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News Archives - December 2005

Forum Party - For The New Year!

While still in the spirit of Holidays, this week's forum party will also have a theme. This time we're playing snow maps all Saturday long :D (Yukon, Great Lakes, Winter Wonderland.. etc).

For more information, including what times the party is on, visit my forum thread.

Age3 in The Washington Post

The Washington Post featured a wonderful column on the good side of gaming and what it teaches the author's kid. Here's a piece about Age3:
Some games feature academic content. Spinach-pushing parents can buy games that teach algebra or engineering, and "America's Army," a game with some 6 million players, includes an opportunity to learn how to be a medic. Even the rampantly entertaining "Age of Empires III" conveys a sense of history. You begin at the dawn of the 16th century, and work your way into the mid-19th; you can choose among eight European civilizations; and you'd better build up the technological base of your home city if you want your empire to flourish.


Read the full article here.

Voting for AoE3 on IGN

Similar to the GameSpy's gamer's choice voting that happened not long ago, IGN is hosting a best of 2005 vote. Age of Empires III is nominated into three categories: Game of the Year, Best Strategy, and Best Online.

We'll tally up the votes and have everything ready to go in early January, after we've spent some precious time boozing, lazing, and shouting at family and friends in that time-honored holiday tradition. Oh, and once you're done casting your votes in the PC category, be sure to vote in the site-wide awards.

Start voting here.

Polls Roundup

Last week we started a poll asking if our visitors are any interested in participating on tourneys or ladders that we may host in the future. Even though the great majority voted that they are "Not likely (683)" to participate, a big enough number also voted that they will either consider it (depending on prize) or plan to, which is great. Anyway, here is the results:
Certainly! [328 votes]
Not likely [683 votes]
Depends if I can win anything... [230 votes]

This week's poll asks a very simple question. Now that Patch 3 is out and a great number of issues are fixed, how do you feel about ESO2?

Ladder Update

Top Ten
Our Ladder’s top ten is starting to shape up. Take a look.
1: Mokon
2: Stophon4
3: Yobbo
4: FeaR_hEaT
5: Qazitory
6: FeaR_VipeR
7: Flammifer
8: North2
9: THoR_Borlach
10: Myll_Erik


Ladder Warriors
About Ladder Warriors: These players take on all Challenges. They are not afraid to put their points and their egos on the line. Graceful in victory and defeat, they learn from both their wins and their losses. They look at every challenge, no matter how tough their opponent, as an opportunity to improve their game. They just love to get it on. No excuses are given when they lose; they just say.....I'll get you next time. Their attitude is their opponent may have won the battle, but they will win the war if not now....next time.
This weeks Ladder Warriors are U_Spawn_U, North2 and HelzBelz be sure to congratulate them

Championship Approaching
After the Dec 28 ladder update the top four players will be invited to a round robin tournament to decide our first Ladder Champion. If you think you have what it takes to claim the crown it’s still not too late to join and get your name up there.


For more information on the AoE3Heaven Ladder and to sign up see the Ladder Thread
The current ranks can be viewed here.

AoE3 Named 5th Best PC Game by GameSpy

While the top spot was taken by Civilization IV, Age of Empires III took the #5 spot as well as being the #2 strategy game. Here is the official link to their results page. This is an impressive showing given the steller line of games in 2005, beating many popular games such as F.E.A.R and Guild Wars.

1. Civilization IV
2. Battlefield 2
3. Call of Duty 2
4. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
5. Age of Empires III
6. Guild Wars
7. F.E.A.R.
8. Freedom Force vs. the 3rd Reich
9. SWAT 4
10. Silent Hunter III
Here is Gamespy's page dedicated to Age of Empires III.
But for pure gameplay, style, and execution, Age of Empires III shines the brightest in 2005. Covering the European colonization of the New World, in a single game you get exploration, the Revolutionary War era, battles with pirates, Wild West adventures, and huge Napoleonic battles. Graphically Age III was one of the most stunning titles of 2005, loaded with detail and "local color" that drew you into the period.

Holiday Banner Contest Results!

