Hello, good day, and HAPPY DECEMBER, explorers!
Thanks for your patience while we pull something big together for you! This month’s update is the first major release to introduce a *slew* of new features and fixes to Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition. The team has been working hard on new systems that they’re excited to now share with you, as well as fixes and adjustments requested by all of you (the community) over the past month. They’ve been tinkering with a little of everything for everyone: from game balance and performance improvements to civilization adjustments, AI tweaks (to inject some real strategic thinking into those computer players), and other improvements to make the game better than ever!
While the full changelog can be found below, here’s the abbreviated summary of what’s dropping today:
- Introducing the FIRST Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition Challenge Event!
- New Stockholm (Home City) Customization!
- View players’ Casual Rank on a new hover menu
- New Profile Avatar system to add that *personal* flare when dominating your opponents on the battlefield
- A ton of stability and performance improvements
- The return of the Villager gathering improvements
- Several fixes for units getting stuck in structures and the terrain!
- Balance adjustments to 11 different civilizations
- New map pools!
- New Treaty games in Ranked matchmaking!
- AI training montage: Complete! Rematch Status: Waiting for players…
- …and more!
You can read the full list below while downloading the update on the Microsoft Store and Steam! Once you’ve had the opportunity to play it, we’ll be looking to hear what you think and what you want to see *next* over on our official discussion channels:
We also want to hear if you’re encountering issues following today’s release! If you’ve already tinkered with your antivirus and worked through the troubleshooting steps that have helped others, remember to reach out to our support team for assistance! We’re here to help, and will continue to work with you over the holiday break to get in and enjoying the game.
That’s it for now! As always, there’s *much* more to come in the months to follow! The new year will only bring more good things to Age III: DE, and we hope you’re as excited as we are to go on this journey in 2021!
—The Age of Empires Team
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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!
While there are plenty of notable fixes and features to which to look forward in today’s build, here are some of the big highlights coming with this month’s update:
The Age III: DE Inaugural Event!
🌟 December 8 – December 15 🌟
Welcome, one and all, to the FIRST Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition challenge event! As the first of many events to come, you’re invited to jump into Age III to complete challenges, unlock brand-new profile icons, and let us know what YOU think about the INAUGURAL EVENT!
We’ve created seven challenges for you to try and complete over the course of the next week! You will need to come back each day to unlock and complete the next challenge in the series of events. Each you complete unlocks a new treasure: an exclusive profile icon for you to show off using the new Profile Avatar system that just landed in Age III: DE:
Starting TODAY through DECEMBER 15, complete daily in-game tasks to unlock event-themed goodies:
|DAY ~||🎯 Sign into Xbox Live.
🏆 Unlocks the Green Musketeer profile icon.
💾 *Required* if you want to save any rewards unlocked during the event!
Each of the following challenges must be unlocked in order and on separate days:
|DAY 1||🔒 Play a single or multiplayer game as the Inca.
🏆 Unlocks the Armored Llama profile icon.
|DAY 2||🔒 Win any single or multiplayer Treaty game.
🏆 Unlocks the Dove carrying a Musket profile icon.
|DAY 3||🔒 Play a single or multiplayer game as the Swedes.
🏆 Unlocks the Battle-worn Carolean profile icon.
|DAY 4||🔒 Destroy 10 military ships in any game mode.
🏆 Unlocks the Galleon with Black Sails profile icon.
|DAY 5||🔒 Beginning with a Nomad start, advance to the Imperial Age in any Skirmish or multiplayer game.
🏆 Unlocks the Golden Capybara profile icon.
|DAY 6||🔒 Revolt in any Skirmish or multiplayer game.
🏆 Unlocks the Revolutionary profile icon.
Keep it Forever!
If you sign in to Xbox Live during the event, you’ll get to keep all the profile icons you achieve over the next two weeks! Sign in, earn your rewards, and enjoy the celebration!
We hope you enjoy the Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition Inaugural Event! Again, don’t forget to sign into Xbox Live to ensure you keep everything you unlock!
—The Age of Empires Team
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Swedish Home City Customization
Thirty-six (36) new options are now available for you to unlock and customize Stockholm—the Swedish Home City! Choose from building upgrades, new citizens, beautification, and other elements to make the Swedes YOURS!
