Archived News From November 1999

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!

Strategy Planet Interviews ES
Posted by Washizu on November 30th, 1999 @ 9:46 p.m.
Mike McCart and Bruce Shelley were both interviewed for their thoughts on the state of the RTS Community in 1997. Check it out here.

Strategy Planet: You must have a ton of memories from this time. Which ones are special to you?

Michael McCart: Some of the best times I remember from that time period:

Playing John Romero of Ion Storm in a game of Age. John is a pretty good AOE player, but as luck would have it, John got a really bad placement on the map and I was able to hold him and finally nail a win (one of my very few in any AGE game).

When I joined Gamestats (Can I plug another site here) as their first Fan fan site. It was like being in Heaven. As more fan sites were added it became more like a big webmaster family. Some of those special memories are just spending most of the night playing other webmasters in AGE and talking smack throughout the game. I will not even get into some of the internal E-mail at the time (or about a bunch of webmasters working with Loomer) – But let’s just say it was a very special time for me. There are many many more, but I am talking more about myself than the game J. But in closure, one of those special moments I do miss from the period as a fan webmaster, was the weekly long distance chats I used to having with Tony Goodman (CEO/President of Ensemble Studios). We talked a little about the game, but mostly just talked about anything that came to mind, from the weather to what new little electronic gadget he bought recently.

Tomorrow is the last day!
Posted by Washizu on November 30th, 1999 @ 9:22 p.m.

AOKH Story Contest
If you want to submit a story for the strat guide contest, makes sure you get it to me soon! Tomorrow is the last day you can send them in. Remember, they must be 1000 words or less and explain the pic to the right.

HGS Main gets a new look
Posted by Washizu on November 30th, 1999 @ 8:59 p.m.
Check out the newly redesigned Heaven’s Gaming Sites. Send your praises to Angel Hamlet for the great job he did.

Sandyman Speaks
Posted by Washizu on November 30th, 1999 @ 2:32 a.m.
Once again, here are some choice quotes from the Sandstorm:

Q) Coke or Pepsi?
A) I prefer Coke, but do not think this is a universal law.

Q) What is one thing you would take out of the game if you had the choice to do it?
A) berry bushes

Q) When you tested the game, do you test death match too? If so under how much pop? 75 pop?
A) We tested deathmatch under a variety of pop caps. However, we realized that it is impossible to balance AoK at all pop settings in all game types and map types.

Q) What happened to Nomad setting? Did you guys not like it?
A) Correct. It may return, however. It was a major screw if you were Chinese, with 6 villagers wandering aimlessly about to keep track of.

Q) My little sister is at a pyjamas party, she sleeps over there, and, listen here…THERE ARE BOYS AT THAT PARTY!!
What in all holy **** should I do?? Maybe go there and beat some of them up?
A) Contact the relevant boys before the pajama party and tell them you will rip out their lungs if they mess with your sister. Also make sure that your parents know that your sister is going to sleepovers with boys. It is primarily their responsibility, after all. Don’t worry that this will make you a “fink” – it’s okay for siblings to rat on their younger siblings. Even expected.

Q) I would say beating them all up is a bad idea.
A) Obviously this is from one of the boys in question. Don’t listen to him, Daniel. Stick to your guns. Also remember that since this is your little sister you’re talking about, the boys should be younger, punier, and less ruthless than you. And don’t beat them up in front of your sister for crying out loud, that will make them heroes to her. Beat them up in private behind a dumpster. She need never know.


1997: The Year of the RTS
Posted by Washizu on November 30th, 1999 @ 2:16 a.m.
Strategy Planet is having a tribute to 1997, “The Year Washizu Graduated From High School”. Of course that’s not really it, but I did graduate that year.

Year of the RTS week has started on Strategy Planet( Throughout the week we will be providing special features that look back at 1997, the year of the RTS boom. Included will be articles, interviews, special Pic of the Days, and interesting facts and news bits from 1997. Today, part one of out Year of the RTS article recalls all the major stories from the first half of the year. Find out what games were announced, released, delayed, anticipated, and find out all sorts
of interesting tidbits that you’ve probably forgotten.

Tomorrow will bring a special collection of interviews with numerous people that were involved with the games and the community in 1997.

Tzar and Majesty Heaven
Posted by Washizu on November 28th, 1999 @ 11:38 p.m.
In case you didn’t know already, Heaven’s Gaming Sites has decided to drop Majesty Heaven and Tzar Heaven. The games are terrific, but there were numerous reasons why we felt our resources would be better spent elsewhere. If you are into Tzar, be sure to stop by the Tzar Guild run by BINGFA and a few others.

Sandyman Speaks
Posted by Washizu on November 28th, 1999 @ 11:28 p.m.
Once again the Sandyman answers your AOK questions:

Q) A good idea for the expansion pack would be if you could have a seprate listing of villager population and military population
A) This is already available. Click on the mini-map filters. You even get the villagers & military broken down by job.

Q) In real history, however, in the begining of 16th century, the knights were already not the main battle force. Even smaller groups of pikeman and hand canoneers could devastate a knight only army.
A) Not hand-cannoneers, but pikemen could. Hand-cannoneers (i.e., musketeers) were still regularly broken by shock cavalry in Napoleonic times, when they had bayonets.

Q) have you considered various African civs for AoKs Xpac?
A) Yes, they have been considered. Trust me. We’ve considered every possible civ for the X-Pack. There have been no suggestions from the forum about possible X-Pack civs that we had not already carefully pondered. If what you want is reassurance that we thought about your faves, you have it.

Q) Have you ever read Lord of the Rings
A) Of course

Q) Did you guys know what was going into the x-pac before the game went gold?
A) no.

Q) What was the intro like before you cut some stuff out
A) Too long and flaccid.

(Man, what was that intro like?? – washizu)

Q) What was the name of Alexander the Great’s favorite Horse?
A) Bucephalus was his most famous horse. I have no idea if it was his favorite.

Q) What are some good books concerning battles and the civs during the time of AOK?(I’m looking more for story books than historical fiction.)
A) I read extremely little historical fiction.

Q) Is your favorite thing to do when you get home from work read answer these questions
A) No way.

Q) Do you think that more UU’s [gad, I love those] will be added in the ex.?
A) At least one for every new civ, right?

Q) Do you think Psyke should get a smaller sig?
A) I can skip over as much text as he wants to post.

Story Contest
Posted by Washizu on November 28th, 1999 @ 11:14 p.m.
Only a few more days to get in your story for the contest. Here are a few details people have been asking me about it.

1. No Heaven staff members may enter (including cherubs)
2. You can send me the story in the e-mail text, in an attached text file, or an attached Word document.
3. Include your e-mail address, so I can contact you for more info if you win.

AOKH Story Contest

Internet Gaming Article
Posted by Washizu on November 28th, 1999 @ 11:06 p.m.
In a recent addition of the Industry Standard, a print magazine about the web industry, a pretty lengthy article about online gaming mentions Age of King, and Asheron’s Call. IF you’d like to check it out, it’s the November 15th issue with Bill Gates on the cover.

Games of Encouragement 1999
Posted by Washizu on November 24th, 1999 @ 7:01 a.m.
Hey guys, it would be great if you donate something to our 2nd GOE charity drive:


Mountain View California
Thanksgiving Day – 25 November 1999

Online computer gaming news magazine GameStats (
in partnership with The Maximum Gaming Network
( today announced “Games of Encouragement
1999″, their second annual gaming community charity drive to benefit the
Ronald McDonald House at Stanford.

Capitalizing on huge successes last year, GameStats has again initiated
The GOE program and hereby invites all gaming developers, publishers,
publications, and individuals to donate computer games, hardware, or funds
to the Ronald McDonald House at Stanford
(, a home for families of children with
life-threatening illnesses.

