Blog

Spring Patch Notes
3/27/2012

Now Available: Premium Celt Civilization

Take charge with the Celtic infantry! Spirited Celtic warriors paint themselves before battle and arm themselves with metalworking and crafting skills. Command the fleet-footed Woad Raiders and the high-health Champions, and revitalize your siegeless warriors using healing units: the fierce-fighting Druids and the buff-casting Augurs. Unlock Rare and Epic gear, Advisors, and Ranked PvP; increase your Capital City warehouse storage; and add more Workshops.

Celt Civilization
  • 80 unique quests, including multi-stage missions.
  • Infantry-focused military, minimal siege units.
  • New! Woad Raider and Champion units, mystical Druid and Augur healing units.
  • Celt Exclusives! Build Gold Mines and use the Metalworking crafting skill.

Try the Premium Celtic Civilization Pack today from the main civilization login menu, or purchase it at the Empire Bazaar in your Capital City.

Now Available: Skirmish Booster

Create your own battle! The fully configurable Skirmish Booster allows you to choose every element of gameplay, from resources, teams, and victory conditions to opponent civilizations, difficulty, and strategy.

  • Supports 8 armies on the battlefield: 4-player Co-op versus 4 computer-controlled AI opponents.
  • All units are unlocked and battle-ready!
  • More than 20 different battlegrounds.
  • Earn new Advisors, vanity trophies, and gear.

Try the Skirmish Booster demo by visiting the Cyprus region. The Skirmish Booster can be purchased at the Empire Bazaar in your Capital City.

New Feature: Party 2v2 in PvP

Yeah, this one is way, way overdue. You can now enter into Sparta PvP with a friend as a Party and match against other teams. This works in both Standard and Champion mode, and free players can play Champion PvP if they're in a party with a Premium player--even writing out leaderboard entries.

New Feature: Party Finder

You can now do a simple search for other players looking for a Party in your level range. This feature is accessed via the "Party Invite" button in the capital city UI. There's a new button, "Find" that starts a search for other players in your level range who are also interested in forming a Party. Once it finds another player also looking for a Party, it automatically sends an invite and, if accepted, you're in a Party.

The current implementation uses player level for matching up party members, starting with the same level and extending outward up to five levels. You can exist the Friends List UI, and the search will continue running in the background while you're doing other things in your city or in a region; it will also continue searching even when you switch regions. To stop searching, right-click the animated icon that appears next to the Party Invite button.

This is an initial implementation of this feature. If players find it useful, it can be extended to allow specific searches, like "Find PvP Party," "Find Arena Party," "Find Co-op Party," "Find Skirmish Party," etc.

New Feature: Gear Rating

When viewing the stats for Gear, you can now see via icons whether the item represents an upgrade for any of your current units which can equip the item, a downgrade, or is pretty much the same. A green up arrow (or arrows) in the hover tips means it's an improvement, while a red down arrow (or arrows) mean it's worse; a tan circle means it's equivalent. This is a fairly blunt calculation that it uses item level and rarity and is intended to be a quick way to compare item effectiveness, but is not a definitive comparison. Some stats cannot always be compared directly, such as Movement Speed, Cost, or Build Time, and it doesn't consider stats or what's better or worse for the current unit or units, or the play style of the player or the civilization.

Patch Notes 3/27/2012

This is a big one! Read on to get the scoop on new features (Party 2v2 in PvP, Party Finder, Gear Rating), all the major and minor changes, other updates, and highlights of a billion bug fixes--okay, 1400 bug fixes.