Although it took a little longer than expected, the results for the Holiday banner contest are in, surprisingly with a tie-breaker vote required between two of the submissions. Each entry was marked by three staff judges 1-10 based on quality and theme, with a total of 25 entries. Ultimately the banner created by forumer Argalius, tied with Steelcat, was given the tiebreaker vote making him this year's victor and winner of his choice between an AoE3 t-shirt or hat, and the "Art of Empires" book contributed by Ensemble:

Runner Ups:
Steel Cat

Dark_Jedi06

Good work to all participants for making this a great competition! For all entrants that wish to see their individual results, e-mail me!

Age3 Sales Chart

As GameSpot reports in, the CharSpots of november sales have come in. Age of Empires III comes in at second on computer sales, right behind Call of Duty 2. You can view the entire chart here.
Call of Duty 2
Age of Empires III
Civilization IV
Star Wars: Battlefront II
World of Warcraft Vivendi
The Sims 2 Nightlife
Roller Coaster Tycoon 3
The Sims 2
City of Villains
Battlefield 2 Special Forces

Patch 1.03 Released!

Yes, after a surprisingly short wait, patch 1.03 is now available for download using AoE3's Auto-Update feature or the AgeCommunity Game Updates page. Surprisingly, there's one a single fix, making it a very small patch...

NETWORK AND ESO FIXES
- Fixed an issue where a game would be cancelled and all players given a "Failed to join" message when two routers that could not communicate joined the same game.

HeavenGames proudly presents: Rise of Legends Heaven


HeavenGames proudly presents Rise of Legends Heaven dedicated to bringing the lastest news and information about Rise of Legends to the fans of Big Huge Games, and those eagerly anticipating the release of Rise of Legends.

Following up on their hugely sucessful Rise of NationsTM. Big Huge Games has stepped it up a notch with stunning visuals and great gameplay to develop the spiritual sucessor to their premier title. Rise of Nations: Rise of LegendsTM is now in development due out in early 2006. The game is inspired by the works of Leonardo Da Vinci, the steampunk genre and tales of 1001 Arabian Nights in an epic battle between Magic and Technology! Real Time Strategy rises to a new level once again!

ABOUT HEAVENGAMES, LLC
HeavenGames LLC, based in Villa Park, Illinois, is a privately owned web-content publisher geared towards the creation of special-interest sites for Real-Time Strategy and City-Builder games. Its sites, contents, vast amounts of resources, as well as a dedicated staff & management team make HeavenGame's sites the premier destination for gamers worldwide
.

Poll Round-Up!

Another week has ended, with Age of Empires III Heaven asking "What would you like future patches to focus on?" With the support team in place, we should be seeing plenty of timely updates in the future. Among the options given, a majority of you said you want new features to be a focus in future patches, with people wanting multiplayer fixes trailing behind in second place. Here are the results...

Multiplayer Issues (OOS, etc) (425)
Game Balance (398)
Scenario Editor (283)
Recorded Games (98)
New Features (555)

"Do you plan on participating in any Age3 tourneys or ladders?" Answer in our poll!

Patch 1.03 Next Week!

As forummer Dragozoid reports on our forums, ES_Swinger announced at AgeCommunity that patch 1.03 will be out this coming week! On the same post, Swinger states that Patch 1.04 with major fixes and balance changes will be out in early '06. There is no information yet of what patch 1.03 will do, but my guesses is that it isn't a big one. Here is what Swinger posted:
1.03 will be out next week. 1.04, with major fixes and balance, will be out in early 2006 sometime.

Gaming Global League's AoE3 Ladder

Confident of your AoE3 skills? Then check this out. Gaming Global League has added Age of Empires III as its newest ladder game. GGL is well known by many skilled Age of Mythology and Age of Empires II as one of the best ladder organization, with a lot of price money up for grabs. Given the popularity and the multiplayer nature of Age of Empires III, it's not a surprise that they support it. Check it out here.

Battlefield Briefing

Since Socvazius's copyright for the title expired a week ago, I decided to carry on the tradition of news summaries every Saturday, covering everything happened during the week....

There was definitely no shortage of news, and the week started off with Thunder giving an update on the status of stand-alone patch 1.02; and on the same day, Age of Empires III Heaven holding it's first post-release contest: the Holiday Banner contest (the first of many future events, I promise).

Ensemble had a very active week, with the AgeCommunity releasing a festive new Random Map, Winter Wonderland, and developer Bruce Shelley writing up a new blog giving some info about certain trends used at ESO2. The strategy community got assistance two-fold: a new update to El_Capitan's blog and Flammifer providing a useful stats sheet for Politicians.