- Customize six different buildings: New World Trading Company, Military Academy, Cathedral, Manufacturing Plant, Harbor
- Three new skyboxes are unlockable for your Home City!
- Three color variants available for the different buildings!
- …and more!
In addition to beatification, Home City shipments can now be seen departing for the new world when you order them. There’s no better time to pick up the new civ and make them the jewel of the world!
Visible Casual Rank on Profile
A new badge has been added for all players that displays the number of casual games they’ve played and their win percent over the last 30 days.
- Mouse over a player’s name to view that player’s performance in their casual games.
- When browsing the casual game lobby, the average rank of the match is displayed.
- Stars represent how many multiplayer matches the player has played.
- Chevrons represent the percentage of games the player has won.
This offers insight into the abilities of each player as you form custom lobbies—offering tools to help you balance your matches for a more enjoyable experience!
You can now choose from 10 different avatar images to set as your profile picture! Even better? You can also unlock new, exclusive images during special events (such as the one happening right now), with the release of future updates, and other (mysterious) ways as the game continues to grow!
Don’t forget to sign into Xbox Live whenever you unlock a new image; it’s the only way to save unlocks to your permanent Age of Empires profile!
Stability & Performance
- Streamlined the multiplayer code when one player begins falling behind others in the match. This should improve the performance of multiplayer games for those experiencing slowdowns as a result of this circumstance.
- Fixed a prevalent crash triggered by the AI on the Silk Road and Large Silk Road maps.
- Fixed a crash in the Microsoft Store version of the game related to the license check failing. Impacted players are now warned when the failure occurs.
- Fixed a bug which would cause the frame rate to limit itself to just below the intended threshold (i.e. getting 57 FPS where 60 FPS was expected).
- Fixed an “out of sync” error triggered when all players would select ‘Random Personality’ in a multiplayer game.
- Fixed several “out of sync” errors related to model mismatches. Bonus: this fix also slightly improves the performance of the game.
- Fixed a hang in the particle system which would occur most often (though not exclusively) in the late game of multiplayer matches.
- Game animations are now purged from memory when exiting a match in order to prevent leaks.
- Fixed a memory corruption error that would cause the game to crash on exit.
- Implemented significant optimizations to the tech tree.
- Implemented optimizations to the UI resource panel where certain string manipulations could tank the game’s performance.
- Optimized legacy UI code which could cause significant slowdowns after resigning from a match.
- Added missing idle animations to the Donkey.
- Debris and other violently detached pieces of the War Junk will now disconnect and disappear from the ship model as intended.
- Fixed an animation hitch for the ship anchored in the Ottoman Home City.
- Recovered banners which had gone missing when unlocked and adorned by the German Cathedral in Berlin.
- The Portuguese Cassador unit now has a walk animation to prevent it from awkwardly sliding when set to defend an area.
- Adjusted the Defeated chat group so it can only be used and read by players who were defeated or resigned from the game.
- Updated Ká:nien to display the correct character portrait in the ‘Through the Andes’ (Blood, Ice & Steel, Act III) scenario.
- The tooltips for unit tactics will now (properly) display the Default hotkeys (as opposed to the Legacy hotkeys) when using the Default key bindings.
- Ranking tooltips will no longer truncate certain text in non-English languages.
- Removed the Armor Plating upgrade from the technology trees of Native American civilizations, as it is not available to them in the game.
- Corrected the Swede tech tree to display their Royal Guard units in the same manner as other civilizations: with the unit’s common name first, followed by the civilization-specific name in (brackets).
- Additional fixes to prevent the Chinese War Academy from losing access to half of their technology buttons if Hill Fort was researched before receiving the Confucius’ Gift shipment.
- Fixed a bug where certain “disabled” abilities would continue to display on the command panel during Treaty games.
- Fixed pagination logic issues which prevented the correct display and navigation of the in-game Leaderboards. (Time for ranks 52-99 to shine!)
- Updated the leaderboard to remove the need for scrolling before navigating to consecutive pages. The list now scales to fit the vertical space, which varies in length depending on the resolution of your screen.