“Games Of Encouragement was such an overwhelming success last year that we
felt obligated to bring it back again!” said GameStats’ Director Of
Operations Justice T. “What started off as a one time local event late in
1998 has blossomed into an annual expression of giving by the great folks
in the computer gaming community. We received over 1500 outstanding
donations by the time GOE was finished last year. This year I’d like to
double that! GOE went so well that hundreds of ‘overflow’ games were sent
to Ronald McDonald Houses all over the country. In addition many of the
GOE donated games were also sent home with the children when they left
RMH. To make a long story short, GameStats could not let something that
was so very positive happen only once. So many people enjoyed helping out
last year and so many kids benefited that we have decided to make GOE an
annual event!”

Specifically, Games of Encouragement will initially benefit The Ronald
McDonald House at Stanford’s CLIK (Computer Learning for Ill Kids)
program. ( The program, now in
its seventh year, has given the children who stay at the House an
opportunity to use sophisticated computer systems, learn computer skills,
chat with children from around the world, send email, and enjoy themselves
in a carefree activity, while taking their minds off the serious nature of
their diagnoses. Families who stay at the House must leave their own homes
and travel to receive the specialized treatments their children need. For
them, treatment and recovery may involve months when they must remain
close to the hospital. Such long stays make access to computers important
as time can pass slowly and painfully away from friends and normal
activities. RMH and GOE have made plans to distribute the large expected
overflow to other RMH houses so that children from all across the country
can benefit from the Games Of Encouragement Drive.

Donated games should be new, and hardware donated can be new or used but
must be in good working order. PC or Macintosh items will be gratefully
accepted and funds in any amount, large or small are also most welcome and
will be used to buy computers for the program. (Donated games which are
not appropriate for the age groups served by RMH will be sold by the RMH
at Stanford and the proceeds will be used to fund their CLIK program.)

All donations should be delivered to the following address no later than
December 22, 1999:
Games Of Encouragement
Suite 155-209
c/o GameStats News Network
1040 Grant Road
Mountain View
CA 94040 – 3200.

All participants will be listed on the Games of Encouragement “Shining
Stars” page, and are welcome to post a special Shining Star graphic on
their site to show their participation in this holiday charity program.

More details can be found at the official Games of Encouragement Web site,

Any and all are encouraged to link to the Games Of Encouragement site
and/or use graphics to promote Games of Encouragement. Graphics for this
purpose can be found at:

Ronald McDonald House at Stanford provides a home-away-from-home and
support for the families of children with life-threatening illnesses
receiving treatment at Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital or
Stanford Medical Center. As medical treatments evolve, more and more of
the ill children stay at the House as outpatients while receiving
treatment. Ronald McDonald House provides a haven these families can call
home, permitting them to give their ill child their complete attention and
support. Ronald McDonald House at Stanford is the fifth oldest of the more
than 190 Houses worldwide, having opened its doors in 1979.
Based in Burlington, Canada, with an office in the heart of Silicon
Valley, The

The GameStats News Network is a premiere online gaming news magazine.
GameStats brings the most up-to-date and wide-ranging computer game news
in the industry to an online community of gamers, gaming community
insiders and leaders from all across the globe. GameStats is also well
known for its highly specialized and diversified group of affiliates who
cover specialized areas of the gaming scene in a depth seldom surpassed.

The Maximum Gaming Network is a brand new computer gaming network of truly
superior game related websites. The Maximum Gaming Network is made up of a
small number of top quality sites run by people with years of experience
in the gaming news industry. Poised to begin their entry into the gaming
world later this year, MGN will be a premiere gaming news and information
network capable of serving the needs of this fantastic community.

South African AOK
Posted by Washizu on November 24th, 1999 @ 6:56 a.m.
Are you so lagged to North American players on the it makes games unplayable? You might want to check this out:

We are dedicated to Age of Kings Multiplayer in South Africa, and equipping players for the rumoured AoK world championship in the yr 2000. We will shortly be hosting an online tournament, which is unfortunately only open to South African players due to lag issues. We will however be archiving every game played and will put it up for public perusal within hours of the games being played.

Thus the zone players will be welcome to be Spectators in the tournament. Please note that SA only received AoK a month after Northern America, and most of the players are still very much new at the game.

Stump the Sandyman
Posted by Washizu on November 24th, 1999 @ 6:47 a.m.
Sandy Petersen continues his great series of forum threads with “Stump the Sandyman” where you can test his vast knowledge of AOK and history in general. Also, you can find out who his favorite James Bond was, why he prefers Slayer to the Spice Girls, and learn about a possible pulchritudinous bonus in the x-pack

Stump the Sandyman

Newswire Real Audio Show
Posted by Washizu on November 24th, 1999 @ 6:20 a.m.
This week’s edition of Newswire compares the different RTS companies, Ensemble Studios, Blizzard, Westwood, Cavedog, and Impressions. Aaron and Jessie, the hosts, talk a lot about how tired they are, but eventually get around to talking about the different companies’ websites. Ensemble’s site gets some praise (go archy!) from the two Newswire Squires, even if only half the guys on the show can pronounce it right.

The show isn’t the most fantastically produced thing in the world, nor is it very informative to someone who keeps up with the major sites on a fairly regular basis, but for some reason I kind of enjoy listening to them. Maybe, because I know for sure it’s two kids sitting in probably one of their bedrooms and they seem more genuine in a way. Anyway, check itout.

Gamespot Poll
Posted by Washizu on November 23rd, 1999 @ 10:42 p.m.
Thanks to Brian Moon from ES for pointing this one out. “What’s your favorite strategy game from 1999?” Right now, AOK is tied with Homeworld ( 36% each ). Keep an eye on Command and Conquer though, their fans might hack the poll like they did last time. If you think this has happened, let me know asap. The poll can be found here.

Story Contest Ends December 1st
Posted by Washizu on November 22nd, 1999 @ 11:02 p.m.
Remember folks, get your stories in to try and win the Bruce Shelley strategy guide. If you haven’t heard of it, check here for more info. All you have to do is write a 1000 word or less story about the screenshot you’ll see on the info page. While only 5 people can win strat guides, 27 people will get at least something out of the contest, so don’t pass up this opportunity!

Clan News Page
Posted by Washizu on November 22nd, 1999 @ 4:35 p.m.
Angel Thorfinn has been doing a lot of cool stuff over there in the Town Center Links Section. The coolest thing he’s been working on is probably the Clan News Page, so if you’re in an AOK clan, send some news his way.

Viking Clarifications
Posted by Washizu on November 22nd, 1999 @ 4:21 p.m.
Our favorite forumer, ES_Sandyman, recently commented on a number of design choices, particularly on the religion of the Vikings. Here’s what he had to say:

Q) why do the vikings have monks? And the eastern religions at that these civs where not christian. Did you not want to have priest type units that did not reflect the christian monks? believe it or not I do find it insulting that the other belief systems where ignored in this way.

ES_Sandyman A) “Monk” is not exclusively a christian term. We specifically renamed the religious figures monks to AVOID christian overtones. We even renamed the “church” a “monastery” to make it more universal. While Vikings didn’t have monks, per se, they definitely had a variety of religious leaders, and why should we deny a Viking player the ability to gain control over other players’ units?

Q) dont try to tell me vikings where christian because as soon as they were christianized they were not vikings anymore.

ES_Sandyman A) Bunk. This is completely and utterly false as even the most cursory reading of history will show. Christianized Vikings were just as thoroughly Viking as were their pagan brethren. They engaged in blood feuds, raided and pillaged other nations, wrote epic poetry, colonized North America (Erik the Red was Christian), and did every single thing that non-Christian Vikings did. – ES_Sandyman Questions Pic Contest Results
Posted by Washizu on November 22nd, 1999 @ 4:12 p.m. has picked a winner the their contest’s first week. Here is what they had to say:

Hi, just wanted to say that the winner has been picked for week 1 of the contest and the new theme is Huge Battle screen shot( winner announced on Sat the 27th) contest page:

Total War Network
Posted by Washizu on November 22nd, 1999 @ 4:04 p.m.
An alternative to playing on the zone is the Total War Network. Here is their recent press release.

TWN is now offering full support for AoK, offering a range of top-
notch, automated platforms for competition such as tournaments,
map-based combat, and grudgematch. In the tradition of keeping it
short, check out our AoK division for details, or drop by the main
site for information about our non-profit organization and its goals.