There you have it; a fun-sized version of this week. See you on the battlefield! (wuv woo Soccy... please don't sue! ;-))

Forum Party - December 17th

This Saturday's Forum Party is very special. As the Holidays are closing in, forummer Whitecrow gave me a great suggestion, a holiday themed party!

So what does that mean? Well, we'll be playing the Winter Wonderland map throughout the entire party! It's the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit :). You can download the RMS here.


For more information, including what times the party is on, visit my forum thread.

Holiday Banner Contest UPDATE!

We've gotten many entries for our Holiday Banner Contest since it began, and all are looking wonderful. There's still 4 days left before deadline, so if you haven't already made a submission, bust out an image editor closest to you and give it a whirl.

Now, what has been updated, you might be wondering.... None other than a new prize! Ensemble Studios is awarding the "Art of Age of Empires" book to the contest winner, in addition to HG's prize of an AoE3 shirt or hat.

Want to see the competition or current submissions? Check out the official contest thread!

Data Table on Politicians

Flammifer has compiled a useful table on the different bonus that politicians give when you age up. It showed the Home City level needed for a different politician. Check it out in this thread. The data itself came from here, but the author of that thread took it from here.

New Blog, Two of Them

ES' Lead Designer, Bruce Shelley has once again updated his blog. This time he does some poking around with AgeCommunity info and does all sorts of fun stuff. Here's an excerpt:
The most produced Native American warrior was the Comanche Horse Archer, which may reflect the popularity of the Great Plains map, one of the most open; least built Native Americans came from water and jungle maps, which many people may avoid in very competitive games.


Shelley also goes on to discuss possible expansion pack nations, yummy.

ES were not the only ones to update their blogs, Age expert El_Capitan updated his too. El_Capitan discusses a ton of conclusions he came up while chatting with Burma. Here's a tid-bit:
Russian Efficiency: The game being about efficiency, the Russians are the least efficient. This has to due with the ability of "queuing" vils and military. All other civs can queue 1 Barracks unit, thus being able to build 1 vil at the TC for constant production, and also enable them to build a house (if you're making Crossbowmen) or research a market upgrade, etc. When the Barracks unit is almost completed, you can complete the "queuing" for the Barracks in the last 1 or 2 seconds (since your vils will eventually make up the resources in the 25-30 seconds it needs to make it so 5 units come out instead of one), you can finish" queuing" up your Barracks units so 5 units come out. However, if you don't pay attention, you'll only get 1 Barracks unit to come out, which isn't very good. Being able to manage in this way lets one become flexible and adaptable to situations. The Russians, however, have a very difficult time managing flexibility, as well as keeping a constant production of vils while making Barracks military.

Read the rest here :).

Top Sales

Once again Age of Empires III has topped the sales chart, beating off many popular shooters and Civilization IV. Ensemble Studios and Microsoft should be grinning ear to ear right now.

1. Age of Empires III (Microsoft)
2. Battlefield 2 Special Forces (Electronic Arts)
3. Call of Duty 2 (Activision)
4. The Sims 2 Nightlife (Electronic Arts)
5. Civilization IV (2K Games)
6. World of Warcraft (Blizzard)
7. The Sims 2 (Electronic Arts)
8. Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire (Electronic Arts)
9. The Sims 2 Holiday Edition (Electronic Arts)
10. Zoo Tycoon 2: Endangered Species (Microsoft)

Winter Wonderland

Remember that story we broke up a few days ago with the secret patch update that included a new christmas tree forest set?

Well, ES DID have a surprise up their sleeves. It's a new RM called Winter Wonderland. Here's the description:
Winter Wonderland Custom Map: a festive new custom map for the holidays! This snow covered map is dotted with red nosed deer, decorated trees, and piles of gifts!


So go and download it!

AoE3H Holiday Banner Contest

Continuing a contest started at Age of Mythology Heaven, AoE3H is holding a Holiday banner contest for our forums. Whoever can design the best holiday forum banner by December 18th wins a prize of an AoE3 t-shirt or hat. For reference, check out the design that one last year at AoMH, created by NoFx_Jim:


Rules:

The dimensions have to be 'around' 300px (height) by 130px (width), under 80 KB.

