|Posted by The.Darkline on August 21, 2010 at 11:06 AM|
Age of Empires Online revolves around your capitol city in Greece. Activity in your capitol continues while you're away and when you sign back into your game you'll receive a capitol city report that shows what went down, what materials were made, and how much cash you pocketed. You'll be able to design your capitol any way you like with hundreds of blueprints for buildings and details like statues and flagpoles that can be dragged and dropped anywhere at any time. Other players can stop by your city, compare your layout to their own, maybe do some trading with you, and shop in your stores (for which you will be paid). You will not be penalized for being offline, no matter how long you are away.
Your palace is the heart of your capitol city. This is where you design your civilization and spend skill points you've earned from leveling up. There are many advisors to choose from that will provide various bonuses and you can pick one for each age you advance into. A few advisor perks I noticed:
- +30% gather rate for huntables and foraging
- +8% range for archers
- -32% cost for town advancement
How do you level up and earn new advisors, blueprints, and equipment? By completing quests, of course. You may have to build a temple or help a neighboring town fight off attackers. As in other Age of Empires games, basic commands are given by dragging over units to select them and then clicking where you want to send them on the map. For completing quests you receive experience points and tangible rewards for your capitol city. During our demonstration the player could jump directly to a quest location from the Quest Map.
Age of Empires Online features a slightly different art style than previous entries in the city. Here the world is a little more cartoonish, a look that Microsoft hopes is "fun and approachable." I think it looks very nice. There is a lot of detail and little animations to spot in your civilization. Fish swim in the sea, farmers work their fields, and lumber yards churn out piles of logs. The world is very colorful and full of activity.
As for the multiplayer components, there will be both cooperative quests and adversarial battles. We only had a brief glimpse of Age of Empires Online today but we'll be chatting with the developers later this week and will have more details to report then. You can sign up for the beta right now at the official site.