A free Age of Empires 4 update is set for next week alongside the launch of its first big expansion, bringing the cozy Fireside Festivities seasonal event with new rewards to earn in the latest installment of one of the most beloved PC strategy game series. Arriving alongside its first expansion, Age of Empires 4 The Sultans Ascend, AoE update 9.1.109 will also include three new maps and a selection of the new DLC offerings for all players to try for free.
Age of Empires 4 The Sultans Ascend brings two popular civs to the table in the form of the Byzantines and the Japanese, along with a wealth of new map types, biomes, and more. Even if you’re not jumping into the new content, however, this free Age of Empires 4 update gives you plenty of reasons to come back to this top-notch return for Relic Entertainment’s genre-leading strategy games.
Our Age of Empires 4 review calls Relic’s latest a robust package for veterans and newcomers alike that feels fresh but avoids deviating too much from what made the series so popular. Given that it’s also available as part of your PC Game Pass subscription if you’re signed up to Microsoft’s library, there’s never been a better time to jump in and find out what makes AoE tick for so many players – and this big Age of Empires 4 patch is a great reason.
First up is the Fireside Festivities event. Running from Tuesday November 14 through to the end of Monday December 4, you’ll be able to earn portraits and coats of arms by completing special challenges. Alongside that, season six of ranked play begins Wednesday November 15, and will run until Thursday March 14, 2024.
Alongside three new maps joining the pool – Canal, Gorge, and Rocky River – there are also four of the map types introduced in The Sultans Ascend that will be included for all players, so you can check out the Cliffside, Golden Pit, Hidden Valley, and Himeyama offerings without needing to buy in. That also means a map pool (in both 1v1 and team play) that will feel all-new, meaning it’ll be a nearly fresh start across the board.
Walls have had a big overhaul, making them easier to place and make use of. Gates have been reworked to be omnidirectional rather than requiring specific orientation, and walls can now be linked to any other allied walls, while the building UI and your villagers logic while constructing them has also been improved. You should find laying out your defensive border much more straightforward as a result, especially when building across natural obstacles.
A new town bell at your town center can be rung to call all your villagers back to the safety of its walls with the press of a single button. Relic notes that this is compatible with the ‘seek shelter’ option, and both methods share the same hotkeys for telling your villagers that it’s safe to return to work.
Landmarks and wonders have also been increased in size visually to help them stand out, though they’ll still take up the same in-game build space. There have also been plenty of updates to unit and enemy commander AI, improvements to the campaign, new hotkey binds, and a lot of balance changes and bug fixes as well.
Age of Empires update 9.1.109 releases Tuesday November 14, alongside new expansion The Sultans Ascend. You can read up on all the minor tweaks and changes with the full patch notes via Relic Entertainment.
If you’re in the mood to try something new, we’ve rounded up the best games like Age of Empires that you should play in 2023. We’ve also got the very best RTS games across the board, if you’re after a more dramatic departure. You can also follow us on Google News for daily PC games news, reviews, and guides.