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Focusing on key historical events, the Age of Empires (AoE) series of RTS titles is one of the most innovative empire-building games ever released for the PC platform. The first game of the series was released on October 15, 1997. Although the game was not as impressive as WarCraft or the turn-based strategy blockbuster Civilization, AoE was hailed as “revolutionary" for offering an empire-building game with RTS elements.
Playing any AoE real-time strategy game requires players to know basic gameplay elements like micromanagement, combat, and diplomacy. The chances of losing against mighty empires (read: clever AI) are more, however good a strategy gamer you are. You will need to have a strong base to fend off enemy units and plan their attack to conquer rival territories. Your victory depends much on how you develop your own strategy to win against powerful civilizations.
Fortunately, we have had some good strategy guides published on Bright Hub that help with building a strong empire and conquering rival kingdoms. There are also some reviews that may help you find out what key gameplay features are if you still haven’t played the AoE series. Let’s find out!
Along with Civilization, AoE was probably the only civilization-building strategy game that charmed gamers with its historical theme and neat graphics. Released in 1997, it was one of the first history-based RTS titles that gave gamers a good alternative to Civilization’s slow turn-based strategy gameplay and involved different gameplay modes and online/network play, which was considered one of its key highlights. Know more about its features and facts and find out why it was considered revolutionary in every respect.
When Microsoft closed its popular MSN Zone matchmaking service in 2006, gamers who spent hours playing Age of Empires online suddenly found themselves without a shelter. However, there were a few multiplayer communities that kept the online excitement alive by providing post-zone multiplayer support to gamers. Sadly, none of the online communities are active today, but you would surely want to know what happened after the service was discontinued and how a couple of services offered a Zone-alternative to enjoy online play.
With new gameplay features, exciting campaigns, several improvements and superb visual effects that recreate the 17th century atmosphere, Age of Empires III offers more gameplay depth and replay value than the first two game of the epic RTS series. If you thought civilization-building games are boring and less exciting than sci-fi themed RTS titles, you ought to play this game to get a taste of epic strategy.
The Ancient Dynasties is the second expansion pack of AoE III and offers fictional scenarios based on historical events that transpired in medieval Asian nations like China, India and Japan. Read our review to find out key gameplay concepts, graphics and sound.
Starter guides essentially offer a brief overview of new gameplay concepts and enhancements. For newbie AoE III players, a basic strategy guide is the best way to know what new improvements are added to the game. It will also offer a brief introduction to new features, multiplayer elements, economy and military gameplay elements. Basic starter guides are the best way to understand the core concepts of gameplay.
Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each civilization is the best way a player can get an early lead over his opponents. In AoE III, there are 8 nations to control, and each nation is well equipped with special units that make victory conditions seem more challenging and fun. This strategy guide is a must-read if you are new to AoE III and want to win a deathmatch game.
Home City is one of the key gameplay concepts introduced in AoE III. The game requires players to build a Home City once they start a new campaign or deathmatch. The Home City acts a “powerhouse" - a supply center that provides resources to your colonies through special playing cards. Beginners may find this new concept quite confusing and so should refer this guide to understand the concept and its underlying strategy.
The third game of the Age of Empires series has three “Acts", which are nothing but three campaign modes. Each mode has a story to tell and completing all three Acts will help you understand the plot. The first Act (Blood) puts you into the shoes of Morgan Black, a member of the knights of St. John. This guide explains the entire scenario and offers key tips and hints to win all 3 battles in the first act.
The second campaign will place you in the role of Morgan Black’s grandson John Black. By now, you will know what the campaign mode objective is. You will find out how to defend your Colony, try for negotiations with the Cherokee tribe and protect the north edge. This short campaign guide offers tips and strategy to help you plan your strategy and defend your base against the Cherokee and the British camp.
The third and the final Act takes place in the Industrial Revolution Era. You will need to increase resources and manpower, produce units, establish a colony, build mills and defend your base.
The Steel Campaign stresses more on resource management. This guide explains how to achieve victory in all three scenarios, including the Boneguard’s Lair scenario and what’s the best strategy to attack the defenders of the treasure and win the scenario.
The skirmish mode is as immersive as the campaign mode. However, the random maps generated in the skirmish mode are bland and boring. Surely you can build maps, but the game requires players to have a good knowledge of syntax, algorithms and advance mathematics.
Creating a scenario is easy, but one needs to have some experience with C++ type programming languages to create random maps. Thankfully, the online community of dedicated AoE enthusiasts has done the work for us by creating exciting maps and scenarios for sheer gameplay pleasure. This map guide provides information on sites and online communities that offer fun maps for free.
Both campaign and skirmish modes in Age of Empires III are fun to play. They can become more interesting if players know how to unlock some hidden gameplay content. The serious strategy gamer won’t like the term “cheats", but there are several players who would love to tweak the game files to win against tough AI opponents. Know how to unlock hidden features by altering game files with the help of this cheat list.
The AoE Online review offers in-depth information on gameplay, strategy, new features and interface. You will find out what quests, technologies, levels and ages are and discover new options that make the game far easier to understand and play. This review also provides information on pricing and packages, including the features offered by the basic (free) mode and the premium mode.
A walkthrough and gameplay is a must-read if you are new to Age of Empires Online. This guide provides tips and hints on different modes of conquering enemy establishments, some clever ways to gather resources, fight against opponents, collect bonuses and upgrade capital.
Hopefully, these reviews, strategy tips and hints will help you decide what strategy you would like to adopt. However, if you have any doubts or questions, feel free to leave a comment and I will try my best to answer all your queries on AoE and its expansion packs.