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News Archives - October 2005

Review of Shattered Union

Adder has completed his review of PopTop's Turned-Based-Strategy game Shattered Union, giving it a decent overall mark. Quote...

"The premise behind PopTop’s turn based strategy game, Shattered Union, is fairly simple, yet introduced very well in superb pre-game cinematic. Basically the United States has shattered into six factions after a series of terrorist attacks and disputed elections. Your goal: reunite the United States using one of the six regional factions, the California Commonwealth, the Confederacy, the Great Plains Federation, the New England Alliance, Pacifica, the Republic of Texas, or the European Union peace force that has invaded the Washington D.C area." ...

Like what you hear? Check out the full review for more!

Poll Round-Up

Last week in our poll, we asked a question about a much-disputed topic: Does 1 account per CD key on ESO2 affect you and your family? A very close poll gives the win to "yes", it does affect a majority of gamers, with "no" coming in a close second place. Adding the "Maybe in the future..." votes, the yay-sayers get the undisputed win. Here are the results...

Yes (889)

No (794)

Maybe in the future... (280)

After playing Age of Empires III and the demo, people might compare the two previous ES games, Age of Empires II and Age of Mythology, to the playing style of Age of Empires III. This week we're asking "What previous Age game does AoE3 feel the most similar to?" Answer in our poll!

What Counters What?

jaafit has layed out exactly what counters what in our Strategy forums.

"Unit Classifications:

Heavy Infantry: Pikeman, Halberdier, Musketeer, Janissary, Doppelsoldner, Rodelero

Light Infantry: Crossbowman, Skirmisher, Longbowman, Strelet, Cassador

Melee Calvary: Hussar, Dragoon, Cuirassier, Cossack, Uhlan, Lancer, Oprichnik, Spahi" ...

Read the full post for the rest of the info!

Portuguese Sonic Boom

Fan of the Portuguese, but can't seem to withstand the rush or your enemy attacks? BoloBouncer has posted a very interesting strategy called the Portuguese Sonic Boom in our Strategy Discussions forum, giving you both defense and putting you in a position to start thinking about military. Quote...

... "Pick the Exiled Prince to age up scarily fast. I say "scarily" because the time between Colonial and Fortress will be very short and dishearten your opponent. Now send the fort as your next shipment and place it strategically near your two TCs and place your new third TC in the general vicinity. You've now boomed straight to the Fortress age and have a solid defense to take your strategy wherever you like."

Check out the full post for the entire strategy.

Gamespot's AoE3 Game Guide

Gamespot recently posted their detailed guide for AoE3. It includes basic info for those transitioning from previous age games, a campaign walkthrough, tips on cards and and currently known cheats.

Most of the info is, naturally, basic in nature, but you may find this an easy way to pick up what the important things to look out for are when getting into AoE3. For those of you who want a bit of help, check it out.

Whee...TSD actually made a news post...

Signature Stats

Residential self-proclaimed programming genius Elpea has made another contribution to the community -- statistics in the form of images. How do you get your own? Simple -- replace his name at the end of the URL (http://www.elpea.net/stats/Elpea.png) with your ESO Login name. It will immediately give you the stats for that name, auto-updating with every win or loss. Want to show it to others? The format is equipped so you can post the image anywhere and wherever allowed, including signatures on sites that allow such a feature. Discuss in our forums.

AoE3 Eye-Candy Thread

Yes yes, old news to those who frequent our Scenario Design forum, but Reinfire has made an eye-candy thread dedicated to the editor, and the loads of eye-candy you can make with it.


They already have tons of submissions, so it's definitely worth a look if you want to see a hint of what's to come Scenario Design-wise. Have your own submission or want to show off your skills? Simply post the image up online and show everyone in the thread!

AoE III Bug Reporting and Lost Usernames

Well, Age of Empires III is out for around a week and shall be gradually releasing all over the world. ES has as always set up a way for users to report bugs in the game. Find more information here. Remember to follow the format provided by ES.

