Archived News From December 2004

Due to the old age of most of these news items, all hyperlinks have been disabled. It is also not possible to comment on any of news. They are presented in their current form purely for your reading pleasure - it's the closest thing to a time machine we can offer you!

Age of Discovery - All but announced
Posted by Adder on December 31st, 2004 @ 4:31 a.m.
Immortal God, over at Age of Mythology Heaven just got his PC Gamer issue. And guess what? Age of Empires III is going to be Age of Discovery!

Check out his thread, here! I sure hope we get an official announcement tomorrow!
Global Gaming League - Finished!
Posted by Adder on December 31st, 2004 @ 1:20 a.m.
It's all over and Darko "ArgoNaut_GoKu_" Dautovic has taken home $3,000 as the winner of first place, his final rating was 1597! Chris "L_Clan_Chris" Bourque and David "RoR_GeNeRaL_Z" Cini finished first and second, respectively. Chris took home $2,000 and David took home $1,000. Nice job guys! Congrats to everyone who participated!

For more information about the placings and the GGL check out the site here!
The Conquerors
Posted by Adder on December 31st, 2004 @ 1:13 a.m.
As expected the Ensemble Studios site has been updated today. It now features a screenshot from The Conquerors accompanied by the text: "2000 AD - Age of Empires II: The Conquerors." I guess this means we can expect Age of Mythology tomorrow? Or perhaps we'll get the Age of Empires III announcement tomorrow, after all Age of Mythology isn't an Age of Empires game. Who knows?
The Age of Kings
Posted by Adder on December 30th, 2004 @ 3:33 a.m.
The Ensemble Studios has yet again changed. Now it shows a screenshot from AOK with the text "1999 AD - Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings" I guess that means we only have to wait 5 more days until the announcement is made? I sure hope so.

Keep your eyes on the ES site!
Rise of Rome
Posted by Adder on December 29th, 2004 @ 1:41 a.m.
Yet again the Ensemble Studios site has been updated. This time it's only one day after the last update. Perhaps they're shooting for a New Years day announcement. This time the screenshot shows an Age of Empires: Rise of Rome screenshot and says "1998 AD - Age of Empires: Rise of Rome." Check out the site for the screenshot!
AoKH Forumers Ladder Update
Posted by Gordon B on December 28th, 2004 @ 4:28 a.m.
The AoKH Forumers Ladder has been updated as of Sunday, December 27th, 2004.
The update can be found here, reply 1036.
The updated standings can be found here.

This past week saw a stunning increase to 14 games and the return of some of the ladder's better players! AoKH staffer Qazitory came back and got in a respectable 5 games with a solid record of 3/2. Ladder enthusiast CutthroatSkunk played 6 games and won them all to rise to a strong 151 points!

With the recent increase in activity, I'm sure you all want to head to Agincourt and get some games of your own in. The competition is fierce, but the only way to get better is to play! And of course, don't forget to report your games in the Ladder thread.
ES Site Updated Again!
Posted by Adder on December 28th, 2004 @ 3:29 a.m.
Ensemble Studios has updated their opening page yet again. This time it shows an Age of Empires screenshot and says "1997 AD - Age of Empires." Perhaps instead of the expected announcement the day after Christmas ES intends to make us wait much longer? It seems likely that all their games will make an appearance on the front page. Woe on us all.

Keep checking the site out!
The Wait Is Almost Over... Seriously
Posted by Aro on December 25th, 2004 @ 6:32 a.m.
The time for the Age of Empires III announcement is drawing nearer, and the Ensemble Studios website has updated it's teaser - "1995 AD - Ensemble Studios Founded". Unless ES can cram some more tid-bits between it's founding time and the release date (AoK/AoM announcement dates? :-P), the announcement date should be the next one up. "2005 AD - AoE III Announced" maybe? It's anybodys guess, but it's safe to say that the game will be announced within a week.
1521 AD - Cortez defeats the Aztec Empire
Posted by Aro on December 22nd, 2004 @ 3:35 a.m.
Yet another historical event has been placed on the Ensemble Studios website. This time the event is the date when Cortez defeated the Aztec Empire, right around the time AoK ends it's timeline. With four more days until Christmas, it looks like they will make the announcement on Christmas day (or, according to Socvazius at AoMH, a day after). I imagine they will probably announce the game with a colonial-based event, such as Christopher Columbus discovering the Americas, or will continue into January until they get to "2005 AD - ES Announces Age of Empires III". Either way, "the wait is almost over."
RTS League Signups!
Posted by Adder on December 21st, 2004 @ 6:35 p.m.
Season 12 of the random map, RTS League has begun it's sign ups. If you wish to sign up head on over to the RTS League site.

Season 11 is still finishing up, it's in its last week right now! PL and SuNo will battle it out for first place and ThuG and Zilla will try to snatch third. Good luck, guys!
Invisible Units?
Posted by Adder on December 21st, 2004 @ 6:27 p.m.
Berserker Jerker has created a utility for the AOK scenario design editor. It's no normal run of the mill utility, however. It allows you to place units on a tile, yet be totally invisible during the game. That's quite impressive, here's what Jerker's Widow had to say about it;
DGDN has posted a Christmas present for all you scenario designers from my other half BJ. The renaming of units with triggers is a problem no more, and Statues that shoot arrows and Trebuchet missiles is a must see. Enjoy and have fun over this festive season!
You can check out her thread here!
AoKH Forumers Ladder Update
Posted by Gordon B on December 20th, 2004 @ 4:56 a.m.
The AoKH Forumers Ladder has been updated as of Sunday, December 19th, 2004.
The update can be found here, reply 1015.
The updated standings can be found here.

Activity has been steadily increasing over the past few weeks and this week was no exception with a total of 9 games played. While the number of active participants remains small, they have been fighting furiuosly to see who is the best. Newcomer CutthroatSkunk continues to prove himself, but ladder regulars Evil Viking and petard_rusher have managed to get back some of the points he took from them in previous weeks.

So head to Agincourt and get some games of your own in! And of course, don't forget to report your games in the Ladder thread.
The Age of Chivalry
Posted by Shadowflare on December 19th, 2004 @ 8:17 p.m.
This is a new modpack by kor and Mechstra of Woad Creations. In this new modpack, the turbulence of Medieval Western Europe is depicted in a comprehensive and wide-ranging total conversion modpack for Age of Kings and The Conquerors. There are eight new civilizations you can play (quoted from the modpack description):

The French (replacing the Franks)
The English (replacing the Spanish)
The Scots (replacing the Celts)
The Welsh (replacing the Britons)
The Burgundians (replacing the Teutons)
The Bretons (replacing the Huns)
The Flemish (replacing the Goths)
The Frisians (replacing the Vikings)

The conversion is totally compatible with random maps and online matches (if both computers have the mod), and features an 8-scenario campaign showcasing each of the civilizations, as well as a new hero list. There are several changes made to the units and a lot of key changes made to the stats, which affects the strategy and gameplay of Age of Kings. There are some new graphics, but the focus of this modpack lies in the changes to gameplay, which have been well done.
For those of us who love AoK the way it is, this modpack is great because it keeps all the best things about the game and adds a lot of interesting improvements and tweaks for a pleasing change of pace.
Check out the thread to learn more, or download it and check it out for yourself.
1096 AD - The First Crusade
Posted by Aro on December 18th, 2004 @ 5:00 a.m.
Another historical event has been shown on the Ensemble Studios website, and this time it says "1096 AD - The First Crusade." It seems at this point that the AoE remake is ruled out, and it will (my not-so-wild assumption) definitely be in the Colonial period. Now all we have to do is wait and see what these historical events lead up to - Columbus discovering America, or ES Announces AoE3?

Another question is "when" they will announce the new game. I thought it might be January, but it could very well be announced on Christmas day (especially considering they changed this 2 days after the last historical event, "The Fall of the Roman Empire").
Food Consumption for Age of Kings
Posted by Anastasia on December 16th, 2004 @ 2:47 a.m.
Population Counter by dark_blade is an excellent new AI utility being previewed in our Scenario Design forum. The AI has been specifically designed to provide scenario designers with a simple way of calculating population and removing food according to player's population. Population Counter is arguably the best AI creation for scenario designers since Advance Immobile Units Gold by Zanzard Lothar found at the Blacksmith. In any event, the food consumption definitely makes building civilizations more challenging and will no doubt enhance many types of scenarios in the future. Included in the Utility is the Population Counter AI, a demonstration scenario, and very easy to follow instructions.

The demonstration map requires no previous knowledge of AI scripting to play, and all agers should find it interesting if not fun to play. We are looking forward to it's release soon at the Blacksmith, but everyone can check out the preview of the Population Counter by dark_blade now in the Scenario Design forum!
476 AD - Fall of the Roman Empire
Posted by Aro on December 15th, 2004 @ 10:55 p.m.
The next clue from Ensemble Studios has to do with the beginning of the Dark Ages, the fall of the Roman Empire. It seems this could still have to do with an AoE remake, but it's very doubtful that it'll span over 2000 years. From what I can figure out, it looks like ES has sort of a pattern - "2300 BC - Sargon I unifies Sumeria" and "1200 BC - The Trojan War" has a jump of around 1100 years, and so does the jump with the fall of Rome (a bit more of course). If they make another jump around 1100, they'll end up the 1500's, a perfect time to announce a colonial game. Yes, my theories are insane. I'm famous for them. ;-)

It's anybody's guess - check out the ES website for yourself.
AoKH Forumers Ladder Update
Posted by Gordon B on December 13th, 2004 @ 5:22 a.m.
The AoKH Forumers Ladder has been updated as of Sunday, December 12th, 2004.

The update can be found here, reply 1007.

The updated standings can be found here.

This week saw a relatively high 8 games played by several members, so hopefully this means activity is picking up again. If there are more games being played, that means it should be easier than it's been to get in some games.

So head to Agincourt and get some games in! Don't forget to report your games in the Ladder thread.
BsK wins World Clan League for the second time!
Posted by Gordon B on December 12th, 2004 @ 7:13 p.m.
BsK has won the second World Clan League (WCL2 for short) after defeating Legion 3-2 for a second time in the playoffs yesterday. BsK won the Land Nomad, Arabia, and Blind Random games, while Legion won the DeathMatch and Land Fortress games.
You can get the winning games here. I've watched them all myself and they are definitely great games!

Legion took second place, while ThuG took third and MyST took the fourth spot. For the "Fun Group," nex beat out IB to claim a victory. IB was second, DarTh came in third, and HyM fourth.

All of the clans in WCL2 played hard and gave us all some great games to watch. To check out all of the games, head over to Legion's WCL2 forum.

Legion was quite generous with prizes this year. In addition to the prizes for the winning clans, they announced that:
(Quoted from the Legion Clan website)

ALL CLANS from Prize Group who finished all games in playoff stage but havent reached prize places will get 100$ .
AND
World Clan League administration has decided to give small prizes to top 4 teams (nex, IB, Darth, Hym ) of "Fun Group". Each clan will get 80$ ( for clans website supporting, small internal tourney etc... clanleader decides ).