Major Changes

Three major changes have been done to improve the overall gameplay experience:

  • Age 3 and Age 4 have been moved to levels 7 and 15, respectively. Some items have had their minimum level requirements adjusted in order to support this change.
  • All buildings and mobile units now unlock automatically at the start of their associated Age (they no longer cost tech tree points).
  • Nearly all quests and game modes in the game have had their experience rewards boosted:
    • XP increased by 10-300% for the Core campaign quests/ Argos and Cyprus
    • XP increased by 30-60% for PvP match victories
    • XP increased by 30-60% for scaling repeatable quests (like Neighborly Defense)
    • XP increased by 20-80% for Defense of Crete 20 Waves
      • 20 Waves now averages more than twice the XP from 10 Waves, in recognition of the greater degree of risk of failure
    • XP increased by 20-100% for Defense of Crete 30 Waves
      • 30 Waves now averages more than three times the XP from 10 Waves, in recognition of the greater degree of risk of failure
    • XP increased from 150K to 250K for "The Elite Meet in Crete"
    • XP increased by 20-100% for Skirmish Hall victories
    • XP increased by 200-300% for Skirmish Hall globals

Additional maps from Skirmish are now available for play in Sparta and Arena PvP:

  • Equal Footing
  • Treasure Island
  • Bandit Canyon
  • Dueling Islands (Arena only)

Other major changes

  • Legendary quests will now only drop Advisors and Equipment, and of Rare and higher rarity.
  • When starting a new civilization and choosing not to skip the tutorial, you will receive a "Welcome to Age of Empires Online" dialog with one option: "Begin Quest." This immediately takes you to the first tutorial quest in the game before returning you to your Capital City. Players who choose to skip the tutorial will receive the same "Welcome," but can close it and explore their Capital City.
  • Non-Legendary quests that can drop level 40 gear now have a chance of dropping Legendary gear.
  • Gambled level 40 chests now have a chance of dropping Legendary gear.
  • Equipment icons and unit visuals have been changed to be consistent in their looks based on rarity.
  • When you "unlearn" a craft school, you lose all of the recipes associated with that school.
  • There's a new launcher that supports more text (like full patch notes) and handles differential patching so each patch download may be considerably smaller than it was previously.
  • Made a full pass on all pieces of in-game gear and their icons to make them uniformly reflect a consistent look with their in-game representation, and to associate materials with rarity. While the overall rarity color-coding remains identical (White, Green, Blue, Purple, Orange for Common, Uncommon, Rare, Epic, and Legendary), the images of the gear will better represent their in-game looks both in material and color. As a result of this global pass, some of your current visible gear may have a different color and texture that better represents its rarity. (This also allows you to more easily identify what your opponent is equipped with.) The general guide for material rarity is:
    • Wood or copper = Common
    • Bronze = Uncommon
    • Silver = Rare
    • Gold = Epic
    • Black = Legendary

Other Changes

  • Added the TrueSkill Rating to the Sparta PvP leaderboards. Now you can see just how close you are to toppling TheMistaa, or whoever is currently at the top of the list. Which is to say, probably not very close.
  • Lowered the minimum level for Standard Sparta PvP to 3 to make it consistent with all other multiplayer in the game. Standard PvP ain't great at that level—try Champion PvP instead—but knock yourself out. At least you can build more units than just Spearmen.
  • Fixed a higher than expected drop chance for Siege Accessories. Sorry, Heavy Cedar Beams.
  • Adjusted some Equipment effectiveness to be more in-line with its level range and rarity.
  • Increased sell cost on some of the unusable items.
  • Improved hover icons (wings, sword, shield) for consumables that provide stat buffs.
  • Recipes in Empire Point stores have had their prices halved.
  • Skirmish AI will now use Palintonons.
  • Skirmish Naval has been boosted to improve AI handling on water maps.
  • Numerous trees have been scolded for their misbehavior and firmly re-snapped to ground.

Quest Changes

Several quests have been made inactive, and will no longer be offered to players. If you have one of these quests, it will now show up in your quest list with the title, “Oops!” These quests can be abandoned, or turned in to your City Ambassador for a small coin reward. Inactive quests include:

  • Several Argos quests that were removed as a part of the first pass to update Argos.
  • The tutorial quest to learn the Storehouse tech (now granted for free).
  • The introduction to the Ambassador quest (now streamlined with a pro-tip notification).

