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October 1st, 2011, 08:20
played a couple hours of Age of Empires Online tonight. I have mixed feelings about it, and I think ultimately I have enough RTS already (havent even played AOE III to it's fullest) to get into it. I had to go a few rounds w/ Games for Windows Live just to get the thing working, so it didnt start on a positive note.

Theyve made an online persistent home city, wherein you level and gather upgrades as you go on standard rts mission style quests. Quest rewards are upgrades, the ability to build spearmen, bowmen, etc. Better troops and tech. Also you get loot, which you can enhance your troops with as well. But as "free to play" things always go, there's a catch. There's some cool stuff that you just cannot use until you upgrade. Granted, it's only 15 bucks or so for the "full" civilization, less than most new games cost, but still…. I dont like them dropping loot you cannot use, strongarm manipulation tactics. It's pretty lame to actually have to buy the full civilization, or additional. Ultimately, it seems a little too "pay to win" for my tastes.

The graphics are totally different than the past "Age Of.." games, cartoony disney looking but they pull it off well. The animations are great and it's a nice looking game. The RTS battles do leave a little to be desired when it comes to unit control tho - no follow/guard command, no setting production building flags to units, no hero units. It's not squad based, so you have to micro all your units. Which is fine, but there's no representation on the interface to easily select and rotate out damaged units, which to me is a big part of being a good RTS player, being able to micro your troops to effectively take down a larger/superior forces just by effective cycling of troops and staying in control of the engagement.

I dont think it's a bad game, just doesnt seem like something I'm interested in investing more time in and it wasnt fun enough to spend money on
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