AoK division:
Main site:

!!! Asheron’s Call Heaven !!!
Posted by Washizu on November 21st, 1999 @ 11:28 p.m.
That’s right folks!, Heaven is opening a brand new site dedicated to the top selling multiplayer RPG, Asheron’s Call. If you weren’t involved in the AC beta test, I recommend you check out the back story of Asheron’s Call. Here are some opening words from Angel Hamlet:

Hello fellow travelers. Welcome to Asheron’s Call Heaven – the newest site in the Heaven family of gaming sites.

This site indeed marks a special event for HGS. Until now Heaven has always been about Strategy Games. This is the first (but maybe not the last) site to deal with the RPG genre – and frankly, what better way to start than with Asheron’s Call. It turns out that many of the avid RTS and strategy angels in fact also are avid RPG gamers. Asheron’s Call has given us the opportunity to play together instead of playing against each other – and apparently that aspect has drawn many of us into adventuring the land of Dereth.

AC Heaven will be run by experienced – well very experienced – AC players. Some of us has been involved in beta testing since early spring this year – and some of us are active advocates – player helpers – in Dereth.

Once again – welcome to AC Heaven. We hope you will like your stay here.

Asheron’s Call Heaven
AC Heaven Forums (no need to re-register)
The History of Dereth

MrfixitOnline Tournament!
Posted by Washizu on November 21st, 1999 @ 2:08 p.m.
Our good friend mrfixit, who recently ran the outstanding Castle Time Challenge has started a site dedicated to new AOK events. The first such event is the Eyes Wid Open tournament and signups end very soon! (Wednesday, November 24th) The prizes are as follows:

$100.00 for winner

$50.00 EACH ROUND for random non-advancing player!

Check out the tournament here. Pro-Gaming
Posted by Washizu on November 20th, 1999 @ 3:47 p.m.
Getting the ball rolling for a professional gaming league has been attempted a few times in the past without the success of traditional sports. Isolated events with sponsers and skilled competitors have gone over great and generated tons of fan interest, but many are still skeptical as to whether a self sustaining league of pro-gamers could become a reality. looks like it could actually make this happen, as they have formed a big money, 8 city tour Starcraft tournament with the top names in the game. How can they afford to do this? Top notch endoresements from companies like CompUSA PC, Interact, 3Dfx, Aureal and Intel. Check out their press release:

i2e2 and iGame Announce $50,000 GameXpo and Tournament Series

CompUSA PC, Interact, 3Dfx, Aureal and Intel to Sponsor a New Level
Of Competition for Organized Gaming

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ — i2e2, the first standards organization for organized gaming, and iGame, a leading producer of live gaming events and expos, today announced the inaugural “GameXpo and Tournament
Series Presented by i2e2.” The national tour will begin in the San Francisco Bay Area on November 27 and continue in major cities through late January 2000. Among the stops planned for the tour are San Jose, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Cleveland and Dallas. Several
national companies, including CompUSA PC, Interact, 3Dfx, Aureal and Intel, have signed on to serve as the tour’s primary sponsors.

“This marks the beginning of a new era in organized competitive gaming,” said Joe Perez, president of i2e2. “For the first time in the U.S., as part of our effort with iGame to take competitive gaming to a whole new level as an ‘eSport,’ gamers will be able to compete in a live event for both prizes and a national ranking.”

Cash and prizes for the GameXpo and Tournament Series will total $50,000, including over $2,000 in cash for the top tournament players at each tour stop. Two of the hottest game titles — Sega Sports NBA 2K for the Sega Dreamcast and GT Interactive Software’s much-anticipated “Unreal Tournament” for the PC — have been chosen as tournament games. Later this month, i2e2 and iGame plan to announce additional titles and sponsors as they expand the series. Players interested in competing in the tournament can get
information at the i2e2 Web site,

Throughout the tournament,i2e2 will present complete details of the tour’s progress, including streaming video of actual competitions on Sega Sports NBA 2K.
“We very excited to by working with i2e2,” said Antonio Capretta, CEO of iGame. “They are bringing a cutting edge approach and new respectability to competitive gaming. Our combined success in putting this tournament together is reflected in the level of interest national sponsors have shown in the GameXpo and Tournament Series.”

Several additional titles for the PC, Sega Dreamcast, Sony Playstation and Nintendo 64 will be highlighted as part of the GameXpo. These include PC games Nocturne and Fly! by Gathering of Developers, Tiberian Sun by Westwood
Studios, Soldier of Fortune by Activision, Daikatana by Eidos and Prince of Persia 3D by Broderbund. For the Dreamcast, featured games will include NFL2K by Sega Sports, Soul Fighter by Mindscape and Slave Zero by Accolade. For the Playstation, featured games will include Medal of Honor and Hot Wheels by Electronic Arts. Castlevania by Konami will be featured for Nintendo 64.

In sponsoring and launching the GameXpo and Tournament Series with iGame, i2e2 is establishing the first universal ranking system for competitive gaming. Similar to those found in professional tennis and stock car racing,
the system incorporates rankings into all competitive events, including those sponsored by other gaming organizations. According to i2e2, gamers are now able to enter a variety of events and earn points toward a universal ranking based on their skill and the level of competition they participate in. i2e2’s goal is to heighten the prestige of all sanctioned events, including
established competitions and tournaments, by creating a higher level of competition where players can increase their overall standing in the gaming community. It also is designed to allow new players to work their way up to
the professional level.
i2e2 and its plans were unveiled in September by Perez and Frank Cabanski, two of the leaders in the development of competitive gaming. Perez is the former online events manager of Total Entertainment Network (TEN), where he
co-founded the Professional Gamers League (PGL), and Cabanski recently served as commissioner of the CyberAthlete Professional League (CPL).

The GameXpo and Tournament Series is part of the company’s efforts to offer access to an array of gaming competitions, both live and online, that will include action games, strategy games, parlor games, arcade games, trivia games, game shows, simulations and sports-related game programs. These competitions are being designed for all skill levels, from high-level professional gamers to recreational players.

For complete details of the series, including tour locations, a listing of games being included on the tour, and the latest tour updates, visit For information on iGame, go to the company’s Web site at

Tour Schedule (subject to change)

San Jose November 27-28
Las Vegas December 1-2
Phoenix December 4-5
Los Angeles December 7-8
Chicago January 15-16
New York January 19-20
Cleveland January 22-23
Dallas January 26-27

About iGame
iGame, Inc. is a San Rafael, Calif.-based technology marketing company. As a leading producer of gaming events, iGame has hosted several national tours featuring the best of computer and console games, as well as leading edge hardware. For these events, iGame institutes highly developed national and local marketing campaigns using print media, cable television, FM Radio, partner hyper-linking and national and regional public relations. Complete information about the company and its events can be found on the iGame Website at
About i2e2
Launched in September 1999, i2e2 is the first international standards organization and Web site for the competitive gaming community. The company recently introduced competition standards and universal rankings, as well as
the sanctioning of professional gaming events. The organization’s Web site has begun to provide access to gaming competitions, with plans to offer a wide variety of events featuring action games, strategy games, parlor games, arcade games, trivia games, game shows, simulations and sports-related game programs. These competitions, which can feature both online and live events, target all levels of organized gameplay, from recreational beginners to professional “hardcore” gamers. For more information, visit the company’s Web site at i2e2 is a privately held company based in San Francisco.

Story Contest
Posted by Washizu on November 20th, 1999 @ 1:21 a.m.
Age of Kings Heaven is proud to announce an opportunity for agers out there to win a copy of Bruce Shelley’s strategy guide published by Sybex. This extremely in depth guide will help you get to know the ins and outs of AOK, despite its complexity. It features civ descriptions, screenshots, campaign walk throughs, and expert multiplayer tips from the likes of Out4Blood, Helegator, IX_Medierra, and The Sheriff. It’s 360+ pages packed with the info you need to rule the Medieval period. Now, you’re asking, “Ok, how do I win one?” Just write a short story (1000 words or less) about the pic to the right and our judges (Angel Washizu, Angel Thorfinn, and Angel Mack) will determine the best ones. Try to incorporate Age of Kings technologies and features, but keep the readers’ interest. The prizes are as follows:

Best Stories (2 winners): 1 Strategy Guide, 1 AOK Poster, 1 Ensemble Studios hat
Runners Up (3 winners): 1 Strategy Guide, 1 AOK Poster
Honorable Mentions (22 winners): 1 AOK Poster

Check it out here.

