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News Archives - March 2006

Forum Party, Sunday April 2nd

Yet another round of the weekly forum party will occur on Sunday. That's right, not the usual Saturday, but Sunday this week. Not only that but instead of it being at noon and 8 pm forum time (EST), we will have it at 11 am and 7 pm EST. This is to get some forumers that haven't been able to make it, time to play with some other forumers in a few friendly team games. Theme this week is Standard Maps. Never been to a forum party? Well check it out in the thread. Every forumer is welcome, any skill level. We're just gathering up to play a few games and have some fun while we're at it.

Poll Roundup!

This week's poll was, well, a little longer than most poll. The question we asked was "What is your favorite Civilization post Patch 1.05?". Here's what our visitors responded:

Spain (487)
Britain (887)
France (451)
Portugal (464)
The Netherlands (Dutch) (570)
Russia (420)
Germany (480)
The Ottoman Empire (495)

It seems that the more boom-friendly nations are the most used by our visitors after the patch. This week we ask a new question, this time related to your deck; "What cards are in bulk in your deck?". Go ahead and vote! =].

1.06 Balance Suggestions

Even though AoE3 is extremely well balance compared to other games, there is always room for improvement. Patch 1.05 did wonders for the Portuguese, nerfed the NA rush, gave a nice age 2 boost to the Dutch, among many other things. But is everything perfectly balanced? Well, that'd be next to impossible to make everything perfectly balanced for team games and 1v1s, and other variables. It can not be denied that the FF is still a little to strong. Forumer Stophon4 has thought up quite a few balance changes that could give a nice boost to Russia and the Dutch while tweaking the other civs to make them pretty well balanced in, but he also feels that the FF most be slowed down in some way.
-Russia, houses cost -25% to -50%, ES decides
-Dutch start with 1 extra food crate and 1 extra wood crate
-German leave as is
-Spanish leave as is
-Portugese leave as is, maybe give them 1 extra starting food crate
-British need 1 extra starting wood crate
-Ottoman leave as is

This game is pretty well balanced, but maybe these suggestions could make AoE3 just right.

So what do you think? Do you agree with him or have your own suggestions for future patches? Well, why not voice your opinion in Stophon's thread here

AoE3 Heaven Ladder

Our ladder is still standing strong with the present top 10 continuing to stay at the top of the charts.
The top 10 are:
  1. Zeal_Love
  2. Flammifer
  3. Myll_Erik
  4. Mokon
  5. Zhaz
  6. Sullage
  7. Seancahn
  8. Stophon4
  9. Qazitory
  10. thoughtlesspawn
Love_ is still the present champion for a few week running, good job Love_ :D.
Think you have what it takes to take one of them down? Or do you not even know what this is? Well check it out here for rules and signing up. New members are welcome at any time and it is always a quick, easy way to find a game anytime you are on ESO2. Everyone is welcome, so why not join and find some friendly competition.

Dutch and Russia Strats

Having a hard time to effectively FF as Dutch? Always booming, but never getting to fortress quickly? Well, Love_ has unfolded a strat that allows the Dutch to get to fortress at 7:30 with 3 banks. Think it's not possible eh?
when you have your first bank up take all villagers off gold and put them on food. It might be necessary to gather an extra 50 wood for the last bank since you also need to build a house(you 3 banks(1050)+ 1 house(100)). Your 700 gold should arrive shortly after your 3rd bank is build, collect it with a couple of villagers while you wait for your food to arrive at 1200. The gametime should be around 6:40-7:10 now click age up for fortress using the exiled prince politician and you should arrive in fortress 30 seconds later.

Well check out somme's thread or got directly to Love_'s strat.

Russia has also popped up in several thread here at AoE3H. Stophon4 revealed his rush strat to give those struggling Russian players a kick in the right direction. It is a mixture of muskets for pikes and age 2 cavalry and grenadiers for taking out buildings.
The goal of this strategy is to have their tc down before the opponent can get his first shipment out after he reaches fortress. In order to do this you need to have their tc down no later than 8:00, or 45 seconds after they reach fortress. However, there is another way. If you are confiedent of your scouting abilities, you can take down their houses first, and hopefully house them so that they cannot ship a shipment once they reach fortress. Doing this you probably won't have their tc down until around ~9 minutes, but you wont have to worry about that dreaded 1 shipment.

