After running an Age Of Empires 4 closed beta test for lucky ticketholders, the makers now want absolutely everyone to pile in and click men as hard as you can to see if the game explodes. The historical RTS is holding an open "technical stress test" this weekend, from Friday to Monday, to give the multiplayer backend a sound kicking and see if it stays stands. In short, hey, you can play AO4's multiplayer for free this weekend.
The Age Of Empires 4 technical stress test will start at 6pm (10am Pacific) on Friday the 17th and run until 6pm (10am Pacific) on Monday the 20th. It'll be on both Steam and the Xbox Insider Hub app. It'll offer the tutorial, Mission Zero, as well as the option to play custom multiplayer matches against AI opponents but the test's focus is proper meatbag vs. meatbag multiplayer.
The devs explain, "we are interested in driving as many people into the Technical Stress Test build as possible during this window to make sure that our matchmaking, lobbies and additional systems hold strong."
They've made a few changes since closed beta, too. Along with tweaking balance and fixing bugs, they've listened to requests to increase the maximum distance you can zoom out. And no, no NDA so you're free to gab away.
Age Of Empires 4 is due to launch in full on the 28th of October, coming to Steam and the Microsoft Store (and yep, it's on Xbox Game Pass). It's made by Relic Entertainment, the studio behind the Company Of Heroes and WH40K: Dawn Of War strategy games.
AOE4 is coming a grand 16 years after the last new-new game, though the series has delightfully been revived in the interim years with new expansions and remasters. It's good to have AOE back. Resident warelephant enthusiast Nate was excited by what he saw of the game earlier this year.