Also, for anyone who has "lost" their usernames, matty has provided some information on how to get them back.

If you forgot your ESO Username, currently there is no way through the Age of Empires 3 to retrieve your username.
If you forgot your username please email age3.help@ensemblestudios.com with your CD Key and the email that you used to register on ESO so we may retrieve it for you.

Warning: Do not give out your CD Key except to the above email address. Do not give out your CD Key in chat rooms, we will never ask for your cd key online. Protect your CD Key as it is uniquely yours.
Also, ESO servers have been taken down for some mainteanance. Below is a statement from ES:
The servers are down for maintenance and will be up as soon as we can finish the maintenance. Check the forums for more info. Sorry for any confusion.

New Blog! -- 10/24

Bruce Shelley has posted up another blog, and, among other fun-filled topics, saying ES has taken notice of the reviews. Quote...

The Votes That Count: Ultimately what really matters is how many people play Age III and enjoy it. Our games have traditionally sold very well. Age of Mythology, for example, went into the top ten of retail selling PC games about a year after release and stayed there for most of the next 12 months. Age II is still a very good selling PC game. We will be watching to see if Age III can continue these traditions.

Check out the entire blog!

HG's Shattered Union Giveaway!

If for whatever reason you have been thinking "I wish I got a chance to possibly win a game from this awesome gaming network," today might be the best day of your life. HG's giving away two copies of Shattered Union -- see quote below for more details:

Interested in winning a copy of Shattered Union? We have two copies of Shattered Union to give out in a random drawing. If you're interested in winning a copy of the game, and you live in the United States, email Adder with your mailing address, and you could win a copy of Shattered Union!

Note that you must live within the United States to participate in the contest. Your email must include [SU] in the subject line, and you must include your mailing address. You have until Monday, October 24th at 11:59 PM EST to send your email.

Again, you have until 11:59PM EST today to mail in your entry. Enter before it's too late!

Poll Round-Up

Last week, we were curious to see how people felt about drop-sites. "Do you prefer no drop sites in AoE3?" The majority of you said yes, most likely enjoying the simplicity so you can concentrate on the rest of the game, and a lot of you said it didn't really matter if they were included or not. Here are the complete statistics:

Yes (993)
No (423)
Either way is fine (714)

This week we're curious about an apparently large issue that some online gamers have with ESO2: Does 1 account per CD key on ESO2 affect you and your family? Or, to be more specific, do your family members play Age3 online too? Answer in our poll!

Who Does the AI Attack?

Ensemble's Captn_Kidd replied in a topic regarding team AI in our General Discussions forum, giving some interesting insight to how the AI chooses who it will attack first in team games. Seems like there's been much improvement over the AI since the days of AoK:

Your AI ally should be, on average, as strong as each of the enemies.

The enemies don't care who is human and who is an AI. They look for areas to attack, assessing how much good stuff there is to destroy, how strongly it's defended, and how far away it is. If you tower your base, and your ally doesn't, he'll probably get double-teamed...no sense in them fighting in your town if the ally town is more open.

Telling your ally to rush makes this worse, as he'll totally skip towers. Telling him to focus on defenses will likely mean that you get attacked more often.

GameSpy Reviews AoE3

A little late in reporting, but... better than never? GameSpy has made their review on Age of Empires III, giving it a 5 / 5 stars and Editor's Choice! Thankfully the reviewer was considerate enough to check out the multiplayer:

"Age of Empires III doesn't redefine real-time strategy gameplay. You're still scurrying to collect more resources than your opponents and rushing to field a giant army, and the game still rewards frantic clicking and unit management. But the presentation is unmatched, and even though the game is rooted in RTS conventions, there are enough new elements and strategic variations here to addict even grizzled veterans. If you're a fan of the genre, you owe it to yourself to check this game out. And if you've never played a real-time game before, this is the place to start." ...

Special thanks to Dax105 for this one!

Announcing... Age of Wiki!

Experienced with the editor, but have the unfulfilled need to teach others how to use it? Look no further than the Age of Wiki!