He adds a nice step by step Build Order to show how it can be done. Check it out

Need help improving your screenshots?

Do you need help making your eye-candy, fancy screenshots even better? Well we found a great guide for you :) Forumers Custergrant, Shaw Da Man, and Twoqtimes2 have compiled an extensive guide to assist everyone else to improve their screenies. The guide you on such things as: lighting, choosing an idea for a screenshot, skyboxes, making characters act like they are talking/sitting, weather, units on buildings, and bridges.

Not only that, they offer screenshots to show what the finished project looks like. It's great for a bran new designer or great for interesting tips for a long time designer. Either way, it is great to see the nice screenies and get some tips. Check out Custer's thread here

Thunder on Power Ratings

tster123 has found a thread on Age Community in which ES_Thunder comments on the new Power Rating system on ESO2. Players will get a different amount of points based on the 'tier' the home city is at:
Home Cities are divided into three tiers, much like the cards in your deck. A player using a level 1 Home City is at a disadvantage when playing against a level 40 Home City, so he should earn more points if he wins. The reverse is also true, so the player with the level 40 Home City will lose slightly more points if he loses this match-up.

Also, Thunder explains why ES chose to use a new ladder istead of the usual 1600 based ELO rating:
We have used a 1600 based ELO rating system for our past games and have switched to the new Power Rating system for Age of Empires III. Why the change? The ELO system starts players at 1600 points, and below average players end up dropping below that mark right away. This can be very discouraging to players who may improve over time and turn them off of competitive play completely. Additionally, the number of points lost by a player who is rated 2000+ on ELO when he plays against someone who is one-hundred points below is substantial, however, a difference of 100 points often does not mean a substantial difference in ability, so high rated players have nothing to gain and everything to lose. With the Power Rating system, high ranked players will still lose ground, but the results are not nearly as catastrophic to their ranking.

Glad he could clear that up :) Discuss and comment on the explanation in tster's thread
Or, go directly to Age Community

Announcing AoE3H Eye-Candy Screenshot Competition

That's right! AoE3H will be hosting a bi-weekly screenshot competition. It will be for creating an eye-candy screenshot based on the theme that is posted. This week's theme is "A Last Stand." At the end of each round, voting will be done by the forumers by picking their three favourite screenshots. Once voting is done, the top three will be put into our new Eye-Candy Gallery and the number one pic will be showed on the news!

What are you waiting for? Get working on those screenies! Still need more information? Sure, check out the thread in the Scenario Design forum here

Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs

majpain has found an article that reveals the name of the expansion pack: Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs. Seems fitting :) There was an interview of Sandy Peterson here
Last week Ensemble announced the first expansion to their wildly popular real-time strategy game. Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs
...
Sandy Peterson: The campaign is going to expand the Black family saga, but it hews much more closely to historical events. Thus, you will have members of the Black family involved in actual well-known happenings.
....
Sandy Peterson: It's not so much that things are changing as that we're adding lots of stuff. There are new random maps in new locations in the Americas, new native allies, new units, new Home City shipments, new civs, and new ways to win the game or break a stalemate. Of course, these new features do change the game, but it's in an additive way.

As you can see, there is also info on the campaign, why they chose Native Americans for an expansion, new screen shots, and many more aspects that we have not realized yet.

Check out majpain's thread

More Native Civs in the Expansion Pack?

No, not playable civs. These would be the natives that can be built on trading posts. Cy Marlayne has done some research (with a bit of help) on a screenshot that was released. He believes the new maps will include new natives. Possibly the Aymara and/or Uros. They were both located in the Andes region.
As for the native warriors, he said that they looks similar to Incan warriors, and that they must be from South America for that reason and because of the weapons they're wielding. He was confused as to why the natives wearing red were in the picture because of the attire and gunpowder weapons present. He also noticed that the trees looked a little odd for the climate.
...
Another possibility is the Quechua natives, who are most commonly and incorrectly known as the Incas. I didn't add them because they weren't confined to the Andes. They had also migrated to parts of Brazil.

It would be nice for other native civs to show up, and his evidence shows that it is quite possible. Look at his thread here

Poll Roundup!