- Corrected the tooltip of the Teepee:
“Provides a hit point boost to nearby military units and a gathering rate boost to nearby economic units.”▶ “Provides a hit point boost to nearby military units.”
- Corrected the description of the Community Plaza:
“Task Villagers on the Community Plaza to perform powerful ceremony.”▶ “Task Villagers on the Community Plaza to perform powerful ceremonies.”
- Updated the Inca Stronghold tooltip to no longer (erroneously) imply that artillery can be garrisoned:
“A powerful military building that can train and garrison all military units to strengthen its attack.”▶ “A powerful defensive fortification that can train all Inca military units. Garrisoned units strengthen its attack.”
- Updated the tooltip of the Surströmming card to better-describe the functionality of Fish Crates: “Ships 2 Fish Crates, which provide more Food over time. You can have up to 8 Fish Crates in play at any one time.”
- Updated the tooltip of the Swedish Barrage card to better-describe its effect: “From a medium range, Mortars can now also target nearby enemy units with an exceptional splash damage attack.”
- Updated the tooltip of the Indian Royal Green Jackets card to capture its full effect: “Gurkhas deal more damage to Heavy Infantry. Each tech at the Consulate grants additional Gurkhas for free, +1 Villager.”
- The Native American Allies card available to the Canadians following a Revolution now accurately describes which Native American groups will lend their support.
- The Native Warrior Carib Blowgunners now display the proper “Elite,” “Champion,” or “Legendary” prefix when the corresponding upgrades are researched.
- The tooltip of the Carib Ambush Party upgrade now correctly states that it grants benefits to ALL Hero types rather than exclusively to Explorers.
- The tooltip of the Tupi Animal Lore upgrade now correctly states that it benefits Heroes rather than Town Centers.
- Added a tooltip to explain the Show Game Time option in the UI Options menu.
- Added the ability to limit FPS in the Graphics Options menu.
- The “Allow Conflicts” setting must now be applied rather than being switched on or off via a radio button.
- Updated the display of options sliders so that text appears on the top while the slider appears on the bottom. This is to prevent the pointer from obscuring the numeric values.
- The “Naval Stance: None” hotkey no longer conflicts with the “Move All Military” hotkey.
The Villager gathering changes implemented to broaden the radius in which they seek out new resources (originally in Update 6159) have returned, though now include additional safeguards to prevent Villagers from autonomously stealing the Home City shipments of other players or wandering into danger while hunting for distant gold mines and prey:
- Increased the radius in which Settlers will seek out and collect their respective resources to prevent them from idling when uncollected resources are within view.
- Adjusted the Villager search radius to prevent them from moving too far away from their general area in search of new resources.
More work has also been done to stop units from getting stuck in structures and terrain:
- Seven different fixes have been implemented to prevent units and formations from getting stuck in collision boxes.
- Moving units via the minimap now utilizes the same logic to prevent similar circumstances.
- Last City of the Inca (Act III: Steel): Kamcha houses are now properly assigned to the Inca (green) team rather than the Gaia team.
- Last City of the Inca (Act III: Steel): Replaced a house which allowed the player to research the Traveling Merchant unit.
- Christopher Da Gama’s Expedition (1542): Now correctly displays the enemy civilization as the Somalians rather than the Portuguese.
- New Orleans: Fixed mismatched audio and text lines that would play during the scenario.
- Fixed a bug where Ending Relations with the British or Ottomans via the Consulate would not properly remove the full benefits granted by the ally.
- Native Embassies are now constructed by Heroes instead of Villagers. This prevents an issue where Town Centers would be pushed off the build menu for some Villagers when too many buildings were unlocked.
Adjusted the British Allies available to the Chinese and Indian civilizations at the Consulate as follows:
- Now grants its +7% hp bonus to units tagged as “Land Military” rather than multiple, different categories. This fixes an issue where certain units would receive the bonus twice (such as “Shock Infantry”), and ensures that all eligible units—as indicated by the tooltip—now receive the bonus: such as Heroes, Pets, and other previously-overlooked groups. The effects of Japanese Isolation have been adjusted accordingly.
- 2 Surgeons: Adjusted the cost from 300 ▶ 250 Export.