"We are please to announce the first HG-run community wiki. To build a comprehensive encyclopedia of Scenario Design has been an unrealized dream for past games. Starting today, we are going to attempt it for AoE3. With your help, we intend build a complete reference for the art of Scenario Design." ...

For more information, check out Spitfire's post in our Scenario Design forum!

ESO & CRC Mismatch

The ESO2 servers are undergoing random moments of down-time (if you've been having troubles going on ESO2 or playing a game, this is most likely why) because of server and ESO2 issues. The problems are being worked on, so don't worry. Also, Wibble has given reasons to any CRC Mismatch occurances between players on ESO2 in our forums:

If every game looks like a CRC Mismatch, then your age3.exe is likely to be corrupted or you're using a cd cracker.

If you see one game that is CRC Mismatch, then *that* person is probably using a wrong version. If you see Ensemble or Microsoft staff with CRC Mismatch, we're probably doing tests.

Be sure that your game qualifies to get XP. If you are playing solo against the CPU online, then that game will not count for XP. You must have at least one human player (ally or opponent) in order for XP to accrue.

It is a known issue that the message will display you getting levels while in-game and when you come out you have nothing because the game did not count for XP.

Age of Empires 4 and 5?

Sounds like crazy talk, yes, but Cataphract_40 has posted up an image of a page from the Art Book that came with the AoE3 Collector's Edition. What does it have? The Age series, with graphics above them, listed in Roman numerals from 1 to 5. The last two could possible be unannounced projects / sequels, and from the looks of it, Age of Empires 4 will be based on the WW2-ish era while 5 takes place in some sort of advanced space age (going through time, just like we expect). Still speculation until there's an announcement (which we don't expect any time soon), but it is indeed a *very* odd coincidence, as is the fact that MS has registered the domains for both titles.

Check out the entire thread for the image and forum discussion!

More Reviews

Well, Age of Empires III is in stores and more reivews are coming in.

First one is from UnderGroundOnline or famously known as UGO. They give AoE3 an overall grade of A, which is 95% overall. The reviewer says that AoE3 is not revolutionary, but it evolves upon the previous games and puts it as the must have of the year. Also noteworthy is the fact that the reviewer discusses his multiplayer experience in AoE3 while urging readers to read previous previews for the Single Player experience.

it is a leap forward for fans of RTS and the franchise. AOE3's graphics are second to none - debatably it's the best-looking PC game of the year. The improvements made to the ESO service also make it one of the most fun titles to play online. So while Age of Empires III may not be earth shattering in its significance, it's easily one of the year's must-have games simply for being everything we've loved, with a bit more sugar added. En garde.

UGO Review - A (95%)

Another review comes out way from Gamepro which game it a 4/5. Not bad, but I also give them the shortest review award. If someone from Gamepro is reading this, games don't deserve a 3 paragraph review. The guy was really happy with the graphics though (Gamespot reading this?). Reviewer apparently doesn't like that combat and economic management has the Age series feel to it.

In Age of Empires III, they create graphics that look so natural and viscerally appealing you'd swear you'll never go back to any "standard" RTS. Thankfully, the visual presentation is greater than the sum of its parts and truly does offer a look at what RTS games should begin to look like.

Gamepro Review - 4/5

So, Editor reviews and great and interesting to read. But something that I also like to look at always are the user ratings at various sites. Here is a rundown of the Average User Ratings:
Gamespot: 8.7/10
IGN: 8.8/10
1up: 8.7/10

Amazon.com has Age of Empires III in number 2 position for topseller under PC Games. In overall Electronics it stands at No. 4 today and was at No. 3 yesterday.
Sounds good to me.

Age of Empires III Invades North America, New Demo Out

Well, the game is out and we have the official press release from MS below:


Form line and prepare for battle! Age of Empires III, the stunning real-time strategy game from Microsoft and Ensemble Studios, is now available in North America in two versions: standard and Collector’s Edition. Age of Empires III raises the bar for strategy games with unprecedented graphic detail, incredible new features like the Home City and more realistic destruction with real-time physics modeling. The game’s huge single-player campaign spans several historical generations and exposes players to many of the game’s 12 Native American tribes. Reviewers around the world have hailed Age of Empires III as a new benchmark in strategy games.


