Update: Microsoft actually pulled the plug on AOEO's updates - not Gas Powered Games.
Original: This rather unfortunate bomb dropped last week while each member of the RPS team was still out colonizing a different region of space, but I think it certainly bears mentioning. Age of Empires Online, sadly, is history. Or at least, the part where it continues to actively grow and evolve is now another footnote in the series' lengthy legacy. The free-to-play revamp of the storied RTS series isn't headed for the more contemplative region of Valhalla just yet, but - from now on - what you see is what you get. No more new content.
Somewhat unsurprisingly, Microsoft has opted to stop refueling AOEO's engines because the money's not there anymore. So they explained in a blog post:
"Creating top-tier content, as we have been for the last year and a half, is very expensive - too expensive to maintain for long, as it turns out. We can no longer afford to keep creating it. AOEO already has a very large amount of high-quality, hand-crafted entertainment, and adding more is no longer cost-effective."
Among other things, this means no Roman civilization and a much slower response time (if any response at all) on bug fixes. Beyond that, though, nothing else is changing. Every aspect of the game will remain fully playable, and even customer support will continue to have your back as you charge ever onward into the
Still though, it's a bit of a shame, as it sounds like there were plans for more battle-enriching bits and pieces of Wonder-based wonderment. But hey, if it's any consolation, longtime AOEO developer Gas Powered Games' new project is right around the corner, so that's at least something to look forward to.
As for the Age of Empires series itself? Well, I suppose we'll have to take that one up with Microsoft. If I'm being honest, though, I don't really like our chances on this one.