August 16, 2012, will mark the first anniversary of the public launch of Age of Empires Online. To celebrate this event, we will be launching the Anniversary Update on August 14, 2012.
Over the past few weeks, we have discussed many details about the major features in this upcoming release. Here’s the quick list:
You will note that we have not gone into detail about either the Annies or the new Quest Pack. Given that we pride ourselves on our transparency with you, this seems like an odd omission. Why not?
We have two distinct jobs to do with regards to communication. The first is to you, the players reading this, which is to keep you informed and happy about the state and ongoing direction of the game. The second, sometimes conflicting, is to reach out to new people who have not yet tried the game. This requires significant outreach to the internet as a whole.
I am happy to say that a major internet gaming site has chosen to carry the news of the Annies as an exclusive news event on their site. That story will break sometime this week. Obviously, I can’t say any more about it right now—but rest assured that we will post info on our blog and our forums pointing you there.
Thank you for your feedback and commentary. We do listen. We do care what you say and do as you play our game. We are extremely excited for and proud of the Anniversary Update, and we’re sure that you will be too when you get to play it next week—on August 14
Notes for the August 14th 2012 Anniversary Update
Stay Tuned: Details on the Annies Civ and the new quest pack announcement will be coming later this week!
*Season pass holders will receive both the new civ and the new quest pack for free with this update.
Now Available: Empire Vault
Need more space? Find yourself constantly mailing items to your other civilizations? Then this is the feature you need. Release your inner hoarder!
The Empire Vault is a shared Inventory for all of your civilizations on your current realm. It comes with 4 shared Inventory slots, and you can spend Empire Points to expand it up to 240 slots. With the Vault open, you right-click items to add them and right-click Vault items to send them back to your Inventory. The Inventory can be filtered by item type (All, Gear, Materials, Advisors, Recipes, etc.).
To access the Empire Vault, click the Empire Vault button attached to the minimap near your regular Inventory on the Capital City UI. It can be purchased right there or from the Empire Bazaar. You expand its capacity from within the Vault itself.
*Season pass holders will receive this feature with 4 slots for free with this update.
Watch a video on our blog to see the Empire Vault in action for yourself here: http://www.ageofempiresonline.com/en/articles/blog-20120726
Now Available: Rename your Capital
Ever made a poor decision that you wish you could reverse? Now you can! For a fee.
You can now rename your Capital City from the Civilization Selection screen. Click the More Info button and select Rename. It costs Empire Points to rename your city, so you'll want to choose wisely this time.
Now Available: New Empire Consumables
This update features six powerful new Empire Consumables. Destroy your enemies in style with Palintonons of the Empire, Resources of the Empire, Crocodile Rampage, and more. Take a peek at the Empire Store to see the new consumables.
Now Available: Vanity Ticket, Golden Ticket
There is now a chance to get two new, hard-to-find items: the Vanity Ticket and the Golden Ticket. Turn in the Vanity Ticket for a random piece of Vanity Gear in Vanity Island. Or, if you’re lucky enough to find a Golden Ticket, you can turn it in to Marcus Pollux for a random assortment of level-appropriate gear (up to level 30).
Now Available: New Vanity Gear
This update includes 4 new sets of Vanity Gear! Outfit your units with the Dragon Slayer, Wizard, Lunch Knight, and Pirate sets! Visit Vanity Island today to purchase your own set.
Get a peek of the new Vanity Gear coming your way on our blog here: http://www.ageofempiresonline.com/en/articles/blog-20120717
Now Available: New Legendary Items
You asked, we answered. 20 new Legendary items are waiting to be discovered, including Belly Bows, Axes, and Scepters. Find them where you find all of your favorite Legendary items!
New Feature: Milestone Techs
With this new feature, you will now get access to powerful new Milestone techs at levels 5, 10, 20, 30 and 40. At each Milestone, you can choose between two specialized bonuses to improve your effectiveness in all quests (excluding PvP). You’ll find Milestone Techs in your Technology Tree, but choose wisely – they can’t be reset.
Once you pick these Milestones, you can choose one per civilization to affect your other civilizations. The more civilizations you play and level to 40, the more Milestones you'll get.
This feature is available for all players.
