Welcome, friends and medieval historians, to the first major update for Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition! We are proud to introduce the December game update, which is accompanied by a *looooong* list of bug fixes, our first major civilization balance changes, as well as new gameplay additions and features we’ve prepared for Age of Empires II.
What’s changed in today’s build?
As the first major update since the game’s release last month, the short answer is: A LOT! The teams have been working hard to improve everything from the stability and performance of the game to balance changes that bring some of the more powerful civilizations in line with the rest of the roster. This (of course) includes some much-needed (and much-requested) love to the Steppe Lancer, which has been a major point of contention over the past month.
You’ll also notice a few new features and gameplay improvements implemented with today’s patch. Ranked Matchmaking has gained a few new maps, as well as the ability to ban out maps based on the number of players. On the single-player front, campaigns will now display completion medals based on the difficulty on which you completed them, and several achievements have been fixed so you strive for that 100% completion.
Overall, there are over 100 fixes in today’s build; the biggest highlights of today’s update can be found below, while the rest of the update notes highlight everything coming to Age of Empires II.
|💬 DISCUSS: Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (Official Forum)
💬 DISCUSS: Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition (Steam Discussions)
You are also welcome to visit the official Discord server, where you can organize games, troubleshoot issues, engage with the development team, and interact with other Age of Empires players:
Finally, I want to pass along our heartfelt THANKS for being a part of this journey, for your passion, and for your patience as we work to collect and communicate the changes coming to the game. Many of the fixes below started as a discussion thread or bug report on our forum, which we have been scouring over the past month to establish your list of priorities for the game. The development team is already working hard on next month’s update—which will include more changes based on your feedback—so keep your thoughts and ideas coming! We’ll be working to improve the way we communicate issues, priorities, and goals for the future, and can’t wait to share what we have in store for Age of Empires II.
For now, we hope you enjoy December’s update; happy holidays to you and yours!
—The Age of Empires Team
♦ ♦ ♦
Here are some of the most noteworthy improvements coming with today’s update—most of which originate as discussions within the community and feedback collected over the past few weeks:
- Performance Improvements
- Game Stability Improvements & Crash Fixes!
- Balance Changes (particularly to the Cumans and Steppe Lancers)
- NEW! Map Ban System for Ranked Matchmaking!
- Updated Map Pool for Ranked Matchmaking
- Campaign Balance & Achievement Fixes
- NEW! Campaign Completion Medals
- Art of War Challenge Missions now have Localized Voice-Overs
- AI & Pathfinding Improvements
2019 Winter Celebration!
We’re celebrating the end of the year with the Winter Celebration Event!
- Three new profile icons have been permanently added to the multiplayer Profile page. You can find and update your icon by clicking the Multiplayer shield, selecting the Profile tab, and clicking the Change Icon button.
In addition to this, the official 2019 Winter Celebration mod is now available to accompany the event. You can subscribe to the mod to enjoy the following changes:
- All trees are covered in snow and are white.
- All non-water terrains have patches of snow.
- All forage/fruit bushes are replaced with piles of presents.
- All Town Centers have presents underneath them.
- All arrows are replaced by icicles (all normal sized, small arrows).
- All spears are replaced by candy canes (all spears from Skirmishers and Genitours).
- Trebuchet projectiles are replaced by presents.
- Cannonballs are replaced by snowballs (for Bombard Cannons, Cannon Galleons, Bombard Towers).
- Mangonel, Onager, and Siege Onager projectiles are replaced by giant snowflakes.
For information about how to find and subscribe to a mod, visit this article.
Enhanced Graphics Pack Update
The team has made a few important updates to the Enhanced Graphics Pack DLC. Note that the update will not be immediately available to download, but will show up some time after the 34055 game update—likely within a few hours.
Game stability will always be a top priority as we work to ensure that as many players as possible can play and enjoy the game. Below are some of the initial adjustments we’ve made in an effort to improve the stability of the game.
- Identified and implemented fixes to address various reported crashes. If you continue to experience issues, please visit the official forum where you can provide a detailed description of the issue, any error messages that appear, and a copy of your dxdiag.
