An Unsolved Game, ‘Age of Empires II’ Still Breeds Obsession 17 Years Later


In no small part thanks to the series' enduring community, Microsoft is reviving the Age of Empires franchise with both a new sequel from developer Relic— Age of Empires IV—and a series of "remastered" Definitive Editions for Age of Empires I through III. The first of these, Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, was planned to come out this week but has been delayed by Microsoft Studios.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at


I’m so glad this series is getting attention. I have played a lot of the AoE2 remake in the last few years, and it was super cool to see such an old game getting new expansion. Especially so since they feature civs that you normally don’t think of as strategy game material (African Kingdoms, Rise of the Rajas).
I hope Age of Empires 4 (or 4ge, as I will inevitably refer to it) is good, but competing with nostalgia is tough. Just look at AoE 3.


I disagree with that idea that “most competitive metagames are solved and stale in a matter of months”. It might appear that way because most competitive video games nowadays are getting constant patches. In-between big balance patches there will be a period of figuring out a new meta based on the changes and things will settle into place before the next big balance patch. However, I’m pretty confident that for almost all the big competitive video games if you just left them in their current state at any given point in time there would continue to be meta shifts for years to come.

In traditional sports, for example, where the rules are changed in big ways less often than e-sports (I’m pretty sure I’m right on this, sorry if not I follow like no traditional sports), you still see the meta changing throughout the years in quite dramatic ways. Any competitive game that is capable of getting a big following is not going to be so simple that you can have figured out strategies that are perfect for it in just a few months.


One of the more interesting articles on AoE/AoK that I’ve seen in a long time. Does the author have a contact email (or other means of reaching)?


The best examples of this are Smash Melee and Brood War. Neither has received any balance patches in years but the metagame continues to shift at the highest level of play.