Archived News From August 2001

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!

Gold Edition Review…
Posted by Thunder on August 31st, 2001 @ 10:31 a.m.
The Gamitopia gang have grabbed their copy of the AoE II Gold Edition and ran like mad men all the way home. Their review of the product doesn’t go into too much detail on who’s recorded games are included or which random maps, but it is generally positive. Afterall, how can you put down the award winning AoK in a review now?

It does seem that they were looking for much more than a good deal for the solid game play that is AoK, the Xpack, and the extras. Well, you can’t blame them for wanting more. …doubt we’ll see many of these Gold Edition reviews, so let’s savour this one…mmmmmmm, review… ; )

Elfanor, The King Of Belgium!
Posted by Thunder on August 31st, 2001 @ 10:13 a.m.
Joining GX_Iron and Crexis in Redmond for the finals in the MS International Tournament will be Elfanor, who came out on top of the Belgium qualifier yesterday.

The folks at have the final recorded game available here, where Elfanor took on a smurfy _muMmy_the_Peon for the crown.

Watch for the winner of the UK leg of the tournament which will get underway today at 18:00 BST! Once again, good luck to everybody, and here’s hoping things go off without a hitch this time. …who didn’t see that one coming? Congrats Elf…gl in the finals! ; )

Battle In Belgium To Commence!
Posted by Thunder on August 30th, 2001 @ 12:30 a.m.
If you are one of the 138 Agers that registered for the battle of Belgium leg of the MS International Tournament, ready yourself! Your qualifying tournament gets underway today at 18:00 GMT, but make sure you’re there an hour early to check-in.

Best of luck to one and all, including the Zone staff. Let’s hope this tourney goes off without a hitch, as it is the first to run since the UK event was delayed until the 31st. …half of those registered may not even show up…sheesh those are good odds! Watch out for Elfanor… ; )

AOKH Nose Job…
Posted by Thunder on August 30th, 2001 @ 12:08 a.m.
If you are just waking up and haven’t noticed yet, there’s a few changes around here. Our menu, sitemap, and title image have all been changed forever! Angel Zen is quite busy losing sleep and implementing these changes throughout the site, so you may notice some discrepancies in the menu on some pages. Not to worry, it won’t last long! Everything will be smoothed out in the coming days, and our slick new menu will be guiding you throughout the site.

Hopefully you’ll find these changes useful, and easy on the eyes. …I’m playing the back seat web designer… ; )

Tournament Registration Reminders…
Posted by Thunder on August 29th, 2001 @ 7:12 p.m.
Those of you in Belgium and Germany and looking to compete in the MS International Tournament, there are some events to remind you of:

Registration for the Belgium tournament closes today at 22:00 GMT, in just a matter of hours! Make sure you’ve signed up for your shot at a trip to Redmond for the finals! Your tournament will begin tomorrow at 18:00 GMT.

For players from Germany, registration is now underway for your national qualifier! You’ve got one week to get yourself ready to kick some tail and sign up.

So far, it’s just GX_Iron (USA) and Crexis (Canada) who have fought their way to the finals in Redmond. Will you be there to join them? …best of luck! ; )

Alliance Remains Strong…
Posted by Thunder on August 29th, 2001 @ 10:19 a.m.
The members of the Alliance Francophone are celebrating their third birthday! A little cake, a few candles, and of course, a contest! Magellan sends word of their festivities:

“The Af’s all voluntary team is proud to announce the third anniversary of, the “Age of Empires and Kings” french website.

To associate everyone to that little event, Alliance offer today a “flash” animation featuring all the af’s team and a special anniversary contest:

Today, the french guys are living it up – Magellan

The flash movie is quite well done, showing mugshots of the AF crew as well as their websites. It is nearly 1mb, however, at the end of the movie you’ll find a link to their contest page. Now, my french is not flawless, but by the looks of the big Mechwarrior 4 image, something tells me the prize has something to do with MW 4.

Our congrats and best wishes to the guys of the Alliance Francophone! Here’s to another three years! …the music for the flash movie is just fantastic… ; )

AoE II Gold Edition Unleashed!
Posted by Thunder on August 29th, 2001 @ 2:52 a.m.

The official word has come in from the Microsoft crew that the AoE II Gold Edition has hit the stores! In the press release, they’ve given a general idea of when we can expect to see widespread availability and finally the details on some of the little extras:


Microsoft today announced that the Age of Empires II Gold Edition has started to appear on store shelves. There have been several reports of its availability at locations throughout the U.S., and wide availability is expected by next week. Age of Empires II Gold Edition contains the exciting game play of both Microsoft Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings and Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion, plus over a dozen additional random maps. Gamers new to the series can also learn the secrets of the masters by watching the recorded games of expert players.” – Mike McCart

There’s no word on which expert player recorded games are included. MS and ES have quite a few talented players working for them, so there are quite a few possiblities. …I knew there was a reason I should have gone into EB today…walked right past without checking to see if it has made it north of the 49th… ; )

The_Sheriff’s Chat Transcript…
Posted by Thunder on August 28th, 2001 @ 10:13 a.m.
Last night on the Zone, Kevin “The_Sheriff” Holme, expert Age player and now Ensemble Studios employee at work on AoM, fielded questions from the community. Age of Mythology was off limits, but he did tackle some questions concerning strategy and civilizations for good ol’ AoC:

+Holz@MPlus> Four very popular but very different maps are Arabia, Yucatan, Black Forest, and Islands. What civilization would be your favorite for each one? Do you play that civ both in short and long games?
The_Sheriff@ES> Well my favorite civ generally changes from week to week, but if I had to pick one…
The_Sheriff@ES> I’d take huns on Arabia
The_Sheriff@ES> Mongols on yucatan
The_Sheriff@ES> Celts for BF
The_Sheriff@ES> and Persia for Islands”

Source – The_Sheriff Chat Transcript by davecasa,

For the chat transcript of this chat with The_Sheriff, drop in on this post by davecasa, which contains the whole thing! Thanks Dave! …I was present for part of the chat, but was abruptly thrown out as a result of a disconnection…lousy ISP! ; )

Now Available: IE 6.0
Posted by Thunder on August 28th, 2001 @ 9:39 a.m.
If you like to have the latest and possibly greatest browser, you’ll be interested to know that you can now download Internet Explorer 6.0, for the usual sum of zero dollars. The default download size is a shade over 20 mb, but you can customize what you download and get that down to anywhere from 10 mb on up.

