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Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition — Update 13088

Hello explorers! Welcome to the first of many updates coming to 2021 and to Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition!

Today’s update brings new quality-of-life features, stability improvements, balance updates, and bug fixes to the game as we continue our work on larger projects and features for future releases. Here’s a brief look at what’s coming today:

  • New Starting Resources and Ending Age settings for your custom matches!
  • Updated post-match screen to quickly review the map or progress to the match stats!
  • Several out-of-sync error fixes, performance improvements, and crash fixes!
  • The Spanish Home City now displays the correct banners on the Cathedral (a popular community ask)
  • The leaderboard now expands to more than 200 entries for, you know, the rest of us!
  • Fixed the display of Chinese characters when paired with numbers
  • Several exploit fixes, including one for the newly-employed “Dop-Box”
  • Fixed an issue which would cause the Asian Dynasties Acts I and II to reset when playing Act III
  • Torps! A first look at bringing them into line with the rest of the game
  • Improvements to Extensive Fortifications and access for EVERYONE!
  • Numerous AI improvements in order to give them a better chance against your military genius
  • …and more!

As always, our priorities are largely based (and shift up and down depending) on YOUR feedback (I can’t bold and underline it enough). Much of this month’s changelog comes straight from discussion threads, bug reports, or Customer Support tickets we received over the last month.

So, whether you see something you like or a new thing you…less-than-like—or perhaps something we haven’t been able to include yet—now is the time to get involved; we want to hear from you, and the best place to do so is on our official channels:

A final note:

With our *amazing* support team on standby to help you with answers to all of your Age of Empires questions, we want to encourage anyone experiencing technical issues to reach out to them directly for assistance! Whether you’re experiencing crashes, disconnects, drops, performance problems, or other technical issues which affect your experience, our support agents can work with you to troubleshoot the problem or inform our team if something foul is afoot. We want to see you online and enjoying the game, and will do everything we can to make that the case!

We’ll see you back here next month! For now, enjoy the January update and everything it brings to Age III: DE!

—The Age of Empires Team


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Download on the MICROSOFT STORE

Remember that you’ll need to update your game in the Microsoft Store:

  • Open the Microsoft Store.
  • Click the [ ∙ ∙ ∙ ] symbol next to your profile picture.
  • Select Downloads and updates.
  • Press the Get updates button to automatically detect, download, and install the latest changes to your game!
  • Open the game. The title screen should show you on Build 13088

If you are unable to launch the game after downloading the update, make sure you add (or re-add) the Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition client or folder as an exception to your firewall and antivirus program.

That’s it; you’re ready to play!

Download on STEAM
Remember that you’ll need to update your game in Steam:

  • Open Steam.
  • Click on Library to see your games list.
  • Click Downloads at the bottom of the Library window.
  • [If the new build does not download automatically,] click the Download Now button to manually download the new update.
  • Open the game. The title screen should show you on Build 13088

That’s it; you’re ready to play!

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Please note that custom mods may not be compatible with the latest game update. If you are experiencing issues launching or playing the game after downloading the new build, try disabling your installed mods before trying again.

Still having trouble? Visit our support site!


Stability & Performance

  • Disabled the execution of superfluous code when it’s not required in order to prevent out-of-sync errors caused by numerical operation issues.
  • Fixed performance issues caused by misidentifying maps which feature cave terrain.
  • Fixed a crash triggered when a mod challenge reward fails to subscribe to the targeted mod.
  • Fixed a potential memory issue when exiting a Home City.
  • Fixed a potential memory corruption in the unit grouping code.


  • The Cathedral in the Spanish Home City (Seville) now displays the proper banners when unlocked and applied.
  • Fixed an issue where trees on the Arctic Territories map would “breathe” in unsettling synchronization rather than waving their branches all natural and tree-like.
  • Fixed an issue in the Swedish Home City (Stockholm) where the bases of several lamp posts would flicker noticeably when certain customization options were selected.
  • Urumi units will now be holding shields when placed in the Scenario Editor.
  • Updated the icon of the British Consulate.