ES_Deathshrimp on TCs
Posted by Washizu on November 19th, 1999 @ 11:02 p.m.
Is the TC too powerful, or is it just the Teuton Town Centers that are too strong? ES_Deathshrimp posted in the forum the following statement about a possible patch:

We are looking into a good solution for using offensive Town Centers, but want to make sure we come up with the best possible response.

A brief look at any of the fansites will show that people have quite different opinions on the best way to adjust Town Centers. We don’t want to totally emasculate the TC, just make building tons of them not quite as effective as it is now.

We also want to see if any other balance problems or other bugs creep up. The game has only been out a very short time. It would be unfortunate if we released a patch and discovered the very next day that there was another bug, problem or screw that demanded our attention. We are not in a position to release a patch a week so we want to make our efforts count.

10 Million Zoners
Posted by Washizu on November 19th, 1999 @ 10:54 p.m.
Got this press release from MS Games:



Milestone Caps Phenomenal Growth Year for Interactive Entertainment Site

REDMOND, Wash. – Nov. 19, 1999 – Microsoft Corp. today announced the 10 millionth member registration on the MSN™ Gaming Zone
( This is the latest milestone in a huge growth year for the Zone, which now boasts the following:

· Over 500,000 unique visitors per day, more than double the daily traffic of a year ago
· Over 50 new games, bringing the total number of available games on the
Zone to 118
· Ad revenue growth of 1,000 percent from the previous fiscal year
· 4.2 percent reach making the Zone the number one Internet games site that
offers multiplayer gaming, according to PC Data figures for October 1999
· Average usage of nearly 40 minutes per user per day, making the MSN
Gaming Zone second only to AOL proprietary in visitor usage minutes (Media
Metrix Digital Media Report, Sept. 1999)

With a diverse variety of games to entertain everyone from the hardcore PC
gamer to the casual card- and board-game player, the MSN Gaming Zone has
succeeded in becoming one of the most popular interactive entertainment
destinations on the Internet.

The MSN Gaming Zone debuted in 1996 with 15,000 members and six card and
board games. Since then, the Zone has grown into the largest gaming site on
the Internet, with an average of 500,000 unique visitors per day and more
than 50,000 concurrent players worldwide at peak times. The Zone now offers
more than 100 games, including a wide variety of free* card and board
games, free* matchmaking for today’s most popular retail CD-ROM games and
exclusive premium games such as the Microsoft® “Fighter Ace®” and
“Asheron’s Call™” online multiplayer games. In addition, the Zone supports
a robust community through Zone-endorsed leagues and tournaments,
sweepstakes, live gaming events and more than 1,000 user-run tournaments
every week.

“We believe the Zone’s remarkable growth is an indicator that online gaming
is the future of Internet entertainment,” said Adam Waalkes, product unit
manager for the MSN Gaming Zone. “By providing the best retail and premium
games and supporting our community, the Zone will continue to attract
people who want an interactive online entertainment experience, one that
goes beyond the passive experience that most Web sites currently offer.”

With this large, loyal, fun-loving audience, the Zone has attracted
big-name promotional associates, including Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc.,
First USA Bank NA, The Coca-Cola Co. and General Mills Inc., resulting in a
surge in advertising revenue. In fact, earnings in the first quarter of the
Zone’s fiscal year 2000 have already surpassed earnings for fiscal year

“We work with our advertisers to develop creative, interactive promotional
campaigns, sweepstakes and event sponsorships,” explained Jonathan
Wiedemann, product planner for the MSN Gaming Zone. “Our unique ability to
engage consumers and deliver targeted demographics to advertisers has
succeeded where banner ads have largely failed.”

This month Microsoft launched “Asheron’s Call,” the highly anticipated,
online-only, role-playing game developed by Turbine Entertainment Software.
It joins other top-selling new releases such as the “Age of Empires® II:
The Age of Kings™”, “Rogue Spear” and “MechWarrior® 3” games on the MSN
Gaming Zone’s extensive games roster. “We will continue to add exciting new
games and content to satisfy our current audience as well as attract new
folks who may be playing their first-ever online game,” Waalkes said. “Our
next year promises to be even more exciting than our last.”

AOK Number 1 for 4 Weeks
Posted by Washizu on November 19th, 1999 @ 10:47 p.m.
Thanks to Markus for sending this in. PC Data has reported that Age of Empires 2: The Age of Kings has been the #1 selling game for four weeks in a row. Not that we’re surprised by this. It’s been the #1 played game on all of our computers for the past month.

ROR Patch News
Posted by Washizu on November 18th, 1999 @ 11:12 a.m.
I found this in the AOE Heaven forum Thanks to Thinker42 for finding this in the microsoft.ageofempires newsgroup.

A new Patch for both AOE and ROR will be released shortly, it’s in final
It should put an end to the cheating problem. It contains every anti-cheat from AOK and then some more.
Many bugs have been fixed.
Multiplayer Game Launching is much improved
The “.” key from AOK is now included in AOE and ROR.

Please hang in there,

-Matt Pritchard
Ensemble Studios: Graphics Engine and Optimization Specialist
Age of Empires, Rise of Rome, Age of Empires ][:Age of Kings, and ???

Interesting Sandy Quote
Posted by Washizu on November 18th, 1999 @ 11:07 a.m.
The Sandyman is at it again and he recently posted his thoughts on MS’s decision to change a few things in AOK. I found this kind of funny.

Q) What was MS’s problem with the dolphins?
ES_SandymanA) They didn’t say. Personally, I think it’s bad to kill dolphins, too, but then I also think it’s bad to kill humans. The part that amazes me is that someone at MS felt bad for the dolphins and completely ignored the fact that human beings get killed by the hundreds in AoK. Just in case anyone’s wondering, I do not have any moral objection to “killing” computer-generated sprites of humans or dolphins. – ES_Sandyman Questions

He answers a TON of questions in his latest post. I guess I’ll have to make some additions to my “Quotes from the Sandyman” page.

Penny Arcade
Posted by Washizu on November 18th, 1999 @ 9:07 a.m.
A fairly popular comic strip among the gaming public, Penny-Arcade’s take on gamers, lamers, nerds, violence, etc. has made me laugh many times. This week, their cartoon features our beloved Age of Kings. Check it out here.

Cloud Redesign
Posted by Washizu on November 18th, 1999 @ 8:42 a.m.
I dumped all the clutter on my personal page here at Heaven and went for a very simple design. If you want to check it out, head over to Washizu’s Cloud.

PC Gamer Online Review
Posted by Washizu on November 18th, 1999 @ 8:21 a.m.
I know a lot of you have been wondering about the rating PC Gamer will give to AOK. If it’s any indication, their online site gave it a “Direct Hit”, which is good. Check out the review here. You may have to do some searching. It seemed like I went through 3 different sites until I finally found the review, which is kind of annoying in my opinion.

Age of Kings a remarkable product. Another “fine line” is Ensemble’s ability to straddle the fence between an easy-to-learn, simplified interface and deep and challenging gameplay.

Zone Ratings are Up!
Posted by Washizu on November 18th, 1999 @ 8:09 a.m.
Earlier today, the Zone rated rooms opened up after a delay of a few weeks. Some predict the demise of Case’s AOK ladder, especially with the news that maimin_matty has retired from playing the ladder. Hehe, maybe they will name another one after you Matt!

Like to know what your best times through the Ages are? How about comparing your military, economy, society, and technology stats to your teammates and opponents?

After every Age of Kings rated game, we’ll track and post your stats. This is an excellent way to analyze your progress and see how other players are doing. The Age stats are broken out in two categories: overall stats and civilization stats. You can see your wins, losses, incompletes, team changes, and average and best time to each Age. We’re also posting your average and best military, economy, society, and technology numbers.