Read all about the upcoming Milestone Techs on our blog here: http://www.ageofempiresonline.com/en/articles/blog-20120719
New Feature: Spectator Mode for Arena PvP
Like to watch?
For some, watching an Arena match is as thrilling as sparring face-to-face with the enemy on the battlefield. The new Spectator mode lets anywhere from 1-3 players observe or "Spectate" 1v1 or 2v2 Arena matches between players. (The maximum number of players in a match is currently 5.)
As a Spectator, you have your own UI that lets you see what all players are doing, what resources they have, their build queues, how many idle workers they have, and you can switch between perspectives to see intel. All of these panels can be moved anywhere on the screen. Cast away!
A premium Civilization is required to launch an Arena match, but any free or premium player can be a Spectator.
Take a look at this upcoming feature on our blog here: http://www.ageofempiresonline.com/en/articles/blog-20120801
Or watch a video of the new Spectator Mode here: http://www.ageofempiresonline.com/en/articles/blog-20120803
- Added support for Battle Music. Here’s how it works: the game detects X units fighting for X seconds and then switches to new, specially created Battle Music tracks. While that new music is playing, the game looks for the number of units dropping below a certain number for X amount of time before stopping. It can't be re-triggered for another fixed amount of time.
- Variable item effectiveness. Items you craft or find from treasure will now have small differences in their effectiveness. All items found before this patch will remain unchanged.
PvP and Skirmish Hall Updates
- Celtic environments have been enabled.
- Resource costs for the Wonder in Skirmish Wonder Victory have been reduced to 5k per resource (was 25K).
- AI behavior in Skirmish Wonder Victory has been enhanced to create a more competitive experience.
- Black Forest map bug has been fixed, allowing the player’s Town Center to be completely surrounded by trees.
- “Ally Defeated” text no longer displays in Skirmish when a human-controlled ally has reached the point where a computer-controlled ally would resign (for example, after losing your TC and Villagers, but while you still have plenty of resources and factories).
- Skirmish Hall gather radius bug has been fixed (this will lead to more consistent gathering from nearby resources instead of trekking across the map for hunts, Gold, and Stone).
- Core PvP maps have been updated based on balance team feedback. These include:
- Big Island
- Bandit Canyon
- Sheltered Pass
- Treasure Island
- Changed default map type to Random. For RPhilMan1. Don't say we never did anything for you. (And the others that requested this.)
Repeatable Quest Improvements
The Anniversary Update includes the first phase of improvements we are doing to all repeatable quests. In this phase, we have added at least one secondary objective (with additional rewards) to nearly all repeatable quests in the game. We have also added Alliance Point rewards to most of the repeatable quests in Cyprus, Argos, and the new booster pack.
Our intent is to broaden the variety of content that is available for users to enjoy and to provide a wide range of options at the end-game. To that end, we are not finished with the scope of improvements. More is planned and already in development.
After the Summer Update back in July, there was a significant and unintentional spike in quest difficulty. We feel that the subsequent patches have addressed the general issues quite well, and we are now seeing quests completed at very similar percentages to before the Summer Update. However, there were still enough problems to warrant surgical fixes for the Anniversary Update. Here is a breakdown of those changes:
- Elite spawn chances have been generally reduced for any quest where the percentage was higher than 2.5%.
- Elite spawn chances have been removed from nearly all quests below level 15. (Before we started the Elite units as early as level 10.)
- The Trade quests have had enemy gear reduced and several bug fixes with the enemy spawns and patrol behavior:
- Trade for Celtic Charcoal
- Trade for Delphi Limestone
- Trade for Giza Limestone
- Trade for Mosaic Tile
- All the Persian civ-exclusive quests now grant less free tech to the enemy on start of these quests:
- Gaumata's Gambit
- Under Pressure
- Gate of All Nations
- The Challenge: Celtic Combat quest is now single player only and has been significantly redesigned and re-tuned.
- A number of lower-than-level-20 main-path quests with generally lower completion rates than desired have had some or all of the following changes:
- Gear reductions for enemies
- AI attack strength reductions
- Economy boost reductions (removals in several cases)
- Siege Bias reductions
- Starting resource boosts for the player
- Age restrictions imposed on the enemy AI (preventing them from reaching a given age)
- Affected Greek quests:
- Helping Out a Neighbor
- Protect Our People
- Reclaiming the Throne
- Take the Beach!