Last week we asked our visitors what they thought of the Expansion Pack, and the idea of playing with new Native Nations as opposed to new European Nations. The results were actually pretty close, but most people are confident that the expansion pack will Open up new doors to exciting gameplay. Here's the results:
Yes! It opens up new doors to exciting gameplay! [754 votes]
Yes, but I'm hoping the natives will be a part of the new campaign or a different gametype. [246 votes]
Not sure, I'm a bit skeptical at this point. [321 votes]
The idea seems cheesey. I wish ES would think of something else. [213 votes]
No, natives are already in the game. I want to see new European civilizations. [642 votes]
As long as it adds SOMETHING, I'll buy it. [167 votes]

This week we're curious to know, with the release of patch 1.05, what civilization have you been playing the most? Patch 1.05 introduced many balance changes that might've changed your strategies and even favorite civ. So go ahead and vote!

More Russia!

Yes, once again Russia brings back a topic in the Strategy Central Forum. The Banisher brings up points that have been debated before and a few new ones. We all know cav archers may need a boost, maybe Russia should get an extra factory, and are Russians made to turtle?
Russians were subliminally designed to turtle. They have cheaper vills that come faster (overall). They have blockhouses which defend and create infantry units fast(if not instant) which are a turtlers dream. If your villies arent working for you russia has alot of upgrades to improve gathering rates and I think they even have the medicine card. Also the russian explorer upgrade is one of the best.The russian church card is one of the best. Their problem is the slow start they have.

To once again explore the pros and cons of Russia, visit the thread

The Bank Spank!

Not only having the funniest title yet, forummer jaafit's strategy is also smart and effective. Jaafit promises to offer the Dutch a FF strategy that can compete with the other civ's FF. Here's a tid-bit:
Summary: This is a FF-turtle with skirms, banks, booming, and a 150 pop military. In other words, it has ALL THE GOODS!

It's strengths:
* Kick-ass economy
* Good colonial defense
* A fast Age III time
* Good use of banks
* Beats any attack before 10 min (with proper scouting of course)

It's weaknesses:
* Britain (they will out-boom you every time)
* Grenadiers

So if you want to know more about this strategy, or just like spanking them banks, read on at Jaafit's forum thread.

Incans on X-Pack?

Well, it certainly seems so. Forummer Cy Marlayne did some research through the released screenshots and found some juicy clues leading to the conclusion that the Incans are the other Indian civ in the expansion pack. With this discovery, the two nations so far seem to be Incans and Iroquois. I wonder what the last one is?

If you want to know how Cy Marlayne came to his brilliant conclusion, visit his forum thread.

Dissecting Clues

Forummer Shala has taken his time to go through the currently released screenshots and inspect every object, unit and possible information shown. Other forummers have joined in and offered interesting suggestions to what each thing is (wee, fun!). You can checkout the forummer's conclusions at Shala's thread as well and contribute with your own.

ES_Sandyman on the Expansion Pack

Age of Empires III's Designer Sandy Petersen has recently answered some fan questions about the recently announced expansion pack. Sandy's answer shun the light on many things including the reason behind choosing Indian nations instead of new European nations as new civilizations. Here's an excerpt:
11) Sandy can you tell us what Native Civs might be in the xPAC?

A – Yes, I could tell you, since I’m design lead on the X-Pack. However, for the moment I’m not supposed to talk about stuff not already released by MS marketing . But I can say that we have Iroquois for sure and two other native civs coming. In fact, we’re playing the Iroquois right now. The most common comment I hear about the Iroquois from the testers is that they’re really fun to play.


You can read the entire Q&A at Botolf's forum thread.

Forum Party, March 11

Yet again, we have our weekly Forum Party. Play with your fellow forumers and learn from them. We will be trying out Hispaniola again, or if you have played that map many times, Standard maps will be played also. We'll be playing many team games, so try out more strats that have evolved since 1.05. So go on and have some friendly games with your forum friends!

Need more information, go to the thread here

How good are the Russians?

The Russians have ignited several topics in our Strategy Central Forum. There are strategies posted and debates brewing. Such debates are about patch 1.05 and how it impacted the Russians.

