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Age of Mythology@E3 2002

By: Thunder

Before we get into the grand display of Age of Mythology goodies from E3 2002, I must thank the Ensemble Studios team for putting up with all of my questions. I harassed many of them about various units and buildings, sometimes more than once, and they gave me plenty to talk about. You're a great group!

Click to enlarge Many pictures have been taken of the giant AOM display, which featured six PCs running a special demo of the game for this show, and those enormous statues of Anubis, Thor, and Zeus. This is where the poor folks from ES had questions thrown at them for hours on end...oh the humanity! What many people didn't find though was a pair of PCs tucked away in the back corner of the Microsoft area that actually had most of their upcoming games installed, including AOM. This sure made the show a real treat for me as I spent quite a bit of time playing games, trying out the various random maps and gods, as well as snapping a few photos. Whoever arranged that...you rock.

Game Changes

To give you some idea of how much of the game is still in flux, here are some of the new things that have been implemented since I played it back in March while at Ensemble Studios. First of all, the amount of population a Town Center gives you has been increased quite a bit in the last couple of months. This has made it possible to have a population limit well over 200, if you capture enough settlements. This is countered somewhat by units such as cavalry and giants which take up multiple population slots. A powerful Myth unit may take up as many as 5 pop.

Click to enlarge If that doesn't sound like a significant change, then look no further than the Egyptians. Back in March, their building construction was pretty typical. Now, their buildings cost no wood at all, and some— like houses and granaries —are free but take longer to build. Larger structures and farms cost gold for them to build. The whole culture has turned into a gold dependant menace that only needs a few villagers to gather wood for their units that require it. Egyptian fans don't have much to fear though as even if you do get cut off from a source of gold to mine, or you use it all up, it is possible to trade for more. Trade carts can now run from your market to your own Town Center and back to generate free gold.


Navy

At last, the E3 demo has revealed what is planned for battles on the sea in AOM. There will be three different types of ships, all of which we have seen in screenshots. There are the standard ships that fire arrows, like the Galley line from AOK. There is also a line of ramming ships, which feature a hammer type of attack and must get in close like fireships. Finally there is a siege line of ships, which are not only good against buildings, but are a ship line. Each line of ships is the counter for another line of ships, and weak against another.

Ships are trained out of the small lighthouse type structures that we have seen along the coastlines, not the giant lighthouse. It appears that these small lighthouses have replaced the old dock art that we saw at one time.



(Greek ships from left to right: Trireme fires arrows like an AOK galley, Siege ship hurls rocks, Ramming ships batters a target at close range)


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