And if you want to see how well you’re played your selected civilization on a specific map, we’re posting that too! Click the civilization name and all the maps you’ve played in that civilization will be posted.

Case’s Ladder
Posted by Washizu on November 17th, 1999 @ 11:37 a.m.
For the first time, I’ve joined Case’s AOK ladder, and I have to say, it’s pretty fun! I played one game last night against Jethro_Gulner and won my first ladder match, putting me at a rank of 586 I recommend it highly to anyone wanting to get in on some competitive AOK.

The University is ROCKING
Posted by Washizu on November 17th, 1999 @ 1:25 a.m.
Our strategy man, Angel Zeus has been posting strats from top agers all week. You’ll especially want to check out The Road to Expert by darq_darqjihad. It’s all in the AOKH University.

AOKB Unit Bonuses
Posted by Washizu on November 17th, 1999 @ 1:18 a.m.
The AOK Battlefield has a pretty nice layout of all the special Unit Bonuses that ES released recently. Check it out here.

Zone Spotlight Tournament
Posted by Washizu on November 16th, 1999 @ 2:21 a.m.
If you’re interested in playing in a tournament, head to the Zone on Wednesday during the day and sign up for their Spotlight Tournament to play at night.

Last Day!!!
Posted by Washizu on November 16th, 1999 @ 1:56 a.m.
Send in your AOK Expansion pack suggestions to Archangel. It’s your last day to get them in, so make some good ones!

The Messenger
Posted by Washizu on November 15th, 1999 @ 0:59 a.m.
Derek saw the new Joan of Arc movie, The Messenger and here are his comments:

Derek:Well, tonight I went and saw “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc.” The movie and the campaign storyline are exactly the same. Everything dramatic occuring in the campaign happened in the flick. La Hire is the best character in the movie.

News Wire REALplayer Show
Posted by Washizu on November 15th, 1999 @ 0:48 a.m.
The RTS Domain’s NewsWire is a show with two guys (Aaron and Jessie) talking about games and how cool of a host they are. They also have this crazy music playing in the background that, honestly, gets on your nerves after a while, but if you are really into RTS and game news, check it out. They’re just two high school dudes with a show. Their thoughts on AOK?

“Graphics are amazing!”
“Cities and units look amazing!”
Caesar 3 was a good game, but Age of Kings blows it away.”(sorry Reck)
On C&C2: “Tiberian Sun has been dying down, you can only replay it so much. It wasn’t creative a all.”

AOK IRC Channel
Posted by Washizu on November 15th, 1999 @ 0:37 a.m.
If you are into IRC, this might be of interest to you. Personally, I don’t see what the big whoop about IRC is, but it seems to be really popular.

Resident Playa: A live IRC channel has been set up on the Quakenet IRC server system. This is a european chat system mainly used to organise games. tells you a list of all available servers to which you can connect.

The channel is and is used to discuss and develope new tactics, trade scenarios and chat about anything to do with Age of Empires 2.

Forum Party today!
Posted by Washizu on November 13th, 1999 @ 7:42 p.m.
Pop on to the Zone in the Imperial Horizon lobby and you’re sure to find some AOKH forumers hanging out today. I’m there right now along with Kov_Lancelot, KiNG_MiNos, _Hoa_Apocalypse, and more!

Farming Statistics
Posted by Washizu on November 13th, 1999 @ 1:08 a.m.
Angel Thorfinn did a ton of testing to get the farm gathering rates for each of the upgrades with some very interesting results. For instance, did you know that if you put a farm south of your TC, farmers gather from it faster until you research the hand cart? Crazy isn’t it? Check out the farm stats page.

AOE2 GQ Contest
Posted by Washizu on November 13th, 1999 @ 1:06 a.m.
Want to win some Prima Strategy Guide?

Hey its Majestic12 From AoE2 GQ. We are now hosting a contest, The Pic of the Week contest, the contest will last for 5 weeks, every Saturday a pic will be picked and a winner will be selected, each week a lucky winner will recieve a free copy of the Prima Games AoK Strategy guide, to enter goto

More AOK Reviews
Posted by Washizu on November 13th, 1999 @ 1:04 a.m.
Here a few more AOK reviews. I want to ask you guys a question. Do you guys want to keep hearing about reviews or do you not read them too often? Let me know.

RTS Nation

Thanks to Steve for sending me the first two reviews.

AOK is #1!!!
Posted by Washizu on November 12th, 1999 @ 11:50 p.m.
Read on to hear about AOK’s dominance in the PC Games market in Microsoft’s press release:



Sequel to Blockbuster PC Strategy Game Hits Retail Software Charts at No. 1 In the United States, United Kingdom and Germany Heading Into Holiday Season

REDMOND, Wash. (Nov. 12, 1999) Microsoft Corp. today announced that the “Age of Empires(r) II: The Age of Kings(tm)” game is topping retail sales charts in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany. According to market research firm PC Data Inc., Microsoft(r) “Age of Empires II” outpaced all other PC games in the United States for four weeks in October, its first month of retail availability. In addition to being the best-selling game in the United States, “Age of Empires II” owned the No. 1 spot across all retail software categories for three weeks in October.

The success of “Age of Empires II” has resonated on both sides of the
Atlantic. In Germany the game catapulted to the top of the Media Control charts, with customers acquiring more than 100,000 copies within three days of its release, and it is currently leading the United Kingdom’s ELSPA Chart Track for PC games.

“‘Age of Empires II’ has received a royal reception by game fans around the world,” said Ed Fries, general manager for the Games Group at Microsoft. “We have already shipped 1.4 million units of ‘Age of Empires II’ to retailers in the first month, and the game hasn’t shipped in every country yet.”

Sales for “Age of Empires II” are expected to increase over the holiday season, a period that accounts for more than 40 percent of yearly PC game sales. According to Bob McKenzie, director of merchandising for Babbage’s Etc., “‘Age of Empires II’ has greatly exceeded our projected sales forecasts, and weekly sell-through remains strong. We anticipate strong consumer demand throughout the holidays and expect this to be one of our to five PC software games of the season.”

Electronics Boutique vice president of merchandising Jerry Madaio agrees. “Electronics Boutique stores have had a tough time keeping ‘Age of Empires II’ on the shelf,” he said. “The consistent demand demonstrates the high quality of the product and its gameplay value. We expect it to be one of the top titles for the holiday season.”

In addition to being the top-selling PC game, “Age of Empires II” is
emerging as one of the most critically acclaimed games of the year,
achieving perfect and near-perfect review scores in leading game enthusiast publications. “Age of Empires II” is also one of the most popular retail games on the MSN Gaming Zone (, attracting up to 35,000 unique users per day since its release.

One of the most anticipated games to be released this year, “Age of Empires II” is the sequel to the award-winning strategy game “Age of Empires.” “Age of Empires II” spans 1,000 years, from the fall of Rome to the Middle Ages, and challenges players to lead one of 13 civilizations into greatness. Developed by Ensemble Studios of Dallas, “Age of Empires II” retains the epic scope and accessibility that has helped the “Age of Empires” game series sell over 3 million licensed units worldwide. Featuring the design expertise of Bruce Shelley, co-creator of such game classics as “Civilization” and “Railroad Tycoon,” the game combines stunning graphic with the drama and intrigue of the Middle Ages.

a r b u t h n o t c o m m u n i c a t i o n s, i n c.
(p) 415 431 2300
(f) 415 431 1246

Forum Party!
Posted by Mack on November 12th, 1999 @ 8:00 p.m.
Mark_Aurel is setting the ground for the first Age of Kings Heaven forum party, and here is a snip of what he has to say:

1. The official Forum Party Room will be Imperial Horizon. (Let’s also make it the official Forum room for that matter.)

2. The official Forum Party will take place on Saturday, from noon until midnight EST. However, everyone should feel free to (and should) drop by Imperial Horizon anyway.

3. Forum partyers are obliged to name their room either “Forum Party!” or “AoKH Forummers” or anything similarly recognizable.

