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News Archives - February 2006

1.05 Patch

The long awaited patch is out recently, as many that plays online have noticed. The new patch balanced many unit issues, as well as adding various features to ESO. 1.05 also fixed some multiplayer errors that forced Out of Syncs. A new power rating and a new random map are just a couple of the additions from this patch. A handy complete patch note has been posted by Thunder here.

NEW FEATURES__________


Added beta version of the new rating system to ESO, Power RatingFor more information please refer to this post.

Added Stand Ground Formation to the game

Units in Stand Ground formation will not move from their position, even when under attack, but will fire upon or attack anything within their range. Stand Ground formation has been added in response to fan feedback and will give players a new level in control over their armies.

Attack move button and hotkey added

In response to fan feedback, official support for Attack Move has been added. Military units will now have a new Attack Move button in the interface. Attack Move also has a hotkey which defaults to X but can be changed via the hotkey editor.

Hispaniola map has been added

This new map is a land mass, surrounded by water, with a large bay on the west side of the island. The bay always contains several whales, so it can be a strategically valuable to control as a source of coin. At the center of the island is a large mountain which provides an obstacle which creates walling options.

Recorded game playback interface improved significantly

During playback of recorded games you can now see the technologies a player is researching and units they are creating. As well you can see each player’s home city and the cards they are sending.

Added Option for minimized multiplayer chat

At the Options screen under UI Options you can select a new option, Enable Minimized Chat UI. This option is for expert players that want to save on screen space.

Added games list filtering options

New filtering options added to the custom games list on ESO.

Added Option to save games list filter settings

At the Options screen under Game Options you can select a new option, Save Game List Filter Settings. If you select this any changes to the custom games list filter will be saved.

Strategies and Other News

The flu bug hit me for quite a while, so I've been unable to update the news. But now that's aside, I shall summarize some missed strategy articles! Firstly, OpenAmp wrote an indepth guide on British turtling; you can read it here.

British are one of the most powerful civilizations in Age of Empires III. However, their weak start makes them vulnerable to quick attacks. Unless you're a deft 'boomer,' finding the 'happy medium' between under-booming given lack of pressure, and over-booming, you need a firm grasp of the simple strategy of turtling.

Hunterhogan noted that many allied strategies can be devastating if the players trusted each other more. For instance, a German and Dutch alliance can prove powerful as the Dutch can tribute gold to the Germans for quick and powerful mercenaries. You can read his article here.

Many forummers decided to write Dutch Guides recently. White they could be flawed and not perfected, they are still worth a look. Check out the Dutch Pike Rush, Dutch FF Merc Rush, and the Dutch Blitz.

British Festival

As a fun way to encourage players to try some new civilizations and share info the AoE3Heaven Ladder is holding a British Festival. Post strategies, tactics and even historical tidbits as we take a closer look at the British.
Play as the British in any Ladder Game from Feb 23th through Feb 26th and get 1 extra ladder point for your victory! Or lose one less point for your Loss!
- All games must be recorded and you must mention that you played as the British when posting your game result! ( you can not lose less then 1 point though! )

The Ladder Championship has been passed around quite a bit recently. Do you think you're up to climbing to the top? The AoE3 Heaven Ladder registration is always open, just post your eso name in the ladder thread.

Top Ten

1. Zeal_Love (Love_)
2. Myll_Erik
3. Mokon
4. Flammifer
5. ZhaZ (qaghan)
6. Sullage
7. Stophon4
8. Morningthaw (Bellerophon)
9. NrS_KiLLer (Mandolin_Rain)
10 Qazitory

New Ladder System with 1.05?

ES_Solus gave fans a rather cryptic response to the question of what's in store for 1.05, but if I were to guess, there WILL be a new ladder system in 1.05. Here's what Solus had to say:
Clue Number 1. There will be a patch

Clue Number 2. There will be a new ladder\rating system

Clue Number 3. Profit...

If Solus meant that the new ladder will be in place with 1.05 or it will be coming at another time, I'm not sure. Also not sure what he meant by "profit". All these cryptic clues! Now, where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

Update: ES_DeathShrimp replied to the thread here at Age3Heaven confirming the new Ladder system with the patch. DeathShrimp also points out that the new ladder system will be a first attempt, and that if it doesn't work, ES will keep trying to come up with a decent system.

Some Good Strategy Threads

There were some rather excellent guides and threads that wasn't showcased in the previous few days, so to recap on some articles! Firstly, Battle Master shared his tips on Dutch booming and turtling in this guide. As with all strategies, it is far from perfect, but it is well worth a look.