Argos Quest Changes

  • Argos quests have been re-organized, with changes made to several pre-requisites, and quest givers. This was done both to improve the overall experience of Argos and to lay the ground work for on-going improvements to the quality of this shared region.
  • Players who have been actively playing Argos quests might experience a quest in their Quest list with the title “Oops” – this represents a now inactive quest.
  • A few Argos quests have new maps, and more elaborate enemy content.
  • The following quests now give an additional chest on quest completion. They have also been changed to be Daily (12 hour) repeatables:
    • "Challenge: Breaking Eggs to Make an Omelet"
    • "You Complete Me"
    • "We Killed These Guys Already!"
    • "Why Does It Have to Be Bandits?"
    • "Left with No Choice"

Greek Quest Changes

  • "Protect Our People" has been made less difficult.
  • "Challenge: Back to You Tenfold" is now set to be Daily (12 hour).

Egyptian Quest Changes

  • "To the Open Desert" now starts the player with additional resources.
  • "The Fishin' Hole" has been updated with changes that allow the player to get up and running faster.
  • "The Golden Punch Bowl" has been updated to start the player at a higher age, and to increase the activity of the enemy attacks, while also decreasing the number of attackers per attack.
  • "Hard-Won Gold" is now set to be Daily (12 hour).

UI Changes

  • The hover tip for Gear now shows the units in your civilization that can equip that item. Units that you have currently unlocked show up in White, and units that are still locked are shown in Gray. Items that are unusable by any unit in your current civ will show as red in the store, your inventory, and they will no longer bring up the Gear Hall if right-clicked.
  • Added a number of travel shortcut buttons to the Quest Map UI. They allow immediate, unprompted access to your Capital City, Sparta (for PvP), Cyprus (for Skirmish), and Crete (for Defense of Crete).
  • Added a number of shortcuts to the Capital City UI. From left, they are Palace (Tech Tree), Gear Hall, Advisor Hall, and Mail. You can also access the Treasury by clicking on the coin icon. The empty icons are currently reserved for Future Use(tm).
  • Revised the visual design for the matchmaking UI for both PvP and co-op matching. It shows what type of match you're looking for, how long you've been searching, for and has icons that show when you've connected with other players; red means the position hasn't been filled, green means it's found a player. The matchmaking UI also brings the Chat Window into focus, so you can chat while matchmaking. And the crowd goes wild.
  • Revised the visual design of both the Crafting and Workshop UIs. The Crafting UI has a new pop-out to show materials; click the arrow to see what each recipe requires. You also need to retrieve the crated item from the crafting UI upon completion, which makes it work identically to the Workshop.
  • Minor revisions to the visuals for the Empire Bazaar, adding tabbed categories for "What's New," "Specials," and "Top Sellers," and splitting up civilizations and boosters from the main list of items for sale.
  • Revised the Capital Report to give more information and make it better looking. It now shows all of your currencies on different tabs, and all Workshop Inventories on another.
  • On opening the Advisor Hall, you always have the Age I advisor slot selected. This helps some of the initial confusion over how this UI works.
  • Minor visual tweaks to the Mail inbox, now showing the received dates and times, and the expiration dates for all items.
  • Flipped the position of the icons for resource costs relative to the number value when hovering on units in the Build Menu to match the layout of the persistent resource UI.
  • Added a new quest list icon to identify quests that are both global and repeatable.
  • Minor changes to backgrounds in all quest-related dialogs to improve readability. By a lot. Seriously, it's like night and day.
  • The Tech Tree UI now shows Technology Cost and Research Time.
  • Unit and Tech tooltips now show the Build Time/Research Time while on a quest.
  • Capital City Travel Ships and Couriers no longer bring up the mail dialog.
  • Recipes now show Material costs on multiple lines, like Blueprints.
  • Command Panel tooltips list resources in a line-by-line format, improving readability.
  • The Consumable Shortcut Bar no longer auto-populates with whatever Consumables you have in your inventory. Instead, you can manually add and remove them from the bar. Add by dropping with a left-click; right clicking to remove it.
  • Added more civ-specific load screens, so you won't keep seeing that Greek boat as, say, an Egyptian. Your boat is much, much prettier.
  • Added some default "Enter" key behavior for proper buttons in dialogs, like "Yes" on party invites and "Delete Units."
  • Tribute Menu now disables the "Send" button until you actually click a button to tribute something.
  • Left-clicking an item in the store will now buy it with a prompt instead of doing nothing (right-click still does an immediate purchase). There are some order-of-operations issues when you can't afford the item (as in, you get the prompt and are then told you don't have the coin) which will be addressed soon.
  • Added chat message when Secure Trade request is received.
  • Added a chat notification when someone on your friends list enters your current region.
  • Added a more descriptive error message when a player quits while the Arena Invite or Party Invite dialogs are open.
  • In general, all Trade requests will be rejected when you're using most major UIs.
  • Added a message that gives some feedback when clicking on an LFG link that is no longer available.
  • Added a message when a Party Member leaves and you try to start co-op.

