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Age Of Empires Online Beta Open Until Midnight Saturday

by Adam Biessener on May 05, 2011 at 08:00 AM

Help Gas Powered Games and Microsoft stress test the servers for the upcoming quasi-MMO real-time strategy game with free access to the Age of Empires Online beta. Anyone can jump in and check out the game for the rest of the beta, so long as you download the client before Saturday night.

Age of Empires Online is a free-to-play real-time strategy game that will offer fewer, bigger purchases than your typical free online game. Once you buy a "premium" civilization, you have access to all the goodies and special units and everything for that faction. Microsoft will also be offering "booster packs" with new missions and content for purchase, but the amount of content available to everyone for free is impressive on its own.

I've been hammering away at the beta for a while now, and I'm pretty positive on it. I won't spoil the whole article I'm writing for the next issue of the magazine, but the game feels very much like a high-def remake of Age of Empires II with an MMO-like metagame surrounding it. Age II is awesome, so I mean that as a good thing.

You do have to make a Live account, but who doesn't have one of those by now? The system requirements shouldn't trip you up; the Warcraft-like stylized art should run decently on any reasonably modern machine. Head on over to the Games for Windows Live Marketplace and get your download started if free RTS is your thing.

Microsoft has yet to announce an actual release date for the final game, but you have to figure it's soon.