Welcome, one and all, to the massive FEBRUARY UPDATE for Age of Empires II! It may be a short month, but we’ve taken advantage of every day to put together a package of changes and improvements to the game!
As has become standard with our major monthly updates, the team has supplied a huge list of changes for you to read up on and integrate into your daily play. This includes:
- New feature: Auto Scouting!
- A new Anniversary Event to unlock exclusive goodies for the game!
- Ongoing performance improvements and crash fixes for new and outstanding issues!
- Is that the Vietnamese civilization in the Civilization Balance section?!
- Much-requested improvements to the AI, pathfinding, and other areas of the game!
- …and so much more!
We’ve tried to address the biggest points of feedback provided by our players over the past month, and encourage you to continue making your voice heard as issues arise or ideas emerge to improve the game. Here’s a few of the places where we’re tuned-in:
Let us know what you think about this month’s update; enjoy the festival and the extra day of Age of Empires in your February!
—The Age of Empires Team
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Having trouble downloading or playing the build? Visit our support page!
Today’s update comes with a bunch of exciting new features and spotlights outside of the balance changes and fixes for the game:
In this update, you’ll find a new feature available for your starting Scout: Auto Scouting!
When you enable ‘Auto Scouting’ from the unit’s command interface, it will automatically send the Scout on the same scouting pattern used by the AI. You can easily take control back by disabling auto-scout or issuing a manual command, which will take priority over the automatic behavior.
- ‘Auto Scout’ is only available for your starting Scout unit(s), not for trained Scouts.
- Note that auto-scout does not currently affect all horse types (as intended); this will be fixed in a future update.
- Note that auto-scout does not apply to other starting units spawned by the MegaRandom map.
- Works in every part of the game: Single Player and Multiplayer matches, as well as the Campaign missions.
- Issuing a manual command will seed control of the unit back to the player and disable auto-scouting.
Naturally, manual scouting will still be a lot more intuitive and accurate when it comes to understanding your opponent’s strategy and the map layout early on; but for players new to the game, this is designed to ease the early-game learning curve.
Age of Empires Anniversary Event!
We’re celebrating the second anniversary of Age of Empires: Definitive Edition this month, which means it’s time to don your best Stone Age garb for the AGE OF EMPIRES: DE ANNIVERSARY EVENT!
Starting NOW through March 12, you can unlock and complete daily challenges to earn exclusive goodies to infuse some of that *classic* Age of Empires charm into Age of Empires II. Here’s are some of the things you can unlock over the next few weeks:
- New Profile Icons! (Seen Below)
- Unique unit skins: including the classic Scout, Legion, and Priest!
- Introducing a new Cheat Code to bring the PHOTON MAN to Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition
- The classic ♪ wololo ♪ chant for your Monks!
Any challenges you complete must be done before March 12th, when the event concludes! While any profile Icons and cheats you unlock are yours to keep, the mods will disappear along with the event—so enjoy them while the celebration lasts!
Anniversary Event F.A.Q.
Player Reporting & Safety
Today’s build also includes a necessary safety tool for our community: Player Reporting!
As we continue to support and grow the Age of Empires II: Definitive Edition community, there will inevitably come those who strive only to disrupt others’ ability to play and enjoy the game. While many of the most egregious cases are detected and blocked by the Xbox Live and Steam platforms, it’s up to the community to help maintain a safe and healthy space where automation cannot account for human “creativity.”
The new Report button allows you to report conduct violations that fall in the following categories:
- Inactivity (AFK)
- Inappropriate Lobby Name
- Inappropriate Player Name
- Offensive Clan Name
- Offensive Clan Tag
- Offensive Clan Description
- Verbal Abuse
You will also be asked to provide a note whenever you submit a report, so be sure to include any details you can about the given incident; the more more information you provide, the easier it is for our Support team to decide what action to take.