I installed it myself this evening and have noticed a few changes, but overall it is the same browser you’ve come to know and love/hate. …I’ve found the need to have both IE and Netscape…neither does it all… ; )

AoE II Gold Edition In Stores!?!
Posted by Thunder on August 27th, 2001 @ 7:52 p.m.
Wow, can you believe how little we’ve been told about this? According to the MS games AoE II Gold Edition site, the product is still in development and can’t be purchased, but the eagle eyed folks at Gone Gold have already spotted it at a CompUSA for $49.99. That includes Age of Kings and the expansion pack, as well as some bonus maps.

Keep an eye out for this bargain at your local software store! …assuming it has just hit the shelves, it will likely be several weeks to a month traveling outside of North America… ; )

It looks like CompUSA has the goods alright! Mike “Archangel McCart of Ensemble Studios has even picked up a copy of AoE II Gold this very day from them.

The_Sheriff’s Chat & Tourney…
Posted by Thunder on August 27th, 2001 @ 7:20 p.m.
Tonight is the night that Kevin “The_Sheriff” Holme will be taking questions in a Zone chat event, followed by a 2 on 2 turbo tournament! Grab a partner and make sure that you’ve signed up for the tournament, which gets underway at 7:30pm PST. (that’s 10:30pm EST, and about 3:30am GMT)

There already appears to be a small crowd waiting in the Zone chat theatre for the chat with The_Sheriff, which gets underway at 6pm PST. No doubt there is going to be a long line of Agers asking questions, don’t miss it! …if you went to the maimin_matty chat you’ll know to show bright and early if you want to ask a question… ; )

Dueling Guides…
Posted by Thunder on August 27th, 2001 @ 7:16 a.m.
No, the duel isn’t quite a new strategy. A pair of Strategy Forum regulars have been at work on guides for players who are new to the multiplayer scene, and both contain tons of helpful tips. ArmageddonUnlimited has posted his guide here, and TheShadowDawn couldn’t resist dropping a link to a similar guide he’s working on in the same thread.

Fantastic work there fellas! If you’re a newcomer both are a good read indeed. …where were these guides when I first started playing…would have saved me a few losses! ; )

Patches O’ Plenty…
Posted by Thunder on August 26th, 2001 @ 3:37 a.m.
Further adding to their patch collection, the Ensemble Studios crew have recently added the 1.0c Conquerors patch for the Japanese version of the game. For the latest patches for all ES products, stop in on their patch page for their complete inventory. …my four forum party games all ended with ppl leaving, drops, or OOS… ; \

Forum Party Tomorrow…
Posted by Thunder on August 25th, 2001 @ 1:21 a.m.

Our classic weekly clash of arms will be taking place tomorrow on the Zone! Stop in for some grand games with AOKH forum folk and the odd HG staffer. I’ll be there fresh from my not so stunning defeat at the local World Cyber Games qualifier.

For all of the details on where and when, head to the Forum Party Post, place of pre-party smack talk and post party horror stories. …players of all skill levels welcome to join in… ; )

Upcoming Age Marathon!
Posted by Thunder on August 24th, 2001 @ 9:20 p.m.
The gang at are putting together what promises to be a lengthy session of games. The AOK:TC Marathon is a pretty unique event that will not only test your skills, but also your endurance:

“- Play as much as you like, you can not play the same person twice.
– 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4 whatever you want
– 3 Points will be awarded for each win, in team games the points will be awards to each player.
– 1 Point will be awarded for each loss.
– Both teams/players MUST report to receive any points
– Zone Tournament Room 1 on the MSN zone
– Games will start at 9pm est 8/31, and games can start until 2pm est 9/2
– See below for the standard settings”

Source – AOK:TC Marathon

You’ve got a week to practice up and rest up for this marathon. Drop in on the marathon page for more information on how you can get involved. …gl all… ; )

Scenario Reviews & Comments Changes…
Posted by Thunder on August 24th, 2001 @ 3:04 a.m.
There have been some tweaks to our scenario reviewing and comments system, brought to us by Angel Spineman not long ago. You can scope out a description of the streamlined process in the Blacksmith. Essentially submitting comments and reviews are the same process now, only you’ll enter a score if you wish to actually review the scenario. Ahhh, the explanation in the Blacksmith is far more detailed, be sure to check it out before I get myself into trouble.

As always, your input is certainly welcome. Angel Spineman started this thread for feedback on these new changes. …gets my thumbs up for what it’s worth… ; )

UK Tourney Delayed!
Posted by Thunder on August 23rd, 2001 @ 8:11 p.m.
As most of the participants are finding out right now, the UK leg of the MS International Tournament is being delayed until 6pm GMT, August 31. The reason? It seems that “technical difficulties” have gotten in the way of things.

There were people checking in, so if you were registered and missed this event you may or may not be able to get in the Aug 31st second take, but it would be worth a shot. …ahhh well, more time to practice… ; )

The_Sheriff Chat & Tourney!
Posted by Thunder on August 23rd, 2001 @ 3:30 a.m.
Well big bad maimin_matty had his own chat event with a tournament that followed, now Kevin “The_Sheriff” Holme steps up to the plate. (thanks Planet AoE) He’s not only a great player but also a member of the Ensemble Studios crew. Coming up on August 27, you will be able to sign up for the tournament starting at 5:30pm PST with the battles to begin at 7:30pm PST. (10:30pm EST) The chat with Kevin “The_Sheriff” Holme will begin at 6:00pm PST (9pm EST) and will empty out into a crazy 2 on 2 tournament that will take place on an upcoming random map created by the ES folks:

2v2 Turbo Random Map
Map Size: Medium (4 player)
Map type: Great Lakes@ES (in progress)
Resources: Standard
Starting Age: Standard
Game Speed: Normal
Victory Condition: Time Limit (45:00)
Record Game: Yes
Team Together: Yes
Locked Speed: Yes
Locked Teams: Yes
Cheats Enabled: No
Civilizations: Any”

Source – I shot the Sheriff Tourney

Turbo fans are no doubt going to be loving this! Grab a partner and make sure you’re ready to rumble with The_Sheriff. To get yourself signed up, drop in on this page at the Zone. Good luck all! …GreatLakes@ES…hmmmm, hope this one comes out before the event to give us a bit of practice… ; )

MS Tournament: Registration Reminders…
Posted by Thunder on August 22nd, 2001 @ 2:49 a.m.
Another deadline looms! Players from the UK will need to register for the Ms International Tournament by 2200 GMT, August 22. Don’t pass up your chance to compete with some great players, and have a shot at some major prize money. The UK tournament will get underway at 1800, the following day, August 23.