4. This is a moot point, but everyone should behave politely … i.e. no swearing, cursing, etc.

5. To create the proper forum party atmosphere, use of the zone chat area of Imperial Horizon is encouraged … there should be constant chat activity down there!

6. For the future, we should try to hold a forum party every weekend, or every other weekend. We might also want to arrange forum tournaments, if everyone likes the idea.

OK, that’s it. Also, spread the word, if you want to.

For more information, click here.

Every forumner that participated in the AOEH forum parties will agree with me when I say this, these parties are a blast. I personally remember staying up until 3-4 a.m. playing with these guys. So if you don’t want to miss out on the excitement, be there, and record those games where you beat your opponent into an oblivion, and delete those that are vice-versa.

ES Needs your Feature Suggestions
Posted by Washizu on November 11th, 1999 @ 7:32 p.m.
Head over to Ensemble Studios and send in what you’d like to see in the AOK Expansion pack and AOE3. The feature submission’s page is right here and will be closing soon, so get cracking!

Also, there is an AI script done by ES team member Doug Brucks (no word on his online handle yet hehe), that you can get right here. Just unzip it to your AI folder.

Unit Attack Bonuses Revealed
Posted by Washizu on November 10th, 1999 @ 10:38 p.m.
The Sandyman lets us in on some little known secrets of AOK attack bonuses and insight to how the counter unit really get their job’s done. Check it out here.

Some numbers to make number-crunchers happy. Note that in every case, NO armor protects vs. this “bonus damage”


Spearman – +15 vs. mounted, +30 vs. elephants
Pikeman – +22 vs. mounted, +22 vs. elephants

Skirmisher – +3 vs. archers
Elite Skirmisher – +4 vs. archers

Camel – +10 vs. mounted
Heavy Camel – +18 vs. mounted
(Oddly enough, Camels DO get this bonus vs. other camels & elephants!)

Huskarl – +3 vs. archers
Elite Huskarl – +4 vs. archers

Samurai – +5 vs. UUs
Elite Samurai – +6 vs. UUs
(I know this is bizarre, but this bonus DOES count vs. longboats)

Cataphract – +9 vs. infantry
Elite Cataphract – +12 vs. infantry

Mameluke – +9 vs. mounted
Elite Mameluke – +12 vs. mounted

Mangudai – +3 vs. siege
Elite Mangudai – +5 vs. siege
(Note: “siege” = everything from the siege workshop, plus trebs)

Ram – +40 vs. siege
Capped Ram – +50 vs. siege
Siege Ram – +65 vs. siege
(Note: this is probably the least-known bonus in the game. By the way, it means that rams are a good defense against other rams, and that they slaughter trebuchets.)

Scorpion – +6 vs. elephant
Heavy Scorpion – +8 vs. elephant
(another well-kept AoK “secret”)

Bombard Cannon – +40 vs. ships (!)

And yes, a cataphract easily trounces two pikemen.

Evil Avatar AOK Review
Posted by Washizu on November 10th, 1999 @ 10:33 p.m.
Got this from the Evil A himself:

“Age of Kings may not have the latest 3D accelerated
graphics, but it oozes over with gameplay and
attention to detail. All the conventions of the
genre have been looked at by Ensemble Studios and
evaluated for their strengths and weaknesses. All
the bad was thrown out or redone and the good added
in to create one of the best games of this or any
year. If you like this category of games, you would
be wise to play this one.”

Future Age News
Posted by Washizu on November 8th, 1999 @ 7:54 p.m.
New questions for the Sandyman have been about the upcoming AOK Expansion Pack and AOE3. Here are a few tidbits he revealed this morning:

Q) Concerning AoE3 – have you already decided in what epoch it will take place?
ES_SandymanA) Yes.

Q) Is there going to be a new type of Cavalry unit added to the expansion pack?
ES_Sandyman A) More than one.

Q) Will you please consider changing the fog of war in the X-pack so that relics, animals, and mines do not change, move or disappear from the last time you saw them (even if they really did change or move)?
ES_Sandyman A) We are considering it now. But it probably won’t change because of the large programming effort required.

Q) On standard games, why does the computer only put one villager on building a wonder? Is this a known bug?
ES_Sandyman A) This is a known bug. He was building with multiple villagers up until just before the game was released. Apparently one of our last minute changes caused this and we didn’t catch it.

Q) Before the game came out, I read somewhere that units were going to be able to walk through buildings, and walk through each other, to save them going around the long way, but I find this is only true of farms and parts of the town centre. Was this the plan originally but got discarded?
ES_Sandyman A) It was actually operational for a while, but there were problems. Turns out people like being able to construct walls of houses, for instance.

Q) And how much stuff have you had to drop because [MS] said so?
ES_Sandyman A) We had to drop the dolphins because of MS.

Q) Will there be 2 UU’s for any civs?
ES_Sandyman A) there already are. Oh wait, you mean the X-Pack. Yes, that is our current plan.

Q) Will you consider MORE armor and attack upgrades for the non-counter units as to reduce the counter units strength in imp?
ES_Sandyman A) We kind of like the whole counter-unit idea. We are, however, planning a number of new research items some of which have the effect of beefing up non-counters.

Q) Will there be any other cavalry counter units?
ES_Sandyman A) Probably.

Actually, I’m glad they ditched the dolphins. My girlfriend would not have been happy seeing me use dolphins as a food source and the marlins still look pretty cool. Read the rest of the thread here: ES_Sandyman Questions

ES Job Openings
Posted by Washizu on November 8th, 1999 @ 7:42 p.m.
Are you a talented artist looking to work for a top tier game publisher? There are some openings at Ensemble Studios for artists:

Artist Information:
Experienced artists needed in development of state-of-the-art computer games. Ensemble Studios has set standards for art in strategy games with blockbuster titles such as, Age of Empires, Rise of Rome and Age of Kings. We seek outstanding individuals who share our passion for excellence and teamwork.

2D Texture / Skin Artist

Must have:
Proven experience creating 2D textures or skins for low polygon models An unyielding passion to achieve excellence in your work
Excellent communication skills
Ability to work long hours
Character Animator

Must have
Proven experience creating believable character motion
An unyielding passion to achieve excellence in your work
Excellent communication skills
Ability to work long hours
Cinematic Artist

Must have
Proven experience creating cinematic movies for games or film.
An unyielding passion to achieve excellence in your work
Excellent communication skills
Ability to work long hours
For all positions:

Experience in the games industry desired but not a must.
Knowledge of 3d Studio Max is desired but not a must.
Submission of material for review is required for any position. (Demo reel)
Check out the Submission page also for details on how to apply.

University Open for Business
Posted by Washizu on November 8th, 1999 @ 4:39 a.m.
The University, AOKH’s strategy section, is now open for business with two articles. The first is Lord_Captain_Kidd’s build up strategy for winning the recent contest hosted by mrfixit. The 2nd is a recent post by Space_Viking on how to not look like a newbie out there on the zone. If you’d like to submit a strategy article, send it to Angel Zeus. We’re only going to post interesting and useful articles of a fairly decent length, so please consider that when submiting.

Sandy Petersen Quotes
Posted by Washizu on November 8th, 1999 @ 2:52 a.m.
I’m proud to bring you a 4 page compilation of ES_Sandyman’s Q/A and other comments by him in the forum following the release of Age of Kings. It’s an addicting read so make sure you have a few minutes to spare and go over it all!

Re-PLAYing Recorded Games
Posted by Washizu on November 6th, 1999 @ 7:28 p.m.
I got a very interesting tip from Renier Kriel, an ager from South Africa. If you load up a recorded game, save it, then load up the saved game, you can control the units of the player you were watching. Unfortunately, the other players don’t even revert to AI control. Their units just finish their last command and buildings complete their last build order. After that, they just sit there, so I don’t know if there is any useful application to doing this, but it’s still a neat trick.

Rated Rooms on the Zone
Posted by Washizu on November 6th, 1999 @ 0:28 a.m.
The MSN Gaming Zone’s rated AOK rooms are up and running. Here’s a bit of information about them:

Like to know what your best times through the Ages are? How about comparing your military, economy, society, and technology stats to your teammates and opponents?