If and when action is taken against an account, a message is displayed on the game home screen describing the duration of the given punishment. There are a few actions Support may take based on the severity or frequency of the abuse:
- Chat Mute
- Temporary Multiplayer Suspension
- Multiplayer Ban
Actions will be taken based on the Microsoft, Xbox and Age of Empires Code of Conduct, so be sure to review our policies if you have any questions about what is considered acceptable (and unacceptable) behavior:
As many players have noted, a new profanity filter was implemented in the last hotfix to help protect against disruptive and toxic language in the game. This is a system that we are actively monitoring, tweaking, and planning for additional adjustments in the future.
- Fixed an uncommon issue where leaving a game lobby and creating a new one would cause it to load indefinitely.
- Fixed a crash when clicking the Browse Mods tab.
- Fixed a crash when using hotkeys to quickly jump between multiple units or buildings.
- Fixed a crash triggered by a player exiting the game during the countdown timer for a 1v1 matchup.
- Fixed a crash caused when opening the Benchmark Test while running a data mod.
- Fixed a circumstantial crash triggered when loading or shortly after loading a restored game.
- Fixed a rare crash that could be triggered by opening the in-game chat menu.
- Fixed various crashes that could occur when launching the game.
- Implemented several potential fixes to address disconnects within the first few minutes of a multiplayer match.
- Improved the way RAM is allocated on low-end machines in order to improve performance and mitigate crashes related to running out of memory.
- Improved the overall performance of the game when running the Enhanced Graphics Pack (UHD) DLC.
- Fixed an issue where Mangonels would “slide” in combat—allowing them to fire in directions they were not visually facing.
- Fixed an issue where Trebuchets would not move to attack their out-of-range targets when using the old waypoint system.
- Villagers will no longer drop resources as soon as they are reassigned to collect a new resource. Instead, they will maintain any collected resources until they begin the new task. The collected resources can now be instantly dropped by reassigning to a new resource with CTRL + Right Click.
- Villagers tasked to gather food from a boar will now do so consistently instead of pondering the meaning of their existence.
- Fixed an issue where a boar’s path could not be blocked once aggroed.
- Fixed an issue where units would occasionally ignore waypoint commands.
- Researching the Spies technology will no longer cause buildings to appear in the fog of war after they’ve been destroyed.
- When multiple buildings are selected, technologies will now prioritize buildings that are idle or have no building queue over stacking up in a single building.
- Defensive structures will now prioritize attacking enemy units over buildings unless manually tasked to do so.
- In rare circumstances, units can no longer be trained in the incorrect structure by rapidly swapping between two buildings.
- Trebuchets will now remain unpacked when a Villager is ordered to provide repairs while in the same selection group as said Trebuchet.
- Multi-queue now works when the foundation of an unfinished Town Center is selected along with completed Town Centers.
- Clicking Save Chapter will no longer inspire idle villagers to seek out tasks after saving the game.
- The CTRL + SHIFT + [F1-F9] hotkey can now be used in single player games to swap between the different player views. Note that using this will count as cheat, thus preventing achievement progression in the match it is used.
- Adjusted how gate rotation functions to avoid conflicting with other hotkey prioritizations.
- Genitour: Now receive +1 pierce armor.
- Infantry are now 35% cheaper in all Ages. This bonus previously applied following the Feudal Age.
- The Khmer’s unique farming bonus is now disabled in Full Tech Tree games.
- Hunters: Reduced their work speed from 50% to 40%.
- Now have access to the Steppe Lancer and Elite Steppe Lancer units.
- All Steppe Lancers also benefit from the +30% HP bonus enjoyed by Mongol horsemen.
- Increased the cost of researching the Kamandaran technology from 200 food, 200 gold to 400 food, 300 gold.
- Feitoria: Increased the resources generated per second from 0.8 food, 0.8 wood, 0.45 gold, 0.25 stone to 1.6 food, 1.0 wood, 0.7 gold, 0.3 stone.
- Now have access to the Halberdier unit.
- As a civilization bonus, Farms are now 40% cheaper (was 33%).
- Starting in the Castle Age, Barracks units gain +1 armor.
- Economic upgrades no longer cost wood.