Key Mappings

  • Minor reorganization of key mappings into more logical categories (all unit commands are under "Unit Control Hokeys" instead of some being in General Game Hotkeys, to use one example).
  • Added hotkey support for consumables. They default to F1, F2, F3, and F4, and match the consumable UI from left-right.
  • Made "Find [Cap City Building]" shortcuts all zoom to the location of the building instead of merely selecting them.
  • Added hotkey support for the following features (most are unmapped, so have at it):
    • Reset Camera
    • Guard
    • Patrol
    • Pack
    • Unpack
    • Delete Selected Units Without Confirmation
    • Move All Military Units
    • Convert Wall to Gate
    • Fortress Build Hotkeys (for Advisor units)

Balance Updates

Shared

  • Scout
    • Decreased base damage vs. Villagers to 1 health per hit
  • Fishing Boat
    • Decreased gather rate to 1.6 from 2.0 (Egyptian 1.44 from 1.8)
    • Increased fishing techs’ gather rate bonus to +20% from +12%
    • Increased fishing techs’ carry capacity bonus to +50% from +12%
  • Ballista/Catapult Trireme and Mangonel Galley
    • Removed 0.5 Infantry Armor
    • Added 0.3 Ranged Armor
  • Watch Post
    • Increased LOS to 38 from 36
  • Age 4 Tech
    • Decreased cost to 800f/800w/800g/400s from 1000f/1000w/1000g/600s
  • Loom Tech
    • Decreased cost to 50f from 50f/50w
    • Decreased research time to 20 from 30 seconds
  • Wheelbarrow Tech
    • Added +5% movement speed bonus
  • Hand Cart
    • Added +10% movement speed bonus

Greeks

  • Gastraphetes
    • Increased population count to 2 from 1
    • Increased cost to 35w/50g from 35w/40g
    • Increased damage to 14 from 9.6
    • Increased bonus damage vs. Infantry to +200% from +150%

Egyptians

  • Spearman
    • Decreased training time to 10 from 12 seconds
  • Axeman
    • Decreased training time to 8 from 10 seconds
  • Elephant Archer
    • Decreased damage to 50 from 60
  • Priest of Ptah
    • Increased conversion range to 15 from 6
    • Increased population count to 2 from 1

Persians

  • Sparabara
    • Removed bonus damage vs. Cavalry (was +50%)
  • Bowman
    • Decreased damage to 9 from 10
    • Decreased bonus damage vs. Infantry to +50% from +100%
  • Galley
    • Increased training time to 23 from 20 seconds
    • Increased cost to 175w/50g from 150w/50g
  • Star Tech: Harallu Boon
    • Decreased bonus starting gold to +50 from +150

Bug Fixes

There are more than 1400 bug fixes in this update, many minor and cosmetic, others more important. Here are some highlights.

