Racey: Age Of Empires Online “Skirmish”

You might remember that our Brendy thought free-to-play strategy Age Of Empires Online was a bit of alright, but he was a bit uncomfortable with the general “having other people in it” sort of feel. Of course that’s not stopped the seventy bajillion people who did sign up, and some of those probably even spent money on it. They’re going to have a new option for spending money this month because there’s a new bolt-on expansion called the “Skirmish Pack” (enthusiastically trailered below) which will, surprisingly, unlock all the races in the game (although not level you up to unlock all content) and allow you to customise all starting conditions for your game, allowing you to taste all the possible options for Empire-building.

I’m going to speculate that this is going to cost about £5, although there doesn’t seem to be a price announced for it yet. Ooh, we should totally run a sweepstake on which RTS will go F2P next!


  1. Khemm says:

    Proper AoE 4, please.
    I enjoyed AoE Online for a few hours, but I really miss that grand historical RTS style with an epic campaign. Not to mention that while it’s a great looking game, cartoony art direction feels wrong in AoE. Just my 2 cents.

    • rocketman71 says:


      We’re not getting it, though. If AoE4 comes, it will be some other P2W shit with GFW on top.

    • Lemming says:

      I concur with a normal AoE release, but I rather like the cartoony style. You can still be all historical and stuff with some cartoon fun. It’d be a great way to get young ‘uns to learn some history. Kind of like that horrible histories series.

  2. Marnit says:

    Something the game news sites do not mention:
    1. It has been released
    2. Its free (for a “limited time”)
    Put that in some big letters so everyone who likes the game, actualy knows they should “buy” it now…

    link to marketplace.xbox.com

    • Tams80 says:

      Thanks! One of my main problems with AOE Online was that you could only play the Greeks for free and the other civilization packs were ridiculously expensive. I would have paid for this pack, but getting it free is even better! Not only shall I actually play for the first time in ages, I might actually buy something else as well.

  3. Jae Armstrong says:

    Y’know, this probably would have been my favourite game of last year if they’d dropped the “online” part. It’s basically everything I ever loved about AoK/AoM tightened up and given a fresh coat of paint, then wedged awkwardly into an uncomfortable MMO structure.

    There is an excellent game trapped in there somewhere.

    • kekstee says:

      Is there even a way to access skirmish mode with a full tech tree available by spending ridiculous amounts of money? Or are you actually forced to grind the stupid MMO thing around it?

  4. westyfield says:

    Just think, this is what we got instead of Kings and Castles.

  5. Novack says:

    GFW? no thank you!

    • Ed123 says:

      Good choice. I put off trying it for months before extreme boredom withered my defences, at which point GfWL decided go into a download/finished/download again loop trying to retrieve my details. Then it froze up. Uninstalled everything, restarted, reinstalled, downloaded AoEO again. GfWL promptly crashed, and I remembered why I specifically avoid buying anything on steam connected with this piece of crap.

  6. Blackcompany says:

    So my girlfriend, who ranted and raved at my playing Strategy games, just found out she likes Castleville on Facebook. Her only complaint: Is too simplistic. But its ‘the only game out there like this’ that she knows of.
    In short, I am looking for some good “kingdom building” type strategy games. Not strategic warfare types; more the kingdom building, resource managing type games. Fighting off raids, etc now and then is one thing, but she’s not looking to get into the Total War series or anything.
    just wondering if perhaps AoE online might fit the bill for her, and maybe even myself as well. Or if anyone has an ideas? Thanks.

    • Tams80 says:

      While it is MMO and does have a city you can build, AOE Online is very much based around the classic AOE gameplay. To get anywhere you need to do battles, though the AOE battles do have resource management in.

      It’s not really like a Facebook game though, where you go away and come back to find you got x number of resource y and fought off players S&T. While there is a little of this, it still requires you to spend time playing it.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Thanks Tams. We’re searching for a few things a little more weighty than a facebook game. Might have to give this a try, since the core game is free, after all. Can’t hurt. Thanks again.

    • andytizer says:

      I play AoE online quite a lot with my casual gamer wife. The game itself is great for co-op vs AI especially the Defence of Crete booster pack. However it’s very combat intensive and you have to have quite strong micromanagement skills to get your economy up fast enough to be able to fend off AI attacks. You can make up for partner’s skill by playing easier levels and doing things like walling off your starting areas and investing in static tower defences, and you can share resources so one partner focuses on economy, the other focuses on defences for example.

    • Asskicker says:

      Try The Settlers, new online version is just out. :)

    • MondSemmel says:

      The Anno series, maybe? I haven’t played the latest two, but from what I remember, the series is traditionally very heavy on economy; battles are much less important.

    • Carra says:

      -The lastest 2 anno games.
      -Tropico 4
      -The somewhat older but still fun Impression games (Pharaoh)
      -Civilization (it’s quite possible to get by with a minimum of war)

    • Aninhumer says:

      Any of the City Building Series: link to en.wikipedia.org

      The earlier ones are probably available super cheap somewhere, and they’re all solid games.

    • Blackcompany says:

      Excellent advice, everyone. I really appreciate it. We will look into those games. Thank you.

    • jamesgecko says:

      You might want to look at the Patrician games. I’ve not played them, but they sound like something she might like. They’re not strictly city-building, there’s a bunch of trading and economics in them, too.

      Another economic/political simulation I hear recommended a lot is The Guild.

    • Lemming says:

      Beasts & Bumpkins? it’s an old game (you can probably find it on an abandonware site or something), but if i remember its a village building/defending game and has some laughs that should keep her entertained.

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      A bit late, maybe, but CivCity Rome might fit that brief as well.

  7. jamesgecko says:

    Does this actually unlock all the races? I don’t see that mentioned anywhere in the video or buy page, and they were selling the races individually earlier. It DOES unlock all the units for the race you’re playing. Mayhaps Jim wasn’t paying attention?

  8. Frosty840 says:

    I played AoEO for a level or two and then managed to break it really, really horribly, and had to reboot the PC.

    Wasn’t entirely impressed by that and never went back.

  9. Natus says:

    AoE Online could have been such a resurgence for the brand. Instead, they let the MMO part get in the way and no.w I find it hard to log in because I resent what they’ve done with the lisence. Maybe the skirmish pack will help, but since all my PvP games have been broken, I think it’s too little, too late.