Surgeon: Reduced healing rate from 20 ▶ 15 hp/s. Note that this is still +5 hp/s over the legacy game.
Surgeon: Adjusted the cost from 300 ▶ 225 coin.
Surgeon: Experience bounties adjusted to account for the above changes.
Mission Fervor: Now properly applies to ALL healing units, as intended.
Fasting (Sufi Mosque): Now properly improves ALL gathering rates, as intended.
- Mustangs (Cheyenne): Now improves ALL cavalry-type units, as intended.
- Mustangs (Cheyenne): Reduced the bonus speed from 10% ▶ 5%.
- Mapuche Warrior Societies: Now properly improves Native Warrior Bolas Riders delivered by shipments.
NEW UNIQUE UNIT!
Added a new unit, the Eagle Scout:
UNITS & BUILDINGS
War Chief: Reworked the Cauchic Ascension ability: “A powerful area attack that inflicts great damage against Treasure Guardians and temporarily improves your War Chief’s attack speed.” (60-second cooldown).
War Chief: Can now train Eagle Scouts. They have a build limit of 5 and take 7 seconds to train.
Warrior Priest: Now deals triple damage to Treasure Guardians by default, since Cauchic Ascension no longer applies to allied units.
Jaguar Prowl Knight: Shock Infantry multiplier corrected from 2 ▶ 1.6x.
- Medicine (II): Fixed a bug where Dutch Settlers would cost 85 coin, -15 food after shipping the card, thus allowing them to add food to the stockpile whenever a Settler was queued.
- The required experience per Home City shipment has been corrected from 107% ▶ 110%, as intended.
- Grenade Launchers: Now properly delivers 3 Uhlans upon completion. Note that changes to the original card will automatically remove it from any deck(s) upon launching the game; remember to re-add this card to your deck(s) before deploying them to the field.
UNITS & BUILDINGS
Kancha Houses have been adjusted as follows:
- Increased the starting Food trickle from 0.5 ▶ 0.6 food/second.
- Reduced the benefit granted by Chincha Brewing, which now increases the Food trickle from 1.0 ▶ 0.9 food/second.
Bolas Warriors have been adjusted as follows:
- Reduced population cost from 2 ▶ 1.
- Increased range from 12 ▶ 14.
- Now properly inflict 1.6x damage to Rattan Shields. The benefits of the Colla Support card have been adjusted accordingly.
- Fixed an issue which prevented additional melee attack multipliers granted by the Colla Support card from being displayed on the Bolas Warrior’s stat panel.
Macemen have been adjusted as follows:
- Increased speed from 4 ▶ 4.25.
- Reduced the time to train from 55 ▶ 48 seconds.
Chincha Rafts have been adjusted as follows:
- Increased health from 550 ▶ 575.
- Reduced the health boost provided by the Chincha Support card from 30% ▶ 20%.
- Reduced the distance of its ranged attack from 28 ▶ 25.
- Reduced the range of its siege attack from 32 ▶ 25.
- The range of both attacks now improves by +2 upon reaching the Fortress and Industrial Ages.
- Fixed an issue which would cause ranged attacks to inflict more damage to land units than intended.
Priestess has been adjusted as follows:
- Reduced population cost from 2 ▶ 1 while also reducing their Community Plaza work rate from 2 ▶ 1.5.
- All cards and politicians which deliver Priestesses now ship additional unit(s) to provide additional workers and Conversion opportunities to your army. As an example, the 1 Priestess (I) card has been changed to 2 Priestesses (I), effectively representing an overall work rate improvement from 2 ▶ 3, as well as +1 Conversion ability over previous builds.
- Overall, these changes will improve the strength of early Priestess booms while making the Conversion ability more useful in both the early- and late-game.
Kallankas have been adjusted as follows:
- Increased the build limit from 3 ▶ 4.
- Increased experience bounties from 30 ▶ 60 (build) and 60 ▶ 120 (kill).
- Note that the population of garrisoned units is actually reduced by -1; it is not fully removed.
Other Incan unit changes:
Stronghold: Corrected the radius of the “range ring” to properly reflect the building’s range.
Chasquis: Fixed an issue which resulted in Chasquis training significantly faster than intended after sending the Couriers shipment.
