News Archive: January 2004

Imperial Review

So what went on this week? Oh, nothing much, except for the release of the patch! It changed a huge amount of things in Empires, from balancing to GameSpy interface; it's gotta be one of the most extensive patches I've seen in a while. If you haven't downloaded it yet, be sure to download it from the official site.

Following the release of the patch, the community has been increasing in activity by quite a bit. Numbers of gamers online at GameSpy are a heck of a lot larger now, and community events are starting to come back. starComa is holding a tournament this February 2nd, with some pretty cool prizes. For those competitive players that are having trouble with the ladder, Boggy reassures us that those problems are being worked on.

What's coming next week? Maybe another feature from EH, and likely more community news with the patch out for another week.

That's it for this week, see you 'round the empire!

Forum Party Tomorrow!

Since the patch has just been released, we thought we'd dedicated a Forum Party just for testing it out. From this week on, our Forum Parties will be exclusively patch 1.01. So for those who don't have it, be sure to get it at EmpiresRTS.com. If not, you will be missing out on being owned by me! ;)

It, of course, will still be in the same place (Tournament Room) and the same time (11AM EST and 7PM EST). One thing new, however, is that our games will be passworded. This is done to make sure all HeavenGames viewers are first priority. The password will be lower-case hg.

So check the Forum Party thread for the complete details and I'll see you on the battlefields! You will truly "r0x0rz" if you can get in first... WITH a password to type! =p

Community Events

oPPonent from starComa has told us about their upcoming tournament set for February 2nd. Prizes include a 30 Euro voucher for the eSports-Store, Everglide Large Attack Pad, and a package of mouse glides (First, Second, and Third respectively). You can find out information in his forum post or at starComa. There will surely be some high ranked experts at this tournament!

Also, for those having trouble with matches being reported to the ladder, Boggy from Stainless Steel dropped by to reassure us that they do know about the problem. It seems, however, the situation is improving as many people have been getting their stats uploaded without a hitch. And don't worry, all you previously unreported games will be reported correctly. Read more about it in his post.

What is the greatest RTS game ever?

A thread by Fargo in GameSpy's gaming forums has become a very active source of discussion for the community; the subject being what RTS games are the greatest of all time for the genre. There are a huge range of titles to choose from, but only a couple seem to have the quality and spark that would make people view them as the best.

Age of Empires, Empire Earth, Starcraft, Warcraft, which would you choose? I'd definitely go for my long-time enjoyment (obsession) of the original Age of Empires, but what about you? Sticking with the Age series or maybe you prefer another game? Be sure to take part in the discussion at GameSpy!

Rate the Patch!

In our last poll we asked What kind of player are you?. Many of you have answered our call, with the majority being Boomers. However, there was a close tie between Rushers and Turtlers. It seems that we have a well rounded community here. Here were the results:
[22%] Rusher
[30%] Boomer
[23%] Turtler
[13%] Any of the above
[12%] Not a clue

Total: 323 Votes
This might all change, though, now that the patch is out. For those who have the patch, we ask you to Rate the patch from 1(awful) to 5(stunning). For those who don't have the patch, get it from EmpiresRTS.com. Let Stainless Steel know how you feel!

And for those who are having trouble getting their old names back, be sure to read DoJo_AntiAmi post about how to (possibly) retrieve your old names. You can find more (and post your own) opinions about the patch here.

Empires Dawn of Modern World 1.01 Patch Released!

The anticipated patch has just been released as promised. This 12 meg. patch adds tons of great features like an ignore button, a new RM Map, and balance tweaks. Find out the full details about the patch and tell us when you get it. Be sure to grab it now and head online!

Patch Forum Party Tomorrow!

EH is hosting a forum party in celebration of the release of Empires' patch tomorrow, at around 1:30 EST in the Tournament Room. If you're around during that time to try out the patch, be sure to make it to EH's party to get a couple games in with the community!