Agers hailing from Belgium will also want to take note that registration opens for you bright and early at 0800 GMT, August 22. You will have a week to work up the courage to join the ranks to fight for a trip to the finals in Redmond, and perhaps wisely practice up.

For more tournament information, head to the Tournament page for all of the details. …congrats to the staff of Pharaoh Heaven on their selection as simulation game site of the week by not long ago! ; )

Patch, The International Language…
Posted by Thunder on August 21st, 2001 @ 8:53 p.m.
You can now download the new 1.0c patch for the Conquerors xpack for localized versions. The patch is now available for French, German, Spanish, and Italian versions. You can snag it here from the official Conquerors site.

The 1.0c patch contains all of the tweaks and additions from 1.0b, and renders the trainers that were able to reveal the map and resources for a player, eventhough cheats were diabled, useless. …and none too soon… ; )

Bruce@GameSpot UK Part II…
Posted by Thunder on August 20th, 2001 @ 7:01 p.m.
Good on their word, the blokes at GameSpot UK have posted a second part of their Q&A with Bruce Shelley today. They dive into Conquerors talk this time around, including design decisions taken with the xpack:

GameSpot UK: How did you choose the new civilisations? By adding the Mayans and the Aztecs, you expanded the Age world into South America – this makes it into a much more world-wide experience, as opposed to Age of Empires II’s generally European-Asian bias. How do these civilisations change the balance of gameplay?

Bruce shelley [sic]: We choose civilisations for several reasons, including historical significance, the relative “coolness” of their architecture and military units, geographical balance within an architectural framework (we assign multiple neighbouring civilisations to one architectural style), designer bias and even marketing considerations. We try to add new gameplay with each civilisation and that does require a lot of testing, to be sure we don’t upset the balance. We want all civilisations to be viable option for play. Including many civilisations helps with worldwide appeal, certainly. Age of Empires games have been the top-selling entertainment product at one time or another in most of the international PC software markets.”

Source – GameSpot UK Interviews Bruce Shelley Pt II

We can look forward to another chapter in this saga tomorrow, when they will be talking about good ol’ Age of Mythology. Perhaps the GSpot UK folks will be able to pry something new out of Bruce. …not bloody likely…but ya never know! ; )

Tournament News!
Posted by Thunder on August 20th, 2001 @ 7:46 a.m.
This weekend was a tournament frenzy! Both the World Cyber Games and the MS International Tournament were in full swing, with some great players rising to the challenge.

World Cyber Games:

Canadian qualifying took place in both Vancouver and Quebec. YounGunz came away the winner in Quebec, while over in Vancouver Christhebest battled to top spot.

I had a front row seat for the best two out of three games fought between Christhebest and rizzen_magi, and was very impressed with both players. Everyone knows that Chris can play like nobody’s business, but rizzen_magi was there step for step with him in each game. The first game was a back and forth fight that started with skirmisher raids in Feudal. Chris looked like he was in trouble early on in both Feudal and Castle Ages as rizzen aged quickly, but Chris was able to defend these early attacks with minimal hit to his economy and counter attack. As things dragged into the Imperial age, barely 300 points seperated the two players. It was anybody’s game, and rizzen came at Chris with a pack of trebs that was knocking Chris around and both players were raiding with Light Cav. In the end, Chris was secruing more gold, raiding all over rizzen’s town, gaining the upper hand.

Both players had great unit microing skills with their units, and not to mention great economic skills. In game two, rizzen was throwing all sorts of camels onto the field to counter Chris’ favourite unit, the Knight. Chris was actually able to keep a large number of knights on the field the whole game, despite rizzen’s camels, and was able to raid his town more successfully. This eventually won him another close game. Great playing by both of these guys, it was a pleasure to watch!

MS Tournament

Qualifying for the USA wrapped up today, with GX_Iron coming out the winner and securing his spot in Redmond for the finals! He will be joining Crexis, who took top spot in the Canadian qualifier. …I was taken out of the WCG tournament bright and early by BardRotherson‘s brother and a fine player… ; )

WCG Western Canadian Prelim…
Posted by Thunder on August 19th, 2001 @ 9:38 a.m.
Things are going quite well at the WCG event here in Vancouver. There was a good turn out for the first rounds, with the Starcraft players out numbering us lowly Agers by a good margin. There are some top players for both games involved however, including Christhebest, Rotherson, and his brother Bard who are taking part in the Age event. The winner will be decided today as we head for a clash of the best two in both AoC and Starcraft.

Personally, I’m still alive in the event, thanks to the double elimination rule. I lost my first game to Capt_Wrong, who managed to weather my Feudal Archer flood and tower attack which forced him out of his base. He then built up farms and claimed gold in far corners of the map and just hung back making Knights until he had a large group. (about 15) They came in and crippled my economy, quite a nasty surprise. I won my second game, which was much easier. I flushed my brit enemy with skirms and archers, walling his stone and gold up, and that was pretty much the end of that.

We’ll keep you posted on the results from today’s final showdown, and hopefully have a few pictures to show later on as well. …I’ve had pretty good luck with drawing opponents near my skill level…but my luck is going to run out, I can tell… ; )

Crexis Conquers Canada…
Posted by Thunder on August 18th, 2001 @ 3:13 p.m.
Although the results page doesn’t reflect it right now, Crexis has won the Canadian leg of the MS International Tournament. It was quite a strong field he had to play through, including the likes of YouunGunz, StorM_HypnoS, ME_Count_Rahl, and a smurfy RighteousFroggy who took on Crexis (aka AzurePoet) in the final 1 on 1 match.

There were a large number of no shows for this event, which took place in the afternoon for most, so it was quite easily played out in one evening. Congrats to Crexis on the win, and best of luck in the finals! …watched Player_Theta play a couple of her tourney games…some very talented competition attended! ; )

Forum Party Today…
Posted by Thunder on August 18th, 2001 @ 1:55 p.m.

