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Age of Empires Online content pricing revealed

"Free-to-play" never means "completely free," and so Microsoft has revealed the perks and bonuses that'll be on sale for the F2P revival of classic strategy series Age of Empires. Oh, and it has a launch date now too.

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"Free-to-play" never means "completely free," and Age of Empires Online is no exception. Publisher Microsoft this week revealed the assorted content and bonuses that'll be on sale for the F2P online revival of the strategy series, along with its launch date.

Age of Empires Online will launch for PC on August 16 as a free download from the Games for Windows Marketplace, but will also available in a $19.99 boxed retail edition. The boxed version will contain the Greek 'Premium Civilization Pack,' which would otherwise cost $19.99 itself, along with an retail-exclusive item store and some trifling physical knick-knacks.

Unfortunately, Microsoft's approach to monetising Age of Empires Online seems to be one of placing non-paying players at a significant disadvantage.

Coughing up $20 for a Premium Civilization Pack, for example, will get you bonuses included "upgraded gear," the most powerful units, boosted production, and a fully-unlocked tech tree with powerful abilities. It'll also bring less-gittish bonuses, mind, such as expanded PvP options, more inventory space, and extra in-game currency.

The cheaper pieces are more agreeable in content, if not in cost. A $10 'Booster Pack' will grant a wave survival mode, while $5 will get you pretty new shrubbery or statues for your city. Two unannounced civilizations and another Booster Pack are also due by the end of the year.

Age of Empires Online was originally developed by Robot Entertainment, but Gas Powered Games later took over development.

Here's Microsoft's full run-down of Age of the paid content:

    Premium Civilization Packs: $19.99 USD

    Available at launch: Greeks and Egyptians. Take your free civilizations to the next level, and unlock a tremendous amount of gameplay and new features. When you upgrade to a Premium Civilization Pack, you will get the following:

    • Rare and Epic Gear - Become more powerful with upgraded gear and unique designs that stand out in battle.

    • Advisors - In the Advisor Hall, you can unlock Civilization Power and Unique Units like Armored Elephants.

    • Tech Tree - Experience the full tech tree with fantastic end game "Star Techs." Generate resources from your market, have your troops bandage themselves, or make your people immune to conversion in battle.

    • Sparta Player vs. Player - Upgrade to even more PVP options including setting the gameplay parameters and inviting your friends to play against you. Demonstrate your ability by playing ranked games where your glory is recorded on Leaderboards so you can compare to the best in the game, or just your own friends. Plus, match make using TrueSkill so you'll always get a competitive game!

    • Additional Inventory Slots - More than double your inventory space.

    • More Workshops - Drastically improve your capital's production with more workshops to create all of the materials you need for crafting.

    • Crafting Halls - Learn unit enhancements from additional Crafting Halls and use them to your advantage in the game.

    • Empire Points - Spend Empire Points on the best loot in the game.

    • In-Game Stores - Earn in-game currency from the stores in your Capital City.

    Pro Civilization Packs: $19.99 USD

    Coming Soon! "Age of Empires Online" will also offer additional civilizations at a "pro" level, which will provide all of the upgrades of a Premium Civilization, and players can jump right into the action starting at level 20.

    Booster Packs: $9.99 USD

    Expand your play options and get the features you like the most including new storylines and game modes. Available at launch:

    • Defense of Crete Booster which challenges you to defend against waves of invaders on the island of Crete. Team up with a friend to battler the incoming horde, and earn new rewards and gear when you succeed!

    Empire Extras: $4.99 USD

    Acquire new items and historically themed architectural pieces for the ultimate level of customization for your Capital City. Available at launch:

    • Bountiful Bushes: Beautiful Egyptian themed shrubbery (Available for Egyptians)

    • Ornate Ornaments: Amazing Egyptian themed statues and decorations (Available for Egyptians)

    • Glorious Gardening: Greek themed bushes and fountains (Available for Greeks)

    • Startling Statuary: Greek themed statues (Available for Greeks)

Surprise bonus! It's the cinematic E3 trailer. Look at the little men!

From The Chatty

  • reply
    June 1, 2011 9:30 AM

    Alice O'Connor posted a new article, Age of Empires Online content pricing revealed.

    "Free-to-play" never means "completely free," and so Microsoft has revealed the perks and bonuses that'll be on sale for the F2P revival of classic strategy series Age of Empires. Oh, and it has a launch date now too.

    • reply
      June 1, 2011 9:49 AM

      but August 16th is so far away

      • reply
        June 1, 2011 12:10 PM

        so youre looking forward to it? I got in the beta but never played it. :(

        • reply
          June 1, 2011 12:19 PM

          I want to try it, I like the previous age of empires games, i suck at them, but i like them

    • reply
      June 1, 2011 11:32 AM

      Nickel and dime.

    • reply
      June 1, 2011 12:23 PM

      How about instead of this they regroup Ensemble and pay them to make a new Age of Mythology game and then I make this face :-o and then this face :-)

    • reply
      June 1, 2011 1:24 PM

      Instead of "Premium Civilization Packs" they should rename them to "Now you aren't a practice target that gets insta killed anymore Packs"

      And the video pretty much resumes that, the egipcians are the ones that doesn't have the pack and the other ones are the ones that have the pack.

      Now i've lost all my interest in the game, because even if i bought the pack, playing with only 1 civilization is boring and buying them at those sky high prices is not an option.

      • reply
        June 1, 2011 1:26 PM

        egipcian?

        really?

        egipcian?

        christ on a goddamn cracker, they even spell it for you in the article.

        • reply
          June 1, 2011 1:27 PM

          Hahaha that ranks up there as one of the worst spellings I have ever seen.

          • reply
            June 3, 2011 10:28 PM

            Hehe, yea i had a problem with translation there :)

    • reply
      June 1, 2011 10:04 PM

      They have totally killed this franchise.. I mean it looks like a game made for Mulan or something. Not to mention the $ content farm $ they are trying to set up with it.

      • reply
        June 1, 2011 10:08 PM

        This is the cheapest bet they can make with the IP. They would probably love to make another PC game but that shit is too expensive to develop.

    • reply
      July 25, 2011 3:45 PM

      Everyone in this thread is a bunch of faggots.

      You can get everything (except the Defense of Crete pack) from just playing, buying the packs just unlock that stuff earlier.

      I, too, though it was trash until I got into the Beta and loved it. They've made many adjustments to the loot, PVP, and questing systems in the Beta and it plays really well. Co-op is a lot of fun and it is like a fusion of all the AoE games (AoE1 is the biggest influence, though)