Hotkey Guide by Mokon

Mokon has written another guide for us. This time it is about hotkeys and how to efficiently map them. The strategy section will be up soon and you will be able to find the hotkey guide there. Be sure to submit your own strategy to us!
"When using your hotkeys, only use them when you need to. Getting your speed to 3000 means nothing. Concentrating and thinking is much more important. Also, if you have to look down at your hotkeys to know where they are, it's worth it; they should be second nature."

Forum Party Tomorrow! January 24

Another day, another forum party. As with every weekend, we'll be having forum party . Be sure to join us in our weekly matches. Last week was pretty fun, I hope this week will be. As usual, it is in the Tournament Room at 11AM EST and 7PM EST. Check the Forum Party Thread for the complete info. See you on the battlefields! Maybe Park will stop in to get this weekly dose of whoopage!

Patch is Shipping Out Within Days

Boggy SSSi, our man in blue, has sent word that the patch has been approved and finished! Here's what he said:
The patch has been approved by both Activision and Stainless and will be available for download from the EmpiresRTS site's main page on Monday, January 26th at 'approximately' 2:00 pm (eastern standard time)
The patch should add a ton of balance fixes along with new lobby features such as an ignore list. Maybe, people will stop chatting about Korea being too overpowered. What will happen next? All that and more coming Monday.

French WWII Units Unleashed

The French WWII Units have been added to our unit section. Sorry for the delay, all I needed to do was snap a ton of screenshots for them. Should have the Russians done within days.

Capture The Flag Trigger Tutorial by Hank

Hank recently posted in the forums about a tutorial he wrote about creating triggers for a capture the flag scenarios. If you're looking for a bit of help with that or with triggers in general, you might find that useful. Be sure to check it out, and thanks Hank!

"For anyone interested, I just uploaded a small tutorial on creating a CTF trigger system. If you load it up in the editor I have included some explanations for triggers, effects, etc. Most of you could probably figure this out on your own, but hopefully if we upload more things like this more novice to intermediate designers will try their hand at creating scenarios."

IGN's Best of 2003

At the beginning of every New Years, IGN honors the great games released in the past year. This year, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World has been given the Runner-Up for the Best Strategy Game of 2003. You can find all the Best Games of 2003 at IGN. Much thanks to XXXDKXXX for pointing this out!

Patch Update for the 19th

Boggy over at Stainless Steel has posted the current status of the patch. It seems the patch should be ready to go soon. You can find his thread in our forums.
"Activision has not submitted any new bugs as of last Friday. The patch has to go through some installer checks and if everthing goes well, they will approve it for release.
Note: There is not a specific date for the patch release. If problems arise, they will be addressed."

Poll Roundup

Interestingly enough, the majority of voters in Which do you play more: rated or non-rated? picked non-rated as their preferred type of online gameplay over rated. Granted, there still was a decent amount of people that voted for rated, there was a surprisingly large number for non-rated. Here are the poll results:

[19%] Rated
[49%] Non-rated
[32%] I don't play online

Total: 151 votes
Gamers have playing styles that vary from person to person. What kind of player are you? Boomer? Rusher? Answer in our poll!

Imperial Review

More patch news came out this past week, with Boggy posting some news on the patch; it appears that the patch build is being reviewed by Activision and we should hopefully get another update some time soon. In addition to receiving that from SSSI, we also got the official manual for Empires' scenario editor; the large community of designers in the community and EH specifically should definitely get a lot of use out of that manual.

This week, Calanor submitted a file to EH's downloads database that many players and designers could find useful: the Empires Tweaker. It lets players edit all sorts of aspects of the game, from building cost to unit placement in ages. Something that's recommended to check out, it's a pretty nice file.

What's coming next week? Hopefully another update on the patch, plus one or two things from EH itself.

That's it for this week, see you 'round the empire!

Forum Party Tomorrow! January 17

Tomorrow we'll be having another forum party. Although we had a blast last week, many people had to leave early. Hopefully everyone can stay a while longer this time around. It will be at the usual location (Tournament Room) and the usual time (11AM EST and 7PM EST). Check the Forum Party for the complete information and the usual rants =). See you there!

