Microsoft has announced today that Age of Empires Online, the free to play MMO RTS with cooperative missions, will be available on August 16th for download and in retail stores. You may ask yourself how exactly a free to play game can hit retail stores - I asked myself the very same question.
The retail version of the game will cost $19.99 and include the first bit of premium content to the game as well as some tangible goods like a hot key reference card (old school) and a poster (hotness).
The Premium Greek Civilization which unlocks the power of Rare and Epic items,Advisors to enhance your civilization, the Player vs. Player Arena,awesomeTechnologies, and much more!
• Windy’s Wild Widgets Store to give your civilization an edge with the ability to buy and sell special items (available exclusively in retail)
• Hotkey quick reference card.
• Limited-edition poster and Advisor cards.
• Instructions to download the free-to-play experience.
Age of Empires Online offers a persistent world where you can create your capital city, set out on missions, and battle with or against friends. The game has extensive cooperative missions where players must work together to complete objectives. The Free to Play game launches with two civilizations - the Greeks and the Egyptians and is said to have 40 hours worth of content alone.
Having played the beta the game, it really is a unique cross between an RTS and an MMO with many elements borrowed from games like World of Warcraft - that includes leveling, ability unlocks and unique gear for your army. Expect monthly premium content that ranges from $4.99 to $9.99 in the form of booster packs and items to outfit your capital city.
Age of Empires Online is exclusively available on the PC and utilizes Games for Windows Live for friends, chat and achievements.