The entry has to be in by December 18, 12:00 EST. Any entries after that will be invalid. Entries will be judged ASAP and the winner will be chosen by December 20.

It has to have a proper theme -- Christmas, holidays, etc.

For more information, check out our thread in the General Discussions forum!

News at AgeCommunity

As FD2 reports from the ElpeaNet blog, ES has opened a new forum at AgeCommunity for future announcements and news. To start off, ES_Thunder stated the current news with patch 1.02:
The stand alone version of the 1.02 patch was delayed as we have been looking into the increased number of “Failed to Join Game” errors. The cause stems from improperly configured routers, and a change in the way the game handles such routers. We are looking into a solution, but please make sure you read the FAQ for information on configuring your router.

The CRC mismatch issue that some players have been experiencing can result from an error during patch installation, in addition to user modified game files. We have updated the 1.02 patch today to resolve this problem. Players seeing a large number of CRC mismatch games should reinstall their game to get the updated 1.02 patch. If you have installed the 1.02 patch already and aren’t seeing large numbers of CRC mismatch games, you do not need to get the patch again.

For future announcements, you can always check the new forum.

Age of Empires III on Game Spy's Voting

Age of Empires III is on the list in Game Spy's Gamer's Choice of 2005. It is on the category of best PC strategy, PC multiplayer, and PC overall. Go here to vote! It would be nice if the Age of Empires 3 beats some of the other favourites.

Poll Round-Up!

Last week we asked how Age of Empires III compared to the two previous Ensemble Studios releases, Age of Empires II and Age of Mythology. A majority of you were positive, thinking the music was much better than in previous games, while others thought it was more or less the same as before.

Better (962)
Same (585)
Worse (225)

This week, we're going to ask a pretty wild question: "What would you like future patches to focus on?" Answer in our poll!

Another Editor Mod

Modder/Designer Grun has taken upon himself to fix some of the editor bugs in Age3. Grun produced an editor patch mod (which should work fine on ESO2 and etc). Here's some of the features:
You can unlock full camera controls, as in AOM:TT.

There is no longer fog and black when you guit a testgame.

There is a small tool that has all protonames of all the units.

All units can be aligned to the map (if Trading Posts and resources, etc, aren't aligned, then the CPU AI doesn't recognise them.)

You can pitch many objects by using the keys Ctrl+Up, Ctrl+Down, s, d after clicking move object.

That's great news :).

So, Response?

ES' lead designer, Greg "Deathshrimp" Street said a few days ago that Ensemble Studios was trying to build a community. Well, it seems as the current community isn't very happy with the situation right now. DeathShrimp has addressed almost all the complaints of the current community, all but one, the Scenario Editor. The Design Community is very dissapointed with the editor, and they hope for some change.

Designer Gaurdian_112 put together a letter to ES, in which almost the entire community agreed on. Here's an excerpt from it:
Right now, there are so many bugs in this editor I don't know where to count. There are about a dozen new ways to encounter the triggers stop working bug, for example. Apparantly, using objectives triggers is also extremely messed up.

There's alot more. Player LOS in the editor is so ****ed up I don't know where to begin. Triggers fire randomly. For example, I have a trigger that should fire when you select a certain unit. Sometimes, out of the blue, and this happens randomly, the trigger just fires ruining entire cinematics.


So, what do you think? Do you think ES should invest time on fixing up the editor? I for one wish at least the Multiplayer Scenarios worked. Multiplayer Maps are a big part of my Age experience, and I hope I get them in Age3 too.

Note that the reason I newsie this isn't to start a protest against ES, nor to shake up any bitter feelings. I simply wish to represent the community on the wish for a response in this matter.

Current Ladder Standings

If you didn't know yet, we've been running our own ladder over here at Age3Heaven (more info here). Here are the current top 10 for the ladder:
1st Stophon4
2nd FeaR_hEaT
3rd Qazitory
4th Mokon
5th Yobbo
6th PowerX
7th D_CoM_Jacky_O
8th rel4xed
9th Skoobings
10th Sublime_LordAOF


Congratulations guys :).

Ottoman Rush... To Fortress Age

Forummer hippocrack made a nice, in-depth guide to an Ottoman Fast-Fortress (strategy that consists of you focusing on getting to Fortress Age as soon as possible) build. Here's an excerpt:
YOU MADE IT to FORTRESS! Notice you are in good position card wise, and you still have the option to use Mercantilism as you need to get the mosque up soon. Mosque discount card? You should shift emphasis on gold as you will be breeding villagers left & right and you have used two big gold cards...