A little later than usual, but we have our forum party today on the Zone! For all of the details on the where and when, check out the Forum Party Post.

If you’re in the Vancouver area this weekend, drop into the local WCG event. Lots of great players will be there, duking it out in this tourney. I’ll be hanging out with Lila “Player_Theta” Yee, Steve “Vidguy” Cherrier, and plenty of others, drop on by. …drop on by and say “hi”… ; )

MS Tournament Part II…
Posted by Thunder on August 17th, 2001 @ 10:05 p.m.
Well check-ins are starting for the Canadian qualifying round of the MS International Tournament, which is slated to begin at 5pm Atlantic time, which is 1pm PST! (nowish) There are just over 800 canucks registered to take part, with plenty of big names that will surely be meeting head to head. Best of luck! …what’s with this atlantic time stuff…the left coast is where it’s at! ; )

Xiphoid’s Tourney Report!
Posted by Thunder on August 17th, 2001 @ 7:58 p.m.
This dude can play. Xiphoid, master blaster over at Planet AoE, handed me quite a few defeats when we were playing the AOK:TC beta together last year. Well his skills haven’t deminished over time as he tackled the US qualifying battles last night for the MS International Tournament and did very well. He sure didn’t have an easy time of it, meeting up with Dream_CN in the third round war:

“We both go Vikes and I plan ahead to go heavy land late in the game. The first critical point in the game is when she trannies over to my island and builds two stables and a monastery. I spot her by my house LOS along the shore and having been queuing knights since castle I easily outnumber her and end up destroying all of her buildings. I gain a vill advantage during and after this skirmish. She decides to go seas and puts pressure on my economy along the coast and it does hurt me but I’m on my way to Imp and am beginning to mass infantry in the middle island between our continents. I’m at the bottom of that island with a castle and she, unknowingly to me, is at the top of it with a castle and a few barracks doing the same thing. I Imp first and she does shortly after. What follows next is an intense twenty minutes of battling for the middle island. Having hurt my economy with her navy, I couldn’t afford the champ or arb upgrade so I sprayed as many THS and xbows as I could. “

Source – Planet AoE

Well there’s a bit of a cliff hanger for you. Be sure to stop in at Planet AoE for all of Xiphoid‘s war stories from the event!

With over 3300 registered players, plenty of no shows and long games, the US qualifying rounds were not all finished last night. They will be continuing on Sunday, so stay tuned for the winners. …so many tourneys…so little time… ; )

Bruce Shelley Pre-Tourney Interview!
Posted by Thunder on August 17th, 2001 @ 7:33 p.m.
They’re still gearing up for the UK leg of the MS International Tournament, which you can register for until August 22. The gang from GameSpot UK have posted part of an interview with Bruce Shelley, in which they discuss the tournament and the expansion pack with a promise of more to come:

“GameSpot UK: Why are you running this challenge at this time?

Bruce Shelly: It coincides approximately with the one year anniversary of the game’s release and the best players have reached a high level of both skill and understanding of strategy and tactics. We are also about to release an Age of Empires II Gold Edition that includes both The Age of Kings and the Conquerors Expansion.”

Source – GameSpot UK Interview Bruce Shelley

Has it been a year already? Time sure flies when you’re having fun. Pop on over to GSpot for the full interview, and to find out about some of the benefits of registering for the tournament. They are ready to give away hundreds of prizes, so don’t delay! …prizes that include Age Of Empires II Collectors Editions…sweet deal! ; )

Tournament About To Commence!
Posted by Thunder on August 17th, 2001 @ 0:07 a.m.
If you’re one of the over 3300 Agers from the USA registered to fight for a chance at $50,000 today in the MS International Tournament, get ready to rumble! You’ll need to be ready to check-in shortly, at 4pm PST, which is 7pm EST.

Good luck to each and every one of the players involved in this huge event! Canadian players take note that your event gets underway tomorrow, and registration is underway for players hailing from the UK. See you in Redmond for the finals! …assuming I can hitch a ride down, because lord knows my mad skillz won’t get me there… ; )

Bruce Shelley’s Golden Guidlines…
Posted by Thunder on August 16th, 2001 @ 6:17 p.m.
For those who missed this article in the ES Designer Journal some months ago, the Gamasutra gang now have just reposted it for all to enjoy. Even if you did read it earlier this year, it is well worth revisiting as Bruce Shelley offers his Guidelines for Developing Successful Games. It is a collection of ideas and advice, geared toward making a great selling game. A must read for any future employee of the gaming industry! …thanks to Chooooch for the heads up… ; )

**Conquerors PATCH: 1.0c**
Posted by Thunder on August 16th, 2001 @ 0:32 a.m.
Fresh out of testing is a new patch for the Conquerors expansion pack that is aimed at putting an end to the trainers! You do not need to have 1.0b installed first, as the latest 1.0c patch contains those fixes as well:

“Note: Microsoft Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion 1.0C is an update of Age of Empires II: The Conquerors Expansion 1.0 that includes several enhancements and bug fixes. The installation of patch 1.0B is not necessary as this patch contains that patch as well. Patch 1.0C fixes mini map trainer issues with Age of Kings The Conquerors.

Patch 1.0C will not install correctly if you have previous installed a WAREZ version of the game, the CD Hack or any trainers. You must delete and install the Conquerors for the patch to work correctly.

Known Issues with Patch 1.0C – Readme file is from version 1.0B. (the Same install and de-install instructions from Patch 1.0B still apply).”

Source – Ensemble Studios Patch Page

You can download it here from the ES patch page. Obviously, this is a must have! …proof again that all of the cool stuff happens while I’m out of the house…and cheers to ES/MS on the quick responce to the trainers… ; )

PAoE’s Recorded Games Update…
Posted by Thunder on August 15th, 2001 @ 6:36 p.m.
Only the best! Xiphoid has made quite an extensive update to the recorded games section over at Planet AoE, including games from many of the top experts out there:

“Added tonight was one must-see game between Myth_Osiris and EvilBlitz_NG and nine expert games, two featuring returning top Korean expert RD_Champion, StorM clan members, and European experts like the pGs, Mimmox, Kaiser_Wilhelm, and SHS_North.”