- Thunderbolts of Illapa (Stronghold): Moved from the Fortress to the Industrial Age.
- Totora Reeds (Dock): Changed the amount of time to increment the number of additional, free Chincha Rafts and Fishing Boats delivered from every 4 ▶ 5 minutes.
- The Elite, Champion, and Legendary upgrades for Jungle Bowmen and Bolas Warriors no longer improve the range of their siege attack, only their ranged attack.
- Increased the required experience per shipment from 106% ▶ 107%. This change aims to slightly reduce the overall strength of the civilization to address the *well* above-average win percentages in both Ranked and Casual matches.
Adjusted the Ottoman Consulate as follows:
- The line-of-sight bonus non applies to ALL non-naval units and buildings—with the exception of walls—as indicated by the tooltip.
UNITS & BUILDINGS
Yamabushi: Fixed an issue that allowed Yamabushi and Consulate Yamabushi units to garrison inside buildings.
UNITS & BUILDINGS
War Chief: Increased the cooldown of the Berserk Attack special ability from 45 ▶ 55 seconds.
We’ve made a significant change to the time it takes to advance Ages using The Messenger:
- The Messenger (II): increased the time to advance to the Commerce Age via The Messenger from 30 ▶ 40 seconds.
This change is aimed at addressing a prevalent “opening” strategy that was contributing to the civilization having the highest win percentage out of all civs, across all game sizes, and in both Ranked and Casual matches. We will be monitoring the impact of this change and will make additional adjustments as necessary.
- All cards which improve Janissaries now also improve Nizam Fusiliers.
- Silk Road: Now improves the resource totals of ALL crates, whereas it previously ignored new Crates of 400 Coin and 400 Wood. The Nanban Trade technology has been adjusted accordingly.
UNITS & BUILDINGS
Town Center: Increased build experience from 0 ▶ 100 experience.
This change affects all civilizations, but is primarily aimed at improving the Portuguese “early game”—which has contributed to a below-average win rate, particularly in 1v1 matches. The free Covered Wagons granted by their civilization bonus will give them access to this experience early in the game.
The Lakota Town Center has been adjusted accordingly.
Two changes have been made to the Artillery Hit Points (III) card for the purpose of Treaty balance:
- Artillery Hit Points (III): Reduced the bonus hit points granted to Artillery from +20% ▶ +15% hit points.
- Artillery Hit Points (III): Increased the bonus hit points granted to Explosive Throwers from +20% ▶ +30% hit points.
- The Adventurer (Politician): Reduced the number of Crossbowmen delivered from 9 ▶ 8.
- Spanish Gold: Now properly delivers a bonus 400 coin crate with ALL shipments. This addresses an issue where new cards (such as Grenade Launchers) and those accessible after a Revolution would not benefit from the bonus.
7 Mapuche Bolas Riders: Bolas Riders can now be properly trained from military buildings after gaining access to this card following a Chilean Revolution.
UNITS & BUILDINGS
Carolean: Now properly inflict 1.3x damage to Rattan Shields. The benefits of the Platoon Fire (III) card have been adjusted accordingly.
Hakkapelit: Increased hp from 230 ▶ 240.
The following changes were made for the purposes of Treaty Balance:
- Oxenstierna Reforms (I): Reduced the conversion rate of coin to food from 1.4x ▶ 1.3x.
- Finnhorses (IV): Reduced the bonus hp granted to Hussars from +30% ▶ +25%.
- Barrage (IV): Damage dealt by the Mortar’s Barrage Attack reduced from 50 ▶ 40.
- Barrage (IV): Range of the Mortar’s Barrage Attack reduced from 32 ▶ 30.
- Updated the Carib Blowgunner (Haiti Revolution) and Mapuche Bolas Rider (Chilean Revolution) cards to clarify that the units become trainable upon acquisition of the cards.
- The Mapuche Bolas Rider (Chilean Revolution) card now properly enables the production of Mapuche Bolas Riders rather than Elite Bolas Riders.