If you play Ottoman or not, it's a very worthy read. Check it out at our Strategy Discussions forum.

Deathshrimp on Issues

Greg "Deathshrimp" Street seems pretty busy in the AoEIII community forums. He has answered a question about the pricing on expansions and gold editions (seen in many games, including the Age series) here. He talked about some business tactics employed by publishers and how he views the issue. He also expressed his disapproval of "platinum editions" since he thinks it is a way of gouging out the fans of a product:

Now what bothers me, and I hope we never do, is when a company ships a gold pack and then turns around and ships a "platinum pack" or something shortly thereafter with just a little bit more content. This just smells of trying to gouge the biggest fans of the game. DVD releases do this all the time, where the initial release doesn't have as many features as the "director's cut" or "special edition." The difference in intent, IMO, is that they are clearly hoping you buy both. The gold packs we sell are targeted at folks who haven't bought the original game and its expansion.

He also explained a reason why the formations were cut, in this thread. Be sure to check them out.

Early Merry Christmas, From Ensemble

It seems that there ES did more than just fixing ESO2 issues on Patch 2, they also sneaked in a special gift for us. Cy Marlayne noticed while messing on the editor that a new forest type was added, the Christmas Forest. This forest features a nice decorated Christmas tree with a big shiny star on top :).

You can go on the editor and place the tree down yourself, or you can look at the screenshot I took.

Forum Party: Kill Aro First

Tomorrow it's once again, forum party time! All the forummers will gather round, light up a bonfire, and then we kill each other.

For more information on the ESO2 beating, visit the forum party thread.

Expert Interviews

Ager, and part time awesome, [WON]SeR3NiTy has posted up some interviews he has done with some community and expert Agers. Somehow, I was considered worthy of an interview. Here's a tid-bit on Hope_'s interview:
How long do you play per day (or week)?

I don’t really count the time, heh, maybe 2-4 hours of game time, sometimes none.

ESO Rating System & ES

Curious as to why ES took away the 1600 rating system from ESO2? ES_DeathShrimp, doing the forums a service as always, stopped by our General Discussions forum to give a designer's take on the rating system and why it was excluded. The rating system was very popular as a skill indicator, so why would it be removed? Quote...

"Put another way, do you think a lot of players would take part in a system where we allowed you to increase your ELO score by 100 points by spending $100 US? Not everyone would, but I still bet there would be a lot of people who did. That sort of illustrates the obsession with rating where players might even opt out of playing the game to have a good rating. We figured rating-mania wasn't good for the community. Playing games is good for the community.

Ratings also discourage players from trying new things, such as different civs, maps or game options. Nobody wants to hurt their position on an uber ladder because they tried something new. Furthermore, a lot of players wouldn't even experiment with new strategies for fear of losing a game in order just to learn something. In fact, this is where some (though not all) smurfing comes from -- players start a new account in order to experiment rather than risk any harm coming to their rating for stepping outside of the normal way they play. Put bluntly, ratings lead to conformity and things like perfecting build orders rather than creative game play and exposure to new ways to play." ...

His post is lengthy and detailed, making it a must-read; check it out!

Sandyman Q&A

At another Age3 fansite, AoE3 Paradise, Sandyman stopped by to answer some fan questions. These questions are probably very important to most of us, here's what he had to say:
Q) When I select Record Game when I'm gonna quicksearch, the game starts and no "saving record game" appears and afetrwards there is no new recorded game in my savegame folder??
A)Beats me. It's not an issue I've been involved with. Perhaps whoever launched the game turned off record game?

Q) When you whisper to another player while he is in-game, can he read what you are sayng and respond?
A) No, of course not – think how annoying that would be.

Q) Can you see if another person online is in a game or not?
A) No. Might be a good feature to add to ESO.

Q) When will the town center bug be fixed? The military gathering point doesn't work for me...
A)It works for me. It's just easy to override it accidentally. Try changing your defaults under game options.

Then there was more...
Q) will ESO be getting a real rating system?
A) Quick answer - Yes.

Q) I Have problems to find games under quick search
A) Yeah, we're looking into that.