  • The leaderboard is now capable of fetching more than 200 entries total, and will now progressively load the next block of 200 entries as you progress through the list. Note that, as a result of this change, the “First” and “Last” button will now jump forward or backwards 10 pages rather than going to the very beginning or end of the list.
  • The Objectives panel will now be automatically hidden when there are no objectives to be displayed.
  • Added the ability to view the map or progress to the postgame screen from the Victory/Defeat endgame panel.
  • Players on the Steam version of the game will now see their Steam Profile Name displayed in the upper-right corner on the home screen.
  • Added a button to the home screen that allows you to jump to your player profile.
  • Fixed an incorrect vertical offset when displaying Chinese characters that resulted in numbers being displayed higher than the rest of the characters.
  • The technology tree has been renamed to “Deck Tree” during campaign missions, as it displays the cards rather than the technologies and units available during the mission.
  • Updated the French tech tree to display their unique unit, Coureurs Des Bois, in place of Settlers.
  • Updated the Indian tech tree to properly display the wood cost of building Villagers rather than food.
  • Added a missing text string to the Edo campaign tech tree.
  • Corrected the map image of the Saguenay map to display the correct number of Mines (11 rather than 10).
  • Added optional tooltips to the Apply/Discard and Yes/No modals that appear throughout the game.
  • Added some missing icons when non-Hero units have something to say during the campaign.

 Maceman: Hid redundant stats.


  • Windowed Mode has been renamed to Display Mode in the Graphics options.
  • When running in Windowed Display Mode, the window size can now be selected from a dropdown list in addition to being manually resized using the mouse.

Event Challenges

  • Fixed the countdown timers of in-game events to ensure the event and challenges are in sync.
  • Added a text string reminding participants that previous challenges must be completed for consecutive challenges to be unlocked.



  • Placing a structure on top of a wall that has not been fully constructed is now far less likely. If you do manage to do so, the wall will no longer be passible.
  • Implemented partial safeguards to ensure that a Trading Post can still be constructed even when an enemy unit is adjacent to the socket.
  • Added hotkey support to train Black Riders and Swiss Pikemen units at Forts.
  • Added hotkey support to train Fusilier and Highlander units at the Barracks and Blockhouses.

Chasqui: Can now construct Town Centers and Trading Posts when obtained via an Incan ally.

Exploit Fixes

  • Closed an exploit which could be used to Revolt and Age Up at the same time.
  • Disabled the use of the recorded game controls outside of replays and spectating, as a potential exploit fix.
  • Disabled the use of several fog-of-war functions during multiplayer games to prevent exploitation.
  • Fixed a “Dop-Box” exploit where Doppelsoldner’s could be tightly packed around an Explorer, similar to the “Cav-Box” exploit.


  • Fixed a bug where removing a card from an active deck would instead remove the adjacent card.
  • Fixed an issue where Priestesses will continue to try converting an enemy who, at some point during the process, was killed.
  • Fixed a bug which prevented the cycling through buildings within a control group if a Consulate or Big Button structure was also a part of that group.
  • Fixed a certain type of tree which would not fall on the Alaska and Rockies maps.
  • Fixed an issue which would allow AI prompts to be sent by human players.


Campaign Missions

  • Fixed an issue which would cause the Asian Dynasties Acts I and II to reset when playing Act III.
  • Blood, Ice, Steel (Act II): Updated the Manufacturing Plant and Harbor (and their respective icons) to display the correct cosmetics when the Boston Home City is updated during the campaign.
  • Clearing the Road (Act I): Players are no longer able to control fish.
  • Last City of the Inca (Act III): Fixed an issue where the Incan ally would spawn too many units and trivialize the scenario.

Historical Battles

  • Algiers: Fixed instances where ships from the blockade would break the line to retreat and heal at the Docks.
  • Chuvash Cape: Goats are now able to be rescued from the pen across from the southern Trading Post.




  • AbstractCoyoteMan: The game now refers to this unit class as “Hand Shock Infantry” when displaying the effects of upgrades, similar to the “Hand Cavalry” classification. Content affected by this change has been adjusted accordingly.

Rattan Shields and  Tiger Claws have been assigned the Hand Shock Infantry tag.

  • Frontier Fortifications: Corrected Shock Infantry multipliers from 1.5x 1.3x.