To begin, forumer Miah seems to think that the patch weakened the Russians here

unjugon posted a strat which involves the use of a livestock pen, seemingly to become more popular after players viewed odeton's winning replay for the fast Industrial contest, it can be found in his thread

ultimitsu Seems to have found a way to FF with the Russians, even though having to wait to get 270 food each time for more settlers. Check it out

kaos_hitman believes Russia has great potential and thinks they aren't as UP as many believe. If you agree or disagree check out the thread

As you can see, Russia has been the center point of attention. What are your opinions on them? Do you love them? Feel they have weak points? See room for improvement? Enter the threads and let us know.

Poll Roundup

Last week's poll asked visitors What do you think of patch 1.05?. Most voters agreed that the patch is good, but little issues were left in. There is a surprisingly amount of people who haven't installed the patch, and with the least amount of votes are the ones who thought the patch didn't fix anything useful.
Perfect! ES got it right on! [146 votes]
Good. Fixed many issues but left little ones out. [510 votes]
Okay. Fixed lots of issues, but left big ones out. [288 votes]
Sucked! Left tons of issues in! [112 votes]
I don't have the patch installed. [218 votes]

This week we had the announcement of Age of Empires III's Expansion Pack. The biggest piece of information we received so far is that the expansion, unlike what most thought, will not include new European nations. Instead, the expansion will let you play as three Native American tribes as you join the fight to control the Americas.

So we ask, what do you think of the choice for new nations? Would you have liked Europeans better? Do you think it's a creative way to offer new gameplay? Vote away silly!

Expansion Pack Discussions

At the announcement of Age of Empires III's Expansion Pack, Age3 Heaven opens up our own Expansion Pack Discussion Forum. On our forums you can find the latest information and speculations on the upcoming xpack as well as discuss all that is currently known. So don't waste time and check it out!

We have also updated our Gallery to include the latest screenshots gathered from all possible sources. You can view our wonderful gallery here.

New screenshots from the expansion

Grandmaster c has discovered five new screenshots just released at Gamespot for the expansion for AoEIII.

Go here to see and discuss the look of them! Surely more will be coming out so we can get an even more in depth view of what the xpack will contain.

The screenshots look great, can't wait to use the new civs :-)

Age of Empires III Expansion Pack Announced!

Forumer Bossman has stumbled across new information on the expansion for AoE3! It appears that later this year the expansion may be released and it will have new civs, units, maps, among other things. The new civs will be a few Native American tribes, exciting! Here's the official press release from Microsoft and Ensemble:
Age of Empires III Expansion Pack to Storm Windows PCs in 2006

Newest Addition to Best-Selling Franchise Introduces Playable Native American Civilizations in a Fight for Control of the Americas

The incredible momentum behind ”Age of Empires III” continues as Microsoft Game Studios and Ensemble Studios announced their plans for delivering an expansion pack to gamers in 2006.

The new expansion pack will build off of the exciting real-time-strategy gameplay of “Age of Empires III,” providing players with the ability to lead one of three proud Native American civilizations, including the Iroquois Confederation, to expand their empire and fight for control of the Americas.

The expansion pack, which is due on store shelves in the Fall of 2006, will provide new ways to play and win, introducing new gameplay elements and content including new civilizations, a new single player campaign, Home City enhancements and additional maps and units. Additional content will be added to all existing European civilizations as well.

I just can't wait enough to build teepees! Share what you are excited about, or even unexcited about the announcement at Bossman thread.

Fort Wars 1.2 Released

Designer pftq has released a new version of the popular ESO2 map, Fort Wars. New changes promise to make the gameplay faster paced and more offensive. Go ahead and give the new version a download and try it out on ESO2! Here's the changelog:
- Smaller Map
- 100 pop cap
- Faster Coin: 1.25 kill or 20 xp
- Llama LOS only encompasses pit
- Load text and tooltip when pointing at map icon
- Faster Island response (buys occur instantly)
- Cliffs removed
- Swamp lake minimized to avoid open cliff edges
- Field hospitals enabled and given tower hp
- Outpost LOS too big now - lowered to 8
- Slower llama coin trickle compared to gameplay
- Player bases are the same size on in any number of players game
- Costs fixed that were changed by ES in 1.05
- Manchus removed
- Explorers get 50% attack; Portuguese get 30% of their super stats
- Oprichniks made super (15 coin a piece)
- Mortars made as an XP Award in place of Explorer award (25 coin a piece)
- Retrieve Explorer replaces Building HP Award
- Building HP made always upgradable
- German mercs bought in sets of 3 for 5 coin
- Nootka made cost (6 coin) and now have 3/4 less hp instead of 1/2
- Trade Route removed, but Trading posts can still give 40 (2 coin) XP every half min
- Tower upgrades ramp up less (3 to 2); slightly more effective attack (3/2x); less hp effect (10% instead of 30)
- Culverins added to unit line spawn
- Culv pop reset to 4; Great Cannons set to 3 instead of 2, as coin is worth less now.

