Age of Empires Online was a massively multiplayer online real-time strategy game released on August 16, 2011 through digital distribution and optical discs. Based upon the gameplay of the Age of Empires series, it was originally being developed by Robot Entertainment, but on February 24, 2011, it was announced that Gas Powered Games, the creators of Supreme Commander, had taken over production. The game is published by Microsoft.
The game was free-to-play—it was free for users to play, with the additional option of earning or purchasing premium content. Premium content may include access to many special items and blueprints, and more quests and features. Also, booster packs are now available, such as Defense of Crete and Skirmish. The former gives the player the ability to play in a survival type mode game, while the latter allows up to four humans versus up to four CPU opponents in a more traditional skirmish game-mode. The modes can be played in either single-player or co-op. The game also features several player versus player (PvP) modes for up to four people with the option of a PvP "Champion mode" which fully unlocks the players' tech tree and renders the gear for aesthetics only.
On March 27, 2012, the game premiered on Steam after a major overhaul patch which addressed complaints of an "MMO-like grind" and many other features, along with the debut of the Celtic civilization. On June 15, 2012 the premium content system was changed by offering the option to purchase all past and future content through "Empire points" earned in game, or by purchasing the points directly with real world money. With this change the player now has the option to earn all premium content for free.
As of 3 January 2013, Microsoft has ceased further development on the game and no new content will be released. However, the existing content and servers will continue to function and be supported. A Microsoft representative later announced on the official forums that on August 22, 2013, the Games for Windows – Live Marketplace would be shut down, leaving the game only accessible by current or former players, thus meaning no new players can register and download the game as of that date. Empire Points can still be earned through gameplay, but the ability to purchase them is also being removed as well. In September 2013, it was announced that the game would remain functional until July 1, 2014 when the service would be shut down. The closure was due to the content being too expensive to maintain.On July 1, the shutdown took place as planned.
There are 1000's of WOW private servers, so why not an Age of Empires Online one?
That's a community to get a project like this off the ground!