- Fixed various issues caused when installing the game to a folder with a path that utilized non-Latin characters.
- Fixed various issues that could originate when logging into Xbox Live services.
- Implemented several fixes to improve the stability of the game.
- Fixed a rare crash when trying to spectate games.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve been monitoring the performance of the game closely as more people play it than ever before. Today, we hope to implement several fixes that will improve the experience for as many players as possible.
As always, there is a vast array of hardware and software combinations to accommodate as we continue to polish and perfect the game, so we want to hear if you’re experiencing issues. Be sure to visit the forum or come say hello on Discord, where you can include as much technical information as possible so our team can dig into the problem.
- The loading screen sequence is now smoother.
- Updated the V-Sync setting to offer a more consistent and smooth experience when camera scrolling.
- Fixed an issue where AI players could cause performance spikes when calculating very long paths.
- Fixed an issue where the game would occasionally hitch when selecting units.
- Voice over audio has been moved out of the main installation package to reduce the initial installation size of the game. Audio files will now be downloaded depending on the language settings of your Steam client (only).
- Lowered the benchmark score for 1v1 games to 900. The score for team games remains at 1000.
- Implemented several improvements to how memory (RAM) is used by the game.
- Implemented various rendering performance improvements.
- Fixed various render artifacting issues.
- Fixed a rare desync issue.
- Implemented improvements to help players falling behind due to performance issues re-sync more smoothly.
- Implemented improvements to help prevent hitching on lower-spec machines.
We’ve made several updates to the campaign and missions screens to not only clarify your campaign progress and historical victories, but to give you something to work towards as you learn and master the game.
- The Campaigns screen for each storyline now displays which missions within the campaign have been completed by displaying a medal next to the mission title. The color of the medal represents the highest difficulty level on which the given mission was completed:
🥉 BRONZE: Standard Difficulty
🥈 SILVER: Moderate Difficulty
🥇 GOLD: Hard Difficulty
- Missions that were completed before this feature was implemented will automatically receive the Bronze-tier medal.
- Campaigns that are fully completed will display an overall completion medal based on the lowest medal earned within the campaign. For example, a campaign with five Gold medals and one Bronze medal will display a Bronze medal on the Campaigns screen.
- The swords on the campaign screen which indicate the difficulty of any given campaign have been updated to accurately convey their challenge. Easier campaigns will display a single sword; moderate campaigns will be marked by two crossed swords; the most difficult campaigns will be marked with three crossed swords.
- The voice-over audio for the El Cid campaign is now available in Castilian Spanish.
- Bapheus: Fixed an issue that prevented objectives regarding the Byzantine Castles from working correctly.
- Bapheus: Turkish players will now respond if the player turns hostile to them.
- Bapheus: Objectives now display properly if the player decides to forego choosing an ally.
- Dos Pilas: Changed the Mayan Raiders team to utilize the Mayan civilization; Uaxactun is now the Aztec civilization.
- Dos Pilas: Fixed a bug that would prevent the mission from progressing properly.
- Honfoglalas: Disabled the ability to research Cannon Galleons during the mission.
- Honfoglalas: Additional resources have been added to the map.
- Honfoglalas: Resolved a rare bug that prevented the scenario from ending before all players had resigned.
- Honfoglalas: Balance changes have been made to the AI based on community feedback.
- Lake Poyang: Fixed a rare crash triggered when constructing a temple.
- The kiting behavior of AI-controlled teams has been updated in throughout the campaigns.
- Alaric 4: ‘The Giant Falls’: AI-controlled allies are now more aggressive.
- Alaric 5: ‘A Kingdom of Our Own’: Disabled the player’s ability to research Cannon Galleons during the mission.
- Barbarossa 5: ‘Barbarossa’s March’: The Saracen navy will no longer aggressively chase transport ships.
- Barbarossa 5: ‘Barbarossa’s March’: Constantinople’s Sea Gates will now remain locked until the player captures the ships.
- Barbarossa 6: ‘The Emperor Sleeping’: Made various AI balance changes to the Jerusalem player.
