Age of Empires Online

It’s Age of Empires, with fewer civilizations and you need to both pay $20 and level grind to get full access each civilization. That is for each civilization, not $20 for the game. I can see where this business model would be great for Microsoft except for the “why would you pay for this rather than just buying an RTS?” part. They may have missed the “micro” bit of “microtransactions” with a $20 starting price point.

They are swinging for the home run, though, coming out of the gate with a $100 “season one pass.” They dream big, and MMOs are not the only ones asking you to drop multiples of a box cost for the promise of future content development.

Playing a little further, I met my first item that was no-drop, no-sell, “premium civilization” only. (Storage space is also strictly limited under F2P.) I think my exit point was meeting the Hetairoi, which are basically battering ram cavalry you can access with a “premium civilization.” I think the intent is “look at how awesome the paying customers’ toys are,” but the affect is “pay to win.”

: Zubon

5 thoughts on “Age of Empires Online”

  1. Watching Giantbomb’s quicklook gave me a good way to think of AoE:O’s free to play model. It is all one big demo of the whole $20 game with the fancy bits and most of the achievements locked away. So in that way its fairly similar to any of the games on XBLA. Personally I got to level 19 before I decided I rather liked the game enough to buy just the Greek civ. I’m already up to level 32 now and its still very fun.
    As to your point on those cool toys you get as a premium member you only get essentially four bonuses total at a time(one per age from advisors). With the four total in mind I’ve ignored all those extra units and just focused on economy bonuses. Honestly though I think advisors are a nice addition for purchasing the civ though as the only three other things you get are access to blue/purple gear, more crafting options, and if you care achievement points.

  2. Yeah, it might be petty of me but the sticker shock of the $100 “season pass” sort of turned me off from the game. I’m completely broke and I don’t want to be reminded of this when I play video games!

  3. You do realize that you’re misusing the word, do you? :P “The uncommon noun affect, which has a meaning relating to psychology…” (from MW).

    I think the original comic is also actually misusing the word (even for the second meaning of verb ‘effect’), but it is not so clear-cut.

  4. I think one of the most troubling things to come out of the F2P trend is the ludicrous inflation of the cost of “game content”.

    This article offers a great example. You can see similarly absurd situations in LoL – I seem to recall it would cost upwards of $300 to “buy the whole game” (unlock all champions) – and TF2.

    As a customer, I’m simply not willing to buy a game piecemeal like this. For me, variety is a huge component of gameplay, and the ability to change class/weapon/etc. without restriction is vital to having a strategic and interesting experience.

    I realize that cost of production has gone up a lot since that $50 standard price was put in place, but jumping from $50 to $300+ is a bit silly…

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