Age of Empires III

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Minimum System Requirements

Processor : Core 2 Duo
Graphics Card : Built-in
RAM : 2 GB
Setup Size : 1 GB
Genre : Real Time Strategy
Release Year : 2005

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Age of Empires III is a real time strategy video game developed by Microsoft Corporation’s Ensemble Studios and published by Microsoft Game Studios. The Mac version was ported over and developed and published by Destineer‘s MacSoft. The PC version was released on October 18, 2005 in North America and November 4, 2005 in Europe, while the Mac version was released on November 21, 2006 in North America and September 29, 2006 in Europe. An N-Gage version of the game developed by Glu Mobile was released on April 28, 2009.[3][4][5] It is the third game of the Age of Empires series and the sequel to Age of Empires II: The Age of Kings. A remaster titled Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition was released on October 15, 2020.[6] Its successor, Age of Empires IV is under development.

The game portrays the European colonization of the Americas, between approximately 1492 and 1876 AD. There are fourteen civilizations to play within the game. Age of Empires III has made several innovations in the series, in particular with the addition of the “Home City”, which combines real-time strategy and role-playing features. Two expansion packs have been released: the first, Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs, was released on October 17, 2006, and introduced three Native American civilizations; the second, Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, was released on October 23, 2007, and included three Asian civilizations. On October 15, 2020, a remastered version of the game developed by Tantalus Media was released entitled Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition.

Age of Empires III has sold over 2 million copies as of May 2008. As well as receiving favorable reviews, it has garnered awards, including GameSpy‘s “Best RTS game of 2005”, and was one of the best-selling games of 2005.[7] In 2007, Age of Empires III was the seventh best-selling computer game, with over 313,000 copies sold that year.

Players begin with a constructed town center or a wagon that will build into such, an armed explorer, and a modest number of villagers. Players explore the map and begin gathering resources used to build additional units and buildings and to research upgrades or technologies. Actions such as training units, constructing buildings, killing enemy units, etc., earn the player experience points. At certain experience point thresholds, players earn shipments that may be turned in for cards from the player’s Home City, which can include units, upgrades, or resources. The game progresses similarly to most real-time strategy games until one side resigns.

A player-designed Imperial Age town, sitting safely behind several defensive walls (see miniature map, lower left corner). Includes a factory (center).

In Age of Empires III, the player advances through technological “Ages”, representing historical time periods; these provide access to greater improvements, units, and buildings. They include the Discovery Age, which represents the discovery and exploration of the Americas by Europeans and allows the player to explore and develop their economy; the Colonial Age, which represents the European Expansion into the “New World” and unlocks early military units; the Fortress Age, which represents the fortification of the European colonies, unlocks forts, and allows the player to have a more complete military; the Industrial Age, which triggers a strong economy, due in part to factories—advanced buildings that automatically produce resources or artillery—and unlocks all units and shipments; and the Imperial Age, which unlocks all buildings and upgrades, and allows you to send unit and resource shipments a second time. All Ages cost food and coin to advance to, except the Colonial Age, which only costs food (800). The price of age advancement is incremental but does not vary between civilizations.

Similar to the “minor gods” system in Age of Mythology,[9] Age of Empires III uses a “Politician System” to grant bonuses on a successful advancement to another age. When the player chooses to advance to the next age, who is given the choice of two or more “Politicians” that provide them with a different bonus on choosing them. The Politician is given a generalized title from the period that usually reflects the bonus that it gives: for example, “The Naturalist” gives the player four cows, while “The General” gives twelve musketeers and one piece of heavy artillery. As the player’s Home City increases in level, more Politicians are unlocked—at a rate of one for every ten Home City levels—up to level 60.

Civilizations

Age of Empires III allows the player to play as eight different civilizations:[10] SpanishBritishFrenchPortugueseDutchRussianGerman, and Ottomans.[11] Each of the eight civilizations has its own strengths and weaknesses and unique units available only to that civilization. Specific units for each civilization are designated Royal Guard units, receiving greater bonuses on the Guard upgrade in the Industrial Age, but at an increased price. The player can change the name of their Home City, the Explorer name, and is given a pre-named leader from part of the period (for example, Napoleon Bonaparte for the French Colonial Empire, Suleiman the Magnificent for Ottoman Empire, and Ivan the Terrible for the Russian Empire). Each civilization has unique shipments to aid its cultural, economy and military (for example, the Ottomans are able to order a shipment of gold for both them and their teammates).

There are other civilizations playable via the campaign, which include The Knights of St. John, John Black’s Mercenaries, and the United States of America,[12] which are played as the Spanish, German and British civilizations, respectively, with slight modifications. Non-playable campaign civilizations include the Pirates, Circle of Ossus and Native Americans, although these civilizations are playable using the Scenario Editor.

Twelve different tribes of Native Americans are in the game as well, but these are not in themselves playable factions. However, players can gain access to unique units and improvements by forming an alliance with the tribes by building a trading post at their camps. The native tribes featured are the AztecCaribCherokeeComancheCreeIncaIroquoisLakotaMayaNootkaSeminole, and Tupi.[13] Three of these tribes were made playable in the expansion pack Age of Empires III: The WarChiefs: the Iroquois, Lakota (under the name Sioux) and Aztecs. These civilizations were removed as the smaller, alliance based tribes and were replaced by the HuronCheyenne, and Zapotec, respectively.[14] In The Asian Dynasties another three civilizations were added, along with several new native tribes. The civilizations are the Indian, the Japanese, and the Chinese.