- Dracula 3: ‘The Breath of the Dragon’: Adjusted the enemy team to only activate after player captures the initial town.
- Francisco de Almeida 5: ‘A Son’s Blood’: The AI will no longer scout with units that are unsuitable for scouting.
- Gajah Mada 3: ‘The Oath to Unify Nusantara’: The objective to capture colonies will now reappear if too many colonies are lost.
- Ivaylo 1: ‘A Most Unlikely Man’: Doubled the amount of time players have to consider the offer of Tsar Konstantin.
- Ivaylo 2: ‘An Unlikely Alliance’: The AI player no longer destroys the Wonder upon resigning.
- Ivaylo 4: ‘Echoes of Heroes’: Dismounting Ivaylo is no longer a deal-breaker.
- Joan of Arc 2: ‘The Maid of Orleans’: Tasked the department of invasive species to relocate a cactus that somehow sprouted in the French countryside.
- Joan of Arc 6: ‘A Perfect Martyr’: Adjusted the difficulty of AI players based on community feedback.
- Kotyan Khan 2: ‘The Battle at the Kalka River’: Implemented various fixes to make the scenario easier on lower difficulties.
- Kotyan Khan 4: ‘Blood for Blood’: Fixed an issue where the Merchant could get stuck and halt mission progress.
- Kotyan Khan 5: ‘A New Home’: Added additional gold nodes to the map.
- Kotyan Khan 5: ‘A New Home’: Bulgarian Konniks created for the player will now spawn faster.
- Kotyan Khan 5: ‘A New Home’: The Bulgarian part of the scenario is now more eventful and challenging.
- Le Loi 1: ‘The Dai Viet Uprising’: Reduced the aggression of the Chinese AI based on community feedback.
- Le Loi 1: ‘The Dai Viet Uprising’: The objective to destroy towers now activates correctly.
- Montezuma 6: ‘Broken Spears’: Fixed an oddly placed plant reported by a community member. (Thank you!)
- Sundjata 3: ‘Djeriba Gold’: Fixed an issue where certain units would get stuck when an ally captured the Relic Cart.
- Sundjata 4: ‘Blood on the River Bank’: Malian traders now properly receive extra defensive upgrades.
- Sundjata 4: ‘Blood on the River Bank’: The second part of the trade quest will now deactivate if the Malian Traders resign.
- Sundjata 5: ‘The Lion’s Den’: The AI and Wonder timer has been rebalanced based on community feedback.
- Sundjata 5: ‘The Lion’s Den’: Removed enemy units and walls from various islands.
- Sundjata 5: ‘The Lion’s Den’: The Sosso Guard unit has been added to the scenario.
- Tamerlane 1: ‘Amir of Transoxiana’: Added additional resources to some of the side quests.
- Tamerlane 2: ‘Gurkhan of Persia’: Added additional resources to some of the side quests.
- Tamerlane 4: ‘Sultan of Hindustan’: Added additional villagers at allied encampments to speed up their initial advancements.
- Yodit 3: ‘A Fallen Crown’: Dagnajan will now attack when provoked.
- The A Truly Holy Emperor achievement can no longer be unlocked if the player converts a working villager.
- The An Army Marches on Its Stomach achievement no longer requires any towers to be destroyed.
- The Diplomacy is for the Meek achievement can now be unlocked by defeating the Scythians and killing their prince.
- The Furor Teutonicus achievement can now be unlocked by defeating all players apart from the Cumans.
- The I Was in China Before achievement can now be unlocked by defeating the Jin before they start building their wonder.
- The Offense is the Best Defense achievement can now be unlocked by defeating all enemies before completing the Wonder.
- The Pitched Battle achievement can now be unlocked by winning the scenario without building any palisade walls, stone walls, fortified walls, or gates.
- The achievement, The Wonder, the Wonder, the…Oh, Never Mind, can now be unlocked by defending the wonder and winning the scenario.
- The Turkish Delight achievement can now be unlocked by defeating all Turkish rivals and winning the scenario.