 Native Scout and Chasqui: Their damage deficiency versus Villagers is now removed upon sending the Advanced Scouts or Aymara support card, as opposed to being automatically improved upon reaching the Commerce Age.
 Pirate: Corrected Shock Infantry multiplier from 4x 2.8x.
 Privateer: Following a revolution as the Barbary States, the Privateer can now properly train Falconets, Culverins, and all units trainable via the Galleon.
 Tiger Claw: An erroneous “Infantry” tag has been removed from the unit. This means they are no longer countered by Artillery and other units which normally counter Infantry, but rather act as Shock Infantry within the counter system.


The Extensive Fortifications cards which enable additional Frontier Fortifications to be constructed (such as Outposts, War Huts, Castles, Nobles Huts and so on) has been adjusted as follows:

  • A variant of the card is now available to ALL civilizations.
  • Access to the card has been moved from the Commerce Age to the Exploration Age.
  • Cards now increase the build limits by +100%, effectively doubling the number of Frontier defenses that can be built.
  • The +25% bonus to hit points granted to Outposts now applies to ALL fortifications, including Walls and Forts.
  • Adjusted the tooltip text to better communicate the behavior and strengths of the cards.

The Inca


The following adjustments have been made to the  Maceman unit:

  • Fixed a bug which prevented them from using their snare ability.
  • Siege attack is now properly halved when in Cover mode.
  • Can now target Naval units.

Other updates:

Chasqui: Can no longer construct Native Embassies for the purpose of Treaty balance.
Kallanka: Updated the unit types which can be garrisoned to prevent certain military units from being left out. (Note that AbstractArtillery units are still left out.)
 Plumed Spearman: Reduced Siege attack damage from 42 35. This change is largely aimed at making “base trades” less effective in team games while creating opportunities for siege units such as the Huaraca and  Maceman to be used.


  • 7 Bolas Warriors (III) 8 Bolas Warriors (III)
  • INF 6 Bolas Warriors (III) INF 7 Bolas Warriors (III)
  • 13 Bolas Warriors (IV) 16 Bolas Warriors (IV)

The Indians


  • Professional Handlers: Now decreases the population cost of Siege Elephants from -1 -2, for the purpose of Treaty balance.
  • Professional Handlers: Fixed a bug which caused Native Warriors and Heroes to begin costing more population.

The Ottomans


  • TEAM Team Defenses (III): Now delivers Military Wagons rather than Outpost Wagons.

The above change closes an exploit which allowed the Villagers of non-European civilizations to construct up to seven Outposts in addition to their own Frontier Fortifications. Military Wagons can be used to construct any military structure normally available to the civilization.

The Spanish


  • The Logistician (II): Now benefits all Exploration Age shipments as well as Improved BuildingsHot Air BalloonsNative Lore, and Extensive Fortifications.

The Papal Guard politician has been adjusted as follows:

  • Now enables Guard Crossbowmen and Pikemen upgrades to be researched at no cost rather than activating them and their prerequisites instantly.
  • Reduces the cost of the Royal Guard upgrade from 1000 wood, 1000 coin 300 wood, 300 coin.
  • Where applicable: reduces the cost of other Guard upgrades for Hand Infantry—such as those for Halberdiers and Doppelsolders—to 300 wood, 300 coin.

These changes to Papal Guard affect all civilizations, but are largely aimed at reducing the strength of the Spanish “fast Industrial” strategies while simultaneously improving its usefulness to other civilizations. As always, we will be watching to see the impact this has on gameplay.

The Swedes


Added a wood crate and removed a food crate from the starting resource piles.

  • Jaegers, Black Riders, and Landsknechts can now be recruited from the Saloon as a default civilization feature.


The Torp has been adjusted as follows:

  • Increased the placement restriction radius from 5 7.8. This not only reduces the number of Torps that can be built around a single mine to 4, but will generally require Sweden to spread their Torps out over a wider area of the map.
  • Cost increased from 115 125 wood.
  • Reduced the amount of food in spawned Berry Bushes from 150 125 food.
  • Berry Bushes now have a build limit of 30 to prevent the body-blocking of enemies during long matches, such as in a FFA.
  • Berry Bushes now respect rally points, allowing them to be planted in more convenient directions, if desired.