The standard version of Age of Empires III is now in stores at a suggested retail price of $49.99 (U.S.). The Collector’s Edition, available from larger retailers, includes an impressive hardbound 210-page “The Art of Empires” book, a “Making of Age of Empires III” DVD, the official Age of Empires III soundtrack, a huge full-color poster, an exclusive Player’s Guide and a Collector’s Edition Game Manual. The Collector’s Edition is available for a suggested retail price of $69.99 (U.S.).


In Age of Empires III, players assume the role of a European power between 1500 and 1850 A.D. as they struggle to explore, colonize and conquer the New World. The game’s minimum system requirements are: 1.4GHz processor, 256 MB RAM, 64 MB video card that supports hardware transform and lighting, Windows XP, 56k modem for online play and 2GB hard drive space. For more information, please visit http://www.ageofempires3.com.


Ensemble Studios recently launched a new community site for Age of Empires fans featuring all of the latest Age news, exclusive interviews, downloadable content and Age of Empires III statistics. The community site includes forums where Age of Empires fans can chat, discuss strategies and get information from the game’s designers, artists and programmers. Check it out at: www.agecommunity.com.


Ensemble Studios (http://www.ensemblestudios.com) is one of the world's premier entertainment software developers. Ensemble Studios is known for its blockbuster Age of Empires and Age of Mythology game series. Ensemble's titles are distinguished by the highest-quality art and gameplay dynamics applied in familiar historical settings, and appeal to hard-core gamers and mass audiences. Ensemble Studios is based in Dallas, Texas.


ES also released the new demo for Age of Empires III which has lots of bug fixes and a new minimized UI. You can download it here.

Also check out the forum discussion topic.


So, the game is out and I will catch all the readers on ESO I guess. *Goes off to play*

More Reviews Pour In

We ended last week with three basic reviews - Gamespot (8.2), IGN (8.8) and HG (9.6)

We start this week by first giving you the review from eToyChest Review - 75/100

Fans of the Age of Empires franchise will probably find a lot to enjoy with this latest sequel, at least for a while. Even with a lengthy single player campaign, the bulk of most players’ time will be spent in the multiplayer mode, which sports an intuitive interface and even support of clans.

Then we have the GameZone Review:

If you want you can always get a quick skirmish game going on, but this game demands multiplayer mode, and Ensemble Studios provided this for the players.
GameZone Review - 9.5/10

The next review is from Killer Betties:

Overall this game is fabulous. Although parts of this design are showing age - its being done gracefully and with style - I wish that I could age as well as this game system. Beautiful terrain combined with smooth gameplay makes this game quite enjoyable. This, combined with a wealth of historical items, make this game a true gem in the world of real time strategy. Anyone finding this game in their Christmas stocking will not be disappointed. It is highly recommended.

Killer Betties Review -

It seems pretty clear that the game is receiving mxed response particularly based on whether the reviewers enjoy the Home City aspect or not. Some reviewers want the game to go really far ahead and implement things like formations which hasn't been done in Age games before. But one thing is clear - Fans of Age series will enjoy the game a lot.

Forum Discussion

Poll Round-Up

Last week we asked everybody "What scenario genre do you enjoy playing most?" The majority voted for good ol' Build & Destroy, with RPG scenarios coming in as a second favorite. Scenario designers, I hope you're listening. Here are the complete results...
Build & Destroy (550)
Fixed Force (169)
RPG (423)
Multiplayer Blood (258)
I don't play many scenarios (360)
This week's poll has to do with the drop-sites (or lack of) in Age of Empires III. Do you prefer no drop sites in AoE3? Vote in our poll!

