Our new Indie Games subforum is now open for business in G&T. Go and check it out, you might land a code for a free game. If you're developing an indie game and want to post about it, follow these directions. If you don't, he'll break your legs! Hahaha! Seriously though.
Our rules have been updated and given their own forum. Go and look at them! They are nice, and there may be new ones that you didn't know about! Hooray for rules! Hooray for The System! Hooray for Conforming!
Age of Empires Online: No problem Elephants can't solve
So this just launched. The online free to play* Age of Empires, with shades of farmville and world of warcraft shoved in a blender with the classic gameplay.
It's not quite as disjointed as that sounds.
You have your home city ala AOE3, where all the farmville and WoW type stuff happens. You level up, craft stuff, equip gear on your buildings and units, unlock new units, buildings and upgrades for use in the missions and take on quests.
Quests are the classic AOE gameplay, they are literally Age of Empires levels, with everything that entails.
Now, what about the "free" to play part? Well there's where things go a little awry, Microsoft doesn't seem to be quite as savvy as say, the LoL guys or Valve. There's still the usual horse armour style vanity microtransactions, at ~$5 a pop to unlock a set of statues or shrubs for your home city. Then there's the premium civilisations, you can play as either Egypt or Greece currently, with more to come. But you can pay ~$20 to unlock the premium version of the civ. This allows the star technologies at the bottom of the tech tree, a bunch of buildings, ranked pvp, higher quality gear and so forth. There's a lot of stuff there playing for free, but expect to run into lots of locked icons.