- Selecting a custom Campaign will now load its missions without requiring the player to select the campaign a second time.
Art of War
- Fixed a rare issue where loading an Art of War mission save could result in a permanent black fog settling in over the main menu screen.
- Fixed an issue where swapping text languages would displace the Art of War mission medals.
- Dracula 2: ‘The Return of the Dragon’: Units garrisoned in “captured” Castles and Docks can now be ungarrisoned from the building.
- Gajah Mada 3: ‘The Oath to Nullify Nusantara’: Fixed an issue where completing the scenario objectives would not trigger the completion of the mission.
- Sforza 4: ‘Blood and Betrayal’: Text will no longer overlap the images during the opening slideshow.
- Sushi Lover: Can now be [properly] unlocked by training 30 Japanese fishing ships.
- Fixed an issue where, in certain circumstances, AI players would immediately kill off their villagers on Earth and Nile Delta maps.
- Fixed an issue which prevented monuments from generating resources on Island maps.
- The Show Suggested Maps option will now remain toggled to your choice when you exit and re-enter the map selection screen.
- Capture the Relic: The game will no longer spawn a second Monastery if the map has already spawned one for a player.
- Capture the Relic: Fixed an issue where Monasteries could spawn into the map with a “more on-fire than intended” amount of health.
- Regicide: Will now properly adjust resource numbers based on whether the host chooses Low, Standard, or High resources. (Infinite is still infinite.)
As one of the most popular maps when playing the Regicide game mode, we wanted to add some extra flavor to the Fortress map; this shouldn’t shake things up too much, but we welcome any feedback if it turns out to be disruptive:
- Fortress: Players now begin with a Castle regardless of game mode. (Originally, Castles would only spawn when playing Regicide.)
Several changes have been made to the Gold Rush map in order to create a more open and aggressive battlefield:
- Gold Rush: Forests are now split into smaller patches and player bases are now situated in a clearing. Note that the overall amount of wood on the map remains the same.
- Gold Rush: Removed cliffs from the map.
- Gold Rush: Predators have been spread out more evenly across the map.
- Gold Rush: Lake generation has been adjusted so lakes are smaller and do not appear too close to players.
- Gold Rush: Extra stone and gold nodes have been adjusted to be more accessible to players.
Other map changes:
- Lombardia: Reverted the number of Relics that spawn on the map to their original totals: 5 will spawn as a baseline, 7 with six players, and 8 with eight players.
- Team Islands: Adjusted how the map is generated to prevent the creation of vulnerable trade routes or thin strips of land between players. Player islands now have a consistent shape with moderate variation around the edges.
- Team Islands: Players will now spawn a consistent distance from the edges: 7 tiles on smaller map sizes and 9 tiles on larger map sizes.
- Team Islands: On Medium (2v2) maps, Relics have been assigned per player to prevent them from stacking in favor of one player or team.
- Team Islands: Removed extra deer and boar spawns.
- Valley: Fixed an issue with terrain generation during the Mediterranean season.
- Valley: Zebras will now spawn in the middle of the valley (as intended) during the African season.
Random Map Scripting
- assign_to command has been added. This can be used to assign a land to a player, color, or team in combination with direct_placement.
- The Random Map game mode can now be detected using RANDOM_MAP identifier.
LOBBIES & MATCHMAKING
- Locked down settings which could still be altered after a lobby host readied up for the match.
- Match options that are hidden from the host (based on the game mode) will now properly hide from other players in the lobby.
- Players will now be prompted to subscribe to a data mod as soon as they join a lobby to prevent a crash triggered when downloading the mod.
- Fixed an issue where the player color, civilization choice, team selection, and ready status of other players would not update for new players joining a lobby.
- Fixed an issue where the Blind Random setting would always default to and load the Coastal map.
- Fixed an issue where lobby settings and custom map pools would not be saved when creating a new lobby.
- Fixed an issue where UI elements from previous game lobbies would persist into future game lobbies.
- Fixed an issue where setting a lobby slot to “Open” would close the slot and setting it to “Closed” would open it.