As soon as you get 1200 food and 1000 gold, you should advance to fortress age. During the transition, make lots of skirmishers. The more the better! By fortress age you should have 20 skirmishers and 2 banks. The politician to age up fast should be used. You should hit fortress around 12 minutes, with 25-30 villagers and 2 banks. Keep on making villagers in fortress, sending them to food and wood. Start your wall now. Look for natural things to use as walls that can’t be destroyed, such as cliffs or native villages. Make banks each time you can. 4th shipment should be 700 gold (this should be way before fortress age). Once you get to fortress, you have a choice. If your enemy is booming, you could get up a fort, or you could continue your boom with the 1000 wood card.

Secondly, Shizzle noticed that the Nootkas are a force to be reckoned with in this thread. The Nootkas are, according to a few players, excellent for rushing, destroying rushes and even the mighty Cuirassier. Finally, jbarguil confirmed the effectiveness of the Dopplesoldners against the Cuirassiers. The results were favorable to the German side; so for those interested, visit this thread!

Battlefield Briefing

A little late, but both Aro and I have been sick and unable to do the Battlefield Briefing on its normal day, Saturday. Anyway, let's get to the juicy stuff. Forummer somme discussed with the forum community the effectiveness of one of the most unique civs, the Russians. Much interesting reading-worthy discussion came after. Our own AoE3H Ladder has been very active with over 280 members so far. Our current Ladder Champion is Myll_Erik, followed by our own Mokon.

On the Scenario Design front, the Liquid Cinema Contest is still on, deadline is February 25th so hurry! If you don't know how to design, and you've been interested, long time designer Reinfire has written up a very detailed guide to Scenario Designing in Age3.

That is all for this week. Hope to see you all next week, and I hope neither Aro or myself are sick by then :).

Guide on Map Designing

Reinfire has written a very detailed guide on mapping for scenarios in Age of Empires III. The guide is massive, and filled with details of about nearly every embellishment in the editor. Reinfire is a designer for Age of Empires III, and his work in Age of Mythology before showed that he has experience in this field.

- To give your area that little extra touch, you can add elevations to it. A way to do this fast but effective is this:
Use the “Raise/lower terrain” tool, leave everything on its default settings
Make random single clicks on the area you want to add the elevation on, both left and right clicks (raise and lower) at the same time.
Finish it off with a little bit of the “smooth area” tool
This will make your are look much better

- For seas and large lakes/rivers, you can best use the “paint-water”tool, and for small rivers you can best use the river-tool. But when you use the paint-water tool, dont forget to smooth it out. When using this tool, you often see lines of sand(or something similair) below the surface when you are finished. Get rid of that with the “sample elevation” tool. (right-click on a place of deep water, and left click to remove these sandy lines). You may want to keep the underwater-sand near the shore though(to make it look more realistic).

Check it out here!

Forum Party, February 11

Forummer Stonewall J 1863 has taken upon himself to host this week's forum party (I'll be away). Forum Parties, if you don't know, is a simple forum Agers get together and play tons of games, fun fun!

For information such as map types, and time, visit Stonewall's forum thread.

Liquid Cinema Contest Update

For those who are interested, sign-ups for the Liquid Fire Studios' Cinematic Contest have been extended until Tuesday. What is the Cinematic design content? Quoting the thread...

The basic idea behind the contest is- to create your own movie! Any designer can participate.
Your movie will be evaluated on dozens of different fronts. We will be looking at map design, cinematography, story-line, etc...
As well as several other factors. Your goal is to make a movie that'll stand the test of time as one of the greatest movies ever created!

Create the best cinematic with the scenario editor and you can win yourself a prize! Check out the thread for more info.

Poll Round-Up!

Last week we asked "What type of download are you most interested in?" A majority of you said Scenarios & Campaigns, user-created content made with AoE3's inline scenario editor. In second place came custom Random Maps that can be played on single-player and on ESO2. Hope you designers and RM scripters are listening... you're wanted. ;-)

Scenarios & Campaigns (597)
Recorded Games (399)
Random Maps (441)
Mods & ModPacks (208)
Other / Undecided (92)

This week we're wondering what you think of Age of Empires III Heaven's new look. What do you think our new design? Answer in our poll!

Ladder Update

In just under two months after launching the AoE3Heaven Ladder has over 280 registered particpants and more than 500 games played. I'd like to thank all the participants who have made the ladder such a success. For those not already on the ladder, you can sign up anytime just by posting your ESO name in the ladder thread and play ladder games at your leisure.

Top Ten

1. Myll_Erik - Ladder Champion
2. Mokon
3. Flammifer
4. Morningthaw (Bellerophon)
5. ummBeefy (Liberale)
6. Stophon4
7. ZhaZ (qaghan)
8. Qazitory
9. THoR_Borlach (Borlach)
10. Arise (Noobas)
10. The Bob (1fantabulousman)

Russian Potential?

somme has started a debate in our forums about the potential power of the Russians. There are both supporters and critics of the effectiveness of the Russians. As a result, there are much discussion about Russian tactics and cards, so check it out here if you are interested. Here is a quote from that thread.