Q) The option about see a friend/person is in a game or not would be nice.
A) I agree. Perhaps in a future patch.


Yum, ladder :D. A lot of people disagree with the whisper being annoying, I'd love to get warned when a forum party game is needing me when I'm playing a random FFA awaiting for friends. Or even drop a message to my buddy to meet me somewhere after his game. I'd love to hear what you think, so drop by our forums and let it out.

ES_Deathshrimp's Take on Changes

Greg "Deathshrimp" Street has written a lengthy post in Ensemble Studio's Age of Empires III forum. This is a good opportunity to read up on his input on various issues, from technical difficulties to online problems. Here's a paragraph from his length post regarding hardware problems:

Now we take into account hardware issues or configuration issues on the user's end. Why doesnt the game work on everyone's computer the same way? Well, in the ever evolving world of computers, we have BILLIONS of different combinations of hardware and configurations for them. This counts in Video cards, sound cards, memory, processors, chipsets, drivers, Operating Systems, Security, Networking... the list goes on. Its above all impossible to test the game in every computer setup thats out there and thats why they ask you to update to the latest drivers, firmware, or OS upgrades. They ask you for information on this hardware to try and track trends with similar hardware so they can isolate the problem and try to find a solution. Those who really care about the game will try to provide that information and that in many cases dramatically cuts down the time that devs need to spend looking for the problem, gets the fixing done faster, that means more time to work on more bugs, flaws, and features, and puts the devs into a better mindset to work on the game and make many more people happy with it.

Read it up here.

Age3 Champions Tournament #2

The first Age of Empires III champions tournament that went on last week was a very successful and very enjoyable event. The community took very well to the tournament as it was nicely organized and managed. Now Artosis has announced on our forums that they are doing another tourney on Saturday, December 10th at 3:00 PM EST / 12:00 PM PST / 21:00 CET / 20:00 GMT. For more information on the tournament, current standings, questions, etc, visit their website or checkout Artosis' thread.

No Point, but...

It didn't take long until great scenarios starting showing up for Age3. One of my first favorites? The Peculiar Adventures of Giovanni Ferreiro. If you're wondering just what the heck this scenario is about, Shusky (the creator) explains:
If you played my AoM "No Point" map, you should know what to expect of the storyline. It revolves around Giovanni Ferreiro, army commander of a small and now somewhat forgotten Italian city-state of Middleofnowherum in the early 16th century. When a powerful neighbouring city-state is accidentaly reminded of Middleofnowherum's existance and plots to conquer it just to spend an afternoon productively, the Town Mayor puts Giovanni in charge of saving his small homeland from certain doom.

Peculiar Adventures of Giovanni Ferreiro is an RPG/FF. Stealthy ambushes, seeking allied troops, and maneuvering among enemy patrols galore.


This map is very funny, I recommend download, now!

Vote Pedro

IGN is hosting a fansite of the year poll at their site, and Age of Empires III Heaven is an candidate! We're the only Age site represented there, so that's quite an honour. The competition is tough, but we're like, totally sexier and stuffs.

If you vote for us, I'll make your wildest dreams come true.

Herding Myths and Treasure Fighting Tips

El_Capitan (Age games expert) has posted a new article at his own blog. The article deals with the Myths on herding (you know, when you shoot your huntables in a way that they go closer to your TC instead of further away) and how effective it is. According to El_Capitan, herding isn't much more effective than simply letting the villager kill the enemy next to it, and the only good thing about this method is protecting the huntables from raids.

On the same update, El_Capitan posts tips on effectively using your explorer versus the treasure guardians. I usually ignore treasures simply because I don't have the micro skills to pull off pwning Bandit guardians and such. I believe his tips are very valuable and helpful though, so go read it.

Two New Staff!

Congratulations to our two newest staff members, Flammifer, residential pro and former AoMH ladder admin, and Elpea, pro programmer and Age enthusiast. Both plan to contribute to make this the best site out there: Flammifer will be administrating our upcoming ladder, while Elpea will be assisting us in a variety of ways, including helping with news, programming, and content.

Welcome back guys! Congratulate both of them in our Community forum!

Patch 1.02 FAQ

In case anyone is having trouble installing or running the patch, ES_Paragon has compiled a FAQ on the 1.02 patch here. If the patch isn't working, chances are that a solution is in there. For example:

Q. Do I need to install the 1.01 patch first?
No you do not. You should be able to do a fresh installation from disk, then patch directly to 1.02.

