When the Summer Update launches (no set date, but 5-7 weeks from now), the way you purchase content will change. Age of Empires Online will truly become free to play if you choose. How will this work?
After the Summer Update, we will no longer accept real money for civilizations, booster packs, vanity items, or anything else in the store. All content for AOEO will be purchased with Empire Points, and Empire Points will be earned as you play. Therefore, if you spend sufficient time playing the game, you will eventually be able to unlock all the content in the game. If you don’t have extra time, and would like to buy the content immediately, we will sell Empire Points to you, which you can spend on anything you like.
In summary, each player will choose whether to spend time, money, or a combination of both for content they desire in AOEO.
How that will work for new players is pretty clear. What happens to existing players may be less clear. In order to make the chosen process less Byzantine, I’m going to break down all the seminal information in bullet points below. We will never tire of answering a serious inquiry frankly, so keep hitting them at us; nothing dispels a phony sheen like young turks hunting around for real answers.
When the Summer Update is released:
Clear as mudbricks?
Starting with the Summer Update, we will also be releasing new items to be purchased with EP (whether bought or earned). You can buy all the current Civilizations and boosters, plus new consumables and new vanity items, including new types of vanity items. More information on the new vanities will be available in a blog post, to be posted on May 15th.
Now, the hard questions. To save us all some time, I have written up five questions that I expect to be Frequently Asked.
Q: Are you making the game Pay to Win?
A: No. We have a separate PVP mode, called Champion mode, in which no gear or consumables are allowed. We will not change that. Players will only compete against each other with their skill, not their wallet or their spare time.
Q: Are you going to make the game really hard or really slow unless we pay?
A: No. We are not making changes to the game’s difficulty or pacing to make you spend cash on EPs. In fact, in the Spring Update we just made it faster for everyone to level. Now, there is nothing we can really demonstrate to prove this one way or the other. But please believe that we understand that making the game experience less fun until you pay is a terrible mistake.
Q: I paid real money for this game. Why does everyone else get it for free?
A: First, thank you for your purchase. Second, you keep everything you bought; you are losing nothing. Everyone will now have an option to save time by paying money, or save money by paying time. Just like the rest of the game, we can comfortably leave that choice to the individual player. We are releasing new content as well, and you will have the opportunity to buy that with time or money too.
There is a special note for our Season Pass holders. They will be receiving regular amounts of EP on a schedule as long as the Season Pass lasts. Thanks again to the Season Pass holders for their faith in AOEO. We will announce exactly what that schedule will be with the Summer Update.
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: Because we want more people playing AOEO, and there is more time than money in this world. We believe that more players will play if they can earn content simply by playing. Unlike many freemium games, AOEO has a significant social and community aspect. A player who has paid us nothing is still providing value to all the other players, as a trading partner, coop partner, PVP opponent, or just fellow traveler and forum poster. You won't earn EP by just being patient; you have to play the game. And that's good for everybody.
Q: Why didn’t you do this before?
Until we could complete our work on the Alliances, we didn’t have a satisfying way for players at the end game to earn Empire Points in the same way that new players could by building civilizations. The two are intertwined, but will reward our most faithful players by unlocking future content through dedication and perseverance, and reward new fans by providing a compelling end game worthy of the Age legacy.
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