Source – Planet AoE

Drift on over to Planet AoE, initiate a standard orbit, and read up on the descriptions of these great recorded games. Keep your eye out for more in the near future, as Xiphoid has plenty of records up his sleeve! …some good inspiration on the eve of battle…good luck to all US competitors in the MS tournament, who launch into battle tomorrow! ; )

Another New Ager…
Posted by Thunder on August 15th, 2001 @ 6:01 p.m.
Our congrats to Ensemble Studios own Paul Slusser on a brand new addition to his family. Little Shea Deana Slusser was born just yesterday afternoon, but is already featured in a gallery of pictures at the ES news page. Drop by for a look at this new Ager’s stats, and a few screenshots! …I’ve got a toque just like that… ; )

Instant Virus…
Posted by Thunder on August 15th, 2001 @ 3:28 a.m.
With all of the Agers that have reported having their PCs hit by various viruses over the last few weeks, you may want to check out this article from the crew at ZDNet. It seems that instant messenger programs are also now breeding them:

“Having long targeted e-mail with sometimes devastating effects, virus and worm creators are setting their sights on IM services. Infected files, for example, have been burrowing their way slowly through Microsoft’s MSN Messenger network over the past few months.”

Source – Worms find fertile ground in IM

Just think how fast a virus could be spread by an IM program. Take a good read through this article, as a good defence against a virus is to be informed. …not my precious ICQ! The fiends… *end melodramatics* ; )

Tournament Registration Reminders!
Posted by Thunder on August 14th, 2001 @ 7:38 p.m.
It’s registration madness today! The crazy people at GameSpot UK have lost their minds and are giving away the Age shirts off their backs to people who pre-register for the UK event in the MS International Tournament. The only way to find the pre-registration page is at GameSpot UK. You can sign up there today, and possibly win some Age ware such as t-shirts, or wait and sign up with the masses tomorrow when UK registration officially begins. (thanks Archangel)

Adding to the insanity today, is that the registration deadlines for both US and Canadian Agers are coming up. Not only that, so are the tournaments themselves! The US event gets underway on August 16, with registration closing tomorrow, and the Canadian event begins on Friday August 17. Good lord, you haven’t registered? You’ve still got some time, just get over to the Tournament page and get yourself set to compete for that prize money! …sheesh, these tournaments came upon us quick eh? ; )

Tournament questions or comments? Drop in on the Official International Tournament Forums.

New Arrivals & New Features…
Posted by Thunder on August 14th, 2001 @ 3:03 a.m.
We’ve now got a pair of new Cherubs here in Heaven giving us a hand with the giant monster that is AOKH. Now shaping things in the Blacksmith is Cherub Thurdl, who has come up with a reviewing system for random map scripts. Great work and welcome aboard! You can find out more about how to review random map scripts, and even submit a review or two of your own, in the ol’ Blacksmith.

A warm heaven welcome to Cherub PsychoRabbit, who is the new moderator of the Deathmatch Forum. …haven’t made an RMS in a long time…perhaps I’ll dabble once again… ; )

Forum Party Wrap Up…
Posted by Thunder on August 13th, 2001 @ 9:03 a.m.
An energetic group showed up for some games at our weekly Forum Party on Saturday. After a couple of hard fought games I was worn right out. (that happens when you start within spitting distance of a damn Goth player) Read up on some of the happenings in ye olde Forum Party Post, and we’ll see you on the battlefield again next week! GGs fellas! …and I’ll try and upload a recorded game or two to the downloads section sometime today… ; )

Summer Cup Complete…
Posted by Thunder on August 13th, 2001 @ 8:54 a.m.
The invitation only Summer Cup event, hosted by FOPT Clan, came to a close recently. The results? Here they are as laid out by FOPT_Strawberry:

“1st: EvilBlitZ_NG (France)
2nd: Mimmox (Italia)
3rd: The_Steam_ (Lithuania) and Elfanor (Belgium)”

Recorded games of these experts dueling for the cup can be found at the FOPT site, as well as over at They should make for some great viewing! …if you do head to, check out this hilarious strat post… ; )

Virus Woes…
Posted by Thunder on August 12th, 2001 @ 8:47 a.m.
Among the unlucky people to have their computer infected with some of the various viruses on the lose is our head professor at the University, Angel Socrateius. In the whole mess, he lost all sorts of information from his hard drvie, including articles that were submitted in the last month or so. If you sent him an article recently, last month or so as I said, please send it on in to him again. You can of course reach him at: …make sure you’ve got your anti-virus software updated! ; )

Official Forums For International Tourney…
Posted by Thunder on August 11th, 2001 @ 9:46 p.m.
In search of a place to gab about the MS International Tournament? Well your search is over! Ogre tossed an extra special brick through my window, with a lovely note attached announcing the launch of a forum for just this event:

“Through The Ages is proud to host one of the official forums for the Age of Empires 2: The Conquerors International Tournament 2001. At the forum you can post general threads related to the tournament, ask questions, and learn more about it. Please enter through the following link.

You can learn more how to register for the tournament below by clicking on the link. – Ogre

Be sure to stop in while it still has that new forum smell. Thanks to Ogre for the heads up, and you can pop into Through The Ages and see what else he’s been up to.

He did say, “one of” the official forums. Perhaps there are others for French, German, or Korean particpants? Hopefully we’ll find out more shortly. …15 mins to forum party… ; )

MS Tournament Settings!
Posted by Thunder on August 10th, 2001 @ 9:47 p.m.
Included in the lastest press release regarding the international Conquerors tournament are the settings that will be used for the event. No real surprises, thankfully, so if you’ve been playing standard RM of late, you’ll be well practiced. Here is the reminder for US and Canadian folks to get off their duffs and register:


Age Of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament Begins Play August 16

Gamers from the United States and Canada who hope to cash in on the $50,000 grand prize are reminded to sign up for The Conquerors Tournament before August 15 (USA) and August 16 (Canada). The US tournament gets underway next Thursday, August 16 at 5 p.m. PDT. The Canadian tournament begins the next day, August 17, at 2 p.m. PDT. Registration for United Kingdom gamers opens on Wednesday, August 15. The official rules and country-specific information are now available on the official tournament page at

Each match will be played using the following game settings:

  • Game: Random Map
  • Map Style: Standard
  • Location: Continental
  • Resources: Low
  • Difficulty: Standard
  • Population Limit: 200
  • Starting Age: Dark Age
  • Victory Condition: Standard
  • Map Size: Tiny
  • Reveal Map: Normal
  • Game Speed: Normal
  • Lock Teams: Enable
  • Cheats: Disable
  • All Tech: Disable
  • Record Game: Enable

Fifteen countries/regions will hold individual tournaments via the MSN Gaming Zone (, LAN events, or local partners in August and September 2001. Each country/region will crown a national champion who will receive prize money and represent their home country or region in the world finals. Each of the finalists will be sent to compete in the world finals in Redmond, Washington on October 24, 2001, which will be hosted by Ensemble Studios’ legendary game designer Bruce Shelley, among others. The overall value of all cash prizes is over $100,000, with the winner of the competition taking home $50,000.” – Mike McCart

Those times are referring to pacifc time, which is three hours behind EST and two hours behind CST. Good luck to everyone involved!