Units Database

Elpea, residential forum genius, has released his Units Database to the public. Now you can check out the stats of any or every unit at your discretion. It basically has everything you need to know, so if you plan to use that kind of information (or are just curious, bored, or a mix of the two), check it out!

Russian War Stories

TheGoodEvil has posted two war stories about his adventures using the Russian civilization.
"Now as many of you know I play as Russia mainly, I have a level 12 HC call newb pwning capitol. I am by no means an expert level player in AoE3, that honor as of now goes to Swinger and Jay... those guys have some true skill in this game. Now 1st Game was a 2v2 FPH vs HG teams were me and Kumar vs SoggyFrog and Elpea." ...
For both of the war stories, check out his post in our forums.

GameSpy: Age3 Art and Design

So the grand embargo is over, meaning we'll see plenty of news on Age of Empires III before release. There are plenty of reviews, but is there anything different, maybe related to AoE3's design? GameSpy is answering our call, with Art & Design: The Alternate History of Age of Empires III, discussing the game concepts, historical accuracy, etc with Bruce Shelley. Truly a great read, and it will keep you entertained for hours if you happen to read slowly. Quote...
As Shelley loads up a map and scrolls around Age of Empires III's playfield, I understand what he's talking about. Separate from any actual gameplay consideration, Age of Empires III is just a stunningly beautiful game. The wilderness represented on the game's map seems alive, dotted with all sorts of ambient plant and animal life. Ducks soar overhead in V-shaped migratory formations, bears amble around the woods foraging for berries, deer graze in meadows, and salmon swimming upstream to spawn leap out of the water to climb up a small waterfall. I compliment him on the beauty of the world and mention that that graphic goal seems to have been achieved.

Special thanks to eskouster for the news!

Dave Pottinger Interview

The AgeCommunity has just posted up another developer interview, this time with Age3 lead programmer Dave "BigDog" Pottinger. A great interview, but he gives us another means for speculation on their fabled "next project." Here's the quote...

"As Age3 finishes up, I'm going to get a chance to go work on an unannounced prototype project that a few of us from Age3 are starting up. It's nothing like we've ever done before, so that should be a blast!" ...

Check out the full interview!

Age of Empires III Reviews

The emabrgo on the Press Review Copy of AoE III expired today and as expected reviews have started coming out. Two major gaming sites have already reviewed Age of Empires III - IGN and Gamespot. This is in addition to my own review of the game.

IGN:
Age of Empires III is a superbly balanced and polished game and it definitely ups the ante for the C&C and 'Craft developers. Discounting a few niggles in the interface, the whole presentation is rock solid. Each new release in the Age of Empires series has added something to the mix. But while Age of Empires II seemed to focus on quantity, Age of Empires III sacrifices some units and civilizations in order to make the whole experience much tighter.

Review Link - 8.8/10

Forum Discusson

Gamespot:

Age III does seem surprisingly rough around the edges in some respects, and those expecting the game to revolutionize or even refresh this style of gaming may come away disappointed that their high expectations weren't met. But those looking for a complex and interesting real-time strategy game with fantastic good looks and some historical flavor will find just what they want in Age of Empires III.

Review Link - 8.2/10

Forum Discussion - includes a critic of the review

HG/Personal Age3 Review:

If you are Ensemble Studios, you have a tough job to do. How do you create a game, a successor to what many consider the greatest RTS of all time – Age of Empires II and the next game after your mega hit series – Age of Mythology? How do you satisfy gamers on both ends? How do you go about creating a game that is not only fun to play but also brings innovation to the industry? Well friends, the answer is here and its Age of Empires III.

Review Link - 9.6/10

Forum Discussion

Will AoE3 Work for Your Comp?

The System Requirements Lab now lets you pick Age of Empires III as one of the game choices it can test. If you need to know if your comp matches the requirements, it's recommended that you check it out. How does it work? It checks and compares your current computer statistics to the game minimum requirements, stating what will work and what will not. Fail in having a requirement? The sites gives you hardware suggestions that will meet the requirements. In addition to the Minimum statistics, it also gives you the Recommended stats, so you can see if your computer is up to the task of handling even the largest games.

