With every passing year, esports are becoming more and more a defining part of 21st century culture. Games such as League of Legends and CounterStrike fill globally-recognized stadiums like the Staple Center to their brims with energetic fans. Though mainstay games such as these catch massive public attention, there are certain esports that go under the radar. One of these is a game that many gaming veterans remember from their early days: Age of Empires II.
Age of Empires II was published on September 30th, 1999. It was one of the most played games of its time, shipping 2 million copies three months after its release, and hitting the top of sales charts in seven countries.
But after a few years, Age of Empires II dropped off the radar during the surge of console prevalence in the early to mid 2000’s, leaving only a dwindling cult following behind.
However, after the release of Age of Empires II HD on April 9th, 2013, the once great monolith of early gaming found a resurgence with its high-definition remake on Steam. This release resulted in its widespread publication and created devoted content creation through creative platforms like YouTube and Twitch. From there, Age of Empires II has slowly found its way back to a committed community.
Despite the constantly growing fanbase, the Age of Empires community faces one major problem: The community is largely split in two. The players are separated by the platform on which to play their beloved game. The Age of Empires II HD client is more accessible and open to newcomers in the community and is where most of the casual play is held. Contrastingly, the platform on which the more competitive players reside is Voobly, which has such benefits as better optimization and a more in-depth multiplayer client. Setting up Voobly can be daunting to newcomers or nostalgia-filled veterans and is often avoided for sheer lack of knowledge. This divide currently grips the community.
Regardless of this, many within the community are hopeful.
As many have heard, an Age of Empires “Definitive Edition” has been teased and previewed at the 2017 E3. Along with the 1st and 3rd game, Age of Empires II is set to have a remastered client for 2018. This announcement brings a new hope to the divided community being able to play the game they have loved for so long, together.
With dedicated developer support to an old masterpiece and a community unmatched in loyalty and love for its game and fellow players, Age of Empires II has broken its way into the esports scene with astounding excitement from its player-base. Age of Empires II has several tournaments hosted every year, including the recent King of the Desert and the Escape Euro Cup LAN finals hosted at Gamescom.
These matches feature some of the best Age of Empires II players in the world such as Ørjan “TheViper” Larsen, Marco “JorDan_23″ Bloch, and Kai “Lierrey.” TheViper has been the uncontested best player in the world for several years now. JorDan_23, before his retirement was one of TheVipers highest competitors, always resulting in an exhilarating series. Recently he had made another appearance at the King of the Desert tournament, and we hope to see more from him in the future. Lierrey is the current dark horse in the Age of Empires II competitive scene, and has hit the community like a storm. Lierrey is rumored to be 16 years old, even appearing at public Age of Empires events but never disclosing his true age. His play has beat out other veterans and brought him to the finals against TheViper in both the King of the Desert tournament and the Escape Euro cup LAN finals. Each time he has brought the series to a tiebreaker with a standing in your seat conclusion. Many watch and look forward to his future career with great interest.
Every match pulls you in and enthralls you with inhuman speeds and deeply rooted strategies while community leaders such as Resonance22, MembTV, T90Official, and ZeroEmpires cast and watch the action along with the roaring fans. The casting personalities make the viewer feel as if they are witnessing the game at your side. Watching these games, you get personally invested into each pro’s play-style and personality. From playing you see the astounding amount of work and skill that goes into creating even a single Castle Age rush. Even the micromanagement that goes into every archer skirmish, the intuition of a mangonel battle, and just the overall fluidity of sandbox play in Age of Empires II all showcase why this game is an amazing addition to the esports community, and why it has been and will always be one of my favorite games.
Age of Empires II is here to stay.
(Now pardon me as I proceed to Korean tower rush or Persian douche every game for the next three weeks. Good luck in ranked everybody.)
LINKS TO AOE II CASTERS:
IMPORTANT AOE II LINKS:
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