The gaming community is a very nascent medium compared to other forms of storytelling and interaction, and it’s developer and consumer base is something that needs to be examined and talked about. As I’m creating this article for a tech website, I take for granted that many of you are at least remotely aware of the activity in CS-GO or Dota 2. However, most people are not aware of a comparatively small, but flourishing competitive scene, in Age of Empires 2, which is seen to be most of the best Real Time Strategy games ever made. I’m writing this article with the aim of providing information to allow people to watch these games, whether out of nostalgia and build this excellent community to a enthusiastic competitive one.
First, some background. Age of Empires Two came out in 1999, around eighteen years back. The last major expansion to come out, Rise Of The Rajas, came out in December last year, and a large modding and multiplayer base, based around three main places of running: Woobly, a fan made service, Steam, and HD. As far as I know, competitive matches have been played on the multiplayer servers since 2010, if not earlier.
WHAT TO WATCH AND WHERE:
I’m now going to list a few places where you can watch plays, and where to get the game. You can buy the game and all expansions on steam, and watch top level streamers play Age of Empires on twitch. On YouTube, streamers like T90official, Resonance22, SpiritofTheLaw, and ZeroEmpires are very popular right now. The best team right now is the tyrant team, including players like DauD, TheViper, Nicov, and so on. There are any tournaments that go on all year round, with a prize pool of a quite a few thousand dollars. And of course, there are many game modes in Age of Empires like King Of the Hill, where you have to capture a monument or Regicide, where if your king dies, you die. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg.
This, of course, does not mean that the community is doing all that well. Prize money and sponsors are low, tournaments do not much reach. The size of the community itself is small, which makes running the scene hard. There are other issues, such as the mismatch of civilizations in certain maps, the fact that this game was not made for comptetitive esports at all, and the bad ping which de-rails the games.
Nonetheless, as a person who played games such as these for many years, I was pleasantly surprised when I accidentally stumbled into this about a year back and saw the promise in it. That’s why I wrote this article, to popularize this interesting and underrated thing that few know about.