- Fixed an issue where the lobby browser would search for games indefinitely rather than timing out when no games were available.
- Fixed a rare issue where the Spectator Delay setting could not be changed until the server location was changed.
- Queuing for an auto-match will no longer enable Team Positions in team games.
- Added contextual hints to the Banned Map screen to explain each map. Tooltips will need to be enabled to display the information.
- Added the ability to run a Ranked Benchmark Test from the Ranked lobby screen.
Ranked Map Rotation
We’ve updated this month’s map pool for everyone diving into the ranked arena:
- Alpine Lakes
- Black Forest
- Golden Pit
As there are now nine total maps in the ranked rotation, we’ve also increased the number of map bans available to players:
- 1v1: 4 bans (was 3)
- 2v2: 2 bans (was 1)
- 3v3: 1 ban
- 4v4: 1 ban (was 0)
- Implemented various bug fixes and updates to art assets.
- Fixed a rare issue where unit outlines would display behind buildings, but in the incorrect color.
- Units hiding behind Siege Towers will now display outlines.
- Fixed an issue where unit footprints and dust effects would appear on top of units.
- Fixed an issue where zooming in and out or scrolling around the map would cause buildings, units, and resources to visually vibrate.
- Fixed an uncommon issue where units would “flicker” when not using the Enhanced Graphics Pack DLC.
- Using SHIFT + period (.) and SHIFT + comma (,) now plays the selection sounds for the unit or building selected, or plays the ♪ action failed ♪ sound if no unit is found.
- The ♪ Under Attack ♪ and ♪ Under Monk Attack ♪ sounds have been redesigned based on community feedback.
- Unique ♪ buy ♪ and ♪ sell ♪ sounds will now play when trading goods in the Market.
- Updated the sound effects for the Harbor and Longboat.
- Increased the volume of the Siege Ram’s attack sounds.
- Fixed an issue where Cavalry and Camelry did not include their rider death sounds when killed.
- Wild Horses and Camels now have death sounds.
- Adjusted the attack sound delays for Conquistadors and several other ranged units.
- Corrected several instances where ranged units were not using the correct attack sound.
- The sounds of arrows being shot from buildings are now more succinct.
- Implemented improvements to prevent AI players from locking up and failing to issue any new commands during a match.
- AI-controlled Eagle Scouts now use the improved scouting behaviors employed by normal Scouts.
- Fixed an uncommon issue where AI-controlled Scouts would, in certain circumstances, act erratically.
- Fixed an issue where allied AI players would constantly beg for resources during multiplayer games.
- Tempered the desire of computer-controlled players to kite and use hit-and-run tactics on lower difficulty levels. On higher difficulties, the computer will attempt to strike a balance between moving and attacking their enemy.
- Made several general improvements to the strategic decision-making capabilities of AI-controlled players, such as the unit choices they make throughout the course of a match.
- Improved the strategies an AI-controlled player will utilize throughout a match based on their civilization’s strengths, the map type, and enemy army compositions.
- Implemented improvements to the early-game economy of AI-controlled players.
- AI-controlled players will now use their villagers to counter attackers in more situations, such as when attacked using Rams, by single military units, or in situations where their own military units are unavailable to help.
- AI players will now respond to repeated aggression on their villagers rather than ignoring the continued threat from an enemy player.
- Improved the responsiveness of AI-controlled players to commands from human allies.
- AI-controlled players will now include gates in walls they build as a result of Taunt 54 (‘Build a wall between the two flared locations’).
- Extreme AI: Improved the tactical awareness of AI-controlled players in a variety of situations. AI players will now retreat from hopeless fights before they suffer significant losses, and will prioritize enemy targets with monks, military, and siege units more effectively.
- Extreme AI: Improved the AI’s ability to secure their villagers before they’ve suffered too many casualties as a result of an enemy raid.
- Extreme AI: AI-controlled trade units will no longer choose dangerous trade routes when safer options are available.
- Fixed an issue where AI-controlled players would not build Transport Ships on the Hamburger map.