For those of you outside of the US and Canada, sign ups will be getting underway for you next week. Stay turned for more on that, or visit the tourney page for more information. …those one on one conti maps can be a little funny looking…best to generate a few and take a good look at em… ; )

Forum Party Tomorrow…
Posted by Thunder on August 10th, 2001 @ 9:28 p.m.

Join us once again for our weekly gathering on the Zone for some fun Conquerors games! You can find all the important details on exactly where and when tomorrow in the Forum Party Post.

This is a great event to get a little practice in for the MS tourney, or just play some fun games with weird settings. See you on the battlefield! …have written my last final exam…more game time for me! ; )

International Tournament Registration Underway!
Posted by Thunder on August 9th, 2001 @ 7:00 p.m.
Do not pass up your shot at $50,000! Registration for the Conquerors International Tournament is underway for people from the US and Canada. You have a week to get yourself squared away for this major clash of arms, so get to it! Head to this page to register, and keep an eye out for when registration starts for your nation. …it seems most other folks get an extra week to practice up…to heck with this, I’m moving! ; )

Stormy Interview Two…
Posted by Thunder on August 8th, 2001 @ 7:29 p.m.
Another member of the StorM clan has just been interviewed. This time around it is StorM_Panther, the only player left standing in Planet AoE‘s last great tournament:

“StorM_Panther, also known as KS_Haws, recently topped 245 other players in PAOE’s very own Path of the Conqueror Tournament. Over six preliminary rounds and a very close semi-finals and finals against his esteemed clanmates, Panther went undefeated through the tournament and only lost one game against StorM_Requiem in the three game series that was the semi-finals. If he isn’t a known name to you like StorM_Rising or StorM_Requiem, he soon will be as he’s made a great showing in the Path of the Conqueror and I’m sure he’ll continue to wow his opponents in future endeavors. These are his thoughts on today’s game issues, his playing style, and how he got to where he was.”

Source – Planet AoE Interviews StorM_Panther

The interview is very nicely done. Stop in and check out what Panther has to say about cheapo Goth infantry, and much more. …no one ever asks “Is it an inny or an outty?” anymore…sheesh! ; )

Hangin With Zoners…
Posted by Thunder on August 8th, 2001 @ 10:21 a.m.
A certain Mr. B., Rob B. to be precise, dropped me a line with a link to an interesting corner of the net. He is the creator of the Zone Hangout, which is essentially a collection for forums for folks who love to get their gaming groove going on the Zone. They’ve got forums for AoE, AoM, and plenty of those other games you’ll find on the Zone. Pop in and check out the zHangout. …played with a few Zoners I’d like to hang…whoops! …”gogogogogogo” ; )

Studios Store & On The Trainer Trail!
Posted by Thunder on August 7th, 2001 @ 9:15 p.m.

The guys at Ensemble Studios have been asked on several occasions by fans if there was a place they could buy an ES t-shirt or mug etc. Well, now there actually is! You can drop into their store and pick up an AoM mousepad, mug, t-shirt, or ES t-shirt and yes boxer shorts. ES is in your PC, now they’re in your pants!

You can find the permanent link to the ES store in the same place I did, at

Mike “Archangel” McCart also had a small blurb about the trainers that have turned up in his latest update:

“PS: Thanks for all the emails on the recent Hack to AOK, we are aware of the problem (and have the trainers) and will be addressing this problem as soon as we can.”

Source – ES news

Now that MS and ES are one in the same, hopefully there’ll be a more timely responce to trainer issues then there was with RoR. …he also confirmed weekly AoM screenshots…keep an eye out for those in the coming weeks! ; )

Stormy Interview…
Posted by Thunder on August 7th, 2001 @ 7:23 a.m.
The gang at Imperio SUD had a great sit down chat with StorM_Requiem and StorM_Rising. They are a couple of very talented players, brothers, and seemd to be quite happy to answer a whole bunch of questions:

“SUD_Patagones> Did you play for Canada in the Nations Cup?
StorM_Rising> Yes
StorM_Requiem> yes
StorM_Rising> But we only got 1 game in last season, because of a switch in managers
SUD_Patagones> We heard that Canada withdrew… your opinion on that?
StorM_Requiem> well nc was just for fun…but i was kinda dissappointed
StorM_Rising> Well we didn’t, just some rumour that was spread
StorM_Rising> We just didn’t play enough games to make the play-offs”


They actually comment on many other topics, from good women players to big bad bugs. Stop in and scope out this great interview. (Spanish version here)

Also, our congrats to the Imperio SUD crew on recently ushering their 500,000 visitor through the door! …and thank you to Raven for slipping me a note with the correct URL… ; )

Working Trainer!
Posted by Thunder on August 6th, 2001 @ 9:13 p.m.
Yep, it works just fine. The trainer that the folks at MFO got their hands on works to reveal resources as well as your enemy. You can see the results and read more about them here. Detecting someone who is using the trainer won’t be easy either, as they’ve found out:

“Does it work on the zone?

Does it work in rated games?

Does it work on custom maps like green arabia?
Absolutely- the hack works in all multiplayer games. Custom maps shouldn’t affect it at all – it is simply revealing information already on your computer for the user to see.

Does it show up in recorded games?

If you research carteography can your teammates see it?