Multiplayer Demo Ladder

For those of you that just have the multiplayer demo for Empires and not the full version yet, OrganDoner has started up a ladder for it. Anyone interested can head to the ladder's forums to sign up, or the main page to get started. Sounds like a lot of fun for those with the demo, be sure to take a look at it! Thanks to TenDegreesBelow for the heads up!

Downloads Highlight - Empires Tweaker

Empires Tweaker by Calanor allows for players to edit various features in the game such as unit cost or limiting the use of priests to certain ages. It works much the same way as we've known with Empires Toolbox, but doesn't require any technical knowledge.

This could definitely be used for some interesting scenarios or single player games. Perhaps if all multiplayers shared the same files then you could play games where citizens cost 1 food. There's a lot of potential here, hopefully we'll be seeing more. Be sure to check it out.

Gigex Reviews Empires

Yeup, the next gaming site to review Empires is Gigex. They gave it a solid 4 out of 5 stars. Not too bad, here's a snippet:

Overall, Empires: Dawn of the Modern World is a very strong addition to Stainless Steel's repertoire of games. I have only a few gripes, but the positive features far outweigh the bad. No one expects short games when playing real-time strategy games like this, but sometimes this title can seem a bit excessive. So don't let the short thousand-year timeline fool you. This game has a lot to offer!

Magazine Review: CGM

Computer Games Magazine is the next major gaming magazine to review Empires for the month of February; they gave the game a slightly low 3.5 out of 5.

Poll Roundup

It appears as though the majority of the voters in the poll question Do you think SSSI will release Empires' x-pack this year? believe that there is a chance that we'll get the x-pack this year. We don't know exactly what kind of chance, but it's something. Here's the full poll results:

[30%] Sure thing!
[46%] Perhaps
[24%] Nope

Total: 220 votes
Online gameplay in Empires is pretty popular, as are both the non-rated and rated types of playing. Which do you play more: rated or non-rated? Answer in our poll!

February CGW Reviews Empires

The February issue of Computer Gaming World has a review of Empires in it, and they gave it a decent 4 out of 5. If you have a subscription to CGW, it should be coming in the mail any time now; for everyone else, you could get a copy at the start of next month when it's released in retail.

Update on the Patch & Activision

Wondering what ever happened to patch for Empires? Boggy, our SSS PR man, at MFO delivers the lastest news of the patch
Hopefully, the last of the problematic bugs dug up by Activision has been squashed here at Stainless. Our latest patch build is again being reviewed by Activision. We're hoping that the community will not have to wait until next Monday for another update. Thank you for being patient in understanding that we do not want to release an unstable patch. I'll keep you posted.
With any luck we will have a bug free patch soon. If nothing else, you can always turn to the recently released manual.

Official Scenario Editor Manual Released!

That's right folks, the Official Manual for Empires Editor has been released today! What a manual it is indeed filled with ~50 pages of designing goodness for new comers and oldies alike. Some definite quick highlights could be page 44 of Scenario Optimization or page 35's Parser Commands. Either way this should become a regular reference bible for just about everyone. Hopefully, we'll see a huge soar in scenarios and lot less confused designers. More than happy to see that SSS has taken the time to create and release the manual to the public. Let's all get designing!

Imperial Review

The biggest news this week was the same kind of big news that the last couple weeks have seen: patch news. Dave Boghdan reported in MFO that it has been passed on to Activision for final testing and should be out fairly soon. Good news for everyone that's been waiting!

The forums have seen some activity, with FrEnCh_CoI3rA's civ winning percentage thread having quite the interesting conversation on how the civs in Empires stack up against each other. As far as scenario design goes, Gordon Farrell's thread on what the various designers are working on in the editor has been pretty active as well.

What's coming next week? Definitely more forum activity, and maybe some patch news!

That's it for this week, see you 'round the empire!

What are you working on in the scenario editor?

That's what Gordon Farrell is interested to know in his latest thread in Scenario Design Discussions. With things in the forum starting to slow down, people are surely ramping up their work on their scenario projects; I'm sure everyone would love to see what the design community has in store for them.

