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Age of Empires Online

July 8th, 2005 by Troy Goodfellow · 3 Comments · Uncategorized

Planet Age of Mythology is reporting that Ensemble is looking for people who have experience in developing and servicing massively multiplayer games.

The MMO world is the next big frontier for strategy gamers. I fondly remember playing empire conquest type games on a BBS in college, but it was turn based and heavily weighted in favor of those who had been around the longest. Joining a game as a new country or empire generally meant that your survival depended on the willingness of the big dogs to let you live.

Planet AoM is reading the tea leaves, though, and coming away with the impression that this will not your typical Ensemble RTS. Why would a strategy game need specialists in bone animation? The implication is that this will be some sort of RPG/RTS hybrid.

With Stardock working on Society, it won’t be long before we see how developers plan to use the MMO world to expand the reach of strategy games. The trick is to keep a player’s empire an active entity even when the player is offline. If Bob’s Klingons are my big threat, I shouldn’t have to wait until he’s online before I take them out. And since, to this point, all strategy games have been PvP in the multiplayer environment, anyone who deigns to bring a MMO strategy game into the world will have to deal with all the baggage that that brings to the table.

Of course, to this point we have no evidence that Ensemble’s big gamble will be strategy at all. Blizzard made its name with RTS games and a very light hack-and-slash RPG. And now they are the king of the MMO mountain. The campaign game in Age of Empires 3 will center on a single family, so there may be a role-playing element here that hasn’t really been present in any of Ensemble’s other offerings. (Yes, Age of Mythology had a character based campaign, but it was more adventure than role playing, at least as traditionally understood.)

For the unfiltered word on the project (or lack thereof) check out the jobs section for Ensemble.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Tony

    An MMOG based on the Age series? Sign me up!

    BTW – what BBS games are you referring to? I don’t know if you’re referring to the games Barren Realms Elite and Solar Realms Elite, but I used to love to play those.

  • Troy Goodfellow

    The funny thing is I can’t remember the name of the game at all. Star something? Might be Solar Realms…you had an empire and you built fighters and spies and rockets and stuff.

    I remember that once the top dog started taking out newbies and me and two pals (all midlevel players) decided to take him down. We could only play our turns once every 24 hours, but the clock reset at midnight. Only one person could play the game at a time.

    So, around 11:45 pm, we logged on in sequence and built up our forces. When the clock turned over, we rushed to log on again. We launched wave after wave of attacks on him. My pals were annihilated, and my force took a serious beating on my first two attacks. The next three, though, wiped the brute down to nothing. Boy was he pissed.

    Good times.

  • Tony

    What you describe definitely sounds like BRE or SRE. BRE was networked between BBS, so it was BBS vs. BBS. You could set up attacks that the whole board would participate in. Indeed, it was very good times.