Hello everyone! Following up on ESOC's birthday, we've got another special treat in store today. About three months after the last huge patch, EP 4.2 is coming out with a wide variety of changes; we've got balance updates, bugfixes, map changes, security improvements, more features for your convenience... a bit of everything! This release was also the first one with all of its development iterations released in public Betas, which were tested over the past two months and a bit. See the Beta FAQ if you would like to participate in future Betas, it's easy and we value your feedback!

Now, let's get to the list of changes.


changelog since EP

ESOC Standard Supremacy Patch - Sioux balance changes
- EP: Added required placement distance of 15 between individual teepees. This distance is visually indicated when placing a new teepee.
- EP: Teepee initial build limit reverted to 10 (up from 6).
- EP: Nomadic Expansion card reverted to increase teepee build limit by 10 (up from 6).
- EP: Mustangs card now decreases cavalry cost by 15% (up from 10%).
- EP: Wakina speed reverted to 4 (down from 4.5).

ESOC Standard Supremacy Patch - fixes
- EP: Adjusted Cherry Orchard and Mango Grove placement obstruction radius to make them replaceable on the same spot. Added visual indication of obstruction radius.
- EP: Improved obstruction error message for buildings with crops/gatherers around them.
- EP: Docks now respect the restricted build radius during the treaty period.
- EP: Fixed a bug that caused Iroquois War Hut Big Button tech Lacrosse to not increase the range of Tomahawks.
- EP: Fixed a bug that caused Mountain Warrior card to not double the amount of resources gained from treasures.
- EP: Caravel, Galleon, Galley default attack range reverted to the correct value 20 (from 18).
- EP: Fixed Tomahawk's ability to build after sending Battlefield Construction.
- EP: Fixed Veteran Abus Gun tech to increase range properly for Stagger/Defend mode.

ESOC Standard Supremacy Patch - map changes
- ESOC Malaysia: fixed an issue where the homecity water flag would not spawn for a player. Adjusted resource balance.
- ESOC Wadmalaw: fixed an issue where livestock would not spawn for a player.
- ESOC Paralel Rivers: adjusted resource balance, removed gold mines from the map.
- ESOC Great Basin: slightly increased number of treasures on the map.

ESOC Standard Supremacy Patch - new features
- EP: Added custom images for ESOC maps to easily distinguish them while in a game room. Custom ESOC map images are also installed for use outside of EP.

ESOC Treaty Patch
- TRP: Adjusted Cherry Orchard and Mango Grove placement obstruction radius to make them replaceable on the same spot. Added visual indication of obstruction radius.
- TRP: Docks now respect the restricted build radius during the treaty period.

EP Launcher
- Upon opening the EP Launcher, compatibility flags of all custom game executables are now automatically configured. For some users, this should solve all of performance issues, bugs in game settings, and the occasional "Application Not Responding" alerts. The default configuration will be set to WINXPSP3 DISABLETHEMES DISABLEDWM HIGHDPIAWARE RUNASADMIN, however, a different OS compatibility flag will be respected and not reconfigured to Win XP automatically. Additional flags will also be respected and not removed.
- The launcher will automatically remove voobly's injected d3d9.dll file upon launch. Voobly uses this file to inject its own code into the game, but this code doesn't run properly in compatibility mode and causes all versions of the game to instantly crash.
- The auto-update process will now automatically copy all ESOC and Blitz maps for use on the official RE patch as custom maps (this will only work when updating from EP 4.2.x onwards).
- Improved detection of when the game is already running and cannot be currently launched, also improved some error messaging.

- Various anti-cheat improvements, fixed a security issue that would allow players to send free shipments (
- "Zoom mod" is now detected as a cheat (except from within the Observer UI).
- Expanded logging functionality.

- The exe installer setup now automatically attempts to activate DirectPlay, which is a legacy component required for any version of AoE3 to run, but disabled by default on most systems with OS Windows 8 or newer.
- The installer will automatically remove voobly's injected d3d9.dll file upon install. Voobly uses this file to inject its own code into the game, but this code doesn't run properly in compatibility mode and causes all versions of the game to instantly crash.
- The installation process will now automatically copy all ESOC and Blitz maps for use on the official RE patch as custom maps. Custom ESOC map images are also installed for use outside of EP.

That's it for the changes, but let's expand on some of them a bit.

A message from the balance team

In order to garner more feedback, we have decided to go live with certain changes to the Sioux, to explore our options for the civilization well in time before the release of EP5. Please note that these changes are subject to testing and may be changed in the near future, depending on such response. This is merely an iteration to allow for better grasping their impact on balance as well as gameplay, and ultimately whether they are a worthwhile option – none of the changes are definitive.

Don't be fooled – these changes constitute a significant nerf to the effect(s) of teepees, since it reduces the ability to stack auras. As such, while the reverted build-limit will allow for teepee expansion—a buff in another sense—it will in fact result in a weaker effect, and will instead disallow for stacking several teepees in an overpowered cluster. Adding to these changes, we will also be reverting the Wakina Rifle speed buff, due to its non-essential nature, controversial reception within the community, and potential abusability.

Dealing with the orchards

Almost everyone who's played Japan a couple times before probably had this happen. Your orchards run out, you ship new ones, and suddenly — huh, why can't I rebuild my orchard on the same spot as before?
There's been a longstanding issue with the orchards having an inconsistent obstruction radius vs other buildings, and this update not only brings it in line, but also adds a visual indication of the radius for extra convenience.

Dealing with the hackers

We've unfortunately seen several new forms of hacking arise recently. This patch expands the anti-cheating protection and fixes security issues which were exploited during the Autumn tournament. At the same time, we've also improved our tools to find out new forms of hacking more effectively.

Another addition to detected hacks is the "zoom mod", allowing a player to zoom out further than normally possible, thus gaining an unfair advantage. This was especially a concern for the upcoming Treaty tournament. Note that this detection does not affect the zoom console command of the Observer UI.

We're also aware of the recent problems involving invite attacks on ESO and working hard on possible solutions. It is not an easy task as the issue ultimately lies with the ESO platform itself, which is controlled by Microsoft.

Expanding on convenience features

This patch includes a substantial batch of convenience features and improvements. These are aimed not only on regular EP users, but also at newcomers, and even at those who do not currently wish to play on our patches at all. The idea is that simply installing the EP is enough to "fix your game" and provides a player with several useful tools to utilize, even when such player continues to play solely on the official RE patch.

Looking to level up your homecities quickly? EP Launcher's XPMOD tool has got you covered.
Downloaded some recs, but you can't watch them? Use the EP Launcher's Recorded Games Recognition tool to play through recs played on any previous version of EP, or on RE.
Does your game not even launch? A mere install of the EP will now fix most common problems with running the game in general and give you the full arsenal of latest ESOC maps to play as custom maps on the official RE patch. And now with some cool images as well!

Thank you!

Thank you, the balance team and everyone else who's helped us test changes on Beta. Credit goes to Buckethead for contributing the new ESOC map images.

Getting the update

1. If you have a previous version installed, you can simply run the launcher and auto-update should have you covered. However, this time it might be worth downloading the exe installer in order to get ESOC maps installed as RE custom maps.
2. If you're installing for the first time, download the exe installer.
3. If you cannot do either of the above for some reason, download the zip package and unpack it manually into your AoE3 installation folder.

(This one's on the longer side. But I've done my best to split it up into sections so if you're pressed for time, feel free to scroll down to whatever section interests you.)

Where We’re Going


On Sunday, February 11, ESOC will celebrate a birthday. Its own. This post is a look back on the year that was, with a nod to the future. But first, we’ve got some invitations to tend to. Because, like any good birthday, we’re throwing a party. And we’re playing cards.

“But CurassierAndCurassier/Montcalm17,” you say, “This is an Age of Empires 3 forum, why would we play cards?”

Well, we’re not playing poker, or Uno, or hanafuda. We’re playing cards Age of Empires style. Specifically, we’re hosting a tournament of Cards, the minigame designed by @Interjection , on the 11th to mark our anniversary. You can download the minigame here (viewtopic.php?t=9748) and if you need a little convincing, well, just check this video out.

phpBB [video]

Come one come all, no PR minimum required to join the fun. But if you prefer to sit back and watch, you’ll be treated to a laid back casting featuring two ESOC greats: The aforesaid Interjection, and the man himself @_H2O .

Signups for the event will be open from 12:00 to 14:00 GMT on February 11th, and the games will begin at 15:00. Signup is simple: Just go to your MyESOC page.


This little mini-tournament is only a teaser for a year that promises to be one of innovation and experimentation in the ESOC world. We will kick off year 3 by leaving supremacy behind for a moment and delving into the strange world of treaties in @queenofdestiny ’s Time2Treaty tournament. Strap in for long battles and intensive micro. Prepare yourself for astronomical resource numbers and body counts. Marvel at strange, never before seen in a major tournament cards: Unction! Fur Trade! South Sea Bubble! Medicine! House of Braganca!

OK maybe not House of Braganca. No tournament will ever make House of Braganca useful.

And no sooner will the winner be crowned than the next tournament begin, taking Age of Empires deep into the heart of darkness.

Wars of Liberty

The Age of Exploration is over.
In the West, native empires rise in South America for the first time since the days of Atahualpa. Though free of their Old World oppressors. The crown jewel of the continent is the mighty Brazilian Empire, and its massive army built on the backs of slaves. But now it makes itself the target of the smaller states. Will it survive, or will a new empire emerge after the fray?

In the North, the American Republic is crumbling. The fate of Democracy hangs in the balance. There are no neutral parties here; a side must be taken. The industrious Union, or the rough-riding Confederacy. Your pick will determine your story, your fight, your destiny.

Across the Atlantic, the Old World looks to rebuild their empires in the swirling sands and dense jungles of Africa. But the land is occupied, host to mighty empires and ancient civilizations of its own, and they will not bow to their invaders. They will resist. If Africa is to be colonized, it will have to be taken. River by river, jungle by jungle.

Where We’ve Been

The Patch

The latest versions of the ESOC Patch have created plenty of talking points and debate. The dev team behind took this past year to experiment a little more than before, leading to some very interesting changes. This past year saw the EP make the biggest change to the game yet: Spanish Gold.

In the base game, Spanish Gold is an Age IV shipment that gives saloons and galleons +50% hitpoints and lets you train stronger pirates. It is useless on top of being horrifically historically inaccurate (Pirates fighting for Spain??) and was probably sent once or twice in the history of the base game. Now, Spanish Gold is a resource shipment that gives Spain coin crates with each successive shipment. It’s not terribly strong, but at least playable. This sort of change, beyond tweaking numbers and instead altering the entire purpose of the card, was a first for the EP team.

On the current patch, Britain and the Sioux have received large boosts in power. Britain seems to be generally seen as the best, and Brit mirrors were a staple of 2017. But the Sioux’s rise was more intriguing. Still not terribly popular, the increases to their durability and gathering made them at last a genuine terror to face and gave their distinct playstyle more credence. Throughout the year Aizamk and @goongoon constantly frustrated and confounded with them.

Elsewhere, a 10 HP nerf to Sepoys proved controversial, despite a reduction to India’s house costs. Ultimately, it didn’t seem to deter players from India. They were used in 6 games in the semi-finals and finals of the most recent tournament, with Sepoys aplenty.

We had an explosion of new maps in 2017. Almost too many to really go through, but the beautifully designed Thar Desert and the intriguingly idiosyncratic Herald Island and Wadmalaw also deserve shoutouts. See the full list of maps and download them here: maps.php


Spring 2017

BlackStar_OP had some unfinished business.

In the Spring of 2015, he had risen to the top of the Age of Empires world with a thrilling, all-time-classic triumph over _H2O, in a finals series that needed all eleven games. In Summer, he returned for a title defense. He tore through his competition, not losing a single game in his first four rounds. He surely scanned the competition: _H2O, despite bringing him to the brink last time, had not returned. Garja had been knocked out early. He seemed destined for a date with Samwise12 in the finals.

But then the impossible happened.

He lost to BadSpeed in the round of 8.

For all of 2016, we did not see him. Without his presence, _H2O and LordRaphael split back to back finals series. As the new year dawned, it was those two names everyone floated as the favorites. But Blackstar had other plans. It had been nearly two years since he toppled _H2O and stunned the community. But now, with his legend fading, he made his return. And he had only one thing on his mind.


The story of the Spring 2017 tournament was his revenge tour. He got off to a torrid start as with last time, sweeping four straight rounds. He dropped one game to Mitoe in the semi-finals, but still steamrolled his way to a date with LordRaphael in the final match. It was tense, and the reigning champ gave BlackStar a ferocious fight, but in the end, BlackStar_OP had his revenge. It was one hell of a comeback tour and a clear sign for the coming year: Things were going to be different.

Warchiefs Classic

In the doldrums of summer, as a prelude to the coming grand tournament in Autumn, the community shone a light on the first inhabitants of the New World. Every game in the tournament required one civilization from the Warchief expansion to be present. This was no place for players used to standard European armies. It was the field ground for players who could innovate, adapt, play an unconventional or even unique style.

Someone like Aizamk.

The mighty bovine man needs no introduction here. But it bears noting despite his popularity, despite his brilliant ideas, he hadn’t yet won a major tournament. Perhaps he’d gotten in his own head a little too much and over-thought things. Perhaps he’d been afraid to get creative and played against his strengths. Nevertheless, it was clear from the outset that this was a different Aizamk in the Warchiefs classic. He was still tricky, and as fun to watch as ever. But there was another narrative as well this time.

He wanted to win.

It came down to a finals match between him and diarouga. After splitting the first two games, Aizamk found another gear to switch into, and put on a complete showcase with the Sioux in game 4. This game really signalled the beginning of an era in the ESOC world. Aizamk showcased the strengthening of the Sioux civ that the ESOC Patch had engineered. The new media team was complete and off and running. And after a year where two players played in each final match, 2017 had two different winners.

And there would be a third.

Autumn 2017

It was not a good time to be considered a favorite.

_H2O started, but dropped out early on.

LordRaphael fell in the semi-finals to GoonGoon in a series that wasn’t particularly close.

Goodspeed lost in the second round.

Tedere12 knocked off GivesUAnxiety and StanleyWinston during an electrifying Cinderella run to begin the tournament.

But none of these would wind up being the biggest story of Autumn. That would belong to the Canadian.

As was the case with his former Smackdown frenemy in the Warchiefs Classic, @Mitoe looked like a different player this tournament. His path was not easy: He had to get through Cohenski, Tit, and Kaiserklein (who had just bested him in the bronze medal match in Spring) to make it to the finals. There he played a great series against GoonGoon, was decided on a clash between France, that old powerhouse from the very first days of Age of Empires 3, and the Sioux, the upstart civ made a superpower by the latest patch. Here the Sioux’s run of glory ended. Mitoe did not panic when GoonGoon took the early advantage. He held on, turned the tides, and took his place in the pantheon of greats.

Aizamk’s Craziest Build Yet

You know the whole “could Jesus microwave a burrito so hot he could not eat it?” joke? Well, could @Aizamk create a build so terrible he could not win with it? He tried in 2017, and it turns out, no. He can make literally anything work, as seen by what may actually be his craziest build yet.

If you haven’t seen it in action already, I will attempt to describe it to you. It’s a sort of naked FF combined with a consulate rush, except instead of shipping units from the consulate, he researches upgrades to home city shipment rates, and snowballs an army of shipped mercenaries.

Oh, and it’s also a 10/10.

And also it’s with Japan.

This thing is crazy. It’s absolutely bloody bonkers. It goes against everything Japan is built to do, and yet... it worked way more than it should have. Aizamk’s figured out something about the timing of it all. He’s shipping Ronin right as his opponent is pushing into his base, and when he wins it’s because the Ronin arrive and pop out right onto a poor besieging army. Facing this build is not the time to keep calm and ship Mams, (if the Ronin don’t kill them the following Ninjas will) it’s the time you question everything you ever learned about this game. And when he beats you with an army of no more than two dozen soldiers backed up by maybe 12 villagers, while you did everything right and proper, well, all you can do is sit back and let the existential crisis wash over you. What is meta? Why even bother playing standard? Who even thinks of this sort of thing anyway?!?

The New Media Team

There was some turnover to both ESOC teams this year, and lots of new faces and names. By the end of the year, the media team had a new leader (@Mr_Bramboy handed the role over to @MCJim ) and added long time caster and everybody’s favorite Belgian Chrisie10101, as well as the one and only @XeeleeFlower, to help run the show. They also brought on some dude who can’t even spell Curaissier correctly and forgets that he made an ESO account and has to confusingly go by two different usernames. Loser.