Congrats to all of the winners and thanks to the Legion Clan for running a great tournament and to L_Clan_Arbalet for sponsoring it.
With all of the talk about AoEIII, it's easy to forget that AoK:TC is still going strong!
Blacksmith Feature
Posted by Anastasia on December 12th, 2004 @ 11:43 a.m.
The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242 AD by Duncan_Hardy is an excellent fixed force campaign depicting the most decisive battle in the history of the medieval eastern crusades known as the Baltic Crusade. The battle was waged between the Russian city-state of Novgorod, led by its inspirational leader Alexander Nevskii, and the Germanic factions led by the Teutonic Knights. It is to St. Alexander Nevsky that the Russian people will often address their prayers at times when great misfortunes befall the nation and threaten its existence. Players are spirited into the role of the Russian Hero and venerated warrior Saint to lead the army of Novgorod in defense of their homeland. The historic enemy Teutonic Knights, Danes, and Livonians were backed with the crusading zeal of Europe, the blessing of Pope Innocent III and the support of the Holy Roman Emperor. In 1242, Bishop Hermann von Buxhoeven in Livonia finally consolidated enough power to begin a Teutonic crusade into Russia. Alexander Nevskii chose to fight the Germans first, and after what for the crusaders must have believed was a chase, lured them on to the frozen lake. It was here that Alexander turned to stand on the eastern shore of Lake Peipus at a place known as "Raven's Rock."

The historic portrayal is dramatic as the design makes use of a popular myth immortalized by Sergei Eisenstein in his famous 1938 propaganda film, Alexander Nevsky. Neither the Novgorod Chronicle nor the Livonian Chronicle, the two contemporary sources, refers to German knights crashing through the ice. The film is still viewed as a masterful use of imagery and music, with the ice breaking sequence as the obvious dramatic highlight. The creative use of this a-historical invention in the game-plot is superb, and all motivations for it are accurately foretold in the history supplement provided. In my view this departure in the game plot from the actual history into the popular film's myth was essential to the recreation.

The map design is an excellent depiction of the real Chudskoye Ozero (Russian), or Peipsi Järv (Estonian) lake forming part of the boundary between Estonia and Russia. The large ice field and frozen landscapes are memorable, and an ice bound boat and fish trap captured my imagination. The lake banks are designed in a wintery splendor, yet adorned by the historically accurate approaching spring thaw. I came away from the scenario feeling that I had visited the legendary 'Great Battle of the Ice.'

Playing the scenario is an exciting audio and visual experience, however the fast pace of the challenges make the relatively short game of 30 to 45 minutes seem even shorter once victory has been achieved. Nevertheless, players will not experience the challenge as anything but sensational. The programed attacks are marked with change views as are the acquisition of additional forces for the player, and I was a slightly frustrated by them, yet overall it seemed to add to the excitement. The campaign is arguably the greatest use of the AoK game's standard hero Alexander Nevskii, and the fixed force unit is key to the morale of the player's large factions, and to achieving victory. Yes, this is yet another scenario inspired by MCrnigoj's concept for fixed force battles that portray the known historical figures as units to be protected or targeted for gaining a statistical edge. The morale system requires players to use tactics inside a larger strategy to achieve victory. The only downside to the game is the enemy attacks are made predictable by playing, and once the ultimate strategy needed is realized there remains very little replay value. In any event, it is here on an outstanding map design of the frozen Lake Peipus, were players can take on the role of astute general Alexander Nevsky, and begin the fast paced challenge that win or lose should not take much more than 45 minutes. Play the The Battle of Lake Peipus 1242AD v2.1 by Duncan_Hardy now at the 'smith!

Scenario Designer Duncan_Hardy is a member of Historiae Populorum scenario design team.
More AOE II Information
Posted by Adder on December 12th, 2004 @ 3:31 a.m.
WhoAskedU has posted a thread in our Age of Empires III forum. It has cropped images of Age of Discovery in the January issue of PCGamer. In the thread WhoAskedU puts forth a very good argument that images in the magazine are not artwork but shots from the game. Who knows?

Check out the thread for more information and his argument!
Information Thread
Posted by Adder on December 11th, 2004 @ 4:24 p.m.
Elpea, an Angel over at Age of Mythology Heaven has compiled a post that contains "What We Know" Most of the information in the thread is already known but it's a good source of information. A lot of people are contributing to the thread as well. As I look over the thread, things are really seeming to point towards an Age of Discovery.