Special thanks to PlatinumKnight for posting about it in our forums!

Note: You must download an ActiveX controller, at your own risk, from the site so it can check your system information. If you're willing to do this, check away!

New Developers Blog - 10/11

Bruce Shelley has at long last posted another developers blog. What was the topic? Several topics, including the Age of Empires III Release Party. An interesting topic regarded the AI, questioning if it was tough enough. Here's an excerpt...

"A month ago the computer AI achieved a milestone of sorts by becoming smart enough to beat me and other casual gamers at hard difficulty. I have played a number of games since we went gold, however, and the AI has yet to beat me at Hard. So maybe I’ve gotten a lot better (not real likely) or the AI lost some of its edge in the last months as bugs were fixed or new features got polished. I almost always play 2v2 with an AI ally. I have learned that I like having Germany as an ally. The AI seems to be able to play that civilization well. This will be something else we watch after the game is released. If Hard difficulty is found too easy, we may consider some adjustments." ...
Check out the entire blog for more info.

Greg Street Interview

The Age Community has posted up a brand new interview, this time giving us an inside look at Age of Empires III Lead Designer Greg Street. What did the interviewer and the almighty DeathShrimp have to talk about?

How has the home city feature changed since it was originally conceived?

GTS: Originally, shipments of units and Cards were different things. You could only ship units from the HC, and any Card you played lasted for every game from then on. If you got +10% building hitpoints, that would affect the next game from the first Age. You also started with very few units and buildings and had to unlock almost all of them in the HC. One of the more interesting HC twists that we cut was that you had to send a Shipment of a politician in order to Age up. It was a really interesting choice, but hard to balance. It was hard to Age up as part of your strategy ("oh no, I'm going to get rushed") when you had to wait for a new Shipment. In the name of fairness, we eventually decided the HC could not automatically be more powerful at the start of every game, but could become more powerful as later games went on. It may be a subtle distinction, but it radically altered every feature and design in the game.

Go to the Age Community for the full read!

Special thanks to RiderOfEternity for the news!

Sail the New World Sweepstakes

Ensemble Studios and the History Channel, everybody's favorite historical resources, have teamed up, giving us the opportunity to take place in the Sail the New World Sweepstakes. People that enter have a chance to win 7-day, 6-night grand prize cruise for two. For the runner-ups, there are plenty of other cool prizes, like winning a free Age of Empires III: Collectors Edition set. What do you have to do? Right now, it's as simple as signing up.

You must at least 18 years of age to enter. For more information, visit the History Channel's Sail the New World Sweepstakes home page.

Poll Round-Up

Last week, we asked everybody "What's the first thing you'll check out in AoE3?" The results ultimately came down to the huge Single Player Campaign available in Age of Empires III, only seconded by Skirmish. Here are the complete results...

Skirmish (748)
SP Campaign (860)
Multiplayer/ESO 2 (535)
Scenario Editor (235)
This week, we're wondering what types of scenarios everybody would be most interested in downloading. "What scenario genre do you enjoy playing most?" Answer in our poll!

Reduced Prices at Amazon.com

As reported by Innovan in our General Discussions forum, Amazon.com has reduced the price of the AoE III Collectors Edition by $10 ($59.99), and AoE III Retail by $5 ($44.99). That alone is an offer that's near impossible to turn down. With pre-release, there's always time to switch your pre-order plan. Going to make the purchase? Support HeavenGames by using one of the links above!


(Of course, if you want to pay that extra $10 for CE, be my guest. ;-))

RPG Basic Design Rules?

Talon Karrde has posted up an article called "Basic Design Rules" in our Scenario Design forum, as set down by the creators of Baldur's Gate 2. What do some guidelines in Baldur's Gate 2 have to do with anything Age-related? Scenarios, of course! They relate with designing RPGs, using any type of editor, even if that wasn't their intention. While they might not be rules you agree with, they're interesting nonetheless, and could be helpful guidelines for designing your own RPG...
"Story Design:
1. The story should always make the player the focus. The player is integral to the plot, and all events should revolve around him or her.
2. It is important that the player is kept informed about the progress of the villain. This can be done through cutscenes during chapter transitions, or through integrating him or her into the main plot from time to time." ...
Read the post for the complete article!