The  Carolean has been adjusted as follows:

  • Range increased from 10 12.
  • Veteran, Guard, and Imperial upgrades no longer grant +1 range.
  • Snaplock (card): Reduced the bonus range granted from +4 +3.
  • Platoon Fire (card): Reduced the Heavy Cavalry multiplayer from +1 +0.7x. Shock Infantry adjusted accordingly.
  • Caroleans no longer inflict bonus damage to Light Ranged Cavalry.

Additional unit balance changes:

 Hakkapelit: Increased ranged resistance from 10% 20%. The Harquebusier has been adjusted accordingly.
 Leather Cannon: Can now be trained from Forts, as intended.


  • Mercenary Contractor (III): Now allows Jaegers and Black Riders to be trained from regular military buildings.


  • [NEW] 3 Hussars (II)
  • All “Contract” cards now unlock the ability to recruit any Mercenaries they deliver from regular military buildings. Related hotkeys have been adjusted accordingly.
  • Contract Fusiliers (II): Reduced the cost from 700 400 coin, and reduced the number of Fusiliers delivered from 4 3. Since Caroleans no longer counter Light Ranged Cavalry, this change aims to make Fusiliers (which do) more accessible in the Commerce Age without changing the overall resource value of the shipment.
  • Engelsberg Ironworks: Reduced the coin gathering rate bonus from +125% 100%.
  • Blackberries: Can now be re-sent upon reaching the Imperial Age.

The Blueberries card has been reworked in an effort to more effectively achieve its original design goals:

  • Blueberries: Now transforms all pre-existing Torp Berry Bushes into Blueberry Bushes.

This should be useful in two ways: as a “greedy” early booming tactic, or as a way to make Torps which were deconstructed and rebuilt in new locations (after depleting their original resources) more rewarding.



  • The Trade Monopoly win condition is now (correctly) available on maps with Trading Posts, rather than the previous requirement of 3.
  • The Trade Monopoly win condition is no longer available in Treaty; only in Standard rulesets.
  • Added an Ending Age option to skirmish and casual multiplayer game settings which allows you to cap the Age to which you can advance during a match.

Added a Starting Resources option to Skirmish and multiplayer Supremacy games. This allows you to choose from the following options when setting up a match:

  • Standard: 0 food, 0 wood, 0 coin + Crates
  • Medium: 1,000 food, 1,000 wood, 1,00 coin + Crates
  • High: 20,000 food, 20,000 wood, 20,000 coin + Crates
  • Ultra: 100,000 food, 100,000 wood, 100,000 coin + Crates
  • Infinite: 900,000 food, 900,000 wood 900,000 coin + Crates
  • Random: Everyone starts with the same, random amount between 0 and 20,000 of each resource.

Map Balance

  • Bayou: Added a small “starting” group of Turkeys for each player.
  • Carolina: Removed one of the crates that spawns on the desert island.
  • Carolina: Fixed a bug that could prevent whales from spawning on the map.
  • Central Plain: Fixed a bug which prevented the Trade Cart upgrade from being researchable at the Trading Post.
  • Central Plain: Fixed a bug which could prevent Trading Route sockets from spawning.
  • Central Plain: Increased the total available food in a 1v1 matchup from 56000 64000 and balanced herd sizes around the map. Proportional adjustments have been made to Team games.
  • Indochina: The Inca now properly spawn with a Community Plaza instead of a Saloon.
  • Patagonia: Added an additional whale node and additional fish to the sea.
  • Fixed a bug where shipments delivering Carib Blowgunners could not be sent if a Carib Settlement was present on the map.


  • Ranked Treaty and Team Games will now pick from their own map pools.
  • Added a Host Game button to the Browse Games multiplayer screen.
  • The “All Regions” option of the Region filter now displays games from ALL regions.
  • Added a new option for “Closest Region” to find games from the nearest server bank.
  • Selecting Random Civ in a multiplayer match will now display the Home City level as “?” rather than displaying the level of the last-played city.
  • The ability to set a custom scenario as “free-for-all,” as well as the ability to manually adjust the teams, civilizations, or colors, is now accessible when setting up a custom matchmaking lobby. Please note that—depending on the scenario—certain triggers or gameplay elements that are dependent on specific teams or civilizations can cause the scenario/game to feel unbalanced, prevent it from being playable or completable, and/or can cause the game to be unplayable. We will continue investigating ways to empower creators and prevent compatibility issues in the future.
  • Tuned the network “catch-up code” to accommodate slower CPU’s that need to skip frames to stay in-sync with the game simulation.