"Heh, every time I see a drop off in activity here I have the sneaking suspicion it's because everyone is pouring their free time into their design projects. It kind of reminds me of the first days of AoKH, by the way, when very little got posted for the first few months.

Anyone want to talk about what they're working on? I know we may be a LITTLE reluctant to say TOO much cuz we've all got surprises up our sleeves we want to spring on the world."
So what have you been planning on in the editor recently? Be sure to post in the thread!

GamerArchive Reviews Empires

The next gaming site to review Empires is GamerArchive; they gave it an 8 out of 10. Here's an excerpt:

"Empires: Dawn of the Modern World has done something that not many titles have done too recently, drawn me into a world and not let me to till the wee small hours. Strategy gamers will love it, the maybe brigade will love it too, and even the strategy naysayers may find this game the one that turns their opinions around..."

Forum Party Tomorrow!

As usually, every Saturday we have a Forum Party. This week we'll be having another at the usual time and place. Last week was quite fun. Angel Park uploaded a record of one of the best games last week, you can find it in the Downloads Section. Find all the information about this Forum Party in the Forum Party Thread. Hope to see you there! =)

Automatch Civs Winning Percentage Stats

FrEnCh_CoI3rA recently posted a list of all of the exact percentages that each civilization gets wins in automatch; the resulting conversation turned into an analysis of just why the figures are like they are, specifically why Korea is on top and the USA is on the bottom. Here is the full list of the percentages:

China: 47,85% of wins
England: 44,15%
France: 57,14%
Franks: 49,78%
Germany: 43,86%
Korea: 53,80%
Russia: 49,2%
UK: 44,09%
USA: 31,62%
Have a comment on the list? Be sure to post in the thread!

2 New Empires Reviews

Two gaming sites have posted reviews of Empires just recently, the first of which being Daytrum. They gave it a 5 out of 5, a very good review. Here's a snip:

"Among the most compelling games on the market are real-time strategy games. And in this regard, Activision's Empires: Dawn of the Modern World delivers great strategic gaming that's based on great historical civilizations. This one will appeal to die-hard players as well as to those who are just discovering the joys of these titles."
Gaming Nation's review of the game doesn't have its own official overall score, though the current average user rating is 7 out of 10. Here's an excerpt from that:

"Final Thoughts- This is one of the best RTS, that has come across these eyes. With great graphics, sound, gameplay, and awesome Replay, you will not get bored of this game. I could recommend Empires to any RTS fan that is looking for a great challenge and fun...Believe me, this has been a great time reviewing this game, it has brought me my share of joy for the day!"

Poll Roundup

According to last week's poll question - Do you think the patch will fix all of the major problems to the game? - the opinion seems to be fairly evenly distributed, though more believe that it will indeed fix Empires' problems than anything. That seems to be the logical thing to think, SSSI has spent a large amount of time working on the patch it seems; especially in looking in the community for ideas for balancing and fixes.

[43%] Yes
[34%] No
[22%] Undecided

Total: 192 votes
With the start of the new year, we're all thinking about exactly what will happen. Do you think SSSI will release Empires' x-pack this year? I'd say there's a pretty good chance or at least getting a decent amount of information about the game this year, but maybe we'll get lucky and the SSSI dudes will give us a nice Christmas present at the end of the year in the form of the x-pack. What do you think? Answer in our poll!

Patch Update

Today Dave "Boggy" Boghdan posted an update on the coming 1.01 patch at MrFixitOnline. If all goes well, you can expect the patch pretty soon. Here's what he had to say:
"The "long awaited" patch has been passed on to Activision for a final testing process. As long as they do not uncover anything drastic (and as of right now they haven't) the patch should be out in a few days. The patch contains all the same data that was posted here a few weeks back. The most obvious changes will be certain balance issues and the Gamespy lobby."
On another note, the Warcry News Network has posted a their review of Empires: Dawn of the Modern World. Empires received an overall score of 8.5 out of 10:
"The graphics are right on for the game. While they certainly are not the best 3D graphics out there, for a top down RTS, the graphics really impressed me. All the units are 3D rendered and have great combat and movement animations. The units were very detailed and looked very historically correct. There are no generic units running around, a King Tiger Tank looks like a King Tiger Tank while a Sherman Tank looks like a Sherman Tank. You can scroll down for an up close and personal look at any unit and watch the action, spinning your '3D Camera' around anything. The amount of detail on the buildings and units is incredible when you zoom in."