- Improved the behavior of AI-controlled players on the Yin Yang special map.
- Continued to implement improvements to guard against units passing through solid buildings, resource nodes, and other normally impassable objects.
- Fixed an issue where AI units set to attack-move would ignore the order after attacking and killing an enemy unit along their path.
- object-data-formation-id and object-data-garrison-id now return the correct values.
- dropsite-min-distance and sn-enable-boar-hunting now account for ostriches, zebras, and ibexes.
- The Krepost now properly denotes that it increases the population cap when constructed.
- Added an in-game error message when the servers are down for maintenance. (Please note that this does not yet include in-game messaging when counting down to a planned service outage.)
- The History screen now lists civilizations by their localized name rather than the order dictated by their English names.
- Attempting to save a game using the same file name as another saved game will now prompt you to overwrite the old file. Previously, the save prompt would close without saving the game.
- Added a ‘Copy’ button to the multiplayer lobby to copy the Game ID to your clipboard for easy sharing.
- The Game ID of the current lobby is now displayed to all players joining a lobby including the host.
- The Wonder countdown will now disappear as soon as the Wonder is destroyed rather than waiting for the Wonder’s destruction animation to complete.
- Added a hotkey to train the ten free Elite Kipchak unlocked when a player researches the Cuman Mercenaries technology.
- The total number of completed games are now tallied properly in the multiplayer Profile.
- Researched unit and technologies will now display properly in the in-game technology tree.
- Fixed a bug where a Farm’s foundation outline would not display when the Terrain Grid Display setting was disabled.
- Fixed a scaling issue with the terrain grid when zooming in and out.
- Fixed an issue where the loading screen would fail to hide itself after loading into a match.
- Fixed an issue where losing population-supporting buildings and then losing units would stop the population counter from flashing to inform you that additional units cannot be produced.
- Fixed a rare bug where discarding changes in any Settings menu could cause issues when navigating the Hotkeys menu.
- Fixed an issue which prevented tool-tips from appearing on the statistics screen.
- Implemented several new localization strings where they were previously missing.
- Fixed an issue where changing the font to Sans Serif while using the Turkish language would prevent certain characters from appearing.
- BR: Fixed an issue where the ‘Ranked Benchmark Test” (Teste de Benchmark com Classificacao) text would extend beyond the borders of the button when using Brazilian Portuguese text.
- DE: Fixed an issue where “UGC” (Nutzer-Inhalte) and “Location” (Karte) would overlap in the Lobby Browser and Spectate Game tabs when using German text.
- DE: Fixed an issue where “View Pending Request” text (“Ausstehende Anfragen anzeigen”) would overrun the UI bounds when using German text.
- FR: Fixed audio lines not playing in the correct order in the Dracula 3 mission.
- MAL: Fixed text spacing on the first slide of the Tamerlane 1 mission.
- Fixed an issue that prevented the modification of civilization theme music.
- The priority of mods can now be adjusted without having to relaunch the game client.
- Players will now receive a warning that prompts them to select one of the available civilizations if certain civilizations are disallowed in a custom scenario.
- Mods should now update to the latest version automatically once subscribed and downloaded.
- Fixed an issue where mods would inexplicably duplicate in the mod manager.
- Fixed an issue which allowed mods to be uploaded which used unsupported characters, thus causing subscribers to crash.
- Fixed an issue where mods missing certain files could cause the game to lock on a black screen.
One big change for the modding community is the ability for users to publish their mods as Unlisted:
- Unlisted: An Unlisted mod is not publicly available for users to find and download. It will, however, download automatically when a user joins a lobby where the mod is being run.
[Editor’s note: These notes previously stated that mods could be published as “Private.” This was incorrect and we regret the error.]
- Fixed an issue where the String ID field for trigger effects would default to 0 rather than -1 if cleared.
- Adjusting the attack value of a lumberjack to -15 will now (properly) prevent them from damaging trees.
- Added the ability to disable the extra villager bonus granted to the Chinese and Mayan civilizations in the Options tab.