Thanks for Elpea at AOMH for the news!
The Trojan War - Another Clue from ES
Posted by Aro on December 10th, 2004 @ 2:06 a.m.
Today Ensemble Studios has changed their "THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER" message at their website to a new historical happening: 1200 BC - The Trojan War. Since the last message was "2300 BC - Sargon unifies Sumeria", this points to one of two theories:

1. They're going to make AoE III a remake of Age of Empires.

2. They plan to count down the time until Age of Empires III, having dates leading up to "2005 AD - Ensemble Studios announces AoE III" or something similar.

There are plenty of theories, of course, especially since there have been a lot of clues going around pointing to a Colonial-based game. I guess we'll have to wait until ES teases us again.

Thanks goes to Socvazius at AoMH for the news!
Server Outage
Posted by Adder on December 9th, 2004 @ 4:07 p.m.
The main HG server (*.heavengames.com) and the downloads server (files.heavengames.com) will be down and out for about an hour or two this Friday to facilitate an ISP-scheduled upgrade to the server. Sorry for the inconvience.
The Drush
Posted by Adder on December 8th, 2004 @ 6:43 a.m.
CutthroatSkunk has written a nice article on the Drush (Dark Age rush) in our General & Strategy forums. Some good discussion has also arisen as a result of the thread. Here's an excerpt from the article:
The drush (or dark age rush) is one alternative to the flush that is not very commonly used nowadays. It can be very effective if used properly and involves harrassing your enemy with militia, the scout and optionally villagers to hurt his economy in the dark age and allows you to feudal with a larger, stronger economy.
Check out the thread!
Age of Discovery
Posted by Adder on December 8th, 2004 @ 0:12 a.m.
It seems quite likely that AOE III will be Age of Discovery at this point. Eagle Games, the creator of the Age of Mythology boardgame had some information on their site that said "Age of Discovery October 2005", it has since been changed to "Secret Project! October 2005" That seems mighty suspicious if you ask me.

It's sure seeming like AOE III will be Age of Discovery, especially if you consider all the images that have been floating around.

Thanks to forumer, WhoAskedU for the news!
Age of Empires Remake?
Posted by Adder on December 7th, 2004 @ 2:03 a.m.
The Ensemble Studios site sure seems to say such. This image is now found on the site. The text below "THE WAIT IS ALMOST OVER" says "2300 BC - Sargon I unifies Sumeria" This seems to suggest that Age of Empires III will take place in the Age of Empires I time area. Who knows? I know that personally I'd love to see an AOE remake!

Many of our forumers seem to think that ES is just building our excitement, however. They think that soon a date in Age of Kings will be put up as almost all signs point towards a Colonial AOE III. Who knows?
AoKH Forumers Ladder Update
Posted by Gordon B on December 5th, 2004 @ 9:18 p.m.
The AoKH Forumers Ladder has been updated as of Sunday, December 5th, 2004.

The update can be found here, reply 992.

The updated standings can be found here.

After a period of low activity, the Ladder is picking up again. Newcomer CutthroatSkunk has played an impressive 15 games since signing up in mid-November and has already defeated some of the higher ranked Ladder players, rising to 139 points!

The best way to become a better player is to get out and play, so head to Agincourt and get some games in! Don't forget to report your games in the Ladder thread.
World Clan League Update
Posted by Adder on December 1st, 2004 @ 2:22 a.m.
The World Clan League, WCL for short, is almost finished. Just two more matches are left. Legion will play ThuG. This match was played during Week 2 of the winners bracket. Now they're meeting on Week 7 of the losers bracket. Legion won the last time they met. Maybe ThuG can avenge their loss and go on to meet BsK in the grand finals. Maybe Legion wants a rematch with BsK. We shall see! Check out the bracket here!

Congrats to MyST for snagging fourth place and $500 in prize money! For more information on the WCL2 check out the Legion clan's site! They'll be hosting next years WCL as well so keep your eyes peeled!