After every Age of Kings rated game, we’ll track and post your stats. This is an excellent way to analyze your progress and see how other players are doing. The Age stats are broken out in two categories: overall stats and civilization stats. You can see your wins, losses, incompletes, team changes, and average and best time to each Age. We’re also posting your average and best military, economy, society, and technology numbers.

And if you want to see how well you’re played your selected civilization on a specific map, we’re posting that too! Click the civilization name and all the maps you’ve played in that civilization will be posted.

Here’s how to view your Age of Kings stats:

First, you need to play in an Age of Kings rated room.
Click Ratings from the table of contents on the left.
Find your name in the ratings list.
Click your rating. This will bring up your Age of Kings ratings and game stats. Your ratings are broken up in two categories: overall rating and civilizations. To view your stats for map types in each civilization, click the civilization name.

AOK Research Times
Posted by Washizu on November 6th, 1999 @ 0:23 a.m.
ES_Sandyman has posted a list of all the research times in AOK right here in the forum. Check it out here. You can find out how long it takes to research every single tech in the game.

EA Giveaway
Posted by Washizu on November 5th, 1999 @ 5:55 a.m.
The Evil Avatar is giving away some of Bruce Shelley’s stratgey guides put out by Sybex. Here are the details:

Evil has Five Copies of the Sybex Age of Empires II:
Age of Kings Strategy Guide to give away!

This is the official strategy guide written by Bruce C.
Shelley and the other guys from Ensemble Studios. It
runs about 369 pages and is one of the best strategy
guides I have seen!

If you get a chance to put up a small mention on your page
the URL is:

Thanks a bunch!

-Philip “Evil Avatar” Hansen

Random Maps anyone?
Posted by Washizu on November 5th, 1999 @ 5:51 a.m.
Our good friend ES_Deathshrimp has made an call for your random map ideas and preferences. Some of the popular ideas include more mountainous terrain, different starting units, gaia towns, and teams seperated by cliffs with a few choke points to defend. If you want your random map ideas to be heard, post them here.

Trial Recorded Games
Posted by Washizu on November 5th, 1999 @ 5:42 a.m.
Want to play recorded games with the trial version of AOK? Here’s a tip from Owvin on how to do it. Note: I haven’t tried this out to see if it can only play trial version games, but I imagine that’s the case.

Owvin:I found a way to play recorded games in AoK Trial version:

Copy all the .mgs and .mgl files from the
…\Age of Empires II Trial\SaveGame\Multi
subdirectory to the
…\Age of Empires II Trial\SaveGame

Then select “Saved Game” in AoK Trial version and the recorded games should be there. Select one and enjoy viewing the game.

Gamestats AOK Contest
Posted by Washizu on November 4th, 1999 @ 1:21 a.m.
Gamestats is having a contest where you can win a copy of AOK!

Our buddy Mike over at Ensemble Studios has set us up with a GREAT set of prizes this week. You have a chance to win Age Of Empires II: Age Of Kings by simply selecting this link. We will be giving away 7 copies of this game. better still we also have 7 Ensemble Baseball Caps so you can shade your eyes after having played all night long!

Unit Sheet Info
Posted by Washizu on November 4th, 1999 @ 1:07 a.m.
Got this from Merlin today: is proud to bring another exclusive news scoop to the Ager
Community! Here is The Unit Rate Info that all the hardcore agers have been praying for! It covers the speed of Movement, Training Time, and the all important Attack Rate! Thanks to Sandy Petersen (ES Designer) for the work of assembling this info and to the Archangel Mike McCart (ES Webmaster) for the exclusive rights to release it first. There is also a Word.DOC copy Zipped up and ready for distribution. Help Yourselves, and pass it around! I know there are some strategy fanatics who have been itching for these statistics, waiting to run a battery of tests in staged scenarios. In return you can share your findings with the rest of the Ager community in the HQ Shared Forum.

AoE2 Unit Rate Sheet!

ICON Interview Inaccuracies
Posted by Washizu on November 3rd, 1999 @ 5:04 a.m.
Will lazers and rockets be in Age 3? Not likely, but it recently caused a stir when ICON posted a very innaccurate interview with Bruce Shelley (checking them off as a never promote site now . Here’s Sandy Petersen to defend his fellow designer and the comments he didn’t make:

The interview with Bruce Shelley from which you quote has numerous inaccuracies.

1. Bruce has been in games since 1980 not 1985.

2. Bruce _always_ mentions Brian Sullivan & Rick Goodman when the achievement award is mentioned.

3. Bruce says: “I have never commented to anyone that I have always been fascinated by ancient history. I got to like it mainly working on Age 1.”

4. Bruce says; “I … never made a comment about spear throwers.”

5. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, BRUCE SAYS: “I did not make the statement about jumping ahead to do a game with space suits and energy weapons.”

So if you want to prevent someone from doing a game with spaceships, go find another company to picket.

Thanks for clearing that up Sandy.

Over 2 Million Served
Posted by Washizu on November 2nd, 1999 @ 7:38 p.m.
Our sister site, AOE Heaven may be getting on in age, but she’s going out in style by reaching the 2 million mark recently. If you were the 2 millionth visitor, hopefully you snagged a screenshot and send it to Angel Algernon.

Zone Chat Tonight at 6:00 P.M. PST
Posted by Washizu on November 2nd, 1999 @ 7:27 p.m.
This time I copied it RIGHT from the ES news page, so I won’t be wrong about the time it starts. Here is info on the event:

Two Zone Events;
November 2:
Zone Game Team Members Give Tips on Age of Empires II Do you want to learn more about Age of Kings? Looking for new strategies? Are you an expert Age player and would like to share your winning tips? Come meet our Zone Game Team members who will be available to help and talk with you about the NUMBER ONE strategy game on the Zone! To find a Zone Game Team member, just look for the “!” symbol next to the Zone ID. See you in the chat! 6:00 P.M. Pacific Time.

November 3:
Chat with Age of Kings Strategy Guide Authors Having a bit of trouble in Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings? We’ve managed to score the authors of the Ensemble Studios Sybex strategy guide, so you can ask them all your favorite strategy questions. Scheduled for this important evening are Bruce Shelley, Arthur Bruno, Kevin Holme, Tim Seitz and Paul Schuytema. Chat takes place at a SPECIAL TIME of 4 P.M. Pacific. Stick around after the event for our Spotlight Tournament the same evening. Be there!

Zone Theater Chat Events

Pharaoh Released!
Posted by Washizu on November 2nd, 1999 @ 7:11 p.m.
Our blood brothers over at Pharaoh Heaven are partying it up now that Pharaoh is hitting the store shelves. This is the long awaited sequel to the popular strategy hit, Caesar 3. Here’s their news for today:

Out everywhere by the 16th!
That’s the latest word we have from the Marketing Weasel regarding worldwide release dates. That’s not certain, since Impressions doesn’t have control over distribution, but it’s a date we can certainly work with.

I’d like to keep track of releases around the world, so if you manage to get your hands on Pharaoh, let us know in the forum, or tell me via email.

Age2oons Posted
Posted by Washizu on November 2nd, 1999 @ 5:52 a.m.
Some Age2oons by the likes of Dr. Fish, Kyle Leach, Pascal and more. – Age2oons Page

Teuton TC Debate
Posted by Washizu on November 2nd, 1999 @ 4:56 a.m.
The current hot topic in the forum is the strength of a Teuton Town Center attack. Some say the +2 damage and +5 range of the Town Center when garrisoned, put in to protect from rushers, allows the Teutons not only a free pass to the Castle Age, but an impenetrable defense until Imperial, leaving the Teuton player free to move about the map laying Town Centers as he pleases with no effective counter. Here are a few posts from the discussion going on here.

ES_Deathshrimp:The best Zone players spend hours perfecting their strategies and play thousands of games. If we here spent that much time playing the game, it wouldn’t leave much time for designing, now would it? We do balance the game to the best of our ability, and we do solicit the feedback from some of the best players, many of whom helped to balance AOK, some of whom you even mentioned in your post.

