Entertainment Video Games

‘Age of Empires Online’ breaks the traditional RTS mold

By Chris Baca ’11
THE ROUNDUP

Over 13 years ago, the very first “Age of Empires” computer game came out and while it did not have the impact of later descendents it laid the groundwork for them.

This one game spawned a widely acclaimed and lucrative series.

The next step for the Age of Empires series is online.

The soon to be newest entry into the video game market, “Age of Empires Online,” promises to astound players with stylized graphics, online play and a low price.

The first thing one realizes when looking at this game is that it looks nothing like any of its predecessors.

The graphics have gotten a major overhaul from attempting to be realistic to a more cartoony and stylized look.

This move to different graphics shows that the developers are attempting to get more people into the game by making it look more accessible and lowering the hardware requirements to play it.

While named “Age of Empires Online,” the game will not be a traditional MMO (massive multiplayer online) nor an RTS (real time strategy).

Rather, it is going to blend elements of both genres with elements from each category.

There will be real time strategy combat within an evolving world much like many online games.

The best part about “Age of Empires Online” is that it will be completely free to play with no micro transactions.

An example of a micro transaction is when one buys money for a Facebook game.

Instead, there will be a one-time upgrade the player will be able to purchase.

A set price for this expansion has not been determines but the developers have promised not to “nickel and dime” players.

If one chooses this option they will have access to better gear and more content; however, much of the game is free.

If anything, the newest addition to the “Age of Empires” series promises to be good fun at a great price.

“Age of Empires Online” is slated for a third quarter of 2011 but delays are almost unavoidable in the video game industry.

The games website is www.ageofempiresonline.com where one can access information and sign up for the beta.