Actually, petrine reforms saves 7500 resources, 2500 gold and 5000 wood. There're guard strelets, muskets, halbs, cossacks, and opris, that's 1200 x 5 = 6000 resources. Then there're royal guard cav archers and grens, that's 2000 x 2 = 4000 resources. So yea, that tech kicks ass.

Battlefield Briefing

A bit late, yes, but as you know, we've been busy. ;P This week was busy for both AoE3 Heaven and ES, with the announcement of the Fastest Industrial Contest after Age of Empires III went platinum. Reaching this mark was very quick for Age of Empires III, a first in the entire Age series.

Olannon started off this week's strats with an exploration of the Germans booming, taking them out of their typical rush role in favor of economic growth. Next came F1REFLY's Dutch Economic Fast Fortress. On an unrelated note, fhertlein tells us that random maps will possibly become more random in future versions of the game.

Last but not least, we forgot to announce two new Heavens that have joined the HeavenGames network: Battlefield: Middle Earth 2 Heaven and Empires at War Heaven.

That's it for this week! See you on the battlefield!

AoE3 Updates

While Aro was hard at work on the site (which is really nice), a few forumers submitted several new strategies in the forums. Firstly, F1RE_FLY wrote a guide that he called DEFF, which stands for Dutch Ecnonomic Fast Fortress in this thread. This is a specialized strategy that can work extreamly well against a traditional Fast Fortress.

However, The Dutch Economic FF (DEFF) takes an alternative route. This FF sacrifices one shipment and one minute in order to have a suberb economy going into Fortress age. As you go into fortress age, there are many options available to you, but I will write about one - spamming ruyters with some artillery.

On another note, BeasT_69 wrote a French Guide. It has some positive feedbacks, so check it out here. Meanwhile, those interested in scenario designing can ask ES's content design team about anything working to do with the scenario editor. Simply email them, and they will answer a few questions each week.

Content Designers dream up scenarios, campaigns, units, buildings , and work with our scenario editor. If you have a question that you would like to ask the content design team here at Ensemble about any of these topics, send them in to age3.community@ensemblestudios.com. We will select a few of the best questions each week and post the answers in our forums.

AoE3H's Revamp

As you might've already noticed, Age of Empires III Heaven has had a massive make-over, with a cleaner, brighter design (created by yours truly, with help from HeavenGames' own design genius CrystalCrown). While it still needs a bit of fine-tuning, which is easier than ever thanks to cleaner coding, making timely updates and format changes to content is quicker and easier to do; expect us to take advantage of this in the future. =)

What's new? All previous content has been updated, a Site Map has been added to assist with site navigation, an AoE3 Abbreviations FAQ, and several additions to our Game Info pages.

Find any site errors while browsing the site? Help us and report them!

More Randomness in Random Maps?

fhertlein informed us in this here. This is a good chance to give your points to ES_Deathshrimp to perhaps effect the final decision and use the opportunity to give your comments.

Some of the feedback we heard from the fans after AOE3 shipped was that random maps didn’t feel random enough. While that issue seems to have died down a little, we still are looking for ways to improve the game, so we wanted to pursue randomness a bit more.

It’s a tricky issue, because some players really enjoy encountering novel situations on maps, while others will resign if a Native is two pixels closer to the enemy town. Yet the more random we make maps, the more imbalances could potentially arise.

With that in mind, feel free to use this temporary thread to discuss with ES what you would change about AOE3 random maps. You don’t have to be limited to any particular issues within this general topic, but here are some ideas to kick off discussion:

Fastest Industrial Age Contest

Although it has been mentioned in the previous new post, but it wasn't very elaborated and there might be some players that missed it. This official contest from ES involves some very nice hardware, so for the AoE3 gurus, its something not to miss.

Submissions:

Send the recorded game of your fastest time to age3.community@ensemblestudios.com - please include your Industrial Age time in the subject line or the body of your e-mail, along with your username and the civilization you used.

The recorded games of the top 10 fastest times will be available for download once the contest has concluded.

Here is the link to the official contest announcement page.

Age of Empires 3 goes Platinum

Our former staffer KS has notified us in this thread that Age of Empires 3 has reached a platinum sales mark. The original news came from Gamespot, with the page here. Also, to celebrate this speedy sale of their game, ES has decided to reward speedy Agers. Those that can age up to the Industrial Age fastest will gain some nifty prizes:

To celebrate the game's success, Ensemble is hosting a contest for fans of the game. The company is looking for speedy Caesars, movin' Mussolinis, and quick Qadaffis to compete against each other to see who can reach the Industrial Age the fastest. Through the game's Web site, contestants can upload recorded games and track the competition.

The fastest fascist will receive a pimped-out computer courtesy of Intel, and the second and third place finishers will be awarded Nvidia 7800GTX and 7800GT graphics cards, respectively.

Once again, congratulations to ES for this fine business campaign.