Age of Empires II releases a new African expansion this week

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AOE2

16 years is a long time in any measure of your life. 16 years in a video game timeline however, is longer than eternity itself, or John Holme’s “talent”. And that’s just how long it has been since Age of Empires II: Age of Kings was released.

Pretty much one of the greatest strategy games ever made, Age of Empires II took a winning formula and improved on it in every way possible. Also, those Woad Raiders YOLOing their way through enemy ranks was priceless.

So it may be unusual that Age of Empires II is getting a new expansion. But it certainly is welcome.

To be specific, an expansion for the HD remake of Age of Empires II. It’ll be the second new expansion, after 2013’s The Forgotten that took a fan mod and made it all official-like. The African Kingdom will introduce four new factions to the series, each with their own campaign:

  • Malians
  • Berbers
  • Ethiopians
  • Portuguese

According to insider sources that I just made up, the Portuguese will have the tastiest economy, but the slowest unit production speed. Naval combat is also getting tweaked in this expansion, with developer Forgotten Empires explaining that such encounters will now be a more balanced affair:

AOE1

Water warfare is a tricky business in Age of Empires II. Most water maps are decided by who has the most galleys the quickest. Even though we tried to boost Fire Ships and Demolition Ships in The Forgotten, it didn’t touch the base problem: there is no counter system in the Feudal Age.

Because of that, flawless execution of a standard build order often meant more than having tactical insight and adapting to your enemy’s choices. Even though all are core elements of RTS games, we had the impression the balance was tipped too much to execution rather than tactical decisions. Time to go to the drawing board!

We figured that no matter how strong you make Fire Ships, they would have to counter large fleets of Galleys, which could’ve been massed easily for an entire age before you can get out your fire nozzles. So instead of making the Feudal Age a galley-fest, we decided to introduce 2 new ships to make a proper rock-paper-scissor system.

We’re still in the progress of balance testing and tweaking them properly, but so far, water maps have never been so fun and varied right off the bat. We can reveal however that the Fire Galley will be the first unit in the game with just 1 attack. And despite that, they rock your boat. Literally.

And to spice it up even more, one of the new civilizations will have a naval unique unit. Until recently its unit description in the game was “does funky stuff against galleys”, good thing we have an attentive testing team. Regardless, they still do funky stuff against galleys!

Neat! Back in the day, my tactic when it came to naval battles was to throw as many ships as possible at the enemy, until they ran out of lumber. Thank you, Zapp Brannigan school of military tactics. Other changes in The African Kingdoms include more unit-tweaking and new technologies, when it releases on November 5.

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And now to see if Cheese Steak Jimmy’s is still a valid code to use in the game.

Last Updated: November 4, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia’s M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

  • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

    YOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLO

    • Hammersteyn

      Though it was Yo ho. Or is that how the Malians sings on their ships?

      • Rock789

        Maybe they’re just adamant that they only live once? **hides head in shame at bad joke**

        • Hammersteyn

          hehe

  • Brady miaau

    I tried to play this again.

    I think my time playing this is over and in the past. Anyone else played it again, with HD remake and all that?

    • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

      Speaking of old games, have you found the MW4 download?

      Just search for MW4 mercs, it is a free download now for ages, I rather enjoyed the MW4 Mercs

    • Captain JJ the Goo

      I’ve played the HD remake quite a bit. Love it.
      Feels pretty much the same as I remember.

  • HairyEwok

    I’ve got a whitty joke for this one but not sure if it will be seen in the correct way XD.

    • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

      Go for it, and if it is NOT witty, you shall be shunned

      • Hammersteyn

        *dusts off banhammer

        • Hammersteyn

          *fixed

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Saw it anyway

        • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

          What are you doing with the dust of my banhammer?

          • Hammersteyn

            I’ve got one to. There are many like it. But this one is mine

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            [facepalm]
            to too

          • Hammersteyn
          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja
          • Hammersteyn

            Right… I just asked myself a question

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            Crazy person you

          • HvR

            That dog ain’t stupid he saw the PE shoplifter clip

          • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

            I really enjoyed that

      • HairyEwok

        So what is the maximum tech age you can go as a African kingdom? The dark ages?

        • Grand Admiral Chief SpaceNinja

          Heh, ok, fine, you are safe

  • HvR

    For some reason the ships doing Tony Hawk styled 180’s always pissed me off.

    Well suppose what can you expect from a M$ published game.

    • Captain JJ the Goo

      All the strategy games of that era had naval ships who did that. Except, of course, for the bestest strategy game ever….Total Annihilation.

      • Stitch

        TA no ships? I remember loads of ships from submarines to aircraft carriers – I think they came in a later Dev made content patch (or were there in the later levels). Whilst I completely agree that it was the best of them all, one problem for me was the soundtrack, an operatic/classical theme lacked the rousing themes of Command and Conquer which always helped keep me focused on the fight.

        • Captain JJ the Goo

          Not no ships in TA. There were ships from the start in the game. What I mean…relating to the previous comment is that the ships in TA didn’t turn on a central axle like those of AOE2. They turned like real ships, with large turning circles.
          I loved that soundtrack actually. Because it was different. No one else uses these classical theme anymore, and it added great presence in my opinion.

  • Pieter Kruger

    Need this on Xbox One and Hololens……..NOW!!!!!!

  • Captain JJ the Goo

    I fear we’ll never see cool South African factions also. 🙁

  • DragonSpirit009

    I loved Age of Empires when I was in collage… One of the best past times for me!

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