  • General pathing improvements, like it failing when faced with a cliff, that should improve performance.
  • Optimization for FFA matchmaking to address an issue that caused it to take way too long for players between levels 20-25.
  • Fix for a de-synch problem when there was a 4% or higher periodic packet loss. This should the game synchronized if a player is temporarily having an issue.
  • Fix for crash if you de-synch in FFA.
  • Improvements in 2v2 Champion Mode matching algorithms to speed up the process when some specific conditions were met.
  • Fixed issues with Random Champion 2v2 where Party Invites were being rejected because the game had already started.
  • Material Recipes now drop properly.
  • Fixed Egyptian Palintonon and Merchant Transport Tech Tree icons.
  • Removed invalid commands on the Egyptian Trade Dock.
  • Copper Ram Head will now drop properly.
  • Egyptian Scout now uses its critical strike animation.
  • Catapult Triremes and equivalent ships now have 0.3 Ranged Armor instead of 0.5 Infantry Armor.
  • Fixed a variety of inaccurate text descriptions.
  • Lots of fixes for overflowing localized text. We got your back, Germany.
  • We now output a message in chat when a user attempts to trade with someone they have on their ignore list.
  • Some fixes for water unit pathing.
  • AI units no longer process gather updates while town bell is active (Skirmish only).
  • Some fixes for attack commands and cooldowns for abilities, for both general opponent AI and unit AI.
  • On login, we make sure any age up effects that need to be fired, have fired off as there was a chance that a player wouldn't have access to age-appropriate techs in tech tree through some crazy convoluted process.
  • Opening the Games for Windows Live blade clears all keyboard and mouse input in the game.
  • Fixes for how a unit calculates attack distance when in a Stance.
  • We now always round down when displaying cost in tooltips.
  • Changing a units tactic (pack/unpack) will no longer remove it from its squad.
  • Fix for co-op players not being awarded elite rewards.
  • Fix for AI villagers attacking treasure guardians.
  • A few dozen tuning adjustments to treasure locations and difficulty for cases where they were too hard/easy to access relative to the quest level.
  • Fix for some non-elite buildings, ships, and resources having the wrong visual scale upon death, leading to some weird visuals.
  • You no longer get spammed with quest progress messages when moving materials from container to container or splitting stacks.
  • If you have a co-op version of a quest and view it in the quest dock dialog it will now show you the correct rewards you will receive.
  • If you are kicked from the game server for inactivity, there will now be a message box letting you know.
  • Fix for hotkey mappings not updating properly.
  • Guardians will now ignore (and no longer take damage from) computer-controlled players. No kiting for rewards, sorry.
  • The "find unit" hotkeys now respect the snap-to-unit option.
  • You now get a confirmation dialog when you try to reset all your hotkeys to default.
  • Fix for Population quest objectives not resetting when restarting a quest.
  • Units that are told to board a boat will no longer become distracted by being attacked. In other words, "get on the boat" means "GET ON THE BOAT!"
  • Fixes for transport logic.
  • The co-op button is no longer enabled when a region is selected.
  • Equipment no longer shows stats in Arena Champion mode.
  • Using the keyboard shortcut for the Gear Hall will close it if it's open.
  • The AI now uses distance from its main base as the distance factor when selecting a resource to gather.
  • Capital City quests will now show up in the quest tracker while in any city or region.
  • The AI names in co-op, Defense of Crete, and Skirmish will all be localized.
  • Hovering over Gear in Champion mode shows that they're currently being used for visuals only.
  • Consumable and Advisor dialogs will no longer show up in PvP.
  • Fix for not being able to start a Skirmish or Defense of Crete quest after purchasing the DLC without logging out and back.
  • Instead of preventing commands before the game is ready, we just queue them up.
  • Optimizations for gathering and how moveable, herdable, huntable, and "can attack" states are managed.
  • Optimizations for how resources are managed by the game.
  • Optimizations for determining valid placement positions for buildings.
  • Build commands are now properly canceled when a builder has died.
  • Snared units are not grouped with un-snared units when given move orders.
