previewed on PC
Can this expansion fix what was wrong with AOE3?
When Age of Empires III first came out last year, it was met with some mixed reviews. Some would hail it as the next greatest RTS while others would say that it disgraces the Age of Empires name. Personally, I loved it. So, when I heard there was an expansion coming, I was already on board for it. But, at the same time, I'll be the first to admit that there are some flaws in the basic game. The most notable flaw is the control: you can't tell your units to hold still and you can't tell them to hide from an enemy 1000 times bigger and badder than they are. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. There are plenty of annoyances. Ensemble's previous patches have fixed some of them, but not all. So, what really excites me about this new expansion is that maybe they'll fix all those annoyances we had with the original.
The coming of the Indians
Another problem in the original were the Indians. Simply put, they stunk. For those who are unfamiliar with the game, in Age 3 the Indians were merely 'posts' that you could build a trading post at. And when you built the trading post, you could recruit a few Indians. And that's it. No Indian buildings or special units. Just a few boring units and that was all. Now, The Warchiefs expansion is here to fix all that.
Ensemble is usually pretty good with pleasing their fans, so we will be getting plenty of new units and new content. The expansion will do almost nothing to the units you already have, and there will be a few new cards to get and a new building to recruit some mercenaries with, but that's it. The point of the expansion, as one might gather from it's name, is on the Native Americans. The expansion will add 3 new 'races' of Indians to the game.
Naturally, Indians never had any kind of home city like the Europeans, but fear not! Instead we'll get the "Tribal Council", which shows some people holed up in a tepee. The 'spirits' will give you unit cards as you collect more experience, just like the European Home Cities. Is the whole thing a little bitty cheesy and tacked on? Yes. But am I glad it's there? Definitely. It's bad enough that the Indians don't use guns or cannons. If you take away the home city cards too, then you may as well head out back and wait for your scalping.
Warchiefs and fire pits
Warchiefs will bring us three Indian races. The Iroquois, the Sioux, and the Aztec. I'll briefly go over each race. But first, let me tell you about the Indians in general. All three races will have their own unique abilities; however they all have some things in common. Most notable will be the addition of the Warchief and the fire pit. Think of the Warchief like an explorer, except that it isn't useless. Ensemble seems to be giving a nod to Warcraft III's heroes with the Warchiefs as each Indian race's Warchief will have his own unique set of abilities and will gradually grow stronger through out the course of the game. He won't eventually be ignored like the Explorer.
The other major addition for the Indians is the fire pit. The fire pit is used for villagers to dance around. The more villagers that dance around it, the bigger the bonus you can acquire. The fire pit will do different things for different cultures. But it's a lot like the Greek in Age of Mythology only instead of favor, you get other perks and bonuses. For instance, all three cultures will let you use a technique to speed up infantry production. Who needs cannons when you can spam the enemy to death with cheap archers?