Thursday, June 16, 2011

'Age of Empires Online' Looks Mildly Intriguing

Age of Empires, the universally beloved RTS franchise, is joining the MMO universe. Developed by Gas Powered Games, Age of Empires Online adds MMORPG elements to the age-old RTS formula. And the best part? It's free!

At launch, the game will feature the Greek and Egyptian civilizations and over 40 hours of gameplay - for free. This includes the classic RTS gameplay you'd expect from Age of Empires, but with social interaction, crafting, trading, and quests. You can play with your friends cooperatively and competitively and your empire remains persistent even when you're not online.

On the business end, the game will support itself with Premium Content packs. This could include new civilizations, game modes, and more. Age of Empires Online is yet another game following the freemium trend. Though this business model has its flaws, I love the fact that I can try the game for free and then pay money if I decide to invest.

Age of Empires Online also has a unique art style. It's cartoony and fun, but still manages to convey the historical nature of the game (sort of). As a little bit of a history buff, it irks me that the Egyptians look the way they do, when, by this time period, the Egyptians should look pretty much like Greeks. Alexander did put a Greek dynasty in control of Egypt. Oh, well. I never really relied on Age of Empires as a 100 percent historically accurate source.

The game should be worth trying out and, if it's any good, maybe even spending some money for the Premium Content packs. I'd like to see what other civilizations are introduced and to see how cooperative gameplay works. So, Age of Empires fans, what do you think?

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