  • Fix for chat tab history. Sorry about that one.
  • Fix for text overruns in chat when you change resolutions.
  • Fix for chat tab scrolling independently.
  • Fix for Gear Hall properly showing "Champion" title for units.
  • Fix for the Consumable Timer briefly flashing an incorrect value at the end of the timer.
  • Fix for lost characters when copy/pasting text in mail.
  • All "Find [Unit]" commands clear the current selection.
  • Fix for tooltip opacity changing after switching resolutions.
  • Fix for crash when visiting the city of a player they're trading with, while the trade dialog is open.
  • Fix for incorrect kickback notifications when offline.
  • "Joined Channel" message is now properly localized in all languages.
  • Fix for lack of feedback when using /reply or /r without having received a whisper to reply to.
  • Fix for Elite units showing base unit stats in their hover tip.
  • Fix for non-idle units not moving when Villagers are constructing buildings.
  • Fix for losing resources when rapidly pressing the "Create" button in the Crafting UI.
  • You no longer can try to delete units within a Merchant Transport.
  • Fix for COD and coin icons in the mail UI not functioning when the UI is left open.
  • Improved control for chat spamming.
  • Fix for severe lag spikes with chat logs that have tons of item links.
  • Fix for the cursor "sticking" to the minimap in your capital city.
  • Fix for ugly visual when placing a building at the base of a cliff.
  • Fix for rally points failing if set to a tree that becomes chopped down and disappears.
  • Fix for trees displaying hit points and wood content while in the fog of war.
  • French accented characters are displaying correctly on some UIs.
  • Fix for a crash when rapidly switching between Global and Friends leaderboards in Sparta.
  • Fix for the Age progress bar showing incorrectly when in Age 3.
  • Players with voice and text set to "Friends Only" in Live can no longer send LFG messages via the co-op button.
  • Fix for issues where a player receives a Party Invite, logs out, and then receives another from the same player.
  • Fix for the Trade Dialog not properly handling when the other person logs out while the dialog is open.
  • The "View Friends" leaderboard now shows "No Entries" if you have no friends. *Sniff*
  • Fix for sporadic crashes when existing 2v2 PvP related to Chat not shutting down correctly.
  • Fix for some incorrect Friend Notifications when starting a new civ.
  • Fix for when a Party Leader attempts to start a new Skirmish game and adds Party members who still haven't turned in their previous Skirmish quest. They will now auto-decline until they've turned in the quest.
  • Fixes for some sporadic crashes on closing the game from the main menu due to some synchronization issues with Games for Windows Live.
  • Fixes for an issue in matchmaking that caused teams to take on a white team color.
  • Fix for allowing menus to be closed while opening the Empire Handbook.
  • Fixed the rules for the "I'm Special" achievement to properly require the quest be Elite.
  • You can no longer click your own LFG links. Seriously, what are you trying to do here?
  • You now receive notifications and the coin for kickbacks when in a region, instead of only when you return to your Capital City.
  • You could be a "Party of One" and be unable to co-op match; this happened when you sent an invite that was declined or became invalid. We no longer create the Party on sending the invite, only on receiving a confirmation.
  • The Arena will properly show current Party composition.
  • We now queue Party Invite messages, so if players are traveling they will still receive it upon entering the region.
  • Fix for Elite mode occasionally persisting across multiple quests.
  • Fix for quest difficulty scaling not working for materials quests "Trade for Giza Limestone," "Trade for Delphi Limestone," and "Trade for Mosaic Tile."
  • Fix for 2v2 Champion leaderboard not reporting correctly if players logged out.
  • Fix for players being unable to control their units if one player disconnects in a 2v2 matchmaking game.
  • Fix for an incorrect server request when players delete mail.
  • Fix for mail occasionally being unclickable.
  • Fix for an occasional crash when hitting "Cancel" while logging into the game.
  • Fix for some hardware instancing issues with ATI chipsets.
  • Added sounds to "Quest Complete" text, and to a number of additional dialogs.

Join the conversation! Discuss this update on our forums here: http://forums.ageofempiresonline.com/forums/180512/ShowThread.aspx#180512