Pride has nothing to do with admitting to a game’s shortcomings. Despite your accusations, logistics and the developer-publisher relationship are virtually the only deciding factors in whether to patch or not. We knew that despite our best efforts, once thousands of players started to play thousands of games each that some imbalances, and even bugs, were going to start to show up. I am happy to admit that (shudder) gamers could find some loopholes in the strategy that we had never even thought to exploit.

It has not been our (or MS’s) policy in the past to release frequent patches, predominantly because of the logisitics of testing the patches to make sure they work, and translating them to the numerous languages that AOK supports. For what it is worth, we are reevaluating that policy in order to keep AOK as the best game it can possibly be.

Furthermore, we did have a fairly large beta test for AOK. Where were you when all that posting was going on in this forum?

If it will make you feel better, I am happy to recognize that a lot of folks are playing and winning using the Teutonic Town Center. If no one comes up with a viable counter to this strategy, then we will obviously have to do something about it. However, those of you with long memories may recall how the Sumerian villager rush was going to ruin AOE. That lasted about two weeks before players learned how to counter it. I am not saying that the same case is true of AOK, but the game has only been out for a few weeks. Let’s give it some time before we pronounce the game broken, okay?

Enkrates:I don’t think that the Tueton TC attack is just a fad and will fade. I think this attack is for real and it is unbeatable. I have been thinking for weeks now, talking to fellow agers on the Zone, and we could not come up with an effective way to counter the Tueton TC rush (assuming that equally skilled players are playing). Come to think of it, it is impossible to counter it and here are my reasons:
#1 – There is obsolute no siege unit with range in the Castle age, the only siege unit in the Castle Age is the Ram, and the Ram don’t do much because all the Tueton player need is just a couple of swordmen at his TC and the Ram would be destroyed (for god sake, even the dorn villagers can destroy the ram), and you can’t really protect the Ram because the Tueton TC’s range is +5 with +2 attack and most of the unit you send in to protect the Ram would be killed by the time you reach the TC.

#2 – TC is not that expensive. Usually by the time I reach Castle age, I usually have more then enough wood to make like four or five TC with more to come. It is already hard as heck to destroy one Tuetonic TC, imagine how can you win if you have to destroy one TC after another and another and another an so on as the Tueton player will put it all over the map. If he couldn’t kill you right away, he can just suck up all the resources and starve you to death.

Well, ES is right by saying that we should wait to see if anyone can come up with a counter, but I doubt anyone will. One way I can think of is that you have to swarm the TC, but in doing so, you will lose alot of unit and the Tueton player would lose only his TC, which cost about 275 woods, and he can just build another one right up.

I hope they would fix this soon, like in this upcoming patch.

Methos:Teutons were banned from beta2 play because they had other ‘screw’ features. Them and the Vikings if I recall correctly. These were already fixed by the time beta2 was shipped, so we just ignored those two civs while playing the game. From what I understand, only beta2 was distributed semi-widely.

I think the point here is that the track record for releasing patches is not great. Players don’t have a problem with the initial game being unbalanced – it’s almost impossible to release such a complex game that is balanced. They are just praying for a patch!

I would also like to mention the Teutons have been dominating ladder play for over three weeks. We have religiously sought a counter for quite awhile before posting our thoughts.

BlackDouglas:This is not a strategy that needs to be mastered by an “expert.” Chop wood, build TCs, locust the map; that doesn’t take much intelligence. Between equally skilled players, the TC rush can beat anything into late Castle — and by then, it’s too late, the Teut owns the map and the resources. That’s what makes this problem so annoying: It is easy, so even an inferior player can succeed with it. Skill doesn’t matter; using the right civ and the right building does.

The issue will die instantly if you can prove your case; it doesn’t take that long to set up a couple games on the Zone and try it out. I was convinced of the Teut TC problem by [i] experience… I proposed counters, and every one of them failed. And while I’m no matty or Methos, I am pretty good…

ES_Deathshrimp kay, let me explain it this way. What if we released a patch and two days later, a more heinous screw was found? AOE was (eventually) patched, and ROR will be soon. We hope that the condition can improve for AOK, but I still don’t forsee a “patch of the week” situation. That is why I am urging patience.
Methos, I wasn’t here in the Sumerian villager days, but it sure is talked about a lot around here. Otherwise, I agree with you.

BlackDouglas, I am not denying a TTC imbalance. I can’t even imagine any problems that would occur from toning down the TTC a bit. There is just not yet a good solution in place to address problems like this. MS takes patches very serious, subjecting them to the full round of testing, and localizing them for distribution around the world. When they worry about a patch making a situation worse, it is not the fear of making the Teutons too weak or making the Mongols too powerful–it is making sure a patch won’t crash the game on anyone’s funked out system.

IFL_EdLongshank, I’m not Sandy. I can’t explain his strategy in the RTM Party game, except to hope he was being polite. While I would not expect us all to be at the top of the ladders, we have spent more time with the game than virtually anyone else, so I would not expect to be routinely thrashed either.

Domk, we have a great relationship with MS. Just look how quickly they could get the game on the shelves after it went gold! We just need to develop a resolution to addressing problems with the game in a more timely fashion.

Pic of a REAL Murder Hole
Posted by Washizu on November 2nd, 1999 @ 4:10 a.m.
I don’t know about you guys, but I think the name of the muder hole tech in AOK is just neat. In case you aren’t familiar with it, the murder hole tech gets rid of the minimum range for Towers and Castles. A murder hole was an opening in the tower used to defend against attacks that were too nearby to attack from the top. They poured hot oil, rocks, or anything else they could find on to their would-be conquerers. My aunt visited Ireland and took the pic to the left of a REAL Irish murder hole. Makes you wonder if any battles took place there doesn’t it? Thanks to my Aunt Peggy for giving me the picture. Click on it for a larger image of the fiersome murder hole. Contest
Posted by Washizu on November 2nd, 1999 @ 3:30 a.m.
Got this from Merlin today from

The Roman Triad Contest is complete! brings to a close yet another Ager contest. The French AoK Univers and the Spanish Mercadillo de AOE Ager sites who joined with us in this contest also announced their winning stories today, and together three websites have selected 3 stories in our native tounges. The winners will each be receiving a copy of the AoE Expansion Pack : The Rise of Rome. Congratulations all around on some great stories!

Now sponsors another contest, this time based at the website. To commemorate the HQ officially opening for business today, and to help fill out the HQ Strategies section, this contest offers a range of prizes to be won! Strats, guides and anything else of strategic value will be accepted.
Anyone with an email address can enter, just send your thoughts to or start posting them in the Shared Forum. 2 Prizes will be awarded each week for the next 4 weeks, eight prizes in all. Good luck to all!

Zone Interview with ES Artists
Posted by Washizu on November 1st, 1999 @ 5:11 p.m.
I guess I missed this one, but it’s still up in case you missed it, too. The MSN Gaming Zone has posted an interview with ES Artists Sean “Lord Soth” Wolff (yes, two f’s int his name), Thonny Namuonglo, and Jeff Dotson. In my opinion, these guys are heroes at ES. Why? Look at a game like TA:Kingdoms. It uses 3D rendered units in the game and would bring my P2-450 to a screeching halt when you got into big battles. AOK, with it’s 8-bit* graphics runs a LOT smoother. Which look better? I’d certainly have to say that AOK’s units and buildings beat TA:K’s, and it’s only because of the talent of these guys that made it possible. So go check out this interview and read more about them.

Zone: What was the toughest or hardest artwork created in Age II and why?

Sean “Lord Soth”Wolff: The wonders, walls and castles were the toughest because of the amount of detail we put into them. They have probably changed the most throughout the project.

Thonny Namuonglo: I don’t think any particular [area] was the hardest. I think it was hard getting everyone’s acceptance that each piece was good enough. It turned out well.

Jeffery Dotson: Some of the Eastern European buildings had to have shingles placed one at a time. This really bumped up the polygon count in the scene that I was working on.

* I originally posted they were 16-bit, but ES_dCypher corrected me.