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All hail! King of the losers!
Nice town. I'll take it.
Is the will of one man enough to forge an empire?
Age of Empires is a series of historical Real Time Strategy games by the Microsoft-owned developer Ensemble Studios.
The franchise, so far, is composed by the following games/series:
- Age of Empires I - 1997
- Age of Empires: The Rise of Rome - 1998
- Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings - 1999
- Age of Empires II: The Conquerors - 2000
- Age of Mythology - 2002 - A spin-off focusing on mythological figures and creatures.
- Age Of Mythology: The Titans - 2003
- Age of Empires III - 2005
- Age of Empires III: The War Chiefs - 2006
- Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties - 2008
- Age of Empires: The Age of Kings - 2006 - A Turn Based Strategy spin-off for Nintendo DS.
- Age of Empires: Mythologies - 2008 - See above.
- Age of Empires Online - 2011 - A free-to-play free-roaming RPG.
In addition, the Star Wars RTS Galactic Battlegrounds is Age of Empires IN SPACE (LucasArts used the AOE II engine) and Ensemble developed an RTS based on the Halo series, Halo Wars, which was Ensemble Studios' swan song, as Microsoft closed them down on 1/29/09, making Age of Empires 4 or 5 unlikely.
Age of Empires Online, however, turned out to be very much in production. The announcement broke the base almost immediately, though its free-to-play status may heal wounds. The game, made by Gas Powered Games, is intended to enable players "to create a living, growing online world, shared with friends and friendly rivals around the globe, [while] players can develop their own persistent online civilization, which grows even when the player is offline and watch as it progresses from a village to an empire. They can embark on quests along the way, alone or with friends, and to "immerse themselves in epic tales, quirky characters, adventure, history and strategy." The game also includes Live Achievements. Initially released with the Greek civilisation, Egypt, Persia and the Celts have since been added. A revamp of the free to play model has been announced recently, which promises to allow players to unlock any feature without paying a dime, provided they are willing to invest enough time.
The series in general give examples of:
- Age of Titles: a whole series.
- Anachronism Stew / Alternate History: Will occur if there are vast technology differences between the players. Also, a few of the campaign scenarios contain events several years apart from each other, even within the same scenario.
- Some changes to the History are a bit boggling, deciding to be purely historical one campaign scenario and then changing history in the next, i.e. Scots winning Battle of Falkirk, Mongols overrunning Europe etc.
- Annoying Arrows: All the archery.
- Arbitrary Headcount Limit: There's a Population Limit.
- Boring but Practical: Sometimes the basic units are the best.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Optional; if you want, you can configure the game as to have your enemies being red, your allies yellow and yourself blue.
- Construct Additional Pylons:
"You need to build more houses!"
- Classic Cheat Code: "How do you turn this on"
- Expansion Pack: The games have one or two official expansion packs, which usually rebalance units and come with new civilizations to play.
- Age of Empires Online, as to be expected, has DLC.
- Flavor Text: each of the games has description of their unit, their origin and their use in war(for real ones).
- Game Mod: The games come with a built in world builder which can be used to create entirely original campaigns for download, which are often more in depth and complex then the original single player. Quality is usually measured in the effort put into aesthetics and the number of 'triggers' in place. The best ones are regarded to be +1000 triggers.
- The Dev Team Thinks of Everything: Diplomacy in II. For example, you can ask allies for resources. So you can just extort your resources from them, right? WRONG. Eventually, they'll start refusing. Ask for a large enough tribute, and they declare war on you.
- Easy Logistics: Played straight most of the time, the units don't need to restock on ammunition and in some games villagers can repair any boats, siege weapons or buildings that you might have, whether they're near a (wood) storage or not.
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: The information the game can provide shows the developers did their research, but only a few of those aspects and tactics show up in the actual gameplay.
- I Shall Taunt You: The first two quotes are among the pre-recorded taunts from the series.
- MacGuffin: The War Wagons, Ruins, Relics, etc items to collect/control
- No Fair Cheating: If you cheat, some of the benefits are given to the computer as well.
- Public Domain Artifact: Lots of them, everywhere. Given that the entire series has a strong emphasis in the history side.
- Real Time with Pause
- Reinventing the Wheel: You redevelop every known technology.
- Regional Riff: When you start a game, you hear something vaguely appropriate to the nation you chose to play.
- Running Gag: Wololo (the priest conversion sound from the first game) and Roggan (the villagers' sound when selected in the same game) have appeared as taunts in the second and third Empires games.
- Savage Setpiece: normal Elephants.
- Separate but Identical: Although in the first two games you can choose to have all the civilizations the same techs and units, save for the unique units in 2, it's averted most of the time, with different civilizations having access to different upgrades and not having access to some units - even having a unique unit or two for themselves. They also possess unique bonuses depending on the civilization.
- Silliness Switch: Some cheat codes unlock everything from cars to laser-shooting bears to gun toting infants on tricycles.
- Speaking Simlish: Present for the early ages in the first Age of Empires games.
- Tech Tree: Somewhat different for all civilizations.
- The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Masterfully averted by the second game, where the AI is not reliant on any perks the players don't have unless you play on the highest difficulty.
- Video Game Cruelty Potential
- War Elephants
- War for Fun and Profit
- Worker Unit: The villagers and the settlers.
- You Have Researched Breathing