Home Cities

Age of Empires III is the first game in the series to introduce the “Home City” concept.[15] The Home City functions as a second city, a powerhouse that is separated from the active game. It cannot be attacked or destroyed, although an Imperial Age upgrade called “Blockade” stops the player’s opponents from receiving Home City shipments. Similar to a role-playing game character,[16] the Home City is persistent between games, meaning that upgrades gained through separate games can be applied and stay applied for as long as that particular city exists. Multiple Home Cities can be created and maintained, although each supports only one civilization.

The Home City is composed of five main buildings from which the player chooses their new shipment cards and customizations: The New World Trading Company, the Military Academy, the Cathedral, the Manufacturing Plant and the Harbor.[17] Players can also access the Home City during a match by clicking on the “Home City” button represented on the HUD as the nation’s flag. The Home City functions differently inside a game. Instead of customizing a Home City or choosing cards, a player can ship cards chosen before the game (and added to a deck).

During the course of a game, players gain XP (experience) by completing actions such as constructing buildings, training units, killing enemies, and collecting treasures. Whenever a certain amount of experience points are gained, the player can make use of a shipment from their respective Home City. Shipments slow down as the game goes on since more XP is required with every consecutive shipment. This XP is also added directly to the home city and is collected over multiple games, allowing it to level up over time. Players can gear their cards into three different combinations: “Boom” (economic combinations), “Rush” (military combinations), or “Turtle” (defensive combinations).[18] The first few cards chosen are automatically added to the player’s portfolio, where it can be copied onto a deck for use in a game. Later in the game, cards have to be manually chosen because of the limit of cards in one deck. Most cards are available to all civilizations, but some are unique to one. If the Home City being played has more than one deck, the player must select which to use when the first shipment is sent. During a game, players keep this initial deck; this feature encourages players to build decks that are customized for the map being played on, or that counter other civilizations. The decks support twenty cards. As the Home City improves by level, you may gain an extra card slot for the decks for every 10 levels.

Units

The units of Age of Empires III are based, as in previous iterations of the game, around military classes of the historic time period. The player controls a variety of civilian and military units, and uses them to expand and develop their civilization, as well as wage war against opponents. The base unit of a game is the settler, responsible for gathering resources and constructing buildings, in order to improve the economy of the civilization. The number of units a player can control in a scenario is limited by a “population limit”, a common real-time strategy game mechanic. Houses and town centers raise the starting limit, to a maximum of 200, while each unit that is produced increases the population count. Basic units such as settlers and infantry count as 1, but others, including most cavalry and mercenary infantry count as 2. More powerful units, especially artillery or mercenary cavalry, can count for a population as high as 7. Native warriors, explorers, tamed and grazing animals, hot air balloons and warships do not count towards the population limit, but generally have a build limit, allowing the player to deploy only a certain number of those specific units at a time.

A small troop of cavalryinfantry, and cannon departing, headed out to battle.

Military units are used for combat against other players. Infantry are the cheapest unit type and all are land-based, using weapons ranging from crossbows to early muskets to more advanced rifles. The heavier artillery classes also make use of ranged weapons, primarily cannon and mortars; however, there is also artillery armed with grenades. Mounted troops are also present, and are armed with either hand weapons, such as swords, or ranged weapons, such as pistols. These units also have significant features, such as skirmishers which do bonus damage against infantry, and ranged cavalry does bonus damage against other cavalry. A new unit introduced in Age of Empires III is the explorer, which is chiefly responsible for scouting and gathering treasure but is also capable of building Trading Posts and has a special attack, used at the player’s command. This unit cannot be killed, but can be rendered unconscious, to be revived when friendly units are in range; also, a ransom can be paid to have it reappear at the player’s town center. This ransom is credited to the player that disabled him, when applicable. Some shipment cards increase the explorer’s effectiveness in gameplay; for example, providing it with “war dogs” can aid scouting and combat. In Age of Empires IIIships are available on most maps. Military ships makes use of cannon or flaming arrows, while some ships can collect resources or transport land units.

Mercenaries may aid the player in their campaigns in the New World. Mercenaries are not trained like standard units; instead, they can be shipped from the Home City or hired from saloons for a lot of gold, so that only economically powerful players can employ them. Most are powerful, but hiring them does not provide experience points, so mercenaries cannot effectively replace the player’s standard army, and can negatively affect a player’s economy if used excessively. Incidentally, along with hero/explorer units, Mercenaries were vulnerable to assassin units such as spies, agents and ninjas. In most cases, a selection of Native American tribes populate game maps and support their own brand of military units that can be trained once an alliance has been formed. Some Native American military units use mêlée weapons, a few use indigenous ranged weapons, such as bows and arrows or atl-atls, while still others adopt ranged European gunpowder weapons. These units usually pertain to the infantry or cavalry classes, but, on maps with water, canoes are also available to the player through the dock.

Buildings

Buildings play a big role in gameplay, as they are used for training civilian and military units, researching improvements, supporting population, providing structural defense, or as resource providers. The buildings portrayed in Age of Empires III resemble the architectural design of that era. All of the games in the series share several buildings, including the Town Center and Docks. The appearance and attributes of a building change as the player advances through the Ages, and some civilizations have their own unique buildings. The appearance of these buildings depends on civilization. Some buildings can only be built at certain times like the defensive towers.

There are certain architectural styles present in the game; architectural styles determine the appearance of in-game buildings.[19] Each civilization is automatically assigned its architectural style. These three architectural styles are the Western European, which consists of classical styled wooden buildings and is shared by the BritishFrench and Dutch; the Eastern European, which consists of wooden and straw structures and is shared by the Germans and Russians, and the Mediterranean, which consists of buildings made of stucco cement and dry brick, which is shared by the SpanishPortuguese and Ottomans.