Can I Get Age of Empires 2 for Free?
Yes, there are a few legitimate ways to get Age of Empires 2 for free or at a huge discount in 2023. While the standard Steam version currently costs $19.99, you have several options to get this classic real-time strategy game without spending anything.
1. Claim It During Free Promotional Periods
The most straightforward way is to grab Age of Empires 2 for free when Microsoft or Steam run occasional promotional deals. For example, in October 2022, Steam allowed anyone to download the Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition at no cost for one weekend only.
Keep an eye out for these limited-time giveaways, and be ready to add it to your Steam library when they pop up. Some deals require you to "purchase" the game for free during the promo period. Once claimed, the game is yours to keep forever.
2. Use Twitch Prime Free Game Rewards
If you have an active Twitch Prime membership, you can redeem free games each month. Twitch Prime is included with an Amazon Prime or Prime Video subscription. Age of Empires 2 has been featured as a Twitch freebie several times over the years.
While you‘ve missed the chance if not claimed already, Age of Empires 2 could always return in a future Twitch Prime free game lineup. Make sure to check the available games each month.
3. Find a Discount Through Game Bundles
Many PC game sellers offer special discounted bundles that package several games together. Humble Bundle occasionally offers an Age of Empires bundle spanning the whole franchise. Fanatical also puts together bundles containing Age of Empires 2.
For example, you might find a bundle offering the Age of Empires 2 Definitive Edition along with 3-4 other games for just $10-15 total. Keep an eye out for these limited-time bundle deals to score huge savings.
4. Use Giveaways From Resellers
Some key resellers acquire game keys and provide them to users for free through special giveaways and promotions.
For instance, Alienware Arena rewards active members with free games like Age of Empires 2. CD Keys also gives away thousands of Steam keys as incentives to join their community.
By participating in reseller giveaways, contests, and promotions, you might luck out and score a free key. Just create accounts on sites like these and keep tabs on available giveaways.
5. Find a Friend Who Already Owns It
If you have a gaming friend who already owns Age of Empires 2 on Steam, see if they are willing to use Steam‘s Family Sharing feature to let you play the game for free.
Steam Family Sharing allows close friends and family members to share their libraries. You could get access to Age of Empires 2 this way. The owner just needs to authorize you as a shared user.
The catch is only one person can use a shared library at once. So you can only play when your friend is offline. Still, it‘s a simple way to enjoy the game at zero cost if you know someone who already has it.
Acquiring Age of Empires 2 Legally for Free
When trying to get popular games like Age of Empires 2 for free, be wary of risky or illegal methods. Avoid torrent sites offering free downloads. These versions are usually cracked and may contain malware. You could also face penalties for piracy.
Likewise, don‘t trust sites that claim to generate free Steam keys. These are almost always scams designed to steal your information or account credentials.
The options above are 100% legitimate methods to get Age of Empires 2 free and clear. But they do require some patience and effort. You need to watch for special promotional periods, claim bundles before they sell out, or network with friends who already own the game.
With some diligence, you‘ll eventually score Age of Empires 2 for free or at a huge discount. But steer clear of sketchy free game offers that seem too good to be true.
History and Gameplay of Age of Empires 2
Understanding what makes Age of Empires 2 so special will help you appreciate the value of obtaining it for free. This game has remained popular for over 20 years thanks to its addictive strategic gameplay.
Released in 1999 at the Height of the RTS Era
Age of Empires 2: Age of Kings arrived in 1999 near the peak era for real-time strategy (RTS) gaming. genre titans like Warcraft, Command & Conquer, and StarCraft pushed RTS into the mainstream.
Age of Empires 2 built on the success of the original Age of Empires in 1997. The second installment refined the historical RTS formula and added compelling new civilizations, campaigns, and features.
Microsoft published Age of Empires 2 just as the company was expanding into PC gaming. The title became Ensemble Studios‘ biggest hit and a benchmark for historical RTS releases.
Choose a Civilization and Advance Through the Ages
Age of Empires 2 allows you to steer one of 13 civilizations from the Middle Ages through the Imperial Age. You start in the Dark Age with minimal resources and technology.
Advancing your culture through four Ages unlocks new units, structures, and upgrades. You collect resources like food, wood, gold, and stone to research technologies and expand your empire.
Unique civilizations like the Britons, Mongols, Byzantines, and Persians provide varied strengths and playstyles. You must balance military might with economic growth and technological progress.
Classic RTS Gameplay With Well-Designed Mechanics
As an RTS, Age of Empires 2 challenges you to build up an economy, construct buildings and units, and battle enemies through quick thinking and strategy.
The rock-paper-scissors counter system promotes smart unit composition. Longswords counter spearmen, archers counter longswords, and so on. Random map generation enhances replayability.
Playing against intelligent AI or human opponents online tests your skills in battle tactics and economic micromanagement. The depth of content and polished mechanics make Age of Empires 2 arguably the pinnacle of 2D RTS.
Definitive Edition Modernized Graphics and Added New Content
Age of Empires 2 has enjoyed a recent resurgence thanks to Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition. This 2019 remaster by Forgotten Empires overhauled the graphics and UI into widescreen HD.
The Definitive Edition also introduced 4 new civilizations, extra campaigns and gameplay modes. Improved multiplayer connectivity offers a quality online experience.
With both classic gameplay and a facelift for modern machines, Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition has cemented the title‘s status as an all-time RTS great worth playing in 2023 and beyond.
Tips for Getting Started
Once you acquire Age of Empires 2 for free, use these tips to begin your conquest:
- Play the Art of War challenges to sharpen your core skills
- Experiment with hotkeys to improve your speed and efficiency
- Use military buildings like barracks, archery ranges, and castles to unlock new units
- Research economic upgrades at the Mill, Lumber Camp, and Mining Camp to boost resources
- Don‘t neglect your Town Center production – balance unit creation with villager training
- Scout early to find resources and adapt your start based on the map
- Make use of defensive structures like walls and towers when under threat
- Master build orders and opening moves for your chosen civilizations
- Play the campaign to learn core concepts before diving into random maps
With hundreds of hours of content, limitless skill growth, and a high ceiling for competitive play, getting Age of Empires 2 for free is certainly worthwhile for any RTS fan.
The Definitive Edition Holds Up in 2023
Even two decades later, Age of Empires 2 continues going strong thanks to excellent preservation in the Definitive Edition. This updated version has sold over 5 million copies on Steam and receives regular balance patches.
The graphics hold up well in HD, the UI is intuitive, and online matchmaking is on par with modern titles. 500,000 players log monthly hours in Age of Empires 2, impressive for a title from 1999.
Age of Empires 2 also enjoys an active competitive scene. Top players compete in tournaments hosted by Esports organizations like Red Bull and Microsoft. The skill ceiling remains high thanks to intricate game mechanics and strategies.
For a full-featured RTS spanning eight civilizations and 1000 years of history, Age of Empires 2 remains unparalleled. The value increases exponentially when you can add this masterpiece to your library for free.
Claim your copy today and relive a defining title of strategy gaming history. With active development and support, Age of Empires 2 will stay relevant well into the 2020s.