Imperial Review of the Year!

Ah, 2003. This year was the first that Empires Heaven saw the light of day on the net, nearly halfway through the year in the month of July. And what a year it was; Empires was released and a heck of a lot of events and other such news showed up. Prior to its opening (not due to, simply because of the time that it happened), the Empires community was fairly slow and not all that many things happened, it seemed. But following that time period, things around the Empires community really started to speed up. Interestingly enough, immediately afterwards there were a couple major interviews with Rick Goodman released through various media sources; most notably EE France's. In addition, the amount of previews for the game began to ramp up as well; several coming out each week. The influx of new information through the previews allowed for us and the rest of the community to compile all of it into the articles and pages we have at EH, at least partially.

August (and school, for many of us) rolled around at the end of summer, and boy did the SSSI guys start rolling as far as posts in our forums went that month too. As someone who experienced first-hand the mayhem of keeping the news updated with all of the information and whatnot that the developer dudes were posting, I'd have to say I've not seen anything like that in the gaming community in a long time. I'd tally up exactly how many posts they made in August, but heck, I just don't have the time! Two great new fansites joined the Empires family as well, Empires EGN and Empires Element. More previews came out in August, though most people were focusing on the news of a possiblity of an Empires demo; a chance to get one's hands on at least part of the game before its release.

That anticipation went on through September, where the demo came out at Best Buy on the 7th for those who preordered the game and on the internet at various sites on the 18th. Everyone enjoyed what was given in the demo, and savored every bit of it; preparing for what was to come next month when the game was released. A couple demo events even went on, including a tournament and EH's first forum party. September was also the month for the most detailed previews and pre-information for Empires, especially IGN's hands-on preview, EH's countless screenshots, and Empires EGN's gameplay videos. IGN also started their civilization analyses series, which provided us with some nice looks at the various civilizations we were going to play in the full version.

That full version came out in October, but before that it had to go gold on the 7th (Now that's a nice birthday present for the Socster, Empires going gold ;) ). Inbetween the gone gold date and the release date on the 21st, not too much happened save for very interesting developer posts on the forums and some additional previews. It was after Empires' release when things started to speed up, with things going on from starComa's replay database opening to Empires giveaways at both Avault and Gaming Illustrated. EH forumers began to look at the game in-depth from the start, as shown by threads such as Lysimachus' tests on English vs French Imperial troops.

November was most notably marked, at least for myself, by my visit to Stainless Steel Studios. While I was over there in Boston, I visited Angel Zen and the whole HG gang there...but the big thing was my tour of SSSI and interviews with practically all of the guys over there, all of which will be posted once I get them formatted and whatnot; whilst you're waiting, be sure to check out the 6-page Rick Goodman interview, the SSSI visit writeup, and all 81 of the pictures from the event! On top of the SSSI visit news, Heaven was busier than ever, articles popping up everywhere and sections coming out of the woodwork; civilization tables, our popular Downloads Database, even the Scenario Design Library. While all that was happening, even more news mosied its way on down to our front page: Empires' expansion packs, one prequel and another sequel, were announced. Together, the three will span a time period from ancient times to modern day, all with the great detail of Empries but with the scope of the original Empire Earth. If that doesn't get an historical RTS gamer excited, I just don't know what would. Everything that happened in November would be detailed in this post, but I get the feeling newspro has character limits...and I'm sure I'd get pretty darn close to that.