One benefit of the Definitive Edition is the ability to make changes that ensure a healthy pool of civilizations from which to pick, counter-pick, and play! Based on feedback provided by the community and statistics gathered from the multiplayer matches over the past several weeks, we’ve not only made several balance changes to three of our new civilizations—the Bulgarians, Cumans, and the Lithuanians—but have taken steps to find harmony with the notably infamous Steppe Lancer.
With these changes available to play, we encourage you to try them out for yourself, play with them for a few rounds, and then let us know what you think! Balance is a constantly evolving process, which means we need to know what works (or doesn’t work) so we can plan for the next major update.
More balance changes will accompany our updates in the months to come. Thanks to everyone who helped play and provide their thoughts over these first few weeks; keep the constructive feedback coming!
- The line-of-sight for herdable creatures is now consistent. Cow and Buffalo herdables now see 3 tiles, while all other herdables see 2 tiles.
- Steppe Lancer: Decreased the attack power from 10 to 8 melee damage.
- Elite Steppe Lancer: Decreased the attack power from 12 to 10 melee damage.
- Steppe Lancer [Standard & Elite]: Increased the gold cost to train the unit from 30 to 45 gold.
- Steppe Lancer [Standard & Elite]: Slowed the rate of fire from 1.9 to 2.3 seconds.
- Steppe Lancer [Standard & Elite]: Decreased the speed of the unit from 1.5 to 1.45.
- Steppe Lancer [Standard & Elite]: Doubled the size of the collision box to prevent multiple units from stacking too tightly.
- Krepost: Can no longer be converted.
- Krepost: Reduced the size of the building from 4×4 to 3×3 tiles.
- Konnik [Standard & Elite]: Slowed the rate of fire from 1.9 to 2.4 seconds.
- Konnik: Reduced hit-points from 110 to 100 health.
- Elite Konnik: Reduced hit-points from 130 to 120 health.
- Dismounted Konnik [Standard & Elite]: Now takes additional damage from the Samurai unit.
- Dismounted Konnik [Standard & Elite]: Slowed the rate of fire from 2 to 2.4 seconds.
- Increased the armor granted by the Bagains technology from +3 to +5 armor.
- Increased the time to construct a Feudal Age Town Center from 225 to 270 seconds.
- Kipchak [Standard & Elite]: Slowed the rate of fire from 1.8 to 2.2 seconds.
- Kipchak: Reduced hit-points from 45 to 40 health.
- Elite Kipchak: Reduced hit-points from 50 to 45 health.
- Elite Kipchak: Reduced the total number of arrows from 4 to 3.
- Cumans no longer have access to the Husbandry technology.
- Civilization Bonus: Cavalry units now move 5% faster in the Feudal Age, 10% faster in Castle Age, and 15% faster in Imperial Age.
- Feudal Age Battering Rams no longer deal area of effect damage to units.
- Ballista Elephants [Standard & Elite]: Now gain the intended benefits of cavalry armor upgrades.
- The Cavalry attack bonus granted by captured relics no longer affects Light Cavalry.
- Reduced the maximum attack bonus granted by captured relics from +5 to +4.
- Plumed Archers [Standard & Elite]: Increased the base cost of training by +5 gold and +5 wood during both the Castle and Imperial Age.
- Adjusted the archer attack vs. buildings bonus to +1 during the Feudal, Castle, and Imperial Ages.
- Keshik [Standard & Elite]: Reduced the gold cost to train from 80 to 40 gold.
- Keshik: Increased hit-points from 100 to 110 health.
- Elite Keshik: Increased hit-points from 130 to 140 health.
- Keshik: Reduced attack power from 12 to 9 damage.
- Elite Keshik: Reduced attack power from 14 to 11 melee damage.
- Fixed a rare issue where Scouts could sometimes spawn inside walls.
- The player’s main gold pile will now appear slightly further from forests to improve accessibility.
- Relic generation has been fixed to ensure that 5 Relics spawn on tiny, small, and medium maps. On larger maps, additional Relics will spawn.
- The Budapest map no longer spawns extra villagers when playing the Empire Wars game mode.
