Rest In Peace, Age Of Empires

Rest In Peace, Age Of Empires

Today, July 1, Age of Empires Online is no more. Few will mourn its passing, but many more will nevertheless look to its demise as a sad event, given the attachment people once had to the words "Age of Empires".

The first Age of Empires, released in 1999, was amazing. As was its medieval sequel. And their expansions. And their fantasy spin-off, Age of Mythology. And the Star Wars game that used the same engine.

For much of the late 90s and early 2000's, it was, along with StarCraft, a flagship series for not just PC strategy gaming, but PC gaming in general.

Things went off the rails a little with 2005's Age of Empires III, however, as despite being a solid title the world of strategy gaming had moved on, meaning it never hit the critical (or more importantly commercial) highs its predecessors had enjoyed. When the series' longtime development team was shifted over to a Halo game (before being shut down entirely), Age of Empires was presumed dead.

But then! Signs of life. In 2011, Microsoft and a bunch of Ensemble veterans opened Age of Empires Online, a cartoonish, online-multiplayer take on the franchise. It was...OK, but it was also not what AoE fans (or anyone else, really) wanted, and after a brief time in the spotlight around launch soon faded into obscurity.

You might have forgotten the game even existed until reading this, and that's totally understandable. I had too. I only circle back around to it because the game closed down today, its servers gone, its armies wiped from the earth as though they'd never existed.

Which for most of us isn't that big a deal, but then, some people actually played this game, and sunk a ton of money into its bonus armies, features and items. Money that is now completely down the drain, as they will never be able to play the game again.

Let their loss be a lesson to you all: if you're going to spend money on a video game that only exists in an online space at a company's pleasure, don't get too attached to it. It could be gone at any moment.

As for Age of Empires, well. It's tough seeing where Microsoft will find the will (or developers) to try making another game using the brand any time soon. So enjoy those HD re-releases that turn up periodically on Steam; they're likely to be the only Age of Empires we'll be getting for a while.


Comments

    "Today, July 1" ...... *looks at the date on my PC*..... IM A TIME TRAVELER

      Americans are always living in the past.

    stupid article headline scared me i thought it was something else lol... i had completely forgotten about AOE online >

      no assassins creed article for you!

        haha i was more thinking it was referring to one of the founders passing away or something >

    http://store.steampowered.com/app/266840/ AoM still awesome.

    Let their loss be a lesson to you all: if you’re going to spend money on a video game that only exists in an online space at a company’s pleasure, don’t get too attached to it. It could be gone at any moment.

    Truer word ne'er spoken... or sommat.
    This is why I reckon there should be an online gaming museum. So that all the dead/defunct online browser games, MMOs, or what-have-yous can live on for the free-to-play enjoyment of nostalgia fans. So that all the efforts of all the artists, sound engineers, designers and developers can still be loaded up and enjoyed, long after commercial viability fades.

      Or you know, allow us gamers to host our own servers. So we can enjoy all the old games, heck even online games from last year.

        Look at games like Neverwinter Nights, (the RPG not the MMO) It's something like 15 years old and Gamespy closed its online support. Yet the community still has servers hosted on there and play to this day.

    Let their loss be a lesson to you all: if you’re going to spend money on a video game that only exists in an online space at a company’s pleasure, don’t get too attached to it. It could be gone at any moment.

    In this day and age it's all a bit unavoidable but. Even many games at a physical retailer are heavily tied to digital stores such as Steam or Origin, and where they aren't you may still have to deal with multiplayer servers that are run by the company behind the game. If you want to play specific games now days, you'll often have no option but to put faith in servers being kept online and the retail platform not closing shop if you wish to keep your content.

    AoE was actually really good. It seems not enough people knew about it though and obviously couldn't get the competitive korean crowd like sc2.

    Its a real pity they couldnt have retooled this and just released it as a normal game rather than an mmo.

    Last edited 02/07/14 6:02 pm

    Age of Empires came out in 1997. AoE2 came out in 1999.

    Plunkett *rolls eyes*

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