Musketeer the Backbone of Armies?

Musketeers were always meant to be the backbone of all the armies in Age3. However, up until this patch, the Musketeer has not been used as such, instead it was just another counter. But as forummer barley_n_oats pointed out on the forums, ES has nerfed the musketeer's main counters (skirmishers) and so the question comes up, are Musketeers now the backbone of every player's army with the new patch? It's certainly an interesting discussion, so drop your thoughts on barley_n_oats's thread at our forums.

Got Banned from ESO2?

It seems that some forummers have gotten upset about being banned from ESO2 to what they sought to be unfair bans. ES_Matty has kindly replied to the concerns over ESO2's moderation. Here's what Matty had to say:
The ESO mods are not just marching around banning anyone. They are banning people that are making the ESO and the ESO experience less enjoyable for the mass public. Examples of this would be spamming continuously in chat, swearing or trying to get around the filter, creating games or chat rooms with inappropriate titles (e.g. spreading racial hate or prejudice), impersonating ES personnel, cheating and point trading.

When people are on ESO probably the best course for them to take would be to consider their actions and ask themselves if they were a mod, would they ban themselves. In general we just ask that people play nice and have fun.

Most bans actually go through a 2 step process. Our mods Yeti, Swinger or Paragon tell Solus or myself about a problem situation. We review the situation and react accordingly. We have 2 types of bans, permanent and temporary.

We also understand that we can't be right 100% of the time or that sometimes people misunderstand a situation and react inappropriately. We also believe in second chances. We just want people to have fun and play Age3. So if you've acted inappropriately and feel that you won't be behaving in the offending manor in the future, or if you feel you have been banned mistakenly, please email age3.help@ensemblestudios.com with:
a) your user name
b) an explanation of the situation

I believe that ESO2 has been doing a great job with moderation so far and most of the banned users are actually guilty. But if your ban was unfair, you can do as Matty said and contact age3.help@ensemblestudios.com.

Patch 1.05 and Cassadores

Forummer Shizzle has done an interesting analysis of the Portuguese Unique Unit, the Cassador. Seen as underpowered before the patch, the Cassadores received a boost and Shizzle decided to take a look at that meant exactly. Here's an excerpt:
-As I looked upon the abus stats, the cassadores now have more LOS and range. They also have high ranged resistance and they are much cheaper. abus is 150 recourses and 2 pop, cassys are 115 and 1 pop. I thought i tested 10 cassadores on 5 abus. My cassadores won with 6 cassys left with micro !. I just ran away so they couldnt get a good shot!

Read the entire post here.

Forum Party, March 4th

If you've been wanting to play patch 1.05's new map, Hispanola, with a group of awesome forummers, then this is your chance. Raaman is hosting this week's Forum Party and the forummers will be playing the new map. If you wish to know more information to what exactly forum parties are, visit the Forum Party thread.

Be there or be squared!

So Patch 1.05 is out

The new patch 1.05 came out and introduced dozens of changes to both functionality of the game and balance. The new Power Ranking System is still being experimented by experts and common players, but so far no complaints have reached the forums. The new map introduced more variety to the game and finally the balance changes fixed dozens of screws and overpowered strategies that ruined the game for many of us.

But what do you think? Do you think ES did a great job or failed to fix anything useful? Well, that's this week's poll! Go ahead and let your opinion be heard by voting, then go right on to our forums and let us know!

Strategy of a Winner

The winner of the Fastest Industrial contest held by ES a while ago was Odeton, and he explained how he was able to achieve the feat of aging at a blistering time of 7:27. Check out this thread here over in ES community forums for his strategy that might be able to help players on their regular gaming.

On another note, many gamers requested the location of Age of Empire III's 1.05 patch. Those that wanted it can find it here.