Added a new “Treaty Maps” random set, which contains the following maps:
- Andes – Upper (x3)
- Central Plain
- Fertile Crescent
- Gran Chaco
- Orinoco (x2)
- Pampas Sierras
The “Team Game Maps” random set has been adjusted as follows:
- Removed Andes Upper
- Removed Himalayas – Upper
- Removed New England
- Removed Ozarks
- Removed Painted Desert
- Added Araucania
- Added Mexico
- Added Mongolia
- Added Patagonia
- Added Parallel Rivers
The following maps have been temporarily removed from the Random Map sets so as to prevent them from being selected by the AI, which has not adequately prepared for the human challenge:
When the AI training montage is complete, they will return to the battlegrounds for a rematch!
- Baja California: Fixed a bug in Nomad games where Covered Wagons (or the equivalent unit) would occasionally fail to spawn for all players.
- Fertile Crescent: Increased the size of the ‘starting hunt’ by +2 Ibex.
- Fertile Crescent: The ‘second hunt’ now consistently spawns 11 animals, whereas it previously varied between 11 and 12.
- Mongolia: Balanced out the creature spawns around the map. Herds in the south now contain more animals while those in the north have been thinned.
- Punjab: Doubled the restriction radius around Town Centers which prevents the construction of Mango Groves.
LOBBIES & MATCHMAKING
- Players can now invite clan-members to their multiplayer match by right-clicking their name in the clan menu.
- Players will now be displayed as “Unknown” until their name has loaded and passed the profanity filter check.
- Improved mod detection and matching for multiplayer games.
- Fixed an issue where an error message would unexpectedly display when inviting a player via a social context menu.
- Fixed an issue which prevented users from applying to join a clan.
Added Treaty games to the Ranked game search. Currently, there are two Treaty options from which to choose:
- 20 Minute Treaty
- 40 Minute Treaty
This should provide a short and long Treaty option without overly-fragmenting the game search, thus ensuring that players can find a game! This is also a good place to test the latest balance changes—many of which have been catered to the Treaty mode (particularly the 40 Minute option)!
- Fixed an issue which resulted in AI players retreating too often during team games.
- AI-controlled players will now prioritize attacking crucial enemy structures on harder difficulty levels.
- AI-controlled players will now properly send new units to join the assault on an enemy base on harder difficulty levels.
- Fixed an issue which prevented computer players from attacking entirely.
- Improved the micro-management skills of AI-controlled players.
- Improved the ability of AI-controlled players to switch between kiting and swapping to melee combat.
- Implemented improvements for cases of odd unit movement while attacking.
- Slightly increased the priority of resources closer to the map’s edge over the center of the map.
- Fixed an issue where AI armies would continue attacking walls despite having a hole through which to raid.
- Fixed an issue where some units would remain in battle despite being ordered to retreat.
- Fixed an issue which would result in the AI spamming commands when using abilities.
- Fixed an issue where Villagers would idle for too long when hunting.
- Localized voice lines have been added to the Art of War missions for all supported languages.
- Localized voice lines have been added to the Act II – Shadow storyline for all supported languages. (Note that the final cinematic still requires voice work.)
- The legacy font system will now use the fallback font for the Hindi, Russian, and Vietnamese languages so as to ensure that text appears consistent throughout the game.
- Settlements can now be deleted without fuss in the Scenario Editor.
- Updated the Object Information panel to remove broken fields that are not populated or displayed by the game.
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:
- “Out of Sync” Errors: We are continuing to monitor reports of sync errors as they are reported by the community. If you are experiencing them personally, we encourage you to reach out to our support team so we can work with you to collect information and get them fixed!
- Stability and Performance: As above, please reach out to us if you are experiencing stability (i.e. game crashes, installation issues, launch issues, freezes, etc.) or performance (i.e. game “lag,” low framerate, excessive memory consumption, etc.) issues. There may be something about your particular setup that will help us improve the game for everyone!
- Stuck Units: Though we hope to have had a significant impact on the number of areas where this happens, we will be keeping a close eye on your reports to see if, when, and where it still occurs. If you catch this occurring 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!)
- Modding: The team is working to improve the way user-generated mods interact with the game, with the goal of making them less limiting and integrating more cleanly into your multiplayer matches. Watch for updates in future builds!
For other known issues, please visit this page to see what’s being tracked!