- Secure a Foothold
- Hold the Fort!
- Hector Must Fall
- Horsing Around
- Defend Mycenae!
- Affected Egyptian quests:
- Camels in the Mist
- Push to the Pass
- We Three Priests
- Priestess to Queen's Temple One
- Gold One Way
- Raiding Time
- Wait for It
- Fall of Nubia
- Echo Canyon Slaughter
- Operation Napata
- The Supporting Cast
- Vizier's Doom
- Defend Egypt!
- Affected Celtic quests:
- Be the Shield
- Tower Defense
- Prescription is Conscription
- Defend Massalia!
- Several lower-level side-path and repeatable quests have had difficulty adjustments as well:
- Last-Minute Cleanup
- Big King, Big Ego
- What an Egomaniac
- Rallying at the Temples
- Neighborly Defense
- Flush Them Out
- The Fishin' Hole
- Sleeping Prince (all quests)
- Giants Fell One by One
- Hold Out
- They Shall Not Pass!
- Repairing Under Fire
- Hard-Won Gold
- Sink or Swim
- Die Hard or Die Hard
- Popping Up
- The Argos quest Cataclysm now supports Co-op, has had major map and AI changes, and should generally be a more appropriate difficulty level for the main finale quest in Argos.
- The Co-op required quest series in Argos has had its difficulty shifted from being mostly about Elite units to be more about unit counts:
- Live Together, Die Together
- Best Friends Forever
- I'm Nothing Without You
- We're Like Peas and Carrots
- You Complete Me
- The enemy in Retake the Islands now uses lower-quality gear and a less-aggressive AI.
- The three Bandit quests now have significantly lower Elite spawn chances and will not age up beyond Age 3:
- We Killed These Guys Already!
- Why Does It Have to Be Bandits?
- Left with No Choice
- All of the Refugee Colony quests now use involve less-aggressive AI enemies and start the player off with higher resource amounts:
- Challenge: New-Found Hope
- Challenge: Hope Everlasting
- Challenge: Hope Eternal
- Rescue Mission
- Recapturing Kition has been reduced in difficulty by adjusting the enemy attack strength.
- Recapturing Amathus has been reduced in difficulty by adjusting the enemy attack strengths and streamlining the enemy unit variety to be less varied and difficult to counter.
- Quest descriptions now show before objectives in the quest window.
- Treasure Chests now show their level in the quest window.
- Store icons added to minimap in your Capital City and regions.
- Made most large UIs (Tech tree, Advisor, Quest Log, Skirmish, Sparta, Crete, Alliance Wars, Capital Report, Treasury, Craft Schools) moveable and removed the blurry backgrounds.
- The Capital Report will no longer greet you each time you start the game. It can always be accessed by clicking the city shield in the center of the Capital City UI.
- Travel to Vanity Island button added to the Gear Hall, for those times when you really need to spend Empire Points on fish swords.
- Mail was renamed Empire Mail to make it clearer that communication is between cities on the same realm.
- Select All Priests hotkey added.
- Palace Race hotkeys for all civs added. (Egypt's temple and priests.)
- New load screen art for the Alliance regions.
- Lots of minor localization fixes. We got your back, Germany.
- Get More Info is now a button on the main login screen instead of having to hover over and click the civ selection card.
- Crafting dialog updated. It now sorts by rarity, with most rare first, then by level. Also added a second line for each entry that displays the type of item (equipment, consumable), and the resulting item's level or age requirement. Also darkened the background.
- Per a suggestion from the forum, added the Alliance name to LFG chat link for Alliance quests.
- Clarified Standings area in the Alliance Wars UI so people will better understand what the green and red bars represent.
- Ending date added to the archived Alliance Wars battles.
- You can now select the Alliance Wars UI by selecting the palaces in the three Alliance regions.
- Chat message added when you receive Empire Points or gain rank in the Alliance Wars.
- Alliance Wars UI display was slightly altered to better clarify when you can switch Alliances. When an Alliance completes, it is now immediately moved to the Archives as it calculates the results. (If you happen to be viewing the UI at that exact moment, it will disappear from your current view and be replaced by another active battle.) At this point, you can freely change Alliances, as it only removes your AP totals for Active battles.
