorn your towns with. Bear in mind that your time to grab this stuff is limited, though, since you'll only have to the end of the season 4 event before the opportunity closes.
That's not everything that Age of Empires 4's season 4 update is bringing, but the rest consists of vague stuff like "UI improvements," "landmark reworks," and the delightfully tantalising promise of a "new cheat code". You can find a full list of the upcoming changes over at the Age of Empires website (opens in new tab).
The season 4 Enchanted Grove event will run from tomorrow, February 16, until March 29. I don't know if it's deliberate, but I'm choosing to interpret its magic-inflected tone as a subtle nod towards the much-beloved Age of Mythology, which is due to get a remaster—Age of Mythology Retold (opens in new tab)—at some point in the future.