Q. How much free space does the patch require?
The 1.02 patch does require approximately 1.5gig of free space. If you do not have enough space you may encounter an error message during the patch process.

Q. The patch installation froze up?
The patching process may take longer than you expect, be patient and give the patcher more time to complete.

If it's still not working, look around Ensemble Studio's Age of Empires III forum or drop a post in the Age of Empires III Heaven's very own Tech Help forum.

Now on the Market: Patch 1.02

The second patch for Age of Empires III, 1.02, was released yesterday at the Age Community website and is now available through the auto-update feature. The second patch includes plenty of extras and fixes, including:

* New hotkey editor added to the game
* New large map set.
* 5 new large versions of popular maps have been added.
* Fixed a sound crash issue.
* Fixed a bug with sound being choppy
* Fixed some performance issues with boat battles.
* Fixed a D3D initialization error when launching the game.
* Fixed a bug where the auto-patcher text was impossible to read.

Check out their game updates page for more info, including all of the fixes!

Age of Empires III OST

Sumthing Else Music Works has recently released the Age of Empires III Original SoundTrack, composed by developers Stephen Rippy and Kevin McMullan. Quoting Rippy...

Age of Empires III is a game with an epic topic - it covers the colonization of the Americas over a period of some three hundred years, so it needed to have an epic-sounding score to match. Using a full orchestra and choir as well as some more period-inspired instrumentation, the music follows the story of Morgan Black and his descendants as they battle the Circle of Ossus for a foothold in the New World.

Including a bonus DVD with tons of extras, it's a must-get for Age3 fans.

Special thanks to IGN for the news!

Attack-Move in AoE3?

In a thread in our General Discussions forum asking about the "Attack-Move" option (where units attack whoever they come in contact with first... for the underinformed ;-)), ES_DeathShrimp gave an interesting reply to where it was in development and whether or not it would reach players in an upcoming patch. Quote...

"The short answer is it was very buggy and fixing it to work as players wanted would have delayed the patch too much. We couldn't decide about whether to support attack-move with the hotkey editor since it can often get players (especially less-experienced ones who won't put in the necessary trial and error) into more trouble than it can help them out. We chose not to remove the functionality from the game, but neither did we want to put it right up in front of players since it probably doesn't work the way they expect." ...

Check out his complete answer in our forums!

TTA Contest Update

TTA has decided to run their contest a bit differently, changing the contest from daily to weekly so more could participate. They also mentioned the prizes that could be won:

Here's the prizes this week:

Day 1 - Monday - Age of Mythology poster
Day 2 - Tuesday - Age of Empires II: The Conqueror's T-Shirt
Day 3 - Wednesday - The Fifth Element DVD Ulimate Edition
Day 4 - Thursday - Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings sealed copy
Day 5 - Friday - Age of Mythology hat

The rules are more or less the same, with a few minor changes; if your name gets drawn out of a hat and you answered the question correctely, you win all of the prizes. However, if your name is drawn but you did not get the answer correct, you will receive two prizes of your choosing. Check out their site for more details.

(Yay, AoK is a prize. =D)

Congratulations to Thunder!

Age of Empires fan and a dedicated ex-staff member of HeavenGames, Graham Somers, more commonly known as "Thunder", has joined Ensemble Studios as a member of the online community development team. With his experience in HeavenGames as staff member of Age of Kings Heaven and Age of Mythology Heaven, not to mention the work he did in Big Huge Games, Thunder should fit well in Ensemble Studios.

Best wishes to him in his new career!

TTA's Age of Phrases

The folks over at Through the Ages are holding a contest called "Age of Phrases". Quote...

Through the Ages will be running a contest, "Age of Phrases", starting tomorrow (12/04/05) and ending on next Saturday (12/10/05). Guess how a phrase came into being and you could win two prizes. If you don't get the answer right you still win a prize. Here is the official announcement:

"As most of the regulars to the site know, I've been talking about starting a contest. For the last week I've scratched, shook, and slapped my head trying to come up with something (something unique, something simple, and something fun). And, I think, I might have knocked an idea loose that fits my criteria. History is an important subject in my opinion--man must know where he came from in order to help him improve himself. So, I've decided to involve some history (and some fun) in my little contest. You know all those phrases we say everyday and don't think twice about? Oh, you know, such as, "It'll cost you an arm and a leg." Well, that's what type of trivia I'll be asking about.