- Farms around the starting Town Center are spaced more evenly when playing the Empire Wars game mode.
- Fortress: Boars now spawn closer to all player starting points.
- Fortress: Walls and towers now spawn a consistent distance from each player’s starting Town Center.
- Fortress: Adjusted the placement of Houses and other buildings to prevent obstructing resources.
- Highland: Modified the way land is generated so that random zones only appear when “Team Together” is disabled. When enabled, the map has a 60% chance of splitting players based on their team, and a 40% chance of separating everyone by rivers.
- Steppe: Fixed the map to correctly start with 3 additional villagers.
- Cow and horse variants now appear on maps that previously spawned them.
When playing the Regicide game mode, maps that previously spawned with a Tower instead of a Castle will now spawn with a Fortified Tower. This affects the following maps:
- Alpine Lakes
- Aral Sea
- Black Sea
- Bog Islands
- Border Stones
- Enemy Archipelago
- Enemy Islands
- Far Out
- Front Line
- Holy Line
- Mangrove Jungle
- Mountain Pass
- Mountain Ridge
- Open Plains
- Pacific Islands
- Ring of Water
- Snake Forest
- Socotra (formerly spawned with a Castle)
- Sprawling Streams
- Swirling River
- The Eye
- Twin Forests
- Wolf Hill
- Added new “Selection Modifier Hotkeys” options to the Settings menu.
- Unit outlines will now flash green when targeted behind buildings.
- Fixed an issue where units would not attack after disembarking from a Transport Ship.
- Fixed a bug where units guarding other units would sometimes prioritize attacking buildings over enemy units.
- Fixed a rare bug where allied line of sight would not be shared properly under certain circumstances.
- Fixed a bug that prevented the Shift queue from placing farms.
- Players can no longer target farms through the fog of war.
- Holding the Ctrl key no longer appends units to the currently selected group if “Easy Drag Military” is disabled in settings.
- The Waypoint flag’s cursor hot-spot is now at the bottom of the flag rather than the top (same as legacy).
- Auto-wall completion is now disabled when placing single Wall segments.
- Double-clicking on different types of horses or cows now properly selects all variants of those units.
- Deleting a Hun Town Center no longer reduces the population limit by 1.
- The Defend the Wonder game mode no longer concludes before the Wonder’s destruction animation has completed.
- Wonder Race will no longer use the previously-set Victory Condition.
- Trebuchets are no longer available in the Wonder Race game mode.
- Trebuchets will no longer unpack if any one Trebuchet within the selected group fails to find a valid target within its minimum range.
- Fixed a bug where the “Next” button of the Dock could not be clicked when the Dock’s foundation was selected.
- Beach terrain now displays properly when starting a game with the map explored.
- The Woof Woof cheat code now affects all birds instead of only Hawks.
LOBBIES & MATCHMAKING
The importance of multiplayer lobbies in Age of Empires II cannot be understated as we work to support our amazing competitive community. It is an area of the game that will continue to see updates in the months to come, starting with these changes to establish a strong baseline when creating, playing, spectating, and re-watching games!
- Fixed various issues when inviting another player to a game lobby.
- Fixed a rare crash when opening a Profile page while offline.
- Fixed an issue where a player would be stuck on the Tech Tree screen when in a lobby that had been closed.
- Fixed an issue where a player’s information would sometimes not display correctly if they were not in the top 100 on the leaderboard.
- Fixed an issue where games played by friends would fail to populate in the spectator lobby.
- The Lobby Browser search now also searches for the names of players in lobbies in addition to the lobby name.
- The Spectator Browser search now also searches for the names of players in lobbies in addition to the lobby name.
- Map names no longer display in the host’s language, but instead use the language of the player’s game client.
- Added the ability to filter by LAN games in the Lobby Browser.
- Previous lobby names are now remembered when creating a new lobby in the same game session.
The Ranked map pool has been updated to include the following eight maps:
- Black Forest
- Gold Rush
- Team Islands
Players can now ban maps when matchmaking:
- 1v1: 3 bans
- 2v2: 1 ban
- 3v3: 1 ban
- 4v4: 0 bans
- Adjusted the walking animations for villagers so they no longer “slide” over terrain.