Balance Updates - Champion Mode
The following changes are for Champion mode only.
Notes: How snare works? A lower snare number is better. If you have .5 snare, then units that you hit move at 50% of their base speed. If you have .75 snare, units you hit move at 75% of their base speed.
- Increased all Cavalry unit base movement speed by 1
- Increased all Spearman snare to 0.59 from 0.65
- Watch Post
- Increased build time to 20 from 10 seconds
- Horsemanship tech
- Decreased movement speed buff to +5% from +10%
- Added +10% snare resistance buff
- Purebred tech
- Decreased movement speed buff to +5% from +10%
- Added +10% snare resistance buff
- Greek Spearman Champion tech
- Decreased cost to 70f/50g from 75f/50g
- Increased health to 480 from 450
- Decreased training time to 16 from 18
- Increased health to 240 from 230
- Added 0.69 base snare (Spearmen have 0.59)
- Sparabara Champion tech
- Decreased health buff to +15% from +20%
- Decreased snare buff to +15% from +50%
- A bit more work on font scaling that should (finally) make sizing consistent across all widescreen and non-widescreen resolutions.
- Slightly adjusted material cost of a few crafting recipes.
- Lions in Carthage will no longer result in quest objective completions.
- Several bugs leading to single player random map errors and Co-op quest de-syncs have been fixed. A number of edits were made to prevent this sort of error in the future. (This is a fix for several of the common Alliance Wars de-sync errors.)
- Nubian AI players no longer try and train units that are untrainable (this was leading to fairly consistent attack failures on several Egyptian quests).
- Nubian AI players will now use the Priestess of Ra.
- AI players that have been forced to target specific enemies will now be able to select a new enemy properly when their most hated enemy is killed.
- AI players will now more consistently seek out new bases when their target’s main base is destroyed.
- A bug involving custom spawned units not properly spawning has been fixed, impacting the following quests:
- Defeat Ledrai
- Defeat Marion
- Recapturing Ledrai
- Other fixes for Persian key conflicts.
- Fix for some of the Alliance Wars logic if a tie occurs. In that scenario, the Council of Imhotep would not get flags on the map.
- Fixed a bug where the Distraction Action quest failed if the host left.
- Fixed a bug where two players could go out-of-synch in 4v4 Skirmish Hall with high packet loss.
- Fixed a bug where Villagers would appear to carry food baskets instead of wood if they harvested from a tree as it falls. It was a math error. Really.
- Fixed up some incorrect messaging that occurred when matchmaking.
- Fixed an issue with the Party Menu being inaccessible and unable to issue move orders on the minimap after successful matchmaking.
- Fixed issue with corrupted fog of war, the Fortress, and certain Advisors. Finally.
- Fix for other fog-of-war error when "smooth fog of war" is enabled.
- Fix for Caravans not going to Rally Points.
- Fix for tree stumps preventing players from building on them while in the fog of war.
- Fix for scores counting after Defense of Crete match has completed.
- Fix for Celtic Gardens not showing resources earned with Cultivation tech.
- Fixed bug which charged you for using the Convert Wall to Gate hotkey on an existing gate.
- Fixed a bug where multiple Priests converting a unit would cause perf problems as their FX would stack on the unit.
- Fix for bug where the Weaken Enemy consumable didn't work on Defense of Crete enemies.
- Fixed issue with Celtic Goldmine where it doesn't take into account gathering bonuses from gear on Villagers.
- Fixed bug where consumable icons would no longer appear on Palintonons after they went through their pack/unpack animations.
- Fix for Gear Hall not working in Carthage.
- Fix for users not being able to chat in different languages in some regions.
- Fix for chat disappearing after typing in Trade, switching to LFG, and then switching back to Trade.
- Fixed rendering issue with low-detail shader water.
- Improved some of the Alliance Wars code under the hood, which may fix Alliances appearing disabled for some players.
*Season pass holders will receive all items noted in this update as well as 500 EP, and the Steam Summer and Anniversary Bundles.
Are you as excited about the new features as we are? Let us know here: http://forums.ageofempiresonline.com/forums/thread/255562.aspx