Each day for the next week, starting tomorrow (Sunday), I'll be asking where different phrases came from--how they came into being. Now, it doesn't matter if you get the answer correct or not (well, sort of), you'll be entered into a random drawing for the day. And if your name is pulled from Ogre's hat, you'll win a prize from his lair. However, if you get the answer correct and your name is pulled from the hat, you will win not one, but two prizes. What are the prizes?

Well, this contest was created for three reasons: to have fun, to bring more people to TTA (as if you didn't know), and to clean out my closet--I have a lot of Age memorabilia (such as shirts, hats, posters, sealed-game boxes, strategy guides, etc.). So, I have decided to give this stuff all away. Also, I have a few other surprise prizes that I'll be adding in. Each day two prizes will be up for grabs, though, as I said above, you must answer correctly to get both if your name is drawn. It's as simple as that.

I'll be posting the first phrase question tomorrow at around noon in the "Age of Phrases" thread. Don't worry I'll post news about it. Then, the contest will run through till next Saturday. So, don't forget, every day look for the new question to be posted at or around noon EST. Winners will be drawn just before the new question is posted. They will be notified via email (so you must have a valid email address) and by the Through the Ages News.

Rules:
1. You must post your answer in the official "Age of Phrases" thread.
2. You can enter only once each day (editing your post is fine, but do not post multiple times a day).
3. You must have a valid email address.
4. Ogre's Network staff may not enter.

Check out their site for more info!

Poll Round-Up!

Last week, we asked everybody what they though of the inline AoE3 campaign. A majority were neutral about it, saying it was OK but nothing special, while second place went to people who haven't play it at all. Too busy with multiplayer we can only assume.

Loved it! (515)

It was OK (808)

Didn't like it... (285)

Haven't played (692)

This week: How does AoE3's music compare to previous Age titles? Vote in our poll!

The Dutch Aggressive Turtle

Expert player TheGoodEvil has posted his comprehensive guide to aggressive turtling as the Dutch in our Strategy Discussions forum. The Dutch are natural turtlers and difficult to use for many:

The Dutch are a great civ in the hands of skilled players. I've seen Dutch players use a wide variety of strats to get the job done but I like to turtle with the dutch.

Dutch are the best turtle civ in the game and actually makes this strat a viable one (before in most RTSs turtling was nevera very effective strat except for stopping rushes but you'd lose somuch momentum that even a good rusher could surpass you inresources/military and you would lose anyway). The only civs you'llhave problems with is French, Russia, and Spain, and only if certainelemnets are used in correct ways.

Featured Scenario Design Article

We've once again got an excellent article to showcase this week in the Scenario Design section. Compiled by one of our own admins, Papaya, but open to your edits, I give you the Advanced Random Map Scripting guide.

This article assumes that you already have a familiarity with the basics of Random Map Scripting (RMS), and will take you through the more complicated and advanced features of the AoE3 scripting language. It's an excellent resource for aspiring RMSers.

As always, if you're interested in getting one of your own articles in the spotlight, please read our Wiki Introduction. You'll be submitting to the Design Encyclopedia in no time!

It's time to beat some forumers up...

In our weekly forum party that takes place tomorrow, December 3rd. I hope you show, because beating forumers to a pulp is one of my favorite activities.

Check the forum party thread for more information!

It's more likely I'll get beaten to a pulp. :(

Developer's Blog

Bruce Shelley, one of Age of Empire 3's leading developer, wrote in his blog about the developer in Ensemble Studios as well as his personal comments on the online gaming community. In his lengthy review, he noted some of the rather positive development of playing skills on ESO.

He also noted something rather interesting in popular civilizations:

Most Popular Civs: I hear that the British and Ottomans are the most popular in general, but that many think the French are too powerful. I did a quick look recently at the different civs to see how many victories the top player for each had reached. Here is the breakdown for Superiority games played. The second most victories logged for the Russians surpassed the highest total for all other civs except Ottoman and France.


British: 161
French: 220
Spanish: 199
Portuguese: 139
Ottoman: 217
Russian: 247
Dutch: 128
Germany: 180

Very interesting observations and comments by him. Be sure to check it out.