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Age of Empires Online 1.0

Conquer the world with the online version of this classic game

by Mike Williams

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License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 7 (32 bit), Windows 7 (64 bit), Windows Vista (32 bit), Windows Vista (64 bit), Windows XP
Requirements:

2.5GB free hard drive space for downloads, broadband internet connection

Languages: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 17 August 2011
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 7662
Developer: Microsoft
RSS News Feed:
Twitter Feed: http://twitter.com/#!/AgeofEmpires
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AgeOfEmpiresOnline
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Age of Empires Online
Conquer the world with the online version of this classic game

Age of Empires Online is the latest version of Microsoft's classic real-time strategy game.

The core plot will be very familiar to most gamers. You start with a puny, single-city civilisation, all alone in a hostile world. But by careful management of resources, well-judged expansion, development of new technologies and the conquest of local competition, you'll eventually build an empire which will rule the world. (At least, that's the plan.)

There's no subscription, and the core features come for free: the main game, two of the best civilizations (the Greeks and Egyptians), and the ability to fight, chat or trade with other players in your online world.

To be really successful, though, you'll probably have to part with at least some cash in purchasing a few Premium Packs. These extend your empire with new units, buildings or technologies, giving you a valuable edge over your rivals. And Microsoft are also offering Booster Packs, which add additional game content: new game modes, special storylines and more.

Please note, it can take some time to get started. The setup file is very small, but this then downloads the core program, and a host of patches and assorted content, and the entire process took more than an hour even on an 8Mbps broadband connection. We then had a few problems launching the game; if that happens to you, the Age of Empires Online forum can probably help.

Once you are up and running, though, it's all fairly straightforward and a combination of the program manual and assistance from other players, if you need it, means your empire will soon begin to expand.

Verdict:

Age of Empires Online looks great, is generally easy to learn and offers plenty of multiplayer fun. Those who enhance their civilisation with Premium Packs will gain a valuable edge, though, and we're not yet sure how easy it will be for free players to compete.

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Spotlight: Free Full Software

WhatsApp Messenger 2.12.5

Free Full Commercial Software

WhatsApp Messenger is the world's most popular instant messaging app for smartphones.

You can use it to send and receive text and voice messages, photos, videos, even call your friends in other countries, and because it uses your phone's internet connection it might not cost you anything at all (depending on whether you'll pay data charges).

It's easy to set up and use. There's no need to create and remember new account names or pins because it works with your phone number, and uses your regular address book to find and connect you with friends who use WhatsApp already.

You can talk one-to-one or in group chats, and because you're always logged in there's no way to miss messages. Even if your phone is turned off, WhatsApp will save your messages and display them as soon as you're back online.

There's plenty more (location sharing, contact exchange, message broadcasting) and the app is free for a year, currently $0.99/ year afterwards.

Version 2.12.5 brings:

• Per chat custom notification settings and mute
• You can now include videos in your chat backups in Settings > Chats and Calls > Chat Backup
• Mark chats as unread or read with a swipe to the right
• Better support for VoiceOver
• Directly share contacts from the Contacts app and locations from Apple Maps to WhatsApp
• Lower the data usage used during WhatsApp calls in Settings > Chats and Calls 
• Earlier messages now load automatically as you scroll chats
• Improved design for cropping photos and videos
• Location messages now use a large map thumbnail

[...]
Value:
Free
Rating: