If you’re reading this, then you’re invited to join the Age of Empires IV Technical Stress Test from Friday, September 17th, at 10 a.m. PT through Monday, September 20th, at 10 a.m. PT! That’s right, we’re gearing up for a large-scale test that will allow YOU to get hands on experience with Age IV prior to its release date.
Read on for more information about the Technical Stress Test, and don’t forget to tell your friends! It’s time to assemble your armies and help stress the Age IV systems and services as launch draws near.
How Does This Event Differ from Closed Beta?
If you joined us for the Age IV Closed Beta event in August, welcome back! If you didn’t, we’re glad to have you this time around.
The Technical Stress Test differs from our Closed Beta in three key ways:
- Our goals are different! This time around, we’re focused on scale testing our servers and systems in preparation for the October 28th release date. One reason we are hosting this event over a single weekend is that we are interested in driving as many people into the Technical Stress Test build as possible during this window to make sure that our matchmaking, lobbies and additional systems hold strong.
- The Technical Stress Test will not be gated by an invite! Previously, we had some requirements that won’t be necessary this time around. The build will be available in the Xbox Insider Hub app (available in the Microsoft Store) or Steam regardless of whether you’re an Age Insider or not. The larger our audience for this Technical Stress Test, the more successful it will be!
- We’re welcoming all players who meet or exceed our minimum spec. We’re introducing additional in-game settings in the Technical Stress Test, which means that you’ll be able to join us so long as you meet the Age of Empires IV minimum spec. During this event, the game will automatically detect and select the correct settings based on hardware, including settings specifically included for min spec devices. This full feature was not previously available in the closed beta so this is an experience that we’ll be polishing further for launch.
What Content Will Be Available in the Technical Stress Test?
Most aspects of the game available during this event will be focused on the multiplayer experience. However, you will have the opportunity to play against AI via the Multiplayer Custom Lobby, as well as try out Mission Zero (the game’s tutorial). Given this is a Technical Stress Test, we encourage you to play against others participating. The more data we get from different match-ups across various servers, the more action our development team will be able to take to prep our systems for the big day.
There will be four civilizations available – the English, the Chinese, the Holy Roman Empire and the Abbasid Dynasty – and five different maps.
How Do I Get Started?
On Friday, September 17th, you should be able to access the build in one of two ways:
- Via the Xbox Insider Hub app on PC. Just check the Previews tab for Age of Empires IV to download the build for the Technical Stress Test.
- Via the Age of Empires IV base game product page on Steam. You’ll see a section titled “Playtest” that will allow you to get started!
Pre-sign up is available now via the Xbox Insider Hub and on Steam! If you have questions about participating in the Technical Stress Test, you can keep an eye out on our FAQ here, which we’ll be updating in the days to come.
Where Can I Provide My Feedback?
Please provide your feedback in the official Age forums. We’ll keep an eye on other community-frequented locations, but you’ll have the best chance of being heard if you stick to the forums for this event! We’ll be focused primarily on stability, performance and matchmaking or server reports during this event.
What’s Changed Since the Closed Beta?
A number of tweaks and changes have been made since the Closed Beta in August:
- Changes to the camera distance. Based on closed beta feedback, we have tweaked the maximum distance that the camera can zoom out. This allows for more visibility on-screen while you play.
- Balance work. For those that joined us, you will notice additional balance work that’s gone into both the English and Chinese civilizations.
- Bug fixes. We always appreciate the community’s attention to detail! The closed beta group called out a number of bugs that were impacting visuals, audio, economy and in-game settings that have been fixed in this build.
Is This Event Under NDA?
Unlike the Age IV Closed Beta, we will not be enforcing a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) during the Technical Stress Test. We want to encourage you to play as much as possible and reduce the steps you need to take to join us. We also want to make sure you’re able to invite and play with your friends during this window of time. We can’t wait to see you in the Technical Stress Test later this week!