AoE3's First Newsletter

The first Age of Empires III Newsletter came today, with a bunch of information about the latest news (Age Community, game release, etc). But of the most important announcements: an updated demo. Check it out...
An updated demo of Age of Empires 3 is planned for release the week of October 10th. Updates to the demo include:
An optional minimized UI
A tutorial
Lots of miscellaneous bug fixes
That means you will get to play a fixed demo before game release, with all of the latest screws tweaked out and the final-game updates. Not signed up for the newsletter? Go to the Age Community to sign up!

WCG 2006 Game Poll

Mokon has reported that the World Cyber Games have put up a poll, asking what games they should sponsor (or continue to sponsor) in the next WCG. In the RTS category: Age of Empires series. Do you think the Age series is worthy of being included in the 2006 WCG? Vote in their poll and tell them what you would like to see! (To find the poll, click on the button on the left hand corner of their home page.)

Gone Gold Video!

The Age Community has posted up the Gone Gold video, about ES in the final moments of preparing their game to go gold.
However there is an often untold ritual that goes on before a game can be brought to you the fans. It is a dark and secret ritual with many trials that happens in secret corners of Microsoft's Gaming Headquarters. It was almost a week ago when secret operatives from ES took the game to be replicated and brought to our fans around the world. You can watch their adventure here in this gripping video.
Check out the video, and special thanks to LP for posting about it in our forums!

AoE3 Zboard

Fairly old news, but Zboard, the creators of several custom keyboard sets for popular games (including Age of Mythology), have put up an overview of the upcoming Age of Empires III Limited Edition Keyset. The keyboards are specialized so that you will know what a shortcut is by simply looking at the keys. For more information and full-sized pics, visit their AoE3 page.

Special thanks to Backside over at Sztab.com for the news!

Downloads Section - Suggestions?

Kumar Shah, our Downloads administrator, has posted a thread in our Scenario Design forum asking if anybody has suggestions for our Downloads section (aside from a review team ;-P). We can currently use suggestions for:
Categories

Ratings Options (for each category)

Review Guidelines

Reviewing Policies
Want to help HG improve its downloads? Make any suggestion you have in Kumar's thread.

GameFAQs Poll

Speaking of polls, GameFAQs recently had a poll of the day asking "Which scheduled October PC release are you most looking forward to?" A majority of the voters said "Age of Empires III" at an outstanding 27.51%, winning out over games like F.E.A.R., Civilization IV, and Call of Duty 2. See the complete poll for all of the results. Special thanks to Solartinum for the news!

Poll Round-Up

Last week we asked what feature in the demo has been the most fun for you, giving several of the main innovations in AoE3. A majority of you said you enjoyed the Artillery Warfare (yes, the cannons won me over too), while a decent number of you said you liked the Home City feature the most. Here are the stats:
Home City (562)
Native American Settlements (141)
Artillery Warfare (676)
All of them! (633)
No preference right now (356)
What's the first thing you'll check out in AoE3? Answer in our poll!

New Blog -- 9/30

Bruce Shelley has posted another blog, this time regarding the recently launched Age Community site, localized testing, the ES Age 3 Tournament results, and much more. To quote...

"Our site at www.agecommunity.com launched ahead of schedule this week thanks to a lot of hard work by several people, especially Matt Scadding, Shawn Lohstroh, Ben Donges, and Dave Kubalak. We hope this becomes a regular stop for fans of Age 3. Check it in the coming weeks as more features and information appear. It was amazing how quickly fans found it once it launched with no notice." ...

Check out the blog for more info. (It's packed with information this time. Ship time is almost here!)

Special thanks to Armed Rebel for letting us know in our forums!