Age of Empires 4’s stress test kicks off this week – and everyone’s invited

Get ready to get your hands on Age of Empires 4 ahead of its launch next month

A shot of Age of Empires 4 battle ahead of the streatgey game's technical stress test

Following August’s Age of Empires 4 closed beta, Relic Entertainment has revealed that the highly anticipated strategy game is getting a new, technical stress test that kicks off later this week. While the team’s aims are a little different this time around, meaning it won’t be an identical experience, the key difference is you won’t need an invite to jump in to this one.

First up, the when. The Age of Empires 4 technical stress test goes live on Friday, September 17 at 10am PT / 1pm ET / 6pm BST and runs through that weekend until Monday, September 20 until the same time. The idea this time is to stress test the upcoming RTS game’s servers and systems at scale, with the devs trying to get as many people in and playing over the weekend to check that its “matchmaking, lobbies, and additional systems hold strong”, as they explain in a blog post.

The test will primarily offer the chance to dive into Age 4’s multiplayer experience, though there’ll also be AI matches to try in its multiplayer custom lobby along with the game’s tutorial, Mission Zero. The four Age of Empires 4 civilizations available to play during the test will be the English, Chinese, Holy Roman Empire, and Abbasid Dynasty, with five maps to give them a whirl in.

Unlike the previous closed beta test, this time you won’t need an invite by virtue of being an Age ‘Insider’ – it’ll be available to all via Steam and the Xbox Insider Hub (which you can grab on the Microsoft store) for all. The only requirement is that players meet or exceed the game’s minimum specs, as you’d expect.

If you joined the closed beta last month, you’ll find a few changes have come into play since then – the maximum camera zoom-out distance has been tweaked, there are new balance adjustments, and – naturally – a bunch of bug fixes.

If you’re keen to get stuck in when the technical test kicks off and are after the full details on how to get involved, head to the announcement post at that link for the info. The Age of Empires 4 release date is set for October 28.