Source – Get the full story on the map hack

Well, that’s going to make playing rated a little more interesting. Make sure you stop in and check out the full story. …this is when having a nice long friends list comes in handy… ; )

Archangel Checks In Part III
Posted by Thunder on August 5th, 2001 @ 11:59 p.m.

Yes, Mike “Archangel” McCart was able to smuggle out a few more pictures from Gen Con! He found a booth selling all manner of swords, snapped a good one of the MS booth, and even had time to hassle Farm Girl, poster babe for the upcoming RPG Dungeon Siege. You’ll find them at AoM Heaven.

The poor guy will soon have FTP access to his own site, of course, when he returns from the big show. I believe it all wraps up today, so hopefully once he’s recovered from his travels he’ll be able to post some more pictures and a write-up! Thanks for sharing with us Archangel! …don’t you think she looks a little lonely? ; )

Link: Archangel@GenCon

Working Multiplayer Trainer?
Posted by Thunder on August 5th, 2001 @ 10:03 p.m.
Trainers, those nasty little programs that can allow a player to use certain cheats during a game. Age multiplayer has been largely free of these since the RoR expansion pack for AoE. During the development of AoK, trainers for RoR were ruining rated play. DaRq_DarkJihad from MFO has sent word that they are currently testing out a trainer that may well work for Age II:

“ has in its possession a possible “Reveal Map”/”No Fog” Trainer. I personally (DaRq_DarkJihad) will be testing it from my home network and will post recorded games from BOTH sides on Monday morning. If it turns out that this trainer works, MFO will be at the forefront of developing an “Anti-Trainer”. You can read more here: Tests Trainer

So stayed tuned, as Monday, 10am EDT MFO will reveal recorded games either showing 100% that this trainer WORKS and is real, or that it is PHONY and a HOAX.

For those of you who are interested in Helping out in creating an anti-trainer, and finding out the latest news on it should we need one, Visit the Programming Forum – DaRq_DarkJihad

Some players have already posted that they’ve successfully used a trainer in games, so it certainly looks as though this isn’t a hoax. Stay tuned for more complete test results come Monday. …trainers don’t matter so much when you’re just playing friends, but in rated…yikes… ; )

Forum Party Tomorrow…
Posted by Thunder on August 4th, 2001 @ 3:43 a.m.

If you’re looking to get in some practice before tackling the throngs of Agers sure to register for the MS $50,000 tourney, drop in on our Forum Party tomorrow! Forumers and perhaps an AOKH staffer or two will be gathered on the Zone for much of the day tomorrow, join us if you can. For more information on when and where to join in, head to the Forum Party Post.

See you on the battlefield! …or see you in valhalla if you prefer… ; )

Microsoft’s $50,000 Tournament Info!
Posted by Thunder on August 4th, 2001 @ 0:45 a.m.
At long last we finally have more information on the HUGE Conquerors tournament that was announced by Microsoft many moons ago! It looks like most of the regional events will be taking place on the Zone, with the asian nations having to duke it out via LAN or ISP:


Age Of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament Begins This Month

Microsoft today announced additional details surrounding the Age of Empires II: The Conquerors International Tournament, which will award $50,000 to the player who emerges victorious in a glorious battle for world supremacy. Fifteen countries/regions will hold individual tournaments via the MSN Gaming Zone (, LAN events, or local partners in August and September 2001. Each country/region will crown a national champion who will receive prize money and represent their home country or region in the world finals. Each of the finalists will be sent to compete in the world finals in Redmond, Washington on October 24, 2001, which will be hosted by Ensemble Studios’ legendary game designer Bruce Shelley, among others.

The tournaments held on the MSN Gaming Zone will include those for the United States (excluding MD and VT), Canada (excluding Quebec), United Kingdom, Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden, and Denmark. Local LAN/ISP events will be held in the Netherlands, Brazil, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Argentina, and Australia. For more information on each country/region’s tournament as well as the official rules, visit the official tournament page: – Mike McCart

Registration for several of the regional events (USA first on August 8th) gets underway next week! It doesn’t leave much time for practicing, but be sure to stop in at the MS Tournament page for the complete details on when you can register! …did they cover all the major Age playing nations? Tough to choose only fifteen… ; )

Archangel Checks In Part Deux!
Posted by Thunder on August 3rd, 2001 @ 11:09 p.m.

Pictures! The very busy Mike “Archangel” McCart, webmaster at Ensemble Studios, has dropped us a postcard so to speak from Gen Con! Not only did he send his impressions and thoughts from the first day of the event, where he is demoing Age of Mythology, but he included a few pictures as well. The poor guy is without FTP access to his own site, so you’ll have to make do with viewing them over at AoM Heaven:

Link:Archangel@GenCon Day 1

VE Poll!
Posted by Thunder on August 3rd, 2001 @ 8:00 p.m.
Currently at Voodoo Extreme they are running a poll with the question: Best official website? Among the options is Ensemble Studios, who currently has a dismal 37 votes to their name! The ES guys use their site to support a great many fan activities, so drop by Voodoo Extreme and give them some support. …note to self: pay more attention to e-mails from Chooch…thanks for the heads up dude! ; )

Nations Cup: Season Two!
Posted by Thunder on August 3rd, 2001 @ 8:56 a.m.
Those nationalists are at it again! CID_Al_Malone sends word that the second coming of the Nation’s Cup is now underway. Not only that, but the finals for the first season are still being decided! There are some bitter battles being fought, with team USA being the only group to earn a spot in the finals. They defeated team Brazil 2:1 to move on, but they aren’t free and clear yet.

While you’re over there checking out what’s new for season two, be sure to give them your two cents on a different site design. You’ve got to respect folks who are looking for user feedback, so let them know what you think. …team Brazil had been kicking some major tail…the Yanks must have some big guns in their ranks! ; )

Archangel Checks In…
Posted by Thunder on August 3rd, 2001 @ 8:43 a.m.
Having arrived safely in Milwaukee for Gen Con, Mike “Archangel” McCart has given us a bit of a write up of what he’s been up to:

“Well I made it to the great City of Milwaukee! And believe it or not, the weather is no cooler here than it was in Dallas . It’s been a long day already and the show doesn’t start until tomorrow. I spent most of the afternoon in the Exhibitor area looking around, loading Age of Mythology, checking out board cards, card games, etc etc etc.

The Microsoft team did a great job setting everything up (Thanks April!). Plus to my pleasure MS has a real nice six foot poster of the AOM Thor, that is just killer. (Thanks to Ensemble’s own David Cherry for the artwork). If everything goes to plan (and it never does for old webmasters , I hope to bring you some pictures from GenCon this week.” – Mike McCart

Source – ES News

Cross your fingers that he’s got some spare time to snap a few shots of the event. Go on Mike, get a close up shot of a monitor! I believe that the event doesn’t wrap up until Sunday, the 5th, so we’ll likely have a bit of a wait for pictures and such. …my term project for school got in the way yesterday…I’ve got lots of missed games to make up for! ; )

Age Cracks Top 20…
Posted by Thunder on August 2nd, 2001 @ 7:33 p.m.
The folks at GameSpy have been taking input from developers, producers, and publishers for their top 50 games of all time list. They brought out their picks for #20 – #11 today, which included both Age of Kings (#16) and the orginal Age of Empires (#14). Levelord seems to be deeply in love with AoE still, placing it right near the top of his personal picks. …I’m late…I’m late…for a very important date… ; )

Empire Earth Beta!
Posted by Thunder on August 1st, 2001 @ 8:22 p.m.
I think the headline pretty much screams it all. Sign ups are currently underway, so make sure you get your name in the hat! Head to EE Heaven for more information. …oh…my…gawd… ; )

Heroes Of The Ages Entries For Download…
Posted by Thunder on August 1st, 2001 @ 8:14 p.m.
I must have missed this announcement somewhere along the line, my thanks to SirLANcelot of for the note. You can snag the winning entries and honourable mentions from Ensemble Studios‘ recent scenario design contest here on their downloads page. These are some top notch scenarios developed by some of the most talented scenario designers around! …just great…there’s the rest of my day gone… ; )

FOPT Summer Cup!
Posted by Thunder on August 1st, 2001 @ 8:02 p.m.
Word has come in from the FOPT Clan that they will be hosting an invitation only event. There will be some big names attending to duke it out 1 on 1. Things will get underway on August 11, and we can look forward to recorded games of the action! Here’s FOPT_Strawberry with the pitch:

“I would like to inform you about another big event hosted by the FOPT-Clan and -Fan Site on August 11th, 2001. The “FOPT Summer-Cup 2001” is an invitational tournament (1 vs. 1 – Arabia) for experts. Following 12 players from 10 different countries have been invited to show us the latest developments in patch strategy:

01.) Arch_Vile_ (Australia)
02.) Dante_Ill_ (USA)
03.) DjiNN_Crouvex (Germany)
04.) Elfanor (Belgium)
05.) EvilBlitZ_NG (France)
06.) FOPT_Blueberry (Austria)
07.) Kaiser_Willhelm (Sweden)
08.) Mimmox (Italy)
09.) SHS_North (England)
10.) StorM_Panther_ (USA)
11.) The_Steam_ (Lithuania)
12.) WX_Swinger (USA)

If you are a little involved into the AOK-community you will know that these players guarantee gameplay on the highest possible level. You can be sure that you will see many of these names again in the MS-Tournament and in the World Cyber Games 2001. Of course all games will be recorded and offered for public download exclusively on our homepage shortly after.

Further more FOPT draws a watcher-spot by lots for the final match (yes, you will be allowed to watch the game live on stage) among our forum-visitors who predict the finalists correctly.

All you have to do is to join the official “FOPT Summer-Cup betting and gambling thread”, bet 100 (virtual) FM (FOPT-Mark) on your favourites and predict the finalists. A registration is not required to use our forums and of course it’s completely free.

While the tournament is running the official tournament page will be updated every 60 minutes.” – FOPT Strawberry

You’ll find their official summer cup page here, complete with some information on the players involved. If you’re psychic, check out this post in their forums where you can put your skills to the test by predicting who’s going to come out on top. Best of luck to those involved! …those are some awesome mugshots they’ve got of the players… ; )

Microsoft@Gen Con 2001…
Posted by Thunder on August 1st, 2001 @ 7:41 p.m.
Microsoft has sent word about their squad of games making the trip to Gen Con, which takes place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. If you are in that area in the next few days, do not miss this event:


Gen Con may take place in Wisconsin, but it’s going to feel a lot like Seattle this year as Microsoft announced today that they will show five upcoming titles, including the highly anticipated Dungeon Siege. Gen Con takes place in Milwaukee from August 2 – 5, and is recognized as being the largest gaming convention in the nation for science fiction, fantasy, and general game-playing fans.

Gamers will be able to get their hands on two new role-playing games from Microsoft: Dungeon Siege, the new action fantasy RPG; and Asheron’s Call: Dark Majesty, the expansion pack to the award-winning MMORPG. Outside the RPG genre, two games based on the BattleTech universe will also be demonstrated: MechCommander 2, the recently released real-time tactical strategy game; and MechWarrior 4: Black Knight, the expansion pack to the critically acclaimed, best-selling MechWarrior 4 franchise. In addition, Ensemble Studios’ highly anticipated 3D real-time strategy title, Age of Mythology, will be on display.

Farm Girl, the sword-wielding heroine of Dungeon Siege, will be on hand at the Microsoft booth. The spokesmodel representing Farm Girl was recently chosen by fans on the official Dungeon Siege site. Fans attending Gen Con can visit the Microsoft booth on Thursday, August 2, and pick up a voucher for a T-shirt or hat, which can be redeemed for game-branded memorabilia Thursday evening from 6 – 9 p.m. at the Microsoft-sponsored Wizards of the Coast Block Party.

For more information about Microsoft Games, visit: – Steve Cherrier

Make sure you stop by and visit Mike “Archangel” McCart who will be at the Microsoft booth showing Age of Mythology. If you can pry yourself away from that game, Dungeon Siege is also a must see! …watch out for Farm Girl…she’s not your typical country gal… ; )

WCG Rolls On…
Posted by Thunder on August 1st, 2001 @ 9:51 a.m.
If you have not stopped in at the World Cyber Games website in awhile, you may have missed some new additions. They are continuing to add national websites and regional events for the Conquerors and the other selected games. For the latest on this international tournament which will end in a clash of the best players in December, with hundreds of thousands in prize money handed out, check out See you on the battlefield! …stop in at the Vancouver event if you get a chance…it will certainly be the only battlefield I get to play on for the WCG… ; )