- Shadows will now display over destroyed units and buildings.
- Added a decay object for spear, arrow and dart projectiles that miss their target.
- Elite Cannon Galleons now have a unique model from their standard counterpart.
- The Fishing Trap and Box Turtles now correctly display their underwater graphics.
- Updated the animations for the Konnik, Longboat, Scout Cavalry, Steppe Lancer, Subotai, Tarkan, and several Villager units.
- Updated the animations for the Bridge and Indian Mill structures.
- The notification when another player advances to a new Age now uses a unique sound effect from the “chat” notification.
- Converting a unit now plays the correct sound effect.
- Increased the volume of the “You are under attack” sound effect.
- Deer no longer have creation sounds in the Editor.
- Animals and Relics now have selection sounds.
- UI elements now have more subtle sound effects.
The sound effects for the following units and events have also been updated:
- War Wagon attack sounds
- Melee unit attack sounds
- Elephant attack sounds
- Selecting Cavalry units
- Boar death sounds
- Camel death sounds
- Arrow sounds
- Fire Ship sounds
We’ve heard a good deal of feedback about how we can improve the AI, pathfinding, and other aspects of the AI-controlled players via the official forums: in some areas where poses too great of a challenge, and others where it could be boosted to be a stronger opponent or ally. Below are some of the changes coming with today’s build in the effort to improve their presence on the battlefield.
- Fixed an issue where AI players would resign too early while still having strong allies on the battlefield.
- Fixed an issue where AI players would resign too early on Very High population settings.
- Fixed a rare issue where the AI would not attack unless attacked first.
- Fixed an issue where AI-controlled teams would train fewer military units than intended on high-population matches or when using difficulty settings lower than Hard.
- Implemented various difficulty adjustments based on player feedback.
- Based on player feedback, we’ve also adjusted the decision-making and tactics employed by AI-controlled teams.
- Updated the AI to migrate earlier on migration-style maps, when applicable.
- Villagers will now fight back against wild animals when building a Town Center after migrating to a new land mass.
- Improved the AI’s build order when playing on the Wonder Race game mode.
- The AI now researches unique Technologies and defensive upgrades faster, when applicable.
- The AI no longer users their Scout to lure Deer on difficulties lower than Extreme.
- The AI no longer sends tributes when playing with infinite resources.
- Fixed a rare crash caused when using the 69 taunt on an AI player’s Gate.
Several adjustments have been made to improve the difficulty of the Extreme AI:
- Added the ability for soldiers to seek out enemy units when attacking buildings.
- Added the ability for Villagers to seek refuge from nearby enemies before they’re attacked.
- Improved the way AI-controlled Scouts attack enemy Villagers.
- Improved how the AI utilizes their initial Scout so that it stays alive longer at the start of the game.
- Fixed an issue where the AI would not stop attempting to capture herdable animals close to enemy Scouts.
- Fixed an issue where the AI would not harvest gold or stone on the Wonder Race game type unless all wood was gathered.
- Units will now converge to a single point rather than maintaining their initial distance from each other. Note that you can ALT + Right Click to utilize the old behavior.
- Fixed an issue where melee units would be slow to respond when right clicking to attack groups of enemy units.
- Fixed an issue where units would fail to find a new target after a targeted unit garrisoned in a Town Center.
- Fixed an issue where Villagers ordered to drop resources at the Town Center would not automatically move to help construct buildings afterwards.
- Fixed a rare issue where Villagers would sometimes go idle in certain circumstances.
- Fixed a rare issue where Rams would not attack enemy structures when patrolling.
- Fixed a rare issue where the AI would send its units to the westernmost point of the map.
- Fixed a legacy issue where units could walk through buildings if they were placed on top of enemy foundations.
Several adjustments have also been made to the AI’s scripting:
- up-filter-status now resets correctly.
- sn-attack-winning-player-factor can no longer cause a rare crash.
- sn-enable-training-queue now works correctly with values 2 to 14.