  • Improved how computer players balance resources during their games. Fishing Boats are now calculated, and AI will now attempt to optimize their total collection rate.
  • Improved the AI’s ability to react and defend against siege units.
  • Implemented a fix for Player 2 remaining idle for the duration of a match.
  • Fixed an edge case which would result in the AI prioritizing the collection of the wrong resources at the wrong time.
  • Military upgrades will now be researched more often by computer players.
  • The AI will now avoid sending military-themed unit cards while a Treaty is still active.
  • AI-controlled players will now train additional Fishing Boats when land resources are running low.
  • Fixed issues which prevented AI-controlled players from whaling.
  • Implemented additional fixes to prevent AI Villagers from prioritizing distant hunt and mines rather than occupying open slots at nearby Mills and Estates.
  • Implemented a fix to ensure that native civilizations can fully utilize their naval units.
  • Fixed instances where units would get stuck during their attacks.
  • Fixed an issue where the AI would constantly check the research cost of certain items.


  • The game will now correctly read and reference popcorn particle files (.pkfx) saved in mod directories.
  • Added text to the main menu displaying mods in the process of downloading.
  • Fixed a text encoding bug which would result in the name, description, author, and other text elements of mods to display incorrectly in non-English languages, such as Hindi.
  • Fixed an issue where maps in the selection dropdown would fail to refresh as intended when running certain mods.


As always, we are continuing to track issues reported by the community for future updates. Here is a brief update from our Production team regarding some of what is still in the works:

  • Attack-Move Optimization and Fixes: A prevalent topic of discussion, the team is digging into the issue and looking for ways to ensure that it performs as expected in all circumstances. Watch for updates in upcoming builds!
  • Improving MOD Support for Custom Maps and Scenarios: We want to continue providing new tools and options for both mod-creators and mod-enjoyers! This includes the exploration into improving how custom maps and scenarios are implemented into the game, so stay tuned for more.
  • Stuck Units: We are continuing to review your reports to see if, when, and where this issue is still occurring. If you catch this in your games, please create or add to a thread on the official forum with a note of the name of the map, the area and/or object, and a screenshot highlighting exactly where the unit got stuck. (Thank you!)
  • Crashes: As always, the stability of the game continues to be a focus. If you are experiencing crashes, disconnects, drops, performance problems, or other technical issues which affect your experience, please contact our support team so they can help you and collect information for our team.
  • WINDOWS STORE: Crash when clicking Mods tab: We are aware of an issue where the mods page will crash for Windows Store users, and will be working on a hotfix for the issue once we have a better grasp of the problem.
  • Community-reported issues: As was noted in the first post (above), your reports are crucial to our prioritization and implementation of fixes and features in the game. Keep them coming!

For other known issues, please visit this page to see what’s being tracked!


Please note that this list is subject to change, and should not be considered a comprehensive list of all the known issues we’re tracking. The above is to inform you of the team’s current priorities, which will change as other issues arise or take precedence.

For the latest updates and announcements, please visit our social channels.

HOTFIX 13490

Today’s hotfix addresses a crash that popped up after the release of this week’s update:

  • Fixed an issue which could result in a crash when navigating to the Mods screen on the Microsoft Store version of the game.

If you continue to experience any crashes, performance issues, or technical hiccups in the game, please take the time to reach out to the support team so they can assist you.


In addition to today’s fix, some users are reporting issues when attempting to access multiplayer due to a mod (or mods) downloading each time the game is launched. Temporarily unsubscribing from any mods should allow you to access multiplayer normally while the team actively investigates this issue.

Become an Age Insider!

Insiders unlock access to exclusive news, updates, and opportunities to provide feedback about future releases. Here are some of the perks:

  • Access to private forums where you can interact with Age developers
  • The chance to join exclusive beta opportunities through Steam and the Windows Store
  • Channels to provide feedback and inspire quality changes in your favorite Age titles