News did begin to slow down once December hit and the year was coming to a close, though big news was still abundant. The full list of changes patch v1.01 will make to the game was released in December, as well as the date of "after Jan 1st" being set for it. Lots of people were excited about that, but they were also excited about happenings around EH itself. In particular, the Rick Goodman interview I conducted the month before was posted; a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in the genre or the game. We also opened our Editorials Section, EH's own little spot for all of the commentaries on gaming and Empires; just something fun to read while you're taking a break from Gamespy or the latest popular campaign in our downloads database. With all of this new information that's been coming in the past month or two, our forums were still pretty darn busy in December; a number of quality threads were posted and are still active in January.

What's coming next (er...this) year? I couldn't say for sure, but definitely the 1st and maybe other subsequent patches of Empires. Empires Heaven is sure to grow in the coming year, and I can only hint at the goodies we have in store for you; contests, articles, all that fun stuff. Heck, maybe even SSSI will wrap up this year with the release of their first x-pack for Empires, the one that covers ancient times? Now that would be an awesome wrap-up. In any case, I'll be with you guys all the way through to keep things updated and in order.

That's it for this year, see ya 'round the empire!

The Next Level Reviews Empires

Gaming site The Next Level wrote up their review of Empires, giving it a B+. Not too bad, but not the best either. Here's a snip:

"While I can't personally recommend Empires over Warcraft III and its expansion for casual RTS fans looking for pure fun, I can say that Empires gives Rise of Nations and Age of Mythology some good historical RTS competition that's been desperately needed. You can tell the game has been lovingly crafted by people that really care about the subject matter..."

News from the Forums

For up to the minute news on Empires, our forums is always a great place to look. Today Warspite2 reported that the previous GoGamer.com 48 Hour Madness special has been renewed, selling Empires: Dawn of the Modern World for $19.90! As of this post, there is currently 29 hours and 8 minutes left until the deal expires. So if you missed it last time, be sure not to miss it this time. Find this great deal at GoGamer.com.

Also, Cherub xLpx has suggested a new "theme" for the next Forum Party.
"Well, every week at Woad we have our WW2 EB game, where 7 of us, fight against 1 level 10 PC on EB mode, but to simulate WW2, we use only WW2 civs, and the level 10 PC is Germany..."
The thread has spurred quite a discussion. More about this idea in his thread.

Want to win a copy of Empires?

Well, as reported by XXXDKXXX, Worthplaying is holding a contest to give away 4 copies of the game. All you need to do is fill in your mailing information and submit the form; it's a simple as that! In addition to Worthplaying's contest, Bella Online is also holding an Empires giveaway. It's the same basic idea as the other contest, just fill in the information needed and submit.

Good luck to everyone that enters! I entered Bella Online's contest just to get the free sample of Olay Total Effects 7X... ;)

Forum Party Tomorrow! January 03

This Saturday, we will be having a Forum Party to kick off the New Year. Being that it is the first Forum Party of 2004, maybe we should try something new. Mob Freako has recently released another installment of his popular European maps. You can find Europe 3.0 in the Downloads Section. Otherwise, we should try to have three or four teams on either Channel or Team Island maps. They will generate quite weird but it should be fun. Check the Forum Party Thread for the complete info. See you there!

English Stable Rush

A thread in Strategy Discussions has been going on for a while on an English stable rush early on in the game. The idea of the strategy is to get knights as early as possible and use them to harass the enemy, slowing him down enough for you to have time to build up a full knight/priest/crossbow army to finish him off.

"The basic start is as follows: villager builds mining camp, stable, settlement by 2nd gold pile. First 2 villagers go to gold. This keeps enough gold for constant knights. 3rd villager builds house and goes to wood, building settlement near apples if no wood by gold settlement. 4th-8th villagers go to apples with settlement if needed(you have enough wood for 2 settlements total, if you need 3 I'd advise a different strat). 9th villager gathers stone for tower and rest go to wood. This gets a knight out at a little before 3 minutes and keeps them coming out of the stable non stop while keeping non stop villager production. After that I like to go armory and church to get out priests which counter hwarangs, knights do pretty well against fire carts."
Have some comments of your own on the strategy; maybe want to add or change something to what they have so far? Be sure to post in the thread!

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Empires: Dawn of the Modern World is a game by Stainless Steel Studios and published by Activision.